I love rollercoasters. Unfortunately, the nearest theme park to me literally has only two rollercoasters (Codonas, if anyone is interested). There’s one decent one (Looping Star), and the other one is just like going around in a circle on a train, but slightly higher off the ground and it goes through an apple (The Caterpillar). It’s great for kids – and was the first rollercoaster I went on with my niece, but, since it is really boring (sorry if you like it!), I’m not going to include it in this list.
I have not had a chance to go to many theme parks (which I am trying to rectify) but, when I do go, I make the most of it. Here are my Top 26 Rollercoasters (which are mainly in Disneyland Paris, Walt Disneyworld, and Universal Orlando).
Just a note, this list is only going to include rollercoasters, drop rides and water rides. It will not include any boat rides (a la Peter Pan, or ‘It’s a Small World’), or 4D rides (except for Mission: Space and Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run).
I didn’t have a chance to go on Slinky Dog Dash, which is why it isn’t included here. The queue said it was 2 hours long and there is hardly any shade in Toy Story Land. If there had been shade, I might have braved the queue, but this peely-wally Scottish girl can’t handle the heat.
(Unless linked, the photos are my own)
26. Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run – Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios
So, this is at the bottom of the list, which is probably a surprise, as so many other websites list it as their number one ride. I wasn’t very taken by it. First, the queue was massive. It’s so big, that halfway round they have a little shop so that you can buy drinks. Admittedly, I did buy one of the Thermal Detonator bottles because I thought it looked cool – and I was thirsty. Secondly, unless you are in a group of six and can choose to be the pilot, it’s not very exciting. The pilots get to ‘control’ the Falcon using gear-sticks and all sorts of buttons, whilst the engineers and the shooters (I can’t remember exactly what this was, but you controlled the guns) in the back have only one or two buttons to press when they light up. That’s it. The whole thing shakes around, as if you are actually flying the Falcon, and you can see what’s going on through the ‘window’, but it’s just not exciting at all. I’m glad I experienced it, but it would be nice if the engineers and the shooters had more of a role to play – I just hope the new Star Wars ride is more exciting.
25. Flight of the Hippogriff – Universal’s Islands of Adventure
This is only on the list, as it is basically a Harry Potter version of The Caterpillar at Codonas, but also goes up and down a little hill. It might be too scary for children? I don’t know – but my niece didn’t want to go on it (she’s 4).
24. Mission: Space – Walt Disneyworld Epcot
This is only near the bottom of the list, as it’s not really a rollercoaster (I think I might have mentioned that I love rollercoasters?). It was quite fun, though. You can choose from an ‘easy’ mode (green – moon landing), or a ‘hard’ mode (orange – mission to Mars). Obviously, I went for the orange mission. It was interesting there’s four people per pod and each has their own job (a bit like Millennium Falcon, but everyone is equal). You’re supposed to press buttons when they light up. In the green version, this is easy. In the orange version…you feel so heavy, it’s hard to lift your hands – I couldn’t stop laughing, as I thought it was really funny). This is due to the fact that the whole thing is a big centrifuge. They do blow air at you to try and reduce motion sickness, but the woman sat next to my Dad had to go and throw up as soon as she got off!
23. Codonas Looping Star – Codonas
Sorry Codonas! It is a fun ride (and I like the loop), but the other rides on the list are a bit more interesting.
22. Jurassic Park – Universal’s Islands of Adventure
The first time I went to Disneyworld, I was 16. I went again last year just before I turned 29. I forgot how wet you get during this ride. My parents and I got on at the front (it was a big family holiday for my parents’ 30th anniversary, and they got married in Florida, so it felt fitting to go back. The trip included my parents – obviously – me, my brother, his partner, and their daughter – my niece), and almost immediately, the group sat behind us put on waterproof ponchos. The ride seems nice and gentle, and you see all the dinosaurs but then, oh no! The raptors have escaped and are causing chaos, making the boat go off course! Seems like you’re going up that big hill! And then you’re soaked. Worth it! There’s also a viewing area that you can see the ride come down, and my niece must have been stood there, as she was soaking when she came to meet us!
21. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – Walt Disneyworld Magic Kingdom
This was okay. Not really sure why it’s got all the hype it has – it’s a bit like Flight of the Hippogriff but slightly more intense. The queue is really long, but thankfully Disney makes it interactive. We arrived early for this, as the queues can easily get to over an hour long. I’m glad I went on it and, even though it wasn’t the most exciting, it was nice singing along to ‘Heigh Ho’
20. Splash Mountain – Walt Disneyworld Magic Kingdom
Another big log flume ride – this one is one person per row, instead of 5, and no matter where you sit, you will get wet.
