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2010 Best Theme Park Attraction: Expedition Everest vs. Curse of DarKastle

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Published: March 22, 2010 at 1:55 PM

Day Three of the 2010 Best Theme Park Attraction Tournament continues with a first-round match-up from the Best Themed Ride bracket.

If you haven't been on both these rides, we've got attraction descriptions linked below. Take a look, then decide which one you'd like best.

4. Expedition Everest at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Expedition Everest at Disney's Animal Kingdom

vs.

13. Busch Gardens Williamsburg's Curse of DarKastle

Busch Gardens Williamsburg's Curse of DarKastle


Please tell us in the comments why you voted the way you did. And please consider subscribing to our Theme Park Insider Twitter feed for immediate notices when we open new match-ups for voting.

Next up: SeaWorld San Diego's Cirque de la Mer vs. SeaWorld Orlando's Clyde and Seamore Take Pirate Island

Readers' Opinions

From Joshua Counsil on March 22, 2010 at 2:03 PM
This one should be interesting, since so many Busch fans have come flooding in.

Being the stinker I am, however, I made some posts on a few Disney fanboy sites. *Nyuk nyuk nyuk*

From 74.98.184.124 on March 22, 2010 at 2:04 PM
I don't really like looking at a broken Yeti... My vote went to Curse of DarKastle.
From 65.12.173.131 on March 22, 2010 at 2:20 PM
curse of Darkastle: cool dark ride with fun thrilling elements
Expediton Everest: Incredible coaster with an amazing line and ride. Even with a .strobe light yeti, it easily wins. come on people
From Squid McGlamery on March 22, 2010 at 2:29 PM
If the Yeti was functional it would be an easy win For Everest. However, as is, a slight edge goes to DarKastle for a better immersive experience.
I love roller coasters (and Disney...), but this bracket is "attraction".
From James Rao on March 22, 2010 at 2:31 PM
Curse is a fine attraction worthy of moving on in this tournament. However, it is no Everest. Still, as much as I love Disney and Everest, the Yeti has been inanimate for far too long! I am going to ride the wave of Busch fans and try to push my long overdue protest forward! WDI, FIX THE YETI NOW! GO CURSE!
From 69.37.42.73 on March 22, 2010 at 2:36 PM
I actually think 3-D dark rides are kinda lame (and yeah, that includes Spiderman too). Everest all the way!
From Nick Markham on March 22, 2010 at 2:39 PM
First off, come on people! Expedition everest deserves to go on! Second off, what happened to overtime between The Beast and Maverick? Did everyone forget?
From Robert Niles on March 22, 2010 at 2:53 PM
Like with Indiana Jones Adventure, my vote here is strategic - looking toward the future rather than what these rides are today.

I want that Yeti fixed. But if Everest wins awards in its compromised state, why should Disney bother? Let's bounce Everest quickly, to help send the message that fans want to see this ride fixed to its intended condition.

From Robert Niles on March 22, 2010 at 2:54 PM
Nick, The Beast won in OT. So many threads today, the ones from this morning have been pushed off the front page. Just click the link at the bottom of the home page to read the older posts.
From David Kirby on March 22, 2010 at 3:23 PM
Even with a broke Yeti, I kinda expected Everest to go far in this tournament. I guess sometimes I forget this isn't a Disney fanboy site. I would love to see DarKastle go far. It's easily one of my favorite rides and probably the best dark ride outside of Florida and So. Cal theme park belts. I wonder how far this rallying of Busch Garden fans can take these rides.
From James Rao on March 22, 2010 at 3:40 PM
We are Disney Fanboy-ish most of the time, but when a company uses Twitter and Facebook to tell all their followers to come vote (like Busch is doing), and Disney does not respond in kind (which they never do), the Disney Fanboys become quickly outnumbered.

But for Everest, this humbling defeat is long overdue. Our Fanboy mercy and love should never override our sense of theme park justice.

