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2012 Best Attraction Tournament: Best Flume Ride?

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Published: January 5, 2012 at 9:00 AM

Today's vote in the 2012 Theme Park Insider Tournament matches the top five flume rides from your Theme Park Insider reader ratings.

In this category, like yesterday's vote for Best Themed Roller Coaster, we're looking for a winner that represents the best blend of thrills with theming and storytelling. The winner - in any category - should be an engaging ride that keeps you thinking about the experience long after you've exited, and wanting to ride again. If you get off a particular ride thinking "meh," or "was something broken?," or "I think I'm broken," pick another contestant. (Update: To clarify, in this category, we're including any boat or water coaster ride with a major, soaking drop and where the boats don't spin - those go into the Best Rapids Ride category.)

Here are your nominees. You can click the links for descriptions and readers' reviews of each version of each ride.

Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls - At Universal's Islands of Adventure

Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls

Journey to Atlantis - At SeaWorld Orlando. If you're really a fan, you can vote on behalf the version at SeaWorld San Diego, if you'd like. But let's just all pretend that the shoot-the-chutes at SeaWorld San Antonio has a different name, okay?

Journey to Atlantis

Jurassic Park The Ride/River Adventure - Your top-rated version is Jurassic Park - The Ride at Universal Studios Hollywood, but the more-often-rated version is at Jurassic Park River Adventure Universal's Islands of Adventure. There's also a version at Universal Studios Japan. (The Jurassic Park ride in Singapore is a rapids-style ride, and competing in that category instead.)

Jurassic Park The Ride

Splash Mountain - Your top-rated version is at Tokyo Disneyland, and your most-rated version is at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. The original version of the ride stands at Disneyland.

Splash Mountain

Timber Mountain Log Ride - At Knott's Berry Farm

Timber Mountain Log Ride


Tomorrow: Which is the best version of Disney's Tower of Terror?

Readers' Opinions

From 69.47.149.246 on January 5, 2012 at 9:10 AM
this one was a hard one for me between Dudley and Splash mt. I love the slapstick humor of dudley, and its amazing final plunge, but I love the detail and story of Splash mt. Ive been on both u.s. version of splash mt, and because of the fact that one is all about story and slow pace and the other has a story, but it more about getting you wet and livivng up to its name, my vote went to Splash mt.
From Mike Gallagher on January 5, 2012 at 9:19 AM
I've been on three of these...JP, SM, and DDR. I cast my vote for Jurassic, with Ripsaw a close second. This is mainly because I'm a big fan of Spielberg's initial entry in the series. However, I definitely got wetter on Dudley, and to me, that's normally the main criterion/consideration in whether I like a flume or not. I love several that were not part of this poll..GAdv, Dorney, KD, Busch Tampa, and more. By far, the WORST flume I've been on was last summer at Great Escape....a trough with NO scenery, NO splash, and hardly even enough water to keep the boat going. I mean, why bother?

Robert, maybe we should do a "WORST ATTRACTION" tournament in the future. Imagine the vitriol that would spew in THAT one!

From 24.3.169.210 on January 5, 2012 at 9:23 AM
This is a dead draw between Splash Mountain & Dudley Do-Right. Splash Mountain brings a continuous smile to my face every time I ride it. The animatronics, theming, music & scenery are "the best". A FANTASTIC surprise ending also.I can ride this attraction all day. The only drawback is that you only get a little wet...I have fond memories of the Dudley Do Right cartoons from my long ago youth. I always laughed heartily, and the ride recreates that "dry" humor very well. Like Splash Mountain, its a long enjoyable ride. The theming is not as strong as Splash Mountain but it does get you very wet. Its like a ride through a wave pool, and I absolutely enjoy the drenching on a hot Florida late spring day.And its also enjoyable to stand on the bridge & watch the riders get soaked on the long long ending. The only way I can decide is to flip a coin...And the winner is, heads up, Dudley Do-Right...Jurassic Park River Adventure is OK but not in the class of Dudley or Splash Mt. I haven't been on the other two but their descriptions don't appear in the same class.
From David Kirby on January 5, 2012 at 9:24 AM
I always thought Splash Mountain in Orlando was overrated. Aside from the drops, most of the ride is a boring, slow drift through scenes where half the effects are broken and you can't understand any of the dialogue.
From duncan henny on January 5, 2012 at 9:35 AM
i chose jurassic park because the theming is amazing and the drop thrilling however it was hard to choose as i like dudley and atlantis just as much
From 69.37.85.43 on January 5, 2012 at 9:27 AM
Splash Mountain: 10/10 (Utterly charming… wonderful whimsical theming and, gasp, an actual structured storyline, which is a rarity in the theme park world today. At the WDW version, there were some very serious problems with general upkeep and maintenance in early 2010… but a couple weeks later, everything was fixed and the attraction was as good as ever.)

