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All's fair in 'Best Ride' tournament campaigning

By Robert Niles
Published: March 27, 2009 at 9:29 AM
I wanted to bring everyone up to date with what's happening in today's Best Ride in America tournament voting.

The Cedar Point website is linking to today's vote, resulting in a surge of votes for its roller coaster Maverick over last year's champion, Twilight Zone Tower of Terror from Disney's Hollywood Studios.

When I saw a surge of votes come in for Maverick, I closed the poll temporarily to find out what was going on. Once I did, I reopened voting.

If theme parks want to link to the tournament and encourage their fans to vote... fair game. This is the first example I've found of a park doing that, although I know that many park employees and ride designers have been linking to the tournament through corporate Intranets and personal blogs. Cedar Point's move takes that up a level.

Of course, Disney, Universal, Six Flags and Busch are welcomed to play that game, too. As are fans site for those companies. So, Disney fans, if you want Tower of Terror to live past today, you'd better start campaigning, too.

Readers' Opinions

From Scottland Jacobson on March 27, 2009 at 9:45 AM
That's hilarious!

Cedar Point is the BEST "amusement" park in the whole world. With Disney World and Universal Orlando tying for best "theme" park(s). Kudos to Cedar Point for paying attention!!

From TH Creative on March 27, 2009 at 9:52 AM
Scottland Jacobson writes: "Kudos to Cedar Point for paying attention!"

I Respond: EXACTLY!

From Derek Potter on March 27, 2009 at 9:56 AM
Gee, I can't imagine (actually I can) who would be behind all of this madness...now it really can be called March Madness can't it.

It seems that previously ignored voices are now being heard loud and clear. The amusement/theme park industry does exist outside of California and Florida, and it's good to finally see those fans here voicing their opinion. I totally encourage all park fansites for all parks to cast your votes. It would be a stacked deck if only Disney fansites linked up now wouldn't it. Since this is an opinion based poll, I say the wider the demographic, the more accurate the result.

Even though this rattles the Disney/Universal fan cage, congrats Robert on the increased traffic and web exposure.

From Greg Maxwell on March 27, 2009 at 10:32 AM
Busch Entertainment has been encouraging their fans to vote through their Facebook fan page for this years tournament.
From Raul Araoz on March 27, 2009 at 10:50 AM
I also give credit to Cedar Point for getting out the vote. All parks should follow their lead. However, people shouldn't blindly vote for their home park just because it is their's. Whether it is Disney, Universal, Busch or Cedar Fair, quality voting involves being as well-rounded as possible. The loss of high quality Dollywood attractions can attest to this fact.
From James Rao on March 27, 2009 at 11:08 AM
I think Derek makes a good point: our little corner of the world may get a lot more traffic going forward. I just hope it is quality traffic and not the garden variety "insert home park here rules everyone else drools!". It took us a long time to get rid of Jake Rivers....

So, Robert, if all the major theme park companies pulled a similar stunt, would/could it crash the servers?

From Tim Strickland on March 27, 2009 at 11:21 AM
Wow, this keeps getting bigger and bigger everyday.
From Derek Potter on March 27, 2009 at 11:27 AM
IMHO, had some of these voters come earlier, some of the better non-Disney attractions may still be here. To those new on the site, it is important to post responsibly and with some intelligence. Your opinions are welcomed with open arms, at least mine anyway. Vote for whatever ride you want. The reason could be as simple as "I like to ride it", but have a reason to vote for it.
From Joshua Counsil on March 27, 2009 at 12:45 PM
Good for CP, though I'm pissed that Tower is losing by such a huge margin.
From TH Creative on March 27, 2009 at 6:32 PM
I will absolutely support whatever is in the best interest of the site and Mr. Niles.
From James Rao on March 27, 2009 at 6:42 PM
Now that the dust has settled, one thing that does bother me a little, Derek, is your statement about "previously ignored voices." Yours is one of the most listened to and respected voices on this website. Am I just misunderstanding your meaning?
From Derek Potter on March 27, 2009 at 7:17 PM
Thank you for that compliment James. I feel the same way about your opinions. I wasn't necessarily referring to myself, but rather the "silent majority" of amusement park fans that don't usually frequent this site. Im just glad to see a regional amusement park getting the kind of attention that Disney or Universal always gets around here. It makes for the perfect website dedicated to the industry.

