The Theme Park Insider Tournament returns (Play-in round: Best UAE park)

March 6, 2018, 12:16 PM · Ten years ago, Theme Park Insider ran its first March tournament, inviting readers to vote in 63 head-to-head matchups to select the Best Theme Park Ride in America. Walt Disney World's Twilight Zone Tower of Terror won that tournament, which we continued in various forms each March for the next four years.

Eventually, online voting tournaments during the month of March became cliche, and we dropped the practice. (The coup de grace might have been when Disney started its own Disney theme parks best ride fan vote tournament.) But since I'm feeling nostalgic, I've decided to bring back our tournament this month... except that we're not going to be voting on rides this time. We'll be voting on entire parks.

The entertainment value of these tournaments depends upon how well they are seeded, so I've decided not to create another 64-participant, head-to-head bracket — which too often leads to awkward mismatches along the way. Instead, I've grouped 51 parks into 16 themed sectionals, which are grouped by geography or brand. Those 16 sectionals are then grouped into four regionals: Asia, Europe, US regional parks, and the "Big Brand" parks.

Once we have those four winners, I will seed them into semifinal match-ups based on the total number of votes that each regional winner collected along the way. The two semifinal winners will face off in the tournament final.

To get the tournament started, I have created a "play-in" round, to fill the final spot in the tournament. For this, I've decided to include the parks from the United Arab Emirates, which will face off for the final spot in the European regional. (The TEA groups the Middle East in with Europe, so that's the precedent I am following here.) Our nominees are:

Feel free to follow those links to learn more about these parks, and to leave ratings and reviews for their attractions and restaurants if you've been to them. You'll need to complete a short, free registration with Theme Park Insider to leave reviews (and to participate in our Discussion Forum), but anyone can submit a rating. But I'd encourage you to go ahead and join the community by registering. That way, your comments on front page posts like this get onto the post much more quickly, as well.

All votes will be open for 24 hours.

Tomorrow, we will kick of the first round with two match-ups: "Which is Disney's best park in China?" featuring Hong Kong Disneyland vs. Shanghai Disneyland, and "Which is the best "indie" theme park?" pitting Dollywood, Holiday World, Knoebels, and Silver Dollar City in a battle royale.

Replies (4)

March 7, 2018 at 3:00 AM ·

My prediction, since these things are always more entertaining when you stick your neck on the line: Efteling makes it all the way to the final, where it's beaten by Disneyland.

Tomorrow's gonna be a tough one. I struggle to match HK vs SH more than probably any other parks I've visited, changing my opinion every other day - they're complete opposite sides of the spectrum in terms of their appeal.

March 7, 2018 at 3:07 AM ·

WHat I've seen from these parks Bollywood Parks Dubai looks the most unique and beautiful to me.

March 7, 2018 at 9:35 AM ·

Motiongate may not have Disney or Universal type experiences, but I’d love it as my regional park. It got my vote.

March 11, 2018 at 7:42 AM ·

I choose Ferrari World although all these parks look really cool and I would love to experience them. But Ferrari World just looks the best to me.

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Top 10 Attendance

  1. Magic Kingdom
  2. Disneyland
  3. Tokyo Disneyland
  4. Universal Studios Japan
  5. Tokyo DisneySea
  6. Disney's Animal Kingdom
  7. Epcot
  8. Shanghai Disneyland
  9. Disney's Hollywood Studios
  10. Universal Studios Florida