2013 Theme Park Insider Tournament: Transformers: The Ride vs. Splash Mountain

March 15, 2013, 8:04 AM · Today we feature the first Disney vs. Universal match-up in the 2013 Theme Park Insider Tournament, to select the world's best theme park attraction.

I must admit that I'd been looking forward to toady's match-up, ever since I seeded the brackets based upon Theme Park Insider readers' cumulative reader ratings of the many attractions listed on the site. This was to be a long-awaited head-to-head match-up between the two best new attractions from last year, which also happen to be the two among the top new attractions of the past decade.

And then you went ahead and voted Splash Mountain ahead of Radiator Springs Racers in the first round's closest match, 52%-48%. Such much for my plans.

So here's your new match-up: Transformers: The Ride, which defeated Men in Black Alien Attack 53%-47% in the first round,


…versus Splash Mountain.

Splash Mountain

You're standing in the middle of some bizarre hybrid park with both rides, but you can go on only one of them. Which will it be? If you've not been on both before, follow the links above to do a little research to help inform your decision. Or head into the comments to see what other Theme Park Insider readers have to say.

Monday: Another "busted-bracket" match-up with Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man vs. Kilimanjaro Safaris

Replies (26)

March 15, 2013 at 8:42 AM · Just like the NCAA tournament. First round upsets change the dynamics of the bracket match ups. That being said, my vote goes to.........Splash Mountain. Splash is an attraction that is truly my happy place, always puting a smile on my face, versus a ride that looks fabulous, but I have yet to experience it. Perhaps this result will change during next year's vote after I've personally experienced Transformers at Orlando. But, for now, it's Splash time.
March 15, 2013 at 8:53 AM · When Transformers opens in Orlando, voters of this site will realize the mistake they made by voting for Splash Mountain. Transformers is technology at its most advanced form. They will make you believe that you are moving forward when you are not. At Spider-Man, all the action happens in front of you. At Transformers you get inside the action. Splash Mountain has something better: it's longer. Still, my vote goes to the better ride (Transformers).
March 15, 2013 at 9:09 AM · One issue for me is matching the ride type with the IP, and Splash is sort of a mess in this regard. You have a fast steep flume that all the teenagers want to go on mixed with the dancing ducks and pigs that the little kids and grandmas want to see. So the little kids and grandmas stay away from the scary flume and the teenagers have to sit through a bunch of stupid dancing chickens before they get the big cool drop.
March 15, 2013 at 9:56 AM · Having been on both rides, this was a difficult choice. However, I had to go with Splash Mountain here. When I rode Transformers for the first time last year, I was blown away by how immersive and technologically advanced it was. Spider-Man was already one of my favorite rides of all time and this just brought it to another level.

However, nothing can change the fact that Splash Mountain is my favorite Disney ride ever, and I always make a point to ride it at least 5 or 6 times every time I make a trip down to Orlando. I've been on many flume rides, and this one is simply the best. The theming on this ride is what sets it apart, and it always brings a smile to my face. And though I am now in my 20's and have graduated to putting my arms in the air during the drop, when I was a child nothing was more comforting than the "Zip-a-Dee-doo-Dah" at the end to make you feel better after the nerve-recking drop. It was almost like a happy reward for doing the ride. That old feeling has never gone away, and it still makes me happy.

So while no doubt Transformers is an amazing ride experience and is one of my favorite rides at Universal now, the nostalgic feeling and the incredible theming of Splash Mountain make it a timeless classic that I will always love.

March 15, 2013 at 10:22 AM · Since I'm trying to abstain from voting on rides I haven't been on, going with Splash. That might change next tournament though.
March 15, 2013 at 11:05 AM · This is an interesting clash as it pits technology against something altogether more gentle. But simply because something is technologically cutting-edge doesn't mean it will win the affections of more people.

I voted Splash Mountain because I prefer it's gentle pleasures to being assaulted with 4 minutes of manic action. That's my call and it might not be everybody's - but there is a lesson for theme park designers here that sometimes doing something gentle well wins more applause than doing something impressive but with less soul....

