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25 Best Theme Parks in the United States

These are the best theme parks in the United States, according to TripAdvisor.

Elizabeth Rhodes is a special projects editor at Travel + Leisure , covering everything from luxury hotels to theme parks to must-pack travel products. Originally from South Carolina, Elizabeth moved to New York City from London, where she started her career as a travel blogger and writer.

an example of a theme park

Jaw-dropping thrill rides and dizzying roller coasters can be found all over the U.S., but which ones are truly the best? Ask TripAdvisor .

With thousands of users and reviews for different attractions around the world, TripAdvisor is a treasure trove of incredible and highly recommended places to visit on your next vacation. We asked the travel review website for the best amusement parks in the U.S., and naturally, there are a lot of amazing ones to choose from.

From sea to shining sea, there are plenty of places to enjoy a calming Ferris wheel, ride a classic wooden roller coaster, or scream your head off on a state-of-the-art thrill ride. Of course, Disney World and Disneyland take some of the top spots, since there seems to be something for everyone at these two locations. Disney rides in general tend to be pretty mild in terms of thrills, as both parks are designed to be family-friendly for all ages. But if you're a true coaster lover, there are some incredible parks with record-breaking rides that will truly blow your hair back.

Some locations are owned by beloved international brands, while others are more of a local favorite, but every park listed below practically guarantees a day of fun.

These are the best theme parks in the United States, according to TripAdvisor .

1. Magic Kingdom Park — Orlando, Florida

With classic, family-friendly attractions, beloved Disney characters, and the iconic Cinderella's Castle standing at the center of it all, it's no surprise that Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort claimed the number one spot. This Disney theme park isn't just the most popular among TripAdvisor users — Magic Kingdom was the most-visited theme park in the world in 2019, with nearly 21 million guests.

2. Universal’s Islands of Adventure — Orlando, Florida

Exciting thrill rides, including the new VelociCoaster set to debut this summer, and a Harry Potter -themed land make Universal's Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando Resort a fan-favorite theme park.

3. Disney’s Animal Kingdom — Orlando, Florida

Since opening in 1998, Disney's Animal Kingdom has wowed crowds with its immersive, animal-centric experiences. The 2017 addition of Pandora — The World of Avatar and its incredible Avatar Flight of Passage attraction makes this park a winner for nature lovers and ride enthusiasts alike.

4. Universal Studios Florida — Orlando, Florida

Guests are invited to step inside their favorite films and television shows, including The Simpsons, Harry Potter , and more at Universal Studios Florida, the second of two theme parks at Universal Orlando Resort.

5. Universal Studios Hollywood — Los Angeles, California

This film studio theme park features many of the popular attractions that you'll find at its East Coast counterpart, plus the Studio Tour , a tram ride through movie sets.

6. Dollywood — Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Dolly Parton-owned Dollywood, located in the picturesque Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, offers a unique combination of thrill rides, family-friendly attractions, musical entertainment, and delicious comfort foods .

7. Disneyland Park — Anaheim, California

The theme park that started the Disney parks empire comes in at number seven on TripAdvisor's list of the best theme parks. Packed with nostalgic experiences and state-of-the-art attractions, Disneyland Park is truly one of the world's most iconic amusement parks.

8. Disney’s Hollywood Studios — Orlando, Florida

Thanks to the addition of Toy Story Land and Star Wars : Galaxy's Edge, this Disney World theme park has become increasingly popular among guests of all ages who want to follow in their favorite characters' footsteps.

9. Silver Dollar City — Branson, Missouri

Located in Missouri's Ozark Mountains, Silver Dollar City is an 1880s-style theme park with over 40 rides and attractions, plus demonstrations from craftspeople and live entertainment.

10. Disney California Adventure Park — Anaheim, California

This California-inspired park isn't quite as popular as neighboring flagship Disneyland Park, but it's still a top choice for fun attractions and themed lands, including the upcoming Avengers Campus, which is set to open this summer.

11. Bay Beach Amusement Park — Green Bay, Wisconsin

This Green Bay amusement park opened in the 1890s, so it has entertained families for over 100 years. Plus, there's no entrance fee (although guests do have to purchase tickets to enjoy the rides).

12. Fun Spot America — Kissimmee, Florida

Arcade and carnival-style games, as well as classic amusement park rides like bumper cars, go-karts, and more, make this a fun and affordable option in Central Florida.

13. Knoebels Amusement Resort — Elysburg, Pennsylvania

As the country's largest free-admission park, Knoebels has something for the whole family, including pay-as-you-go attractions ranging from thrilling coasters to kiddie rides.

14. Santa’s Village — Jefferson, New Hampshire

It's Christmas all year round at Santa's Village, a holiday-themed amusement park with winter and Christmas-inspired rides and attractions in Jefferson, New Hampshire.

15. Seabreeze Amusement Park — Rochester, New York

Kiddie rides, coasters, a water park, and wholesome family fun are all on offer at this Rochester, New York, amusement park.

16. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay — Tampa, Florida

This African-themed amusement park features exciting rides for the entire family, plus over 200 species of animals at one of the country's most highly accredited zoos.

17. Funland — Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

No list of America's top amusement parks would be complete without a classic beach boardwalk park. Funland has over a dozen carnival-style rides (mostly geared toward kids), games, an arcade, and more.

18. Dutch Wonderland — Lancaster, Pennsylvania

This kid-friendly amusement park is located just over an hour and a half from Philadelphia, and the world's first-ever Cartoon Network-themed hotel is next door.

19. Canobie Lake Park — Salem, New Hampshire

This amusement park offers over 85 rides and attractions, plus classic snacks like popcorn, caramel apples, lemonade, and more, on Canobie Lake in New Hampshire.

20. Silverwood Theme Park — Athol, Idaho

Located in northern Idaho, Silverwood Theme Park is the northwest's largest theme park, with dozens of waterslides, rides, and attractions.

21. Kentucky Kingdom — Louisville, Kentucky

This Louisville amusement and water park offers six coasters, a Ferris wheel, kid-friendly rides, and more.

22. Nickelodeon Universe — Bloomington, Minnesota

Located at Mall of America in Minnesota, Nickelodeon Universe packs plenty of family-friendly fun in its indoor, cartoon-inspired theme park.

23. Busch Gardens Williamsburg — Williamsburg, Virginia

Visit Italy, Germany, France, and more all in one afternoon when you go to Busch Gardens Williamsburg, a European-themed amusement park located near the historic Virginia city. What could be better than coasters followed by internationally inspired cuisine?

24. Cedar Point — Sandusky, Ohio

Cedar Point, located on the shores of Lake Erie, is known for thrilling roller coasters (the amusement park has a whopping 18, to be exact) and a history dating back 150 years.

25. Legoland California — Carlsbad, California

The first U.S. Legoland amusement park, Legoland California offers a range of Lego-themed rides, attractions, and experiences — primarily geared toward kids and their families.

100 Best Theme Parks in the World

best theme parks in the world

Looking to experience an injection of excitement and buzz? Discover our selection of the best theme parks in the world.

There’s no form of escapism quite like a theme park. Whether you’re discovering magical characters or enjoying the thrills of an exciting ride, theme parks offer a great day out for adults and children alike.

1 – Walt Disney World Resort

Walt Disney World Resort, United States

There’s a reason why they call Orlando Florida’s Disney resort a “world”. The mega-resort Walt Disney World features four marvelous parks to lose yourself in the wonderful world of Disney.

Magic Kingdom

They say fantasy becomes a reality at the Magic Kingdom, and who are we to argue? Mix it with Mickey Mouse and friends and then jump on thrilling rides, iconic like Space Mountain.

Epcot is split into two sections: Future World, which features space-themed rides, and World Showcase, a place to discover the globe.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Feel the force at Disney’s Hollywood Studios with a range of Star Wars-based attractions, as well as other characters that include some of Disney’s most well known.

Animal Kingdom

Head to Animal Kingdom and encounter wild animals, fun jungle trails, high-speed rides and don’t miss a visit to Pandora – The World of Avatar!

2 – Europa Park

Europa Park, Germany

The largest theme park in Germany, Europa Park is located in Rust. Attractions include Pirates in Batavia, which is an electrifying underground boat ride experience.

3 – Disneyland Resort

Disneyland Resort, United States

Disneyland Resort has two parks in Anaheim, USA and is full of fun-filled Disney delights from Mickey, Mini and the crew.

Disneyland Park

Disneyland Park is the original home of Disney-themed lands. And it’s your chance to experience famous attractions like Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion, and Star Wars Galaxy Edge.

Disney California Adventure Park

Go on an adventure with live shows from the characters of Frozen and meet a range of Disney characters.  Disney California Adventure Park has something for all ages, including the Avenger Camp — which is coming soon.

4 – Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris, France

On the outskirts of Paris is where you will find the European version of Disneyland , one of the best theme parks in the world. There are two parks to explore: Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park.

Magical attractions and entertainment are on offer at Disneyland Park, including Sleeping Beauty Castle and Mickey’s Philharmagic. Experience a taste of Disney, euro style.

Walt Disney Studios Park

The magic of Disney really comes alive at Walt Disney Studios Park, where you can immerse yourself in the worlds of Disney and Pixar. From a 4D rat race to Ratatouille: The Adventure, there’s plenty of fun to be had.

