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2012 Best Attraction Tournament: Best 3D Movie?

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Published: February 2, 2012 at 10:06 AM

Put on your special glasses and remain seated, as we're about to pick the best 3D movie in a theme park.

When I started putting together this year's tournament, I thought it'd be neat to start by matching up rides and shows of the same type to crown the best in each of those categories, before setting them against each other in a head-to-head bracket. Best flume ride? Best animatronic show? Best simulator ride? It'll be fun!

But when I sorted through the Theme Park Insider reader ratings to select the attractions for each vote, I was reminded just how fuzzy the lines between various types of theme park experiences have come. Let's consider today's category, 3D movies, for example.

Pretty easy, huh? If you sit in a theater and wear 3D glasses while watching a movie, that's a 3D movie. But what about 4D attractions, where the seats jiggle and tickle? Okay, we'll make those a different category. But what about 3D movies with live actors, or animatronics? Should they be in with the 3D movies, or the 4D ones? And what about 3D movies where the seats don't move, but you still get stuff sprayed at you? 3D or 4D?

Multiply those decisions by the number of categories in the tournament, and you can see that I had to make more decisions that Judge Judy.

So for today's vote, we've got the top 3D movies that don't include seats that "jiggle or tickle," and that parks haven't labeled as "4D." Those will be in the Best 4D Show category next week. But we do include today a couple of 3D movies that include live actors and/or animatronics. As with all tournament contests, voting is open for 24 hours and campaigning via the comments, Facebook and Twitter is encouraged.

Captain EO - at Disneyland, Epcot, Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris

Captain EO

Mickey's PhilharMagic - at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland

Mickey's PhilharMagic

MuppetVision 3D - at Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney California Adventure

MuppetVision 3D

Terminator 2: 3D - at Universal Studios Florida, Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios Japan

Terminator 2: 3D


Tomorrow: We'll be voting to pick the best theme park stunt show.

Readers' Opinions

From Kelly Bean on February 2, 2012 at 10:13 AM
I was hoping that Shrek 4D would have been in the running!
From Skipper Adam on February 2, 2012 at 10:16 AM
Captain Eo really shouldn't be on the list. That show receives almost no guest.
From 69.47.149.246 on February 2, 2012 at 10:19 AM
Phillar all the way. Yeah the others are great 3d rides and worth riding once a trip. tough to be a bug is a great second, but the reason phillar takes home gold today is simply because of the magic/atmospher it contains. Love every second of the show. Every time Donald blasts past me to the back of the theater, i can't help but to smile. It lets me know that I'm at the Magic Kingdom every time. This is the ONLY ride that MK truely has over Disneyland's mk.
From Donna McKay on February 2, 2012 at 10:28 AM
I totally agree Kelly- I was all set to vote for Shrek!
From Robert Niles on February 2, 2012 at 10:30 AM
(Bangs head against keyboard)
From Stuart Henny on February 2, 2012 at 10:30 AM
@Kelly

I guess Robert's keeping Shrek for the Best 4D Movie category. Sorry, I couldn't resist! 8o)

I had to go with PhilharMagic on this one, it's my favourite 3D movie experience with the smell of the apple pie and the magic carpet flying sequence - almost feels like Soarin' (my favourite Disney ride - wish they'd clean-up those screens).

From Mike Gallagher on February 2, 2012 at 10:36 AM
I'm gonna abstain from voting. The only one I've seen is Terminator in Florida, and it didn't impress me.
From Robert Niles on February 2, 2012 at 10:50 AM
I find the mix of 3D and live action really hard to follow visually. It just ends up making everything looked blurred to me, as I have a hard time with where my focal point should be. I had that problem on Terminator, and at the Magic Lamp Theater in Tokyo DisneySea.
From Mike Gallagher on February 2, 2012 at 11:02 AM
Robert, I was trying to think of a way to phrase my similar feelings. Thank you for that post above.
From James Rao on February 2, 2012 at 4:31 PM
Despite my love of Muppets (that's sarcasm, folks), there's no contest here, PhilharMagic gets my vote. It is not only one of my favorite Magic Kingdom attractions, but one of my favorite theme park attractions period! In fact, I like it better than all of the upcoming 4D attractions as well!
From Brandon Mendoza on February 2, 2012 at 11:41 AM
Being an MJ fan, I love Captain EO. And same with the Muppets... huge fan enough that I saw the movie 3 times with 3 different groups of people. However, I couldn't vote for either as Philharmagic is the best 3D show hands down!

With that being said, despite being a fan of the original Shrek movie, Shrek as a 3D movie is a bit boring and the moving seats aren't that great. I skip the show every time I go to USH.

And I love the first two Terminator movies, but Terminator has an identity crisis. It's great with the live action show, but once it goes to the screens, why are we just watching? We start out as part of the show, then only as spectators, then back to part of the show? Because of that, Honey I Shrunk the Audience was better to me.

From O T on February 2, 2012 at 11:49 AM
Mickey's PhilharMagic does almost makes me cry. It´s so sad to see the fab 5, that I know and love hand drawn and animated for all my life, beeing reduced into cold, sterile, digital 3D uglyness.

I love the Muppets and they still crack me up everytime I see them and the way they wreck the theater is wonderfull but my pick was Terminator. I love the lifeaction and 3D combination.

