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2009 Best Ride in America Tournament, day two, round one: Apollo's Chariot bracket

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Published: March 18, 2009 at 7:28 AM

It's day two of the 2009 Best Ride in America tournament on Theme Park Insider.

[Update: If you haven't voted yet, *please* read the comments *before* voting. There's some strong campaigning down there, well worth considering.]

Yesterday, three of the higher seeds advanced, led by Busch Gardens Europe's Griffon, along with Disney's Space Mountain and Splash Mountain. The sole upset was Six Flags Magic Mountain's X2, which eliminated Hersheypark's Storm Runner.

Today, two more Busch Gardens coasters face off, with the day's high seed, Apollo's Chariot, taking on Busch classic and 60-seed Loch Ness Monster.

Apollo's Chariot

We've got a classic Six Flags versus Cedar Point battle up next, with 28-seed Nitro facing 37-seed Raptor in a clash between Bolliger & Mabillard coasters.

It's all Disney in the next contest, as Disneyland's favored Haunted Mansion takes on Epcot upstart Test Track. (Will Test Track sponsor General Motors become Ghost #1,000 in the Mansion? Odds look good.)

Finally, two themed roller coasters square off: It's Dollywood's Mystery Mine, a former winner of the Theme Park Insider 'Best New Attraction' award, versus the granddaddy of all steel and themed coasters, Disneyland's Matterhorn Bobsleds.

Once again, tell us in the comments why you voted the way you did.

Readers' Opinions

From Joshua Counsil on March 18, 2009 at 8:20 AM
Nitro over Raptor. I find inverted coasters overrated.

Mansion over TT. Test Track is such a marginal ride, and the updated Mansion is outstanding.

Mystery Mine over Bobsleds. Disney's rides are typically themed with a storyline. MM has better thrills and theming.

From Scottland Jacobson on March 18, 2009 at 8:32 AM
Apollo's Chariot vs. Loch Ness? Easy. Loch Ness is great - but Apollo really rocks the house.

Nitro vs. Raptor was harder - but I think Alpengeist and Montu are the superior inverted floorless coasters, so I went with Nitro.

Beyond that, Robert is starting to give me indigestion again with the other votes. Haunted Mansion and Test Track are two of my absolute favorites of all time. But, ultimately, I'll have to go with my #1 ride at Disneyland - The Haunted Mansion.

Now, I have a bone to pick with TPI readers. I know a lot of folks have not been to Dollywood, but Mystery Mine is FAR FAR FAR superior to the Matterhorn. Although Matterhorn is the first steel, tubular coaster - it's rough, it's slow and it's old, old, old. Mystery Mine has great theming, amazing vertical lifts, fun special effects and an amazing drop and heart line roll at the end. If Mystery Mine does not pull through this leg, I'm going to be very (and I mean VERY) disappointed with all of you!!!!

From Derek Potter on March 18, 2009 at 8:44 AM
Apollo over Lochness- Why is Lochness even in this tournament? In it's day it was something special, but now it's not even number 5 in the old Arrow Looper category. I know I know...it goes by ratings on the website, but come on. I'll name at least 5 coasters in the state of Ohio not in the tournament that should be in it's place.

Raptor over Nitro- I've always had an affinity for Raptor. After almost 15 years, it remains one of my favorites. Still smooth and the transitions are flawless...better than the Busch Gardens pair. I'm sure Nitro is a fine ride, but Raptor gets my vote.

Haunted Mansion over Test Track- Never been a big fan of Test Track. Haunted Mansion is one of those Disney rides that stands the test of time.

Mystery Mine over Matterhorn- I can appreciate the historical significance of Matterhorn, but Mystery Mine is a more complete unique experience. Disney has enough horses in the race anyway.

From James Rao on March 18, 2009 at 10:37 AM
The front row on Apollo's Chariot is probably the best ride at BGE. Loch Ness is fun, but so old, and the brakes are applied way too liberally. Plus AC was responsible for blasting Fabio in the face with a goose...in essence, AC gave Fabio the bird....what could be better than that?

