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2009 Best Ride in America Tournament: the semifinals

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Published: April 3, 2009 at 7:04 AM

You've done it. You've narrowed the field to the final four rides, as we vote today in the semifinals of the Best Ride in America Tournament here on Theme Park Insider.

It's a great field, too, with four outstanding attractions that represent the best work done by the industry over the past decade. Not a clunker among these. So let's get to it!

A few notes, first. Breaking the voting into two sessions worked well in focusing the comments and keeping traffic to the site consistent through the day. But I'm beat. It's Friday, and the 14-hour days watching the comments are getting to me. (I feel asleep at 10 'til nine last night.) So we're doing this in one batch today. Voting closes when my kids want dinner tonight. So vote ASAP - right after you read the comments!

Second, if anyone keeps the theme park spirit going to day by sneaking out to see "Adventureland," tell us what you thought of the movie in our Adventureland thread.

Third, I'll make another pitch for new readers to join our Facebook page, follow our Twitter feed, or sign-up for our e-mail newsletter. We're happy that you've visited us and want to keep in touch. I love many of the comments that I've read from new readers and hope that you'll continue to be part of our Theme Park Insider community. We're here, especially, for fans who aren't bound by love for a single brand of park or type of attraction and who adore the wide range of thrills, theme and excitement offered by the world's theme parks.

Now, let's get to the voting.

Both match-ups today feature a well-regarded roller coaster from a seasonal park going up against a themed dark ride from Universal Orlando. First up, it's Busch Gardens' Apollo's Chariot versus Universal Studios Florida's Revenge of the Mummy.

And in the second match, the biggie: Islands of Adventure's The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man versus Cedar Point's Millennium Force. Alert the Facebook groups and let's hold the servers hold up.

Have fun in the comments, folks.

Update: Oh, yeah. The contest. There was a five-way tie among folks who picked the most of the final four rides. (No one got 'em all. Heck, I only got one.) So I selected at random among the three who picked Spider-Man to win, since that was the only ride still in among those picked to win by the five. (Sorry to the other two... who picked Toy Story!) And your winner is... Marc Ricketts. Congratulations, Marc.

Readers' Opinions

From 131.123.187.221 on April 3, 2009 at 7:11 AM
Hopefully Cedar Point doesn't get swindled again...
From Michael Barkdoll on April 3, 2009 at 7:17 AM
I am going to go with Apollo and Spider Man. GO BGE
From Jessika Towne on April 3, 2009 at 7:18 AM
I'm kinda sad that Mavrick ended up being kick out....it's a great ride!!...but anyways, back to the final four....

Apollo vs. ROTM....

I gave Apollo my vote on this one. I've never been on either or these, but it looks like it would be a better ride in my mind.

Spider-man vs. Millennium.....

Of course my vote went to Millennium. It's an amazing ride. I used to be scared of big drops, but after I went on Millennium, I couldn't stay away from them. In my thoughts, one of the best rides in Cedar Point!!

From Mike K on April 3, 2009 at 7:46 AM
Let's just hope the polls don't close three different times tonight, and then when the finally close for good, the attraction that was losing ended up winning...

Apollo is just a better coaster.
Millennium Force is the best of the best, hands down.

From 132.170.44.39 on April 3, 2009 at 7:26 AM
Universal all the way!!!!!!!!!!! Mummy and Spiderman have themeing that most rides in the world can't match. My vote goes to them because they offer something Apollo and Millenium can't, and there are coasters just like Chariot and Force all over the country/world.
From Doug Kelley on April 3, 2009 at 7:35 AM
Going for the blood!

I threw out the fact that I don't like the Spider-Man franchise or comic books in general. I'm keeping in the fact I don't like motion simulators (they're rarely accurate even in the professional flight simulator world) or 3D (I always end up with the scratched plastic lens). Still, the whole concept is brilliant.

I just love the exhilaration of riding Millennium Force. It's more than just the wind in the hair, the forces on the body, the motions--it's real. It's not a simulated experience; it IS an experience.

Millennium Force over Spider-Man but it really was very, very close for me.

From Kevin Smith on April 3, 2009 at 7:38 AM
Millenium Force gets my vote in this matchup. IMO the best attraction, theme or not, in the US.
From James Rao on April 3, 2009 at 7:41 AM
Very busy at work today, so this entry will be short and sweet (everyone breathes a sigh of relief).

All four attractions are excellent. All four attractions I have ridden. All four parks I've attended. If you want to base your picks on someone else's, go with mine, because I've been there, man! I know...

Anyway, to keep my Story-Over-Steel Membership intact I am going to vote for the rides that offer both THEME (decoration & narrative) AND THRILLS (fun) in my votes.

Therefore, Mummy & Spider-Man.

Good luck to everyone. Have a great day, I'll see you on the other side.