5 – Universal Orlando Resort

Universal Orlando Resort, United States

One of the world’s most famous theme parks, the three parks at  Universal Orlando Resort sees more than 10 million visitors per year.

Universal Studios Florida

Prepare to be amazed at adrenaline-filled attractions based on all your favourite TV shows and movies. Feel the highs and lows on Harry Potter, Transformers and The Simpsons-themed rides.

Islands of Adventure

Islands of Adventure does just what it says on the tin: offer heart-racing rides. Go up high, dip down low and get soaked on thrilling rides like Jurassic Park River Adventure

Volcano Bay

Get ready to make a splash at Volcano Bay, where water meets lava. You’re guaranteed a great day of fun, whether you feel the thrills at Krakatau Aqua Coaster or take it easy at Waturi Beach.

6 – Carowinds

Carowinds amusement park

If you’re looking for world-class rollercoasters and exciting attractions, get yourself and the family down to Carowinds . Located on the state line between North and South Carolina, the park offers an exciting entertainment destination for guests of all ages.

7 – Hersheypark

Hersheypark, United States

Located in Pennsylvania, USA, Hersheypark is more than 100 years old and was originally built for employees of the Hershey chocolate company. The award-winning park has more than 70 rides and attractions to immerse yourself in.

8 – Cedar Point

Cedar Point, United States

Opened in the late 1800s, Cedar Point is one of the older US theme parks. Located in Ohio, it spans 364 acres and is known as the roller coaster capital of the world.

9 – Universal Studios Japan

Universal Studios Japan, Japan

There’s world-class entertainment on offer at Universal Studios Japan , where you can enjoy great rides like Flight of the Hippogriff. The Osaka-based theme park also features Spider-Man and Jurassic Park-themed attractions.

10 – Efteling

Efteling, Netherlands

In Kaatsheuvel, you’ll find Efteling , Holland’s largest theme park which is also known as The World of Wonders. Attractions include adrenaline-pumping rollercoasters and spectacular park shows.

11 – Hong Kong Disneyland

Disneyland Hong Kong, Hong Kong

If you’re on holiday in Hong Kong and looking for one of the best theme parks in the world, visit Disneyland Hong Kong . There are a bunch of exciting rides to experience, including the Jungle River Cruise and Tarzan’s Treehouse.

12 –  SeaWorld Orlando

SeaWorld Orlando, United States

Embrace the aquatic life at SeaWorld Orlando with loads of exciting attractions. From rollercoasters to infinity falls, you’ll be sure to make a splash at SeaWorld Orlando.

13 – Tokyo Disney Resort

Tokyo Disney Resort, Japan

Tokyo Disney Resort brings the magic of Disney to Japan with two parks to explore. Make memories at Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea.

Tokyo Disneyland

Embrace the world of Disney, no matter your age, and enjoy magical shows and exhilarating rides at Tokyo Disneyland . Well-known attractions include Monsters Inc. Ride and Go Seek and Star Tours.

Tokyo DisneySea

Are you ready for the sea life at Tokyo DisneySea ? Make friends with Nemo on the SeaRider and go on a magical experience with 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

14 – Six Flags Magic Mountain

Six Flags Magic Mountain, United States

Originally named Magic Mountain, Six Flags Magic Mountain is a world-famous Californian theme park. There are themed areas to discover, including a DC Universe, which offers rides and attractions based on the likes of Batman and Superman.

15 – Ocean Park

Ocean Park, Hong Kong

Seek out thrills at Ocean Park and Ride the Arctic Blast or experience the Wild Twister and much more at one of Hong Kong’s favorite theme parks.

16 – Dollywood Parks & Resorts

Dollywood Parks & Resorts, United States

You don’t need extreme sports to feel the rush at Dollywood Parks & Resorts . The amusement park features two award-winning parks where you can experience a host of exciting rides that will push your limits.

Enjoy festivals, events and attractions at the Theme Park. Rides include DropLine, which sees you plummet more than 20 stories. Are you brave enough for the drop?

If the thrills and chills of the Theme Park aren’t enough, head to the Water Park and make a splash. Slide through the waters with rides such as Fire Tower Falls, a free-fall ride that propels people down slides while reaching heights of 70 feet.

17 – Alton Towers

Alton Towers, United Kingdom

Arguably the UK’s favorite theme parks, Alton Towers is the home of world-famous rides such as Oblivion, Nemesis and Galatea. You’ll need nerves of steel to ride them, mind.

18 – Puy du Fou

Puy du Fou, France

Puy du Fou is a historical theme park in Western France and was voted one of the best theme parks in the world. Go back to the medieval ages and immerse yourself in French history with a range of exciting shows like The Phantom Birds Dance.

19 – Universal Studios Singapore

Universal Studios Singapore, Singapore

Universal Studios Singapore brings a raft of movie and TV characters to life with exciting shows and thrilling rides. Highlights include Transformers The Ride: The Ultimate 3D Battle.

20 – Tivoli Gardens

Tivoli Gardens, Denmark

Old meets new at Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, an amusement park that first opened in 1843. It sits right in the center of the city and has a range of rides, games, musicals, gardens and major concerts. With its grand status, it’s no wonder Tivoli Gardens is considered one of the best theme parks in the world.

21 – Six Flags Great Adventure

Six Flags Great Adventure, United States

Enjoy more Six Flags , this time in New Jersey, and go on a great adventure. Popular attractions include Batman: The Ride, Cyborg Cyber Spin and Skull Mountain.

22 – Shanghai Disneyland Park

Shanghai Disneyland Park, China

Disney has some of the best theme parks in the world, no matter their location. Shanghai Disneyland Park adds to the excellent options with great rides like Roaring Rapids and Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue.

23 – Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, United States

Tampa Bay is home to Busch Gardens , a 335-acre African-themed animal park. Enjoy thrilling rides, discover more than 200 species of animals that are typically found in national parks , and watch spectacular shows.

24 – PortAventura

PortAventura, Spain

Enjoy sun, sea, and adrenaline in Spain with a trip to PortAventura . There are 43 rides to experience in total, including a catapult that flings you at 135km in just three seconds.

25 – Six Flags México

Six Flags Mexico, Mexico

Six Flags Mexico brings all the fun with plenty of attractions. Enjoy a DC Superhero Themed area, as well as villages based on different countries and cultures.

26 – Gardaland

Gardaland, Italy

Gardaland is located in northeastern Italy and includes Gardaland Park, Gardaland Sea-Life, and Legoland Water Park. It’s owned by the Merlin Group and was first opened in 1975.

Gardaland Park

Feel the force on adrenaline-pumping rides like the Raptor and the Blue Tornado. Or jump on Oblivion and face the black hole.

Gardaland Sea-Life

Discover the aquarium at Sea-Life with its 13 themed areas which display 5,000 examples of 100 different species. Embark on a water-led interactive journey at one of the best theme parks in the world.

Legoland Water Park

Build your way to fun at Legoland Water Park, where you can slide and splash about until your heart’s contempt. Dive into Lego bricks and enjoy interactive water games.

27 – Lotte World

Lotte World, South Korea

You will find the world’s largest indoor theme parks at Lotte World in Seoul, South Korea. There’s also an outdoor amusement park called Magic Island and an artificial island to explore.

28 – Six Flags Over Georgia

Six Flags Over Georgia, United States

Six Flags Over Georgia will take you a bending and winding ride across 293 acres of theme park. Feel the highs and lows of roller coasters with thrill rides like the Great American Scream Machine

29 – Ferrari World

Ferrari World, United Arab Emirates

Put the pedal to the metal at Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi. Find out what it’s like to be a Scuderia Ferrari driver with thrilling rides and roller coasters. Get ready for the G-Force!

30 – Kings Island

Kings Island, United States

Head to Ohio, USA and discover the fun at Kings Island . This 364-acre amusement park has been going strong since the seventies and features Banshee, a 4,124-foot long coaster.  

31 – Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari

Holiday World & Splashin' Safari, United States

A combination theme and water park, Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari is located in Indiana, USA. Rides include The Voyage, which will have you screaming to the max.

32 – Ferrari Land

Ferrari Land, Spain

Get ready and accelerate to another Ferrari Land , this time in Tarragona, Spain. There’s an interactive gallery with all things Ferrari, but what you really came for is the heart-racing attractions like Free Fall Tower.

33 – Warner Bros. Movie World

Warner Bros. Movie World, Australia

Situated on the Goldcoast of Australia, Warner Bros. Movie World is a theme park centered around your favorite movie characters. Rides include the Batwing Spaceshot, which sees you shoot 60 meters sky high.

34 – Nagashima Spa Land

Nagashima Spa Land, Japan

Nagashima Spa Land is located in Japan and features thrilling rides, roller coasters, a Ferris wheel, and a water park. Steel Dragon 2000 is the main attraction — it’s the longest roller coaster in the world.

35 – Paultons Park

Paultons Park, United Kingdom

If you’re looking for a family-themed day out, head to Paultons Park in the UK. There are 70 rides to try, including Peppa Pig World, which is based on the popular children’s cartoon.

36 – Chimelong Ocean Kingdom

Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, China

Situated in Zhuhai, China, Chimelong Ocean Kingdom is a popular theme park that features a range of rides. Go on the Parrot Coaster and see if you can handle the third tallest roller coaster in the world.

