The Number One Theme Park in the U.S. for 2024 Is…NOT a Disney Park!

We are very biased when we’re asked about our favorite theme park. Inevitably, our answer will always be a Disney park.

Magic Kingdom would rate as one of the top theme parks among OUR readers, we bet

However, what happens when theme park experts look at all the theme parks in the U.S., decide which ones should rank the highest, and then ask the general public to vote on their favorites? Well, the answer might surprise you because that’s exactly what happened recently — and a Disney Park is not sitting at the top spot.

Did you know that there are over 400 theme parks in the U.S.? Yeah, that’s a lot of theme parks to choose from. Of those theme parks, 375 million people visit them all annually. So USA Today looked to experts to put together a list of the top 20 theme parks in the country and let its readers vote for their favorites. Here’s the top ten…and we’ll warn you now: not a single Disney park made the top ten list. We’re shocked!

Here are the top ten theme parks in the country, according to the USA Today poll:

10. Cedar Point – Sandusky, Ohio

©Cedar Point

Cedar Point very well could be “the roller coaster capital of the world” with its 18 coasters, making it a must-visit destination for coaster enthusiasts and thrill seekers. It’s also the second oldest continually operated amusement park in North America, so it’s got a long history of welcoming visitors.

9. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay – Tampa, Florida

Yes, Busch Gardens is beating out Disney World in Florida for top theme parks. The Tampa location is especially appealing because it’s got that whole theme park meets zoo vibe similar to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. There might be roller coasters here, but you’ll find a safari ride, too.

©Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

8. Kennywood – West Mifflin, Pennsylvania

Kennywood posts a theme park with a lot of history, including 120 years of rides, including classic wooden coasters, and a share of dark rides. You’ll also find the thrilling Steel Curtain coaster here, too, though.


7. Busch Gardens Williamsburg – Williamsburg, Virginia

Another Busch Gardens lands itself in the top ten — this time, the Williamsburg location. This park takes inspiration from the 17th century and will take you to exciting versions of England, Scotland, Ireland, France, and more. This one also gets bonus points for being one of the world’s most beautiful parks.

©Busch Gardens Williamsburg

6. LEGOLAND California – Carlsbad, California

LEGO fans unite! Well, they did when voting for top theme parks, including California’s LEGOLAND on the list. This LEGO-themed park has more than 60 rides and attractions just for kids! Plus there are shows, activities, and a fun splash area.

©LEGOLAND California

5. Dollywood – Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

The iconic park themed around legendary artist Dolly Parton is a hit in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. If you’re looking for some delicious food (we’re still dreaming about you, cinnamon bread), rides big and small, and high-quality entertainment, Dollywood is your kind of park.


4. Hersheypark – Hershey, Pennsylvania

Yes, you’ll find a lot of chocolate at Hersheypark (which would get our vote), but there’s so much more to Hersheypark. There are over 70 rides (including lots of roller coasters), shows, other entertainment, and more. So this park has chocolate and FUN rides.


3. SeaWorld Orlando – Orlando, Florida

The top Orlando theme park isn’t anything in Disney World, but SeaWorld. SeaWorld has a lot going for it. In addition to rides, it’s also a marine zoological park, so you get the best of both worlds. Plus you can visit Sesame Street.

©SeaWorld Orlando

2. Knoebels – Elysburg, Pennsylvania

Apparently, this amusement park has really good pizza, but it also has its share of thrill rides. This is one of the few theme parks left that you can get into for free — you just need tickets to ride attractions. It also has one of the most popular wooden roller coasters in the country.


1. Silver Dollar City – Branson, Missouri

In the heart of the country lies Silver Dollar City, and this theme park is the one USA Today’s readers love the most. Where else can you visit an 1880s mining town or take a ride on the world’s fastest, steepest, and tallest spinning coaster?

©Silver Dollar City

So there you have it, if you happen to be looking for theme parks OTHER than those at Disney World or Disneyland to visit this summer, especially if you live closer to these.

Check back with AllEars again soon for more.

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What do you think? Have you ever visited any of these theme parks? Let us know in the comments!

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