Announcing the Winners of the 15th Annual Theme Park Insider Awards
Every year on the Fourth of July holiday, Theme Park Insider honors our readers' favorite theme park hotels, restaurants, and attractions with our Theme Park Insider Awards
. The winners are the locations in each category with the highest average reader rating and a minimum number of ratings overall. Attractions that opened officially to the public at major theme parks between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016 were eligible in the Best New Attraction categories. Let's get to the honors!
Best New Attraction: Pirates of the Caribbean Battle for the Sunken Treasure, Shanghai Disneyland
The world's newest major theme park wins our award this year for Best New Attraction. Shanghai Disneyland's version of Pirates of the Caribbean refreshes the wildly popular franchise with a new ride system and aggressive use of projection mapping and screens with the traditional animatronics to create a jaw-dropping adventure.
Previous winners: Justice League Battle for Metropolis , Banshee , Mystic Manor , Transformers The Ride , Star Tours The Adventures Continue , Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey , Manta , The Simpsons Ride , Mystery Mine , Expedition Everest 
Best New Show: Frozen Live at the Hyperion, Disney California Adventure
Filled with visually stunning moments that accentuate the animated hit's beloved score, this version of Frozen already has become a must-see at the Disneyland Resort.
Best New Roller Coaster: Mako, SeaWorld Orlando
SeaWorld's latest Bolliger & Mabillard masterpiece is now Orlando's tallest and fastest roller coaster. The B&M hyper might be Theme Park Insider's favorite roller coaster model, and Mako's well on its way to the top of our coaster rankings.
Previous winner: Thunderbird 
Best Quick-service Restaurant: The Three Broomsticks, Universal Studios Hollywood
Our winner in this category is a new restaurant this year — the dining hall in Universal Studios Hollywood's recently opened Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Featuring not only favorites from Orlando's original but also some meals from last year's winner, The Leaky Cauldron, Hollywood's The Three Broomsticks offers more than enough great options to keep wizards and witches coming back again and again.
Previous winners: The Leaky Cauldron , Miss Lillian's Chicken House 
Best Table-service Restaurant: Magellan's, Tokyo DisneySea
This Tokyo DisneySea restaurant wins its first Theme Park Insider Award, after years of knocking on the door. Located in the heart of the Mysterious Island Citadel, Magellan's is the headquarters of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers — a favorite franchise of Theme Park Insider readers.
Previous winners: Monsieur Paul , S.S. Columbia Dining Room [2013-2014], Bistro De Paris [2010-2012], Les Chefs de France , Mythos Restaurant [2003-2008], Blue Bayou Restaurant 
Best Hotel Restaurant: Victoria and Albert's, Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World's most acclaimed restaurant wins this honor for the second year in a row.
Previous winner: Victoria and Albert's 
Best Hotel: Universal's Portofino Bay Hotel, Universal Orlando Resort
Universal Orlando's flagship hotel captures our Theme Park Insider Award for the fourth year in row and the sixth overall. The exemplary service and accommodations would place the Portofino Bay near the top of our rankings by themselves, but the location and free Universal Express service for guests pushes the hotel to the very top.
Previous winners: Universal's Portofino Bay Hotel [2002, 2009, 2013-2015], Disney's Grand Californian Hotel [2003-2004, 2011-2012], Disney's Wilderness Lodge , Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge [2005-2006, 2008], Disney's Polynesian Resort 
Best Theme Park: Tokyo DisneySea
Tokyo DisneySea wins our top honor for the fifth year in a row and the sixth time overall. But Disney's new Shanghai park is off to a strong start and continued expansion at the Universal Orlando Resort mean that theme park fans around the world are enjoying a resurgence of high quality in the theme park business. That's great news for fans, and something to look forward to seeing more of in the years to come.
Previous winners: Tokyo DisneySea [2005, 2012-2015], Universal's Islands of Adventure [2002-2004, 2010-2011], Disneyland [2008-2009], Busch Gardens Williamsburg [2006-2007]
Congratulations to all the winners!
I'm staying at the Portofino for the first time this year. Can't wait.
I would like to see best National Rankings separate from best overall.
Best Roller Coaster: El Toro (Six Flags Great Adventure)
I'm in Tokyo Disney sea right now. It's Def worth the award to say the least!
