2012 Best Attraction Tournament: Best Stunt Show?

February 3, 2012, 9:02 AM · Please do not try duplicating today's 2012 Theme Park Insider Tournament blog post at home - it's for Best Stunt Show, and we must leave that to the professionals, right? :^)

We're looking for a champion in this category that delivers exhilarating stunts, an engaging show and that leaves you marveling about what you saw for hours afterward.

And, by the way, after yesterday, I'm wondering if anyone actually reads what I write between the headline and the first photo in these posts. So if you are reading this, let's have some fun. Please post the word "varmints" to either the site or the Theme Park Insider Facebook page sometime in the next day or two. Bonus points for being extra creative in how you work it in. You will have my undying gratitude.

Now let's cut to the chase. Literally.

High-Dive Theater - at Holiday World

High-Dive Theater

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular - at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular

Lights! Motors! Action! - at Disney's Hollywood Studios and Walt Disney Studios Paris

Lights! Motors! Action!

Waterworld - at Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Singapore and Universal Studios Japan


On Sunday: Universal's continuing its emerging tradition of debuting theme park commercials on Super Bowl Sunday. This year, Universal's running a 30-second spot (here's a snippet) during the final hour of the Super Bowl pregame show, to promote the upcoming Transformers: The Ride 3D at Universal Studios Hollywood.

On Monday: The Tournament returns, and we'll pick the best animal exhibit.

Replies (39)

February 3, 2012 at 9:11 AM · Varmints. Happy, Robert? :)

I've only seen the HW show and voted for that. It was almost 5 years ago, but I imagine it hasn't changed much. I always liked diving shows, and I wish Great Adventure would bring theirs back regularly.

February 3, 2012 at 9:16 AM · Now these are my favorite 3D shows. ;^)
February 3, 2012 at 9:19 AM · I can't comment on the dive show as I haven't seen it but I have seen the other three and I can kind of guess what the problem with the dive show is going to be - and it's the same problem that Indiana and Cars have, namely that the darned varmints are just too slow in their dang pace....

By which I mean that whilst the stunts were great in Cars and Indiana there was an awful lot of 'inbetween' stuff - explianing what was going to happen, what had just happened, how it was going to happen, and so on. The dive show is inevitably going to be lots of padding with a few brief seconds of spectacular action too. Waterworld however has a plot and whilst it's a bit cheesy it does at least mean that there's pretty much something going on all the time. For that reason I voted Waterworld. Oh, and the plane is just awesome!

February 3, 2012 at 9:27 AM · I voted LMA, due to great stunts and a good amount. IJ focuses too much on casting, and I was bored to death in it.
February 3, 2012 at 9:36 AM · I went with Indiana Jones because of the reenactment of the classic scenes from the movie. Plus, there is the audience participation element which makes those brave enough to volunteer feel like part of a movie.

The only problem with the show is that it's been around so long that VARMINTS are probably taking over the theatre.

February 3, 2012 at 9:39 AM · Those Universal varmints in Singapore and Japan aren't getting my vote for staging a stuntshow based on a terrible movie that tanked at the box-office way back in 1995! The Indiana Jones stuntshow is based on my favorite movie of all time, but when I saw it in the Florida July heat under that pavilion that trapped the heat in a steaming bowl of sweaty tourists, I got heat sick as the explosions sent a blistering taste of Hell into the crowd. Cars and pyro aren't my thing, so I'll have to go for the old school Holiday World Dive Show where a man will set himself on fire and dive into a pool for your family's entertainment.
February 3, 2012 at 9:40 AM · Thanks for the nomination! Our show, by the way, is called "Dive!"

Hope we can make a splash in the rankings. :)


February 3, 2012 at 9:42 AM · I unfortunately missed the chance to vote in the last few categories this week as the varmints I work for have kept me too busy to check the site.

Does a show like Blue Horizons at Sea World not qualify? I consider it a stunt show but maybe it fits better into a different category that we haven't seen yet. At any rate I went with Waterworld.

February 3, 2012 at 9:53 AM · LMA for me, though it was tough seeing as how I was actually picked once for Indiana Jones, which continues to be a highlight of discussion. I was a STAR!

Ok, maybe not.

Also, varmints!

