The 10 Most Popular Theme Parks in the U.S., According to Visitor Reviews

Surprisingly, the top spot does not come with mouse ears.
Surprisingly, the top spot does not come with mouse ears. / Gustavo Caballero/GettyImages

Summer is nearly upon us, which means one exciting thing: theme park season. Wondering where to go, though? Maybe you’re looking for thrilling rides, to see some shows, or perhaps your inner child is just aching to roam free. (Or you have a literal child, for that matter.) 

Never fear, because the Family Destinations Guide is here to help with your research. The kid-friendly travel review site recently assessed data from Tripadvisor reviews to determine the most popular theme parks in the United States. To pull together the ranking, the site calculated the percentage of positive reviews left on Tripadvisor for the 20 most-visited theme parks in the nation, then used that ratio to finalize its list. 

Somewhat surprisingly, the top spot does not come with mouse ears. You’ll still be in Florida, though, at Universal’s Islands of Adventure (don’t worry, the Jaws ride is closed). Disney definitely got plenty of representation in the top 10, and on both coasts, too: Magic Kingdom came in second, while Disney California Adventure Park ranked third. In fact, Disney and Universal Studios’s rivalry seems closer than you might expect, with five of Disney’s parks (even Epcot) on the list compared to three of Universal’s (even Universal Studios Hollywood made the cut). 

So which two destinations are the plucky upstarts taking on the theme-park world’s Big Two? Midwesterners will be no stranger to Ohio’s Cedar Point, which occupies the fourth spot in this list and is home to some of the tallest roller coasters on the planet. Contrary to what some documentary lovers might expect, SeaWorld Orlando rounds out the list at 10. The oceanic-themed attraction’s water park, Aquatica, became the world’s first certified autism-friendly water park in 2019. 

Did your favorite park crack the top 10? Don’t worry, you don’t have to be 48 inches tall to scroll on to the list below: 

  1. Universal’s Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando Resort
  2. Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort
  3. Disney California Adventure Park
  4. Cedar Point
  5. Disneyland Park
  6. Universal Studios Florida at Universal Orlando Resort
  7. Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort
  8. Universal Studios Hollywood
  9. Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort
  10. SeaWorld Orlando

[H/t Thrillist]