Best Ride in America Tournament Final: Spider-Man vs. Tower of Terror

April 6, 2008, 8:09 PM · Here we are: After three weeks, 62 match-ups and tens of thousands of votes cast, it is time to select the winner of the Best Ride in America Tournament.

Here are your finalists, with complete Theme Park Insider descriptions, ratings and reviews behind the links:

(1) The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man at Universal's Islands of Adventure

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man at Universal's Islands of Adventure
Photo submitted by daniel hutchinson

(3) Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
Photo submitted by Mitchell Sentinella

So, let's get it on:

Polls close Monday night. Last chance to sway the undecided, in the comments....

Replies (41)

April 6, 2008 at 8:15 PM · This was really hard. But I went by this. The last time that I was in Orlando, I had the opportunity at 5 - 10 minute waits on each ride. I rode Spidey once and went on to other rides. I rode ToT 5 times in a row... I want to vote for Spidey, but i just can't. I'd much rather play at IoA than Hollywood Studios any day. Sorry Spidey.
April 6, 2008 at 9:07 PM · Tower for me, too, but I won't be disappointed if it loses.
April 6, 2008 at 9:15 PM · Tuff Choice but im going with spidey, because in my opinion they really set the bar when it comes to Tech, and its also a Great Ride
April 6, 2008 at 9:19 PM · Spider-Man. Hands down.

ToT has great themeing, and it's a great ride, but it just doesn't do what Spidey can, and does.

April 6, 2008 at 9:24 PM · I chose ToT for one I love Spidey to death but it is the same ride over...and over....and over. I know what's coming before it happens. With ToT i never know whats about to hit me with each ride. It's a new experience every time and that's what keeps this great attraction so fresh and should be the Best Ride in America. And that que is bugnuts creepy.
April 6, 2008 at 10:07 PM · Tower Of Terror always. Disney will always prevail. Especially because now Disney fans don't care about the rides really, it's the whole Disney vs. Universal issue which will dramatically sway the voting.

May Disney take it's rightful place as champion

April 6, 2008 at 10:40 PM · 2 children's rides up for best ride in america. At least this site gives me a good laugh. I just hope the people in florida stay there cause the CP lines are long enough as it is!!! What a complete joke!
April 6, 2008 at 10:49 PM · Ahhhh there he is...i've wondered where our resident comic relief was lurking.
April 7, 2008 at 1:16 AM · Yo, Jake! What's up holmes?
Wonderin' where you got to. How's it hangin'?
April 7, 2008 at 1:11 AM · Wow, I can't believe the Tower is winning. I love TOT, but I thought Spidey would take it.
Speaking of re-rideability, I rode Spidey 4 times in a row on my Orlando trip in December.
I'm a Disney fanatic, but I voted for Spidey cuz I have to give it to the best ride. Spidey takes it cuz it's just unique (at least til Toy Story Mania opens)...

P.S.: Please ignore Jake; what a mindless adrenaline junkie.

April 7, 2008 at 1:40 AM · The tournament has been a lot of fun. TPI is one of the best sites of the web. Well done Mr. Niles!
April 7, 2008 at 2:39 AM · This competition has , with the odd exception , been really tough and the Final is even tougher.

I went with Spiderman but even now regret not voting for's too close to call but that's what it's all been about hasn't it ?

I had to ask myself which of these two excellent attractions would I choose if I could ride only one before getting on the plane home.

In this scenario I was in danger of missing the flight trying to decide.

Spiderman it is then.........but it could so easily have been the Tower.

April 7, 2008 at 4:13 AM · Spiderman is my vote. Tower of Terror is good, but it doesn't offer as much to the senses as Spidey. Neither are that rerideable, so that isn't a factor in this one for me. I knew the outcome and what happens during the course of the ride the second time I rode both of them. For me, that's the trouble with highly themed story based rides.

By the way...The matchup isn't Spiderman vs. Tower of Terror, It's Universal vs. Disney. In many voter's case, the vote isn't necessarily always for the best ride, it's for the voter's favorite faction.

