Best Ride in America Tournament: Round two, day one

March 24, 2008, 10:24 PM · Welcome to the second round of Theme Park Insider's 'Best Ride in America' tournament! We have 32 rides left, working our way down to the finals on Monday, April 7. In yesterday's final first-round contests, the Indiana Jones Adventure, SheiKra and Dueling Dragons - Ice advanced, with The Riddler's Revenge pulling an upset to move on, too.

Today through Friday, we'll have four match-ups each day, as we narrow the 32 remaining rides down to 16. The match-ups get tighter from here on in, so don't miss a day, and spread the word to other theme park fans you know, to come to the site and have their votes counted.

The first second-round match goes to our top seed: (1) The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man vs. (32) Soarin' Over California

The second contest matches two neighbors, from Universal's Islands of Adventure: (5) Incredible Hulk Coaster vs. (28) Jurassic Park River Adventure

Disneyland's Haunted Mansion got the highest vote total of any attraction in round one. Can it defeat a fellow Disney attraction in round two? (13) Haunted Mansion (Disneyland) vs. (20) California Screamin'

Finally, the big upset winner in round one was Disneyland's Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, which eliminated the roller coaster Tatsu. In round two, can Toad keep pull another upset against... another B&M coaster with a five-letter name, ending in "u"? That's right, it's (56) Mr. Toad's Wild Ride vs. (41) Montu

I can't wait to read the comments about these....

Replies (25)

March 24, 2008 at 11:13 PM · Seriously, somebody GOTV from Universal and Marvel fans, because I could not bear to watch Spider-Man lose to a ride like Soarin'.
March 24, 2008 at 11:26 PM · if Spidey and Montu lose, I think I will have lost all faith in TPI readers.
March 24, 2008 at 11:42 PM · Montu's going to be tough. It's an almost identical match-up to the first round for Toad. As soon as I saw that upset, and knowing how the bracket was structured, I had visions of those Cinderella college basketball teams that pull off not one, but two, upsets to make it into the Sweet Sixteen. That's where Toad appears to be heading in this tourney.

BTW, I know that I had promised a bracket PDF today, and I am working on it. But I am swamped with much other work, so it might slide until tomorrow.

March 25, 2008 at 6:22 AM · It was tough for me between Hulk and JPRA. One's my favorite coaster and one's my favorite water ride. But a themed coaster always prevails. I think Toad will have an easier time this round, Tatsu is probablyy the better coaster.
March 25, 2008 at 6:35 AM · One day, probably after DCA's 1.2 billion dollar "make me a real Disney park" refurb is done, I will head back out to the southern California area and re-ride Mr. Toad. If it is the same ride I remember from my childhood, I am amazed it made it past the first round. Yet here it is, on the way to a potential sweet 16 bid. Where were all these Disney fans when Mission:SPACE was losing by 2% yesterday????
March 25, 2008 at 6:35 AM · If only Toad hadn't bested Tatsu - this would be a very interesting match. Please, Montu fans, vote today! (In fact, I'm working on scheduling a Florida trip now and seeing these match ups makes me want to get to Florida that much sooner.)
March 25, 2008 at 7:07 AM · Ok it was cute and funny in the first round when Toad won but come on people. To quote the weekend update team from SNL "Really?".
March 25, 2008 at 7:49 AM · Nostalgia would be the only reason why "toad" would win. It was a fun ride and totally trippy, but seriously, MONTU is the bomb as compared...but I voted for TOAD anyway!!!!

I couldn't help would of had to have spent a dilated pupil evening in Disney before this ride closed to fully understand why Toad will always be the best and will live on.

March 25, 2008 at 7:30 AM · Mr. Toad over Montu? Don't get wrong I have some nostalgia for Mr. Toad, but Montu is one of the most intense inverted coasters I have ridden.
March 25, 2008 at 7:37 AM · Good thing I had a pack of TUMS lying around...Come on MONTU fans, wake up and start voting!!!! Killer rollercoaster loosing to Mr. Toad...I must be in the twilight zone right now, or am i still sleeping and i am in a horrible nightmare? *Pinch* OUCH... Nope, i'm awake.....

The Hulk vs. JPRA was extremely hard for me. So hard that I actually tossed a coin. I love both those rides way too much and I felt kinda guilty just picking one over the other, so I let the coin make the choice. The hulk got it 2 out of three times I tossed. :(

March 25, 2008 at 7:51 AM · I know Bradley, it was tough choice...Coasters are my thing but my loyalty is to the mouse and his family.
March 25, 2008 at 8:05 AM · Man, some of these match-ups are actually starting to become tough picks. It used to be just a matter of favoritism, now it's starting to become favorites vs. favorites. I don't know which ones to pick. Aaarrgh!
March 25, 2008 at 8:17 AM · Some people don't like coasters. This is why I voted for Toad.
March 25, 2008 at 8:55 AM · C'mon, people. Vote for the best ride. There's no reason to be "loyal" to corporation! This is about the best ride, not the best park.
March 25, 2008 at 9:52 AM · No way is Toad going to pull off another upset. Us Busch fans need to rally against the Disney fans.
March 25, 2008 at 10:00 AM · Woah - good match ups. Spidey is so dang inventive, it will be hard ever to vote against it. Thrills, chills, spills all in one dark ride - tough to beat.

