These are the BEST Disney World Rides in 2023

The Top 10 Best Rides in Disney World Ranked for 2023

Disney World Magic Kingdom - Main Street USA with (from left to right) - Chip, Donald Duck, Pluto, Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, Goofy, Dale

Disney World had some significant changes in the park in 2022 and even more in 2023. With the closing of Splash Mountain to make way for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, Tron Lightcycle Run finally opening in Tomorrowland, and Cosmic Rewind capturing the hearts of guests in Epcot, Disney World feels as if it’s in a transition phase for its rides.

The rides at Disney World are getting increasingly extravagant as the years go by, but are they any better than the beloved classic rides like Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, or Tower of Terror?

There are 54 rides at Disney World as of March 2023, but the question arises: if we compare all of the rides at the park, new and old, which would be in the top 10?

Of course, anything ranked is subjective, as my ranking would be and probably is different from other people’s. However, if we look at factors such as ride experience, wait times, queue experience, and immersiveness (to name a few), we can determine which rides at Disney World are better than the rest.

These ten rides are the best Disney World offers, the “must-ride” attractions at the park, and the rides that could easily be the highlight of your vacation.

These are the BEST Disney World rides in 2023!

#10 – Tron Lightcycle Run

Tron Lightcycle Run is the latest addition to Magic Kingdom and one of the best this park has had in years. Located in Tomorrowland, Tron Lightcycle Run takes you into the digital world of Tron, where you compete as the Blue Team in a Lightcycle race against the Orange Team.

You can think of Tron Lightcycle Run as a mix of Space Mountain, Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, and Test Track. It contains the speed of Test Track, the launch of Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, and the indoor darkness of Space Mountain combined to create an unforgettable experience.

The best part about Tron Lightcycle Run has to be the Lightcycles. The closest experience to Tron would be the Motocoaster at Six Flags Darien Lake or Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. Still, even those rides have a different feel than riding on Tron’s Lightcycles.

The Tron Lightcycles are the closest thing you can experience to riding a futuristic motorcycle at high speeds. Instead of sitting straight up like on a traditional roller coaster, you bend forward and hold the handlebars as if riding a bike.

The restraints on the Lightcycles are little bars behind your legs, locking you in place. It’s an incredible ride experience but can be a little uncomfortable (especially if you are a bigger person).

Tron Lightcycles in motion
The Tron Lightcycles in motion

If you are too big to ride the Lightcycles, luckily, the Lightrover option (located in the back of the train) is in a more traditional style and is the most comfortable ride vehicle in recent memory. The Lightrover has comfortable cushions and tons of leg room where even 6’6 people will have leg space. It’s like the Mercedes of ride vehicles.

The only downside to the ride is that the story is slightly hard to see if you ride near the front of the train because the ride is so fast you’ll barely see what’s going on. Sitting in the back allows you to see everything.

Overall, Tron is an incredible roller coaster experience and the perfect addition to Tomorrowland.

Check out the full review for the ride here!

#9 – Kali River Rapids

Now that Splash Mountain was closed for the remainder of 2023 and partially through 2024, Kali River Rapids has officially become the best water ride (not including the ones at Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach) at Disney World!

Unlike Splash Mountain, Kali River Rapids at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a river rapids attraction (not a flume boat ride) located in the Asia section of the park. On the ride, you float down the wild Chakranadi River and witness the illegal logging and subsequent destruction of the environment. 

Despite how that description sounds, Kali River Rapids is a beautifully designed ride. Vibrant trees surround you as you float down the river, paired with an incredible view of Expedition Everest framed perfectly in the background. The contrast between the gorgeous flora compared to the torn-down and burnt trees that quickly surround you as you move down the river is jarring yet effective in the story that’s told. 

On Kali River Rapids, you won’t just get wet; you’ll get soaked! (Video Source)

Yet, the ride’s atmosphere isn’t why anyone goes on Kali River Rapids. Kali River Rapids is one of the most consistently fun experiences at Disney World. It’s the only ride in the park where you’ll form a bond with strangers. 


On Kali River Rapids, you don’t just get wet; you get soaked. However, only some people on the raft do. While you ride, you don’t know who will be the unlucky (or lucky) rider to get the most drenched. The raft is constantly spinning while you go down the river, and the people who are going backward tend to be the ones to get the wettest. 

You laugh as you float down the river, waiting to see the next unfortunate victim of the waves. Will it be you or the person across from you? It’s a hilarious and refreshing ride from beginning to end, especially on a hot summer day! If you want to cool off from the Florida sun, you can’t do better than Kali River Rapids!

#8 – Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirates of the Caribbean remains one of the most popular attractions in the park and is one of the best Disney World rides in 2023. On Pirates of the Caribbean, you go on an adventure to the Caribbean, where pirates roam and plunder. There you’ll come across a group of pirates as they search for the infamous Captain Jack Sparrow in the village of Puerto Dorado.

