Best Ride in America champion: Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

April 7, 2008, 8:34 PM · Theme Park Insider readers have voted. And their pick for the Best Ride in America is...

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World.

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

Tower of Terror upset the tournament's top seed, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man at Universal's Islands of Adventure theme park. Voting was intense all day, with Tower of Terror jumping out to an early lead. In the late afternoon, Spider-Man closed the gap and pulled ahead, but in the end, Tower of Terror elicited enough votes to recapture the lead and win the title.

"We are very excited that the readers of Theme Park Insider share our enthusiasm and enjoyment of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney's Hollywood Studios," Eric Jacobson, Senior Vice President, Walt Disney Imagineering wrote to TPI in a statement Monday evening. "Disney Imagineers add special effects, change timing sequences and incorporate new story elements in ways that create a new thrill with each experience. This ability, combined with a unique storyline that is equally flexible, enables us to continually reinvent the ride experience and ensures this timeless attraction remains a must-see for many years to come."

That flexibility appears to have been the deciding factor in the tournament's final match-up. Fans cited Tower of Terror's addictive random drop sequences, which reward repeat riders with unique experiences, something that Spider-Man could not match.

Not that readers had anything negative to say about Spider-Man, a four-time winner of the Theme Park Insider Award for world's best attraction. Fans raved about the ride's cutting-edge technology, immersive effects and strong story-telling.

Tower of Terror and Spider-Man were judged the top two rides in the country in a three-week-long tournament, pitting 64 of the country's most popular rides against each other in a series of single-elimination online polls. Rides were selected and seeded based upon their average rating by readers of over the past year.

Before the tournament, Theme Park Insider readers were invited to submit their guesses at to what the top four rides would be, as well as their pick as the winner. No one correctly picked the top four, but reader Ryley Hoffman came closest, picking three of the top four, with his fourth pick losing in the quarterfinals. As a result, he is the winner of the $100 prize.

Watch in July for the announcement of the Seventh Annual Theme Park Insider Awards, which will again honor fans' picks for the best theme park, new attraction, theme park restaurant and theme park hotel. In addition, if you've enjoyed voting in the tournament polls, watch Friday for the return of Theme Park Insider's weekly "Vote of the Week."

Thank you to everyone who participated in this year's tournament. We look forward to doing this again next year, with many of this summer's crop of new theme park attractions participating!

Replies (37)

April 7, 2008 at 8:45 PM · Kudos to Disney for pulling out the win. I thought Spider-Man was a no-brainer, but TOT's randomization made for a compelling argument that won the day.

Thanks for the tournament, Robert. The last few weeks have been a blast.

April 7, 2008 at 8:47 PM · I have to say, I'm rather surprised by this. I absolutely love ToT, but I never would have thought it would win. I am happy though! Upsets are always fun.
April 7, 2008 at 9:03 PM · I was rooting for Spider-Man but Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is my absolute favorite ride in Walt Disney World. If it should lose to any ride, it's that one.


April 7, 2008 at 9:06 PM · I'm spent, everyone. I had no idea that the tournament would end up so draining. But it was a blast. Thanks again for all the great comments!

(And if anyone wants to help keep up the pace on the front page blog, please keep your eyes open for theme park stories, either in the news or through the grapevine your local parks, and submit a few words about them using the "Submit News" link on the front page. I love it when others submit, so I'm not having to do every story on the front page. Thanks, as always.)

April 7, 2008 at 9:18 PM · Robert - THANK YOU! That was a complete blast!

Congrats to ToT! I was rooting for Spidey, but they're all winners.

When's the next contest!?

Best wooden roller coaster?
Best Six Flags park?
Best inverted, floorless coaster??

