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2012 Best Attraction Tournament: Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges vs. Maharajah Jungle Trek

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Published: March 9, 2012 at 5:45 PM
We've reached the final contest in the second round of the 2012 Theme Park Insider Tournament.

With your selection today, we'll have filled out the quarterfinalists in two brackets - Best Ride and Best Show - and the semifinalists in the Best Roller Coaster contest. Please vote for your favorite of these two Orlando attractions below:

Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges - at Universal's Islands of Adventure

Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges

Maharajah Jungle Trek - at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Maharajah Jungle Trek

Voting is open for 24 hours.


Monday: The third round begins. I'll announce the brackets going forward over the weekend.

Readers' Opinions

From Melanie Howe on March 9, 2012 at 6:07 PM
Jungle Trek is beautiful and my favorite thing at DAK after Everest, but I have to go with Popeye's on this one. Normally I detest "soak the tourists" raft rides, but I make an exception for this one. [Admittedly, it helps that a dry set of clothes is always just a short walk away in my hotel room.... :-)] The animatronics make this one a lot of fun -- my favorites are the sharks at the base of the Olive -- and the route has a couple really good drops and spins. I've been known to ride this one repeatedly, just to see how soaked I can get!
From robert morris on March 9, 2012 at 6:40 PM
Popeye and Bluto arguable may be more superior to other rapid rides by a wider margin than other rides in their catergories. It's longer than anyone I've riden, better theme, more thrills, more water, and the fake ending at the boat wash is a nice bonus.

But yes bring extra clothes

From Rob Pastor on March 9, 2012 at 7:18 PM
Bilge-Rat Barges. A great name, a fantastic ride and awesome theming. A well deserved soakin' for all.
From Mark Fairleigh on March 9, 2012 at 7:35 PM
Not even close...Popeye & Bluto's is by far the superior ride.
From Dominick D on March 9, 2012 at 8:23 PM
Popeye of course, though I haven't rode it in years because of how soaked you get!
From David L. on March 9, 2012 at 8:27 PM
Now, I'm pretty sure Popeye is best the rapids ride in the world, but it's being put against one of, if not the, best animal attraction ever. The theme is definitely better on Maharajah, and the opportunities to see the animals are superior to any zoo I've been to(St. Loius, ATL, Oatland, Raleigh, Busch Gardens Tampa, Silver Springs, and the occasional smaller zoo-like attraction). Maharajah is one of the highlights of my family's trips to Orlando. Vote for the Jungle Trek!
From James Rao on March 9, 2012 at 8:48 PM
Love the Maharajah Trek, but no way around it, the Barges is the superior attraction.
From Tyler Cole on March 9, 2012 at 10:04 PM
Ain't it a shame when a true masterpiece loses to the merely great?
From Beth Olliges on March 9, 2012 at 10:59 PM
I have to go with the Jungle Trek on this one. As I've stated numerous times in other threads, I don't see what's fun about getting soaked and walking around all day with wet clothes and squishy shoes!
From David Brown on March 10, 2012 at 2:26 AM
This is a crazy match. I'm being asked to compare a Michelin starred meal with a five star hotel room and say which is better. The truth is they are both excellent but are totally different beasts.

I love Bluto's Barges although the degree of wetness is an issue on anything other than a hot summer's day. The Maharajah Trek however is simply one of the most immersive, scenic and stunning animal exhibits in the world. A lot of people complain that Animal Kingdom is a half day park but it's precisely attractions such as this that make the park so unique and so utterly compelling. The Maharajah Trek is an attraction to spend time in - to meander through. It feeds the soul in ways that no thrill ride or animatronic ever can. Disney took a brave risk with this attraction but they created something beautiful and truly world class. However good Bluto's Barges is it doesn't stir me like the Maharajah Trek does and so for that reason I'm voting Maharajah.

But I hate having to make the choice.

From Randall Peek on March 10, 2012 at 2:26 AM
The MJT is great, and an absolute masterwork of design. It really is a shame that it was put up against a ride that is head and shoulders above its peers. It is hard to vote for a walking tour, no matter how good it is, when put up against a highly thematic and fun ride.
From Mike Gallagher on March 10, 2012 at 5:28 AM
You guys and gals REALLY need to get to Dorney Park and ride Thunder Canyon. The drench factor on Popeye is a mere sprinkle compared to that of TC. Want theming? Ride Popeye. Want total saturation? Go to Dorney.
From James Koehl on March 10, 2012 at 6:08 AM
Dominick, I'm really not trying to get on your case (at least this time) but I am really curious about something. You don't ride Popeye & Bluto because you get wet. I seem to remember that you don't ride coasters. I also seem to remember that you don't ride TOT for some reason. If I am wrong in this, I apologize. If I am correct, what do you do at a theme park? There are some attractions that I don't ride, esp. fast spinners, because they trick my inner ear into thinking it's still spinning for about 2 hours, but I'll be darned if I'm going to spend the day at a park sitting with the grandpas watching their grandkids ride things that I shoud be riding, front car, hands up.