So many sites are either amusement park based or theme park based. Nowhere has there been a site that was able to really give both sides the proper attention. TPI has always given a forum to regional amusement parks, but they've never been properly represented by the people, and most news coverage has gone to Disney or Universal because of that. I've been posting here for a long time (almost 7 years) with the message that the regional amusement parks, be they big or small, have a place in the industry, and that while Disney and Universal have some great attractions, there are some really good rides and parks outside of Florida and California. I remember when even Busch Gardens in Williamsburg didn't come up in conversation. While I'm pretty sure I was loud and clear on my points, it took an army of Cedar Point fans to really get the message across.

If anything, I hope that this tournament and the wild turn it has taken... brings in new talent, and opens up real conversation about the industry and it's offerings as a whole, and not just a select few parks and their attractions. Now that the amusement park fans are in the house, this website has the very real potential to be the absolute, ultimate, and definitive source and authority on all things theme and amusement park related.

From James Rao on March 27, 2009 at 9:07 PM
Gotcha. Thanks for the clarification. I too hope some of these posters hang around and keep things fresh. Besides, I am a glory hound, and the more people there are to ride my bullsh--, the happier I will be!! ;)

I just wish you woulda pulled this stunt BEFORE all the Dollywood rides got wiped out!

From Robert Niles on March 27, 2009 at 7:31 PM
Today the CP folks turned out. Previous waves to the site have brought Universal, Busch and even Disney fans. Future waves will bring additional fans from those chains, as well as Six Flags and (perhaps) even Dollywood fans. :-)

I hope that plenty of smart, articulate, insightful CP fans stick around and contribute to the site. I suspect that many folks who instead just followed instructions will soon forget about the site, as well. It'll all even out.

In the meantime, I'm planning plenty of features that will appeal to the theme-first crowd, and will make the tone and spirit of the site quite clear to our newcomers.

Finally, I'm testing some code this weekend to deal with the 70+ comments on blogs. I'd like to switch to a feature that just shows the most recent comments since your last log-in, like on the discussions. It's a nice problem to have, though.

From Anthony Murphy on March 27, 2009 at 9:15 PM
I was kidding when I called fake FRAUD.

Still, good for you Robert. The theme parks care!

This is terrible though too! Call up Disney! Call up Unviersal, Call up Six Flags! So I guess the Disney fans are not the craziest anymmore ;)

From 67.167.19.246 on March 28, 2009 at 12:01 PM
Besides the fact that Cedar Point's blog is helping out the votes, Maverick really is about 30x better than Tower of Terror. Cedar Point is the best amusement/theme park in the business. Just look at 11 straight years of #1 on the Golden Ticket Award's best park.
From Doug Kelley on March 28, 2009 at 12:28 PM
I was one of those that found this site through Cedar Point's Facebook posting yesterday. And, yes, I voted for Maverick over ToT even though it was a tough choice for me. I rode Disneyland's ToT last weekend (gotta love free park entry on your birthday!), WDW's ToT a little over a year ago and Maverick last June. So, I actually have experienced both (actually all three) rides recently. Maverick is a world-class coaster and ToT is a world-class dark ride. My two favorite attractions of all time are Disney's Haunted Mansion (any of them) or Disneyland's Pirates so I don't automatically just vote for coasters.

First, the poll was made more difficult for me because it was WDW's ToT, a far superior experience to DL's version because the ride vehicle actually leaves the elevator shaft and the window in the star field effect is amazing. The theming in the queue area is also the best of breed.

On the other hand, Maverick has many features that are one-of-a-kind and that carries a lot of weight with me. Sure, you can take hundreds of millions of dollars (literally) and make a fairly short drop ride interesting. Cedar Point doesn't have that kind of cash and they have a short season so that also hampers what they can do. But over and over again they produce world class coasters with limited resources but lots of innovation and forward thinking.

Put me in an imaginary park with ToT on my left and Maverick on my right. I'm heading to the right. But, I'll be looking to my left while I wait in line!

From 193.174.32.31 on March 29, 2009 at 12:45 PM
I must go with Maverick. It is a very fun ride. Some don't like it on the first trip but by the second time riding it your in love it. By Cedar Point in general is an amazing park. Worth the trip from anywhere. I am in Germany right now and can't wait to get home and for Cedar Point to open!

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