February 3, 2012 at 9:55 AM · I would vote for indiana jones, BUT I much rather have the attraction in its place from disneyland, sooooooo Splash it is. Got to support my family owned operations for this one. Plus there's just something right with the world when your watching a great show with a FREE pop in your hand :)
February 3, 2012 at 10:11 AM · The DIVE show at Holiday World is very entertaining and very active. There is almost always someone doing something amazing, right up to the fiery finish. However, as great of a show as it is, it doesn't have the polish or grandeur of the Disney and Universal offerings. My vote today is for LMA at DHS, a show that, IMHO, never gets old.
February 3, 2012 at 10:35 AM · Aaaaand...HERE COMES DIVE!

The Power of Paula :)

February 3, 2012 at 10:35 AM · Ugh. Once again, I'm sure most people haven't seen Water World. IMHO it blows away Lights! Motors! Action! in so many ways. Yes, the cars do a ballet-ish routine, and cars do jump around in spectacular ways in true 3D. But it's trying to simulate a movie shoot, which is something I didn't like in the Indiana Jones stunt show. But that's just my preference. Water World is non-stop action with few breaks in between "acts."

Don't get me wrong, I love LMA, but I still think Water World is losing out because most people haven't been to USH/ love their parks.

February 3, 2012 at 10:38 AM · I've seen the shows except for holiday world. I voted for IJ as I like these shows when you can have audience participation. It is great to watch but to play with the varmints is much more fun. I got to be the Marilyn Monroe look a like.
February 3, 2012 at 10:45 AM · I miss the sinbad show at IOA. In my opinion a stunt show.
Cars and Indy are ok and try to show how a movie is made. Being on a set myself more then I like I know how boring it is and even compressed it´s boring to watch these shows. I think Disney Studios should reimagine their park because it´s not a working studio and they try to be something that it´s not.
I haven´t seen the Waterworld show in person but on video and it had a story, a great set and awesome stunts. The movie was terrible but I don´t need to like a movie or a character to like a ride or show in a themepark.
I haven´t seen High-Dive Theater at all but it feels more of a circus act and I just don´t like that and get nervous by seeing someone doing something insanely dangerous and have the show be made around that danger.
February 3, 2012 at 10:50 AM · Varmints is a word that sounds very similar to vomit, which is something that most regular readers did yesterday after being forced to read questions that had already been answered in the description of the category.
February 3, 2012 at 11:38 AM · Have to go with Lights, Motors, Action. Not only is it the best show of this bunch, but my daughter was selected to "drive" the car.
February 3, 2012 at 11:59 AM · Those Vermits better give me a spot in USJ next year!
February 3, 2012 at 12:16 PM · Robert, the relationship between the blog narrative and your readers, errr I mean, voters seems to be the same relationship I have between my emails and the faculty, staff and students I serve. If I could just get back all the time I spend answering things that are in the email to which they are responding, perhaps I wouldn't be buried alive at work all time. I sometimes wonder if those varmints at that unnamed university (used loosely) in Kansas (i.e., the University of Missouri's long-term chief rival) have somehow accidentally let a smart one enroll there who has hacked our email system, takes out my information so the person at the other end has to ask, then puts it back as the emails come back to me. [Boy, that was off-track to work in varmints...]

L!M!A! got my vote. I've felt since day one that Indiana Jones has the worst pacing of any live stunt show how I've ever seen. Waterworld is kinda gray in my memory as it has been so long since I've seen it so I may be doing it an injustice and as much as I love Holiday World, it's for their awesome staff, cleanliness, service, great prices and proving that the little guys can compete in this industry. Just not so much for their shows.

February 3, 2012 at 12:25 PM · Indiana Jones got my vote because of how the cast treated my own varmints *aka my children* after the show. They took them on the stage, put Indy's hat on them, posed for pictures, and talked to them for a long time. Anyone who can patiently stand and talk to a 7 year old varmint and a 4 year old varmint that are all hyped up on Disney World, definitely deserves my vote.
February 3, 2012 at 1:52 PM · I haven't seen the dive show, but I definitely enjoyed Water World the most of the remaining three. Good story and great live action.
February 3, 2012 at 1:53 PM · I haven't seen the dive show, but I definitely enjoyed Water World the most of the remaining three. Good story and great live action.
February 3, 2012 at 1:56 PM · Oh, varmints! I posted it twice!
February 3, 2012 at 2:02 PM · Voted for Light Motors Action.
Although I do like the Indiana Jones show,
Remembering Crystal Skull
Makes me avoid all things Indy altogether.
I haven't seen High Dive Theater but if
The picture is all there is then it
Seems that there should be another choice.

