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Robert Niles
Editor

Best Ride in America Tournament: Round two, day three

Published: March 26, 2008 at 9:17 PM

Alpengeist held close all day, but in the end, could not find the handful of extra votes it needed to avoid being upset yesterday by Journey to Atlantis. Upper seeds Pirates of the Caribbean, Expedition Everest and Millennium Force also advanced to the round of 16.

The marquee match-up today pits two top roller coasters for the right to advance to the round of 16: (7) Griffon vs. (26) Dueling Dragons - Ice

Ice's sibling is up today, as well, but likely faces an even tougher battle: (3) Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (Disney World) vs. (30) Dueling Dragons - Fire

A first-round upset produced this rather tricky match-up: (11) Kraken vs. (43) Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters (Disneyland)

Finally, it's another contest matching a family attraction against a top thrill ride: (15) Kilimanjaro Safaris vs. (47) The Riddler's Revenge

Now that you've voted, why not take a moment to click the attraction names above and submit a rating and short review for each of these rides? Thanks.

Replies (26)

Bradley Robertson

Published: March 26, 2008 at 10:47 PM

I know I'm one of the few who don't really like the ride, but Tower over Dueling Dragons Fire sunrises me. I just alway kind of thought it was a better themed version of Dr Doom's Fearfall.
Kyawt Tin

Published: March 27, 2008 at 2:29 AM

I know I'll be in the minority but I voted for BLAB over Kraken. BLAB took the waning dark ride concept to the next level by adding a level of interactivity above anything done before (i.e. Ghostblasters). It was a surprise hit that still packs them in at Disney parks. The queue is also great with Buzz and the Etch-a-Sketch. Kraken is just another steel and concrete coaster with little theme. It's well engineered and thrilling, but lacks meaning without a theme. I'll vote for theme every time.
James Rao
Writer

Published: March 27, 2008 at 4:31 AM

Another tough round....

I would not have thought to see DD-Ice advance further than DD-Fire, but that is how it looks so far today. Shocking.

As for TZ - Tower of Terror, I stand by the comments I made in my review of the attraction: "A perfect example of what Disney does best: take a standard amusement park idea (in this case, a "freefall" style ride) and turn it into a creative tour de force. Simply the best themed attraction at DisneyWorld and one of the most thrilling and unique rides I have ever had the pleasure to experience."

And for those of you who have not ridden the WDW version of Tower of Terror, it blows the DL version out of the water.

Justin Spisto

Published: March 27, 2008 at 5:08 AM

How is a DD coaster beating Griffon,but the other isen't beating Tower of Terror. Griffon is way better than Tower of Terror. I think the Disney and Universal fans are ruining the true outcome of the tournament. I rather see a Cedar Point coaster win than any Orlando ride win.
James Rao
Writer

Published: March 27, 2008 at 7:39 AM

I would be shocked if any coaster wins this tournament. IOA's Spider-Man has to be the odds on favorite. If a coaster wins it will be something like Expedition Everest with its strong theme, but that would be a huge upset, imho.
Iris Hernandez

Published: March 27, 2008 at 8:03 AM

Another round of heartburn here, GO DD ICE!!!!!!.....A Disney or Universal/IOA ride will probably win because thats who has the most parks, AND not only are they the most parks, they are the best themed rides combined. I love Disney and Universal EQUALLY. I know for some that is hard to believe that is even possible. Both those companies offer everything that my family loves, Thrills and family classics that we can all ride together.
Danny Melillo

Published: March 27, 2008 at 9:08 AM

I don't think Fire vs Tot is fair, it has a harder round and fire is better than Ice.
brian lochridge

Published: March 27, 2008 at 9:40 AM

Please people, enough of this "it's not fair" stuff. Life isn't fair. Have none of you who are complaining ever competed in anything? Sometimes you get a bad draw, that's just the say it goes. Ice got lucky and got a better matchup. Just because Ice may go further than Fire doesn't mean its a better ride.

This whole Idea is awesome but some of the comments it's bringing out of people make me want to smash my head into my Dell Monitor.

Robert Niles
Editor

Published: March 27, 2008 at 9:46 AM

Dude, you're head-butting a Dell!

(Old pop culture reference. Sorry.)

After putting together this bracket, I swear that I will never criticize the NCAA tournament selection committee again. Sixteen-entry brackets are cake. Thirty-two isn't that tough. Doing 64 fires up a migraine like little else. Make the match-ups too easy for the top seeds, and people complain about blow-outs and mismatches. Make them too hard, and people complain that their favorites got too tough a draw. (And, BGE fans, I totally understand and feel your pain here.)

