2009 Best Ride in America Tournament, round two: Millennium Force bracket

March 26, 2009, 7:21 AM · Welcome to the second day of round two in the 2009 Best Ride in America tournament on Theme Park Insider.

Yesterday, all the upper seeds advanced, led by Busch Gardens Europe's Griffon and joined by BGE's Apollo's Chariot and Disneyland's Space Mountain and Haunted Mansion.

Today, tournament three-seed Millennium Force leads the way, taking on fellow Cedar Point coaster Magnum XL-200.

As always, I ask you to take a look at the comments below before casting your votes. (Early voters, get the campaigning going by submitting a comment.) Thoughtful votes help make this a better tournament.

Millennium Force

Two first-round upset winners face off next, Busch Gardens Africa's floorless dive coaster SheiKra versus Disney's California Adventure's Soarin' Over California.

Walt Disney World's top two roller coasters meet up in round two: Animal Kingdom's Expedition Everest and Hollywood Studios' Rock n' Roller Coaster. Only one will move on to round three.

Finally, given what many folks have written in the comments during the tournament, as well as the strength that Disney and Universal rides have shown in it, this might be the match-up which determines what ride moves on to the final four: Disneyland's Indiana Jones Adventure takes on Universal Studios Florida's Men In Black Alien Attack.

To the comments!

Replies (71)

March 26, 2009 at 7:22 AM · MEN IN BLACK: ALIEN ATTACK

• Airtight theming supported by a coherent story line.
• Most ambitious use of audio-animatronics in theme park history – including the largest animated figure ever constructed: The Big Bug.
• Star power – featuring the actual Will Smith, Rip Torn and Steven Spielberg – apparently Harrison Ford and the aforementioned Mr. Spielberg weren’t interested enough to participate in the Indy ride.
• Two different tracks with two different ride experiences.
• A fully interactive ride vehicle with spin action, audio effects and two different types of alien zappers.
• The Holy Grail of attraction design – multiple endings.
• “Re-rideability” – as in “try again for a higher score” – supported by a quick single rider line.

Regardless of how this poll turns out the ambition of its design and its seamless themeing and operation make Men In Black: Alien Attack a FAR BETTER theme park attraction than Indiana Jones. PERIOD!

March 26, 2009 at 7:23 AM · The other day TPI regular James Rao offered up this post:

As Marty Sklar, the international ambassador for Walt Disney Imagineering, once said, "We're in the business of telling great stories, and great stories never grow old. In the end, a roller coaster is just a roller coaster."

TPI poster Joshua Counsil wrote of Indiana Jones: “I find it to be rather mediocre.” He continues: “I think Indy is even more over-hyped than Rockin'. I cannot believe how beloved this attraction is. The effects are not anything to write home about. The thrills are lacking. Why does everyone love this ride so much?

TPIer Scottland Jacobson chimed in with “And MIB!!?!? INCREDIBLE. I ride that over and over and over and over again everytime I'm at USF. What an awesome experience.”

Adrian Walker: Okay, well MIB has an awesome story, excellent queue line and the actual ride itself is the most reliable of all the shoot-em up rides.

And then there is that fellah named Robert Niles who writes: Personally, I would love to see Men in Black get out of this bracket. It's got immersive theming; it's a entertaining spinning dark ride, plus it has high re-rideability due to the video game element. It's my favorite attraction at USF, my second favorite at Universal Orlando and one of my Top 10 favorite attractions anywhere.

March 26, 2009 at 7:29 AM · Sorry TH, but give me Buzz anyday before MIB. While the ride was nice, I did not like the multiple ending, it was not explained all that well, the red button I thought was an emergency stop spinning button, and we lost every time! Also, I thought that the Carantour was the biggest animatronic? I do not really remember the Edgar Bug moving when I went on it (perhaps a Yeti breakdown?). But thats just my two sense. Shooter games are always fun!

Oh and I voted for RnRC over Everest. It just appeals to me more if cornered between the two. I also feel that the roller coaster aspect of Everest is kinda short!

THs rides probably will win because he laid out a pretty solid, I think the best, reason why MIB is great by using others words.

March 26, 2009 at 7:38 AM · Okay, today is the day I make my impassioned plea for us all to send a message to the powers that be at Walt Disney Imagineering.

As most of you know by now, Expedition Everest is a broken attraction. For those who don’t know, here is a brief recap of the issue:

This past summer the Yeti at Expedition Everest was downgraded from operating in "A" mode (moving) to "B" mode (stationary, with strobe lighting and fans blowing to simulate movement) when it was discovered that the Audio-Animatronic's movements had caused stress fractures in its anchoring platform. For several months it has been awaiting repair, but when or if it can be restored to its original operation is still to be determined.

Expedition Everest, without the Yeti, is an incomplete ride and cannot be allowed to advance to the Sweet 16. Rock n’ Roller Coaster may not be the most thrilling coaster in the world, but it is darn good, and well decorated, and most importantly, it is NOT broken! Give your vote to the working coaster of these two, and send a message to Disney that you will not tolerate paying full price to visit Animal Kingdom only to ride a broken Expedition Everest.

And for those just voting for Disney on everything, your choice is easy because even if you choose RnR, you are still voting for a Disney attraction!

Please think of the children. You do not want them exposed to the Dance Club Yeti and his funky town routine!


March 26, 2009 at 7:36 AM · Anthony writes: Sorry TH, but give me Buzz anyday before MIB.

I Respond: My bad! I thought this was a competition between MIB and Indiana Jones.

March 26, 2009 at 8:18 AM · Well, it was nice seeing Magnum get out of the first round. Still love the ride, never forget the first one. Millennium is just too good.

The next one puts me in a bind. Sheikra is overrated, so is Soarin. I'll give it to Soarin I guess. Neither of these rides deserves to advance if you ask me.

Rock N Roller Coaster also doesn't really deserve to be here...another overrated attraction. Everest isn't as thrilling, but at least it's unique, and I'll give them credit for the mountain.

