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2009 Best Ride in America Tournament: Spidey, Kraken, Everest and MIB

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Published: March 31, 2009 at 6:57 AM

Welcome to the third round of the 2009 Best Ride in America tournament on Theme Park Insider.

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.)

We kick off this morning's match-ups (remember, folks, I'm in Los Angeles), with two-seed
The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man from Universal's Islands of Adventure taking on SeaWorld Orlando's floorless coaster Kraken.

In a highly anticipated match-up,
Expedition Everest from Disney's Animal Kingdom takes on Universal Studios Florida's Men In Black Alien Attack, fresh off its upset win over Indiana Jones Adventure. Can MIB make it two upsets in a row?

That's right: TPI old-timers get a morning without Cedar Point and Busch Gardens Europe attractions (and, perhaps, without their battling fan bases). See you in the comments!

Readers' Opinions

From Robert Niles on March 31, 2009 at 7:00 AM
Frankly, were the Yeti working, I could live with this as a final four. These might be my favorite four rides built in the last decade or so.

That said, as much as I adore Kraken, it isn't the complete experience that Spidey offers. And Everest's Yeti isn't working, while MIB offers the best melding of dark ride and video game built to date.

So those are my choices. Yours?

From Don Neal on March 31, 2009 at 7:18 AM
This is where Kraken finishes its run through the Tourney. Great ride, but Spidey is the best!

MIB over the broken Yeti coaster. And for MIB's repeatibility and excellent theming!

From Derek Potter on March 31, 2009 at 7:30 AM
Another tough matchup. Kraken is a good ride..as good as it's ranking in the tourney? Not so sure about that. There is a floorless at Six Flags Fiesta Texas called Superman: Krypton Coaster, and Dominator, now at Kings Dominion. Both are as good or better than Kraken. Again, while the ride is good, the fact that it resides in Orlando gives it a higher profile, and therefore overrates it. Spiderman, on the other hand, has my respect as one of the best, most groundbreaking dark rides in history. I would rather have Spiderman in my park than Kraken, so Spiderman gets my vote.

Second matchup. As I stated before, Disney thrill rides fall a little short with me. I'll give Disney credit where it's due for the theme and scenery. The coaster design they used though is mediocre at best. Yeah the Yeti is cool and all, but its only a small moment in the ride, and by all accounts, doesn't work properly at the moment. MIB is a giant video game, but it's a good one. No matter what Everest looks like, a mediocre roller coaster doesn't belong in my park, and MIB is just plain fun. MIB for me

From Raymond Sydowski on March 31, 2009 at 7:42 AM
I have to vote for Everest again. It's deep commitment to theme really puts it over the top for me.
From James Rao on March 31, 2009 at 7:51 AM
Spidey - best ride. Period.

Kraken is my favorite coaster, but The Amazing Spider-Man has been keeping it real since 1963.

Most of you are aware of my Yeti Protest....so I will try again to bounce Everest from the tournament this round. With the help of Anonymous Voter, I should get my wish. However, it should be noted that Expedition Everest with a functioning Yeti is so much better than MIB that I would hunt down every illicit proxy server on the web to ensure its victory.

However, I don't cheat, and the Yeti doesn't move. Go MIB?

*Sigh*

From brian lochridge on March 31, 2009 at 8:17 AM
Spiderman and MIB get my vote.

What I love about Spidey is that people always talk about how state of the art this ride is and it's 10 years old!!! That says great things about the Universal and minds behind the ride. I'm a huge, make that HUGE Marvel fan. I have 34 Marvel Superhero squad figures on my desk here at work and another 200 at home. That said, riding Spiderman is the closet you can come to actually becoming a superhero. I've never ridden a ride that evokes such a wide range of emotions. I actually get scared that these super villains might actually hurt me, and the rooftop scene is one of the best moments in Theme park history.

