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2009 Best Ride in America Tournament: Mummy, Pirates, Griffon and Space

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Published: March 30, 2009 at 7:32 AM

Welcome to the third round of the 2009 Best Ride in America tournament on Theme Park Insider. Today, we're splitting the match-ups into two threads.

Again, everyone, please read through the comments before casting your votes! Well-informed voters make for a better tournament. (Plus, reading the comments is more than half the fun of this thing, anyway.)

In the first set of matches, Universal Studios Florida's Revenge of the Mummy takes on Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean.

And Busch Gardens The Old Country Williamsburg Europe Virginia's Griffon defends its four-seed against Disneyland's Space Mountain.

Check back later today for our afternoon (Pacific time) matches. Until then... to the comments!

Readers' Opinions

From Don Neal on March 30, 2009 at 7:39 AM
Griffon was an easy choice but I gotta be honest and say I am torn between Pirates and Mummy. Sure Pirates is a great story and amazing theming but if you had to ride over and over Mummy would seem to be more fun. ALthough I bet you could ride Pirates 10 times over and still find new things to see. Good matchup!
From James Rao on March 30, 2009 at 7:52 AM
Cedar Point fans want you to be torn. Check their forums.

From Mike, the executive editor of The Point Online: As it appears we locked up the win for Maverick, go get out the vote for Mummy...If Mummy could knock out Pirates...a Maverick victory would be even closer.

Go with Pirates...it is the stronger attraction, and it has stood the test of time.

Besides, there will be plenty of steel to choose from in the finals.

From 98.140.236.37 on March 30, 2009 at 7:51 AM
Griffon vs Space Mountain? Wow. That's tough. Despite being a Disney Employee, I had to go with Griffon. It's bigger thrills won me over.
From Drew Petzold on March 30, 2009 at 7:54 AM
I have been on both. Personally, I do like Griffon better. Each has their advantages, but Griffon's advantages outweigh the advantages of Space Mountain. I like the fact that Griffon is taller and goes much faster than Space Mountain. Additioanlly, Griffon is much smoother. Plus, looking down for five seconds as you get ready to drop 205 feet is great too. I get much more of a thrill out of Griffon than I do Space Mountain.

I voted for Griffon, and you all should too.

From Eric Malone on March 30, 2009 at 7:55 AM
I generally just vote for the rides that I like, so.. Mummy and Space Mountain is good for me. I'm not gonna get complicated and rally the votes, since.. y'know.. most of the rides here speak for themselves.
From Raul Araoz on March 30, 2009 at 8:23 AM
These are all four terrific rides.

The Mummy is the best themed coaster out there, but it is a little bit Indy and a little bit Rock n'Roller coaster. Pirates is the ultimate dark ride and the best narrative ride in existence. It has now become a rallying cry for Disney fans everywhere. I want to see it versus the coaster in the next round.

I am going to go with Griffon in the second pairing. I feel that Busch, like Dollywood, is suffering in this race. I am going to show them some love here for what is, nevertheless, an exemplary coaster. Few coasters, if any, create the sense of flight that the B&M dive coasters do. I adore the Disneyland version of Space Mountain, but Griffon gets my vote.

From Doug Kelley on March 30, 2009 at 8:46 AM
This one is easy: Pirates and Griffon. But, I'm holding off on voting until later in the day to see if anyone can sway my vote!

It's interesting CP is pushing for Maverick. I wouldn't give it top slot. Millennium, yes; Maverick, no. But, I'd still rather see Pirates or Haunted Mansion first.

From Scottland Jacobson on March 30, 2009 at 8:54 AM
Now the heartburn has really started.

My "which ride would you repeat during a park visit" test gets thrown out here because I think Pirates is so amazing (but I so love the Mummy!). I'm going with Pirates.

And Griffon vs. Space Mountain? Excruciating!! I'm sticking with the thrills of Griffon.

From TH Creative on March 30, 2009 at 8:55 AM
Mummy vs. Pirates -- flip a coin. The original Pirates at DL is extraordinary. It puts the WDW edition to shame.

As for Griffin and Space, I'm going with Space simply because riding the front row is one of the great theme park experiences.

From Adrian Walker on March 30, 2009 at 8:59 AM
Mummy vs Pirates

Now I like Pirates, but it just isn't a patch on the Mummy. Still thrills me as much as it did the first time round! Sorry Pirates, but Mummy has to advance because it's better. The animatronics just pale in comparison to Mummy's and the thrill value on Mummy is just superb.