From Michael Hunter on April 3, 2009 at 7:39 AM
You all can kill me if you want, because I know everyone here is stupidly crazy over Spiderman, but I honestly think that when it comes down to it, Millennium Force is the better ride. Go read my analysis of Spiderman that I posted last night, because yes, I have ridden it and am not another "blind CP vote." Its just too amazing of a rush to be beaten by any of the other three in the poll. Every seat is a great ride (and yes, I have sat in pretty much every seat, give or take 1 or 2) with a balanced experience, meaning where you sit doesn't make for an incredibly different ride. There aren't many other (if any other) coasters designed that perfectly, and that alone should carry it quite a way. And if you've ever ridden it at night during Halloweekends, especially last year, then you know how much more amazing it is, with the entire ride in a foggy mess.
From Chris Roberts on April 3, 2009 at 7:52 AM
All of these rides are awesome. They represent some of the best in their class. A truly great roller coaster will beat anything in my book. Apollo VS. Mummy was a tough one. I very much enjoyed Apollo's Chariot, but it isn't my favorite coaster. I did have it edge out Mummy, however. Millenium Force is, without a doubt, the greatest roller coaster I have ever been on. It is quite simply the perfect coaster experience. The speed, the hills, the air time, the banks, the smoothness & the length of the ride are all perfect & without equal. If you don't believe me, ride it up front at night (Even better during their Halloweekends, when there's fog as well). I have had the pleasure of riding both Maverick & Millenium up front in the dark & both were awesome experiences (Highly recommended), but Millenium takes my vote as not only the best coaster at CP, but the best coaster in the world. You put your arms out, feel the wind rush through your hair & feel like you're Superman flying over the park. I love Spiderman, but this one was easy. Millenium all the way.
From Derek Potter on April 3, 2009 at 7:56 AM
Apollo vs. Mummy- Here's where the theme park train stops for me. When it comes down to the decision, Apollo isn't my absolute favorite coaster, but it was good enough to keep getting me in line to ride it again and again. Mummy on the other hand, for all it's high tech imagery, can not say that it is that good. A great ride?...yes. Better than a well designed coaster, not in my eyes.

Spiderman vs Millennium Force- When it comes to theme vs. thrill, there couldn't be a greater distance between these two. Both deliver a great ride, but do so in the absolute opposite way. Probably one of the toughest things for me to do in this tournament is to eliminate Spiderman. It's a groundbreaking ride that throws the visual kitchen sink at it's riders, and is my favorite themed ride. Millennium Force is my favorite coaster...and I love the coasters. Bottom line, I can't spend a day at Cedar Point without riding Millennium at least once...usually three or 4 times, or more depending on the line. I could however, spend a day at Universal and not ride Spiderman.

There's just something about the Force....silky smooth, super fast, perfect pacing, big airtime for those not stapled into their seats, inverted curves, and that first drop....it's as if you aren't in a coaster train at all. Millennium Force wins.

From Audra Distler on April 3, 2009 at 7:59 AM
So, I voted, and I'm sure you all know which I picked in the second match up. Millennium. I truly feel it is my favorite ride I have ever ridden. I haven't ever ridden Spiderman, hence I may be biased, however, I enjoy roller coasters for the thrill more than motion simulators/video rides, or however you describe them.

That being said, I took into consideration that this is a THEME PARK page and voting system. So, since I never have ridden either Apollo's Chariot or Revenge of the Mummy, I voted for Mummy in support of a Theme ride instead of a roller coaster.

From Anthony Murphy on April 3, 2009 at 8:07 AM
Well the Blind CP Fanboys have come out once again. While MF is an awesome roller coaster, there is a reason why we do not have the TPI Best Attraction award anymore: Spiderman won EVERY SINGLE YEAR that it was open. If I want a good roller coaster, I will go to SFGA not CP. If I want some great rides, I go to FL or CA.

But whatever again

From Kevin Smith on April 3, 2009 at 8:13 AM
Sounds like Sour Grapes Anthony...
You say the CP fan boys are blindly voting yet many of the TPI members have voted for Millenium. I have been to Cedar point, i have been to IOA ... Spiderman is a great attraction but Millenium is even better.
From Audra Distler on April 3, 2009 at 8:20 AM
Very much sour grapes.
I do however, HAVE to say, it should not be such a blowout as it is right now. With as much support at Spiderman gets, the running should be much closer.
From Doug Kelley on April 3, 2009 at 8:20 AM
@Anthony: from your comment, does that mean you've never been to CP?
From Justin OBrien on April 3, 2009 at 8:22 AM
Now, that's what I call a runaway train...no pun intended.
From Derek Potter on April 3, 2009 at 8:25 AM
I'm sure it's not over yet.
From Michael Barkdoll on April 3, 2009 at 8:28 AM
I really am loosing interest in this. No way it should this much of a blowout as it is. All 4 rides are great…But this is wrong.
From Michael Hunter on April 3, 2009 at 8:49 AM
And Anthony, really now, sour much? Yes, its your opinion and such, but something tells me we wouldn't be seeing that kind of talk from the Cedar Point fans around here if it was such a blowout for Spiderman. I know I certainly wouldn't be resorting to (IMO) low blows and insults. Universal has an even larger "blind vote" crowd with over 100,000 fans of their Facebook page, so just keep that in mind.

EDIT: Also, just checked some math on both polls, and for what its worth, there are more votes for Mummy than for Spiderman, so it would seem that some of the Universal voters are voting for MF. Take that as you will.

From John Bledsoe on April 3, 2009 at 8:35 AM
I cannot vote in the first matchup because I have never been on Apollo, and I won't give an uneducated vote this late in the bracket. But in the second, while Superman is a truly great attraction, I will never forget that feeling you get the first time you hit the brake run on Millennium. The Force is the greatest ride ever created, in my opinion.
From Doug Kelley on April 3, 2009 at 8:33 AM
I'm sure Spider-Man will come back from the dead and even pass MF, just as voting closes for the day. :)
From Robert Niles on April 3, 2009 at 8:36 AM
I apologize if the poll tool had a problem last night; I'll look into that. I checked the vote around 7 and Spidey was in the lead 51-48. The result was the same around 9, when I closed it and went to bed. Poll was open and operational both times, and, like I said, since the result was the same both times I checked it in the last couple hours, I figured it was stable. I'll keep a closer watch this afternoon. (One more reason why I didn't do the split vote today.)

That said, while I love the smart, funny, and heart-felt roller coaster fans that have joined us from the various Cedar Point communities, I find the paranoia of some CP fans annoying. (Just as I find the paranoid Disney, Universal and Six Flags fans annoying.) Universal's FB group has 50K more fans than CP's. When Universal links, those fans come over and outnumber CP's FB fans.

