Although Disney World is first and foremost a family destination, there are plenty of thrill rides to be found at each of the four theme parks. A few of them even go beyond thrills and might be considered by some to actually be a bit scary. So what’s the scariest ride at Disney World? Let’s take a look.
Are there any scary rides at Disney World?
This is, of course, a bit difficult to answer because what some people consider to be scary, others consider to be fairly tame. And of course, your thrill-seeking teenager might love a ride while your timid kindergartener could find it terrifying. That said, there are plenty of attractions that have at least a few elements that some Guests (especially the youngest) might find a little frightening. And there are several that are designed to thrill even the most hardcore Guests. We offer a complete list of possibly scary rides later in this article.
Scariest ride at Disney World
As mentioned above, there are plenty of rides which have at least a few scary elements. But what’s the scariest ride at Disney World?
Our pick for the scariest ride at Disney World is the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This ride encompasses so many different elements of fear that it’s likely to find at least one way — if not multiple ways — to unnerve everybody who rides it.
The creepy hotel exterior and abandoned lobby positively exude a feeling of unease (and hearing other riders screaming as you approach certainly doesn’t provide any comfort). It’s not long before you encounter the staff of the hotel, who seem to take a bit of fiendish delight in sending you off to your doom.
In the pre-show, you’ll find yourself in a sort of haunted library which comes to life (after a bit of darkness, lightning, and thunder) with a full-on Twilight Zone introduction complete with Rod Serling thanks to some clever video editing and voice impersonation. During this brief episode, you’ll learn the unfortunate fate of several inhabitants of the hotel, who mysteriously disappeared during a lightning strike decades ago.
From there, you enter a creepy and disquieting basement where you board a freight elevator which moves up, down, and forward. Along the way, you’re likely to encounter several relics from prior episodes of The Twilight Zone — and perhaps even a few inhabitants in their ghostly forms, beckoning you to join them (we suggest you politely decline the invitation).
Then, the real chills begin as you, yourself, enter The Twilight Zone. Your elevator goes through a series of rocket-like launches and faster-than-gravity plummets back down to somewhat-solid ground; many of the lifts and drops are done in complete darkness, though you’ll occasionally get glimpses of the outdoors from several stories up (an extra fright for those who have a fear of heights).
Throughout the ride, you’ll hear the famous theme music from the Twilight Zone, and it’s surprisingly effective at adding to the sense of unease. You also will hear the occasional refrain of a child creepily singing a nursery rhyme — a long-standing horror movie trope.
Mercifully, your elevator will eventually return to the ground and you’re able to make your way out, one of the few people to ever return from… The Twilight Zone.
Dare to visit again? The ride is computer-randomized, so the sequence of drops and launches is completely different each and every time — one last way that this haunted tower keeps you on your toes!
Scariest show at Disney World
It’s Tough to be a Bug at Disney’s Animal Kingdom wins our pick for scariest show at Disney World because — despite its generally friendly and critter-positive message — it still delivers a heavy dose of the heebie-jeebies.
The show is admittedly scariest for little kids, but even adults might find a few portions particularly unnerving.
Among the “excitement” you’ll experience: giant spiders (thankfully not real ones) dropping from the ceiling; up-close encounters with wasp “stingers,” and a final “goodbye” that will make you feel rather like bugs are crawling underneath you.
Scary Rides at each theme park
Even rides not specifically designed to frighten can have a discomforting effect on some guests, especially those with sensory concerns or who are prone to motion sickness. Here’s a list of the rides at each park which contain elements that some folks might find scary (or thrilling, depending on your point of view).
Possibly Scary Rides and Shows at Magic Kingdom
- Astro Orbiter: Loud noises, spinning, heights
- Barnstormer: Kiddie coaster, small drops
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad: Mid-range roller coaster, small drops, loud noises, darkness
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space ranger Spin: Darkness, loud noises, villainous encounters
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant: Flying sensation
- Haunted Mansion: Dark, loud noises, spooky scenery, thunder/lightning, jump scares, scary creatures (ghosts, spiders, bats, etc)
- Jungle Cruise: Loud noises, darkness, splashes, scary creatures (tigers, snakes, etc)
- Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: Thunder/lightning, scary creatures (Heffalumps and Woozles)
- Magic Carpets of Aladdin: Splashes, spinning
- Mickey’s Philharmagic: Loud noises, splashes, air bursts, darkness
- Peter Pan’s flight: Darkness, loud noises, villainous encounters, flying sensation
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Loud noises, darkness, small drops, splashes, villainous encounters
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train: Kiddie coaster, loud noises, darkness, drops and turns
- Space Mountain: Mid-range roller coaster, darkness, loud noises
- Splash Mountain: Water flume/drop ride, loud noises, darkness, splashes, possible soaking, thunder/lightning, big drops, villainous encounters
- Tomorrowland Speedway: loud noises; vehicles bumping
- Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover: Darkness
- Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid: Loud noises, darkness, simulated water, villainous encounters
- Walt Disney World Railroad: Loud noises, darkness
- Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress: Darkness
- Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room: Loud noises, thunder/lightning, darkness
Possibly Scary Rides and Shows at EPCOT
- Frozen Ever After: Splashes, small drops, backwards motion
- Grand Fiesta Tour: Loud noises
- Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind: Full-fledged roller coaster, loud noises, darkness, high speeds, rotation, reverse motion, drops and turns
- Journey into Imagination with Figment: Darkness, loud noises, air bursts
- Living with the Land: Thunder/lightning, scary creatures
- Mission Space: Loud noises, confined spaces, darkness, simulated peril, G-forces, motion sickness
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure: Splashes
- Seas with Nemo and Friends: Darkness, scary creatures
- Spaceship Earth: Darkness
- Soarin’: Heights, darkness, loud noises, flying sensation
- Test Track: Loud noises, darkness, high speeds, sharp turns, simulated crashes and near misses
Possibly Scary Rides and Shows at Hollywood Studios
- Alien Swirling Saucers: Loud noises, spinning
- Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway: Darkness, loud noises, thunder/lightning
- Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run: Loud noises, darkness, flight simulator, air bursts
- Muppet*Vision 3D: Loud noises, darkness, splashes
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith: Full-fledged roller coaster, drops & turns, inversions (upside down), loud noises, darkness
- Slinky Dog Dash: Kiddie Coaster, loud noises, drops and turns
- Star Tours: Loud noises, darkness, motion simulator
- Star Wars Rise of the Resistance: Darkness, Loud noises, drops, flight simulation, villainous encounters
- Toy Story Mania: Loud noises, darkness
- Twilight Zone Tower of Terror: Multi-story drop ride, free-fall drops and sudden launches, loud noises, darkness, scary creatures (ghosts), heights, thunder/lightning
Possibly Scary Rides and Shows at Animal Kingdom
- Avatar Flight of Passage: Simulated flight, darkness, loud noises, splashes
- Dinosaur: Darkness, Loud Noises, sharp turns, scary creatures
- Expedition Everest: Full-fledged roller coaster, backwards motion, scary creatures, heights, turns and drops, darkness
- It’s Tough to be a Bug: Loud noises, villainous encounters, splashes, scary creatures, air bursts, sensation of crawling bugs
- Kali River Rapids: Water ride; splashes, possible soaking, loud noises, drops
- Kilimanjaro Safaris: loud noises, scary creatures, closeup animal encounters
- Na’vi River Journey: Darkness
- Triceratop Spin: Flying sensation, simulated flight