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Best Ride in America Tournament: Round one, day six

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Published: March 21, 2008 at 9:52 PM

Disneyland's Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters pulled the upset yesterday, eliminating Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges from Universal's Islands of Adventure. In other match-ups, Disneyland's Splash Mountain, Universal Studios Florida's Revenge of the Mummy and IoA's Dueling Dragons - Fire also advanced.

Today's first match features two wall-busting Disney thrill rides: (27) Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (Disneyland) vs. (38) Test Track.

We have another coaster versus dark ride match-up, this time pitting the soaring icons of Cedar Point and Epcot against one another: (19) Top Thrill Dragster vs. (46) Spaceship Earth.

Two Walt Disney World favorites face off in what promises to be another first-round, high seed/low seed mismatch: (3) Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (Disney World) vs. (62) The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (Disney World).

And our final contest matches up two rides themed to massive sea creatures that are trying to eat you. The whale succeeds; the serpent fails. It's (11) Kraken vs. (54) Storybook Land Canal Boats.

Let's start the weekend in the comments....

Readers' Opinions

From Robert Niles on March 21, 2008 at 10:31 PM
I really thought about swapping Test Track and Spaceship Earth here, to set up Dragster versus Test Track (which struck me as pretty interesting, thematically). But the rating difference was too steep for me to pull the trigger on it. But I kinda wish I did, so that's why I'm confessing that here. (I also think that the resulting Spaceship Earth/Thunder match-up would have been okay.)

Of course, this would have given Dragster a tougher opponent, which I am sure would please the Disney fans and tick off the Cedar Point ones, and my Cleveland-native wife is mad enough at me as it is for the lack of Cedar Point love around here. So I kept the match-ups as they are.

From James Rao on March 21, 2008 at 10:11 PM
TZ Tower of Terror and Kraken are no brainers, but BTMR vs. Test Track is a tough one for me as my memories of BTMR at DL are that it was a blast. However, Test Track is just so unique and well done, man, I just have to give it my vote. Not sure it will matter in the end.
From David Kirby on March 21, 2008 at 10:56 PM
It was a tough choice but I ultimately picked Big Thunder over Test Track. I absolutely love Test Track - it's one of my favorite rides at the resort, but Big Thunder's theming is just too superb. Test Track, while a great ride, is a bit lacking in the theme department.
From KD Younger on March 21, 2008 at 11:02 PM
I think you are still running an odious competition...you really have to match like attractio with attraction for this to be a fair and equal battle of rides. Coasters vs. family rides is an unfair advantage. Family rides should go against family rides. Disney dark rides or Fantasyland faves should go against one another...of course, it's your board, so, do what you will...someday someone will get these vote offs right...
From Joshua Counsil on March 22, 2008 at 1:42 AM
Gets more and more interesting each day. Shocked to see Spaceship Earth beating Dragster, at this point. And tough choice between Test Track and Thunder.

Had to go with Dragster and Thunder.

From Mike K on March 22, 2008 at 3:05 AM
Dragster will pick up speed shortly. Spaceship Earth has no chance once the CP Fans wake up. I think putting the rides against each other and not similar rides makes it a true competition, I love it!
From Mike Shirley Jr on March 22, 2008 at 6:17 AM
The only way I can think that Spaceship Earth is beating Dragster is A) People enjoy sleeping on their rides, or B) People haven't ridden, seen, smelled, tasted, heard of or experienced Dragster. It's easily one of the greatest thrill rides out there. I'm not a big CP person and I don't fall over myself about rides, but this one is ridiculously good.
From Justin Spisto on March 22, 2008 at 10:21 AM
I like Test Track over Big Thunder Mountain. The ride thats the sleeper heer is the Kracken I can see it pulling more upsets. And if you ever get a chance to ride EL Toro you will then find out why it is better than Dueling Dragons.
From Derek Potter on March 22, 2008 at 11:22 AM
Dragster vs Spaceship Earth...Disney superfans vs Cedar Point superfans. It all depends on the voter turnout so to speak. Quite honestly, there is nothing like Dragster (except Kingda Ka, which is a ripoff and a headcase of maintenance). Anyone who has ridden it will vote for it. I've ridden both, and I can say with absolute honesty..even as a CP fan, that there is no contest. Spaceship Earth the building is an Epcot icon, but as a ride there isn't any comparison. Dragster hands down.

According to the trends I've noticed, it appears that thrill is winning most of these contests over family rides...regardless of it being themed or not. There has always been a bit of a debate around here about which is better. The debate is being settled. People love the thrills.

The real matchups will be when the unthemed coasters (Millennium Force, The Beast, Kraken, etc)...match up against the themed ones (Dueling Dragons, Everest, Rock N Roller Coaster) Which is better? a far superior track layout that thrills with little or no visual aides, or a so-so track with a feast of sights and sounds to keep the rider interested.

I also voted for Big Thunder Mountain in a tough decision, Kraken was a no-brainer, and Tower of Terror pretty much was too.

From Scottland Jacobson on March 22, 2008 at 12:26 PM
My stomach ties into knots when I have to choose between Big Thunder and Test Track. Ultimately, I had to go with Test Track for inventiveness.

Storybook Land Canal Boats have no hope...

And I like the familiy rides vs. the coasters! You never know when those "family rides" will make an upset. Mr. Toad already proved they can win...

From Robert Niles on March 22, 2008 at 3:38 PM
I've noticed some "unusual" action on the Dragster/Spaceship Earth race. I'm watching it closely, but won't say more than that yet.

To remind everyone, I reserve the right to close polls early, or to restart them, should I see anyone trying to game the system by ballot stuffing.

From Claudine Deshaies on March 22, 2008 at 7:03 PM
To the people that think that like rides should be pitted against like rides. If Robert did that, while it would make sense now, when it came down to the final two, we'd have something like Pirates of the Carribean vs. Superman Ride of Steel. And that wouldn't work either. It has to work out so that two major rides are still in it at the end so we can have that last real close battle.
From James Rao on March 22, 2008 at 7:45 PM
Man, what happened? I went out for Easter dinner with the folks and Spaceship Earth had a big lead...a few hours later and wham, Top Thrill pulls ahead. Hmmmmmm....glad to see you are looking into things, Mr. Niles.

As for theming vs. no theming, I look for a combination of both. I like Expedition Everest better than any mega coaster out there, just because the theming cannot be beat. Theming is what has kept people coming back to Space Mt's wild mouse ride year after year. And theming is what will win this contest. Only it won't be a coaster that wins at all, it will be a simulator ride with an immersive story based on a well known Marvel Comic superhero named Spider-Man.

At the end of the day, a coaster is just a coaster. Great stories live on forever.

From Danny Melillo on March 23, 2008 at 7:32 AM
Man, how did SSE lose? Damn CP fan boys.

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