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Best Ride in America Tournament: Round three, day two

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Published: March 31, 2008 at 8:52 PM

Disney's Expedition Everest pulled out the upset yesterday, as did Universal's Dueling Dragons - Ice, joining the The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man and Twilight Zone Tower of Terror as the first four members of the final eight in the 'Best Ride in America' tournament. So far, it is all Orlando rides in the final eight, but at least one west coast ride will be joining them today.

The big match-up today is one I've looked forward to for this whole tournament. It's a "make your head explode" dilemma for any Disney fan:
(4) Pirates of the Caribbean (Disneyland) vs.
(13) Haunted Mansion (Disneyland)

We've got one more Disney vs. Disney match-up today, as well:
(2) Indiana Jones Adventure vs.
(15) Kilimanjaro Safaris

Disney goes against Busch as two of Orlando's more popular thrill rides face off:
(38) Test Track vs.
(11) Kraken

And, we finish with a Busch vs. Busch match-up of underdogs which fought their way into the final 16:
(25) Journey to Atlantis (SeaWorld Orlando) vs.
(41) Montu

We've updated the tournament bracket (hit reload if you don't see the fresh version), too. Let's proceed with the Pirates vs. Mansion holy war in the comments, please... ;-)

Readers' Opinions

From Amanda Jenkins on March 31, 2008 at 9:25 PM
I gotta say this voting is killing me. I love all these so much and I can not stand picking. It was difficult and upsetting to finally make a choice and then see them losing. But at least my other favs are standing strong.
From Joshua Counsil on March 31, 2008 at 9:28 PM
Pirates takes Mansion, for me, but both are classic dark rides and I'm glad they made it this far.

Kilimanjaro holds a special place in my heart as it was my first Disney attraction, and I felt Jones was pretty overrated. I know Jones will win, but the safari gets my vote.

Kraken takes the track, no questions asked. It's a damn good coaster, and Test Track just falls short of being a good ride (by Disney's standards).

I'm taking Montu over Atlantis. It's the best inverted coaster I've ridden, and it's one of the few that is long enough to really throw you around.

This is one of the few rounds where I chose mostly thrills over theme. This round seems like a toss-up.

From Joshua Counsil on March 31, 2008 at 9:29 PM
P.S. - What an upset for Everest. I couldn't choose between the two.
From Derek Potter on March 31, 2008 at 10:37 PM
And the debate rages. The Pirates/Haunted Mansion is intriguing. I went for Pirates, as well as Indiana Jones.

Kraken got my vote over Test Track. I'm just not a fan of Test Track, and I'll take a good coaster over a so-so themed ride every time. Montu got my vote over Atlantis for the same reason.

Here are some other numbers to chew on. Breakdown of the park chain participation in the tournament went like this.

Disney- 30 rides (47%)
Universal- 13 rides (20%)
Busch/Seaworld- 9 rides (14%)
Cedar Fair- 4 rides (6%)
Six Flags- 4 rides (6%)
Dollywood- 3 rides (5%)
Legoland- 1 ride (1%)

You can decide for yourself what that means to you. Disney has a lot of rides in this tournament, many deserved, some not. There were a few other rides whose selection was questionable.

Loch Ness Monster- 30 year old Arrow looper (ouch). The ride doesn't totally suck, but it's well past it's prime. In a few lists of the 50 best coasters, it's not even number 50. I think Busch got a freebie there.

Tennessee Tornado- Another aging Arrow looper. Sorry guys but in the age of B&M and Intamin, the older Arrow stuff just isn't on the level anymore.

Dueling Dragons- Don't stone me for blasphemy. I realize that one of the tracks is still in the tourney, but the ride got 2 spots in the tournament. Personally I think that one spot is good enough...maybe even generous, given that the tracks rely on each other for the one unique stunt that they do. There are still 5 B&M inverted coasters better than either DD, and 3 of them aren't in the tournament. The fact that this ride resides in Universal is more than helping it along.

