Many theme park tourists are under the misguided perception that Disney rides aren’t exciting enough. I must confess that I once held this notion myself. Millennium Force at Cedar Point is my One True Coaster, and I (unfairly) judge all other adrenaline rush attractions. For years, I favored Cedar Point vacations for this reason right up until the moment that I fell in love with Disney…permanently. As one of you thrill seekers, I feel qualified to speak on ways that the Mouse House will surprise you. Here are several spectacular thrill rides at Disney theme parks.

Avatar Flight of Passage

Image: DisneyDisney shuns the term “virtual reality,” instead preferring “augmented reality.” It’s an argument of semantics, really, but Imagineers certainly aren’t afraid to play in the VR sandbox. Avatar Flight of Passage is the anchor attraction for Pandora – The World of Avatar, the proverbial E-Ticket ride. It’s a breathtaking exploration of the imaginary realm created by James Cameron.

Avatar Flight of Passage sweeps guests away on a realistic adventure through three dimensions. You’ll ascend into the clouds and then plunge to the ground at an alarming rate, all the while forgetting that none of what you’re experiencing is real. In actuality, you’re on a modified stationary motorcycle that bounces you when appropriate. It’s every bit the immersive escapism that Avatar the movie is, only you don’t have to sit through three hours of dialogue to get to the good stuff.

Expedition Everest

Image: DisneyWhat goes up must come down. Everyone knows this, but only the brilliant Imagineers who design Disney rides have realized the flaw with the maxim. Nobody ever said exactly how that thing will come down.

In the case of Expedition Everest, you reach a summit of a mountain, only to feel the tight grip of fear as you grow aware that the train tracks are shattered. You’re going to go down that hill, come Yeti or high water. What you can’t possibly expect is that the person operating your vehicle thinks it’s a great idea to shoot you backward into darkness at 50 miles per hour. One of the recurring themes of Disney thrill rides is that they don’t need to set any land-speed records for height or velocity. Their excitement stems from creativity and novelty. No ride on this list exemplifies it more than Expedition Everest.


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