Plus, Universal has twice the attendance of CP, and its rides have higher hourly capacities. So it shouldn't surprise anyone that Universal starts any popularity contest with a significant built-in advantage over CP.

The overall market for theme is much, much greater than the market for roller coaster thrills. That doesn't mean that themed rides are better than roller coasters, or that they deserve to win this, or any other contest. It just means that roller coaster fans shouldn't see some dark conspiracy when theme park fans turn out and vote for their favorites.

From Scottland Jacobson on April 3, 2009 at 8:36 AM
I think Derek spells it out best.

I love rides that combine theme AND thrills, and many of you have heard my "if both rides were in the same park, which would I ride more often?" argument.

Well - Mummy gets it for me in the first vote. I love the two drops in that ride (after the "lift" hill and a bit further into the coaster part) - you fly out of your seat! It just entertains me constantly. Apollo is awesome, but after a few rides, I'm done. Mummy wins.

And Derek called it with Spidey vs. MF. When I go to Cedar Point, I ride MF multiple times each day.

When I go to IOA (and spend several days at Universal Orlando as a whole) - I ride Spidey once.

Folks - stop bashing Cedar Point - it's a great park that can go toe to toe with Univeral and Disney. It's clean, it's fun, the employees are awesome (and incented well), the shops and merchandise are great - all around it's an amazing park. It's truly a wonderful family experience.

But we're voting on RIDES, not the parks. And as a long time TPI poster (not a "blind CP fan") - I vote for Milennium Force!

From Andy Guinigundo on April 3, 2009 at 8:39 AM
I love roller coasters and certainly the Millenium Force. However, I don't think I'll ever forget the first time I rode Spider Man. When the vehicle is "falling" and Spidey caught us with a web, it was something I'd never experienced. I think Spider Man exemplifies the next generation of high tech ride and at this point has not been duplicated.
From brian lochridge on April 3, 2009 at 8:42 AM
Ok come on IOA fans, lets get voting. No way MF should be beating Spiderman like it is.
From Raymond Sydowski on April 3, 2009 at 8:44 AM
I would vote for Millenium Force anyway, but I must admit a certain bitter joy at voting against James Rao's pick.

Everest deserved to be in the Final Four.

From Michael Hunter on April 3, 2009 at 8:45 AM
That was well said, Rob. Though I think the scenario is actually reverse of what you stated, going off of what I've been reading the past few days around here.

Like I said, I have ridden both Spiderman and Millennium Force. While my home park is Cedar Point and my ride count for MF far exceeds Spiderman (only one ride), I think my favorite park is actually Islands of Adventure. I am a person that is big on thrills, but man, if you throw some great themeing my way, I am equally as happy. Having said that, I don't think Spiderman quite hits the top of the themeing bar. Like someone else said, the ride throws a visual kitchen sink at you, and manages to do it in a way that isn't so overwhelming that you can't enjoy the ride. At the same time, the line just wasn't as great as I think everyone makes it out to be, so that leaves the ride alone to judge. And when it comes down to that decision, Millennium wins, hands down. It is the perfection of roller coaster design in my opinion. Physically, Spiderman is not a thrilling ride, it is the visual kitchen sink that is the real experience. Cinematically, I think its better than a lot of full length feature films, but physically it pales in comparison to a roller coaster like the Force.

From Doug Kelley on April 3, 2009 at 8:48 AM
@Robert: Sorry if I'm coming across as paranoid! Just slinging some good-natured crap. No ill intent!
From David Sutter on April 3, 2009 at 8:53 AM
Well Ive held off putting in my 2 cents worth..But here is...Lets try this Cp and GA always win when It comes to the coaster wars...But Theme elements belong to Disney and Universal...Now dont get me wrong just as much a coaster junkie as the rest..But Theme park rides are that a theme...And my votes got to go to the ones with a theme...Not the same coaster diffrent cars...approach...
From Robert Niles on April 3, 2009 at 8:57 AM
Just for the record, I would be thrilled to see any of these four rides win the tournament. We are so splitting hairs here with this discussion! Which is great. I just hope that all TPI readers share this attitude and understand that all of these are great rides that almost all fans would enjoy.

Now, after that PSA, let the name calling resume.... ;-)

From 98.28.68.59 on April 3, 2009 at 8:58 AM
I'm not sure what Universal's hourly capacities are, but Cedar Point has many rides that can and do at least 1,000 riders an hour.
From Audra Distler on April 3, 2009 at 9:02 AM
OH and another comment.. Don't count Spidey out yet.. You have to remember that it is just now 9 AM out there... where us east coasters (hah, no pun intended!) have been up for 3 extra hours! LOL
From Mike K on April 3, 2009 at 9:02 AM
Robert, I apologize if I have been annoying during this event. Things have been frustrating, but I still believe in the integrity of this tournament and don't believe you do everything in best judgment of the tournament.
From Michael Hunter on April 3, 2009 at 9:04 AM
Just another little voting math note to add. Mummy has twice the vote count of Spiderman. That comes out to about 200 more votes for Mummy than Spiderman has, so if you assume that the universal fans who voted for Mummy also voted in the other pairing, approx. 200 of them voted for Millennium Force, which is about 25% of its current vote count. Roughly 25% of the MF votes are coming from what would appear to be a group of people who are voting for Mummy. Not saying the Universal fans are voting against Spidey, but I'm just putting out the numbers because I think it presents a pretty balanced way of looking at it.
From James Rao on April 3, 2009 at 9:14 AM
Lunch time here in the Midwest!

