Introducing the 'King of the Theme Park Graveyard' tournament

April 25, 2008, 9:55 AM · It's time for another tournament!

Following the success of our Best Ride in America Tournament, Theme Park Insider is going to run a tournament to find the best theme park attraction that no longer exists. We're calling it the 'King of the Theme Park Graveyard Tournament.' But we need your nominations to select and seed the entrants.

(Thanks to TPI reader Olivier Sanguy for the idea for this tournament, BTW.)

So I've set up a page through which you may submit your nominations for the tournament. Just submit the names of the attractions you most miss (and the park they were in). I will use the submissions, couple with my own judgment, to select and seed the dead attractions that will be in the tournament.

Then... we'll vote. Same as last time - a single elimination tournament working down to a final match-up. Dates TBA, as I won't know until I see the nominations how many attractions will be in this tournament. But I'd like to get the nominations wrapped up by next Friday, May 2.

Finally, I am looking for photos that I can include on the tournament vote posts, as we won't have attraction listing pages for most of these rides and show. So you've taken some photos of the old, closed rides that you've nominated that you'd like to submit, the nominations page will tell you how to get them to me. I could use a logo for the tournament, as well, if there's anyone with time and graphic design skills that would like to whip up one.

Thanks, and I hope that everyone has a great deal of fun with this one!

Replies (16)

April 25, 2008 at 11:14 AM · Wow, Nominations are flowing! Thanks.

A couple questions, though: First, I'm not inclined to include dead attractions that have a clone living elsewhere. Specifically, I'm thinking about Mr. Toad' Wild Ride at WDW (which lives on at Disneyland), and Country Bear Jamboree at DL (which lives on at WDW).

Should dead clones be in, or out?

Second, on Country Bear, even though the show lives at WDW, they've not run the Christmas version for several years. To me, that's fair game for the tournament. Heck, I'd love to see something so easily brought back from the graveyard do well in the tournament. But how closely do we want to cut distinctions between versions of the same attraction? Should the old Universe of Energy show at Epcot be eligible, for example?


April 25, 2008 at 11:28 AM · I'd keep in Toad from the Magic Kingdom. From what I've heard, it was a very different, and better ride than Anaheim's. I wish I'd gotten to ride it!

In general, I think it's perfectly fair that people may miss a ride even though it has a clone elsewhere. You may really miss a ride at your hometown park, even if you could see it again by traveling across the country.

And certainly, older versions of attractions may be missed. I'm sure I'm not the only person who preferred the original versions of Journey into Imagination and the Disneyland subs.

April 25, 2008 at 12:14 PM · I'd rather the clones be left out. These attractions are supposed to be dead and gone. They aren't dead if one is still open, thus voiding the whole premise of this tournament.
April 25, 2008 at 12:32 PM · Generally, if the attraction still uses the same name (ex. Journey Into The Imagination, Spaceship Earth, Tarzan's Treehouse) it should be excluded. They may be drastically altered, but they are still around and still thematically (is that a word?) the same. However, an attraction like Alien Encounter which was completely redone, re-engineered, and regurgitated as Stitch's Great Escape should be allowed in since it is no longer recognizable in name or theme.

As for shows that have changed, I think they are fair game. If our tournament causes one of these theme park companies to bring back a beloved show that has been out of service for a long time...well, that is the goal, right?

However, what about attractions that are not officially closed, and still lurk behind closed doors, like Body Wars and Cranium Command at Epcot? All Disney needs is a new sponsor for the Life Pavilion and these two gems could be back in service with a minor refurb. Not sure what to do about them....

April 25, 2008 at 12:59 PM · I would say that any attraction that is still standing and inside of an open park would be deemed temporarily closed and not part of the graveyard. I do think that if a ride is SBNO in a closed park, than it's fit for nomination.

A question I do have is this. Is there a certain year that we would go back to before a cutoff? There are several worthy attractions that were closed from 1960-1980ish, but I'm not sure how many of the readers would be in touch with these attractions. I'm too young to have ridden most of those particular rides myself, but my studies show that many of those rides had significant impact on their parks and the industry as a whole.

