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Robert Niles
Editor

The 2010 Best Theme Park Ride and the Best Theme Park Show in America

Published: April 2, 2010 at 7:21 AM

Now that we have our four bracket winners, let's go ahead and vote for the Best Theme Park Ride and Best Theme Park Show in America.

I've decided to combine the two votes into one thread, to better encourage our visitors from other sites to participate in both votes. If you haven't experienced all the attractions up for vote today, just click on their names below for full descriptions, photos, video and extensive comments from Theme Park Insider regulars.

Here are your competitors:

For Best Theme Park Ride:

For Best Theme Park Show:

Let's get to the votes then, shall we?



Voting concludes at 7pm Eastern, 4pm Pacific. As always, please tell us in the comments why you voted the way you did.

Have a great weekend, and we'll see you back here on Monday as today's winners face off for the Best Theme Park Attraction title.

Update: Congratulations to our winners, and thanks to everyone for voting and welcome to all those visiting the site for the first time. If you're new around here, don't miss Russell Meyer's great write-up of Intimidator 305, below (if you're reading this on the home page. Otherwise, click the link). We'll see you on Monday.

Replies (91)

Santa's Chef

Published: April 2, 2010 at 7:25 AM

I voted the Voyage as best ride because that's what loyal employees do!
James Rao
Writer

Published: April 2, 2010 at 7:35 AM

The Voyage + it doesn't matter. This tournament is Holiday World's to lose. Time for the little park that could to show its mettle! Go Voyage!
67.129.234.246

Published: April 2, 2010 at 7:41 AM

I voted for the Voyage because Holiday World is the most family-friendly park on the planet. Granted Disney has the whole commercial aspect wrapped up, but Holiday World is accessible to the masses. Their entrance fees are reasonable, they offer free soft drinks and sunscreen, their employees are helpful and friendly (they even smile), and their facilities are incredibly clean. Disney has enough money. Vote for a family owned and operated park that truly embodies the American dream.
98.115.143.35

Published: April 2, 2010 at 7:42 AM

I voted the Voyage :) Holiday World blows Disney out of the water as far as Im concerned!
174.131.167.244

Published: April 2, 2010 at 7:45 AM

Inside and outside, The Haunted Mansion is the best before and after the upgrades fors years and years to come. When I go to the Magic Kingdom, I go through it many times.
66.196.51.236

Published: April 2, 2010 at 7:45 AM

The Voyage is second to none. and the park is the cleanest nicest atmosphere in any theme park. Go Santa Clause Indiana Go Holiday World.
129.79.173.128

Published: April 2, 2010 at 7:48 AM

Hands down the Voyage is MUCH better than Haunted Mansion. Ride is more thrilling and you can ride it 2 or 3 times in the same amount of time you would be IN LINE to ride Haunted Mansion. Also, Holiday World is a much cleaner and friendlier park that Disney ever could be. Nowhere near the crowds so lines are much shorter.
James Rao
Writer

Published: April 2, 2010 at 7:56 AM

Interesting... and somewhat unsurprisingly, Disney is getting support even from coaster enthusiasts. There is a debate raging...

Derek, your notion that a good coaster always beats a good dark ride may face a real test today.

Adam Dodds

Published: April 2, 2010 at 8:04 AM

I'd say all the same for Disney, just more successful. Disney is not evil because it is larger. Disney is all about families and everyone. Just look at their massive volunteer campaign that got 1 million people involved for a total of 3 million volunteer hours...and they gave free days at Disney.

Disney is spotless, they do wonderful things to make a Disney experience wonderful to special dietary needs to making most of their rides handicap accessible, like the Haunted Mansion, a ride everyone can ride, unlike the Voyage. And another great bonus for Mansion is their lines will always be shorter than any coaster. There's no coaster who can challenge Mansion's guest carry rate.

I use the old tactic sometimes where I decide on which ride I can ride more times in a row. Now my record for a coaster is 23 times in a row...but I think I could ride the Haunted Mansion more and sill never get tired of it.

But hey, this is a contest between the Voyage and the Mansion, not companies.

Rod Whitenack

Published: April 2, 2010 at 7:58 AM

The Haunted Mansion is my favorite ride of all time, and it made a huge impact on me as a child, but the ride I'm familiar with is the WDW version. That's perhaps the only reason I'm voting for the Voyage. Holiday World is only an hour from Louisville, where I live, and I'm very proud of their family owned success. They are the best little park in the country and every new ride or attraction they add is an A+ attraction. My favorite childhood rollercoaster was The Beast, and The Voyage is the first coaster I've rode since to challenge that experience. It is the best coaster in the world!
209.239.108.160

Published: April 2, 2010 at 8:00 AM

The Voyage is great. Having been on both rides, I like the Voyage better.

Also, if we're going to compare parks, don't forget to add to the list of clean, friendly, free soft drinks, also : Free Parking! can't be beat.... and the lines are reasonable...

Tim Odom

Published: April 2, 2010 at 8:02 AM

I voted for the Voyage as more of a protest vote. Never been to Holiday World, though the Voyage looks fantastic. But, really, I cannot be convinced in any way that Haunted Mansion (as cool as it is) is the best ride in a bracket that had Revenge of the Mummy, Tower of Terror, and Spider-Man.

As for the other vote, I was disappointed by Philharmagic, don't really like it to be honest. But Fantasmic! is just awesome. So, that was an easy vote for me.

James Rao
Writer

Published: April 2, 2010 at 8:05 AM

Agreed Adam, let's not make this a Disney vs. Holiday World battle, because as much as I love Holiday World, Disney is my favorite.

In this contest, I will take the sheer joy and exhilaration of the Voyage over the subtle pleasures of the Haunted Mansion most any day of the week.

Besides, if Disneyland's Haunted Mansion suddenly disappeared in a puff of pixie dust, we'd still have WDW's better version to enjoy. The Voyage, however, is ONE OF A KIND!

Vic Beltz

Published: April 2, 2010 at 8:07 AM

Voted Voyage.

Side note...dissapointed in Cedar Point's lack of activity in this competition. Nothing on Facebook, nothing on Twitter, and nothing on their blog. Then, they announce on thier blog that it is no longer going to exist. As far as this tournament goes, Cedar Point never existed anyhow.

Kudos to Holiday World, see ya in June!!

James Rao
Writer

Published: April 2, 2010 at 8:17 AM

Interesting note, Vic. Because with Universal's lack of involvement in this tournament, you have to figure that it was Cedar Point's to lose.

I wonder if Cedar Fair, like Disney, Universal, and Six Flags, is finally becoming just another big, fat corporation and quickly losing touch with the great fanbase that has helped make them so popular over the years...

I see a corporate blog in Cedar Fair's future, and no more individualization at the park level... nameless, faceless, lifeless... just another amusement park chain swallowed up in a sea of corporate sameness.

Vic Beltz

Published: April 2, 2010 at 8:20 AM

Very well put James. For as much as I agree, I am also sad, for Cedar Point is my home park. They HAVE gone more "corporate", as you suggested. I will still be loyal to my CP season pass, but really looking forward to my visits to Busch Gardens and Holiday World this summer.