April 7, 2008 at 5:21 AM · I went with Spiderman...over ToT..for one reason. Even thou they increse the number of Drops...the rides the same...And on Spiderman you can always fins something new and interesting in the show area to see ...
April 7, 2008 at 6:07 AM · I went with Spidey - and park loyalty has nothing to do with it. I worked for several years at Disney Hollywood Studios, in fact it was the first Orlando park I worked in. I was even a "crash test dummy" on ToT, testing the emergency braking system (live dangerously I always say!). Now I work at Universal. But this isn't a competition about the parks, it's about the rides. To determine a "best ride in America" you have to consider the ride itself, and not the real estate it sits on. No offense to those who voted for their favorite park, and yes, I know there's heated debate about Disney vs. Universal on this site at times, but BOTH rides would be equally appropriate in either park. It just happened that Disney built ToT and Universal built Spiderman. Honestly, in my humble opinion, it could just have easily been the other way around. So why Spidey over ToT? Both attractions are superbly themed. They are both emmersive - you leave the park the minute you enter the queue and don't return until well past the exit. The building facades, the costumes, even the employees carry this theme. I think Disney does a little better of carrying the theme outside the attraction - their cast members do a better job of "being" the creepy bellhops than Universal's team members do of "being" employees of the Bugle for example, but both attractions create a complete story, with a beginning, middle, and end, and carry that story through the entire attraction area. With the themeing being basically equal, I based my decision on the ride itself. Although ToT is a "different" ride every time, it's still basically a high speed drop ride, and those are something of a dime a dozen. ToT does it better than any other drop ride, but it's still a drop ride. Spiderman created a whole new ride experience. It was a ride experience that had never been seen before, and in my opinion hasn't been duplicated. It's unique. THAT'S why it edged out ToT in my opinion. The best ride in America shouldn't be something you can ride just anywhere. You should have to seek it out. Spidey does that. ToT doesn't.
April 7, 2008 at 6:54 AM · I agree - Spiderman is a completely different ride experience from anything else, and it is fantastic, from start to finish. I'm voting for Spidey.
April 7, 2008 at 7:05 AM · I know I haven't been on each, but I would NEVER- AND I MEAN NEVER- ride ToT because I get scared really easily, and I NEVER go on scary rides. I watched a youtube video, and that's why I know it's a scary ride. My brother pulled me onto the scary ride at Knoebels, and I got my head "yelled off". For those of you who have ridden it, weren't you scared by the HUGE red light just blaring right in your face!? G-d, I didn't like that. I had my eyes closed for at least 5/6 of the ride.
April 7, 2008 at 8:07 AM · Anyone else reminded of 12 year old girls in 1965? You have to hate the Stones if you love the Beatles, or you have to hate the Beatles if you love the Stones.
April 7, 2008 at 9:12 AM · I'm much more of a "Disney guy" than a "Universal guy", but I voted for Spidey. Please don't assume that people will blindly vote for their favorite theme park company rather than their favorite ride. It's all about the rides, and Spidey is unlike anything I've ever ridden. It is unique. I love TOT but it isn't unique, although it is the best and most creative drop ride in the world.
April 7, 2008 at 9:45 AM · It's Spiderman for me. It's that all immersive "4th wall" ride. ToT is incredible - but Spidey gets my senses going.

And Disney vs. Universal? When it comes to the Florida parks - they're equal in my book.

April 7, 2008 at 10:03 AM · i'd much rather spend my days at universal... but i voter ToT. i've read a lot of comments saying that or disney fans voting for Spidey.
April 7, 2008 at 10:11 AM · Didn't think much of alot of the match ups but very happy to see the end result. I have said for years that Tower of Terror is the best ride in any park ; Florida , the northeast, midwest, CA included. No doubt in my mind.
April 7, 2008 at 10:16 AM · Marc - like the analogy, but which is The Beatles and which is The Stones? Guess it comes down to which lasts longer, but we won't find that out for a while.

Also, I'm hearing Tower get busted up for not being unique. Well, define 'unique'. How many theme rides, or for that matter, thrill rides, do you know that are randomized? How about rides that feature wire-guided technology (for the horizontal section)? And although I've seen a million rides about superheros, how many have you seen featuring sci-fi or horror icons from the '60s?

Look, neither attraction is unique if you really break them down. Spiderman is just an amped up combination simulator/track ride/3-D movie, all of which have been done. Fire and water? Nothing new. Likewise, Tower of Terror is just a combination drop ride/dark ride.

What is unique about each is how they leave you feeling afterwards. I find Spiderman leaves me pumped and excited to continue adventuring through Islands, whereas Tower leaves me in awe, and a little weirded out.