April 25, 2008 at 1:20 PM · Ahhh... to Derek's point. Well, this has an opportunity to become the geezer's tournament, doesn't it?

No limits, I say. Granted, older attractions might have a tougher go in the voting, but I certainly want 'em in.

April 25, 2008 at 2:58 PM · Most of my nominations were for California's Great America(Post Marriott, those folks know nothing of theming). Every turn since then has led to an absence of the unique, beauty, or theming in that park.
Even though those attractions may live somewhere else, the park is diminished in so many ways, we deserve to mourn. I also nominated those things which were ruined from Tomorrowland(talk about a graveyard). Am I just old? Or is it really that the newer versions of imagineers aren't all that? (Is "all that" a geezer term now too?)
April 25, 2008 at 7:31 PM · Back to the Future the Ride at Universal Studios(Hollywood and Florida) hands down is the best ride any theme park has closed down. I was there on Sept. 3,2007 last day for this ride at USH and I've missed it ever since. E.T. at USH and Kongfrontation at USF should also be considered for this title. What is up with Universal removing all their classic rides.
April 25, 2008 at 8:20 PM · Drachen Fire at Busch Gardens Williamsburg
April 25, 2008 at 11:22 PM · What? No love for the Sleeping Beauty's Castle walk-through at Disneyland or Alfred Hitchcock: The Art of Making Movies at USF? (Those were the two I nominated that have not gotten any other noms yet.)

BTW, we have already 16 rides with multiple nominations, so I think we'll be able to do a 32-attraction tournament by the time the nominations are closed.

April 26, 2008 at 12:11 AM · it's a no brainer as far as I am concerned. It's got to be Horizons at EPCOT. I'd help tear down Mission Space tomorrow and help rebuild it if I could!
April 26, 2008 at 8:07 AM · I miss the Skyway in the Magic Kingdom at WDW. It was a great way to get from Tomorrowland to Fantasyland (or vice versa), allowing not only great views of the park but we could avoid that mess near PhilharMagic/Carousel/Dumbo. I don't know if this ride still lives on at any other Disney park; if it does, then it can't compete (but I really do miss it).
April 26, 2008 at 3:08 PM · I would add Shockwave from SFGAM, and the original Figment attraction at Epcot as the re-do's pale in comparsion.
April 26, 2008 at 7:03 PM · I was only half-thinking when I read the headline (and really, I'm a fat American, I ONLY read the headlines...) and I thought that Robert was looking for a vote on the best graveyards inside theme parks. And I was all, like, "how random is that?" and then all "well, of course it's the original pet cemetary in Disneyland."

Then I got to thinking about just how many of these things there actually are. Just top of mind, there are all the different Haunted Mansions (including the cool Boot Hill in DLP and the mausoleum in WDW). And I remember a grave at Knott's years ago that you'd stand on and feel the heart beating through the sod (is that still there?). And Hard Rock Park has its Heavy Metal Graveyard. Even the Columbus Zoo has one it hauls out for Halloween (featuring the graves of extinct animal species--by far the most morbid of these graveyards I have seen). And thinking about this, I realized just how much of a themed attraction idiom the mock graveyard has become. And for some reason was focusing on this very fact!

Then I read the whole article and realized I am just a tool.

April 26, 2008 at 7:08 PM · It struck me that several of my nominations were replaced by high quality attractions, so it's not always bad to have change. Guess I can't say the People Mover, since there's still the TTA at the MK, even though it's the speed tunnel/Tron bit that I particularly miss.

Anyone nominating Superstar Limo should be reported to the authorities, of course.

April 28, 2008 at 9:39 PM · Some suggestions I have:

-Batman and Robin: The Chiller
-Rocket Rods
-PeopleMover at DL CA
-Superstar Limo
-Snow White show at DL
-20K Under the Sea at WDW MK.

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