My favorite Disney World Roller Coasters

As a roller coaster fan, I’ll admit that I grew up a self-proclaimed roller coaster CHICKEN!  In fact, it wasn’t until I went to a theme park in Virginia that I became a fan.  But that’s another story for another time.
Over the years, I have become a huge fan of the roller coaster genre, and Walt Disney World, in my opinion, has some of the best roller coasters on the planet.  A lot of my friends will disagree with me, saying that this roller coaster, or that roller coaster is better, but to me, there is a whole lot more than how many loops a roller coaster can do, or how far the drop is.  To me, what sets the roller coasters at Walt Disney World apart from all of the others is the theming that the Disney Imagineers put into planning the attraction.  I believe that Disney spends more time on the theme of an attraction than any other “theme” park in the world, and it is the theme of their lands, attractions, shows, and other things that really sets the parks apart from all of the others.  Now, after all of that build-up, I am going to give you my rankings for my favorite roller coaster rides at Walt Disney World.

6)  The Barnstormer at Goofy’s Wiseacre Farm

I know what you are thinking.  I am absolutely insane by including The Barnstormer in my listing of my favorite coasters.  I have now lost the two readers that come to Chip & Company to read my material.  I can’t be serious.
However, my friends, I am serious.  The Barnstormer was the very first roller coaster that my daughter Sophie ever rode, and the moment she got on that coaster, she was addicted.  There is not a single roller coaster that my daughter will NOT ride.  My wife and I enjoyed it too!  It was a quick ride, certainly, but when we went that first year, the park wasn’t very busy, and Sophie wanted to ride it again, and again, and again, and again, so we ended up riding that thing probably eight times in a row.  You know why we did?  Because there was no line.  We walked off, turned around, and walked right back on.  It was fun.  It was quick.  It provided excitement for us.  It was great.
Today, we don’t ride The Barnstormer as much, simply because Sophie has moved on to many other fun and challenging rides, but I have a soft spot in my heart for those days when Sophie was excited beyond compare by the simple joys of that roller coaster.  With the closing of Mickey’s Toontown Fair, I’m not certain what the future holds for The Barnstormer.  I hope it stays to be enjoyed for generations to come.

5) Primeval Whirl

When we first wanted to ride Primeval Whirl, it continually amazed us that you had to be 48” tall in order to ride this roller coaster.  For the first two years, Sophie wasn’t tall enough to ride it, but in year three, she was.  The Whirl is not your typical roller coaster, in fact, I’m not sure if it should be classified as a roller coaster at all.  But for our discussion, that’s what I’m calling it.
The Whirl is a fun ride because it takes you fast through some turns, dips, climbs, all sorts of things that spin you around and almost make it seem like you are going to fall right off the edge of the structure.  In fact, in some ways Primeval Whirl may have more thrills than some of the other coasters because it is a completely different experience.  The circular car really makes a difference, especially when it is turning you around this way and that as you make one of the 90 degree turns on the track.
The Primeval Whirl is located in Animal Kingdom at DinoLand U.S.A.

4)  Space Mountain

Space Mountain is a ride that I enjoy, but I haven’t ridden it for a few years.  The first time I rode it I kept trying to anticipate which way the coaster was going to turn, and since night vision isn’t my thing, I was anticipating completely wrong!  By the end of the ride I had a headache from the jarring.  However, I did ride Space Mountain again after that, and when I decided that the key was to just go with the flow, I really enjoyed the ride.
Sophie isn’t a big fan of it because it is in the dark, but she has told us that she is going to try it again when we go in June.  However, while the appeal to Space Mountain is that it is in the dark, I feel like it takes away something from the ride.  We haven’t ridden it since it was renovated, so I’m looking forward to reacquainting myself with the ride.  Space Mountain is the signature attraction in Tomorrowland, located in the Magic Kingdom.

3) Expedition Everest

Expedition Everest is one of those rides that I, for whatever reason, never seemed to ride – until this past June.  Then we all rode it, and I liked it!  For me the most gut-wrenching part (I say that literally) was when we rode backwards down the track.  I did feel like the speed of the coaster was a little slower than I would have liked.  But I liked the coaster, and will ride it again.  Last time I was in the very back of the train, so this year I’ll see what it’s like at a different location!
For me, I really like the mountain.  Additionally, the Disney Imagineers have done a great job in theming this attraction.  In so many ways, the theming of an attraction also helps to make the wait in line seem shorter because you can look around and see all the little details of the ride.
Expedition Everest is located in Animal Kingdom, not far from the Kali River Rapids.

2) Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

I absolutely LOVE Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  It is one of my favorite roller coasters anywhere, not just at Disney World.  There is so much to experience with BTMR that it is easy to ride it over and over again just to pick out the things you missed before.
Have you ever ridden it at night?  If you haven’t you absolutely must experience that at least once.  It introduces a totally different dynamic into the ride.
Have you seen the dancers dancing above the saloon?  If you haven’t, look for it.  BTMR is one of those attractions that delivers – over and over again!
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is located in Frontierland in the Magic Kingdom.

1) Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith

I wonder where I have been all my life – six years in a row we have gone to Disney for at least one day, and in the previous five years, I never rode the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.  How stupid have I been?!
Last June I made the distinct decision that I was going to ride this roller coaster, and when we were at Disney’s Hollywood Studios we did just that.  We had a Fastpass for it, so we walked right on.  In fact, we walked in the queue so quickly that I didn’t even pay attention to the limo leaving with the previous group of riders.  You know what?  That was better, because I had NO IDEA how quickly that limo was going to take off!
The initial start is from 0-60 in 2.8 seconds, immediately propelled into the dark with the music of Aerosmith blasting in your ears!  The ride contains a corkscrew, a loop-de-loop, and several high speed turns, all with the music playing.  The ride is in the dark, but there are several neon signs to look at, so it really is cool!  The Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster immediately became my favorite roller coaster anywhere, not just at Disney World!

But tell me, what are your favorite roller coasters at Walt Disney World?  How do they compare in your eyes with roller coasters at other theme parks?  Tell me in the comments below, and thanks!

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Mike Ellis (1433 Posts)

My Dreams of Disney is just that…My Dreams of my absolute favorite place in the World! Stop by and share your Dreams too! Check us out on Facebook, Twitter, and , and check out our special pages on the Lands of the Magic Kingdom, the countries of Epcot’s World Showcase, and our Disney Planning Resource pages! I am also a Pixie Vacations Travel Agent, so contact me to help you plan your next Disney Vacation!


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  1. says

    You didn't lose 1 of the 2 Chip and Co people! I love the Barnstormer. I've read that they'll re-theme it slightly, but it will stay the Barnstormer after the reno! I'm hoping that's my sons first actual roller coaster, too :)
    ~Jenn

  2. says

    Worry not, Mike! I heard that they are simply going to re-theme Goofy's Barnstormer and make it a part of the new Fantasyland scape.
    Ride on dudes and dudettes!

  3. says

    I am a complete Roller Coaster chicken – no kidding! But I tried RnRC this last trip for the first time. I just wrote about it for my column for WDWDN two weeks ago. I'll be posting it soon. Let's just say, once is enough for me, though I must admit I am glad I had the courage to try it! I don't think mny heart stopped racing for at least 20 minutes after departing the ride! :-)

  4. says

    Thanks everyone! I'm glad that my readership didn't falter because of my selections! Beth, I know what you mean about being nervous, but your heart racing for 20 minutes is just from the adrenaline rush, I think — it's a sign that you are close to becoming a roller coaster junkie like me!

  5. says

    Mike, the funny part is I really didn't want to ride, but my husband asked right in front of my kids (at the time ages 5, 3.5 and 2). I want my kids to decide to ride things because of how they feel about it. I didn't want them to avoid them because of me, so I decided to ride it. Needless to say, my husband got a dirty look but I reluctantly agreed. Later my son rode Splash Mountain after swearing for days he never would. Maybe since I was “brave” as he called me for riding RnRC he gave it try. So maybe it was worth it! :-)

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Goofy’s Barnstormer was a roller coaster in Mickey’s Toontown Fair.  Based off the story that Goofy was a crop-duster who didn’t know how to fly a plane, this picture was at the entrance to the attraction.  Goofy’s Barnstormer was the first roller coaster that Sophie ever rode at Walt Disney World, and from the moment that she rode it, she was a thrill ride junky!  I remember when we rode the roller coaster in 2007 (this picture was from 2006) Sophie had so much fun with it, and the line was nothing at all, that we must have ridden it something like 10 times in a row! [...]