• The Best Theme and Amusement Parks in the US!
    The term amusement park covers a lot of turf. Typically an amusement park is defined as a large outdoor venue that consists of rides, arcade games or games of chance, entertainment of various types food and refreshments. They could include theme parks (amusement parks with a common thread that creates a specific “theme”), haunted houses and scream parks, water parks, roller coaster parks and other such entertainment venues.

    People love Amusement Parks. The thrill of a speeding roller coaster, the surprises that await them around each corner of a dark ride, the relaxing boat rides with a slight breeze that flirts with you as you sail uncharted waters; and the wonders of riding a steam train as the whistle blows and the steam billows from its stack. Then there are those delightful and nostalgic carousels. Oh yes, let’s not forget all of that food! Tons and tons of food, from despicable to delicious… and we love every bite.

  • Zippy estimates that well over 150,000,000 will visit Theme Parks in America this year. That’s staggering if you consider there are just over 326,000,000 people who live in the US. Of course many of those who attend theme parks in the United States will be visiting from other countries (still pretty amazing if you think about it).

    While Disney is still the dominating force in theme park attendance, many of the other parks have continued to gain momentum when it comes to attendance.

    The big question- which are the best Amusement Parks in the country this year? Well ZZZippy has the answer, at least from our judges perspective. From roller coaster parks to water parks, from mega to mini, we’ve judged which theme parks, which amusement parks and which thrill parks are truly the best of the best!

    Our criteria for rating each entertainment venue included: originality, fun-factor and value. However the largest emphasis was put on “Overall Guest Experience”.

    So take a little ride as you visit ZZZippy’s
    Top 25 Amusement Parks in America.

    1. Islands of Adventure, Orlando, Florida

    Islands of Adventure in Orlando in constantly biting at Disney’s heels, and bite they do. While Disney certainly has the larger attendance, most people would agree that Islands of Adventure is a bit more edgy and delivers a bit better value. With the addition of “Skull Island- Reign of Kong”, the recently refurbished “Incredible Hulk” (one of the best Roller Coasters in the world. Spiderman, the Mummy and a myriad of other exciting rides ensure that the Islands of Adventure experience is a memorable one. Now if they can just remember the things that have helped them keep in the Disney race, because these are the things that have positioned them as this year’s #1 Best Amusement Parks in America… and of course the secret to keeping the crowds coming back for more.

    www.universalorlando.com

    2. Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Orlando, Florida

    There is truly something special about this park. Perhaps it’s the combination of exhilarating rides like Expedition Everest, stunning exhibits like the Tree of Life a 145 foot sculpted tree featuring 325 carvings of existing and extinct animals, the stunning Kilimanjaro Safari all brought together in a harmonious manner that keeps one entertained for hours and hours. This is a park where Disney really has captured the magic. This combination has earned Animal Kingdom the #2 spot as one of the country's top theme parks!

    disneyworld.disney.go.com/destinations/animal-kingdom/

    3. Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Orlando Florida

    If you have young kids, forget it, this is by far the #1 theme park on the planet. It might even take first, second and third place. If you don’t have young kids, well, it’s still amazing. Let’s start with the #1 dark ride in the world, Disney’s Haunted Mansion, amazingly still a crown favorite after almost 50 years! Now let’s talk about fireworks and parades, nobody but nobody competes with Disney in either of those areas. Add to that Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain Railway, Hall of Presidents, the Liberty Square Riverboat, (and if you want to go brain-dead) Small, Small World. Top it all off with the Magic of Disney and you just put yourself on the map as one of the best Amusement Parks in America (or anywhere else). Disney's Magic Kingdom, Orlando... the #3 Best Amusement Park in the United States!

    disneyworld.disney.go.com/destinations/magic-kingdom/

    4. Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio

    They bill themselves as the Roller Coaster Capital of America, and that’s probably true. The park boasts 17 roller coaster and over 70 rides in all. It all started back in 1870 and is in fact one of America’s oldest theme park. Cedar Point is no stranger to world-records and its latest coaster, Valravn is the fastest dive coaster on the planet. Great rides, excellent coasters, good ole fair food and a variety of good accommodations all add up to the #4 spot on ZZZippy’s Best Amusement Parks in the country.

    www.cedarpoint.com


    5. Universal Studios Orlando

    Orlando takes the cake when it comes to the very best Theme Parks and Amusement Parks anywhere. The creative geniuses at Universal always seem to have something up their sleeves to keep them pushing the envelope of excitement, fun and adventure when it comes to America’s best parks. Don’t forget to get a shake from the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium, but make sure you get there at off times or you won’t get close. Terminator 2 - 3D still a ton of fun for all, Men in Black brings the friends and family together as you go to war against the aliens, of course then there’s the most recent Harry Potter addition, Diagon Alley TM. Universal Studios Orlando... #5 of America's Top 25 Amusement Parks.