Shame on you Cedar Fair. I am still bitter about their purchase and closing of Geauga Lake.

65.24.209.81

Published: April 2, 2010 at 8:23 AM

If Millenium Force was here, I would not be voting for Mansion. Because it's not, I gotta go with Mansion over the overrated Voyage.

As far as the show goes, I was in awe watching Fantasmic. It gets my vote.

Adam Dodds

Published: April 2, 2010 at 8:36 AM

Soooo, some thought Mansion would be an easy defeat, and some even voted for Mansion because of that, and some thought "the Disney fanboys" should have voted for Pirates because it would have a better chance. I think Mansion is respectfully standing on its own in the race.
Steven Lee

Published: April 2, 2010 at 8:42 AM

To those talking about how Disney is not getting involved in this:

Have you ever stopped to think Disney doesn't post about a vote like this to be nice and fair about it? Think about it for example Holiday World has around 70,000 fans on Facebook...Disney has OVER 1,000,000 plus they have various accounts for the parks, for Disney Living, etc. If they started posting about this they would CRUSH EVERY park they went up against. Then you would grip how it just became a Disney take over. Besides this tournament is not about the "best" its about which marketing team can get the most votes pulled together. That's what any open poll is about on the internet that is worthy of park mention. Such as the Latimes.com poll recently on the best coaster Holiday World posted about that a half a dozen times. If they didn't no la times poll would turn out the same because half of the sites visitors had probably never been to the parks mentioned cause they were mostly all Mid West, East and Southern parks.

Plus this entire tournament is so Disney heavy its not even funny. The entire site is Disney and large park heavy. I would say 90% of the content published is about one of the major California or Florida parks. Very little about opening days, festivals and happenings at parks like Silver Dollar City, Dollywood, Carowinds, Wild Adventures, or many local Six Flags parks.

James Rao
Writer

Published: April 2, 2010 at 8:48 AM

The day is still young, and the Holiday World fanbase is still mobilizing... we'll have to wait and see how things go. However, if the Disney Army wakes up and blindly votes "Disney" then no one will be able to stop them (as Mr. Lee stated in his post). The question is, how do you get that army to stop trading pins and start voting? I've tried and failed for three years of this tournament.

And Pirates would be doing better! I would have voted for it, my friends would have voted for it, and casual observers would have voted for it because it has more relevance outside of Disney's normal fanbase. Heck, Johnny Depp could send one tweet in favor of Pirates and this contest would be over. You think Eddie Murphy can do the same for Haunted Mansion?

Anyway, why vote against the best wooden roller coaster on the planet? Doesn't it deserve a tournament crown despite the fact that it does not bear the Disney moniker?

Adam Dodds

Published: April 2, 2010 at 8:49 AM

I completely agree with Steven Lee. Other parks before had used this just for a title and promotion. Some folks are upset because some Disney fan base has gotten a little more involved, and some other places haven't. But if Disney felt like it wanted to get involved with polls like this, it would trump any others. But Disney feels that it doesn't need to get involved with things that do not involved a Golden Ticket Award.
Anthony Murphy
Writer

Published: April 2, 2010 at 8:59 AM

This is pretty hard, especially in the Theme Park Ride bracket due to it being a solid dark ride vs a solid roller coaster. I have to go with massive theming in the Haunted Mansion. There is so many things to see!

As for the show, well while Fantasmic is not my favorite, I like it alot better than Philharmagic! I think its the crowds for Fantasmic that drives me away!


There seems to be alot of Holiday World Fanboys on the site now. Wondered when anybody would come! Saying Holiday World is a better park that any of the Disney Parks is, in my opinion, almost laughable. While I know of my own Disney bias, I do not think I would take it that far. As for wait time, Haunted Mansion is extremly capacity effective.

Still, the tourniment proves I need to take a look at the free parking free drink Holiday World!

James Rao
Writer

Published: April 2, 2010 at 9:03 AM

Adam/Steven, would you really want Disney to step in and make Disneyland's Haunted Mansion the #1 Theme Park Attraction in America? Really? Hey, I'd take Tower of Terror, or DL's Pirates, or even Everest, but HM? Seriously?

And I am not talking about Disney itself getting involved, as that would just be unfair. But the lack of support from their fanbases is alarming. Go post on MiceAge or Studio Central, or Allears, or WDWToday... and get blasted for even suggesting they get involved. Man, I love Disney, but many of the fansites are so elitist I can often understand the venom other park fans feel towards them. Thank goodness for a site like Theme Park Insider where fans of THEME PARKS can talk about the good and bad at all parks without fear of reprisal or abuse.

It is okay to like other parks, and other rides, and still love Disney. If it wasn't for Universal, Busch, and even Cedar Fair/Six Flags/Herschend, Disney would not be the top notch company it is today. Competition is the spice of life, and without it, there would be far more parks like Disney's California Adventure than Epcot, I assure you.

James Rao
Writer

Published: April 2, 2010 at 9:06 AM

And you are right, Anthony: Holiday World is clean, well kept, and friendly, but the park experience in no way compares to what Disney offers.

On the other hand, Disney doesn't have a single coaster that provides the one of a kind experience that the Voyage does.

David Kirby

Published: April 2, 2010 at 9:14 AM

Ugh, Is Haunted Mansion really losing to the Voyage? The Haunted Mansion represent over a decade of collaboration by probably the greatest men to ever design for theme parks. It takes such genius and ancient techniques, like Pepper's Ghost Effect, to make an extremely eerie experience that constantly leaves guests wondering "how'd they do?". I don't think any other ride has as much history as the Mansion. How many other rides can claim they have books upon books written about them? This is one of those rides that makes Disney what it is. I mean, can you imagine if the Haunted Mansion had never been built? That my friend would be a sad world.

I think I actually liked it better when all the Universal fanboys showed up last year.

24.143.237.11

Published: April 2, 2010 at 9:16 AM

Disney made theme parks popular again in this country. Just because Walt and his crew are ridiculously talented has given them the right to be the official bad asses of the theme park world. HM has no competition. The voyage is a roller coaster. HM is not just a ride, but a way of life. Does anyone scatter their ashes on a coaster, i think not.
Steven Lee

Published: April 2, 2010 at 9:19 AM

Forgot to mention who I voted for in my earlier post.

Up front my favorite parks are Dollywood, Holiday World, and Silver Dollar City to me they off more of a "down home" feel. All 3 have great parks that are well maintained, friendly, enjoyable, and provide value.

But guess what the poll is not for your favorite park. Its for the ride itself not about free drinks, and overall atmosphere of the park but just the one single ride or show.

Therefore I am personally all about the experience on a ride/attraction or show. I voted Haunted Mansion not because its Disney but because its a complete imersive experience that begins the second you step into its que line. I loved the Voyage but I'm more about an experience. I voted Mystery Mine over the Voyage when they competed for the same reason.

