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

2012 Best Attraction Tournament: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey vs. Toy Story Midway Mania

Written by
Published: March 19, 2012 at 5:33 AM

Just because it's Monday doesn't mean you have to go without tournament action. Let's open the polls for another quarterfinal match-up in the Best Themed Ride bracket of the 2012 Theme Park Insider Tournament.

The tournament's number one seed is in action today, as Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey takes on Disney's top arcade ride, Toy Story Midway Mania. Will the Harry Potter fans and Theme Park Insider readers who voted Potter to the top seed send Forbidden Journey to the next round, or will Disney fans power Toy Story to an upset?

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey - at Universal's Islands of Adventure

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

Toy Story Midway Mania - at Disney California Adventure and Disney's Hollywood Studios

Toy Story Midway Mania

Tell us in the comments why you voted the way you did, and rally support for your favorite by linking to this post on Facebook and Twitter. Voting is open for just 24 hours, so get moving!


Tuesday: It's 6. Fantasmic! vs. 14. MuppetVision 3D in the Best Theme Park Show bracket.

Readers' Opinions

From 76.221.153.33 on March 19, 2012 at 5:41 AM
I picked Harry Potter because if I could that's the ride I would get on right now. Midway Mania is fun, but it's a little light on storytelling.
From Jack Curley on March 19, 2012 at 5:56 AM
Hmmmmm... should I vote for the ride where the fastpasses were all gone before noon everyday when I was there a year ago, or the ride where I was able to walk on several times in a day with almost no line?

Toy Story Midway Mania was ridiculously fun. I had an absolute blast on it. Maybe if it was double the length it is, I would have voted for it but Harry Potter is simply a better ride.

Oh, and by the way, I've never read the books or seen the movies, so you know this isn't coming from some wizard fanboy.

From 63.255.223.58 on March 19, 2012 at 6:00 AM
Hmmmm....the state of the art dark ride with the best ride system ever, intricate scenery, some legitimately startling scenes, and the perfect blend of screens and live action, with the queue and facade to back it up...

Or a glorified Wii game on a track with painted walls for theming.

Yea, easy choice.

From Mike Gallagher on March 19, 2012 at 6:23 AM
Haven't been on either. But I'm not a fan of shoot-em-up type rides. So despite being a huge aficionado of both Potter (books) and Toy Story (1st two movies among my favorites)..I voted for Harry.
From Rob Pastor on March 19, 2012 at 6:27 AM
Harry Potter & the Forbidden Journey without a doubt.
From 166.205.11.56 on March 19, 2012 at 7:22 AM
"... should I vote for the ride where the fastpasses were all gone before noon everyday when I was there a year ago, or the ride where I was able to walk on several times in a day with almost no line?"
That just tells me the excitement of Harry Potter is dwindling and TSMM will remain a classic. This one got my vote.
From 80.238.1.135 on March 19, 2012 at 7:51 AM
@ 63.255.223.58

Wii game for me too!

From Sylvain Comeau on March 19, 2012 at 7:53 AM
TSMM is always a must for me, but Forbidden Journey is an amazing state of the art ride experience. Had to go with Harry.
From Mark Kausch on March 19, 2012 at 8:00 AM
In spite of the fact that I've been on TSMM and not on HPFJ, I went with the latter. I swear it's not because I got such a low score, either...
From Mark Fairleigh on March 19, 2012 at 8:08 AM
No way should this be a close vote. FJ is by far the best ride going.
From Robert Niles on March 19, 2012 at 8:21 AM
Let's not forget that wait time is as much a function of ride capacity (and reservation distribution) as popularity. There are no ride reservations for FJ, so if they were the same capacity and popularity, one would expect FJ's wait to be considerably shorter than TSMM's standby time. In my experience, though, it often isn't.
From Dan Heaton on March 19, 2012 at 8:29 AM
I like TSMM and think it's a great time, but it falls just short of the top tier for me since it's just sitting in front of a screen, not a full environment. I only rode FJ once, but it stands out as one of the top attractions out there and pushes forward the technology considerably. This is an easy one. Now if it was Spiderman vs. FJ, that might be different.
From robert morris on March 19, 2012 at 8:43 AM
IMHO Toy Story may be the most overated attraction left. In that its quee is bland, its loading system is slow, capacity low and for those who complain about Universal being nothing more than "looking at screens", this ride is the personification of that statement. While MIB and even Buzz Lightyear are better incarnations of this genre.

