The 10 Fastest Attractions at Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World might not boast the fastest roller coaster in the U.S. (that title is currently held by Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey, which reaches a top speed of 128 mph, though it pales in comparison to the all-time champ, Formula Rossa at Ferrari World, United Arab Emirates, which reaches an incredible 150 miles per hour!), but you’ll still find a number of attractions here that will more than satisfy your need for speed. So tuck your caps and sunglasses away in a safe place, get buckled in, and toss your arms up in the air as we race through the fastest attractions in all of Walt Disney World.
To get us started, we’ll begin with an Honorable Mention.
Mission: SPACE is a centrifuge-based ride, simulating the sensation of motion through a combination of spinning and tilting. As such, it doesn’t have a proper speed per se, but it sure feels fast! In fact, Mission: SPACE was designed with the help of actual NASA astronauts, who say it’s the most realistic simulation of space flight that they’ve ever experienced. You’ll experience forces up to 2.4G, more than twice the force of gravity at the Earth’s surface (effectively multiplying your weight by 2.4). Curiously, that’s not tops at Walt Disney World; the Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster subjects riders to a (temporary!) force of 4.5G, and even Primeval Whirl boasts forces of 2.5G. But it’s the cramped quarters, realistic visuals, and sustained force that makes Mission: SPACE the most thrilling space voyage you’ll ever experience—until you hitch a ride on the Space Shuttle, that is! (And in other exciting news, Disney recently announced a new version of Mission: SPACE that will take young ones on a gentle orbit of the Earth!)
: The Barnstormer Starring the Great Goofini
Naturally, this is the slowest of the Disney roller coasters because it was designed with little ones in mind. Your whimsical tour through Storybook Circus along at a peppy 25 mph, brisk but not too scary! (Just watch out for that “flying cannonball” Goofy…)
: Space Mountain
This classic attraction might seem fast, but that’s mostly due to the compact design of the track and the tight turns—not to mention the fact that you can’t see where you’re going! Curiously, Space Mountain isn’t much faster than the Barnstormer, clocking in at 27 mph.
An innocent dinosaur kiddie ride? Hardly! Boasting higher (albeit shorter) spurts of g-forces than Mission: SPACE, Primeval Whirl tops out at 29 mph. (Maybe I’ll head on over to TriceraTop Spin instead!)
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
It’s back to the Magic Kingdom for this fun-filled romp through the Old West! We’ll break through the 30 mph barrier as we race through an old mining town, quaking caves, and creepy dinosaur bones. Toss up your arms and give a big “yeehah!” as your runaway train whisks you along at 30 mph—and even a bit faster in the afternoon as the sun heats up the grease on the tracks. (And be sure to hang on to yer hats!)
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Surprisingly, the newest Magic Kingdom roller coaster is the fastest of them all…even though it’s also the most family-friendy (other than the Barnstormer of course!). Though seemingly not nearly as rollicking as Thunder Mountain or Space Mountain, the Mine Train does race around at 34 mph, though it does slow down long enough for you to see Snow White and the dwarfs inside of their cottage (just keep an eye out for that Evil Queen!). Oh, and those vultures you see at the top of one of the hills? They’re actually from the former attraction, Snow White’s Scary Adventures (in case they looked a little familiar!).
: Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
34 mph straight ahead? Not so bad. 39 mph straight up and down? Now you’re talking! The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror actually shoots you down the old elevator shaft at faster-than-free-fall speeds, thanks to a totally new ride system developed just for the old Hollywood Hotel. The innovative system consists of two massive motors (each 12 feet tall, 7 feet wide, and 35 feet long and weighing a staggering 66 tons), that sit atop the tower. The motors propel the elevator cars downward at speeds well in excess of those achieved during free fall. Now you know what all that screaming is about way up on the 13th floor!
: Splash Mountain
Ironically, the fastest of the Magic Kingdom mountains isn’t a roller coaster, but a flume ride. Splash Mountain is mostly gentle and relaxing, but that final plunge of over 50 feet sends you into the briar patch at a blazing 40 mph. Of course, it’s not the speed you need to worry about, it’s the big splash at the end. My oh my what a wonderful day!
Now we get to the true champions of the Walt Disney World thrill rides, and what better place to start than in the shadows of the fearsome Yeti. Expedition Everest sends you on a teeth-chattering trek through the Himalayas. You’ll need to board a train for your journey to the base camp of Mount Everest. It promises to be a long journey, but fortunately (?) for you, you’ll be taking a shortcut that passes through the Forbidden Mountain. Unfortunately, this same Forbidden Mountain is rumored to be guarded by the aforementioned Yeti, a fierce protector of the mountains, valleys, and forests. He apparently doesn’t take to kindly to man’s encroachment in these areas… Expedition Everest hurtles along at a blazing 50 mph, and as if that weren’t scary enough, you’ll soon encounter a broken set of tracks partway through your journey. At this point you’ll be traveling backward, reaching a top speed of 40 mph. Oh yeah, and it gets mighty cold at the top of those mountains…
Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster
The runner-up for pure speed at Walt Disney World is also the one attraction that features multiple inversions. The Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster is a true thrill coaster, with an initial launch of your limo that takes you from 0 to 57 mph in 2.8 seconds, propelling you 200 feet straight ahead. You’ll eventually reach a top speed of 60 mph as you race through a loop, a rollover, and a corkscrew, all to the thundering accompaniment of some classic rock tunes courtesy of Aerosmith.
Curiously, the fastest attraction in Walt Disney World is also the tamest of the Disney thrill rides. Most of Test Track takes place inside, with some thrilling hairpin turns, bumpy terrains, wicked braking maneuvers, and some (relatively relaxing) performance test. But once you break through that final wall, you’re off to the high speed tests, where you’ll race through steep, banking turns, eventually hitting a top speed of 65 mph on the final straightaway—though it feels much faster than that. Fortunately, Test Track isn’t nearly as scary as it sounds, and it’s actually a thrill ride that nearly everyone can enjoy. Just be sure to take off your baseball cap first…
So there you have it, the fastest attractions in all of Walt Disney World. Fans of thrill rides should find plenty of excitement, especially if you do them all together. Here’s a touring tip for all you daredevils: Race on over and ride the Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios first thing in the morning (which shouldn’t have a super long line yet if you arrive early enough), and then get in line for the Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster, FASTPASS+ in hand, for a one-two thrill punch that will leave you screaming for more. As for me? I’ll meet you over at Star Tours. Have fun!