37 – Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Blackpool Pleasure Beach, United Kingdom

One of the most visited tourist attractions in the United Kingdom, Blackpool Pleasure Beach has been a staple of Blackpool since the late 1900s. Experience the thrills on the Big One, which was once the largest roller coaster in the world.

38 – Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, United States

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom is a 138-acre animal theme park in California. It’s famous for rides like The Joker, which is based on the notorious Batman villain.

39 – Astérix Park

Astérix Park, France

Based on the popular comic book series Asterix and voted as one of the best theme parks in the world, Asterix Park offers plenty of thrills and chills. Rides are themed on the legendary characters like Obelix and hit speeds of up to 90km per hour. Clearly

40 – Phantasialand

Phantasialand, Germany

Brühl in Germany is the home to Phantasialand , a theme park with 13 exciting rides. Try the Black Mamba roller coaster and reach heights of 85 feet.

41 – Sunway Lagoon

Sunway Lagoon, Malaysia

Sunway Lagoon is a popular amusement park in Selangor, Malaysia. There’s a theme park, water park, wildlife park, scream park and a Nickelodeon park for the little ones.

42 – Knott’s Berry Farm

Knott's Berry Farm, United States

Sometimes the smaller parks end up being some of the best theme parks in the world. That’s certainly true of Knott’s Berry Farm in California, which has around 40 fun rides to discover.

43 – Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood, United States

Head to La-La Land for Universal Studios Hollywood , a movie-themed amusement park with thrilling rides. Top attractions include Fast & Furious Supercharged and Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey.

44 – Heide Park Resort

Heide Park Resort, Germany

The largest amusement park in Northern Germany, Heide Park Resort features plenty of exciting rides. Get wet on Krake, experience the G-force on Flight of Demons and feel your stomach churn on the Gyro Drop Tower.

45 – Prater

Prater, Austria

You will find Prater located in Leopoldstadt, the second district of Vienna in Austria. It first opened to the public back in 1766 and features roller coasters like Megablitz and Super 8 Bhan.

46 – Legoland Windsor Resort

Legoland Windsor Resort

The UK’s version of Legoland feels like it has an element of royalty, so close is it to Windsor Castle. A trip here is a fun family day out with rides and an impressive miniature recreation of some of the world’s most famous landmarks.

47 – Thorpe Park Resort

Thorpe Park Resort, United Kingdom

One of the closest theme parks to London, Thorpe Park has a range of thrilling rides that will leave you breathless. Stealth goes from 0 to 128km in just 1.9 seconds.

48 – Gröna Lund

Gröna Lund, Sweden

Gröna Lund , otherwise known as Gronan, is a theme park in Stockholm. Its city center location means it’s smaller than your average theme park, but there are still fun rides to enjoy, like the Insane roller coaster.

49 – Futuroscope

Futuroscope, France

Futuroscope is a French theme park based upon multimedia, cinematographic and audio-visual techniques. Enjoy 3D and 4D shows, along with regular attractions.

50 – Beto Carrero World

Beto Carrero World, Brazil

Beto Carrero World is located in Penha, Brazil, and is considered to be one of the signature amusement parks in the state of Santa Catarina. Rides and attractions include 4D experiences and an animal world.

51 – Leolandia

Leolandia, Italy

You will find Leolandia in the province of Bergamo, Italy. It has a range of fun roller coasters, water rides, animals and miniature models of Italian landmarks.

52 – Movie Park Germany

Movie Park Germany, Germany

Explore seven areas based on movies and tv shows at Movie Park . Located 50km north of Dusseldorf, attractions and rides are themed on Star Trek, Avatar, and Looney Tunes, to name a few.

53 – Ramoji Film City

Ramoji Film City, India

Ramoji Film City is more about experiencing a theme-world of movies than it is thrilling rides. It’s certified as the largest studio complex in the world by The Guinness Book of Records and is spread across 1,666 acres.

54 – Djurs Sommerland

Djurs Sommerland, Denmark

Djurs Sommerland is an amusement park located in Djursland, Denmark. There are seven roller coasters to try, with the fastest one reaching speeds of 90km per hour.

55 – Parque Warner Madrid

Parque Warner Madrid

Located on the outskirts of Madrid, Parque Warner Madrid brings the world of Warner Bros. to Spain. Many rides are named after superheroes and villains like Superman, Batman and Lex Luthor.

56 – Legoland Deutschland Resort

Legoland Deutschland Resort, Germany

Legoland Deutschland Resort in Germany has plenty of great Lego moments to offer. There are worlds to explore and rides to enjoy as you let your imagination run wild.

57 – Walibi Holland

Walibi Holland, Netherlands

Walibi Holland is situated in Biddinghuizen and offers plenty of rides and attractions. Jump on one of the roller coasters and feel the rush with speeds of almost 90km per hour.

58 – IMG Worlds of Adventure

IMG Worlds of Adventure, United Arab Emirates

In Dubai, you’ll find IMG Worlds of Adventure . The indoor amusement park was the first mega themed destination in Dubai and today features five zones of attractions, as well as live shows.

59 – Fårup Sommerland

Fårup Sommerland, Denmark

Another popular Denmark theme park, Fårup Sommerland is one of Europe’s largest tourist attractions. You won’t be short of things to do with more than 60 rides to experience.

60 – Siam Park

Siam Park, Spain

Siam Park is located in the suburbs of Tenerife and is one of the most popular theme parks in Europe. There are plenty of rides where you can make a splash, including The Dragon, Tower of Power and Vulcano.

61 – Walibi Belgium

Walibi Belgium, Belgium

Formerly a Six Flags park, Walibi Belgium is located close to Brussels and features attractions for all ages. Thrill-seekers will love Buzzsaw, while those looking for something slightly more relaxed can enjoy a spot of go-karting.

62 – Nigloland

Nigloland, France

Set in the French county of l’Aube, Nigloland is one of the most visited theme parks in France after Disneyland Paris. There are six thrill rides and four water rides to enjoy.

63 – Canada’s Wonderland

Canada's Wonderland, Canada

Canada’s Wonderland is around 25km from Toronto and was the first major theme park in Canada. Rides can be as relaxing as the antique carousel or as thrilling as Dragon Fyre, which climbs 78 feet.

64 – Energylandia

Energylandia, Poland

The largest amusement park in Poland, Energylandia features several exciting areas to discover. Take the kids to Fairytale Land, feel the thrills at Extreme Zone, and get soaked at Water Park.

65 – Chessington World of Adventures Resort

Chessington World of Adventures Resort, United Kingdom

Chessington World of Adventures Resort is a great day out for the entire family. Go on safari and sample 40 rides and attractions at the nearest theme park to London.

66 – Plopsaland De Panne

Plopsaland De Panne, Belgium

Plopsaland De Panne is located near the Belgian coast and offers a range of fun things to do, from seeing animals to going on rides. The Anubis ride reaches 90km in just two seconds.

67 – Chimelong Paradise

Chimelong Paradise, China

Chimelong Paradise , located in Guangzhou,  is the largest amusement park in China and features 10 Inversion Roller Coaster, only one of two roller coasters in the world with 10 inversions.

68 – VGP Universal Kingdom

VGP Universal Kingdom, India

What started as a park offering small rides evolved into a full-on amusement park. VGP Universal Kingdom is located in Chennai and has water rides, thrilling attractions and snow games.

69 – Isla Mágica

Isla Mágica, Spain

Set in Seville, Isla Mágica is a popular theme park with rides and water attractions. There’s also cinematic and live shows to enjoy at the park.

70 – Sundown Adventureland

Sundown Adventureland, United Kingdom

Visit Sundown Adventureland in Nottinghamshire for a family-fun day out. The children’s theme park is full of rides and activities for the little ones, including the popular Rocky Mountain Railroad.

71 – Hansa-Park

Hansa-Park, Germany

A seasonal amusement park in Sierksdorf off the Baltic Sea, Hansa-Park spans 113 acres and features 125 attractions. Roller coasters include The Oath of Karnan, which reaches speeds of 127km per hour.

72 – Warner Bros. Studio Tour London

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, United Kingdom

Discover the World of Harry Potter at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London . A must-visit for Harry Potter fans, there are different events and attractions to enjoy throughout the year.

73 – Legoland Malaysia

Legoland Malaysia, Malaysia

Visit Legoland Malaysia and embrace the wonderful world of Lego. Legoland Malaysia is the country’s first international theme world and features fun attractions like Lego Kingdom.

74 – Six Flags Fiesta Texas

Six Flags Fiesta Texas, United States

Six Flags Fiesta Texas is one of San Antonio’s most popular attractions and features several pulsating rides. Do you have the nerve to ride Iron Rattler, which has a staggering 171-foot drop.

75 – Fuji-Q Highland

Fuji-Q Highland, Japan

Fuji-Q Highland is located in Japan and is a theme park located near Mount Fuji. It opened in 1968 and has several famous roller coasters, such as 259-foot tall Fujiyama.

76 – La Ronde

La Ronde, Quebec

An amusement park in Montreal, Quebec, La Ronde was initially built for the 1967 World Fair. Now operated by Six Flags, it’s the second-largest theme park in Canada and has plenty of rides and attractions, including Chaos, a seven-story loop roller coaster.

