2012 Best Attraction Tournament: Best Theme Park Ride Final - Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey vs. Haunted Mansion
We're finally here. The final vote in the 2012 Theme Park Insider Tournament
. And it's the biggie - the World's Best Theme Park Ride.
Your finalists are your top two seeds - the challenger is a former tournament bracket winner, Disney's Haunted Mansion, and the top seed is the 2010 Theme Park Insider Award winner for Best New Attraction, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey at Universal's Islands of Adventure. So who will wear the crown this year? You'll help decide that by your vote below.
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey - at Universal's Islands of Adventure
Haunted Mansion - at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, and at Disneyland Paris as Phantom Manor
Voting is open for 24 hours. If you'd like to rally support for your favorite, please link to this post on Facebook and Twitter and encourage your friends and followers to vote.
Thank you for participating in this year's tournament and congratulations to all the winners! If you're new to Theme Park Insider, I'd like to invite you to like us on Facebook to get the latest news and fun photos from the world's top theme parks. Thanks.
never done any of these rides yet (always seemed to miss HM) will do them both in sept so i voted for the one i'm most looking forward too and that's Potter :)
If Haunted Mansion wins this...I have lost faith in ALL of theme park humanity. I LOVE haunted mansion, but c'mon! HP is the most unique themed/ride experience EVER!!! This vote reflects Disney lovers/HP haters...not true, honest ride lovers!
HM in the lead? Seriously? I only picked HM over PotC because I didn't like sitting on a wet bench. The narrative is okay but the conveyance is utilitarian. HPFJ offers a superior queue, narrative that likely means more to HP fans than to me, and an interesting physical experience.
Harry Potter is not that good of a ride. Yes, it's a cool use of the technology and I LOVE the queue theming, but the lazy dementor scene gets me angry every time.
Usually HP is highly regarded on this site, but Mansion is also really good. I think people have had time to digest the idea that FJ is different but not necessarily better.
I voted Haunted Mansion. And oldie-but-goodie...
I voted for Haunted Mansion since I haven't been on Harry Potter, but I honestly don't know if that would change my opinion. To me, a dark ride needs to feel real, even if it is not. On Haunted Mansion, it definitely feels like you are inside a creepy old mansion inhabited by ghosts. Harry Potter sounds like a good part of it is based on screens, and while I don't mind those types of attractions I have yet to go on one that didn't feel like I was watching a movie. Harry Potter may be one of the most technologically advanced and thrilling dark rides, but Haunted Mansion is one that has truly stood the test of time and shown that attractions don't need high tech effects in order to be popular.
No way, no how should Haunted Mansion win this vote.
I think also we have to remember, people use different critiria when voting for a particular attraction. There isn't a "one size fits all" stance when voting, & that's why many times the results may seem crazy to some.
HP should definitely have this one. Yes, HM is a great ride, but HP has everything over it. The queue, thrill, and reality of HP is amazing. HM has these things as well, but HP is still a much more modern ride that definitely deserves this title.
Both have extra-ordinary exteriors and queue lines. I think the story could be improved on both rides.
This has got nothing to do with 'Disney Mafia' (which I'm not), or any Disney bias. What people have to remember is that this is just a poll amongst a group of theme park geeks, (yes I count myself within that term), voting for whatever attraction moves them or presses the appropriative buttons for them. It's not a poll for the most technologically progressive attraction. It's a poll for 'best' attraction and that has so many different meanings that it's almost meaning-less... For some 'best' is indeed the most progressive, but for others it's the attraction they loved as a kid, or the attraction that made them cry or laugh when they weren't expecting it, or the attraction that their kids couldn't stop talking about for 6 weeks, or the attraction that they proposed to their spouse whilst riding, or.... You get the point.
To adress a few of the comments
I love both rides equally, but putting personal biases aside, I feel that Potter should win it this year. Other, smarter people have outlined all the reasons why already.
Despite all I've read, I simply can't bring myself to vote for a ride I haven't been on over one I not only have, but liked a ton. HM got my vote, despite my love of the Potter novels.
While Haunted Mansion does bring the most character ready staff of any attraction, HP's are pretty good.
Well said David Brown! It is for that reason I too voted Haunted Mansion.
The thing about HM is that its really cool, but everytime I get on it it breaks down. Most of the time it breaks down i'm sitting there for like five minutes. Not to mention it happens like twice a ride.
