2013 Theme Park Insider Tournament: Tower of Terror vs. Indiana Jones Adventure
Written by Robert Niles
For our final match in the first round of the 2013 Theme Park Insider Tournament, we bring you two more favorites from Disney: Tower of Terror and the Indiana Jones Adventure.
You'll notice that I didn't preface Tower of Terror with the words "The Twilight Zone." That's right -- I'm putting up the Tokyo DisneySea version of Tower of Terror for this year's tournament. Why? I've explained before why I believe that Tokyo's Harrison Hightower story provides a better setting for the ride than the somewhat forced Twilight Zone overlay. (The TL;DR? The Twilight Zone is supposed to be all about ironic punishment. But there's no explicit irony in the TZToT lightning strike. The Harrison Hightower backstory provides a truly ironic reason for the strike, despite the lack of the Twilight Zone brand.)
But a better backstory wouldn't provide enough reason to prefer Tokyo's version of this popular drop ride to Florida's, given the Fourth Dimension scene and random drop sequences at Walt Disney World, which Tokyo's lacks -- as do the versions in Paris and Anaheim, too. So why choose the Tokyo version?
Tokyo's Tower of Terror offers a unique preshow that sets up the Harrison Hightower story with a visual effect that's simply the most amazing illusion I've ever seen in a theme park. I'm not linking a video because if there's even the slightest chance that you will one day visit Tokyo DisneySea, I hope that you'll walk into the Tower of Terror preshow without having seen an inferior video reproduction of what happens there, so you can feel its full effect, in person. You can have Florida's random drop sequence. I'll take watching that preshow over and over and over again. (FWIW, Theme Park Insider readers have given the Tokyo version a higher average reader rating than they have for the Florida one, though far, far fewer readers have rated the Tower in Tokyo.)
Disneyland's Indiana Jones Adventure dominated the Theme Park Insider reader ratings for the first couple years after I started collecting reader reviews online in 1999. The first theme park attraction to put a motion simulator on a dark ride track, Indy revolutionized the dark ride experience, paving the way for Spider-Man, Transformers and the upcoming Antarctica ride.
Even today, Indiana Jones wows fans in Anaheim and Tokyo with its use of animatronics, practical sets, and stagecraft to immerse you in a rollicking movie-serial-style adventure. (The Tokyo DisneySea version is called Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Crystal Skull, but is the same ride as in Anaheim, with the eponymous Crystal Skull replacing Mara and a temple idol effect replacing the rat room. The queue's larger, too, but those are the only differences.)
Tomorrow: The quarterfinals begin with Journey to the Center of the Earth vs. Haunted Mansion.
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