77 – Gold Reef City

Gold Reef City, South Africa

South Africa’s Gold Reef City is located in Johannesburg and is home to some of the country’s biggest and fastest attractions. Each ride is given a fear factor rating, with Anaconda coming in the highest at 9/10.

78 – Aquaventure Waterpark

Aquaventure Waterpark, United Arab Emirates

Slide through shark-filled lagoons and make a huge splash at Aquaventure Waterpark in Dubai. It’s home to more than 30 rides and attractions, including The Leap of Faith, which sees you plunge from nine storeys high. Aquaventure Waterpark is included in the 100 most fun things to do in Dubai !

79 – Wonderla Bangalore

Wonderla Bangalore, India

Wonderla Bangalore in Bengaluru, India really does have it all. Enjoy thrilling rides on the roller coasters, reach the highs on a Ferris wheel, get soaked with water rides, and experience virtual reality.

80 – Legoland Billund Resort

Legoland Billund Resort, Denmark

Embrace your love of Lego at Legoland Billund Resort in Denmark. The original lego park, Legoland Billund Resort is also located next to the first-ever factory which produced the iconic toys.

81 – Leofoo Village Theme Park

Leofoo Village Theme Park, Taiwan

The Leofoo Village is a theme park and safari located in Taiwan. There are three roller coasters to experience, including Screaming Condor, and inverted shuttle coaster.

82 – Enchanted Kingdom

Enchanted Kingdom, Philippines

Experience a magical time at the Enchanted Kingdom in the Philippines. There are shows to enjoy, a 7D motion interactive theatre and heart-stopping roller coasters.

83 – Legoland Japan Resort

Legoland Japan Resort, Japan

Indulge in the world of lego at the Legoland Japan Resort , the first-ever Legoland theme park in Japan. More than two million people pass through its doors to enjoy Lego Factory, Miniland, Knight’s Kingdom and much more.

84 – Fantawild Adventure Wuhu

Fantawild Adventure Wuhu, China

In the Anhui Province of China is where you’ll find Fantawild Adventure Wuhu , the country’s largest theme park. It’s more than 3,000 acres and contains 15 zones of fun, excitement and thrills.

85 – Bakken

Bakken, Denmark

The Danish certainly know how to do theme parks and can lay claim to having the world’s first. Bakken opened in 1583, which makes it the oldest amusement park in the world.

86 – Imagicaa

Imagicaa, India

Imagicaa is a theme park located in Khopoli, India and spans more than 130 acres. There are three parts to the park — a theme area, water park and snow park — and indoor and outdoor rides to enjoy.

87 – Seoul Land

Seoul Land, South Korea

Enjoy more than 40 rides at Seoul Land , which is located in Seoul, South Korea’s capital. Attractions include World Plaza, Adventure Land, Fantasy Land, Tomorrow Land, and Samchulli Hill, which translates to “thousand-mile hill”.

88 – Dreamworld

Dreamworld, Australia

You’ll find a place of dreams at Dreamworld on the Australian Gold Coast. The theme park and zoo is Australia’s biggest amusement park with more than 40 rides and attractions to enjoy.

89 – Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Busch Gardens Williamsburg, United States

Busch Gardens is themed around various European countries and is well known for its roller coasters, such as Griffon, Loch, Alpengeist, and Ness Monster. The park is located in Virginia, USA.

90 – Sea World

Sea World, Australia

Discover a mammal park, oceanarium, and theme park at Sea World in Australia’s Gold Coast. There are thrilling rides to experiences, as well as animal exhibits and fun family attractions.

91 – Six Flags Great America

Six Flags Great America, United States

Six Flags Great America is Chicago’s quintessential theme park. It features 17 roller coasters, 9 themed areas, and a 20-acre water park called Hurricane Harbour. Are you ready for the thrills and chills on land and water?

92 – Liseberg

Liseberg, Sweden

Liseberg is the most-visited amusement park in Sweden and first opened in 1923. There’s a range of thrill rides at the Gotberg-based park, including Aero Spin, AtmosFear and Helix. Families can enjoy lighter attractions, such as the Juke Box.

93 – Everland

Everland, South Korea

Located in Yongin, South Korea, Everland is the country’s largest theme park. Visit the themed areas, such as Zootopia, Magic Land and European Adventure, which has a Mystery Mansion where you can shoot at ghosts.

94 – Silver Dollar City

Silver Dollar City, United States

Silver Dollar City is an 1800s-themed park that’s located off Missouri Route 76. There are seven exciting roller coasters, including Fire in the Hole, the primary park attraction.

95 – SeaWorld San Diego

SeaWorld San Diego, United States

An animal theme park, oceanarium, outside aquarium and marine mammal park, SeaWorld San Diego is the place to go for water lovers. Roller coasters include Electric Eel, which stands at 150 feet tall.

96 – Kings Dominion

Kings Dominion, United States

There are more than 60 rides to experience at Kings Dominion , a theme park located in Doswell, Virginia, USA. Visitors can also enjoy shows and attractions, such as live music and dance performances.

97 – Happy Valley Beijing

Happy Valley Beijing, China

Happy Valley Beijing was designed with distinctive landscapes in mind, with rides focusing on different themes. There are more than 40 rides altogether, 10 of which are extreme thrill rides. There’s also an IMAX theatre withs seven screens, and a shopping complex.

That’s our pick for the 100 best theme parks in the world. From thills to family days’ out, there’s something for everyone in our selections.

98 – EsselWorld

EsselWorld, India

EsselWorld is India’s largest theme park and features several thrill rides, as well as fun things to do for all the family. Get wet on water-themed rides like Shot-N-Drop and feel the G-Force with Zyclone.

99 – Six Flags New England

Six Flags New England, United States

The oldest amusement park in the Six Flags Chain, Six Flags New England is still one of the best theme parks in the world. One of the most exciting thrill rides includes Catwoman Whip, which is based on the Catwoman character.

100 – Tibidabo Amusement Park

Tibidabo Amusement Park, Spain

Located in the Collserola Ridge in Barcelona, Tibidabo Amusement Park is more than 100 years old. It’s Spain’s oldest amusement park and features 1928 Avió airplane ride, a single-car carousel that gives the impression of flight above the city.

We hope you enjoyed our selection of the best theme parks in the world. Is your top choice on the list? Tell us about your favorite theme park in the comments below. 🙂

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What are the top 25 theme park attractions in the world?

There’s no doubt that 2020 has been a very disappointing year for theme park fans, as many attractions around the world were (or continue to be) closed due to COVID-19. Still, with the hopes of a brighter 2021, Blooloop —the world’s leading online resource for professionals working in the field of visitor attractions—has ranked this year’s top 25 theme park attractions.

Top 25 theme park attractions in the world, The Adventures of Spider-Man, Universal Orlando Resort, Universal's Islands of Adventure

From rollercoasters to dark rides to virtual 3-D experiences, here’s Blooloop’s list of the world’s top 25 theme park attractions for 2020:

25. Voletarium – Europa-Park, Germany

Voletarium, Europa-Park

Voletarium is a flying theater ride (similar to Disney’s Soarin’ attraction) that opened in 2017, featuring an extensive and well-themed queue and some of the best shot scenery from across Europe.

24. Transformers: The Ride – Universal Studios, Universal Studios Hollywood, and Universal Studios Singapore

Transformers, Universal Orlando Resort

Using the same dark ride technology that made the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ride so popular, the creative team at Universal built all three versions of this attraction from 2011 to 2013 (with a fourth version set to open in 2021 at Universal Studios Beijing). During the action-packed ride based on the blockbuster “Transformers” movie franchise, guests are enlisted by Optimus Prime to help the Autobots save the planet from Megatron and the Decepticons.

23. Star Tours – Disneyland, Walt Disney World Resort, Tokyo Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris

Star Tours, Walt Disney World

The original Star Wars-themed simulator ride that opened at Disneyland in 1987 has continued to evolve. In addition to upgraded technology across all versions, Star Tours also added randomized action sequences, so no two rides are the same. This aspect was added to the two U.S. attractions in 2011, Tokyo in 2013, and Paris in 2017. The ride has also incorporated destinations and characters from the most recent Star Wars trilogy, making it possible for park guests to become part of the modern Star Wars universe.

22. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Walt Disney World

This family-friendly western-themed coaster has been taking Disney guests on “the wildest ride in the wilderness” since it opened in 1980 (one year after the original version at Disneyland).

21. Men In Black: Alien Attack – Universal Studios Florida

Men in Black, Universal Orlando Resort

This “interactive dark ride” incorporates a detailed queue experience that reveals guests have entered a secret MIB training center hidden in plain sight at the theme park. Once inside, riders are required to take part in a training session that, naturally, is interrupted by an “unexpected” alien invasion, forcing trainees to jump into action and help the Men In Black save the planet. The ride is enhanced by a scoring system that’s tough to master (though online tips and hacks can help).

20. Splash Mountain – Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Splash Mountain, Walt Disney World

As one of the popular Disney park “mountains,” the themed log ride has consistently ranked at the top for many guests. That’s likely why there was a mixed reaction to the announcement earlier this year that the Splash Mountain attractions at Disneyland and Walt Disney World would be re-imagined to “The Princess and The Frog.”

