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The 20 Best Rides at Disney World for 2022

Trekaroo logo: MainLogo Trekaroo 8/1/2022 Trekaroo

What are the best rides at Disney World? I’m all about theme park ambiance, but the Disney World rides are what park visitors get most excited about. With four theme parks and dozens of rides and attractions, it can be hard to know which rides to prioritize.

Luckily, I’m a gal who has visited the parks dozens of times so I have the inside scoop. While there are some obvious rides on this list, there may be some you haven’t considered. Whether you are flying above Pandora or zipping through a dwarf-filled mine, here are the 20 best rides at Walt Disney World in 2022.

The Best Rides at Disney World

Avatar- Flight of Passage

Photo by Sharlene Earnshaw © Provided by Trekaroo Photo by Sharlene Earnshaw

Location: Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Pandora – The World of Avatar

Minimum Height Requirement: 44 inches 

Lightning Lane Enabled: This ride has an Individual Lightning Lane which is available for purchase via Disney Genie+. Book it early on the day of your visit to ensure your spot! Price varies due to demand. Typically $10-15 per person. Check out our guide to Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lanes for more info.

Single Rider Option: No

Avatar Flight of Passage is my favorite ride at Walt Disney World (though Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is a very close second). Sitting motorcycle-style guests, which are “synced” with avatars in the pre-attraction queue, feel as if they’re riding on the back of a banshee.

The ride is four dimensional and though it is a virtual reality attraction, the technology is so superb that it is easy to forget you reallly aren’t in Pandora! Scents and small bursts of water make the ride even more immersive than it already feels.

Note: While I do tend to get sick on 3D motion rides like the ones at Universal Studios, I have no issues with this ride. I think the amount of fresh air blowing in helps tremendously.

The standby queue wait time can be hours long on peak visitation days, so take advantage of Extra Magic Hours if you are staying on Walt Disney World property. If you aren’t, arrive 30 minutes before rope drop (the park’s opening) and make a beeline for the ride as soon as Animal Kingdom opens or choose to purchase the Lightening Lane.

If you do purchase the Lightning Lane you will miss out on some of the cool stuff in the queue, but my family decided that paying the extra cost to maximize our day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom was worth it.

On our most recent visit, the combination of arriving before the park opens plus using all the Disney Genie+ perks allowed us to see and do everything in the park in one day.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

Photo via Walt DIsney World © Provided by Trekaroo Photo via Walt DIsney World

Location: Epcot in the World Discovery area of the park

Minimum Height Requirement: 42 inches 

Lightning Lane Enabled: Since this ride is new and incredibly popular, it can only be acessed via a virtual queue. Details are below.

Single Rider Option: No

First things first- if you are familiar with the Guardians of the Galaxy ride at Disney’s California Adventure (known as Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout), you will be happy to discover that the ride at Epcot is a completely different attraction. And guess what- it is even better than the ride at DCA!

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is considered to be a thrill ride since it definitely has a roller coaster vibe (vaguely reminiscent of Space Mountain since it is on a large, indoor track) but it is truly one of the happiest, laugh inducing rides I have ever been on.

My kids, who are coaster enthusiasts, rank Guardians as one of the best rides they have been on anywhere! Why? The atmosphere on this innovative ride is pure fun and the ride vehicles, know as Starjumpers, have the ability to spin a full 360 degrees on the track while traveling at high speeds.

I am prone to motion sickness on spinning rides and didn’t have any problems on this ride because you aren’t continuously spinning.

Another great thing about this ride is that you never know which song from Star-Lord’s Walkman is going to serve as the backdrop for your ride each time step on board. Here are the possible options:

  • “September”
  • “Conga”
  • “Disco Inferno”
  • I Ran”
  • “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”
  • “One Way or Another”

At this time, there is no standby queue for this ride. Disney will send you an alert via their My Disney Experience app with a link that will allow you to attempt to join the virtual queue at 7am the day of your park reservation. Be on the app and ready to hit refresh the second it turns 7am to be sure you get a spot in line!

You will given a time in which you are asked to come to the attraction queue entrance, show your virtual queue reservation, and enter a short line (about 15 minutes in our experience).

Keep monitoring your return time throughout the day. Both days we were at Epcot we saw our time move up by about one to two hours. Others have seen their time move to a bit later in the day.

Don’t worry too much about monitoring the return time because you will be sent an alert when it is your turn to enter the queue. You will ahave one hour for the time you receive the notification to check in at the attraction.

