Monday Top 10: The Theme Parks You Dream of Visiting Someday
For much of the past year, we've been featuring weekly Top 10 lists drawn from the attraction, restaurant, and hotel ratings submitted by Theme Park Insider readers. This week, we are taking the Top 10 in a more personal direction, with a list of the Top 10 theme parks around the world that our editor (me!) has not visited but most wants to, someday. And we would like to invite you to respond in the comments your own Top 10 list of parks you most would like to visit.
Next week, we will follow up with my list of the Top 10 theme parks I have visited and most want to visit again, with an opportunity for you to submit your own personal Top 10 theme parks list. And since that will be our Christmas week Top 10, we will offer a year-end thank you to one lucky respondent, so be sure to register now if you haven't yet, to be eligible for that giveaway.
So let's get to this week's list: I've been to a lot of theme parks (33 to be exact), but I have a lot left to go. Here are the Top 10 theme parks I haven't yet visited, but want to, someday.
10. Six Flags Great Adventure
Home to some of the world's most notable roller coasters, including our Theme Park Insider Award-winning El Toro, Six Flags Great Adventure is the only theme park in the TEA/AECOM annual attendance report's top U.S. theme parks that I haven't yet visited. With all my roadtrips and other travel over the years, I have visited 45 of the 50 U.S. states, missing at this point only Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and... New Jersey. I have no idea how I managed that.
9. Tivoli Gardens
Denmark's Tivoli Gardens isn't known for individual world-class attractions, but its legacy shaped the theme park industry, proving a model for a themed entertainment space that influenced Walt Disney's development of Disneyland, among many other designers and visionaries over the decades.
8. Port Aventura
Once aligned with Universal Studios (though no longer), this Spanish theme park lures Europeans with top-quality roller coasters and abundant sunshine.
7. Ferrari World
Home to the world's fastest roller coaster, Formula Rossa, Abu Dhabi's Ferrari World is one of the world's largest indoor theme parks, appealing both to the worldwide Tifosi of Ferrari faithful as well as to theme park fans.
6. Ocean Park
The world's most popular theme park not branded to either Disney or Universal, Hong Kong's Ocean Park offers a mix of thrill rides and marine mammal exhibits. Like Universal Studios Hollywood, the park is separated into two sections, one atop a mountain and one below. However, the separation at Ocean Park is much larger, and the two sections are connected by a funicular railway instead of a series of escalators.
5. Alton Towers
Featuring one of the world's best theme park castles (by virtue of actually being a castle!), Alton Towers blends theme with thrills to draw theme park fans into the English countryside. It's also located in my ancestral home of Staffordshire, so I probably ought to be ranking Alton higher than this!
4. Europa Park
Europe's most popular non-Disney theme park is a showcase for attractions designed and built by its owner, Mack Rides. With a centerpiece geodesic dome that evokes Epcot's Spaceship Earth, surrounded by roller coasters and other thrill rides, Europa Park offers a blend of themes and thrills should put this park on many fans' wish lists.
3. Hong Kong Disneyland
Mystic Manor. I really, really want to see Mystic Manor for myself. Plus, visiting Hong Kong Disneyland would allow me to say that I've visited every Disney theme park on Earth, as it's the only one I'm now missing.
2. Universal Studios Japan
The Osaka park is the only Universal theme park I've not yet visited, and offers the world's only opportunity to ride Back to the Future one more time, as well as to experience Jaws, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter all in one theme park. And the park's Hollywood Dream: The Ride from all reports seems to be the delightful high-speed thrill that Universal Studios Florida's rough Rip, Ride, Rockit should have been.
Anton Pieck's masterpiece is home to several of the world's best dark rides not found in a Disney theme park, including Theme Park Insider reader favorites Fata Morgana and Droomvlucht. And I would love to experience its themed dive coaster, Baron 1898, which opens next year.
What are the Top 10 theme parks you haven't yet visited, but wish you could?
I need to get to Canada's Wonderland.
