Disney & Universal Battle it Out in “U.S. News & World Report” List of Best Theme Parks in the Country

Epic universe concept art of center dome
Credit: Universal

U. S. News & World Report has just unveiled its list of the Best Theme Parks in the United States, and we like the representation we see, especially since it means there’s a lot of healthy competition between Disney and Universal.

RELATED: Disney Park Named Among the Most Dangerous Theme Parks to Visit in the U. S.

cinderella castle

Per U. S. News & World Report:

The [best] theme parks also tend to have lodging options nearby, including spacious, family-oriented hotels with pools, campgrounds and more.

Some of the best amusement parks focus more on dizzying coasters than family fun, and others offer more ride options for the little ones in your crew. With that in mind, it’s smart to plan your family trip based on park features and amenities in addition to geographic location.

rock n roller coaster

Credit: Matthew Cooper

To stay competitive, theme parks are continually upgrading the experiences they offer to guests, which can mean refurbishing attractions, retheming attractions (like getting rid of Aerosmith at Disney’s Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster), and adding new themed lands, new restaurants, and new food and drink options.

The list compiled by U. S. News & World Report is given in no particular order, per the outlet, and includes 17 different theme parks or theme park resorts across several states, including California, Florida, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri, and Tennessee. The list “highlights some of the top amusement parks from coast to coast” and gives information for those who “want to ride one of the nation’s tallest coasters, drop hundreds of feet out of the sky or continue [the] search for the world’s best funnel cake.”


Credit: Disney

The list includes the following theme parks, in no particular order:

-Cedar Point: Sandusky, Ohio
-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

hogwarts at universal studios hollywood

Credit: Universal Studios

Both Disney and Universal Studios are included in the list of best theme parks–and they are equally represented, as two Disney Parks and two Universal Studios parks made the list. Perhaps stiff competition is a good thing after all!

About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!