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Vote of the week: Which theme parks outside the US would you most want to visit?

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Published: April 20, 2012 at 9:17 AM

I've been working to increase our coverage of major theme parks outside the United States, and late last year we posted in-depth looks at Universal Studios Singapore and the Tokyo Disney Resort. This summer, I'm pleased to announce, we're planning to add an in-depth look at Disneyland Paris to the mix.

So today, I'd like to get your feedback on international theme parks. Which of the Disney and Universal theme parks outside the United States would you most like to visit some day? (Eventually, I'd like to increase coverage of other non-US parks that attract at least two-million-plus English-speaking visitors a year, but we're starting with the Disney and Universal parks because they have the largest existing following on the site.)

We've got five choices today. In making your decision, let's ignore cost. Yeah, I know that's the big barrier to actually visiting these parks, but let's look at this as an opportunity for American readers to send a message about what kind of attractions, development and experiences you'd most like to see replicated in the U.S. theme parks.

Here are our candidates:

Disneyland Paris includes two theme parks, Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios. Like all multi-theme park resorts not named "Walt Disney World," the parks are located within easy walking distance of each other, a shopping plaza, and several on-site themed hotels.

Phantom Manor

Hong Kong Disneyland is Disney's newest theme park, and in the middle of a major expansion plan, with a Toy Story land opening last year, a Frontierland-style "Grizzly Gulch" land opening this year, and "Mystic Point," featuring a Haunted Mansion-type dark ride, debuting next year.

Castle

Tokyo Disney Resort, located on Tokyo Bay, includes Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea, the only non-US theme park to the win the Theme Park Insider Award for Best Theme Park.

Fortress Explorations

Universal Studios Japan is located in Osaka, in the southern part of the country, and is the last place on Earth where you can still ride Back to the Future and a stand-alone Jaws ride. And there's the trippy Space Fantasy indoor roller coaster, too.

Back to the Future

Universal Studios Singapore is part of the Resorts World Sentosa development, standing just a few yards away from one of the world's most popular casinos, and includes several attractions not found in Universal's parks in the US.

Madagascar

Time to vote!


I'd love to hear your thoughts about these parks (especially if you have visited), as well as take questions you might have about them. The comments are open (for the next few days, at least....) As always, thank you for reading Theme Park Insider and have a great weekend!

Readers' Opinions

From 99.160.4.163 on April 20, 2012 at 9:25 AM
Tokyo to see the wonders of the Parks & to see our wonderful friends that we haven't seen in 6 years! :o)
From Dan Heaton on April 20, 2012 at 9:40 AM
I've been to Disneyland Paris and would love to go back and spend more time there. My choice, however, is Tokyo Disneyland because of what I've heard about DisneySea. The attractions sound amazing and way beyond what we get in Florida and California. It also wasn't done on the cheap like California Adventure and Animal Kingdom.
From Anon Mouse on April 20, 2012 at 9:58 AM
Tokyo. It has the best second theme park and the best customer service. It also has the best city to be in. Tokyo is a wonderful place to visit. It has a marvelous cultural experience.
From Justin M on April 20, 2012 at 10:16 AM
I choose Disney Paris only because I have alredy been to Tokyo Disney before.
From 205.175.136.38 on April 20, 2012 at 10:46 AM
Efteling should probably be on the list, it is possibly the best themed park I have ever been to outside of the US....
From Ricardo K on April 20, 2012 at 10:53 AM
I had the opportunity to visit Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea in 2007 and they are amazing!

Next in the list is Disneyland Paris and if all goes well, I'll be there in October!! I've been to Paris but for some reason didn't get to go to the parks...

And one day... in a remote future... Hong Kong!!

From Mark Kausch on April 20, 2012 at 10:57 AM
I voted for TDL/TDS and I'm not at all surprised to be in the vast majority - at least at this time.
From Duncan Henny on April 20, 2012 at 11:06 AM
i chose Universal studios Japan as i would like to ride Back to the future again,
However i will probably visit Disneyland Paris next year
From Brian L on April 20, 2012 at 11:47 AM
Tokyo Disney...I want to go to there!
From José María Sandoval on April 20, 2012 at 12:07 PM
Ricardo K, back in 2007, what about the winnie pooh attration?
From José María Sandoval on April 20, 2012 at 12:34 PM
I voted for Hong Kong, Mystic point and grizzly trail are the new hounted mansion and big thunder mountain, and that is important, and one day in disneyland in 2013 will be first fast pass for grizzly then mistic, afther the use of the fast past, it is time for another in space mountain and the single rider available in that space mountain, and that could be a day. I wondered if any could write some information about winnie the pooh in tokyo,only with disneysea the resort wins, but with pooh?