April 7, 2008 at 9:24 PM · Great job, Robert. Really a great tournament. Much appreciated.
Oh, and thanks for posting my topic ("The List") in the Discussion page.
April 7, 2008 at 9:25 PM · Spidey lost and KU won. Great night for me :-)
April 7, 2008 at 11:14 PM · This contest was awesome by the way and I really can't believe it was 3 weeks long. Thanks for all the hard work, Robert.
April 7, 2008 at 11:24 PM · None of these two kid's rides would make the list of rides on AMUSEMENT TODAY!!! THE GOLDEN TICKETS ARE LAUGHING AT THIS WEBSITE, TRUST ME I KNOW! This is either a boring website or a site run by senior citizens. No other sites would like these 2 childish rides, sorry!!!!!
April 7, 2008 at 11:34 PM · Incorrect Mr Rivers, we're laughing at you and your attempts to participate in civilised discussion.

Congrats to TOT, personally I wanted Spidey to win but I can definetely see the merits in TOT. A deserving winner.

Congrats Robert, hope you are not too worn out from the tornoument, somebody needs to run this site! (And I ain't volunteering!)

April 7, 2008 at 11:42 PM · This site is obviously not a joke, seeing as the Senior Vice President of WDI wrote in.

Cool it, Jake. Alright, Cedar Point is sweet. But yo - it gets much less attendance than other parks. I mean, there really isn't much to do in Sandusky other than the Point. It's just another dull small town America type place. And I'd take Magnum XL-200 over most of the coasters on this site. But still, man, there are other fish in the sea.

April 8, 2008 at 1:33 AM · Attempting to determine which of these two extraordinary attractions is the best is certainly a question to be debated.

However there should be no debate that TPI is hands down and without question the best theme park website on the internet. Period!

Congratulations to Robert on the success of the tournament. Congratulations to Walt Disney Imagineering and Universal Creative for their remarkable achievements in the design and construction of these (and other) great theme park attractions.

April 8, 2008 at 3:14 AM · Me and my friends will be on Millennium Force (PERFECT COASTER NAME) this summer rockin and rollin! You can have your TOT and Spidey lol!!! 2 kids rides, enjoy! Our middle fingers will be sky high in laughter!
April 8, 2008 at 4:00 AM · What I would like to know to is, how is it that Monday Night around 9:30 pm, Spiderman was leading 52% to 48% percent, yet they still lose. Someone from Disney must had told ALOT of people to vote for Tower of Terror to win. Esp. since Tower of Terror doesn't even come close to Spiderman. And this is a Disney Passholder talking.
April 8, 2008 at 4:52 AM · I know it'd be pretty much impossible unless a lot of people contribute, but what if we had basically a season leading up to the tournament with head to head matchups so the top 64 are the fairest they could be. Divisions would be regions and 2pts would be awarded for each win. We narrow the league down to like 100 rides, just an idea.
April 8, 2008 at 4:54 AM · Just wish I could be as cool as Rivers and his friends waving my middle finger around in the air. Wow that sounds like fun!!!
April 8, 2008 at 5:39 AM · Leave it to Jake to give us one more reason to postpone a Cedar Point vacation.
April 8, 2008 at 6:13 AM · Right, James? Do you really want to encounter a park full of obnoxious children like Jake?

As for the contest: congrats, ToT. I've never ridden Spiderman, so I can't say which ride was more deserving, but I do love ToT.

April 8, 2008 at 6:57 AM · To response to Vincent, ToT held a pretty comfortable lead all day, until the Orlando Sentinel posted that little fact on its website, which elicited links from a couple of Universal fan sites, which drove the vote up for Spider-Man.

Then, links came back up on at least one Disney site, and ToT pulled back, swapping the lead with Spider-Man for about an hour, then moving firmly back into the lead. (The vote total just exploded in the last three hours, too, from about 700 to more than 1,200.)

Given that ToT held the lead by a significant margin for most of the day, before everyone starting linking to the contest, I'm comfortable with it as the winner. Heck, I'd have been comfortable with just about any of the final eight. These are all great, great rides.

Get out to a theme park, folks! ;-)

April 8, 2008 at 7:04 AM · I thought Spidey would take it, but had a real hard time NOT picking TOT. I think from the standpoint of high tech, they are the top two in the world.

This was a great tourney! Let's do it again!!!

April 8, 2008 at 7:21 AM · As I had said earlier, the whole Disney vs. Universal thing came into play.