Based on the look of things, I was inclined to vote for Nitro, but I am going to give Derek a bone and go with Raptor. However, it is irrelevant because whichever of these two rides wins, it will lose to Apollo's Chariot in the next round. And deservedly so.

I have Haunted Mansion going deep into the tournament, but I honestly prefer Test Track. And not just the ride itself, but also the queuing area, and the exhibits. It is a useless vote, but I am going against HM.

And I agree with Joshua, Scottland and Derek: Mystery Mine all the way. It is exciting, well themed, and has an immersive narrative. It beats the Matterhorn on every level. However, MM got bounced early last year just because so few people on this site have been to Dollywood. Come on, people, branch out a little! There are other quality THEME parks besides Disney and Universal!

From TH Creative on March 18, 2009 at 9:48 AM
I also have HM going deep. The way the brackets broke, dark rides have an opportunity to play spoiler.
From W McDougal on March 18, 2009 at 10:20 AM
I'm a Disney fan, but Mystery Mine deserves the nod here. Check out the videos on YouTube if you haven't before, it's got some great effects.
From Cole Ricks on March 18, 2009 at 11:11 AM
+1 on the above comments on Mystery Mine. Never done Matterhorn, but MM is truly an excellent ride and well worth a trip to Dollywood.
From Anthony Murphy on March 18, 2009 at 1:38 PM
Why is Test Track ranked so low? I am kinda suprised.
From Raul Araoz on March 18, 2009 at 2:09 PM
What we're doing this again?:) Anyway, here are my two cents which are probably worth 1/100th of a cent in this economy.

The Loch Ness Monster is still a classic and an iconic ride. Yet, it has seen better years. Apollo's Chariot is a masterpiece and the best Hypercoaster in the country. Like James said, the front is one of the great ride experiences in the country.

Nitro and Raptor is a toss-up. Neither is the best of its' kind. There are better inverted coasters than Raptor. However, I am a Hypercoaster sucker so I'll go with Nitro.

I am sorry, but it shouldn't be close between the Mansion and Test Track. The Haunted Mansion is perfection. A blueprint by which other dark rides should be judged. The recent renovation has actually made it better. Test Track is a fun ride, but it is a stop and start coaster ride through a relatively barren warehouse. I will always go with 999 ghosts over traffic cones.

The last pairing is the hardest one for me. The Matterhorn Bobsleds are a classic and a trendsetter. In my opinion, the Matterhorn is better themed and more fun than Everest. Now, it is an old, creaky antique. I would love to see Disney tear out the track for it and rebuild it. Mystery Mine is terrific and both an exciting ride that is well themed. So, until Disney renovates the Matterhorn, the Mine wins this round.

From James Rao on March 18, 2009 at 5:54 PM
Arrgh! Stop voting blindly and go for Mystery Mine! If we just rubber stamp everything Disney does, they will never try to improve/refurb their attractions. And trust me, the Matterhorn needs some Disney love!

Speaking of love, have I mentioned how much I love this tournament, yet? Between monitoring the vote and anxiously awaiting the new episode of LOST, getting though the day was a complete breeze!

BTW, Derek, did you see my earlier comment where I actually typed: There are other quality THEME parks besides Disney and Universal?

See, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks.

From Joshua Counsil on March 18, 2009 at 6:02 PM
I can't believe the clunky old Bobsleds are taking that win. Every other win is deserved (though I'd take Nitro over Raptor), but, once again, the Disney-philes ruin the fun.

I love Disney and would take most of their parks over any others, but the reason I love them is because, in most cases, they have incredible theming. Such is not the case with the Matterhorn. It's very marginal. The only theming is fake snow and an abominable snowman, if I remember correctly. The seats are tiny and uncomfortable, especially when you have to wrap your legs around the person in front of you. The music in the uncovered queue is stereotypical and unbearable. It's a slow-loading clunker, and the Mine is clearly superior.

