Announcing the Third Annual Theme Park Insider Awards

On July 4, 2004, will announce the winners of the third annual Theme Park Insider Awards, selected by the website's more than 8,000 registered members.

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Published: May 26, 2004 at 8:13 PM

On July 4, 2004, will announce the winners of the third annual Theme Park Insider Awards, selected by the website's more than 8,000 registered members. Awards will be given in the following categories:

Best Theme Park
Universal's Islands of Adventure is the defending champ in this category, having won both previous awards.

Best Theme Park for Kids
Legoland California won the inaugural award in this category last year.

Best Attraction
Islands of Adventure's Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man captured this award in 2002 and 2003.

Best Family Attraction
This award will be presented for the first time this year, and will go to the highest rated attraction without a height restriction.

Best New Attraction
Also debuting this year, the award will go to the highest-rated new attraction (no clones) opened to the public after June 1, 2003.

Best Restaurant in a Theme Park
Islands of Adventure's Mythos won this honor last year, taking the award from the 2002 winner, Disneyland's Blue Bayou.

Best Hotel at a Theme Park Resort
Disneyland's Grand Californian Hotel was the winner in 2003, besting previous winner Universal Orlando's Portofino Bay Hotel.

Website members rate may each attraction, restaurant and hotel at the world's major theme parks on a scale from 0 to 10. They may rate each only once and all votes expire after 12 months.

Locations are eligible for the annual awards once they have been rated a minimum number of times. The highest rated eligible location in each category on June 30, 2004 will be crowned the winner in that category.

ABOUT THEMEPARKINSIDER.COM is one of the leading sources of information online for planning a theme park vacation, attracting more than 200,000 unique readers and serving more than 1.2 million page views per month. The site is independently owned by its founder, operated by its members and not affiliated with any theme park or entertainment company.

In 2001, the site won the journalism industry's highest honor for websites, the Online Journalism Award, for its coverage of theme park safety. The Online Journalism Award was given by a jury of news professionals from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, the same organization which awards the Pulitzer Prizes to newspapers.

Readers' Opinions

From Krista Jelsky on May 28, 2004 at 9:08 AM
Hmm, kinda weird how Cedar Point doesn't win anything on here, but yet holds the most records every year everywhere else!!! Bias maybe???
From Matt Smeltzer on May 28, 2004 at 10:23 AM
Just because you build something really tall or really long does not make it an immersive, entertaining, fun experience. From what I've seen around here, adherence to well-defined themes seems to make people the happiest with the rides they love.
From Jason Herrera on May 28, 2004 at 12:08 PM
Y'know, Matt makes some good points!

Good call, bud.

From Robert Niles on May 28, 2004 at 2:24 PM
Yes, the site is called *Theme* Park Insider, after all.
From Derek Potter on May 28, 2004 at 9:00 PM
aw come on Robert, we all know Dragster is themed..hehe (actually not too badly either) That and Disaster Transport...which could win an award...for the worst themed ride ever. (Those neon cardboard boxes get me every time I pass them)

The Point has little theming, but good rides and great service, and besides, any "theme" park site that talks this much about Magic Mountain can surely bend the rules in this contest for those "non theme" parks outside of California and Florida.

From Robert Niles on May 28, 2004 at 10:18 PM
Actually, anything listed on the site could win... if people vote strongly for it. And we do list many, many non-themed amusement park attractions on the site, including everything at Cedar Point, Magic Mountain and the other major Six Flags parks.

All I was saying was that a site named Theme Park Insider tends to attract more fans of themed attractions than a site named Thrill Ride something-or-other, or whatever. And those fans tend to vote for the themed rides.

But it is up to you, collectively, to decide who the winners this year will be.

From Derek Potter on May 29, 2004 at 9:35 PM
I was half joking by the way....
From daniel sears on June 2, 2004 at 1:51 PM
come on

you know mk is bound to pick up the most ison't it after all it fits in to all the catagories perfictly doson't it

From Joe Lane on June 2, 2004 at 5:21 PM
Not exactly. Disney managed Best Theme Park Restaurant in 2002 and Best Resort Hotel in 2003, but the rest of the category wins have gone to attractions other than Disney. Incidently, the two past Disney awards have gone to Disneyland, not MK, so it'll be a tough call. They might manage a Best Family Attraction win somewhere, but it's anybody's game at this point. Personally, I think MK is hard pressed to win much of anything this year.
From Ben Mills on June 2, 2004 at 6:04 PM
Hey Robert, you should let us know what percentage of the vote each winner got. It'd be interesting to know how much Spidey wins by.
From Kevin Baxter on June 3, 2004 at 3:12 AM
Okay, this isn't a voting thing, people. This is due to the ratings. So Spider-Man may get something like a 9.8794783 average while Number Two gets 9.748302.

Disney and Universal tend to get higher ratings because more people go to them. WAY more. We talk about SFMM a bit, because SoCal is a big theme park area. But we do mostly talk about it in a negative light. And we tend not to talk about Cedar Point because not that many people outside of Ohio really give a damn, and there are just too many CP fans out there who are complete and total morons. For example, a couple years back when we were getting slammed by some Pointyheads, I checked out their rating systems and the vast majority tended to rate the coasters all 10s and not rate any of the crappier rides. (BTW, such ballot stuffing is tolerated on lesser sites, but will just get all your votes dumped on TPI. So rate many rides and rate them fairly!)

