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2007 Theme Park Insider Awards: What is the world's best theme park?

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Published: May 28, 2007 at 7:36 PM

The final category in the 2007 Theme Park Insider Awards is the big one, "best theme park."

All theme parks reviewed on ThemeParkInsider.com are eligible (generally, U.S. parks with at least two million paid visitors a year and non-U.S. parks with a similar number of English-speaking visitors). The park with the highest average reader rating, including all votes for its attractions and restaurants, earns the award.

As with the previous categories, we are also conducting a poll, which includes below the top-performing theme parks in the Theme Park Insider readers' reviews. You may feel free to write in another park, but the parks listed below are the ones within "striking distance," if you will, of winning this year's award. So, please, click through to rate and review all the rides you've ridden, shows you have seen and restaurants you've dined at over the past year.

What is the world's best theme park?

Busch Gardens Europe
Cedar Point
Disney-MGM Studios
Disney's Animal Kingdom
Disneyland
Disneyland Paris
Dollywood
Epcot
SeaWorld Orlando
Tokyo DisneySea
Universal Studios Florida
Universal's Islands of Adventure
Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom

Write-In:

None:
None of these deserves the award

Previously: Best hotel at a theme park
Best restaurant in a theme park
Best new theme park attraction

Readers' Opinions

From Jack Williams on May 28, 2007 at 8:26 PM
I found it hard to decide on the best theme park. I think several of them are very well-executed and have great attractions. Happy voting!
From Mark Walker on May 29, 2007 at 12:59 AM
Well, I was hoping to put in a British park in that list, but when it comes down to it, Islands Of Adventure is the best park in the world!
From Erik Yates on May 29, 2007 at 6:51 AM
Very hard decision. What do you base it on? Overall themeing? Thrills? Loyalty? I voted Dollywood, it had the funnest rides, very nice themeing, low crowds, good food, it was relatively inexpensive, and the staff was some of the friendliest I had ever seen. It was a tossup between them and Busch Gardens Europe.
From Robert Niles on May 29, 2007 at 7:08 AM
I've always tried to keep the criteria a bit vague, Erik. Different people have different standards, and I like to see each individual approach each attraction's rating from his/her own criteria. That way, collectively, the ratings work out most accurately.
From Larry Zimmerman on May 29, 2007 at 6:41 PM
What IS a "theme park"? That is the question. Is Cedar Point a "theme" park, or is it just roller coaster heaven? (heaven!) And does that make it a "theme park"? You have to compare parks to other parks to make sense of the term. Some are heavily themed, where the theme becomes the raison d'etre for the park area, not just an excuse for somewhat related attraction names. Compare BGA (not listed) with BGE, for example. BGA does what no other park does (and even Disney tried but didn't quite get right) - mixes a theme park and a zoo. But even BGA (my home park, and so I'm a bit miffed it didn't make the list) has had to stretch theming considerably in several areas to get rides and attractions to fit. BGE, on the other hand, has so artfully blended rides and attractions with their themed areas that one can literally get lost in the experience. And, outside of Disney, they are the best at it. I have no particular affinity toward the Mouse (I successfully completed the Disney 12-step program several years ago, and can now visit for a few days at a time without losing perspective), but I find it hard not to give them credit for theming in most of their rides and attractions. After all, who can argue against the detail found in Animal Kingdom and its several lands??? With the glaring exception of the dinosaur-"themed" area, their attention to detail and level of "realism" is surpassed only by International Showcase at Epcot -- and that's because a lot of that area is authentic, not "themed." So I personally don't see how I could, in good conscience, vote for anything other than a WDW park. Given the agreed-upon concept of "theme park," then one must consider what makes a particular park the "best." What rating scale and on which elements? Parking, entrance, layout, transportation, shows, rides, food, staff, cleanliness, crowd control...and then there are sub-elements ...motion control, lighting, audio, condition, authenticity, comfort, apparent (real) danger, etc. How can any one park be the best at all aspects? The answer...it can't (or probably won't be). So how does one choose?
From Drew Petzold on May 29, 2007 at 6:46 PM
Of all the parks I have been to, including WDW, I think BGE is one of the best theme park, because the theming is outstanding. BGE makes the rides fit in with the theme of the country that area of the park represents, from the gardens to the restaurants and so forth.

During their Howl-O-Scream, the theming is even better, as the Halloween theme gets in high gear. And, they even fir the theming of these events with the country they are representing.

Overall, this park is wonderfully themed and kept up, and has gotten my vote.!! :)

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