Located at the end of Disney’s Hollywood Studios®’ Sunset Boulevard are two thrilling and chilling attractions. While guests immediately view and hear the screams from The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™, there is another attraction next door which harbors just as many screams and shouts as it rocks its way along its tracks. The Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster® Starring Aerosmith combines rockin’ tunes, speed, darkness, and the neon lights and signs of Los Angeles to provide guests with a thrilling limo ride.
When it opened on July 29, 1999, the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster® immediately became a guest thrill favorite and later went on to be sponsored by Hanes® in 2008. It became so popular that in March of 2006 a different version debuted in Disneyland® Paris’ Walt Disney Studios titled The Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster avec Aerosmith. Just what makes the attraction so amazing? Well, behind Test Track® Presented by Chevrolet®, it is the fastest attraction in all of Walt Disney World, maxing out at 60 miles per hour and covering over 3400 feet of track. It is also the first Disney attraction to feature a linear induction motor launch which uses electromagnets to propel riders from zero to sixty in 2.8 seconds. In addition to the launch there are also three inversions- two rollover loops and one corkscrew, one of which allows guests to experience 4.5 G’s!
With so much going on in the attraction, it’s no wonder that it was a major feat to construct it. In fact, a new electrical substation was built specifically for that area of Disney’s Hollywood Studios® to run both the attraction and the Tower of Terror™. Once power was no longer an issue, the track for the attraction was constructed before the building was erected around it.
You know you are in for a rockin’ experience as soon as you approach the courtyard outside of the attraction. Above you, there is a convertible car upside down riding the elongated and twisting neck of a massive red and white Stratocaster guitar. As you walk further towards the entrance, Aerosmith can be heard cranking from speakers everywhere, and there is a huge mural of the band standing on one of the stretch limos you will soon be boarding. As you approach the entrance itself, don’t be surprised if there are some long wait times, especially in the busy seasons. I recommend either grabbing some FastPasses or waiting on the Single Rider line which always moves pretty quickly.
Once you enter into the building itself, you find yourself in the lobby of G-Force Records which is home to not only Aerosmith but many acts in the Walt Disney Company. There are some great props including instruments and microphones, and soon you come to the recording studios. While waiting in that area, listen for an announcement paging “Hey Jude”- a homage to the classic Beatles hit.
When you are finally situated in the recording studio, all five members of Aerosmith appear as they are wrapping up a recording session. While they are talking, look on the floor of the studio for some cable that forms a classic Hidden Mickey. The band’s manager soon informs them that they are late for their concert across town, and soon, you are invited along with backstage passes- if you can get there in time! A super stretch limo is ordered for you, and you then move into the alley behind the studio to board it. This is my favorite part of the attraction as you get to watch the limos before you launch into the darkness before boarding. Talk about building up anticipation!
As you near the loading area, look for an electrical box which has the address 1401 Flower Street- this is the address of Walt Disney Imagineering in Glendale, California. Also check out the license plates of the limos before you. There are five – BUHBYE, UGOBABE, 1QKLIMO, H8TRFFC, and 2FAST4U. Each limo features one of these Aerosmith hits: “Walk This Way,” “Dude (Looks Like A Lady),” “Sweet Emotion,” “Back In The Saddle,” and “Love in a Roller Coaster.” The songs are blasted out of 125 speakers throughout each limo which boasts 24 sub-woofer 32,000 watt audio systems. Let’s just say even when you scream the music will be louder!
Once you are situated in your stretch limo and approach the launch site, listen for the local Los Angeles radio station being broadcast as locals get ready for the concert. Suddenly Steven Tyler begins shouting out a countdown from five in his distinctive voice and whoosh! You’re off! As you fly through the dark and loops, look for neon representations of historic and popular sites in Los Angeles including the Hollywood Sign and the Civic Center. Finally you make it across town and disembark your limo at the VIP entrance at Aerosmith’s concert. Talk about getting there fast and in style!
While the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster® can be intense, it is definitely one of the most thrilling and fun rides in all of WDW. You’ll come out energized and feeling like a rock star and definitely want to experience it again!
(Photos are from the author’s personal collection.)
What is your favorite park of the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster® Starring Aerosmith? Ever sat up front for the launch? Let me know in the comments below, I would love to hear from you!
Caitlin Corsello was born and raised in New York. She graduated from Adelphi University with a Masters in Mental Health Counseling in 2012. Her love for Disney started as an infant and has continued to grow with family vacations to Disney parks almost every year since. She holds a particular interest in WDW’s parks and attractions, never passing up an opportunity to visit. She looks forward to continuing to explore and learn about all things Disney and to share that passion with readers.