If you don’t get a spot in the 7am queue don’t panic! There is another chance to join the virtual queue at 1pm, but you must be inside of Epcot in order to do it.

Soarin’ Around the World

Photo by: Karyn Locke © Provided by Trekaroo Photo by: Karyn Locke

Location: Epcot – in Living with the Land Pavilion

Minimum Height Requirement: 40 inches 

Lightning Lane Enabled: Yes, this attraction has a DIsney Genie+ Lightning Lane.

Single Rider Option: No

Soarin’ received an upgrade a couple of years ago. It was originally a celebration of California and sent riders to various locations around the state. Now it takes riders to locations around the globe!

While the original version was amazing, and tugs at the heart strings of us California locals, Soarin’ Around the World is even better!

Soar above some of the world’s most iconic places including the Great Wall of China, ice fjords in Greenland, the peak of the Matterhorn in Switzerland, and over a heard of elephants in Tanzania.

This ride offers an upright hang gliding feel and, like Avatar: Flight of Passage, scents are pumped into the air to really immerse guests in the experience.

New to WDW or haven’t been there in a while? Check out all our best Walt Disney World tips

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

Storm Troopers from Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, photo by Sharlene Earnshaw © Provided by Trekaroo Storm Troopers from Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, photo by Sharlene Earnshaw

Location: Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

Minimum Height Requirement: 40 inches

Lightning Lane Enabled: This ride is not included in the Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane program but can be purchased as an Individual Lightning Lane for an additional cost like Avatar: Flight of Passage.

Single Rider: No

Disney calls Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance their most ambitious ride to date because it pushed the boundaries of technology and sets a new standard for guest immersion. We call it one of their best rides ever!

This attraction clocks in at over 17 minutes long, and transports guests right into a Star Wars film. It begins with a holo-transmission from Rey and features a ride aboard an Intersystem Transport Ship captained by a very realistic Mon Calamari named Lieutenant Bek.

Then riders are captured by the First Order and enter a room filled with 50 Stormtroopers. They get interrogated by General Organa and Kylo Ren, placed in a cell, and freed by the Resistance- and that’s before the actual “ride” portion of the attraction actually begins!

The great thing about this experience is that it uses such cutting-edge technology to immerse guests in the Star Wars experience. It isn’t a roller coaster, but it is still thrilling.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Photo by Steven Locke © Provided by Trekaroo Photo by Steven Locke

Location: Magic Kingdom in New Fantasyland

Minimum Height Requirement: 38 inches 

Lightning Lane Enabled: This ride is not included in the Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane program but can be purchased as an Individual Lightning Lane for an additional cost.

Single Rider Option: No

The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train has been the most popular ride in the Magic Kingdom since it opened back in 2014. It’s a coaster-style ride, but the smooth track and not-too-high drops are really good for kids that want to test drive thrill rides. It makes for a great “first coaster”.

Like many of Disney World’s newest rides, this one features an immersive queue. Mid-ride, the indoor mine scene featuring Snow White’s pals is a highlight. 

Since it is a popular ride, I suggest making it the first ride you head to if you are staying on property and have access to Extra Magic Hours. Pay for the Individual Lightening Lane or make a beeline at rope drop and try to visit on a day that doesn’t have Extra Magic Hours so you won’t be joining a queue already filled with people.

Slinky Dog Dash

Photo by: Sharlene Earnshaw © Provided by Trekaroo Photo by: Sharlene Earnshaw

Location: Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Toy Story Land

Minimum Height Requirement: 38 inches 

Lightning Lane Enabled: Yes, it has a Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane.

Single Rider: No

Slinky Dog Dash is the star of Toy Story Land because it is just plain fun! This coaster is sprawling and colorful, bringing so much joy to the guests who ride it.

After wandering through a colorful queue filled with larger-than-life toys and games, riders climb aboard cars inside of Slinky Dog’s coiling back and are whisked into a thrilling-but-not-to-thrilling zip around the yard.

Keep an eye out for Jessie trying to save Rex who has gotten himself into a bit of trouble atop a pile of Jenga blocks, and definitely try to come back and ride this attraction at night when things are lit up. 

Did you know? Toy Story Land may be the first of its kind in the United States, but there are also Toy Story Lands at Walt Disney Studios Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, and Shanghai Disneyland.

