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The Top 50 Theme Parks in the World

20. Ocean Park Hong Kong

Image: Ocean Park

2018: 5,800,000
2014: 
7,792,000
Change: –34.3%

If you're expecting Ocean Park to be Hong Kong's SeaWorld equivalent, you're right. A combination animal park / thrill park, the property is picturesquely situated around a mountaintop (with a cable car connecting its two halves). Guests have been rightfully critical of the park's practice of catching wild animals for display, and that may partly explain its gradual drop in attendance. Otherwise, spokespeople for Ocean Park have explained the massive attendance loss by citing a weakened global economy, increased competition from other Asian parks (perhaps including Shanghai Disneyland), and a drop in general Hong Kong tourism. 

19. Everland (South Korea)

Image: Everland

2018: 5,850,000
2014: 
7,381,000
Change: –26.1%

Everland is a regional park in Korea that includes a zoo and water park on its property. That said, the park's claim to fame is T Express, another of Intamin's plug-and-play wooden coasters creating the same uniquely smooth and airtime-filled kind of course as Six Flags Great Adventure's El Toro or Liseberg's Balder. As for the park's signficant drop in attendance? Insiders chalk it up to Korea's aging population (more interested in international travel than domestic) and a huge drop in Chinese visitors after a political problem between the two countries.

18. Nagashima Spa Land (Japan)

Image: Nagashima Spa Land

2018: 5,920,000
2014: 
5,630,000
Change: +5.2%

Located in Southeastern Japan on a peninsula jutting into the Pacific's Ise Bay is Nagashima Spa Land. A major amusement park for the country (think of it as Japan's Cedar Point?), the park is most well known for its giant Ferris wheel (295 feet tall!) and its coaster collection, which includes Acrobat (a clone of SeaWorld Orlando's Manta, complete with splashdown) and the legendary Steel Dragon 2000 – the longest roller coaster in the world and the second to beat the 300-foot height barrier, opening just a few months after Millennium Force.

17. Lotte World (South Korea)

Image: Lotte World

2018: 5,960,000
2014:
7,606,000
Change: –27.6%

At first glance, fans are all too happy to mark Korea's Lotte World as a Disney knock-off. And sure, like most modern parks, signature elements of Disney have been interpolated into the complex. But Lotte World's indoor and outdoor theme park still represent some of the best entertainment in the world, including an Egyptian-themed EMV ride and the incredible Atlantis water coaster. Like Everland, its attendance issues are likely thanks to those uniquely-Korean problems.

16. Hong Kong Disneyland

Image: Disney

2018: 6,700,000
2014: 
7,500,000
Change: –11.9%

Disney's Hong Kong park is in a decline of its own... a significant one. There are a few reasons. Primarily, the park was wildly underbuilt and unsuccessful when it opened in 2005 (the last of Eisner's financially-starved parks from the era), and was missing most "Disney classics": no Haunted Mansion, no "small world," no Pirates, no Big Thunder Mountain, and not even a Peter Pan's Flight. Obviously, that necessitated a massive reinvestment project that debuted three new lands in three years – Toy Story Land in 2011, Grizzly Gulch in 2012, and Mystic Point (featuring one of Disney's best rides ever – the Modern Marvel: Mystic Manor) in 2013. As a result, the park's 2014 attendance reflects the culimination of that expansion and the influx of guests to see it.

Why didn't the post-expansion swell of attendance stick? For one, Shanghai Disneyland. The opening of Disneyland's new-age mega-park in mainland China made Hong Kong Disneyland into a fly-over park, even with its three exclusive lands. Hong Kong's government famously fought back, insisting that Disney return to Hong Kong yet again to double down on the still-small park. The result is a new Marvel Land (set to fully debut in 2023, but already featuring Iron Man Experience and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Nano Battle!), a new, exclusive Frozen-themed land expected in 2021, and a (literal) expansion of the park's castle, transforming it from a clone of Disneyland's diminutive original into the tallest Disney Parks castle on Earth. 

By the way, consider this a major breaking point. From here, we enter the top 15, where attendance suddenly jumps from the 5 and 6 million range to the 9 million, representing the big players in international destination cities... 