What makes Pirates of the Caribbean, and by extension, all the classic Disney rides designed by Walt Disney, so incredible is how immersive the experience is for riders. From the moment you enter the queue (inspired by the Castillo de San Felipe del Morro in San Juan, Puerto Rico) until you exit the gift shop, you’ll feel like you are in the golden age of piracy.

When you enter the ransacked village of Puerto Dorado, it’s hard not to appreciate how incredible the storytellers of Disney were in their creation of this ride. Why is it that when you ask any Disney fan about the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, you’ll get many different answers about what moment sticks out to them the most?

Pirates of the Caribbean Three Prisoners try to lure the dog with the keys with a bone
The scenes in Pirates of the Caribbean are iconic

Whether it be the dunking of the mayor, the woman chasing the pirate with her broom, the woman in the red dress, or Jack Sparrow himself, there are so many aspects to the ride that manages to stick with you well after you leave the boats. Then there is the iconic song, “Yo Ho (A Pirates Life For Me).”

The main song of the ride may be as memorable as “It’s A Small World” is, but instead of receiving hate for the tune’s catchiness, it receives love.

It’s hard not to love Pirates of the Caribbean, and it’s no wonder how it remains one of the best attractions at Disney World, even in 2023!

#7 – Space Mountain

Before Tron Lightcycle Run or Seven Dwarves Mine Train, there were only two roller coasters at Magic Kingdom, Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain. While Thunder Mountain is the “wildest ride in the wilderness,” Space Mountain could be called the “wildest ride in space” (not as catchy, but you get it).

Though Space Mountain is one of the oldest roller coasters at Disney World (first beginning operation in 1975), it remains one of the best rides in the park.

What makes Space Mountain an unforgettable experience is the combination of the ride’s darkness, the sound effects, and the simple but effective practical effects on the ride.

Though Space Mountain isn’t that fast, with a max speed of 27 mph, it feels intense, mainly because of the ride’s darkness. On Space Mountain, you are surrounded by darkness, unable to see in front of you, to simulate being on a rocket ship flying in space. Space Mountain contains sudden drops and turns that are impossible to make out that never fail to catch you unaware, yet the ride stays smooth from beginning to end.

Disney World - Space Mountain's iconic hyperspace tunnel
The iconic blue light tunnel in Space Mountain

Then there is the sound design.

While you turn and drop, you’ll hear the whooshing of passing spaceships, the whizzing of engines, and the buzzing of shooting stars. All of these sounds help you feel like you’re moving faster than you are, making the experience so much fun.

In recent years, Disney has begun to add screens to their rides with computer graphics for their visual effects. That’s not the case on Space Mountain. On Space Mountain, Disney uses practical techniques that create a more realistic feel.

Each of the thousands of stars are little lights strategically placed to make riders feel like they are in space. The planets are models built at a scale to make them visible but look far away. Space Mountain maintains the classic feel of Disney World while somehow still feeling modern.

In other words, Space Mountain is timeless and, therefore, one of the best rides at Disney World in 2023.

#6 – Cosmic Rewind

Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind is the newest roller coaster attraction featured at Epcot, and it’s quickly become one of the best Disney World rides to date. On Cosmic Rewind, you go on an outer space adventure with Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy as they try to save the universe from a Celestial. 

Cosmic Rewind is like an upgraded Space Mountain that takes all the successful elements of the ride and brings them to the next level. 

One of the reasons why the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise is so popular with fans is how they incorporate classic 80s songs into the story. In the first Guardians of the Galaxy, “Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Swede was one of many songs that initially drew audiences to love the characters. 

Cosmic Rewind also perfectly uses classic 80s songs to draw the riders’ emotions and make a great ride unforgettable. Six songs can play during Cosmic Rewind:

Each song manages to change the feeling of Cosmic Rewind completely. If you get “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” for example, the ride becomes emotional to the point that some people even had tears brought to their eyes. But if you get “Conga,” the ride becomes an even happier experience than it would otherwise be. 

Cosmic Rewind is an incredible attraction and has quickly become Epcot’s best ride!

#5 – Haunted Mansion

With Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion is the other most iconic ride at Disney World, and for a good reason. When Disney first imagined Haunted Mansion in 1969, it was groundbreaking for its use of mirrors and optical illusions to create the 999 ghosts. In 2023, the Haunted Mansion is still one of the best rides at Disney World and will continue to be a timeless experience.

The Haunted Mansion is the ride that started the concept of “the queue being just as important as the ride,” which Disney is known for having. The experience begins as soon as you walk through the gates to the Mansion. You see the carriage drawn by the ghost horse, then meet the previous owners and their busts before reading the gravestones in the cemetery, all before even entering the house.