1. Tokio Disney Sea
From this list, definitely Alton Towers, for both the ambience and the awesome rides. It would be an interesting challenge to go through 14 inversions provided that the problem-plagued Smiler was up and running. I had hoped to go there last season, thinking that I had a free trip coming to me, but in addition to the 40,000 avios required to fly on British Airways (I do have over 40,000 in my account), the airline was going to charge a bundle in taxes and surcharges so it was a no-go. My second choice would be Ferrari World. I'd like to ride something that goes even faster than Kingda Ka. Speaking of Kingda Ka, Great Adventure is the only park on this list that I've visited and my home park. If you ever make plans to get there, please let me know and I'll stop by to say hello. I couldn't tell you much about where to dine in the park or what the best flat rides are, but I could tell you anything you ever wanted to know about the coasters.
Haven't had the chance to ride Hollywood Dream - The Ride backwards at USJ. The regular ride is smooth, but not really thrilling. The track lay out reminds me of the Hulk at IOA, but without the high speed launch and heartline roll. The express pass has a ticket for Hollywood Dream - The Ride, but not for the backwards portion.
As an expat living in the UAE I will offer the advice that you should only visit Ferrari World if you just have to check the "world's fastest coaster" box, or if just happen to be in the area for something else. Formula Rossa is awesome and unparalleled, but all the other attractions at FW are terrible.
Let's see here:
10. Rumored BBC Theme Park
My top ten to do would have to be..
I have lived in New Jersey all my life. I don't have any interest in going to Great Adventure ever again. I would rather make a special trip to anywhere else then to go to Great Adventure again. Disneyland would be at the top of my list of parks that I have never been to, that I would want to go to.
I'll stick with US parks since I likely will never make it to Tokyo... and I will include a few parks I have already visited, but that visit was so long ago it really doesn't count anymore.
The only park on Robert's list that I've visited is Six Flags Great Adventure, and while it's a great Six Flags park it's still just a Six Flags park. El Toro is amazing, but if you were to take that away I find Six Flags Magic Mountain significantly better with regards to coasters (I will give SFGAdv the edge for non-coaster attractions and operations, however).
1 & 2. Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySeas
Bobbie Butterfield - Taxes are high due to the Air Passenger Duty Levy, which is supposed to be for environmental reasons.
AJ: Kennywood is a great choice. A gem of a old time park that still has it's charm, rides that don't exist anywhere else, some great old time & present day coasters that don't ruin the landscape like most coaster parks, and excellent ambiance. On the small side though at only apx. 40 acres. But they still have free parking.
I don't want to just visit Efteling. I want to LIVE in Efteling.
I'm not really that knowledgeable about the park, but the ride POVs etc. I've seen from Phantasialand have been really interesting. It really does not get covered on here much though..... so I'm not sure what to think.... Is it not that great of a park, or is it just obscure to Americans?
1. Tokyo Disney Resort
10. Silver Dollar City
Rob, just because a park is small doesn't make it less enjoyable. For example, Knoebels is one of my favorite parks and it's only mid-sized. But you've listed almost all the reasons I want to visit the park. Kennywood is not large enough for me to consider making a special trip for it, but it's close enough to Cedar Point and Hersheypark that I'll probably try to include it to my next trip to one of those (if I was old enough to rent a car at a reasonable rate I would have done it this summer when I visited Cedar Point).
These arent in order - but parks i really would like to visit are:
So many I want to visit...but my top ten are:
Long time listener, first time caller...
Tokyo Disney, particularly DisneySea. Number one on my bucket list.
Exciting to see such Phantasialand love! It's a great park that has in recent years really started to up its game, while keeping some of its delightfully old-fashioned elements. I'm surprised not to see Blackpool Pleasure Beach get a mention - it should feature on the list of anyone with a penchant for amusement park heritage. Port Aventura is sadly still yet to quite hit its potential, but Europa Park is the most well-rounded park in the continent, and should be on anyone's list.
My top 10 would be:
I live about an hour from Great Adventure and we NEVER go there. I've only been there 3 times and each time I swear I am NEVER EVER going back again. The last time was a couple of years ago and my now grown son and I agreed that it would be our last trip. The rides are good but the place is rundown and dirty and overrun with out of control teenagers. I actually find this to be the case at every Six Flags property I've ever been to. Six Flags won't be getting any more of my money.
I've been to every park mentioned in this thread (park count is just shy of 400) except for Ferrari World and Puy du Fou, which I abashedly admit that I'd never heard of before, but it's probably because they don't seem to have any rides, and I'm a coaster counter.
I've been to quite a few of these: Alton Towers, Port Aventura, Hong Kong Disneyland, Ocean Park.
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