The Best Roller Coasters At All Four Of Disney World's Parks, Ranked

If you prefer Space Mountain over Dumbo, you've come to the right place. Walt Disney World in Florida is known for its family-friendly theme park experiences, but the destination also has a growing reputation as being home to some of the best roller coasters in the industry. From classics like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad that have been around for generations, to new attractions like Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind that are just welcoming their first guests, a mix of nostalgic and cutting-edge comprise Walt Disney World's portfolio of coasters.

A fun selection of roller coasters awaits travelers across Walt Disney World's four theme parks: Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and Disney's Animal Kingdom. Unlike at many standard parks across the country, at Walt Disney World, a roller coaster isn't just a roller coaster — it's an experience. That experience starts from the moment guests approach the ride's exterior and continues through the moment guests exit the inevitable gift shop after the ride. Everything contributes to telling a story.

As such, our roller coaster ranking will reflect a thought process that gives equal weight to the technical prowess of the coaster and the narrative world it attempts to immerse guests inside. For example, how should a sub-par thrill with immaculate theming stack up against a white-knuckle titan with minimal storytelling? These are the questions we'll seek to answer today. Here's every roller coaster at Walt Disney World, ranked.

10. Not Eligible for Ranking: Non-Coaster Thrill Rides

Walt Disney World is home to nine roller coasters. That being said, many Disney attractions fall into the category of "thrill rides." They may not be roller coasters by nature, but they should be top-priority for thrill-seekers, some packing even more of a punch than actual coasters. While our list ranks only roller coasters, the following high-octane experiences are worth checking out if you enjoy thrills.

At EPCOT, design your own Chevrolet convertible and take it out for a spin on Test Track; glide forward and backward through Arendelle's mountains on the Frozen Ever After boat ride; and blast off on the über-intense Mission: SPACE simulator, which astronauts say feels like the real thing. At Disney's Hollywood Studios, drop 13 stories in The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror's elevator and fly through the galaxy on two "Star Wars"-themed simulators, one that you pilot yourself (Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run) and another that you're just along for the ride (Star Tours: The Adventures Continue).

At Disney's Animal Kingdom, travel back in time in a Jeep-like vehicle on Dinosaur; fly over Pandora on the Avatar Flight of Passage simulator; and discover the sometimes-terrifying world of insects in It's Tough To Be A Bug!, a 3D show. Save for an under-construction overhaul of the Splash Mountain log flume to become Tiana's Bayou Adventure, Magic Kingdom's thrills are all coasters, part of our ranking below.

9. The Barnstormer at Magic Kingdom

This outdoor kiddie coaster makes for a fun memory as many kids' first roller coaster. Beyond that incentive, though, The Barnstormer doesn't have much going for it. Especially in Magic Kingdom, where there are literally dozens of other attractions to squeeze into the day, The Barnstormer, which lasts less than a minute, shouldn't be a priority for once-in-a-lifetime visitors.

Still, The Barnstormer is charming for what it is. Located in Storybook Circus, a neighborhood within Fantasyland at the back of the park, The Barnstormer places guests onboard a "plane" with the Great Goofini, Goofy's circus-performer alter ego. Today, the Great Goofini's daredevil stunt is to fly through a barn, but since we're talking about Goofy here, the landing is a little bit clumsy.

When The Barnstormer first opened in 1996, this area of the park was known as Mickey's Toontown Fair. Back then, its name was the same, but instead of a circus storyline, guests visited Goofy on his farm. The property transformed into Storybook Circus with the New Fantasyland expansion of the early 2010s. Before or after riding The Barnstormer, stop by the nearby Pete's Silly Sideshow tent to meet the Great Goofini himself... right next to the motorcycle he seems to have recently crashed. All day long inside Pete's Silly Sideshow, Goofy poses for photos and signs autographs, as do Minnie, Donald, and Daisy, who also take on fun circus-themed personalities. Guests must be 35 inches tall to ride The Barnstormer.

8. TRON Lightcycle / Run at Magic Kingdom

TRON Lightcycle / Run (yes, its punctuation is quite something) opened in spring 2023 at Magic Kingdom. Located next to Space Mountain, TRON provides Tomorrowland with a unique juxtaposition of thrills old and new. The coaster originally opened at Shanghai Disneyland in 2016. Through no fault of its own, TRON struggles to have the same emotional connection with guests that other attractions on this list possess. This is a ride based on an obscure '80s movie and a niche 2010 sequel. Contrast that to the inherent, if unfair, bias that guests have toward Slinky Dog Dash or Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, both connected to beloved Disney stories, and it's easy to see how TRON Lightcycle / Run has its work cut out for it.