March 15, 2013 at 11:34 AM · Voted for Transformers.
March 15, 2013 at 11:39 AM · One thing I don't understand, why is the first choice always winning? I'm pretty sure every poll I've done the first choice always wins! Just thought I would put that out there.
March 15, 2013 at 1:16 PM · I admit I have not been on Transformers: The Ride, but I've done quite a bit of research so I could make as informed a decision as I possibly could. I love Splash Mountain (and log flumes in general), but I voted for Transformers, and am looking forward to going to the Orlando version when it opens.
March 15, 2013 at 1:31 PM · The tech on Transformers is impressive, but Spider-Man (in HD) is the 3D ride king. I voted for Splash because it's an old-school charmer that always puts a smile on my face (until the drop wipes it off).
March 15, 2013 at 2:27 PM · I generally prefer flume rides to simulator rides, and I always prefer a high quality attraction done with animatronics to a high quality screen-based attraction, so Splash Mountain is the obvious choice for me. Both are outstanding rides for sure, but I just can't get into the recent 3D fad that has been going on.
March 15, 2013 at 2:39 PM · I'm sure there will be plenty of "voting for Disney" accusations in this post, so let me clear up that I did not vote for Disney; I voted against Transformers.

The movies were AWFUL. The visuals were terrible. Big, blurry, indistinct, machines wrestling with each other. I got motion sick. I have little interest or hope for the ride. I'll go on it the next time I visit Universal Orlando, if there's no line.

I had to vote for Splash Mountain, even though I rarely ride it when I go to WDW. The cold weather usually follows me to Florida.

March 15, 2013 at 2:44 PM · So I guess that means we get an "epic" final quarterfinal with Tower of Terror facing Harry Potter

As I see Spider Man pulling at least 60% on Monday

March 15, 2013 at 2:54 PM · The fact that Splash beat RSR doesn't bode well for Transformers (however it IS opening in Orlando, so I'm sure that will sway some votes).

I think Transformers (overall) is a better attraction, from the Nest reps yelling at you, to the visual assault.

The narrative is easy to understand (the story is laid out for you at the beginning) and whether this is a good or bad thing, haha, it adapts it's source material better than Splash.

Which was one of my points for Cars = RSR vs Song of the South = Splash Mountain.

March 15, 2013 at 2:59 PM · I can see where Jack is going. The Michael Bay Transformer movies have to be some of the worst films ever made.
March 15, 2013 at 3:09 PM · Whoops forgot to sign in before posting!

I voted for Transformers & my original post was the anon post that mentioned the Nest reps, visual assault & the Transformers vs Cars vs Song of the South ride adaptations.

March 15, 2013 at 3:12 PM · Yeah Dom, if you don't like the Transformers movies, that can cause a backlash, but Song of the South isn't exactly critically acclaimed.

Which is yet another reason RSR shoulda been here! Out of the 3, it's the best movie!

And the best ride interpretation, I think!

March 15, 2013 at 3:14 PM · I wish Disney would release the movie since it's pretty much the only animated Disney film I haven't seen.
March 15, 2013 at 3:23 PM · Can't we just assume anything up against Disney is always going to win due to popularity? Whenever I get into debates which ride or coaster is better, I never include Disney cause people tend to flip out if you disagree with them lol lol lol.

I know a lot of folks love Splash Mountain but most don't remember how good it was when it first open and you got soak. The ride was never the same after they lowered the splash.


March 15, 2013 at 3:28 PM · ^^^^ And Disney would like to keep it that way, lol!!!

But Splash's narrative isn't as straight forward as the others.

I do like the ride......I just have to accept RSR is out of it, I guess I'm putting displaced anger toward Splash because it's the attraction that beat Racers.

And the fact it gets your socks wet....

March 15, 2013 at 7:11 PM · Cars may be Pixar's weakest effort until Cars 2 was released, with all due respect to a bug's life
March 15, 2013 at 8:58 PM · You can always go with a classic!
March 15, 2013 at 9:31 PM · I voted for Transformers, but i like that Splash it is longer.
March 15, 2013 at 10:13 PM · "Cars may be Pixar's weakest effort until Cars 2 was released, "

I haven't seen every PIXAR feature, but of the ones I have, I would have agreed with the 2nd half of the above statement until a couple of months ago. Then I watched Brave.

March 16, 2013 at 12:46 PM · Once Transformers opens in Orlando than this will greatly change. Both are great rides but the fact that Splash has already beaten both RSR and Transformers shows that theres a clear East Coast bias here. When Transformers just barely beat Men in Black, than that was clearly a sign that this would happen. Splash is great of course but these two new rides are just better. It would be nice if people could just vote if they have been on BOTH rides, but well everybody seems to be an expert on an attraction even if they havent been on it.

I really like Splash Mountain, but c'mon... Anyway this isn't new in this tourney, and entirely predictable.

March 16, 2013 at 8:16 PM · Transformers will never get the respect Spider Man does since it is technically a "clone". I doubt I will like Transformers more when I finally ride it this Summer, but we will see.

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