WORLD’S TOP 25 THEME PARKS

The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) released their most recent report on the most visited theme parks in the world, with destinations ranging from Florida to Tokyo.  In 2016, these theme parks were visited by over 235.6 million combined guests all seeking thrills offered by these outstanding attractions.

Here are the top 25 theme parks on their list.

25. Songcheng Lijiang Romance Park – Lijiang, China

Launched in 2014, Songcheng Lijiang Romance Park already received 4.6 million visitors in 2015.  Founded on the ancient route of Chama, the park exudes the life in the ancient city:  walk through the Chama Street, Caravan Square, Lisu and Dai Village. See and experience life in a wine, toufu, tobacco, tea, and iron workshops every where, as well as people bargaining in the market, horse bell ringing, and iron forging, smell and taste buttered tea, barbeques, flower cakes and more.

Aside from experiencing life in these ancient Chinese cities and Tibetan villages, there are rides and shows for everyone to enjoy.

24. De Efteling – Kaatsheuvel, Netherlands

Opened in May 1952, this fantasy-themed amusement park in Kaatsheuvel, Netherlands, takes visitors back to simple time with frill-free rides and simple animatronics.  The attractions are based on elements from ancient myths and legends, fairly tales, fables, and folklore.

23. Tivoli Gardens – Copenhagen, Denmark

This famous amusement and pleasure park opened on August 15, 1843 and is the second-oldest operating amusement park in the world after Dyrehavsbakken in nearby Klampenborg, also in Denmark. King Christian VIII of Denmark approved its construction as a way to distract people from politics and take their minds off their troubles.

This world-class theme park offers two dozen rides, live entertainment and more than 30 eateries.

22. SeaWorld Orlando – Orlando, Florida

SeaWorld Orlando, opened in 1973, is a theme park and marine zoological park in Orlando, Florida owned and operated by SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment.

The aquatic world comes to life through different exciting rides and shows which are both fun and educational.

21. Europa Park – Rust, Germany

Europa-Park is the largest in Germany, and the second most popular theme park resort in Europe, following Disneyland Paris. Located in Rust, in south-western Germany, between Freiburg and Strasbourg, France, this theme park has plenty of activities for children and adults.

20. Nagashima Spa Land – Kuwana, Japan

Opened in 1966, Nagashima Spa Land is a major amusement park in Kuwana, Mie Prefecture, Japan.  The park features several roller coasters, thrill rides, and kid rides.  Its crown jewel is its giant Aurora Wheel, a massive 295-foot tall Ferris wheel. During warmer months many guests take advantage of its  large water park.

19. Hong Kong Disneyland – Hong Kong SAR

The magic that Disney brings spreads across the seas, too, especially in Asia. Opened on September 12, 2005 Hong Kong Disneyland is similar to other Disney parks with themes like Toy Story and Grizzly Gulch as well as unique rides that cannot be found elsewhere. One of the special events that the park hosts is the celebration of the Chinese New Year. Located on reclaimed land in Penny’s Bay, Lantau Island, the park is within Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and boasts of two prestigious hotels, Disneyland Hotel and Hollywood Hotel.

18. Universal Studios Hollywood – Universal City, California

Located at 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, California, this film studio and theme park opened to the public on July 15, 1964. The park opened to public is small, but the working film studio is not.  You can book in advance to join the guided Studio Tour which includes behind the scenes of real-life movie and shows like “War or the World, “Jaws”, and “Bates Motel”.

17. Hangzhou Songcheng Park – Hangzhou, China

Also popularly known as the Song Dynasty Town, this is the largest theme park in Hangzhou, featuring the cultural characteristics of the Song Dynasty (960 – 1279 AD).  This is also the first theme park built in Zhejiang.  The park features three areas:  High-tech Songcheng, Performing Songcheng, and Cultural Songcheng.

16. Lotte World – Seoul, South Korea

Lotte World consists of two theme parks, an outdoor one and an indoor one, which was once considered the largest indoor amusement park in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records, and Seoul’s most popular park.  The indoor park is contained in a four story structure filled with exciting attractions, thrilling rides and spectacular parades. Experience the Gyro Drop which plunges from 300 feet (70 m) high, or get wet on the cruise on the winding waterways and cascading drops of the Flume Ride.

