What are the most underrated theme park attractions in America?
Published: December 10, 2009 at 10:24 AM
So, predictably, I suppose, today let's take on the flip side: What are the most underrated theme park attractions in the country?
Here's my list. Again, these aren't my necessarily my favorite attraction, or the ones I think best in a park (though a few are). They're the rides and shows that I think don't get enough credit from the wider audience of theme park fans. And if I don't list a park, it's because either I haven't visited it in the park year or so, or if I did, I didn't consider any of its attractions to be especially underrated.
In some cases I mention an attraction here because of a single element or quality that I think too often overlooked. In other cases, the attraction presents a complete package, but for some reason, perhaps age or the presence of even better attractions nearby, people don't rave about it as much as they should.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg: Loch Ness Monster
This Arrow classic stands up better than just about any other coaster its age. Frankly, of the (now) four coasters at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, this remains my favorite ride.
Disney's Animal Kingdom: Finding Nemo - The Musical
This mix of puppetry, love actors and original music evokes the Broadway version of "The Lion King" and delivers what I think is the most delightful musical running in a theme park, anywhere. But, man, do they ever need to install more comfortable seats.
Disney's California Adventure: Monsters, Inc: Mike and Sulley to the Rescue
A classic dark ride, with a fun interactive twist at the end. Parks need more of these.
This show is underrated mostly because I failed to list it on the site when it first opened. But it deserve fans' praise as an engaging, Broadway-quality musical with the best original song score in a theme park attraction.
Knott's Berry Farm: Mystery Lodge
The most "Disney"-like of Knott's attractions, this pre-dates the current, Cedar Fair regime and is a product of the same crew that produced "Impressions de France."
Legoland California: Fun Town Fire Academy
More than any theme park attraction I've experienced, Fun Town Fire Academy enables (even requires) families to work together, providing few minutes of good, bonding fun. For that reason, because family vacations are supposed to be about family time, this is my pick as the most underrated theme park attraction in America.
SeaWorld Orlando: Clyde and Seamore Take Pirate Island
I'm giving them this because of the pre-show mime. Yes, I am a bad person for writing this. But, c'mon, he is funny.
SeaWorld San Diego: Rocky Point Preserve
An engaging interactive experience, and the original SeaWorld park gets extra points for the lovably cute sea otters.
Six Flags Magic Mountain: Riddler's Revenge
No matter what I do when I visit Magic Mountain, I always make time for a ride on this B&M stand-up, and always end up enjoying it as much as any other coaster in the park. So why doesn't it get the attention as a top national coaster that others do?
Universal Studios Hollywood: Jurassic Park - The Ride
Hollywood's version of this Universal staple cranked up the soak factor a while back, making this an even more enjoyable splashfest. Still, it seems to me overshadowed by the Orlando version, which I don't enjoy as much.
Universal's Islands of Adventure: Flying Unicorn/Flight of the Hippogriff
This installation of a Vekoma Junior Coaster remains the best "family" coaster I've ridden, with just enough thrill to tempt a youngster, without so much as to turn them off coasters.
Okay, let's see your lists. To the comments!