19. Big Thunder Mountain – Disneyland Paris/ Walt Disneyworld Magic Kingdom
A bit like the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train but a bit more rickety, which is why its slightly higher up in this list.
18. Dudley Do-Right – Universal’s Islands of Adventure
Oh. My. Word. I don’t think I’ve ever been so wet in my entire life. After the Jurassic Park experience, we go some cheap waterproof ponchos. These did not help. My brother and I went on this ride with my parents (my brother’s partner isn’t really used to rollercoasters, so she gave this a miss and stayed with my niece), and, like the lovely children we are, we stuck my Mum in the front. Now, we are a tall family – my Mum is the shortest at 5 ft 7in, and to get into the log flume, we had to kind of slide in without bending our legs. For some reason, I took my handbag with me (I’m insane – I should have left it with my brother’s partner). We didn’t realise we would get as wet as we did. There’s not just the big drop at the end – there’s all sorts of smaller drops, and the water flows over the side into the log flume, so that, by the time you get to the big drop – you are absolutely drowned. My bag was supposed to be waterproof, and that’s probably the only thing that saved my phone, but, since my purse was pressed up against the side of the bag, my money got wet, and my park ticket stuck to one of my cards – thankfully, I managed to dry everything with no problems. Use the lockers!
17. Expedition Everest – Walt Disneyworld Animal Kingdom
Slightly similar to Big Thunder Mountain, but more in the dark – and there’s a bit that goes backwards, which I really enjoyed. Wish the ride was a little bit longer, as it was over very quickly.
16. Test Track – Walt Disneyworld Epcot
Not really a rollercoaster, as such. More, you’re a crash test dummy and you go through all the different stages of testing out a new car, before the fun fast bit at the end. I went on it as single rider and got straight on – which was lucky, as the normal queue was almost an hours long!
15. Revenge of the Mummy – Universal Studios
I used to have such a crush on Brendan Fraser when the Mummy movies first came out. This ride is fun – it’s mostly in the dark, so you can’t see a thing, except where the Mummy almost ‘gets’ you, and there’s fire as you rush away. There are lockers next to the ride – I would recommend using these (and maybe wear something that has pockets with zips. I wore a dress, so had to put my ticket for the locker in my bra).
14. Kali River Rapids – Walt Disneyworld Animal Kingdom
Another water ride! This one, the car is a big circle that fits around 8 people, all facing each other. As well as lots of drops, there are also various things that squirt water at you. Again, I recommend going early, as the queues build up fast. I also loved the bit at the end, where you’re waiting for the car to go back into the station (I don’t really know rollercoaster lingo) and you can see the monkeys in their enclosure just swinging around.
13. Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge Rat Barges – Universal’s Islands of Adventure
I only managed to go on this once when I was 16, as the next day we went back, the ride had broken down and they were fixing it. Unfortunately, when I went in September, the ride was closed, so I didn’t get a chance to go on it again. I can’t remember much about it, except that it is similar to Kali River Rapids, and when I went when I was 16, the Wizarding World hadn’t been built, so it was the ride we went back to the park specifically to go on, as we loved it so much (which was disappointing, when it stayed closed for the rest of the holiday).
12. Rock n roller coaster with Aerosmith – Walt Disneyworld’s Hollywood Studios
I love fast rollercoasters, and this one is fast. It’s themed as if you’re in a limo on your way to a gig, and the whole ride is in the dark, with some glow in the dark road signs. Of course, Aerosmith plays over the speakers (I’m a massive Aerosmith fan), so I loved this ride. When I went, I went in the single rider line, thinking it would be shorter. Nope! Think it took longer than the actual line, so don’t bother with the single rider line for this one. It was so busy that day, that they skipped the whole intro bit with Aerosmith in the studio (I only remember this intro bit from when I went when I was 16).
11. Space Mountain – Walt Disneyworld Magic Kingdom
My favourite of the three mountains. It’s fast and in the dark, so you don’t know where you’re going. I managed to get the best picture of my brother here – look at his face! I can’t stop laughing whenever I see it (every ride photo he got he’s making the same expression. It’s almost as if he’s contemplating his entire life)
10. Nemesis – Alton Towers
Quick disclaimer – I went to Alton Towers when I was 12, so apart from this ride and Oblivion, I can’t really remember much about it. I know I loved this ride, as it’s one of those rollercoasters where your legs are dangling and I liked the fear over potentially losing my shoes (I’m a bit of a weirdo). I definitely need to go back!