Okay, unite people! Is there anyone that will really be upset regardless of which rides win today? Honestly, these are all great rides... trust me, I've been on all of them. Sure I love Spidey, but I understand my love for the character goes beyond the ride alone. And as much as I love him (this is that kind of manly, football style love I am talking about, you understand, right!?), I will not cry if MF wins. Not much, anyway. There is something to be said for a 300 foot drop on a hyper coaster that is ONE OF A KIND, people!

Having said all that, Mr. Counsil... do that magic you do, now! ;)

From Gareth H on April 3, 2009 at 9:17 AM
Universal just put out a vote request!
From Brandon Hord on April 3, 2009 at 9:18 AM
Ok, there's a few things I want to say about this competition and this website. Number one, fantastic website. I'll admit that I was brought in here to vote for CP rides via their facebook page. However, once I got here it led to my browsing of the many different rides and different parks, some of which I didn't even know existed. I also just recently signed up! In that aspect, this tournament is awesome as well as this website! :)

However...I have seen some absolutely ridiculous comments over the last few rounds. I mean, it's ok to have a favorite ride, but having a condescending attitude on somebody's comment/vote or a specific park/company because it doesn't agree with yours in a heavily opinionated contest seems a bit silly to me. Everybody is entitled to their own favorite ride, and what makes a "Best Ride in America" varies heavily from person to person.

I personally voted for MF because while I haven't ridden Spiderman I have ridden many themed rides and I know that in my humble opinion, no themed ride can possibly give me the same thrill as riding MF. But that's my opinion, not an objective statement. ;)

From Robert Niles on April 3, 2009 at 9:20 AM
Here we go. Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit drinking sniffing glue amphetamines whatever.

/lloyd-bridges

From Michael Hunter on April 3, 2009 at 9:22 AM
Oh but Ted, I believe in you!

Great movie, Airplane. :)

From Derek Potter on April 3, 2009 at 9:27 AM
I took a look at that "magic" It looks like it involved creating a generic facebook profile, writing on the wall a few times about sending out inbox messages and such, and then deleting the profile. I could be wrong about that, but since I can't access the profile, it's my conclusion. It's a moot point anyway, as Universal is linked up, and a Mr. Robert Niles has been trying to mobilize them since last week.


fight...fight...fight Keep the votes comin!

This was already mentioned somewhere, but I'll say it as well. This tournament is a great social experiment...a journey into the mind of psychotic theme/amusement park fans.

From Michael Owen on April 3, 2009 at 9:29 AM
well, I'm going for theme over thrills again.

I voted for Mummy first off. For me Apollo's Chariot is a great attraction, but Mummy offers so much more. Apollo is great for thrills but Mummy offers thrills along with a great story.

In the second vote I go for Spidey. Spider-Man offers some thrills, even if it is relatively tame. Millennium Force offers much more thrills but little in the way theme, this is where Spider-Man takes it.

From Joe Schwartz on April 3, 2009 at 9:30 AM
A great final four. here goes.

Apollo vs Rotm. Apollo getss my vote on this one. I'm all about steel hypercoasters and Apollo is one of the best great air time and long ride.

Spider man vs Millennium. A truly great Mega coaster and my favorite. I like everything about the ride. Spidy is a great attaction. But I like Millenuium much more.

From Gareth H on April 3, 2009 at 9:32 AM
Universal Orlando Facebook is not an overnight thing, check it.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Orlando-FL/Universal-Orlando/8242803279?ref=ts


Its been up and running long enough to get over 113k fans.

And if CP wants to use social sites for votes, why can't Universal!

From Emily G on April 3, 2009 at 9:42 AM
I will vote for Spiderman and the Mummy. I have been on neither of the other rides, but have watched ride videos of them and have paid attention to people who seem to be voting for the rides I have.

I recognise from all relevant comments over the competition that the other two rides truly deserve a place and probably wouldn't be too upset if one of those two won, however my overwhelming favourite is Spiderman.

I love coasters as much as any one and a few I have experienced would make my top ten for definite, but I also love many other different rides and I do enjoy the excellent themeing that the two I voted for have, which I understand to be vastly superior to their competition.

From Doug Kelley on April 3, 2009 at 9:41 AM
What Universal didn't seem to do is send a message to their members' profiles like CP did. At least, if they did I missed it (the new Facebook look and feel is not good and important news is easy to miss). Did any other Universal FB fan get a message from FB or did you have to go there to get the word?

Either way, I doubt either Universal or CP will send a message directly to fans again. Big companies are sensitive to how often they do that. The company I work for has a week of discussion internally before pulling that trigger! Tweeting is a little more acceptable for some reason.

From Robert Niles on April 3, 2009 at 9:49 AM
There is a great piece here in how companies, in this case theme parks, use social media, and I will be writing about that topic next week, once the tournament is over.

But I will say now that waiting a week to make a group decision whether to employ social media for something is a sign that a company is dysfunctional with social media. I'm not saying that a company should delegate these decisions to low-level employees without training. But that the company's decision making must happen swiftly, reflecting the immediate environment of social media.

Newspapers are dying, in part, because they couldn't cast away their six-editors-must-look-at-everything production process swiftly enough to compete online.

From Don Neal on April 3, 2009 at 9:52 AM
Voted Spider Man and Mummy but love coasters too. I am just an Orlando slappy from the midwest who can admit it. Lots of great comments too. Enjoy reading stuff from some of the new folks as well. Welcome to TPI! :)
From Jacob Sundstrom on April 3, 2009 at 10:36 AM
Robert, is there not a way that you could have the poll automatically close at say, midnight? Because this arbitrary "when my kids want dinner" is kind of.. ridiculous?

I went with Revenge of the Mummy and Spiderman. The rides I haven't been on, I've watched videos of, read reviews on.. I feel like I know what I'm talking about. And I would most definitely take these two rides in my home park over their competitors. It's a tough decision, but I guess I'm just a theme guy.