I'll go with MIB on the last one. Both good..but MIB better. I'll offer James, TH, and Mr Sklar, whose company was almost directly responsible for the birth of the modern steel roller coaster and incidently, whose company designed a handful of their attractions around said roller coasters, a rebuttal.

There's no denying the entertainment value of a good story and complete immersion. However, once people know the end (or ends) of the story, the intended effect is dulled, and it becomes little more than going through the motions with nominal stimulation. A coaster may just be a wooden or steel track, but people have been coming back to ride for over 100 years. Why? Because people like to be thrilled, because coasters have a reride value of more than 3 rides, and because coasters produce free reaction and stimulus with real gravity, speed, and height rather than having to conform to a make believe environment with a linear story line.

March 26, 2009 at 7:46 AM · The yeti on Everest may be "broken", but at least the ride is an original. Rock 'n' Roller Coaster is just an enclosed version of the Joker's Jinx at Six Flags. You also can't forget that Everest is a fully immersive experience with one of the best queue lines in existence along with its beautiful natural surroundings. So, moving yeti or no moving yeti, vote Everest.
March 26, 2009 at 8:19 AM · There is no "may be" about it: the Yeti does not move. An animatronic that does not animate is broken. Whether the problem is the Yeti itself, or the platform on which it stands, is irrelevant. The fact is Disney is providing a lesser experience and we are being forced to accept it (and pay full price for it).

I am not arguing that RnR is better...just saying we need to send a message to Disney to fix things! If we let it go to the Sweet 16, Disney will think it is fine to just leave a broken ride in the park.

Sidenote: Joker's Jinx is a Premier Rides LIM, RnR is a Vekoma LIM. They are similar but have different layouts. The Premiere Rides version is actually a little more intense (like Flight of Fear at King's Island/King's Dominion).

RnR Layout.

Jinx Layout.

March 26, 2009 at 8:46 AM · Derek, I think that every attraction is diminished after it has been experienced. Coaster, narrative attraction, midway ride, it doesn't matter. Once you know what is going to happen the experience may still be fun, but has lesser impact.

Midway rides are the most diminished as they are exactly the same at every park in which you ride them.

Coasters are very common and have many of the same elements, so just looking at pictures of them you can often guess the sensations you are going to feel. Coasters, though, are so intense (usually), and the layouts so varied, that they still maintain some measure of uniqueness, which keeps us interested (think about the first time you rode a B&M inverted..how special that was, how brilliant! Now think how diluted that experience has become due to a B&M proliferation of similar experiences across the nation).

Story rides, however, benefit from the fact that so few parks implement them. For most of us, we have to drive or fly vast distances (Orlando/California) to experience a true narrative attraction. So while the story is the same, the experience is so infrequent that it becomes unique. I am guessing that the local folks who are able to travel to Disney/Universal every day do not feel the attractions are half as special as I do, just because I only visit once every few years. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and all that.

Anyway, a great ride is a great ride, regardless of decorations, story, or special effects. IMHO, the greatest attraction of all time would be a story-driven simulator, that turns into a coaster with a 500 ft drop and 17 inversions, and finally ends with a 150ft splash down past realistic animatronic creatures that actually move like they are supposed to! Put it all together in once nice, neat little package for me and I will be in Theme Park Heaven.

March 26, 2009 at 9:15 AM · Shiekra vs Soarin

Shiekra takes my vote. This rise really delivers when it comes to an adrenaline rush. Awesome sense of speed and silky smooth. Having never ridden Soarin I went to check out the details about it.

And it just sounds like viewing a cinema release in a ski lift. That sounds......not very impressive. What the heck is it doing this far in the tournament?!

MIB vs Indiana

I would add to my previous comment, but to be honest, TH Creative has basically already summed up the masterpiece that is MIB. The only thing I would say about MIB is that, although it promises two different ride experiences, there really aren’t any special differences. Except one track has an extra ‘Spin Event’.

Oh, and thank goodness that glorified flume ride didn’t make it into the next round!

March 26, 2009 at 9:20 AM · The war begins. Unleash hell.

The first pair is no contest. Millenium Force in a landslide.

Soarin' is an overrated movie. It is barely a ride. It has dangling feet. It has smash cuts. It has a horribly slow line. It is borderline horrible. Sheikra may be a bit short, but it creates a sensation of flight that Soarin' can only pray for. Sheikra destroys Soarin'.

Time to join James in his crusade against Everest. We are coming at from different perspectives, but either way...it must not continue. Everest is Maelstrom. Think about it. Everyone hates the Norway attraction. Everest is a copy of it. You go up. Stop. Go backwards. Stop. You then go forward. Finish. Everest IS that heavily criticized attraction with a couple of helixes. Both of which lack any theming whatsoever. Plus, the cheap cartoon implemented before the hill always gets me angry. That could have been a great, elaborate scene. Instead, it is a shadow of its' potential. Aerosmith can be nitpicked, but it is more exciting than Everest and more original in its' use of music, launch and inversions for an American Disney coaster. Everest's only unique trait is its' one major hill. The rest is an antiquated mine train coaster.

MIB may be the best shooting ride, but it doesn't touch a hair on the back of Indy. The Big Bug may be the largest, but it is hardly the most articulated. It doesn't leave the same impression as the boulder in Indy. The AAs in Men in Black are all minor and by and large just pop-up and shoot. None of them are particularly memorable or complex. The Mummy, the Yeti and the Pirates are all far better AAs. Spielberg couldn't appear in the Disney ride because of his contract with Universal. That point is moot. The theming in Indy is far stronger than MIB. As good a ride as Men in Black is, it still feels like a shooting gallery. The second you enter the show building for Indiana Jones, it feels like you have left the planet. The queue is amazing and was the first example of an interactive line. The ride system is still the most complex and inventive combination of simulator, dark ride and coaster. It was the clear influence for Spider-man. Men in Black's cars just spin. Indy has variances between rides just like Men in Black with its' different beginnings and Indy quotes. The use of score in Indiana can't be beat. It is impeccably synced to the ride. The first appearance of the temple is as awe-inspiring as it gets. That main show building is as elaborately detailed a show building as there has ever been. Nothing in MIB matches it. Indy is the clear winner.

