Disney Parks are known for being ostentatious; it’s practically a calling card of the world’s most famous theme parks. Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, some of the most beautiful, well executed rides in existence, in all of their many iterations, and that says nothing of all of the other amazingly themed areas and rides contained in the Disney Parks. Yet, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith still stands out.
When one approaches the building containing the ride, you are met by a faux limousine, hanging upside down and made to look as though it is riding on the swirling strings of an enormous stylized guitar. I have read before that Led Zeppelin was originally intended to be the figurehead of this coaster, but were pushed aside for Aerosmith because Led Zeppelin’s asking price was too high. Without even seeing the coaster, it’s easy to understand why; there is a ton of money involved in just the themeing of the grounds surrounding Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.
After the walk past the guitar and stands selling stuff, you are welcomed to the rides queue, and this is where you see just how popular the ride is. Every time I’ve been to Disney Hollywood Studios, the line for this thing gets long early in the day, and it tends to stay that way. Luckily, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is equipped with the Fastpass system, and this can take much of the sting out of waiting for a ride. Using Fastpass, I’ve never waited longer than fifteen minutes to ride, and that includes times where the regular queue wait exceeded two hours!
After your choice of the two waiting options, you’re ushered through a few generic hallways that are supposed to look like a music studio. From there, you enter a room where a video of Aerosmith greets you. It is every bit as bad as one would expect, with Aerosmith appearing at best disinterested. The video is kind of a fun piece though, but only the most ardent fan of the band should expect anything more than a few chuckles at just how rotten it is.
After the video, you are herded like cattle into a city themed area, equipped with chain link fences, spray paint and flyers. Just as you enter, you will probably be greeted by a close up view of one of the trains launching. Not the fastest launch ever, but indoor launches almost always look faster than they’re actual speed would infer. Of course, this is no Top Thrill Dragster, but it does launch with a fair bit of force.
The coaster is equipped with the unfortunate “horse collar” type of restraints, which almost everyone seems to hate. The restraints don’t affect the launch, but they do come into play shortly after, and not in a good way.
After the train and its riders are propelled into the actual attraction, it is very difficult to tell what’s going to come next. The lighting is sparse on Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, mostly provided by illuminated signs and articles of rock n’ roll scattered about the ride area. I’d love to be more descriptive here, but it is almost impossible to tell what is going on as you ride, even after having ridden it five or six times over the years.
There are several inversions, similar to, yet not as frenetic as Flight of Fear, and a “spaghetti bowl” style of twists and turns. This is where Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster meets its biggest fault. The restraints are not suited for such a blind ride, and in addition to hurting the riders, they hurt the overall experience as well. Restraints like those found on Flight of Fear or Sky Rocket would go a long way towards making this a more enjoyable ride.
I give Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster a 6.5 out of ten, though I have no doubt my opinion would change if the restraints were altered, an adjustment I don’t foresee happening in the near future. That said, my daughter, seven years old at the time of this writing, loved Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and ranked it behind Expedition Everest as her favorite coaster of the trip. Therein could lie the greatest accomplishment of the ride, as a wonderful intermediate coaster. Perfect for those youngsters yearning for a thrill ride, but not yet tall enough for Florida’s myriad of B&M’s. Final Rating – 6.5 (Above Average Approaching Good)
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is rated ‘IN’ for Intense. It’s a 4 out of 5 on the Thrill Scale because of its launch and loops. The thrill scale is meant to help average park guests know what to expect. See the full scale here.
What’s Your Take?
What do you think of Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster? Leave a comment below. Images courtesy of CoasterImage.