Furthermore, and most important, TPI gets its votes from people of all ages. CP voters tend to fondly remember puberty, if they have, in fact, reached it yet.

From Tom Sanna on June 3, 2004 at 10:17 AM
Where to begin, where to begin . . .

Ballot stuffing? CP's ranked seventh on this site! I know many people look for different things in a park than I do, but what does Sea World Orlando deliver? I've been to Islands of Adventure and MGM at Disneyworld, and I thought both were great, but CP beats the stuffing out of both of them. Perhaps--if people stop giving 9's to Popeye and Bluto's Bilge Barges or whatever it's called, which is barely more entertaining than its line--the park rankings would be a little more accurate.

Nonetheless, I think it's a horrendous shame that CP isn't raking in cash because it's in northern Ohio rather than SoCal or Florida. I am one of six college students who just spent two days there, and we all had a blast. MF and Dragster define the ranking of 10 in my book, and I'm not the only one who thinks so. And yes, I am of legal voting age.

From Jason Moore on June 3, 2004 at 12:39 PM
Stop giving 9's to The Bilge Rat Barges?! Are you kidding me?! That is by far the best raft ride out there! It is longer and better than any other I have been on (Congo at BGT, the one at AK, etc...). They did an amazing job using a ride concept that has been done many times and making it better than all the rest and well worth the high ratings.
From Matt Smeltzer on June 3, 2004 at 2:22 PM
I LOVE Bluto and Popeye's Bilge Rat Barges--it's by far the best rapids ride I've ever been on, so I gave it a 10. Your rating counts as much as everyone else''s just that far more people gave it a 9 or 10 than a 7 or 8. Don't tell me how to vote and I won't tell you...
From Ben Mills on June 3, 2004 at 3:10 PM
You've gotta wonder whether CP would do that much better in Orlando, tho. The Central Florida parks tend to attract more families than groups of thrill loving teenagers. I'm not saying that the thrill junkies aren't there, but when a city's main theme park beacon is Disney World, it ain't exactly gonna be making Six Flags devotees jump outta their seats, is it?
From anomynous person on June 3, 2004 at 4:36 PM
There are many good choices out there, choose them wisely. One of my choices fro best attraction would be magic mountain's XtReMe, Cedar Point's Dragster, even though I never ridden it. For best theme park overall, it should be a park that has things for everyone. I would not nominate my work (SFMM) for this, although this is not a voting thing. If disneyland and California adventure were put together, that woud be close to what I'm mentioning.

Well see what the results turnout to be

From Kevin Baxter on June 5, 2004 at 1:03 AM
I love the Pointyhead up there totally proving my point. If Popeye was in Cedar Point it would be the greatest ride in the entire world! But it isn't, so it is only worth a 7. Meanwhile, how much does everyone want to bet that a certain Pointyhead voted for about five coasters ONLY in CP and all five got 10s?
From Andrew Rector on June 28, 2004 at 3:21 PM
I would like to see X win for best ride. It is short, but what a great exilirating ride it is, if you can stand the wait.
From Josh Counsil on June 29, 2004 at 1:50 PM
I'll stop giving 9's to Popeye and Bluto's Bilge Rat Barges the day CP "Pointyheads" stop giving 8's to Snake River Falls. What the hell? It's a drop into water. Yeah, you get drenched, but where's the theming? Where's the heart? Where's the bang for your buck? Waiting in line just to be dropped into water... that's quite a storyline.
From Tom Sanna on June 30, 2004 at 10:24 AM
I realize this is a little belated, but it has to be said. I do not blindly give out 10s to CP rides. In fact, I believe the highest rankings I've given out are 10s to MF and TTD, and 9s to Hulk, Dueing Dragons, and Tower of Terror. This is honestly what I think of these rides, and nothing else has earned anything above an eight from me. What I enjoy about CP is the depth it has. You have to move quickly to do everything you want to do there in one day.

I don't mean to whine, but I don't enjoy being accused of this crap. Maybe other CP fans close their eyes and give Mean Streak a 10, but I don't. I never told anyone how to vote, I never implied that my rankings should count more than anyone else's, and I never said that anyone blindly gives Popeye's a 10 like I'm being accused of with CP. I said that CP would rank much higher on this site if people would just consider trying it out, and I said that I, personally, just think Bilge Rat Barges is a joke. There, I said it. Now how many of you are going to show up outside my house with pitchforks and torches?

BTW, stop using the term pointyhead. It's not funny, it's not clever, it's just stupid. I find it difficult to argue with somebody while I'm laughing at them.

Top 10 Attendance

  1. Magic Kingdom
  2. Disneyland
  3. Tokyo Disneyland
  4. Universal Studios Japan
  5. Tokyo DisneySea
  6. Epcot
  7. Disney's Animal Kingdom
  8. Disney's Hollywood Studios
  9. Universal Studios Florida
  10. Islands of Adventure