What are the most underrated theme park attractions in America?
Yesterday, we talked about the most overrated theme park attractions
in America. (And did you ever have plenty to say!)
So, predictably, I suppose, today let's take on the flip side: What are the most underrated theme park attractions in the country?
Here's my list. Again, these aren't my necessarily my favorite attraction, or the ones I think best in a park (though a few are). They're the rides and shows that I think don't get enough credit from the wider audience of theme park fans. And if I don't list a park, it's because either I haven't visited it in the park year or so, or if I did, I didn't consider any of its attractions to be especially underrated.
In some cases I mention an attraction here because of a single element or quality that I think too often overlooked. In other cases, the attraction presents a complete package, but for some reason, perhaps age or the presence of even better attractions nearby, people don't rave about it as much as they should.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg: Loch Ness Monster
This Arrow classic stands up better than just about any other coaster its age. Frankly, of the (now) four coasters at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, this remains my favorite ride.
Disney's Animal Kingdom: Finding Nemo - The Musical
This mix of puppetry, love actors and original music evokes the Broadway version of "The Lion King" and delivers what I think is the most delightful musical running in a theme park, anywhere. But, man, do they ever need to install more comfortable seats.
Disney's California Adventure: Monsters, Inc: Mike and Sulley to the Rescue
A classic dark ride, with a fun interactive twist at the end. Parks need more of these.
Disneyland: The Enchanted Tiki Room
See my article from last month on this gem.
This show is underrated mostly because I failed to list it on the site when it first opened. But it deserve fans' praise as an engaging, Broadway-quality musical with the best original song score in a theme park attraction.
Epcot: Impressions de France
Okay, you've heard this from me before.
Knott's Berry Farm: Mystery Lodge
The most "Disney"-like of Knott's attractions, this pre-dates the current, Cedar Fair regime and is a product of the same crew that produced "Impressions de France."
Legoland California: Fun Town Fire Academy
More than any theme park attraction I've experienced, Fun Town Fire Academy enables (even requires) families to work together, providing few minutes of good, bonding fun. For that reason, because family vacations are supposed to be about family time, this is my pick as the most underrated theme park attraction in America.
SeaWorld Orlando: Clyde and Seamore Take Pirate Island
I'm giving them this because of the pre-show mime. Yes, I am a bad person for writing this. But, c'mon, he is funny.
SeaWorld San Diego: Rocky Point Preserve
An engaging interactive experience, and the original SeaWorld park gets extra points for the lovably cute sea otters.
Six Flags Magic Mountain: Riddler's Revenge
No matter what I do when I visit Magic Mountain, I always make time for a ride on this B&M stand-up, and always end up enjoying it as much as any other coaster in the park. So why doesn't it get the attention as a top national coaster that others do?
Universal Studios Hollywood: Jurassic Park - The Ride
Hollywood's version of this Universal staple cranked up the soak factor a while back, making this an even more enjoyable splashfest. Still, it seems to me overshadowed by the Orlando version, which I don't enjoy as much.
Universal's Islands of Adventure: Flying Unicorn/Flight of the Hippogriff
This installation of a Vekoma Junior Coaster remains the best "family" coaster I've ridden, with just enough thrill to tempt a youngster, without so much as to turn them off coasters.
Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom: Tom Sawyer Island
I thought about giving this to Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor, but, c'mon, you know me by now, right?
Okay, let's see your lists. To the comments!
MK: Carosel of Progress
My vote for the ultimate in underrated attractions goes to Walt Disney: One Man's Dream. Far too many people miss this attraction when they're rushing to Toy Story Midway Mania and it's criminal not to see it on at least on visit to DHS.
I was going to be uncharacteristically snarky, but then Mr. Owen offered up 'Walt Disney: One Man's Dream.'
Most underrated is clearly this Web site…. Hahahhaa
Underrated attractions are more fun to think about.
One Man's Dream now on the DHS to-do list.
One Man's Dream is really nice because its a mini museam of sorts about Walt Disney, especially dealing with the parks. Personally, I think it should be at MK next to Tony's in Exhibition Hall.
The film shown at 'One Man's Dream' is exceptional if only because Walt narrates the entire production -- except a bit by Julie Andrews.
If anyone cares at all about Walt Disney and the history of the Disney theme parks, WALT DISNEY: ONE MAN'S DREAM is a must see. Walt put his life into Disneyland and his brother Roy did the same with Walt Disney World and this attraction gives one a glimpse of what they went through to build the entertainment empire that is Disney. Also a glimpse of what it took to build the greatest theme parks and entertainment resorts in the world.
I agree completely with Anthony's picks, especially Carousel of Progress. This has been a favorite of mine for nearly 25 years. Now though, I regret that I have been one who has rushed past Walt Disney: One Man's Dream, on the way to another attraction at DHS. I will make a point in visiting it next year.