For best show I voted Fantasmic, seeing it at both parks its just one impressive show that can not be experienced by watching a video but you must be there to truly enjoy it. To add the Hollywood Studio version is better in my opinion but it helps I was sitting and not having to stand for it then as well.

Adam Dodds

Published: April 2, 2010 at 9:29 AM

I agree with Steven Lee all the way. I love rides outside of Disney. My favorite Coaster is The Boardwalk Bullet, a revolutionary coaster at the Kemah Boardwalk in Texas. Sadly the Bullet will never be in this contest because its not in any park of any size. It's a knot and crosses over itself more times than another coaster in the world. Just mindblowing. I also love Batman the Ride, MF in Ceder Point.

I didn't vote Mansion because It is Disney, I didn't vote for Disney, free soda, cleanliness, with or against the machine. I voted for what I think is the best ride. The Haunted Mansion.

James Rao
Writer

Published: April 2, 2010 at 9:36 AM

I don't disagree with those comments about the value of the "immersion factor" in themed attractions - infact, I am a huge proponent of it. Just ask anyone on this site.

However, the Voyage stands at the pinnacle of wooden coaster design. It may not be an immersive "narrative" experience, but it is still an immersive "thrill" experience from beginning to end. You definitely feel as though you are somewhere else, and the real world is far, far away. If you have ridden the Voyage, you know what I mean. Quite simply, it transcends the genre.

75.37.72.156

Published: April 2, 2010 at 9:41 AM

I am so shocked that the Voyage ( Never heard of it ) is beating Haunted Mansion. I have never even heard of Holiday land. You tell me any other ride in the world where you get the experience Haunted Mansion gives you and all the Advance tricks. Disney is also just as clean as Holidayland as others are stating how clean it is. You can find a roller coaster anywhere on this planet but can you find a Haunted Mansion dark ride that disney has given you any where you go? No. My vote went to the Haunted Mansion. I think alot of teenagers are voting for the Roller coaster because its AWESOME...... and Disneyland is for babies. Also, Disneyland does not need competition to do good. Look at Disneyland when it first started. Their only competiton was Knotts but they didnt even compete. Disney closed Monday and Tuesday while knotts was open. And Knotts closed Thursday and Friday while Disneyland was open. Win win for both parks and look at how well it did with only one other theme park for competition. Also, some of the comments are just wow. " I voted for voyager because I have only been to the Haunted Mansion in WDW " Come on.....

ANYWAYS. Haunted Mansion can blow this thing up any day as well with Indiana Jones, Pirates, and soon Radiator Springs Racers and MAYBE the Little Mermaid.

James Rao
Writer

Published: April 2, 2010 at 10:01 AM

Gotta love how important Holiday World is to its community. Even a local paper is following this tournament!
65.12.173.131

Published: April 2, 2010 at 10:05 AM

voyage and Fantasmic get my vote. HM is a great ride(the one at WDW) but i've heard that Disneyland's is not near as good as WDW's one. If this were Pirates, Spidy, or Tower of Terror, i would vote for any of theme instantly because they are much better than voyage and HM. Please remember that this isn't a park vs. park thing(in that case you should actually see disney park and see how nice the employes are and how clean the park is but Holiday World is very similar in cleanliness and employes). Fantasmic beats Philar by just a bit... but both are great.
Anthony Murphy
Writer

Published: April 2, 2010 at 10:09 AM

Facinating stuff!

As for this site being heavy towards Disney, I think it just happens because its the only parks that ALL of us have been to at least once.

Heck, I go down to Disney World (and Universal, Seaworld, etc) once a year and my "home park" Great America. However, those are about all I know. Nobody else here on the site really values the good experiece at Great America and their awesome roller coasters, but that is expected because there are very few people who go to Great America on the site. Let me tell you, I would argue its the best Six Flags Park.

So the main point I am trying to make is that a majority of people on here have been to the FL parks and we can argue part by part. The Voyage looks fantastic and I am a big roller coaster fan, but I have yet to be to it, period. I know I should, but I haven't yet.

As for Disney, if you ask somebody to name a ride there, I would wager they would say Haunted Mansion, Pirates, or Its a Small World. If you ask people about Holiday World, they would say "what is Holiday World" which is a real shame. Looks like a great park!

James Rao
Writer

Published: April 2, 2010 at 10:13 AM

All good points, Anthony. And I will make it up to Gurnee very soon, I promise!
Tim W
Writer

Published: April 2, 2010 at 10:14 AM

Voted for haunted mansion and Fantasmic! Im definately voting for Fantasmic in the final!!!
James Rao
Writer

Published: April 2, 2010 at 10:23 AM

Anonymous Poster 75.37.72.156, you would not be "so shocked" that the Voyage is winning, if you had ridden it. Then you would understand why it has such a devout following. Feel free to blast us if you want, but at least take time to find out about the competition before you just start insulting it.
Derek Potter

Published: April 2, 2010 at 10:25 AM

My coaster vs dark ride theory will indeed be tested because it's a Disney dark ride. They are the best (well, they spend the most money) at it, which with creative minds will give them a top notch product.

It comes down to a couple of things for me. This being the best ride in America contest, I want a ride that is capable of anchoring a park, a centerpiece if you will. A star, not a supporting cast member. I want a ride with a high repeat factor, meaning it delivers the intended effect several times. For a coaster, it's gravity induced thrills and fun...Emotional, biological and psychological. For a dark ride, regardless of content, it's all about visuals, storytelling and emotion.

That said, the first time you ride Haunted Mansion, you will be at least somewhat captivated. The visuals will grab you, and you will pay attention to the story. It will have it's intended effect the first few times you ride it. However, as with all stories and movies, when you watch it again, it doesn't quite have the wow factor. The same goes for storytelling rides. Once I know the end, it isn't quite the same anymore. Great ride? Yes....impressive visuals? Yes. Will I ride it again? Maybe.

A coaster like the Voyage has a re-ride factor that's off the charts. Why? Because like any really good coaster, it elicits the same human responses and has the same effect again and again over several rides. People ride it over and over and over, because it does it's job so well and it delivers that effect every time you ride it. The Voyage....Great ride? Yes....Great coaster elements? Yes....will I ride it again? Absolutely without question. In fact the first ride only leaves me wanting to ride it again. I simply can't say the same about Haunted Mansion.

As for park participation in this tournament, once again we see the power of social media. For some reason Cedar Point fans and chose to sit this one out (possibly because of last years questionable result?), and there wasn't much buzz about the tournament on their fan sites. Universal and Busch got involved and took out a lot of good rides that shouldn't have gone so early. Holiday World simply promoted a deserving ride, harnessed the power of their loyal fans via facebook and twitter, and won

I have a little wake up for you about Disney. Disney hasn't promoted their rides much at all. It isn't because they want to "take it easy"..or even that they don't think they need to. It's because they simply don't care that much about this tournament. They are a multibillion dollar corporation that's worshipped by many, with a lion's share of the market. They spend little time promoting outside of their own website, and little time talking to the theme park fan community. In their eyes, people come to them and they don't need to go to the people anymore.

