Universal, Disney parks claim 2011 Theme Park Insider Awards
Published: July 1, 2011 at 9:40 AM
Best Theme Park
For the second year in a row, Universal's Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida wins the Theme Park Insider Award as the world's best theme park. Powered by the debut of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Islands of Adventure recaptured the crown last year, and Harry Potter's continued popularity allowed it a second straight award in 2011.
Runners-up in for Best Theme Park were two newcomers to the awards in this category, Busch Gardens Tampa and Disney California Adventure. While Busch Gardens' Williamsburg has been a perennial reader favorite, the Tampa park has moved up in the ratings thanks to popular new shows and roller coasters over the past few years. Once one of the lower-rated theme parks in our annual survey, California Adventure has vaulted toward the top of the list over the past two years, thanks to an ongoing $1 billion-plus makeover of the park.
Best New Attraction
The Force was with the Walt Disney theme parks this spring, as Theme Park Insider readers voted Star Tours: The Adventures Continue at Disneyland and Disney's Hollywood Studios as the Best New Theme Park Attraction of 2011 by a wide margin.
Two roller coasters claimed the runners-up spots for Best New Attraction: Cheetah Hunt, Busch Gardens Tampa's new Intamin launch coaster and Texas Giant, the reconstruction of Six Flags Over Texas' classic wooden coaster.
Orlando-area restaurants dominate again as Epcot's Bistro de Paris wins its second straight Theme Park Insider Award for Best Theme Park Restaurant, as Theme Park Insider readers honored it for its world-class cuisine and service.
Runners up included long-time Theme Park Insider reader favorite Mythos Restaurant at Universal's Islands of Adventure, as well as a newcomer, Via Napoli, the new Patina Group Italian restaurant at Walt Disney World's Epcot.
The Disneyland Resort in California captures its second Theme Park Insider Award of the year as Disney's Grand Californian Hotel reclaims Theme Park Insider readers' honor as the world's best on-site theme park hotel.
Readers voted Universal's Portofino Bay Hotel and Disney's Beach Club Resort as their runners-up in this category, honoring three hotels not only known for their world-class service and amenities, but also for being within walking distance of their respective theme parks - something valued by readers eager to get away from their cars while on vacation.
About the Site
ThemeParkInsider.com is an online consumers' guide to the world's leading theme and amusement parks, read by more than 200,000 people each month. It has been named the top theme park site on the Internet by Forbes and Travel + Leisure magazines, and is a former Webby Award finalist and winner of the Online Journalism Award, presented by the Online News Associated and the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.