Mike West

Published: March 27, 2008 at 10:06 AM

I fear not enough have ridden Riddler's Revenge.
For me, this is truly the most successful attempt at a standup. The build by being lifted through the giant loop as you ascend the lift hill. The zooming up high & then suddenly trimming the ground as though on Roller skates. (The worst fire hazzard of a loading station, but even that's fun when everyone starts clapping in a round to the music).
In fact with all the voting I wonder how much location plays into the whole thing. For example, as members of ACE, we are keenly aware that the majority of focus within ACE is not on the west coast.(Where admitedly the theme park was invented by Mr. Disney), While it's obvious some rides are obviously legendary, we know that many rides in California are no longer the most ridden. Folks just don't travel here as much as they do to Florida, & does that affect the vote?
Eli Katzman

Published: March 27, 2008 at 10:21 AM

Thank you for that, Robert.

But STILL- Dueling Dragons should only have 1 RIDE OUT OF THE 2 if any. Most people will vote for the disney and universal because that's where a lot of people go for vacation. That means that most people who are on theme park insider probably rode something out of universal.

Griffon is my all-time favorite, and thats exactly why I had a sore throat for a week after i went to BGE. I was yelling at the top of my lungs, "YEAH!!!!!!!" the whole ride. I waited about 85 days for my trip to BGE to finally be able to ride Griffon. The day before, it seemed like every hour was 5 hours.

So, could you please spear Griffon? So many people love busch gardens, and i know that some people who are voting for DD Ice haven't even been on that or griffon.

Robert Niles
Editor

Published: March 27, 2008 at 10:37 AM

I adore Riddler's Revenge. It's the ride at Magic Mountain that most consistently puts a smile on my face. Too often, "big" coasters feel more like a physical test than an emotional lark. This is not one of those.
Mike West

Published: March 27, 2008 at 10:59 AM

Me too Robert, especially riding Riddler's at twilight, its beautiful. Though Tatsu under a full moon is about the most graceful experience ever, so it vies for that position at MM for me. We rode Tatsu front seat at frightfest, & the full moon was broken by a fluffy cloud as we rolled over beneath it, it put tears in my eyes it was so beautiful! What a sap I am!
Jayson Myers

Published: March 27, 2008 at 1:28 PM

I don't think it is Disney/Universal fans per se. Truth is, the numbers (dollars) show people don't want giant coasters. They want rides that tell a story. This is why Spider Man is the best ride and Tower of Terror will beat a coaster.
Bradley Robertson

Published: March 27, 2008 at 1:41 PM

Personally I really don't understand what's so special about dive coasters like Griffon and Sheikra. Granted I haven't been on Griffon but I have been on Sheikra and I wouldn't even put it in the top 10 of the measly 45 coasters I have ridden. It's a short ride and the drop feels no more intense than the 60 or so degree drop found on most Morgan hyper-coasters. Maybe its a preference thing, but I always wonder why site after site puts it in the top 10 or top 20 coasters.

That being said, I realize no one is going to be happy with every vote in every round. I just hope some of my other favorites make it to the finals.

Robert Niles
Editor

Published: March 27, 2008 at 1:42 PM

It gets to be a little chicken-and-the-egg after a while: Do people prefer themed rides because they are Disney/Universal fans, or do Disney and Universal get so many visitors because they offer more themed rides? Ultimately, it doesn't matter how it happened - the fact is that it has. Disney and Universal have the big attendance, and now even Six Flags recognizes that if it wants more visitors, it needs to offer more of what Disney and Universal do.
James Rao
Writer

Published: March 27, 2008 at 3:21 PM

What he said. Exactly.
Derek Potter

Published: March 27, 2008 at 6:37 PM

Finally one of the Dragons coasters is out. Personally I would be fine with both of them out, although Griffon isn't exactly my idea of a perfect ride either.

The reason why themed rides are winning in this tournament is because this tournament is on themeparkinsider.com. If this tournament is on some of the other park sites, some of these Disney rides aren't even on the list. Many here haven't been further than Florida or California. Some are superfans, and probably most live near the theme park havens. Most haven't heard of The Voyage at Holiday World, or Hades at Mount Olympus Park...much less ridden them. Many probably haven't been to Silver Dollar City or Kennywood. Few probably have been to Six Flags Fiesta Texas or Hersheypark. These are parks that are off the beaten path with great rides and shows that not enough people have ridden or seen.

In my opinion, theme parks do well for a few reasons in no particular order...

A) Most have either established themselves as a destination resort with hotels, and/or are located in a highly concentrated tourist market. People go to Orlando to go to a theme park. People go to LA for many things, but a theme park is usually high on the tourist list. The majority of these parks are also located in a climate suited for year-round operation, which is often a prerequisite for the average tourist.

B) They have lots to do. One park at Disney just isn't enough for a full experience, and they have broken that experience up into enough pieces to keep you there for a while if you have the money... oh and if you are staying overnight, they have that taken care of too. It's all designed so that you don't leave the property...just like a Vegas casino.

