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

2012 Best Attraction Tournament: Best Indoor Ride?

Written by
Published: January 26, 2012 at 8:46 AM

Today in the 2012 Theme Park Insider Tournament we're honoring the dark ride - indoor track rides that take us to fantastical places or ancient times, telling us engaging stories along the way. Here we've listed the top five dark rides in your Theme Park Insider reader ratings. Note that these are only the "dry" dark rides - We voted earlier on best boat rides (winner: Pirates of the Caribbean), as well as for shoot-'em-up dark rides (winner: Men in Black).

Campaign in the comments, and on Facebook and Twitter, to rally the troops to vote for your favorite.

Haunted Mansion - top-rated version at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. Also at Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, and as Phantom Manor at Disneyland Paris.

Haunted Mansion

The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure - at Disney California Adventure and coming later this year to Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom.

The Little Mermaid

Pooh's Hunny Hunt - at Tokyo Disneyland

Pooh's Hunny Hunt

Spaceship Earth - at Epcot

Spaceship Earth

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea - at Tokyo DisneySea

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea


Tomorrow: We close the week with a vote for the best theme park live musical show.

Readers' Opinions

From 63.255.223.58 on January 26, 2012 at 8:54 AM
Haunted Mansion, bar none. The pinnacale of WED designs.
From James Anberlin on January 26, 2012 at 11:39 AM
I'm finally giving in and commenting on one of these.

I feel this is going to turn into a battle between Haunted Mansion and Pooh's Honey Hunt, with the outcome depending on how many people have actually been able to get to Tokyo (or people giving in to how amazing they've heard the ride is).

I haven't been able to get to Tokyo yet, and because I feel I should only vote for rides I've been on, I'm going with Haunted Mansion. It's an absolute classic that has aged amazingly well. The two US versions don't differ in quality much (unlike, say, Pirates) and hasn't suffered from franchise updating in the past decade (unlike, say, Pirates).

From Tim Odom on January 26, 2012 at 9:02 AM
Obvious vote is obvious. Haunted Mansion all the way.

Though, I will say this: In all of the parks I have been in, nothing is quite as striking as Spaceship Earth. The ride itself is, well, mediocre. But the building is just awe inspiring. I mean, how many large, metalic balls like that are there out there?

But, yeah, balls notwithstanding, Haunted Mansion all the way.

From Robert Niles on January 26, 2012 at 9:06 AM
I think that if Tokyo's version of Pooh were in Florida, this would be close.

But, wow, could you imagine getting to do all five of these in one day? Now that would be a great day at a theme park.

From Mike Gallagher on January 26, 2012 at 9:12 AM
As I've stated on here many times, I don't get to Disney very often. That said, I've always loved the Magic Kingdom's Haunted Mansion. I almost voted for 20K Leagues, but that would be based on my love for the now-closed Florida version, which wouldn't be a fair vote. Having been on none of the others, I voted Haunted Mansion, but I wouldn't say it was by default..I truly enjoy the ride when I get there.

Is there a separate category for indoor roller coasters, or did those rides just not have enough ratings to qualify in this category?

From Mike Gallagher on January 26, 2012 at 9:14 AM
Tim said, "I mean, how many large, metalic balls like that are there out there?
But, yeah, balls notwithstanding, Haunted Mansion all the way. "

Well,....nah, too easy. Like shooting fish in a barrel.

From James Anberlin on January 26, 2012 at 9:27 AM
Mike, the first match up was "Best Themed Roller Coaster", and three of the nominees (Mummy, Aerosmith and Space Mountain) were inside.
From Mike Gallagher on January 26, 2012 at 9:50 AM
Thanks, James. I forgot. Hey, I'm old.
From James Rao on January 26, 2012 at 10:18 AM
Epic in scope and grandeur, Spaceship Earth is quite simply one of the best Disney dark rides ever built. The ending as you travel back down to the base of the sphere could use a bit more scenery, but otherwise this attraction is top notch.

I too love the Haunted Mansion, but there is only one Spaceship Earth, and despite some shortcomings, it gets my vote today.