Some other jokers
Dumbo- carnival ride that happens to be inside Disney
Dr Seuss- train ride that happens to be in IOA
Winnie The Pooh- are we trying to throw in every Disney ride here?
Dr. Doom's Fearfall- If this ride is in a Six Flags park, it doesn't make it into the tournament.
Mr. Toad- This ride did win in the first round...in a vote for the school spaz for prom king as a joke kind of way.


There are some other rides that I think deserved entry into the tournament in lieu of giving another entry away to Disney or Universal. And now, Derek's tournament snubs.

Voyage (Holiday World)-Obviously nobody here has ridden it, but believe me you should

Scooby Doo and The Haunted Castle (Kings Island)- A cross between Cat in The Hat and Men in Black.

Fire in The Hole (Silver Dollar City)- One of this site's greatest mysteries is this. Why isn't Silver Dollar City featured on this site? Great themed dark ride, no exposure.

X (Magic Mountain)-???

Volcano The Blast Coaster (Kings Dominion)-Theme park fans should appreciate this one a lot more than they do.

Superman Krypton (SF Fiesta Texas)- Everyone around here has heard of Kraken, but few around here have ridden it's superior.

I can't say that any of these rides would have won, but I can say that they deserved to be in the best ride tournament, at the very least more than some that got in. Anyone else got any snubs?

From Scottland Jacobson on March 31, 2008 at 11:00 PM
Pirates vs. Mansion??? I almost had to exuse myself from the voting over this one. Both are phenomenal - what a great match up. Although I'm sure Pirates will win, I had to go with Mansion due to my sheer enjoyment of all things scary and "Halloween." Plus, can anyone else do the whole "Ghost Host" narration?

Totally agree on X and Volcano missing. When people ask me what my favorite coaster is that I've ever ridden...surprisingly, my answer is Volcano: The Blast Coaster. It's extreme joy packed into what looks like a run-down, super-sized version of Peter Brady's volcano science project (or was it Bobby?) on the Brady Bunch.

And Scooby Doo's castle dark rides are quite inventive.

This contest is tough. Everything left is completely worth it.

From Scottland Jacobson on March 31, 2008 at 11:01 PM
Forgot to also agree with Derek's mention of Superman: Krypton Coaster at SFFT. A truly excellent ride!
From Robert Niles on March 31, 2008 at 11:14 PM
I'll save my "rides I should have just put in and should have just pulled out - TPI ratings be damned" comments for the post-mortem, but I did want to mention that the main reason that X didn't get in is because I've got that ride listed as closed, pending its re-birth as X2. It didn't seem right to me to include it as an active ride in the tournament, when it's in the midst of being rebuilt like that.

But there are two other rides that I wished I had put in the tournament, and two that I wished I'd pulled out. And I could think of about 10 more that could have gone either way.

That said, none of them would be around at this point. And, I'm pretty impressed with how well the seedings have held up so far. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if all four of the top four seeds make it to the semifinals.

From Jake Rivers on April 1, 2008 at 1:38 AM
This tournament is the biggest joke of all time! The #1 steel coaster on the planet was not even in it! SROS duh! I didn't even see Voyage which is the #1 Wooden Coaster on the planet! The rides that are left are basically kids and senior citizens rides! GET IT RIGHT NEXT YEAR PLEASE! AMUSEMENT TODAY AND THE GOLDEN TICKETS ARE LAUGHING THEIR AZZES OFF!
From James Rao on April 1, 2008 at 2:17 AM
Derek, excellent post. I agree with your breakdown almost to the "T". And the absence of Silver Dollar City in the "Other US Theme Parks" section of TPI is a painful one. SDC and to a smaller extent, Celebration City, do a great job of theming on a much smaller, but still appreciated, scale.

And, Robert, I think for a first time event, this tournament has been an excellent time sink for most of us. I am looking forward with anticipation to your post mortem....and to your ideas for the next one. There's been a lot of activity on this site over the past few weeks, and a lot of retrospective thought on just how we rate attractions at TPI. Only good things will come of this tournament in the long run.