9. Oblivion – Alton Towers
Don’t. Look. Down. The world’s first vertical drop rollercoaster – I think vertical drop rollercoasters are my favourite type of rollercoaster (which you will soon find out). I don’t know if it’s changed much since I went, but I remember it being two rows of 8 people, and you slowly go around a track before climbing a massive hill, starting to creep over it, then the ride stops as you dangle over a big black hole and you hear ‘Don’t look down’. Then the ride flies down the hole and you zip along the rest of the track. Love it!
8. Crush’s Coaster – Disneyland Paris
I wish this ride was at Walt Disneyworld so I could have gone on it again. I loved this ride. The cars are like a big turtle shell with two facing forward and two facing backward. My friend and I happened to be facing backward as it went up the first big hill (which was fun), then it zooms along the track whilst the car spins at the same time, which made it even more fun. Get there early – this is a very popular ride (and I can see why)!
7. The Incredible Hulk – Universal’s Islands of Adventure
I love how fast this is – there’s no build up, it’s just immediately fast. Lots of loops and twists and turns as well and you can’t go wrong. I think it’s prone to breaking down – when I was in the queue a cheer went up twice as they got it back up and running, which is probably why it’s lower down in the list. That, and this ride made my back feel quite tight, so I don’t know what happened there.
6. Escape from Gringotts – Universal Studios
This is an indoor rollercoaster in the Diagon Alley part of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (instead of leaving the park to visit Hogwarts, you can get the Hogwarts Express between the two parks, which was a lovely experience!). The ride is set around the time when Hermione used Polyjuice Potion to impersonate Bellatrix Lestrange. You’re in the bank when the real Bellatrix shows up and realises something’s amiss, causing chaos. With Bill Weasley’s help, you zoom around the tracks (and there’s some 4D elements, too), until you finally escape from Gringotts. It’s very well done – the queue starts in the bank and is incredibly detailed.
5. Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure – Universal’s Islands of Adventure
This would be higher up the list if I hadn’t waited 2 hours just to go on it. We arrived as the park was opening and headed straight there only to find that the queue had already expanded out of Hogsmeade and was snaking around The Lost Continent. They have the queue very well laid out, as loads of folk tried to cut in, but the staff always caught them. This ride was a lot of fun (when I finally got on it). It’s Hagrid’s motorbike and sidecar, and you can choose which one you want to go on. There’s a handrail bit in front of you, but I leaned forward and gripped the motorbike handles instead. This ride is so fast, it’s wonderful! It’s goes forwards, backwards and there’s a drop at one point. I wish I’d gone on it again, but I wasn’t willing to queue for so long when there is so much else to do! Maybe when the hype dies down a bit, the queues will go down slightly?
4. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey – Universal’s Islands of Adventure
This ride was amazing! Similar in layout to Gringotts, but this one is set inside Hogwarts. The carts are rows of 4, and your legs dangle (yay!). The whole thing twists and turns and there’s a mixture of 4D in it as well. Because everyone seemed to be queueing for Hagrid’s ride, this one had hardly any wait time – but I still took my time in the queue, as you get to walk through Hogwarts! Who wouldn’t want to do that?
3. Doctor Doom’s Fearfall – Universal’s Islands of Adventure
Another drop ride! But this one shoots you into the air first, before slowly coming back down, so I guess you could call it more of a ‘shooting up into the air’ ride? I love that you never know when it’s going to shoot up – there’s a countdown, but it never finishes before you’re off. I love this ride – and there is no queue whatsoever for it (which might have been because it was September), so I go on it immediately each time (which was a lot).
2. Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit – Universal Studios
Another fast rollercoaster, with lots of turns and loops. This one you get to choose your own personal music to play as you go around the track. I think my favourite bit is the starting bit when it rises straight up from the ground, which means you’re lying flat on your back in the chair. It’s so bizarre and brilliant! It’s a nice, long ride as well, which I found Universal had a lot of. Disney’s rides have a tendency to be over too soon.
1. Hollywood Tower of Terror – Disneyland Paris/ Walt Disneyworld’s Hollywood Studios
My favourite ride ever. I love how each time is different, and you never really know when you’re going to drop. I could probably do without the bit at the beginning that explains how the lift broke with a family inside it and that they haunt the ride – I just want to go on the ride! I loved this ride so much that, when I went to Disneyland Paris, I immediately dragged my friend over there so I could go on it at least twice before the queues built up.