15. Universal Studios Hollywood

Image: Universal

2018: 9,147,000
2014: 
6,824,000
Change: +34%

There was a time not so long ago that Universal's park in Hollywood, California was more studio than theme park. Though the studio's been around since 1912, its 1964 official re-introduction as a "theme park" centered around the Studio Tram Tour – an authentic behind-the-scenes look at Universal's expansive filmmaking campus, fabled sets, and – through the decades – staged special effects encounters and run-ins with Jaws, King Kong, earthquakes, and more littered along the Tour's course.

Even as "modern" standalone attractions like the Lost Legend: Back to the Future – The Ride and Jurassic Park: The Ride were added in the '90s, the Tram Tour remained the main attraction... until, of course, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened in 2016. A copy of just the "Hogsmeade" half of Universal Orlando's more fully-realized set-up (fit for its more purpose-built theme parks), the land vastly increased the park's appeal... but potentially without appropriately upping its capacity, operations, or logistics... 

14. Universal's Islands of Adventure

Image: Universal

2018: 9,788,000
2014: 
8,141,000
Change: +20.2%

Before Universal's Islands of Adventure opened in 1999, the park was seen by many – including Disney's executives – as a potentially industry-changing competitor. After all, the park was Universal's first attempt at a "Disney-style" theme park of highly immersive lands dedicated to Dr. Seuss, myths, Jurassic Park, Sunday funnies, and Marvel heroes. But a botched marketing campaign failed to communicate to travelers that a whole new park had opened in Orlando, so the spectacular park and its incredible rides went largely unnoticed... Until the Wizarding World.

Obviously, the 2010 opening of Hogsmeade redefined not only Islands of Adventure, but Universal Orlando. Thankfully, that proved to new owners Comcast that these weird accessory theme parks might actually be worth their weight in gold, prompting unparalleled investment over the last decade across Universal Parks. Islands of Adventure benefitted by way of 2016's new King Kong themed land and family ride, but we should see a big jump in attendance in 2019 thanks to Hagrid's Motorbike Adventure.

13. Disneyland Park (at Disneyland Paris)

Image: Disney

2018: 9,843,000
2014: 
9,940,000
Change: –1%

A stagnant trend for Disneyland Paris continues, as the perpetually-struggling French park is finally finding a balance – but not significant growth – for its original park. In part, that has to be because the Parisian theme park hasn't recieved a significant E-Ticket investment since 1995's Lost Legend: Space Mountain – De la Terre á la Lune... Yet Anaheim's Disneyland has gone just as long without a new anchor, but continues to grow... Even if Disneyland Paris has largely surmounted the initial rejection of the French and its perilous first few years (in which completely closing the park was said to be on the table), it's sad that such a spectacular Disney theme park just can't seem to find a foothold.

12. Disney California Adventure Park

Image: Disney

2018: 9,861,000
2014: 
8,769,000
Change: +12.4%

Disney California Adventure is "the little park that could." After an abysmal opening in 2001 (the subject of its own Disney's California Misadventure: Part I and Part II epic feature), the park rebounded big time starting in 2012, when the final products of a five-year, billion-dollar renovation culminated in Buena Vista Street, Cars Land, The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure, Toy Story Midway Mania, World of Color, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, and more all taking up residence in the park.

Though we might argue that Disney has tinkered too much with the park (at this point, retroactively removing so many of the features that made 2012's re-opening such a triumph), a continued push to place Marvel and Pixar properties into the second gate is meant to make it the must-visit complement to Disneyland's Star Wars and classic Disney properties, respectively. Though it's unlikely 2018's eyebrow-raising Pixar Pier re-theme made much of a blip in attendance, the 2020 arrival of Marvel heroes might be the thing to propel California Adventure back into the top 10.

11. Universal Studios Florida

Image: Universal

2018: 10,708,000
2014: 
8,263,000
Change: +29.5%

Universal Studios Florida is a park on the rise, thanks in large part to the continued success of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. (The park's largest single-year growth spurt actually happened between 2013 and 2014, so our "before" measure above already represents a huge jump from the year prior; if our comparison was from 2013 to 2018, it would be a 51% jump!) But even after the success of Universal Orlando's Diagon Alley half, it's worth noting that the park hasn't slowed (even if its quality has), also opening Race Through New York and Fast & Furious: Supercharged in that span.

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