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Call for ratings: The annual Theme Park Insider Awards are coming soon

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Published: May 28, 2012 at 10:49 AM

Summer's almost here, which - among many other things - means that it's almost time for the annual Theme Park Insider Awards. So I'd like to remind all Theme Park Insider readers to take a few moments and rate the theme park attractions, restaurants and on-property theme park hotels that you've visited in the past year. Your votes will determine the winners in this year's awards, which will honor the world's best theme park, new attraction, restaurant, and hotel.

Hogwarts Castle at Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure theme park
Last year's winner for Best Theme Park: Universal's Islands of Adventure

Here are this year's candidates for Best New Attraction - rides and shows that debuted at major theme parks since July 1, 2011. Please rate only those new attractions you've actually experienced - this isn't supposed to be a brand-name popularity contest. But you have been on some of these rides or shows, please click through to submit your rating and review:

We're still awaiting the opening of Radiator Springs Racers at Disney California Adventure on June 15. And if Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem at Universal Studios Florida and Lex Luthor: Drop of Doom open by the first day of summer - June 20, they'll be eligible, too.

We'd like to make these international awards, but we need to make sure that we have an adequate number of ratings submitted for attractions at major parks outside North America. So if you've been to any of these potential "Best Theme Park" candidates in the past year, please click through and submit ratings for the all attractions there which you experienced during your visit.

The award winners will be announced this year on July 2. (We're doing it a couple days early because on July 4, I'll be on a plane to Disneyland Paris! Look for that coverage later in July.)

I'm also making a change to selection criterion for Best Theme Park this year, employing the technique I used to determine the Best Roller Coaster Park earlier this spring. That changes the criterion from the winner being the park with the overall average rating for all attractions and restaurants, to one which rewards parks for having a large number of highly-rated attractions and restaurants. Under the old system, a park could jump in the awards ranking simply by closing low-rated attractions. That rewarded parks with a relatively small number of rides and shows, so long as they were consistently good. The new system will help make parks with 30+ attractions more competitive, so long as they have more great rides and shows than any "smaller" park.

Anyway, thanks again to all Theme Park Insider readers who help support the site by rating and reviewing the attractions, restaurants, and on-site hotels that we list. Your reviews always have been the heart of the site, and I greatly appreciate them. Thanks again.

Readers' Opinions

From Andy Milito on May 28, 2012 at 1:04 PM
Seems like we did this just yesterday!
From Dominick D on May 28, 2012 at 7:20 PM
Hopefully RSR or Transformers wins, and I can't wait for DLP coverage!
From Mike Gallagher on May 29, 2012 at 4:17 AM
Oh, well...I'm out.

I MIGHT get on SkyRush in a couple of weeks, but far from definite.

From Sylvain Comeau on May 29, 2012 at 7:09 AM
Too many people vote without experiencing the attractions, either basing their "opinion" on reputation or (almost as bad) ride videos. Once and for all, if you've seen ride videos on YouTube, you haven't experienced the attraction.
From Robert Niles on May 29, 2012 at 7:41 AM
+1, Sylvain. Thank you!
From David Brown on May 29, 2012 at 8:09 AM
So forgive me but how is this going to be any sort of representative poll if only people who have ridden the attractions can vote? The chances of anyone having ridden or experienced all the attractions I'd say is nil so basically you're asking people to vote for something because it's near to where they live or happen to be on vacation close to....

Surely the vast majority of people judge attractions on the basis of what they've seen or heard about them? That's one of the ways they decide where to invest their time and money in visiting. It's certainly the initial battle that Disney, Universal, et al, have to win - persuading potential punters AT A DISTANCE that their attractions are better than anyone else's. So surely asking people to vote on attractions that the majority can't have experienced first hand you have to accept that people will vote on what what looks good to them...

Only once the attractions have been open some years and you have a reasonable number of people who have experienced most of them can you seriously make a comparative poll limited only to those who have first hand knowledge.

From Robert Niles on May 29, 2012 at 8:39 AM
I'd rather hear first-hand comments from people who've ridden rides than second-hand hearsay from people who are just mindlessly supporting their favorite brand names.

We do plenty of polls and tournaments for people to play along with second-hand impressions. But we'd like to keep the ratings and reviews only to those who have first-hand experience with the location they're rating.

For more, here is our guidelines for submitting ratings and reviews on Theme Park Insider.

And with a global readership, I'm sure we'll get a reasonable number of votes from people who've been on the top new rides in time for the July 2 vote cut-off.

From Dominick D on May 29, 2012 at 12:11 PM
I remember reading Fantasmic reviews a couple weeks ago on TPI, and someone said "I've only seen it on You Tube."
From Brandon Mendoza on May 29, 2012 at 1:58 PM
"I'd rather hear first-hand comments from people who've ridden rides than second-hand hearsay from people who are just mindlessly supporting their favorite brand names."

This right here is how it should be. It disappoints me when people vote for an attraction just because they love Disney, or vote against it just to see a Disney attraction lose.

I'm a Disney fan first, but in no way shape or form can I vote for (just as an example) Little Mermaid over Tranformers. I'm not even a fan of Michael Bay's Transformers... but Hollywood's soft open showed me and my friends what Universal is more than capable of... a great blend of 3D and actual physical effects and AA's. And this is coming from someone who doesn't really care for 3D in movies or attractions. I'd actually take Transformers over Star Tours (again, this is coming from a Star Wars fan). But if you asked me to vote for Fantasmic! versus Universal's Cinematic Spectacular? Fantasmic! wins everytime.

Blind brand loyalty never made sense to me.

From David Brown on May 30, 2012 at 8:32 AM
I think I need to clarify my comments above...

I too would prefer to see reviews of rides from people who have actually experienced them. In fact I'd go as far as to say that it can't be considered a review unless it's written from a first hand perspective. Equally any rating of a ride has to be following actual experience.

My question is more to do with the fact that these ratings are then used in a competitive way to announce awards. I'm kind of ambivalent about awards based on what is likely to be a relatively small number of reviews initially. My hunch is that there'll be lots of reviews for Transformers, (all of them 10 out of 10), but not many for Shambhala, for example, just because of the geographical location and the US-centric nature of most theme park websites, (that's not meant to be a criticism by the way - you guys have the best theme parks in the world for the most part of far more of them than anywhere else). I'm not sure I have a solution but I was just trying to raise a discussion about the whole process of ranking and comparing different attractions when inevitably very few people will have personal experience of more than a handful. I clearly didn't express my self very well so I apologise for that...

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