Utilizing a format known as a straddle coaster, TRON riders lean forward, as if mounting a motorcycle. For some, this quality gives the coaster a unique edge. For others, the accouterments simply amount to an uncomfortable ride experience. TRON Lightcycle / Run zips riders both outdoors and indoors, and is enchanting to watch in action from the ground — especially after dark, when its blue neon glows with energy.

At the time of this writing, TRON Lightcycle / Run is only accessible via a free virtual queue boarding pass, or a for-purchase Lightning Lane, both of which can be reserved through the My Disney Experience app on the day of your Magic Kingdom visit. Guests must be 48 inches tall to ride.

7. Slinky Dog Dash at Disney's Hollywood Studios

This coaster, located in the heart of Toy Story Land, was "built by Andy" using toy track pieces and an imaginative assortment of other playthings. Slinky Dog Dash isn't quite a kiddie coaster, but isn't a white-knuckle thrill, either. Landing somewhere in between, its thrill level could perhaps be compared to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Magic Kingdom (if a bit smoother). Slinky Dog Dash's most unique feature is the way the coaster train pauses to spring back and forth, like a Slinky toy.

Given its placemaking within one of Pixar's most creative movie series, Slinky Dog Dash (and all of Toy Story Land, for that matter) features lots of fun visual details. For example, glance at the "mural" (an oversized piece of paper on which Andy has drawn an illustration) in the load area to see what story Andy imagines is happening within the toy coaster world he's crafted.

Slinky Dog Dash opened in 2018 when Disney's Hollywood Studios expanded with Toy Story Land, along with the addition of the nearby Alien Swirling Saucers spinner ride and the existing Toy Story Midway Mania! interactive video game-like ride. Slinky Dog Dash is a top-priority attraction for many families. If it's at the top of your list, consider riding during the park's Early Entry period for Disney resort guests, or obtaining a Lightning Lane through Genie+. Guests must be 38 inches tall to ride Slinky Dog Dash.

6. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom

There's a lot to love about this family-level coaster. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train opened in 2014 as the final entry in the New Fantasyland expansion, a multi-year project which also opened nearby attractions themed to "Beauty and the Beast," "The Little Mermaid," and "Dumbo." Seven Dwarfs Mine Train takes place within the world of the first full-length movie Walt Disney Animation Studios ever produced: 1937's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."

Sitting in a mine cart, guests ride through mostly outdoor, mountainous terrain. Halfway through, the ride detours inside a cave and slows down for one of the best musical sequences in any Disney ride. In a diamond mine, all seven dwarfs (in Audio-Animatronics form) sing "Heigh-Ho" as they dig for jewels. While this is happening, guests can work together to lean side to side, rocking their mine cart with the music... and likely singing along, too. It's magical.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train opened several years after the closure of Snow White's Scary Adventures, a slow-moving but terrifying journey through Snow White's tale that opened with Magic Kingdom in 1971. (Princess Fairytale Hall, a meet-and-greet venue for Disney royalty, now occupies the space that formerly housed Snow White's Scary Adventures.) Though Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is nearly a decade old at this point, it's still very popular. As such, head there first thing in the morning or grab a Lightning Lane. Guests must be 38 inches tall to ride the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

5. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Magic Kingdom

"This here's the wildest ride in the wilderness!" a prospector's voiceover exclaims as trains depart the station at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Gotta hand it to him, he might be right. This mild thrill opened in 1980 in the far corner of Magic Kingdom's Frontierland, coming on the heels of a Disneyland counterpart that opened in 1979.

The classic family-level coaster tells an original story of a gold rush, not connected to any existing Disney franchise or series. While many parks nationwide, from Carowinds to Dollywood to Knott's Berry Farm, feature runaway train coasters of their own, Big Thunder prevails at the top of its class. The sets and props are so detailed, particularly in its outdoor segments, that you might (almost) wish the coaster would slow down so you could notice everything better. The ascent up an outdoor hill offers an incredible view of Cinderella Castle in the distance.

For a different experience entirely, ride after dark. The moonlight upon the western town gives off fun, spooky vibes, and there are even a few details throughout the ride that are only noticeable at night. Guests must be at least 40 inches tall to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

4. Rock 'n Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith at Disney's Hollywood Studios

There's nothing quite like hearing Steven Tyler count down from five at the top of his lungs — directly into your ears — before you launch from 0 to 60 mph in three seconds. Welcome to Rock 'n Roller Coaster, a must-do at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

In terms of thrill level, Rock 'n Roller Coaster might be the most intense coaster in Walt Disney World. It's the only one of the bunch that goes upside-down. The launch alone elicits a look of pure fear on many riders' faces — which the on-ride photo wonderfully captures, of course. The soundtrack plays an Aerosmith song at random, so repeat riders might hear different tunes. As for visuals, once the indoor coaster is on its way, the surroundings are mostly pitch-black, with some occasional freeway-themed signage illuminated by blacklight.