Holiday World in contrast, cares about this contest. How much do they care? Take a look at their facebook page and see the numerous updates. Take a look at the comments lately, and you'll find that some of them belong to Holiday World management. Look at all the glowing reviews on the threads lately, not only for the Voyage, but for the park itself. That tells me they really care for their fans and they don't take a single one for granted, nor do they take for granted an opportunity to promote and market. They've worked to get to this point, not to mention that the ride itself is indeed special.

Visit the park just once, and you'll understand what all the fuss is about. Think about that last paragraph if you need something to tip your vote one way or another.

Voyage..Voyage..Voyage.

James Rao
Writer

Published: April 2, 2010 at 10:35 AM

I am so eerily afraid of how much we are in agreement right now, Derek. While I disagree a little with your point about the re-ride-ability of a great dark ride, everything else you said makes a lot of sense.

And the sad thing is, Disney launched D23 to "get in touch with the fans", but it really is a club just for fanatics. Why Disney doesn't focus a little less on key demographics and extremes and a little more on the middle of the road theme park fans, is beyond me. But like you said, they don't necessarily need little old me to be successful.

24.96.134.246

Published: April 2, 2010 at 10:35 AM

The Mansion will always win, with me anyway. When WDW opened, I took home my childhood imaginary friend when a Hitchhiking Ghost appeared beside me... in 2004 when I proposed to my wife, I did it in the Disneyland Mansion before Zero in the Endless Hallway... we Honeymooned at the WDW mansion...my wife and I both worked on teh Haunted Mnasion comic book... and her roller derby name is Grim Gracey, #999. So it is very embedded in our lives :)
David Kirby

Published: April 2, 2010 at 10:36 AM

But Derek, your last paragraph implies that we should vote for The Voyage because Holiday World is a smaller park with management that cares. Isn't this supposed to be about the best rides and not the best management team/how much the park cares about this tournament? Really, that's great for the management. It looks like a great park and I hope to visit someday but at the end of the day, this category is "Best Theme Park Ride". I would argue that The Raven and The Legend make sense as themes for wooden roller coasters but the concept of The Voyage is a little bizarre.
James Rao
Writer

Published: April 2, 2010 at 10:55 AM

The Voyage is the featured attraction in the Thanksgiving portion of Holiday World and is meant to represent the perilous and bold sea trip the Pilgrims took when coming to the Americas.

Not sure what is so bizarre about that theme...

166.137.9.197

Published: April 2, 2010 at 10:56 AM

Voted for the voyage. The airtime on this coaster is just incredible. The drops, the turns, the speed and the length all add up to the best ride. This park has three great wood coasters and a water coaster coming soon. If they would only add steel mega coaster.... Please Will!!! Great waterpark too. Now with that said, please don't go to this park, the lines are too short there is free parking, free drinks, low prices and if more people discover this place it will become crowded. But maybe then they might add a steel foster
Derek Potter

Published: April 2, 2010 at 11:03 AM

I'm not saying vote for the park at all. That was a message to the people who are having trouble deciding between the two. If you really really think that Haunted Mansion is the better ride, then vote for it. If you need something to tip the scales (as some do I understand), then think about what I said. I personally think that the Voyage is the better ride, and I also give huge props to Holiday World for the way they do things. Chains and big dollar corporate parks could take a lesson or two from Holiday World.
166.214.118.71

Published: April 2, 2010 at 11:05 AM

The theme in The Voyage is not as obvious as The Legend or The Raven, based solely on their titles. And David said he'd never been to the park, so I think it's understandable why he didn't understand the title. And I voted for The Voyage, I live about an hour away. While I do have extremely fond childhood memories of The Haunted Mansion, at Disney World (never been to Disneyland), it doesn't have the same impact on me now as it did when I was a child.
Adam Dodds

Published: April 2, 2010 at 11:24 AM

I don't see what lessons Disney could take from Holiday World.
64.255.180.95

Published: April 2, 2010 at 11:34 AM

as a former employee of both parks.....holiday world and disney world.....voyage is awesome!!! heck if i had the opportunity i would work at holiday world again!! go voyage go!!
166.214.118.71

Published: April 2, 2010 at 11:52 AM

It has been pointed out by many people that Holiday World offers free parking, free sunscreen and free drinks all day long and it is a smaller family owned park. As large a corporation as Disney is, it could certainly afford to do the same. In some of the parks you can get a $6.00 cup that allows for free refills, but in other parks (Animal Kingdom) you get a $6.00 cup but no free refills. That may have changed since my last visit 5 years ago, but I thought then it was silly that they did not offer the same benefits throughout each of its own parks. If people aren't spending as much on drinks it allows for more money to be spent elsewhere, in the souvenir shops for example.
Eric Malone

Published: April 2, 2010 at 11:55 AM

Gotta agree with Adam on that one. Isn't it the other way around?
James Rao
Writer

Published: April 2, 2010 at 12:13 PM

How about listening to the fans a bit more? Walt himself used to tour the parks and illicit customer feedback, then make changes when he heard even the slightest whisper of dissatisfaction. Nowadays Disney just tries to cut back as much as possible in the interest of profit margins and the once almighty dollar.

Hey, I love Disney, but they don't necessarily love me. If they did would the Yeti still be in Dance Mode? Or would it take an hour to get from resort to park because the company has cut so far back on bus services that it is beginning to be life threatening? Would Casey's still be serving crap dogs instead of the delicious all beef brand that Disney removed to save a buck? And where the heck are the chicken strips they used to serve at Columbia Harbor House? Nuggets? Nuggets? You dare give me pieces parts! UGH!

What Disney can learn (or be reminded of) is to be completely focused on serving the customer, not gouging them. Sure the company needs to turn a profit, but Disney used to be in the business of making memories, not just making money.

Phil B.

Published: April 2, 2010 at 12:19 PM

Lessons Disney could learn from Holiday World: FREE parking, FREE soft drinks and FREE suntan lotion is a start.

It's not Disney's fault it has become the monster that it is. It's just so massive an operation, a global operation, that layers upon layers of corporate bureaucracy are bound to seep into the culture of the company and eventually give way to a less personal touch that was once in place decades ago. Walt was a great business man who pushed hard to acheive financial growth, but did it also with the intent of updating, growing, tinkering and improving his creations. The man seemed to strike the balance between business and creative, being a creative person at heart. He never was a fan of all the red tape and accountant meetings he had to go through just to get things done. He insisted on quality though, challenging those he worked with to achieve more than they ever thought they could. Ultimately he was a man who cared because he was emotionally invested in what he was trying to create, and as a leader, passion like that is contagious and spreads to all involved, from those perched up on top in suits, down to the fans who fall in love with the experiences they have when they visit a park. Holiday World seems to have captured a part of this spirit within it's company culture, and amongst the fans who are here in force. It's not so much something that Disney could stand to learn really, as it is more something that they should remember. Unfortunately you can't teach Walts passion in a classroom , and all the degrees in the world will never equate to the emotional connection that Walt had with the parks as it's founder, creator and driving force.

