2013 Theme Park Insider Tournament: Tower of Terror vs. Indiana Jones Adventure
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.)
I know that starting with just 16 rides in the tournament left us with some really tough first-round match-ups, and I expect this to rank among the toughest. Of course, I also know that while I'm trying hard to raise awareness of Tokyo DisneySea and its outstanding Tower of Terror version, many of you will want to cast a vote for Tower of Terror on behalf of the WDW Twilight Zone version. If so, go right ahead. It's your vote. May Shiriki Utundu forgive you. ;^)
Let the flame war begin in the comments.
Tomorrow: The quarterfinals begin with Journey to the Center of the Earth vs. Haunted Mansion.
I hope no one is greatly offended, but... while I don't doubt that there are decision-makers at the major theme park companies reading this website and people's comments, it's almost laughable how seriously some people treat the results of these tournament votes.
I voted on behalf of WDW's version of ToT because for me the fourth dimension is what always made this ride unique. Indy was too rough, and for that reason I didn't enjoy it.
Haven't been on either, but I'm going with Indiana Jones.
Wdw ToT is the best attraction in Florida. If Tokyo version is even better, this contest is a no brainer.
My love of darkrides, and the fact that "Raiders of the Lost Ark" is my all time favorite comfort movie, makes me go "Indiana Jones" all the way in this round.
I voted for TOT WDW version (since I have not been on the Disney Sea version). While I have ridden the DL version of Indy I actually prefer Dinosaur in AK, and it may have switched my vote if it would have been TOT vs Dinosaur. But I understand we cant have every great ride in a 16 ride tourny.
Dom, you haven't been on ToT yet?
I love both attractions, but I had to vote for Indy. It's the best "thrill" ride in my book, tied with Space Mountain, at Disneyland (not including DCA).
Indy all the way. ToT is basically a stunning, immersive walkthrough with a pointless drop sequence at the end.
Jay, nope. Every time I go there it's down or has a long wait. I'll get on it eventually.
I cannot endorse a version of ToT without the 4th dimension room. I do know that the successive installation of the original eliminated this feature to increase reliability and capacity, but while Robert points out that the lightning strike is what takes guests into the Twilight Zone, it's that 4th dimension room that visuallizes it for guests. Add the random drop patterns that keep you guessing, and I just can't vote for what I would consider an inferior version (pre-show bedamned).
I have been to alot of parks and on alot of rides. Tower of Terror is by far the best ride anywhere.
Kind of upset that the DHS version of Tower of Terror is not featured here. The build up to the attraction is perfect, as the old Hollywood Tower looms over the old Sunset Boulevard. Then, you approach and enter the forgotten gardens which helps to increase suspense even more before you finally enter the old lobby. Honestly, I think it's one of the few "perfect" attractions out there. Even at almost 20 years old (wow!) I believe that TZ:TOT is simply just one of the best attractions ever built.
I've only been on the California editions of these attractions (skipped French tower when visiting Disneyland Paris due to a 60 minute wait and one day for both parks), and I prefer Indiana Jones. It's possible this preference could change in the future once I ride good tower (DHS version) or Shiriki tower (TDS version), but as I generally enjoy dark rides more than drop rides it could also remain the same. For now, Indy gets my vote.
I've been on ToT at WDW many times but never been to DL to ride Indiana Jones but have been on Dinosaur several times (will use my imagination since I like the IJ movies). Voted for ToT because I have, many times, got right back in line for another ride after riding but never did that for Dinosaur. I just think the basic ride system is more fun no matter the theme.
Sorry, but choosing Tokyo's TOT for this vote is a terrible decision. Again, most TPI readers have not experienced this version of the attraction, so how are they supposed to vote? Oh, right. Youtube videos...
I like the facade of TOT in Tokyo, looks like a perfect attraction. In this case my vote is for Indy (dark ride), but now i am 100% sure that TOT is better.
Robert: Your analysis seems very plausible.
This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.