Welcome to Theme Park Insider! Join the community or log in
Theme Park Insider
Facebook Twitter Google Plus Email Newsletter

2012 Best Attraction Tournament: Best Animatronic Show?

Written by
Published: January 19, 2012 at 8:46 AM
In honor of President Barack Obama's visit to the Magic Kingdom today, we're putting President Obama's animatronic alter ego and his electronic colleagues up against four other contenders for the title of Best Animatronic Show in the 2012 Theme Park Insider Tournament.

Yeah, I totally planned the timing this way. ;^)

Fortunate coincidences aside, this category illustrates Disney's dominance of this entertainment medium, as all five candidates come from Disney theme parks. In fact, there's an example of each at the company's flagship resort, Walt Disney World. I should note that this category does not include all attractions with animatronics. It's simply for theater shows - not rides with animatronic elements.

Campaign in the comments, or be like TH and James Rao and rally the troops via Facebook and Twitter.

The American Adventure - at Epcot

The American Adventure

Carousel of Progress - at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom

Carousel of Progress

Country Bear Jamboree - at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom and Tokyo Disneyland

Country Bear Jamboree

The Enchanted Tiki Room - at Disneyland and Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. Another version, Stitch Presents 'Aloha E Komo Mai!', plays at Tokyo Disneyland.

The Enchanted Tiki Room

Hall of Presidents - at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. (Disneyland fans can vote for this one in lieu of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, if they'd like.)

Hall of Presidents


Tomorrow: We're voting on Best Rapids Ride.

Readers' Opinions

From Daniel Etcheberry on January 19, 2012 at 9:16 AM
I voted Carousel of Progress because it is the most intimate (small theater and AAs that are very close to the audience), the most interesting (the American family through time) and the funniest (the overheating oven is hilarious!) of them all.

Note to Disney: I beg you to please NEVER get rid of this attraction. Future generations have the right to enjoy this marvel as well.

From Andrew Carrieri on January 19, 2012 at 9:21 AM
I'm an American history buff so it was between Hall of Presidents and American Adventure. I went with the latter because it is longer, done on a grander scale, and is more important as a whole to Epcot than Hall of Presidents is to the Magic Kingdom. Without the American Adventure, World Showcase would be void of any big draw attractions.

I'd put Caroussel of Progress third. I've never seen it but it is a classic and gets good reviews aside from the dated ending.

The Tiki Room is fourth if for nostalgic reasons more than any other-it was the first animotronic attraction so it's historical in that regard.

The Country Bears finish last. They were probably interesting twenty years ago and many still enjoy them but it may be time for these old animotronic bears to retire.

From 63.255.223.58 on January 19, 2012 at 9:24 AM
American Adventure, by far. It's the grandest, most technologically advanced, and most significant out of all of them.
From 170.49.217.221 on January 19, 2012 at 9:44 AM
Carousel of Progress stands out for me as it was the most memorable from visiting WDW as a kid and still a must-see for me as an adult. American Adventure would go second, followed by Hall of Presidents. I really don't care to go beyond that as the other two don't even compare to the first three.
From Dan Heaton on January 19, 2012 at 9:51 AM
I love Carousel of Progress, but in terms of technological innovation, The American Adventure is still the most impressive show out there.
From Dominick D on January 19, 2012 at 10:17 AM
I voted Carousel of Progress, because it is the only one that doesn't bore me (besides AA) (haven't seen the new Tiki Room)
From Mike Gallagher on January 19, 2012 at 10:22 AM
I haven't been to Disney as much as many of you, and my last coupla visits I didn't bother with these attractions. So my vote for Carousel Of Progress is based on two visits in the 70's and one in the early 80's. By process of elimination:

Never been to Epcot, so that's that.

Had zero interest, even in those pre-coaster junkie days, in the Tiki Room and Country Bears, although I believe I was dragged into the Bears by Mom, who liked that kind of stuff. I was bored to tears by the Hall Of Presidents.

The Carousel was "cutting edge" in those days, and it was the type of thing not found at my Jersey parks. The song stays with me to this day, though.."Now is the time, now is the best time, now is the best time of your life.." Do I have it right? Is it still the same?