March 26, 2009 at 9:38 AM · What I meant is that I like Buzz more than MIB. I like Indy more than both so there we go. I just dislike MIB, sorry!

Also, when did the Yeti break? I was there last summer and he was working just fine. However, I was there at the beginning of June.

March 26, 2009 at 9:47 AM · Looks like a couple of battles are brewing today.

The easy one: Millennium Force. Don't ask. Just vote that way.

SheiKra vs Soarin'
While I think Soarin' will prevail due to the Disney fans, I'm voting SheiKra for being the more interesting ride. Soarin' is showing its age. (Would it kill them to print a new copy of the film that isn't dusty?) And the slow queue has got to be addressed somehow.

I was underwhelmed by EE. I like the comparison someone made to Maelstrom. That's what I don't like. Start. Stop. Start. Stop (for far too long each time, especially since the first stop, this is nothing visual to keep you occupied. Would have been a great time for the Yeti to show up and let you see the creature. And the end Yeti broken for almost a year? For the Disney prices I expect more - especially since they shut down most rides once a year or so for rehab. Get the rehab done on something not working!) Although RnR is a clone, the timed blacklight enhancements, the preshow, the themed queue and exit - all create a great story, with a consistently fun ride.

On paper, I put Indiana Jones to advance, but after reading the comments, I have a new appreciation for MIB and need to experience it again. It got my vote today.

March 26, 2009 at 9:48 AM · RA writes: MIB may be the best shooting ride, but it doesn't touch a hair on the back of Indy.

I Respond: On Indy you are just ballast. Zero interaction. Same ride every time.

RA writes: The Big Bug may be the largest, but it is hardly the most articulated. It doesn't leave the same impression as the boulder in Indy.

I Respond: Fist of all the Big Bug has moving eyes antenna, claws and an arm the size of a bus. And it is far more "articulated" than a boulder (chuckle).

RA writes: The AAs in Men in Black are all minor and by and large just pop-up and shoot.

I Respond: This is where RA demonstrates he does not know what he is talking about. Smoke blast alien, newspaper alien, eye and tentacle alien, water alien, graffitti alien, wanna-buy-a-watch aline, TAFKAB, the two ambush aliens demonstrate that these effects are anything but pop ups. Further there is the animation's interaction with the riders. Beyond that there are different aliens depending on the track you ride.

RA writes: None of them are particularly memorable or complex.

I Respond: Especially to those who don't pay attention.

RA writes: The Mummy, the Yeti and the Pirates are all far better AAs.

I Respond: None of which are competing with MIB today.

RA writes: Spielberg couldn't appear in the Disney ride because of his contract with Universal.

I Respond: If you say so. (chuckle)

RA Writes: The theming in Indy is far stronger than MIB ... The second you enter the show building for Indiana Jones, it feels like you have left the planet

I Respond: The second you enter Indy's show building yopu feel like you're still in Adventureland. The MIB theming is airtight to the franchise. It starts from the moment you set foot in the building and ends with the Neuorlizer at unload. MIB has a coherent story with guests being trained as MIB recruits (more interaction). The Indian Jones ride could exist WITHOUT Indiana Jones. It could be just an archaeology ride. Indy does not even have to be a part of it.

RA writes: The queue is amazing and was the first example of an interactive line.

I Respond: There are interactive effects in line with MIB. There are dead on themes associated with the franchise (the worms and the recreation of MIB headquarters. There is star power with performances by Will Smith and Rip Torn. Again where is Harrison Ford?

RA writes: The ride system is still the most complex and inventive combination of simulator, dark ride and coaster.

I Respond: The ride system is like a minor improvement on Dinosaur -- and again zero interactivity. Guests are baggage.

I Respond: Men in Black's cars just spin.

I Respond: And provide interactivity and carry guests to different ride experiences. And house a gaming system. And interact with the other cars after the scanning scene. And again, on Indy a guest is merely baggage. ZERO interaction.

RA Writes: Indy has variances between rides just like Men in Black with its' different beginnings and Indy quotes.

I respond: OH PLEASE! MIB's variances include different aliens, different scenes and different endings depending on what track you ride. Guests consistently get off the ride and get right back on motivated by the fact that they KNOW the next trip is a new experience. Indy does not boast that reputation.

RA writes: That main show building is as elaborately detailed a show building as there has ever been.

I Respond: The exterior of MIB -- with its wonderwall and icon towers and lighting effects at night is extraordinary. The icon towers are directly from the film -- more themeing. The interior queue is not only entertaining but (unlike Indy) maintains the story from the licensed franchise.

Disney could have done Indy ... without Indy. Which is probably why Will Smith shows up in MIB. And that's where MIB schools Indy in themeing and a ride experience that is different with every visit.

March 26, 2009 at 10:00 AM · I cannot believe the amount of hate for Soarin'. I think it's a great attraction. More than anything, people have been complaining about the attraction's technical aspects rather than the experience itself. Yes, it's pretty simple - a conveyor in front of a big screen. Well, Space Mountain is simple - it's a wild mouse coaster in a dome. Rockin' Roller Coaster is a launch coaster in a building. Dudley Do-Right is a flume with marginal theming. Yet all of these attractions seem to be praised around here.

And yet Soarin', the only relatively thrilling ride I can get the whole family on, gets kicked around like yesterday's Superstar Limo. Well, I won't take it anymore! If Sheikra, a ride that sees more empty seats than a Wayans' brothers movie, gets too comfortable today, I'm announcing to a Disney nerd forum that a beloved Disney attraction is losing to a Busch coaster! Don't test me, man; I'm out of my mind.

March 26, 2009 at 10:09 AM · Everest is what it is. A family coaster that thrills 1800 people an hour. It's not designed for the Cedar Point crowd, and if you thought it was going to be a no holds barred knuckle-whitener, you've missed the point. It's theme is immersive, complex and something a thrill junkie is likely to miss.

As to the Yeti's back problems:
People say "fix it", but those people would also pitch a fit if they came down to WDW and it was in rehab. Because its not just patching some cement on the overnight shift. If Disney is going to fix it, they're going to do it right. Which will mean shutting down the only coaster in DAK.

