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Vote of the week: Your pick for best new attraction of 2009?

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Published: May 29, 2009 at 11:04 AM

I know I shouldn't play favorites like this, but my favorite category in the annual Theme Park Insider Awards is the Best New Attraction honor. It's the one award that's guaranteed to change every year, and honors a great new ride or show that deserves the public's support.

With the industry hurting this year, along with the entire economy, I know that the attention given to this year's winner after the announcement on the Fourth of July weekend will provide a welcome boost to a deserving theme park. But which will it be?

Based on initial reader ratings, I've selected the top five new attraction debuts from the past 12 months. The reader ratings submitted on these new attractions' Theme Park Insider listing pages before June 20 will determine the winner. But I want to get some discussion going about these new rides (and show). Here are several links to the five finalists, including their listing pages, as well as features we've written about these attractions, here on the Blog Flume.

Listing pages (Submit ratings here for ones you've experienced):

Theme Park Insider reviews (Read about them, and sometimes watch):

If you've been fortunate enough to experience any of these attractions, I hope that you will click through on those listing pages and submit a rating and comment. (If you have not been, please do not submit a rating on an attraction you've not experienced first-hand.)

Whether you've been yet on any of these or not, I'd love to hear your initial impressions, based on what you've read or seen here on TPI or elsewhere. So let's put it to a vote, shall we?

Break down this year's race for Best New Attraction by submitting your expert analysis in the comments, please. And have a great weekend!

Readers' Opinions

From Donna Tolliver on May 29, 2009 at 11:16 AM
TOUGH one for me among Manta, Diamondback, and even Prowler, but I went with Manta. I like the theme and would really like to see the aquariums in the queue, plus the ride experience sounds amazing. Hope I can ride them all someday soon!
From TH Creative on May 29, 2009 at 11:35 AM
Only been on American Idol, but I can see Manta from my office.
From 205.188.116.17 on May 29, 2009 at 11:45 AM
Manta should easily win this competition. If you haven't taken a ride on it yet then well... what are you waiting for? Especially if you have a sweet view of it from your office. :)

Not to be missed and should be the frontrunner for best ride of the year.

From William Clark on May 29, 2009 at 11:49 AM
Of the 2 I have experienced, American Idol and Manta, the clear choice is Manta. It is an exhilarating thrill coaster. Truly an amazing feat of engineering! If you haven't be on it yet then well.. what are you waiting for? (Especially if you have a sweet view of it.)

Manta should be the frontrunner for best ride of the year.

From Jacob Sundstrom on May 29, 2009 at 12:00 PM
For me, it was a toss up between Terminator and Manta - the theming for both looks excellent. I went with Terminator because I prefer the story that is being told in that attraction.

The other attractions don't really seem all the impressive in comparison to Manta and Terminator.

From Anthony Aldridge on May 29, 2009 at 12:03 PM
i like the new Wahoo Racer at Six Flags ST. Louis Hurricane Harbor but its not on here..
From Andy Guinigundo on May 29, 2009 at 1:10 PM
Manta looks really cool. It looks a lot like Firehawk at Kings Island with a lot better theming and a cool aquarium in the queue.

I picked Diamondback. I've had my little girls out to Kings Island 3 times this year, but have not yet ridden it. It's hard for me to tell my wife to watch the girls for about an hour while I ride the Diamondback. The shear size of this thing is incredible. I grew up riding the Beast and it's what I measure all coasters again. I literally dwarfs Beast by about 100 feet and faster by about about 15 mph. Speed can be deceiving though. Wooden coasters always seem faster to me because of the bouncing.

I read about all the others which also look cool, but those two I have the greatest chance of getting on this year.

From James Rao on May 29, 2009 at 7:33 PM
Gotta go with the home park, Worlds of Fun. Prowler is a very fun coaster and a big event for us folks stuck in the Midwest. Besides, that Prowler review with all the photos is brilliant. Just brilliant! ;)

Thanks for showing up to vote, Kansas City! We probably don't have enough votes to hold off SeaWorld's Manta, but at least we let our voice be heard and put our favorite GCI woodie on the map.

Go Prowler!

From Raul Araoz on May 29, 2009 at 5:54 PM
I was going to vote for American Idol, but after sanity resumed, I opted not to.

The other rides are all coasters and the only way to properly judge one or the other, is by riding them. Since I have yet to have a go on any of them, I must abstain from this vote.

From 65.69.67.251 on May 29, 2009 at 10:18 PM
I have to give Prowler the edge on this one. With the novelty of wooden coasters seeming to fade at parks throughout the country, Worlds of Fun's new Prowler ride has practically reinvented and reinvigorated the experience. Instead of relying on simple ups and downs for thrills, the Prowler stays low and hugs the terrain, speeding through a forest of trees and giving you the feeling of going faster and faster as the ride progresses. But it doesn't end there. The ride is ingeniously designed to fake you out with sudden twists and turns along steeply banked tracks that you can't even see coming. For those reasons and more, I have to say that the Prowler beats the competition for best new attraction -- arms up and hands down!
From Michael Owen on May 30, 2009 at 2:37 AM
I've gone for Manta.
I love flying coasters and the layout of Manta is fantastic. American Idol Experience really isn't my kind of attraction, although I'm sure some people would love it.

