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2009 Best Ride in America Tournament, round one: Revenge of the Mummy bracket

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Published: March 22, 2009 at 8:59 AM

Welcome to day six of the 2009 Best Ride in America tournament on Theme Park Insider.

Yesterday brought the closest match in the tournament so far, as Knott's Berry Farm's Xcelerator edged Dollywood's Thunderhead. In other contests, defending champion Twilight Zone Tower of Terror advanced easily, as did Kings Island's The Beast, while Maverick upset its Cedar Point neighbor Top Thrill Dragster.

Today, Universal Studios Florida's Revenge of the Mummy leads the bracket, taking on Led Zeppelin - The Ride, a B&M coaster that almost didn't make it into the tournament because of the possibility that its home, Hard Rock Park, would close.

As always, I ask you to take a look at the comments below *before* casting your votes. (Early voters, get the campaigning going by submitting a comment.) Thoughtful votes help make this a better tournament.

Revenge of the Mummy

Six Flags Magic Mountain's Goliath goes up against Dueling Dragons - Ice from Universal's Islands of Adventure. Which coaster do you prefer?

Now, we turn to Disney for today's remaining match-ups. Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean squares off against Anaheim neighbor Grizzly River Run, from Disney's California Adventure.

And in today's all-Orlando match-up, Toy Story Midway Mania from Disney's Hollywood Studios takes on Kilimanjaro Safaris from Disney's Animal Kingdom.

What do you have to say?

Readers' Opinions

From Emily G on March 22, 2009 at 9:44 AM
Can't vote today as have only been on Kilimanjaro Safaris, Revenge of the Mummy and Dueling Dragons.

Revenge of the Mummy scared me to death even though I obviously knew it was just a ride. The effects are amazing.

The safaris are also great. The guide is a little cheesy but the story is fun and we saw so many different animals.

I don't know which of Duelling Dragons is my favorite. They are both really good and its great that the two coasters fly over each other.

I love them all so hope they go through and I get a chance to vote for them in the next round.

From Mike K on March 22, 2009 at 9:46 AM
I have to go with Safaris on this one. Toy Story just does not offer the incredibly unique experience. I've already competed for points on Buzz and MIB, why do it again? The technology is great, but in the end, it is the same concept.
From Casey S. on March 22, 2009 at 9:47 AM
KM should take this. This ride is amazing. I think we often don't think of it as a ride because its so real. With hidden fences and man made mud holes, the safari is inventive. TSMM is nothing I can't do at home playing Wii.
From Derek Potter on March 22, 2009 at 9:59 AM
Voted for Mummy. The Zeppelin coaster is fun and is a great ride, but it becomes lost in the sea of B&M loopers when going up against Mummy. It probably would have gotten my vote against a lot of other rides, but not this one.

To me, Dueling Dragons remains one of the most overrated roller coasters on the planet. I know, the queue contains some pretty cool stuff, but once you get on the ride, it becomes a middle of the pack inverted coaster. The ride is fun and all, but I rank at least 4 inverted coasters above both tracks of Dueling Dragons. I'm not that high on Goliath either, I gave it the vote to get my point across about Dueling Dragons.

Pirates is the quintessential Disney ride. It's a classic dreamed up by Walt himself...to the point where it actually is a bummer that they overhauled the ride to make it more "politically correct", and then centered the whole thing around the movies that came out. Even though they should have left it alone, it gets my vote.

The last one was a tough one for me. Toy Story is a top notch family ride. It's another shooter dark ride, but they gave it a whimsical touch with the pies and eggs and such. Even so, I have to go with Kilamanjaro because of the interaction with real animals. To me, the best definition of immersion is when you use things that aren't made of steel and fiberglass. This ride really makes you feel like you are in Africa.

From Raul Araoz on March 22, 2009 at 10:50 AM
Now, I have not ridden Led Zeppelin, but The Mummy is the best themed coaster I have ever ridden. Yes, it cribs from Indiana Jones and the Rock n'Roller Coaster, but the sights and thrills and great fake-out ending make it tops in my books.

The second pairing is the tough one. Goliath is great and fast, but Ice is my personal favorite inverted coaster. Montu is the better ride, but there is something about Ice: the queue, near-misses and better ride than Fire; that put it over-the-top for me.

The third pair is not even a contest. Pirates in Disneyland is the greatest dark ride ever created by man. It is detailed beyond believe and tells a story unlike any other ride. Grizzly River Run is a fun little rapids ride and an improvement over Kali, but Disney still hasn't made their ultimate rapids. Popeye demolishes the both of them.

The fourth pair has good rides, but Kilimanjaro is a beautiful, unique and interesting ride. Toy Story is fun, but it feels too similar to Buzz Lightyear for my tastes. Men in Black is still the best of the gun rides. Toy Story really needed to have your score determine different outcomes like MIB. Every time I ride Kilimanjaro, I always see things. It would be perfect if they just dropped the silly baby elephant plot.

From John Jackson on March 22, 2009 at 10:10 AM
Had to go with Mummy over Led Zeppelin due to the fact that it has so many different elements. Zeppelin is a very good coaster, but it's not anything that's really earth shattering unless you're a mega-Zeppelin fan.

