Last Updated on June 24, 2023

Though many amusement parks are designed for thrill-seekers, many park goers also enjoy a place packed with entertainment, adventure, food and more. As a child of a large family growing up in the Midwest, exotic, far-reaching vacations were outside our budget, but amusement parks were affordable. Many of my fondest childhood memories were riding the roller coasters and thrill rides that made me feel like I was living on the edge.

Family vacation experts at Family Destinations Guide analyzed TripAdvisor data on the 20 most-visited amusement parks in North America and determined their rank by the percent of “excellent” reviews to determine which of these are North America’s most popular amusement parks.

“This study proves that vacations aren’t just about traveling overseas in a luxury hotel by the beach or breaking the bank on shopping,” a spokesperson from Family Destinations Guide said. “Amusement parks are an easy option as they’re all family-friendly and don’t require a lot of day planning.”

By now, I’m sure you’re wondering if your favorite amusement park made the list and if reviewers agree with your choice of favorites.

“It is no surprise that theme parks operated by Walt Disney and Universal Studios have dominated the list. Both amusement resorts open magical worlds that tap into your inner childhood,” the spokesperson said. “Even if you’re not too fond of rides, just walking around the park fills you with nostalgia. There’s only so much fun you can fit in during a single day in a park, so naturally people will keep coming back to make sure they’ve visited all the attractions and experience the thrill you can only get from rides.”

Drum roll as we reveal the top 10 most popular amusement parks

#10 Sea World Orlando

Compared to the rest of the parks on the list, SeaWorld Orlando is the only one that focuses on marine zoology, offering amazing close-up animal experiences for guests.

The park made the final list with a 59.4% rating.

#9 Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort, Florida

Only a single percentage point difference in “excellent” reviews separates Epcot from the # 8 spot. Epcot features international pavilions and a myriad of fun rides and attractions.

#8 Universal Studios Hollywood, California

This delightful theme park, home to Jurassic World –The Ride, Jurassic World Velocicoaster and Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey, earned eighth place with a 60.9% review score.

#7 Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort, Florida

Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom, Orlando.
Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom, Orlando. Photo by Michael Kompanik

Exotic animals and exciting adventures greet visitors to one of the largest animal theme parks in the world.

Taking seventh place with a 61.3% score, Animal Kingdom is also home to the immensely popular Avatar Flight of Passage, Na’vi River Journey in Pandora – The World of Avatar and Expedition Everest.

#6 Universal Studios Florida at Universal Orlando Resort

Sixth place with a 61.9% review goes to a theme park that features fun such as Harry Potter and the Escape from the Gringotts, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem along with thriller coaster rides that will take your breath away.

#5 Disneyland Park, Anaheim, California

Disneyland may have been entertaining guests since its opening in July, 1955, but it certainly retains its share of magic. Coming in at fifth place with a 63.8% score, the Happiest Place on Earth’s classic attractions are still beloved, but new ones like Avengers Campus and Galaxy’s Edge are drawing visitors by the droves.

#4 Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio

This is the only amusement park on the list that’s neither in Florida nor California, but rather in the Midwest, and it is very familiar to me. Renowned as one of the biggest amusement parks worldwide and home to over 70 attractions, including 17 spectacular roller coasters, Cedar Point landed a 64.6% excellence ranking. 

#3 Disney California Adventure Park, Anaheim, California

Radiator Springs Racers, Cars Land, California Adventure, California.
Radiator Springs Racers, Cars Land, California Adventure, California. Photo credit Pixabay

Ranking third with a 67.1% score, this Southern California theme park first opened its doors to the public in 2001. The relatively small park currently boasts 34 attractions with themes dedicated to Cars, Toy Story, as well as the Marvel superhero franchise.

#2 Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Florida

Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort scored a 69.2% “excellent” rating, making it the second most popular amusement park in North America. It was quite magical to me, for I honeymooned here shortly after the park opened its doors.

One of the four parks in Walt Disney World Resort, Magic Kingdom is famous for its classic Disney attractions such as musical parades and evening fireworks alongside its character-themed rides.

#1 Universal’s Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando Resort

Taking top spot is Universal’s Islands of Adventure with an impressive 73.9% rating. The park is renowned for its six themed islands: Marvel Super Hero Island, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, Seuss Landing, Toon Lagoon, and Skull Island.  

When you’re thinking about your next family vacation adventure, consider one of these exciting theme parks. Obviously, they’re very popular with TripAdvisor travelers!   

Author

  • Michael Kompanik

    Michael Kompanik is a retired Navy Captain, a managing editor of Rovology Online Magazine and a freelance travel writer. He currently resides in San Diego California with his wife Noreen who is also a travel writer and editor. Together they have traveled to such far off places as Europe, Thailand, Central America, Africa and more. Michael’s wide-ranging interests include history, nature, travel, photography, and, of course, military matters.