Whether you are looking for the most jaw-dropping thrill rides, the best themed areas, beautiful scenery or just a fun day with family or friends this list will give you just what you are looking for. The following amusement parks, in no particular order, have consistently ranked in the top 10 best amusement parks worldwide.
Six Flags Magic Mountian – Valencia, California, USA
With the world’s most roller coasters at 17, Six Flags Magic Mountain is seemingly always in competition with Cedar Point to claim the fastest, tallest or best attractions on the planet. Located in Southern California, Magic Mountain spans 260 acres and boasts over 40 rides. This location also offers a water park called Hurricane Harbor for those hot days when you are looking to cool off. The park is currently constructing its 18th roller coaster named Full Throttle. This ride will have a world record 160 foot vertical loop as well as three launches – one in reverse – that will reach speeds of up to 70 mph.
Cedar Point – Sandusky, Ohio, USA
Located right on Lake Eerie, this amusement park is known as “Americas Roller Coast” as it offers 16 roller coasters in one location. Known as a perfect park for adrenaline junkies, Cedar Point also offers other rides, attractions and scenery for everyone to enjoy. This park is known for staying on the cutting edge for new ride technology and record breaking attractions. Cedar Point has been given the Golden Ticket Award for “Best Amusement Park in the World” from Amusement Today for 15 years in a row. One of the park’s highlights is Top Thrill Dragster. A roller coaster that launches from zero to 120 mph in just 4 seconds and sends riders 420 feet straight up only to plunge back to Earth at a 90 degree angle.
Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom – Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA
No top amusement park list would be complete without a little bit of Disney magic. Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom Park is the most visited amusement park in the world with over 17.5 million guests coming through the gates in 2012. The park is family friendly, having a more enchanted feeling and awe-inspiring rides. Magic Kingdom is known for its classic rides such as Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, The Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean. The park is divided into themed areas which include Main Street, Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland.
Kings Island – Kings Mills, Ohio, USA
This massive 364 acre amusement park features over 80 rides and attractions, including 13 roller coasters. King’s Island has won Amusement Today’s Golden Ticket Award for “Best Kids Area” for 12 years in a row. Perhaps the most notable landmark at the park is a one-third scale replica of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. Guests can see amazing views of the park and surrounding area from the viewing deck. Perhaps the most famous ride at the park is The Beast. This old wooden roller coaster is a staggering 7,359 feet long and has two lift hills and three tunnels. The ride has been operating since 1979 and remains the world’s longest wooden roller coaster. The ride even has a book written by R.L. Stine named after it.
Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari – Santa Claus, Indiana, USA
This quaint, family owned amusement park is divided into four sections themed after Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July. The park is known for having the world’s longest water coasters named Mammoth and Wildebeest. Additionally, the park’s three wooden roller coasters are all consistently ranked in the top 10 best on the planet. The park has many family-oriented and children’s play areas for those looking for less extreme attractions. Holiday World was ranked Amusement Today’s “Cleanest Park” in 2012.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg – Williamsburg, Virginia, USA
Located one hour east of Richmond, Virginia, Busch Gardens Williamsburg was Amusement Today’s best landscaped park of 2012. The visually appealing park is divided into themed sections that represent various European countries including Germany, France, Scotland, Ireland, England and Italy. Visitors have said that the regions represented in the park actually make you feel like you have gone on a European vacation. Perhaps one of the most beautifully laid out parks; many of the rides take guests on journeys through thick woodlands, up and down steep terrain and over waterways that frequent the park.
Alton Towers – Staffordshire, England, UK
Alton Towers is the most visited amusement park in the United Kingdom. Featuring heavily themed rides and thrills for all ages, this park is guaranteed to please young and old alike. Alton Towers has over 75 rides, including 8 unique roller coasters. The latest thrill ride to open was The Smiler roller coaster. Although it is not the tallest or fastest roller coaster in the world, or even in the park, this intense attraction holds the world record for most inversions with a dizzying 14. Another big thrill at the park is a roller coaster named Oblivion. Although the lift hill is only 65 feet tall, the first drop is 180 feet into an underground tunnel at a near vertical 87 degrees.
PortAventura Park – Salou, Tarragona, Spain
Opened in 1995, PortAventura Park is the most popular amusement park in all of Spain. Located about one hour south-west of Barcelona, this park attracts approximately 4 million visitors per year. Featuring 7 roller coasters and nearly 40 rides, PortAventura Park has something for everyone. The park is known for its superb landscaping and nightly fireworks display. Roller coasters range from mild to extreme and there are water rides as well. The park’s latest attraction is a roller coaster named Shambhala. It has a first drop of 255 feet, over a mile of track and a top speed of 83 mph.
Europa Park – Rust, Baden Wuerttemberg, Germany
This is the biggest theme park in Germany and the second most popular park in Europe after Disneyland Paris. Europa Park has 12 roller coasters and over 50 total rides. The park has several different themed areas featuring 12 European countries and Scandinavia. Each region includes both children’s rides and thrill rides. The park is known for being very clean and has enough water rides to get you through the hotter summer days. Europa Park’s largest roller coaster is the 239 foot tall Silver Star which reaches speeds of up to 78 mph. The newest ride is called Wodan Timbur Coaster and it is a large wooden coaster that is 131 feet tall and 3,444 feet long.
Universal Studios Islands of Adventure – Orlando, Florida, USA
Known for its uniquely themed areas and mind blowing attractions, Islands of Adventure is a great amusement park for the whole family. The park’s newest addition is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. This new area in the park is complete with a Hogwarts castle and rides for both kids and adults. There are 5 roller coasters here with two of them being dueling suspended coasters that have three near-collision points. Perhaps the most thrilling ride in the park is The Incredible Hulk. Riders are launched up and out of a tunnel by tire propulsion. From here the ride takes passengers through 7 twisted inversions at speeds of over 65 mph.