SPEED SIMULATORS, AND THE SUPERNATURAL
Walt Disney World is known more than any other theme park worldwide for being a place where families can have fun together. But don’t confuse that sentimental idea for parks full of kiddie rides – there are plenty of big thrills to be had at the most magical place on earth. Hang on tight as we take a ride on the best scream-worthy attractions at WDW!
While the Magic Kingdom is home to the largest number of attractions at all four Walt Disney World parks, most their thrill rides fall under the family-friendly mini thrills category, or belong to the infamous mountain range – both covered in depth this issue. But in the past Mission to Mars and Extraterrorestrial Alien Encounter provided big thrills in Tomorrowland, begging the question: is their room for a new adrenaline rush in the flagship park?
The one big thrill to find here is still pretty family friendly – but it does have a height requirement! Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is one of the newest and most popular rids at WDW. This innovative coaster is park thrill ride, part dark ride, and has something never before seen – cars that swing from side to side! The audio animatronics in the dark portion of the ride are wonderful, the queue has lots of fun elements and on-ride photos and videos through Memory Maker ensure you’ll capture the perfect look of joy – or terror – on your family’s faces!
Over in Epcot, while foodies flock to World Showcase and little princes and princesses race towards Frozen Ever After, two of the best thrill rides at WDW are neighbors in Future World.
Test Track offers guests the chance to experience the rigours of safety testing for prototype automobiles. In the past, the experience was more of a crash-test-dummy concept but in recent years an overhaul by sponsor Chevrolet has brought this attraction up to speed with technology.
Now, in a Tron-esque environment, riders can design their own virtual car before boarding their test vehicle – and see how their design fares in tests of acceleration, braking, environmental factors and more. The finale includes an exhilarating 64.9 mile per hour lap around the building’s exterior!
Next door, Mission Space is without question the most intense thrill ride at WDW. In fact, after opening so many guests reported motion sickness from the space flight simulation experience that Disney introduced an alternate experience. Now, guests who want the ultimate thrill can ride experience the Orange Team flights for the full attraction experience or the Green Team, which is less intense with no spinning.
The concept here is pretty cool: you’re an astronaut heading off for a journey to Mars – including a 2.5g fore liftoff, hypersleep, and a rough landing. Video combined with a centrifugal motion simulator create an incredible, one of a kind experience that really makes you feel like you’re in outer space
DISNEY’S HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS
This park celebrates movie magic and the big thrills here use it in spades – in fact, with each of these attractions, you’re ride will never be the same from one experience to the next! Star Tours: The Adventures Continue is a re-imagining of the original Star Tours attraction, using motion simulators to take guests on an accidental adventure across the galaxy. The new version uses 3D technology along with computer randomization to allow each ride to offer a different scenes, so you never know quite where your journey will take you.
With the new Star Wars films coming to theatres in the next few years we expect to see additional scenes added to the rotation, as Jakku and BB-8 were added when The Force Awakens premiered. This ride has the power to constantly evolve and we can’t wait to see where it goes when the new Star Wars Land opens in 2019.
At the opposite end of the park, the Hollywood Tower Hotel sets the scene for one of the most advanced thrill rides at WDW: The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Inspired by the hit Twilight Zone television series, this attraction takes guests through a paranormal free-fall to the fifth dimension.
Using a dual-elevator shaft lift system (one of which utilizes a computer randomized drop sequence which produces a weightless effect), automated guided vehicles that make it seem as though your elevator can move both vertically and horizontally, and a number of special effects – this ride is guaranteed to set your hair on end.
Around the corner, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith takes the indoor coaster concept of Space Mountain to new heights. The premise is simple: on a tour of the G-force Records studio, guest happen upon an Aerosmith recording session. Of course, the band invites their fans along to the show that night, and have the perfect super stretch limo to get you there on time.
This is the only WDW coaster to feature inversions, and it packs a punch, going from 0-58mph in under 3 seconds and hitting 5g’s of force. Add to that a pitch-black environment, illuminated only by neon L.A road signs, and a rockin’ soundtrack, and you’ve got a hit record… I mean, thrill ride. The 5 stretch limos each play a different Aerosmith song or montage to pump you up.
Over in Animal Kingdom, not all the thrills come from seeing live animals up close – the thrill ride roster at this park is really sensational.
In Dinoland USA you’ll find the Dino Institute, home to the DINOSAUR attraction. It’s the most thrilling dark ride at Walt Disney World, featuring larger than life dinosaur animatronics, special effects, and a gripping narrative.
Upon boarding a Time Rover vehicle, guests are transported via time travel to the age of the dinosaurs – just moments before a mass extinction event. While it only reaches speeds of 12mph, this ride is rough, and uses Enhanced Motion Vehicles and applied hydraulic pressure to achieve the big thrill.
Over in Asia, Kali River Rapids provides our final dose of adrenaline as riders depart on a seemingly scenic river journey that quickly turns into a whitewater adventure with an environmental message.
This attraction makes the “splash” in Splash Mountain look like a light sprinkle – waterfalls, waves, spins, bumps, and spray jets all guarantee that you’ll be soaked by the time you make it back to dry land.
These big thrills all have minimum height requirements, so while you might not be able to enjoy them with your whole family, that’s just a reason to return again! And in the mean time, utilize the Rider Swap service to ensure everyone gets a chance to experience the most exciting rides at WDW!