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Vote of the week: The best Disney mountain?

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Published: August 15, 2008 at 10:54 AM

Thanks, again, to Theme Park Insider reader Tim W for the topic for this week's vote.

Disney's known for its coasters built, not on frames above a flat surface, but into the side and interior of faux "mountains," starting with Disneyland's original Matterhorn, and continuing with Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain and Expedition Everest. [Links are to selected installations at the company's various parks.]

So, which one is the best? Go with either your favorite among the ones you've ridden, or the one you think sounds the best, even if you haven't ridden them all.

Tim suggests for the comments, "what mountains do you hope to see in the future? Volcano (fire), or maybe Witch Mountain? Any more ideas?"

Readers' Opinions

From Amanda Jenkins on August 15, 2008 at 12:36 PM
This was one of the toughest votes for me. I love so many of these. I went with Splash Mountain, WDW. With this one you get the story, the amazement at the AA's, and you get a nice thrill at the end. It was a toss up between this one and Expedition Everest, which is amazing, but I had to go with what I think would in a way best represent what Disney has to offer overall. Now I want to go ride all of these, Thanks a lot Robert :-).
From LJ Warner on August 15, 2008 at 1:08 PM
I went with the original, the Matterhorn, it was the 1st coaster I ever rode and it was the icon I looked for whenever my parents took me to Disneyland (not often enough for me). Even today I still look for it as we get closer to Park, even if we are just going by the Park. My 2nd choice would be Splash Mountain at DLR, its a fun water ride with the story line, AA and singing throughout the ride (and its not a small world).
From Raul Araoz on August 15, 2008 at 1:10 PM
I feel that Everest is extremely overrated. It is lacking thematically and is neither a particularly exciting or smooth coaster. Despite its age, the Matterhorn is a richer experience. However, Splash Mountain at WDW is the current pinnacle for Disney mountains. The scenary is right up there with Pirates or Mansion and the thrills, while short, are exciting. The indoor drop and final drop are always thrilling. Splash at the Kingdom is clearly the best current mountain. Now, I haven't visited Tokyo yet. So I can't consider them even though I hear their Splash and Journey are terrific. As for a future mountain, while I would love a Witch Mountain full of Disney villains at either a dark-themed park or Holiday themed park. I think a great mountain ride could go in Dinoland. I would love a toboggan themed bobsled thrill ride through the Ice Age. You would slide past Mammoths and Sabre-tooth Tigers on a slippery hill. I would call it Ice Mountain.
From Russell Meyer on August 15, 2008 at 1:20 PM
I would disagree, I think Everest is one of Disney's best themed mountains. The elaborate queue to the animatronic Yeti, the coaster tells a complete story, and is by far one of the most photogenic of all the mountains (probably tied with the Materhorn).

As far as a new mountain, I've always thought they could create "Bald Mountain" as part of the rumored villians park or land. Riding a coaster with Night on Bald Mountain (Fantasia) playing along the way could be an incredible experience. Fantasia is one of the greatest untapped Disney properties (Sorcerer Mickey from Fantasmic is only application that I can think of).

From Tim W on August 15, 2008 at 1:26 PM
I love the idea of ice mountain. My favorite would have to be Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom as well. But i also love Big thunder there as well. It's just that Splash has the best themeing and resembles more of a disney attraction than all the others. And for fantasmic, bald mountain would be amazing. featuring an encounter with Chernabog. Above head you could see spirits and ghosts flying. Also Sorcerer Mickey could have his own coaster as well with a water theme. You could be riding a track thats bumpy, you could get splashed with water by the brooms. Fantasia has alot of opportunites with most of its sequences!
From Anthony Murphy on August 15, 2008 at 1:44 PM
Its too bad not more people have been to DLP. Their Thunder Mountain is excellent! Actually, the best that I have been on!

Tough call! I like them all for different reasons, but how many times do you get to vote for a European ride?

From Marc Ricketts on August 15, 2008 at 2:15 PM
Having not ridden EE or visited the Asian Parks, gotta go with Space in DL. It started great, and every improvement IS an improvement. Best Splash is WDW, and, yes, BTMRR is outstanding at DLP.
From Robert Niles on August 15, 2008 at 2:48 PM
People are voting for Space at WDW? Really? Why?
From Terry Hofer on August 15, 2008 at 2:59 PM
Although I do really enjoy Thunder Mountain at Disney World (seems somewhat faster than Disney Land's version) the best ride for both speed and for the aesthetic value (including story line and queue atmosphere) has to be Expedition Everest. Go Yeti!
From James Rao on August 15, 2008 at 3:14 PM
Expedition Everest is not only my favorite mountain coaster, but also my favorite coaster period. For folks like me who love immersive, narrative, thrill rides, Everest is the perfect amalgamation of story and fun. It is one of the main reasons why DAK is my favorite theme park.