19. Pirates of the Caribbean – Disneyland

Pirates of the Caribbean, Disneyland

Blooloop’s list would not be complete without Disney’s original Pirates of the Caribbean dark ride that opened in 1967. However, the attraction has been adapted over the year to reflect the changing times and include characters and scenes from the hugely popular movie franchise that the ride inspired. Although there are versions of the Disney classic ride in Orlando, Tokyo, and Paris, the original Disneyland attraction is considered the best.

18. Symbolica – Efteling, the Netherlands

Symbolica, Efteling

Efteling opened the trackless dark ride concept in 2017, designed as an adventure ride around a castle. Guests are guided by the jester character who has long-served as the mascot of Efteling.

17. Phantom Manor – Disneyland Paris

Phantom Manor, Disneyland Paris

The Haunted Mansion attractions were so popular at Disney’s U.S. parks that a third version was created for Japan. However, when Imagineers were designing Disneyland Paris, they decided to re-imagine the “haunted house” concept by incorporating it into Frontierland and giving it a Western theme. There’s even a graveyard outside with headstones that explain how many of the mansion’s residents met their untimely end while working on the nearby Thunder Mountain Railroad.

POV Phantom Manor at Disneyland Paris (Haunted Mansion)

16. Haunted Mansion – Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Tokyo Disneyland

Haunted Mansion, Disneyland Resort

Disney’s Haunted Mansion opened at Disneyland in 1969, Walt Disney World in 1971, and Tokyo Disneyland in 1983. Originally planned to be a walk-through attraction, the Imagineers changed to the ride-through concept after developing the continuously-moving Omnimover ride system that allowed them to swivel the “Doombuggies” 360 degrees so that riders would see what they wanted them to see.

15. Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway – Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort

Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway, Walt Disney World, Hollywood Studios

It’s no surprise that Walt Disney World’s latest dark ride ranks at number 15 on Blooloop’s list of top 25 theme park attractions. The innovative ride—which opened just before the pandemic shut down the parks—is not only the first ride-through attraction themed to Mickey and Minnie Mouse, but also features new trackless vehicles that transport riders into the wacky world of cartoons, where “mouse rules apply.” The second version in Disneyland’s Toontown is scheduled to open in 2023.

FULL POV - Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway at Disney's Hollywood Studios

14. Pirates in Batavia – Europa-Park, Germany

Pirates in Batavia, Europa-Park

Europa-Park’s 1987 pirate flume ride (inspired by Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean) was destroyed by fire in May 2018, but Europa-Park promised to rebuild Pirates in Batavia and make it better than ever. The new version opened in July 2020 and features the same concept, but with an all-new updated adventure-inspired theme and modern animatronics, effects, sound system, and lighting that bring the pirates adventure to life like never before.

13. Enchanted Tale of Beauty & The Beast – Tokyo Disneyland

Enchanted Tales of Beauty & The Beast, Tokyo Disneyland

Enchanted Tale of Beauty & the Beast just opened last month at Tokyo Disneyland and has already made it to number 13 on Blooloop’s list of the top 25 theme park attractions in the world. The immersive new dark ride takes guests into the Beast’s enchanted castle, where trackless vehicles shaped like dishware move in groups through several large rooms that recreate beloved musical scenes from the animated movie. Another unique feature of this ride is that the vehicles move around each other in coordinated patterns to make riders feel like they are part of the story as they dance along with the characters to the film’s iconic songs.

an example of a theme park

12. Journey to the Center of the Earth – Tokyo DisneySea

Journey to the Center of the Earth, Tokyo DisneySea

This unique dark ride created for Tokyo DisneySea has never been duplicated at any other Disney park. Riders journey on an amazing adventure inspired by the stories of Jules Verne to see the mysteries hidden in the center of the earth. The ride culminates with a high-speed finish that rushes them back to the surface.

11. Radiator Springs Racers – Disney California Adventure

Radiator Springs Racers, Disneyland Resort, Disney California Adventure

This attraction allowed Disney Imagineers to bring Disney and Pixar’s “Cars” to life as riders board full-sized ride vehicles that look like the animated cars who inhabit the town of Radiator Springs. The experience begins with a leisurely single-track drive through picturesque Monument Valley before arriving in town, where the residents are getting ready for a big race. From there the ride takes an exciting turn, culminating in a side-by-side high-speed race to the finish line.

Radiator Springs Racers 4K 360° Nighttime VR POV at Disney California Adventure

10. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts – Universal Studios Florida

Top 25 theme park attractions in the world, Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringott's, Universal Orlando Resort, Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Opened in 2014, the second attraction introduced to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is half rollercoaster and half 3-D dark ride. During this adventure inside Gringotts Bank, riders accidentally get caught in the middle of the magical bank heist storyline from the film “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2,” complete with a dragon-assisted escape.

9. Mystic Manor – Hong Kong Disneyland

Mystic Manor, Hong Kong Disneyland, Top 25 theme park attractions in the world

After opening Hong Kong Disneyland without a Haunted Mansion-inspired ride, Imagineers decided to add a “haunted-concept” ride in 2013, but it’s themed around the concept of magical and cursed artifacts rather than ghosts and restless spirits, because Chinese culture views the afterlife differently than the United States. The dark ride also features trackless vehicles and an original score from film composer Danny Elfman.

Mystic Manor at Hong Kong Disneyland Low-Light POV

8. Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure – Universal’s Islands of Adventure

Top 25 theme park attractions in the world, Hagrid's Magical Motorbike Adventure, Universal Orlando Resort, Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Universal’s latest adventure ride themed to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened in 2019. One of the biggest challenges the design team faced was that the coaster was replacing Dueling Dragons—later called Dragon Challenge—which was not only extremely popular among guests, but was one of the most well-known dueling coasters in the world.

Universal steered clear of a dueling coaster format for the new ride and instead designed the highly-themed “story coaster” as a high-speed motorcycle ride through the Forbidden Forest. Riders encounter several magical beasts from the Harry Potter books and movies, experience seven separate launch moments, and “fly” backward as well as forward – there is even a hidden freefall drop track.

7. Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout! – Disney California Adventure

Top 25 theme park attractions in the world, Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout, Marvel, Disneyland Resort, Disney California Adventure

The scaled-back version of Disney’s Twilight Zone Tower of Terror ride for the California park was taken up several notches when it was re-themed to Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” in 2017.

The Marvel overlay uses the same drop tower ride system as Tower of Terror, but as the “elevator” doors open, guests see video scenes featuring the film’s original actors. The scenes’ order correspond to a random rotation of six songs from Star Lord’s Awesome Mixtape, so each tune has a different sequence of scenes – and drops. During the Halloween season, the ride transitions to a special “Monsters After Dark” version of the attraction.

7. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey – Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios Japan, and Universal Studios Hollywood

Top 25 theme park attractions in the world, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Universal Orlando Resort, Wizarding World of Harry Potter

The original Harry Potter-themed adventure ride opened in Orlando in 2010, Japan in 2014, and Hollywood in 2016 (a fourth version is scheduled to open at Universal Studios Beijing in 2021).

The attraction includes a highly-themed and interactive queue experience through the halls of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It’s so immersive that some park guests only walk through the queue and never even ride. For those who do, the robotic-arm based vehicles travel past screen projections and through real-world sets to transport riders into the Wizarding World.

5. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World

Top 25 theme park attractions in the world, Star Wars Rise of the Resistance, Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort

At number 5 on the list of top 25 theme park attractions, this multi-part adventure experience takes riders deep into the Star Wars universe. After being recruited by the Resistance, they are taken on a transport ship for training, but they must execute a daring escape when the First Order captures them.

The technologically-advanced attraction uses a combination of four different ride systems—trackless dark ride, walk-through, motion simulator, and drop-ride—to puts guests in the middle of an epic battle between the Resistance and the First Order.

Full Attraction Experience - Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge Florida

4. Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure – Shanghai Disneyland

Top 25 theme park attractions in the world, Pirates of the Caribbean Battle for the Sunken Treasure, Shanghai Disneyland

Rather than recreating the original Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, Disney Imagineers created an entirely new next-gen water-ride concept for Shanghai Disneyland. The attraction includes rotating boat-themed vehicles that travel through real-world scenery, projection-based scenes, and special effects.

Full Pirates of the Caribbean Low-Light POV - Shanghai Disneyland

3. Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror – Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World

tower of terror

Disney’s original journey into the Twilight Zone is part dark-ride and part freefall ride. It features a unique vehicle transportation system that feels like a typical elevator but then transforms into a forward motion dark ride. Plus, the drop ride system propels riders up and down faster than gravity would usually allow. In 2004, an assortment of ride motion programs was added for the drop shaft section that allowed the computer to pick the motion profile for each ride randomly.

2. Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye – Disneyland

Top 25 theme park attractions in the world, Indiana Jones Adventure Tempe of the Forbidden Eye, Disneyland Resort

This 1995 action ride puts riders in the middle of an Indiana Jones adventure created just for the attraction. Guests board off-road vehicles and take a wild ride through a massive ancient temple. Of course, in true Indiana Jones tradition, they also unleash the wrath of an ancient curse from the god Mara. A variation on the ride, Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull, opened at Tokyo DisneySea in 2001.

