2010 Best Theme Park Attraction: The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man vs. Pirates of the Caribbean

March 31, 2010, 10:51 AM · It's time to pick the second finalist in the Best Themed Ride bracket of the 2010 Best Theme Park Attraction Tournament.

You can click the links or pictures below for a full description of each ride, along with comments from other Theme Park Insider readers. Two notes: We're voting on the Disneyland version of Pirates here, not the Orlando one. And I should note that Spider-Man is the last non-Disney attraction standing outside the roller coaster bracket. Will it be a Disney sweep today?

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

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man


5. Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirates of the Caribbean

Please tell us in the comments why you voted the way you did.

Wanna know the best way to keep up with the tournament, so you never miss a vote?

Tomorrow, we crown the winners of the Best Roller Coaster, Best Themed Ride, Best Theme Park Movie and Best Theme Park Live Show titles!

Replies (40)

March 31, 2010 at 10:56 AM · Spidey is king. Pirates is a classic attraction that has stood the test of time. PotC is one of my favorite rides but Spidey continues to impress me, 10 years after its opening. This will be a fun match up to watch.
March 31, 2010 at 10:59 AM · I had to go with Pirates. I love Spidey, as do most who ride it, but I love Pirates that little bit more. They're two attractions that are incredibly hard to separate, this is going to be a good one.
March 31, 2010 at 11:01 AM · Another tough call Spidey is still the best theme park attraction out there. Pirates is still a great attracion.
March 31, 2010 at 11:01 AM · I'll never understand how sentimentality trumps innovation.

Pirates is a classic. No doubt. But Spiderman is far and away the better attraction.

March 31, 2010 at 11:02 AM · yeah pirates is a classic, but come on people its up against the most innovative, high tech ride ever built, spidey all the way.
March 31, 2010 at 11:02 AM · I love Pirates, esp. the original version (which is far better than the WDW version.) But, Spidey is the same sort of groundbreaking attraction now that Pirates was when it opened, nothing is even close to the technological excellence of Spidey.

I voted for Spidey, it's the best ride in any themepark.

March 31, 2010 at 11:04 AM · I knew today was going to be tough!

Gotta go with Pirates! Yo Ho! Yo Ho!

It is just more memorable to me!

March 31, 2010 at 11:06 AM · I mean, WALT would have been more impressed with Spider Man!
March 31, 2010 at 11:06 AM · wow it is so close!!!! i had to bring it down to which one can i ride the most without getting bored...theres a bit more of a thrill and uniqueness with spidey so i had to go against my fav on this one....one vote for spidey!
March 31, 2010 at 11:10 AM · I had to go with Pirates. 3D doesn't work for everyone unfortunately. I'm fine, but I have a friend who's legally blind in one eye. And there are some people who can't wear 3D glasses over their prescription ones.

Plus I'm not sold on 3D movies or attractions. They have their place, but I prefer solid AA's that move in actual physical space and regular non-3D cinema... with Alice and Clash, 3D doesn't add anything to it... other than the extra money you spend.

I actually prefer how Pirates doesn't have a ridiculous amount of exposition like some others do... like the Mummy. Pirates lets you imagine what is going on in each scene... why a character is doing what they're doing. Rather than being force fed the story, even with the new additions, Pirates lets your imagination work even if you haven't seen the movies.

I'm not saying that Spidey is a bad ride at all... it's phenomenal. But when it comes down to it... 40 years down the road, I'd rather ride Pirates than Spidey.

March 31, 2010 at 11:14 AM · I think the reason why Disney is either trumping or competing is because it is a ride that stays in your mind for years. I mean, Yo Ho! Yo Ho! is a catchy tune and has very memorable scenes. I mean the jail? the auctioneer? the man in the well? the woman chasing the pirate with a broom? all genius!

That is not saying Spiderman is a terrible ride, but quite the opposite, its probably Universal's crowning achievement in dark rides. Walt Disney would have probably tried to get it at WDW first or would tell the Imagineers to push the envelope on the concept. So would Walt like Spiderman? You bet!