Dueling Dragons runs circles around Goliath in my book. Goliath has no airtime and isn't intense. IMO though they're similar, Titan at SFOT is a much better Giovanola mainly due to that great toe-tingling helix. Titan would have given DD-Ice a run for the money.

Pirates gets my vote with no explanation needed.

Toy Story Midway Mania is a pretty great experience, but I love the layout of Kilimanjaro. In this case, cool "free roaming" animals wins over technology.

From Brian L on March 22, 2009 at 10:29 AM
Revenge of the mummy - never got a chance to go on led zeppelin. but im sure if i had it would just be another coaster. Revenge is something else entirely. Sooooo much fun. the fake ending is a riot.

Dueling Dragons - the best part of this or fire is when you are inches away from the other riders toes. nothing beats that.

Pirates - the first and the best. Everything changed with this one. it set the standard that parks are still trying to meet.

Toy Story - I can play this one all day long. And that is what you do. you don't just ride, you play. and its addicting. i still remember seeing my score at the top of the top 3 after a ride thru. my arm may hurt, but its worth it.

From Mike Deitz on March 22, 2009 at 10:54 AM
Although Grizzly River Run has more thrills, the classic Pirates of the Caribbean takes the booty once again. Pirates is one of my favorites! As for Toy Story Mania, it's a lot of fun, but the lifelike safari ride of Kilimanjaro Safaris is much more fun. I'm a HUGE Disney fan, and I love all of these rides, but Pirates of the Caribbean and Kilimanjaro Safaris win for me. As for the other match-ups, I don't know very much about Universal or Six Flags, and nor do I have any desire to go to either theme park. I'd go with the other comments like I had to for those match ups. Go Disney!
From TH Creative on March 22, 2009 at 11:04 AM
I'm somewhat shocked at Toy Story dragging butt out of the starting gate. I guess this is what happens in the tournament to a Disney ride when the competition starts on a weekend. After the corporate casties have their Monday morning coffee, expect TSM to make a late surge.
From Robert Niles on March 22, 2009 at 11:47 AM
Kilimanjaro's re-rideability suffers from having to go through the same "show" with the poachers and the baby elephant each time. That said, having that show greatly elevates the attraction on its first ride. Perhaps if Disney would create multiple possible "adventures" for this ride, I'd want to go on it more often, and be more supportive of it in the tournament. (Of course, that would require additional cast training and learning multiple spiels.)

Still, live animals in a well-themed setting ought to beat out a video game with minimal ride elements. But I do love playing Toy Story so much that this one became a toss-up for me. I see that it is a toss-up for the group, as well.

From Joshua Counsil on March 22, 2009 at 12:12 PM
Has anyone really ridden Led Zeppelin: The Ride? I haven't, but I'm not that big a fan of The Mummy, so that's the only real tough one today.
From Derek Potter on March 22, 2009 at 12:49 PM
I've ridden it. I would call it very similar to Hulk, but without the launch. It really is a fun ride, with more gravity/speed based thrills than Mummy. It has the on board audio, which sounds really good given the fact that you are going 60 mph in the open sea air. The "theme" really doesn't do anything to enhance the ride, but then again, neither does Hulk's. Mummy got my vote because of it's uniqueness.
From Todd Houts on March 22, 2009 at 1:12 PM
I had ridden USH's Revenge of the Mummy a few years ago before riding USF's version last October - and talked a friend into riding the latter (that doesn't like coasters) as I said it was hardly a coaster with all the LIMs and SLIMs of the west coast version. Imagine my surprise when I found not only the layout different (which I expected) but the entire experience to be different with a lift hill and everything. Amazingly, the friend liked it (probably due to the theming and not being able to see what was ahead). I gave USF's Mummy my vote today. (Haven't ridden Led Zeppelin - and glad I should still get a chance - but it doesn't look like anything more special than many other B&M sit-down coasters.)

I had a hard time with the second match up - as I don't feel either coaster is special. I agree with one of the commenters - if it had been SFOT Titan instead, this would be easy. As it was, since I remember expecting so much more from Goliath and it not delivering - I gave it to Ice, as much for the theming (and frankly the completely immersive theming throughout IOA) as anything else.

Grizzly is just another river rapids ride to me; themed better than most, but not the best layout I've ridden. Pirates is a classic that I felt deserved to move on.

Finally, Kilimanjaro and TSMM are such different rides - but I gave my props to TSMM. It seems only Disney could take a still fun ride style and up the ante. Kilimanjaro doesn't have the same reride factor for me (much like the smaller cousin Rhino Rally at Busch Gardens Africa - although at least that is a one-of-a-kind hybrid of safari and river rapids ride).

From Anthony Murphy on March 22, 2009 at 5:50 PM
I was extremly disappointed with the Mummy very much like Robert was upset with Dinosaur. Not my favorite while Led Zepplin sounds much more interesting to me.


I have to give Kilimanjaro Safaris the edge due to Midway Mania being very similar to Pirates of the Carribean Game at Disneyquest. Still, Midway Mania is a good time. Not a fan of MIB either!