From Joshua Counsil on March 30, 2009 at 9:07 AM
I gotta be the Disney fan boy today and vote for Pirates and Space.

Although Mummy has some excellent technological visuals, they lose their luster because of the corny strobe light/glow paint cutouts that appear during the coaster portion. Also, many portions of the ride leave me feeling like I'm in a studio set and not a real tomb, whereas Pirates feels genuine throughout.

Griffon and Space was a tougher choice, but Space gets the edge for theming.

From James Rao on March 30, 2009 at 9:38 AM
I will officially voice my dissent. I love The Mummy, but Pirates is the better ride. This tournament is now officially a sham.

Robert, I love you, man, and you can ban me if you want, sir, but it has to be said. The people moving the vote are not interested in us or this site, just interested in putting their park over the top. They are sad, little people, rigging a tournament.

Yes, Blackout, I am talking about you. Deal with it. You have never even been to Disneyland.

From Susan Dyer on March 30, 2009 at 9:39 AM
Okay me and my family may have only ridden the WDW POTC but we've been to Florida a few times now (I've been 9 times since I was 5-years old. 20 this year) and like to call ourselves theme park junkies. However we have never, ever gotten the fascination with the POTC attraction. Because we now do Disney in a day it gets missed because we don't consider a must-do but I remember we went back and did it again a few years ago to see if we could understand all the hype. We still don't get it. Maybe it's just us but it's a simple calm, boat ride in the dark with a few good scenes to look at. It's nothing else to us, we don't get it. Can anyone help?

Mummy wins that hands down for me.

From Raul Araoz on March 30, 2009 at 9:40 AM
The fix is officially in. This contest has now become a farce. Suddenly, there are as many votes today as there were for the contests on Saturday. This only proves that petty people with no sense of judgement or open-minds have hijacked the tournament. They have become homers for their home park. It is the ending of "The Godfather" and they are singularly picking off all of the Disney rides without accessing their quality. This is a sad day.
From James Rao on March 30, 2009 at 9:42 AM
Susan, the DL version of Pirates is amazing. It puts the WDW version to shame.

We are voting on the DL version.

But it doesn't matter.

From Robert Niles on March 30, 2009 at 9:42 AM
Mummy and Griffon were the higher seeds, so, at least when the tournament began, they were the higher-rated attractions overall by TPI readers. If they win today, it really shouldn't be a surprise.

Now, granted, the margin between Mummy and Pirates was slight - that's why they were the eight and nine seeds. So I expected this to be a close race. But I'm not troubled by one winning over the other. (Though, to be honest, I did vote for Pirates.)

Busch is turning out for Griffon, with an update to all its Facebook fans. It didn't comment on the Mummy/Pirates race, but I suspect that BG fans might be breaking for Mummy. Which might turn out to be silly, because that winner faces the Maverick/Beast winner, and I would suspect that Pirates, bringing Disney fans, would have a better chance at taking out Maverick and the Cedar Point crowd than Mummy would.

From Rocklin Terrell on March 30, 2009 at 9:45 AM
Like Buzz Lightyear said of Woody in the original Toy Story, anyone only intesting in pushing the numbers with a mob mentality is "sad, sad, little man (or woman)". The sanctity of an opinion poll is for subjective exploration not blind involuntary responses. If CP as a theme park corporation has only this tournament on which to bench its celebrity then it can only be said to be the Amy Whinehouse of theme park enteratainment.
From Robert Niles on March 30, 2009 at 9:48 AM
Okay, I'll bite.

The question for the day: Which model of roller coaster should "Amy Winehouse's Rock n' Roll Rehab" be, and why?

From TH Creative on March 30, 2009 at 9:50 AM
If you tried to get me on the Amy Winehouse coaster I'd say "No, no, no..."
From Emily G on March 30, 2009 at 9:53 AM
I went for Griffon (which I have never actually ridden) over Space, basically because I love Space, but don't really find it that thrilling. It is classic indoor coaster, but I belive if I voted I would be voting for nostalgic reasons, which wouldn't truly represent the quality of the ride. I have also done some research on Griffon and have paid attention to the reviews on here. I feel this truly deserves to win aginast Space. Also am not that impressed that Space knocked out Splash.