Ripsaw Falls: 8/10 (Loved seeing some of my childhood favorite cartoon characters on this ride. The anticipation buildup and drop are both good. I love the exploding shack/boards effect out front. However, theming and details are rather inconsistent in both quality and quantity throughout the attraction.)

Jurassic Park: 7/10 (Some very poor quality animatronics, but the climax is very exciting and the majority of the ride is well themed.)

Journey to Atlantis: 5/10 (Don’t get me wrong, the building is nice, the drops thrilling and the theming passable. But, the dialogue and special effects in this attraction are so terribly cheesy that they give me second-hand embarrassment)

Timber Mountain: Haven’t been on this one in ages, so it doesn’t seem fair to grade it. Even if I were to ride it again someday soon, the nostalgia factor would definitely influence my experience and, thus, my score… my vote wouldn’t be impartial either way, haha.

I’m going to have to go with Splash Mountain.

From 82.71.17.20 on January 5, 2012 at 9:31 AM
Fantastic ride, love the double hop
From Stuart Henny on January 5, 2012 at 9:37 AM
I had to go for Jurassic Park here, it was a hard choice between this and Journey to Atlantis, Dudley would come in 3rd for me. Splash is too much a kiddie ride, no real thrill at all.

Dudley was better before the lap bars and this lost it points for me.

From Paul Jeffs on January 5, 2012 at 9:45 AM
I went for JP.
Riding it at night in IOA, when every animatronic and effect were working, was one of the best attractions I've experienced anywhere.
From Rob Pastor on January 5, 2012 at 9:48 AM
Sorry, my "best draw" and the coin flip winner comment above was mistakenly posted anonymously....I always own up to my comments.
From Eric Malone on January 5, 2012 at 9:50 AM
Gotta go with JP. No matter what time of the day (I saw someone mention that nighttime riding is best) I've ridden it, I've always enjoyed it immensely. Who doesn't like dinosaurs? I don't expect it to win over Splash Mountain, but Jurassic Park always appeals to the kid in me.
From James Rao on January 5, 2012 at 10:29 AM
Splash Mountain is truly a wonder. It is my favorite attraction at the Magic Kingdom and my second favorite attraction in all of WDW.

So, Splash gets my vote, fair and square, despite the fact that the WDW version has quite a few ups and downs pertaining to proper upkeep....

Incidentally, Ripsaw Falls (the #2 flume imho) is a more thrilling ride than Splash, but Splash rules in theming and narrative immersion - which makes it the more complete attraction.

From Denis Del Bianco on January 5, 2012 at 10:34 AM
Even loving Splash Mountain and its atmosphere, for me the unforgetable part of a flume ride is the last drop of DDR.
From Brian Emery on January 5, 2012 at 10:41 AM
This is One tough Vote… Splash Mountain has great details and is a looooong ride with nice theming. The long ride is much appreciated after standing in line for 55 minutes on a hot day.. The only downfall is the final hill. Needs a betted degree angle of drop.

Dudley has the best flume hill with the fast drop and the double hill thrill.

Jurassic park is awesome and an all-around great ride, excellent final drop..

And Seal World Orlando - Atlantis has a nice smooth ride, good hill and theming …

JP gets my vote but it is so close between all of them..

