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Magic Kingdom castle

Having opened Disneyland back in 1955, Disney remains the world's largest theme park operator. Five huge resorts carry the Disney name - in California, Florida, Tokyo, Paris and Hong Kong. A sixth is under construction in Shanghai.

Disney fans often argue over which is the best of the company's theme parks. Opinions differ, but we thought it would be fun to look objectively at how the different parks compare. Below, we compare the size, attendance and number of attractions at each of the company's existing parks, and reveal the "winners" and "losers" in each category.

1. Size

Kilimanjaro Safaris

Kilimanjaro Safaris at Animal Kingdom is larger than most entire theme parks.
Image © Disney

The largest: Disney's Animal Kingdom
The smallest: Walt Disney Studios, Paris

Note: Different sources quote different sizes for Disney's various theme parks. For example, Disney's Animal Kingdom is frequently cited as being the largest theme park in the world at 580 acres. However, some areas of the park are as yet undeveloped or not accessible to the public. Disney's own website claims that the park covers either 500 acres or 403 acres. We've gone with the lower figure to be on the safe side.

  1. Disney's Animal Kingdom - 403 acres
  2. Epcot - 300 acres
  3. Tokyo DisneySea - 176 acres
  4. Disney's Hollywood Studios - 135 acres
  5. Disneyland Paris - 126 acres
  6. Tokyo Disneyland - 115 acres
  7. Magic Kingdom - 105 acres
  8. Disneyland - 85 acres
  9. Disney California Adventure - 72 acres
  10. Hong Kong Disneyland - 68 acres
  11. Walt Disney Studios, Paris - 62 acres

Fun facts:

  • Disneyland Paris is the largest "Magic Kingdom-style" park at a Disney resort.
  • The smallest parks have received the most attention recently. Disney California Adventure underwent a $1.1 billion overhaul, Hong Kong Disneyland added three new lands and Walt Disney Studios is due to open Ratatouille: L'Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy this summer.

2. Attendance

Magic Kingdom

The Magic Kingdom is the world's most popular theme park.

Note: These numbers are based on the 2012 Themed Entertainment Association report.

The most popular: Magic Kingdom
The least popular: Walt Disney Studios, Paris

  1. Magic Kingdom - 17.5 million
  2. Disneyland - 16.0 million
  3. Tokyo Disneyland - 14.8 million
  4. Tokyo DisneySea - 12.7 million
  5. Disneyland Paris - 11.2 million
  6. Epcot - 11.1 million
  7. Disney's Animal Kingdom - 10.0 million
  8. Disney's Hollywood Studios - 9.9 million
  9. Disney California Adventure - 7.8 million
  10. Hong Kong Disneyland - 6.7 million
  11. Walt Disney Studios, Paris - 4.8 million

Fun facts:

  • There's a huge disparity between the attendance at Disneyland Paris and neighboring Walt Disney Studios. This used to be the case at the Disneyland Resort, too, but Disney California Adventure's attendance has been boosted by the extensive overhaul of the park and the gap between it and Disneyland is closing.
  • The three smallest Disney parks also have the lowest attendance.
  • 4 of the 5 most popular parks feature the same basic design (based on the original Disneyland).

3. Most Attractions

Tokyo Disneyland packs in a lot of attractions.

Note: These figures were derived from our extensive park guides, which cover all of the Disney theme parks along with dozens of others around the world. People's definitions of an "attraction" vary. Some would include parades, for example - but we don't. These numbers are based on the number of rides and shows in each park.

The most: Tokyo Disneyland
The least: Walt Disney Studios

  1. Tokyo Disneyland - 50
  2. Disneyland - 49
  3. Magic Kingdom - 40
  4. Disneyland Paris - 37
  5. Disney California Adventure - 36
  6. Hong Kong Disneyland - 29
  7. Tokyo DisneySea - 28
  8. Epcot - 24
  9. Disney's Animal Kingdom - 20
  10. Disney's Hollywood Studios - 20
  11. Walt Disney Studios, Paris - 17

Fun facts:

  • In general, Magic Kingdom-style parks have more rides than other Disney parks.
  • Other parks, of course, make up for this in the size of their attractions (e.g. the sprawling Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney's Animal Kingdom) or through large numbers of shops and exhibits (such as those found in Epcot's World Showcase).
  • Walt Disney Studios was originally intended to be a much larger park - Disney-MGM Studios Europe. However, the plans were scaled back to the bare minimum following the disappointing performance of Disneyland Paris.
  • Disney's Animal Kingdom has the lowest number of attractions per acre (0.05). Disneyland has the highest (0.57).

Which is the best?

We can't resist asking. Which is your favorite Disney theme park? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Comments

I have always loved Epcot the best. I have found it to be the most relaxing and enjoyable of all the parks. I love just walking around, enjoying the scenery and its annual food and wine festival is the best.

I don't think Disneyland Paris and the Walt Disney Studios there get enough credit.. I went this year and it was fantastic!! I'm glad to hear that the whole park is getting a refurbishment and numerous massive upgrades for 2017!

While Disneyland is the flagship and the original, Walt Disney World contains more of Walt's "dream park", since Disneyland was too small. So my vote is Magic Kingdom WDW. Plus now the acreage is 133, since the Fantasyland expansion.

Animal Kingdom is my favorite. I just love the animals!

It always used to be Epcot but Animal Kingdon has now taken the lead. Love Everest, dinosaur, Kilimanjaro and it's a big life

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