    www.universalorlando.com

    6. Disney’s EPCOT, Orlando Florida

    From the unique attractions to the fabulous entertainment, from the diversity of foods to the unique atmosphere and special events, EPCOT continues to be a dominate force in Theme Parks world-wide. Unfortunately Walt Disney never saw his dream of EPCOT (an acronym for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow) come to fruition. And in actuality EPCOT is not exactly what Walt envisioned, however, as the Disney team continues to improve on what was built in 1982, it continues to be a place that theme park aficionados flock to. That's why it not only made our top 25 list... it is one of our pick for the Top 10 Amusement Parks in America.

    disneyworld.disney.go.com/destinations/epcot/

    7. Knott’s Berry Farm Buena Park, California

    Knott’s Berry Farm only minutes from Disneyland in Buena Park. So why go to Knott’s? Because it’s an all day blast, that’s why. Knott’s is certainly one of America’s oldest theme parks opening to the public in 1920. This cool adventure park has a lot going for it; great roller coasters, a working ghost town, very good shows, and excellent children’s rides. These are the things that gave Knott’s the juice to make their way clear up to #7 on ZZZippy’s list of “Top 25 Amusement Parks in America”.
    www.knotts.com

    8. Disney’s Hollywood Studio

    One of our very favorites for a lot of reasons, one of course is the Tower of Terror themed complete with Twilight Zone ambience and big drops at the end. The attraction décor and theming is nothing less than astounding. Then there’s Rockin’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith, several Star Wars rides, themes and exhibits and the Great Movie Ride. Plus, if you’re going to Hollywood Studios make sure you get a reservation at the Brown Derby.

    disneyworld.disney.go.com/destinations/hollywood-studios/

    9. Universal Studios Hollywood, Los Angeles, California

    Universal is certainly one of the largest successes in the Amusement Park, Theme Park industry. IN fact, they are one of the few entertainment venues that really seem to compete with the Disney Empire. With attractions like the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the AMC Walking Dead Attraction, Fast & Furious Supercharged and King Kong 3D, it’s hard not to make Zippy’s list of the best amusement parks in the us. Our judges didn’t like Universal Studios Hollywood quite as much as they did Universal Orlando… but they liked it enough to vote it into the Top 10 best Amusement Parks in America!

    http://www.universalstudioshollywood.com/

    10. Six Flags Magic Mountain, Valencia, California

    Kicking Cedar Point out of its acclaimed spot as the Amusement Park with the most roller coasters is Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia (just north of LA). Sitting on over 250 beautiful acres of land in sunny California this Six Flags is definitely one you should visit if you like the fury of a roller coaster. With way too many to even begin to mention, we’ll just tease you by saying, ride the coasters all day long! This cool coaster collection helped Six Flags shoot up to #10 on Zippy’s list of America’s Top 25 Amusement Parks.

    www.sixflags.com/magicmountain

    11. Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Virgina

    Busch Gardens is a family-fun entertainment venue period. The park is clean, the staff is friendly and there is a lot to do including many really top-notch rides. Furthermore Busch Gardens Williamsburg is one of the country’s most beautiful amusement parks; lots of hills, lots of trees… and lots of places to sit. Hmmm, maybe that’s part of the formula, make your guests comfortable. Great idea!
    buschgardens.com

    12. Hershey Park, Hershey, Pennsylvania

    Hershey may not have the rides that some of the larger amusement parks boast but it does have a lot going for it. The food is good and affordable, the park is extremely clean, the layout is perfect for getting around easy and it is absolutely beautiful. In addition the staff is one of the best we’ve seen. Finally while there are fewer rides than the bigger boys, the ones they have are fun and seem to be well- maintained. A trip to Hershey is well worth the price of admission.

    www.hersheypark.com

    13. Discovery Cove Orlando, Florida

    Discovery Cove may very well be our most improved park this year. While they seemed just a bit shaky a year or two ago, management seems to have made the decision to improve in most all areas including customer relations. The overall experience at Discovery Cove is very good. The grounds are well-kept, the hotel lobby is very nice and the staff is extremely friendly which starts your journey on the right foot. Swimming with the dolphins still takes the show here. It’s a memorable experience that will last a lifetime.

    www.discoverycove.com

    14. Holiday World, Santa Claus, Indiana

    Next on our list is Holiday World located in Santa Claus, Indiana. This unique park is truly themed and in fact it’s themed with four different lands- Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving and a 4th of July theme (sounds weird but it works). The rides, the décor, pretty much everything you experience relates to the themes of the area that you’re in. There are plenty of rides for all ages which is great for families and the rides are very good. Interestingly enough, one of the things that we were most impressed with was Holiday World’s water park, Splashin’ Safari. Splashin’ Safari is consistently voted one of the best water parks on the planet. It’s not only very large with lots of water rides but it is also exceptionally clean. Finally, Holiday World offers free soda to everyone (as well as sunscreen). These are the little things that put Holiday World on our list of the best Amusement Parks in America!

