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Whether you’re dangling over a cliff in Hong Kong or standing at the top of a 330-foot drop on the coast of Spain, thrill rides are universal. Driving attendance by the millions, theme parks now compete on a global scale to win the attention of savvy adrenaline seekers. There’s no replacement for the rush of being launched to 72 mph in 2 seconds, or bracing the walloping speeds reached on the world’s newest, fastest wooden roller coaster–two standouts in this compilation of the world’s best amusement parks.—Zachary Laks
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WHERE: Copenhagen, Denmark
One of the oldest operating amusement parks in the world, Tivoli Gardens has welcomed thrill seekers since 1843. Centrally located in Copenhagen, the park attracts both locals and tourists to its lively grounds with a mix of vintage theme park attractions and cutting edge thrills. The park’s original coaster, Rutschebanen—known as The Roller Coaster—remains the best coaster in the park with a track that weaves in and around a mountainside. For more modern thrills, Dæmonen (The Demon) is a steel coaster that features floorless cars and a track that packs in all three of the park’s coaster inversions.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Copenhagen Guide
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WHERE: Orlando, Florida
An international attraction comprised of two theme parks—Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure—Universal has masterfully created immersive thrill experiences tied to some of the world’s most beloved entertainment franchises, from E.T. to The Simpsons. Though of recent, much of the parks’ attention has shifted to boy wonder Harry Potter and his two districts within the park’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. Fans of the novels and films will marvel as the fantasy comes to life. Stop by Ollivanders wand shop to test out a new wand before you grab a refreshing pint of Butterbeer at The Three Broomsticks pub, then enlist with Harry and his friends on a thrilling adventure through Hogwarts on the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Orlando Guide
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WHERE: Tokyo, Japan
There are no language barriers when it comes to the Disney magic at Tokyo Disneyland, Japan’s most popular theme park and the third most attended park in the world after the Magic Kingdom in Orlando and Disneyland California. Now in its 32nd year, Tokyo Disneyland (which also includes Tokyo DisneySea) mirrors many of Disney’s signature theme park attractions including Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash Mountain, and Peter Pan’s Flight. The truly unique attractions at the parks are predominantly the shows that include a Latin-infused “Minnie Oh! Minnie” and a dinner theater production called “Mickey & Company.”
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Tokyo Guide
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WHERE: Kaatsheuvel, Netherlands
Summoning ancient myths and lore, Efteling Park is the Netherlands go-to theme park for year-round thrills. A destination since its inception in 1953, Efteling Park attracts approximately 4.6 million visitors each year with its mighty pack of six roller coasters among the park’s 35 rides. For the park’s ultimate thrill, head to the Baron 1898 dive coaster that opened in 2015, where a three-row train bolts down a 123-foot, 90-degree drop into a mineshaft. For the younger set, Efteling pleases with world-class immersive attractions like Droomvlucht, the park’s dark ride through an enchanted forest, and classic storybooks brought to life at The Fairytale Forest.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Netherlands Guide
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Beto Carrero World
WHERE: Penha, Brazil
Latin America’s largest theme park, Beto Carrero World, captivates families and thrill-seekers alike with its vibrantly colored theme that stretches throughout nearly 3,500 acres. Guests are greeted by the grand Castelo das Nações, a vividly colored building that houses the ticket office along with stores and cafés. The park is divided into seven distinct areas with four roller coasters that dot the grounds, most notably Chicote de Fogo—a.k.a. Fire Whip—a suspended looping coaster that reaches speeds of over 60 miles per hour. The thrills of the coasters are matched with the park’s high-octane productions including the Velozes e Furiosos Show—the park’s Fast and Furious Show. Partnering with DreamWorks and Universal Studios, the action-packed stunt car show is inspired by the film franchise The Fast and the Furious.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Brazil Guide
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WHERE: Rust, Germany
Germany’s largest theme park and Europe’s second most popular theme park after Disneyland Paris, Europa Park has an international draw due to its 12 dynamic roller coasters and globally themed districts. More than 5.5 million thrill-seekers pass through the gates of the 40-year-old park annually, as rides like its newest, Arthur—a suspended indoor/outdoor roller coaster—push the limits. Expect an Epcot-like feel as you meander through each of the European-themed areas, from Italian culture by way of Leonardo da Vinci's flying machine on the Volo da Vinci, to the Swiss Alps on the Swiss Bob Run ride.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Germany Guide
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WHERE: Seoul, South Korea
A mega-center of entertainment, Lotte World is South Korea’s preeminent destination for theme park thrills with the world’s largest indoor theme park and an outdoor amusement park called “Magic Island.” Lotte World has invested an impressive amount of money into recreating some of Disneyland’s most popular attractions, and there’s a great deal of fun to be had in exploring the striking similarities. For starters, check out the Pharaoh's Fury that distinctly resembles Disneyland’s Indiana Jones Adventure before heading over to Adventures of Sinbad–a fun wink to the iconic Pirates of the Caribbean boat ride.