Next up Robert asks that comments for parks in Japan be in Haiku form.

February 3, 2012 at 2:20 PM · Why the lack of love for waterworld? Yes, its old but unlike these others, it has a complete story line and many shocking awe inspiring moments. Who can forget the scaffolding being bombed into the water or the incredible scene where the plane flys right into the arena. Not to mention the fire dive final and the great preshow where crowd sections compete to soak each other and random people get squirted walking into the area. To me it really is a clasic and holds up as the best, most complete, stunt show experience I have ever seen.
February 3, 2012 at 4:14 PM · I'm going with Waterworld(And I haven't even seen it). Both Indy and LMA are great shows, but I've heard rave reviews about USH's stunt show so it gets my vote. As for Monday, I will be thrilled to vote for my favorite varmints.
February 3, 2012 at 5:55 PM · In Indiana Jones, the rolling boulder gathers no varmints, thus my vote.
February 3, 2012 at 5:59 PM · PS I did not post the word "varmints" above because it would have ruined the poetry I worked so hard to achieve in my post. Therefore, I boldly scribe "varmints" here for the edification of low brow posters everywhere! ;)
February 3, 2012 at 6:22 PM · I haven't seen Dive or LMA, and only saw IJA n WW once each. As I recall, no competion. The only thing I liked better about Indy is you could sit while watchin.

BTW, I went out for a beer last night. The pretzels and nuts were good, but the var mints were da bestest!

February 3, 2012 at 8:01 PM · Who's the varmint who left _______ (insert ubiquitous favorite attraction) out of this poll?
February 3, 2012 at 11:46 PM · If there is no way to see the current vote standings without voting, would someone want to buy my vote?..... lol (just kidding.... although I am not oppose to being told which is the best by those of you with persuasive arguments as to who you think should win in this category). I am just not familiar with any of these nominees.... I have not seen any of these shows so I really don't want to cast a vote, but I'd like to see where the votes are at.....
February 4, 2012 at 5:21 AM · Just moved from LA to Orlando, so I've seen them all except for "Dive" (well, not all the Waterworlds). I'm impressed by all the shows, but I love the varmits at Waterworld. Crazy action, story, comedy, and a spectacular fire dive. Nuthin like it. Beats the movie within 90 seconds.
February 4, 2012 at 7:12 AM · yea Mike me too. i voted for Holiday Worlds Dive Show as well.
The show your refering to to at Great Adventure was the "Aqua Spectacle". The Arena sits 3,500 guests. The pool is 80 feet in diameter. And holds 430,00 gallons of salt water.
The show openned with the "Aqua Maniacs" a group of 10 porfessional divers. doing stunts as clowns in period swimwear. Which was followed by the Doliphin Show . it contained 10 atlantic bottle nose dolphins trainned by the famous trainner Don Jacobs.He trainned "Flipper for T.V. and the movies. And was billed as the largest trainned show of its kind in the world.
This was folowed by the the dive from the 1oo ft. Platform into the pool by "World Target High Dive Champion Rick White. And Pat Sucher. Both men were on the U.S. Alcaplco Cliff Diving Team. But the show was long runnung time was approx.50 mins. And was preformed at 1O:30,12:15,3:00,5:00 and 7:oo. Thur out the first 2 years the park was open.
February 4, 2012 at 7:43 AM · Lots of votes, but I gotta say that I enjoy the classic..Indiana Jones!
February 4, 2012 at 10:33 AM · Even though waterworld(& the movie wasn't that great) is old it surely has everything an action stunt show could need. there is comedy before and throughout the show, jet ski tricks and chase scenes, gun fire, explosives, awesome bad guy, fire diver, oh yeah and a sea plane which is launched into the arena at the end. Also you "may" get wet! what an I saying you will get wet.LOL
February 4, 2012 at 12:49 PM · David, you scare me.
February 4, 2012 at 3:05 PM · Waterworld; I love how Universal can turn a terrible movie into an awesome stunt show.
February 4, 2012 at 5:53 PM · I'm not on Facebook, but I just want to say, 'VARMITS'!
February 4, 2012 at 5:55 PM · Drat, said it wrong. Should have been 'varMINTS'. Robert, you must be referring not to small rascally animals, but to the new line of animal breath fresheners.

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