For today's voting:

DL's Pirates, as I stated in a previous post, is yesterday's Spider-Man. It was, and maybe still is, the best themed attraction of all time.

Almost pulled the trigger for Kilimanjaro Safaris just because you never know what animals you will see each time, but the "Jungle Cruise-like" commentary just grates on your nerves after a few visits. So, the loud and rugged Indy wins by default.

Test Track is fun and in many ways unique, but Kraken, with almost no theming, just happens to be my favorite coaster. Smooth and graceful, it is worth the price of admission to Sea World, Orlando (can't wait to see what their new coaster is going to be!).

Lastly, I am still shocked to see Journey To Atlantis still in the tournament. A decent ride with a unique combination of flume and coaster elements that just didn't quite work for me. I'd give it a vote just for effort, but I gotta go with the mildly themed, but immensely fun Montu instead.

There you have it, just like Joshua, this traditional theme park junkie goes with almost all thrills today!

From Jake Rivers on April 1, 2008 at 2:23 AM
Florida has nothing of interest to me and my family! Florida has nothing above 200 ft and nothing faster than a B&M coaster which is like riding in a car in slow motion! We will be in OH to enjoy ourselves and to ride the best coasters on the planet! And when the park closes each night we will be swimming on the beach! So enjoy your kiddie rides lmao!!!!!!!!!!!!!
From Joshua Counsil on April 1, 2008 at 2:29 AM
Sorry, Jake Rivers, but you've pissed me off one too many times.

This tournament was a great idea. Robert put a lot of effort into doing it, and Tim Strickland deserves props for thinking of it. And you think Superman: Ride of Steel is the greatest coaster of all time? HA. This tournament isn't the biggest joke of all time, you are.

You're saying Amusement Today and the Golden Tickets are laughing their "azzes" off? Well, good thing they're a credible source. Not like they're biased in favor of Cedar Point, or anything. They also gave Knoebels the "Best Food" award last year. Yeah, gotta love that Pennsylvanian palette. Delicious... BARF.

Go take out your anger on YouTube, bud. I've heard it helps.

Oh, and Derek - I love your analogy of Mr. Toad being the high school spaz who gets voted prom king. Easily my favorite comment in the tourney, so far.

From Jake Rivers on April 1, 2008 at 2:27 AM
Spider man is just as childish and as boring as darkastle! I wouldn't wait more than 5 minutes for either!!!!!!!!
From Jake Rivers on April 1, 2008 at 2:31 AM
joshua counsil or whatever u r, go live in florida lmao, boring kid!!! GOLDEN TICKETS laugh at ur fat azz and i do to, ur a pathetic kid!!!!!!!!!!!
From Joshua Counsil on April 1, 2008 at 2:33 AM
Alright, Jake, one too many rides on Millennium for you. We're gonna get some beer in you, then it's right to bed.

Sorry, judging by your posts, you likely can't drink beer, yet. Don't worry - I heard kids don't like it, anyway.

From Jake Rivers on April 1, 2008 at 2:34 AM
that joshua thing is slow, he doesnt know what the golden tickets are???????????? sros is amazing and he is like yay go spidey, the kid is like 4 years old!!!!!!!!! my friends would joke on him 4 liking that in the first place.......
From Joshua Counsil on April 1, 2008 at 2:42 AM
Alright, Jake, take'r easy. Didn't mean to offend - it's a site about theme parks. Take it down a notch.

And I do know what the Golden Tickets are. I have a subscription to Amusement Today.

Oh, and you're right - I am four years old. Sad that you can't beat a four-year-old in an argument.

Anyways, I got an exam to write in a few. I'm out. But feel free to keep berating me, it's hilarious.

