The 2010 Best Theme Park Ride and the Best Theme Park Show in America
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.
I voted the Voyage as best ride because that's what loyal employees do!
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!
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.
I voted the Voyage :) Holiday World blows Disney out of the water as far as Im concerned!
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.
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.
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.
Interesting... and somewhat unsurprisingly, Disney is getting support even from coaster enthusiasts. There is a debate raging...
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.
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!
The Voyage is great. Having been on both rides, I like the Voyage better.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
To those talking about how Disney is not getting involved in this:
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.
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.
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!
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 you are right, Anthony: Holiday World is clean, well kept, and friendly, but the park experience in no way compares to what Disney offers.
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.
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.
Forgot to mention who I voted for in my earlier post.
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 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.
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.....
Gotta love how important Holiday World is to its community. Even a
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.
All good points, Anthony. And I will make it up to Gurnee very soon, I promise!
Voted for haunted mansion and Fantasmic! Im definately voting for Fantasmic in the final!!!
Anonymous Poster 18.104.22.168, 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.
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.
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.
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 :)
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
I don't see what lessons Disney could take from Holiday World.
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!!
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.
Gotta agree with Adam on that one. Isn't it the other way around?
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.
Lessons Disney could learn from Holiday World: FREE parking, FREE soft drinks and FREE suntan lotion is a start.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
If you know much about Walt Disney, you should know this...
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.
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.
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.
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.
Maybe Disney should ask Holiday World how they do it, since they appear to be making ends meet just fine.
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.
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!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
"...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 Voyage Rollar coaster. Over themed ride any day.
Maybe not over any themed ride, but over Disneyland's Haunted Mansion. You bet.
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
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.
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.
I had to vote for the Voyage, it wins hands down!!
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.
"I don't want to pay close to $5 on a soda or even water. "
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.
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.
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.
Gotta go with The Voyage. If it was Disney World's Haunted Mansion, that would be another story.
One note, Robert, before I go spend some time with the family.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I respectfully disagree, Derek. Although I voted for Voyage in this round, I gladly would have chosen the above rides that James mentioned
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