New research reveals the top 10 best-rated amusement parks in the US.
The research conducted by Westgate Palace Hotel at Universal analyzed every amusement park located in the United States based on three key factors: Instagram hashtags, monthly Google search volume and the percentage of ‘excellent’ reviews on TripAdvisor. These factors were then combined in an index to give each amusement park a total score to discover the most popular nationwide. The factors were also weighted in favor of customer experiences, so TripAdvisor reviews were given a higher weighting due to them directly reflecting park-goers satisfaction.
The Top 10 Best-Rated Amusement Parks in the USA
- Universal’s Islands of Adventure
- Magic Kingdom
- Disney California Adventure
- Cedar Point
- Silver Dollar City
- Animal Kingdom
- Universal Studios Hollywood
- Disneyland Park
- Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park
Disney’s Magic Kingdom narrowly misses out on the top spot, placing second behind Universal, scoring 90.4. Home to the iconic Cinderella’s Castle, Magic Kingdom is the most visited vacation resort in Florida, amassing more than 17 million visitors in 2022 alone, but only the second highest-rated. Magic Kingdom also ranks as the most Instagrammable theme park in the United States, holding the highest number of Instagram hashtags of any theme park worldwide, with a whopping 8,012,859 posts.
Disney California Adventure Park places next in the ranking, in third place. Disney California Adventure is one of the two parks at Disneyland Resort, located in Anaheim, California, the other being Disneyland Park, which ranks in eighth place. The park is the third highest-rated park nationwide on TripAdvisor, with 67% of its reviews labeled ‘excellent’ out of 15,724 total reviews, contributing to its final index score of 84.2
Cedar Point ranks as the fourth most acclaimed theme park in the US, according to the findings. Often referred to as the ‘rollercoaster capital of the world’ due its impressive selection of rollercoasters, Cedar Point receives the third highest number of Google searches in the study, with 355,000 average monthly searches. Located in Sandusky, Ohio, the park opened in 1870, making it one of the oldest amusement parks in the United States.
The study revealed that Silver Dollar City is the fifth best-rated amusement park nationwide, based on park-goers experience. Located in Stone County, Missouri, Silver Dollar City features a variety of entertainment, including live shows, festivals, and demonstrations of traditional crafts. The park is the fourth highest-rated theme park on TripAdvisor, with 66% of all visitor reviews falling under the ‘excellent’ category.
The research revealed that Disney’s Animal Kingdom ranks as the sixth best-rated theme park nationwide. Animal Kingdom is the second most Googled theme park nationwide, receiving 379,000 average monthly searches, and has the third-highest number of hashtags in the ranking, with 4,752,545 hashtags. Opening in 1998, Animal Kingdom is the largest of the four Disney theme parks in terms of land area and features as the second Walt Disney World park to feature on the list, with a total score of 80.7.
The top 10 best-rated amusement parks in the US are rounded out by Universal Studios Hollywood, ranking in seventh place, followed by California’s Disneyland Park, Dollywood, and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park in eighth, ninth, and tenth, respectively.
A spokesperson from Westgate Palace Hotel at Universal commented on the findings: “It comes as no surprise that theme parks operated by Walt Disney and Universal Studios have dominated the list. What may be surprising, however, is that the research crowns Universal as the best-rated theme park, beating all four major Disney parks.”
“Universal Studios Orlando stands out as the premier theme park destination in America due to its unrivaled customer experience and unwavering commitment to visitor satisfaction. With a recorded 37.9 million tourists in the first three months of 2023 alone, Florida continues to be a major vacation hotspot in the United States.”
“From the enchanting world of Walt Disney World to the exhilarating experiences at Universal Orlando, Florida’s theme parks add a touch of magic to any vacation. There’s only so much fun you can fit in during a single day in a park, so naturally guests will extend their stay to visit as many of Florida’s major theme parks as possible. Our family-friendly hotel suites are strategically located on I-Drive for easy access to these attractions and offer a welcoming retreat after a day of park exploration.”