What's the Best Theme Park in America?

Posted Jul 5th 2010 12:24 PMUpdated Jul 5th 2010 12:52 PM


The theme park fan site Theme Park Insider has named Universal's Islands of Adventure in Orlando as the Best Theme Park for 2010. Runners up are Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Orlando.

The site determines its award winners based on reader ratings submitted over the past 12 months.

Universal's Islands of Adventure gets top mention with "runaway enthusiasm" for its new Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride, Robert Niles, the site's founder and editor, says on his blog.

Not suprisingly, winner for Best New Attraction is the Harry Potter ride, followed by runners-up Disney California Adventure's World of Color and the tall Intimidator coaster at Carowinds in Charlotte, North Carolina.

"Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey dominated in 2010, winning the Best New Attraction honor by a wide margin," Niles writes.

"Not only does Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey enjoy the highest reader rating on ThemeParkInsider.com of any attraction that debuted in the past 12 months, it currently boasts the highest reader rating of 'all' attractions listed on the Website," he adds. "Simply put, our readers say that not only is Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey clearly the best new theme park ride of the year, it's the best theme park ride in America. "

In its 9th annual awards, the website also named Bistro de Paris at Walt Disney World's Epcot in Orlando as the Best Theme Park Restaurant, followed by Les Chefs de France at Epcot and Mythos Restaurant at Universal's Islands of Adventure.

"Year after year, the restaurant award is the most closely contested of all the Theme Park Insider Awards, and 2010 provided no exception," says Niles. He says Bistro de Paris wins praise for "great food and great service. "This is the first year winning the Best Theme Park Restaurant honor for Bistro de Paris, which edges out last year's winner, Les Chef de France, as well as the 2003-2008 winner, Mythos," Niles says.

Theme Park Insider named as Best Theme Park Hotel, Disney's Wilderness Lodge at Walt Disney World. Runners-up were Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge and Disney's Floridian Resort at Walt Disney World.

"A runner-up last year, Disney's Wilderness Lodge in 2010 wins the Best Theme Park Hotel honor for this first time," Niles says. He says the property gets raves for its level of service and repeat visits from the site's readers.

Photo, Samuel Justice, flickr
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I find it highly unlikely that Disney's Animal Kingdom is ranked close to the top of any "Best" list. Animal Kingdom has only one decent ride, Exhibition: Everest. However, the wait is almost always ridiculous because there are only like 5 rides in the entire park.

Islands of Adventure is OK, but I would give up my season passes at the Orlando parks for an annual pass at Cedar Point. Neither Universal nor Disney hold a candle to Cedar Point.

August 17 2010 at 3:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I was in Disney World, this past April and had a great time. Such a great time, that my husband and I booked another vacation at Disney in October, 2010. We loved it there, and we left our adult children at home, since they've all been there several times, with and w/o us.. But now, my husband and I are beginning to travel, now that the kids are over 20.
Anyway, after our next trip to Disney, I definitely want to go to Universal. I'm pretty limited on what I can and can't do. I have a neurological disorder, that affects my neck, so I have to be careful. Disney is wonderful with helping the handicapped folks out! The Polynesian Resort had my scooter there and waiting for us and every place we went, had handicapped access. I just hope Universal has that much access for the handicapped....

July 07 2010 at 4:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have been to Universal probably 30 times and it is really not that fascinating. Hershey Park is 100 times better but mostly because I love roller coasters and Universal only has a few between itself and Island of adventure.

July 07 2010 at 1:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

yup thats right n we dont plan on being second thats y were the best!! love my job there and since were the best in AMERICA guess i got some great job security!!

July 06 2010 at 9:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'd rather go camping. :o)

July 06 2010 at 8:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply