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What Is the Astro Orbiter at Disney World?

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The Astro Orbiter is a popular attraction at Walt Disney World Resort, located in the Tomorrowland area of the Magic Kingdom. This ride, which first opened in 1974 as Star Jets, has become a beloved part of the Disney experience for many visitors. But what exactly is the Astro Orbiter, how does it work, and what makes it unique? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about this iconic Disney ride.


The Astro Orbiter is a high-speed, space-themed carousel ride located in the Tomorrowland area of Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. First opened in 1974 as Star Jets, it was renamed and refurbished in 1994. The ride offers guests a thrilling experience, with rocket-like capsules that spin against a backdrop of planets and stars, and a joystick that allows riders to control their altitude. Its unique features, including its speed, height, and theme, set it apart from other carousel rides in the park.

The Astro Orbiter: A Brief Overview

The Astro Orbiter is an aerial carousel-type ride that offers a thrilling, space-themed adventure for guests of all ages. It’s similar to other rides like Dumbo the Flying Elephant and The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, but with a few key differences. For one, it’s faster – with a speed of 11 rotations per minute, it completes one full rotation in less than 6 seconds. Additionally, the ride is located about 80 feet off the ground, providing riders with a stunning view of the Magic Kingdom and beyond.

The History and Inspiration Behind the Astro Orbiter

Originally known as Star Jets, the ride was renamed and refurbished in 1994 as part of a comprehensive enhancement of Tomorrowland. The attraction now features rocket-like capsules that spin against a backdrop of planets and stars, giving riders the sensation of soaring through space. The design of the Astro Orbiter is inspired by retro-futuristic visions of space travel, with a nod to the planetary models popular from the 15th through 19th centuries.

What to Expect When Riding the Astro Orbiter

Boarding the Astro Orbiter is an adventure in itself. To reach the ride, guests must first enter a small elevator that takes them up to the loading area of the rocket ships. Each vehicle fits two guests, one in front and one in back. The ride vehicles are equipped with a joystick that allows riders to control the height of their rocket ship.

Once the ride begins, guests will experience a thrilling rotation around a central axis, with the option to move their vehicle higher or lower using the joystick. Despite being similar to other carousel rides in the park, the Astro Orbiter’s unique height, speed, and space theme set it apart.

Accessibility and Restrictions

The Astro Orbiter is wheelchair/ECV accessible, but guests must be able to transfer out and get into the ride vehicle. There are no specific height or age restrictions for the ride, but children under the age of 7 must be accompanied by a person who is 14 years or older. Those with height or motion sickness problems may want to avoid this attraction.

Waiting Times and Operational Hours

The Astro Orbiter typically operates from 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM, but these hours can vary depending on the day and any special events happening in the park. Wait times for the ride can range from 17 minutes to 32 minutes on average, although actual wait times can be shorter or longer depending on crowd levels.

The Astro Orbiter: A Unique Disney Experience

The Astro Orbiter offers a unique ride experience that combines thrilling speed, stunning views, and a nostalgic space theme. Whether you’re a first-time visitor to Disney World or a seasoned park-goer, this ride is sure to provide an unforgettable adventure.

Remember, the Astro Orbiter is just one of many incredible attractions at Disney World. Whether you’re looking for thrilling rides, entertaining shows, or delicious dining options, there’s something for everyone at this iconic resort. So buckle up and get ready for an out-of-this-world experience on the Astro Orbiter!

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does the Astro Orbiter ride last?

The Astro Orbiter ride lasts approximately 1.5 minutes.

Is the Astro Orbiter ride open during Disney’s special events like Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party?

Yes, the Astro Orbiter typically remains open during these special events. However, operation hours may vary, so it’s always a good idea to check the official Disney World website or app for the most up-to-date information.

Is the Astro Orbiter ride suitable for those with fear of heights?

The Astro Orbiter is located about 80 feet off the ground and offers stunning views of the Magic Kingdom. Those with a fear of heights might find the ride uncomfortable. It’s always best to consider individual comfort levels before deciding to ride.

Are there any special effects used in the Astro Orbiter ride?

The Astro Orbiter doesn’t feature any special effects like smoke, lasers, or 3D elements. However, the ride’s design and location high above Tomorrowland create a unique, space-themed experience.

Can I FastPass the Astro Orbiter ride?

As of the time of writing, the Astro Orbiter does not offer the FastPass option. However, Disney’s FastPass options can change, so it’s recommended to check the official Disney World website or app for the most current information.

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