15. Ocean Park – Hong Kong SAR

China’s version of SeaWorld, Ocean Park opened to the public in 1977.  It is a marine mammal park, an oceanarium, an animal park and amusement park situated in Wong Chuk Hang and Nam Long Shan in the Southern District of Hong Kong. There are animal exhibits, thrill rides, and shows that are both entertaining and educational.

14. Everland –Gyeonggi-Do, South Korea

Named South Korea’s largest theme park, Everland boasts of a theme park, a zoo, and a water park.  Located at Everland Resort in Yongin, a city in Gyeonggi-do, it features themed festivals such as Tulip Festival, Rose Festival, Summer Splash, Halloween Festival, Romantic Illumination, and other festivals all year round. T-Express, Korea’s first wooden roller coaster, is popular among young visitors, while Zootopia is a must see as it spans over an area of 15,000 sq m and exhibits 2,000 animals of 201 species. Also on exhibit at the Panda World is a pair of giant pandas given by the Chinese President Zi Jinping as a symbol of friendship between Korea and China.

13. Chimelong Ocean Kingdom – Hengqin, China

Chimelong Ocean Kingdom is the winner of the 2014 Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement (Theme Park).  It features one of the world’s largest aquariums which allows guests to view up close rare whale sharks, beluga whales, polar bears, and other adorable animals.

12. Islands of Adventure – Universal Orlando, Florida

Winner of The TripAdvisor® Travelers’ Choice #1 Theme Park in the World For 2015 and 2016, islands of Adventure was opened in 1999 as part of an expansions to the Universal Studios Orlando Resort. The park consists of 7 islands – Port of Entry, Marvel Super Hero Island, Toon Lagoon, Jurassic Park, Hogsmeade (The Wizarding World of Harry Potter), Seuss Landing, and The Lost Continent. An eighth island, Skull island, is currently under construction. Prepare to meet all the superheroes, beasts, and magical creatures in this theme park where everything is real.  Let the adventures begin.

11. Disney’s California Adventure – Anaheim, California

With the West Coast as its theme, complete with redwood forests to Hollywood as well as a full-sized pier, the debut of this park in 2001 proved to be a huge disappointment to many of Disneyland fans.  Disney therefore decided to virtually completely rebuild California Adventure at massive expense.  With the addition of the spectacular World of Color show, the Cars Land expansion plus several new attractions, the park finally begun to fulfill its potential as an exhilarating Disneyland park.  Another attraction is the Radiator Springs Racers, a dazzling attraction that combines the ride system of Epcot’s Test Track with the humorous characters of Pixar’s Cars.

10. Universal Studios – Orlando, Florida

Universal Studios in Orlando opened in 1990.  Although smaller than Walt Disney World’s other park, it hosts some of the world’s best parks.  The theme is based on Hollywood films and pop-culture icons, including “Transformers”, “Despicable Me”, and “Men in Black”.

9. Disneyland Park at Disneyland Paris – Marne-la-Vallee, France

Disneyland Paris remains as one of Europe’s premier tourist attractions. It may just be Disney’s most beautiful park, combining the traditional Disneyland Imagineering with attractive European-style architecture. Among its favorite attractions are the Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion (known here as Phantom Manor).  A unique attraction to the park is the thrilling Space Mountain: Mission 2 and the spectacular nighttime show, Disney Dreams.  Don’t miss out on their version of the Big Thunder Mountain roller coaster for its stunning setting in the center of Frontierland’s River of the Far West.

8. Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World – Lake Buena Vista, Florida

Located at Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA, Disney Hollywood Studios may be the least popular park at Walt Disney World, but it reigns supreme on a global scale especially with the release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”.  Among the park’s line-up are classics such as the original Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, the interactive Toy Story Midway Mania and the re-imagined Star Tours: The Adventures Continue.

7. Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World – Lake Buena Vista, Florida

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is one of the largest animal theme parks in the world, and home to over 2,000 animals, and 300 species. Among the top attractions in the park are the impressively-themed Expedition Everest coaster and the Dinosaur Dark Ride plus a host of new night-time attractions to pull in visitors to stay longer at the park.  Don’t miss the park’s signature attraction, Kilimanjaro Safaris, which takes tourists on board jeeps on a tour of an enormous savannah which sprawls across an area the same size as the entire Magic Kingdom.  Have a face-to-face encounter with wild animals, exotic jungle trails, high-speed thrills and Pandora- The World of Avatar.