From Eli Mak on April 3, 2009 at 10:56 AM
At current, there are 200 more votes for the bracket that includes a CP attraction than the first. The skew continues...
From Anthony Murphy on April 3, 2009 at 11:06 AM
I am just saying that I would rather go to other parks over CP. I am not going to travel from Chicago to go to CP when I can go on some great roller coasters at Six Flags Great America. However, I will travel to Flordia to go on the highly themed ride.


Still, this is all in good fun. Nobody is going to die if an attraction loses. ]


And its not a problem if MF beats Spiderman, but the three (maybe four) time TPI Award winning Spiderman only has round 25% against its competitior? I see blind voting at its baddest!

From Gareth H on April 3, 2009 at 11:11 AM
Screw it. I'm resorting to some dastardly networking tactics to get some votes here!!

Darn you CP blind voters, you will not prevail,

Mwahahahahahahaahhhahhahahahahah cough cough!!!

From Amanda Jenkins on April 3, 2009 at 11:14 AM
I have to say that I have enjoyed this tournament. It has really thrown some surprises. I know most are complaining about how things have gone, but it has given me quite a laugh at everyone's comments. I love rides. I don't care where they are or what kind they are as long as they give that little bit of thrill or "oh wow" expereince. Having said that I have to say that only one of my final four picks made it, Spiderman. I am also surpirsed that not one Disney ride made it to the final four. This may be a wake up call for Disney to create a new thrill ride of some sort in the near future. But other than that, I can't wait to see who our crowning champ will be. And James, keep up the songs. I missed not having one today. Y-E-T-I and Men and Black have been on my mind all week:-)
From Anthony Murphy on April 3, 2009 at 11:20 AM
Yeah, its really been a good time and its sad to see it all over! Its actually good to see more CP fans on the site and more people in general. Hopefully we can get more news from Ohio, Chicago, and all the other parks outside of FL or CA!


Sorry for sounding so sour, but this tourniment has been the liveliest I have ever been a part of and probably the best web traffic for TPI! It also has been a bit of an experiment of campaigning!

From Michael Hunter on April 3, 2009 at 11:26 AM
Ok, I'm saying what follows this sentence not as a Cedar Point fan, but as close to a non-biased person as I can get.

There's a general rule that applies here; don't knock a park you haven't been to or a ride you haven't been on.

Even though I'm new around these parts, I think Robert would agree with me when I say that the participation and visibility of this year's contest probably blows away the past years. I would say a lot of it has to do with the TPI Twitter and Facebook pages gaining the visibility that the two sites naturally bring. What we have this year is an interesting insight into just how much communication on Twitter and specifically Facebook can affect something. Sure the blind voting has been up, but considering that both Universal and Cedar Point have Facebook pages which have been used to promote the votes for their respective rides, we can call it even on just having a way to get the word out on Facebook. HOWEVER, the Universal page has over 40,000 more fans, and as such, over 40,000 more potential votes than Cedar Point. Also, I'm pretty sure that Universal fans outnumber Cedar Point fans on a similar scale. That right there gives Universal one heck of an advantage in numbers, you can't deny that. Yet despite that, Millennium Force is still blowing out Spiderman. The simple conclusion is that the Cedar Point fans have done a much better job of mobilizing and "rallying the troops" than Universal has so far today.

Again, I would like to point to the calculations I've done twice on the number of votes that Mummy is getting and the number of votes Spiderman is getting. In both cases (I haven't done another calculation since) Spiderman received a little less than half of the vote that Mummy has gotten. That to me says that there are a lot of people that like Universal, but feel that MF is the better ride.

If you want to talk about blind votes, that's fine, but also remember that Universal has the much larger number for a blind vote than Cedar Point. So before you go complaining about the blind votes, think about that.

EDIT: Just did another quick calculation, and Mummy still has more than twice the votes of Spiderman.

From 67.188.197.220 on April 3, 2009 at 11:28 AM
One day I will go to CP, and greatly look forward to that day. After my last Orlando visit, my view was that ROTM and Spidey were the 2 best attractions in town, so an easy vote for me. And I certainly agree with Robert about how tedious it is when fans of one park/company refuse to see ANYTHING good about others. It always reminds me of a bunch of 12 year old girls in 1964 that insist that you can like the Beatles OR the Stones, but not both.
From Marc Ricketts on April 3, 2009 at 11:29 AM
One day I will go to CP, and greatly look forward to that day. After my last Orlando visit, my view was that ROTM and Spidey were the 2 best attractions in town, so an easy vote for me. And I certainly agree with Robert about how tedious it is when fans of one park/company refuse to see ANYTHING good about others. It always reminds me of a bunch of 12 year old girls in 1964 that insist that you can like the Beatles OR the Stones, but not both.
From Anthony Murphy on April 3, 2009 at 11:41 AM
I am not knocking on a park. Its Cedar Point for god sakes! I will give it dues where there is dues to be given (Like MF). While I will be taking my own advice, everybody should just chill out!

Spiderman, by the way, is nothing like anything else out there! Thats why I should think it should win!

Sure, we all have bias, but mine are Disney and SFGA not Universal. Erik Yates is probably laughing somewhere that I am actually defending Universal!

From Michael Hunter on April 3, 2009 at 11:49 AM
Believe me, I'm chill. I'm also bored out of my mind.

I'm looking forward to using my free 7 day 2 park ticket for Universal Orlando this year, because like I said, it is quite possibly my favorite park. I'll be going straight to Dueling Dragons, Hulk, and Ripsaw Falls before Spiderman, though.