From Joe Schwartz on March 22, 2010 at 4:04 PM
Curse of DarKastle. A great themed ride that is not in Disney or Universal. Terrific effects and Themeing. Everest while good neeeds to get the Yete fixed.
From Ben Johnson on March 22, 2010 at 4:14 PM
On Everest's defense, DarKastle lost a lot of its appeal when they stopped doing the little pre-show type deal in the room before the loading room. Now you walk in, the wall's already down, and the effect is completely gone (at least it was, when I went last year.) Neither of them were perfect for their theme and, aside from the flaws, I like both themes equally as well, so I just went for best ride. In this case, that would be Everest.
From 74.98.184.124 on March 22, 2010 at 4:16 PM
@Ben

The pre-show is still there...

From James Rao on March 22, 2010 at 4:22 PM
I do agree with Ben about the loss of DarKastle's preshow... losing it also took away a lot of the immersion. Granted, the line may move quicker, but the movie is impossible to hear, and the narrative is lost on anyone not already familiar with the attraction.

And, yes, Everest is the better ride, but we are mounting a protest here folks! =)

PS Interestingly enough, Everest is holding its own despite the infusion of the Busch fanboys (and girls). I guess the relatively tight race speaks volumes about the drawing power of a well-themed, well designed, narrative powerhouse like Expedition Everest.

From Thomas Caselli on March 22, 2010 at 4:30 PM
Give me a break! There is no comparison, Expedition everest all the way. How could that many people vote for Darkastle? Just because the yeti isn't the way it should be doesn't mean that you don't vote for it.
From Manny Barron on March 22, 2010 at 4:37 PM
Lets see how much longer BG Williamsburg and its fans continue to decide this tourney. 3-0 today. Manta and Kraken were taken out in surprising blow outs where the vote should have been closer. But at least the BGW rides were the top seeds in those match-ups but this is just crazy. Everest is hanging around but seriously this tourney is starting to look one sided.
From James Rao on March 22, 2010 at 4:45 PM
Everest is making a SERIOUS comeback. I am impressed.

However, with all this blind devotion, Disney will never have to fix the beleaguered Yeti.

From Robert Niles on March 22, 2010 at 4:42 PM
Two upper seeds win and lower pulls the upset over a broken attraction that's been long criticized on the site? I don't find any of these results surprising. (Though I was really, really hoping for Manta to pull the upset. I do love that coaster.)

We haven't had a single upset yet in the themed ride bracket. Perhaps it's time?

From Anthony Murphy on March 22, 2010 at 4:47 PM
I want Everest to go on because there already is a "DarKastle" in Spiderman. I would rather see a highly themed Disney roller coaster take on other attractions.

And while I mourn for the Yeti, the disco version is not that bad. If you have never seen the Yeti in his prime, you could swear he was moving.