As for the next mountain coaster, I really like the original idea of Fire Mountain. From what I understood, the whole mountain would be a volcano, and the ride vehicle's bottom would separate from the rider when the volcano erupted leaving guests dangling in a harness for the rest of the attraction. That sounds very, very cool. I would love to see Disney pull something like that transition off, as it would be that kind if singular ride experience I expect from a Disney attraction. However, the latest rumnor is that Fire Mountin/MT Fuji may be moving to EPCOT (Japan), and the ride system completely changed.

I don't know if this Mountain coaster will ever see the light of day, but the original concept is a very interesting, and one I would love to witness first hand!

Oh, and Robert, I think WDW's Space MT is getting votes because it is so close to Splash MT in the listing and peeps are hitting the wrong button!

From Scottland Jacobson on August 15, 2008 at 3:26 PM
Dang! I love all the mountain ideas! Fire, Ice or Bald all sound great!

I think Expedition Everest is the closest Disney has come to combining top-rate coaster thrills with theming so it gets my vote.

Not a lot of talk here about Thunder Mountain - which I always enjoy. I prefer MK's version in WDW to the DL version in California. It's adds the flooded town with the twisty track and makes me laugh every time.

And Space Mountain at WDW!?!? DL's version is far superior - even after the lame "re-build." I think people are hitting the wrong button or they've never ridden the DL version.

From E Edwards on August 15, 2008 at 3:57 PM
Ouch! A tough one! As we all know, the FunMaestros in Burbank, are right this second finishing up the preproduction on the next Disney / Muppet live-action flick based on the noted Thomas Mann novel “The Magic Mountain.” Tentatively titled, “Muppet’s Magic Mountain: Ms. Piggy Gets Her Mann!” noted comic genius / rocket scientist progeny Mr. Jack Black has been tentatively inked (“penciled in?”) to play the Swiss Alps, the “magic mountain” of the title. Can you imagine zipping about inside the literal and transfigurative interior of the Mountain with, instead of the Yeti / Abominable Snowman of Orlando and Anaheim fame, you’d see Mr. Black in his Davos costume popping out at you (well, not really “popping” out, but sorta-kinda when the strobe lights are working) to pose some of the troubling, yet oh-so-wacky, themes posed in the book? “La forza vindice della ragione, or are ya just happy to see me?”

‘Tis a pity that the much beleaguered park just a few minutes ride up the freeway (and literally across the freeway from the WDI farm team at Cal Arts) shares the same name. Of course, while the Muppets, in their own inimitable fashion, will play up the wackier aspect of the 1912 novel (can you say “sanatorium pie fight?”), as we know, the Six Flags park deals, daringly for a theme park in Southern California, with the “bildungsroman” aspects of the book (OK, yeah, well, “duh:” X2, right? Need I say more)?

Aw, what might have been, what might have been . . .
From P V on August 15, 2008 at 6:22 PM
WOW this is toughest poll ever posted. I voted for splash mountain over EE but many who have been to Paris say the Big Thunder over there is excellent.
From John Quinteros on August 15, 2008 at 7:26 PM
Space Mountain all the way! I can't believe it! How can Expedition everest be winning?
From TH Creative on August 15, 2008 at 8:40 PM
Yes, Expedition Everest carries a fair share of thrills. But sitting in the front seat of Space Mountain at WDW is an extraordinary experience. With no people or safety contraptions in your sight-line it is as if youa re flying!

NAME TAGS - writtenbytim (Myspace)

