Visiting theme parks can create a range of emotions, from the anticipation of a ride, to the adrenaline rush at the end.Theme parks offer excitement and fond memories for the whole family or a fun-filled distraction for the kids!
There are hundreds of incredible theme parks across the world but where are the best ones?
To help you choose, we’ve selected 24 of the largest theme parks, based on attendance during 2018, and ranked them based on various data points from the ticket price, number of attractions, average food quality and the speed of their fastest rides.
Let’s see how each park compares.
Theme Park Average Review Ratings
We start by taking a look at how each park competes in terms of review ratings. Using Trip Advisor, we’ve collected the number of positive and negative reviews to give us an indication of which are the least and most popular.
Germany’s largest theme park, Europa Park comes out on top, with over 5,720,000 visitors in 2018, the park gained an incredible 96% positive review rating. Following in joint 2ndplace is Universal’s Islands of Adventure and De Efteling, both with a 93% review rating.
So these are the most positively reviewed theme parks, but how about the other end of the scale?
The worst reviewed theme park on our list is Lotte Land in South Korea with a 73% positive review rating. While Disneyland Shanghai and Disneyland Park Paris take joint 2nd place with a 76% positive review rating.
Theme Park Average Food Rating
At theme parks, you’re often at their mercy when it comes to your choice or quality of food, so it's best to have some backup plans just in case.
US Theme Parks take the top four positions and overall, secure seven out the top ten positions. With an average rating of 4.37 out of 5, Disneyland Park in California comes out top for theme park food. While Adventure Park (4.35), Epcot (4.39) and Animal Kingdom (4.24) closely follow.
Of the theme parks with the worst food ratings, South Korea secures the top three positions, with Lotte World taking top spot with an average food rating of just 2.39 out of 5.
Theme Parks by Average Ticket Prices
One of the main factors for choosing which theme park to visit is the price, particularly for families, as some parks don’t give particularly good concessions for childrens’ tickets. Below we explore and rank ticket costs for adults, children and seniors.
The lowest theme park by price was Tivoli Gardens in Demark at £17, our smallest park in terms of attendance with 4,680,000 visitors. For comparison, Thorpe Park attracted 1,880,000 visitors in 2018 with an average day ticket costing £55.
The most expensive ticket for adults was Universal Studios Hollywood (£115), followed in joint 18th by six separate Disney parks with a £107 ticket fee (Magic Kingdom, Disneyland Park, Animal Kingdom, Disney Hollywood Studios and Adventure Park)
With a day ticket costing just £8 for children, Tivoli Gardens beats off all competitors. Interestingly, none of the US Disneyland parks appears in the top ten, although we do see Shanghai’s Disneyland in 3rd place.
Although the highest children’s ticket price section is dominated by US Disney parks, the worst by far for kid’s tickets was Universal Studios Hollywood in California at £110 per ticket.
In Asian countries most theme parks seem to offer much higher discounts for their senior members – Hong Kong Disneyland for instance offers a senior ticket at a quarter of the price of an adult ticket.
At the top of our list, offering no discount for senior members are Disney and Universal theme parks. Does this suggest that senior members aren’t as respected in Western countries as they are in their Asian counterparts?
Fastest Theme Park Rides
Taking a look at each park’s top speed ride, Nagashima Spa Land comes out on top with its ‘Steel Dragon’ roller coaster hitting a terror-inducing maximum speed of 95 mph. The runner up is Europa Park’s ‘Silver Star’, which hits a maximum speed of 79 mph.
With a 20-point lead on their closest competitor, Europa Park is our overall winner and our best theme park in the world. The park scored high across all park stat categories (view the full selection of stats here) apart from the number of stores. However, if you’re after fast rides then Nagashima Spa Land has the fastest ride speed on the list.
Tivoli Gardens our smallest theme park on the list takes 2nd place with 75 points. While their park reviews are typically average, they have one of the largest numbers of food facilities and the cheapest ticket prices, although Disneyland Hong Kong beats them on the price of senior tickets (£12).
Disney’s highly successful Epcot takes 3rd place. While scores are fairly average, the park has one of the highest food quality ratings, the largest number of food facilities and has the second highest number of shops.
In last place comes Universal Studios Hollywood. It has the highest ticket prices out of any of the parks on the list, a particularly low number of attractions and rides and the slowest overall ride speed.
If you’d like to see the full data from this study, as well as our sources, click here.
Each data point uses the latest data available from trusted sources. The data has been standardised using minmax normalisation and weighted averages.
Normalisation results in a score between 0 and 10 for each category and each theme park is ranked based on their overall sum of each category.
All data points apart from the average annual working hours relate directly to city-level specific data.