The coaster accelerates from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 2.8 seconds (making this the second-fastest attraction at the Walt Disney World Resort, behind only Test Track and the fastest ride at Disneyland Paris). The riders experience 4.5g (44 m/s2) as they enter the first inversion, more than an astronaut does on a space shuttle launch. Both versions of the attraction feature five trains, although only four can run at one time. The remaining train is kept in backup while being serviced (each train is rotated out periodically for safety reasons).
Disney's Hollywood Studios Version
After winding through a shaded outdoor queue, guests enter the offices and recording studios of record label G-Force Records (a 68,131 sq ft (6,329.6 m2) building), whose lobby is decorated with posters of real acts signed to labels owned by the Walt Disney Company.
Next, guests are led into a room looking into the recording studio, where the five members of Aerosmith are shown finishing a recording session. The group's manager, portrayed by Illeana Douglas, enters and informs them that they're late for a concert. Lead singer Steven Tyler expresses regret at being forced to leave the band's fans and requests backstage passes for the entire group. The band then departs by limousine to "the Forum" (a reference to a famous Los Angeles concert venue). The harried manager summons a "super stretch" limo, to carry guests to the concert and directs them outside, which is the concept of the ride.
The pacing of the film is such that there is a brief pause between the time that the band mentions to their manager that they should do something for their fans and Steven Tyler agreeing. The interval of time is just long enough that the line "How about some backstage passes" can be shouted from the audience (often by the cast member who is acting as the tour's "host"), making it appear that the band takes the suggestion, which is also echoed by a bandmate. Steven Tyler's next line is "Wait a minute, I love that idea. How about some backstage passes?" This film remained unaltered until 2016 when a hitherto undetected obscene hand gesture was removed from it.
Guests exit the recording studio and pass through an alley into a parking garage, owned by "Lock 'n' Roll Parking Systems". Here, guests waiting in line can see the ride's launch and sharp-eyed guests can spot the curtains in above 'apartment windows', sway from the 'force', caused by the launch. Guests then board a waiting 24 seat stretch limo for the trip across town to the concert.
After loading passengers, the "limo" stops at the entrance to a tunnel. Music is playing and an overhead variable message sign displays a series of several different messages until a countdown. After the countdown, the car is then shot into the tunnel at 57 miles per hour (92 km/h) and the souvenir photo is taken. The roller coaster goes through three inversions, two of which are roll-overs and one of which is a corkscrew on a winding track, intended to represent various Los Angeles Area Freeways, including Interstate 5, Interstate 10, and U.S. Route 101, as evident by the street signs that periodically appear on the side of the coaster. The attraction ends when the limo arrives at Aerosmith's concert backstage, letting guests off onto a red carpet.
While considered "extreme", Rock 'n' Roller Coaster has been described by roller coaster enthusiasts as being smoother, less jerky, and less uncomfortable than some similar extreme roller coasters.
As of July 2008, Hanes is the attraction's presenting sponsor.
As part of a one-night event celebrating the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015 and the Star Wars Galactic Nights event in 2017, a special Star Wars version of the attraction was presented. The initial version was presented as a race to the premiere of the film, while the Galactic Nights edition turned off all the lights.
Walt Disney Studios Park version
Rock 'n' Roller Coaster also exists at Walt Disney Studios Park in France, under the name of "Rock 'n' Roller Coaster with Aerosmith".
Although the track layout is identical to the Florida counterpart, the theme of the ride differs - instead of guests being taken on the Los Angeles freeways, the Paris version is based around an Aerosmith music video. Lighting rigs, projectors, strobes, and smoke effects are used in place of the road signs that exist in the Florida version. The name of the record company is Tour de Force (instead of "G-Force") Records, and the vehicles in the Paris version are called "Soundtrackers" instead of limousines.
The story of the Paris version is that Aerosmith, working with engineers, has created a revolutionary new music experience at the Tour de Force Records studios. After watching the pre-show which features Aerosmith's Steven Tyler hyping up the ride, guests are lured into the testing area where they board the "Soundtrackers".
A unique aspect of the Walt Disney Studios version is that each Soundtracker has its own theme. There are five different light shows and five different soundtracks, one for each Soundtracker. The themes are as follows:
- Soundtracker 1: green/yellow light show theme; plays "Back in the Saddle" and "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)"
- Soundtracker 2: pink light show theme; plays "Young Lust", "F.I.N.E., " and "Love in an Elevator"
- Soundtracker 3: multicolored light show theme; plays "Love in an Elevator" and "Walk This Way"
- Soundtracker 4: red/yellow light show theme; plays "Nine Lives"
- Soundtracker 5: blue light show theme; plays "Sweet Emotion (live)"
Main article: Hidden Mickey
- One in the pre-show - Found on a small chalkboard in the bottom right corner of the sound room (this one was made by a cast member and changes at the time).
- One in the pre-show - Found on the ground, formed by three coils of wire.
- One in place of each "Expiration Date" for the license plates on the limos.
- Many on the floor in Studio C, hidden in the carpet pattern.
- Two on the ride track itself - One found on a yellow sign behind a red limo, one on the ground in a cityscape area.
- Two in the tile mosaic in the rotunda before the recording studio near the marble doors.
- One in the post-show area to the right as one enters this area.
- Many on Steven Tyler's shirt on the poster outside.
- One on Joe Perry's medallion on the outside poster.
The roller coaster features an onboard soundtrack, similar to those found on Disneyland Paris' and Disneyland's respective Space Mountain attractions before it. Aerosmith re-recorded some of their hit songs to fit the theme of the roller coaster. Each roller coaster train features a different set of songs, specified by the license plate found on the front of the train.
- 1QKLIMO: "Nine Lives"
- UGOGIRL: "Love in an Elevator" & "Walk This Way"
- BUHBYE: "Young Lust", "F.I.N.E.*" & "Love in a Roller Coaster"
- H8TRFFC: "Back in the Saddle" & "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)"
- 2FAST4U: "Sweet Emotion" (live)
As part of the Star Wars special event versions of the attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios, a medley of music from the series was played instead of the Aerosmith tracks. This medley utilized "The Asteroid Field" theme from The Empire Strikes Back, the Rebels leitmotif, and the main theme.
Disney's Hollywood Studios
- On June 29, 2006, a 12-year-old boy from Fort Campbell, Kentucky was found to be unresponsive after the ride came to an end. Though his father administered CPR until paramedics arrived, he was declared dead en route to the hospital. The ride temporarily closed for investigation and reopened a day later after inspectors determined that the ride was operating normally. The victim had died as a result of a congenital heart defect.
Walt Disney Studios Park
- On June 26, 2007, a 14-year-old girl lost consciousness on the ride. Though paramedics attempted to revive her, she died before the ambulance arrived. A ride inspection showed no mechanical problems.
- A 40ft tall Stratocaster guitar greets visitors at the entrance of the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith. The instrument's 32ft long neck morphs into a scale-model roller-coaster track extending 320ft to the entrance arch.
- Producer Jack Douglas scored the music for the attraction by riding it "like a hundred times" with a computer strapped to his knees.