I also think its a shame I'll not get to go to Europe to ride Blue Fire. Maverick is my favorite ride, but after watching the POV for Blue Fire, I think Maverick may have some steep competition coming.

From Tom McGill on April 3, 2009 at 11:58 AM
I am a little confused about one thing, this site is THEME Park Insider, not AMUSEMENT park insider. There is a VAST difference between the two, and I am much more versed in the Amusement park side and would be happy to divulge any information I receive in that category (limited to OH and PA generally). The only theme parks I have been to are BGE and Sea World when it was here in Ohio. If the focus here is on Theme Parks then why were rides from CP, KI or any other standard park included? Yes, I do know the title of the tournament is "Best Ride in America" but there seems to be some serious ill-will between those who choose theming as apposed to thrills. Personally I enjoy both but there is very little to choose from in the theming category up here not counting the kiddie areas and what we do have does not even compare to what Disney or Universal does. The MF/Spidey talk is very enlightening. I'm getting that Spider-Man is essentially a motion-simulator on steroids, which I did not know. I'm sure I would enjoy it very much, and it's theming sounds outstanding, but at the same time I'd rather be outdoors on a rollercoaster than indoors on that. I guess I haven't accomplished much with this post other than confusing myself even more. I simply cannot see a happy medium here, thus the continued controversy and accusations. As for me? No votes cast, haven't been on Mummy or Spidey.
From Joshua Counsil on April 3, 2009 at 11:57 AM
Apollo and Spider, though neither will win.

You've got it in the bag, Cedar Point.

From 66.74.229.241 on April 3, 2009 at 11:58 AM
As long as these contests are between apples and oranges there will never be a fair outcome to the competition. There are themed rides (Spiderman/Mummy/Disney) and then there are thrill rides & coasters. Lumping all of 'em into the same basket is an unfair judging of any and each individual competitor.
From Raul Araoz on April 3, 2009 at 12:27 PM
This is a great Final Four. I love all four of these rides. Any of them winning would be perfectly respectable. The best hypercoaster(Apollo) against the best themed coaster(Mummy). The best modern day dark ride(Spiderman) against the best gigacoaster(Millennium). I would ride any of these until my head popped.

The only problem I see is the disparity between Millennium and Spider-man. The race between the two should be much closer. Otherwise, may the best ride win. However, at this point, I would hope that voters have ridden all the rides and vote accordingly.

Oh, I voted for Apollo and Spider-man.

From 24.247.86.70 on April 3, 2009 at 12:35 PM
how can you compare a motion simulator to a roller coaster? rediculous. my vote for millennium most definitely.
From big bell on April 3, 2009 at 12:52 PM
Why are your pairings #2 against #3 and #5 against #8?
All typical rated 'contests' would have the top seed against the lowest seed and the other 2 against each other so the top 2 would not knock one or the other out before the final round? It should be;
#2 Spider -vs- # 8 Mummy
#3 Millennium -vs- #5 Apollo

With probably the top 2 seeds in the finals?

Sorry, didn't like the format of the whole contest and this is worst boner of them all.

From Robert Niles on April 3, 2009 at 12:56 PM
For those who missed it, please take a look at my post describing the tournament's new format next year. I think that addresses many of the valid concerns expressed about this year's format.

In addition, by next year, I want to have a new polling tool - one that allows better analysis of the data (registered readers vs. visitors, location around the country and world, etc.), as well as that allows me to control voting start and stop times. I do have to do that manually now, and it is driving me nuts. The current tool is great for Vote of the Week, but isn't doing what I want for the tournament. I might have to spring to pay someone to help me develop it, though. (If you know ColdFusion and love TPI, drop me a line.)

From James Rao on April 3, 2009 at 1:33 PM
I voted for The Voyage and Thunderhead... waitaminute! They are not even in the final four!

This tournament is a SHAM! A FARCE!!! How can you people live with yourselves!

Somebody, I don't care who, tell me, what is going on!!!

What's that... I can hear music... in the distance...

Y-E-T-I
We all got rid of the Y-E-T-I

For this round I don't care
If the voting is fair
There is nothing this group won't d-are

Y-E-T-I
We all got rid of the Y-E-T-I

This has been such a rush
That my brain's turned to mush
And Betty Ford says I'm quite the lu-ush

Y-E-T-I
We all got rid of the Y-E-T-I

Have a great weekend everyone!!!!

From Doug Kelley on April 3, 2009 at 1:14 PM
Robert: try SurveyMonkey.com. It might work for you.
From 72.26.26.169 on April 3, 2009 at 2:07 PM
i love love this year so far but this is just me Sixflags Astroworld will allways be the best park and the best ride ever.

shaggyolsen

From Brandon S on April 3, 2009 at 3:50 PM
all of you who are accusing cp fans of being blind voters- have you ever been to cedar point(and if you haven't aren't you being a blind voters for universal or disney?) if you have i think you would agree that millennium is truly the greatest ride in the world. the airtime, the first drop, and every drop for that matter. and if you ever have a chance ride it at night during halloweekends. it is even better with the fog!
From Robert Niles on April 3, 2009 at 4:04 PM
As for the question about the seeding: the bracket was set at the beginning of the tournament. We don't reseed after each round to accommodate upsets. The first and fourth seeds were upset in previous rounds. (Number four by the fifth seed yesterday.)
From Robert Niles on April 3, 2009 at 4:06 PM
SurveyMonkey doesn't do live embedded polls, as far as I know. What I really want is something like ESPN's SportsNation polls.
From Mark Mahoney on April 3, 2009 at 4:23 PM
You can try flexipoll.com, I believe you can embed it and it is live.
From Sean McAvella on April 3, 2009 at 4:24 PM
I have to agree, Millenium Force is the perfect coaster! Tall, fast, smooth, positioned beside the lake... Yes, riding it at night is spectacular, especially during Halloweekends! Ride on!!
From Larry Zimmerman on April 3, 2009 at 4:45 PM
Mummy's a great ride, but W-A-Y too short!

