Is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Scary? Speed, Drops & Intensity

Is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Scary?  Find out in this article today!
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster” by HarshLight licensed under CC BY 2.0

If you’re heading to Disney World for the first time, and you’re going to Hollywood Studios, then you’ve probably looked at the listed attractions and wondered to yourself: is Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster scary?  It’s a great question, and one we’re going to examine in this article, as we help you understand how fast this ride is, how many drops there are, how intense this coaster is, and if we think it’s suitable for kids or adults that aren’t thrill seekers.

How Scary is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster?

So there are a few factors that play into how scary the ride is. First of all, it’s a higher speed roller coaster, you’re in the dark a majority of the queue and ride, and at some point you will find yourself upside down. The mechanics of this ride may seem scarier at a glance, but it doesn’t stand out to me as a scary ride per se. The reason is in the theme, which I’ll discuss next. 

The ride is so creatively designed from the second you set foot in the queue to the minute you leave the gift shop after disembarking. You’re taken on a ride, and if you let yourself be immersed in the story and the experience, this ride seems marginally less scary. If you’re afraid of roller coasters and your first thought is “no way”, don’t write off the experience just yet. 

Let’s break it down. 

Ride Theming: What to Expect

As I mentioned, this ride pays tribute to Aerosmith and you’ll be rocking out to their music through the entirety of the experience. The theme is very much rock n’ roll, and you’ll be instantly transported to the streets of Los Angeles. Once you make your way indoors, you’ll pass through glitzy rooms decorated with vintage records and guitars, realistic recording studios and finally a back alley where your stretch limo awaits.

In regards to the theme being scary, I don’t believe it’s scary at all. If anything, it adds to the experience. The combination of nostalgic rock memorabilia,  the neon highway signs and the realistic set makes this ride a visually stimulating experience, and an all around good time. I particularly appreciate the alley being appropriately named, “Lock N’ Roll”.

A quick tip – keep an eye on the wait time. The first part of the ride is shaded, but it’s still outdoors and can get a little toasty.

  • Scary Meter Rating: 1

Rock n’ Roller Coaster’s Story

The best part about this experience is that it makes you the star of the show. You’ll walk into a recording studio, “G-Force” records (this is a good indication of what’s to come),  interrupting a recording session with the 5 members of Aerosmith. They’re late for a concert, and you’re invited along with a pair of backstage passes. You leave the recording studio and head into the alley where your stretch limo awaits. The car pulls out of the loading area and stops abruptly at a red light. The second the light turns green, you’re racing towards downtown Hollywood. . 

The Rock ‘n’ Roller coaster opened 23 years ago, and has stayed true to theme over the course of the last few decades. Steven Tyler and Joe Perry personally assisted Disney Imagineers in the styling of this ride. They gave insight into set design, and were even some of the first to test the ride. After over 20 years and this ride now being a staple in Hollywood Studios – here’s a fun fact. Did you know that the Rolling Stones were the original choice to headline this ride? 

Like the theme, the story makes this more of an immersive experience. I feel that it detracts from the scary feature, as you feel like you’re a part of the action and excited for what’s next.

  • Scary Meter Rating: 1

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Speed

I’ll get right to it. This is one of Disney World’s faster rides. It starts with the initial launch, where you’ll be taken from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 2.8 seconds. I’m a fan of fast roller coasters, and I ride rides frequently that are faster than this. But let me tell you, the rate at which you reach that speed—wow. This launch is fast! Be sure you listen to your speakers and you’re sitting all the way back. It’s not fun when your head taps the back of your seat as you’re launched into downtown Los Angeles.

The good news is this launch isn’t shocking. While you’re waiting in the alley, you’ll be standing behind a chained fence, watching stretch limos hit the gas as soon as the light turns green. So it’s not really a shock what’s in store for you.

