All Disney Coasters – Ranked

10. Space MountainDisneyland

Anaheim’s Space Mountain is easy to appreciate: the polish is leaps and bounds ahead of Orlando’s, or even Tokyo’s Space Mountain. The onboard audio, whether it’s Hyperspace, Ghost Galaxy, or the classic Space Mountain score, certainly take riders to another place. It also has a nice presence: unlike the Hong Kong version, which is just a solitary structure on an open midway, Anaheim’s is built into a mighty infrastructure that feels giant and substantial, and maybe a bit mysterious. After all, it’s hard to believe such a potent ride can fit under such a small roof.

9. Big Thunder MountainTokyo Disneyland

Tokyo’s Big Thunder is a nice level up from Orlando’s – at first glance the rides are quite similar, but Tokyo’s penchant for polish is quite clear here, especially in terms landscaping and smaller thematic touches. Tokyo Disneyland’s Railroad (here called Western River Railroad) features a unique layout that hugs Big Thunder Mountain, which in turn is hugged snuggly by the Rivers of America, which gives this Big Thunder some stellar views. The ride’s final act is also a huge improvement over the Orlando version, but we won’t give away spoilers.

8. Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster – Disney’s Hollywood Studios

This might be an indulgent choice, but to this day we find Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster hard to resist. Superficially, certain aspects of the theming and experience are a little flimsy (the flat props in the ride’s show building are chuckle-worthy), but the soundtrack, rolling stock, entrance plaza, and station design/theming are strengths – even the ride’s story and preshow are endearing and quotable, if eyeroll-inducing at times. Best of all, the ride is a substantial, classic-style looper with a great launch – we can’t wait to see how the retheme of the Disneyland Paris version turns out. There’s so much potential!

7. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Disneyland

The original Big Thunder Mountain Railroad owes a lot of its charm to the ride it replaced: Mine Train Through Nature’s Wonderland. Scenes, props, and the overall environment of the original mine train can still be enjoyed to this day on Anaheim’s Big Thunder. Smaller in overall stature than the Big Thunders that followed, the original installation has a unique coziness and quaintness to it – but it’s packed to the brim with great imagery, color, animation, landscaping, and style.

6. Expedition Everest Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Fifteen years later, Expedition Everest is still Walt Disney World’s key coaster heavyweight. The ride could benefit from some clean-up (the hair ties strewn about the peak are frustrating), and the ultimate failure of the Yeti animatronic is a memory that still makes us wince, but aside from that there’s not much we’d change about Everest – it’s long, surprisingly forceful, beautifully executed, and has a great presence. Animal Kingdom’s Asia is arrestingly gorgeous, especially Nepali-themed, fictional village of Serka Zong where Expedtion takes place. As of this publishing, the ride’s first major scheduled maintenance closure is looming on the horizon – we’re curious to see what, if any, noticeable changes will take place.

5. Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars Hong Kong Disneyland

Just barely beating out Expedition Everest for a place in our Disney Coaster Top 5 is the Animal Kingdom coaster’s spiritual successor: Hong Kong Disneyland’s Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars. Both coasters are sole entries in a unique Disney-tailored product line from Vekoma, but the rides only share a handful of similarities: Big Grizzly treats Hong Kongers to a charming recreation of the American Goldrush era along a sprawling network of track that’s largely sunken below midway level. The ride is full of surprises, but gentler overall than the towering Expedition Everest; we think of Grizzly as filling a “Big Thunder Mountain role” despite its rolling stock and track switches serving as unmistakable Everest reminders.

4. Big Thunder Mountain Disneyland Paris

It won’t come as a surprise to our European readers, but Disneyland Paris’ Big Thunder Mountain remains undefeated in the proud race of Disney mine train coasters. Nothing could be more dramatic than taking Tokyo’s improved take on Orlando’s Big Thunder and positioning it in the middle of Rivers of the Far West (Rivers of America) – yes, right where Tom Sawyer’s Island would be – and then connecting it with high speed (for a Disney ride) underground, underwater tunnels. Easily still the Paris resort’s most popular attraction, Big Thunder builds on the figurative and literal foundation of its predecessors, then pulls out all the stops for a finale that routinely leaves trainfulls of guests in raptures.

3. Matterhorn Bobsleds Disneyland

Few steel coasters can say they’ve aged as gracefully as this 62-year-old monument. The ride’s current rolling stock improved capacity but saw a drop in rider comfort – other than that, every way that Matterhorn has developed is what we can attribute to the strong overall product we have today.

The ride’s scenes are the stuff of dreams – from retired ride wreckage at the peak, to the picturesque splashdown – and then of course there’s the Abominable Snowman, ever present in the classic fly-by scenes as well as the lift “preshow” cleverly disguised as translucent ice. The pacing gets us every time; lighting fast transitions and impossibly sharp corners seem to defy the physics of 3 bench ride vehicles. Then there’s the sheer beauty of the mountain itself, and the fact that two distinct coaster experiences call the Matterhorn home, the fleeting birds-eye views of it’s a small world and Submarine Voyage – it’s almost too good to be true.

From a historian standpoint, Matterhorn’s significance also cannot be understated: tubular steel rails, a comprehensive computer block system, the fact that Walt sent a postcard of the real Matterhorn in Switzerland and simply said “Build this” – the list goes on.

2. Hyperspace Mountain Disneyland Paris

Matterhorn Bobsleds was only the first time that Disney had the most technologically advanced roller coaster in the World. As the global coaster wars heated up in the 1990’s, Disney could once again say the same with Disneyland Paris’ Space Mountain de la Terre à la Lune. Credited with saving the nearly bankrupt Euro Disney resort, the French Space Mountain was nothing if not a Hail Mary Pass – everything buzzworthy that shaped the industry in that moment went into this one coaster.

The first modern launch coaster, Space Mountain catapulted riders upward and into the cosmos, guided by nothing but momentum, instinct, and a killer onboard soundtrack. Inversions, forces, scenes – they’re all in there. It was a surreal moment in the Disney timeline where a thrill junkie’s pipe dream came to life in Mouse Territory. Space Mountain: Mission 2 and Hyperspace Mountain are testimonies of the way Disneyland Paris labors to this day to offer one of the World’s most dazzling roller coaster experiments – the only question being “when will we see Mission 4?”

1. TRON Lightcycle Power Run – Shanghai Disneyland

In a perfect marriage of concept and hardware, we have the TRON film series: a cult classic sci-fi whose most impactful imagery is one of a motorcycle made of light; and we have long-time Disney collaborator Vekoma’s “Booster Bike” launched coaster system. Devise a new “game” where lightcyclists battle in tandem on The Grid, and boom: roller coaster magic.

Originally curated for the wake of 2010’s TRON: Legacy, the coaster was redirected from Walt Disney World to help anchor Shanghai Disneyland in 2016. Explicit film tie-ins work more like Easter Eggs than integral references to the source material – after all, Mainland China’s relationship to TRON was virtually nonexistent – but with its banks flooding over with equal spoils of style and substance, all that Lightcycle Power Run needed to thrive was to simply exist somewhere. As luck would have it, the staggering success of Shanghai’s TRON was enough to bring Magic Kingdom back into the equation – so now we wait.


We hope you enjoyed our ranking of Disney’s coasters around the World! As always, be sure to weigh in on our social media pages and tell us what you think.

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