Best Ride in America Tournament: Round one, day four

March 19, 2008, 8:35 PM · Yesterday, Universal's Incredible Hulk Coaster, Disneyland's Haunted Mansion and Disney's Rock n' Roller Coaster advanced in blow-outs. In the only close race, Kings Island's The Beast knocked out Dollywood's Mystery Mine. Today... it's all Disney and Universal.

Our first match-up of the evening: Two water rides from Universal's Islands of Adventure square off as (28) Jurassic Park River Adventure goes up against (37) Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls.

Next up: (20) California Screamin' vs. (45) The Cat in the Hat. At first this seems like a silly match-up, but if you think about it for a moment, it's actually fascinating: The unthemed roller coaster from Disney versus the story-driven dark ride from Universal. The stereotypes reversed. Which will you pick?

You're on an expedition deep into the exotic wilderness, when (gasp!) something goes terribly wrong! Do you prefer this scenario on (12) Expedition Everest or (53) Jungle Cruise (Disneyland)?

Finally... oh heck, I got nothin' for this one: (4) Pirates of the Caribbean (Disneyland) vs. (61) Dumbo the Flying Elephant (Disneyland). Maybe some parents of little kids will vote for Dumbo on their children's behalf. But, judging from the number of Cap'n Jack Sparrow backpacks I see at my kids' elementary school, probably not. Let the blow-out begin.

Talk about 'em in the comments....

Replies (22)

March 19, 2008 at 8:46 PM · I prefer the ride on Dudley and the narrative on Jurassic P. (Sorry, the theming on Dudley is just too half-executed for my taste. That one dark, undecorated room just rips my heart out.)

Theme beats thrills, so I voted for Jurassic Park and Cat in the Hat.

March 19, 2008 at 8:51 PM · I'll usually go for the coaster, but in this case, California Screamin needs to go. It is, as one of my friends would say...weak sauce. It isn't even a good coaster, let alone theming. Perhaps if they covered up the crap with a little theming, it would have done better. I like Cat In The Hat.

I had to go with Dudley Do Right in a tough decision over Jurassic Park. Of course ripsaw falls has been neutered a bit since I've ridden, but it was good, even if the queue is like a sardine case.

Expedition Everest, no contest for that one. I've read some crazy employee stories about Jungle Cruise

Pirates- Quintessential Disney attraction won't be touched by the glorified carnival ride known as Dumbo.

March 19, 2008 at 10:13 PM · California Screamin' is probably one of the best rollercoasters in the world. It fits the theme of the area and its a great ride. You don't need lots of loops to make a coaster great, turns, hills, views, and the music all make it a great package.
March 19, 2008 at 10:59 PM · Once again, these matchups are highly unfair and odious. You really need to be matching like ride with like ride, not coaster with Jungle Cruise or Pirates with Dumbo - this entire vote-off is getting silly and not worth continuing unless some serious adjustments are made...
March 19, 2008 at 11:55 PM · OK, you lost me at Jungle Cruise vs Expedition Everest. This has turned into basketball vs hockey. If you mix apples and oranges, you get fruit salad.
March 20, 2008 at 1:51 AM · Jurassic Park
Cat In The Hat
Pirates of the Caribbean
Expedition Everest

Jurassic Park could really use a tune-up, but Dudley, despite having a beautiful exterior, is like a run-down fun house with water. Funny jokes, great drops, but terrible scenery.
Jurassic Park's exterior dinosaurs just need to be more remote and mysterious, rather than up-close to the point where one can see the mechanics of the ride.

Disney has never been the best at coasters, but California Screamin' is exceptionally bad. The launch is slow, the drops are tiny, and there's really nothing to look at. Add to that a hot, seemingly endless queue, and you've got a problem. And I'm not too picky with coasters.
Cat In The Hat is creative, funny, and wild, with a bonus as being a family ride. It has the upper hand, in my books.

Pirates of the Caribbean should do well in all the rounds. It's just one of those attractions you sit down in, and feel like you're in heaven. Cool, calm, serene, and exciting, without throngs of hot, angry people. It just seems to mellow everyone out and make them appreciate the beauty of it all. The incredibly fast loading scheme and underground queue add points, as well.
Dumbo, despite being many young kids' favorite, is a dime a dozen, and loads as quickly as molasses in the winter with an outdoor, unshaded queue.