67.39.242.130

Published: April 2, 2010 at 12:18 PM

As a frequent visitor to Holiday World I must say the Voyage is one of the BEST RIDES I have been on in a long time. While the Haunted Mansion is a fun ride, and little ones will most likely enjoy much more, those of us that love adventure will want to return to the park over and over just to ride the Voyage. Good Luck Voyage in winning the contest you will always get my vote.
64.12.116.71

Published: April 2, 2010 at 12:30 PM

I go to both parks I prefer everything about Holiday World. The thing many who havent' been to Holiday World (and I drive eight hours to get there) is that they actually care about the park patrons. When is the last time you saw a CEO or CFO at Disney greet the customers? I know it isn't realistic to think they would. The owners of HW are there on a daily basis, not because they have to but because they want to. You might ask how would I know that, it's because I spoke to Mrs. Koch about this one day. I guess many who don't read the trades don't realize how many parks go to HW for advice. Also if you know about the parks you know about the awards, HW has won the friendliest park and cleanest parks over Disney many times. They don't have to take lessons from Disney. I like both rides but I have to go with the Voyage, it's entertaining and breathtaking.
Brandon Mendoza

Published: April 2, 2010 at 12:32 PM

I too don't see what lessons Disney should take from Holiday World. Just the Disney name alone means they don't have to advertise as much as a small park. Disney doesn't need to give out free drinks or sunscreen as it makes more sense for a large company to sell it. They got where they are by making a brand out of the name Disney. It would be nice if they did hand out free sunscreen, but they'd lose money considering how many people visit and would abuse free sunscreen.

Disney is definitely a corporation that is trying to get in touch with its fans with D23. But it doesn't make sense for Disney to try to get people to vote for their attractions on any website except their own. Maybe an interview here or there is what they'd do, but not much else.

I understand that Holiday World is way more in touch with their guests. And they should be. They need to keep the loyal fans/ guests and should never do anything that would upset their fans as Disney seems to do on occasion. It's what a smaller park has to do. There just isn't enough reward for a corporation to do the same. And with the way things are in our economy, maybe the positions that were responsible for Twitter and other Social networking sites were eliminated due to pressure to cut costs. Sad to hear, but it's the reality of larger companies as they aren't as tightly knit.

12.86.85.138

Published: April 2, 2010 at 12:43 PM

A couple of years ago I spent a lot of money taking my kids to the most crowded park on earth. They did not have a good time standing in all the super long lines (even the fast pass line). Then you get on the Haunted Mountain ride and you are disappointed. It was not worth the wait and it was over fairly quickly. My children and I are used to going to Holiday World as it's only 45 minutes away. The lines at HW go quickly. And the Voyage is the only roller coaster that has ever thoroughly scared the daylights out of me. I have been to Disney, Kings Island, Bush Gardens and Holiday World and I love coasters. The Voyage is by far the best one I have ever been on. I have never been scared on a coaster before. And if you ride it at night, it's even scarier!
Christy M. Evansville,IN
mother of 3 ride lovers
mister johnson

Published: April 2, 2010 at 12:43 PM

Look, I love Holiday World. And I especially enjoy the Voyage. As a roller coaster, it is darn near flawless. However, I cannot see how anyone would argue that Voyage is a better theme park experience than Haunted Mansion.

Mansion is top notch in almost everything it executes, from special effects to set design, media production to ride design and effficiency. Mansion is in many ways a pinnacle attraction.

Voyage is a great up-and-comer but EXTREMELY raw at the edges. I mean, the ride positions itself as being themed...but I don't get it. Is there a story or a premise? Best I can point to is some set dressing that looks like it came from Bill Knapps. And the quality of the queue building/shed is servicable at best.

I really respect what Holiday World is accomplishing as a park and with rides like Voyage. But Mansion is in a class by itself.

Melinda Kintner

Published: April 2, 2010 at 12:46 PM

It is true that Disney does not need to organize their fanbase in order to win a contest, because they don't need the publicity that goes along with it. They create their own publicity all the time. That does not mean that they can't learn anything from Holiday World. Just because it doesn't make sense for them to give away free drinks or parking or sunscreen doesn't mean they shouldn't do it. These are all extra benefits that show they are willing to cater to their customers. Sure, they don't need to do it. But that is exactly why they should do it. They can afford all of these complimentary items much more easily than Holiday World can but Holiday World continues to do this year after year. Last year Holiday World had its highest grossing year ever, despite the economy, and all of these perks are part of the reason why.
Derek Potter

Published: April 2, 2010 at 1:02 PM

If you know much about Walt Disney, you should know this...

He cared very little for the bottom line.

Read his bios and you'll see that he drove his brother absolutely crazy by constantly going way over budget on many Disney projects, including Disneyland. His solution to Roy...come up with the money somehow, either through sponsors or investors, I'm not cutting any corners. Roy always came up with the money. He didn't care what the cost, as long as it was top quality and it produced the "magic" that he wanted, which is the reason why Disney became what it is today. The company now rests mostly in the hands of businessmen, and Mr Rao's examples demonstrate that they now have no problem cutting costs in the name of profit. Such is the way of a multibillion dollar corporation with stockholders to appease and bonuses to hand out.


After extensively reading about the man, I contend that Walt Disney's axe would be flying if he knew his theme parks were cutting corners on quality. The definition of housecleaning wouldn't begin to describe what would happen. Heads would roll for leaving the Yeti unfixed, people would be canned for cheapening the food product. Cast members would be scolded for even looking at a guest the wrong way. To Walt, it was all about the escapism and the illusion...and absolutely everything down to the last detail was essential to maintaining the "grand facade". Holiday World doesn't have the financial resources or clout that Walt Disney had, but they do have his sense of customer service, and they are willing to sacrifice profit to maintain it. That's the difference between a privately owned and corporately owned park.

James Rao
Writer

Published: April 2, 2010 at 1:05 PM

Haunted Mansion is in a class by itself, unless of course it is in a class with WDW's Haunted Mansion, TDL Haunted Mansion, or DLP's Phantom Manor. Then you start to see that it is not, in fact, in a class by itself. Furthermore, in that crowded classroom, the DL version may be the dunce of the bunch.

However, there is nothing else like The Voyage on this planet. It is truly a one of a kind, state of the art achievement. While the theme is paper thin at best, the experience is not. Sure, I would love for a Disney style narrative to be built around the Voyage - who wouldn't!? But there is more to a great ride than special effects and the name "Disney."

Now, if this contest was between Universal's Spider-Man and The Voyage, I would be on the other side of the fence!

Steven Lee

Published: April 2, 2010 at 1:12 PM

Ok Disney wouldn't be what it is if they had the things like free parking, free soft drinks, and free sun screen like some say Disney should take from Holiday World. Do you enjoy the immersive experiences like Expedition Everest? Well that one experience alone cost Disney $100,000,000. Holiday Worlds largest single expansion was somewhere around $7,000,000 I do believe. So $93,000,000 has to be made somehow to give you the experience that you want and expect from Disney. Disney would not be the parks it is giving away all this "FREE" stuff. Yes they could lower ticket prices and the cost of these things but giving any of them away could potentially effect the amount they can spend on what people expect from Disney. On the marketing front Disney is very active on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs from multiple park pages to animations studios, individual movies and more.