Peter Pan’s Flight

Photo by: Karyn Locke © Provided by Trekaroo Photo by: Karyn Locke

Location: Magic Kingdom in Fantasyland

Minimum Height Requirement: None

Lightning Lane Enabled: Yes, it has a Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane.

Single Rider: No

Another super-popular attraction at Magic Kingdom, Peter Pan’s Flight caters to lovers of classic Disney rides and animation. This beloved attraction is one of the original Magic Kingdom rides and dates back to 1971.

Once you board your “ship”, you’re whisked off to London and Neverland and appearance are made by all your Peter Pan favorites, including Captain Hook and his crocodile nemisis.

The interactive queue, when the line is not too long, is worth the walk with its interactive experiences. This ride is great for all ages because it is slow moving and not scary.

This ride does have a slow boarding system which tends to make lines long, so we usually take advantage of the Lightning Lane when we want to ride it.

The 20 Best Rides at Disney World for 2022 2 © Provided by Trekaroo The 20 Best Rides at Disney World for 2022 2
 

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Expedition Everest

Photo by: Flickr/ Intamin10 © Provided by Trekaroo Photo by: Flickr/ Intamin10

Location: Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Asia

Minimum Height Requirement: 44 inches

Lightning Lane Enabled: Yes, it has a Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane but in can also sometimes move to become a ride with an Individual Lightning Lane for purchase. Check the My Disney Experience App before your visit for the current status.

Single Rider: Yes

One of a handful of true thrill rides at Walt Disney World Resort, Expedition Everest is very popular with coaster enthusiasts. And while the height requirement is pretty low, the scare factor may be high for young kids. There’s an audio-animatronic Yeti that guests encounter before the rides goes backwards.

If your kids are old enough, definitely take advantage with the Single Rider option which will drastically cut down your time in the queue. You will have to sit next to someone you don’t know, but my family will gladly do that over waiting an hour for the ride.

Spend less time waiting in lines! Check out our guide to Best Rides for Animal Kingdom FastPass

Splash Mountain

Photo by: Karyn Locke © Provided by Trekaroo Photo by: Karyn Locke

Location: Magic Kingdom in Frontierland

Minimum Height Requirement: 40 inches 

Lightning Lane Enabled: Yes, it has a Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane.

Single Rider: No

If you visit Magic Kingdom on a hot day (which is most days in Orlando), don’t be surprised to find a long standby queue for Splash Mountain. This is the only water ride in the Magic Kingdom and you can definitely expect to get wet on this ride.

The long, flume-style ride takes you on a leisurely ride through Br’er Rabbit’s neck of the woods before the famous, 40-foot drop. There is a camera which will snap your picture during the drop so try to strike a fun pose while taking the plunge. 

Note: This ride will close soon (likely sometime in 2023) to be transformed into Tiana’s Bayou Adventure which is scheduled to open in late 2024. We anticipate that the track to remain will the same, but the storytelling and characters within the ride will change.

Test Track

Test track offers a unique experience on each ride. Photo by Karyn Locke © Provided by Trekaroo Test track offers a unique experience on each ride. Photo by Karyn Locke

Location: Epcot in World of Discovery

Minimum Height Requirement: 40 inches 

Lightning Lane Enabled: Yes, it has a Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane.

Single Rider: Yes

Test Track is a unique ride where guests are able to create a simulated vehicle and then test its abilities during the ride. The thrill comes at the end when rides take their cars on a zip outdoors and handle turns at speeds of 65+ miles an hour.

Unike most rides developed at the parks in recent decades, this attraction doesn’t have any traditional Disney theming. Single Rider is a good option if the lines are long but you will miss out on some of the interactive, car building fun. 

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Photo by: Karyn Locke © Provided by Trekaroo Photo by: Karyn Locke

Location: Magic Kingdom in Frontierland

Minimum Height Requirement: 40 inches

Lightning Lane Enabled: Yes, it has a Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane.

Single Rider: No

“Hang on to your hats and glasses, because this here is the most wild ride in the wilderness!”

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad debuted back in 1980 and has continued to be a favorite for multiple generations. This not-too-scary coaster take riders on a train ride through a Western mine. There are a few moments of darkness on this ride but overall, it is a great option for kids that are new to coasters.

A few years ago, Disney amped up the standby queue with interactive pieces so time in line is much more enjoyable. 

