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Top 10 Theme/Amusement Parks

Hutch

Well-Known Member
1. Cedar Point
2. Hersheypark
3. Alton Towers
4. Busch Gardens Williamsburg
5. Thorpe Park
6. Islands of Adventure
7. SeaWorld Orlando
8. Six Flags Great Adventure
9. Universal Studios Orlando
10. Canobie Lake Park
Wow, I knew I was due for an update, but I didn't realize it's been 5 whole years since I posted here?! God, look at that list. What was I thinking with Great Adventure? Get that **** outta here. Lol and Thorpe Park at number 5?

Okay, obviously I've updated my repertoire since then. Gonna need a rethink here.

1. Dollywood - By far the nicest park I've ever been too. Beautiful area, friendly people, and lovely theming and overall feel help put this on top. And of course, it has a pretty solid coaster selection. I'd probably re-ride all the major coasters too.

2. Cedar Point - I still think this has the best coaster selection in any theme park. But it's not just a big corporate park with big coasters. It has top notch operations, nice landscaping, and the peninsula setting is really cool. Only minor drawback is that it's usually pretty crowded and their rides are temperamental, but there's so much to do that it's never really a huge issue.

3. Busch Gardens Tampa - Another great coaster selection with some really pretty landscaping. I don't think I have any issues to say about it either? I went on a pretty quiet day and had a great time.

4. Knoebels - Love this place. It might have the most charm out of any theme park I've been to. I wouldn't say it's the best in terms of rides, but honestly Phoenix, which might be the most pure fun coaster out there, and the Flyers, my favorite flat ride, are all I need. Especially when the rides are never too crowded to begin with.

5. Hersheypark - Pretty similar park to Cedar Point honestly. It has a top notch coaster selection, solid staff, and some good landscaping, but it falls a couple spots due to the back end of the park not being as nice as the front half.

6. Alton Towers - Might actually be the prettiest park I've ever been to. I know a lot of you seem to take this park for granted, but I was honestly blown away by the country estate setting, especially when I got lost in the gardens. It just needs another really good cred or two, because for such a big park, there's not much else there besides Nemesis to draw me back across the pond.

7. Busch Gardens Williamsburg - Of all the parks I've been to, this should be top of the list for a revisit. It's been 7 years, but again, really solid area with some good coasters (see a pattern here?).

8. Islands of Adventure - It lacks that one really good coaster (something that all the other parks in this list have at least one of, although that's obviously set to change with Velocicoaster), but it makes up for some amazing worlds and high quality dark rides.

9. Holiday World - Another lovely park (and free drinks!!), but the reason it's this low is that both of my visits I spent time waiting for Voyage to open back up after downtime.

10. Kennywood - I actually really enjoyed this place. It's similar to a Holiday World or a scaled up Knoebels. I don't like the delayed ride opening they do every day, but all the coasters were good.
 

CanobieFan

Active Member
hmm, 7 years after my last post in here, guess I can do an update although I found it oddly hard.

1 - Liseberg
2 - Phantasialand
3 - Silver Dollar City
4 - PortAventura Park
5 - Alton Towers
6 - Busch Gardens Tampa
7 - Kennywood
8 - Busch Gardens Williamsburg
9 - Six Flags Magic Mountain
10 - Six Flags Great America
 