Then when you do enter the house and meet the Ghost Host, the queue gets even better with the iconic stretching room. Each painting in the room tells a macabre story, from the ballerina on a tightrope to the older woman sitting on the gravestone, only revealed after the room reaches its peak. And if you look up, you’ll even glimpse the Ghost Host’s real body, but only for an instant.

Disney World - Haunted Mansion Ballroom scene
The dancing ghosts in the Haunted Mansion’s ballroom

The queue is impressive alone, but the ride is where the true magic happens. As you tour the Haunted Mansion, each room you enter is more incredible than the next. Whether it’s the unforgettable ballroom where ghost guests dance beneath the moonlight, the seance room where instruments fly above your head, or the graveyard where the ghosts sing their iconic “Grim Grinning Ghosts” song, every bit of the ride is outstanding.

The Haunted Mansion is a ride you can go on repeatedly without ever getting bored, making it one of the best rides at Disney World in 2023!

#4 – Expedition Everest

Expedition Everest is arguably Disney’s most ambitious project to this date. It’s the tallest ride at Disney World and the most expensive, estimated at $100,000,000, and the world’s second most costly ride behind Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure in Universal Studios ($300,000,000).

It makes sense, considering Disney managed to build an entire replica snow-capped mountain for the ride. As the name suggests, Expedition Everest is a roller coaster in a replica of Mount Everest. Located in Disney’s Animal Kingdom in the Asia section, Expedition Everest is the centerpiece of that section of the Animal Kingdom and is visible in all park sections.

Expedition Everest is one of the best roller coaster experiences in the world. Visually, the ride is gorgeous (which is a theme with most Animal Kingdom rides). From passing mountaintop waterfalls and climbing through a deserted temple and then the breathtaking view of Animal Kingdom you get while dropping out of the mountain, there is nothing about Expedition Everest that isn’t beautiful.

Disney World - Expedition Everest Drop
The 80 ft drop on Expedition Everest

As a ride, Expedition Everest is amazing. It is a cinematic roller coaster experience that can tell an easy-to-understand story without any dialogue, which is something most roller coasters don’t even attempt to do. The main character, the Yeti, is as imposing as ever and effective in its usage. It’s because of the Yeti that the most exciting parts of the ride occur.

Both the 80 ft main drop and the first backward are unique experiences in Disney World. No other ride in the park has a drop of that length, and going down them is just so much fun.

All elements combined easily make Expedition Everest one of the best rides at Disney World!

#3 – Flight of Passage

Flight of Passage in Pandora at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is one of the most immersive rides at Disney World.

Like Soarin’ in Epcot, instead of taking a trip around Earth, on Flight of Passage, you take a trip around the Na’vi planet, Pandora, on a flying banshee. Though the rides might be similar in that both are flight simulators, the execution of Flight of Passage is so much better (even though Soarin’ is a fantastic ride on its own).

Flight of Passage makes you feel like you are riding a living creature on another planet. You can, quite literally, smell the alien plants of the Na’vi jungles and feel the breeze of the ocean while you fly over it. You’ll feel the banshee that you’re sitting on breathing beneath you. It might seem weird initially, but it’s necessary because the banshee is supposed to be alive.

Flight of Passage Queue
Flight of Passage Queue

Flight of Passage is an out-of-this-world experience that would be perfect but has one downside. Since it is a screen ride, you might get severe motion sickness. The same problem happens on Soarin’, which people say an easy remedy to motion sickness is looking away.

Unfortunately, on Flight of Passage, you can’t look away. No matter where you look, you’ll be in Pandora (in other words, surrounded by the screen on all sides). The only slight remedy is closing your eyes, which ruins the ride.

But, if you take the motion sickness out of the equation, Flight of Passage is, by far, Animal Kingdom’s most immersive ride and the best in the park. It’s an experience you won’t want to miss!

#2 – Tower of Terror

Tower of Terror in Hollywood Studios is one of the best Disney World rides and one of the best tower drop rides in the world.

Typically, tower drop rides are as basic as they come. You go up a tall tower and drop back to the bottom. Sometimes, tower drop rides can spice things up by launching you into the air (Space Shot) or bouncing you multiple times before you reach the bottom (Turbo Drop), but that is the extent of those rides.

Tower of Terror isn’t like other drop rides at all. First, the ride takes place in a Twilight Zone episode, making you feel like you are part of the show. Taking place in the haunted Hollywood Tower Hotel, the story goes that on a fateful night, a few guests took an elevator ride and disappeared after lightning struck the tower. Now, it’s your time to ride that same elevator!

Tower of Terror Pre-Show
The unfortunate guests of the Hollywood Tower

To start, the theming of the Hollywood Tower is impeccable. Cobwebs litter the foyer, where previous guests’ belongings remain. Disney did an incredible job making the hotel look frozen in time like you’re walking in a picture taken from the 1930s. The eerie music playing in the background before you enter the pre-show library room helps paint that picture.