1. The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man – Universal’s Islands of Adventure

Top 25 theme park attractions in the world, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, Universal Orlando Resort

Blooloop bestowed the number one spot on their list of top 25 theme park attractions to The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man. A guest favorite attraction since it opened in 1999, the ride got a complete upgrade in 2012, which added 4K projectors and newly updated animation. A combination of screens and real-life set pieces, the attraction puts riders into the middle of a comic book adventure alongside their friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.

Which theme park attraction would you put at the top? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!


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I’ve been on 19 of these 25, and I don’t understand how Flight of Passage doesn’t make the list.

And the Mack-built Inverted Powered Coaster dark rides (Arthur at Europa-Park and Dragon Riders at Motiongate Dubai) are truly world class as well, imho.

Totally agree, Flight of Passage must be number 1. Also i dont know how rock n roller coaster doesn’t make the list.

same reason sorin isn’t.

Hagrids has to be #1! So fast and smooth. I agree Flight of Passage needs to be on the list. Mickey’s runaway railway was lots of fun also!

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What is the Difference Between a Theme Park and an Amusement Park?

Consider Storytelling, Immersion, and Thrills

an example of a theme park

Theme park or amusement park? Have you ever wondered whether there is any difference between the two terms? 

Some might argue it's one of those you-say- tomato -and-I-say- tomahto  things. However, park fans (a group of which we are proud members) beg to differ. There are  differences, but they can be subtle, and there is often plenty of overlap. Before we call the whole thing off, let's parse the terms and shed some light. You might want to fasten your seat belts and lower your lap bars; we could be in for a bumpy ride.

What's the Story with Theme Parks?

"To all who come to this happy place, welcome. Disneyland is your land." When he uttered those words in 1955 at the grand opening of Disneyland, Walt Disney ushered in a new era of entertainment. Most would agree that the California park is the original theme park and serves as a template for all the theme parks that have followed.

The basic formula that Disney pioneered was to take the common rides found at amusement parks— roller coasters , flat rides, carousels, dark rides , and the like—and use them to tell stories. That is the essence of a theme park. By incorporating whimsical architecture, color, landscaping, characters, and other elements, park visitors become part of stories rather than passive passengers on mechanical rides.

Further, Disney divided his park into themed lands, and created the attractions within those lands to tell a larger story. Instead of experiencing one overriding theme, Disneyland guests can travel to Frontierland, Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, and other fantastic places. By using the storytelling techniques his filmmakers mastered, including music, lighting, composition, and framing, and adapting them to three dimensional spaces, Disney was able to immerse (a term that park designers frequently embrace) his guests in all-encompassing adventures.

Sometimes, as with Peter Pan's Flight or  The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man , theme park attractions tell linear stories and use established characters. Other times, as with  Toy Story Mania! , the narratives are less defined, but the attractions still stick with specific themes and use storytelling techniques—and, more often than not, dazzling technology—to engage and delight visitors.

The level of immersion increased considerably when Universal opened the Wizarding World of Harry Potter . Instead of a single attraction within a generic land, the entire land is themed to one element—in this case Harry and his buddies. And everything in the land, including the food and merchandise, adheres to the theme. Even the employees play along with the Wizarding vibe. Disney responded with single-themed lands such as Cars Land, Toy Story Land , and Pandora – The World of Avatar . They are all lushly themed.

But Disney kicked it up a notch with the ultra-themed Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge . Every last detail in the land is true to George Lucas’ mythology. Heck, even the signs for the cantina and the shops are in Aurebesh, the language of the Outer Rim territories. (Fortunately, you could download an app to translate the language you encounter in the land into English.

Examples of theme parks include: all of the Disney and Universal "destination" parks (which are open year-round, generally offer on-property overnight accommodations and other resort amenities, and attract vacationers from afar as well as those within driving distance), the SeaWorld parks, Busch Gardens Williamsburg , Sesame Place, Busch Gardens Tampa, Legoland California, and Legoland Florida, among many others.

Amusement Park Thrills

On the other hand, amusement parks generally skip any storytelling pretense and sometimes don't have any defined lands. They usually feature a random collection of roller coasters and other rides. Taking their cue from Chicago's 1893 world's fair, the World's Columbian Exposition, and its "Midway Plaisance " as well as New York's Coney Island and its boardwalk, amusement parks typically present their rides along one or more midways. Instead of trying to immerse visitors in unified, themed experiences, the boardwalks usually offer rides, games, food concessions, and stores that have nothing in common.

Loud noises, including the screams of riders, help create high-energy environments. Thrills for thrills' sake and not to tell any larger story are a big part of amusement parks. Even the "kiddie" rides, which go easy on the thrills, entertain their young passengers primarily with spinning and other action-filled experiences.

Examples of amusement parks  include: Cedar Point , Lake Compounce, Knoebels, Family Kingdom, Dorney Park, and Wild Waves , to name a few.

What about Six Flags?

Many places, in our estimation, fall into a gray area somewhere in between a theme park and an amusement park. Six Flags , for example, describes its locations as theme parks. While the parks do include themed lands such as "Yankee Harbor" and "Yukon Territory," their design is often simple. The rides in each land usually offer little to no "theming." (That last word, by the way, is industry jargon and not an actual word.)

Major exceptions include Six Flags Fiesta Texas, which has a heavy emphasis on music, and The Great Escape , which retains many remnants of its origins as a cute, fairy tale-themed park for young children. Then again, most of the other Six Flags parks may not have particularly well-themed lands, but their DC Comics areas can be impressive and their Looney Tunes characters can be charming.

Some parks can surprise with individual attractions such as the highly themed Monster Mansion at Six Flags Over Georgia. Starting in 2015, Six Flags began opening sophisticated, Disney-like  Justice League: Battle for Metropolis rides . So, it's a mixed bag. In general, however, we would place Six Flags in the amusement park category.

Even Early Amusement Parks Included Storytelling

It gets murky elsewhere as well. Ohio's Cedar Point probably wouldn't object to our classification of it as an amusement park, as we do above. However, along with many of its sister Cedar Fair parks, it does have a themed land filled with animated dinosaurs and a Snoopy-themed area that includes walk-around characters.

There were even hints of the theme parks to come in the World's Columbian Exposition, the predecessor to modern amusement parks. It included a grand White City with ornate neoclassical buildings and lovely grounds designed by noted landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. Coney Island, arguably the prototypical amusement park, included theme park flourishes such as the Scenic Railway, an early roller coaster that included themed dioramas past which passengers rode, and an elaborate nighttime show that included simulated burning buildings and other effects.

Although Disneyland is generally acknowledged as the model for modern day theme parks, there are parks that preceded it that could also be called theme parks—or at least theme park-like. For example, there were parks with holiday themes, such as the circa-1952 (three years before Disney opened his park) Santa's Village in New Hampshire . It is still delighting families today with its compelling Christmas theme.

Dragons at Water Parks

Water parks figure into the debate as well. Could they be considered theme parks? Often, water parks will feature a single theme, such as pirates, hurricanes, or the Caribbean. Their themes might influence the landscaping, background music, names of slides, and other elements. But the rides themselves typically don't attempt to tell any stories.

That is changing, however, as some water parks add dark ride features to their attractions. For example, Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels, Texas offers Dragon's Revenge. The uphill water coaster takes riders into a dragon's lair and past a fire-breathing dragon projected onto a water screen. Universal's creative team, which has pioneered rides such as Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts , is using sophisticated storytelling techniques at  Universal Orlando's water park, Volcano Bay .

The Moral of the Story

There are no federal guidelines or industry standards to determine what distinguishes an amusement park from a theme park. And there are plenty of parks that straddle the line. In general, however, if its attractions attempt to tell stories and are part of larger, unified themes, it's a theme park. If it is mostly a mishmash of rides and its primary goal is to deliver thrills, it's probably an amusement park.

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Home > Blog > Design Guide > Guide to Theme Park Design

Guide to Theme Park Design


Design Guide | Jan 5, 2022

Designing a theme park is an ambitious and exciting enterprise. Whether it’s to attract new visitors to an area, entertain a built-in audience or fulfill a life-long dream, this type of endeavor requires a healthy amount of planning, preparation and passion. Just ask Walt Disney, whose crowning achievement was Disneyland, a theme park most everyone thought would fail. Despite the myriad of obstacles, Walt put his time, money and energy into creating something built to last. It worked. 

Nowadays, Disneyland and its sister property, Walt Disney World Resort, are two of the most frequented theme parks in the world. Other parks, such as Universal Studios, Cedar Point and Six Flags properties, draw millions to their locations too. These places are carefully designed, deliberately crafted and fine-tuned to bring exciting attractions to guests on a daily basis. How did they do it? In this guide, we’ll dissect the key features of theme park planning, attraction design and park layouts. By the end, you’ll be one step closer to opening your very own amusement park!

Planning a Theme Park

Before you begin drawing up schematics for rides, restaurants, and parking lots, you first need to create a foundation for your future theme park. Laying the groundwork in the planning stages can avoid preventable pitfalls down the road. Here are the five key factors for planning a theme park.     

Choose an Amusement park theme

True to its name, a theme park needs to have a theme! Without one, you’re more or less lumping thrill rides and amusements in one central location. Theming, on the other hand, lends a sense of cohesiveness to your park. Essentially, it is the very first attraction you’re offering guests — the opportunity to immerse themselves in a new world that is full of stories, thrills and fun.