On a different note, Robert, when the CP fans crashed the party last week I was like you excited to see some new blood. Now after I've had a few days to reflect my opinion has changed greatly. The linking of this site to other park sites isn't the best idea for having a true ride champion. Like it's been said on here countless times over the past few days, the Mob is no fun. Leave it to all those insecure CP fans to bring things down to an elementary school level. At least the Disney Mob is voting for rides that actually should be in contention for best ride. CP, no matter how you slice it, doesn’t have the best ride in America in the park. Millennium or Maverick isn't a better ride than Spidey, Everest, TOT, HULK hell even MIB. That’s not my opinion, that’s a fact.

From Scottland Jacobson on March 31, 2009 at 8:18 AM
Derek - I was just thinking about Superman:Krypton Coaster at SF Fiesta Texas last night! That is an awesome coaster built right into the side of the cliff - and I do think it's better than Kraken. For overall thrills and experience, my vote goes with Spidey. The "falling" part gives me butterflies every single time - just like a coaster!

James - I'm sticking with you on this. Go MIB!!

From Scottland Jacobson on March 31, 2009 at 8:22 AM
Ooooo Brian! Those are some fighting words! Maverick and Milennium Force beat TOT, Hulk and Everest anyday!! (But I'll agree on Spidey and MIB.) CP does have the capability to have the "best ride in America!" And I'll bet with Robert's system next year they will have the best roller coaster.

Beware the sleeping giant...

From Doug Kelley on March 31, 2009 at 8:24 AM
I need some 'splanin. Why is Spidey so popular? It's just a series of 3D movies. I don't get why it's "all that" and Pirates and Haunted Mansion die off without protest. Somebody please tell me what I'm missing.
From Robert Niles on March 31, 2009 at 8:36 AM
You're kidding, right, Doug? Saying that Spidey is a bunch of 3D movies is like saying that Pirates is a collection of singing dolls.
From Adrian Walker on March 31, 2009 at 8:48 AM
Spidey vs Kraken
Aaaargh! Not Kraken! Jeez, I'm sorry but you have to go out. Spidey is just the ultimate attraction. Shame, one of the best coasters in the tournament has to fall here.

Everest vs MIB
MIB takes it. Great re-rideability + great storyline....actually I've said all this before. There's no way everest can + deserves to beat it.

*checks poll*

.....voting for a broken attraction? Good one Disney fans...

From Robert Niles on March 31, 2009 at 9:00 AM
I think it is more likely coaster fans reflexively voting for a roller coaster. They don't care that the Yeti's broken; they're not looking at it anyway.
From brian lochridge on March 31, 2009 at 9:12 AM
Scottland, your proving my point for me. CP may indeed have the best coaster, but not the best ride.
From Anthony Murphy on March 31, 2009 at 9:19 AM
This is a really tough one! Kraken and Spidey is a tough compeition, but I will admit that it is a series of 3D screens as another person mentioned, but so is Toy Story Mania. However, I like the whole 3D ride thing which is the only good way to see this ride. I will vote for Spidey.


Second, I am sorry, but I am going to vote for Everest. It was not broken when I was there (I will check it out in May and give you guys and update) and you all complain about the Yeti not moving, but seem to not have a problem that not all the MIB Aliens move and the Mummy Guards in Revenge of the Mummy do not move at all! The theming for MIB and Everest is fantastic, but I like the line to Everest much better! There is a story in the line that makes it go much quicker.

From Joshua Counsil on March 31, 2009 at 9:41 AM
Spidey was a no-brainer. Kraken has two fantastic drops at the beginning, but I find it is no better than the Hulk afterward.

I gotta give the second match to Everest. I voted for MIB to beat Indy last round, but it's going down now. The funny thing about people averting votes from Everest because of a broken element is that there are constantly broken elements on MIB. I can't name a time where I went through the ride without a hitch. Whether it be the aliens in the queue line control room or the "6-on-1" alien, something is always defunct. And about half the time I ride, the other track is not synchronized with ours.

Universal is infamous for their down-time. Yes, the Yeti is the main attraction of Everest, but I consider competition the main attraction of MIB. Considering half the rides are not synced with the opposite cart, this eliminates a lot of the fun for me.