Trekaroo Tip: When you spot the Billy goats at the top of the hill, keep your eyes on them for as long as you can when you whip around the corner. For some reason it makes the ride feel faster.

Haunted Mansion

Photo by: Karyn Locke © Provided by Trekaroo Photo by: Karyn Locke

Location: Magic Kingdom in Liberty Square

Minimum Height Requirement: None

Lightning Lane Enabled: Yes, it has a Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane.

Single Rider: No

Another Magic Kingdom Opening Day original, Haunted Mansion is definitely one of my favorite classic rides at Walt Disney World.

Hop inside a “doom buggy” and take a cruise through the darker side of the Magic Kingdom. This attraction is part walk-through experience and part slow ride, so it is suitable for all ages. It is creepy at some points, but not really scary other than the opening scene before you get on the ride.

This attraction is a bit different than its Disneyland counterpart. The walking portion is shorter and the “doom buggy” portion is longer. Plus the exterior of the mansion is drastically different.

If you have little ones who might be intimidated by the haunted concept, try this ride during the Halloween and Christmas season when it has been made over to become Haunted Mansion Holiday.

Jack Skellington and his pals take over the ride and it becomes less creepy and more fun. My family actually enjoys this seasonal version more than the original attraction, but both versions are great.

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

Photo by Karyn Locke © Provided by Trekaroo Photo by Karyn Locke

Location: Disney’s Hollywood Studios on Sunset Boulevard

Minimum Height Requirement: 40 inches 

Lightning Lane Enabled: Yes, it has a Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane.

Single Rider: No

Do you love rides which drop straight down, zoom back up, and then drop you down again and plenty of “creep” factor? Then, you and your kids will love Tower of Terror!

Disneyland Resort got rid of this attraction to make room for Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout, so Hollywood Studios is now the only place to enjoy this ride.

This ride’s creepy queue has a Twighlight Zone theme which helps get you in the mood to enjoy the crazy happenings in the elevator of The Hollywood Tower Hotel. We love the thrills of this ride and hope it sticks around on Sunset Boulevard forever.

Space Mountain

Space Mountain, photo by Sharlene Earnshaw © Provided by Trekaroo Space Mountain, photo by Sharlene Earnshaw

Location: Magic Kingdom in Tomorrowland

Minimum Height Requirement: 44 inches 

Lightning Lane Enabled: Yes, it has a Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane but in can also sometimes move to become a ride with an Individual Lightning Lane for purchase. Check the My Disney Experience App before your visit for the current status.

Single Rider: No

Space Mountain is the oldest operating roller coaster in Florida and definitely a Disney classic. There are no loops or big drops, but the speedy turns as the ride whips through “outer space” have made this ride a park favorite for decades.

Over the years, the ride has taken on special themes from time to time like Hyperspace Mountain in honor of Star Wars and Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy during select Halloween seasons, but the original  is still something to get excited about.

We love trying to make funny faces as the coaster enters the tunnel at the end of the ride and the camera’s flash catches us in all our silliness.

Pirates of the Caribbean

Photo by: Flickr/ MyFrozenLife © Provided by Trekaroo Photo by: Flickr/ MyFrozenLife

Location: Magic Kingdom in Adventureland

Minimum Height Requirement: None

Lightning Lane Enabled: Yes, it has a Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane.

Single Rider: No

I don’t think there is a ride that I have been on more than Pirates of the Caribbean. It is truly one of the best rides at Disney World and sure to entertain everyone in the family.

While it isn’t one of the original 15 rides that make their debut at Magic Kingdom in 1971 (Pirates of the Caribbean debuted in 1973), it is still very much a classic. This slow-moving boat ride with a small drop at the beginning is filled with pirate shenanigans.

Keep your eye out for Jack Sparrow as you ride. The first time you will spot him is just after passing by Carlos, who clearly did something to upset the pirates because he is being dunked in a well.

The animals of Pirates of the Caribbean are some of my favorite characters- from the jovial pigs to the key wielding mutt to the screeching cats. “Here kitty, kitty, kitty!”

Kilimanjaro Safaris

Photo by: Sharlene Earnshaw © Provided by Trekaroo Photo by: Sharlene Earnshaw

Location: Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Africa

Minimum Height Requirement: None

Lightning Lane Enabled: Yes, it has a Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane.

Single Rider: No

If you love animals, you are going to love Kilimanjaro Safaris. This is the only ride at DIsney World that features live animals, and you never know exactly what you might see.

