Today is National Roller Coaster Day and we’re celebrating by taking a look at some of our favorite Walt Disney World attractions that send us rocketing, rolling, slipping and sliding through adventure.
Here at the Walt Disney World Resort the first roller coaster to open to guests was Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom Park, which began rocketing Tomorrowland guests into deep space in 1975. Encased in a 180-foot high “mountain,” the opening of a new Disney “mountain” would soon become a highly anticipated event at the Walt Disney World Resort.
A whole new coaster adventure, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, debuted at the other end of the park just a few years later in 1980. The self-proclaimed “wildest ride in the wilderness” takes guests on a thrilling runaway train ride through an old gold rush town, with locomotives whizzing around canyons and tunnels. The nearly 200-foot-tall attraction also forever changed the skyline of Frontierland, punctuating the land with towering rock tents.
Young kids got their first taste of coaster fun in 1996 with the addition of Magic Kingdom Park’s first family coaster – The Barnstormer at Goofy’s Wiseacre Farm – in the area then known as Mickey’s Toontown Fair (a new version of the attraction, called The Barnstormer, currently exists in New Fantasyland, pictured above).
In 1999, Disney’s Hollywood Studios got into the coaster game in a big way, opening Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith. This rock-themed attraction that takes guests on a wild musical ride through Los Angeles that includes three inversions, two rollover loops and one corkscrew in a “super-stretch” limo.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom welcomed its first coaster, Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain, in 2006. This latest Disney “mountain” opened to offer immersive storytelling in its queue, sending guests on a mission to seek out – or escape from – Mount Everest’s mythical yeti.
The newest Disney coaster to open at the Walt Disney World Resort, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, took the concept of a “family coaster” to new levels when New Fantasyland was completed in 2014 at Magic Kingdom Park. The attraction offers an incredibly immersive queue filled with hands-on activities as guests travel deeper into the mine of the Seven Dwarfs.
Take a look at the video above for a one-minute journey through some of our favorite coaster experiences.
Which Disney roller coaster is your favorite? Tell us in the “Comments” section below.
A couple of weeks ago my 10 year old granddaughter was holding my hand and weeping a little bit as we waited to blast off on hypaspace mountain at Disneyland Paris for the first time by the end of it she wanted to go straight back on it which she did with my son. She rode big thunder mountain and expedition Everest at WDW 2 years ago at the age of 8 and now has done the 2 mountains and Aerosmith in Paris at the age of 10 I was 41 years old when I first rode big thunder mountain at WDW I am now 66 she is a lucky girl to have experienced it so young and has many years ahead to experience what Disney has planned for the future
Expedition Everest for sure!!! Gotta love the Yeti…
Log fume rides are NOT roller coasters!
Big Thunder will always be my favorite, with Splash being my second love. I was petrified of roller coasters whenI was a child. I went to WDW with a friend and said, let’s give it a try. I went on, eyes closed as tight as possible for the whole ride. Got off, and said, that’s not so bad, let’s do it again! This time I kept my eyes open and loved it! I still haven’t done RnR and don’t ever plan on doing that one. No upside down for me!
I love them all, but Space Mountain was the first Disney coaster I ever rode and almost 30 years later it is still my favorite! It was the first coaster I took my kids on and they love it too!
What a great day! We should all get the day off to ride our favorite coaster! I do have a question though. Shouldn’t Primeval Whirl be considered Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s first coaster? It opened in 2002, 4 years before Expedition Everest.