Big Thrills


WDW Magazine - - Contents - BY STEPHANIE SHUS­TER

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


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!

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