The Top 10 Theme Parks That Aren't Disney or Universal

May 19, 2020, 5:55 PM · We focus much of our attention here at Theme Park Insider on parks from Disney and Universal, since they're among the world's most popular. But Disney and Universal aren't the only companies building theme parks with world-class experiences. So let's show some love to other great theme parks around the world.

From east to west on the globe, here are our top 10 theme parks that aren't from Disney or Universal, as rated by our Theme Park Insider reader ratings.


Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi

Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi

The world's biggest (and best, IMHO) indoor theme park celebrates Warner Bros.' animation franchises, from Looney Tunes to DC Comics and Hanna-Barbera. Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi tickets Warner Bros. World tickets


Europa Park

Europa Park

Europe' second-most-visited theme park, after Disneyland Paris, celebrates the continent while also showcasing attractions from Mack Rides - the other business run by the family that owns this park. Europa Park tickets Europa Park tickets


Efteling

Efteling

A two-time winner of our Theme Park Insider Award for the world's best theme park, Efteling celebrates classic fairy tales with contemporary thrills. Efteling tickets Efteling tickets


Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Consider this America's version of Europa Park - a tribute to Europe through thrill rides and world-class entertainment. Busch Gardens Williamsburg Tickets Busch Gardens Williamsburg tickets


SeaWorld Orlando

SeaWorld Orlando

SeaWorld's flagship park is also its most popular, thrilling locals and tourists alike with top-ranked coasters and frequent special events. SeaWorld Orlando Tickets SeaWorld Orlando Tickets


Busch Gardens Tampa

Busch Gardens Tampa

We can't wait for the arrival of Iron Gwazi, the fastest and steepest hybrid coaster in the world. Busch Gardens Tampa Tickets Busch Gardens Tampa Tickets


Cedar Point

Cedar Point

America's Roller Coast is the home to our top-rated coaster in the world, Steel Vengeance, as well as more than a dozen other acclaimed thrill rides. Cedar Point Tickets Cedar Point Tickets


Silver Dollar City

Silver Dollar City

Nestled in the Missouri Ozarks, Silver Dollar City offers great coasters, family attractions, and some of the best food in the industry. (Try the skillets!)


Knott's Berry Farm

Knott's Berry Farm

Southern California's oldest theme park was to celebrate its namesake berry farm's 100th anniversary this year. Knott's Berry Farm Tickets Knott's Berry Farm Tickets


Six Flags Magic Mountain

Six Flags Magic Mountain

The roller coaster capital of the world kicked off 2020 with the debut of the highly-rated West Coast Racers street-racing launched coaster. Six Flags Magic Mountain Tickets Six Flags Magic Mountain Tickets

So what did we miss? Which theme parks would you nominate for this top 10 list? Tell us in the comments about your favorites.

Replies (17)

May 19, 2020 at 6:19 PM

Great list. A little bummed out Dollywood didn't make the cut, but Dolly don't need no affirmation as long as Jolene don't take her man.

May 19, 2020 at 6:33 PM

Isn’t Six Flags an amusement park and not a theme park though? ??

May 19, 2020 at 6:36 PM

Efteling and Europa Park have gotten my attention recently. I'm starting to blue sky a trip to North-Central Europe to check these places out. They seem worth it. I'm still a ways away from that but I'll definitely keep an eye on their developments.

May 19, 2020 at 8:51 PM

Nice list! I'm a little surprised Hersheypark, Holiday World, and/or Knoebels didn't make the cut, but I guess when you're looking internationally rather than just at the US they might not make it. Still, I'd take any of those three over a couple on this list *cough* SeaWorld Orlando *cough*. Something else worth noting, especially this year when people may not want to spend the money or time to travel to Orlando, is that most of the bigger Six Flags and Cedar Fair parks (particularly Kings Island, SFGAdv, and SFGAm) can rival Disney and Universal for enjoyment if you just want a day out at a theme park and don't care about specific IP attached to the experience.