It is a great time to see Disneyland Paris!!

From Brandon Mendoza on April 20, 2012 at 12:46 PM
My choice was decided by Tokyo Disne Sea.
From Manny Barron on April 20, 2012 at 1:08 PM
Back to the Future! It's my favorite ride ever and it is still open in Universal Studios Japan. This vote wasn't even close for me, but I want to and plan to visit all of these theme parks in the future.
From Stephen Hicks on April 20, 2012 at 2:20 PM
I'd like to visit Tivoli Gardens in Denmark, especially since it served as an example for Walt Disney of what a theme park should be like.
From AJ Hummel on April 20, 2012 at 3:32 PM
Of the five listed here, it would be Tokyo Disney. However, I've got a whole list of parks (definitely Alton Towers and Europa Park, and maybe Efteling, Tivoli Gardens, and a few other miscellaneous European parks) that I would place a higher priority on visiting. I actually don't care too much about the other four options in this poll, but they are parks that I'd visit if I was in the area and had some spare time (this may change after I get to all the major US parks, especially in Florida).
From Adam Swaisland on April 20, 2012 at 3:57 PM
Although many may not be known to many Americans listing some European parks like Alton Towers and Port Aventura wouldn't go a miss
From James Anberlin on April 20, 2012 at 4:33 PM
My vote went to Tokyo Disney for all the reasons everyone else voted for it, but I second (or third or fourth) the idea of including parks like Europa Park and Alton Towers more often on this site.
From Charles Reichley on April 20, 2012 at 4:37 PM
I hardly would want to go to another country to do Disney, since I don't even want to see Disney here in America.

How about Ferrari World?

From Rob Pastor on April 20, 2012 at 6:20 PM
On a slightly different note...breaking news...Disney Studio Chairman Richard Ross, resigned today. The resignation was due in response to some large losses on releases, especially John Carter & Mars Needs Moms, and underperformance of Prince of Persia & Winnie the Pooh, plus others.
From 108.9.102.51 on April 20, 2012 at 6:40 PM
All I can say is: don't ride the Winnie-the-Pooh ride in Japan, and then ride it in Florida - you will definitely get the feeling that the Japan ride is first class and the effort at WDW in Florida is shoddy. That mostly holds true for the entire DisneySea park vs. WDW, as well. I can only hope that with the new Fantasyland expansion the WDW folks are improving the quality of the park offerings, or the Florida park will begin to lose the lusterous edge it has held for years.
From Sarah Barnes on April 21, 2012 at 12:50 AM
I'm voting for Disneyland Paris. Loved it when I was there last year. What I would really love to see is more on the Parks that aren't Disney/Universal. I regret not going to Tivoli Gardens when I was in Copenhagen. Might need to go back.
From Randall Peek on April 21, 2012 at 1:40 AM
My reasons for picking Tokyo Disneyland is that the Magic Kingdom is supposed to be a "Best-Of" compilation of the best versions of attractions from the U.S. Disney parks. In some cases, it seems that Tokyo has gone the extra mile to create even better versions of what is available stateside. Secondly, and this can not be overemphasized, Tokyo DisneySea, which may well be the best theme park in the world. If only something this amazing could be built here in the U.S...
From Anthony Murphy on April 21, 2012 at 8:51 AM
It seems to me that Tokyo Disneyland is one of the best set of parks out there!
From Rod Whitenack on April 21, 2012 at 9:39 AM
The Efteling! That's my number one "wish" theme park. But since that's not on the list, I have to vote for Tokyo Disney Sea.
From Rob Pastor on April 21, 2012 at 11:35 AM
Rod: Your comment made me curious about Efteling. I looked it up and it appears fabulous. It would be a good one for Robert to report on in the future...I voted for Tokyo Disney, especially Disney Seas. Robert's previous special report made it look fantastic in my eyes. It really does appear to be the pinnacle of theme parkdom.
From 94.93.92.115 on April 21, 2012 at 11:42 AM
My family and I have been able to visit every Disney park in the world. They have have pros and cons. For that reason I chose the Universal Studio options- Singapore is the newest.