As to the cost of such a thing: given the current slew of layoffs, I'm thinking that if the money were to be found to rehab it, it would likely come at the cost of some people's jobs. If it came down to it, would you rather have quality management of the attraction, or an animatronic you see for five seconds?

As to the "cartoon" on the wall. You've missed the point. The point is to hint at the yeti. The first stop shows you his foot prints, the second his shadow. Hints, not revelations. That would be like revealing a killer in the first page of a mystery novel.

Believe me, it will get fixed. Just not right now. Everest is still a great family attraction and deserves it's place in this bracket.

March 26, 2009 at 10:14 AM · As for the other match-ups ...

Millennium Force is so smooth that it's almost too smooth. I don't get the adrenaline rush that I do on Magnum XL, which I consider Cedar Point's best attraction. MF will win for sure, though.

You all know my thoughts on Soarin'. Well cut, exhilarating and mild, and leaves me with that great feeling you get after an attraction "wow"'s you. Sheikra brakes too often, loses momentum after the first drop, and has a terrible loading scheme (as in the employees let many of the seats go empty).

Everest takes Rockin'. Sorry, James, but Rockin' is so marginal. The launch is the only worthwhile part. After that, the coaster delivers less than a stoned UPS agent. And the "great" theming? Strobe lights and glow paint? My house had more theming on Halloween! Even with the broken Yeti, Everest is still more worthwhile.

MIB over Indy. Indy is another attraction I find overrated (as pointed out by TH). A lot of bumping around while enjoying mediocre effects. I could ride MIB over and over (though it breaks down a lot).

March 26, 2009 at 10:30 AM · TH...the minute you say that Indy is a minor improvement on Dinosaur, when clearly Indy came out 3 years earlier(1995) and was the clear progenitor of Dinosaur(1998), your whole argument becomes flawed.

All rides could be purged of their movie ties. Pirates has become, IMHO, worse with its' forced movie tie-ins. I will argue that Indy is better for not blatantly reminding you that it is a Harrison Ford ride. MIB could have been made without Will Smith and Spielberg is barely in the attraction anyway.

The Big Bug is a cheesy, midway head on a tunnel. The boulder leaves a far greater impact than it. The Indy AAs are far more impressive than all of the robots on MIB.

The design of the temple, where the jeeps spend the majority of the Indy ride in, is far more detailed than the cheap facsimile of New York that is MIB.

Indy has a brilliantly, unassuming entrance in a tiny temple that hides the elaborately, themed ride to follow. MIB is in a large box of a building that sort of looks like the New York Pavilion in Queens.

Look TH...you obviously think a ride with a gun is instantly better than anything else since you can interact. You're obliged to that opinion. However, I disagree with that notion. Indy is a far better designed and original attraction. Unlike anything before it. MIB is Buzz Lightyear on steroids.

On another note, Everest is a 2-minute roller coaster. I want bang for my buck. If I want to read a mystery novel, I'll read one. A dark ride is a better place for mystery and build-up. A coaster is too short to skimp on.

March 26, 2009 at 10:28 AM · No RA, I think a ride that maintains consistency with the licensed property is a better attraction. A ride with in guest interaction is a better attraction. A ride with multiple endings is a better attraction. A ride that guests re-visit over and over again on the same visit to a theme park is better.

Indiana Jones could have been made without being associated with a licensed property. It could have been "Bob the Archeologist ... with a boulder!"

the exterior of the MIB building with its wonderwall lighting effects and properly themed icon towers is unique -- not just another jungle/temple edifice. The coherent storyline of the attraction is exceptional. The recreation of MIB headquarters is seamless -- where as the Indy ride has no requirement to offer any signature elements from the film.

From the get-go MIB was a pioneering theme park concept. Indy is just another dark ride ... with a boulder ... that has zero articulation..


March 26, 2009 at 10:45 AM · Great comments today.

You know, one of the most frustrating parts of covering theme parks is seeing people whose love of a particular company or type of attraction blinds them to the quality that others offer. Which, in turn, makes it easier for the company or attraction developer they love to "go cheap" and offer products of lesser and lesser quality. They can get away with it, because their fans are blind to any competition.

Regular readers here at TPI haven't fallen for that, and you're helping make all attractions better as a result. Now, let's keep spreading the word - to friends, to fellow park visitors, to folks on other websites - so that the blind voting (not just in online polls, but with real money in vacation bookings) that ultimately hurts the quality of industry stops.

Vacations are too expensive, in money and precious time, to go with anything less than the best for your budget.

March 26, 2009 at 10:54 AM · Apparently, MIB is the only ride that guests ride over again and again. Apologies from my part for that obvious mistake.

Indiana Jones is incredibly popular with many people riding it over and over again.

Indy is the truly pioneering ride which is nothing like anything before it. MIB is a clone of Buzz Lightyear. Improved...yes, but still a clone.

MIB's exterior has tiny models of the real Observation Towers at Flushing-Meadows Park. Indy creates a unique entrance with its' own new temple not taken from the films.
It actually has original ideas, unlike MIB.

Keep in mind, I think MIB is terrific and is the best shooting gallery ride out there, but it is not Indy.

March 26, 2009 at 10:54 AM · Um... Robert, didn't your overview of this tournament say something encouraging about "trash talking?"


Raoul your posts are always enlightening and you are clearly an authorattive source about theme park attractions. I certainly respect your opinions and would not attack you personally.

Having said that: You're wrong about MIB, Mr. Stupid Head.

(Just kidding)

March 26, 2009 at 11:02 AM · Touche, TH.

The great thing about this tournament, like Robert said, is that it makes people notice things about rides that other people miss.

There is no correct answer, exactly. One person may prefer a monster coaster to a slow, dark ride. Neither is necessarily better than the other. It is important that you don't just become a homer for Disney or roller coasters. Try to be well-rounded in your theme park diet.

