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2010 Best Theme Park Attraction nominee: Disneyland's Space Mountain

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Published: January 29, 2010 at 7:01 PM

Theme Park Insider readers have voted Disneyland's Space Mountain as the ninth seed in the Best Themed Ride bracket of the 2010 Best Theme Park Attraction Tournament.

Disneyland's Space Mountain

Okay, I can hear some of you asking, "Wait a minute; Space Mountain is a roller coaster. What is it doing in the themed ride bracket, and not the roller coaster bracket?"

This was one of those judgment calls I had to make when deciding which bracket to seed several hybrid attractions. Think about Space Mountain for a moment. As a roller coaster, Space Mountain is absurdly simple: a basic wild mouse coaster in the dark. So why is it so highly rated and beloved?

Because the roller coaster provides just one element within the overall attraction here: the walk through the spaceport, the blast-off into space, the on-ride music, the ride through the star field. And the Disneyland installation has featured multiple themes in recent years, including the recent "Ghost Galaxy" overlay at Halloween. Let's face it, the reason that Space Mountain has the average reader rating it does is for its value as a themed ride, not as a roller coaster.

So that's why Space Mountain is in this bracket. (Two other rides listed as roller coasters here on Theme Park Insider also will be joining Space Mountain in the Best Themed Ride bracket, if anyone would like to speculate on which ones they will be....)

This nomination is for the Disneyland installation of the Space Mountain, which this past fall saw a major refurbishment for its Walt Disney World version. You'll also find Space Mountain at Tokyo Disneyland and a Jules Verne-inspired "reboot" of the ride at Disneyland Paris.

This wraps up the lower half of the draw for the 2010 Best Theme Park Attraction Tournament. Starting Monday, we'll be shining the daily spotlight on the rides and shows in the upper half of each bracket. As a result, we'll start to see specific first-round match-ups, as we approach the start of tournament voting in March.

Let's hear your thoughts about Space Mountain, in the comments.

Readers' Opinions

From Dan Babbitt on January 29, 2010 at 8:23 PM
Ok this is not about Space Mountain but is there anyway I, hopefully not just me, can get a recap of the bracket?
From Ryan Sanford on January 29, 2010 at 8:57 PM
Why when rides are nominated for Disney, its always Disneyland not Disney World?
From James Rao on January 29, 2010 at 9:18 PM
I have not visited Disneyland for "a few" years, so I cannot comment on its Space Mountain, but I can say I do agree that any version of this coaster should be considered for the themed ride bracket. I expect Everest, Mummy, and Rock 'n' Roller Coaster to be represented in this bracket as well. Potentially Flight of Fear, too. I mean, when the theming (narrative + decoration) makes the coaster more than the sum of its parts, you have to consider it a themed ride.
From Derek Potter on January 29, 2010 at 10:22 PM
My criteria for the coaster bracket is this. If the ride can stand on it's own and deliver a good ride without the theme, it's a roller coaster. Space Mountain goes 30 mph on a very plain track, and leans heavily on the effects to give it the quality experience. The same could be said for The Mummy. The launch coasters like Rock n Roller Coaster and Flight of Fear are more what I would consider a "real" roller coaster in that they have higher speeds, some height, inversions, and would be able to stand on their own and still deliver an exciting ride, albeit maybe not as exciting without the enclosed space.
From David Kirby on January 29, 2010 at 11:09 PM
Ryan. generally speaking, the Disneyland version of rides are better. At least what we've seen so far. It's almost unanimous that the Disneyland versions of Space Mountain and Tiki Room are better than their WDW counterparts. Toy Story Midway Mania is debatable. People often cite DHS's version as having a better cue but I imagine the DCA version was used in the tournament as the ride was designed for the park and had a custom Victorian building constructed for it, whereas the Hollywood Studios version was shoe-horned into an empty building. Also, the concept of playing midway games makes more sense on a pier than in the Pixar Studios.
From Robert Niles on January 29, 2010 at 11:56 PM
Click the "Best Theme Park Attraction Tournament" link in the first paragraph of each write-up for the recap of the bracket to date.
From Robert Niles on January 30, 2010 at 12:07 AM
FWIW, here's the park-by-park break-down at the turn:

SeaWorld Orlando - 6
Universal Studios Florida - 4
Cedar Point - 3
Epcot - 3
Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom - 3
Disney's Animal Kingdom - 2
Disney's California Adventure - 2
Disneyland - 2
Six Flags Magic Mountain - 2
Busch Gardens Williamsburg - 1
Disney's Hollywood Studios - 1
Dollywood - 1
SeaWorld San Diego - 1
Universal Studios Hollywood - 1
Universal's Islands of Adventure - 1

That adds up to 33 because I added Beetlejuice from USF at the bottom of the Best Live Show field to make up for the loss of Emerald Beat at the two seed. That moves everyone else (but the top seed) in that bracket up one slot.

From Anthony Murphy on January 30, 2010 at 7:05 AM
I agree it should be put here. Its a pretty tame coaster without the theming. The theme makes it better! One of my favorites during Extra Magical Hours!

And the Disneyland vs Disney World thing: I think its just because of "who came first". I think you can assume to treat them both as the same entity. They are much closer than their European Cousin at DLP.

From Tim W on January 30, 2010 at 8:10 AM
Yea it seems to fit more in the themed bracket because it is a pretty tame coaster. Without any themeing, I highly doubt that space mountain would be distinguised and loved as much as other coasters.
From Rob Chandler on January 30, 2010 at 12:33 PM
i think with the disneyland/world thing it is all about what rating is slightly better because mr. niles said on the toy story midway mania that he chose the hollywood one other the orlando one because it had a slightly better rating.
From Sylvain Comeau on January 30, 2010 at 4:13 PM
Robert, on the subject of Disneyland vs. WDW, I certainly hope you'll nominate WDW's Haunted Mansion over the original at Disneyland. Since the refurb in '07, there is a consensus at sites like this one: the WDW version is clearly superior. Both are rated 9, but I've read countless posters talking about how the east coast version is better.
From 76.211.104.194 on January 30, 2010 at 8:47 PM
Space Mountain is a classic and yeah it belongs in the themed category. The themed ride bracket to me, is the most interesting and competitive of all the brackets. As for why the Disneyland version is nominated and not the MK, well the west coast version is way better than the east coast one.
From Rhys Evans on January 31, 2010 at 3:22 PM
"(Two other rides listed as roller coasters here on Theme Park Insider also will be joining Space Mountain in the Best Themed Ride bracket, if anyone would like to speculate on which ones they will be....)"

No doubt about it: Expedition Everest and Mystery Mine.

From Rob Chandler on January 31, 2010 at 6:27 PM
sorry but i will have to disagree, i think you got the first one right with expedition everest, but the second one will surley be the revenge of the mummy. but im not sure about rock n roller must just come in as a coaster maybe?
From Rob Chandler on January 31, 2010 at 6:36 PM
or perhaps it will be rock n roller instead of expedition everest because expedition everest could proberbly stand alone the best without all the special effects but its got to definatley be out of these three hasn't it?
From David Sutter on February 2, 2010 at 5:48 AM
Interesting seed Robert...SM Disneyland...Been on it. yea good. Great no. SM Disney World..Interesting..at least in its rehab version...Good yea..Great no...SM Paris..Same ..That being said Ill take the WDW version just from a design point...the rocket sleds bet the standard Roller Coaster cars with a slapped on nose cone. And as far as the music overlay keep it ..space is silent. Or so were told. On board sound tracks work on some but not all. Sorry for the rant ...
From Bryan Fear on February 2, 2010 at 9:01 AM
Agreed, Space mountain is more of a themed ride than a roller coaster. In fact DL really doesn't have any rollercoasters by the casual definition, IMHO. Space Mountain is a relatively simple coaster with great theming, but then so is Matterhorn and Big Thunder Mountain.

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