Secondly, I enjoy Pirates, but have to say that is wasn't as hard a choice for me as it seems to have been for others. I appreciate the amazing attention to detail, the atmosphere and themeing at Pirates, but I have to say I was amazed by the Mummy and actually a little bit scared, I have been neither after a ride on Pirates even as a little 8 year old.

From Don Neal on March 30, 2009 at 10:01 AM
I think it's great that CP is getting involved. We need to look at the bigger picture. This is great exposure for the site. It starts with them and then who will be the next set of parks to get more involved? Let the word get out!!! :)

Great point about the DL Version of Pirates. I forgot about that. I have only seen the MK version which was great but I guess doesn't compare. Still a 50/50 for me on Mummy and Pirates.

From Robert Niles on March 30, 2009 at 10:22 AM
MK's Pirates is the sad, abridged Cliffs Notes version of PotC. Accept no substitutes. Get thee to Anaheim, mateys!
From James Rao on March 30, 2009 at 10:26 AM
You all make good points, but the tournament is no longer about the best ride, it is about the biggest mob. Please don't hide behind the seedings when the integrity of the tournament has been called into question.

With a smirk and a sigh I resign myself to my fate. Go Mummy...all the way!

From Doug Kelley on March 30, 2009 at 10:28 AM
Susan and Don, you can’t compare the WDW Pirates with DL. The DL version spends half the ride just setting the mood: drifting though a bayou with fireflies, banjos and crickets then down the falls and into the grotto where a storm is raging. The rider is COMPLETELY immersed in the mood, period and theme BEFORE he even gets to the pirate ship. There’s nothing similar in existence, including the WDW Pirates. And, honestly, I think the Jack Sparrow additions help to pull the story together even more.

Please don’t vote on this combo based on the far inferior WDW ride!

From Jacob Sundstrom on March 30, 2009 at 10:44 AM
I put Pirates of the Caribbean over the Mummy because it truly is the ultimate dark ride experience. Much of Mummy's theming is quite less than extraordinary, whilst Pirates never lets up, with perfect theming and story everywhere that you turn your head.

Don't let the thrills of Mummy overtake the fantastic theming and story of Pirates of the Caribbean.

From Robert Niles on March 30, 2009 at 10:47 AM
Here's another analogy: Disneyland's Pirates is to Disney World's as Florida's Mummy is to Hollywood's. ;-)
From Derek Potter on March 30, 2009 at 11:59 AM
First matchup was a tough one for me. I have a certain fondness for Pirates. but I like the Mummy. I chose Mummy because I just liked it more. POTC is without a doubt a classic attraction that has been a crowd pleaser for a long time, despite the "modernization" that I don't think was really that needed. Both are great rides that belong in the "dream park"

Surprisingly, for all you Disney fans, I chose Space Mountain over Griffon. Griffon offers thrills, but there is no pacing or continuity, and the track layouts are unoriginal. I don't like the fact that the ride stops halfway through, only to do the same thing it did before. The Intaride vertical drop coasters (Farenheit, Maverick) do a much better job of mixing multiple elements and making the ride more like a traditional coaster, in spite of their smaller size. B&M and Busch could have done better than this, especially since it was their second try.

I would rather have Space Mountain in my park than Griffon. I may make a few changes to the ride if I did, but I'll take the wider appeal of Space Mountain over the unoriginality of Griffon anyday.

James, I have a feeling that the only time the CP voters will really be torn is if/when Maverick and Millennium Force meet up. Honestly though, I don't want CP/whoever else matchups to be one sided. I want the other parks and their fansites to mobilize and link up just like Cedar Point and their fansites did. The outcome of that would be far more interesting.

I'll tell you what I'll do, since I am one responsible party for this upheaval, and because I'm tired of the whining, I will do the same at Disney, Universal, and Busch sites like I did for Cedar Point and Kings Island. I actually expect this to be done already, but if there aren't any threads about the TPI tournament on their fansites, I'll will inform the fans and start a thread with a link to the home page. If a topic about the tournament is already there, then I'll post to it and egg people about how Cedar Point fans are flooding the site and making the outcomes lopsided. That's the best I can do to appease those who think it's a "sham". If they are as passionate and loyal, and as many... as the Cedar Point fans, then we have a contest.

From Jacob Sundstrom on March 30, 2009 at 11:31 AM
^^ That's exactly what makes this such a close call! They're both better versions of a ride that rests on opposite coasts :S.
From James Rao on March 30, 2009 at 12:10 PM
Derek, if you can get an official link on the main Disney website for this tournament....I want to marry you. I'll even wear my Cinderella slippers.