I'm a huge Toad fan, but I also know that Montu is an amazing inverted floorless. Although I voted for Toad against Tatsu, I had to lean back to Montu for my vote. Montu keeps it thrilling until the very end.

March 25, 2008 at 11:13 AM · I still can't believe that Soarin' is pulling in 30%
March 25, 2008 at 12:28 PM · I'm glad to see California Screamin' getting what it deserves. The fact that it even made it to the second round startles me.

And why is everyone so anti-Soarin'? I'm a thrill buff, but I think this is a great family ride - one of the better ones in years. But Spidey definitely deserves it. Just to let you know, though, my college buds weren't wowed by Spidey (and they're Spidey fans), but they all loved Soarin'. They were just so tired of 3-D rides that sprayed fire and water, and one felt motion sick afterwards.

JP is heartbreaking. I like Hulk slightly more, but I love the JP ride and movie so much. If only they'd improve the Animatronics...

Montu is another heartbreaker, as it's my favorite inverted coaster, but I haven't ridden Toad, so I can't vote fairly.

"Where were all these Disney fans when Mission:SPACE was losing by 2% yesterday????"

I find the Disney-philes show the greatest support for the old. I badly wanted MS to take DD Ice, but it's new, and not terribly Disney-like. It would have lost just as hard, or harder, to a "classic", like Mansion, or Toad.

March 25, 2008 at 1:33 PM · I can already see the Disney fans getting together with there pin collections, Mickey Mouse fanny packs, and there Bring Down the wand T shirts. It's a losing battle trying to reason with them, to them Horizons was better than Mission space. They would choose a Disney toilet over Spiderman just because it's Disney.
March 25, 2008 at 1:40 PM · LOL...I love the comments on this site! Nothing cracks me up more when I am supposed to be working!

I would consider myself a THEME PARK fanboy. Disney, in general, produces the best theme parks, so they, in general, get my vote. However, Universal does a fine job as well, so when it comes to a battle between the two parks, I have no problem picking one over the other.

And while I love a nice comfy toilet as much as the next guy, Spider-Man is gonna win that vote every time! No matter how well Disney themes that toilet! =)

March 25, 2008 at 1:47 PM · Soarin' is a fine attraction, but in no logical universe I want to live in should it beat Spider-Man.

My biggest problem with Soarin' is the music, which I find bland. Imagine how much better Soarin's would be if it had a soundtrack with just a fraction of the power of Impressions de France's. Second, the conceit of Soarin' traps the camera in the air, robbing it of the ability to take close-ups that could have brought more emotional power to the film. I don't know an easy way around the second problem, but there's just no excuse for not solving the first. Again, as it is, Soarin' is a good ride, a welcomed family ride. It's just nowhere near being the best ride in America.

March 25, 2008 at 7:07 PM · Am I right in thinking that top thrill dragster was the only ride from cedar point? that's the only park in america I've been too...
March 25, 2008 at 8:11 PM · I don't think that Spidey is going to lose in this round. Possibly later, but not now. It's a final four ride for sure.

I did vote for Hulk over Jurassic, because I like Hulk. I do have a reality check for some of you though. Hulk isn't really a themed coaster. It has a station, green track and a soundtrack of Hulk yelling, but past that, nothing themed. It's no more themed than say...Maverick at Cedar Point. The launch is fantastic, the setting over water is cool and the ride is fun. Without the launch, it becomes just another B&M coaster (which isn't a bad thing), but it's set itself apart a little with that first hill.

There's no way Toad is winning again. Montu has too many fans and is too good of a ride. California Screamin shouldn't even be in the second round. Haunted Mansion has them by a longshot.

March 25, 2008 at 9:01 PM · Hulk is not a themed ride like Expedition Everest or Revenge of the Mummy, but that kind of theming for a coaster is very expensive and very rare.

However, the Hulk does provide a strong sense of immersion due to the themed queuing area, the built-in mythology of the character, all the yelling as Bruce changes to the Hulk, and the fact that the attraction has the kind of massive power you would expect from the Hulk.

Additionally, the theming of the entire IOA park is so good, that riders are already immersed in the story before they even enter the attraction's queuing area. In a true theme park, the immersion-factor should begin the moment you enter the park. And at IOA, it does.

One could argue that the Hulk, while an excellent thrill ride in its own right, is simply reaping the rewards of being placed in one of the very best theme parks in the world. In fact, it has become nearly impossible to separate the Hulk coaster from the rest of the IOA "experience."

The question then becomes: "would the Hulk, in any other park, be as sweet?" Or would it just be another iron thrill ride called, um, B&M Coaster #925?

And worse, would it be getting pounded by some old school, much beloved dark ride like Mr. Toad???

Perish the thought!

March 27, 2008 at 2:21 AM · I was disappointed to see Toad lose... how many rides take a child to hell? It's a great one-of-a-kind ride that would never be made today. It deserved to go another round by beating a well-engineered but lightly themed coaster.

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