Also, lets not forget that some of us have a minor bias on certain companies rides due to our past and present associations (me included).

As the votes are showing, this is a super hard pick to make because this is the ultimate Disney vs. Universal showdown where we have the strongest of both!

Please also remember, this is the DL version, NOT WDW. Its much longer and better themed!

March 31, 2010 at 11:21 AM · No one is debating the merit of these two top notch attractions - they are both amazing. However, I agree with the previous poster who said even Walt would have like Spider-Man better...

Now, if you include the Blue Bayou as part of the attraction, then PotC wins hands-down!

W/out the Blue Bayou, I voted for Spider-Man, my all time favorite theme park attraction.

March 31, 2010 at 12:45 PM · I'm fine with either going all the way. They're both flagship attractions that deserve it. I prefer themed attractions over coasters anyday.
March 31, 2010 at 11:29 AM · This was a tough call, but I went with Spidey for the following reasons:

I'd love to see another Spidey-Tower match-up, just like the first tournament.

Spiderman has yet to be named the Best Theme Park Attraction in America, a title it deserved the year it premiered. With attractions like Transformers and Harry Potter debuting soon, this may be Spidey's last chance.

In terms of the actual attraction, I like Pirates better. The blissfulness of the bayou scene, the eeriness of the skeleton pirates, the hilarity in the auction scene - they are all great. However, I have a problem with the way the attraction is run. It puts people through at an amazing rate, but I find that the boats always pileup before the jail scene. This is aggravating, as you end up sitting almost stationary for 5-10 minutes, listening to the Pirates repeat the same lines over and over. For me, it takes a lot out of the attraction.

Spiderman for the win. QED.

March 31, 2010 at 11:46 AM · comeback by pirates, not good.
March 31, 2010 at 12:25 PM · Vote surge for Pirates (and for Mansion in that vote) at around noon PT was the result of Disney fan sites on Facebook posting the link. It was simply GOTV, no hanky-panky. Universal fans, ball's in your court.
March 31, 2010 at 1:20 PM · Pirates will win.
March 31, 2010 at 2:09 PM · There was no hanky panky. I rallied the support of my fellow Disney fans via devoted (if not cult like) fan pages and my contacts. I am a former CP and about to go back, and whenever you have a ride that has a fan website like doombuggies devoted to it, or three (soon to be four) highly popular films based off of it, I think those rides will find support. Both Pirates and Haunted Mansion have been around 40 years plus and still get more riders than ToT and Spiderman. They deserve the title.
March 31, 2010 at 2:32 PM · Adam, if I may play Devil's Advocate, Spider-Man had 3 movies too (Two decent ones and one terrible one) And HM had a horrible one. And I will bite my tongue about the Pirates sequels. =)

But I agree, Pirates and HM have huge fan followings. I mean, I love Spider-Man (especially the Ultimate Spider-Man version) and his character has been around what seems like forever...

There's something to be said about a theme park attraction that wasn't spawned through an existing movie, comic, or tv show yet can have a ginormous fanbase.

March 31, 2010 at 3:31 PM · honestly, pirates bores me. I went on it a few months ago b/c I forgot how bad it was..I like something a little more than just sitting a boat and looking around at stuff..I could easily fall asleep on pirates..
March 31, 2010 at 3:50 PM · Brutally tough choice for me. Both attractions are among my all-time favorites. Both are immersive, clever, satisfying and thrilling experiences. I went with Pirates, but I'm sad to see Spidey losing in this matchup, anyway. Truly a great ride.
March 31, 2010 at 3:51 PM · I am a huge Spider-Man fan, and I think overall it is a better attraction than Pirates. However, there is no shame in losing to one of the greatest themed attractions of all time. I still think PotC is the best ride at Disneyland and after all these years, that fact alone should merit special rewards.