From James Rao on April 1, 2008 at 2:45 AM
Wow, Jake, sometimes you are funny, but today, you are just being an a-hole. Let it go, dude. Seriously.
From Jake Rivers on April 1, 2008 at 2:45 AM
josh or whatever u r no one is trying 2 beat u in anything! we want 2 ride coasters especially maverick and mf over spidey which is boring so get over it kid
From Jake Rivers on April 1, 2008 at 2:47 AM
spidey is just like darkastle and they are both boring and pointless, they dont give us any rush, they make us say BORING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
From Sylvain Comeau on April 1, 2008 at 3:45 AM
I picked Mansion over Pirates because I feel that the addition (and obsession with) Jack Sparrow weakened a great ride, whereas the recent changes to Haunted Mansion only made that classic better.
Also, I think Duelling Dragons should have had only one entry in this contest -- Fire and Ice are very similar coasters, and both together really should count as one attraction.
From Lindsay Murray on April 1, 2008 at 4:46 AM
Hey, Jake

If you find this site to be so boring and weak, then I don't understand why you seem to spend so much time on it. Go back to the other places you keep comparing TPI to and you'll be much happier. This tournament is based on the public's VOTE as in a COLLECTIVE opinion. Just because someone votes against a ride that YOU love, say something at CP, it doesn't mean that they are saying that it's not a great ride (ALL of these rides have strong points). No one's stopping you from voting for and enjoying the rides that you love. In addition, if the rides that you're supporting are truly worth the trouble that you seem to be trying to cause, then get your other CP fans on here and have them vote! Or, better yet, pay for everyone voting on this website to fly to every park where you deem the rides deserving and let them decide for themselves. I don't agree with every winner of every match-up in this tournament, but I respect others' opinions, likes and dislikes. You should probably think about that. Also, try to remember that some people probably put a lot of time into setting up this tournament, so if you have such a problem with it, just do the respectful voters here a favor and go back to Amusement Today.

That's it.

Again, I'd like to say that I think this tournament is a great idea andlots of fun!

From Jonny Read on April 1, 2008 at 5:04 AM
Just shut up Jake.. Please, Thanks
From Lindsay Murray on April 1, 2008 at 6:25 AM
Sweet! Now God's in on this. I guess you must win the argument by default. Or not. Anyway, if you don't like Florida then don't go there. Period. And quit the whining, it's getting old. ;)

P.S. I LOVE coasters and think this guy makes coaster enthusiasts look bad.

From Ben Mills on April 1, 2008 at 6:28 AM
C'mon people, don't feed the troll. It's kinda obvious...
From Bill Thelen on April 1, 2008 at 7:15 AM
This is tough for me.
I have ridden all except for Test Track and love them all.
But Montu is my favorite coaster with inversions.
Kraken is a blast. But how do I choose between Pirates and
Haunted Mansion? I rode both many times on my last visit.
PS. I live in Ohio. Less than an hour from CP.
CP is not all it's cracked up to be.
To me it is like a trip to the DMV.
Spend too much money...
Wait way too long in line...
And all you want to do is go for a ride.
From Robert Niles on April 1, 2008 at 7:17 AM
FYI, Jake's all caps comments have been pulled and he's been warned about abusive posts.
From Bradley Robertson on April 1, 2008 at 7:34 AM
I would love to see Montu go on. As a lot of folks have said it is probably my favorite inverted coaster. And I also agree with others that the Updated Mansion works a lot better than the updated pirates. Mansion updated it's effects, while Pirates just added some new characters.
From Brian Emery on April 1, 2008 at 8:10 AM
This tournament should be re-named to the mildest ride Wins…

How the heck can Everest beat Hulk or Sheikra Lose….

From Mark Hollamon on April 1, 2008 at 8:19 AM
I think this is the best idea TPI came up with in a long time! Maybe needs a little bit of tweaking, but it ROCKS! I am kind of shocked that Journey is beating Montu. I thought it would be the other way in a landslide. Also, Pirates vs Mansion is just painful! Very hard to choose.