From Emily G on March 31, 2009 at 9:57 AM
Oh my god! Glad I haven't missed this one. Can't believe it is so close between Spiderman and Kracken. Who on earth doesn't recognise that Spiderman is an amazing and outstanding ride. Hopefully this isn't a case of people trying to knock out the better ride

On the other vote I went for MIB simply because of the condition I hear Everest is in and because I enjoy both rides pretty equally for different reasons. Poor quality cut outs or not MIB is definitely a fun and well themed ride.

From Robert Niles on March 31, 2009 at 10:00 AM
I wonder how the baby otters would have fared had I put them in the bracket....

Given the traffic on the site this morning, I think that the otters might have been the ones who could have taken out Maverick. :-)

From Michael Owen on March 31, 2009 at 10:07 AM
Today's choice was pretty easy for me. My favourite coaster in the world is Kraken for pure thrills. Spiderman is one of the best themed attractions in the world and offers one of the most technologically advanced ride systems in the world, as well as giving you a thrill along the way. Spiderman gets it for me.

MIB Vs Everest. as much as I love MIB I don't enjoy it as much as either Buzz or Midway Mania. Everest is my favourite Disney Mountain. Yeti or no Yeti this attraction is amazing. Everest takes it for me.

From Doug Kelley on March 31, 2009 at 10:19 AM
Go ahead and shun me. Kraken over Spiderman (although I'm not a huge Kraken fan). I only rode Spidey once. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for it.

Otherwise, Everest. Broken Yeti or no. It's one of my favorite queues, a decent coaster (but not great), fun theme and something I ride over and over again. It's tame enough for my wife and interesting enough for me. MIB, sorry (not really).

From James Rao on March 31, 2009 at 1:03 PM
More about Spider-man as it appears it needs some help - which surprises the heck out of me.

For those who are teetering on the edge, I have compiled a list of comments from this site to support the fact that Spider-Man is the best theme park attraction in the world.

***
Spider-Man is original, immersive, amazingly well themed, fun, repeatable, and...is one attraction that receives praise from both coaster and theme ride fanatics across the board. Even Amusement Today (a publication devoted to iron ride parks like Cedar Point) acknowledges Spider-Man as the best dark ride in the world. - James Rao.

[Spider-Man is] the best ride in the country. [It] is absolutely amazing. Everything about the ride is awesome. The theming and effects are great...Spider-Man is the best ride in Orlando and is deserving of all of its positive hype. The indoor queue area is nicely themed...and the sensation of driving and flying the streets of New York City fighting Spidey villains are realistic and fun. This ride is worth coming to Orlando by itself and is an absolute must ride. Lines for this are pretty long but who cares, this ride is worth any wait. - Manny Barron

An all-around outstanding attraction, with an immersive environment, strong story and enough detail to entice you to ride again and again. One of the world's top attractions... and not to be missed. - Robert Niles

The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman would win over any other ride I have been on so it got my vote. It is just so different to any other ride I have experienced by virtue of the great 3D effects. - Emily G

Spidey is number one. I doubt anything can top it. I'm backing it for the number one spot this time. - Adrian Walker

...come on - Spidey swing to the final four. - Joshua Counsil

Spiderman - This one's a no-brainer...how could anyone vote against the greatest ride on the planet? - John Jackson

The fact that Spiderman rides on a flat slab and coordinates 3-D film and moving set pieces makes it a miracle of modern theater. The spinning sequence into the steam tunnel is fantastic, as is the final climactic fall and the blazing "guitar army" version of the Spidey theme that closes the attraction. - TH CREATIVE

Spiderman...is special. Few rides incorporate the senses like Spiderman does, and when it comes down to it, I would just rather have Spiderman in my park...Was and still is a groundbreaking ride...Spiderman is one of the few themed rides out there that stacks up against the best coasters. - Derek Potter

Spiderman all the way. It's just such a great attraction. - Michael Owen

I can go on Spider-Man again and again and always discover something new, whether it be in the detailed queue or the ride itself. - Brian L

Spider-man...is still the best ride at Universal and the most technologically advanced ride on earth (ten years later on top of that). Anyone who can't recognize its greatness has no business commenting. It would be like calling Thunderhead an average woodie. Spider-man's early exit from this competition would truly be a sign of the apocalypse. - Raul Araoz