And Spidey's illusions of dropping between buildings MUST BE SEEN TO BE BELIEVED!

That said, I must agree -- these rides are too different to be reasonably compared. Which do you like better -- medium rare ribeye steak or hot apple pie ala mode?

See what I mean?

From TH Creative on April 3, 2009 at 4:50 PM
I only got one as well Mr. Niles!

But it's still in rhe running.

From John Jackson on April 3, 2009 at 4:58 PM
Wow, what a contest this has turned out to be! You know, I have to say that first I was surprised that it was close between Spidey and Maverick. I've ridden Spiderman once, and it was such an amazing experience; I've since referred to it as my favorite all-time ride. Today I look at the site and see that Millennium, a world class coaster no doubt, is killing Spiderman, the greatest all-time ride. I was completely taken back...but then I started thinking...Spiderman is an amazing sensory experience, but after how many re-rides does it continue to be amazing? Millennium is rated the world's greatest coaster (or 2nd greatest) on almost every ranking that's worth paying attention to. It is as amazing on the 20th ride as it is on the first. It takes your breath away every single time you get on it. After every ride you feel like you've just experienced a little slice of Heaven. Deserving of best ride? You're darn right it is!
As for the other half of the contest...two good rides which seem to be duking it out in semi-final fashion. I gave my vote to Mummy in this little match-up.
From Joshua Counsil on April 3, 2009 at 5:19 PM
Well, since James has his Yeti song, why don't I do one for the Spiderman theme song:

Millennium Force, Millennium Force
CP fans had no remorse
Spins around, drops a lot,
The best ride? Clearly not.
Look Out!
Here comes Millennium Force.

Is he fun? Listen friend,
Non-stop thrills from start to end.
Can he beat Spiderman?
Take a look - yes he can.
Hey, there
There goes the Millennium Force.

In the chill of the night
Theme park fans start to shiver
Fingers up during flight
I #@%*in' hate Jake Rivers.

Millennium Force, Millennium Force
Causes negative discourse
Theme and plot, he's ignored
Fan boys are his reward.

To him, life is a great big joke
Whenever there's a vote
You'll find Millennium Force

From Daniel Binder on April 3, 2009 at 5:23 PM
I'm actually impressed with the whupping Millenium Force is giving to Spiderman. As far as I'm concerned, MF has won it all, because Spiderman is better than Mummy. I've been looking at a POV, and the first drop looks incredible. I've heard negative comments about bugs splattering all over you, but I'm sure that's seasonal. I've even heard it is allowed to run when raining, and that's another impressive notch.

Kudos to Millenium Force, and this is coming from someone who has Spiderman as the greatest theme park attraction ever created. Spiderman is so good that Robert Niles had to essentially retire/alter the award because it kept winning the best ride award 4 years in a row, I believe. Kinda like Wilt causing the NBA to have to rewrite some of the goaltending rules.

I'm predicting that we're going to see a Spiderman versus Millenium Force rematch next year (because of the new system in place) and it'll be a lot closer than it was today. I have a feeling that the TPI regulars are going to see that they visit Cedar Point within the next two years or so, and vice versa with the CP fanbase wanting to find out why the majority of TPI commentators have Spiderman as the GOAT.

From James Rao on April 3, 2009 at 5:43 PM
Genius Josh, pure genius. I'll be humming it all night. You are Lennon to my McCartney. Jagger to my Richards. John to my Taupin. Abbot to my Costello.

A fitting send off to an AMAZING ride.

Hey, at least Spider-Man has $2.5 billion in box office muscle to console himself with over the long holiday until next year's tournament... when he returns to his rightful place as The Greatest Theme Park Attraction In The World!

And somewhere in the darkness Jake Rivers was laughing..........
....... but that laughter died quickly when he bent down to pick up the soap.........

From James Rao on April 3, 2009 at 6:05 PM
Uh-oh... Spider-Man is making a late rally... get out the cameras for the photo finish...
From Doug Kelley on April 3, 2009 at 6:09 PM
I just checked out the Universal and CP Facebooks. Interesting... Universal put out three requests for votes starting at 9:00 am this morning. CP put out one request. Universal has nearly twice the number of fans as CP. Assuming Universal fans are just as likely to look at their Facebook during they day as a CP fan, and they're just as loyal, what does that say?

Spider-Man, Spider-Man
Cannot do what a coaster can!

LMAO.

Seriously, to paraphrase what someone else said earlier, I'd rather have my steak for dinner and my apple pie for dessert! Yum. Too bad the appetizer (HM) is missing, though...

From Doug Kelley on April 3, 2009 at 6:14 PM
James--I guess that's why the poles have stayed open so late!!! Once Spider-Man catches MF, they'll close.

Oops--UPDATE: Universal did send a message to all 100,000+ fans on Facebook. CP didn't. This will be interesting!

From James Rao on April 3, 2009 at 6:28 PM
Remember, Universal employees are just now getting home from a hard day at the park...

The gap is closing... fast! Go Spidey!

From Robert Niles on April 3, 2009 at 6:37 PM
Well, I just got back from getting the kids and while Spidey's fans gave it a good run there at the end, I gotta close this thing. After all, it's been open since 7 PT this morning. Its not like people didn't have the chance, though, believe me, I appreciate all the attempts to influence the vote. :-) (Robert says traffic is good....)

So join us Monday for Mummy vs. Millennium Force in the finals. Congrats. I'm going to sleep now.

From Gareth H on April 3, 2009 at 6:37 PM
Nooooooooooooooooooooo!!!