Boy sitting in t-rex's mouth

Sometimes the right theme is upfront and concrete. Other times it evolves as you build up the park and guests offer feedback. For instance, Disney World’s EPCOT park was designed to showcase an experimental prototype community of tomorrow. Over time, the theme transitioned to a perpetual World’s Fair, and it remains that way today. Universal Studios, on the other hand, was designed to replicate a Hollywood studio lot. Attractions are designed to immerse guests in a film-making experience, complete with sound stages, exterior shooting lots, and so on. Either way, these themes inform designers and engineers as they build upon the park. 

As you brainstorm the theme for your park, find the middle ground between broad and specific. If you’re too vague, you may confuse your guests or lose some storytelling integrity along the way. If you’re too niche, then you may end up pigeon-holing future projects. Here are some typical themes to help get you started:

  • Adventure:  Thrills rides and action
  • Nature:  The natural world, animals, science and conservation.
  • Fantasy:  Myths, legends, fictional lands, heroes and villains.
  • Historical:  Period-based, reenactments, costumed, day-in-the-life and educational. 
  • Film:  Based on movies, the art of movie-making and celebrity.

Settling on your theme will help you find your focus and prepare you to hone in on your park design and park experiences.   

Finalize a Budget

Finalizing a budget is what separates the dreamers from the doers. Developing an amusement park is a serious undertaking that needs funding to turn it into a reality. It’s okay if you don’t have thousands or millions of dollars in capital sitting in the bank. Investors are a great option for bringing your park to life. In order to win them over though, you’ll need to show them how you plan to spend their money to build the park and how you plan to become profitable. Conducting research will go a long way in helping you estimate an accurate figure to get started. Here are some expenditures to keep in mind you finalize your budget:

  • The cost of buying or leasing property to build your park. 
  • Salaries for engineers, designers and contractors.
  • Labor and materials for the attractions.
  • Tables, umbrellas, seating and trash cans .
  • Marketing and advertising expenses.
  • Food and merchandise overhead.
  • Employees and staff to run the park.

Do the leg work on the front-end of this process. Be sure to dig into things like expected ticket prices, project feasibility and projections too!     

Find a Location

If you don’t have a place to start building an amusement park, then you’re dead in the water. Work with a reliable commercial real estate agent to scope out possible tracts of land in your desired location. Remember, you’ll need space for more than just rides and stores. There is a substantial behind-the-scenes presence at most theme parks, from maintenance to staffing rooms to security. You may also want the opportunity to expand your park over time, so investing in the land could be a great asset in the long-run.  

Aerial view of amusement park

When you find some suitable locations, be sure to also ask about any sort of required permits or ordinances that may prevent you from running your park well. Inquire about the land composition and local ecosystems as well. Is it prone to flooding? Is it swampland? Is it home to an endangered species? Leave no stone unturned. This will be the permanent home of your park. Pick a good one!

Evaluate Your Market

Now that you’ve determined your location, it’s time to evaluate the market you’re targeting. Understanding your prospective guests will help you make profitable decisions. Everything you do should be to enrich their experience, bring them back for more and encourage them to tell their friends. If your project is too narrow and niche for the necessary market, then that can guide you toward expanding your offerings or narrowing your scope.

Consider the market local to your park, as well as the location of your ideal guests. Find out how far they are willing to travel, if your location will accommodate them appropriately and what sort of features they’ll expect once they arrive. Other questions to ask is whether their household income can afford visits to the park, how long they’re likely to stay in the park and what attractions they prefer.

Brainstorm Attraction Ideas

Now that you have your theme, budget and location, it’s time to dream up some attractions! This is where theming becomes practical. It serves as the fulcrum for all your attractions and will guide you and your team as you build out the rest of your park. Start off by brainstorming obvious scenes, props and motifs associated with your theme. For instance, if you chose a pirate-themed park, you could start off with some obvious associations — ships, treasure maps, doubloons, skulls, flags and all things nautical. You could also imagine a storyline, characters or even an objective like a quest. Using this framework, you can start to imagine the possible rides and features your park will offer. A swinging ship ride? Crew members in pirate clothes? A pirate-themed show? Swashbuckling music? Park maps designed like treasure maps? You get the idea. 

Swing ride in operation

Another option is to start off with your location and budget. Predetermine how many rides you’d like to incorporate, as well as other attractions, staff quarters and food services you’ll need. How many roller coasters can you afford or fit on the property? Create a generic grid and then craft the specifics of each ride into the framework you’ve already put into place.

Be sure to consider the guest experience as you brainstorm. Will your market want to hop from roller coaster to roller coaster or are they more interested in a varied experience? If you’re designing a park meant for the whole family, then are there enough age-appropriate attractions for all potential guests? Map out the perfect park day for your ideal customer and see what you can build for them. 

an example of a theme park

Designing an Attraction

Designing an excellent attraction can take months when it’s all said and done. Fortunately, there are some steps that can streamline the process and eliminate some roadblocks along the way. Let’s break down the building blocks of an attraction and tips for attraction design.

Building Blocks of an Attraction

If a theme park is a macrocosm, then an attraction is the subsequent microcosm. It can almost be treated like a mini park in and of itself. It requires designers to consider a lot of the same elements, such as theme, budget and potential location. Here’s a breakdown of how these pieces apply to an attraction.

Each attraction should focus on its own theme or storyline that exists within the theme of the park. In our previous example, we suggested that a pirate-themed park could warrant themes like ships, sailing, seeking treasure, fleeing opposing pirates and so on. Oftentimes, an attraction can take elements of the larger theme and concentrate it into its own storyline. 

Girl on themed ride

Attraction Type 

When choosing the type of attraction to add to your park, here are few factors to keep in mind:

  • What attractions does the park already have?
  • What attractions match your market demographics and preferences?
  • What new attractions are your competitors releasing?

An attraction is an investment in your park and needs to offer a profitable return. For a ride, that means leaving guests wanting to come back, with friends and family, for more. Some attractions are so popular, they’ve warranted merchandise and even movie franchises! You’re not just relegated to roller coasters, however. Here are the types of attractions you could consider:

  • Water rides: Log flumes or rafts
  • Dark rides: An indoor ride that tours through a series of specially lit scenes
  • Transportation rides: Monorails, trains, carriages or other modes of transportation that move large numbers of guests from one part of the park to the other 

an example of a theme park

For the hypothetical pirate park, a ship-themed attraction could manifest in several ways, whether that’s the traditional pirate ship swing ride, water ride with the car shaped like a ship or a dark ride, such as the classic Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at Disney.   

Available Space

Each attraction type requires different square footages and building requirements to make it successful. A dark ride requires a building while a coaster requires room for the track and so forth. There also needs to be enough room for line queues, crowd flow, on-ride photo booths, restrooms and landscaping too. The smaller the space you have to work with, the more expensive it may become for engineers and contractors to successfully design and implement the ride.   

This may be the most important part of the process. The layout determines the flow — from onboarding, riding and off-boarding the attraction. In addition, the layout should factor in the ride’s length, safety features, thrill factor, storyline, engineering and structural considerations and any incorporated storefronts or points of interest. Capacity can also determine the sort of investment you make into a ride. This is calculated in hourly riders. A ride that can accommodate 400 guests per hour shouldn’t eat up your budget when another attraction could serve 3,400 per hour. The ability to move guests through the queue will impact wait times and necessary line accommodations. 

Theme park attraction layout design tips

Designing the layout of an attraction is the most involved aspect of the project, which is why we’ve outlined some additional tips for designing a ride that will make your guests want to get back in the queue!

Build a Safety Bubble

Keeping guests safe is the highest priority at the park. When laying out your attraction, you’ll need to determine a bubble of safety around your guests as they enjoy the ride. This bubble is determined by the farthest reach of any passenger. For bigger rides, like coasters, strapping guests into their seat with belts or drop-down bars limits their movement and shrinks the bubble. Slower rides with larger seats and no restraints will increase the bubble significantly. The idea is to immerse the guest into the attraction while minimizing their ability to make contact with set pieces or potentially hazardous scenarios. 

People on green-colored ride

Tell a Linear Story

Every single story has a beginning, middle and end. So should your ride. These stories can be very simple and direct or they can build from scene to scene. A coaster, for instance, may telling the beginning of a story when passengers board the ride, the middle is quick and action-packed, followed by the end of the ride that marks the conclusion of the story. A dark ride, on the other hand, can tell a story more leisurely with set pieces, scenes and characters who “follow” the audience from beginning to end. 

Avoid Dead Space

The idea of any attraction is to keep your guests’ attention. Dead space can disrupt their focus, so be mindful of avoiding dead space when laying out your ride. Think rounded corners even if you’re in a square environment. If dead space can’t be avoided altogether, try adding additional theme elements or transitionary props to help bridge one scene to another. You can also play on the passengers’ other senses. Darken an area of dead space and incorporate a voice-over or sound effects, for instance. Use every square inch of your attraction to deliberately guide and direct the riders’ focus, varying from limited theme to highly themed throughout.  