May 19, 2020 at 9:00 PM

I’d like to also throw in Warner Brothers Movie World in Gold Coast, Australia. It’s definitely not on the level of Universal, but the DC themed coasters are all top notch, and while it could use some updating, the level of theming is pretty great. One of my favourites bits of theming is the recreation of Rick’s Cafe Americain from Casablanca in the main plaza (the only shame is the food is a not super great pizza buffet. The food is better at Dirty Harry’s Bar which serves tacos for some reason.) However, I would like to see more dark rides. The Scooby Doo Coaster and Justice League dark ride are both great, but apparently there was Looney Tunes river ride that was really spectacular that is now defunct.

May 19, 2020 at 10:38 PM

Dennis O'Brien Six Flags does theme their various sections, even if it's not up to the standards of even Busch Gardens, let alone Disney or Universal. But they definitely do theme.

May 20, 2020 at 12:45 AM

I have to agree with Rob on Dollyworld. And with AJ that it could easily outpace Sea World. I haven't been to either, but I've heard great things about Dollyworld.

May 20, 2020 at 1:09 AM

I have to agree on how I always thought Six Flags and Cedar point more "amusement" park than "theme park. I know there's always been that tricky criteria yet they bill themselves as amusement parks more.

May 20, 2020 at 2:55 AM

In my opinion, the following 3 should be in the list, for a more worldwide appeal -

1. Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen - For its history, the inspiration it gave to Walt and its current status as one of Europe's most popular theme parks.

2. Chimelong Ocean Kingdom - Signature park in populous China, significant world ranking, massive rides. Main aquarium holds 5 world records.

3. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi - Formula Rossa alone should be enough reason!

May 20, 2020 at 2:59 AM

Dollywood. Phantasialand.

May 20, 2020 at 6:35 AM

I’ve always found Knott’s to be a bit overrated. It’s not bad, but It wouldn’t make my Top 10 list.

I’m not sure I’ll ever go back there, as I can no longer justify using a day of a SoCal trip to go there. I used to get out there annually, so found time, but now I only manage to get out there more like every 4 or 5 years.

That one launch coaster left a lasting impression, but aside from that, I don’t really have an itch to return. If I lived in the area, I’d probably feel much differently.

May 20, 2020 at 8:39 AM

BGT is a great park, we have visited there 4 times and had a great time.

The only thing that is difficult is the drive back to Orlando\Lake Buena Vista area after a full day in the hot sun...

Also we interested in Carowinds and Hersey Park.

May 20, 2020 at 9:41 AM

I would add to this list from the European parks ;

Puy du fou & Parc Asterix, (France)
Phantasialand, Tripsdrill and Heide Park (Germany)
Port Aventura (Spain)

May 20, 2020 at 10:41 AM

Any list like this is going to have some misses, but I do find it strange that SDC rates higher than Dollywood. While I've never been to the Branson, MO park, everything I've read comparing the two always places Dollywood ahead.

I can't comment on any of the international parks except for Tivoli. While it may have been the park to originally inspire Walt, and has a rich history, it still exists in a niche that's more like an amusement park than a theme park - mostly because of its size and urban location.

May 20, 2020 at 3:47 PM

Rob I'll love a top 10 theme parks for Toddlers! Maybe some of the folks here can help me out. My son turns 5 in a few weeks and the plan was to hit Lego Land, Story Land, Thomas Theme Park (near Boston)and Enchanted Forest(Oregon) this summer. But due to Covid 19 that most likely won't happen. My question is, by next summer when he turns 6 will he be considered too big for those theme parks? I know there is a huge transition age between 6 and 8 when they are considered too big for those theme parks. Any suggestions or thoughts?

May 20, 2020 at 4:07 PM

Wait, the (SF) park that dump a rollercoaster in the parking lot is on a top theme park list? Yikes. Lol While no list is perfect, I too agree that Knotts is very forgettable. As far as theming i can't see how CP elapsed Dolly.

May 21, 2020 at 11:14 AM

I would have to echo the sentiments of others who think that Dollywood should be included. While both Silver Dollar City & Dollywood are great parks, Dollywood is the more beautiful of the two. Also conspicuously missing is Alton Towers.

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