Best Ride in America Tournament: Round one, day eight

March 23, 2008, 9:34 PM · Two brutally close match-ups yesterday. In fact, I had to dig into the admin code to find out that the contests actually were tied when I went to close them, so I waited for three votes to be cast on each to decide the winners. Universal Studios Florida's Men in Black Alien Attack eliminated Disneyland's classic Matterhorn Bobsleds and Disney's Animal Kingdom's Dinosaur scraped ahead of Busch Gardens Europe's Apollo's Chariot.

The other two races were not as close, with BGE's Griffon taking out USF's Jaws and Animal Kingdom's Kilimanjaro Safaris blowing out Legoland California's Knights Tournament.

Tonight, we wrap up round one with our last four match-ups:

It's Disneyland against neighbor California Adventure with (2) Indiana Jones Adventure vs. (63) Monsters, Inc: Mike and Sulley to the Rescue.

Busch Gardens Africa's SheiKra seems to have lost a lot of support on the site since I seeded the tournament. Will it retain enough support to avoid being the latest coaster upset by a family dark ride? (10) SheiKra vs. (55) High In The Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride

Two roller coasters with devoted followings battle in (18) Thunderhead vs. (47) The Riddler's Revenge

Finally, it is another classic Disney vs. Universal match-up, with (26) Dueling Dragons - Ice vs. (39) Mission: Space

Let's keep the great comments coming. Tomorrow: Round two begins!

Replies (20)

March 23, 2008 at 10:03 PM · Thunderhead is a far superior coaster to Riddler. Riddler really is just another looping coaster, there a hundreds of them. Thunderhead is the best wooden rollercoaster I have been on by far: smooth (by wood standards), turny, fast, and overall a great and exhilarating ride.
March 23, 2008 at 10:23 PM · I would also agree that ThunderHead is a great coaster, and much better than Riddlers Revenge which is a decent coaster, but nothing special!!
March 24, 2008 at 12:59 AM · My only real passion for this race is with Mission: Space. The attraction is so great, and such a change for Epcot, but it gets so much negative press because of the unfortunate circumstances that have occurred. Plus the Ice track of Dragons pales to the Fire track, in my opinion. Fire would have been closer.

With all these Disney-philes keeping minor attractions as highly rated as headliners, the berating just keeps coming from both sides.

You must stop this contest at once, Robert. Can't you see it's tearing America apart??!!

March 24, 2008 at 4:38 AM · I agree with gotta go with Mission:SPACE. It is probably one of the most original rides at any theme park. From the detailed queuing area, to the excellent intro movie, to the awesome experience itself, this is simply one of the best thrill rides at any park. A perfect combination of technology and story.

As for Thunderhead, it is a Great Coasters, International masterpiece (they also made Gwazi at BGA, in case you need a reference). If you have not ridden a coaster made by them, you really need to...the way their tracks circle back on themselves, over and over again is just amazing. Everything they do seems to be patterned after old time coaster designer Harry Traver who built the Crystal Beach Cyclone back in 1927...a coaster that kept a nurse on hand just to revive riders who fainted!

If you are a wooden coaster fan you owe to yourself to vote for Thunderhead!

March 24, 2008 at 5:20 AM · I'd would much rather ride Ice Dragon than Space any day.
March 24, 2008 at 7:59 AM · That Mission Space/ Ice was a tough one for me. I ended up going with Ice since DD is my favorite ride and I know the Disney mob will give Mission Space all the votes it wants.

Glad to see SheiKra making an appearance. I have her in my final 4 along with Hulk, Spiderman, and EE.

As far as the Fan boys go, Disney fan boys are like the rich kids from the private school. They feel entitled to everything and if you say something negative about them they get upset. Cedar Point fan boys are a whole different animal. They are more like the kids that didn't have anything going up and now that they have made it in life have a huge chip on there shoulder. Both annoy the hell out of me since they can't see past the nose on there own face.

March 24, 2008 at 7:59 AM · Oh Lord that last one really had me thinking hard, being that I love both just as much as the other one. Ultimately I picked Mission Space, but probably because if it was raining and thundering outside I can still ride it. I almost had to flip a coin, seriously...
March 24, 2008 at 9:17 AM · If Thundergead loses to Riddlers Revenge im giving up all hope on the tournament. El Toro,Apollo's Chariot and Loch Ness Monster lost already.
March 24, 2008 at 9:21 AM · I voted for Riddler's because I know the CP coasters can beat it, Thunderhead would be a tougher battle.
March 24, 2008 at 10:08 AM · Iris,

I had the same issue. But then I realized on my last visit to Florida I used my hopper pass to ride Mission: Space and that was the only thing I did at Epcot that day. I also felt compelled to pick it because it was in my final four.

March 24, 2008 at 12:58 PM · Thunderhead, by far, is the best woodie out there. It's a smooth, fast, twisting, spectacular ride. One of my top 5 coasters I've ever ridden. Riddler's is good, but Thunderhead is the absolute bomb! I agree with the previous posts - I'm going to very, very disappointed if this one doesn't pull through!

And Mission: Space vs. Ice Dragon!?!? Robert - you're giving me heartburn with these decisions!! Mission Space is so inventive, I went with it for my vote - saving my Dragons vote for Fire. But that was a tough decision because Dueling Dragons is such a spectacular coaster.

