Theme Park Insider

Tokyo DisneySea leads the winners of the 2014 Theme Park Insider Awards

July 3, 2014, 4:48 PM · What's the best theme park in the world? Let's announce the winners of the 13th annual Theme Park Insider Awards.

Every year on the Fourth of July holiday, we celebrate the summer theme park season by honoring the best of the world's theme parks. Throughout the year, readers on rate hundreds of theme park rides, shows, restaurants, and hotels at top parks around the world. The Theme Park Insider Award winners are the locations with a minimum number of votes and the highest average reader rating in their categories.

This year, we're doubling the number of awards, adding honors for best quick-service restaurant, best roller coaster, best show and best themed attraction to the awards for best hotel, best full-service restaurant, best new attraction, and best theme park.

Best Theme Park Hotel

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando

This is the fourth time that the Portofino Bay has won our top hotel award, as fans continue to praise the hotel for its outstanding theming, convenient location and the industry-best value of offering unlimited Universal Express front-of-line access to park attractions for all its guests.

Best Quick-Service Restaurant

Miss Lillian's Chicken House at Dollywood

Miss Lillian's Chicken House at Dollywood

This is Dollywood's second Theme Park Insider Award. The Tennessee park also won the Best New Attraction honor in 2007 for Mystery Mine. Dollywood's long won praise for its food, and the ever-entertaining Miss Lillian helps put this fried chicken restaurant over the top.

Best Full-Service Restaurant

S.S. Columbia Dining Room at Tokyo DisneySea

S.S. Columbia Dining Room at Tokyo DisneySea

A two-time winner of the award, the S.S. Columbia Dining Room not only offers delicious cuisine and outstanding customer service, it does that in one of the most impressive settings in the theme park business: inside the full-scale, elaborately detailed S.S. Columbia cruise ship on the shore of Tokyo Bay.

Best Theme Park Show

Fantasmic! at Disneyland

Fantasmic! at Disneyland

The original version of the show still sets the standard, with great storytelling, music and many special effects upgrades over the years.

Best Roller Coaster

El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey

El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey

Not only is this the first Theme Park Insider Award win for Six Flags Great Adventure, it's the first Theme Park Insider Award win for any Six Flags park. Congratulations to El Toro for winning great reviews from so many theme park fans.

Best Themed Ride

Journey to the Center of the Earth at Tokyo DisneySea

Journey to the Center of the Earth at Tokyo DisneySea

Running in the heart of the park's centerpiece, the iconic Mount Prometheus, Journey to the Center of the Earth has been thrilling Theme Park Insiders for years, and earns this year's honor.

Best New Attraction

Banshee at Kings Island

Banshee at Kings Island

The Best New Attraction competition this year blew wide open when several expected contenders failed to open officially by the June 30 deadline. But plenty of well-reviewed new rides and shows were left to battle it out. This is the first Theme Park Insider Award for Kings Island, but it's the second for manufacturer Bolliger & Mabilliard, who won the 2009 Best New Attraction Award for Manta at SeaWorld Orlando. Congratulations to Kings Island for its first win.

Best Theme Park

Tokyo DisneySea

Tokyo DisneySea

Winning for the third year in a row and the fourth time overall, DisneySea continues to set the standard for theme park entertainment throughout the world. Congratulations to Tokyo DisneySea for leading the competition once again this year, winning three Theme Park Insider Awards: best full-service restaurant, best themed attraction, and best theme park.

Congratulations to all of our winners, and thank you for helping us honor the best of the best. Have a great holiday!

Replies (9)

July 3, 2014 at 4:52 PM · Just thrilled Miss. Lillian's Chicken house won. The food is fantastic, and Miss. Lillian has a personality and talent that are almost as big as Dolly Parton'
July 3, 2014 at 6:24 PM · Solid list. No complaints here except there are several winners I will probably never be able to experience (looking directly and dejectedly at you Tokyo DisneySea). However, I do look forward to riding Banshee next month when the Rao Family takes its first ever Ohio excursion!
July 3, 2014 at 7:02 PM · Glad to see Portofino won again. I've spent many many moons there. The Italian sea coast theme is pure immersion and the prices aren't bad for an onsite deluxe, especially with AP or multi night discounts. And then there's Express Pass.
July 4, 2014 at 10:03 AM · I'm pretty excited to see the results, as there is a good mix of proven winners with a superb track record, and first-time winners.

I used to think going to DisneySea was a pipe dream, but although it might take 5+ years to save, if I focus and dedicate a small amount of each paycheck to a trip, there is no reason I can't make it out there. The trick is staying long enough to have fun while dealing with massive jet lag. Perhaps a two day stay in Hawaii would help make it more tolerable. Haha.

Congrats to all the winners!

July 4, 2014 at 1:12 PM · How many middle class American families will ever enjoy the opportunity to experience the greatest theme park in the world, DisneySea? Come on Disney, stop hoarding your overseas goodies. It's time to bring a version of DisneySea to America!
July 4, 2014 at 11:20 PM · If you live on the U.S. west coast, Tokyo is possible for many would-be visitors, provided you plan far enough ahead and to stick to your budget. The parks themselves are affordable, and hotel rates and airfare vary wildly, so flexibility on travel dates helps.

Maybe this isn't something you do when you can travel only with the kids during the summer. But as a empty-nester reward for getting the kids out of the house? Hey, start planning now. It'll be worth it.

July 5, 2014 at 6:35 AM · It's good to see that after new inverted coasters basically went extinct for a decade, Kings Island brings them back to show us that when done properly, they are better than everything else.
July 5, 2014 at 7:23 PM · It's really gratifying to see El Toro get the accolades it deserves. This is my all-time favourite coaster and I consider myself lucky to have it in my home park. It used to annoy the hell out of me that for years in Mitch Hawker's poll, The Voyage held the number one spot for years.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to ride Goliath at SFGAM until July 1, when the poll was already closed. Otherwise I would have voted for it as best new attraction. This coaster is a real winner! I have become a great fan of Rocky Mountain Construction; this is the second coaster I've ridden that they built - the first was Outlaw Run - and both are innovative and marvels of engineering.

July 7, 2014 at 2:13 PM · This was just a brutal year for timing on Best New Attraction. I think Goliath might have made a stronger challenge had the winter weather not delayed construction and the coaster could have opened earlier, when it would have had more time to get running consistently and piling up some strong ratings. But with this new Best Roller Coaster category, Goliath has the opportunity to come back and challenge for that title next year.

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  1. Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom
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