From Rob Pastor on January 19, 2012 at 10:28 AM
The American Adventure is the clear front runner in my humble opinion. The Franklin/Twain animatronics are awesome and the individual scene vignettes are powerful. The Carousel of Progress is a sleeper that grows on you. It's a special Disney Americana, full of fluff, but very nostalgic. Hall of Presidents is also very good but it has a few slow moments. I always enjoy the Country Bear Jamboree and I hope they keep it, but it does need a serious upgrade. Haven't caught the new Enchanted Tiki Room show, but I'll check it out when we go in May.
From James Rao on January 19, 2012 at 11:10 AM
Fresh off the huge Prowler upset yesterday, I really don't have a position on today's vote. With the exception of the Country Bears (which should be converted into a shooting gallery attraction like Buzz Lightyear), all of the shows competing (especially since the Tiki reboot) are high quality.

However, one of my all time favorite Magic Kingdom attractions is Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress. It is a unique, entertaining, immersive experience, without which many of the animatronic adventures everyone loves today would not exist. Furthermore, it is a true classic that inspired an entire generation of theme park enthusiasts. While it is definitely showing its age, CoP is a "must do" every time I visit the park. Therefore my vote today is for CoP.

And sorry, Mike, but CoP reverted back to the original song, "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" around 1994.

From Todd Houts on January 19, 2012 at 11:07 AM
Having just freshly visited the Florida installation of all five of these attractions last month I voted for American Adventure. I've long been a huge fan of Carousel of Progress, but the dated ending is showing its age. And once again the theater seats failed to rotate one of the times when they should, which rather spoils the experience. Country Bear Jamboree was far less engaging than I remembered it from years ago - same for the mostly restored Tiki Room. So it came down, as it did to many others, of Presidents vs. Adventure. It was my first time seeing Hall of Presidents with Obama - and I love that every four or eight years that attraction has to get some kind of update, but comparing it to The American Adventure - well it falls to second place. And the bonus this year was that as we entered the lobby for The American Adventure we were delighted to find Christmas Carolers inside in period costumes. Just made the entire experience that much more special.
From Mark Hollamon on January 19, 2012 at 11:17 AM
It really is a toss up for me between HOP and AE. I voted Hall of Presidents because it is a much larger production, but it was like splitting a hair three ways and sanding them close!
From Mike Gallagher on January 19, 2012 at 11:22 AM
So the song I heard on my mid-70's visits and the one I remember was NOT the original song? I find that hard to believe. When did the darn thing open?
From James Rao on January 19, 2012 at 11:38 AM
Like 1964-ish, Mike. It's older than me (barely). Originally it was at the World's Fair, then Disneyland, then finally Disney World.

Next stop it should be renamed to "Walt Disney's A Century of Progress" and moved to Mainstreet, USA. The final scene can then be locked in at the year 2000, and the show preserved and operational for years to come.

Then, with the extra room in Tomorrowland, Mission: Space can be moved in from Epcot, and Horizons can be rebuilt in its original location!!!

If you can dream it...

From Anon Mouse on January 19, 2012 at 12:29 PM
I love the Tiki Room and Country Bears more than the rest, which are yawn fests and good for a bit of shut eye. The history lessons are valuable if you care of such things. Most times, I'm not in the mood, since I'm no longer in school and such things are so much removed from my current interests.
From Randall Peek on January 19, 2012 at 2:05 PM
As much as I love the Enchanted Tiki Room and the Country Bear Jamboree, I gave the nod to The American Adventure. The show is inspiring and the technology used still remains innovative, even now. I think that the show could use freshening, but it is still a masterwork.

Now, if the Country Bear Jamboree was still in Disneyland, there is a very good chance I would have picked that show, as I loved the intimacy of the theaters as well as the seasonal shows. The characters really came into their own with the holiday and vacation editions. The shows were funny and more entertaining than the classic show.

From Rob P on January 19, 2012 at 3:18 PM
Even though they may, and I think wrongly, not be considered to be a "show" I still think that the hippos etc on jungle cruise should have made it onto list of "best animatronics ".
I voted Bears by the way.............particularly the Xmas show.

This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Previous article: 2012 Best Attraction Tournament: Best Traditional Wooden Roller Coaster?