Spider-Man is just an incredible ride. And it hurts that it is up against my favorite B&M inverted, but for best ride and total immersion - I have to give it to Spider-Man. - Todd Houts

Without a doubt, and without peer, Spider-Man is still the best ride in North America. - James Rao

If y'all don't [vote] Spider-Man into at least the final four, I'd seriously consider wiping out the site's registration database, banning everyone here and starting over with a new crop of readers. ;-) Or, at least, inviting only the ones with the good sense to recognize Spidey's greatness. - Robert Niles
***

If you still have doubts...please go ride Spider-Man again. Kraken is a great coaster, but Spider-Man is one of a kind.

From Raul Araoz on March 31, 2009 at 11:30 AM
After what has transpired here over the past couple of days, does anything here really shock you anymore James?

Part of me wants to collect a bunch of 5-year-olds together to name Dumbo the greatest ride ever. :)

From Doug Kelley on March 31, 2009 at 11:36 AM
I think I've figured out my "problem." When I want thrills, I want REAL thrills as opposed to SIMULATED thrills. So, off I go to a coaster. When I want to be immersed into another world, I don't want it to be "thrilling," I want it to be whimsical, surrounding, mood setting and maybe just a bit relaxing. So, I don't care for Spiderman and I don't care for Indy. I love Pirates, Haunted Mansion, Millennium Force and so on. I'm clearly in the minority here (at least with those providing commentary).
From Mark Mahoney on March 31, 2009 at 11:49 AM
Robert- This is your test. If you're true to your word, you will wipe out everyone in the database and only allow people who love Spidey back in. I'm all for it.

Personally, I think only registered voters should be allowed to vote next year. Why? 1) Because it would encourage membership and thus more active discussion. 2) It would discourage a lot of the blind voters (like the ones who are voting for Kraken) from voting, because they would have to take the time to sign up and get a password, etc. 3) The new people who are willing to sign up will likely be people who want to actively think about ride and park quality, and thus become members of the community.

If this rule were to be implemented, I think there would be a lot more unity between the comments and the voting, and it would be a better tournament for it.

From James Rao on March 31, 2009 at 12:11 PM
Doug...honestly, you make fine point, and your argument is sound. I will disagree, though, because Spider-Man is thrilling in a very real way. It is not a simulator in the same vein as Corkscrew Hill or Shrek, or STAR TOURS. It is more like Curse of the DarKastle at BGE (or, I should say Curse is like Spider-Man).

At least you have ridden Spider-Man. Anonymous Voter probably has neither ridden Kraken nor Spidey, so the default is to go with the coaster.

From James Rao on March 31, 2009 at 12:08 PM
Interesting...tallying those registered TPI users who have commented about Spider-Man today the vote is as follows:

Spider-Man: 11 votes.
Kraken: 1 vote.

What we have here, is a failure to communicate.

From Don Neal on March 31, 2009 at 12:58 PM
Ok, I understood some of the other underdogs pulling it out and even could see other's point of view on why they thought the winer was a better ride but this just isn't right. How the heck is Spidey losing to Kraken? I love Kraken but you guys have made great points about it's overhyped Orlando locale and similarity to other attractions. This above anything else I have seen this past week confounds me.

Everyone with me: SPIDEY! SPIDEY! SPIDEY! SPIDEY! LOUDER! SPIDEY! SPIDEY! SPIDEY!

From James Rao on March 31, 2009 at 1:00 PM
I think I have expressed my Spidey love ad nauseam today, Don, but here in Missouri I am chanting with you as well.
From Don Neal on March 31, 2009 at 1:04 PM
Thanks James! It was losing by 1% when I posted. Now it's up 1%. Maybe it's working?!?!