And Disney did prevail

April 8, 2008 at 7:32 AM · Great tournament! But a sad day for me as my pick Spidey failed to hold on, as did my alma mater Memphis!

As I mentioned before, I agree with those questioning the pattern of votes and again respectfully suggest maybe NOT posting the vote percentages until after the polls close, to avoid having artificial skewing of the results. Just something to maybe consider for next year!

Whew, I guess March Madness is over for THIS year. As Robert said, let's get to the parks!

April 8, 2008 at 8:16 AM · Both rides deserved to win. Congrats to Walt Disney Imagineering.
April 8, 2008 at 8:36 AM · This was more fun than I ever imagined. Great job with everything Robert, and I cant wait for next year's tournament.
April 8, 2008 at 8:51 AM · I'm glad Jake Rivers told us where he would be this summer, on Millennium force, so I can wait at the exit and punch him in the face.
April 8, 2008 at 9:49 AM · Despite all the war of words between Disney, Universal and Cedar Point fans, I have to say it was a blast participating in this. In the end I believe when all the parks compete and continue to push the envelope, consumers really are the ones who win. Awesome tournament and great job, Robert.
April 8, 2008 at 10:10 AM · Hey Jake.....

It may be time to stop. You are ruining the good name of Cedar Point and its fans.

On behalf of the greatest amusement park on the planet, I apologize for Jake's childish comments.

Congrats to TOT and Walt Disney.

April 8, 2008 at 11:58 AM · Every place has its troll(s), and we found one of them. I now know where not to go on vacation thanks to Mr. Rivers. I guess Universal & Disney aren't "EXTREME" enough for him. Why all the negativity?

But hey, different strokes for different folks. While Mr. Rivers is wagging his middle fingers in the air on a coaster, I'll be enjoying my time taking in the atmosphere of both WDW and Universal. Stop and smell the roses much?

Congrats to ToT for winning. Too bad the Anaheim version pales in comparison. And for Spidey to take second is definitely not a negative! I agree that the flexibility of ToT is what helped me choose.

April 8, 2008 at 12:04 PM · Congrats to both for making it to the top. Although I voted for spidey, BIG congrats to TOT I never leave that ride disappointed, ever! It still gets my heart racing.
Thank the Lord I dont go to Cedar point so I wont have to worry about running into Jake. If he doesnt like this website then he should stay off or get kicked off. Ungrateful little troll.

Great Job Robert...definetely the highlights of my day with this competition.

April 8, 2008 at 1:07 PM · If only Spidey could have made his free-throws at the end of the contest, it may have been a different outcome. :)
April 8, 2008 at 1:20 PM · ...And a Spider-Man fan in Memphis bangs his head against the wall.
April 8, 2008 at 11:20 PM · lmao, tot and spidey are for kids! People in florida obviously never grew up!
April 9, 2008 at 12:12 AM · Er, Jake isn't your point that '...the people in Florida never grew up...' a prime raison d'etre for the existence of theme parks?

PS. I totally enjoyed ToT on my visit to FLA and am as juvenile as any pubescent youth.

April 9, 2008 at 4:25 AM · Congradds to Tot on its win...Spidy comming second...Both wonderful attractions...note to CP fan notice I said attrations not rides...Now if it was rides Id be between SF Great Adventure and Cedar Point...
April 9, 2008 at 5:58 AM · It was really cool that agents of the mouse took notice of our tournament and issued a statement of appreciation. It goes to show you how "watched" this site is when it comes to feedback in the parks...If you have something to say, say it...if you have ride ideas, post them...if you have gripes with parks, air them...Chances are, someone who might be able to do something about it could be reading.
April 9, 2008 at 8:32 AM · Hey Jake, apparently you havent grown up either since you are still on this site talking crap and giving grief. So your park didnt win....boohoo. Stop acting like the juvenile you are implying the rest of the readers here are. Get a clue dude, you are probably not liked here at all anymore and I'm sure your opinion doesnt count for anything anymore. Just drop it man.
April 9, 2008 at 11:42 AM · Sort of surprised, but TOT is an awesome ride

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