Passion is good and whatever ride you prefer. Defend it! Think about it. Just don't say Superstar Limo is your favorite.:)

March 26, 2009 at 7:40 PM · Yes, everyone, I agree: Everest is better than RnRC....but that is not the point!!!! Everest is broken. It must be fixed. No one is going to lose their job if a ride goes into rehab, that is insane. In fact, some construction teams currently collecting unemployment will get gainful employement!

If you are not going to animate that Yeti, then what is the point? Disney just p*ssed away $100+ million on a ride that lost its exclamation point. It's like removing the first drop on Millennium Force and expecting people to be satisfied anyway.

And yes, Animal Kingdom needs another E-Ticket....it is way too dependent on Everest. At some point it will need a rehab regardless...Disney should have planned for that downtime ages ago (which they did: Beastly Kingdom, anyone?).

Anthony, the Yeti was stop and go for most 2008. It was finally set to Permanent B-Mode toward the end of summer. Before that it was a little more hit or miss. Sometimes the duct tape held, sometimes it did not.

Vote for RnR cause it works...not cause it is better.

March 26, 2009 at 11:23 AM · I love MIB, but have no idea what it is up against so wont vote.

I voted for Sheikra over Soarin as other than the odd bad comment on here today I have heard good things about it. Also I have been on a much shorter similar type of ride dropwise at home in the UK, which despite the disappointing length I would probably vote for over Soarin.

Soarin is ok, but the queue when I rode it was horrendous and in such boring surroundings. The screen unless you are lucky enough to be on the top glider is obscured slightly by other peoples feet and I am not sure how much is really gained by being on a fake glider rather than just watching the movie on a big screen.

I voted for Expedition Everest over RnR, I admit I did this before reading all the comments and learning that the Yeti would be out of full operation for the foreseeable future. This makes a pretty big difference and would have made it a much harder decision.

When I first tried to ride the RnR it was out of operation, a few days later I returned and got a fast pass even with this the queue was still long and highly boring. I had high hopes for the ride, was really looking forward to it and in the end was pretty disappointed. This ride is OK but not amazing. The launch is impressive, but the ride is short and not really that thrilling. This is not a ride I would want to make it though to the next round!

After learning the above news I don't think I will be voting for Everest again if it makes it through to the next round. However I do love this ride in full working order. The queuing area in my opnion is one of the better ones. The ride itself is not the scariest ride I have ever been on, but I like the backwards drop and the Yeti in full working order is great.

March 26, 2009 at 11:54 AM · Even broken, Everest beats the souped-up "SuperStar Limo" that is RnRC.

Let Everest go down to the Indy/MiB winner, where it deserves to be eliminated.

That said, I want to respond to an anonymous comment above. I think it's a fool's choice to weigh fixing the Yeti versus people's jobs. The reason Disney is cutting positions is a loss of visitors and tourism income. Not fixing the Yeti creates an opportunity cost larger (IMHO) that the cash expense of fixing it.

Visits are down, so why not use this time to fix the thing? Then, Disney would have the added value of a newly improved Yeti to sell once the effectiveness of this current round of discounts has worn off. (And it will.)

A fully functioning Yeti could help Everest win the title of 'Best Ride in America.' Forget all this Not-a-Zoo stuff, if Disney really wants Animal Kingdom to become a destination in its own right, and not merely a sponge to absorb run-off from the other parks, wouldn't having the 'Best Ride in America' there - and promoting the heck out of that fact - do that?

March 26, 2009 at 12:25 PM · It's funny that people keep complaining about two main components of Soarin':
1) People's feet from the top row obscuring the view, and
2) Absurd lines

Although both of these are valid arguments, look what Soarin' is up against: Sheikra! If you aren't in the front row of Sheikra, you don't get the full effect of the holding brake before the drop (and, honestly, that first drop is what makes the ride worthwhile). As for lines, at least Soarin' is indoors, air conditioned, somewhat themed, and utilizes ALL of the seats on the ride. Sheikra's queue is hot, theme-less, and the trains always leave with quite a few empty seats.

I don't mind if Soarin' gets eliminated next round, but against Sheikra? No way.

As for Raul and TH's square-off ...

Indy wins for sure. MIB's exterior is tacky and dilapidated. Indy's is mysterious and, like RA says, unassuming.

MIB takes it. Indy's queue is overrated - none of the effects ever work for me. Not to mention the outdoor queue has nothing to offer. MIB's outdoor queue also has nothing to offer, but is rarely used.

Family appeal:
MIB wins by a nose. Although both franchises are popular, MIB's height requirement is less than that of Indy.

Tie. The theming is about equal on both fronts. One has lots of fire, smoke, lasers, pretty good animatronics, and cave elements. The other has lots of smoke, lasers, marginal animatronics, and cool New York sets.

Re-ride ability:
MIB wins. Interactive with multiple ending possibilities. Indy has a couple of different ending catchphrases and a couple of fake beginnings (when choosing those doors), but that's not enough to keep me coming back.

Indy takes it. Rough and rowdy with lots of pitches.

Tie. I like Indy's tie-in to Adventureland, but MIB is located in the back of the park where few people reach it in the morning, leading to shorter queues.

Overall quality:
MIB takes it. What it lacks in thrills it makes up for in re-ride ability and competitive edge.

March 26, 2009 at 12:32 PM · Regardless of the competition today, calling RnR a souped up Superstar Limo is like calling Top Thrill Dragster a supercharged version of the Wacky Worm. The premise of Superstar Limo was similar to RnR, but that's it. Puh-lease! Superstar Limo is arguably the worst Imagineering debacle in theme park history.

But, yes, Robert, I do agree with your assessment that fixing Everest should be done sooner than later. As soon as summer winds down, and before the big bumps in business in December, Disney needs to fix the Yeti issues...heck they could even improve it a bit during that down time with additional theming to satisfy Raul's complaints. Just think of the marketing opportunity when everyone's favorite Disney coaster opens in 2010 with "all new immersive elements, and enhanced audio-animatronic special effects!" Geeks like me will plan a trip just for the Yeti, and haters will be forced to re-visit just to see if the changes made an impact. And the money will come rolling in.....