Matt N

Well-Known Member
I’ve had a little reshuffle of my park rankings since last time I posted in this thread. So without further ado, here’s the updated ranking of all 17 theme parks I’ve been to as of July 2020:
  1. Islands of Adventure - Oh my, where do I even begin with IOA? Everything at this park just feels on point from the second you step inside; the theming is immense and wonderfully detailed around every corner, and the rides are absolutely fantastic too! Jurassic Park River Adventure and Bilge-Rats are easily my two favourite water rides, and Spider-Man is probably my favourite dark ride! The coaster lineup is not the strongest, I admit, but Hulk is still a very good coaster, in my opinion, and the park definitely looks to be improving in this regard with additions that have been made since my last visit in 2016! On the whole, when you put all the different elements of it together, my memories from Islands of Adventure are probably the nicest times I’ve ever had in any theme park, and some of the nicest of my entire life. Many say that Disney is their primary source of theme park magic, but when you combine some of the most amazing rides I’ve ever experienced with some of the most breathtaking theming I’ve ever seen, Islands of Adventure is the closest I’ve personally come to feeling true magic in a theme park, and that makes it truly stunning in my eyes!
  2. Alton Towers - Alton Towers might be my most visited theme park of all time, but that still doesn’t make me love it any less! I still get giddy with excitement every time we drive through the country lanes of Alton towards the park, and the place has been such a special one to me for many years! The coaster selection is excellent, with Wicker Man being a particular highlight for me, the theming and landscaping are really nice, and the whole place just has a wonderful atmosphere! My love for Alton Towers has never died even after so many years of visiting, and that for me is a truly remarkable thing!
  3. Universal Studios Florida - Universal Studios Florida may not offer quite as much of a themed spectacle as Islands of Adventure next door does, but I still absolutely adore it! There is still some pretty incredible theming in this park; Diagon Alley is probably my favourite themed area of any park I’ve been to, Springfield is fantastic, and the other areas look really nice as well! The ride selection is also fantastic, with the park offering many blockbuster attractions; Gringotts, Revenge of the Mummy and Transformers are some of my personal favourites, and I do really like Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit as well! On the whole, Universal Studios Florida is a stunning park that I’ve never had a bad day at, and when combined with IOA next door, the combined product at Universal Orlando Resort provides a theme park experience unlike anything I could ever have imagined!
  4. SeaWorld Orlando - I can sense that this might be a controversial choice, so I apologise for this one, but I visited SeaWorld Orlando 3 times when I was in Orlando in August 2016, and I did not have a single bad visit! The coaster selection is probably my personal favourite out of all the parks in the immediate Orlando area, with Mako being my number 1 and Kraken also ranking in my top 10, and even though it’s not a themed park to the extent that some of the others in Central Florida are, I still think they do a fantastic job of theming & landscaping! There are some really nicely themed areas, actually; some particular ones that come to mind include the bit around Manta, Shark Wreck Reef (the bit around Mako), the whole Greek themed bit by Journey to Atlantis and Antarctica! On the whole, SeaWorld offers a really good ride selection, some nice theming and a really nice, relaxing atmosphere compared to some other parks as well! What more could you ask for?
  5. Blackpool Pleasure Beach - This park is quite a sight to behold once you’re in there! It may not be themed as such, but there’s something to view in every corner! Rides come at you from every angle here; there’s nearly 100 years of roller coaster history crammed into one park at Blackpool, and I find that absolutely astonishing, personally! I must say, apart from Icon, I don’t think that the ride selection at Blackpool personally appeals to me as much as that of some other parks I’ve been to, but there’s certainly a lot to do, with lots of more unique and historical things on offer, and I think that gives it a really unique flavour, personally! The park also has a lovely atmosphere and manages to look the part with the huge palette of colours used in its ride colour schemes, from the monochrome of Icon to the red and blue of the Big One! On the whole, Blackpool is a very unique park compared to many I’ve visited, and that really gives it its own edge for me!
  6. Disney’s Animal Kingdom - Animal Kingdom was the first Disney park I ever visited, and remarkably, I think it still manages to be my favourite! The environments created within the park are lovely, and the raw scale & detail of some of them is stunning! Admittedly, I’ve never been to any of the countries represented within the park, but they feel very authentically done from what I know about African and Asian culture, and there’s a decent amount to see and do; the ride selection is fairly good, and there’s a lot of animals to see as well! On the whole, Animal Kingdom is a lovely park!