I've been on both. If I'm voting for the best nostalgia and a classic ride that is very good, I would have voted for HM. Of course, using that logic, the old rides would always beat out the newer rides. But, the vote is for BEST ATTRACTION. And until I experience the new Spider-Man, Transformers or whatever comes along, the Best Attraction, in my opinion, is Harry Potter And the Forbidden Journey. First of all, I was completely blown away by the queue. If that was all there was to the attraction, it would rank on my top attractions list. Then, I was completely blown away by the ride. This an an awesome 1, 2 punch that cries out for a vote for Best Attraction. My vote was for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.
Theres a reason The haunted Mansion has been around for decades lets see if the harry potter ride will stand the test of time or will it just become another ride ie: Back to the future----poof-----The Simpsons!!!
This is a shame. The Haunted Mansion is one of my favorite classic rides whether it be Disney or not. But to see it beating out the greatest theme park attraction created is a blatant showing of Disney fan boys who are still angry nothing they have created in the last two decades has even beat Spiderman let alone the FJ. I cannot wait until Gringotts and the Hogwarts express open at the Studios. Maybe by then, fingers crossed, Disney will finally have to pull there head out of there rear and be creative again.
ATTENTION POTTER FANS: YOU SHOULD BE HAPPY YOU HAVE A RIDE (and a themed land) INSTEAD OF BEING NIT-PICKY ABOUT THE DETAILS TO SHOW HOW MUCH MORE YOU KNOW THAN EVERYONE ELSE.
SPOILER ALERT: MY CAPS LOCK SEEMS TO BE STUCK.
It almost seems this has turned into Universal vs Disney instead of voting for the actual ride experience. I have been on both. HM is great, but not better than Tower of Terror, yet it is neck and neck with Forbidden Journey, which beat ToT by a super slim margin?
Before I continue, let me say that I love Haunted Mansion. I love the ride, I love the scenes, I love the effects. With that said, I don't think HM can even hold a candle to what Tower of Terror does, and I think ToT is about as good as Forbidden Journey.
Well said Colton.
The Haunted Mansion is beyond awesome. But c'mon folks...HP and the Forbidden Journey is crazy good. 50/50 is too close folks, seems like some people are voting for company vs company, as opposed to ride vs ride.
Haunted Mansion is an amazingly revered attraction. It is beloved in ways that the Wizarding World will probably never experience during the ten year shelf life of most Universal Orlando attractions. However, I once again voted for the renaissance in themed entertainment started by the Wizarding World (check my comments in the FJ vs. ToT vote for more info). Almost all the expansions we are currently anticipating at major parks around the world have been influenced by IOA's Potter fetish.
Love the comments and will add my two cents. I loved the Harry Potter queue, but that was as far as I made it. When I got to the ride portion I was not able to ride due to my size. Yes, I am big, but at 6' 5" I end up having issues on many of the over the shoulder rides.
Kind of confused by the complaint that "everything happens at once/wrong" in Harry Potter
The Haunted Mansion can be ridden by anyone. Harry Potter has size limitations. Given that there are members of my family who would not be able to go on HP, and that I would not want to go on the ride without them, I find it very easy to cast my vote for the Haunted Mansion. It is, and always has been, an equal opportunity crowd-pleaser. Over forty years after its debut, it still stands as an epic achievement in ride design.
"Holey moley! That was an amazingly thrilling, technologically advanced ride, I need to get in line again!"
All I can say is I would love a "Haunted House" attraction that's maybe PG-13 at Universal with a unique ride system like Harry Potter. The Kuka robotic arms have a really unlimited amount of range of motion and could do some really cool things. I vote for Harry Potter because of the innovation, but, my heart belongs to the Haunted Mansion!
HM it's for the whole family
By accident I voted for Haunted mansion but my vote was going to FJ because the tech is better and I don't see my family falling asleep
Thanks, N B. I agree with you and everyone else who has said that this has more or less turned into Disney V. Universal.
@Colton: Nope, I understood your meaning quite well and it was well thought out. Just used the quote as a jumping off point for my definition of "best" which really does differ from person to person.
Hey, I'm a Disney fan boy (can't you tell by the Sleeping Beauty heart shaped locket I wear?), and I voted for Universal's Boy Wonder. What do you mean Disney vs. Universal? Rubbish.
Voting for Potter over the Haunted Mansion is the theme park equivalent of voting for Justin Bieber over The Beatles. Haunted Mansion is the Godfather of dark rides. Potter should feel humbled and blessed to place second.
And for the record ... I voted for the Jungle Cruise.
@Mark: Ah, I see. I agree with the name calling, it's pretty ridiculous. Can't people like something without being called a name?
I voted for the removal of the Jungle Snooze from all parks, foreign and domestic.