Insider Tip: Be sure to opt for the “Passport Ticket” option for access to conquer both parks in one day, a feat that is easily achievable.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s South Korea Guide
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WHERE: Castelnuovo del Garda, Italy
Italy’s toast of thrills, Gardaland Park, welcomes nearly 3 million visitors annually with its 30+ attractions. This past May saw the unveiling of the park’s newest coaster, Kung Fu Panda Master, a steel spinning coaster inspired by DreamWorks’ animated feature Kung Fu Panda. The new coaster joins an impressive line-up of genre-busting coasters including Sequoia Adventure, a wild mouse coaster with six gravity defying inversions, and Raptor, a wing coaster with three inversions. The park offers outstanding themed rides as well, most notably Ramses: Il Risveglio, a thrilling interactive ride that navigates through an impeccably-themed Egyptian tomb.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Italy Guide
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WHERE: Anaheim, California
The world’s most famous mouse, Mickey, and his conglomerated friends have kept the bustling fairway of Main Street USA in top shape since 1955. The original park envisioned by Walt Disney, Disneyland perfectly balances nostalgia with cutting-edge technology. For the nostalgic, the long wait is well worth the enchantment in store on Peter Pan’s Flight, one of the park’s original rides. Make it a priority to check out Indiana Jones Adventure, where a one-of-a-kind wild ride brings explorers through the depths of a cursed temple.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Disneyland Resort Guide
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WHERE: Sandusky, Ohio
Cornering the market on roller coasters, Cedar Point earns its title as the roller coaster capital of the world with its 17 exemplary coasters. Most impressive of the pack, Millennium Force stands in a class of its own. Completed in 2000, the steel coaster presides over the park, having garnered accolades for its inspired engineering and use of the park landscape. Clip along the coaster’s twisted labyrinth track at speeds reaching 93 miles per hour. Cedar Point unveils its newest coaster, Valravn, this season, setting a few new records as the world’s tallest, fastest, and longest dive coaster.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Cleveland Guide
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WHERE: Hong Kong, China
Ocean Park thrives as an amalgamated theme park destination with three major attractions including an amusement park, a marine park, and a zoo that cover about 225 acres on the south side of Hong Kong Island. Four roller coasters and two water rides stand out among the park’s 80 rides and attractions in two distinct areas, The Waterfront and The Summit, connected via a cable car and funicular train. Seek out Hair Raiser at the Summit for the perfect pairing of top thrills with incredible views of the bay as the floorless steel coaster’s extreme inversions are intensified while the track dangles over the mountainside.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Hong Kong Guide
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WHERE: Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
A cultural icon with charisma to spare, Dolly Parton welcomes all to bask in her loveable charm at her brimming Dollywood amusement park. Spanning 295 acres, Dollywood amusement resort is the most popular ticketed attraction in Tennessee with 40+ rides and 15 live shows. This season the park expands with its eighth new coaster, Lightning Rod, arriving in record-setting fashion as the world’s first launched and fastest wooden coaster—clocking in speeds up to 73 miles per hour. Park goers delight at the multitude of live performances and Southern-inspired comfort food standouts including plenty of BBQ options, deep-fried pork rinds, and freshly baked pie.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Pigeon Forge Guide
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Walt Disney World
WHERE: Orlando, Florida
No place in the world can rival Walt Disney World’s incredible, all-encompassing themed experience. A sprawling conglomerate double the size of Manhattan, the park brings in more than 52 million people annually, making it the most popular resort in the world. Expect park attendance to rise in the coming years as new additions are set to include the unveiling of the Frozen: the Ride, an immersive Star Wars land, and an Avatar-themed district.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Walt Disney World Guide