The only thing TSMM brings is great source material

From Dominick D on March 19, 2012 at 8:44 AM
I voted TSM. I'll tell you comparisons from my POV:

1. Waits: Face it, waiting in line for these rides stink. FJ offers Single Rider, and TSM offers Fastpass. TSM FPs are an early bird type thing, which I am an early bird to DHS. FJ is good if you don't mind splitting your party, which is fine by me. Verdict: Tie

2. Queues: Toy Story is walk-through through classic toys and games, while FJ is a walk-through of Hogwarts. Easy choice: Verdict: Forbidden Journey

3. Technology: FJ brought nothing new to the table, as it was similar to Spider-Man, except no 3D and you sit on benches (hench the nickname Bench: The Ride). TSM on the other hand, brought shooting games to a whole new level. It inherits Spider-Man's 3D but lacks motion, but instead gives us a Wii game with special effects and secrets, leaving the re-ride value high. Verdict: TSM

4. Storyline: Toy Story Mania is where Andy got a new midway style toy. Andy will be gone for the whole day, so the toys invite the guests to play in a midway style ride where nothing goes wrong. Bench: The Ride on the other hand is where Dumbledore (probably drunk) opens Hogwarts to muggles for an open house tour. You were going to listen to Professor Binns give a 3 hour lecture, but Harry and the gang invite you to go to the Quidditch game. As you quidditch (get the pun?) the classroom, something goes wrong; Hagrid's dragon is on the loose, and things get bad from there. If the ride would of stayed in the forest, maybe it would of won Storyline, but instead we get clustered with Dementors and enter the Chamber of Secrets (out of place, BTW. COS is IN the castle, not under the Quidditch Pitch) with no explination. IMO, TSM has a simple storyline, while Bench's is a little complicated. Verdict: TSM

5. Ride Performance: Both of these rides are very fun, no doubt about that. However, both of these rides feel like fail attempts at Spider-Man. One has the motion, on has the 3D. For example: Bench's motion+TSM's 3D=Spider-Man. Spider-Man beats the crap out of both of these rides. Verdict: Neither

6. Re-Ride Value: Bench: The Ride stays the same every time you ride, while TSM pretty much changes according to YOU. Bench has a high re-ride value, but TSM has a really high re-ride value. Verdict: TSM

So our final scores are 1-3. TSM is the clear winner for me. Remember, this is my own opinion.

From Dominick D on March 19, 2012 at 8:48 AM
Dan Heaton says: "I like TSMM and think it's a great time, but it falls just short of the top tier for me since it's just sitting in front of a screen, not a full environment."

I respond: What the heck do you think you do on FJ?!?!?! TSM has props while your moving!

From 63.255.223.58 on March 19, 2012 at 9:15 AM
<>

No it doesn't. It's got blacklight painted plywood.

From 204.238.46.101 on March 19, 2012 at 9:17 AM
TSMM designers did not chanllenge themselves on capacity or immersion. actual capacity of less than 1000 per hour is why the lines are long for TSM, which by pure definition can not be canisidered a themed ride.
From O T on March 19, 2012 at 9:51 AM
I voted for the Forbidden Journey. Everything in this ride is awesome and has never been done before.
And Midway gives you brain damage ;-) (just read above).
From Dominick D on March 19, 2012 at 10:17 AM
I meant set pieces.
From AJ Hummel on March 19, 2012 at 10:35 AM
I have to vote Toy Story Midway Mania since I haven't been on Harry Potter, but I must say that Harry Potter looks like an overall better ride. TSMM is definitely the best shooting dark ride out there, but there is little on the ride that cannot be done with a modern home video game system where you don't have to wait 45+ minutes to play.
From N B on March 19, 2012 at 5:41 PM
Some of the comparisons of these two rides and the reasons why people voted for one and not the other are hilarious..... I have a hard time understanding the percentages as they sit right now.