If it wasnt for so many people voting for HM who havent even been on HP, this vote wouldnt even be close. I think thats kind of sad and I dont think people should vote unless they have been on both, but thats the end of my brief rant. HM will ALWAYS be a classic and it is one of the best, most atmosphereic and immersive theme park rides ever, but HP is not only every bit as immersive, it is also a cutting edge masterpiece with thrills, storytelling, and eye popping special effects galore. It seemlessly bends simulator elements with terrific full size props and effects and it feels like you are really flying around with Harry. The ride system is also unique and pushes the boundries of creativity for a dark ride even beyond what Disney did with Indy. The whomping willow sequence is especially memorable. It also strives to do things that no other theme park ride, including any at Disney, has ever done. I was wowed by the fact that the ride takes your picture and when the dementors suck out your "soul", your actual picture hovers in front of you. That is an ingenious touch and Disney should take note of creative thinking like that. Also, while HM is immersive and has a great pre-show, HP's walk through Hogwarts castle is nearly as breathtaking as the actual ride. Everything about it screams top notch from start to finish. It is more than a ride it is a pure HP experience and it should be recognized for its greatness regardless of what company was behind it.
Speaking of innovation, what if Disney used the robo arm ride system and built Horizons2 at epcot. Can you imagine the Possibilities ? Well a fan can dream cant he...
I can't speak for anyone else, but I've been on both FJ and HM and I voted Haunted Mansion. Not because I'm a Disney-maniac, I'm not. For a long time I was a die-hard Universal fanatic who looked at Disney mainly as the enemy. Thankfully, I gave up that way of thinking and have come to embrace and love both. That being said, I love Forbidden Journey and it's many innovations, including the wonderful queue area. But I LOVE Haunted Mansion. I'm a Halloween nut so I'm partial to it.
Harry Potter was really good..the castle itself was someing to see but The Haunted Mansion is classic hands down.
I think TH is trolling for an argument.... Since I am too lazy to debate and dont have the where-with-all to defend myself right now, I'll pass.
I don't really want you to explain it to me..... but how did it come down to these two? I know Harry Potter is what a lot of readers on this site are ga ga over..... but out of all the competitors..... how did it end up battling Haunted Mansion for the best attraction of 2012? Wierd....
FJ is over rated. Fun, but too much credit is given too it. Haunted Mansion is fun to, and I simply think it is better. That's it, it's not complicated, I think it is more fun to ride. I'm sorry if that confuses the Potter people.
TH nailed it on the head.
reason haunted mansion should win: it's an ORIGINAL storyline! HP was made from an a pre-made idea while the imagineers started from scratch
Haunted Mansion forever FTW!!!! :)
Well at least Soarin' didn't win...
The video gamer kids will vote HP, because most of the visual impact comes from a video. The Haunted Mansion was created in the same era that the 'theme park' was invented. Both are innovative, but if I'm going to watch a Harry Potter movie, I'd prefer some popcorn, and not to have to wear full body restraints...
Another argument for Potter...there is an unprecedented phenomenon in which people who hate motion simuator style rides actually wait in the hour plus queue simply to experience just that, the QUEUE and then leave NOT to ride.
I voted for HM for a very simple reason: I enjoy it. I'm a huge Harry Potter fan, and was really looking forward to my visit this past December, but I left the ride feeling rather disappointed (not to mention disoriented and nauseated). The ride itself just isn't an experience I'd call "enjoyable."
I love all things Harry Potter, but the Haunted Mansion is what makes me a theme park nut. I will not go to Disney if the Haunted Mansion is down. It is a favorite of our entire family, and it is the first and last ride we ride on our trips (with a few exceptions). I feel like the HM will never be repeated, and it should never be substantially altered like adding movie characters or changing the voice of the narrator. It perfectly captures the wonder and fear of childhood, and cannot be equaled.
I wanted to chime in again on this because of all the banter back and forth over this final showdown.
Normally I abstain from votes where I haven't been on both. Just because there's a poll, doesn't mean I MUST vote, and just because I've only been on one, doesn't mean that the ride I've been on deserves a vote. This time though, since there are so many people saying "I haven't been on FJ, so I'm voting for HM" I thought I'd do the right thing and vote for FJ, even though I haven't been on it. I'm perfectly willing to accept that there are rides out that I haven't been on, that are better than some of the ones I have been on.