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WHERE: Salou, Spain
Catalonia’s PortAventura is worth the hour-and-twenty-minute drive south from Barcelona for Hurakan Condor alone, one of the world’s tallest drop rides. Test your limits on the jaw-clenching 330-foot drop, offering riders the choice to sit in a regular seat, a tilting seat, or—craziest of all—a standing seat. The park wows with eight inversions on its steel coaster, Dragon Kahn, and the continent’s tallest and fastest hyper-coaster, Shambhala: Expedición al Himalaya. Finishing touches are underway for a 2017 unveiling of the new Ferrari Land, the Italian car company’s second theme park project after its Abu Dhabi triumph.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Spain Guide
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WHERE: Hershey, Pennsylvania
Hersheypark wins the heart of anyone with a sweet tooth and coaster fanatics alike. A pristine theme park set in the countryside of Pennsylvania, Hersheypark attracts coaster enthusiasts from around the world with a jewel box of roller coasters from old classics to new standards. Begin the day with the top thrill on Skyrush, the park’s tallest and fastest coaster that pummels riders down a 200-foot drop, reaching speeds of 75 miles per hour before zipping through four hair-raising turns and five zero-G airtime hills. Speed demons looking to keep the adrenaline up should continue on to Storm Runner, where trains are launched from zero to 72 miles per hour in 2 seconds before barreling through a “Cobra Loop” and harrowing “Flying Snake Dive.”
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Hershey Guide
What is the #1 amusement park in the world? ›
|1||Magic Kingdom Theme Park at Walt Disney World Resort||20,963,000|
|2||Universal's Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando Resort||10,375,000|
|3||Universal Studios Florida at Universal Orlando Resort||10,922,000|
|4||Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort||11,483,000|
Dollywood Named #1 Theme Park in the United States and #8 Theme Park in the World in 2022 Travelers' Choice Best of the Best Awards.What is the deadliest theme park? ›
During its heyday in the 1980s and 1990s, New Jersey's Action Park earned a reputation as the most insane — and the most dangerous — amusement park that ever existed. The park was known as a lawless land, run by drunk teenage employees and frequented by even drunker teenage guests.What is the #1 roller coaster park in the world? ›
Six Flags Magic Mountain located in Valencia, California in the US tops the list with 19 different roller coasters for visitors! This park receives just over 3 million people a year.What are the 3 highest roller coasters in the world? ›
|1||Kingda Ka||456 ft (139 m)|
|*||Top Thrill Dragster||420 ft (130 m)|
|2||Superman: Escape from Krypton||415 ft (126 m)|
|3||Red Force||367.3 ft (112.0 m)|
Overall. For those thrill seekers looking for amazingly fast rides that can get your adrenaline going, Six Flags is the way to go. There are plenty of great rides for both kids and adults, but you should be aware that this is the main reason why visitors come to the park.What park has most roller coasters? ›
Six Flags Magic Mountain, United States
This theme park, located outside of Los Angeles, is a must for thrill seekers. Six Flags Magic Mountain has the most roller coasters of any amusement park in the world (19), so it's safe to say that it has earned its title as the "Thrill Capital of the World."
With 20 roller coasters, Six Flags Magic Mountain holds the world record for most roller coasters in an amusement park. It became the first amusement park to offer 20 roller coasters with the opening of Wonder Woman: Flight of Courage in 2022.Which park has the scariest rides? ›
Kingda Ka — Six Flags Great Adventure, New Jersey
In fact, given its height and speed, it could just be considered the scariest roller coaster in the world as well. The track reaches heights of 456 feet (over 45 stories) before sending riders hurtling down at 128 miles per hour — a speed reached in just 3.5 seconds.
Disney's Animal Kingdom
It was replaced by Camp Minnie-Mickey due to budget cuts after the failure of Disneyland Paris. Much of the land designated for use by Beastly Kingdom is now used for Pandora–The World of Avatar.