From James Rao on March 22, 2010 at 4:52 PM
Shame on you, Anthony! You should refuse to let Disney off the hook for the current state of the Yeti. And don't lie to me! Once you have experienced Expedition Everest with an A-Mode lunging Yeti, all other modes of operation (B-Mode, Show-Mode, and/or Dance Club Mode) just aren't good enough. The Yeti's final lunge as your car passes just out of its reach was Everest's exclamation point and the ride is absolutely diminished without that finely tuned, narrative element.
From James Rao on March 22, 2010 at 4:54 PM
Wow... I feel like I am back in 2009's tournament... gotta take a break before I start singing Y-E-T-I again!
From Phil B. on March 22, 2010 at 4:59 PM
It doesn't matter how many people vote against Expedition Everest. Barring any kind of a major ride system breakdown, EE will not go down for an extended rehab until Disney places another true E-ticket in Animal Kingdom to pick up the slack for the void that a downed ride like EE would leave in a park already thin on big draw rides. EE gets my vote for now. Set up a Beastly Kingdom and still leave the Yeti in B-mode after it opens, then I protest. Unfortunately Disney's hands are tied logistically, and most people who visit the park aren't aware the Yeti doesn't work, and most likely don't even know what a B-mode is. It would be silly for Disney to shut down there top ride at the park, just to placate several thousand fans who make it their business to know all the little details and goings on behind the scenes. With all the other things that this ride achieves, it's a shame it gets brought down because a robot fails to take a swipe at a train that barely gives enough time to get a good look at the beast in the first place.
From Thomas Caselli on March 22, 2010 at 5:04 PM
This competition has nothing to do with whether the yeti gets fixed or not. Expedition Everest is a great ride and it should be able to beat out Darkastle, although it doesn't look like it is going to do it.
From Manny Barron on March 22, 2010 at 5:08 PM
This has been the most interesting match up yet(along with the overtime in the coaster bracket.) Everest theming is top notch from the queue to the ride itself so I thought it was at least gonna move past the second round, but oh well. Darkastle will almost certainly take on Pirates of the Caribbean in the second round. Can it knock out two Disney heavy weights?
From David Kirby on March 22, 2010 at 5:35 PM
There's been way too many Universal vs. Disney blowouts on this site for it to be considered a Disney fanboy site.
It drives me insane that people will knock DarKastle because Spiderman used the technology first. If we used that criteria for judging all rides, should we hate every inverted coaster built after Batman? Should we knock Splash Mountain for not being original enough?
From Joshua Counsil on March 22, 2010 at 5:56 PM
BOOM! What an upset! Guess that broken foundation can't support all the pressure from BGW fans.
From Derek Potter on March 22, 2010 at 6:15 PM
ahahahahahahaha
From Ryan Sanford on March 22, 2010 at 6:33 PM
What??? really... can't believe Everest lost. Never been on DarKastle'... but c'mon Everest is a masterpiece.
From James Rao on March 22, 2010 at 7:07 PM
As I have said time and time again, year after year, to defend a broken ride just because WDI is too lazy/cheap/foolish/short-sighted to properly fix the thing, is absurd. The lunging Yeti is to Everest what frosting is to cake: one is insufficient without the other. The Yeti is the main story element of a story-driven ride, and without it working properly, the story is weakened.

I appreciate everything Disney has achieved with Everest, and I only chasten them because I want them to be the best. Shame on Disney for not engineering the thing better in the first place, and shame on them for letting the problem continue for three years without a solution.

Finally, my long sought after protest is complete. Take that Disney. I still love you, but please, fix my Yeti. And if you have to add Beastly Kingdom first, so be it. At least then I will know you care as much as I do.

From Anthony Murphy on March 22, 2010 at 8:15 PM
Yeah, I want it fixed, but they are not going to take down the entire ride for an extended part of time. If you have never ever been on the ride, you would not know the difference.

Again, I would rather see a themed Disney Roller Coaster go on than something that shares the same technology as Spiderman. Whats the fun in that?

From Joshua Counsil on March 22, 2010 at 9:40 PM
Anthony, that logic could be applied to any dilapidated ride. I've gotta agree with Mr. Rao and the others: Expedition Everest is still a fantastic coaster, but a broken Yeti is a broken Yeti. Walt strove for perfection, and an attraction whose climactic component isn't functioning properly is not the definition of perfection.
From Tyler Stover on March 22, 2010 at 10:43 PM
Don't you see the actual Yeti (not counting the shadow) for precisely .02 seconds?
From Rob P on March 23, 2010 at 2:52 AM
Had I been able to vote ( I don't stay up all night !! ) then it would have been for Expedition Everest. With the vote so close I wonder if that would have made any difference to the result ?
Guess we'll never know.
From James Rao on March 23, 2010 at 3:46 AM
Had it been any other ride and any other company, maybe you could let it slide, but as the previous poster Rob P once wrote, having the Yeti in such a state is "abominable."

As for the .02 seconds, that statement is just not accurate. At least it was not accurate when the Yeti functioned properly. Back in the day you would begin to see the Yeti as you swept into that final bend before the last dip in the track made you lose your lunch. There he was, looming in the distance, becoming impossibly large as your train raced toward him. Back when the Yeti used to move, he was an immense, imposing beast, and when that beefy arm swung down in perfect unison with your passing train, your eyes would be riveted on his larger than life presence and suddenly the track would plummet down for that final, stomach wrenching dip. It was an awesome, signature moment, and something my kids and I still talk about today.