  7. Epcot - Now I must admit; Epcot was perhaps the most surprised I’ve ever been by a theme park! I went in with pretty low expectations having heard people berate it for years, including people in my own family, but I actually ended up thoroughly enjoying it! OK, I admit that I wasn’t a massive fan of Future World (besides Test Track, which I thought was fantastic!); despite the positive message that that section tries to give which I liked, I think that bit of the park felt a little bit dated on the whole, and I’m not really sure whether I was overly enamoured with any of the attractions it offered besides Test Track. However, the reason I liked Epcot so much is because of the section that it is most widely known for; World Showcase. This area is just stunning; there may not be many rides there, but it has such a lovely atmosphere, and the theming and landscaping are very detailed! It’s an area of the park that you could leave satisfied without having boarded any rides, and I think that’s fantastic! If Epcot didn’t have Future World and had been able to do the World Showcase more justice instead with maybe more attractions or more countries, I do think I would rank it higher. On the whole, I think the park maintains a very relaxing, calm atmosphere compared to some other theme parks, with some brilliant theming, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time there; a real positive surprise!
  8. Thorpe Park - This park gets a lot of flack from the enthusiast community, but I personally like Thorpe Park a lot more than the status quo; it may not be Alton Towers, but it still has a lot going for it, in my opinion! The coaster selection is quite strong, in my opinion, and there are actually some very nicely themed bits of Thorpe Park; Swarm Island, Amity Cove & the bit by Saw are themed fantastically, in my opinion, and other bits such as Lost City & The Jungle are really nicely landscaped, in my opinion! On the whole, I really do enjoy Thorpe Park; it’s got a fairly strong ride selection, it’s very nicely themed & landscaped in many areas and I do really enjoy a visit there!
  9. Busch Gardens Tampa - I do really like Busch Gardens Tampa, but I must admit I was somewhat disappointed by it when I visited for the first time in August 2016, and I can’t quite put my finger on why. The park has a lot going for it on paper; it has perhaps one of the strongest coaster selections of any theme park I’ve ever been to, there’s some very nice landscaping in places (although I’m not sure if I’d go as far as calling it a themed park), and it is a really nice park. But something about it left me a bit underwhelmed and I’m not sure what it is. Maybe it’s because my family did not like it at all, maybe it’s because I didn’t have an awful lot of time there and didn’t get everything done, maybe it’s because I was expecting too much. I really don’t know; a revisit is needed for sure.
  10. Disney’s Magic Kingdom - This one might be controversial. Now don’t get me wrong, the Magic Kingdom is a perfectly nice park, it does what it sets out to do very well and I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. However, nothing about it really blew me away, and I did leave quite underwhelmed by it after all the hype I’d heard over the years. Now I should probably preface what I’m about to say by saying that I’m almost definitely above Magic Kingdom’s target demographic, so any review I give is likely to be very unfair; I apologise for that. Looking at the ride selection, my favourite ride there was probably either Seven Dwarfs Mine Train or Splash Mountain; both very nice rides for what they intend to do, and I was actually quite pleasantly surprised by Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, but they didn’t really wow me by any stretch. The theming & atmosphere at the park are excellent, and definitely some of its strong points, but I felt that the theming in some other theme parks in Florida perhaps wowed me more. I do also think the crowds may have been a slight detractor from the park for me; Magic Kingdom is the most visited theme park in the world and it definitely shows when you’re walking along some of the paths, and the sheer crowd levels did make me a bit more nervous than I was at any of the other Florida theme parks; maybe visiting in a quieter period would help? Admittedly, it was built in 1971, so I’m probably being way too harsh criticising it and comparing it to things built far later, but I’m just comparing it to some of the other theme parks I’ve visited, and when I do that, I think I enjoyed my time at some other parks more. So before I ramble on for too long; the Magic Kingdom is a really, really nice park, and does what it sets out to do very well. However, I don’t think what it sets out to do is really my sort of thing, and I think I’m somewhat above the park’s target demographic.
  11. Disney’s Hollywood Studios - Now I may not be at liberty to give a fair review of Hollywood Studios, because a significant chunk of it was behind some sort of construction fence when I visited in April 2019, with both Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway under construction. However, out of the Disney parks I’ve been to, it was my least favourite. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it, because I did enjoy it and there are many things I liked about it, but I’m not really sure if there’s enough there to fill a full day, and I would also have said despite the park having some nice theming and landscaping, it felt more weakly themed than Disney’s other 3 parks on the whole; I personally feel that Universal Studios Florida pulled off the whole “studios” theme a lot more effectively. That being said, there are certainly many redeeming features of Hollywood Studios, because the theming and atmosphere are still nice, and while the attraction selection may not be particularly expansive, what’s there is fantastic; Tower of Terror is phenomenal, and one of my all-time favourite rides, and Rock’n’Rollercoaster and Slinky Dog Dash were probably my two favourite Disney roller coasters! Even Star Tours, while not necessarily mind-blowing, was quite good fun! And as I say, Hollywood Studios was still very much a work in progress when I visited, so I very much look forward to visiting now that the new additions have all opened!
