Classic WDW: The Astro Orbiter

by | Sep 22, 2021

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Walt Disney World has its share of spinning rides. This style of ride is generally a tame experience everyone in the family can enjoy. Unless you have issues with motion sickness or mild height changes, you are probably going to have a good time.

Dumbo is the classic Disney Parks example, but the Magic Kingdom has two more: The Magic Carpets of Aladdin and the Astro Orbiter. The Orbiter is a bit different, though. Set high atop a platform in the center of Tomorrowland, it offers thrills by its height alone. But we have so much more to discuss about this classic Disney World attraction! Let’s take a look!

A Brief History

Picture courtesy Disney
Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom Park in 1976 at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Disney)

The Astro Orbiter did not open with the rest of the Magic Kingdom. Just three years after the park opened in 1971, Disney made some big changes in Tomorrowland, adding in the Star Jets and a little roller coaster called Space Mountain. Clearly, both rides had some staying power!

Disney overhauled Tomorrowland again in 1994 and 1994. The New Tomorrowland project brought with it new colors and decorations that helped to tell the story of a bustling space port. Every attraction was part of this new theme and they Star Jets were no exception. The ride was renamed the Astro Orbiter and given a big time makeover. 

The Astro Orbiter stands today much the same as it was in 1994. The ride itself is a series of twelve colorful rockets rotating around a central spoke. Large planets and other astral forms ring the rockets to provide some extra thrills as you zip in circles. And the whole thing is set atop a fifty-foot platform.

If you crave just a little bit more detail (OK, a lot of detail), check out this episode of The Supreme Resort. Our podcasting pals get into the nitty gritty and debate over which is better: the Magic Kingdom’s Astro Orbiter versus Disneyland Astro Orbitor. That’s right. Disneyland spells it different.

The Ride

That’s what makes this attraction really special. From a ride perspective you ride up a lift from the ground level, emerging high above Tomorrowland. Feel free to walk in slow motion toward your rocket. Climb aboard, strap in, and get ready for a thrill that goes both faster and way higher than Dumbo. How high? When you pull back on the level, your rocket reaches up to eighty feet above the ground!

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The Astro Orbiter might not be for everybody. Those who are afraid of heights might not appreciate that 80-foot view. Even though you wear a seatbelt, some people might not feel secure enough. Then again, others might not even want to get in the line. The Orbiter has a fairly low capacity with only two seats per rocket and only twelve on the ride. The lines can build up a bit as a result.

If you see a short wait for this attraction, go for it. Especially at night. The lights around Tomorrowland are an extra treat. Take a moment to ride up that elevator and see all the colored lights whizzing by. This attraction remains a beacon within the heart of Tomorrowland. If you have never given it a try or it’s been too long since your last trip, work it into your plans on your next trip!

Need some help booking that trip or planning the best time to visIt Tomorrowland? Our expert travel planners are here to help. Send us a message or give us a call today to get started on your next trip! Whether it’s your first or fiftieth, we are here to help.

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