Final-Round Vote: Let's Choose the World's Best Theme Park

December 23, 2022, 8:18 PM · The last vote of "Finals Week" here on Theme Park Insider is for our biggest award of the year - Best Theme Park.

The top eight nominees from our reader nominations include the top seven most-attended theme parks in the United States (pre-pandemic), plus Tokyo DisneySea. So we've got all four Walt Disney World theme parks, the two Universal Orlando theme parks, plus Disneyland, along with Tokyo DisneySea.

Which theme park should claim the honor? That's for you to help decide, with your vote below.



Disney's Animal Kingdom

Disney's Animal Kingdom

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Disney's Hollywood Studios



Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

Tokyo DisneySea

Tokyo DisneySea

Universal's Islands of Adventure

Universal's Islands of Adventure

Universal Studios Florida

Universal Studios Florida

We will announce all the winners in the 21st annual Theme Park Insider Awards on January 1, 2023. Thank you for voting and for being part of the Theme Park Insider community. Happy holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

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Replies (22)

December 23, 2022 at 8:57 PM

Islands of Adventure in a landslide…

December 23, 2022 at 10:05 PM

None of the WDW parks or USF should be anywhere near a best theme parks list, but that's the readership of this site for you. Having not been to Disneysea, Disneyland would get my vote with IOA also in consideration. Europa Park, Phantasialand, Hersheypark, and Kings Island get an honorable mention from me among other parks I have visited.

December 23, 2022 at 10:32 PM

Tokyo DisneySea is the correct answer.

December 23, 2022 at 11:23 PM

I have to wonder how many of the people who nominate a Walt Disney World park are influenced by outside aspects of Walt Disney World, as that is the only way any of the parks there are serious contenders. If someone were to say Walt Disney World as a whole is the best theme park destination, I don't know that I'd disagree, but when I look at all the parks I've visited, I can't think of any Disney park I'd put in the top ten in isolation (even Disneyland doesn't quite make that rank for me), and most would be in the 20s and 30s.

For me, Universal's Islands of Adventure is the easy top choice from this poll, and it is neck in neck for the best park I've ever visited. Going to Europe this year put Phantasialand right up there as a top contender, and I'd also name Europa Park, Hansa Park, and PortAventura Park as better parks than anything else in this poll after that trip. But that doesn't mean you have to visit Europe to find a park better than Disney...SeaWorld Orlando provides a better experience than I've ever got at Walt Disney World, and Silver Dollar City is second only to Universal Orlando among American parks in my opinion. Even most of the major regional theme parks are just as enjoyable as the Disney parks in my opinion if you're just looking to have a good time at a theme park and don't need a specific IP to have a good time.

I certainly don't fault anyone for their love of Disney, and particularly if IP is a strong consideration it makes sense for them to rank on top. But for those who complain about the prices, the crowds, and the lack of original attractions, if you venture away from the mouse, you'll probably find Disney no longer leading the industry the way they were a few decades ago.

December 24, 2022 at 12:16 AM

AJ, I think it’s less about IP or even the actual experience and more about the cultural significance we attach to a childhood trip to Walt Disney World. It’s a rite of passage to the point where families are implicitly shamed if they don’t go (“you’ve never been to Disney World?!), and many go into debt just to finance a trip to avoid that shame. They have to be the best, otherwise why would we do this?

Funny enough, while I agree about the individual WDW parks, I actually do think the Anaheim Disneyland is a worthy #1. It has all the best attractions, more to do than most parks in the world, rides for all ages, it oozes the charm and history of being the one that started it all, and it just added the best dark ride in the world to its already significant list of top attractions. I have it side by side with Europa Park and just ahead of Phantasialand and IOA on my own list.

December 24, 2022 at 12:45 AM

For me, it's Disneyland since it offers a complete package and is the most fully-realized park I've ever been to. Islands of Adventure is indeed nice, but it's abysmal in terms of entertainment offerings and over half the rides shut down when lightning rolls in. Maybe some day I'll visit Tokyo DisneySea and then vote for that.

December 24, 2022 at 2:10 AM

Wow I had never heard of Phantasialand up until now and you all aren't kidding, it looks incredible! Add another park on my "to-visit" list.

It's really hard to argue against Disneyland as Disneys representative in this poll. It has the full Disney package, well at least the closest of them all. I've been to DisneySea and its amazing. But Disneyland with its Galaxy Edge addition along with its classics and mountain range wins it. Plus it just has that classic, retro vibe. Stacking the top 5 or 6 rides of any park, IOA would win this poll but it doesnt have the depth after that like some of these other parks. Dont sleep on Universal Studios Japan. Not part of this poll but it has a lot to offer.

