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2010 Best Themed Ride in America: Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean vs. Disneyland's Haunted Mansion

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Published: April 1, 2010 at 10:44 AM

You've voted in the 2010 Best Theme Park Attraction Tournament, and now it's time to pick the Best Themed Ride in America.

Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean

Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean

Disneyland's Haunted Mansion

Disneyland's Haunted Mansion

Want to know why Disneyland's been named the Best Theme Park in America by Theme Park Insider readers the past two years? Here are a couple of strong reasons. These Disneyland neighbors, located just a few yards from one another in the park's New Orleans Square, continue to elicit the fan passion needed to move them through the tournament bracket - even four decades after their debuts.

So which of these classics is the best of the best? That's for you to decide.


Please tell us in the comments why you voted the way you did.

Tomorrow, we'll put the winners against each other to select the Best Ride and Best Theme Park Show in America.

Readers' Opinions

From Michael Owen on April 1, 2010 at 10:54 AM
Yo ho, yo ho, a Pirates life for me...
From Jason Vervlied on April 1, 2010 at 11:00 AM
It just seems wrong to me that aged attractions are winning in this bracket. It's like Disney manage to pull a fantastic April Fool's joke on us. While I agree that both of these attractions are timeless and deserve their respect neither of them should be in the finals here.

That said I don't want to sound bitter and by the rules of this contest both of these attractions are here. My vote is going to Pirates.

From Squid McGlamery on April 1, 2010 at 11:13 AM
Probably the hardest decision of the entire tourney for me...

Finally had to go with Pirates.
Now if this was WDW's Mansion it'd be a different vote!

From Rod Whitenack on April 1, 2010 at 11:24 AM
This is like picking your favorite child, but my love for all things spooky is the only reason I can give for picking the Haunted Mansion. Both classic rides DO deserve to be in the finals. No technology on earth is a substitute for good storytelling, creative design and ATMOSPHERE. Most of the new, high tech rides (just like new, high tech movies) toss out mood and atmosphere for fast thrills and the big bang. Today's imagineers would do well to study these two rides and how they work for an audience in order to try and bring that into rides of the future, instead of starting out with a new technology device and then wrapping a story around it.
From James Rao on April 1, 2010 at 11:25 AM
This contest is easy. I'll take Pirates and a Monte Cristo without a second of regret.
From Wes Lindquist on April 1, 2010 at 11:33 AM
Have to go with Pirates. Now if only I could get into Club 33....
From Thomas Caselli on April 1, 2010 at 11:46 AM
I almost had to flip a coin on this one. Both are awesome rides. I went with the Haunted Mansion. Bottom line: Nobody does it like DISNEY.
From Manny Barron on April 1, 2010 at 11:50 AM
Ok so what if my fav spider-man isn't here. Pirates and Haunted Mansion are two excellent attractions worthy of the title. Gotta go with the Mansion here, but it seems Pirates will win which is cool. Prefer the pre-Depp pirates, but this updated version is still pretty good.
From Rob P on April 1, 2010 at 12:00 PM
This was so close but the Pirates beat the Ghosts to my vote by a whisker.

I think it's the fact that it's the Disneyland Pirates of the Caribbean that edged it. Had it been WDW's version then The Haunted Mansion may have sneaked under the wire.

From Joe Schwartz on April 1, 2010 at 12:39 PM
Love both of these attractions. Both are totaly entaiing. Went with the Haunted Mansion because of the preride presentation. Also Disney cast members do a great job with this attraction.
From Brandon Mendoza on April 1, 2010 at 12:59 PM
I went with Pirates... yes, it's like choosing which child is your favorite. My only significant knock against HM is that it closes down every year for a significant amount of time for the Holiday overlay... I think that's kinda unfair for those who can only visit the park once a year. I mean, I enjoy the Jack Skellington stuff, but Pirates seems to only go down once in a while for maintenance.

But about the actual attraction itself, I'd prefer not to have the Johnny Depp add ons, but they don't bother me that much. I do like the newer AA's being used there though. As for HM, it's definitely creepy but in a non-threatening way. I enjoy them both!

From Anthony Murphy on April 1, 2010 at 1:00 PM
Oh my god!

I went with the haunted mansion because it never stops moving! Better effects though!

From Sylvain Comeau on April 1, 2010 at 2:07 PM
I agree is a bit odd that two Disneyland attractions from the 60s made the final. I guess it's a victory for timelessnes over technology. I voted for Pirates because the Disneyland Mansion has (still!) not been upgraded to the standards of WDW.
From TH Creative on April 1, 2010 at 2:29 PM
No hippos. Won't vote.
From Jacob Sundstrom on April 1, 2010 at 3:12 PM
The Haunted Mansion is my favorite dark ride, ever. Possibly my favorite theme park ride in existence. That being said, Pirates is easily number two. If either of these attractions win I will be a very happy guy.