I just hope the Disney fans show up in large enough numbers to compete with the social media army of Busch Gardens or Holiday World when the time comes... right now, I don't think they have enough participation to do it.

It is a shame Universal did not come out to play this year. Spider-Man so deserves the mantle of Best Themed Attraction for at least one year as it really is the experience by which all modern themed attractions are judged.

March 31, 2010 at 3:57 PM · However great Pirates of the Caribbean is... come on!!! BEST THEME PARK ATTRACTION between the two is definitely Adventures of Spider-Man!

REALLY!!!-- get a crowd of people who've lived in a cave and have never visited a theme park... let alone ride an themed attraction... and I SWEAR those people will enjoy Spider-Man much more.

Yes, Pirates of the Caribbean is enjoyable, memorable, catchy, yadda yadda blah blah... but we're voting for the BEST THEME PARK ATTRACTION!!! And Spider-Man is also enjoyable, memorable, catchy yadda yadda blah blah AND innovative, intelligent, thrilling and MORE yadda yadda.

March 31, 2010 at 4:52 PM · Like some of the previous posters have said Spidey is the best theme park attraction, period. Forget about movies or nostalgia or anything else. Spidey gives the overall better theme park experience. Pirates is wonderful and great but Spidey has been king since '99. This website(and a bunch of others) had it as the top attraction for so many years for a reason. So a couple of Disney fan sites got involved and Pirates will more than likely move on in this tourney. But most of us know which one of the two truly delivers the best themed ride experience. It's a shame it came down to a Universal vs. Disney showdown, instead of focusing on the ride themeselves.
March 31, 2010 at 4:56 PM · Clearly TPI is being invaded by a horde of Johnny Depp fans.
March 31, 2010 at 4:59 PM · We'll see if they stick around, or just move along after claiming a win. (By the way, visitors, you are *all* warmly welcomed to stick around. We've got lots of fun stuff in store on ThemeParkInsider.com after the tournament's done.)
March 31, 2010 at 8:17 PM · Pirates is a great ride. Great storytelling, overall very timeless and exciting to say the least, but Spiderman is just... It's simply mindblowing. I'm VERYVERYVERY mad Spiderman lost. >:[
March 31, 2010 at 9:43 PM · 10 years from now, Pirates will still be a favorite, and Universal will be trying to figure out what to do with Spiderman. Spider-man is not a timeless attraction. The technology is already old. They already need to update the 3-d to the new digital 3d that doesn't have all of the ghosting.
March 31, 2010 at 10:31 PM · That;s what's fascinating about Pirates...it's one of the few rides where it realizes it doesn't need to tell a comprehensive story to be a great attraction. As others have said, I'm not a huge 3D fan. I think building physical sets, animatronics, etc., is much more challenging and makes for a better ride as there's always something new to see. With 3D movies, you're only seeing what they want you to see. The details are really lacking on rides that use 3D. Say what you want, but I truly believe Pirates and Haunted Mansion are the 2 greatest theme park attractions ever. Just because Spidey and ToT are more technically advanced doesn't make them better attractions. Technology does not a good attraction make. If it did, MILF would beat the majority attractions in this tournament...
March 31, 2010 at 10:47 PM · Let's also not forget it was a surge of Universal fans that pushed Revenge of the Mummy into the winning position last year. While it may be a great attraction, it is easily NOT the beat theme park attraction.
I also just realized Disney has 6 of the 8 attractions still left and is guaranteed to have 3 attractions in the final 4...that must be painful for all the Universal fanboys out there :)
April 1, 2010 at 3:43 AM · So... Spiderman and Tower lost.

Robert - this is all a sick April Fools Day joke, right? You've been building up this tournament just to arrive at this oh-so-hilarious conclusion, right?

April 1, 2010 at 3:57 AM · I have no issue with Disneyland's Pirates advancing. It is a truly great attraction and deserving of the mantle of Best. Personally, I think Spidey is the better attraction, but at this point we are splitting hairs.

