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What's the most underrated theme park attraction?

By Robert Niles
Published: November 5, 2009 at 9:55 PM
In preparation for a piece I'll be running tomorrow, this evening I asked Theme Park Insider's Twitter followers: What do *you* think is the most underrated theme park attraction?

Here are a few of the replies:

"American Eagle, still the tallest & fastest racing coaster in the world with a drop only 7 feet shorter than voyage's"

"Mine is Tomorrowland Transit in Disney MK. Very relaxing."
[Two other people voted for TTA, as well.]

"The Villain and The Big Dipper at Geauga Lake were VERY underrated"

"I think the most underrated theme park attraction is Dinosaur at Animal Kingdom"

"I'll say World of Motion. I miss that one! :) "

"Carousel of Progress by far!"
[A second person also voted for Carousel of Progress.]

"Mr. Toads Wild Ride WDW"

"The Mean Streak at Cedar Point gets no love. It's one of my favorite coasters, but everyone either hates it or is unaware of it."
[This was retweeted once, as well.]

"Kings Island. The Vortex!"

"Shows are very underrated. Lots of great talented singers and dancers. Lots of celebs got their start that way."

So now I'll ask you: What's your pick as the most underrated theme park attraction? Tell us in the comments, and keep reading tomorrow, when I share one of my selections.

Readers' Opinions

From Steven Lee on November 5, 2009 at 10:06 PM
I will have to agree with the Twitter follow that said shows. Parks such as Disney, Dollywood and Silver Dollar City all have great entertainment but really are over looked just for the rides.
From 66.78.69.127 on November 5, 2009 at 10:08 PM
I would have to say that the Enchanted Tiki Room (DL) deserves as much attention today as it had when it first opened as the first audio-animatronic attraction.
From Dwight Graham on November 5, 2009 at 10:26 PM
The first thing you see after your entry into Disneyland, and Uncle Walt's favorite attraction to operate and ride on also.

:::>The 'Disneyland Railroad'. This slightly smaller scale steam train circles the Disneyland Park making stops at four stations for loading and unloading, or just stay on and discuss your family's attack plan for the day..."All Aboard".
From Anthony Murphy on November 5, 2009 at 10:14 PM
I give a vote to "Progress" as well.My favorite at the MK.

I would also give the American Eagle, Raging Bull, and Batman the Ride a vote from SFGA. A racing woodie is nothing to scoff at, along with the first hyper and first inverted roller coasters ever.

From Jack Curley on November 5, 2009 at 10:26 PM
Hmmm... while the Tommorowland Transit Authority is a great answer, I'm going to pick two rides at Hersheypark.
1) The Trailblazer. It's the tamest non-kiddie coaster in the world, but for some reason I still love it.
2) The Chocolate World Tour. Where can you get free sweets after a ride?

By the way Anthony, the first inverted coaster ever was actually The Bat at King's Island.

From Anthony Murphy on November 5, 2009 at 10:33 PM
According to Great America and American Coaster Enthusists (ACE), Batman the Ride was the first inverted roller coaster. I will look into it since you may be right!
From James Rao on November 5, 2009 at 11:32 PM
I gotta agree with several others: Carousel of Progress is THE can't miss attraction at the Magic Kingdom. And unlike so many other "rides" it has stood the test of time. COP is a masterpiece that is often overlooked by the masses in search of their next 2 & 1/2 minute thrill ride.

Honorable mention must go to Corkscrew Hill at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. I have no idea why this attraction often gets such a bad rap when it is easily one of the best, most original simulator rides I have ever visited.

From Manny Barron on November 6, 2009 at 12:07 AM
Gotta agree with the old-school attractions of the Carousel of Progress at MK and the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland. Dinosaur is my favorite WDW ride and deserves to be up there with Tower of Terror and Expedition Everest in terms of top rides at the resort. Living with the Land at Epcot and The Great Movie Ride at DHS come to mind as well and of course the late great Back to the Future at Universal(RIP).
From Erin B on November 6, 2009 at 12:24 AM
I'm going to go ahead and say that Cedar Point's Blue Streak is underrated. It's a fun, old woodie with TONS of airtime. You spend nearly the entire ride out of your seat. On top of it, it's not painfully rough like the other woodie lurking in the back of the park.

I just really don't understand how someone could suggest Mean Streak is overrated. That thing is downright brutal in a way that it shouldn't be. Yes, wooden coasters aren't exactly smooth-as-glass. But they also shouldn't leave riders in pain for the remainder of the day...or week. Even retracking didn't help that monster of a coaster. It looks beautiful but that's about all that's appealing about MS anymore.