So the story goes, we're visiting G-Force Records, where Aerosmith happens to be finishing up a recording session. As they depart for a concert, the band invites us to come along in a stretch limo — "in fact, make it a super stretch" — to the big show. We're running late, so our driver's gotta move fast. Aerosmith band members appear in the pre-show video, as do Illeana Douglas from "Six Feet Under" as the band's manager and Ken Marino from "Wet Hot American Summer" as an audio engineer. Guests must be 48 inches tall to ride Rock 'n Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith. A single-rider line is sometimes available.

3. Expedition Everest: Legend of the Forbidden Mountain at Disney's Animal Kingdom

As the 189-foot mountain looms over the fictional village of Anandapur, the striking edifice makes a statement: this ride means business. Expedition Everest: Legend of the Forbidden Mountain opened in 2006 within the Asia section of Disney's Animal Kingdom, and today is the only roller coaster in the park. The exhilarating indoor/outdoor coaster spends part of its time going backward.

The ride has a story, but keeps things simple. Rather than finding inspiration from a Disney movie, Expedition Everest charts its own course to weave a narrative of venturing up the mountain and escaping the clutches of the yeti, a mystical myth we've been warned not to mess with. Designers took research trips to the Himalayas to inform the feel and style of Expedition Everest. The museum-like artifacts in the queue reflect some of those experiences and the authentic legends the locale's inhabitants orate about a threatening, abominable monster.

Expedition Everest offers spectacular views, not only of Animal Kingdom, but of the rest of the sprawling Walt Disney World property. If you look closely, you may even spot Cinderella Castle or Spaceship Earth in the distance. For an even more thrilling experience, ride after dark. Guests must be 44 inches tall to ride; a single-rider line is available for solo travelers.

2. Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT

This indoor coaster is technologically impressive and thematically euphoric. Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind opened in 2022 as, believe it or not, the first roller coaster in EPCOT's 40-year history. The ride's individual train cars spin 360 degrees as the overall coaster train travels forward. Spoiler alert: there's also a backward launch (hence the "Rewind" of "Cosmic Rewind"). Riders coast along to the beat of a random selection from five potential songs that would feel at home on Peter Quill's mixtape. It's a joyride in every sense of the word.

We not only tag along with the Guardians to travel to outer space, but to travel back in time — "all the way back" — to the big bang. James Gunn, who directed all three movies in the acclaimed trilogy, directed new scenes shot exclusively for Cosmic Rewind with original cast members Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldaña, Dave Bautista, and Glenn Close.

Cosmic Rewind blends together nearly every ingredient of a great theme park attraction. The coaster itself does things you didn't realize a coaster could do. The script is sharp, faithfully adapting these characters in a new medium with hilarity and authenticity. It's a knock-out. At the time of this writing, guests must use the My Disney Experience app to reserve a free virtual queue boarding group or purchase a Lightning Lane to experience Cosmic Rewind; there is no standby line available. Guests must be at least 42 inches tall to ride.

1. Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom

The goat. A signature attraction of Walt Disney World since 1975, Space Mountain still holds up as a must-do roller coaster. The indoor ride within Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland blasts guests through the starry darkness of outer space.

Space Mountain doesn't so much tell a concrete story as it does present an atmosphere, an abstract creative concept. If determined to piece together a narrative, one can infer a simple outline of launching into space, flying around, and coming back. Details like who we're traveling with, what our mission is, and exactly where we are within the solar system are not specified, nor are they important. Space Mountain is an example of an attraction that values an overall theme more than a story-driven throughline, and proves that a Disney ride may not need an observable plot to become a hit.

If you're too nervous to ride Space Mountain — or if you're traveling with young kids who aren't tall enough to ride — you can still take a peek inside. The Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover, a slow-moving, aerial tour of Tomorrowland, passes through Space Mountain along its journey. (Given the darkness, there's admittedly not much to see, but it's still cool.) During Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, the coaster becomes Deep Space Mountain, nixing all projections and lights for a completely pitch-black ride. At Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, it's Space Mountain Holiday Run, featuring festive radio jams. Astronauts in training must be 44 inches tall to ride Space Mountain.