From Carl Stovall on February 2, 2012 at 12:36 PM
No doubt about this one. Mickey's Philharmagic is worlds better than the rest...including Shrek 4D. The weaving of the Disney stories make a great tale in the show and the special features like wind, apple pie, and popping corks make the show absolutely incredible. I do enjoy the Muppet show as well so it's a strong second. Terminator is my least favorite. I found it hard to follow and too loud.
From Justin M on February 2, 2012 at 1:00 PM
How come no Its Tough To be a Bug? I mean its inside a freakin tree how cool is that.
From Barbara Sims on February 2, 2012 at 1:01 PM
Mickey's Philharmagic got my vote. T2 is soooo lame and outdated and it's sad that it's beating out the classic Captain EO so far.
From Nick Dakuginow on February 2, 2012 at 1:05 PM
I read through the beginning of the post and noticed the "jiggle and tickle" line, or It's Tough to Be a Bug! should have hopefully finished second behind the king of 3D movies, Mickey's PhilharMagic.
From Andrew Carrieri on February 2, 2012 at 1:14 PM
Completely agree with Justin on It's Tough to be a Bug--this is my favorite 3D film anywhere and I'd vote for it if it was included in the voting. Besides the impressive theatre, Disney got really creative with the effects for this one. Unfortunately, it is too scary for many people. Oh well..

So, with ITTBAB out, I went with Muppetvision. I've heard that some of the effects haven't been working lately which is a shame if true. Nonetheless, I've always found the movie laugh out loud funny. It is also historical being Jim Henson's last major project before his death.

Phillarmagic is a nice movie but as Robert has said it is essentially a "greatest hits piece." I love the songs and they are undoubtedly classics but I think Disney could have been a little more creative with this one in general.

I was not really that impressed with Terminator for whatever reason. The live actors did not really do much for me.

Captain EO..I've never seen it but the original run at Epcot only lasted eight years (1986-1994)so I doubt it could be that great. In comparison, Muppetvision has run continuously at DHS for twenty years now.

From Rob Pastor on February 2, 2012 at 1:26 PM
Muppet Vision 3D is very entertaining. Terminator is also an interesting though different type of show. But Mickey's PhilharMagic is simply "Magical". It epitomizes the Disney I grew up with. I can watch it three times a day, and still walk out of the theater with a big smile on my face.
From Tim Odom on February 2, 2012 at 1:28 PM
While 3D usually gives me a splitting headache (thus, I have not seen a single 3D movie in the theaters since, ummm, Jaws 3D), I do go to these things. Last time I went to Disney, I finally tried Mickey's PhilharMagic, and let me say... I was disappointed. Sorry, I just could not get into it. I tried, I really did, but it did nothing for me.

So, since the Muppets are the best things ever, my vote goes to them.

From Dominick D on February 2, 2012 at 1:54 PM
Nothing can beat Phillarmagic! AND EVERYONE SHUT UP ABOUT NO SHREK OR ITTBAB! THEY WILL BE IN THE 4D SHOW ROUND!!!!
From Andrew Carrieri on February 2, 2012 at 2:32 PM
Next time I need to read the directions before ripping other people's voting choices lol. With that said, Muppets is a clear winner for me. Go IITBAB in the 4D round!
From Amanda Jenkins on February 2, 2012 at 2:57 PM
On a quick side note, Captain EO actually had a packed theater when we were there in December. My husband and kids wanted to see it (despite my warnings), and I was truly shocked to see most of the seats filled. This attraction desperately needs something new.

Other than that, MP gets my vote.

From Daniel Etcheberry on February 2, 2012 at 5:12 PM
Terminator gets my vote.
From N B on February 2, 2012 at 6:45 PM
I was surprised to not see Shrek 4D on the list as well....
From Phil B. on February 2, 2012 at 7:32 PM
Really starting to question the level of reading comprehension around these parts.

Went with T2:3D just because it is so ambitious, but I love all things Muppets and in my heart PhilHarmagic is probably my favorite of the bunch even if my name wasn't in the title. Captain EO should be retired yet again.

From Randall Peek on February 3, 2012 at 12:27 AM
I am not the least surprised to see Mickey's Philharmagic doing so well. It takes classic Disney characters and songs and breathes new life into them. The effects are very well done, and the theater is large enough to handle all but the biggest crowds.

While I like Muppet*Vision, it also feels a bit dated now, and could definitely use a freshening up. Still, strong second, mostly due to having the awesome Sweetums live in the theater. This is even more of a people eater.

Captain EO had earned its retirement, and if it had not been for the passing of Michael Jackson, I doubt that there would have been any call to bring the show back. While it isn't a bad show, it is terribly dated now, and the effects just don't stand up to current standards.

Haven't seen Terminator, but the consensus definitely seems to be that it is loud, dated, and hard to follow.

From Brandon Mendoza on February 3, 2012 at 10:47 AM
I'm beginning to think that people don't really read the article and only look at the choices and just vote. 4D is next week friends!

I'm still disappointed that Test Track won despite its lack luster theme and actual experience.

From Anon Mouse on February 3, 2012 at 1:54 PM
Wouldn't Terminator be technically a 3.5D? The seats fall in the end.

I can't believe the negative reviews of Terminator. It is thus far my favorite 3D movie. The live actors add a lot to the picture especially to bring the terminator experience into the theater. It felt more real than the other movies.

From 72.197.202.226 on February 3, 2012 at 11:27 PM
Anon, my problem with Terminator is that it can't decide if we're part of the show, or just watching. I love the demonstration, and live actors. But once it starts becoming a 3D movie, it's boring. Why are we watching John Connor through a camera? It doesn't make sense. Then at the end, it returns to us being in front of the T-1 Million.

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