March 24, 2008 at 1:33 PM · The heartburn only gets worse in the second round.... ;-)
March 24, 2008 at 2:23 PM · Who's in your Final 4? Who do you think will be there? Is your bracket holding up or has an early upset ruined everything. My Final 4, Like I said before is Shekra, Hulk, Spiderman and EE.
March 24, 2008 at 2:24 PM · Thunderhead is suffering from lack of readers who have ridden it. Riddlers Revenge is a good coaster, but few things in the amusement park world compare to the fun of a GCI coaster. It is a bit sad if you are voting for a ride because it has a better chance of losing to a Cedar Point ride. Thunderhead is the better ride, so vote for it. I did, unfortunately it probably wouldn't make it past round 2.

Sheikra made to round 2 for me only because of it's opponent. Seuss just didn't cut it for me, even if Sheikra is another vertical dive coaster that's too short of a ride, it got my vote.

Mission Space also got my vote. Even though it's a glorified gravitron with a lot of bells and whistles, they are Disney bells and whistles. They do a great job of creating a extraordinary experience out of an old carnival ride. and I stand by my opinion that both Dueling Dragons coasters are the 6th and 7th best B&M inverted coasters in America. The Indy Jones/Monsters Inc isn't even close.

The fanboy thing is bound to happen. Such happens when contests like this take place. The thing about people voting when they haven't ridden is going to happen too. It's kind of like the presidential election, when uninformed, uneducated people blindly vote along party lines. I don't agree with it, but what can you do. One thing you can say about Disney and Cedar Point, they have loyal fans. Some are blind it's true, but both places must be doing something right. My only issue is the overabundance of Disney/Universal rides present in the tournament at the expense of worthy rides from other parks.

March 24, 2008 at 2:35 PM · I don't understand some of the votes cast by people, so far. The main problem seems to be park accessibility. Parks and rides off the Florida and California path are getting the shaft. If you've ridden both Thunderhead and Riddler's Revenge, I don't think most can say that they like Riddler's Revenge more. However, most people have only ridden RR, so it wins. Mission space is such a unique ride, even though I am a bit of a Disney critic, there is no way I could vote for Ice over MS. Apollo's Chariot,Popeye and Bluto, and El Toro were also robbed.
March 24, 2008 at 3:00 PM · It is just a shame to see Mission: Space and Thunderhead going down the tubes.

For Thunderhead I broke my vow and voted for it despite not having ridden the Riddler. Dollywood needs some props as it is probably the best of the smaller, but true theme parks in America (Silver Dollar City is another good one).

As for Mission:SPACE, it really is a Disney masterpiece, and embodies everything that makes them great: theming, story, and technology. I would pick it over either Dueling Dragons track, even though I am a huge Dueling Dragons/IOA fanboy. If there truly is a Disney contingent out there lurking in the wings, I hope they log on and vote soon!

March 24, 2008 at 3:08 PM · Derek, how can you rate DD as the 6th and 7th best inverted coasters? Your Logic of taking the rides separate from each other doesn't work with me. I will agree that alone each ride wouldn't be that great but that's not the point of the ride. It's a dueling inverted coaster with 3 near misses, not a stand alone invert. Taking them alone is like taking the launch out of the Hulk or the height out of Millennium Force and saying they just aren't great coasters. You have to look at the ride as a whole not as two different coasters. I'm not saying it's number one that belongs to Montu or Alpengeist, but after those two there is no better experience than DD.
March 24, 2008 at 4:33 PM · Raptor at Cedar Point
Silver Bullet at Knotts
Top Gun at Carowinds.

Three other inverted coasters along with Montu and Alpengeist that are better rides in my opinion, than either of the Dueling Dragons rides. I count Dueling Dragons as two rides because that is what this tournament is doing. I think it's a bit strange to separate the attraction into two coasters, but the "fire" side won a couple of days ago over El Toro (another shame), so I'm playing ball a little bit on that one. How can you give the ride two spots on the bracket, yet call it one ride in another sentence? Aside from that though, even with the couple of near "misses" with the other track, it doesn't do enough for me to hold it over the other rides. I've ridden them all, and other than the queue, there is nothing that either DD track...combined or not, has over the other five.

By the way, this tournament was a great idea. It is revealing some things about the demographics and geographic regions that are represented on the site. It's also probably generating more traffic and acknowledgement from other websites. I've been hanging around TPI for a while now, and there hasn't really been spirited debate around here for a while. Nothing like a theme vs thrill ride to fix that, even if the odds are stacked in Orlando's favor.

March 24, 2008 at 8:24 PM · These are interesting insights into people favoring certain parks. I've been to almost all of the parks that we're voting on (almost) and I'm voting on the rides that I think are the best - doesn't matter if they're at Disney, Cedar Fair, Universal, Six Flags or Dollywood. A good ride is a good ride - no matter what park it's in.
March 24, 2008 at 8:57 PM · Looks like today's close-call is Mission: Space and Dueling Dragons: Ice. And I have to say, I completely agree with Derek.
Dueling Dragons is good, but not great. (My buddy and I had this fight last night. He thinks DD is IOA's best attraction, whereas I believe Spiderman takes the cake. But I digress ...)

All variables aside (and there aren't many), DD is just another inverted coaster, and it pales in comparison to, say, Montu. It loads slowly, has a horrendously long and only mildly interesting queue, and features the most unenthusiastic loading staff at any theme park I've ever seen. Think of the pimply faced teenager from The Simpsons.

Mission: Space, by contrast, is innovative (yes, it's similar to a gravitron in nature, but way more intricate), exciting, enthralling, and, best of all, features Gary Sinise.

Gary Sinise > burnt out teens

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