That said, The Winnie the Pooh ride at Tokyo Disneyland really is awesome! There is no comparison to the Florida version.

Our most recent visit to Disney (been 3 times now) was last Thanksgiving. When you stay on site in a Disney hotel, ticket are included free!

From Json Son on April 21, 2012 at 11:47 AM
It's a toss up between Disneyland Paris and HKD.

Disneyland Paris: Disney Dreams looks amazing. We need to have a show like this in the states.

Hong Kong Disney: When the expansion gets done, I don't see how any kingdom version can compete.

I am also really excited for Shaghai!

I've been to Tokyo Disney Sea and wasn't that impressed.

From Stevo B on April 21, 2012 at 4:30 PM
TDL is high on my list.
From José María Sandoval on April 21, 2012 at 7:21 PM
I think disneyland paris will be overshadowed by shanghai for the title of the magic kingdom most beautiful.

At least we have 4 years or so for see the wonderful things of disneyland paris.

From 114.76.147.163 on April 21, 2012 at 7:49 PM
From the list Tokyo Disney.
Great rides & shows/parades not to be missed (something i rarely do over rides).

I would also consider these non Disney/Universal theme parks.
Europa Park
Efteling
Alton Towers
Phantasialand
PortAventura

From O T on April 22, 2012 at 5:36 AM
I have been to Disneyland Paris and it was a huge disapointment. The Magic Kingdom park was kind of ok but the staff and the language messup was disturbing and the moviepark is horrible and cheap.

I would love to see the Universal Studios Singapore park because of the madagascar attraction and Battlestar Galactica. They both look awesome and I like both francises very much.

But I ended up choosing Tokyo Disney Resort because I would love to see Tokyo DisneySea. I think it´s the best Disney park in the world. It looks beautifull and is so different compared to everything I have ever seen. The cost of the park will be enormes but you can see where they have put the money. Wish Disney would put this park in Disney World one day.

I´ve been many times to Efteling and want to warn you not to compare it to Disney or Universal. The standard is much lower as is the theming, music, food and friendlyness

From 76.26.233.186 on April 22, 2012 at 6:48 PM
my choice is tokyo because they say that tokyo disneyland has the best of magic kindom and disneyland and I want to go to tokyo disney sea
From Andrew Dougherty on April 22, 2012 at 7:36 PM
Also isn't the last backdraft in Japan?
From Caroline Davis on April 23, 2012 at 4:30 AM
Slightly depressing that the only parks chosen were Universal and Disney parks. I don't think parks from the UK definitely should have been included but Efteling and Europa-Park should on this list.

Maybe we could do another vote that doesn't include only two different companies. Why would Americans even go to most of these parks, they have better versions at home?

I voted for Tokyo Disneyland, having been to Disneyland Paris, if you've seen either of the US parks you will probably be disappointed.

From Mark Kausch on April 23, 2012 at 5:17 AM
Interesting. When I voted TDR was at 70%; it's been going down steadily since then (now 63%) though you wouldn't know that by the comments.
From nick stechman on April 23, 2012 at 9:44 AM
The one I'd love to go to is Universal in Japan, mainly to ride BTTF again!

I've been lucky enough to have been to some of the other parks, the best by far is Tokyo Disney Sea, an awesomely constructed park, with "Journey to the Center of the Earth", being the best ride outside of Universal's IOA. The service here is amazing. Disneyland Paris is a great park, with the best version of space mountain. Across the way (california style!), from DLP is perhaps Disney's worst park, Disney's Hollywood Studios. Imagine the original DCA without the lake! It has a couple of great rides "crush's coaster" and "Rock & Rollercoaster avec Aerosmith"(better version than Florida!) and the DCA version of Tower of Terror. The recent Toy Story additions are very popular and there's some decent shows; but this is a park that lacks detail, care and that wow factor. The tram tour is lamest thing of all.

Most Disney Resorts have at least one awesome park and a disappointing/half day one- sadly for the people of Hong Kong, they only have the latter. This park is seriously tiny, lacking most of the key ingredients of a Disney "kingdom park" - no pirates, splash or thunder mountains. Its getting bigger - but Disney should never have opened such an under built park.

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