I actually don't like El Toro very much. After that drop it becomes a whiplash machine for me
Pirates was a slam-dunk to win Best New Attraction. Here's hoping the upcoming Pandora rides will be anywhere near as impressive.
What are the overall top ten theme parks from around the world? Does Islands of Adventure fall somewhere in the top five? I will say that I feel as though this ranking is a lot better than the other rankings that have just come out for other websites.
Did we get to vote? I feel like you guys just pick your favorites every year.
We had the worst experience at Portofino. We had to stay there once because the Hard Rock was booked. The service was terrible. The front desk staff was rude. We got lost and were supposedly supposed to get a map (but didn't). The pool area was terrible. We will never stay at Portofino again. If we can't stay at the Hard Rock, we'll postpone our trip for another day.
No surprise on Pirates, the videos are amazing and the Jack Sparrow effect is miles beyond what even Universal does.
Stayed half our trip at portifino and half at the beach club in October 2015. We weren't allowed to play in the pool at portifino and it wasn't very kid friendly and its ambiance was just quiet and reserved. The beach club is alive and the boardwalk is lively and inviting and the pool and pool staff and kid friendliness us second to none in the industry. Never having that resort win an aware is a travesty. For both a kid fav and parent fav it's tops for my family.
Awards are determined by cumulative reader ratings. You can see real time top 10s in several categories by signing up for Insider benefits - https://www.patreon.com/themepark
Frozen Live at DCA is meh - it deserves recognition for the innovative use of projections, but the show itself is kind of a mess.
Well done to the winners.
The new Pirates ride in Shanghai looks amazing to say the least but it's rather dubious that in all of a month and a half's time, enough TPI readers have actually made the trip to China and ridden it for it to have enough votes to qualify.
@Will I kind of think the opposite. I think that if more people visited the foreign parks then their ratings would be even higher. For example if more people had the chance to stay at Tokyos Miracosta hotel I think it would be the hands down winner. Uber themed hotel, the best guest service in the world, restaurant overlooking Mediterranean harbor and all within the worlds best theme park? Definitely.
Unless I'm missing something, it would appear that the best roller coaster (as opposed to best new roller coaster) category was eliminated this year, for reasons at which I can't even begin to guess. It would have been interesting to see whether El Toro could win it 3 years in a row. As to best new roller coaster, I too am surprised that Lightning Rod didn't prevail over Mako, Valravn et al.
Lightning Rod probably didn't win, because it simply hasn't run very much yet. It ran for a couple of weeks in June, and has been back in "technical rehearsals" over the past week. There simply couldn't have been enough people that have ridden it who could have generated enough votes to get it to the top. You should never judge a coaster (or any other ride for that matter) by a POV. While TPI doesn't prevent guests from rating rides they've never ridden, readers should think twice before claiming a ride they're never set foot onto is the "best", or giving a rating to an attraction based on an on-ride video.
Daniel, I don't disagree. The quality of many overseas attractions seems to be nothing short of outstanding and likely would increase with actual patronage. That said, I do think there's a lot of over-voting (i.e. voting for things the voter hasn't experienced) directly connected to Editor's bias with the coverage and attention certain things receive. The Palm at UOR's Hard Rock Hotel has a perfect 10 score as does Shula's at the WDW Dolphin yet neither are ever mentioned on this site. Perhaps with a bit more spotlight and love, they too would benefit from over-voting along with other overseas attractions that aren't as highlighted.
Not that surprised by the awards this year. I figured Pirates and Frozen were likely going to win their respective categories, though if Lightning Rod had actually opened on time and run consistently that probably would have beat out Mako. I would like to see more categories next year...perhaps an award could be given for each of the Insider categories.
I saw a video of the Shanghai pirates and can understand why they won. It looks so amazing.
We do purge the ratings after a couple of years, so the rankings stay fresh. Of course, that's not an issue with the new stuff, but does come into play for the hotels and theme parks.
Best parks, rides, shows, attractions and two types of restaurants.
A simple open vote poll would determine everything. I'm surprised theme park insider doesn't grasp it. Love the site though just think some things can be more professional.Keep up the good work.
Open polls become a simplistic contest to see which park can send more of its social media followers to dominate the poll. They fail to reflect the community of this website's readers. FWIW, I have a degree in statistics, and I find it more interesting to aggregate reader ratings of individual locations than to run yet another open Internet poll that can be freeped by any other community online.
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