From Justin M on January 26, 2012 at 12:01 PM
I voted Haunted Mansion as it may be my favorite ride in all of WDW. I like spaceship earth too but miss the model city towards the end of the ride, it makes no sense to me why they took this out. Would Dinosaur be considered a indoor ride???
From Dominick D on January 26, 2012 at 1:07 PM
HM is king of dark rides. No questions asked.
From Jorge Arnoldson on January 26, 2012 at 1:53 PM
None; I don't like Disney.
From Dominick D on January 26, 2012 at 2:45 PM
Jorge, WDW has more thrill rides than any Orlando park, so shut up.
From Stevo B on January 26, 2012 at 3:35 PM
Had to go with the Mansion. Not surprised Mermaid scored so low, I took a ride with my 5 yo niece and she promptly asked, "Is that it?" when we exited.
From 74.77.237.43 on January 26, 2012 at 3:45 PM
Spaceship Earth is quintessential WDW for me. It may not be the most exciting, or the most technologically advanced, it may be a bit outdated and it certainly has some flaws....but, it's the single attraction that brings me that indescribable feeling of WDW magic.
From Orrin Carstarphen on January 26, 2012 at 4:30 PM
My vote goes to Haunted Mansion although I fondly remember 20k leagues (WDW version).
From KJ Simpson on January 26, 2012 at 5:08 PM
Woops, I guess I wasn't signed in- this was me:

Spaceship Earth is quintessential WDW for me. It may not be the most exciting, or the most technologically advanced, it may be a bit outdated and it certainly has some flaws....but, it's the single attraction that brings me that indescribable feeling of WDW magic.

From Tony Perkins on January 26, 2012 at 10:42 PM
Unfortunately most readers here have never been on Pooh's Hunny Hunt. It's the most amazing indoor dark ride. I love Haunted Mansion but it can't hold a candle to this version of the bear.
From 94.175.102.103 on January 27, 2012 at 4:06 AM
I voted Haunted Mansion - only because Spiderman wasn't included (??)
From TH Creative on January 27, 2012 at 7:12 AM
Epic in scope and grandeur, James Rao is simply one of the greatest posters in TPI history.
From Skipper Adam on January 27, 2012 at 9:10 AM
I'm glad no one really likes the Little Mermaid ride...it was a huge letdown. But here's hoping the changes for the WDW make it for the better.
From James Rao on January 27, 2012 at 3:10 PM
"Epic in scope and grandeur" might also be used in reference to a certain sorcerer's hat at DHS... =)
From TH Creative on January 27, 2012 at 5:32 PM
Rao "Rao-ites": "'Epic in scope and grandeur'" might also be used in reference to a certain sorcerer's hat at DHS... =).

I respond: DAMN-SKIPPY!!!

"Rao-ites" copyright 2012 THCreative (regardless of all of that TPI TOS blah, blah, blah). All rights reserved.

From 98.21.214.18 on January 27, 2012 at 11:18 PM
James..... Spaceship earth got my vote too..... maybe somewhat to it being epic in scope and grandeur..... It just is so cool to look at from the outside..... but I also enjoyed the unusualness of the ride..... and the surprise at the end when you go down backwards and it puts your face on the images on screen. I also thought the image at the top where your in the middle of all the star like lights or whatever is pretty neat.
From Randall Peek on January 28, 2012 at 3:40 AM
The Haunted Mansion in a landslide victory. It is a classic, and has been a favorite since the day it opened. None of the others even come close. I'd love to try the Tokyo Disneyland version of Winnie the Pooh, but I doubt there is any way that it could come close to knocking the Haunted Mansion from its top perch.
From Sylvain Comeau on January 29, 2012 at 11:36 AM
The problem with a vote like this is that most TPI readers have only been to stateside parks. Just rename the contests "2012 Best ___ in the U.S."

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

Previous article: Universal Orlando confirms 2012 parade, night show, Despicable Me opening and Spider-Man changes



How to save money on a Disney World trip

Saving money at Disney World

Insider's Pick: You can afford that Walt Disney World family vacation of your dreams. Get started with 102 Ways to Save Money For and At Walt Disney World, a great guide to planning an affordable trip to the Vacation Capital of the World. Why wait? The sooner you start saving, the sooner you and your family will be enjoying your vacation!

Get it! In paperback | For Kindle | For iBooks