April 7, 2008 at 10:18 AM · I can't believe ToT is winning... I would have lost a ton of money if I were a betting man.
For the first time in the tournament, I couldn't vote since both rides are equal in my eyes. They have some great moments and also some glaring deficiencies. No ride is perfect, though, of course.
People should vote their favorite ride, not their favorite park. Would anyone vote for Pooh over Spidey just because Pooh is Disney?
April 7, 2008 at 10:48 AM · How can you beat that final sequence of Spiderman? I know what's coming, but am still amazed how real it feels when you're falling in the finale.

While I appreciate the technology it took to get an elevator to bounce like that, Spiderman utilizes "4-D" to the fullest.

April 7, 2008 at 10:50 AM · . Is there a new Disney Pin the Nerds can get if TOT wins? Is that why they are stuffing the ballot box? I wish they would all go back to there respective Disney sites and get back to voting on there favorite jungle cruise joke, or favorite place to sit at animal kingdom while drinking a coke, or listening to rumors off a guy who worked at MK back in 87 who has "inside" info that Disney will open beastly Kingdome this year, or ask questions like if you could be a tree at Disney where would you be? That was a real question asked on intercot.

All those things above are the reasons I stopped loving Disney and there sites and started coming here to the best pure Theme Park site on the net. I guess the only problem is you can't stop Disney nerds from being Disney Nerds. So good luck Spidey you got my vote but I feel it might be wasted

April 7, 2008 at 12:32 PM · I will be shocked if Spidey loses. Theres no way Tower of Teroor is better its just the Disney fans again.
April 7, 2008 at 12:38 PM · I am a Disney Fanboy, and even I am shocked at what is happening today. Spider-Man is clearly the better attraction...the Disney Army is marching in full colors today. Banners out!
April 7, 2008 at 12:44 PM · I'll say it again, in a different way this time: At this point, we're splitting hairs to choose between outstanding attractions. Both of these rides are worth planning vacations around. Yeah, Disney's got a ton of fans online, deservedly so, and so does Universal. Disney's Imagineers have spoken highly of Spider-Man and plenty of people who don't consider themselves Disney fans have found much to love about Tower of Terror.

I'm little surprised how the vote is going, to this point, but I hadn't thought as much about the drop sequence feature as others have. That's a great, great asset in ToT's favor. Great 21st-century rides *should* vary from ride to ride, and I'd be happy to see such a ride win this tournament. (Of course, I'd have been happier to see Men in Black or Buzz Lightyear advance further than they did, as well.)

April 7, 2008 at 12:46 PM · Damn Disney fan boys, just voting for ToT (excpet person who voted above me). Spidey opened 10 years ago and it's technology is still not matched. Everyone pretty much knows it's the best ride regardless of what they vote.
April 7, 2008 at 1:01 PM · To those who think I'm assuming that Disney fans vote for Disney and not Universal. Here's a figure for you. Based on the comments so far, I tallied up a little exit poll. I'm assuming that those who post comments are usually the regulars on TPI (the one's who have rated Spiderman #1 for a while now). Here is the exit poll.

Spiderman-15 votes (75%)
TOT-5 votes (25%)

Small number of votes I know, but this is a sample taken mostly from TPI regulars. How can Spiderman be losing by 13 points yet be cleaning up among us? Believe me, there are plenty of Disney superfans out there picking up the slack. There have been all tournament. I'll say it again, this contest isn't about Spidey vs. TOT to a large portion of visiting voters, it's about Universal vs. Disney. There was a statement earlier in the tournament that went something like this. "Disney fans would vote a Disney toilet as best attraction because it's Disney"

April 7, 2008 at 1:15 PM · One thing I've noticed on our Friday "Vote of the Week" (which returns this Friday!), is that the comments are *often* out of synch with the vote. Only the passionate make the effort to register and take the time to comment. Just about everyone, though, can take a second to click the poll.

Which might suggest that ToT's support is broader, while Spidey's is deeper. Maybe. Who knows?

April 7, 2008 at 1:29 PM · FYI, Universal is my home park, but I had to go with Tower of Terror. If you look at my review of Spidey in this site, you'll see that I've clearly called it the "greatest non-roller coaster ride ever made", but when I was confronted with the decision of voting Tower over Spidey, re-rideability had a lot to do with it. It wasn't an easy choice, but I LOVE the atmosphere surrounding Tower of Terror, and would prefer to ride TOT 20 times in a row over Spiderman. I framed it in terms of "if those two rides were the only rides in their respective park, could you ride them all day long without becoming bored?", and got my answer from framing it that way.

