The Need for Speed: The Fastest Rides in Walt Disney World

When Walt Disney opened Disneyland in 1955, he envisioned his park as a place where adults and children could have fun together. Walt’s philosophy has proven 100% effective, fostering a magical experience for countless families over the course of several generations. As a result of Walt’s family-friendly nature, Disney parks have not boasted the same degree of high intensity thrill rides as more conventional amusement parks.

Image: Disney

But that doesn’t mean Disney doesn’t have its share of high octane speed rides.

As we creep ever so close to Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary, let’s speed things up a bit and take a look at the fastest rides in the four WDW theme parks. Each park has at least one adrenaline rush (and a couple parks have multiple fast rides).

Buckle your safety belt and carefully stow your belongings under your seat. Here are the fastest rides in the Walt Disney World theme parks.

Splash Mountain – Magic Kingdom

Believe it or not, Splash Mountain holds the honor for the fastest ride in Magic Kingdom. Most of this attraction winds lazily through the parched terrain of the American south, but the final drop into the briar patch sends guests screeching at a speed that can reach 40 miles per hour (mph). Zip-a-dee-doo-da, zip-a-dee-yikes!

Image: Disney

Splash Mountain’s neighbor, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, comes in a close second at 36 mph. Space Mountain is a surprisingly distant third with a top speed of 28 mph (though the pitch-blackness space more than makes up for the lack of top speed!).

Of course, this statistic will change once Tron Lightcycle Run opens its doors, likely sometime in 2022.

Test Track – Epcot

This automobile-embracing joyride may be the happiest thrill in WDW. After taking a run through the proving grounds, guests go full throttle, exiting the building to reach a top speed of 65 mph. I dare you not to smile!

Image: Disney

Mission Space, while intense in its own “unique” way (guests who choose the green mission over the orange mission will understand), takes guests into orbit at speeds as fast as 35 mph. However, this ride doesn’t really register in most guests’ minds as a fast ride.  That’s because the speed is a hidden component to telling the story of space travel, taking guests sneakily sideways, not forward.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind may challenge Test Track in the speed trials when it opens sometime in 2022. This huge indoor coaster promises to give guests a party in the spaceport.

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith – Hollywood Studios

Did someone say party? Get in your stretch limousine and take off in a mind-numbing indoor “cruise”, reaching your top speed of 57 mph in less than three seconds! Your body may need a short break after this ride, before going “Back in the Saddle Again!”

Slinky Dog Dash in Toy Story Land edges out the Hollywood Tower of Terror for second place, hitting 40 mph to Tower of Terror’s 39 mpg. Who knew this “family ride” would be so exciting?

Expedition Everest – Animal Kingdom

Watch out for the Yeti! This runaway train makes Magic Kingdom’s Big Thunder Mountain look like child’s play. Guests fleeing from the ominous snow monster will reach speeds of up to 50 mph – some of it while rolling backwards!

WDW Water Parks

Don’t count out Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach water parks. While they aren’t officially full Disney parks, some of the water slides offer skin-chafing speeds for thrill seekers.

Summit Plummet at Blizzard Beach sends guests to a near freefall from 120 feet high, reaching speeds up to 60 mph.

Humunga Kowabunga at Typhoon Lagoon includes three enclosed “speed slide” flumes that send riders down at speeds approaching 39 mph.

Just hold onto your skin when braving these two water parks!

What’s Next?

As we mentioned before, WDW is about to get a little more intense, with Tron Lightcycle Run and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind coming onboard in the next couple years.

Image: Disney

Disney parks will always remain places where adults and children can have fun together. But now the older children will have more to excite them!

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Pirates & Princesses (PNP) is an independent, opinionated fan-powered news blog that covers Disney and Universal Theme Parks, Themed Entertainment and related Pop Culture from a consumer's point of view. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of PNP, its editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. PNP is an unofficial news source and has no connection to The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal or any other company that we may cover.