The Ultimate Disney Parks Attraction Bracket -- Round Five, Day One
I hear you're a fine-looking bunch of recruits.
Good morning, everyone! It’s a banner day for many reasons, and I hope you’re ready for me to break it down. First of all, it’s the first day of school! …If you live in the Phoenix metro area and are a teacher or a student! (My wife and my older son, the latter of whom is now entering fourth grade, qualify in those capacities.) So by the time you are reading this, they’ve both gone off to school for another year. And for those of you who may be surprised, yes, it’s true, in Phoenix, school starts this far in advance of the actual fall.
Second of all, it’s a new Monday, which means it’s time for you to check out another essay from this newsletter. Now, unlike last week’s foray into the world of the Muppets, this Monday, in a new entry of my Disney Canon series, you’ll have to be a paid subscriber to read more than the introduction of my lengthy essay on the most haunting film Disney ever made, Pinocchio. Remember, it’s just $5 a month (or $50 a year) to subscribe to read essays like…well, like this!
Third of all, it’s time for us to enter a new phase of the Ultimate Disney Parks Attraction bracket! Yes, friends, we’re now in the fifth round of the bracket, which means we have entered the Sweet Sixteen. Now that we’re down to just 16 remaining seeds, that means there will only be two matchups per day for this round. (And after this relatively short round — no, not the one from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and I know you were confused about that distinction — we’ll be down to one matchup per day until the big finale.)
As I type these words, I only have the first quarter of the Sweet Sixteen to look at in terms of patterns. What I will say is this: I remain shocked at how few non-rides have lasted this far into the bracket. (Again, keeping in mind that this paragraph is being written on the Friday before this goes up, I am stunned that only two nighttime shows — the Disneyland version of Fantasmic and the Main Street Electrical Parade — made it to the round of 32. I assume they’re each surviving to this round, but no IllumiNations! No World of Color! I am stunned.)
Enough of my chatter, though, because the tough decisions? They start now. Let’s go.
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(1) Pirates of the Caribbean (DL) vs. (5) Expedition Everest: Pirates of the Caribbean is perhaps not as rollicking as Expedition Everest, no matter which coast we’re talking about. (If memory serves correctly — and please feel free to correct me in the comments — there’s just one drop in the Orlando version of Pirates as opposed to the two drops in the Anaheim version.) But Pirates is a brilliant fusion of different types of attractions or experiences, or however you want to look at theme-park rides. It incorporates thrills through the power of suggestion, through a slow-moving boat ride, through effective use of sound and music, and more.
I like Expedition Everest a lot, but…man, the Yeti doesn’t work. How could it stand up to the Pirates of the Caribbean?
Pirates of the Caribbean (DL)
(7) Space Mountain (DL) vs. (3) Rise of the Resistance: If I had to guess — and as you see from the introduction of today’s votes, I cannot always guess correctly about whether or not certain attractions or shows will move forward to the next round — I would say that in our next round, it’ll be Pirates vs. Rise. Now, that one’s gonna hurt. And sure, it’s true that Pirates vs. Space Mountain could also hurt.
But as inventive as Space Mountain is, Rise of the Resistance is one of the most remarkable achievements I’ve ever seen at a Disney theme park. I will happily go on record as saying that I think it’s dumb how Disneyland Park now has a land dedicated entirely to one film franchise, alongside more wide-ranging themed areas. But Rise of the Resistance is that rare attraction that is worth the wait. It can withstand the deliberately bad acting of talented folks like Oscar Isaac in one of its multiple pre-shows, and it is effectively massive. Space Mountain’s great, but its ambitions are far smaller.
I say Rise should move on. What about you?
Space Mountain (DL)
Rise of the Resistance