If I had to vote on riding only once, I probably would have gone with Spidey, but I had to factor in the re-rideability aspect, and Tower of Terror just barely beats Spidey when that factor is considered. It was a very difficult choice, and as Robert stated, we're really just splitting hairs in terms of deciding which is the greatest ride in America, as I would be happy with either one of the two winning. On a final note, I love the fact that two of the best rides in the world are less than a 90 minute drive away from me.

April 7, 2008 at 3:04 PM · Tower of Tower is much better-in my opinion-because it's a lot more thrilling to me. In the Spiderman ride, it's just like watching a 3-D movie. Most of the time you're not moving. It is a great ride, don't get me wrong, but ToT is much better. I actually feel like I'm going to fall to the ground, and it's always exciting. Spidey's line is too long anyway. At least on ToT you get a Fast Pass.
April 7, 2008 at 3:34 PM · I guess I just don't see it, what is the draw for TOT. You who vote for it what is it that makes it better than Spiderman. I really want to know. Derrick I think your right on the Disney vs. Universal thing and the problem with that is that a universal fan would give Disney credit where credit is due but a Disney fan we all know wears blinders and would never admit that something outside there parks is better. You quoted be about the Toilet comment and I believe that whole heartedly.

All that said the upcoming years will be the biggest test for Disney, with IOA opening Potter and the Studios getting a new coaster, Universal in my opinion is pulling away. Disney will and has always focused on kid friendly attritions and it keeps working, but the face of the industry is changing. People my age 29 who have kids want something more than Small world and Nemo, we want to have just as much fun as the kids get to have. That's why Universal is becoming more and more appealing to the masses. We are the Nintendo generation we grew up with less responsibility than our parents had as kids and that translates to adults that feel entitled to fun. I work hard I have money now I want to ride some fun rides. I know that's a simple statement but it's true. I grew up at Disney and it was magical but the magic is fading. The imagination that Disney was famous for is getting less and less. They can't always rely on the Magic, they will need to create unique rides and parks that appeal to all as just that, great parks, not magical places from my memory. Wow I went on and on sorry about that.

GO Spiderman, maybe we should call in Wolverine, Cap America, Thor, Ironman and the boys to straiten this whole voting debacle out.

April 7, 2008 at 4:11 PM · A Universal site, and the Orlando newspaper, just linked, prompting a surge of Spider-Man votes. Looks like this is going to be closer than we might have thought.
April 7, 2008 at 5:50 PM · Spidey doesn't even make it into my top five. I don't know why but the 3-D in the ride has always seemed blurry. It is the only attraction I have ever been on that I have had that issue. And no it isn't my vision. I have ridden both with contacts and after having Lasik. In both cases my eyes were corrected to 20/20. It's not that I think Tower of Terror is that great either. People keep talking about how no ride has come close to being as good as Spidey. Personally I think Mission: Space is a better ride, and I find it ridiculous that it got eliminated as early as it did.

Overall this tournament has taught me a lot of things. I have learned that my taste in rides appears to be vastly different from the GP as well as the enthusiasts. I have learned that when it comes to coasters that even the best themed coasters can lose to nostalgia (POTC over Everest). Last, but not least that voting for Matterhorn over MIB earns you the title of Disney Fanboi, voting for Hulk over Everest makes you a USF Fanboi, and voting for any Cedar Point ride makes you an a-hole. In other words, even this site isn't exempt from trolls.

April 7, 2008 at 6:28 PM · Someone said that the last sequence in Spidey "feels like" you're falling. Well, if you like that sensation, then I don't see how you could *not* vote for ToT, where (pay attention) YOU ACTUALLY ARE FALLING! Really, it's better than that, 'cause you're being pulled down faster than gravity would. Guess which way I voted...
April 7, 2008 at 7:51 PM · wow... voting has gone nuts!
April 7, 2008 at 7:55 PM · Im starting to sweat! This is going to be close!
April 7, 2008 at 10:59 PM · And there you have it! I really had to think long and hard before pushing submit...

In the end I had to go with my gut. I LOVE Spiderman. I have ridden the ride 3 or 4 times in a row without breaking a sweat... I thought for sure it would take the title yet another year...

That being said, I had to go with Tower. My current record is 27 times in one day. I applied to Guinness and wrestled with Disney executives for over two months to attempt to break a world record by riding ToT 113 times on Groundhog Day. Unfortunately in the end Disney would not allow it due to legal jargon.

That being said, how could I vote for anything else. I am a ToT Fanboy and the only thing I would change about the ride is that at the end of each drop sequence I would give each vehicle one complete drop from the top.

Congratulations Tower! May you terrify for years to come!!!

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