And you are missing my point...I don't want a bunch of people blindly voting for parks they love...I want intelligent witty conversation among people who have been awaiting this event for an entire year. I am sure the pub is good for Robert...but for me, I miss the camaraderie of the first few rounds before "outsiders" got involved.

On a side note: I do appreciate all of the new folks who have actually joined the site. Their comments and opinions have been first rate. However, unless I am miscounting, the relatively small number of new members does not equate to the additional 1,000's of people who have voted.

From Rocklin Terrell on March 30, 2009 at 12:23 PM
To answer Robert's question of the day:

Which model of roller coaster should "Amy Winehouse's Rock n' Roll Rehab" be, and why?"


Amy's claim to theme park glory should use Top Thrill Dragster as it model, for the similiarities abound. Much like Ms. Whinehouse, it is very fast out the gates, makes a meteoric rise to the (second highest) top, then as quickly as it comes, it plummits to utter disappointment -- leaving the rider with 30 seconds of misplaced life, (for some)the need for a nearby restroom, and no desire to get back on.

And all of this posting goes to show when designing an attraction, there is a limit to what you can do with g-force, but..."there is no limit to what you can do with [your] imagination." --Spongebob Squarepants

From Scottland Jacobson on March 30, 2009 at 12:17 PM
James & Raul - Don't leave us!

Robert - great comparison on POTC with the Mummy's in Hollywood and Orlando. You're dead on!

From James Rao on March 30, 2009 at 12:20 PM
Where else would I go, Scottland? After the smoke clears on this tournament, we'll have a new format on the way in 2010.

Rocklin...love the comparison. Where have you been all my life? ;)

From Raul Araoz on March 30, 2009 at 12:23 PM
No worries, Scottland. We have to stick around to remind everyone that Dollywood exists.:)
From Doug Kelley on March 30, 2009 at 12:24 PM
There may be a limit to what can be done with G-forces but we haven’t even come close to it! In a former life I was and instructor pilot in the Air Force and we had to do 9 Gs for 60 seconds in the centrifuge. We would get out of that thing dizzy, sick and exhausted. No wonder I can’t stand Mission: Space!!! Centrifuges and their associated rides suck rocks.

Or, maybe that's the next big thrill ride--a real centrifuge. Arrghh! Just stick me on It's a Small World if that happens and let me die.

From James Rao on March 30, 2009 at 12:29 PM
I am guessing 9G's for the average, out of shape Joe (or James), would be lethal...but I like your spunk, Doug!

Raul...is there even a Dollywood fan site? Maybe we should start one!! Let's see, me, you, Scottland, Derek....not much of a fan base, but it only takes a pebble to start an avalanche.

From Rocklin Terrell on March 30, 2009 at 12:28 PM
I did not take the crushing of spines and the liquification of brain matter into consideration. I stand corrected, Doug.
From James Rao on March 30, 2009 at 12:30 PM
Disney's newest attraction ---- Mission: Spine Crusher! The only ride where you can experience DEATH - The ULTIMATE HIGH!

Jake Rivers would love it!

From Anthony Murphy on March 30, 2009 at 12:39 PM
Wow, I actualy have been on all of these :)


Take it from me, the Pirates of the Carribean of DL is SO much better than WDW's version due it being bigger, more drops, and more detailed. MK's is nice, but due to the high water tables of FL, its not as big or extensive. The Mummy on the other hand, is meh.

Its good to see two roller coasters against each other, but when Disney does roller coasters, they do it right! Space Mountain is one of the highest themed roller coasters in the world that makes you, for a moment, forget you are on a roller coaster, but rather blasting through space. While Griffon is nice, its just a roller coaster. Not that is a bad thing, but Space Mountain is much more than just its parts.

From Derek Potter on March 30, 2009 at 1:13 PM
The camaraderie is still here. The comments posted are for the most part of the same intelligence and tone that they have always been. The outcome of the tournament may be different than some would prefer, but aside from the complaints/rebuttals from a few parties about Cedar Point's official involvement in the tournament, it hasn't been any different for the regulars on the site. The new format will be interesting, especially at the end, when the winner of the themed ride tourney inevitably faces the winner of the best coaster tourney.

