Top 5 Thrill Attractions at Walt Disney World

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Walt Disney World is known for its family friendly attractions and atmosphere. But that does not mean they skip out on this E-Ticket thrills.

E-ticket is a term derived from the early days of Disneyland and Magic Kingdom. Instead of paying one admission to access all attractions, guests would purchase ticket books to access attractions.

These books were broken out in different levels of thrills A through E, with E being the most thrilling. Even if Hall of Presidents was an E-ticket attraction.

To this day the E-ticket term is still used to describe the best of the best attractions.

Let’s take a look at the Top 5 Thrill, or E-ticket attractions, at Walt Disney World.

Number 5 – Splash Mountain

Splash Mountain

Splash Mountain is not only a staple of Magic Kingdom but of Walt Disney World as a whole. This log-flume attraction opened in Magic Kingdom in 1992 following Disneyland’s version in 1989.

The attraction features multiple drops and almost a dark-ride feel with the animatronics located throughout, many of which came form the former America Sings attraction. The last drop plunges you 50 feet at 40MPH straight into the briar patch.

At a run time of just under 12 minutes it is also attraction worth the long wait.

The mountain was actually named after the 1984 Tom Hanks movie ‘Splash’ and not because, well it makes a splash.

Michael Eisner wanted to work the synergy into the attraction, although I have never met anyone that connects the attraction to this movie. Especially since the attraction utilizes the characters and stories from the long-banned 1946 film ‘Song of the South’.

You follow along the story of Br’er Rabbit as he learns there’s no place better than home and his Laughin’ Place as he out runs Br’er Bear and Br’er Fox.

With its story, duration, drop and speed Splash Mountain is an excellent thrill attraction – especially on those hot summer days in Central Florida.

Number 4 – Expedition Everest

Opening eight years after Disney’s Animal Kingdom started first welcome guests, Expedition Everest became the latest addition of the Walt Disney World mountain range.

The attraction can be found in the Asia section of the theme park. Your vehicle, an old tea train, transports you through the ‘Forbidden Mountain’ to the foot of Mt. Everest.

This mountain though is guarded by the Yeti. Your train will head up the mountain where the Yeti has removed the tracks, leaving you nowhere to go. If you are in one of the front cars make sure to look towards you left and catch a glimpse of Spaceship Earth at Epcot or your right for an overview of the Tree of Life and Pandora.

With nowhere for your train to go it shoots backwards into the mountain. As your train is flying backwards and turning upwards you really feel the thrill of an out of control car.

Once getting your bearings you fly back through the mountain for an encounter with the Yeti. Unfortunately to this day we still only have the “Disco Yeti.”

When the attraction first opened the Yeti was running in “A-Mode” which meant it was fully operational and could move 5 feet horizontally and 1.5 feet vertically. This made the Yeti feel like it was really coming at you. Unfortunately only after a few months of operating a crack formed in the base of the Yeti forcing it into “B-Mode” which is just a strobe light pointed at the Yeti to make it appear as though it is moving.

The Yeti’s base is its own separate structure from the mountain and coaster itself due to its weight, therefore it cannot be repaired without presumably taking out large chunks of the attraction.

Nonetheless the coaster itself is the attractor and the Yeti is a plus at this point. In the end you escape the Yeti and return back to Serka Zong, the small town in Asia from where you left.

At 2 minutes and 50 seconds it is a lengthy roller coaster with a great backstory. During the summer hours when the park is open late this attraction is a must do as the darkness adds to the eeriness and thrills of the coaster.

Number 3 – Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster Starring Aerosmith

Number 3 on the list is another coaster over in Hollywood Studios. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster took to the stage in 1999, a little over 10 years after the park opened.

Guests enter G-Force Records where Aerosmith is recording “Walk This Way” in the Studio. The band is quickly taken away by their manager for a show downtown LA.

Interacting with live Cast Members you score some backstage passes and the the manager sets you up with a ‘super stretch limo’. You then head out back into the alley where you wait to board your limo.

The coaster takes off from 0 to 57 in 2.8 seconds where guests hit a speed of 5Gs. The whole coaster is indoors and provides two different inversions.

Although at 1 minute 22 seconds it is not very long, you are going full force the whole duration and it is well worth the wait.

Number 2 – Flight of Passage

Flight of Passage

Where are heading back to Animal Kingdom for Number 2 on our list, Flight of Passage.

Although this attraction is essentially stationary, for the lack of a better term, it is most definitely a thrill ride.

Using the latest and greatest in technology this 3D screen-based simulator interacts with all of your senses as you fly around on a Banshee from the movie ‘Avatar’.

Although some seats are better than others, you are enveloped in this world as you fly around Pandora. You feel the wind and water as you fly around, you can smell your surroundings, you can feel the Banshee breathing beneath your legs.

If might not be an adrenaline fueled attraction like the others on this list but it definitely a must-do E-ticket attraction.

The only issue with this attraction is that the pre-shows take forever. Even walking on with a FastPass+ you will still need about 45 minutes to experience this attraction. But the exhilarating 5 minutes are what keep people queueing up for 2-3 hours on average 2 years later.

Number 1 – Tower of Terror

Tower of Terror

Although having opened at Hollywood Studios in 1994 Tower of Terror is still one of the greatest attractions on property, not just in the thrill category.

The story begins before you even head down Sunset Boulevard. From the end of the street you can see this haggard hotel looming across from you.

You enter the queue in an abandoned garden with creepy, slowed down versions of songs from the 1930s/40s. You are in this story as a guest waiting to check in.

Once finally in the lobby the details are abound. The Cast Members actually clean very little of this resort on a daily basis to further make you feel as though you are in abandoned hotel.

When it’s finally your turn you will first enter the library where you will eat the Pre-Show video. Imagineering found a voice over artist for Rod Sterling to create a video like he was introducing you to your own episode of The Twilight Zone.

You learn about the guests who were traveling in the elevator when it was struck by lighting and how you will be taking that same elevator.

You then queue back up in the Boiler Room to board the elevator. The first part of the attraction is a little like a dark ride, you stop on a couple floors to see some scenes and then the car actually moves forward out of the shaft and starts traveling through the floor.

Once you get to the end and see the stars get smaller and smaller hold on tight because you are about to drop.

The attraction uses a randomized dropped setting that changes the amount of drops each ride provides. This was actually accomplished accidentally and worked great for the story. The highest drop is 130 feet and a total on-ride duration of just over 3 and a half minutes.

The story and thrills guests receive land this attraction firmly at the Number 1 spot for Top Thrill Attractions at Walt Disney World.

What do you think are the best thrill attractions at Walt Disney World, do you agree with our list? Let us know!

If you enjoyed this edition of Top 5 please check out some of other editions including; Top 5 Quick Service, Tips For Long Park Days, and more!