C) High Dollar Investment- Disney, Busch, and Universal are rich..plain and simple. They are backed by multi-billion dollar companies with endless money, pump millions of dollars into research and development for their attractions, and they spare no expense building them. The theming aspect is a result of this expense, and sometimes adds quality to the ride.

D) Non Ride Attractions- The deep pockets of these parks also extend to shows, restaurants, and the look of the park as well. The food is top notch, the production values of shows are higher, and the paint is touched up every day.

The Disney/Universal parks are a successful business because they've figured out a formula to herd in a lot of people. Themed rides are only a piece of the puzzle. Spiderman isn't necessarily a better experience than Millennium Force, it's a different one. One uses pure height and speed to perfection, and one uses audio/video technology with dark ride elements to perfection. Not everyone has a need for a ride that "tells a story". Many are perfectly fine going 90 mph 300 feet in the air, and many would rather do that anyway.

James Rao
Writer

Published: March 27, 2008 at 7:09 PM

Add a well themed story to that 90 mph 300 feet in the air "ride", and suddenly you have a killer "attraction" - the perfect scenario!
James Rao
Writer

Published: March 27, 2008 at 7:12 PM

One more note: keep an eye on KRAKEN, it could be a dark horse to make the final four. A slightly themed, but well known, and silky smooth B&M coaster. It could very well be the attraction that bridges the gap between theme park enthusiasts and coaster fanatics!

You heard it here first! =)

Donna Tolliver-Walker

Published: March 27, 2008 at 8:10 PM

Why so many more votes on Griffon v. Ice compared to the other matchups? Are fans coming just to vote on close matchups?
Jake Rivers

Published: March 27, 2008 at 8:39 PM

Simply put, Coasters are for teens and adults under 65. Those other boring rides are for little kids and senior citizens. And why is this James character all about some silly theming? I don't get it at all. I wanna drop from 310 ft up and go 90+ mph and not think about some spider guy or some other fictitious green guy! The 2+++++ hour long lines at MF proves that I'm not the only fun guy alive!
steve lee

Published: March 27, 2008 at 8:45 PM

And, as I find myself posting for the 9 billionth time, that's why people like James go to sites like THEME PARK insider rather than OMGCOASTERSRKOOL!!!1!.net (I totally need to buy that domain).

But we'll see what the voting public thinks when Spiderman and Millennium Force are up against each other in the finals (and yes, it will end up between those two).

Derek Potter

Published: March 27, 2008 at 9:03 PM

All coaster junkie stuff aside. Remove your mouse shaped glasses for just a second and think.

How much visual can you really take in when you are going that fast? Are you really thinking about how the story is going to end when plunging 300 ft at 90 mph at an 80 degree angle into a 120 degree banked turn pulling 4g's, into a pullout over a 190 foot hill that lifts you out of your seat?(insert Tim the tool man Taylor grunt here) I don't think so. Have you ridden such a ride? If not, perhaps you should. It needs no story or visual aides to send riders away with a smile because it's a great ride all by itself. Disney uses eye candy, Cedar Point uses physics.

Joshua Counsil

Published: March 27, 2008 at 11:15 PM

To be honest, Millennium Force didn't wow me as much as I thought it would. Magnum XL-200, in my opinion, was far superior.

Ha! Jake - the typical CP fanboy. Just as generic as the Disney-philes. Hey, buddy, I love going fast, but I've ridden a lot of thrill rides, and after a while they start to lose their edge. Just like generic action movies, chock full of explosions and sex appeal, they get repetitive. But theming can really make an attraction, like a good cast or script can make a movie.

Oh, and I'm 20, for the record, so I'm not a kiddie or a senior, and I prefer themed rides.

James Rao
Writer

Published: March 28, 2008 at 3:50 AM

Hee hee...this web site would not be nearly as good without the great commentary. Jake, Steve, Derek, Josh, you guys are awesome! Thanks for the laughs this AM.

For the record, I absolutely love coasters. And according to Jake, my 40 year old body is still in the right demographic for them, thank goodness! However, I especially love attention to detail, and when a theme park designer (Disney, Universal, or otherwise) makes an attempt at adding some sort of theme to their attraction (coaster or otherwise) then they get my vote. Period. It is like adding the toppings to a hot fudge sundae. Sure, ice cream is great all by itself, but layer it with hot fudge, whip cream, nuts, and a cherry and suddenly your dessert is a veritable feast of flavors. Makes me hungry just thinking about it!

All I can say is the same thing we have been saying all along: "whatever floats your boat." Some just want the thrills, some want thrills and story, and some just want to shop! Gladly, there are successful amusement parks that cater to all types. And that, gentlemen, is a GOOD thing!

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