Add my vote for Mystery Lodge, the best theme park show ever. Bob Roger's masterpiece was great when it opened as Spirit Lodge in Vancouver at Expo '86, and the Knott's version is even better.
One man's dream is a def. must do if you have never done it before. Plus every time I go back in there I learn something new. Always a must-do. I also want to throw Dinosaur into the ring. I know that it was on Robert's overrated list but I think it could use some loving, as i think that it is one of the must rides at Disney World.
"Entertainment at World Showcase (Mo'Rockin, Off Kilter, British Invasion, Candy Lady, Japanese Drums, World Showcase Players)"
I gotta agree with several others: Carousel of Progress is vastly underrated. It is a masterpiece that is often overlooked by the masses in search of their next three minute thrill and unlike so many other "rides" it has stood the test of time.
Agreed on the Wildcat at Cedar Point James. My underrated attraction at Silver Dollar City is Fire In The Hole, although I agree that the park as a whole is very underrated as well. Another underrated park...Six Flags Fiesta Texas.
I do think the jungle walks are the best at AK. Very underrated and some of the best Zoo scenes I have seen (very long too!)
The most underrated ride is at Hershey park the super dooper looper. even knowing it is old it is still great. No matter when I go there is hardly a line. This is a great first time loop coaster
Epcot-The American Adventure. The sets are spectacular. The music is great. I love this show. It really makes me feel like I'm a part of the scenes.
California Screamin' is somewhat underrated, because of its lack of theming. Yes the theming is minimal (it's a steel coaster made to look like an old fashioned wooden one) but it's also one of the best, smoothest, most thrilling and longest coasters I've ever braved in my life.
I have to agree with the person who gave a shout out to Club Cool at Epcot. It's rare to see anything at Walt Disney World that's free so Club Cool is great to grab something to drink and relax out of the sun for a while.
Here's my list of underated...
I think that INNOVENTIONS at Epcot is the most underrated attraction - people hurry by on their way to Soarin or Test Track. It was something for everyone - games, interactive experiences, the new Sum of all Thrills ride - interesting exhibits that really entertain but also have a great educational piece. The attraction even has it's own website www.innoventions.disney.com Very cool attraction and the lines for each experience are usually pretty short!
"One Man's Dream" is what I used to call my recharge station. Whenever I felt low as a CM, I went to the attraction to boost my pixie dust level.
Ok this picks are as bad as those for overrated. impressions, nemo musical and sawyer island? i just dont get these picks? nemo musical is just like the beauty and the beast musical. its only somewhat entertaining if you seen the movie first because only then you know whats going on. i watched impressions once, i have french heritage, but i was totally bored out of my mind. i agree with those who say carosuel of progress. its great because of its history but because it is also a great story. it shows the true meaning of what disney was all about
MK: Carosel of Progress
My list is sadly short, given how surprisingly few amusement parks I've been to. But I'll offer 'em up nevertheless, to at least make the appearance that I can call myself an enthusiast. I AM AN ENTHUSIAST! I'm just an enthusiast who doesn't make very much money. D:
Disney's Animal Kingdom: Finding Nemo - The Musical
These are my favorite underrated attractions from just a few of the parks I've visited. I hadn't heard much or anything (or negative things) about most of these rides before ridding, and was pleasently suprized. There are some great rides that I love that I do not list because I feel that they have recieved their due recognition. I feel that the following just aren't mentioned enough in general, and are listed in order from most underrated to least underated.
These are my favorite underrated attractions from just a few of the parks I've visited. I hadn't heard much or anything (or negative things) about most of these rides before ridding, and was pleasently suprized. There are some great rides that I love that I do not list because I feel that they have recieved their due recognition. I feel that the following just aren't mentioned enough in general, and are listed in order from most underrated to least underated (btw, I have only listed underated rides that are currently operating).
my vote for most underrated attraction goes to Epcot's "The American Adventure". The film is simply a fantastic visual experience and you'll be singing the score for weeks afterward. This is a must do for me every time we visit.
I have to agree with Riddler being underrated, it's my third favorite ride at MM behind Goliath and Tatsu. I think X2 gets so much attention that lots of very good rides at MM are ignored. I also have to say that Riddler was the most fun and least head banging stand up I've ever been on.
Is the Loch Ness Monster at Busch Gardens in Virginia the only looping coaster with 2 chain lift hills? I will say based on the video I have watched of it..... it does seem longer than the average looping arrow type coaster, and it is nice to get on a ride sometimes and not feel like you waited in line for something that is over so fast!
Just to add one that hasn't been mentioned: Roar at SFDK. Smoothest woodie I've ever been on. Makes it seem even faster. Whee n yahoo!
I agree with all of your selections. Having ridden The Loch Ness Monster since the year it was introduced, I was thrilled to see it at the top of your list.
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