2012 Best Attraction Tournament: Haunted Mansion vs. Pirates of the Caribbean

March 28, 2012, 7:38 PM · We've got just one decision to make before it's time to crown the champions in the 2012 Theme Park Insider Tournament.

Today, we're selecting the second finalist for the title of Best Themed Ride, and we've got two of Disney's classics slugging it out. Your vote will help decide which ride goes on to face Universal's Harry Potter in the final.

Haunted Mansion - at Disneyland, Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland, and at Disneyland Paris as Phantom Manor

Haunted Mansion

Pirates of the Caribbean - at Disneyland, Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, Disneyland Paris, and Tokyo Disneyland

Pirates of the Caribbean

Voting is open for 24 hours. If you'd like to rally support for your favorite, please link to this post on Facebook and Twitter.

Next up: It's Championship Friday, when we will wrap up the Tournament by crowning champions for Best Theme Park Show, Best Roller Coaster, and Best Themed Ride.

Replies (37)

March 28, 2012 at 7:39 PM · Well that is odd, I just voted and the total is 100% to 0%. I feel like Dom, except I didn't plan on being the first to vote....
March 28, 2012 at 8:18 PM · NB: Congrats on being numero uno...A tough vote but "Its a Pirates' Life For Me". Yo Ho. At least, until Friday...
March 28, 2012 at 8:21 PM · Pirates of the Caribbean with Ease. The WDW version is my favorite ride I've ever been on. I always look forward to this more than anything else(Spaceship Earth and Splash Mountain come close though). Then, there's the DLP version. Since WDW's is supposed to be half rate, then I have one amazing attraction waiting for me to relish. Haunted Mansion, while great, just doesn't even come close to WDW's pirates to me.
March 28, 2012 at 8:27 PM · In my heart of hearts I truly believe that Disneyland's Pirates is the single greatest attraction ever built. As timeless as it is graceful, this venerable masterpiece of narrative and imagination simply cannot and will not be surpassed by the passage of years nor the advancement of technology. Without this one attraction so much of what we enjoy today may never have come to fruition.

Pirates is the Babe Ruth of theme park attractions and more than deserving of your vote today.

March 28, 2012 at 10:37 PM · It is unfair to make me pit two beloved attractions against one another. These are the two that defined my childhood fascination with Disneyland. I eagerly anticipated the opening of both these attractions, and neither one has ever disappointed. Given that they are still my favorites more than forty years later, I can't imagine picking one over the other. Still, I had to vote, and I went with the Haunted Mansion, which has an intimacy to it that is missing from Pirates. It may not be as grand in its storytelling, but it is a spectacular build-up from the slight creepiness at the beginning to the all-out assault on the senses of the graveyard scene. Also, I anticipate Pirates taking this one, so HM needs a little love.
March 29, 2012 at 12:06 AM · This is a very tough vote, and for me it is based only on the California versions of each attraction. Haunted Mansion is my second favorite dark ride (first being Indiana Jones Adventure), and the holiday version of it is my absolute favorite ride at the Disneyland Resort (excluding roller coasters, because I don't rank coasters and non-coasters against each other). However, recently I've noticed that some of the effects in Disneyland's Haunted Mansion have begun showing their age, and while they still look fine the constant squeaking of the hidden parts somewhat ruins the illusion. Add in the fact that the narration appears to have been cut from a portion of the attraction and the volume of the audio effects turned down, and it is hard to maintain my enjoyment of the ride.

Now, for Pirates of the Caribbean. I really enjoy this ride as well, and even though I didn't mind the changes done to merge it with the films, there is one that annoys me to this day: Blackbeard. He has no place in the ride, as unlike Devy Jones it makes no sense for him to appear on the mist screen, and he was just such a lousy villian in On Stranger Tides I don't think he even deserves mention in the ride. While this doesn't prevent me from riding, I cringe slightly everytime his face appears on the screen.

As for which I voted for...well, it was tough. However, I voted for Haunted Mansion, even if it is only because I love the Holiday version so much. I think even with what has happened with the two attractions, I still slightly prefer Haunted Mansion over Pirates. Both are rides I often ride twice per visit (crowds permitting), and I would protest the removal or significant modification of either.

Now, for everyone else, I'm guessing the general consensus goes something like this: Disneyland Pirates beats Disneyland Mansion, and Florida Mansion beats Florida Pirates. However, what is the true winner when comparing Disneyland's Pirates with Florida's Mansion?

March 29, 2012 at 1:24 AM · I have to go with The Haunted Mansion on this one. Pirates is a great ride but I think the ball room scene in the mansion is unlike anything that I had seen before. The ghostly illusion is so well done in this ride and this is one of the rides that I remember riding for the first time. I still remember being 8 years old and being terrified to go into the mansion. I had to carry the souvenir gun that I bought earlier because it made me feel safe (I don't know what a gun would have done against ghosts, they're already dead! Lol) But after the first ride, I was SOLD! Both are great Disney classics, but The Haunted Mansion holds a special place in my childhood that's why I had to vote Mansion.
March 29, 2012 at 6:16 AM · Y'all know I'm nt as much of a Disney guy as many on here. But this is a tough vote for me. In the absence of 20000 Leagues Under The Sea, these are two of my three favorite Disney attractions. I'm about to vote, and I think I've gotta go with the ghosts.
March 29, 2012 at 4:06 AM · Without a doubt Pirates is a classic, but this was not hard for me. I really really enjoy Pirates, but I LOOOVE Haunted...have a Doom Buggy plate right on my front fender (get plenty of interested looks from it, btw). This matchup more than any is going to be a battle of emotions. People have strong emotional ties to both of these rides. There is no bad vote here. That being said, Go Mansion!! :)

PS Much love to 20K as well, Mike.

March 29, 2012 at 4:11 AM · It was the Haunted Mansion for me. I have been on both rides only in Florida and on that - HM easily wims for me.
While I really like pirates, I love the HM and it has a lot of memories for me and the family.
very interested to see the winner - will be checking all day! (I'm in London so the time difference makes it last nearly all day for me!)
March 29, 2012 at 5:28 AM · Both of these attractions are fantastic but Pirates edged out for me...yet neither can truly hold a candle to the single greatest accomplishment ever to come out of Walt Disney Imagineering, SUPERSTAR LIMO at Disney's California Adventure. What a classic, it is sorely missed.......


March 29, 2012 at 5:52 AM · I voted for "Pirates". These are two iconic Disney attractions and it's not easy to separate them in terms of appeal, theming and quality. It's just that "Pirates" has a little more happening by way of content. The Disneyland incarnation is , quite possibly, the best ride of it's type on offer anywhere in the World.
I had to base my vote on which of these two would I be more disappointed to find closed on my visit and "Pirates" edged it.
March 29, 2012 at 6:28 AM · Two old tired dark rides that bore me to death.
But I have to vote and because Dominick D voted for HM I voted for PotC (Disneyland Paris version ofcourse). But I wouldn´t care if they loose both.
March 29, 2012 at 6:31 AM · Went with the Haunted Mansion because of the effects and the show rooms. Both are classics though with great music.
March 29, 2012 at 7:04 AM · Pirates has:
- Better music
- A better narrative (one that's actually apparent to the majority of guests)
- Better animatronics

So why is it that so many more people prefer Mansion? I just don't get it.

I wonder what the results would be if the vote were restricted to people who'd been on a non-Orlando version of Pirates.

March 29, 2012 at 7:21 AM · Haunted Mansion; had you placed it as DL's Haunted Mansion against Pirates However, I would have gone with Pirates, unless of course, it was WDW's pirates. But since you generalized all of the versions together (Something that really shouldn't be done) I had to go with my favorite.
March 29, 2012 at 7:37 AM · I am indifferent to both, but having sat on a wet bench in PotC, I voted HM. Dry pants FTW.
March 29, 2012 at 7:39 AM · The Haunted Mansion is my favorite dark ride of all time! I can remember the first time I went on it with my father in 1975. It was the coolest thing I had ever seen then and it still holds that very same place in my heart.

I love and embrace the upgrades that were recently done as they were very well executed and add to the overall experience quite well.

We'll have to see if Pirates can find a way out of this competition.

Of course, there's always MY way.............

March 29, 2012 at 7:42 AM · I have ridden the Orlando-only version of both, and I like the Mansion much better. I don't know the narrative of either, really. A party and a pillage was my guess. If the other versions of Pirates have a better narrative, it might sway me. Robert's probably right.
March 29, 2012 at 7:43 AM · I had a tough time with this vote til I remembered my first visit to Disney. Back then I liked Pirates, but I absolutely loved Haunted Mansion. And I still think it's that way, I just like haunted houses better, and Haunted Mansion is the best around. So, I voted for the Mansion, basically cause I like the theme in Mansion better than Pirates. Pirates probably is the superior ride, but Mansion works for me completely.
March 29, 2012 at 7:53 AM · This one is hard for me. I grew up loving them and with many memories on both. I read everyone's comments and took them all into account. There is one thing everyone forgot about Mansion. Once a year they magically turn it into a different ride. The Haunted Mansion as Nightmare Before Christmas. We get a chance to have a whole different experience on the same ride. Because of that my vote swayed to Mansion.
March 29, 2012 at 7:56 AM · Well, the problem is - i love all Haunted Mansions.
But POC is my childhood - but only the Paris version...
March 29, 2012 at 8:03 AM · I have two dogs and I love them both equally, but this is like having to choose one of them as my favorite. This really put me on the spot, but my love of classic haunted house and ghost stories trumps my love of pirates and Errol Flynn swashbucklers, if only by a hair.