SPIDEY! SPIDEY!! SPIDEY!!! :D

From Raymond Sydowski on March 31, 2009 at 1:07 PM
I voted for Kraken simpley for motion sickness issues. Simulators always make me queasy. Star Tours, Spidey, Mission Space... Everything else I've been on is fine.
From James Rao on March 31, 2009 at 1:13 PM
Spider-Man: 11 votes.
Kraken: 2 votes.
From Deidre Dennis on March 31, 2009 at 1:17 PM
All throughout this tournament people have really been all over MIB and I personally didn't like it when we went. It made me sick to the stomach. Son and husband didn't like it, either. I don't think I even paid much attention to the Yeti the first time I rode EE and I probably won't the next time I ride it.

Absolutely LOVE all three of the other rides. Gotta give it to Spidey and Everest.

From Derek Potter on March 31, 2009 at 1:39 PM
I'm trying to figure out why MIB is losing so badly to Everest. It seemed that both rides had a good number of fans. I expected the matchup to be a little closer, especially because of the "Yeti Backlash" I've been hearing lately.

And from one of the biggest coaster nuts on the site, the other matchup should be the lopsided one. Kraken shouldn't even be close to Spiderman in my book. Kraken fans should take a trip north, where good roller coasters grow on trees. If they are up north, then they should go south and ride Spidey. Kraken is a good ride, but not worthy of knocking out Spiderman.

One question just to indulge me if you will and to provide "voter info". You can answer if you want, but be honest please. How many people on this site have even been to Cedar Point, and have ridden Millennium Force and Maverick? There are a lot of Cedar Point critics loudly making themselves known and accusing their fans of being one sided.

I'm curious to know if people on the other side of the argument are guilty the same bias of which they are accusing others. If you vote for a themed ride because you are a "fan of themed rides", than it's kind of hard to attack and dismiss the opinions of those "coaster fans" from voting for their favorite rides.

From James Rao on March 31, 2009 at 1:48 PM
Spidey wins the pennant!
Spidey wins the pennant!
Spidey wins the pennant!

Derek, tell the Cedar Point fans "thanks for throwing us theme geeks a bone!"

And, in answer to your question: all Cedar Point coasters up to TTD --> yes. Maverick, not yet. Waiting till my kids are all 54" tall before heading to CP again.

From Todd Houts on March 31, 2009 at 2:43 PM
Well, the last two days have been too busy to get comments while the polling was open. But in reading the comments, I want to add a few thoughts now that this poll is closed.

About Floorless coasters...
Kraken (SeaWorld Orlando) vs. Superman: Krypton Coaster (Fiesta Texas) vs. Dominator (formerly Geauga Lake, now Kings Dominion)

I've ridden all three many, many times. I do think Kraken has more energy - probably because it incorporates an "out and back" layout. You get to "fly" quite a bit on this coaster. For a more compact footprint, Dominator is a great ride. Less than four weeks before Cedar Fair shut Geauga Lake down, I was there on a weekday when the park was empty. When Dominator opened about an hour after the park did I rode it six times in a row; each time either alone or with one other rider. Obviously, I was enamored. Fiesta Texas' Superman: Krypton Coaster LOOKS great. But the ride itself is lacking. I do like how the park has used the walls of the former quarry to good use; staring right at a mall as you crest the wall on the lift hill is a bit strange, but diving back over the edge to the valley more than makes up for it. But after that the ride just doesn't deliver the same as Kraken and Dominator. And if I HAD to pick between the latter, I'd go with Kraken.

And in answer to Derek's question: "How many people on this site have even been to Cedar Point, and have ridden Millennium Force and Maverick?"...

I try to make it to Cedar Point every year. I do love that iron park. Last year I ended up with a 3-day stay there after a coaster run that took me all the way around Lake Erie - hitting, Darien Lake, Canada's Wonderland, Michigan's Adventure and Cedar Point.(And flights from St. Louis to Cleveland can often be had for less than $100 on Southwest, so it is a relatively cheap trip.) I hate that Geauga Lake isn't on the outskirts of Cleveland any more, as I could always hit two parks with one easy trip once Cedar Fair purchased that park from Six Flags.

From James Rao on March 31, 2009 at 4:10 PM
So, Todd...where are all those trip reports? Jeez...we may have to revoke your TPI Badge!

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