    www.holidayworld.com

    15. Six Flags Fiesta, San Antonio, Texas

    With lots and lots of rides and fun things to do, Six Flags Fiesta in San Antonio is an amusement park that everyone should visit. Batman the Ride, the first 4D, free-fly coaster is fast and furious. Der Pilger Bahnhof takes you on a magical locomotive tour with waterfalls and quarry walls that serves as a beautiful and interesting background. If you like thrill rides make sure you ride the Drop of Doom and the Fireball. You may or may not regret it. All in all this Six Flags delivers what you expect, fun, excitement and variety. That’s why they made their way onto ZZZippy’s list of Best Amusement Parks in America!

    www.sixflags.com/fiestatexas

    16. SeaWorld, Orlando, Florida

    Rides and Sea Animals. Different, but fun. Sea World has a reputation as a family friendly entertainment venue. If you’ve been to the Disney and the Universal parks and you want something a little different, SeaWorld might just be the place for you.

    www.seaworld.com/Orlando

    17. Silver Dollar City, Branson, Missouri

    Bluegrass, Barbecue and Beauty. Silver Dollar City has a little bit of everything, and a lot of some things. Located in the heartland of America, Silver Dollar City is a place where families and friends can gather for fun and frolic. This old country style theme park has a feel and grace all its own. Situated in the gorgeous Ozark Mountains, this venue has a fabulous, natural setting. If you like music, great food and fun rides you’re gonna like Silver Dollar. If you love music, great fun and fun rides… well, you’re certainly gonna love this special place.
    www.silverdollarcity.com

    18. King’s Island, Mason, Ohio

    Another Cedar Fairs property that made our list of Best Theme Parks in America is King’s Island. Since Cedar Fairs acquired the property several years ago, everything about it has improved. This huge park (over 250 acres) is considered to be one of the top Kid’s Amusement Parks in America. However, this gem is also one of the best adult Amusement Parks in the country and that’s exactly why it has been voted to ZZZippy’s list of the best. When most people think of coasters they think of sister property, Cedar Point, but with the Banshee, Diamondback and the Beast, you certainly don’t want to omit King’s Island from your list.

    www.visitkingsisland.com

    19. Disneyland Park, Anaheim, California

    While it’s not Disney Orlando… it is Disney. Not much more to say than when you say Disney, chances are they will be somewhere on your list of the best.

    disneyland.disney.go.com

    20. Busch Gardens, Tampa, Florida

    Coasters, rides (including a lot of really good kid rides), wonderful animal habitats and exhibits, good shows and a family friendly time. If you’re in Tampa, Busch Gardens has to be on your “must do” list.

    buschgardens.com

    21. Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

    Okay, if you’re only interested in coasters then Dollywood isn’t for you. However, if you like variety; especially when it comes to food and entertainment, then you need to put Dollywood on your list. Charming atmosphere, loads of fun, very friendly people, excellent food and amazing music venues.

    www.dollywood.com

    22. Legoland, Winter Haven, Florida

    If you have kids then this unique amusement park needs to rest right at the top of your list with the Magic Kingdom. Legoland is kid safe and intentionally kid secure because it was designed with kids in mind.

    www.legoland.com

    23. California Adventure Park, Anaheim, California

    Disney lands on our list again, this time with Disney California Adventure Park. With dining styles and the type of entertainment that you’d expect from Disney this adventure or theme park is perfect if you live on or near the west coast. Obviously as you can see by the rankings that it doesn’t quite rate on the same level as some of the other Disney properties in Orlando, but hey, it’s Disney and it still wonderful.

    disneyland.disney.go.com

    24. Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson, New Jersey

    This fun park is ultra-themed with 11 totally different themed areas, all designed with care to maintain their individual themes. Even more important, this park has loads of rides, loads of things to do, loads of entertainment and delivers loads of fun. If you’re on the east coast, don’t miss this Six Flags!

    www.sixflags.com/greatadventure

    25. Carowinds, Charlotte, North Carolina & Fort Mill, South Carolina

    Rounding out our Top 25 Amusement Parks in America is Carowinds in both North and South Carolina. No there are not two of them. Carowinds happens to sit right on the state line of both these two outstanding American states. Another Cedar Fair’s property that is well managed and well-run. Carowinds offers a variety of rides for people of all ages. Probably one of the things that makes this amusement park stand out though is the friendly staff. We hope they can maintain the “customer service with a smile” approach because that will certainly keep us coming back and them in our top 25 Best Amusement Parks in America!

    www.carowinds.com

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