Which Walt Disney World “Mountain” Is the Best? Our Top Pick!

Photos: Credit to Matthew Cooper (www.thetimethespace.com)

Have you taken on the “mountain” challenge at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World riding Space Mountain, Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain all in one day?  Which one did you think was the best?  We have our thoughts on which “mountain” is the best in Walt Disney World.  See if you agree.


In Magic Kingdom there are three “mountains” that guests refer to: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Splash Mountain, both found in Frontierland, and Space Mountain in Tomorrowland.  Let’s take a look at the theming, thrill factor and overall ride experience of each of these rides to find out what we think is the best mountain.


Disney is known for the immersive theming used on their rides.  Guests can be transformed into the magic easily and these three mountains are no different. 

Space Mountain: Space Mountain transfers guests into an outer space adventure where they board their rocket ship as they prepare for launch.  From the very beginning guests are transferred into the space theme as the queue provides them with a space atmosphere.  We don’t feel like the queue and theming is the best overall as the main theme doesn’t really set in until the ride itself when guests prepare to board the rocket ship.  

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad: From space to the wild west, Big Thunder Mountain takes guests on the wildest ride in the wilderness.  This theme is outstanding as the queue has touches of the wilderness throughout.  Guests can see different interactive (when working) pieces that add to the experience.  The ride itself is also visible from the waiting area making it fun to see the adventures that await riders.  The theme of the wild west is seen throughout the ride as guests fly through the west from caves to small villages all with fun aspects throughout.  We think the theming on this ride is one of the best.

Splash Mountain: Splash Mountain’s theme currently is that of Brer Fox and Brer Bear as they work to hunt down Brer Rabbit.  We find this theme to be, although controversial, one of the best in all of Disney.  The story line starts right away when boarding the log and doesn’t slow down until the very end.  From the small details in the Laughing Place to the overall story of Brer Rabbit trying to escape, every detail is important in adding to the story line.  The only downfall here is that the waiting area doesn’t have much of a theme until you are inside. There you can find photos and details adding in to the story, but the majority of the wait doesn’t add to the theme.  We are excited to see what the new Princess and Frog themed attraction will bring to this ride in the future.

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Thrill Factor

These three rides are three of the most thrilling in Walt Disney World and definitely in Magic Kingdom, but which one brings the most thrills overall?

Space Mountain: Being rushed through the dark on Space Mountain is definitely thrilling as the fear of the unknown and the inability to brace for the twists and turns adds to the thrill.  Space Mountain reaches top speeds of around 28 mph making it not the fastest ride but definitely thrilling.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad: Big Thunder Mountain races off to a high speed of 36 mph, but has more drastic ups and downs than Space Mountain does.  This runaway train ride brings the thrills with hills, drops and turns that have guests rolling with laughter.  

Splash Mountain: Splash Mountain reaches the peak speed of 40 mph as it sends guests down to the briar patch.  Not only does Splash Mountain have one of the biggest drops, it also has a few other smaller drops that bring thrills to guests as well.  These fun smaller drops bring just as much thrill and excitement as the main drop itself does.

Photo Credit: Matthew Cooper (www.thetimethespace.com)

Overall Ride Experience

Finally, we are going to look at the overall ride experience with each of these rides.  

Space Mountain: Space Mountain is a three-minute ride that guests often have to wait around an hour for mid-day.  Although this ride only tops out at 28 mph, the sudden dips, twists and turns can put a toll on the back and neck.  We know we are getting older, but Space Mountain is really starting to do a number on us lately when we ride.  Although we enjoy the ride, the overall experience isn’t our favorite of the three.  

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad: Big Thunder Mountain is also a three-minute ride and provides guests with everything they might think of when it comes to roller coasters.  It has speed, hills, dips, turns and fun around every corner.  The hard part with Big Thunder Mountain is that you can get thrown around in your seat depending on your riding partner.  This ride is also an older attraction meaning that isn’t definitely isn’t the smoothest or the quietest ride in the wilderness.

Splash Mountain: Splash Mountain is a longer ride coming in at over 10 minutes making it a true ride experience.  This ride is a nice smooth ride with fun music, great views and laughs for the whole family.  The overall ride experience is outstanding, we feel; however, the main downfall of this ride is the fact that it is a water ride and you could come out soaked.  If you don’t mind being wet, this ride is overall a great experience.

Our Top Pick

So, what do we think is the best mountain in Magic Kingdom? For us it would be Splash Mountain! We think that this ride has the best theming of the three rides. The fact that it is a longer ride makes us feel like it is worth waiting for and the experience overall with multiple drops, great music, and a funny storyline makes it a great ride overall. We hope that their overall experience stays the same as Tiana and friends make their appearance here in the future.

Disney’s Art Rendering of Future of Splash Mountain

So, what do you think is the best mountain in Magic Kingdom?  Where would you put Seven Dwarfs Mine Train?  Let us know!

About Jennifer Retzlaff

My name is Jennifer Retzlaff and I became a lifelong Disney fan during my first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of my life. I live in Iowa with my husband and two kids who are growing up too quickly for my liking. I started introducing my love for Disney early to my family with a Disney honeymoon and then trips when our youngest of 18 months. Since then, our family has been to Walt Disney World over five times and we continue to plan and dream for the next trip. I love the magic that Disney brings to people through the theme parks, cruises, adventures and movies they create. As a teacher, I try to bring that magic into my classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” I recently reached a dream of mine as I joined Magic Vacation Planner as a personal travel advisor. With this team, I can now help others plan magical vacations. As a passionate writer, I also have my own blog at magicalvacationsbyjen which is also where you can follow me on instagram for trip reviews along with tips and tricks for your next magical vacation.