You will dry off after a water ride. We rode Popeye & Bluto three times in a row after riding Dudley DoRight twice. We figured that we were already wet- why not just stay wet for awhile, and spend a few times looking around at the "theming" which is the Holy Grail word in here.

Perhaps this is an idea for a different thread that should be started in Discussion. Maybe I'll do that. But Dominick, I really am curious, and not just trying to "Dom-bait"...this time.

From Mark Hollamon on March 10, 2012 at 7:02 AM
First, these two attractions should not be pitted against each other. Another apples to oranges comparison. I know there are real limitations to how the pairings are set up, but this seems pretty far apart.

That being said, Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges is the best water ride I have ever been on and probably the best on the planet.

I would REALLY like to see somebody try to top this ride. The only comparison in Orlando is Disney's Kali River Rapids. I say comparison as they are both water rides, but that's where it ends.

While Kali is themed very well, the water features are weak to lame and overall the theme is a bit too heavy for vacation time.

When we ride Popeye, we usually make plans for a wet part of the day at IOA and just ride the three water rides during the hottest part of the day and then change clothes.

From Giovanny Cruz on March 10, 2012 at 7:14 AM
My vote defentenly goes to popeye because is like the best rapids ri de in the world.You get soaked and the theme is really good.And I'm not a fan
of jungle treck
From James Koehl on March 10, 2012 at 7:42 AM
Mark, I agree that many if not most of the match-ups in here are pretty off-the-wall. If Robert explained how they were matched together I missed the explanation. It's just one of those things that we accept without understanding, we ignore the competitions that don't make sense (like this one), or we just don't participate in at all in a silent protest. But let's face it- this is really not going to change anything in the theme park world.
From Anthony Murphy on March 10, 2012 at 8:45 AM
These are very different attractons: one of the best water rides out there vs one of the best Animal Attractions in any Zoo? I just gave it to the Jungle Trek because its good for the whole family! I also love animals!

BTW, I also enjoy Popeye, my favorite water ride besides Splash Mountain!

From robert morris on March 10, 2012 at 8:56 AM
Eventually in a tourney like this your going to have apples versus oranges. My thought for next year is placing shows, animal attractions, and family rides together. And thrill rides and roller coasters together. As the show group seems fairly weak in many of them now blur the line: for different reasons Shrek (motion seats), CoP (moving theater), Seymore and Clyde (animal and show).
While Popeye and Bluto versus PotC could make for an interesting quarterfinal matchup of different spectrums of water rides.

I think we can all agree Posiedon's Fury is by far the weakest of the quarterfinalist left (kinda of gift via Soarin being included in show category altered the seedings)

From robert morris on March 10, 2012 at 9:09 AM
The seeds were dictated via vote count from the first round, which is fair except that rides in competive round one matchups could be seed improperly and some rides that didn't win got higher seeds over attractions that did. Then the matchups are set up just like the NCAA Basketball Tourney 1 vs 16, 2 vs 15, 8 vs 9, 7 vs 10 and the 1/16 vs 8/9 winners and so on
From Duncan Henny on March 10, 2012 at 9:51 AM
bilge-rat barges is by far my favourite water ride with dudley and journey to atlantis coming a close second. Usually four of us get on and try and sit around the raft to see who gets soaked the most, nothing funnier than seeing family members get soaked and you stay dry although i think that from 2006 onwards the water going up the boat wash ramp seems greater than it was back in 2005 and less random to who gets soaked.we usually re-ride this 3-4 times until we are all saturated.
From robert morris on March 10, 2012 at 10:05 AM
@robert niles after reviewing the rules: why was posedions fury(235 votes)the 7 seed with less votes than horror make up show(267 votes) as the 8 seed in the first round.
From Giovanny Cruz on March 10, 2012 at 10:29 AM
Popeye the sailor yay uhuh poepye the sailor eating spinach popeye the sailor yay uhuhu
From Robert Niles on March 10, 2012 at 1:41 PM
Poseidon's Fury was the 10 seed. It beat the 7 seed in the second round.

This wasn't, uh, my favorite match-up of the second round, but, as Robert Morris explained, that's how the numbers and the seedings worked out.

From robert morris on March 10, 2012 at 4:54 PM
My apoligies Robert, I thought PF was the #7 seed, still in shock that future fodder for Harry Potter is in theory one of the 20 best attractions worldwide. When many wouldn't put it in the top 20 at Universal Orlando.
From robert morris on March 10, 2012 at 5:49 PM
My apoligies Robert, I thought PF was the #7 seed, still in shock that future fodder for Harry Potter is in theory one of the 20 best attractions worldwide. When many wouldn't put it in the top 20 at Universal Orlando.
From Mark Hollamon on March 11, 2012 at 9:03 AM
I will say regardless of the imperfect pairings at times this is a super cool tourney and I look forward to it every year!

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