Disney & Universal Ousted From “Best Parks” List

in Disney Parks, Theme Parks, Universal Studios

Credit: Inside the Magic

Theme park fans from across the United States have voted on their favorite theme parks… and two giants didn’t even make the cut.

North America is home to over 400 amusement parks of all different sizes, themes, and experiences, and these parks attract hundreds of millions of visitors annually. A large chunk of those Guests are usually visiting some of the United States’s biggest and most prominent theme park resorts, such as Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, or Universal Studios Orlando Resort.

Magic Kingdom fireworks at night
Credit: Disney

However, there are also many smaller or lesser-known Parks that hold just as special of a place in the hearts of America. Theme parks like Dollywood, Knotts Berry Farm, Hersheypark, and more may not be as large or as expensive as the major theme parks in Orlando and California, but they have their own unique charm and stunning attractions, and millions of people visit them every single year regardless.

USA Today recently published their 2023 Best Theme Park list as a part of their 10Best Series. For this list, USA Today asked a panel of theme park experts and professionals to create a list of 20 of the best theme parks in the United States and then had their readers vote on their top ten. And shockingly, some theme park juggernauts were left out.

Silver Dollar City
Credit: Silver Dollar City

The top 10 list went as follows:

10. Dollywood – Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

9. Kennywood – West Mifflin, Pennsylvania

8. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay – Tampa Bay, Florida

7. Busch Gardens Williamsburg – Williamsburg, Virginia

6. Hersheypark – Hershey, Pennsylvania

5. Knoebels – Elysburg, Pennsylvania

4. Cedar Point – Sandusky, Ohio

3. SeaWorld Orlando – Orlando, Florida

2. Kings Island – Mason, Ohio

1. Silver Dollar City – Branson, Missouri 

Pennsylvania saw huge representation on the list, taking up three slots, as well as two for both Ohio and Florida. The number one spot went to the beloved Silver Dollar City. However, it may shock some theme park fans to see that not a single Disney Park or Universal Park on either coast made the list, despite their hundreds of millions of visitors every year and general acclaim as some of the best theme parks in the world.

A little girl eats a banana in front of Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem as two costumed minions look on at her.
Credit: Universal

We don’t know if they were left off of the original list for some reason or if fans are simply tired of the Disney theme park experience, but it looks like some new sheriffs are in town.

in Disney Parks, Theme Parks, Universal Studios

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