30. China Dinosaurs Park

Image: Dinosaurs Park

2018: 4,106,000
Change: +11%

Everyone loves dinosaurs. Particularly, it turns out, the Chinese. Like many Chinese parks to have appeared in the last two decades, the China Dinosaurs Park (opened in 2000) leverages China's massive population (remember – about four times as large as the U.S.'s) to have even simple thrill parks rocket past American mainstays like Cedar Point and Six Flags that have been at it for decades. Dinosaurs Park is made of dinosaur models in naturalistic settings, carnival rides (including the famous HUSS King Kong ride system), a log flume, and three coasters, including Dinoconda – an S&S 4th Dimension coaster like Magic Mountain's X2. 

29. Knott's Berry Farm

Image: Knott's Berry Farm

2018: 4,115,000
Change: +12%

Located literally several blocks from Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm is billed as "America's first theme park." Growing from its time as a literal farm with a chicken restaurant, the Southern California classic was sold by the Knott family in the 1990s. While Disney considered making a play for the park, Cedar Fair ultimately ended up with the property – their only year-round park. In its first decade in control, Cedar Fair arguably sapped the park of a lot of its charm in favor of coasters, but in recent years has come around and rehabbed its classic dark rides in a loving and charming fashion that's brought locals back to celebrate.

28. Busch Gardens Tampa

Image: SeaWorld Parks

2018: 4,139,000
Change: 0%

Just as Virginia's Busch Gardens is themed to Europe, Florida's is a more overtly-animal centered park dedicated to Africa. Like its European counterpart, this park's villages are likewise themed to corners of Africa, like Timbuktu, Egypt, the Congo, and Morocco. Cleverly, each of Wiliamsburg's coasters has a complementary "spiritual sequel" in Florida. And just as Williamsburg's ride names feel like they're cut from the same cloth, the same is true in Tampa's lineup: Kumba, Montu, SheiKra, Gwazi, and Tigris are headliners. (The major coaster that doesn't match was initially registered as Cheetaka, but its name was changed to Cheetah Hunt just before the ride's announcement.)

Don't miss: Kumba is considered by many to be the best thrill coaster in Florida – a towering, powerful B&M ride that races through 7 inversions, including a massive 114 foot tall vertical loop that encircles the lift hill, a cobra roll, and two interlocking corkscrews. The word "Kumba" means "Roar" in the African Congo language – a perfect fit for the legendary, rumbling roar produced by B&M's hollow tracks.

27. Universal Studios Singapore

Image: Resorts World Sentosa

2018: 4,440,000
Change: +15.6%

Universal Studios Singapore is part of the Resorts World Sentosa entertainment complex. Opened in 2010, the park represented Universal's first chance to build a park from the ground up since 1999's Islands of Adventure. Perhaps not surprisingly, they chose to use... well... Islands of Adventure as a basis. Like the Orlando park, Singapore's is made of themed IP-based lands situated around a lagoon, though in this case they're themed to Hollywood, New York, Sci-Fi City (Transformers and Battlestar Galactica), Ancient Egypt (1999's The Mummy), Jurassic Park, Far Far Away (Shrek), and Madagascar. The recent, exciting news is that the small and largely landlocked park will get a chance to grow in the coming years, swapping Madagascar for a Despicable Me-based Minion land and adding a Super Nintendo World.

26. SeaWorld Orlando

Image: SeaWorld Parks

2018: 4,594,000
2014: 4,683,000
Change: –1%

Perhaps you've heard that times have been tough for SeaWorld, the once-beloved animal park whose brand has turned poison thanks to a widely-circulated but debatably honest 2013 film Blackfish. As "luck" would have it, SeaWorld went public just before the PR nightmare, essentially throwing the company into instant financial ruin just as its stocks went into trading. So even though our 2014 vs. 2018 attendance count shows a 1% drop, it's a triumphant victory for SeaWorld that it's back to pre-Blackfish attendance levels! And since these two years happen to skip the park's lowest points, consider that the 2018 figure is a tremendous +16% jump from 2017! That's incredibly good news for SeaWorld.

Don't miss: Smartly downplaying its (AZA accredited and inarguably world-class) animal components, part of SeaWorld's strategy was to follow the lead of their own Busch Gardens branded parks and head out into more thrilling coaster territory. SeaWorld's Mako is a B&M hypercoaster of floating airtime hills – the perfect companion to the park's looping B&M Kraken and the flying B&M Manta, creating a one-stop-shop for ultra-smooth, extreme thrill coasters in Orlando.