All parks can learn things from each other no matter the size but things like giving away so much and performing at the same level may and will not work for all parks.

James Rao
Writer

Published: April 2, 2010 at 1:15 PM

Amazingly well stated, Derek. I couldn't agree more. The Disney name was built upon and by one man alone: Walt Disney. And while the parks are still top notch, there is no doubt he would be very displeased with many of the things occurring in the "Kingdom Walt Built" today.

However, the influx of imagination and drive that comes from Pixar's John Lasseter may spearhead a return to glory for Disney. Granted, he is only one man, and he does not wield the power Walt once did, but if what is going on at Paradise Pier and at WDW's Fantasyland are any indication, the man gets "it". One can only hope the bean counters stay out of his way and let him restore the tarnished luster of the greatest theme parks in the world.

Incidentally, the only reason Disney can't give away the things Holiday World does is because they have to satisfy the greed of their stockholders and line the pockets of way too many executives. If you think parking and drink sales paved the way for the construction of Expedition Everest, then you have another think coming.

Brandon Mendoza

Published: April 2, 2010 at 1:21 PM

While I understand that free anything would help Disney appear to be catering to their customers, it's just not possible with how many people visit Disney parks, work, and live near them. Free parking would never work as people would abuse it. Validation would be a nightmare beyond what is already done in Downtown Disney. Plus the money to make new parking structures or maintaining the trams and parking lots has to come from somewhere. I'd rather have the parking staff available rather than cutting them down to a skeleton crew.

Prices would have to go up somewhere else. I think it would be great to get free drinks as I always forget to hydrate whenever I'm at the parks as I don't want to pay close to $5 on a soda or even water. It's called sticker shock... guests no longer have to go "Are you serious that I have to pay for water???" It makes people feel less intimidated by prices. Plus aren't the cups small at Holiday World? Psychologically, people will drink less if you constantly have to get refills.

Also the profit that Holiday World would have gained from selling sodas is offset by not needing someone to fill or sell soda, park entrance prices, merchandise, and food. Free soda isn't really free.

Not to mention that the cost of living, the cost of labor, etc. is drastically different between California/ Florida compared to Indiana.

Yes I understand that money spent up front can make more profit in the long run thanks to quality attractions. Cutting corners makes for shoddy attractions and experiences. But in this day and age, it's very difficult to convince anyone to invest tons of money into something that isn't guaranteed to make money. I'm guessing no one's as charismatic as Walt was in convincing people that an idea will work and should be built without cutting corners.

James Rao
Writer

Published: April 2, 2010 at 1:20 PM

Maybe Disney should ask Holiday World how they do it, since they appear to be making ends meet just fine.

Look I understand your arguments, but does Disney have to gouge customers for these things? If one park can give them away for free, can't they just charge a modest fee? Does everything at Disney have to return a profit?

Tyler Stover
Writer

Published: April 2, 2010 at 1:22 PM

I'm not voting for ride, because I haven't ridden the Voyage and I really feel I should ride both contenders before voting, especially at this level. However, watching the on-ride video of the Voyage, it certainly looks altogether worthy of having made it this far and I wouldn't be too upset if it beat my beloved Haunted Mansion.

For Best Show I voted for Fantasmic because I think a live show with real effects beats 3D films any day.

James Rao
Writer

Published: April 2, 2010 at 1:24 PM

One other note: this is the most stimulating debate we have had all tournament. I very much appreciate everyone standing up for their beliefs and fighting for their favorite attraction. If you could see me now, you would see I am giving you all a standing ovation! Kudos to all voters and posters!!

Time for a sandwich... back later! ;)

Melinda Kintner

Published: April 2, 2010 at 1:29 PM

I agree that free parking is not necessarily feasible at Disney, due to its size and the number of parks. But can we at least have consistency between parks? I went to DisneyWorld 5 years ago. At Magic Kingdom you could get a large souvenir cup with a soda, for $6, I believe, but then we got free refills the rest of the day. So to a degree, they do give out free drinks. But a couple days later we went to Animal Kingdom and bought the same type of cup there, but it did not include free refills. What is up with that? Like I said, that was 5 years ago, things may have changed things since then, but I thought it was ridiculous at the time.
Brandon Mendoza

Published: April 2, 2010 at 1:32 PM

James, but does Holiday World have multi-million dollar innovative Attractions like World of Color, Fantasmic, Indiana Jones, Toy Story, almost everything in Animal Kingdom, and even the Tower of Terror? These are just examples, but it costs way more money to create something new than it does to make a slight variation on existing technologies.

Disney's one of the top innovators in Theme Parks along with Universal. One of the reasons that Disney parks are able to research and develop new technologies is because they have the money and backing to do it.

As loved as Holiday World is, I don't really see any attractions that are ground breaking or innovative beyond track designs. But none of that is really new technology. But what Holiday World does have that Disney lacks is the intimate relationship with its fans. But I think that's a direct relationship with company size.

And Melinda, that's pretty bad if the same cup didn't yield the same refills in a different park at Disney World. Maybe the corporate miscommunications happened around that goof up?

Derek Potter

Published: April 2, 2010 at 1:37 PM

You won't see free anything from Disney. If you want 100 million dollar attractions, be prepared to pay out the arse for their experience. The question in my mind is this. Does it really take a hundred million dollars to wow the customer? Apparently not so much, because Voyage cost about 9 million bucks, and here it is.

It's Disney's prerogative to spend that much money on single attractions. In doing so though, they inherit the risk and reward that comes with it. The rewards are handsome, and the risks are high.

Melinda Kintner

Published: April 2, 2010 at 1:46 PM

I don't know what the deal was with the cups. They were different cups, a Magic Kingdom souvenir cup at one and the Animal Kingdom souvenir cup at the other. When we said something to the salesperson at Animal Kingdom about getting free refills at Magic Kingdom, she said, "We don't do that here." or something to that effect. So, I don't know if it was the policy or lack of training or what. Either way, doesn't give off the best impression. I live in Indiana about an hour away from Holiday World, and went there when it was still Santa Claus Land, and was resentful when they changed it. I have also gone to Disney World numerous times, probably more than Holiday World and Santa Claus Land combined. So I am fond of them both. But I had to vote for The Voyage because the experience is the same each time. For me, The Haunted Mansion (at DW, not DL), while visually stunning and immersive, only was truly effective as a child. I did not have that same sense of creepiness and whatnot as an adult riding it. So to me, it's not the same, you don't get the same experience each time you ride it. It is less magical because you can see beyond the smoke and mirrors.
James Rao
Writer

Published: April 2, 2010 at 1:52 PM

"...does Holiday World have multi-million dollar innovative Attractions like World of Color, Fantasmic, Indiana Jones, Toy Story, almost everything in Animal Kingdom, and even the Tower of Terror? These are just examples, but it costs way more money to create something new..."

