Readers choose Orlando attractions over Southern California's in TPI's Theme Park Showdown
Written by Robert Niles
Thank you to everyone who voted in our Theme Park Insider Orlando/Southern California Showdown last week. The final score was Orlando 9, Southern California 3, but I think it's interesting to note that the score was Orlando 3, SoCal 0 on the non-Disney attractions that competed. I don't think I'd get much disputing that Orlando's got a deeper pool of theme park attractions outside the Disney parks than Southern California does, thanks to the extra offerings at Universal Orlando and SeaWorld. (Though, if we were voting on thrill rides, I have no doubt that Southern California would rout Orlando in that voting.)Tweet
Your biggest Showdown winner? The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney's Hollywood Studios
Of course, we were voting only on attractions shared in both locations. While I made a pitch for the virtues of San Diego's version of Journey to Atlantis, I expected that ride to lose overwhelmingly to the Orlando original, which it did. But I still think readers stiffed Universal Studios Hollywood's version of Jurassic Park, by choosing the Islands of Adventure version instead.
On the Disney rides and shows, the final score was Orlando 6, Southern California 3. I think the Orlando parks enjoyed a natural advantage, given how many more people visit the Orlando parks than the Southern California ones each year. If you look at the annual theme park attendance figures, each Orlando park outdraws its Southern California counterpart. In addition, the SoCal parks rely more on multiple visits from locals to boost their attendance than do the Orlando parks, further widening the gap in the number of actual individuals who visit the parks each year.
That said - Space Ranger Spin over Astro Blasters? Really? I voted for Disneyland's Space Mountain over Orlando's too, given the on-ride music, better starfield and much smoother ride. (Though I concede that Disney World's version has the comfiest roller coaster seats ever and a better queue.)
If you are interested, we didn't vote on Star Tours or Toy Story because those are identical on both coasts, once you get past the queues. I wanted to limit the voting to attractions where there was some significant difference in the ride or show itself. Same goes for Shrek 4-D, The Simpsons Ride, and a slew of attractions in the Magic Kingdom's Fantasyland.
Finally, I want to announce that I am planning to bring back the annual Theme Park Insider ride tournament next spring, and learned a few things from this mini-tournament that I'll be applying to that event. I've got some ideas on how I can distinguish it from many of the other ride tournaments that have appeared on the Web since we first ran ours back in 2008. Keep reading - I'll be revealing more details this winter.
Orlando/Southern California Theme Park Showdown winners:
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