People around the world love to visit theme parks for their rides, shows, and atmosphere. From Disneyland to Universal Studios and more, the parks transport people to magical places. Visitors can soar with Harry Potter, dive with dolphins, travel to the stars with Luke Skywalker, or just pretend they’re on Main Street, USA. Two companies dominate theme parks around the world — Disney and Universal. But which are the most popular? You can find out here … and you don’t even have to buy a ticket!
Most popular theme parks to visit
10. DISNEY’S CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE (ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA)
This is the newest park on this list, and opened in 2001. It is right next door to Disneyland, which means that many tourists plan two or three days to make it through both places.
9. DISNEYLAND PARIS (PARIS, FRANCE)
Though it did not start out well, this French version of Mickey’s home has jumped into the top ten. Built 32 km
outside of Paris, it features hotels and a separate park about movies.
8. DISNEY’S HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS (ORLANDO, FLORIDA)
This is one of four Disney parks all located near each other in Florida, making the Orlando area a one-stop shop for theme park fans. The Studios feature the Tower of Terror thrill ride.
7. DISNEY’S ANIMAL KINGDOM (ORLANDO, FLORIDA)
Most of the Disney parks on this list focus on imaginary people and creatures. At its Animal Kingdom park in
Florida, the focus is on animals that are very real — lions, tigers, elephants, rhinos, and more. Guests can take a
ride through the park’s vast fields to see the animals in habitats much like those they inhabit in the wild.
The Wild Africa Trek is on walkways above the animals, so you can peer down on hippos as they splash around! On the Kilimanjaro Safari, ride in an open car just meters away from ostriches, giraffes, lions, and more. Not every theme park is based on make-believe. Some, like this one, can be great learning experiences, too.
6. EPCOT (ORLANDO, FLORIDA, USA)
Walt Disney loved the future and loved to think about what we could achieve if we put our minds to it. He came up with the name of this park, which was designed to showcase new ideas and new technologies.
EPCOT stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. A prototype is an example of a new idea. For Disney, EPCOT was an example of the future of theme parks. Today, it includes exhibitions of inventions from around the world and a space-themed thrill ride.
5. UNIVERSAL STUDIOS (JAPAN)
The original Universal Studios theme park is in Burbank, California, but its Japanese cousin now attracts way more visitors. Attractions include roller coasters, stunt shows, and rides connected to movies created by Universal.
4. TOKYO DISNEY SEA (JAPAN)
Travel around the world without leaving Japan at this unique park. Its seven “lands” are all connected to famous sea and water stories, from Captain Nemo’s Mysterious Island to the Mississippi River tales of Mark Twain to Mermaid Lagoon.
3. DISNEYLAND (ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA, USA)
Opened in 1955, this is the oldest park on the list, but still one of the most popular. All the other Disney resorts and parks look to this original one for inspiration. Centred on Sleeping Beauty’s castle, Disneyland now includes eight “lands”, including Main Street USA, Fantasyland, and Toontown.
2. TOKYO DISNEYLAND (JAPAN)
This far-off cousin of California’s Disneyland now gets more visitors than the original park. In 2014, more than 17 million people poured through the gates in search of fantasy, magic, and lots of souvenirs!
1. MAGIC KINGDOM WALT DISNEY WORLD (FLORIDA, USA)
Walt Disney World reigns atop this list. With more than 52,000 people visiting it every single day of the year, that’s like an entire football stadium entering the park every morning!
A VERY WET BONUS LIST!
At some theme parks such as Seaworld, you can see animals splash around. But what about people? Waterparks have become very popular around the world. Here are the ones at which most people got soaking wet!
- CHIMELONG WATERPARK, GUANGZHOU, CHINA
- TYPHOON LAGOON AT DISNEY WORLD) ORLANDO, FLORIDA
- BLIZZARD BEACH AT DISNEY WORLD, ORLANDO, FLORIDA
- THERMAS Dos LARANJAIS, OLIMPIA) BRAZIL
- OCEAN WORLD, GANGWON-DO, SOUTH KOREA