Mansion gets my vote, but whatever happens, I'm happy.

From 76.233.11.149 on April 1, 2010 at 3:14 PM
HM whether it's Dland or WDW will always be slightly better than Pirates because of the cheese factor on the AA's.... If Disney upgraded some of them AA's in Pirates, it would win easily...

That being said, I LOVE all things haunted, halloweem, spooky, ghostly, so my vote HAD to go to Haunted Mansion... 6 weeks (3 weeks on either side) a year for the build up and teardown of the haunted holiday mansion btw is NOT a lot of time for the amount of work that goes into it.

From Will Chilcote on April 1, 2010 at 3:33 PM
Impossible choice. The 2 best dark rides ever created by Walt Disney. I think I will flip a coin.
From Tyler Stover on April 1, 2010 at 3:37 PM
This was a very tough call, and my wife and I were split on it. She wanted Haunted Mansion, but Pirates' scale, waterfalls, and pacing were enough to give it the very slightest win in my book. I will say Pirates was degraded by the recent additions of the movie characters and the very unfortunate Davy Jones effect, and Haunted has received some good enhancements in recent years. However, Haunted Mansion often runs too quickly for the pacing to be good, and Disneyland's version pales in comparison to Walt Disney World's version, which has received even better upgrades.
From 98.148.156.253 on April 1, 2010 at 3:40 PM
I love both rides, but when I'm walking through the front gates onto Main Street, I've got one thing on my mind: The Haunted Mansion.
From 76.209.86.65 on April 1, 2010 at 3:56 PM
Soooo tough. "Haunted Mansion Holiday" tips the scales to HM over POTC.

Bonzlex
Folsom, CA

From Brandon Mendoza on April 1, 2010 at 4:13 PM
I sure hope people do realize that it's not the Magic Kingdom's Superior Haunted Mansion compared to Disneyland's PotC. I love both rides at Disneyland, but Disney World has the better Haunted Mansion thanks to the phenomenal upgrades, visually, aurally... and heck, just overall!
From James Rao on April 1, 2010 at 4:26 PM
Disneyland's Pirates losing is a real tragedy. I cannot wait to summon forth the legions of Holiday World fans to utterly defeat the un-deserving Haunted Mansion in the next round. If you Disney-philes would be as forward thinking as Walt was, you'd know your best chance for victory in this tournament is Pirates.

Vote with your heads, people.

From 74.96.78.3 on April 1, 2010 at 4:38 PM
Both rides are classics, but haunted mansion has more of that "how'd they do that factor", which I really enjoy. Haunted Mansion also has a great queue that just adds to the experience. The ride remains to be my favorite disney ride to date.
From Raul Araoz on April 1, 2010 at 4:42 PM
These are the two best dark rides in existence. However, there is no question that as far as Disneyland is concerned, Pirates is superior to their iteration of the Mansion.
From Jack Curley on April 1, 2010 at 4:53 PM
James, have you considered that the non-Disney-philes like myself are the ones tipping the scales in favor of HM knowing it'll be easier to knock out?
From Adam Dodds on April 1, 2010 at 5:01 PM
Why do people think we're voting for Disney? Why would we choose Pirates just because it might do better? We are simply voting for our favorite ride, which is Haunted Mansion. We are happy if it wins Best Themed Ride for 2010 knowing it knocked out some other beasties like ToT and Spiderman.

We Are not voting against Universal, or just for Disney alone. We vote with our heads for what we want, and that is not necessarily Disney dominance.

From Derek Potter on April 1, 2010 at 5:18 PM
Interesting choice. I like Haunted Mansion too, but I never thought that Haunted Mansion would be the one coming out of this bracket.

Voyage..Voyage..Voyage..Voyage.

From James Rao on April 1, 2010 at 7:27 PM
I would hope, Jack, that people are voting for the attractions they like best. If most Disney fans who voted like the Haunted Mansion better than Pirates, then so be it. I am pretty sure your one devious vote had little impact on the outcome of the contest. ;p

Moving on...

Unless someone can rouse the slumbering Disney army (something I have failed to accomplish in three years of trying) Holiday World will bring the largest fanbase to the voting booths. I have no problem with them winning the overall tournament and in fact I am (and have been) a huge supporter of that park and its management & PR team since I visited Santa Claus in 2008. Getting them on the theme park map with an overall Tournament crown is a great idea. And it also proves that if you build the best coaster on the planet, you will be rewarded, even if you are a small park in the middle of nowhere!

From Dennis Dowhy on April 2, 2010 at 2:04 AM
I absolutely love them both and will go on each every time I got to Disney World. The Pirates of the Caribbean intrigued me from the day it was opened. The Haunted Castle, I specifically drove from NJ to California to see it the year it opened!

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