Universal Beats Out Disney as Millions Agree on Best Theme Park in Florida

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An aerial view of an amusement park featuring various rides and attractions around a lake, including roller coasters and themed buildings. In the foreground, a large costumed character resembling Universal's famous Despicable Me minion is playfully holding his gloved hand to his face.

Credit: Inside The Magic

Universal Orlando Resort has beaten out Walt Disney World Resort, as millions in Florida have voted on the best theme park in the state—and it’s not a Disney park.

Universal Volcano Bay water theme park, Universal Studios Florida, and Islands of Adventure.
Image Credit: Inside the Magic

Universal Orlando Resort’s Islands of Adventure Voted Best Theme Park in Florida, Beating Out Disney World

A recent study conducted by Westgate Palace Hotel has unveiled Universal’s Islands of Adventure as the top-rated theme park in Florida, surpassing its Disney counterparts. While Universal claimed the leading position, Disney remains a formidable contender, with Magic Kingdom securing second place and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, and EPCOT following closely behind to complete the top five.

“It’s not surprising to see parks operated by Walt Disney and Universal Studios dominating the list,” remarked a spokesperson from Westgate Palace Hotel at Universal. “What may come as a surprise, however, is Islands of Adventure clinching the top spot, surpassing all four major Disney parks.”

Islands of Adventure earned its top rank with an impressive index score of 91.1 out of 100. Moreover, out of 52,310 reviews from park visitors, 74% rated their experience as “excellent” – the highest rating across all U.S. theme parks. Stellar TripAdvisor ratings, combined with 854,821 Instagram hashtags, solidified Islands of Adventure’s position as the premier theme park in Florida.

Aerial photo of Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando Resort.
Credit: @Bioreconstruct on X, formerly Twitter

Despite welcoming over 17 million visitors in 2022 alone, Walt Disney World’s renowned Magic Kingdom secured a close second place with a score of 90.4. Magic Kingdom remains the most Instagrammable theme park in the United States, boasting 8,012,859 Instagram hashtags – the highest of any theme park worldwide.

Ranking as the third best-rated theme park in Florida with a score of 80.7, Disney’s Animal Kingdom also garners attention as the state’s most Googled theme park, with an average of 379,000 monthly searches nationwide. Meanwhile, Typhoon Lagoon, one of Disney’s water parks, claims the third spot with a score of 77.7, and EPCOT secures the fifth spot with a score of 77.6 and is the second most Instagrammable park in Florida with 4,944,301 hashtags.

The study further reveals Universal Studios Florida in sixth place with a score of 77.3, Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park in seventh, SeaWorld Orlando in eighth, Disney’s Hollywood Studios in ninth, and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay rounding out the top ten.

The Seuss Landing entrance inside of Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando Resort.
Credit: Universal/Inside The Magic

“Florida stands out as the ideal destination for a family vacation,” emphasized the Westgate Palace Hotel spokesperson. “From the enchanting world of Walt Disney World to the thrilling experiences at Universal Orlando Resort, Florida’s theme parks add a touch of magic to any vacation. Our family-friendly hotel suites, strategically located on I-Drive, offer easy access to these attractions and provide a welcoming retreat after a day of park exploration.”

The study evaluated every amusement park in Florida based on three key factors: Instagram hashtags, monthly Google search volume, and the percentage of “excellent” reviews on TripAdvisor. These factors were integrated into an index to assign each amusement park a total score and ascertain the best-rated theme parks in Florida. TripAdvisor reviews were given higher weighting as they directly reflect visitor satisfaction, thus emphasizing customer experiences in the overall ranking.

The study’s findings, with Universal’s Islands of Adventure claiming the top spot as Florida’s best-rated theme park, signal positive news for Universal Orlando Resort. It underscores Universal’s success in delivering exceptional guest experiences and attractions that resonate with visitors.

Islands of Adventure’s high index score, glowing reviews, and extensive social media engagement reflect Universal’s commitment to innovation and excellence in theme park entertainment. This recognition enhances Universal’s reputation as a premier destination and bolsters its competitive edge in the highly competitive theme park industry.

A split image showing Universal Studios Florida entrance at night illuminated in pink lights, and a yellow "under construction" sign on the right, with a clear sky in the background.
Credit: Inside The Magic

Universal Orlando Resort comprises Universal Studios Florida, Universal CityWalk, Volcano Bay, and Islands of Adventure. Next summer, Universal Parks will add Epic Universe to the equation, making this theme park giant a week-long destination for families.

With expansions to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Halloween Horror Nights, SUPER NINTENDO WORLD, Diagon Alley, and more, the universal appeal will bring an attraction to ticket sales and theme park admission. Guests will include Virginia residents, folks from Northern Ireland, New York, Los Angeles, and worldwide.

Theme park admission into this new Universal Park, Epic Universe, will bring about a new Universal appeal that will have Universal Studios Hollywood wanting a whole new theme park.

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