Move Over, Disney and Universal! Another Theme Park Was Voted the Best in the U.S.A.!

Each week, we take you along with us into Disney World and Universal Orlando to see everything that is happening in the parks!

Universal Orlando

And, even though we have a special place for both of them in our hearts, would it surprise you if we said they WEREN’T the most popular parks in the U.S.A.?

USA Today conducted its 10 best survey out of the 400+ amusement parks and attractions that exist in North America. As 375 million visitors visit the theme parks each year, USA Today opened up voting to its readers to find out their top picks! And, the winner might surprise all you Disney and Universal fans out there.

Cinderella Castle

Ranking at number one, SeaWorld Orlando has been chosen as the best theme park in North America by USA Today’s readers! While you might think that Disney World or Universal would be a close call higher up on the list, the Magic Kingdom is ranked #9 in the top 10 list. And, the Universal Parks don’t even make it in the top 10.


The winners in the top 10 list for the Best Amusement Park include:

  • 1) SeaWorld Orlando – Orlando, Flor.
  • 2) Silver Dollar City – Branson, Mo.
  • 3) Kings Island – Mason, Ohio
  • 4) Busch Gardens Williamsburg – Williamsburg
  • 5) Dollywood – Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
  • 6) Busch Gardens Tampa – Tampa, Flor.
  • 7) Cedar Point – Sandusky, Ohio
  • 8) Hersheypark – Hershey, Penn.
  • 9) Magic Kingdom – Orlando, Flor.
  • 10) Knott’s Berry Farm – Buena Park, Calif.

Congrats to SeaWorld Orlando! And, if you’re planning your next trip to the theme parks, stay tuned to All Ears for the latest theme park entertainment and news coming soon!

We stayed at the most popular value resort in Disney World

What is your favorite theme park to visit in the U.S.A.? Let us know in the comments below!

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Rachel Franko has been going to Disney Parks since she was a baby, and her love of Disney has only grown into a SLIGHT obsession since! She's been writing for AllEars since 2019 and loves sharing the magic with all the readers. When she's not writing, you can catch her heading to Disney and Universal Studios with a heart full of dreams and a backpack full of themed ears!

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38 Replies to “Move Over, Disney and Universal! Another Theme Park Was Voted the Best in the U.S.A.!”

  1. Ticket prices per person per day matters to many people. Disney and Universal will have a hard time selling their merchandise or keeping their park restaurants full if their admission prices are too high for too many people. Those are their other big revenue streams. Their hotel/villa prices will keep many people away which will also impact the merchandise and restaurant income.

    They may be in the early stages of killing their geese that lay golden eggs with their prices.

  2. Hmmm, not sure I agree on this. Been years since I last visited SeaWorld, thought it was an ok park. I think this may be the smaller parks posting it so people could vote. I have been to disney world (15+ ) and universal a handful of times.

    That being said, I just saw a deal the other day for ~$49 each day for 2 days (~100 per person total for 2 days) for seaworld when looking for Disney tickets. I have to say it made me wonder about trying it out at that price point. At $200 a day ($50 x 4 people) my expectation would be pretty darn low. The disney tickets I am was looking at for my family of 4, were ~$650 for just one day.

  3. SeaWorld??? I’ve been there, I wouldn’t rank it in the top 50, much less #1. Universal is MUCH better. For crying out loud, I’ve had more fun at a state fair than I did at SeaWorld.

  4. Currently at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, and I’ve been disappointed since we got here. I understand due to COVID things are limited, but only 2 restaurants open, very few quick service options open, but every alcohol option is open and they claim it’s a family park. Bathrooms are gross, garbage cans are overflowing everywhere. There is seemingly no dress code responsibility, so I’ve seen girls dressed in less than the beach. Maybe the alcohol and skin show is why it ranked so high. Oh and then $40 per person for premium seating for the 4th fireworks with snack options, that were beach chairs on the grass with 2 coupons per person for choice of bottled soda, bottled beer,snack bag of chips, or popcorn. And they claim Disney charges too much for everything.

    1. I agree there’s no competition Disney Epcot is number one with all 5he flowers and relaxing rides especially the countries feeling like your traveling abroad.. so many memories from working there getting in free.. nor everyone just rides roller coasters!! Restaurants and having workers speaking different languages.. Its my magical place and always will be.. I’m a big Disney fan!! Its magical

  5. This is really disappointing. Do that many USA Today readers not have access to information about how SeaWorld enslaves sentient beings for “entertainment”?

