15 Legendary Rides at Disney World You Have to Try at Least Once

Whether you are staying for a week or just a few hours, these are some Disney World experiences you don’t want to miss.
Last updated June 2, 2023 | By Sandy Baker Edited By Chris Kissell
Magic Kingdom Park

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A trip to Disney World means watching a few shows, interacting with characters walking around the park, and snacking on some delicious treats.

But for many, the experience is all about the rides. As you navigate through all four major parks at Disney World, don’t overlook the following 15 legendary rides you simply must experience.

Grab one of the best rewards credit cards, book a trip and let the fun begin.

Expedition Everest, Animal Kingdom

Rodolfo Marques/Unsplash Expedition Everest Ride at Disney World

Expedition Everest is a true roller coaster, one that takes you up to the peak of Mount Everest, where a frightening surprise awaits you.

The theming throughout is fantastic, and the hills are enough to offer a thrill every time you ride it. There are some pretty significant drops and some dark portions that help bring just enough fear to the ride.

Pirates of the Caribbean, Magic Kingdom

Courtesy of Disney Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean Ride

For anyone who loves Jack Sparrow’s story, the Pirates of the Caribbean ride is a must. This ride spurred the creation of the wildly popular movie series.

Pirates of the Caribbean takes you deep into a cool, dark underground, which you’ll appreciate on a hot summer day. You’ll sit in a small floating boat and navigate some great scenes with animatronics, a lot of sound, and a few surprise appearances along the way.

It’s a fun attraction without any really scary portions.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, Epcot

russell102/Adobe Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy Disneyland

Although it just opened in 2022, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is unlike anything else in the parks. It’s a smooth roller coaster with some incredible visuals, lots of music, and some intense movement.

The ride’s design makes it one of the best newer-style roller coasters. There are no sudden movements or jerky or uneven areas. What you will get is a lot of back-and-forth, spinning, and intense flying through space.

Toy Story Mania!, Hollywood Studios

Savvapanf Photo/Adobe Toy Story Mania ride at Disney

Tucked into Toy Story Land is one of the best options for those who want to engage with their ride.

Toy Story Mania! takes you through Andy’s room. Just waiting in line is fun, as this section is full of oversized toys and games — it’s easy to get distracted here.

The ride itself is set up in an arcade-style format. There, you’ll challenge the person in the seat next to you to see who can perform better at various games of chance.

Avatar Flight of Passage, Animal Kingdom

Courtesy of Disney Avatar Flight of Passage ride at Disney

Long before you step into the line for Avatar Flight of Passage, you’ll find yourself navigating the world of Pandora impressively recreated by Disney Imagineering.

The experience is unique thanks to the way you’re positioned as you move through the ride. It’s breathtakingly beautiful.

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Hollywood Studios

ussell102/Adobe Kylo Ren character in Rise of the Resistance Star Wars ride

If you love “Star Wars,” Hollywood Studios' newer development of Galaxy’s Edge is impressive, including a large Millennium Falcon on display.

“Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance” is tech-focused, with some outstanding details that help you feel as though you’re a part of the “Star Wars” adventure. It’s also interactive, and although it’s not a roller coaster, you’ll still feel the intensity throughout the ride.

Haunted Mansion, Magic Kingdom

Joni/Adobe Haunted Mansion ride at Disney

Haunted Mansion isn’t very scary, but it is dark and super entertaining.

It’s easy to fall in love with the theme here. As you ride along in your own car, you will move through a haunted mansion with ghostly sightings around every corner and fun illusions.

Kilimanjaro Safaris, Animal Kingdom

Joni/Adobe Kilimanjaro Safaris ride at Animal Kingdom

For a very different experience, get on board a journey through a safari and see all of the animals that give this park its name.

Every experience on this ride is unique, and it’s not impossible for elephants, giraffes, and even a lion or two to get pretty close to the Jeep along your ride.

This is an incredible way to see Africa’s animals up close without feeling like you are at a zoo.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Magic Kingdom

Taha/Unsplash Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride at Disney

Tucked behind Cinderella Castle in Fantasyland is Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, which could easily be one of the first roller coasters your children enjoy.

This smooth ride is fun, with a lot of animatronics throughout that tell the story of Snow White.

Soarin’ Around the World, Epcot

Courtesy of Disney Soarin Around the World ride at Epcot

Soarin’ Around the World is another unique ride worthy of exploring on every trip to Disney.

This ride is located within the Living with the Land Pavilion, tucked into the back corner. Once you get inside, you’ll sit in a roller coaster-like contraption — but unlike a roller coaster, you’ll glide through the air without really moving too much.

Although you’re elevated in this ride, it’s the imaging that changes around you. It’s breathtaking in every way.

Slinky Dog Dash, Hollywood Studios

Joni/Adobe Slinky Dog Dash roller coaster ride in Toy Story Land

Back in Toy Story Land, be sure to get in line for Slinky Dog Dash, a lighthearted roller coaster that’s not too scary.

This brightly colored ride — you’ll be in a car that looks like Slinky Dog from the “Toy Story” movies — zips you around the tracks for a few minutes, with a few moderate hills. It’s a pretty smooth experience.

Spaceship Earth, Epcot

kirkikis/Adobe A monorail passes in front of Spaceship earth

Epcot is the future-forward portion of Disney World, but Spaceship Earth takes you back in time through the massive ball at the front of the park.

The ride is easy, as you’ll be in a slow-moving car that travels up and around that ball’s interior. It’s educational, and a must for those who want authentic Walt Disney inspired fun.

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Space Mountain, Magic Kingdom

Ritzkracka/Wirestock Creators/Adobe Space Mountain ride at Disney

In Tomorrowland, you’ll find Space Mountain, a dark, indoor roller coaster.

It’s intense and more like a traditional roller coaster in how it jolts you around in the car, but it’s a breathtaking journey through space. Riders on this incredible coaster fly through the galaxy on a thrilling trip.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Magic Kingdom

Joni/Adobe Big Thunder Railroad Ride at Disney

Another traditional roller coaster, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Frontierland is an exciting ride through and around a mountain.

The line is rather interactive to keep everyone smiling while they wait. There are some thrills and some jolts on this ride, but it’s not too scary and makes for a fun first roller coater for many kids.

Kali River Rapids, Animal Kingdom

Joni/Adobe Kali River Rapids ride at Animal Kingdom

On a hot day, there’s nothing quite like cooling down on Kali River Rapids. The ride involves following the white water rapids. You may get wet, but every trip is different.

Riders sit in a raft with about 11 other people, moving through waterfalls and around an Asian jungle. It’s beautiful, although many love this ride purely for the water adventure.

Bottom line

Acento Creativo/Adobe Donald Duck and Tiger in Euro Disney parade

Disney World offers a huge number of rides across all of its parks. Don’t forget some of the more classic experiences, too, like It’s a Small World, Peter Pan’s Flight, and Living with the Land.

With a strong combination of high-speed and slow-moving rides, there is plenty to fill your day no matter what type of rider you are. Exploring these rides will give you endless thrills and help you avoid wasting money on your next Disney vacation.

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Sandy Baker Sandy Baker is a has over 17 years of experience in the financial sector. Her experience includes website content, blogs, and social media. She’s worked with companies such as Realtor.com, Bankrate, TransUnion, Equifax, and Consumer Affairs.