  12. Oakwood Theme Park - For such a small park, Oakwood is really worth a visit; a hidden gem, if you like! Megafobia, arguably the park’s star attraction, is an absolutely smashing coaster, in my opinion; one of my favourites in the UK! The park also has some other fun rides, and it’s in a beautiful forest setting! On the whole, I think Oakwood has a certain charm to it that makes it a really nice park to visit; definitely worth the trek if you’re in the area!
  13. Drayton Manor - Drayton is a nice little park for what it is, in my opinion! While it doesn’t really have anything particularly mind-blowing, I don’t think it’s necessarily expected to, nor does it need to. The park is very much focused on the younger families, so if you’ve got young kids with you, then you will have a wonderful time, as there’s a lot to do for that market! However, even though I am not a young child nor did I have any young children with me when I visited, I still had a very pleasant visit in August 2018; my favourite ride there was probably Shockwave, which I must admit was a real pleasant surprise! The park is also rather nicely themed in areas, particularly in Thomas Land! On the whole, I’m probably above the target market of Drayton Manor, so I’m not really at liberty to fairly review it, but I thought it was a nice park for what it is, and I did enjoy my visit there!
  14. Chessington World of Adventures - I’m probably not at liberty to give Chessington a fair review, as I’m above the park’s target demographic, and do bear in mind that I have not visited since 2014, however despite Chessington being a perfectly nice park, it’s not one of my favourites. The ride selection is good for the target demographic if not mind-blowing, and the theming is nice. I do like the idea behind the theme, with all the different regions of the world such as Transylvania, Mystic East, ZUFARI and Wild Asia, and even though it may not be on the scale & grandiose of Kilimanjaro Safaris at Animal Kingdom, I do remember ZUFARI being a really nice safari ride, with some nice animals and a fun finale! On the whole, I think Chessington is good at what it aims to be (a zoo theme park aimed at families), but as with Magic Kingdom, I’m not really sure if it’s my sort of thing. And as I said above, I am above the target demographic, so I probably can’t give Chessington an overly fair review.
  15. Fun Spot Kissimmee - Now I admit I probably wasn’t in Fun Spot long enough to form a proper opinion of it, but it seemed perfectly nice for what it was! Mine Blower is absolutely fantastic, and worth a visit to the park on its own, and there is some other stuff there to do as well! On the whole, I wasn’t really at Fun Spot long enough to form a proper opinion of it, but I had positive impressions from what I saw!
  16. South Pier Blackpool - As with Fun Spot above, I probably wasn’t in South Pier long enough to form a proper opinion of it. The only reason it’s really below Fun Spot is because I didn’t enjoy the Reverchon mouse I rode there anywhere near as much as I enjoyed Mine Blower, but there was some other nice-looking stuff there; the log flume actually looked quite substantial! On the whole, South Pier seemed perfectly nice for what it was!
  17. Legoland Windsor - Now I admit I can’t give Legoland an overly fair review given that I am well above the target demographic, and I also visited in the height of the summer holidays for only a few hours, but my experience there was probably my least favourite theme park experience I’ve ever had. That’s admittedly not down to any fault of the park itself; it seemed nice for what it is, with some nice theming! Dragon was a fun family coaster, and Miniland is an interesting and surprisingly large area! However, I found my entire time there very stressful, and that’s down to a combination of the fact that it was absolutely rammed and the paths being quite narrow, meaning that being on the park made me incredibly anxious. This was admittedly exacerbated by the fact that our mum was in a wheelchair after having broken her ankle not too long before our visit. As someone who doesn’t like really crowded places at the best of times, we as a family found it very challenging to both navigate our own way through the crowds and wheel our mum around the park. I definitely didn’t experience Legoland in ideal circumstances, and I’d definitely need to go back to give it a properly fair review; as I say, my opinion is due to no fault of the park itself. However, I can only speak for the experience that I personally had, and the experience I had was quite stressful. It’s very likely that I’d like Legoland quite a bit more if I went back at a less busy time in more ideal circumstances.
So, those are my parks ranked! I wouldn’t say that there’s a single park on this list that I disliked or wouldn’t happily revisit; all of the theme parks I’ve been to have been good in their own way! However, there are definitely some I enjoyed more than others.