From Adriel Tjokrosaputro on August 15, 2008 at 11:53 PM
Absolutely Journey to the Center of the Earth in Tokyo DisneySea. I've never seen a ride so detailed and thrilling at the same time like this one. Disney's best so far. It's just people haven't found out about this one yet.
From Lynn Wilfong on August 17, 2008 at 7:32 AM
The answer was obvious to me. Sure Everest is newer and has that "scare" element to it. Space Mountain is in the dark, and seems much faster than it actually is. Splash Mt. has that great drop, plus all of the wonderful animation...but Thunder Mountain WDW still tops them all. This is one of the most picturesque rides in WDW. There's something to look at on every turn. And because you can't see everything, it's a perfect reason to hop on again. Riding Thunder Mt. in the dark is a whole different experience than the daytime ride. So you really need to ride it at least twice during your stay. But why stop at twice?
From Michael Smith on August 17, 2008 at 7:51 PM
Space Mountain at WDW is just plain fun to ride. You don't know which way you are going to turn.I hope they never add music to it like disneyland. I love the creepyness of being in the dark hearing nothing but screams. If anything, I hope they add a silent lift system to make it spookier. Yes, Space Mountain at WDW needs some updates(the mannequins on the lift hill still have on the original WDW tomorrowland costumes. How hard would it be to slap on the current grey ones?) Just update the lights and sounds in the 2 tunnels and the lift hill effects, and the ride is better than new.
From Tim W on August 17, 2008 at 7:54 PM
yep agree with space mountain updates. And last time at WDW i rode big thunder 6 times while riding splash mountain once on account of the cold and space mountain once on account of it breaking down the first time we tried to get on it.
From Brandon Mendoza on August 17, 2008 at 9:51 PM
I'd prefer Space Mountain at Disneyland... it's just (no pun intended) light years beyond the WDW version. But the Splash Mountain in WDW is phenomenal and makes the Disneyland version look rushed. Not that Splash @ DL is bad, it's actually one of my favorites.

Haven't been on Expedition enough to make a true and fair judgement. Love the theme, love the ride, but I don't know enough after one ride.

I agree with the Night on Bald Mountain idea... the entire ride could progress through scenes of Fantasia, but in roller coaster form. It would be extremely psychedelic with the abstract light patterns, dinosaurs, ostriches, hippos, brooms & buckets, Noah's Ark, etc... Bald Mountain could be the spectacular finale. Make it indoors with water splashes or sprays from Mickey as the Sorcerer's Apprentice as well as from Noah's Ark. Heat and fire from Bald Mountain and the demon(?) above. Make it comparable to Everest's Yeti.

Hey if anything, it could help with DVD sales when it's re-released again?

From David Sutter on August 18, 2008 at 6:45 AM
A great poll! But I went for the one and only Mattahorn in Disneyland...Its the first and still the best...Then it would be Space Mtn. at WDW,,,just wish they would loose the new cars on both and go back to the orginal 4 passanger sit on the floor log flume style sitting ...on Both of them...And the mid run brakes that were installed ..to lower the height restrections.on them...and slow both of them down.
From Amy Tupper on August 18, 2008 at 7:37 AM
My toss up would be between EE and Space Mountain - the one in Paris, not FL. I know I've been on BTM in Paris as well, but I have more vivid memories of Space Mtn than BTM. I hope to one day get to California and Japan to check out the other contenders. :)
From Joshua Counsil on August 18, 2008 at 4:00 PM
Splash at WDW was always my favorite, but when I went recently it was pretty dilapidated. Needs a touch-up.

I went with Everest. Overrated? Yes, but still the best of the bunch I've experienced.

From dylan k on August 19, 2008 at 8:04 AM
I voted for Space Mountain at MK, It amazes me every time i ride it how they cram all that track into that one building plus the little drops are extremely fun! I hope disney never changes the layout!
From Tim W on August 19, 2008 at 5:40 PM
Really, I would hope they would change it a little. I like the vehicles over at disneyland better. But i hated the music for Rockin' Space mountain, i hope that never happens. I love the glow in the dark effect as well still at WDW. The two seaters are also nice in Disneyland. It would be cool if inversions were added, but some people might stop going on it then. I'd also prefer if the track was rebuilt with a smoother ride and new twist and turns similar to Disneyland. Also it be cool if it was called Rocket Mountain since there is so much space theming going on in Tomorrowland it should just be called Spaceland instead. There are rumors that all this could happen, soon too.
From claudia maffei on August 20, 2008 at 10:40 AM
My son is autistic and his favorite is space mountain. I love to take him there because he talks to me so much after that ride and that is the only ride he seems to do that on. That is why I picked it. The one at Disneyworld is not nearly as good as the one at Disneyland though. At Disneyworld it doesn't have music and is a lot tougher than the one at Disneyland in California.

Space mountain in California is the best.

From Eric Davis on August 21, 2008 at 8:49 AM
This was a tough one. Great idea for a poll! I've only been to the stateside resorts, so I only picked from those rides. I have a feeling had I been to all of the resorts, this would've been a *very* difficult poll (especially with the inclusion of Journey, BTMRR in DLP, and BTMRR in Tokyo).

Having said that, I ended up picking Expedition Everest. After riding the attraction over 10 times on my last visit, I can confidently say this is the pinnacle of Disney achievement. The themeing, story, queue, attraction, thrills, etc. are all fantastic. Few attractions come close to the breathtaking experience this attraction leaves you with. The first time I exited the ride I knew DAK was in the hands of greatness.

If Disney continues to build attractions like EE, then we need not worry about the future of the resorts.

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