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The Shocking “Top” Speed of The Fastest Disney Rides

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

Image: DisneyCloned 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

Image: DisneyYes, 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

Image: DisneyNo, 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

Image: DisneyThe 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

Image: DisneyIgnoring a repurposing of a prior attraction, 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.

11. Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain (Disneyland Paris) – 44 MPH

Image: DisneyYes, 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.

10. Raging Spirits – 46 MPH

Image: DisneyTokyo DisneySEA is quite possibly the greatest theme park on the planet. Its two fastest rides both make this list, and they top out at virtually the same speed. Raging Spirits is an Intamin-built roller coaster that employs the same architecture as Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril but is several MPH faster. 

9. RC Racer aka Rex’s Racer – 47 MPH

Image: DisneyYou may have to google this one. It’s the anchor attraction at Toy Story Land in three different non-American Disney theme parks. For a Disney ride, it’s unconventional in design and style. That’s the likely explanation for why the company didn’t transfer it to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It’s a coaster apparatus that would frankly look more at home at a typical theme park like Six Flags rather than Disney…and that’s kind of cool. I like it when Disney breaks a stereotype.

8. Journey to the Center of the Earth – 47 MPH

Image: Disney

This is the mid-tier speed demon of this ride design, joining Radiator Springs Racers on the list. It’s exactly one mile per hour faster than its counterpart at Tokyo DisneySEA. This ride could also go faster with this architecture, but it has no need. The spectacular Jules Verne theming provides plenty of firepower as riders enter Captain Nemo’s base and then zoom through an active volcano to the titular center of the earth. This ride is the pride and joy of Tokyo DisneySEA, which is kind of like saying that it’s Bono’s favorite U2 song. Even pitted against the loftiest of standards, it exceeds all expectations.

7. Expedition Everest – 50 MPH

Image: DisneyThe most remarkable part of this particular attraction is that it reaches maximum speed while going the wrong way. The ride cart is traveling backward when it hits 50 MPH, causing you to hit 3 G’s along the way. Expedition Everest often gets mentioned as the best thrill ride Disney’s ever made. It earns this claim despite the fact that it tops out at 50 MPH. That’s how innovative ride design and theming can even the playing field against faster attractions.

6. Walt Disney World Monorail – 55 MPH

Image: DisneyI have your attention now, don’t I? Yes, the maximum velocity of the Walt Disney World monorail is 55 MPH. No, you won’t ever ride in a monorail traveling this fast unless some sort of Keanu Reeves/Speed situation transpires. It’s possible, though. Doesn’t that blow your mind? Only three rides at Disney’s North American theme parks top out at a higher velocity than the monorail can match.

5. Incredicoaster – 55 MPH

Image: DisneyThe former California Screamin’ roller coaster was always about velocity. It was the best pure roller coaster at the Happiest Place on Earth and arguably the best one in Disney’s arsenal. The Incredicoaster is like that, only much better. Imagineers have added the theming of a subplot in The Incredibles 2 to elevate the attraction to previously unmatched heights. Now, you do much more than go fast. You also bear witness to the superpowers of the Incredibles while they try to retrieve Jack-Jack, the world’s most dangerous super-baby. California Screamin’ was great, but the Incredicoaster represents a dramatic step up.

4. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith – 57 MPH

Image: DisneyWe’re only now breaking the highway speed limit in the United States…in 1987. Disney still hasn’t built a ride that surpasses the current speed limit of 65/70 MPH. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith is the ride that most people might guess is the fastest. That’s because it’s the one most closely associated with instantaneous, total velocity. This coaster accelerates to its top speed of 57 MPH in less than three seconds. It never goes any faster than that, though.

3. Summit Plummet – 60 MPH

Image: DisneyEarlier when I said that the monorail beats all but three theme park attractions in terms of top speed, I was saving a secret for you. I distinguish theme parks from water parks as a rule, and this exercise in semantics allowed me to spring this surprise on you. Blizzard Beach hosts one of the two fastest Disney rides in North America. You had no idea, did you? The aptly named Summit Plummet is a straight drop down a water slide from a height of 120 feet. It’s actually the fastest free fall slide in the world. Who says that Disney can’t break records for velocity?

2. Tron Lightcycle Power Run – 60.3 MPH

Image: DisneyOh yes, the fastest Disney attraction outside of the United States is at Shanghai Disneyland. Better yet, it’s an attraction that Magic Kingdom will receive as part of the 50th-anniversary celebration at Walt Disney World. Tron Lightcycle Power Run places you in a motorcycle position as you zoom through a Tron-themed course. The entire ride is over in about 90 seconds, but it’s the most out-of-control experience that you can have on a Disney ride today. I cannot wait for Magic Kingdom to get it.

1. Test Track – 64.9 MPH

Image: DisneyDisney fans had probably guessed this one ahead of time. After all, Test Track leans into its velocity. You’ll see your speed posted up ahead as you zoom down the track. It never actually reaches 65 MPH, though. The rumor/fact that gets passed around is that Disney wanted Test Track to max out at 95 MPH, a speed that’s in the upper echelon of fastest rides in the world. Allegedly, Florida’s state speed limit of 65 MPH caused them to reconsider. Somehow, I think that Disney could have had that record if they’d wanted. Why would they need it, though? Test Track maxes out the architecture from Journey to the Center of the Earth and Radiator Springs Racers, making it the fastest Disney ride in the world today. But if Disney ever souped-up the monorail…