Spidey was so close!!! 30 more mins and it surely would have taken the lead!!

From James Rao on April 3, 2009 at 6:39 PM
Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. Great job Spidey... you made me proud. For a non-coaster, you put up a mighty good fight. There's no shame in losing to the only hyper-coaster in North America with 300 foot drop.

Have a great weekend, everyone, and for those with parks just opening for the summer... I expect to see some trip reports next week!

From Robert Niles on April 3, 2009 at 6:39 PM
Well, Universal fans, show up early on Monday, okay? CP fans, be there to greet them. And everyone else, well, start putting your votes up for bid and let's see what the others will do for you!
From 72.229.150.237 on April 3, 2009 at 6:42 PM
Millenium Force is one of the best rides in the UNIVERSE.
From Jacob Sundstrom on April 3, 2009 at 6:42 PM
Show up early? Uh, if you open the polls at 10am Eastern time, that's not really a feasible option.
From 76.248.81.174 on April 3, 2009 at 7:28 PM
I love roller coasters
From Joshua Counsil on April 3, 2009 at 7:31 PM
Good thing I have a kegger to look forward to tonight. I'll pour one to the curb for Spiderman.
From Doug Kelley on April 3, 2009 at 7:35 PM
Wow, battle of the social networks marketing techniques! This contest is fascinating on so many levels! Say what you will about some of the new marketing mechanisms but they ARE effective.
From 68.98.160.69 on April 3, 2009 at 9:00 PM
Being a Disney Fanatic...I am sooooo happy that they are not in the Grand Finale as it were. This should (key word "should") send a message to them that they need to pick up their game if they want to even compete with even regional parks. Disney has been getting complacent and that is not good business.
Having witnessed this absolutely fascinating competition; I realize I need to get out to the less known parks. Dollywood doesn't get the respect it deserves and Cedar Point must be doing something right because they have a rabid fanbase (not an insult to CP; quite the opposite). If you are making the customers/guests so happy and connected with a park that they will do everything they can to win this competition, which is an honor really, than you know you have the staying power to get through these difficult times.
You don't need gimmicks (birthday entrances) or fancy perks (D23) as long as you have that certain person who loves to go to your park; amusement or theme. Disney set the bar and they are slowly losing it. I just hope they realize this in time.
From David Kirby on April 4, 2009 at 12:39 AM
So for Best Ride in America, our choices will be Millennium Force or Revenge of the Mummy...I think I won't bother voting in that one. Not that I think they're bad rides but neither deserve the title.
From AJ DeDiego on April 4, 2009 at 5:53 AM
Millenium Force DEFINETLEY deserves to win this!!!! It is the most amazing ride I have ever been on, and nothing is better than it. You cant even think about what it is like to ride it until you actually have rode it, and it's an unforgettable experience that nothing can beat. GO MILLENIUM FORCE!!!!!
From 71.81.61.8 on April 4, 2009 at 6:32 AM
I totally think that Spidey and Mummy should win cause they give a story along with great thrills. They are great action and adventure rides.
From 76.120.87.168 on April 4, 2009 at 10:17 AM
Millenium Force is no doubt the greatest ride in America. All you people who don't think Cedar Point is completely awesome.....have you even been there?!?!? Maverick is definently my favorite right after MF. How can you NOT love CP?!
From 67.167.19.246 on April 4, 2009 at 5:41 PM
I couldn't agree more with the above comment about Cedar Point. By far the best place on the planet.
From John Jackson on April 4, 2009 at 8:25 PM
Mummy is good, but it's no Millennium. I can't wait to see what happens!
From 98.16.37.50 on April 5, 2009 at 8:46 AM
ROTM beating Apollo's Chariot?!?!?!?!? How is that possible?!?!?!? Both rides are great (I should know, I've been on both of them) but Apollo is taller, faster, and just more fun!!!!!!!!
From 204.210.192.81 on April 5, 2009 at 9:46 AM
Of course CP is doing something right, best amusement park 11 years and counting.
From 68.142.172.230 on April 5, 2009 at 10:24 AM
Millennium Force should win no questions asked. A true roller coaster should win over any simulation. Plus Millennium Force is one of the best coasters EVER. Even tought Cedar Point fans are outnumbered....I see Millennium Force taking it all.
From 98.16.37.50 on April 5, 2009 at 2:42 PM
ROTM beating Apollo's Chariot?!?!?!?!?!? How is that possible?!?!?!?!?!? Both rides are great (I should know, I've been on both of them) but Apollo is taller, faster, and just more fun!!!!!!!!!!!!
From TH Creative on April 5, 2009 at 4:23 PM
The first word in this site's name is THEME.

Revenge of the Mummy is rightfully the winner. Hands down!

From John Jackson on April 5, 2009 at 5:46 PM
Yes, but the name of the tourney is "Best Ride in America." Both rides are great, but one has to be best, and it is Millennium.
From 207.244.184.155 on April 6, 2009 at 5:27 AM
We're not comparing theme parks here for those of you who based your arugments on that. This is about the "best ride". I live in FL and been on all the rides here and in Cedar Point and the coasters here in FL are good but not great compared to Millenium Force, Top Thrill Dragster, The Raptor, and many more at Cedar Point. In fact, I'm flying to Ohio this summer for Cedar Point and can't wait. By the way, the 65 mph Hulk ride at Universal is so lame. I'm not used to the basic coasters nor am I used to slow ones. Guess I got spoiled at Cedar Point! Cedar Point is by FAR the best place for coasters! For everyone else who disagrees, they don't know what a good coaster is. They're used to little rinkadinks in their neighborhood. It's too bad! Just like when my friend thought "the hulk" was "a good ride" lol.

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