What is the safest amusement park in America? ›
Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
It is the definition of safety and excitement all in one facility. Every child and most adults dream about visiting Disney amusement park at least once in their lives. Why wouldn't they? It's the place where magic comes to life.
|1st||1928||San Sebastián, Gipuzkoa, Basque Country, Spain|
|2nd||1930||Hengelo, Overijssel, Netherlands|
|3rd||1950||Conneaut Lake, Pennsylvania, USA|
|4th||1952||Brooklyn, Ohio, USA|
1. Magic Kingdom, USA. Located in Orlando, Florida, the Magic Kingdom is from Walt Disney World and blends fantasy and magic, and has exciting rides and shows by professional entertainers. Kids can fly with Dumbo, dive in the sea with the Little Mermaid and meet other favourite Disney characters.What is the slowest roller coaster? ›
The Slowest Rollercoaster in the World - Tiger and Turtle Walking Coaster Duisburg | Roller coaster, Great view, Meet locals.What is the number 1 roller coaster in the US? ›
- 1 Iron Gwazi at Busch Gardens Tampa – RMC. ...
- 2 Steel Vengeance at Cedar Point – RMC. ...
- 3 The Voyage at Holiday World – Gravity Group. ...
- 4 Velocicoaster at Islands of Adventure – Intamin. ...
- 5 Fury 325 at Carowinds – B&M. ...
- 6 Maverick at Cedar Point – Intamin.
Six Flags is committed to creating an inclusive environment that fully embraces the diversity of our team members and guests, regardless of ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. We will not tolerate racism, discrimination, or hateful behavior in any form.Is Six Flags bigger than Disney? ›
Six Flags is undeniably a smaller player in the parks and resorts category compared to Disney, but it actually has significant room for growth as it aims to increase its ticket prices to be more in line with its larger rival.What is the most beautiful amusement park? ›
- Disneyland, Anaheim, California. ...
- 2. Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida. ...
- Universal Studios Hollywood, Los Angeles, California. ...
- Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio. ...
- SeaWorld, Orlando, Florida. ...
- Knoebels, Elysburg, Pennsylvania. ...
- Knott's Berry Farm, Buena Park, California.
- United States.
- Virginia (VA)
- Williamsburg - Things to Do.
- Busch Gardens Williamsburg.
Skyscraper (roller coaster)
|Length||5,200 ft (1,600 m)|
|Speed||65 mph (105 km/h)|
Where is the fastest roller coaster in the US? ›
As of January 2023, the roller coaster with the highest top speed in the United States was the Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure Park in Jackson, New Jersey, with a maximum speed of 206 kilometers per hour.What is the scariest six flag? ›
Kingda Ka is at Six Flags Great Adventure, and Top Thrill Dragster is at Cedar Point. If tall and fast equates to scary, it's no wonder these two top the list. At 456 feet and 128 mph for Kingda Ka and 420 feet and 120 mph for Top Thrill Dragster, they've got the stats to scare anyone silly.What is the slowest day at Six Flags? ›
Weekdays (Monday-Friday) are historically least crowded during the summer season in June, July, and August. Weekends attract more tourists and vacationers.What is the fastest roller coaster at 6 Flags? ›
Kingda Ka is quite simply the tallest coaster in the world and fastest roller coaster in North America. Is that impressive enough to warrant royalty? You bet it is. This upside down U-shaped track bolts up 45 stories in the sky—that's 456 feet high!What is the deadliest coaster? ›
- 7: Derby Racer, Revere Beach, 1911-1936. ...
- 6: Orlando FreeFall, ICON Park, 2022. ...
- 5: The Cobra, Tivoli Friheden, 2022. ...
- 4: Rough Riders, Coney Island, 1915. ...
- 3: Mindbender, Fantasyland, 1986. ...
- 2: Big Dipper, Krug Park, 1930. ...
- 1: The Big Dipper, Battersea Park, 1972. ...
- Lots More Information. Related Articles.
Gravity Max (The Tilt Coaster)
One of the wackiest roller coasters is located at Lihpao Land in Taiwan. The Gravity Max, also known as the Tilt Coaster, is the world's first coaster to feature a true 90-degree drop and the world's only tilt coaster.
The minds behind the Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey clearly understood this, as they combined speed and height to create the scariest roller coaster in the world. The Kingda Ka is the world's tallest roller coaster, reaching a staggering height of 456 feet.
River Country is one of only two Disney parks to permanently close, along with "Discovery Island", which is situated parallel to the water park.Why is Disney island abandoned? ›
Although Disney never officially stated its reasons for closing the park, poor attendance and high maintenance costs, combined with the newer and bigger Disney's Animal Kingdom being opened a year before, are the most likely causes. Since its closing, the island has sat largely abandoned, with no signs of development.Has Disney World ever had an accident? ›
Aug. 18, 1994: A 6-year-old girl was badly injured when she became pinned between a boat and boarding dock at the It's a Small World ride at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. The girl suffered collapsed lungs, a broken rib and a broken arm.