From Joshua Counsil on March 18, 2009 at 6:04 PM
Either way, the sleds will be knocked out by Mansion, which may or may not knock out Apollo's Chariot (which will beat Nitro).
From Joshua Counsil on March 18, 2009 at 6:09 PM
So far, two of my predictions have been incorrect (Storm Runner lost to X2, and Nitro will lose to Raptor). Everything else is going well.

How's everyone else doing?

From James Rao on March 18, 2009 at 6:34 PM
Everything is proceeding exactly as I have foreseen. A few of the attractions I wanted to win are losing (Mystery Mine, Test Track), but my actual bracket picks are spot on.

The real exciting votes in this first round will be in the next couple days when Maverick faces TTD, Toy Story Mania faces Kilimanjaro Safaris, Millennium Force faces Kingda Ka, and Kraken goes against Mission: Space, to name just a few. Plus the ever present Yeti Backlash discussed yesterday could haunt Expedition Everest when it squares off against BTMR in the first round....any takers on a huge upset brewing? I doubt it, but you never know.

The last two days have been relatively easy to predict...the next few days the going gets a lot tougher!

From Mark Mahoney on March 18, 2009 at 6:56 PM
It's amazing that Matterhorn is winning. I'd like to hear the reasons from someone who voted for Matterhorn over MM.
From Scottland Jacobson on March 18, 2009 at 7:22 PM
C'mon Mystery Mine!!!!! People, trust me. It is the bomb compared to the Matterhorn.

It might be interesting to do one of these tournaments in the future but eliminate all Disney attractions. Very, very interesting...

From Derek Potter on March 18, 2009 at 8:41 PM
James...I think Satan himself may have just hit me with a snowball. Just kidding with that of course, but seriously...score one for the good guys.

A lot of deserved love for Mystery Mine, yet it seems that the fanboys will prevail. It looks as if those who have actually ridden MM voted for the ride, and the micebrains that haven't ridden it voted for Matterhorn...lame.

From TH Creative on March 19, 2009 at 2:13 AM
If 'Raptor' holds on I am 5 for 7 thus far.
From James Rao on March 19, 2009 at 2:57 AM
Derek, that's not Satan throwing snowballs at you, it's...well, never mind, believe what you wanna believe! ;)

Funny thing is, I am one of the biggest Micebrains there is, heck, I eat cheese continuously and sleep in an over-sized Minnie Mouse t-shirt, but even I can be objective when picking attractions. No, some voters are just casual observers hitting this site because someone in a forum somewhere said: "Hang gang, there's a tournament on TPI...go pick all Disney, or all Universal, or all Cedar Point, etc..." Problem is, when the Disney Army moves, it often leaves a trail of great attractions in its wake.

In all fairness, the Matterhorn Bobsleds do have some historical significance, and the attraction is considered by many Micebrains to be the greatest thing since Kraft Singles, so I am willing to let it go. Most of us know Mystery Mine is a better attraction, and one day, if we keep doing our job, others will know that too.

Neither attraction is going to make it out of the next round, so in the end, I guess it is irrelevant. But let's face it, two years in a row the Mystery Mine got...well...shafted.

From Adrian Walker on March 19, 2009 at 3:22 AM
Had to go with the haunted mansion. Superb effects that still amaze to this day. Test track I havn't been able to ride which is unfortunate.

On a late note, how did splash mountain beat Popeye and Blutos??? Boooo!!!

From Nick Markham on March 19, 2009 at 6:42 AM
I can't believe Raptor beat Nitro! Nitro is such a better coaster than Raptor! What has this world come to! :)
From Mike Deitz on March 19, 2009 at 1:46 PM
I LOVE THE HAUNTED MANSION!!!!!!!!!!
From Mike Deitz on March 19, 2009 at 1:48 PM
Splash Mountain is way better than the Popeye ride- it makes perfect sense why it won!

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