Theme Park Insider Awards: Best Themed Ride Finalists

January 23, 2019, 10:45 AM · Today's category in the 2019 Theme Park Insider Awards is Best Themed Ride. This year's finalists are:

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man
Universal's Islands of Adventure (also at Universal Studios Japan)

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man

Batman: Knight Flight
Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi

Batman: Knight Flight

Flight of Passage
Disney's Animal Kingdom

Flight of Passage

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
Universal's Islands of Adventure (also at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios Japan)

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

Journey to the Center of the Earth
Tokyo DisneySea

Journey to the Center of the Earth

Pirates of the Caribbean Battle of the Sunken Treasure
Shanghai Disneyland

Pirates of the Caribbean Battle of the Sunken Treasure

Your vote below will help determine the winner. Voting will be open until Tuesday, January 29, and comments are open during that time for campaigning.

We will announce the winners of the 2019 Theme Park Insider Awards on January 31! If you haven't voted yet, here are our previous votes: Best Show, and Table Service Restaurant.

Replies (20)

January 23, 2019 at 11:12 AM

I definitely love me some Spider-Man (dude's been keeping it 100 since the early sixties), but there is a new leader in the clubhouse: Flight of Passage is the best non-coaster, themed attraction I have ever experienced.

January 23, 2019 at 11:22 AM

My 8-year-old exited Flight of Passage and asked "Is that it?" I thought it was decently cool. He did not. Voted for Forbidden Journey. I never get tired of going on that ride.

January 23, 2019 at 11:41 AM

Flight of Passage all day long. Followed by Pirates, Journey to the Center of the Earth and Forbidden Journey.

January 23, 2019 at 11:47 AM

Much as I do enjoy Flight and such, hard to beat Harry Potter.

January 23, 2019 at 11:56 AM

If I had the chance to ride that Pirates ride, I bet it'd be my favorite. I think Flight of Passage is great, but Spider-Man has so much personality that I think is lacking in so many new IP-based attractions these days. It feels just like stepping into the 90s era Saturday Morning cartoon. The new synth soundtrack kind of takes away from it, but it's still a milestone attraction.

January 23, 2019 at 12:59 PM

If I've committed some wrong and the theme park supreme court sentenced me to ride only these six rides for the rest of the year... I totally would feel like I beat the rap. A park with these rides would be the greatest theme park ever built, even if that's all it had. What a line-up!

January 23, 2019 at 1:05 PM

@Robert - That assumes you don't have to wait 2+ hours to ride each one. All of these rides are great, but I'd hate to be stuck in a park where I spent an entire day in a park and only got to ride each of these once because they all had obscenely long lines.

January 23, 2019 at 1:08 PM

Actually the Spiderman entry should be Spiderman/Transformers as the later is a reskin of the original .... but ..... having been on the 'new' spidey and FofP, I have to cast my vote for the amazing DAK ride. I don't think I could ever tire of going on it.

January 23, 2019 at 1:25 PM

@Makorider - I don't think you can lump Spiderman/Transformers together. They both use the same vehicles, but Spiderman uses a lot more practical sets and effects, while Transformers integrates 2 elevators into the ride. The differences between the 2 are more than just the IPs - it would be like lumping Haunted Mansion and The Living Seas with Nemo together - same ride systems with completely different IPs and very different ride experiences.

FWIW, I also voted for FoP, even though I think Forbidden Journey is one of the greatest technological achievements in theme park history, and Spiderman revolutionized theme park dark rides.

January 23, 2019 at 2:03 PM

Has anyone on here actually ridden Batman:Knight Flight at Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi? It wasn't available for any of the trade and media previews and even social media shares have shown nothing other than the queue (always empty in every video) and the preshow. Seems odd that a ride that is nominated has stayed off the radar everywhere. Efteling's Symbolica would be my actual pick had it been nominates, instead went for Shanghai's awesome Pirates.

January 23, 2019 at 2:12 PM

I didn't vote for the Potter ride as it's one of those that makes me feel queasy when I get off. I've ridden it 3 times and it's never got any better for me. A bit like the Simpson's ride .... now that's a bad one !!

Russell .... I agree, a bit unfair. But I was warned by people at work that the systems were the same, so I went in with that preconceived notion, and it stuck with me.

January 23, 2019 at 3:07 PM

Try riding Transformers and Spiderman back to back and note they are certainly fraternal twins at least;) far more related than lumping Disney ommimovers together as similar. Guests feeling deja vu after riding those two becomes understandable.

January 23, 2019 at 3:40 PM

While Spiderman and Transformers are the same system, Spiderman is still the superior of the two. I think that the biggest thing that tips the scales towards our friendly neighborhood dark ride is the complete lack of a score at Transformers. It is the best example I know of that proves how important great music is to any experience. My understanding is there was a conscious choice made with Transformers to omit a score. The creative team felt like the experience should be as if this was real and actually happening to the rider as such, there would be sound effects and dialog, but no music. It's like leaving the salt and pepper out of a meal. How many times has a contestant on TopChef been told to "pack their knives and go" as a result of under seasoning their dish. Spider man is near perfection. That's why even as the oldest ride on this list, it's still on this list.

January 23, 2019 at 3:45 PM

I never thought I’d see the day when Twilight Zone Tower of Terror doesn’t make the cut. WOW! This is a great lineup.

January 23, 2019 at 4:03 PM

Am I the only one who doesn't love Forbidden Journey? Maybe it's because I have zero interest in the IP, but it feels to me more like a technical exercise - clever, but a bit soulless. (Unlike Gringotts, which I'm surprised didn't make this list.) I felt a bit the same way about Shanghai Pirates, but would still say it's deserving of its place here.

My vote goes to Spiderman. It's still the most 'complete package' in the business to my mind - though FoP is definitely a phenomenal, moving experience and a super-close second place.

January 24, 2019 at 6:12 AM

Yup, Spiderman for the win. Until further notice, GOAT as far as dark rides go. The pacing is absolutely perfect and it still retains that "wow" factor after all of these years. Timeless.

Forbidden Journey and Gringotts are groundbreaking, fantastic attractions. But there's that intangible "it" factor with Spiderman where everything clicks and fires on all cylinders. Transformers may be the identical ride system as Spiderman, and sure, it is a great ride. But some of the immersion that you experience with Spiderman is lost a little with Transformers frantic pacing.

January 24, 2019 at 3:19 PM

As usual the replies skew heavily to Orlando. While I have not ridden the Avatar thing I did get to ride Pirates of the Caribbean Battle of the Sunken Treasure in Shanghai and loved it! I haven't ridden the Batman: Knight Flight but is it really better than the Tron Lightcycles? Or is it just not themed enough?

January 24, 2019 at 8:58 PM

How Batman:Knight Flight gets a nod for this award is a mystery to me since we've been told the nominees were to come from positive reviews on this site and I haven't found any reviews for it here at all. We know that attraction wasn't open yet when Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi held their media and industry previews and even had a request here when it opened asking for any POV videos of this ride. Only videos from folks online so far show literally the pre-show and an empty queue. So has anyone on Theme Park Insider ridden Batman: Knight Flight yet? Cause there are many themed attractions that deserved that slot that actually have reviews and that people have experienced...

January 25, 2019 at 9:37 AM

If you consider ride plus queue - you gotta go with Potter. Waiting in line has never been so entertaining!

January 25, 2019 at 11:20 AM

I couldn't vote for FOP yet, as I won't ride it until August, so I had to go with Forbidden Journey, the best of the ones I have ridden. :(

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