photo: Universal Orlando Resort
Do you have a crew of little thrill-seekers? TripAdvisor just announced its list of the “25 Best Amusement Parks in the World,” a roster compiled from the reviews of millions of travelers — and chances are you’re going to want to add at least one of these spots to your bucket list. Here are the 14 U.S. spots that made the cut:
Islands of Adventure, Orlando, Fl. (#1 on the list) – The all-new Skull Island, Marvel Super Hero Island, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Toon Lagoon, Jurassic Park, The Lost Continent and Seuss Landing are among the big draws here.
photo: Discovery Cove via Facebook
Discovery Cove, Orlando, Fl. (#2 on the list) – Families come to this all-inclusive resort for the chance to engage with a myriad of sea (and land) creatures, from bottlenose dolphins to tropical birds.
Magic Kingdom Orlando, Fl. (#4 on the list) – The Florida home of Mickey Mouse is always a hit with the Littles.
Universal Studios Hollywood, Los Angeles, Ca. (#5 on the list) – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, and the world-famous backlot studio tour (which glides past real, working movie studios) are among the highlights at this Southern California spot.
Universal Studios Florida, Orlando, Fl. (#8 on the list) – Attractions include the E.T. Adventure, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts and the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, which lets you pick your own tunes for the 65-mph ride.
Epcot, Orlando, Fl. (#9 on the list) – Twice the size of the Magic Kingdom, Epcot is divided into Future World and World Showcase. It’s not a coaster capital, but the unique combo of education and ride makes for happy kids and happy parents. Plus, it’s also the home to the new Frozen Ever After, a serene boat ride that’ll totally enamor any fan of Anna and Elsa.
photo: Disney Parks Blog
Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Orlando, Fl. (#10 on the list) – This Disney-engineered safari park is a wondrous way to see wildlife up close without having to travel to Africa. It’s also the home to the much-anticipated Pandora, a sprawling land that brings James Cameron’s world of Avatar to life with three immersive attractions, including the “Flight of Passage” thrill ride, which lets you fly on the back of a simulated mountain banshee.
Sea World Orlando (#11 on the list) – Seeing whales, dolphins, and other sea creatures close enough to feel their splashes is one reason to come to Sea World; another is the array of thrill rides, including a virtual-reality enhanced roller coaster and the face-down flying coaster, Manta.
Disney California Adventure Park, Anaheim, Ca. (#12 on the list) – Little racers will love the Radiator Springs Racers ride (and the whole cars-inspired world around it), and big kids will want to test their courage on the new Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout drop ride, which recently replaced the park’s Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. This park, adjacent to Disneyland Park, is also home to its own boardwalk with swing rides, a roller coaster, a carousel and a Toys midway ride.
Disneyland Park, Anaheim, Ca. (#13 on the list) – Another obvious choice for any child who’s ever watched a Disney movie. Kids (and their young-at-heart parents) will love seeing their childhood memories come to life with rides like Peter Pan’s Flight, the Pirates of the Caribbean, and It’s a Small World.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Orlando, Fl. (#14 on the list) – Florida’s version of Disney’s California Adventure, this Disney park features the Rock ‘n Roller Coaster (a coaster set to Aerosmith tunes), the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Star Tours.
Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tn. (#16 on the list) – This park spans 150 acres in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains and features more than 40 rides and attractions, including the Thunderhead wooden coaster, the steel thriller Mystery Mine and Wild Eagle, the first wing coaster.
Silver Dollar City, Branson, Mo. (#18 on the list) – This Midwest mecca is the home to six world-class festivals, 30 thrilling rides and attractions, and 40 live shows daily. Top draws include the wooden coaster Outlaw Run, which takes riders on speedy twists upside down; the family-friendly Fire in the Hole, an indoor coaster with high-speed drops; and the Giant Barn Swing, which swings riders 7 stories high at 45 mph on giant pendulum arms.
Busch Gardens Tampa, Tampa, Fl. (#19 on the list) – The rides and attractions at this 300-acre park are based on exotic locations around the world and include a zoo with more than 12,000 animals.
To see the full list, click here.
Have you been to any of these amusement parks? Which is your favorite? Tell us in the comments below.