I do apologise, as I admit I haven’t been overly fair on certain parks in some of these reviews, in hindsight!
 

JJLehto

Active Member
I used to have a steep drop off after the first 2 but got to experience so many in these last 4 years I feel I can assemble a true list

1: Cedar Point (still and forever. Not being a fanboy I just dont see what will top its quantity, quality and (for a huge park) nice feel)
2: Hersheypark (still wonderful and its really blown up its lineup)

3: King's Island (Not the greatest lineup but solid, will see how it is now w Orion but wonderful feel and it has the best ops Ive seen. Dead day, 2 trains on all and they were moving. It would rival for #2 if the lineup was stronger but a lot of their rides are just solid and Dback was lackluster)

No concrete order:

Holiday World (Quality > Quantity but dang those are good rides, great feel, well run unlike some other smaller park experiences I've had/hear about)
Lagoon (A real surprise. Pretty solid lineup (not mind blowing but good and unique) and a good feel to the park. Good blend of "small time feel" but quantity and quality)
Six Flags over GA (Good ride selection and ya know the park didn't feel too s****y! Goliath and TC are a helluva 1-2)
Six Flags Discovery Kingdom (Pretty solid ride lineup and not a bad park. Not great but I didn't feel grumbly there)
Universal Orlando (cheating and putting both here. Deff more of an experience than ride quality (esp with Dragons gone) but always a great great time and they do got fun rides and dat theming)
BGT (again not the best lineup BUT what's there is strong and the park is such an experience. Iron Gwazi will only boost it further)

10: Six Flags Magic Mountain (Wasnt even sure this park would make it. Sorry but the lineup here is pretty weak for its quantity and both times I've been here I kinda disliked it and felt like "just gotta get to these rides" Same as Great Adv BUT there's more here at least and they do got a sick RMC.)


I've dropped Kings Dominion (though yet to ride their RMC) SFNE (place kinda sucked and I hated being there but ya know but ya know creds) and honorable mention to Knoebels. Wonderful place, all the praise is warranted just ya know....there's not a lot there and hate to say but if I was gunna go 2 hours...Hershey is there. Hell same if I was a local. But great feel, had a blast, good rides and talk about customer service:

My phone flew out on Twister (yeah....) checked Lost & Found twice to no avail. Ah well. Got a call the next day. Someone found it in a bush, it worked still, they opened it (had no pass code) and figured "Home" wasa good one to try. They called to say they found it and they MAILED it to me. Gotta give kudos, that is truly unparalleled.
 
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