We are really moving along now. Results for the first day were finalized, and I have to say, it was kinda interesting to me. The battle between Tarzan's Treehouse and the Sailing Ship Columbia was really close, with Tarzan winning it by only one vote! on the other extreme, Splash Mountain beat out Rodger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin 54 to 5. Other winners include Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters and Disneyland Railroad. I've been really happy with the amount of response I've gotten with this; it far exceeded my expectations but really it's just for fun, so getting anyone involved would have made me happy. But the more people involved, the more fun it is, in my opinion.
Let's get to today's matchups!
Soarin' Around the World
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
This one is no contest for me. I appreciate Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, especially since the upgrade of the animatronic a few years back, but it's generally not one I tend to visit regularly. Soarin' is an excellent attraction, both in concept and execution. I love the technology involved here, the screen is huge which is really cool, and the scents being blown in your face make it all that more realistic. However, the original version of this ride that contained only scenes from California was significantly better in my opinion that this new version. By the way, I'm totally not biased having been born and raised in California..... The new ride just feels hokey to me. The scents in the first one just enhance the experience, but the second version seems to be designed specifically to insert smells as often as they can (I'm pretty sure there's at least three different scents). As well, the scene changes in the first were just hard cuts in the film. With the new version, there's an obsession with having things fly at/point at the screen for each change, some of which are poorly CGI'ed. Also, they took the main theme to the original soundtrack and then just repeated it for every scene, with slight variations to match the location being shown at the time. Obviously I have some serious dislikes about the new version, but I'd still rather have this than nothing, and it beats out Mr. Lincoln (sorry Mr. President).
Toy Story Midway Mania
This is probably the hardest match in the first round of 64. I love both of these rides so much, so it's hard to pick between the two. Toy Story Midway Mania is a little like an updated version of Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, but it's so much fun even without the competition. This is another one where I like to ride with people I can beat the pants off of, but even by myself I try to go for "best in vehicle" which I can usually get (and even a few times getting "best in the last hour"). The Mr. Potato Head animatronic is insanely cool as well. I appreciate the fact that in California the figure is in a place where everyone can see, even those just walking past and not just waiting in line. In Florida, the figure is buried deep in the queue, in a location not even seen by those in the Fastpass line, which I feel is a bit of a shame. Space Mountain is also a really good roller coaster. It's gotten better in recent years with the addition of an excellent soundtrack by Micahel Giacchino and replacement of the track just before the Golden Celebration of Disneyland's 50th birthday in 2005. I remember going at the very beginning of 2005 and being disappointed that Space Mountain was closed, but I had no idea the reason why until many years later. The ambiance and execution of this ride is so much fun. I've also ridden a few of the overlays of this ride, namely Rockin' Space Mountain and Hyperspace Mountain. I've wanted to experience the Ghost Galaxy overlay present at Halloween time, but so far I have never visited at the proper time. Anyway, this is a hard decision between two rides that I enjoy very much, but I'm going to go with Space Mountain on this one.
Star Tours - The Adventures Continue
King Arthur Carrousel
Another easy pick. I enjoy walking past the carousel and hearing the music going, but I definitely would pick Star Tours to ride. I'm not always a fan of 3D based rides, since I wear glasses normally and so the 3D glasses never fit particularly well over those. However, I do have a love for the original Star Tours ride, and I enjoy the new system that randomizes the ride. One thing I will complain about is that the timing of the ride is so fluid trying to fit into the action of the movies. This is especially bad as of late, where they have been adding scenes based on episodes 7 and 8 (and surely 9 when that time comes), but the explained time frame of the ride is between the prequel and original trilogies (that's between episodes 3 and 4), so suddenly jumping in time to 30 years later without any explanation ruins it a little for me. I know they do it for free marketing and because it helps people tie into the films more, but come on, be consistent or don't limit yourself by your own rules. Wow, I guess I'm really ranting today.
Goofy's Sky School
I love the monorail! I think it looks cool, especially since the debut of the Mark VII. Unfortunately, whether because of the Mark VII or for another reason, the monorail has recently lost a lot of it's attraction appeal. You used to be able to ride it for a complete loop, but now it only gives a ride from one station to the other and then you are forced off. Most recently, I've even experienced not being able to ride it at all from Downtown Disney back into the park, which is the better part of the ride. I don't know if that's a permanent change or just circumstances of when we visited, but it was certainly disappointing. It makes it not a ride of cool futuristic tech but a simple transportation system, which doesn't even go anywhere useful. This is already the case in Walt Disney World, and for me it cheapens the experience. Still, I would take the monorail over Goofy's Sky School. A neat ride, but I can ride the exact same ride at the local state fair. Besides, with my size, it's no longer remotely comfortable.
So there we go. I'll have more opinions and rants, along with more results tomorrow. TTFN!