And yes, with a fixed Yeti, I would put EE in my final four and depending on the matchups I could easily see it winning the whole whole kit and caboodle.

March 26, 2009 at 12:41 PM · BTW - great freaking comments today. Some excellent debates. Really helps the work day progress! Nothing like working on boring enhancement documents and alt-tabbing to the next spicy argument!
March 26, 2009 at 1:45 PM · Haha - Alt-Tab - the life-force of the workplace and engineering tutorials alike.

Let me explain, TH, why I find the outside of MIB to be inferior to Indy's.

I shouldn't have used the term "dilapidated", but rather "faded and dull". It gives me the same sensation as Test Track - a big, gray building with little going for it. You might argue that the building is supposed to appear that way, like most generic government buildings. Fair enough, but then why are the World's Fair towers yellow? The exterior is an eyesore from across the lagoon.

March 26, 2009 at 1:48 PM · James...if Disney fixes the Yeti and increases the theming and immersion, I'll be right there with you.

I also agree that comparing Aerosmith to Superstar Limo couldn't be more inaccurate. That would be akin to saying Mission:Space is pretty much the same as the Astro Orbiter.
Superstar Limo was a 1955 quality ride made in 2001. RnRC has a great launch, tremendous sound system, the best pre-show, and creates a great concert environment. Nothing is more exciting than coming out of the pre-show and seeing the wonderfully designed limo trains shoot out into the tunnel. The ride has flaws: poor outdoor queue, relatively short ride and let-down after the launch. However, it is still a great, themed coaster.

Soarin' has more flaws than two. All simulators are meant to feel like you are watching out of a window into the real world. Soarin' destroys any sense of immersion by having smash cuts. It makes it glaringly obvious that you are watching a movie. Soarin' would have been a much better ride if was the suspended version of Spider-man.

The choice between Indy and MIB really comes down to this: do you prefer interactivity in your rides. My opinion on all of the gun rides is that they yet to accomplish the sense of theming or immersion that the great dark rides like Pirates, Mansion or Indy have done. They still feel like glorified video games to me.

March 26, 2009 at 2:15 PM · Actually Raul, the choice between Indy and MIB really comes down to this: do you prefer attractions that carry an airtight theme, coherent story that carries forward the licensed property, allows guest interaction (as opposed to being just riders ... yawn), exceptional animation and effects and a unique and different ride experience every time you visit? If so, MIB kicks Indy's tired butt all over the board.

But he does have a cool boulder thing going on.


March 26, 2009 at 2:15 PM · "TPS report? Oh, sorry, boss, I've been working on my TPI report today...."

(Brownie point for readers who get the reference.)

March 26, 2009 at 2:18 PM · My thoughts regarding MIB vs. INDY...

I truly love INDY and what it accomplished, and it was indeed groundbreaking in 1994. However, it has never been adequately maintained over the years — there are dozens of effects that don’t work (or have never worked), and Disney has let much of its potential go to waste.

On recent rides, there have been a slew of unmaintained items, many of which have been that way for *years* (and a few since opening)... the room of doors wasn't working (you arrive with the correct door already open)... only one of Mara's eye strobed and had smoke... the ramp up before the doors of doom has never been covered in fog and smoke like originally intended, thus revealing the absent theming on the lower half of the room... the ice machine avalanche hasn't worked in years... the bug room projectors are sporadic... the rat room rarely ever works... many, many of the lighting cues no longer work because of ignored, dead lamps and mis-focused lighting instruments....final boulder room didn't move backwards... etc. etc. etc...

In short, INDY is in DIRE need of a total rehab, which should have happened before the last movie. But it never got one. It's actually never had *any* major rehab its entire lifespan -- and yet Pirates, Mansion and many other rides have had numerous refurb projects in recent years. Indy could be a gem, but instead coasts on its pretty scenery and thrill factor. Does Disney management think that "people won't notice"? Perhaps they're right. I choose to believe it's a combination of that, and too-ambitious design choices on the Imagineering side that negatively affect maintenance on the Park side later on. It's a huge disconnect and the cause of many creative heartaches (Yeti, I'm looking at you).

In contrast, MIB has been maintained very, very well — and with a few minor details, is operating exactly the way it was on opening day in 2000. That is a rarity in this industry, and a testament to the thoughtfulness of its design. Not only does it entertain and excite guests — but it stands the test of time and is a maintainable, functional design, with a unique combination of "new and cutting-edge" and "tried-and-true".

My personal criteria for voting is not so much about the intended guest experience -- which, on both attractions is undeniably great -- but rather, where do they stand now, years later? Theme park attractions are like any other live show -- is the cast and performance today as good as the opening-night show ten years ago? That can make or break the guest experience -- and taking into account kind of aging and maintenance is just as important in design as any other factor.

However, I know that's not the only way to judge the value of an attraction -- and many people here have other, equally valid critieria.

March 26, 2009 at 2:45 PM · What TH meant to say was this:

If you prefer to shoot a red dot onto minimally, mechanized pop-ups: Vote for MIB.

If you enjoy the amazingly accurate recreation of Manhattan and Times Square(note sarcasm), while spinning ever so often: Vote MIB.

If your definition of coherant plot and airtight theme means, shoot aliens and shoot some more aliens.: Vote MIB

However, if you love thrilling dark rides through your very own Indiana Jones film where you avoid snakes, lava, bugs, poison-tip arrows, skeletons and a giant boulder: Vote for Indy.

If a state-of-the-art simulator placed on a coaster, which employs all of the skills WDI had gained from Star Tours, Pirates and Space Mountain, sounds good: Vote Indy.

Of course, MIB does have a neat, giant bug head.:)

March 26, 2009 at 3:04 PM · Clearly the fact that Raul missed the plot line of the attraction (guests are MIB trainees visiting MIB headquarters to become agents when it is announced a ship full of alien bad guys has crash landed in New York City and the newbies have to chase them down) makes it understandable why he has become awestruck with an (ahem) "effect" that involves nothing more than a big rock.

Note also the post before his makes it fairly clear that Indy has gotten old and antiquated.

Small wonder Harrison Ford did not want to be involved in the attraction's production.