Always fun to think about these things.

December 24, 2022 at 2:13 AM

Evanweston, I think that cultural significance is due to all the IP associated with Disney more than the parks themselves. Most people know of the company from their films and other media productions, and if nothing else they've managed to create products that connect to a wide segment of the population. Those who enjoy Disney are going to want to visit the Disney theme parks, and those who aren't particularly big on the company may want to go anyway since WDW is the world's largest tourist attraction. However, if the parks were created independently of the other media produced by the company, I suspect there'd be far less of a fanbase for them, and without that IP connection many of the more modern attractions are actually relatively weak compared to what other parks are doing these days.

As for Disneyland, I would have agreed in the past, but cannot agree with the park as it is today. While it is the most complete of Disney's parks and offers more attractions than can be done in a day, the addition of Galaxy's Edge has really shown how dated the rest of the park is. Before that land was added, the last new headliner at the park was installed in the 90s, and since then it's simply been refurbs and refreshes while most of the exciting new projects went to the park across the esplanade. I've also seen an unfortunate decline in show standards across the park, along with a significant rise in maintenance issues on my visits since the pandemic. With correction, it could regain its title, but I left my visits this year pretty ambivalent about a return visit, and to me that isn't how a top ten park should make you feel.

December 24, 2022 at 6:45 AM

Can I vote none of the above?

Parc Asterix
Puy du Fou

At least one of them should be in the top 10.

Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom is my least favourite park after Walt Disney Studios in Paris.

I don't know if this site has been losing its international readers but the lists are getting more and more US centered in my perception.

December 24, 2022 at 8:08 AM

Here’s my top 20 from the past decade. I personally put great weight on how well themed spaces are and how much time I can enjoy exploring a park without doing any rides. That’s really why parks like Animal Kingdom, Tokyo Disney Sea, Disneyland Paris, Efteling, and Epcot are ranked as they are.
1. Tokyo Disney Sea
2. Tokyo Disneyland
3. Disneyland
4. Animal Kingdom
5. Disneyland Paris
6. Efteling
7. Epcot
8. Islands of adventure
9. Magic Kingdom
10. Europa Park
11. Universal Studios Japan
12. Disney’s Hollywood studios
13. Disney California Adventure
14. Universal Studios Florida
15. Dollywood
16. Cedar Point
17. Walt Disney Studios Paris
18. Sea World San Antonio
19. Carowinds
20. Six Flags Over Ga

December 24, 2022 at 1:24 PM

My vote is Disneyland. It’s the original. It’s where Walt walked. It’s nostalgic. In my opinion, it offers the better versions of the rides both Disneyland, and Disney World share. They include: Pirates, Space Mountain, It’s A Small World, Big Thunder, Peter Pan, and Haunted Mansion (Nightmares Before Christmas Holiday).

It’s more complete than any Disney park. It offers many attractions, and shows all in one single park. When staying at the Disneyland Resort, it’s more convenient to go to the park, and get around. You can also walk across to California Adventure, and do both parks in a day. What make Disneyland unique, is that you can be at Galaxy’s Edge one minute, then head over to Fantasyland the next. At Disney World, you have to take some type of transportation in order to do that.

Disneyland will always be my number one park. It offers the most history, and is the most classic. In my opinion, nothing beats the original.

December 24, 2022 at 1:46 PM

From the perspective of a business model -- taking into consideration attendance and iconography -- Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom is the most popular and successful themed entertainment production in history.

From the perspective of personal preference: EPCOT -- and when the Futureworld revamp is complete millions of others will share that opinion.

December 24, 2022 at 5:54 PM

Somebody give me a Top 5 attraction list from any Florida Disney Park, and I’ll give you a Top 5 from Islands of Adventure that would beat it even if 3 of the 5 from IOA were down for maintenance/refurbishment.

I haven’t been to any overseas parks, but some of the youtube videos I’ve seen sure put what we see over here to shame..

December 25, 2022 at 8:57 AM

Okay, Chops, I'll play.

1. 'Rise of the Resistance' - There is no IOA attraction that beats it for well-told, bookend to bookend story. There is no IOA attraction that inserts operation CMs/TMs at the same level. There is no IOA experience that lasts as long (18 minutes) -- with brilliant content from end-to-end). And there is nothing at IOA that matches its technical achievements -- incredible engineering that always serves the story and is never gratuitous.