The innovative attractions you listed are why I pay $80 per ticket per day to go to Disney, as opposed to $40 per ticket per day at Holiday World. So, you're saying I gotta be gouged on parking and soda as well? I don't think so....

Besides, what good is all that high tech wizardry if Disney refuses to keep it in good working order? Do you think if I paid $20 for parking and $10 for a soda Disney would fix the Yeti or all the broken down effects on the Indiana Jones ride? No, they wouldn't but their stockholders & executives would love the extra $$.

Joe Schwartz

Published: April 2, 2010 at 1:53 PM

The Voyage Rollar coaster. Over themed ride any day.
James Rao
Writer

Published: April 2, 2010 at 1:56 PM

Maybe not over any themed ride, but over Disneyland's Haunted Mansion. You bet.
James Rao
Writer

Published: April 2, 2010 at 2:05 PM

You all might find it kind of ironic that while I am bashing Disney I am wearing a Walt Disney World T-shirt, glancing repeatedly at my Mickey Mouse watch, and "supervising" my daughter as she watches Princess & the Frog.

Disney owns me! =)

Adam Dodds

Published: April 2, 2010 at 3:04 PM

Disney provides many many free services. The bus transportation is free, along with the monorail. That alone cost tons of money. The parking fee covers the ferries, the marking trams and maintaining the lots. Free parking for guest who stay on property, which is the majority of their guest.

Disney also hands out free stuff all day long. Started with the Year of a Million Dreams, random guest receive special gifts and services every day, all day.

You also have to remember, Disney owns all the land surrounding the parks. 70 square miles of land that is spotless, clean and well maintained. Money from this is also provided by the parking fees.

Little money is made off of certain things, like the admissions and the food. Things like fireworks and parades, which are very much expected of Disney, cost money and is made up in the admissions.

Fastpass system is free also. No other park provides that service free.

And for the ride length. The Haunted Mansion is ten minutes long, not counting the line/ elevator time spent inside. Whereas the Voyger's lines are longer and ride time about half of that of Mansion's.

Eisner, who was booted out of Disney, made a lot of those much hated budget cuts, but Disney is reversing his style of business. They are going back to strict standards and quality.

Disneyland was successful first in creating the high quality family enviroment. Holiday followed. But cannot compare the two. Disney handles massive crowds with grace. Holiday World handles smaller crowds with grace. But the two are still not the same.

But I say we focus on the rides.

James Rao
Writer

Published: April 2, 2010 at 3:36 PM

Holiday World opened on August 3, 1946 under the name Santa Claus Land. It was the first themed amusement park in the world... even predating Disneyland.

And please, don't bring up Disney's free busing service. It is a joke. Even when I stay on property I drive. The current form of Disney bus service is lousy... and in some cases, very dangerous.

But, I hope you are right, Adam, about the future of Disney. I love everything Disney and want so much for them to return to their roots of providing the best customer experience and most innovative attractions. That way I won't feel so bad when I take my $5000 bi-yearly trips.

74.132.4.10

Published: April 2, 2010 at 3:44 PM

I had to vote for the Voyage, it wins hands down!!

It is so nice to see all the support that is out there for Holiday World! I have worked at Holiday World for more than 5 years, and I love that park! Its so nice to go on web sights not affiliated with ours and see ALL the support that we get! Thank You to everyone who has visited Holiday World & Splashin Safari, you have helped make my summers GREAT!!!

Melinda Kintner

Published: April 2, 2010 at 3:52 PM

As someone pointed out regarding soft drinks not being free, neither is bus service/tram service. The cost of the bus service and tram service is still included in the cost of admission, the cost of parking and the cost of the hotel rooms.
Steven Lee

Published: April 2, 2010 at 4:03 PM

"I don't want to pay close to $5 on a soda or even water. "

Then ask for a cup of ice water its free, and better for you ;)

Brandon Mendoza

Published: April 2, 2010 at 4:06 PM

Actually James, I would say that $15-$20 for parking pays for keeping the property clean, and your car safe from would be criminals. If it were free, it would be dominated by riff raff that shouldn't even be there. And this would in turn turn people away, calling Disneyland or WDW unsafe. While I think free parking can be done (like at San Diego Zoo) it's a different clientele. Disney parks are full resorts.

Unfortunately, I'd say that yes the park has to charge money for soda. The profits earned from soda indirectly affects what innovations the parks can get. I'm sure you know that the Return on Investment on Soda is ridiculous no matter where you go, even if it's a $0.99 soda from Mickey D's. So if the park is making less money, I'm sure there's less money to go into each department's budget.

While I totally agree that the damaged disco Yeti is sad to see if you've seen it in motion, if it's someone's first time seeing the Yeti, I think it's still effective. And tons of money was put into developing the infrastructure of the mountain itself. As much as I don't like the Toy Story Midway Mania Attraction, the technology used there hasn't be used in the same way before it.

But I agree, Disneyland's Haunted Mansion shouldn't even be up here. Now if it were the Disney World one, I'd fight for that one no doubt!

All in all, I think Holiday World and Disney Parks are completely different creatures. Holiday World is closer in themes to Knott's Berry Farm than it is to Disneyland. What works at one can't work at the other as they have different standards.

And Steven, I usually bring my own water bottle from home and refill it at the fountain. =)

Robert Niles
Editor

Published: April 2, 2010 at 4:15 PM

FWIW, I visited both of these rides last July, and waited far longer for The Voyage (50 minutes) than I did for Haunted Mansion (20 minutes). So I can't credit Holiday World for shorter lines than Disneyland. Disneyland's attraction capacities can be awesome.

That said, I'm planning a blog post for next Tuesday wrapping up the tournament and adding my thoughts about this thread and theme parks' use (or not) of social media.

James Rao
Writer

Published: April 2, 2010 at 4:23 PM

Yes, I agree, Disney rules and they have the best theme parks in the world. They are also the most expensive parks in the world. Because of that fact, I am tired of the excuses we all make for Disney's short-comings. With all their cash, everything should be pristine and new - all the time.

Still, you give me a high caliber, narrative Disney thrill ride (like Tower of Terror or Mission: Space), and I will vote for it any day over a coaster, even if it is the best one of its kind in the world. You give me Disneyland's Haunted Mansion, and I do everything I can to help the better ride. Which, in this case, proved to be the Voyage.

For those who have not ridden the Voyage I hope this vote of confidence peaked your interest enough to make the journey to Santa Claus, Indiana. You won't be disappointed, and you'll still have enough money left for your trip to Orlando.

My work here is done. Have a good night.

Joshua Counsil

Published: April 2, 2010 at 4:23 PM

Gotta go with The Voyage. If it was Disney World's Haunted Mansion, that would be another story.
James Rao
Writer

Published: April 2, 2010 at 4:38 PM

One note, Robert, before I go spend some time with the family.

It seems to me that once we get the four bracket winners the tournament should end. In this round, and next, we are really debating apples and oranges, as was very apparent in this battle today. Maybe next year, you can just leave it at the final four. Because in all honesty, it is a huge credit to the Haunted Mansion that it won the Themed Ride Bracket, but that tremendous victory loses a bit of its luster after the events of today.

