The Disney company isn't always known for its roller coasters. For the most part, they prefer dark rides, and what coasters they do produce aren't the same ultra-thrill rides of, say, Universal or Six Flags. They do have famous ones like Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, and some fun "kiddie" ones too. But when Disney does want to cut loose with a coaster, they do an amazing job.
It's not simply being able to provide some great twists and turns at high speeds. A Disney coaster carries a theme and detail that other roller coasters don't. Disney can go all out with guests wanting to enjoy the sights as much as the thrills and provide a magical experience. Here are the five best coasters Disney has ever put together to marvel at how Disney makes these rides even better for thrill riders.
5. Hyperspace Mountain
There have been so many versions of Space Mountain over the years, yet Disneyland Paris has always had probably the best one. The original motif was striking with a steampunk vibe as the main incline looked like a cannon that launched the cars into the classic indoor coaster at high speed.
In the last few years, it's taken on a Star Wars theme with the music and screen effects making guests think they're taking part in some epic space battles. Some purists may wish for a return to the classic ride, yet the launch alone makes this not just a gray version of Space Mountain but a terrific roller coaster in its own right.
4. Tron Lightcycle Run
After being the standout ride for Shanghai Disneyland, this attraction finally made its way stateside to Walt Disney World. Based on the cult classic sci-fi movie, guests board the light cycles, offering the unique position of leaning forward rather than sitting back.
The only downside is it's only 90 seconds long and often too fast for some guests to take in the details. Yet it's amazing racing from the "grid" to the outside, the great rampway wowing guests in line and then into the grid once more. Even if it's short, it's an achievement for Disney coasters and a standout achievement Disney World visitors can love.
3. Rock n Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith
Back in 1999, this was a major breakthrough for Disney, and still a notable ride now. The plotline has guests wandering through a record company and seeing Aerosmith offering them passes to a concert. The detail is excellent as guests head into an alleyway and board the "super-stretch limos." Then, for the first time, a Disney coaster launches guests, going from zero to 60 in two seconds.
Also, for the first time on U.S. soil, a Disney coaster has inversions that send guests through wild loops. The blackness enhances the effect with the only light of the L.A. highways and the rocking Aerosmith tunes adding to it. While there's been a buzz about changing the theme, the actual coaster itself remains a marvel.
2. Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind
The genius of this brand-new ride is how it starts like a classic "dark ride" as guests follow the Guardians around a new adventure. They face off against the monstrous Celestials in some fantastic big-screen effects, with Star-Lord blasting a device from one giant's hand. That leads to Disney's first-ever reverse launch coaster sending guests flying backward.
The ride itself would already be a marvel with the wild twists and turns, but it's made better by how the pods spin around in place and showcase some terrific effects of the cosmos. It's one of Disney's best-ever thrill rides and a fantastic addition to Epcot.
1. Expedition Everest
Yes, the Yeti can use some work, but anyone who rode Expedition Everest when it opened in 2006 (like yours truly) remembers how awesome the working effect was. Yet today, guests can still enjoy a stunning ride, the details lush as they wander through the recreation of a village while talking of a dangerous creature. Then boarding the mine train cars into the mountain, going up and down before coming to some broken tracks.
The trains then flow backward, and that's when the ride truly kicks in. It's like the Matterhorn to the tenth power with twists and turns and still a magnificent achievement. So even if the Yeti isn't as fearsome as he once was, Expedition Everest is still a mighty mountain of a roller coaster to climb for guests.