I also love the "name calling" of a certain ride to evoke a response, clearly the tactic of the simple minded.

As I made no specific mention of anything in this post, you can speculate as to its ambiguity. Man, do I sound like TH.... :)

From 167.181.12.111 on March 19, 2012 at 12:34 PM
I haven't been on FJ, but I have been on TSM.

I still voted for FJ, given the level of theme and immersion I see in the new land. I like TSM. It's fun, but it's not to same level as what I've seen and heard reported from HP fans.

From KJ Simpson on March 19, 2012 at 3:48 PM
Dominick, while I appreciate your attempt to explain your reasoning...you have TSM beating FJ in both technology and storyline. This is absurd.

I love both attractions, but there is absolutely no contest here- FJ is the benchmark (no pun intended!)...

From N B on March 19, 2012 at 5:40 PM
KJ, It's a Disney ride..... enough said. They could put the Mad Tea Party up against FJ and certain people would vote for it since it has mouse ears associated with it.
From Melanie Howe on March 19, 2012 at 6:44 PM
Since I'm still trying to figure out how TSM even made it into the final round since it was beaten by MIB, you can guess how I voted. (I know, Robert, I know, that's how the brackets worked....) I confess that I AM a Potter-Nerd and I've never ridden TSM... (I was at DHS this past December and didn't think the wait was worth it....) But just based on the pics I've seen, I don't see how you can compare the two. TSM appears to be a single-track ride based on shooting at 3D characters as its big draw. On the other hand, FJ involves a state-of-the-art ride system with various twists and turns that DOES NOT rely on 3D. (Other than Spiderman, I really HATE rides that rely on 3D, and Spidey's pushing it with me...). Add on the absolutely amazing queue, which actually makes standing in line worth it, and there's no contest.
From Thomas Caselli on March 19, 2012 at 9:24 PM
If some people like the Toy Story ride better then the Harry Potter Ride, then they will vote for Toy Story. What is the big deal?! Just because Harry Potter is all that, doesn't mean that everybody has to vote for it.
From Sylvain Comeau on March 19, 2012 at 11:23 PM
I have to wonder about the people complaining about the Potter wait times. FJ is a voracious people eater, and the queue is always moving. Despite the ride's popularity, you rarely have to wait too long.

Maybe the wait times are long on very crowded days, but TSMM routinely has wait times over an hour. When the park is crowded, the sign might as well say "Wait from this point: THE REST OF YOUR LIFE."

From Beth Olliges on March 20, 2012 at 12:01 AM
I've said it before and I'll say it again: HPFJ is highly overrated. I'm a thrill ride junkie, but this one left me feeling queasy and disoriented. At least all I get from TSMM is a sore arm from pulling that darned string! ;-)
From Denis Del Bianco on March 20, 2012 at 5:49 AM
Both are awesome rides. Does not matter who wins here will fall to TOT next round!
From TROY DAVIDSON on March 20, 2012 at 1:05 PM
Harry Potter all the way! TSM has major capacity problems. I like to go to the parks at night and TSM is not an option. Forbidden Journey always delivers me 2 to 3 rides. This is like comparing an Nintendo Wii to a Playstation 3. No contest I voted for Forbidden Journey.a
From 71.226.87.42 on March 20, 2012 at 2:46 PM
30% of people are blinded by Disney. No way it should of even been this close.
From José María Sandoval on March 21, 2012 at 3:14 PM
Great comment Dominick D !!

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

Previous article: Review and Virtual Tour of Hollywood Drive-In Golf at Universal Orlando Resort



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