March 26, 2009 at 3:06 PM · Robert wrote: "TPS report? Oh, sorry, boss, I've been working on my TPI report today...."

You giving my website a shout-out, Robert?

March 26, 2009 at 3:14 PM · James, I totally agree that originality isn't always a strong suit of a lot of parks these days. Just about everyone, including Disney and Universal have clones. They justify it because the parks are in different markets, but in reality I think the decision is based on money and being safe instead of always trying to be original. Once the market becomes saturated with dozens of B&M coasters, it's easy to dismiss how good most of them are because there are so many. If the market were saturated with mildly thrilling theme rides, I'm sure that many would start to see them in the same light. Coaster technology is recycled a lot, but it's very effective. Take for example the highly regarded (yet hosed in this tourney) Thunderhead. The design (like all GCI designs) is heavily inspired by a guy named Fred Church, a prolific coaster builder from the 1920s. Their trains are a slightly modified version of Church's trains...85 year old technology.

All rides eventually lose that first time wow factor, if they ever had it to begin with. To me though, a good coaster keeps it's novelty a lot longer than a story based ride. I'll agree that many of the Disney/Universal attractions are great rides, but riding some of the story based rides that people hold so near and dear starts to seem like watching TV reruns. In contrast, I've ridden The Beast for 20 years..hundreds of times. I still have the same fun now that I did then. Maybe it's just the way my brain works, but reride value is an important consideration to me. One question to ask when voting. If this ride were at my home park and I had ridden it several times, would it still be fun?

March 26, 2009 at 3:15 PM · Raul Writes: "Of course, MIB does have a neat, giant bug head.:)"

I Respond: Which of course is in keeping with the theme and licensed property -- whereas Indiana Jones is really just a ride about archeology that doesn't use the main character for anything other than its marketing media.

Side Note: The Post before Raul makes Indy out to be an antiquated dark ride that Disney has failed to keep up.

Niiiiiice. ;o)

March 26, 2009 at 3:18 PM · Two excellent match-ups today! I've loved watching the lead flip in the Sheikra/Soarin' and the Indy/MIB match-ups. I think I've seen the lead change at least 2 or 3 times for both of these pairings.
March 26, 2009 at 5:20 PM · Derek, you and I are saying the same thing, really.

From my viewpoint, there is such a dearth of good narrative rides in my immediate vicinity (Silver Dollar City is about it for theming) that I never grow tired of the Disney/Universal classics. But your point is a good one....and like I said before, if I lived just outside of Orlando and could visit whenever I wanted, would my feelings change? Probably. I would still appreciate the quality, cleanliness, and aesthetic value of a Disney/Universal park, but the stories would grow old over time and some attractions I look forward to visiting now would become less significant to me in the future.

Still, I can't see myself ever getting tired of attractions like Spider-Man, Tower of Terror, The Mummy, or Expedition Everest (when the Yeti is moving). They are what I consider great narrative attractions.

Conversely, midway rides I used to love as a kid like bumper cars, scramblers, roundups, and wave swingers are so passe that I skip them on every amusement park visit. In fact I detest them.

Coasters are a different breed as you suggest. Those thrills really don't get old, at least not on the good coasters. A 300 ft drop is always going to be thrilling, regardless of the number of times you ride it. I might start to get a little more critical of things like braking, smoothness, etc, but the ride will still be fun.

Ultimately this tournament proves one thing, for the most part anyway, great attractions stay great. Regardless of theming, speed, effects, inversions, or drops. When we get to the final four, I think everyone will agree that the contestants are attractions that everyone would be proud to have in their home parks.

And, Robert:

"Looks like you've been missing a lot of work lately."

"I wouldn't say I've been missing it, Bob."

March 26, 2009 at 3:43 PM · This is like watching a train wreck. No way in hell should Indy be even close to MIB. Indy was great when it opened back in 95 but come on people. I plead with you don't vote for Indy just because it's a Disney ride. MIB is one of the most interactive, innovative, exciting and don't forget fun rides to ever be created. This shouldn't even be close.

I grew up, like a lot of us, going to Disney 2-3 times a year. I love that place, but watching this tourney and the mindless Disney dorks with their pin collections, Snow globe museum in the spare bedrooms, bring back Horizons websites, and online loser meet and greats in the parks is starting to make me want to go get Walt's frozen head and place it on the top of the light house at IOA.

March 26, 2009 at 4:01 PM · MIB needs some more love. Indy is a pretty god dark ride, especially since it has different outcomes, but MIB is light years beyond any shooting gallary dark ride in the world, and I could easily ride it over 100 times straight.
March 26, 2009 at 4:27 PM · MIB vs. Indy is a real barn burner! One vote between 'em!
March 26, 2009 at 4:40 PM · Robert, you should put a health warning before this tournament. The lead changes between Sheikra/Soarin' and Indy/MIB are giving me whiplash.
March 26, 2009 at 4:53 PM · No Robert you shouldn't put a health warning because ...

...okay, I only wrote that because I now have this impulse to contracdict anything Raul posts.

I need help.

March 26, 2009 at 5:06 PM · For me the first tie was easy, Millennium Force takes it.

Soarin' Vs SheiKra I went for SheiKra. I love both attractions but after I've waited a stupid amount of time for Soarin' I wouldn't dream of getting back in line for another ride, SheiKra on the other hand I would.

Expedition Everest Vs. RNRC I went for EE. Expedition Everest has to be the best themed coaster on earth, with or without Yeti, it beats RNRC hands down. On another day, against another attraction EE may have gone out due to the Yeti being down but this is simply not that day.

Indy Vs. MIB I went for Indy. It may be my Disney bias but I just find Indy the more fn attraction, a true classic, if that's the right word for an attraction opened in 1995.

March 26, 2009 at 5:16 PM · *Sigh*. I just want my lunging Yeti back. Curses, foiled again.

I'll show you. I'll show you all!


