The “Best Theme Park” in California Isn’t Disney or Universal

in Disneyland Resort, Theme Parks, Universal Studios Hollywood

Disney Characters at Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Resort in California

Credit: Disney

A study recently established the top theme parks in California – and both Disney and Universal didn’t even crack the top five.

While Florida is usually considered America’s theme park capital, California is home to some of the country’s most exciting attractions. From Disneyland to Universal Studios Hollywood, there are currently 33 Parks dotted around the state – with more sure to open in the future.

Universal Studios Hollywood entrance during New Year’s Eve event
Credit: Universal Studios Hollywood

A recent study from vacation rental company Home to Go recently set out to rank the Golden State’s best theme parks. These rankings were based on multiple factors, including affordability (admittedly, not something you find very often in a theme park) and the number of rides and attractions.

When it came to affordability, Knott’s Berry Farm, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, and Belmont Park took the top three slots. For the number of attractions, the gold, silver, and bronze went to Six Flags Magic Mountain, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, and California’s Great America.

six-flags-discovery-kingdom
Credit: Six Flags

Meanwhile, the overall top ten theme parks in California were ranked as follows:

  1. Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
  2. Knott’s Berry Farm
  3. California Great America
  4. Six Flags Magic Mountain
  5. Belmont Park
  6. Disneyland
  7. Pacific Park
  8. Disney California Adventure Park
  9. SeaWorld San Diego
  10. Universal Studios Hollywood

Vallejo’s Six Flags Discovery Kingdom – the self-proclaimed “thrill capital of Northern California” – took the top spot, helped in no small part by its whopping array of 40 attractions.

Sidewinder Safari at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
Credit: Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

Both Disney and Universal fell lower on the list than expected, with Universal Studios Hollywood – which only boasts 12 attractions, plus the studio tour – only just making the top ten.

This isn’t the first time either company has placed low on a roundup of top theme parks. Recently, both the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts were completely ousted from the nation’s top ten favorite theme parks, as were both the West Coast and East Coast properties for Universal Studios.

A view of Pixar Pier at night, overlooking the lake.
Credit: Disney

Admittedly, the past few years have been rocky for Disney Parks in the eyes of its fans. From the failure of Galactic Starcruiser to frustrations over Genie+ and the Park reservation system, sentiment has been decidedly more negative than usual. However, with Disney set to invest $17 billion in Disney World alone over the next 10 years and Disneyland teasing a massive expansion in the near future, it’s safe to say the Parks are in good hands.

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