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2012 Best Attraction Tournament: Best Version of Tower of Terror?

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Published: January 6, 2012 at 7:43 AM
Universal Orlando's Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey earned a first-round bye in the 2012 Theme Park Insider Best Attraction Tournament. But there's one other ride we're certain will make it through to round two.

Disney's Tower of Terror.

But which version of Tower of Terror will advance? That's the question you will help answer today.

I started by trying to put together a "Best Drop Ride" category for this year's tournament. But it quickly became clear that between the Towers of Terror and the competition there was, well, quite a drop-off. (Yes, I am as ashamed of myself for typing that as you are of me for typing it.)

Again, please choose the option that - from your personal experience or Web surfing - strikes you as offering the most engaging blend of theming, story and thrill. Maintenance and upkeep always counts, too. You may click through on the attraction links if you're unfamiliar with any of the versions, to learn more about it before voting.

Here are your options, presented in order of their opening. Voting is open for 24 hours. Campaign in the comments, or on Facebook, on Twitter or by declaring yourself the next Republican candidate for President.

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney California Adventure

Disney California Adventure

Tower Of Terror at Tokyo DisneySea

Tokyo DisneySea

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Walt Disney Studios Park

Walt Disney Studios Park


On Monday: We'll vote on the Best Narrated Ride

Readers' Opinions

From Robert Niles on January 6, 2012 at 7:51 AM
I hope that people will at least give a look at Tokyo DisneySea's Tower of Terror before they reflexively click to vote for Orlando in this one.
From Jason McLaughlin on January 6, 2012 at 8:13 AM
I've only ever been on the one at Disney-MGM (even after all these years it seems weird calling it Hollywood studios lol) but from the stuff I've read about the other versions and the videos viewed on You Tube, it just seems there is no beating the original!
From Dominick D on January 6, 2012 at 8:18 AM
I voted DHS, the original is the best, no matter how convincing of a park TDS is.
From Brian Emery on January 6, 2012 at 8:59 AM
The problem here is obviously most have only been on 1 or 2 of these towers..

Maybe time for some Youtube videos to compare these.

From Dan Heaton on January 6, 2012 at 9:10 AM
I've heard the Tokyo version is really cool, but I had to vote for DHS since I've ridden it many times and haven't been to DisneySea. The Fifth Dimension sequence puts the Florida ToT well above the Paris or California versions for sure.
From David Kirby on January 6, 2012 at 9:45 AM
Is it wrong I voted for the TDS Tower solely based on architecture?
From Mike Gallagher on January 6, 2012 at 9:50 AM
Only been on DHS, and only twice, but I liked it enough that reading about the others wasn't gonna sway my vote for that version.

It'll be interesting to see how I vote in later rounds when I've only experienced one attraction in a group and did NOT enjoy it.

From Eric Malone on January 6, 2012 at 9:55 AM
I've been on the one at DHS countless times, and it never seems to get old. So, my vote went to that one.
From Brandon Mendoza on January 6, 2012 at 10:05 AM
I agree that most of us have only been on 1 or 2 versions. I had to vote for WDW's because I've only been on North American versions. I can't judge Tokyo's despite the fantastic review given by Robert... the attractions are too similar.

BUT if it was about versions of Pooh Bear? Japan wins even with video evidence alone...

Why might you ask? Because the differences between the Tower of Terror in each park are marginal at best. Each one is still a great experience if you've never been on any of the others. I'd argue that Pooh Bear isn't a great experience for all ages except for Tokyo's. Maybe even Monster's Inc in Japan would be considered significantly better?

Star Tours is the same in the new versions except for the queue, so I'm not sure there's much of a difference to talk about beyond the queue?

I know, it's subjective, but that's just how I feel about the differences in semi-cloned attractions.

From Andrew Carrieri on January 6, 2012 at 10:17 AM
I went with WDW's. It is the original and has the most complete dark ride with the fifth demension scene and moving elevator. This one ride elevates the stature of DHS-the park would be considered an outdated mess without it. Actually, it still is considered this by many but TOT helps a lot.
I'd put the Tokyo version second because Disney (or the Oriental Land Company) at least tried something different here.
The DCA and Paris versions fall at the bottom. They were quick insertions to save roundly criticized parks and were thus constructed more cheaply. They do have the one unique effect going for them though (the photo).
From 165.130.136.210 on January 6, 2012 at 3:10 PM
Before I get into why I voted for WDW's TOT, I will say this upfront.... DisneySea gets my vote when it come to the overall exterior of the building. I have not rode the ride in person, but I have spent my fair share of riding the version on good old youtube. The pre-show is also pretty cool and a nice break from the rest of the TOTs.

Now my reason for voting for the one in Florida is simple.... it is the perfect themed/thrill attraction. I couldn't tell you what the backstage of Florida's looks like.. its that well themed. Its story is beautiful and perfect.

The story doesn't begin when you enter the pre-show....it doesn't even begin when you enter the que line.... it starts alllll the way when you first set foot on Sunset Blvd. and the beast at the end of the street is waiting for you. Its almost diabolical the way it sits there. The story then picks up as you start walking down the street and you see a buildboard off to the side showing off what the TOT looked like back in its "hay day", so now the question went from whats that?, to what happened? The surounding then change around you as you enter the area and you realize that everything around you is dark in color, and all the plants are overgrown.... and then you finally reach the entrance... now I could keep going, but for the sake of everyone reading forever ill stop.... This is just the best one period, and I think Disney parks will make sure that it remains the best one

From James Rao on January 6, 2012 at 5:08 PM
The Orlando version of the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is my absolute favorite WDW attraction. It is the ride that rendered all other traditional space shot and drop rides obsolete. It is such a transcendent masterpiece of Imagineering that I have no choice but to give it all my love (and my vote).

Despite my obvious bias, I read carefully your review of the TDS version, Robert, and checked out what YouTube footage I could find, but there just was not enough evidence to sway my vote (in fact the notion that Rod Serling is not part of the TDS version really irks me!).

At the end of the day we are faced with one cold, hard fact: once Disney built the perfect tower ride everything else was destined to be nothing more than a variation on an already perfect theme. You can't beat perfection!

From Joshua Counsil on January 6, 2012 at 11:54 PM
Rod Serling - coolest pre-show host in theme park history. The original, DHS, all the way.
From Paul Jeffs on January 7, 2012 at 2:54 AM
DCA and the Paris versions are practically identical and miss out the 4th dimension and random drop sequences.
I haven't experienced the TDS version, though it looks awesome, so DHS gets my vote.
The original and the best!

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