March 26, 2009 at 5:20 PM · I find it interesting that the MIB/Indiana poll has almost more than 200 votes than the MF/Magnum poll. And in the MIB/Indiana poll, Indiana has a slight lead. Do I detect Disney fans coming out to support their ride?
March 26, 2009 at 5:37 PM · I think you do Mike. In fact, I have my suspicions that some voters of the cheese loving variety are going to the trouble of casting more than one vote. Obviously that's just speculation, but since thinking doesn't cost anything....
March 26, 2009 at 6:05 PM · I am all for phoning friends and getting them to vote, but you need more than one IP to cast more than one vote from a single PC. You think folks are going to the trouble to drive around town hijacking other peoples wireless accounts just to vote for a ride?

Wow....I hope not. That would be beyond pathetic.

March 26, 2009 at 6:25 PM · As one who runs a CP fan site, I'm all for promoting the tournament to support CP rides, but I feel people should make up their own mind about the best rides.
March 26, 2009 at 6:38 PM · Men in Black is like no other. The best ride that I have ever experienced.
March 26, 2009 at 6:52 PM · West Coast REPRESENTS!

MIB opens up a small lead!

March 26, 2009 at 7:06 PM · We're putting cover pages on all out-going TPI reports ... did ya get the memo?

Either the tournament has a different crowd this year or the crowd is being influenced by the comments. There is no way in hell a new Disney ride (Soarin') would have lost to a Busch coaster last year. Likewise for a classic Disney dark ride (Indy) losing to a Universal dark ride.

March 26, 2009 at 7:09 PM · Joshua,

I don't care what ANYONE says about how groovy the Indy effects are -- as far as being a PIONEER in guest interaction, 'Men In Black' is MORE THAN WORTHY of Haunted Mansion status.

It is DESTINED to be regarded as a theme park classic.


March 26, 2009 at 8:02 PM · I haven't commented on anything other than Everest and Dance Club Yeti today, but for the other competitions, I went with:

Millennium Force

I too am a little surprised about both Soarin' and Indy falling. Shiekra is fine, but Griffon is better, and Soarin' is breezy, fun, and a real crowd-pleaser for all ages.

And as I said in the last round, I just don't get it with MIB. The theme is well represented, the effects are top notch, but I missed all the fun. We went last in 2007 and looking back, I still remember thinking that MIB wasn't even as fun as Buzz Lightyear, for whatever reason. As I recall, it was one of the most disappointing attractions of my 2007 trip - something I looked forward to quite a bit, but only rode once despite very short lines and plenty of time to explore. Not even my boys were interested in riding again. We simply must not have been in the mood for another dark shooter. I can't wait to try it again when I revisit Orlando next year....

....even so, 600+ votes in the Indy VS MIB contest (100+ more than the next closest contest)....something smells fishy....Robert, are you allowing Aliens to vote in this tournament?

March 26, 2009 at 7:27 PM · Men In Black is so much better in every way than the whip and hat show. It's a total concept from the pavillion to the gift shop. Just not a thing missing. And it's rich in detail for those of us who are looking for gaffs. You won't find any. It just rocks.
March 26, 2009 at 9:15 PM · Allow me to say that the referral logs for today's votes are very, very interesting.

Some interested parties have taken note, let's put it that way. People are voting in the races where they have horse, and not in the others. Which is fine.

Again, great comments today, everyone. Looking forward to tomorrow's, as well. Let's keep this going!

March 26, 2009 at 9:16 PM · Indiana Jones is making a last minute surge. Come on baby you can do it!

Wait! Soarin' has overtaken Sheikra! Noooooo!

This whole thing is exhausting. I am going to bed.

March 26, 2009 at 9:46 PM · It was I that made the anonymous comment re:lost jobs. Sorry, I thought I was logged in.

If extensive repairs to an attraction are performed, where will the money for those repairs come from? It will likely be paid from mostly from dedicated rehab funds, but some money will be saved from the labor part of the ledger as well. Disney's been laying off everyone from Managers to it's Master Sommelier. Do you think that every Cast Members from a shuttered attraction would be saved from that cost cutting measure? In better times, I'd say yes, but with the current budget crisis, I'd expect Disney to tighten it's belt.

Some may be able to transfer to other attractions, but I doubt everyone would able to do the that.

March 26, 2009 at 10:14 PM · About my previous comment about casting votes...I did a couple of little experiments to test my theory. As it turns out, it's definitely not as hard as one might think, and not out of the realm of possibility that people are casting more than one ballot. Not saying that it's happening, but since thinking is free, and I had some time to kill....It would be a bit on the pathetic side if this were happening, but the world is sometimes a pathetic place.

It just seems strange that random, casual voters, or even those who visit frequently would show up to the site and only vote for one matchup, which happened to be the closest of the evening.

March 26, 2009 at 11:37 PM · What an upset! MIB takes Indy. And Soarin' makes a comeback.

Despite that I gambled on Indy being in the final four, I'm quite happy with the results.

So I only have two left in the final four:


Splash and Indy, two classics, got eliminated. Madness!

March 27, 2009 at 12:38 AM · Aaaaand as usual, the Disney fanboys sweep in at the last minute to stack the vote. Enjoy your broken-down ride!
March 27, 2009 at 3:08 AM · The thing that stinks is I voted 175 times for RnRC, and it still got whipped. I sure picked the wrong attraction to unseat a great ride like Everest.

You all can take your stationary Yeti and stick......well, you know!


March 27, 2009 at 5:23 AM · Are you seeing the numbers on Indy vs. MIB?!!!!!
March 27, 2009 at 6:31 AM · Come on MIB, 21 votes in the last 20 min. I hope todays matchups are as heated.
March 27, 2009 at 7:08 AM · Down goes Indy!

Down goes Indy!

March 27, 2009 at 7:31 AM · FRAUD! I call voter FRAUD on the MIB vs Indy race :)
March 27, 2009 at 11:22 AM · With over 200 more votes for MIB vs. Indy than the next closest race (which probably also had shill voting), it's obvious there's something fishy going on. Only registered users should vote. Without that guarantee of integrity, there's not much point in further voting.
March 27, 2009 at 4:36 PM · "Sore Losers!" I call "Sore Losers!" in the Indy vs. MIB match-up!

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