You did such a great job with each of the brackets, I hate to see it all come down to rides vs. shows. Cause lets face it, 99% of the time, theme park fans prefer rides.

Melinda Kintner

Published: April 2, 2010 at 4:59 PM

I would like to say, in Holiday World's defense regarding ride times, I can remember a time when it took forEVER to get through the lines for Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean. I am 35 now, so this would have been when I was about 10. Now it is MUCH quicker because Disney learned to meet the demand, and those rides have lost some of their popularity. Holiday World is working on this with The Voyage and is coming out with new trains this year, which is supposed to help with that.
Tim Odom

Published: April 2, 2010 at 5:12 PM

I would go even further next year. In my opinion, one of the disadvantages of this particular format is what we saw in the round of eight (I don't wanna call it the Elite Eight, but the name fits I guess.) In that round, 6 of the 8 remaining attractions were Disney, and the 2 that weren't were coasters, an area where Disney is notoriously weak.

So, I would say, maybe next year do more regional brackets, and have Disney in it's own region. Having 1 company have 6 of the last 8, and 3 of the final 4 is kinda one sided. Yes, Disney has fantastic rides. But, maybe some other parks should be represented?

Just a thought. Personally, Disney does have the best shows and movies, and, outside of Spider-Man, the best dark rides.

Michael Owen
Writer

Published: April 2, 2010 at 6:30 PM

I may be wrong here, but isn't Disney's hesitance toward fixing the disco-yeti more to do with them not wanting the downtime that comes with it as opposed to the financial implications of the refurbishment?

Let's not forget that there's a serious lack of E-Ticket attractions at AK, meaning if you take one out it's going to have a major impact on wait times at other attractions in the park.

I do agree with James on some things though, the cost of food and drink at counter-service restaurants tends to be very-high, but that's what you'd expect given the environment around them. If you want something to eat/drink in the park you don't really have the option to go off-site, meaning you're going to pay up regardless.

Supply and demand, that's capitalism for you.

Should Disney consider free drinks (apart from the already free ice-water)? No. At Holiday World it works, it's a relatively small park that can handle the self-service drinks system, try implementing something similar at Walt Disney World and it will cause havoc. Heck, you'd have to employ someone just to manage the line for a refill, which, of course, will be fully of very thirsty people who will have to wait a good few minutes on the busy day to get served.

Doug Kelley

Published: April 2, 2010 at 7:16 PM

Well, no matter how you try to rig the vote, people like coasters more than themed rides. I didn't vote this year (never seemed to be at the site during the millisecond when a vote was happening) because the contest was too theme/Disney oriented but I'm glad to see a coaster still won.
Steven Lee

Published: April 2, 2010 at 7:40 PM

For next years I think a few things need changed. I don't know how it could be done but is it possible for the contest to not be jammed packed with Disney? Its probably the most Disney I've ever seen in a coaster/ride/show contest or anything. The Golden Tickets don't show Disney this much love even. Again I'm not sure how that could be done but something to help it to be less Disney based.

The second thing as mentioned on numerous comments under each voting round MORE TIME. A lot of the voting like the 11-5 time slot and such would be during the same 8 hour shift for those that work. Some can't get on for personal time on computers at work or people in school. Maybe a complete 24 hour time period or maybe 10-16 hour time periods.

Just a few thoughts though. I will be voting again next year no matter what anyway...

Sylvain Comeau

Published: April 4, 2010 at 9:08 AM

Pretty odd that a coaster from some relatively unknown park won the whole enchilada. Is it really that great? Seems to me that coasters will always win when put up against a themed ride because of the adrenaline junkie fan boys out there. The teenage set will overwhelmingly vote for a coaster, which skews the vote, unfortunately.
Derek Potter

Published: April 4, 2010 at 1:00 PM

yep...seems that people are more passionate about a really good roller coaster than they are about a themed ride. So passionate in fact that they care to come to this site and vote....apparently unlike people who like themed rides.

Did one ever think that maybe...just maybe The Voyage might be a better ride than Haunted Mansion? Perhaps if the theme ride junkies had selected a better representative, then Voyage wouldn't have won. Even then it might not have been possible, because Holiday World and its thousands of fans on social media are passionate enough about their favorite ride to take a couple of minutes and vote.

That's the key word...passion. Voyage fans have it, apparently the other side doesn't. It's a fantastic coaster that deserves to be in the conversation of best ride and all that good stuff, but it's also about passionate fans. Voyage is good enough to incite passionate fans, and that's what really makes it the winner of this contest.

James Rao
Writer

Published: April 4, 2010 at 7:56 PM

The Voyage is easily one of the best coasters I have ridden, and definitely the most intense. It is one of the few non-themed rides I would vote to win this tournament because it is a one of a kind masterpiece. And as much as I love the Haunted Mansion (especially the WDW version), I would rather ride the Voyage.

That said, if Tower of Terror, Spider-Man, Revenge of the Mummy, Everest with a working Yeti, Mission: Space, or even Disneyland's Pirates had been in the competition, I would have changed my vote. I'll take theme&thrills over thrills-alone every time.

Interestingly enough, if Holiday World had not been directly involved in this contest, Haunted Mansion would have won. And even more interesting, there was a huge debate even among Voyage fans on which ride to choose. I was very surprised at how well the Haunted Mansion performed, despite a landslide of tweets and facebook posts from the competition. There is just no doubt that Disney attractions are some of the most beloved experiences in the world. Which probably explains why Disney is so far above the fray when it comes to contests likes these. Why should the #1 theme park company in the world get involved when it already sits at the top of the mountain? As I have said before, it is very difficult to get a giant to notice an ant.

Joshua Counsil

Published: April 4, 2010 at 9:27 PM

I respectfully disagree, Derek. Although I voted for Voyage in this round, I gladly would have chosen the above rides that James mentioned if they had been its competition. Hell, I would have voted for the Mansion if it was the Disney World version.

I don't think it's about passion. Let's face it: although this is my (and many others') favorite theme park blog, we are not as popular as one might think. I've seen MiceAge, Screamscape, and various other theme/amusement park sites/blogs mentioned in the news and in travel books, but never TPI. Although certain parks and chains recognize us, others don't. Frankly, many don't care to vote in a contest on a site called, "Theme Park Insider". Many think we're too pro-Disney/Universal. Others think we crap on Disney and Six Flags too much. Some think we don't care about coasters. I really don't think it has too much to do with passion.

Search "Haunted Mansion" on Google. Out of the first ten results, two are fanboy blogs. The remainder are mostly results from Disney's official page. Search "Haunted Mansion" on Facebook. Nine out of the ten results are fanboy pages. Now search "The Voyage", or even "Voyage Holiday World" on Google and Facebook. None of the first fifty results on Google are fanboy pages. Three results on Facebook, and one is actually a group to recollect cell phone numbers because the founder of that page lost their mobile on The Voyage.

So which attraction are people more passionate for?

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