From Michael Owen on November 6, 2009 at 3:00 AM
Valhalla at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. It has to be the best water based attraction in the world. It's thrilling, very well themed and has some astounding special effects. Plus you get soaked!
From David Kildal on November 6, 2009 at 4:17 AM
I haven't really looked at attractions as underrated as much as I have overrated, but I'd say pretty much all racing woodies are underrated, even though there are 4, I think, Kings Island's Racer, American Eagle, Colossus, Kennywood's Racer (?)

And to correct the person several posts above, the Bat was the first suspended coaster. Batman was the first inverted. Raging Bull was not the first hyper, that was Magnum XL-200

From 205.242.83.12 on November 6, 2009 at 6:02 AM
I gotta go with Carousel of Progress as well. I have only been to MK twice in my life and both times really enjoyed the ride.
From Mark Fairleigh on November 6, 2009 at 6:18 AM
Another vote for Dinosaur. We went to the Animal Kingdom for the first time this year and absolutely loved it.
From 75.146.64.29 on November 6, 2009 at 6:26 AM
The Rollo Coaster at Idlewild Park in Ligonier, PA. It is like the mini Boulder Dash, so much fun.
From 68.58.213.122 on November 6, 2009 at 6:34 AM
Revenge of the Mummy
From Nathaniel Gillespie on November 6, 2009 at 7:01 AM
I've also gotta give shout outs to COP and Dinosaur. Great job bringing up Corkscrew Hill, I went into it on a whim and I thought it was fantastic!
From 24.208.233.142 on November 6, 2009 at 7:06 AM
I have to agree that Blue streak in underrated. Sure it can get a little painful, but when you learn how to sit and ride it, it is a great classic with lots of air time! Plus it is a classic!
From Nick Markham on November 6, 2009 at 7:22 AM
As far as shows, I think Fantasmic! in particular is very underrated due to park guests only wanting to see the fireworks.

As far as rides, Twilight Zone TOT at DCA is extremly underrated just because of its glorified counterpart in Orlando.

From Corbin Barker on November 6, 2009 at 7:49 AM
TTA would get my vote for most underrated. That is my must ride everytime I hit up Magic Kingdom.

Here are some of my runner-ups:

*Top Gun (oh excuse me...Afterburn *evil glare*) at Carowinds - Now I'm not trying to be a homer but I really enjoy this ride. I have ridden a lot of other inverts out there and our Top Gun is at the level or Raptor or Dueling Dragons (or whatever it's called now.)

*Dinosaur - I don't really here much buzz about this ride but I love it! There's barely any wait and it's def. a must ride.

*I also want to throw some love to Mission: Space. I feel that it's a fantastic attraction with a lot of reride-ability

*And last but not least...am I the only one who likes Son of Beast?

From Brian Emery on November 6, 2009 at 8:22 AM
I would have to say people watching…. I love to admire sexy women as they pass by…

And the Turkey Leg eating is an event all by itself..

From Anthony Murphy on November 6, 2009 at 8:34 AM
How about stroller races down Main Street USA?
From Amanda Jenkins on November 6, 2009 at 8:41 AM
Carousel of Progress by far. One huge positive to this along with being entertaining and informative is that it has air conditioning :-) Can't beat that on a hot Orlando day. Plus it is close to where they sell some turkey legs LOL.
From Eli Mak on November 6, 2009 at 10:00 AM
Wheelchair races are more fun! Be sure to put them back : )

Seriously though, I would have to say that MR TOADS was the best, well, mostly because I miss that ride terribly.

Since it is closed down, I will have to go with PETER PANS FLIGHT. Very creative ride design in that perspective is used like no other Disney ride to date or anything in development. Truly a concept that has never been repeated unfortunately and no other ride thats this low-tech has as much interaction with the themed sets and use of space to maximize the experience. The ceiling track, the pirateship cars, the blacklights, the "break the fourth wall" travel-through motion, and the non verbal story telling are most definately underrated.

Very kiddie, but very cool. All you adults, try it out again...its right across from "Small World". You will agree...plus, any ride with trippy blacklights and plenty of villians is all good by me...up, up and AWAAAAAAY!

From TH Creative on November 6, 2009 at 10:04 AM
Disneyland's - 'Alice in Wonderland.'

But for all of you Toad fans, I'm not sure you can classify the ride as being "underrated." It got a fair share of props from all quarters.

