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2012 Best Attraction Tournament: Best Illusion Show?

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Published: February 9, 2012 at 9:53 AM

Obviously, live shows had to be part of the 2012 Theme Park Insider tournament. We've already honored the best live musical shows, but in going through the reader ratings submitted to the site, several non-musical shows stood out, too. These top-rated shows are ones where, well, not everything is as it seems. For that reason, I'm calling this category the "illusion" shows. Maybe it looks like a recorded movie, but the characters talk with the audience. Or something is there, and then it isn't. Whatever the illusion, these shows engage their viewers with trickery that distinguish them from other theme park attractions.

(FWIW, we've got one more category of live shows coming up, for demonstration shows such as Universal's Horror Make-up Show.)

Voting is open for 24 hours, and campaigning is encouraged, through the comments, Facebook and Twitter.

Donkey Live - at Universal Studios Singapore

Donkey Live

Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor - at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom

Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor

Mystery Lodge - at Knott's Berry Farm

Mystery Lodge

Poseidon's Fury - at Universal's Islands of Adventure

Poseidon's Fury

Turtle Talk with Crush - at Epcot, Disney California Adventure and Tokyo DisneySea

Turtle Talk with Crush


Tomorrow: It's time to vote for the Best Simulator Attraction.

Readers' Opinions

From Dominick D on February 9, 2012 at 9:58 AM
I voted TTWC, because like Monsters, it's just fun! Also, who's gonna vote for Star Tours 2 tomorrow? Vote for ST2, pretty please?
From 74.82.68.160 on February 9, 2012 at 10:06 AM
I voted for poseidon's fury. Some of the best special effects for that type of show, plus it does have some comic relief with this kind of tour guide.
From Jack Curley on February 9, 2012 at 10:08 AM
I voted for the mask room in the Adventurer's Club.
From Brandon Mendoza on February 9, 2012 at 10:33 AM
It was a tough choice for me between Turtle Talk and Monsters... but I had to go with Turtle Talk as I like Crush as a character more than Mike!
From Adam Swaisland on February 9, 2012 at 10:45 AM
I had to go with Monsters Inc after I had the honor of being "that guy" the last time I was there. I even got a cool little sticker
From Robert Niles on February 9, 2012 at 10:56 AM
I wish that more readers would have visited Mystery Lodge at Knott's, which I voted for in this category. It brilliantly employs a classic illusion technique to tell a compelling story about Native American culture. (And it's from the same folks who produced Impressions de France, if you're looking for Disney credentials.)
From Andrew Carrieri on February 9, 2012 at 11:16 AM
I went with Poseidon's Fury. I know some of the effects are outdated and many consider the acting chessy but I've always enjoyed this attraction. It may be the idea of exploring the inside of the great facade (another plus for Poseidon)that allows me to enjoy this.

I've never seen the others but:
Mystery Lodge would be second as the effects look interesting.

Monsters Inc. would come in third because of the jokes: I'm sure some are bad but these might make it more funny (i.e. the jokes may so bad they are actually funny).

I'd put Turtle Talk and Donkey in a tie for last.

From James Rao on February 9, 2012 at 12:08 PM
I have experienced 3/5 attractions in this list. They are all "meh". I used to love Turtle Talk, but until Disney gets some better controls in place when it comes to mouthy little monsters (see my 2010 Trip Report for specifics) Turtle Talk is dead to me.

I will vote for Robert's pick (one I have not visited) because it's his site and I would like for at least one vote to go his way.

From Mike Gallagher on February 9, 2012 at 12:33 PM
Never seen any, but I voted for the Laugh Floor because Boo and (especially) Mike Wazowski are among my favorite animated characters ever. Ant that's as good a reason as any.

And Dom, I'll have to see what the competition is tomorrow. I know my favorite won't be on there, so I'll be looking for something else. And I liked Star Tours, despite my loathing for all things Star Wars.

From O T on February 9, 2012 at 12:34 PM
I miss the wonderfull talking fountain at Islands of Adventure in front of the Sinbad show, thats the best show there is!!!!
From Dominick D on February 9, 2012 at 1:31 PM
The competiton is Simpsons, Soarin, Stormrider, and BTTF.
From Rob Pastor on February 9, 2012 at 2:42 PM
This is probably one of the weaker categories for quality attractions. I voted for Poseidon's Fury, but without much enthusiasm. Posiidon urged me on with a slash of his trident.
From Randall Peek on February 9, 2012 at 4:23 PM
I've never seen the Poseidon's Fury show, but from all reports, it is a pale shadow of what it once was. Donkey was never an appealing character to me, so that one wasn't in the running either.

In the case of the two Disney shows, I appreciate the technology involved and I think both are very well done shows. Still, the only one of the entries that ever really 'got' me was Knott's Mystery Lodge. I figured it for a Pepper's Ghost show, and appreciated it for that, but when the narrator vanished at the end of the show, i was amazed. For that, it gets my vote.

From Mostly Anonymous on February 9, 2012 at 5:46 PM
I suspect a lot of people haven't seen it. But Mystery Lodge is pretty amazing.
From Tony Perkins on February 9, 2012 at 9:29 PM
I've seen most of these shows, and Mystery Lodge is really the best one. It's one of the gems of Knott's. It's a shame most people haven't experienced it in order to vote. It will go down like Hunny Hunt and Journey to the Center of the Earth due to lack of visitors. What a shame.
From Mark Kausch on February 10, 2012 at 2:20 AM
Hmmm. Mystery Lodge is the only one I HAVE experienced. So, guess where my vote goes? Not that I've only voted for stuff I've done, but I will in this instance.
From Zena Sharpe on February 10, 2012 at 2:35 AM
Really wanted to vote twice. I voted Monsters Inc but I would like to have voted for Fury too if nothing else but for the water vortex! Both excellent shows
From Dominick D on February 10, 2012 at 8:32 AM
I'm Waiting for todays vote and I'm tired of waiting! Also, MI and PF are a tie.
From David Kirby on February 10, 2012 at 8:42 AM
The epic battle of Poseidon vs. MILF...this could be the new David and Goliath.
From Dominick D on February 10, 2012 at 8:47 AM
Or better yet, Anakin vs Obi Wan!
From Tim Odom on February 10, 2012 at 9:25 AM
Poseidon's Fury? Really? Wow, uh, wow.... No offense to anyone here, but I found that show particularly lame. I mean, MILF (come on, it's abbreviation is MILF!) is kinda bad, but no where near Poseidon's Fury. Especially if rumors are true, and PF is seeing it's last days with the maybe upcoming WWOHP expansion.

Maybe this is like the Intamin vote, with the 2 Disney attractions taking away from each other, leading to Poseidon's Fury winning (like how MF and Maverick hurt each other, allowing Cheetah Hunt to win a split vote.) Who knows...

This tournament is having a lot of early surprises. First Millenium Force and Maverick losing, and now an attraction that seemingly is not long for this world winning. Man, I don't like Star Tours chances with the recent results...

From Mike Gallagher on February 10, 2012 at 9:35 AM
i've also seen Millennium Force referred to as MILF occasionally. Makes me smile everytime, as does the DP abbreviation for Dorney Park, which also has a certain connotation.

Incidentally, why is "abbreviation" such a long word? :)

From 75.89.232.60 on February 10, 2012 at 10:37 AM
Wow.... Fury comes out and wins..... Maybe the indecision of whether to go with Monsters Inc or Turtle Talk worked against those two since most Disney fans had to pick between two choices. I chose Turtle Talk because my neice loved it, but I now think maybe I should have went with Monsters Inc..... Eithor way those are attractions I think you appreciate more when you have kids with you.

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