I can't really comment on the rest as I haven't been on them but out of the two I have experienced I'm going for Manta.

From Emily G on May 30, 2009 at 11:45 AM
To me Manta just looks the most exciting overall. The queuing area looks fabulous and the type of coaster, whilst nothing new (we even have one in England) looks so well themed and I love the way the wing clips the water below. I am very excited about my trip to Seaworld in November and riding this is one of the main reasons.
From 75.39.131.171 on May 30, 2009 at 3:20 PM
Gotta go with prowler, what can I say the ride is the sugar honey ice tea, for not being the tallest or fastest it packs a major punch that can't be beat, there you have prowler is number one in my books
From 98.156.49.30 on May 31, 2009 at 11:26 AM
I rode the prowler twice and that thing just doesnt slow down the whole ride. The designers did a great job of designing it.
From James Rao on June 1, 2009 at 2:58 AM
Prowler and Manta running neck and neck - who woulda thought it was possible? Great job showing up to vote, Kansas City!
From William Clark on June 1, 2009 at 7:23 AM
Prowler looks like a great wooden coaster and I have a special fondess for the old style wooden coasters. It surely must be one of the best in the world if it is holding it's own against Manta.
From 65.69.67.251 on June 1, 2009 at 9:35 AM
I voted for Prowler. I like how it weaves through the trees and emphasizes the speed more than the drops. Plus, good wooden coasters like that never get enough respect.

Manta is a nice-looking coaster, but its style feels really corporate and generic. It may not be as bad as the super commercialized nature of the Terminator and American Idol rides, but it's there.

From 97.125.170.43 on June 1, 2009 at 10:11 AM
Prowler by quite a bit.
Manta is well-themed and everything, and I'm sure it gives a great ride, but even the best flying coaster could never compare to this GCI masterpiece.
From James Rao on June 1, 2009 at 3:46 PM
Wow...the Kansas City contingent of TPI came out in full force for this vote. How long does this poll stay open, Robert? We need to close it down before SeaWorld pushes something out to their Facebook fans! ;)

Go Prowler! Go KC! We may stink at Baseball and Football, but we have a winner on our hands in the Prowler!

From Raul Araoz on June 1, 2009 at 4:08 PM
This contest is a farce. I cry shenanigans! ;)
From James Rao on June 1, 2009 at 4:18 PM
Guilty as charged! Just call me James "Derek Potter" Rao! I can't help it that Cedar Fair parks do a great job of listening to and responding to their local fans! Kudos to Worlds of Fun for getting involved.

Now close the vote before SeaWorld wakes up! =)

From Steve Pint on June 2, 2009 at 7:08 PM
Even though I preferred Diamondback (I can't believe how few votes it has!) I have to help out my local park and vote for Prowler. :-)
Let's go WOF!
From 65.66.149.107 on June 2, 2009 at 7:09 PM
Whoever built this ride is a prodigy, it looks like a beautiful classic wooden roller coaster but its smooth and fast like a metal one, the PERFECT ride!!!
From James Rao on June 3, 2009 at 3:31 AM
I think Prowler is gonna pull off the upset. And for those Orlando fans who have not ridden this GCI masterpiece, they should not feel as though Manta has been slighted. I am all about narrative attractions, but let's face it, neither ride has much to offer in that regard. Manta has more theming (decorative touches) and immersion (literally and figuratively), and has (from all appearances) a phenomenal queuing area, but Prowler is unique in setting and layout and showcases a raw energy that cannot be matched. Additionally, the way it embraces and utilizes the surrounding landscape makes the attraction a truly one-of-a-kind experience. Furthermore, the "midnight ride" offered by Prowler is second to none, imho.

With the exception of the American Idol Experience, every attraction on this list is deserving of winning this award. They are all stand out coasters that represent the latest and greatest in thrills and design. Kudos to all the competitors (except AIE) - I look forward to riding each one in the near future.

As for AIE, I look forward to the day when that building at DHS is used for an attraction worthy of being in a Disney park.

From 97.125.170.43 on June 3, 2009 at 8:31 AM
That's very true. Night rides on Prowler are like Zeus+Voyage+Avalanche+Renegade. It's way intense.
From James Rao on June 3, 2009 at 4:01 PM
I dunno about all that anonymous poster 97.125.170.43, but the night ride is fantastic. However, Prowler does not hold a candle to The Voyage. Even at night. That statement is not a slight to Prowler, just a credit to The Voyage which happens to be the wooden coaster that sets the high mark for all other woodies.

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