2012 Best Attraction Tournament: Mickey's PhilharMagic vs. Soarin' Over California

March 14, 2012, 9:20 AM · Disney's It's Tough to Be a Bug! earlier this week claimed the first spot in the Best Theme Park Show semifinals of the 2012 Theme Park Insider Tournament. Now it's time for you to help select the second contestant to advance in this bracket. Here are your competitors:

Mickey's PhilharMagic - at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland, and Hong Kong Disneyland

Mickey's PhilharMagic

Soarin' Over California - at Disney's California Adventure and Epcot

Soarin' Over California

Tell us in the comments why you voted the way you did, and rally support for your favorite by linking to this post on Facebook and Twitter. Voting is open for 24 hours.

Thursday: Another biggie: 4. The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man vs. 5. Twilight Zone Tower of Terror in the Best Themed Ride bracket.

Replies (27)

April 25, 2015 at 1:11 AM · PhilharMagic is one of my favorites and a must do at WDW, but I just gotta go with Soarin on this one.
March 14, 2012 at 9:40 AM · Soarin' FTW!
March 14, 2012 at 9:56 AM · Haven't seen either. but I like Soarin' type rides. I have fond memories of If You Had Wings at MK in the 70's. I imagine that's loooong gone, but Soarin' strikes me as that type of ride, with different motion and a better film. On The old ride, you rode through different rooms for scenes. I understand on Soarin' it's a self-contained room with different scenes.
March 14, 2012 at 10:13 AM · Very tough choice for me as both attractions are among my favorites. Overall, though, I gotta go with the better "experience", which I think belongs to Soarin'.

Ugh, tough call.

March 14, 2012 at 10:20 AM · I'm in the minority here but having heard so much about Soarin' before riding it I was actually underwhelmed. It honestly didn't do much more for me than those old circle-vision films that they had in the 80's. After all it's just an Imax film you watch in a sling...

So Mickey gets my vote today.

I'll duck for cover now....

March 14, 2012 at 10:21 AM · I went with Philharmagic. And for the record, I've never been on Soarin because of my Asthma.
March 14, 2012 at 10:39 AM · @Dominick You should always prevent getting an Asthma attack, and the ride has smells that could trigger an attack. Standing in an elevator with people who wear heavy (cheap!)perfume can trigger my astma. Soarin didnĀ“t (my mum and I both have astma) so you could try it.There are a lot of attractions at Disney that have smell so do you skip them all? Soarin also got my vote.
I just hate the cold bloodless cgi characters. Was it hand drawn it would be awesome!
March 14, 2012 at 11:29 AM · I agree with David. Soarin' reminded me of an IMAX film from the 90's. So what if you get pulled up in the air before hand. I was very unimpressed.

PhilharMagic is a great collection of old characters and songs, so it gets my vote.

March 14, 2012 at 11:59 AM · As much as I love Soarin's visuals, theme, and ride mechanics, the horrible transitions (or lack of transitions) really brings it down. PhilharMagic is my favorite 3D movie and I always have fun watching it. This was a close call, but I'll go with the underdog and vote MPM here.
March 14, 2012 at 12:06 PM · love them both, but i had to go for soarin'
March 14, 2012 at 12:25 PM · O T, sometimes my mom's perfume can get me coughing. I was at Epcot Sunday, and it had an 80 minute wait, so I didn't ride it.
March 14, 2012 at 12:26 PM · This is a tough one seeing as Soarin is a RIDE not a Show.
March 14, 2012 at 12:58 PM · I consider Soarin' Over California a ride, and I'm more of a ride person than a show person, so I voted for Soarin'. Either way, however, it is my favorite ride at DCA other than California Screamin' and I haven't seen Mickey's PhilharMagic so I knew I'd be voting for it since the brackets were announced.

Once again, Soarin' Over California and Carousel of Progress should have swapped brackets in this tournament since Soarin' is called a Simulator RIDE on this site and Carousel of Progress is labeled an Animatronic SHOW.