I can see the point some are making that some really good rides are being left off the voting list, but when it gets right down to it more people experience the Orlando attractions than do other great rides.

I have been to King's Island many times on a summer night and could walk right up to the chute on the Beast. That's not something you see often in Orlando even in the off season. There's just way too much traffic.

From Lindsay Murray on April 1, 2008 at 8:29 AM
GO MONTU! Atlantis is great, but I'll be sad if Montu gets eliminated. :(
From brian lochridge on April 1, 2008 at 9:52 AM
Well after looking at the bracket and the Matchups I have to say Spiderman will kill Montu/or Atlantis

The matchup to watch will be EE vs. Pirates/HM that will be a brawl.

I think DD Ice and there Cinderella run will come to an end after they face Indian Jones/ Safari

Finally I'm pretty sure TOT will hold off either TT or the kraken.

It's going to be some good matchups next round and some but kicks, but we all know after watching the voting you never know what's going to happen.

From Mike West on April 1, 2008 at 10:20 AM
Wow Robert,
Did you imagine that the enthusiasts would even be this enthusiastic? Im even surprised at the bit of fire in my veins right now.
There are so many elements that make a ride wonderful or not, the dynamics are staggering. maybe its the most wicked drop you've ever felt(that could be good or bad), maybe it's the updates to effects(BTW, Pirates, has added more special effects over the years, it was much better than when I was a kid, even before adding characters. maybe it's an ok ride, but you can jump on it right away no matter when(The late "Tidal Wave" at Great America, one of my favs for that reason! You could ride it 3 times in a row within about 5 minutes, front, back, then front again).
I'm surprised about the reasoning behind not including X which is admittedly THE most Kick-your-behind coaster built to date. Its not like its been dismantled & hauled away, its just gotten a refresh. We rode it in October & will be riding it again very soon, so its not like it's even been closed to us. Except in Socal, there isnt a winter season. If this had been a park back east we wouldn't even have known it as "closed". If that's the reason to omit it, I think it's status deserves that we postponed this whole thing for another month or two. I will always wonder how it would have faired. That being said, Kudos to you & everyone who participated(with one exception, you know who you are), I can't wait to get to my desk each day to see this. Robert, you should create a product that generates this excitement for the tourism industry, we could sure use it right now!
From Mike West on April 1, 2008 at 10:17 AM
Oh & for the first time, I had to skip the first vote & go back. Ultimately I decided on Haunted Mansion because I will always chose the most macabre(Pirates IS macabre too BTW). Oh & Scottland- " When hinges creak in doorless chambers, when candlelights flicker where the air is deathly still, that is the time when ghosts are present, practicing their terror with ghoulish delight" Paul Frees is my hero!
From Vic Beltz on April 1, 2008 at 10:19 AM
Jake for president.....

Cedar Point 4-ever!!!!

From Robert Niles on April 1, 2008 at 10:54 AM
In response to Mike, I've had to develop a few guidelines over the years on when I "close" an attraction's listing on the site, reset the votes and start fresh with a new listing for the attraction. Generally, whenever a ride gets a new name, I'll do that. Substantial changes in story or effects can lead me to do that as well. (We did that for Disneyland Paris' Space Mountain a few years back, for example.)

Since X is getting a new name and (at least promised) new effects, I close the old listing and created a new one. And it's just a bad coincidence in timing that the gap between the old and new X hit just as we were doing the tournament.

That was definitely one of the issues I wanted to address in the post-mortem. But I did agonize over that bad timing for a bit.

From Derek Potter on April 1, 2008 at 12:46 PM
Judging from some earlier posts, it sounds like someone blew a gasket earlier. The season's only a month away Jake, it's ok really.

Didn't mean to open a can of worms with my previous post Robert. I could have waited to bring up some of those things later. I was attempting to stir up discussion other than reading a giant lovefest for all of the rides left. Call it trying to expand the minds of readers outside the boundaries of Florida and California. I figured you probably left X out on a technicality, not that I agree mind you, but I see why you did so.