I will be the most surprised if Disney's official site links up to this tournament. I just don't see A) the news getting through to them and B) them caring much about getting their fans involved in the tournament. All they want to do is book those hotel rooms and sell the tickets. There is no interactive portion for people to visit, or official blog to get closer to the common man. The same goes for Universal and Busch. Perhaps there is a lesson in that somewhere. I started threads in a couple of Disney fan sites and a Universal fan site and threw a little gas on the fire. None of them had any news about the tournament. Tried to post on a Busch fan site, but I think they are having problems. I have now done as much for those parks as I've done for CP and KI. It is now up to those sites to pass the word. For the site's sake, I hope they do.

No marriage proposals please..although cash gifts are always accepted.

From James Rao on March 30, 2009 at 4:51 PM
Derek, there is no camaraderie between those commenting and those voting. That's where the disconnect has occurred. It is like the voting is happening outside of the "bubble" of comments, and there is no link.

Regardless, I was very much looking forward to dusting off my slippers. And since I have no cash to offer...perhaps there is something from my Disney pin collection you would be interested in taking in trade for getting Disney/Universal into the ring? I have some new D23 stuff you might think is shiny.

From Audra Distler on March 30, 2009 at 1:42 PM
Hmm.. only ride of these I have been on is POTC in WDW, so... apparently I'm missing out on a lot! Haven't made it to Anaheim, and with a husband who despises theme/amusement parks, likely never will (SIGH) Well traveled to amusement parks, yes, in the past few years not so much! So i'm going by comments here.
I guess I'd have to go with Pirates on the first (and make all my "fellow" CP people mad! hahah OK the homer fans anyway) and still kind of torn on Griffon/Space Mountain. Think I need some I-net research on this one...
From Tom McGill on March 30, 2009 at 1:52 PM
Ok, after sufficiently reading the comments I will now refrain from voting unless I have actually ridden both rides that are facing off, which of course will eliminate me from any Disney rides since, believe it or not, at 41 years old and with an 8 year old and a 5 year old I still have not been there. It's looking like a possibility next year or the year after, but as one of those who came over through the link from the CP blog I'd rather not be lumped into the ballot stuffing category even though I did not vote for Maverick since I was too late, and reading the comments it really would not have been fair since I still haven't ridden it even though I have Platinum Passes. Heck I still haven't ridden Top Thrill Dragster, but the 8 year old is closing in on 52"!

I can understand the frustration of those of you who have been here for a while to see your poll skewed by those who may never come back here again. I am a member on a few other sites and have seen similar things happen, but I will attempt to keep things even and not make any more mega posts like this one with multiple run-on sentences. Nice to meet you all!

From James Rao on March 30, 2009 at 2:11 PM
Hi, Tom, welcome! If you are seriously planning a Disney trip, you've come to the right place. We'll give you all kinds of info, and we are not afraid to tell the whole truth...no matter how much it hurts.

As for voting...hey, feel free to pile on....I am done whining. I think I got it all out of my system. I have now traversed the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and now acceptance. Time to move on.

BTW, Blackout, from the Cedar Point Forum, I apologize for calling you out earlier. I absolutely welcome you to vote however you wish to vote. You just caught me during my "anger" phase. I am past that now, and I am sorry.

Seriously.

Now...on with the tournament!!!

From Don Neal on March 30, 2009 at 3:29 PM
James you forgot the emotional rebound phase where you threw yourself at 2-3 different people even proposing marriage. Just wanted to be sure we captured all of the phases. :)

Now pick your chin up and go get your chaps on. ;)

From James Rao on March 30, 2009 at 3:32 PM
That was the "bargaining" stage, Don...I'd almost forgotten those indignities...but thanks for bringing them back to the forefront of my memory!

Grrrrrr......

From Don Neal on March 30, 2009 at 4:31 PM
That's what friends are for. They keep us honest. :D

So how do those Cinderella Slippers look with chaps on? LOL

From James Rao on March 30, 2009 at 4:40 PM
Just to give you a mental picture, think Henrietta Hippo trying to squeeze into a pair of tights.
From James Rao on March 30, 2009 at 4:50 PM
One last thing I noticed:

Derek, you wrote: The new format will be interesting, especially at the end, when the winner of the themed ride tourney inevitably faces the winner of the best coaster tourney.

Stop salivating. That battle won't happen. Once the top four are picked the tourney is over, and they become the best in each category. Contest done.

No sense comparing apples and oranges any longer.

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