Expedition Everest is a huge winner for Disney. Its theme is spectacular, the ride is exciting and chock full of surprises, and the queue is beautifully done. Unlike many Disney coasters, the thrills don't seem to diminish after multiple rides.
Jungle Cruise loses points for its never-ending lineup and its lack of refurbishments.

March 20, 2008 at 1:51 AM · This is a good idea for a contest, but some of the paired rides are pretty random. Pit strong rides against strong rides, please -- I mean Doctor Doom's Freefall against Spiderman? That's like pitting an ant against an anteater. Doc Doom is a run of the mill drop ride; Spiderman is one of the greatest dark rides in the history of theme parks, and a totally unique and stunning attraction. Expedition Everest vs. Jungle Cruise was no contest either; Everest is a fantastic themed coaster. Cruise is a classic, but it is aging and pales vs. Everest. Pirates vs. Dumbo? No need to even comment there. And Haunted Mansion vs. Snow White? The witch wouldn't last a day against the Mansion's 999 ghosts.
I would have pitted Pirates vs. the Mansion, Snow White vs. Peter Pan, and maybe Spiderman vs...well, almost any ride would lose in that contest. But you get the idea. Make the contests a bit less random, and you'll be cooking with gas.
March 20, 2008 at 3:46 AM · Hmmm...just like in the NCAA Tournament, if you pit a #4 (Pirates) against a #61 (Dumbo), the #4 team winning should be a no-brainer. Maybe the real question is why in the world is Dumbo even in the tournament? Everyone needs to take a good, hard look at how they rate attractions on this website, and make sure the whole Dumbo Debacle never happens again!

Expedition Everest is one of my picks for the Final Four, so I expect a strong showing from it in the early rounds...and so far it looks good. Of all the coasters I have ridden these many years ("It's not the years, it's the mileage"), Everest is the ultimate combination of thrills and theme. A perfect example of what happens when a great story meets excellent special effects. Jungle Cruise on the other hand, is a dinosaur in need of a MAJOR overhaul.

As for Jurassic and Dudley, they are both fun attractions, but the nod in theming does go to Jurassic. And that final drop under the!

March 20, 2008 at 5:49 AM · I like the pairings. They are all attractions in parks and guests make these decisions every day (Should I ride Dumbo or not? Should I ride Pirates?). The pairings make us think, keep it up!
March 20, 2008 at 5:56 AM · Are people actually expecting to see match-ups like Spider vs. Everest in the first round? I'm not sure why somebody would be complaining about Spiderman being paired against Dr. Doom. It's not as if Dr. Doom is an incredibly unique and amazing ride and it probably would have been eliminated against virtually any other ride.
March 20, 2008 at 6:57 AM · How can you people vote Jurassic over Dudley? I'm losing faith in all that is good. As far as everyone complaining about the matchups, shut your mouth (or in this case your keyboard) and don't vote if you don't like it.
March 20, 2008 at 7:17 AM · I'm going to defend Robert and the whole premise here. IF he were doing this with solely coasters, I think some of the complaints would go away - and maybe that's an idea for a future similar tournament - but it ain't just coasters - it's Theme Park Rides. The match-ups in the first round are what they are.

This IS going to get very interesting in later rounds and I can't wait for those!!! Stick with it folks.

March 20, 2008 at 8:29 AM · Come on guys, Robert has put a lot of time into this thing. Dont down him or this may never happen again. You have to understand this is the first round, I promise the matchups will get better as we go on. I originally wanted a roller coaster tournament only, but you have to remember this is THEME PARK INSIDER. I think Robert made a good decision to go ahead and include all of the attractions, besides the shows.
March 20, 2008 at 8:51 AM · Initially, I had planned to do a 16-ride tournament. But after reading some of the comments and private e-mails spawned by the initial discussion board thread suggesting the tournament, I decided to go for the full 64.

But... as I mentioned yesterday or the day before, the last 15 or so seeds for this thing were pretty weak. At first, I thought about chucking them and elevating some underrated or rarely voted upon rides that I thought were worthy of being in the pool. But I decided against that because, well, if you are a top 16 pick, I figured you deserved an easy path into the next round.

Dumbo and such, are the Coppin States of this tournament. Maybe a few of them (e.g Toad) pull an upset. But, for the most part, they are overmatched, get blown out and quickly go away. Just like in the NCAA tournaments. ;-)

I mean, c'mon, seeing some of these low-budget, marginal hoops talent schools go up against Duke, Carolina, UCLA, etc. is no more a mismatch than Everest vs. Jungle Cruise.

