Monday 26 December 2011

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Best of 2011 - Best Ride

Each year brings a few changes into our life. Some are unwelcome...the passing of friends and the evaporation of jobs are never things you enter a year looking forward to. There are some changes however, that are very welcome. This year brought better health for my mother, excellent academic performances from my children, and, perhaps most importantly (at least for the purpose of moving this post along), the development of my oldest daughter's love for the more extreme rides in theme parks.

There's now four of us who like to go bigger, higher, faster, making the move from places like Disneyland to Six Flags a natural progression. Sure Six Flags lacks the imagination that Disney has, and it's character interaction seems to be slightly disjointed (Why was Tweety Bird chasing Aquaman through Magic Mountain anyways?), but when it comes to stockpiling rides that will recycle lunches, Six Flags is the place to be. The reward for this craziness? Two of the top five places on our list of best rides in 2011:

Today's Category - Best Ride

The nominees are:

Aerosmith Rock N' Roller Coaster - It could be the similarities to Space Mountain that appeal to me. It could be the music. Most likely though, it's the fact that I've always fancied myself a bit of a rock star, and a ride based around getting me to the arena in time to perform would seem to be a perfect fit. If only it had a section where I could actually sing for some fans, then the experience would be complete. For me anyways. Not so sure about the people who would have to listen.

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey - Let it be known that I am not a Harry Potter junkie. Almost everything that was happening in the line for the ride was completely lost on me, a point made far too clear by everybody else obsessing over even the smallest details. It all evens out once you get on the ride though, as knowing the rules to quidditch does you no good when you're strapped in to a pre-programmed ride which, by the way, was totally amazing!

The Little Mermaid - OK, it's not the E-ticket adventure that the other rides are, but what it turned out to be, was far better than I anticipated. The last couple of dark rides that Disney built were OK, but nothing too exciting. The Little Mermaid isn't a stomach dropper, but there's so many details and things to see that you're probably going to notice something different every time you ride it, which is the sign of a good ride. Of course, another sign of a good ride is a loop. Just saying Disney, if you're ever doing a renovation on this ride, how awesome would it be with a loop in it?

Superman: Escape from Krypton - I'm pretty sure Superman was designed by a teenage driver - Nowhere to go, but let's get there at absolute top speed! I wasn't really expecting too much from Superman as I've ridden rides like this before (the old Montezuma's Revenge comes to mind, but that ride had a loop, and we know what I think about loops) and come away unimpressed. Superman just has an awesome combination of speed and smooth though, and though it only lasts about 15 seconds, it's a pretty thrilling quarter minute. It's also insanely loud. Just like the aforementioned teenage driver, you always know when it's moving because you can hear it from pretty much anywhere in the park.

X2 - The only ride I've ever come off and said "What the heck just happened?", this ride is completely nuts. If Superman was designed by a teenage driver, then X2 was designed by a mad scientist with a bit of a sadistic streak in him. I'm still trying to piece together what exactly occurs during this ride, despite having ridden it a few times now, but I know that it consists of lots of drops and spins, and some maniac who fires flamethrowers at you after you plummet to within a few feet of the ground. It's an incredible ride, and the only drawback is that everybody knows it's good. The lines for this thing are huge.

And the winner is..........

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey!!

This was easily our most splintered vote so far, as everybody seems to have their favorite considerations in a ride. One vote for speed, one for chaos, one for a nice smooth ride that doesn't leave the ground, and one for technological advancements. That means that, for once, I got to cast the deciding vote. Now don't read too much into my siding with my wife here...Harry Potter really was the ride I found the most impressive this year (of course if it scores me brownie points, I'm OK with that too) but I could have easily been persuaded to cast my vote for one of the others. There was just something special about being chased around Hogwarts by Dementors and dragons that nudged the Wizarding World above the others. That and the fact that nobody tried to flambe me. Seriously...what's wrong with those X2 people?

The breakdown of the voting:

Steve - Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
Lori - Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
Talon - X2
Neve - Superman: Escape From Krypton
Leeds - The Little Mermaid

Congratulations to our favorite ride for 2011 -
   Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey!!!