It's no secret that Florida's theme parks are a big part of its tourism. According to Spectrum News 13, Walt Disney Resorts in Florida and California brought in 7.4 billion dollars in revenue in 2022.
However, if this revenue had you assuming that Disney World would always be named as Florida's top theme park, you may be mistaken. Because U.S. News + World Report just named its top picks for theme parks across the United States, and Walt Disney World was not listed first for Florida.
What Were the Criteria?: Although U.S. News + World Report didn't specifically define its criteria, it wrote that the best theme parks "offer something for everyone," are easy to drive to, are affordable if you book ahead, and have family-friendly lodging options nearby.
Here are the 4 Florida theme parks that made the cut, in the order they were listed:
Fun Spot America, Orlando, Number 3: The site stressed that this theme park in Orlando is quite inexpensive when compared to other parks in the area. A single day ticket is $59.95, but yearly passes are available. Although that arguably isn't cheap, its less than a one-day ticket at Walt Disney World, which starts at around $109.00 per day for Florida residents. Plus, Fun Spot America has a wide variety of offerings, like some smaller roller coasters, bumper cars, carnival rides, and a ferris wheel.
Walt Disney World, Kissimmee, Number 6: U.S. News + World Report felt that Walt Disney World is famous for a reason - because it inspires awe, with offerings such as the iconic Cinderella's Castle and classic rides such as "It's a Small World." The site also praised the variety offered, since there are really four parks within a short distance from one another, including EPCOT, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios. However, it's important to know that each park requires a separate park hopper option.
Busch Gardens, Tampa, Number 8: The site praised how this theme park offered something for all ages - like the zoo animals for children, roller coasters for adults, and the live entertainment for families. You won't find any famous characters here in the way that you will at Walt Disney World, but if you're looking for an overall solid theme park experience, Busch Gardens may be worth a look. Ticket prices start at $99.
Universal Orlando Resort, Orlando, Number 11: This option also offers much variety, as there are Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay from which to choose. If you are a Harry Potter fan, Universal Studios may be quite a bit of fun for you, while Volcano Bay offers a chance to cool down at a water park. Ticket prices start at around $109.
A Potential Surprise - There's No Sea World Orlando: Those who are familiar with Florida theme parks may be surprised that Sea World Orlando was not on the list (although the park in California did make an appearance.) The park is known for its up-close encounters with animals such as whales, dolphins, and sea lions.
The Rest of the List: Now that we've looked at the Florida parks that have made the list, here is the list in its entirety to look at the parks throughout the United States that were recognized.
Knott's Berry Farm: Buena Park, California
Kennywood: West Mifflin, Pennsylvania
Fun Spot America: Orlando, Florida
Holiday World & Splashin' Safari: Santa Claus, Indiana
Six Flags Magic Mountain: Valencia, California
Walt Disney World Resort: Orlando, Florida
SeaWorld San Diego: San Diego, California
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay: Tampa, Florida
Silver Dollar City: Branson, Missouri
Disneyland Park: Anaheim, California
Universal Orlando Resort: Orlando, Florida
Kings Island: Mason, Ohio
Knoebels Amusement Resort: Elysburg, Pennsylvania
Hersheypark: Hershey, Pennsylvania
Dollywood: Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Universal Studios Hollywood: Universal City, California
Comments / 24