PS
I've been to Cedar Point, it's a great place....
As long as you don't go on the weekend...
During the rat race...
There's a fine art to waiting in line...
It's called waiting less
By planning your time
If you spend too much money at the point, that's your harm
Because unlike Disney, CP doesn't charge an arm.

I just got some crackers to go with that cheese.

PS. James agreed with me? Hath hell frozen over?

From Scottland Jacobson on April 1, 2008 at 12:53 PM
Excellent Mr. West! Paul Frees does rock!! "Of course, there's always room for one more..."

And Pirates/Mansion voters - don't forget that the Mansion can be dressed up for the holidays with a bit 'o Jack Skellington - can Pirates do that!?

Robert - agree with your exclusion on X. If it's going to be a new ride, then the ratings need to start fresh.

Theme park or amusement park. Doesn't matter to me. I'm just thankful to live in a nation that has so many options. When I'm in the mood to drop from 400 feet up, I'll head to CP. When I'm in the mood for some total immersion attractions with varying amounts of thrills - it's Universal or Disneyworld. We've got it all...and it's all truly amazing!!

Thanks for doing this Robert! This is a total blast!!!

From James Rao on April 1, 2008 at 3:55 PM
Of course I agreed, Derek, you hit me in a soft spot with your Silver Dollar City comment! Since SDC is the closest park I have to a theme park (I live in KC, Missouri), I always love when it gets props!

And we are not far off, you and I. We both like thrilling attractions and well kept up parks. The only difference is that when push comes to shove (like in a tournament like this one) I'll take an Everest over a Millennium Force, and you would do the opposite. Thankfully, push does not come to shove when on vacation, so I get to enjoy both!

What I can't stand is that my local park, Worlds of Fun, has 43 attractions (shoot, at WOF they are simply "rides"), with only 5 of them being decent. Cedar Fair owns WOF, and any disdain I have for Cedar Fair stems from the lack of love they give my local park as opposed to any issues at Cedar Point.

CP is the best COASTER PARK in the world!

There I said it. Even Jake is smiling.

From Justin Spisto on April 1, 2008 at 2:26 PM
Im pulling for Kracken and Montu because there the only Busch Coasters left.
From Sylvain Comeau on April 1, 2008 at 9:17 PM
To clarify about Mansion vs. Pirates...
I still like the Pirates ride. Yes it does look better than ever technically, and I love some of the new effects (e.g. the wall of mist). But I feel that adding the new characters weakened some of the scenes, because every scene is now about Jack Sparrow and Barbosa. Previously, the Pirates was a very rare satirical ride, with an actual message and social commentary (don't laugh, I'll explain). It was an indictment of greed and avarice (the skeleton sitting on a pile of gold, the huffing and puffing pirates at the end of the ride, fruitlessly and eternally trying to push their treasure up a hill). It was an intelligent ride. Now it's just nice to look at, with colorful characters. It's not the same.
Haunted Mansion, on the other hand, has improved its effects without weakening the theme.
Something to think about, for you last minute voters...
From Sylvain Comeau on April 1, 2008 at 3:40 PM
One more thing I want to add: Jake is obviously an adrenaline junkie, and probably a crazed teenaged coaster fan. Ignore him.
From steve lee on April 1, 2008 at 4:56 PM
I went with Mansion over Pirates (as has been previously stated, the inclusion of Jack Sparrow and company changes the storyline too much for my tastes). Indy vs. Safari was a very hard vote, and I still can't decide if I regret going with Indy. Montu is the best invert out there, so I had to roll with it (and what the hell is with the Beetlejuice music on Atlantis?). As for Kraken versus Test Track...well, I honestly voted spitefully there. I think Test Track is probably a better attraction, but I'm still bitter about it knocking out Splash Mountain so I went with the floorless.
From Bradley Robertson on April 1, 2008 at 8:53 PM
Montu lives to fight another day!

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