2012 Best Attraction Tournament: Best Theme Park Playground?

January 10, 2012, 7:55 AM · Sick of waiting in lines? Looking for something more fun that sitting around watching shows and fake animals all day? (I kid, TH, I kid.) Then get yourself over to one of these top-rated theme park playgrounds.

We're looking to pick the best of the best in today's vote in the 2012 Theme Park Insider Best Attraction Tournament. Vote for the playground that best isolates you from the rest of the park, providing a unique, immersive environment that really engages your imagination. And one that's got a ton of neat stuff to play on and with, too. The winner in this vote should be someplace where you can run away and play for hours and never feel bored.

Here are your nominees, based on Theme Park Insider readers' ratings. (Note that I've made some changes since I first posted the brackets, due to me initially miscategorizing a couple attractions in the listings. Sorry.) The vote will be open for 24 hours. If you don't have a favorite already, please click through to the attraction descriptions and reader reviews, or read the comments below. If you do have a favorite, feel free to campaign in the comments and to drum up votes on Facebook and Twitter.

Camp Jurassic - at Universal's Islands of Adventure

Camp Jurassic

Curious George Goes to Town - at Universal Studios Florida

Curious George Goes to Town

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure - at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure

Me Ship, The Olive - at Universal's Islands of Adventure

Me Ship, The Olive

Tom Sawyer Island - Your best version is at Tokyo Disneyland, which remains the only of the three versions not to be substantially altered through closures and/or a pirate overlay. (But if you want to vote for TSI because of the pirate overlay at Disneyland, anyway, have at it.)

Tom Sawyer Island

Tomorrow: We've got our first roller coaster vote of the tournament, as we pick the Best Bolliger & Mabillard Mega/Giga Coaster.

Replies (15)

January 10, 2012 at 8:02 AM · Tough choice between Tom Sawyer and Camp Jurassic on this one.

But I had to go with Jurassic due to its easier to reach location, and the volcanic caverns are a hidden gem I only found for the first time in October.

January 10, 2012 at 8:03 AM · An early congratulations to Tom Sawyer Island for its inevitable win.

I voted for Honey, I Shrunk The Kids, though. Such a neat little playground. Used to run around it when I was a kid, was a ton of fun.

January 10, 2012 at 8:09 AM · Definitely Camp Jurassic.

I was just recently introduced to it and it is just so much fun. Great place to scare friends and play hide and seek. :)

January 10, 2012 at 8:29 AM · I wish the new ropes course style playground at Dollywood had of ended up on this list. It is by far the coolest playground I have ever seen. But since it isn't on here I voted for Tom Sawyer's Island. I have such fond memories of playing there as a kid. And now, as an adult, its fun to go over and soak in the quiet "forest" in the midst of so much activity in the MK.
January 10, 2012 at 8:37 AM · If I had six options in a vote, Dollywood's Adventure Mountain would have been in easily. That was one of the closest calls in setting up the tournament.
January 10, 2012 at 9:00 AM · I really love the Curious George goes to town play area. Its a great escape from the Florida heat during the summer and then in the winter, what is more fun then going into a room and shooting dozens of children with soft foam balls!
January 10, 2012 at 9:08 AM · Never been to any of these, but I voted for Popeye, as a fan and the decor looked interesting. Runner-up would be Jurassic.

Looking forward to tomorrow's vote..that's more my "speed"..pun definitely intended.

January 10, 2012 at 9:43 AM · I like Tom Sawyers Island, but I love Camp Jurassic. It packs a bigger punch in a smaller space.
January 10, 2012 at 10:27 AM · I just wanted to say - Roll Tide....!
And TS...
January 10, 2012 at 11:42 AM · Yesterday I get to shill for my WDW MK alma mater and today I get to cheer on Mr. Nile's WDW MK alma mater.


January 10, 2012 at 11:51 AM · I also think it comes down to Camp Jurassic and Tom Sawyer Island which are both excellent playgrounds in their own right. However, the nod goes to TSI as it has the more immersive environment - I always feel as if I have been transported to a different place whenever I visit. Furthermore, if you can experience the island before or after most of the crowds, you'll have a great time just running free and exploring. The attention to detail is commendable and the maze of caves ensures your kids will want to stay in this elaborate playground for as long as you will allow. I do wish there were alternate ways onto the island besides that raft....seems like it is never ready to leave when you are! Still, minor complaints for a fine and rare, slow-down-and-smell-the-roses area in a packed Magic Kingdom park.
January 10, 2012 at 12:34 PM · It would either for me be TSI or Camp Jurassic, but I chose TSi, as it's been 7 years since I was at CJ, and I remember getting lost O.O
January 10, 2012 at 12:46 PM · Never been on any of these, but I voted for TSI, if only because of Robert.

So right, my friend. Roll Tide!

January 10, 2012 at 8:29 PM · As much as I love TS, I had to base my vote on what my kids played at the most on our vacation to WDW a month ago. Amazingly, the place they loved playing at that we had to drag them out of was...you won't believe it....Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie set. I know. The shock is something I am still suffering from. They haven't even seen the movie! But yet, they thought it was the greatest playground ever. FYI they are two boys ages 7 and 4 years of age. Who would have thought this would be the place they would whine about having to leave?
January 11, 2012 at 9:51 AM · Amanda, I have a 4 year old who talks about the Honey I Shrunk the Kids play area so much that you would think that when we went to Florida, that is all she visited. I assure people she did other things on our vacation. She just loves it so much. She has no idea that it is based on a movie either.

I printed out a nice photo and framed it of her sitting on the giant ant. It is hanging in my daughters room....she insisted that is where it had to go!

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