There are twists, turns, and inversions throughout the ride. This is one of the first attractions at Disney World to include inversions like this. You’ll hit the first loop immediately after launch, hitting it at 4-5 G’s (this is similar to what an astronaut will experience during launch). Remember when you walked into “G-Force Records”? This may have been indicative of what was to come.

Despite the initial speed of the ride, the remainder of the ride is surprisingly smooth and not nearly as fast. If you can make it through the first few seconds, it’s smooth sailing from there. I’d say the speed is one of the best parts of this ride for thrill seekers, but if you’re prone to motion sickness, think twice about stepping into this limo. You will be upside down 3 times by the end of the ride.

  • Scary Meter Rating: 5

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Drops

There are quick dips and few sharp, unexpected turns, and as mentioned before, a few loops. There aren’t a lot of unexpected drops. In comparison to other rides like Space Mountain and Expedition Everest, this is a very smooth ride.

There will be rolling hills through the Hollywood signs, and a few quick turns (this is LA traffic, after all) but no steep drops. 

  • Scary Meter Rating: 2

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Special Effects

There are no extreme special effects during the ride portion of this coaster. What you see is what you get, as the coaster itself travels through the dark set of neon signs along the twisting and turning freeway.

I’d say the best and most memorable special effect (and perhaps the only one) on the ride is the scene in the recording studio, where Aerosmith themselves seem to be present. This brief piece of video magic is the only standout special effect in the ride. This rates special effects fairly low on the scary scale.

  • Scary Meter Rating: 2

Best Age for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster

This attraction opened around the same time I was tall enough to ride it. It’s a more intense ride than other coasters at Disney World. You have to remember that the ride itself occurs mostly in the dark, g-force is experienced, there are 3 inversions and the ride reaches a speed of 60 miles per hour. This may be ok for a more adventurous child (I was fine at about 10 years old) but it isn’t for everyone.

This ride has a height requirement of 48 inches—so I recommend ages around roughly 10 years and older for this attraction. This isn’t a “scary” ride in my opinion, but it does have physical effects that could scare younger children. G-force is a strange thing for the average person, so if you’re susceptible to motion sickness, you’ll feel this in the inversions, and the ride can be disorienting with a majority of it being in the dark.

Again, please keep in mind Disney’s height requirement for this ride. It’s deceivingly higher than rides like Space Mountain or Everest, and the highest currently in Hollywood Studios.

Younger children will likely not pick up on the theme, history or story of the ride, and it could simply be too scary based on the noise volume (this ride is LOUD), and the darkness alone. Even if your child meets the height requirement, ask yourself if any of the aforementioned factors could be a deterrent.  I’ve learned that bringing a child on a ride they’re not ready for can put a damper on the rest of your day, so be mindful of this.

Conclusion

So, ultimately, is Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster scary?  Well, when I’m asked this question, my initial response is no. It’s designed to be an immersive experience from start to finish. There are no “creep” factors, this ride isn’t haunted, and it’s not truly designed to scare the riders—it’s designed to thrill riders.

Overall, in terms of this ride’s “scary factor,” I think it truly depends on each individual Disney guest. So long as you meet the height requirements, and you don’t have any obvious risk factors for riding this coaster, it’s a thrilling experience—not a terrifying experience. 

As mentioned before, this is a smooth, a quick ride, and is as high energy as the queue itself. You’re a part of the story from beginning to end, and you land in a gift shop (in true Disney fashion) packed with customizable rock products and ride souvenirs.

I previously mentioned that this ride has stayed primarily the same over the past 20 years. In 2019, Disneyland Paris closed their version of Rock n’ Roller Coaster to make way for Avenger Assemble: Flight Force.  So who knows what the future holds for this attraction at Hollywood Studios.  

I think, overall, as long as you’re not someone that hates dark rides, or high speed rides, or roller coasters, it’s a must do.  But I think if any of those three things truly bothers you, then this might be on the borderline of being too scary for you.

  • Overall Scary Meter Rating: 5

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