What is the smallest theme park in America? ›
Leap-the-Dips: Altoona, Pennsylvania
Leap-the-Dips in Lakemont Park, Altoona, Pennsylvania, is the world's oldest operating roller coaster.
Like America's other non-contiguous state, Alaska, the 50th state is devoid of coasters. I know of a Wacky Worm that undulates around the Big Island, but other than that, you're looking at 5hrs+ on an airplane before hitting the next nearest coasters (whether you choose USA or Japan is up to you).What's the number 1 wooden roller coaster? ›
|1||Boulder Dash||Lake Compounce|
|2||Phoenix||Knoebels Amusement Resort|
|3||El Toro||Six Flags Great Adventure|
|4||The Voyage||Holiday World|
Iron Gwazi recognized as Best New Roller Coaster of 2022
It's the tallest roller coaster in Florida and reaches speeds of 76 miles per hour, plunging guests down a 91-degree drop. The high thrills roller coaster opened to the public earlier this year, and Iron Gwazi quickly became a fan favorite.
The oldest operating roller coaster is Leap-The-Dips at Lakemont Park in Pennsylvania, a side friction roller coaster built in 1902.How many roller coasters are in the USA? ›
There are over 760 coasters located across the U.S., and parks continue to roll out sleek, new ones every year.What is the coolest park in the world? ›
- Glacier National Park.
- Grand Canyon.
- Banff National Park.
- Jasper National Park.
- Serengeti National Park.
- Zion National Park.
Birkenhead Park is a major public park located in the centre of Birkenhead, Merseyside, England. It was designed by Joseph Paxton and opened on 5 April 1847. It is generally acknowledged as the first publicly funded civic park in the world.Which is better Disneyland or Disney World? ›
If you want to have an action-packed week full of new things to try, Disney World is probably the better option of the two, especially if you're trying to save a little money. But if you prefer the classic charm and magic of Disney, Disneyland is likely the property you'll find most appealing — and manageable.
What is the best park on Earth? ›
- Glacier National Park.
- Grand Canyon.
- Banff National Park.
- Jasper National Park.
- Serengeti National Park.
- Zion National Park.
Possibly one of the most famous parks in the world, Central Park ranks alongside the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty as a symbol of New York City. Not only was Central park the first public park in America, but it's also the most visited – with over 25-million visitors each year.Where is the smallest theme park in the world? ›
- 8 Magic Kingdom.
- 7 Disney California Adventure Park.
- 6 Disneyland Park.
- 5 Hong Kong Disneyland.
- 4 Disneyland Paris.
- 3 Shanghai Disneyland.
- 2 Tokyo Disneyland.
- 1 Tokyo DisneySea.
Disneyland Entrance Winner
Paris takes the cake here. Entry to the parks is filled with ease and less hassle. At Disneyland Anaheim, some delays will be alleviated once Magic Bands are implemented. But until the entire system is overhauled, expect wait times for entry to continue regardless of arrival time.
For 2022, Disney World ticket prices start at $109 per ticket and max out at $189. This does not include a 6.5% sales tax. But when you add on options like Park Hopper, Memory Maker, or Water Park and Sports, ticket prices can really add up. These ticket prices are for guests 10+.What park has the best coasters? ›
- Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.
- Disneyland in Anaheim, CA.
- Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio.
- Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia.
- Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California.
- Silver Dollar City, Branson, Missouri.
- Kings Island in Mason, Ohio.
- Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
Holiday World's been the cleanest park in the world since before the iPhone was invented. The Santa Claus, Indiana, theme park took home “Cleanest Park in the World” honors at "Amusement Today" magazine's annual Golden Ticket Awards for the 19th consecutive year.What is America's biggest park? ›
Biggest of Them All
The uncontested heavyweight champion of the National Park System is Alaska's Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve. At 13.2 million acres, it's larger than Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite National Park, and Switzerland combined.
- Glacier National Park.
- Grand Canyon.
- Zion National Park.
- Grand Teton National Park.
- Bryce Canyon National Park.
- Rocky Mountain National Park.