Once you get on the elevator, it quickly becomes apparent that the Tower of Terror isn’t just a tower drop ride but also a dark ride. On it, you go through multiple rooms and hallways in the Hollywood Tower, where you meet the ghostly guests and experience the Twilight Zone intro before you even get to the main event; the multiple drops.

Tower of Terror Drop
Tower of Terror’s drop

On Tower of Terror, the ride’s programming makes the number of drops you experience random, so you never know how many times or how far you’ll drop. On the ride, you can freefall as short as one story, up to 13, and anywhere between.

Yet, somehow, the Tower of Terror is more fun than scary. You’ll smile and laugh between screams, precisely how a ride should be. It’s a near-perfect ride in all ways.

For years, Tower of Terror was Disney’s masterpiece. It’s no wonder this is one of the best rides at Disney World!

#1 – Rise of the Resistance

Rise of the Resistance is the best ride at Disney World. It is, by far, the most technologically advanced ride in the park that combines everything great about Disney and Star Wars into one epic attraction. With Rise of the Resistance, all the advancements that the Disney Imagineering team has made over the years have led to this achievement in ride experience in terms of animatronics, immersiveness, storytelling, and, most importantly, delivering on the Disney Magic.

The Cinematic Queue Experience on Rise of the Resistance Will Blow Your Mind

Disney World -Rise of the Resistance Queue
The Stormtrooper Platoon in the Rise of the Resistance Queue

Rise of the Resistance queue is one of the most cinematic line experiences in the park. After you enter the transport ship, you transport from Galaxy’s Edge into a seemingly life-size Star Destroyer filled with a platoon of First Order Stormtroopers. The transition into the Star Destroyer happens seamlessly, and the acting from the Cast Members who play the role of First Order soldiers makes it even better.

The ride is one of Disney’s new trackless attractions, similar to Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. What stands out about the ride is the mix of practical effects, clever usage of screens, and the most realistic animatronics in the park.

The Screens on Rise of the Resistance Blend in Seamlessly

On most rides that use screens, they blend poorly with the experience. Usually, they place you in front of a screen, then move you to the next room and put you in front of another (think most Universal Studios rides). On Rise of the Resistance, screens aren’t the primary source of action. Instead, they blend in seamlessly with the rider’s movement.

Primarily, the screens are the windows on the Star Destroyer. You can see the massive space battle occurring outside throughout the ride, but they blend in perfectly, making you forget that you are watching a video on a screen. Since you’re constantly moving, you never get disoriented or sick from the screens, either.

The Best Set Pieces on A Disney World Ride

Disney World - The AT-ATs on Rise of the Resistance
The AT-AT bay on Rise of the Resistance

Next, the practical effects and set designs are the best Disney has ever made. Each set piece on the ride is just as incredible as the last, showcasing how far Disney has come. The stand-out has to be the AT-AT room, where the Finn animatronic battles with stormtroopers on an above ledge. The detail put into the AT-AT is so unbelievable that it wouldn’t be surprising if they were fully functioning.

The Most Advanced Animatronics on a Disney World Ride

Disney World - Rise of the Resistance Kylo Ren Animatronic
Kylo Ren Animatronic on Rise of the Resistance

The animatronics on Rise of the Resistance are top-notch. If you thought the Na’vi animatronic on Na’vi River Journey was amazing, the Kylo Ren, General Hux, and Finn animatronics would make you forget you aren’t looking at real people.

Their motions are so fluid and smooth, especially Kylo Ren’s when he uses the Force to pull your rover towards him. But the most incredible moment is when Kylo Ren gets blasted into space from a stray X-Wing shot. How his arms swing, and he loses his balance, is so lifelike.

Rise of the Resistance shows how far Disney has come in their technology for animatronics. It’s hard to imagine how they can improve, but they will.

Rise of the Resistance is the Epitome of Disney Magic

Rise of the Resistance is the epitome of Disney Magic in action. Rise of the Resistance delivers everything you could want on a ride to the fullest extent on this attraction. With a collection of masterclass rides that Disney World has, Rise of the Resistance stands above the rest.

The Top 10 Rides in Disney World in 2023

Disney World Spaceship Earth Epcot
Spaceship Earth in EPCOT

These are what I consider the best rides at Disney World in 2023. These ten rides are the ones that showcase the best of what Disney has to offer and epitomize what Disney means when they say “Disney Magic.”

Of course, this list is purely subjective, and the top ten rides may differ entirely for you! Disney World has so many incredible rides that you could argue for any attraction in the park to be in the top ten!

Let me know in the comments below what you think are the top 10 rides at Disney World!

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