Recently, I had the amazing opportunity to visit Disneyland Paris for the first time. While I was excited to try new things, I still found myself very worried about the intensity of attractions. Was the drop on Pirates of the Caribbean a little dip like Walt Disney World or was it quite a drop like Disneyland in California? I’m what you might call a “ride chicken.” More specifically I really don’t like drops on rides. Before each of my first visits to new parks, I’ve spent hours hunting on the web trying to decide if I’d enjoy rides or if they might leave me queasy sitting on a bench somewhere. That gave me the idea to put together my guide to Walt Disney World attractions for all of us ride chickens out there! Please keep in mind that these are just my opinions… and opinions by definition can’t be right. Of course, your mileage may vary, and if anyone has had a different experience, I always value your comments! Also, I left out any attractions where you can see an issue from outside. (Example: It is pretty obvious that you’ll be spinning on Mad Tea Party!) Let’s get started.
Big Thunder Mountain: This is a not a terribly intense roller coaster. The worst part for me are a few bunny hops at the very end that make my tummy jump into my throat but it’s manageable and worth it to see all the theming. The track also isn’t very smooth and I’ve had friends complain about getting their brain rattled on this ride! Overall, this is a great coaster to start with before trying the others in the park.
Pirates of the Caribbean: I only mention this one because other versions around the world are more intense. The version at Magic Kingdom just has one little, tiny dip. It isn’t even worth mentioning. I’m the worst with drops, and it’s nothing!
Space Mountain: I wouldn’t ride this until just a few years ago. Honestly, it really isn’t that awful, but I can’t say I enjoy it. There is one drop that’s too much for me, but it’s over very quickly. The rest is just zipping around in the dark, which means if you don’t like roller coasters, you aren’t missing much here. The seats are also very low on this attraction, making it a little difficult to exit after you’ve been thrown around. I know many people will disagree with me, but I find Space Mountain very skippable if roller coasters aren’t your thing.
Splash Mountain: This ride is my arch nemesis. While I hate the drops, I still tell those who asks me that they should to absolutely ride it. The ride is beautiful and a real feat of Imagineering that everyone should see once. However, there are two sizable drops inside the attraction, as well as the huge one at the end to contend with. It’s easy to spot where they are on YouTube videos, so check those out in advance and be prepared. It really is worth it to see inside once!
Maelstrom: This ride has a tiny dip similar to the one on Pirates of the Caribbean. The scarier part is the movie after the ride! 😉
Mission: SPACE: This is a ride I could stay on over and over! I really enjoy the intense spinning! However, I have seen many people turn green and vow to never ride this again. I haven’t been able to find something to compare this ride to so I can give people an idea of what it feels like. It’s totally unique. However, if you know you don’t do well with spinning or simulators, your best bet is to choose the green side. In this line you get the same experience in a ride car that doesn’t spin at all. (Head for the orange line if you don’t fear spinning!)
Test Track: I don’t know that I’ve ever met anyone who said Test Track was too much. I’ve met people who were very afraid in line, but after riding everyone normally agrees it’s fun. There isn’t anything on the track that you can’t do in a car, so it isn’t that intense. I’m curious if there is anyone out there who disagrees?
Soarin’: This ride is a peaceful hang gliding simulator. While I would never have any trouble with this ride, I’ve been to the park with folks that feared heights that absolutely hated it. My husband is also very sensitive to simulators and sometimes comes off this ride nauseated when we are seated on the sides. I tend to think it’s a very small part of the population that doesn’t enjoy Soarin’. It’s a very gentle ride that shouldn’t be missed.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster: For anyone trying to get a gauge on where my tolerance level ends… it’s right about here. I’ve ridden Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster exactly once, and it was just way, way too much for me. The ride starts with a high speed launch that just doesn’t let up. All I remember is being knocked around and not seeing anything too magical. When I go to the parks with friends that want to ride this, I always watch the pre-show and line up with them then ask to exit. In my very humble opinion you aren’t missing much on the ride if you don’t enjoy coasters.
Star Tours: Those who are skipping this ride because the older version made them sick should really try it out again. My husband has a terrible time with simulators, but with the new version even he is able to ride with no trouble. I’m tempted to say if he can do it, anyone can! 😉 (Big Honkin’ Edit on this one – please check out the comments below as you are deciding about this one. It’s a cool ride but not worth getting sick if you aren’t a HUGE Star Wars fan!)
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror: This is one of two rides at Walt Disney World I’ve never ridden. (The other is Kali River Rapids. I just can’t bring myself to get drenched in Florida swamp water!) I can’t imagine anything worse than a straight drop down! I’ve heard people say it’s a different kind of drop, but I just can’t bring myself to try it. However, the pre-show and queue areas are beautiful! It is definitely worth a visit to check that out – even for a ride chicken!
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
DINOSAUR: Personally, I love DINOSAUR, but this is a very dark and very bumpy jeep ride. If you think you’ll be uncomfortable in pitch black darkness making hairpin turns, this one might not be for you. There are also some pretty loud noises while you’re unable to see. As much as I’m partial to them, the visuals on the ride are not remarkable, and the ride can be really tough on your back. If that doesn’t sound like fun, this one might not be for you.
Expedition Everest: This is similar to Splash Mountain for me. I don’t love the actual ride, but it’s worth it to experience the theming. For years seeing the drop screaming out of the mountain kept me from riding, but that drop isn’t very bad and gives me no butterflies in my stomach. The more intense part of the ride is the backwards section through the mountain where I feel pushed into my seat and rattled. This ride also may be tough for anyone who fears heights, as the initial climb is open, giving you a view for miles. My feeling is that if you’ve tried Space Mountain and weren’t bothered by it then you should try Expedition Everest. It is certainly more intense, but it is also much more beautiful!
I think that covers the rides normally feared by us ride chickens. Did I miss any? Do you agree or disagree with my assessments above? Are you planning on trying a new ride on your next trip? Do you have any questions about other rides? Please let me know in the comments below. I always love to hear from you and I’m happy to help! Thanks so much for reading!