Top 10 Most Popular Amusement Parks in the World

Amusement parks are among the most visited and popular places to be for children and adults alike. They offer a great way to spend your holidays, weekend or day trip. Originally evolving from the European fairs of the middle ages, modern-day amusement parks offer a great variety of different attractions.

They can have different rides such as roller coasters or carousels, feature shows and prize games, chamber of horrors and literally hundreds of other attractions. Amusement parks today are also oftentimes theme parks. Those amusement parks often follow a certain theme that represents the company or a special topic or setting.

The following list ranks the 10 most popular amusement parks in the world. The ranking is based on the number of visitors in 2018. As you will see, one company in particular very clearly dominates the world of amusement parks….

The 10 Most Popular Amusement Parks in the World

top theme parks

1. Magic Kingdom

walt disney world - most popular amusement park in the world

Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom is the most popular amusement park in the world. The park located in Lake Buena Vista, Florida (a suburb of Orlando, Florida) received more than 20 million visitors from all around the world in 2018. While the entrance to the park is indeed in Lake Buena Vista, the nearly 25,000 acres (around 100 km²) area of the Magic Kingdom actually spills over and is mainly located in the neighboring Bay Lake.

The amusement park is entirely owned by The Walt Disney Company. The park opened in 1971, but planning for the park already began in 1965 by Walt Disney himself. He wanted to construct an amusement park on the U.S. Eastcoast to complement Disneyland in California. Unfortunately, Walt Disney died of lung cancer in 1966, but his project went on and got finalized five years later. Today, his Magic Kingdom is the main attraction of the Walt Disney World Resort, the most popular resort in the world. A statue of Walt Disney holding hand with Mickey Mouse, his creation, now stands in front of the Magic Kingdom to remember and honor its founder.

2. Disneyland Park

Credit: Scott Brinegar/Disneyland

It was in Anaheim, California (near Los Angeles, California) where it all started. Disneyland Park (originally known as just Disneyland) was Walt Disney’s first amusement park and the one that inspired all the many others that would follow. In 2018, over 18 million people from all over the world visited Disney’s original theme park. Disneyland Park is part and the main attraction of Disneyland Resort, which is also located entirely in Anaheim. Disneyland Park is wholly owned by The Walt Disney Company.

3. Tokyo Disneyland

popular amusement parks in the world
Credit: Cory Denton / CC BY 2.0

Tokyo Disneyland was the first Disney-themed amusement park built outside the United States. It was opened in 1983. Despite the name, the amusement park is not actually located in Tokyo, but in the nearby city of Urayasu. With close to 18 million visitors in 2018, Tokyo Disneyland is the third most popular amusement park in the world now. It is also the most popular one in Japan and the most popular one outside the USA. Tokyo Disneyland is owned by The Oriental Land Company, a Japanese tourism company.

The company has a licensing agreement with The Walt Disney Company which allows the Japanese company to use all trademarked Disney franchises for the amusement park. Tokyo Disneyland is part and the main attraction of the Tokyo Disney Resort, the largest resort in all of Japan.

4. Tokyo DisneySea

theme park disney tokyo

After the great success of Tokyo Disneyland, The Oriental Land Company built another Disney-themed amusement park in its Tokyo Disney Resort. Tokyo DisneySea is sea-themed park which opened in 2001. Within its first year of existence, DisneySea received 10 million visitors, the first ever amusement park to have accomplished this in the first year since opening. Around 14.7 million people came to visit the theme park in 2018, making it the fourth most popular amusement park in the world. Tokyo Disney Resort now also includes both of the most popular amusement parks in Japan and outside the United States.

5. Universal Studios Japan

universal studios japan theme park

The popularity of the Disney Resort in Japan also inspired other companies to get active in the East Asian country. Comcast, the owner of Universal Pictures, one of the largest film studios in the world, opened Universal Studios Japan in 2001. It is directly inspired by Universal Studios Florida in Orlando. The amusement park was Comcast’s first theme park outside the United States and quickly became more popular and successful than its two American counterparts (Universal Studios Hollywood & Universal Studios Florida). More than 14 million people visited the amusement park in Osaka, Japan in 2018. Universal Studios Japan is therefore the most popular non-Disney theme amusement park in the world.

6. Disney’s Animal Kingdom

7. Epcot

8. Shanghai Disneyland Park

disneyland shanghai

9. Disney’s Hollywood Studios

10. Chimelong Ocean Kingdom

The 10 Most Popular Amusement Parks in the World

(as of October 2019)

Top 10 Most Popular Amusement Parks in the World
Lake Buena Vista, Florida, United States
20.9 million visitors
Anaheim, California, United States
18.7 million visitors
Urayasu, Kanto, Japan
17.9 million visitors
Urayasu, Kanto, Japan
14.7 million visitors
Osaka, Kansai, Japan
14.3 million visitors
Lake Buena Vista, Florida, United States
13.8 million visitors
Lake Buena Vista, Florida, United States
12.4 million visitors
Shanghai, Municipality of Shanghai, China
11.8 million visitors
Lake Buena Vista, Florida, United States
11.3 million visitors
Zhuhai, Guangdong, China
10.8 million visitors
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