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2013 Theme Park Insider Tournament: The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man vs. Haunted Mansion

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Published: March 20, 2013 at 10:17 AM

We've got four attractions left to compete for the title of the world's best themed ride in the 2013 Theme Park Insider Tournament. The final's coming up Friday, and the first spot in that final is up for grabs today.

The upper seed is Universal's The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, which defeated Kilimanjaro Safaris in the quarterfinals and Revenge of the Mummy in the first round.

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man

The challenger is Haunted Mansion, which upset Pirates of the Caribbean in round one and Journey to the Center of the Earth in the quarters to reach this round.

Haunted Mansion

Both attractions run in Orlando (and in Japan, for that matter), so this should be an in-person, head-to-head comparison for many readers. But if you want to learn more about these attractions and hear the opinions of their fans, just follow the links above.

Let's get to the vote. As always in the tournament, the poll is open for just 24 hours.


Tomorrow: Our other semifinal, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey vs. Splash Mountain

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Readers' Opinions

From Dominick D on March 20, 2013 at 10:22 AM
Haunted Mansion. I love boh of these, but Haunted Mansion is simply the best.
From Jason Vervlied on March 20, 2013 at 10:30 AM
I voted Haunted Mansion ... mainly because when I go to Magic Kingdom it is a MUST. Every single time. And while spiderman is great, I can skip it and feel like I still had a proper day at Islands of Adventure.
From 208.54.86.255 on March 20, 2013 at 10:35 AM
Wow seems like the tournament is coming down to new, innovative Universal rides vs the classic, timeless Disneyland benchmarks.
From 68.58.202.10 on March 20, 2013 at 10:38 AM
Robert,

Would you consider holding a 64 team tournament for best Theme Park? Here are a few potential first round match-ups:

Holiday World vs. Legoland

Kennywood vs. Knoebles

Cedar Point vs. Hersheypark

Epcot vs. Busch Gardens Williamsburgh

Disneyland Paris vs. Disneyland Tokyo

Dollywood vs. Silver Dollar City

Thorpe Park vs. Alton Towers

Port Aventura vs. Efteling

Disney’s Animal Kingdom vs. Busch Gardens Tampa

Canada’s Wonderland vs. Knott’s Berry Farm

King’s Island vs. Kings Dominion

SeaWorld Orlando vs. Ferrari World

Disney’s California Adventure vs. Universal Singapore

Islands Of Adventure vs. Six Flags Magic Mountain


From Bryce McGibeny on March 20, 2013 at 10:48 AM
Love them both, but I went for Spider-Man, which I find that I have more "fun" on due to the thrills that it supplies.
From James Rao on March 20, 2013 at 11:07 AM
Looks like another Haunted Mansion / Forbidden Journey final. FWIW, I voted for Spidey, of course.
From Brian Emery on March 20, 2013 at 11:19 AM
Spidey is so high tech and fantastic…. Great, fun and a splash of water…

From AJ Hummel on March 20, 2013 at 11:31 AM
Haven't been on Spider-Man, but I have been on Transformers which I figure is close enough. Either way, I definitely prefer Haunted Mansion. This round (and the next one somewhat as well) come down to the preference of animatronic-based versus screen-based attractions. I have yet to find a screen based attraction that feels entirely real, and I'm not a huge fan of 3D projection either, so the animatronic ride will always get my vote.
From Rob Pastor on March 20, 2013 at 11:46 AM
The new upgraded version of HD Spider-Man, for me, slightly edges out Haunted Mansion. Although Haunted may have been better than the original Spider-Man version.
From Brent Moody on March 20, 2013 at 11:47 AM
Spider-Man is just simply a much better ride than Haunted Mansion IMO. Haunted Mansion is fun to ride but the technology and thrill factor for Spiderman are just to awesome to vote against.
From 69.112.132.44 on March 20, 2013 at 12:13 PM
The story and the love that you feel went into the ride at Disney is what makes me pick Haunted over Spiderman. But I would love if Disney stepped up their technology and offered rides like Spiderman and Forbidden journey at Disney but with Disney love, magic, and characters.
From Daniel Etcheberry on March 20, 2013 at 12:52 PM
I voted for Spidey. HM is one of Disney's best, but I give ride technology a lot of importance, and Spidey is more sophisticated.
From Robert Niles on March 20, 2013 at 12:57 PM
We held 64-ride tournaments in 2008, 2009 and 2010. (See http://www.themeparkinsider.com/tournament/ for the history.) But I'm always trying to mix things up with the tournament to keep it interesting.
From 70.29.13.212 on March 20, 2013 at 1:36 PM
So, I am comparing an omnimover with well done but, shall we say, "classic" show technology vs. a spinning motion base with innovative video-motion synchronization technology? Spiderman, please.
From David L. on March 20, 2013 at 2:07 PM
I went with the ride that is not only more immersive and longer, but also more detailed. It helps that the queue and exterior are also very impressive.
From James Rao on March 20, 2013 at 2:12 PM
Spidey putting up a great fight! Hard to keep the old web head down!

Greatest. Hero. Ever.

