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2013 Theme Park Insider Tournament: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey vs. Tower of Terror

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Published: March 19, 2013 at 9:47 AM

Our final quarterfinal match-up in the 2013 Theme Park Insider Tournament features the defending champion for Best Themed Ride, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey at Universal's Islands of Adventure, which defeated Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges 78%-22% in the first round,

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

…versus Tower of Terror at Tokyo DisneySea, which defeated Indiana Jones Adventure 58%-42%.

Tower of Terror

Follow the links above to learn more about these rides, if you've not had the pleasure of experiencing both before. While it doesn't appear that we'll be getting the outstanding Shiriki Utundu illusion from Tokyo's Tower of Terror in the United States anytime soon, Japanese theme park fans will be getting their own version of Forbidden Journey when the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opens at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka next year.

So imagine that you're in Japan in 2014 and can ride both of these attractions. Which one would you choose to go on first?


Tomorrow: Our first semifinal contest, as Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man takes on the Haunted Mansion.

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Readers' Opinions

From Tony Webb on March 19, 2013 at 10:18 AM
Two great rides but can only choose one, probably my favorite two rides in the world both are world class but to me FJ is a game changer in the theme park industry
From Sean Huckel on March 19, 2013 at 10:20 AM
I love ya, Tower, but FJ has you beat in basically ever conceivable way. It is the current standard bearer for themed design.

At least until Gringotts opens.

From Dominick D on March 19, 2013 at 10:31 AM
See my comment from yesterday.
From Rob Pastor on March 19, 2013 at 10:47 AM
Great match up but FJ is the best. Repeat rides have me appreciating it even more. And I was never a Harry Potter book or movie fan, but I love what Universal has done with the queue and ride. The queue alone, would be in my top ten attractions list.
From Mike Brilhart on March 19, 2013 at 10:53 AM
Considering Harry is up against the only version of Tower that I haven't been on yet, I've got to vote for Harry. Sorry, had this been one of the other three towers, maybe I would have picked differently.
From David Brown on March 19, 2013 at 10:56 AM
I just can't love Harry Potter. It's very, very clever, (although to be fair so is Tower of Terror), but it's incoherent, the video sequences are like old fashioned grainy home movies and I come off it feeling like I've been slapped around the face with a wet fish for 5 minutes. I think it COULD have been utterly brilliant but it's only 'good' for me, whereas Tower of Terror just impresses me with every moment from the entrance onwards.

Tower of Terror it is.

From 85.150.173.168 on March 19, 2013 at 11:28 AM
If it was the 4th dimension Orlando version it would be a bit of a fight but now it's the heavenly themed droptower version it's a clear choise, the awesome Potter ride!
From Bryce McGibeny on March 19, 2013 at 11:47 AM
Voted for Forbidden Journey. The location inside Hogwarts with all of Hogsmeade around it really just immerses into the ride experience, before you even enter Hogwarts itself. I mean, the way that Universal Creative brought Hogwarts to life with Forbidden Journey and Hogsmeade really only seems to be paralleled with Radiator Springs Racers and all of Cars Land.

Factor in that Forbidden Journey is completely game changing with the efficient, constantly moving KUKA arms, the use of both screens and real sets, and some of the best special effects around, it still is just absolutely amazing. I will say that the storyline seems to be a little bit disjointed and hard to follow if you don't pay attention in the queue.

However, this was tough. I do love Tower of Terror (only been on DHS version), and I feel that if this was the DHS version, I probably would have refrained from voting because I couldn't pick between the two. I do love how Tower of Terror strays from looking exactly like Paris and California's versions and develops it own storyline. I also love the facade for this version. It just truly looks majestic, and the effects at night look awesome. However, it's still the same ride system and still appears to have basically the same effects as both Towers do at Tokyo and Paris, just with an idol and Harrison Hightower. It is also the exact same system as both California and Paris, which isn't bad, but it makes this version even more similar to Paris and Cali.

What is missing that the DHS verison has is the build up to the attraction itself (with all of Sunset Boulevard, being located on a hill and the creepy gardens), the motion of the elevator moving not only through the 5th dimension, but also backwards into the basement (which really is awesome because you don't end up back where you started) and the randomized drop patterns. Though I will say that the disappearing has to be the most impressive effect I've ever seen. But the idol doesn't change my vote.

And is Journey to the Center of the Earth being saved for the final round, or did I miss something? Haha.

From 64.149.18.39 on March 19, 2013 at 11:48 AM
I love TOT, but Forbidden Journey is just in a whole new class of its own. Forbidden Journey by a mile for me!
From Melissa Donahue on March 19, 2013 at 12:57 PM
Ironically, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter basically turned me into a Harry Potter junkie. Weird, huh? I know. Sure, I had watched all of the movies prior to my first WWOHP visit, but actually stepping foot into the immersive, themed land transformed me into a true fan in a corny, magical kind of way.

I haven't been to any theme parks overseas, but based upon what I've encountered in the U.S., I don't think that any other ride/attraction presently compares to FB. This ride set a new standard in themed entertainment, and I can't wait to see what else Universal has in store for us.

From robert morris on March 19, 2013 at 1:28 PM
Really thought this was going be closer so far
From Sylvain Comeau on March 19, 2013 at 1:57 PM
I'd love to vote...but I've "only" been on TOT in Orlando and Anaheim. So I must abstain. Again.
From Tony Duda on March 19, 2013 at 2:09 PM
I once described Forbidden Journey as Spiderman on steroids and still think it is the best ride I've been on. However, there just is something annoying about the ride that I can't explain in words. Maybe it's the crowds, maybe it's the fans, I don't know. The Tower of Terror is fun from beginning to end and never feels annoying. For that I voted for Tower of Terror.
From Mark Hollamon on March 19, 2013 at 2:41 PM
They are both great attractions. Incredible theming! Great storylines.

I had to think back to the first time I experienced each of these attractions to make my decision.

The first time on FJ: I thought the queue was the best of any ride I have ever seen! Then I thought the ride itself was "pretty darn good". That's just my honest opinion.

First time on ToT: I thought the queue was great and the build up to the ride very well thought out. The ride itself blew me away the first time. I had never had such an experience and the execution of the ride was just insane.

For that reason I voted Tower of Terror.

From Daniel Etcheberry on March 19, 2013 at 2:55 PM
Clash of titans! My vote went to FJ because the technology is newer.
From N B on March 19, 2013 at 10:37 PM
ToT is one of the best rides Disney has to offer (IMO), but Potter is in a league all it's own.
From Dominick D on March 20, 2013 at 7:15 AM
So will the finals be Haunted Mansion vs FJ? Again?
From Bryce McGibeny on March 20, 2013 at 10:46 AM
I'm assuming that Journey to the Center of the Earth will inevitably be in the final, because it only went up against Sinbad's so far and that was in the first round...

EDIT: Oops, I didn't see that Journey got defeated by Haunted Mansion... :(

From robert morris on March 20, 2013 at 10:17 AM
@dom

Unless Spiderman pulls an upset we are looking at a rematch

Can't see Splash Mtn beating Potter

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