2. 'The Haunted Mansion' - The Godfather of all dark rides. There is no attraction at IOA that matches the quantity of physical sets and animated figures.

3. 'Enchanted Tales with Belle' - In the category of children's and family entertainment, IOA has nothing even close. And that mirror effect is just nuts!.

4. 'Flight of Passage' -- The queue (including the exterior spaces featuring waterfalls, floating mountains and a valley wall that hides a four-theater (plus boat ride) attraction building. The interior spaces walking through the lab. The flight simulator itself. From one review: " "The actual flight is centered around beautiful visuals. Using the technology that we know from Disney’s Soarin’ attraction and many elements we are familiar with (distinct smells and quite frequent misting effects), Flight of Passage is still able to bring us a new take with its precise simulation and breathtaking vistas. The wind rushing matches perfectly with different speeds during your flight. The movements of the seat are perfectly in sync with the screen’s footage, so even motion sickness-prone individuals may be able to clear without issue. (I am one of those people.) The experience is genuinely moving. You fly around the floating mountains, past many other Na’vi, across an ocean, under a wave, and wind up with a beautiful sun-soaked overview of Pandora. This is a sight-seeing flight from another world. I felt like Sebastian on the back of Falkor in “The NeverEnding Story.” When my flight ended and I “disconnected” from my link chair, I was instantly ready to go back. I visited a place of complete fantasy, but it felt so real. The beauty of it is something not easily shaken. If you allow yourself to become part of the story, by the end you will not only feel like you have flown, you will feel like you have truly connected to this world." From TPI regular (the MAZAING) Sarah Warner: "It truly is an experience I never imagined possible. Since my first ride on Journey Into Imagination in 1988, this is the one and only time I can say an attraction moved me emotionally and spiritually. A+ Disney! Bravo!" Maybe Chopper can find a couple of similarly effusive reviews from a third party regarding an IOA attraction.

5. The front seat of 'Space Mountain' at Magic Kingdom park. Whenever I get to the top of that first lift, I feel like a kid who has reached the top of the hill just before he jumps on his sled. No need for launches or inversions. Just God and gravity.

Happy holidays!

December 25, 2022 at 9:06 AM

Tokyo DisneySea is the only answer. All other parks suck compare to it.

December 25, 2022 at 2:05 PM

A toughie as Disney Seas looks so amazing even if never been there but love IOA and Disneyland too. Although agree maybe spread more parks around.

December 26, 2022 at 6:00 AM


Your list of attractions is taken from 3 different parks, which is not what I intended for the challenge to be (or how this award will be handed out). In fairness, I can see how my wording could have been interpreted the way you did. But what I was asking for is to pick any one of the Florida Disney Parks, and come up with a Top 5 (within that specific park) that could even come close to IOA’s Top 5.

Of course it’s just a matter of opinion, on whether one attraction is superior to another, so I can’t say I am right and you are wrong (or vise-versa). But if your opinion of the attractions you listed was also what the masses believed, we’d see Haunted Mansion, Enchanted Tales with Belle and Space Mountain as nominees for the Best Theme Park Attraction Award. As others have pointed out as well, Haunted Mansion and Space Mountain (both very dated attractions BTW) have superior versions at Disneyland. Now if you wanted to come up with a Top 5 from Disneyland (and include Fantasmic as one) then I think you’d have a much better chance at a more interesting debate.

4 of the 10 nominees for Best Theme Park Attraction are from IOA, which shows the consensus amongst those who made nominations is that IOA’s lineup is stacked…

December 26, 2022 at 10:10 AM

Efteling stole my heart when i visited 4 years ago.

December 27, 2022 at 10:04 AM

Sorry not sorry but I have to add that if Rise was build at Universal the Disney fan boys would roast Universal for having yet another ride with screens! But because Disney built it its the best ride on the

December 27, 2022 at 5:03 PM

I don’t think the “Disney fan boys” are the people who complained about too many screen based attractions at [insert theme park] over the last decade.

December 27, 2022 at 10:51 PM

No other park in the US has so many consistent high-quality attractions and experiences than DL. IOA is close but it’s lacking in it’s amount of shows, number of high-quality dark rides, and nighttime spectaculars.

In short, I could spend hours at DL but at IOA I hit the same 3 rides and then leave in an hour.

December 28, 2022 at 9:03 AM

@Postcott that is also my biggest complaint about Universal parks and were Disney truly shines in my opinion. Not the rides themselves but entertainment. It's insane to me that they still don't have some sort of show in the theatre at Toon Lagoon or a Sinbad replacement! Hopefully Epic Universe fixes that.

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