6. Epcot at Walt Disney World – Lake Buena Vista, Florida

Opened in 1982, EPCOT stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.  Walt Disney World’s second theme park, it was inspired by Walt’s vision of a futuristic utopian city, though he passed away before the park could be realized.  Created in his honor after his death, the park aims to celebrate international culture and showcase cutting-edge technology.  It has two main areas: Future World which shows off new technology, and World Showcase which hosts 11 pavilions showcasing different countries around the world.  Although the rides do not have the magical characters and storylines of other Disney parks, they make up for their scale and ambition.

5. Tokyo Disney Sea – Tokyo, Japan

When Walt Disney Company’s plan to create a maritime-themed park called Port Disney in Long Beach California failed, the company turned to Tokyo, thus in 2001, Tokyo DisneySea came to life.  It was the most expensive theme park every built when it opened in 2001 costing a staggering $4 billion. The results are seen in this nautically-themed park’s 6 themed ports packed with impressive, original attractions. Among its unique versions are the Tower of Terror and Indiana Jones Adventure, along with its own version of Fantasmic, a pyrotechnic show concept.  However, the headliners are the Journey to the Center of the Earth dark ride which uses Epcot’s Test Track in different and brilliant manner, the StormRider simulator, and the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea submarine ride.

4. Universal Studios Japan – Osaka, Japan

Universal’s first theme park outside the US, Universal Studios Japan has become an increasingly appealing tourist spot to visit among international visitors in recent years.  Visitors come here to see box office hits come to life such as Universal Wonderland attractions “Snoopy”, “Sesame Street”, and “Hello Kittty”.  There are also Disney’s original attractions like Jaws Ride, as well as Back to the Future – The Ride. Following the debut of the park’s version of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in 2004, the park received a huge boost in attendance.

3. Tokyo Disneyland – Tokyo, Japan

The park is not actually owned by the Walt Disney Company but its ambitious owners, the Oriental Land Company.  Though this is the case, Disney magic remains in all its characteristics, making it the third best theme park on the planet.

This may also be the only Disney Park where Duffy the bear is more popular than Mickey Mouse.  Duffy is a Disney bear that’s widely known and loved in Japan; his origin story revolves around the fact that he’s Mickey’s favorite stuffed animal.

Spread across a 115-acre plot in Urayasu, Tokyo Disneyland is pattered after the original Disneyland with its themed lands such as Adventureland, Westernland (the park’s version of Frontierland), Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Critter Country, and Toontown.  Versions of classic Disney rides such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash Mountain, Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain, are also featured in the park.

2. Disneyland – Anaheim, California

Opened to the public in 1955, Disneyland is the only theme park that was built under the direct supervision of Walt Disney, as well as designed by him.  His first theme park, it remains immensely popular and still retains its original layout.

The iconic attractions such as Sleeping Beauty Castle, Adventureland, Frontierland, Critter Country, Fantasyland, Mickey’s Toontown, and Tommorland remain as guests’ favorites.

Many of the park’s original attractions such as Peter Pan’s Flight, and Disneyland Railroad still remain while adding further classics such as the Matterhorn Bobsleds, Space Mountain, and the Haunted Mansion over the years.

The Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye which opened in 1995 uses an enhanced motion vehicle system that takes guests on a journey that is astonishingly realistic.

1. Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World – Lake Buena Vista, Florida

It may be a clone of the original Disneyland, but this beloved park has held the title of the world’s favorite theme park for 10 consecutive years, with nearly 20.5 million visitors last year alone and has surpassed its sister park in popularity.

Magic Kingdom opened in 1971 and boasts 6 whimsical areas including Fantasyland, Tommorowland, and Cinderalla’s Castle.  It offers amazing attractions such as Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Space Mountain, and expanded attractions in Fantasyland by adding dark ride Under The Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid, and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.  Splash Mountain which turns a standard log flume ride into a thrilling journey that ends with a 5-story splashdown, remains a main attraction.

 

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