From Ray Schroeder on November 6, 2009 at 11:03 AM
I love the Carousel of Progress. It's a must do whenever I visit MK. It brings back fond memories because I still remember riding it at the 64/65 Worlds Fair in NYC. It was my favorite ride along with It's a Small World and seeing the Dinosaurs at the Ford Pavilion. The TTA is a great ride when you need to rest your feet or take a short nap.
Especially now when you can see Space Mountain all lit up in the inside.
From Steve Conibear on November 6, 2009 at 11:13 AM
I love the Horror Make Up Show at Universal Orlando. Always funny and always changing the script to keep it fresh. Plus enough nods to adult humour to keep every one laughing - "it's a balloon - what else would it be?"
From Vickie Boyd on November 6, 2009 at 11:20 AM
"Mine Car" coasters at any park. Some people think they're just for kids. I have found that any one I go on is really fun! It may not be high or fast, but they're usually fairly long.

Also, Avalanche at Kings Dominion. Simple yet so fun!

And I have to agree with the shows. Most are really good with fantastic performers.

From Cole Ricks on November 6, 2009 at 11:36 AM
I agree about Afterburn at Carowinds. It's one of best inverted coasters in the country, IMO. I don't know if it's significantly faster than others but it sure does feel fast.
From TH Creative on November 6, 2009 at 11:43 AM
Universal Studios Florida - The Wild, Wild, Wild West Stunt Show featuring the greatest movie stuntman of all time FEEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLIXXXXXX CAAASSSSSSSIIIIIIIIIDDDDDDDDEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

When I was working at UC, I would spend many a lunch in the bleachers watching this great show!

From 4.231.238.135 on November 6, 2009 at 12:20 PM
I have to agree that Dinosaur is incredibly underrated. I know that many people will claim that it is inferior to its older cousin, Indiana Jones, which i agree with, but I rode this one first and it really is a great ride that is a lot of fun
From Robert OGrosky on November 6, 2009 at 12:41 PM
My vote has to be for the Original Figment/Imagination ride at Epcot!!!!!

It was a very enjoyable ride with a catchy tune and unlike the current trend of basing every ride on a movie it was based on creating new characters.

Bring back Dreamfinder/Figment!!!!

From Roger Sage on November 6, 2009 at 12:40 PM
I believe Dinosaur is the most underrated theme park attraction. It's unfortunate that it keeps getting compared to the legend that is the Indiana Jones ride, because Dinosaur is still, in my opinion, a top-notch attraction. It is my favorite ride in Animal Kingdom, and all of WDW. I have never seen better dinosaur animatronics, and the atmosphere on the ride is superb. Though it does share similarities with Indy, altogether it's a differen't adventure entirely, providing a fun experince.
From Adam Nodjomian on November 6, 2009 at 2:25 PM
Chester and Hester's DinoRama. I've also liked the tacky and cheap feel of that are of AK. It provides a very comical backstory as opposed to the more "stuck-up" Dino Institute. Highly underrated, though it could use an update and Primeval Whirl is a little under-par as a Disney attraction.
From 131.212.204.162 on November 6, 2009 at 5:16 PM
Jim Henson's Muppet Vision 3D.

Best. Ever. So much humor everywhere in that building. Love it.

From SC Todbear on November 6, 2009 at 10:02 PM
Ok current is Afterburn at CW, but past is deffinately Mr Toads

Loved that ride and miss it dearly...why dont they bring it out of retirement????

From 75.131.80.205 on November 6, 2009 at 10:31 PM
The Mine Train @ Six Flags over Texas made by Arrow and ran has run as many as 3 trains at a time. When new it had alot more annimation then, but get less attention in that department now.
From Nicholas Kalscheuer on November 6, 2009 at 11:18 PM
terminator salvation non stop action, really fun
From Mark Fairleigh on November 7, 2009 at 7:06 AM
Have to also give a shoutout to the mucho fun that is water-blasting riders on P&B's Bilge-Rat Barges and Ripsaw Falls. The best fun a quarter can buy! :)
From Sylvain Comeau on November 7, 2009 at 11:36 PM
California Screamin' is pretty underrated. It's one of the best coasters I've ever ridden, smooth as glass, lots of thrills, long ride, etc. But it doesn't get the love it deserves because some Disney purists don't think it's themed enough.

Dinosaur is underrated because it keeps getting compared to Indy. Despite using the same ride system, this is apples and oranges, people. Completely different ride experience, and one of the best AA showcases ever.

Someone said Peter Pan is underrated; not really, since it's the most popular attraction in both the DL and MK Fantasylands.

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