  6. We had season passes at Seaworld and Busch Gardens untill earlier this year. The all day meal plan food was horrible,Sea World was terrible our last visit in March. To top it all off,they auto renewed our season passes. I called about 30 minutes after they took out a payment ( this was 2 months after we told them not to renew), and they said sorry…you can enjoy the park another couple months..Nope..Never going back.

  7. I dont know who the judges were in this but that is definitely a lie. Park opens at 9am however could not ride a thing until 11am when of course the rain starts. This park was so unorganized and a disappointment on my Vacation

  8. Lies,I just left all 3 parks as I was there for 2 weeks on vacation and seaworld was so unorganized I felt so uncomfortable in aquatica and seaworld orlando…

  9. I think this list may be correct because Disney and universal do not reduce ticket sales. Paying that much to ride 4 attractions is disappointing. When the ticket sales were at 25% during the pandemic it truly was the best place on earth, but I will not costly again until tickets are permanently reduced.

  10. Maybe it’s because it’s so expensive to go there many people can’t afford it…but the other places are affordable.

  11. I was at SeaWorld last week. As well as Busch gardens Tampa and Aquatica. The 3 tickets deal swayed us. I’m glad we didn’t pay much. All 3 parks were severely understaffed, multiple rides and shows closed due to lack of staff. The parks were disgusting. Nasty gross. Trash everywhere. Hour wait for any food. Yet they are open at full capacity even though they can’t handle that capacity. We had been to sea world and Busch gardens before and we loved them but our experiences last week were so bad we won’t be back.

  12. This is just like any other “readers poll” conducted over the internet. Hardcore fans of the smaller parks can utilize social media to drive votes to their chosen park. Re: Sea World, it wouldn’t surprise me if the company itself helped to get those votes – they’re not well known for their ethics after all. I love Hershey Park too, but it can’t compare to Disney (except the chocolate tour ride, which is as good as most any Disney dark ride).

  13. Just returned from Disney World and two days at our family’s #1 theme park, Epcot!! Especially when we’re able to be there for Flower and Garden or Food & Wine fests. We had a nice time at Sea World 15 years ago, but we have not gone back since. Absolutely no comparison to any of the WDW parks that we visit regularly – and not because we’re rich because we are not! Joining Disney Vacation Club was one of the best decisions we ever made, and our daughter will enjoy the benefits until she is 60. We had the best time at Disney’s Vero Beach, Animal Kingdom Lodge, and the awesome new Riviera Resort for $0 out of pocket and points paid for 15 years ago! Literally 1000s of incredible and unforgettable vacation experiences already and at least 40 more years of them for our family and friends – all about finding your happy place, and making the best investment for you and yours, imo.

  14. Knott’s was number one for the longest time. For those looking for a trend here, in general, parks with more entertainment that is currently running are ranking higher. This should deeply concern management at Disney that keeps thinking they can cut entertainment.

  15. With everything that Disney has done in the past few years, I’m surprised they are even on the list. WDW has become a place for the rich as has Universal. Other than The Magic Kingdom the other parks are much more affordable and offer some very good theming and experiences. As much as I use to like Disney I think that they have no value for the money they charge. I use to consider WDW a good return on my investment, but not anymore with their high prices, extra fees and poor up keep (compared to the 90s and before). I haven’t been a fan of Universal since the day they instituted their rules for roller coasters which eliminated my ability to ride due to my insulin pump. Well done Sea Worl.

    1. Disney was a great place for a long time but it’s way too expensive. You get more for the value at Universal now. Disney has so many different changes every year including prices which are not usually for the better. Including the overpriced mediocre food. Dollywood should be #1. So much value for the money with something for everyone including amazing food.

  16. How is this determined? I live near Hershey Park and I would go to Magic Kingdom over Hershey Park any day. There is a complete and drastic difference between amusement park (Hershey Park) and a theme park (Magic Kingdom). No comparison

  17. Dollywood and Hershey park on this list above Disney and Universal completely discredit this entire article. Was this a paid advertisment for these other parks?? Universal is even better than Disney and not even on this list. Trash.

  18. So I haven’t been to SeaWorld since about 1988, but there is no way I would rank that #1 over any Disney or Universal park.
    But that’s just me! Maybe I should check it out again lol!

  19. This is so fake, SeaWorld Orlando is such a disappointment. After ticket prices and parking you feel absolutely robbed. They have like 5 major attractions; 2 to 3 of which were down Everytime my family visited. Leaving the other 3 rides with 2 to 3 hour wait times. The park ticket should literally be in the 40 to 45 dollar range but it is 2 and half times that.

  20. What?!?!! Uhhhh. No… they are wrong. We frequent Kings Island because we live close and you cannot even compare it to Disney and Universal. It’s apples and oranges.