What Was the Best Theme Park Show of the Year?

December 2, 2021, 5:23 PM · Friday morning we will open nominations for the Best Show category in our 21st annual Theme Park Insider Awards.

This one might be the trickiest category for the awards this year, as we are restricting eligible nominees to shows that played during the 2021 season. That means four of the shows that readers voted into their top 10 last year - including this category's defending champion - will not be eligible this time because they remained closed throughout the year. A fifth show from that top 10 is now playing in altered form, and a sixth closed in the fall.

Fantasmic! at Disneyland
Disneyland's Fantasmic! did not play in 2021, so it will not be eligible defend its Best Show award.

To nominate your favorite eligible shows that did run this year, look for the link that will come in your Theme Park Insider email newsletter on Friday. If you have not subscribed to the newsletter, here is the link to do that. It's free and the newsletter comes three times a week, delivering the latest headlines and discount ticket links from Theme Park Insider.

The criteria you wish to use in picking your nominees is up to you - again, so long as the show played in 2021 and did not close permanently during the year. Please nominate up to 10 shows, in order starting with your favorite. When nominating, please tell us the name of the show as well as the park where it plays. Some shows play in multiple locations, so we need the specific locations when determining the finalists.

Other categories still accepting nominees this week include Best Restaurant, Best New Attraction, and Best Hotel. You will find the links to those in the email, as well.

Later this month, we will present up to 10 finalists in the Best Show category for a vote on the front page of ThemeParkInsider.com, which will determine our winner. We will announce the winners in all categories of the 21st annual Theme Park Insider Awards on January 1, 2022.

Replies (5)

December 2, 2021 at 7:22 PM

I saw The Bourne Stuntacular a few days ago, and was very impressed. Can’t say I saw a better show in 2021.

December 2, 2021 at 10:40 PM

1) Bourne
2) SWO Winter Wonderland On Ice (You get to sit down, great view of the lake, not crowded, 30 mins long, great stunts, music, and dancing, it's also followed by fireworks, unobstructed views, and sooo chill compared to Disney)
3) KiteTails (for serious)
4) Not sure if it's in the right category, but Villains Grove at Oogie Boogie Bash in DCA was the BEST walkthrough ever. It was better than anything at HHN and deserves to be celebrated and replicated everywhere.
5) Epcot Beacon
6) Dark Arts Show Wizarding World

They need to bring back the Star Wars fireworks at Hollywood and the Beedle & Bard at UO. I haven't seen Drawn to Life, but I hope that makes the list next year. I also hope a musical makes the list.

December 3, 2021 at 12:08 AM

Cedar Point's Celebrate 150 Spectacular should absolutely be in the conversation for Best Theme Park Show of 2021. Few seasonal parks could produce a parade and stage show finale with the scope and spectacle that rang in Cedar Point's (delayed) 150th anniversary.

December 3, 2021 at 12:29 PM

Bourne hands down for me. I didnt know if 3D shows were included but i mentioned them anyway

December 3, 2021 at 5:53 PM

Agree with Json Son on SeaWorld’s Winter Wonderland being a very worthy candidate. Overall SWE really brought it this (Covid reduced ) Holiday season, second to none in my opinion….I remember “harmonious” getting a lot of hate when the YouTube video was released, but honestly I enjoyed it. What I felt extremely underwhelmed by was the current night show at Hollywood Studios, and that feeling was mutual between the 8 members of my party… but the bottom line is after seeing The Bourne Stuntacular for the first time, I can say that Waterworld has been finally been unseated as the best Universal show.

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