Just because Disney is known as a family-friendly theme park doesn't mean it lacks rides for thrill-seekers. In fact, Disney's theme parks are full of attractions that have large drops, high speeds, and huge surprises. We're here to look at them all and determine which of these is the most intense.
In this ranking, we'll be looking only at the rides in North America, meaning all the attractions in Disney World and Disneyland are fair game. Additionally, just because something isn't a true coaster doesn't mean it's not intense; Trust us, there are a handful of attractions on here that are far scarier than any traditional track ride.
Pull down that lap restraint and hold on tightly. It's time to rank the most extreme roller coasters at Disney.
10 Matterhorn Bobsleds
This pair of intertwined steel roller coasters at Disneyland takes guests on a crazy cruise through the Alps. It features two tracks, each of which seats up to four passengers in a single-file line.
The ride jerks around guests on a brisk descent down a series of hills. Though Matterhorn doesn’t feature any huge drops, much of it is in the dark and can be scary to riders who aren’t used to roller coasters. The finale has guests splashing to a finish.
9 Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
This mine train roller coaster has made its home at Disney parks around the world including Disneyland and Magic Kingdom. It takes guests on a thrilling ride through a Bryce Canyon-inspired landscaped at 35mph. Though there is a midway pause that lets guests catch their breath as the vehicle climbs up a hill, they are soon rushing off on a bumpy adventure once again.
If you sit at the back of the train, you’ll feel every bump and turn even more. Ride at night in the Magic Kingdom, and you might even spot some haunting silhouettes along the track.
8 Splash Mountain
Splash Mountain is a log flume ride based on Song of the South that is featured at both Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom. Though the majority of the ride is relaxed and cheery with the boat floating by happy animatronics, there are a collection of small drops throughout the track.
The final drop is a totally different matter. As riders approach it, they’re greeted by scary music and creepy theming as they slowly inch toward the top. Then, in a moment’s notice, guest's logs plummet toward the briar patch via a severe 50 ft drop. At least there's more upbeat music and dancing waiting for you at the bottom.
7 Space Mountain
This indoor high-speed dark ride is a staple of Disneyland in California and the Magic Kingdom in Florida. It launches guests through a '70s-themed space future, with much of the track illuminated by only a sprinkling of stars.
The Magic Kingdom version of the ride is slightly more intense, as there, every guest sits in their own row. The overall ride experience in Disney World is also jerkier. No matter which Space Mountain you ride though, you will understand the definition of thrill.
This giant steel roller coaster at Disney California Adventure takes guests on a wild chase after Jack-Jack from The Incredibles. The ride initially opened as California Screamin’ in 2001, but was re-themed in 2018 to coincide with the release of Incredibles 2.
The 2:36 ride reaches speeds of 55 mph and has one giant 108 ft drop. It also has a single vertical loop inversion and launches guests to 55 mph in just 4 seconds. While the ride has an upbeat theme, its zippy track pushes it toward the intense side.
5 Mission: Space
Epcot’s Mission: Space simulator ride has two versions. The more extreme of the two has guests blasting off to space via an intense centrifugal motion that is meant to simulate what an astronaut might feel when lifting off to space. Yes, it's actually that crazy.
Riders climb into a tight vehicle that puts a screen in front of their face. They experience 2.5 G’s and one wild ride.
Yes, motion sickness is an unfortunate reality for a handful of willing astronauts.
4 Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission Breakout!
Located at Disney California Adventure, Mission: Breakout! drops guests in an elevator-style tower from heights up of to 130 ft. and speeds that reach 39mph. This is all backed up by one of six Guardians-themed adventures, each of which features a different groovy song.
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While the overall feel of the ride is light, plummeting quickly and randomly is nothing short of terrifying. The atmosphere during many of these drops is dark.
3 Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
Imagine Mission Breakout! but with creepier theming; That’s what Tower of Terror is.
Located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, this drop tower dark ride plummets guests down a haunted elevator shaft.
It actually falls faster than free fall, with the ride vehicle being pushed downward.
While the mechanics of the ride are nearly identical to that of Mission Breakout, the freaky music and supernatural plot make it even more intense.
2 Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster
This Aerosmith-themed ride located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios has not one, but three inversions. It reaches speeds of up to 57 mph and it gets there fast. The beginning of the ride features a giant launch that pushes cars to this speed in just a matter of seconds. Riders experience 5Gs and will be cruising to the finish in wind-blown style.
Don’t worry; they take your picture after the launch. You'll be able to remember what it felt like to rocket toward the first loop.
1 Expedition Everest
Though this Animal Kingdom coaster doesn’t have any inversions, it is massive and contains some crazy intense turns that will have you experiencing 3Gs. Your only restraint is a single lap bar, so even though the track is smooth, you will feel everything.
The nearly 3-minute ride elevates riders through snowcapped mountains, eventually stopping and plummeting backward into darkness. Riders are then thrust forward to face a terrifying yeti and are soon rushed down an 80-foot drop that whips back up.
It doesn't sound intense to you? Give it a go, and you might change your mind.