25. Chimelong Paradise (China)

Image: Chimelong Paradise

2018: 4,680,000
Change: +39.7%

Chimelong Paradise is one of several amusement parks to have sprung from China's need for entertainment in the 2000s. In this case, the park opened in 2006 and might be best understood as a Chinese equivalent to Busch Gardens. It boasts a respectable 5 adult coasters including a half-pipe launch coaster, a B&M dive coaster with splashdown, a motorbike coaster, a Premier Skyrocket II (twin sister to Tempesto, Electric Eel, Tigris, et al), and the well-known 10 Inversion Coaster, which long held the record for most inversions.

24. Tivoli Gardens (Denmark)

Image: Tivoli

2018: 4,850,000
Change: +8.3%

A romantic oasis right in the center of beautiful Copenhagen is Tivoli, a classic amusement park that opened 175 years ago (making it the second oldest amusement park on Earth; the oldest is also in Denmark). Tivoli is a spectacularly picturesque pleasure garden of "exotic" architecture, beautifully landscaped gardens, and rides dating to before the World Wars, including a 1914 wooden coaster. So iconic is Tivoli that in Icelandic, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, "tivoli" has come to be a generic term for "theme park."

Not coincidentally, Walt Disney toured Tivoli in the lead-up to Disneyland's design, adapting some ideas to his Californian park. He's not the only person the park inspired. Famous Danish author Hans Christian Andersen attended the parks' 1843 opening, which inspired his Nightingale short story. Andersen is immortalized with the H. C. Andersen Castle in Tivoli, as well as a dark ride through the tales he'd later write, like The Little MermaidThe Ugly Duckling, The Steadfast Tin Soldier, The Little Match GirlThe Snow Queen, and The Emperor's New Clothes – each, in turn, adapted by Disney into animated stories!

23. Walt Disney Studios Park

Image: Disney

2018: 5,298,000
Change: +24.4%

Being the first Disney Park on this list isn't exactly a good thing... because it means Walt Disney Studios at Disneyland Paris is – by far – the lowest-attended Disney Park on Earth. In fact, it's not even close. Built at the end of Michael Eisner's penny-pinching last few years at Disney, the park was so pathetic when it opened, we dedicated an entire feature to the sad story and wallowing walkthrough of the studio park – Declassified Disaster: Walt Disney Studios. Trust us – jump to that feature to see just how bad it was. Of course, substantial investment in the last decade has added Band-aids to the park's proverbial broken bone, up to the opening of the Modern Marvel: Ratatouille – The Adventure, which at least gave the park a unique, exclusive ride.

In any case, the Studio park's need for constant investment has starved its sister park – Disneyland Paris – of getting a new E-Ticket since 1995! That drought for the castle park will likely continue given that Walt Disney Studios is gearing up for a massive re-do that will add lands themed to Star Wars, Marvel, and Frozen in a World-Showcase style layout in previously-unused land.

22. Efteling (Netherlands)

Image: Efteling

2018: 5,400,000
Change: +22.7%

Predating Disneyland's opening by 3 years, Efteling is sometimes cited as an inspiration for Walt Disney's fairytale park... But even if Walt did visit Europe for inspiration, he didn't make it to Efteling. Today, Efteling is inarguably one of the most fascinating and fanciful parks on Earth – a gorgeous, classic park still based around its walkthrough Fairytale Forest, but joined today by the suspended Dreamflight dark ride, Fata Morgana (a sailing ride on par with Pirates of the Caribbean in terms of scope), Villa Volta madhouse, and Symbolica trackless dark ride, plus the iconic Baron 1898 diving coaster and Joris en da Draak racing wooden coaster... Altogether, it's a park that skillfully blends theme and thrill in a sort of mysterious, storybook setting.

21. Europa Park (Germany)

Image: Europa Park

2018: 5,720,000
Change: +14%

After more than a decade of reliably being awarded Amusement Today Magazine's Golden Ticket Award for "Best Amusement Park on Earth," Cedar Point fans were stunned in 2014 when the award instead went to Europa Park, an otherwise obscure-to-Americans park in Rust, Germany. But for Europeans, the park is every ounce as iconic. Owned and operated by the Mack family (of the Mack Rides manufacturing firm), the park is a playground for new roller coaster styles. Disney Parks fans will instantly recognize Eurosat, above for its... similarities to Epcot's iconic Spaceship Earth. But this sphere contains a family roller coaster.


Add new comment

About Theme Park Tourist

Theme Park Tourist is one of the web’s leading sources of essential information and entertaining articles about theme parks in Orlando and beyond.

We are one of the world’s largest theme park guide sites, hosting detailed guides to more than 80 theme parks around the globe.

Find Out More About Us...

Plan Your Trip

Our theme park guides contain reviews and ratings of rides, restaurants and hotels at more than 80 theme parks worldwide.

You can even print them.

Start Planning Now...