Special mention to "Back to the Future" which was jaw dropping the first time.
I remember riding BTTF for the first time as a teen and being absolutely blown away... and then Spiderman in my early 20s; WOW... and this new Harry Potter attraction (rode on opening week - 30) is absolutely brilliant.
I love the interesting ways Imagineers and UC come up with new ways to top the big E-ticket rides of yesterday - must be thirsty work.
(as for Tower of Terror, I would probably include that ride as well if I had actually experienced it - but as it stands I cannot bring myself to visit DHS solely on the merits of two rides - nothing else there seems terribly interesting).
A distant 2nd is Intimidator 305 and the Voyage
The Original Imagination floored me as a small child. To me it was like a walk threw a persons dreams and inspiring at the same time.
Star Tour was also a huge childhood and teenage favorite that always had me impressed. I haven't seen the new one yet but the original catered to Star Wars fans. Can't wait till next year's trip to try out the new one!
Edit: Sorry, I missed the technology part. In that case I have to say HP and the Forbidden Journey!
Curse of DarKastle
Indiana Jones Adventure
Soarin' Over California
For thrill factor (if not listed above):
Volcano, The Blast Coaster
I haven't had a chance to ride Forbidden Journey yet, but nothing else has come close.
Countdown to Extiction/Dinosaur
In no particular order:
Tower of Terror
Curse of DarKastle
Revenge of the Mummy
I also remember Spring Break 2000 flying down to Florida and hitting Islands of Adventure. I remember going on Spider-Man and not even knowing what the heck it was. I remember being so blown away that I completely forgot I had just endured 2 plus hours waiting in line for it due to it breaking down.
Those two stand out the most for me. The Harry Potter ride is a close third but I feel like I read up on it too much to be totally surpised by it which killed the initial 'wow' factor.
It does help that BTTF, Spiderman and Harry Potter are probably my three favourite franchises... (In fact Back To The Future is my favourite film!) How brilliant ride designers used those brilliant stories to create ground-breaking rides.
Splash Mountain: first log flume ride I had ridden that had a story.
Haunted Mansion: after all these years, I still am in amazement.
Tower oF Terror: wow
E.T. for its themeing and its wonderfully cool air conditioned line going through the dark forest.
Well...if we're talking childhood theme park experinces...I'd have to say the old Back To The Future ride at Universal Studios...the part when you're about to crash into the old Texaco gas station sign always made me scream and cover my face in anticipation of flying glass....XD
As for more recent jaw dropping experinces....I'd have to place X2 and Tatsu at SFMM in the top two (With several other SFMM rides filling the list with a small peppering of Knotts rides as well on the side....). The individual intensity of both rides coupled with my rather irrational fear of heights made for an amazing first time experince on both. To this day, my heart still beats a mile a minute everytime the X2 cars are pulled backwards up the chain lift (I know when the backwards drop is comming and I am familiar with the ride intensity, yet it still drives my heart nuts!) and I STILL can't keep my eyes open when the Tatsu trains literally FLY up the lift and out of the station (I can't take looking down at that point for some reason...).
Can't wait to go back in 2012.
Coasters: My fave pick:
Superman Krypton Coaster at SFFTx b/c while it looks scary b/c it's huge & utilizing the cliffs to add to it's uniqueness which made it just 'look' scary but once it got to the drop, it was AWESOME! I really felt like I was flying.
Also Superman ROS (now called Bizarro) at SFNE. I was totally scared to ride it but once I got on it, it too was totally awesome & so not what I expected...much better than I thought it would be.
A tie between Bugs' White Water Rapids at SFFTx due to it's sheer cuteness, layout & theming & the Adventure Canyon Log Flume at Buffalo Bill's at stateline in Primm, NV b/c it's long, has a nice layout (and going thru the inside fun gallery) & also offers the shooting gallery during the ride which is also unique. I haven't seen another log flume that includes the laser shooting gallery.
I don't know if Pompeii is a dark ride or shoot the shoots ride, maybe it's both but if I had to add it to the list, it's the only one I've liked, in either of those catagories, so far b/c it's unique & offers theming too.
Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Disney's Animal Kingdom
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Disney California Adventure
Universal's Islands of Adventure
Universal Studios Florida
Universal Studios Hollywood