Is speed the best part of a thrill ride? While fans of the fastest roller coasters would say yes, Disney fans would present a counterpoint. Velocity is overrated relative to quality theming. The perfect combination of story and speed often exceeds a straightforward roller coaster. In fact, the top speed of several of the most famous attractions in the world will shock you. Here are the 16 fastest Disney rides in the world.
Before we get started, I should say that some of the research on this topic is hilarious. Did you know that the Tomorrowland Transit Authority barely goes faster than Autopia? Yes, the “faster” ride travels at 6.84 miles per hour while the car racing ride tops out at 6 miles per hour (MPH).
A few other famous rides fall just short of qualification, as everything listed below reaches a top speed of at least 39 MPH. This velocity rules out famous rides like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (35 MPH), Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (34 MPH), and Matterhorn Bobsleds (27 MPH). Even Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril, the wild roller coaster at Disneyland Paris, maxes at 36 MPH. Which Disney rides are faster than that? Read on…
16. Guardians of the Galaxy—Mission: BREAKOUT! – 39 MPH
Cloned rides comprise a portion of this list. I didn’t rule out an attraction simply because it shared similar construction and speed to another. So, the Guardians of the Galaxy attraction at Disney California Adventure ties with…
15. Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – 39 MPH
Yes, the drop tower elevator attractions employing the Tower of Terror design top out at 39 MPH. There’s a funny anecdote about this. Disney contacted a leader in the elevator industry to build the ride apparatus. This professional manufacturer took issue with the request because they weren’t in the business of moving elevators that fast. They had to take out the standard safety system and approach the system differently to meet Disney’s needs. Oddities like this are required for Imagineers to build themed attractions capable of high velocity.
14. Splash Mountain – 40 MPH
No, you don’t travel 40 MPH throughout Splash Mountain, which is why it’s ranked 14th even though it's technically tied with two other rides. My tiebreakers here are average speed first followed by the age of attraction. As I explained in the roller coaster article linked above, all other things being equal, an older ride is more impressive than a newer attraction capable of the same top-end speed. With Splash Mountain, you'll only reach that top velocity as you travel down the mountain and SPLASH! So, you'll travel at 40 MPH for maybe five seconds of a 10-minute ride.
13. Radiator Springs Racers – 40 MPH
The architecture employed in this attraction will appear in three different attractions on this list. In each example, the theming plays a large role in the maximum ride speed. With Radiator Springs Racers, the story is what matters. Imagineers want you to immerse yourself in the world of Radiator Springs before giving you an exciting moment in the great outdoors. As you’ll see, your (living?) car could go much faster.
12. Slinky Dog Dash – 40 MPH
Slinky Dog Dash is the newest entrant on this list. Disney introduced it as the E-ticket attraction anchor of Toy Story Land. Since it’s family-friendly, nobody expects it to go fast. As you’ll learn in a moment, it’s actually quite a bit faster than the most famous of all roller coasters.Ignoring a repurposing of a prior attraction,
11. Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain (Disneyland Paris) – 44 MPH
Yes, you read that right. The Disneyland Paris version of Space Mountain is the one that qualifies for this list. The original version of Space Mountain maxes out at 28 MPH (although it’s technically capable of slightly more). Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain is the third version of the attraction at Disney Paris and the fastest Space Mountain clone on the planet.