Honestly, when the ride first opened, the Yeti was clearly visible and the motion was amazing. Now the area containing the animatronic has been darkened to hide the inanimate Yeti and there is no doubt, for those who have seen the beast in his glory, that it takes away from the overall ride experience.

I can only say how important a fully functional Yeti is so many times and so many different ways. Therefore instead of me continuing to blather on, let's just see what the ride's Imagineer, Joe Rohde, says about it: The ride is about the yeti, and our story is about our interaction with that yeti. When we get on this train and we go up into the forbidden mountain domain of the yeti, he destroys the track, and the thrill part of our ride is escaping the wrath of the yeti as we return to civilization.

So if the "thrill part" of the ride is escaping the wrath of the Yeti, then that thrill is removed when that wrath is not present. I totally agree.

And, if the Yeti was such a non-factor, then why, when Mr. Rohde was in town for the 10th anniversary celebration of the Animal Kingdom, did the park's Operations staff do this:

...given Rohde's extremely close association with this theme park and Expedition Everest in particular, DAK's Ops didn't want to disappoint Joe and let him see a bad show while he was in that park. Which is why (for the exact length of time that this WDI VP was supposed to be on property) DAK's Operations staff jury-rigged the Yeti so that this AA figure would perform flawlessly. The end result was that for as long as Joe was in town for that 10th anniversary celebration, Expedition Everest operated just as he had originally intended it to operate. As soon as Rohde flew back home to Southern California, the Yeti was set back to B-Mode/Show-Mode/Dance Club Mode.

If Rohde had seen the current state of his dilapidated creation, he would have screamed bloody murder. Cause let's face it, the Yeti no longer looks like a sophisticated, multi-million dollar anamatronic. He looks like a big, hairy, stuffed animal with an unnatural urge to groove to Abba's Dancing Queen.

Stop making excuses for Disney! It is time for them to acknowledge this problem and do something about it once and for all. From other companies we can accept second-rate, but for the amount of money it costs to take a Disney vacation, expectations must always be set much higher. And it is up to the #1 vacation destination in the world to deliver on those inflated expectations.

Oh, and by the way, for those who have not experienced DarKastle, it is an exceptional ride regardless of its Spider-Man similarities. There is no shame in it beating out a badly broken coaster.

From 65.12.173.131 on March 23, 2010 at 4:17 AM
does anyone want to give miceage a call after this?
From Phil B. on March 23, 2010 at 5:57 AM
I love Joe Rohde. He's one of my favorite Disney characters to never be featured in a theatrical movie. Seriously though, somebody should introduce the guy to the internet if he doesn't have a clue that the yeti is in B-mode. I find it very hard to believe that he is in the dark about the state of affairs of a ride that he played an intrical role in developing and realising.
From 173.162.139.169 on March 23, 2010 at 7:06 AM
The first time I rode Everest in '08 I was not aware of an "A mode" or "B mode", I only rode it because a colleague of mine was going on about how great the Yeti was since he had only ridden it in "A" mode. Boy was I disappointed, I can't believe I made my 2 yo wait while me and the 4 yo wasted time on this ride. We fast passed the ride so I probably missed a lot of the themeing in the queue but for me the ride was like a ride at Six Flags and not an attraction like so many of the other great Disney attractions...and I would consider myself a "fanboy".

IMO it is one of the two most overrated show/attractions at Disney the other being Finding Nemo the Musical

From Thomas Caselli on March 23, 2010 at 8:05 AM
You can't compare Six Flags to anything Disney, no comparison, case closed. Yeti or no yeti, Disney to Six Flags is like Rolls Royce to Yugo.
From 173.162.139.169 on March 23, 2010 at 8:27 AM
Oh yes I can...and I did! Again, maybe b/c I fast passed it I missed the theme in the queue but I have been to AK twice since I have had absolutely no desire to ride Everest.

IT is not "EXACTLY" like a six flags ride but the one time I rode Everest it was CLOSER to a six flags ride then it was to say ToT.

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