Trust me, the match-ups get really, really interesting as the tournament progresses (assuming no bracket-busting upsets). I'm really excited by those initial 16 rides and the way they matched up.

March 20, 2008 at 8:55 AM · I would also agree *heartily* with the comment that people need to put some thought into their ratings on the site. I'm getting sick of wiping out votes from people who mindlessly vote "10" on every ride in a park. (Or "0" for every ride at their favorite park's big rival.)

You shouldn't vote more than a handful of rides in the world as a 10. Most rides are average, and should be rated around a 5, as a result. The more thought that people put into their ratings, the better lists, better award-winners, and better tournaments we get out of them.

March 20, 2008 at 9:07 AM · I voted JP over Dudley, POTC over dumbo, everest over jungle cruise and I already forgto the other one lol. The matchups will seem a little, ok a lot, lopsided now, but wouldn't you want better match-ups in the later rounds? I mean cmon, isn't that the point of tournaments, to have the best last the longest? Lets say you put Everest vs Tower of Terror in the first round, and dumbo vs astro orbiter, the two better rides are obviously everest and tot, why shouldn't both advance, and you have a d ticket advance?
March 20, 2008 at 10:12 AM · Yeah, that's what bothered me about having a "Roller Coaster Region," "Dark Ride Region," "Water Ride Region," etc. Then your semifinals (round of four) aren't as strong as match-ups in the round of eight and round of 16 were.
March 20, 2008 at 10:30 AM · The subject of attraction ratings is probably a separate discussion entirely, but it takes a tournament like this for people to see how silly some of the ratings are. Come on, Dumbo has a 7 out of 10 rating on this site. Jungle Cruise has an 8. Crazy stuff. Those attractions should probably be 2 and 3 respectively. And I am not just talking about thrill factor....because there is a lot more to a top notch attraction than thrills.

It is almost as if people are afraid to rate something honestly, like Disney himself will rise from his cryogenic chamber (he's not really dead, you know, just frozen) and lay the smack down.

On a positive note, I do think most people are reluctant to give perfect 10 ratings, which is good. Perfection is very hard to achieve.

Sorry to get off the, back to your regularly scheduled tournament!

March 20, 2008 at 11:39 AM · I think Robert N has done a very good job.
When you look at the NCAA tourney you always have lopsided contests.
But every now and then a underdog does win, like Tatsu getting beat by Mr. Toad.

So I know for one am enjoying this alot!!

March 20, 2008 at 11:50 AM · I have to agree with both Roberts. I look forward to logging on every day to see which attractions are getting the most votes. Having a hard time with all the negativity. Naturally we're all entitled to our own opinions. As someone who only started attending theme parks in '05, I personally come away from all experiences with something new, even if the experience wasn't what I had hoped. For instance, I was so disappointed with Nemo Subs and thought it could have been better, HOWEVER, my husband and I laugh at ourselves often because we stood in line 2 hours to ride it. The experience alone of laughing at ourselves was still a memory we take with us and talk about today. With that said, I have made the choice to stop reading through the comments and just issue my vote and see the results.

Again Robert, this is a really cool thing you're doing and in fact, it's getting me real excited about our upcoming trip in June. Thanks!

March 20, 2008 at 4:37 PM · Dudley had my vote until they put in the new restraint system. It was uncomfortable in its original version, but now it's nearly painful (maybe shorter folks don't have that problem).

That's not to say I don't find faults with Jurassic Park - the biggest problem for me is a failure to provide the story with a climax. The ride itself has a climax (the drop, duh), but the narrative just peters out. If there was something after the drop - and it wouldn't have to be much: a voice-over stating that we've escaped the dangerous area, some sort of signage, anything. Dudley has the awards presentation after the drop, which perfectly ends that ride's story. Splash Mountain has the "Zippedee-Do-Da" scene, which perfectly ends that story. Jurassic Park...just ends after the drop. That's just substandard storytelling.

March 20, 2008 at 7:56 PM · Lay off Mr. Niles on the "unfair ride comparisons." When you think of it - the rides that aren't getting the votes won't win anyway. This is tons of fun! Great idea Robert!

And Jurassic is getting old. I love my Dudley!! (but do hate the restraints)

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