Problem is, Disney brought about 375 votes to the table today to get this win, right? Holiday World and Busch easily doubled that amount in their last two contests. So unless some Disney fanboys are busy trying to mobilize the all-too-pensive Disney Army, this tournament will go to the winner of the upcoming Voyage vs. Apollo's Chariot contest. Which means for the first year in recent memory, the Theme Park Insider Best Attraction Tournament will be won by an unthemed attraction.

So stop counting your pins and princess photos, Disney Fanboys, and GOTV!

(Shhh, don't tell anyone, but this Disney Fanboy is secretly pulling for the underdog Voyage to win it all. So bring your army, as I will definitely be bringing mine!).

April 1, 2010 at 6:42 AM · I love spiderman, but im content with pirates winning. Its still a great, immersive ride that has continued to be my favorite dark ride at any disney park.
April 1, 2010 at 7:13 AM · GOTV is a bunch of nonsense when it comes to a tourney such as this. Good for Robert for getting all the traffic and unique hits, but it's a failed way of going about advancing competitors to the next round. People just blindly choosing because of allegiance to a park or attraction cheapens the whole spirit of things in my opinion. Ultimately this is for fun and not scientific and I get that. Still, I would like to see something like this set up, but closed off to the general public, and the attractions are voted on by a community of people who work in the industry and judge the match ups based on realistic criteria. As it stands now, each year the tourney devolves into a social networking contest, rather than a pure competition.
April 1, 2010 at 7:38 AM · double post, sorry
April 1, 2010 at 8:07 AM · There was really no social networking involved in this particular contest. Neither Disney nor Universal are doing anything... it is all just fans and fan loyalty.

Now, as for Busch and Holiday World... they are heavily involved in social media, which is why they are getting a larger voter turnout.

Still, all these attractions are top notch, so at the end of the day, unless something like Primeval Whirl (puh-lease!) were to win, aren't we pretty much just splitting hairs anyway?

April 1, 2010 at 8:43 AM · My only problem with closing a competition like this to the public is that it becomes very political just like the Grammys, Oscars, you name it. I don't want someone telling me that something's the best Attraction or Ride in America. If a good majority of fans on TPI vote for one ride, so be it. I do agree that fanboy mentality is bad though... a bad ride or show is a bad ride or show no matter which way you spin it. In no way should Heimlich's Chew Chew Train ever beat something like Waterworld. (I'm still disappointed that Waterworld lost early)

I LoL'ed at the "stop collecting your pins and vote Disney Fans" comment. It's true! I'm a Universal & Disney fan, but I've never wanted to collect pins and trade them in the way that the hardcore pin traders do. If I like the artwork on a pin, I might buy it. Other than that, they just stay attached to a backpack or cork board.

April 1, 2010 at 8:46 AM · A fan over here, going to other fan community social sites to mobilize other fans for the sole purpose of voting for a specific attraction and not to partake in an unbiased competition is a form of social networking. I'm no fan of it as it pertains to this scenario, but if you have the same attractions in the finals every year, that would get boring also, so it's a catch 22 really.

For the most part, the match ups have been tough to choose from this year, and I liked that. It's made for tougher choices when trying to decide what justifies your pick in a round. Sure there have been blowouts, but the days of Spiderman versus Dumbo are well behind us it seems. I've been torn many times this year, and took my time in deciding why I think an attraction deserved to advance. The same can not be said for people funneling in from ride/park specific sites who are sent here on a mission.

Primeval Whirl as well as all of the Dino-Rama disaster playset should be tactically nuked right off the Animal Kingdom map.

April 1, 2010 at 9:19 AM · Phil, you and I are in 100% agreement on your closing comment. Can we get the fans rallied around your point and send it as a petition to Disney?
April 1, 2010 at 11:38 AM · Absolutely James, now that would be using social networking for the good of ALL mankind :)

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