From 65.189.195.21 on March 22, 2009 at 7:13 PM
I think there are way too many rides from disney when there are a lot of better rides in parks such as cedar point and kings island that aren't even in the competition.
From James Rao on March 22, 2009 at 8:23 PM
Been out most of the day, so I've missed all the action, but there are some good races today.

ROTM at USF is a truly great attraction, one that hits you in all the right places on every level of the entertainment scale. Themed to near perfection (story + decorations), the ride is equal parts chilling, thrilling, funny, and unique. ROTM is the type of attraction that puts the "THEME" in theme park. I have not ridden Led Zeppelin, but no way is it a better attraction than ROTM.

My love for Islands of Adventure knows no bounds, and Dueling Dragons is an excellent attraction. However, I have not ridden Goliath, so I had to go to my brother for this vote as he thinks Goliath at MM is one of the best coasters he's ever ridden. After a bit of a debate we decided that if we counted DD Fire & Ice as just one coaster instead of separating the tracks into different votes, then I would give it my vote today, but taken separately, neither Fire nor Ice alone is as good as Goliath.

GRR is a fine white water ride, one of the best in fact, but the Disneyland version of the Pirates of the Care-uh-bee-ann is quite possibly the greatest theme park attraction of all time. Throw in a stop at the Blue Bayou and a Monte Cristo sandwich, and you have the makings of perhaps the single finest theme park visit of your life.

Were it not for the incessant chatter about Big Red and Little Red, Kilimanjaro Safaris would be my most favorite attraction at any park. Being one who loves zoos (I am so lucky to have the Omaha Zoo, the St Louis Zoo, and the KC Zoo - the Holy Trinity of Zoos - in my own backyard), the safari is near perfect for me. While I have not yet had the pleasure to experience TSMM, and while I am sure it will be a huge hit with me and my family, I gotta go with the Safaris. Despite the annoying chatter the ride is almost never the same experience twice, and is accessible fun for all. Unique and fun, a combination that is hard to beat.

From Scottland Jacobson on March 22, 2009 at 9:27 PM
Revenge of the Mummy at USF is one of my most favorite attractions that I have ever ridden. When it first opened, I rode it 15 times in one day! Everytime I'm at Universal Orlando I ride it over and over and over again. I think it should end up in the top 10 in this tournament. (and may I say that I was extremely disappointed in USH's version)

Surprisingly, I voted for Goliath at SFMM. It's a really great hyper coaster and although I love Dueling Dragons and ride it frequently, I consider Raptor, Montu and Alpengeist superior inverted floorless models.

Can I whine about Dollywood again? Thunderhead should have taken it!!!!!! You anonymous voters need to get your butts to Pigeon Forge pronto!

From Raul Araoz on March 22, 2009 at 9:40 PM
Scottland is correct. It is everyone's duty to get your butts to Pigeon Forge or your theme park IDs will be revoked.

Dollywood just may be the best park not in Anaheim and Orlando, plus the Smokey Mountains are right there and they have to be visited by any red-blooded American. It is your duty.

On another note, I am fascinated by the division amongst voters for Toy Story and Kilimanjaro. I wonder if a safari ride that had air cannons mounted on the sides would be the ultimate ride...or is that just wrong?

From James Rao on March 22, 2009 at 9:52 PM
And, if you like Dollywood, you have to try Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO, another quality Herschend park. It is as if the Frontierland theme at WDW was carried across an entire theme park. Trust me, if you like theming and narrative, you will like Silver Dollar City.
From Tony Duda on March 22, 2009 at 10:28 PM
I am stunned that Kilimanjaro Safari is almost tied with Toy Story Midway Mania. The safari, which I have been on about 10 times, is nowhere near as good a ride as TSMM. The only reason to go on Kilimanjaro Safari is to see animals. The safari is very hit and miss and the only time to get a decent experience is first thing in the morning. The TSMM is always great fun. But maybe I go to Busch Gardens Tampa too often so I know what a real animal theme park is like especially now that Jungala is there.
From Robert Niles on March 22, 2009 at 10:47 PM
Raul, that's brilliant. Sick, but brilliant.

And, as such, it's more likely to be a Universal ride than a Disney one, I suspect. ;-)

From Adrian Walker on March 23, 2009 at 12:13 AM
ROTM vs Led Zeppelin

Not ridden Led Zeppelin, which doesn't really matter because Mummy would still beat it anyway. Mummy cakewalks it into the next round.

Goliath vs Dueling Dragons Ice

Had to go with Ice, brilliant scenary, one of the best queues in the world and a fantastic ride experience. Goliath, whilst I've never ridden it, would probably lose out to Ice regardless.

Pirates vs Grizzly River Run

Urf, another ride I've never ridden vs another ride which I have. I vote for Pirates but interestingly I have yet to ride the latest version of the attraction (with the movie influences).
I've heard on this site though that some people think Grizzly's as good as Popeye's. Can't see it winning against Pirates though, seeing as Popeye's was beaten by a glorified flume ride......

:p

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