From N B on March 20, 2013 at 2:58 PM
I can't figure out how Haunted Mansion gets more votes than ToT.....
From robert morris on March 20, 2013 at 3:50 PM
Nice rally from HM
From Rod Whitenack on March 20, 2013 at 4:23 PM
David L. brings up an interesting point that I don't think we've had much discussion about: Ride length. The Haunted Mansion and the Pirates of the Caribbean may be slow moving rides, but they offer around a 15 minute immersive experience. Although a lot of technology has been put to use making today's more modern rides whiz bang, jaw dropping experinces, the average ride length is only three to four minutes.

There's something I like about getting to sit back and take in an elaborate journey after waiting in line for some time that seems to me a richer reward than getting spun around in front of eye popping images for three or four minutes.

I love roller coasters, and I've never expected them to last more than three minutes. But dark rides are a whole different experience with different expectations.

From Amanda Jenkins on March 20, 2013 at 5:56 PM
I agree with Rod. With a dark ride, I enjoy being able to have the chance to be immersed in it. I want to leave the outside and escape into the fantasy of the ride. I love that PotC and Haunted Mansion are a lengthy ride comparatively. As much as Spider-Man is exciting, its just hard to overlook the look and feel of the Haunted Mansion.
From Dominick D on March 20, 2013 at 6:13 PM
Rod deserves a +5.
From José María Sandoval on March 20, 2013 at 7:32 PM
I like The haunted mansion and also The little mermaid for the length and high quality.
One thing that i like is that it is for all the family and without screens. Spiderman first thing in the day for all the reviews. Spiderman gets my vote.
From 76.14.32.235 on March 20, 2013 at 9:20 PM
Something I think would be interesting for TPI to do would be to create a tournament for best themed enviornments (i.e. New Orleans Square, WWoHP, Buena Vista Street, Asia, etc.) There's such a big emphasis on rides, but I feel like creating a themed, immersive environment is just as important, if not more, than the rides contained within it.
From Mark Kausch on March 20, 2013 at 11:47 PM
Since RSR seems to have lost because so many people had not ridden it, I guess turnabout is fair play. HM got my vote.
From David Brown on March 21, 2013 at 2:01 AM
I think this result confirms something that Theme Park designers should think carefully about....

There will always be a demand and a desire for boundary-pushing technologically-marvellous attractions that take the breath away. And they will always create a big stir and win plaudits from a wide base of the thrill-seeking theme park fan community. But that demographic is not the only one and a good, solid well-constructed dark ride that uses technology cleverly but sparingly but that offers a family-friendly, all-age memorable experience - such an attraction will have a broad appeal that cuts across demographics and may well last in the memory longer than their cutting-edge rivals.

The thing with cutting-edge technology is that it is only impressive as long as the technology is impressive but immersive story-telling has a lasting appeal.

This isn't necessarily about which is 'better' but which one has greater appeal....

From Bryce McGibeny on March 21, 2013 at 3:33 AM
^It's not like Spider-Man got absolutely destroyed in the votes... Very close results! Both are such awesome rides and loved by many.
From 69.155.123.157 on March 21, 2013 at 5:49 AM
The Haunted Mansion is what defines my love for theme parks. I love Spider Man, but the classic allure of the HM will never be topped. If it is down for a refurb, I do not go to Orlando. If they put the Nightmare Before Christmas on it, I don't go to Disneyland. If they ever change the announcer or put movie characters in it, I will change my opinion. The fact is that in 50 years people will not care about Transformers, Spider Man, or maybe even Harry Potter. They will always love a ride through a haunted house. When I step in it, I really feel transported somewhere else. All these others I still am on a ride.
From James Rao on March 21, 2013 at 6:01 AM
You may be right about Transformers and Harry Potter, but Spider-Man has already stood the test of time - he's been kicking bad guy butt since 1963 (FYI - that's already 50 years and obviously people still care). And he's stood strong in this tournament against the most beloved of all the Disney attractions. Not bad for a "fad".
From Dominick D on March 21, 2013 at 6:01 AM
Last year Spiderman didn't even make it to the quarterfinals since TOT beat it, then FJ beat it in the semis.
From James Rao on March 21, 2013 at 7:45 AM
If we want to talk about the past, Spider-Man is the only attraction to win this tournament four years in a row. That it is a wonderful attraction, among the best in the world, cannot be questioned. Give credit where credit is due.
From robert morris on March 21, 2013 at 12:04 PM
Also have to give credit to Universal for not just maintaining Spiderman but updating one of the top rides in the world...
From James Rao on March 21, 2013 at 7:33 AM
^Not sure if I give credit for maint and upgrades... I expect parks like Universal and Disney to keep things fresh and new - always. I figure that's the reason they charge $80/day to visit.
From 75.151.69.253 on March 21, 2013 at 8:09 AM
Just to clarify my opinion: I do think Spiderman as a character will still be popular in 50 years, just not the ride. By the way, I love the ride. It is one of the most exciting rides on the planet. I think it is better than the Disney versions that are similar (Indiana Jones and Dinosaur) and the simulator aspect is fantastic. However, I still know I am on a ride. Not so with the Haunted Mansion. Further, since I am on a rant, I hate that Disney put Stitch in place of the Alien. That was an example of a great ride butchered.
From robert morris on March 21, 2013 at 12:06 PM
@james granted Disney/Universal should always be looking to upgrade their rides

But alas only a few times does it actually occur, with exception to a few tweaks to HM and PoTC most work is just to maintain

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