I disagree, Robert, with a couple of your assertions. As great as the music is in Pirates, "Grim, Grinning Ghosts" is equally memorable. The Haunted Mansion's ride script is also like poetry, and Pirates doesn't have a "Ghost Host" to narrate the journey. The vast array of parlor tricks and classic magic illusions are perfectly suited for the theme of the ride. Also, as far as climaxes go, the spectacular ride through the musical, spook filled graveyard right through to your encounter with the hitchhiking ghosts easily trumps the climax of Pirates which is just some guys in jail trying to lure a dog with the keys and a drunken pirate shooting randomly in a treasure room.

They're both spectacular attractions; the absolute best of the best ever created, but my heart is lost with the 999 spirits in the Haunted Mansion.

March 29, 2012 at 8:10 AM · The tie-breaker for me was the tendency for Mansion to be run at its highest speed setting to get the biggest rider numbers through. It feels rushed and I feel like I'm not able to take everything in. Fix that, and it wins my vote back. For now, Pirates is a better experience. Both are equal on storytelling, visuals, music, and classic staying power.
March 29, 2012 at 9:17 AM · Sorry, Robert, but some of us poor schmucks are stuck with WDW. :(
March 29, 2012 at 8:21 AM · I went with haunted mansion for two reasons:

1. I have only been on these rides in Orlando.

2. Because Disney didn't add Eddie Murphy to it, ruining the ride.

March 29, 2012 at 9:39 AM · Adding Eddie Murphy to the ride would make it Ri'donk'ulus (Shrek reference).
March 29, 2012 at 10:36 AM · DL's Pirates is so much better than WDW. But I had to go with the Mansion. I love the new queue and the new and improved Hitchhiking Ghosts. Plus, when you're in the park at 1am, it's a good place for a quick snooze ;).
March 29, 2012 at 12:01 PM · Regardless of having only rode the WDW version, it's Pirates for me! I could ride it over and over. My family feels the same way. Hands down my favorite ride at MK.
March 29, 2012 at 12:23 PM · Wow. This is a tough one. It is like trying to choose between a piece of chocolate cake or a chocolate cupcake. They both are truly wonderful. I may just have to flip a coin for this vote.
March 29, 2012 at 12:34 PM · This is like asking me which puppy I want to put to sleep. Can't I vote for both to replace Spider Man?
March 29, 2012 at 1:44 PM · I'm surprised that HM is getting so much attention here, and an astonishingly high number of votes. I am shocked and pleased.

I'd also like to point out that the recent plussing of the Florida version of HM made for a great deal of interactivity that makes the experience even more personal. The queue is much more interesting now, and the final scene with the hitchhiking ghosts pranking the guests is great fun.

March 29, 2012 at 2:06 PM · I've never been on the WDW version of pirates, is it really that bad? (Is it like the way the WDW peeps describe the DCA version of ToT?)
March 29, 2012 at 2:53 PM · Jay R.,

Yep, that's a pretty good analogy.

March 29, 2012 at 5:05 PM · I'm surprised that Pirates is losing so badly. I'll grant you that the east coast version of Mansion is hard to beat, but I voted for the Disneyland version of Pirates. Still one of the greatest rides in the world.
March 29, 2012 at 5:36 PM · I've ridden both coasts' versions of both rides, and I'll hand it to the Mansion. Mansion offers:

1) a vastly superior queue,
2) a more private, personalized experience,
3) Cast Members that are really into their job (when was the last time a Cast Member at Pirates talked like a pirate?),
4) an impressive facade,
5) inferior animatronics but superior overall effects,
6) a refurbishment worth waiting for, and
7) a crappy movie franchise, but at least it wasn't beaten to death.

March 29, 2012 at 6:53 PM · I voted for the HM. It was real tough for me though. Since I grew up in Cali, I'm biased towards the Disneyland versions of both rides. I've been to WDW a few times so I think I can make a (biased) comparison :)! Both Haunted Mansions are comparable. I'm certain I prefer the Disneyland version because is in my childhood memories. The plantation house in Ca. just seems "right" to me. Pirates is a TOTALLY different story though. The DL version of Pirates is WAY better to me because of the Blue Bayou and the second drop at the beginning. The lightning bugs, dining area, and shack setup at DL add something sorely missing at WDW. Its awesome! My best memory at DL Pirates is when we got stuck at the end of the ride and we had to be escorted off by a cast member in the middle of the return ramp. As a little kid, I thought it was cool! Dave

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