Tournament 2018: Islands of Adventure vs. Busch Gardens Williamsburg

March 19, 2018, 11:14 AM · We are into the second round of the 2018 Theme Park Insider Tournament, and today we are voting on two U.S. theme parks looking to advance to take on the nation's top Disney theme park in the U.S. big brands regional final.

In the first round, Universal Orlando's Island of Adventure defeated its sister park Universal Studios Florida while Busch Gardens claimed the championship among all the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens theme parks.

As always, we invite you to rate and review the attractions and restaurants at the parks we cover here on Theme Park Insider, in addition to voting in the tournament.

Tomorrow, the second round continues with Universal Studios Japan vs. Everland in the Asia semifinal. The complete tournament bracket and schedule is available here.

Replies (13)

March 19, 2018 at 12:17 PM ·

Really, how can you not pick Islands? Spider-Man, Hulk, Harry Potter, easy winner here.

March 19, 2018 at 12:21 PM ·

Exactly ^^ but I mean come on! Spidey, Potter, Kong, Hulk, Suess, JP! This one is not even close!

March 19, 2018 at 12:47 PM ·

Not a fair contest as parks not at all equal and have different themes, seasons, etc. Williamsburg has different cliental. I have been to both and Islands is good, but Williamsburg has own style and features.

March 19, 2018 at 2:37 PM ·

Both are in my top five theme parks, but Islands of Adventure may be the single best theme park in the US while Busch Gardens Williamsburg is a top notch regional park with outstanding rides but without true one-of-a-kind experiences. Islands of Adventure is the winner here in my book.

March 19, 2018 at 3:24 PM ·

I think it's a bit unfair to put regional theme parks against resort destinations. Of course IOA is going to come out on top.

March 19, 2018 at 3:50 PM ·

While I do love both, and travel to them at least once a year, I went with Busch Gardens. The European theming, food options, overall beauty and landscaping and the B&M coasters does it for me. I love Hulk, but Spider-Man is just ok IMO.

March 19, 2018 at 7:51 PM ·

This is not fair how can you pick between these two parks I love them both I can't decide

March 19, 2018 at 8:18 PM ·

The reason I voted for BG-W is because of all of the amazing coasters, and the variety of attractions. Also, it is an absolutely gorgeous park, with a ton of shaded areas where you can sit and relax between rides,and attractions. I also love that the majority of the attractions do not rely on 3 or 4D, but can be physically experienced without the aid of glasses, which never work well if you are a prescription eyeglass wearer who cannot wear contacts, or are made sick from 3D attractions, which I hear happens all the time. I grew up with Busch Gardens Williamsburg, and it will always be near and dear to my heart!

March 20, 2018 at 3:45 AM ·

If you like coasters and thrills, along with your excellent theming and terrific food, Busch Gardens is clearly the better option. If you are looking for a mixture of family fun with some moderate thrills, along with excellent theming and great food, IOA is the better option. The loss of DarKastle really hurts BGW in this contest. In fact the absence of a single dark ride is a bad look for the Virginia mainstay. But there is no way the gap between these two parks should be as wide as this vote. Obviously, like Stevo B noted, some people are taking the whole Universal Orlando resort into consideration rather than just standing the two parks up against one another. Regardless, IOA's one and a half coaster count is woefully low for this Coaster Boy, so I am going to pick BGW as my wasted vote.

March 20, 2018 at 6:59 AM ·

When I saw this head-to-head competition, I knew Islands of Adventure would win, but I had to show some love for Busch Gardens Williamsburg. I've been going to BGW since it opened, and we go many times throughout the year. It's a beautiful theme park with a lot to offer individuals and families. I'm not a coaster person (I leave that to my husband and daughter), but I love the excellent food and shows that BGW has to offer. I'm looking forward to having a beer in the Festhaus and sampling the wonderful food at the Food and Wine Festival in June.

March 20, 2018 at 9:34 AM ·

@James: Had DarKastle remained open, I probably would have given BGW a mercy vote like you, but since it's closed, I figured a wipeout would send a better message.

March 20, 2018 at 2:56 PM ·

@James I can’t fault your reasoning. But along the same lines, I think we should send a message to Universal for their abject failure in keeping Dueling Dragons operational. It doesn’t matter for this vote - obviously. Maybe later there will be another chance to take a similar stand, sir!

March 20, 2018 at 6:56 PM ·

Not a fair matchup, but I’d go to BGW over IOA any day! Love me some Nessie and Alpie!

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