If you’re going to drop your hard-earned cash at a theme park, being an informed consumer is imperative, and this rundown is a great place to begin. 10Best Editors, USA TODAY 10Best
TripAdvisor, the travel planning and booking site, announced the winners of its Travelers’ Choice awards for Amusement Parks recently, and — we’re surprised, but not really — by how many in the Top 10 list are in Orlando, an hour away from Brevard County.
We’ve got the Top 10 listed below along with links to videos and photo galleries. Winners were determined using an algorithm that took into account the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for amusement parks and water parks worldwide, gathered over a 12-month period.
So which amusement parks made the top 10? You might be surprised at some of the choices.
10. Disney California Adventure Park
At the theme park in Anaheim, California, travelers can experience the thrill of an old wooden roller coaster but with moderns technology on “California Screamin” or enjoy a live character performance at Disney’s newest theme park.
One TripAdvisor traveler noted, “Disney California Adventure is a truly magical place. The highlight was the Paint the Night Parade, wow what a fantastic experience! The costumes, lights, music and dancing were just magical. To top it all off we watched the fireworks from the neighboring park!” Travelers can purchase a Disneyland 1-Day Admission with Round-trip Transport from Los Angeles on TripAdvisor from $197.
9. Disney’s Hollywood Studios
“To infinity and beyond!” “Toy Story” star Tim Allen appeared at the grand opening of Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando on June 29, 2018. Video by Jennifer Sangalang and Tim Shortt, FLORIDA TODAY. FLORIDA TODAY
At this Orlando theme park offers a behind-the-scenes look at Hollywood-style action where travelers can bump into Storm Troopers, watch live shows, ride thrilling attractions like the Aerosmith Rock N Rollercoaster, and experience Toy Story Mania, Beauty and the Beast, and more.
“This was our 3rd time at Hollywood Studios and we enjoyed it as much as the first time. Love all the shows and rides and also the story of Walt Disney, with all the memorability from his life and how he created Disney World and Disneyland. Our favorite park,” said a TripAdvisor reviewer.
A trip to Disney is never cheap, but you can save a few bucks with the right attitude. Noah Lau, The Republic | azcentral.com
The Anaheim theme park, built in 1955, “The Happiest Place on Earth” remains a family favorite with enchanting characters from pirates to fairytale princesses, in the sea to the stars.
One TripAdvisor reviewer advised, “Disneyland is a great place for young and old, whether you like to ride the attractions, get photos with Disney Characters or Star Wars, or you watch the parades, shows and fireworks.” Travelers can purchase a Disneyland 1-Day Admission with Round-trip Transport from Los Angeles on TripAdvisor from $197.
7. SeaWorld Orlando
Rudolph, Santa and the gang will be at SeaWorld Orlando for its SeaWorld Christmas 2017 celebration. Video courtesy of SeaWorld.
SeaWorld Orlando features the city’s longest, tallest and fastest roller coaster (Mako), among many exciting rides and adventures featuring a host of marine life such as dolphins, penguins, turtles and more.
A TripAdvisor reviewer noted “What a great day out here! So much to do and see here. Que times are brilliant hardly ever had to wait. The food here was really lovely and the air con room was lovely really nice touch. Can’t wait to come back — the rides are awesome.” Travelers can purchase a ticket on TripAdvisor from $88.
6. The Island in Pigeon Forge
At Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, this 23-acre entertainment destination offers affordable family fun day and night as the home to Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant, the Margaritaville Island Hotel and Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen.
“A hidden gem. There is something for everyone here to enjoy, no matter what your age or interest. The Island is easy to walk around and there is a wonderful Ferris wheel to ride,” said a TripAdvisor reviewer.
5. Disney’s Animal Kingdom
April 22 is the 20th birthday for Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and a celebration was held Sunday. Video by Tim Shortt. Posted 4/22/18.
The largest of the four Orlando theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort – and the biggest animal-themed park in the world – Disney’s Animal Kingdom reflects Walt Disney’s dedication to nature and conservation from safaris to roller coasters to Broadway-quality performances.
According to one TripAdvisor reviewer, “AK has something for everyone, adult and kid rides and shows, good quick service restaurants and plenty of animals for watching. For night hours, the park is beautifully lit and ambiance is soothing.”
4. Universal Studios Florida
Surprise! Vin Diesel and the “Fast and Furious” stars attended the grand opening of Fast and Furious: Supercharged May 2, 2018, at Universal Orlando Jennifer Sangalang, FLORIDA TODAY
Home of Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, this Orlando theme park is full of entertainment and nightlife alike along the CityWalk, where travelers can explore rides like The Simpsons and Jimmy Fallon Race through New York.
“This is one of the best parks ever with so much excitement and stuff to do for everyone! If you love thrill rides or shows you’ll never be disappointed and great food too,” commented a TripAdvisor reviewer. Travelers can purchase Universal Orlando Tickets in advance on TripAdvisor from $180 for admission to three Universal parks for seven consecutive days.
3. Universal Studios Hollywood
Tom Felton, who played Draco Malfoy on screen, gives USA TODAY’s Bryan Alexander a peek at the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood. Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY
Travelers can tour the legendary Universal Studios backlot in Los Angeles and jump on heart-pounding rides inside some of the world’s biggest movies such as King Kong and Fast and the Furious.
A TripAdvisor reviewer noted, “I wasn’t expecting Universal to be so good, the detail in everything was breath taking, the live shows like waterworks are fantastic and appeal to all ages, the rides like Harry Potter are superb!” Visitors who buy Skip the Line: Express Ticket at Universal Studios Hollywood from $179 on TripAdvisor will receive priority access and will not have to wait more than 15 minutes for any ride, show or attraction.
2. Magic Kingdom
This little girl transforms into a princess at at Magic Kingdom’s Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. USA TODAY
Magic Kingdom in Orlando captures the enchantment of fairy tales with exciting entertainment, classic attractions such as Space Mountain and beloved Disney Characters to meet and greet visitors.
“There’s absolutely nothing like that first glimpse of Main Street. Magic Kingdom has that aura that nothing else matches, and unlike many of the other parks, it’s more thematically varied. It also features the most rides of all of the parks and the most for the younger set,” a TripAdvisor reviewer recommended.
Adorable video: Surprise! Cocoa police take 25 kids to Disney World — for free
1. Universal’s Islands of Adventure
USA TODAY gets an exclusive sneak peek at Universal Orlando’s new Diagon Alley attraction set to open this summer. USA TODAY
Travelers’ favorite amusement park for 2018 — Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure — features exciting rides and attractions on spectacularly themed islands from Jurassic Park to Harry Potter.
According to a TripAdvisor reviewer, “I remember visiting Islands of Adventure when it first came out. It was amazing, loud, and fun fun fun! It isn’t any different visiting as a parent. There are plenty of rides, lots of good food, and many other things to enjoy.” Travelers can buy Universal Orlando Tickets on TripAdvisor from $180 for admission to three Universal parks for seven consecutive days.
Archive story: 7 years of Butterbeer and it’s still going strong
Don’t blink! You won’t want to miss Cinderella’s castle at the Magic Kingdom get a makeover as part of Disney’s nighttime fireworks and projections show. USA TODAY
Read or Share this story: https://on.flatoday.com/2OUQ61s