March 14, 2012 at 1:30 PM · I have never been that impressed with Soarin', a lot of the ride experience has to do with what row you're in, plus last time I was on it some of the effects weren't working. I'm sitting this vote out, I've seen PhilharMagic, it was ok but I have to admit I'm getting tired of sitting in front of screens, moving seats or not.
March 14, 2012 at 1:59 PM · I will never understand the appeal of Soarin', but each to their own.
March 14, 2012 at 3:42 PM · Soarin' is ok and a pleasant experience but, as others have said, it lacks that special something whereas PhilharMagic is a great 3D experience that has clever use of the screens, 3D and special FX. So Mickey gets my vote here :o)
March 14, 2012 at 5:23 PM · Neither. I vote for Soarin Over Philarmagic. Give me the ride mechanics of Soarin with the Philarmagic film.
March 14, 2012 at 6:16 PM · I would say that Soarin' is much more of a show than a ride, Robert. You are essentially sitting still while watching a screen. It's just like any other 3D/4D show.

I really don't understand why people clamor to wait an hour to watch a big screen and smell oranges. I'd much rather watch some great disney characters and listen to great Disney music. Although I do understand the non-hand drawn argument.

March 14, 2012 at 6:26 PM · I voted Mickey's PhilharMagic because Soarin' at Epcot is in TERRIBLE shape and is in need of a serious film rehab. The last time I rode Soarin' was last Wednesday and it was just very weak with lines through the film about 50% of the time.

At least MP is a fresh attraction that works properly!

March 14, 2012 at 6:38 PM · Aaaargh...this is so tough...but went with Soarin'. Makes me want to hop on a plane to Cali every time.
March 14, 2012 at 6:58 PM · @ brad It's not really a debate on ride or show for Soarin & CoP

CoP is the guinness book of records holder for most SHOWS every done, not most rides and its introduction includes this distinction

Soarin is a ride as shown by its height restrictions, what other show has height restrictions? and also you are getting on an airline as explained by Patrick Warburton not entering a theater, how is it any different than Simpsons or Star Tours?

March 14, 2012 at 10:59 PM · Soarin' is a ride using screens. I voted for PhilharMagic because it more logically belongs in this category, and because it's an amazing 3D movie. I do love Soarin' from the front row, however.
I think PhilharMagic could have won this category, if it hadn't been up against one of the most popular rides in any Disney park.
March 15, 2012 at 3:39 AM · Mickey's PhilharMagic is a nice show but it doesn't have the sense of theater that Soarin' has in abundance. It's fun loading into the seats at Soarin' and the anticipation of something spectacular, as you dangle from your lofty position, is more than satisfied as you experience the sights, sounds and smells of California. Is there another State in the US with so much diversity of spectacular landscapes ?

MP has humour and some very good effects. I like it a lot. But Soarin' is an uniquely uplifting experience in more ways than one. You only have to see the expressions on the faces of the audience as it leaves the auditorium to know that this is a surefire winner. But I can see this being a relatively close vote because MP has more of a Disney connection with the characters and music whereas Soarin' could be at any Park.
That said ,I still voted for Soarin'.

March 15, 2012 at 6:53 AM · I voted for Mickey. I haven't been to see it yet, but I've been on Soarin' multiple times. A great ride at DCA, but for SO many years it didn't have much to compete with it. And, somewhat like David Brown, I hope I'm not underwhelmed if/when I see PhilharMagic.
March 15, 2012 at 7:21 AM · I have heard from others about the screen being "dirty" at Soarin' in Epcot and that it was starting to take away from the experience and didn't feel that way when I visited in 2010...

Then I visited last month and the "floaters" were definitely very distracting especially with scenes where there was white (skiing, surfing etc.) to the point where you weren't even paying attention to the film but rather watching to see where the dust bunny will show up on the next screen almost like an anti hidden Mickey

Not sure if the DL version was suffering from this but WDW definitely needs to be cleaned up and digitized.

March 15, 2012 at 7:57 AM · Sorry, but Soarin is overrated to me. I rode it for the first time in Jan 2011, and it seemed like an IMAX that you just sat alot closer to.
March 15, 2012 at 10:02 AM · I missed the vote on this one....so glad you got it right ;)

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