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2012 Best Attraction Tournament: Manta vs. Cheetah Hunt

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Published: February 29, 2012 at 8:20 AM

It's all SeaWorld Parks in the 2012 Theme Park Insider Tournament today, as we've got a "surf and turf" match-up of two popular Florida coasters in the Best Roller Coaster bracket. Representing the "surf," it's SeaWorld Orlando's Bolliger & Mabillard flying coaster, Manta. And representing the "turf," it's Busch Gardens' Intamin coaster Cheetah Hunt. Forget the pictures we typically run with these entries. Today, we're running with on-ride videos.

Manta - at SeaWorld Orlando

Cheetah Hunt - at Busch Gardens Tampa

Voting is open for 24 hours. Campaign for your favorites in the comments, or rally the troops on Facebook and Twitter.


Tomorrow: Screeching tires or screaming Muppets? It's Lights! Motors! Action! vs. MuppetVision 3D in the Best Show bracket.

Readers' Opinions

From Mike Gallagher on February 29, 2012 at 8:49 AM
Been on neither, but my vote for Manta is based on what I've read..here and elsewhere..about these rides.

Never read a bad word about Manta. Cheetah Hunt seems to have disappointed many.

From Duncan Henny on February 29, 2012 at 8:54 AM
going to be first time on both this sept can't wait
From Dominick D on February 29, 2012 at 9:24 AM
On Manta, you can pretend your Superman, on Cheetah Hunt, you can pretend to be a hunter. Manta wins by miles.
From David Brown on February 29, 2012 at 9:55 AM
I haven't ridden either of these as yet but should be able to do both in November this year - can't wait!

I suspect the reason Cheetah Hunt disappointed some of the coaster fraternity was that they assumed Busch Gardens were going to deliver another extreme thrill machine - a reasonable assumption since all the other major coasters at the park deliver pretty solid thrills and regularly score highly in coaster fan polls. However I think Busch pulled a blinder here as they have created a terrific FAMILY coaster - something original and clever that totally fits within their ethos and portfolio of attractions, but which allows people who would not normally venture onto say Montu or Shiekra to enjoy a coaster experience. I'm really looking forward to riding it and reckon it will be a total blast. I already expect it to rate high on my 'fun-ometer'.
That said I also can't wait to ride Manta which seems to be just one of the most perfectly conceived coasters ever - from line to ride, theme to thrills. Manta is the winner here for sure, but it isn't because there's anything wrong with Cheetah Hunt.

From Kelly Muggleton on February 29, 2012 at 10:22 AM
As much as I loved Cheetah Hunt, and wasn't one of the disappointed, I have to follow my heart.
My heart leaves little pieces in Seaworld, and says Manta.
From Mike Gallagher on February 29, 2012 at 10:51 AM
Kelly, that's so beautiful (sniff, sniff..)

Well said (typed?)

From Tim Odom on February 29, 2012 at 10:58 AM
Have not ridden Cheetah Hunt yet, so by default my vote goes to Manta. But, even if I had, I think my vote would still go this way. Manta is one of the most fun coasters I have ever ridden, perfectly themed, smooth, and thrilling. Manta is one of my favorite coasters, a true masterpiece.
From James Rao on February 29, 2012 at 11:38 AM
Sadly, I have not been to either park since 2007, so I should abstain. But, based upon which coaster I am MORE EAGER to ride, I will also go with my heart and choose Manta.
From Derek Potter on February 29, 2012 at 1:31 PM
More than glad to vote against Cheetah Hunt. It never should have been here in the first place.
From Will Chilcote on February 29, 2012 at 1:45 PM
Haven't been on either but, voted for Manta because I like flyers. I'm a big fan of Batwing at Six Flags America.
From AJ Hummel on February 29, 2012 at 1:45 PM
I haven't been on either one, but since Tatsu is one of my top five steel coasters I voted for Manta. While Cheetah Hunt looks like a good ride, it also seems a bit overrated.
From Caroline Davis on February 29, 2012 at 2:11 PM
Manta is in my top two roller coasters that I've been fortunate to ride. You really get a beautiful feeling on this ride, there is a strong thrill factor about it, but it's got that lovely flying feeling that just stays with you. The theming is great as well.

I haven't been on Cheetah Hunt though. I hate voting but not having gone on both rides, but in this category I can't imagine that Cheetah Hunt is as good as Manta. I really thought this one would be a straight win for Manta. I'm curious as to why people voted for Cheetah Hunt. It looks good, just curious.

From N B on February 29, 2012 at 4:29 PM
Why does Cheetah Hunt look much better in the video than I remember from actually being on the ride? I think we were so P.O.'d and hot by the time we got through the almost 2 hour queue that it simply was unenjoyable.

Quick Queues on the next trip, for sure....

Manta is very similar to Superman with it's speed and elements. Even though it a slower speed coaster, it allows you to take in more as you are soaring around. I will never forget the first time I rode Superman, what a completely different experience.

Had to go Manta on this one.

From steve lee on February 29, 2012 at 4:36 PM
I think this is an interesting match up thematically. Both rides have secondary attractions: Manta has its incredible queue, while Cheetah Hunt has the actual cheetah area. When it comes to the secondary aspects, I think Cheetah Hunt wins just because it's great close-up views of these majestic animals.

Pity about the ride, though.

Cheetah Hunt is a bland, ultimately boring ride while Manta is one of the crown jewels of flying coasters (I have not personally ridden Tatsu, so I cannot compare the two. I've heard conflicting reports on which is better, usually flavored by an east coast/west coast bias). Manta wins by a mile here.

From Mark Kausch on March 1, 2012 at 3:57 AM
After having ridden neither coaster - gee, that didn't really come out right, did it? - I went for Cheetah Hunt after watching both vids. Only flyer I've been on is Top Gun at California's Great Adventure (yeah, I'm dating myself), and it was meh. Actually, I think I've been on another, but it was so overwhelming, I can't remember where/what/when.
From Kelly Muggleton on March 1, 2012 at 5:04 AM
Thanks Mike...I try not to be overly dramatic obviously :-))

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