James: Good evaluation. I was basically thinking the same thing, though in my mind it was Snow White (classic nostalgic dark ride) instead of Tom Sawyer beating Harry Potter. Harry Potter has a tough road to climb since it's new and not many people have experienced the queue and ride. If everything was equal on number of voters who were on both attractions, I don't think the race would be anywhere this close. I would guess that the vast majority of HM votes were from voters that had not been on Harry Potter yet & have no desire to attend a Universal Park .Harry Potter has come from way behind and now the championship is up for grabs. There is no way the vote should have been as lopsided as it was Friday evening. People are so resistant to what is new & different sometimes. I am no fan of the Harry Potter books or movies, but, in my opinion, the Harry Potter ride & village is an innovative attraction that is a big plus for the future of theme parks everywhere. And as Robert Niles has said, it pushes Disney to get more innovative & expansive. That's a plus plus for everyone.
Dom: I have a post coming up that I forgot to log in on, so this is it again...On last year's Disney vacation we rode HM once. There were at least twenty other attractions we rode numerous times. Pirates, Splash, TOT, RRC we rode at least 5 times each. In my opinion, HM is a very good ride but it is not anywhere near my favorite Disney ride, let alone The Best Attraction.
Still impressed Harry Potter may beat the Gauntlet of 8 Disney rides in two rounds.
This is a confrontation for the ages. It's a battle of old VS new; the best themed attraction from a bygone era VS the best themed attraction using the best modern technology that money can buy. Do you fall on the side of nostalgia or do you get more excited about the advancement of technology? It's also a battle of Disney VS Universal, the seasoned knights of old VS the upstart, new kids. I don't think there's a correct opinion here. These two attractions represent the best of the best in this industry and either one will make a fine champion. My heart has no choice but to pick the Haunted Mansion because it changed my life at just the right age, but that's not a vote against Forbidden Journey which may have done the exact same thing had I been growing up now.
So when can we start the worst theme park attraction tournament?
#5 Seed: Tricera Top Spin
I disagree with your analogy, TH. Voting for Haunted Mansion over Forbidden Journey without having experienced the latter is like voting for classic rock over new-age music just because it's what you grew up with. I love classic rock, but when it becomes so saturated within our society that you begin hearing it at grocery stores and pharmacies, it no longer has the impact it once had.
Robert Niles: A possible idea for next year's tournament. A seperate category for BEST CLASSIC ATTRACTION (25? years or older).
I firmly believe the only reason HM has done so well in this vote is due to the amount of "Disney vs Universal" atmosphere that is apparent on websites like this.
"You didn't vote for the same thing I did, OBVIOUSLY YOU ARE WRONG AND I AM RIGHT".
Well said, Mike. That is the problem with any sort of competition like this, where there is no way to have an apple-to-apple comparison. There is not a maximum amount of fun available, so that if I enjoy Haunted Mansion I can't enjoy Harry Potter. I can like both of them- both have outstanding features that make them unique.
I like them both, but I voted for the winner cause I am smarter than 49% of you! Especially Koehl! Anyone with a first name like his has to be a moron! ;p
I'm sorry James- were you talking about me? I was busy watching a POV video on YouTube of next year's best attraction winner, "Jungle Cruise".
HP and the Forbidden Journey is the winner....but if Back to the Future the Ride would have been in this tournament it would have been a different result.
Color me confused... I thought next year's winner will be Rocket Rods. Yeah, it hasn't been in existence for over ten years now, but why let a little thing like that keep us from voting for it? Oh, and it may not have been much fun, and it may have had more downtime than uptime during its short life, but hey, can't we all just agree to put it through to the finals?
Randall, I forgot about Rocket Rods! OK, Rocket Rods for next year's best coaster and Jungle Cruise for best attraction. Who get's the win for Best Show of 2013? Come on, James Rao, you must have an opinion on this?
For best show I am somewhat partial to Worlds of Fun's Hoof-N-Woof Roundup. Those crazy canines can do some amazing tricks!
^If I DO make it out there this summer, I think I'll skip that...
If Soarin can be the runner up for Show, I'm thinking Rip Rockit has a shot for Best Show next year since it features music.
Dominick, yeah I know BTTF was in the tourney and lost to Soarin I believe. I meant to put what if BTTF was in the finals against Forbidden Journey, my bad...Anyway next year will be interesting to see how Radiator Springs Racers does as well as Transformers, now that it will reach a wider audience here in America.
For the record, there is no "story" to Mansion, there never was, and it doesn't need one. It's a trip through various areas of a haunted mansion, and creepy things happen. Who needs a story for that?
Atleast now that this is a wrap we can focus on what is new for the year and things that are news to the industry more now. I hope to see more coverage of some of the new things to come this year..... like the soon to open Verbolton coaster in Busch Gardens. Can I get a POV soon please?!??
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