From Robert Niles on January 5, 2012 at 11:20 AM
I wish that Universal would some day take some of that Harry Potter income and "fill in the gaps" on Dudley, making it a seamlessly-themed experience throughout, instead of subjecting us to those ugly empty spaces that mar the ride, and keep it from topping Splash.
From Andrew Carrieri on January 5, 2012 at 11:22 AM
I went with Splash Mountain. The music and sets throughout the ride are amazing and the drops, while exciting, are a good bonus. The broken elements are an issue on most of these choices anyway and I find the thrill comparable so I'm not going to downgrade Splash.
I would put Jurassic Park second. The drop is fun and, especially once you enter the controlled facility, the ride is exciting.
Dudley Do-Right is also good but the theming is cheaply done. I don't have a huge problem with this, but it pales in comparision to Splash and Jurassic Park. Plus, the seats are uncomfortable for a larger person.
From Dan Heaton on January 5, 2012 at 11:53 AM
I voted for Splash Mountain due to its combination of great theming, thrills, and just pure fun. It's one of my favorite rides in any theme park, so it was an easy choice.

I like Dudley Doo Right, except for the fact that I got completed soaked at the end while sitting still. That wasn't fun, especially in 60-degree weather. Jurassic Park is a fun ride, though I wish there was more to it. Journey to Atlantis has a similar feeling. The coaster part at the end is a fun surprise, but it also is far too short.

From 128.186.118.142 on January 5, 2012 at 11:55 AM
All these rides are fantastic! I had to go with splash, but there is no wrong answer here.
From Emily G on January 5, 2012 at 12:10 PM
I voted for Jurassic Park, because the theming is totally immersive and for the superior thrill factor. However it was a tough decision as I also love Splash Mountain and wouldn't miss riding it whenever I visit Disney and I am impressed how totally soaked u get on the rip saw falls.
From Dominick D on January 5, 2012 at 12:28 PM
I voted Splash Mt., but let's face it, all these rides would get 3s in the Winter :P
From 99.148.171.2 on January 5, 2012 at 12:35 PM
The Jurassic ride itself was good- HOWEVER... We were on it this past November and would never go on again from this experience. The water needs some major attention! Water which splashed on my face was SLIPPERY, and my clothes smelled of mildew for a good THREE washes after. Disgusting!!! Didn't have this problem with any of the other water rides- they need to drain that water and start over- and chlorinate!
From Duncan Henny on January 5, 2012 at 12:36 PM
good call Robert. that would probably swayed my vote from jp to dudley
From James Rao on January 5, 2012 at 2:03 PM
Is it my imagination or is the Jurassic Park River Adventure (which I like, don't get me wrong) just an extended shoot-the-chutes ride?
From Andrew Carrieri on January 5, 2012 at 2:19 PM
James: If you're asking whether Jurassic Park is really a flume, I think you have a point. Now that I think about it, it's really just a well themed boat ride with a drop at the end. In other words, it's a more thrilling version of Pirates of the Carribean, which is not in this category.
From David L. on January 5, 2012 at 2:46 PM
My vote goes to Splash Mt, but not the Orlando one, Either California or Tokyo takes the cheese due to the lack of maintenance (dear Disney Parks, please fix this and the yeti).
From Robert Niles on January 5, 2012 at 3:21 PM
Yeah, this is one of those examples where I had to stretch category definitions a bit in order to fit all the top rides in a manageable number of categories.

There weren't enough other legit nominees for "best water coaster" or "best themed shoot-the-chutes" categories, so Journey to Atlantis and Jurassic Park got folded into "best flume ride," which seemed to me the closest fits.

(There also will be "best rapids ride" and "best boat ride" competitions later in the first round.)

From James Rao on January 5, 2012 at 5:52 PM
Oh, no, don't get me wrong, I agree JP makes sense in this category. I guess I just realized that the whole attraction is a "fancy" up-over-and-down, shoot-the-chutes or "monsoon" ride with an extended intro and an elaborate theme (Escape from Pompeii at BGW is fashioned similarly, however it is not even close to the same length or level of immersion). I love it when theme park designers take a standard amusement park ride and create something that transcends and even obsoletes its predecessors (kind of like what Disney did with drop rides when they built the Tower of Terror).

Generally only the parks with lots O ca$h can pull off "transcendence"!

From 75.179.190.89 on January 5, 2012 at 9:04 PM
Dudley's amazing drop is why I'm giving it my vote. Splash is a great ride, but the drop is a big letdown.
From Jason McLaughlin on January 6, 2012 at 8:17 AM
All four of those Orlando based flume rides are awesome but in the end I voted for Journey to Atlantis purely because the first time I rode it, that final section where it briefly turns into a coaster ride really took me by surprise. Love them all though.

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