Disney does a great job of creating habitats that are great for the animals and also designed in a way which makes the animals attracted to areas within tram-viewing distance. They do this in part by placing feed and shade in ideal places.

Animals you will likely see on the tram include rhinos, giraffes, hippos, crocodiles, lions, cheetahs, and a variety of antelope. Some animal are best seen in the morning hours while others are more likely to be spotted around twilight. We like to ride the tram twice during each visit and always have unique experiences.

Jungle Cruise

Photo by: Flickr/ CarrieLu © Provided by Trekaroo Photo by: Flickr/ CarrieLu

Location: Magic Kingdom in Adventureland

Minimum Height Requirement: None

Lightning Lane Enabled: Yes, it has a Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane.

Single Rider: No

I couldn’t create a list of the best rides at Disney World without including one of the original Disney attractions from the 1955 opening of Disneyland. Yes, it is cheesy, but that is part of the fun!

Whether you are gazing at mischievous, animatronic animals or the back half of Schweitzer Falls, boat skippers will keep you entertained with jokes so bad, you can’t help but laugh. Each boat captain’s dialogue is different from the next, so you never know what you are going to get.

This ride is is slow moving and not scary, so everyone can enjoy it.

Fun Fact: Did you know that some famous folks once worked as Jungle Cruise boat skippers? John Lasseter, Kevin Costner, and Steve Martin have all had the honor of perfecting their public personas while working the ride. 

Planning a trip? Here are the best times to visit Disney World

Kali River Rapids

Photo by: Flickr/ Simon17964 © Provided by Trekaroo Photo by: Flickr/ Simon17964

Location: Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Asia

Minimum Height Requirement: 38 inches

Lightning Lane Enabled: Yes, it has a Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane.

Single Rider: No

It is often hot in Orlando, so water rides are widely popular. Kali River Rapids is Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s version of a water ride and you are sure to get wet on this one!

The concept for this ride is that you are rafting the Chakranadi River which has been impacted by illegal logging. There are waterfalls and temple ruins in this lush, Asian rain forest.

Each of the rafts seats 12, and there is a spot in the center wiht a waterproof cover to keep your backpacks and other personal items. Put your feet up to reduce the chances of your socks getting soaked. If you REALLY don’t want to get wet, put on a poncho.

The line can get long on a hot day, so take advantage of that Lightening Lane!

Millennium Falcon- Smugglers Run

The Exterior of the Millennium Falcon, photo by Sharlene Earnshaw © Provided by Trekaroo The Exterior of the Millennium Falcon, photo by Sharlene Earnshaw

Location: Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

Minimum Height Requirement: 38 inches 

Lightning Lane Enabled: Yes, it has a Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane.

Single Rider: Yes

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to pilot the Millennium Falcon? Disney has created a replica version of the Falcon so can you finally get a chance to help pilot the most famous ship in the galaxy! 

Once on the ride, each rider will be assigned one of three important roles: pilot, gunner, or engineers. Everyone has to work together to successfully complete the mission.

Gunners shoot down enemy ships, engineers fix and damage that the ship acquires, and pilots fly the ship. The entire experience is intense and wildly fun.

If you have never been on this ride and are able to catch it with short Standby Line or use the Lightening Lane, I would skip Single Rider.

Single Rider is usually given no choicde in their “job” on board the Millennium Falcon (almost always the engineer) and misses almost the entire queue, including walking past the Millennium Falcon and the scene in Hondo’s repair bay.

Important Note: Iif you are prone to motion sickness on 3-D motion rides,this ride may not be for you.

Toy Story Mania!

Photo by: Sharlene Earnshaw © Provided by Trekaroo Photo by: Sharlene Earnshaw

Location: Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Toy Story Land

Minimum Height Requirement: None

Lightning Lane Enabled: Yes, it has a Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane.

Single Rider: No

Last, but definitely not the least, on my list of the best Disney World rides is Toy Story Mania! You will feel your competitive drive come out as you put on 3D glasses and compete against your fellow car passengers in various virtual carnival games. Carts whirl and spin from game station to game station but there is nothing scary about this ride.

The secret to a high score is not waste time trying to hit the low value objects. Instead, prioritize trying to knock down all the high point value objects, which are often towards the top of the screen or revealed when popping specially colored balloons.

Thank you to Karyn Locke who wrote the original version of this articl eback in 2018.

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