Designing a Park Layout

Designing a theme park is about developing a setting for your guests to choose their own adventure. The overarching theme trickles down into distinct sectors of the park that trickle down even more into individual rides. The idea is to help your guests journey from attraction to attraction as seamlessly as possible, and it includes a lot more than the buildings and pathways. Even your landscaping,  outdoor seating options  and  accessibility to trash receptacles  should factor into your design! Here are some tips and tricks for crafting an excellent park layout. 

Black perforated bench with awning

Building Locations

The process of designing your park’s layout starts, once again, with your theme park ideas. Used as a baseline, it will inform five to seven distinct areas within your park that will host your individual attractions. The identities of these unique areas should be supported by the surrounding architecture, landscaping, and rides you choose to build there.  

There are two popular options for configuring these areas in your park. The first is the loop layout, where these places circle around a center point, such as a lake. Guests walk around the circle to experience each site and then gather around the center point to enjoy an evening show. Another layout is the hub and spoke layout, sometimes referred to as the icon design philosophy. This configuration became popular due to its effectiveness at Disneyland. There is an icon at the center (such as Sleeping Beauty’s castle) with offshoots branching out to the themed areas. 

Big attractions should be built on the outer edges of either configuration in order to entice guests to all parts of the park, while shops can be conveniently placed at the exit. Neither one of these options is better than the other, though a circular approach can ensure fluid movement around the park and prevent bottleneck problems. These aren’t the only two configurations out there. The building layout you choose will depend on your available space, type of theme park, and vision for your visitors.     


Landscaping is an important visual component of your theme park. It can guide the eyes, hide less favorable portions of buildings, highlight pathways and keep people on course. It can also be used to reinforce your theme when you layer story elements, props and little flourishes into the landscape, enhancing the unforgettable and immersive experience afforded by your park. Not only does quality landscaping enhance the park’s brand and guest reception, a well-planned setup offers practical benefits too. It offers expedient resolutions for natural risks, such as obstructions on walkways, loose tree branches or storm debris.

Park path in autumn


Exploring a theme park requires a lot of walking. That makes accessible seating and theme park benches an incredibly important component for a great experience. There are two types of seating you’ll want to incorporate into your layout — casual seating and outdoor dining. As they journey through your park, you’ll want to offer  comfortable amusement park benches for guests  to rest and relax, wait while others ride, tie their shoes and so on. Place benches around other amenities such as restrooms, water fountains, shade and trash receptacles, as well as in front of scenic views and outside of rides. 

For outdoor dining, opt for  tables that can withstand the elements  and can accommodate large parties of people. Locate these close to eateries, as well as in more secluded parts of the park where guests can get away from the bustle of the crowd and enjoy a meal in the shade. If neither of these places offers natural cover, choose tables that can incorporate durable outdoor umbrellas.

Guests accumulate a lot of trash throughout their day, especially around dining areas. Trash cleanup is crucial to cultivating a clean and comfortable atmosphere for visitors. People can be negligent about their trash, so the best strategy is to  choose the right trash receptacle  and make using it as convenient as possible. There are several ways to do this. First, make sure trash receptacles are accessible all over the park, especially in areas prone to trash, such as bathrooms, stores and restaurants. The longer a guest needs to look for one, the less likely it is that their trash will end up in a trash receptacle. Secondly, empty your trashcans frequently. This prevents unpleasant smells from building up and avoids any overflow that may prevents guests from disposing of trash properly. Lastly,  select a durable receptacle  and receptacle lids that can withstand pedestrian, weather and pest damage and blends in nicely with the themed area where it is located. 

Outfit Your Park With the Best Outdoor Furniture

At Wabash Valley Site Furnishings, we offer  outdoor furniture solutions for amusement parks  that add a special touch of excellence. Designed with materials and finishes specifically chosen for their durability, our products are long-lasting and require minimal maintenance. Choose from a robust variety of colors and configurations, capable of matching many potential themes and meeting your desired specifications. Furnishing your park is accessible and expedient with Wabash Valley Furnishings.

To outfit your theme park with outdoor furniture,  reach out to a representative  today to learn more about our products! 

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Theme Park Ideas | 10 Best Unseen Concepts!

There are some ideas and concepts that seem so perfect to be transformed into theme parks, we're left scratching our heads why they haven't become a reality yet.

We're sharing our ten favorite theme park concepts that have yet to become a reality! We've included a range of ideas from popular movies and tv series, to concepts yet to be turned into a theme park or land.

Let's get started!

Unseen Theme Park Castle

Alternate Realities or Multiverse

An alternate reality or "multiverse" theme park can showcase the different worlds we could have potentially lived in if different historical events went a different direction. 

Each land would show the differences in our everyday lives had the course of history been different with different shows and rides to bring the lands to life.

Some potential lands in the multiverse theme park could be based on the following questions: 

  • What If Dinosaurs Still Roamed The Earth?
  • What If The Allies Lost World War 2?
  • What If Aliens Invaded Earth?
  • What If The Cold War Actually Started A Nuclear War?

Lord of The Rings

The Lord of The Rings is one of history's most popular film and literary franchises and it's quite surprising no Lord of The Rings theme park or themed land has been attempted yet. 

The stories and world of LOTR are complex, but also very beautiful and thrilling, so despite its complexity, we still think it's very possible to see a theme park land built around this beloved series. 

From reliving the battles for Middle Earth to visiting Rivendell and dining in Hobbiton, there's so much that could be done in a Lord of the Rings themed land. 

We're hoping to see The Lord of The Rings come to a theme park in the near future!

Gandalf approaching Minas Tirith

Apocalypse or Dystopian Future

A park set in a post-apocalyptic world, where visitors can experience different aspects of survival and rebuilding and the tragedies that occurred to create these disturbing features. 

The park would feature rides and attractions based on different dystopian themes and interactive exhibits on sociology and anthropology.

This dystopian theme park could have different lands and attractions based on the following apocalyptic events:

  • Nuclear War
  • Zombie Outbreak
  • Robot Takeover
  • Meteor Strike
  • Mass Anarchism
  • Worldwide Dictatorship

For decades theme park fans have been clamoring for a villain theme park or land, especially one based on iconic Disney villains. 

Ideas for this theme park can include stories of what would have happened if a certain villain took over the world or following the classic stories we all know, but from the villain's point of view.

A villains theme park can be the classic theme park we're all familiar just with a darker twist!

Imagine what Magic Kingdom would be like, but instead of Cinderella's Castle we had Maleficent's Castle and lands themed to Disney villains of all types throughout her Nightmare Kingdom. 

Cheranbog on Bald Mountain

Music is a little thought of concept great for a theme park! 

Attractions can range from rollercoasters set to the music of various bands and musicians (similar to Rock 'n' Roller Coaster ), virtual reality experiences of epic concerts throughout history and even rides themed to some of the most popular songs (think  Ride of the Valkyries  or Around The World).

No music theme park would be complete without plenty of opportunities to meet impersonators of your favorite musicians and lots of live shows!

We'd love to see a music theme park with firework shows set to all types of music... heavy metal fire work show, anyone?!

Game of Thrones 

Like The Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones is another extremely popular fantasy series that seems perfect for a theme park!

Exploring King's Landing, Oldtown and White Harbor among other lands in Westeros make possibilities endless

We'd expect to see dragon-themed rollercoasters, dark rides and simulators recreating some of the most epic battles and even a suspenseful journey through the tunnels beyond the Wall.

Game of Thrones


A supernatural theme park could be home to all of the mysteries and wonders of the supernatural world. 

The entire park can be themed to ghosts and other haunts in a thrilling way which always leaves you on your toes. 

We love the idea of this supernatural theme park being entirely indoors creating an environment in constant darkness, truly allowing the area to be spooky around the clock and bring to life effects you couldn't achieve in the daylight!

While it may not seem like it at first, the possibilities are endless with a military theme park!

Attractions can be as ambitious as entire recreations of military battles, to simulators of jets, tanks, and even the future of the military with space exploration. 

The theme park can of course be a learning experience and tribute to militaries from across the world with exhibits and shows diving into military life and history. 

Other attractions can include walkthroughs of battleships, military barracks and experiences that show the world just how difficult life in the military can be in certain tough environments soldiers face on an everyday basis. 

Military boat speeding through the ocean

Avatar: The Last Airbender

Avatar: The Last Airbender is yet another popular series we dream of becoming a theme park one day! 

The layout of the theme park would be quite simple, with different areas representing the four nations of the Air Nomads, Fire Nation, Water Tribe and Earth Kingdom

We'd love to see showcasing stunts and "magic" shoes from the four nations as well as a variety of restaurants featuring unique foods from each!

Bonus points if the only way to access the theme park was riding on the back of a giant robotic Appa! 

Avatar the Last Airbender

Last, but certainly, not least is a sports theme park!

Attractions could be a variety of coasters and experiences themed to various sports, but also virtual reality simulations of many of the most iconic games in history. This would give people an amazing opportunity to be placed right in the middle of the action during some of sports greatest games.

While there is a ton of fun to be had with this concept, we're hoping for more creative food than the usual hot dogs and stadium nachos!


What Is A Theme Park? | Simply Explained & Most Popular Parks Revealed

What Is An Amusement Park? | Theme Parks vs Amusement Parks

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18 hottest new theme park attractions for 2021

Terry Ward

Summer is on its way and, for many, that means theme park vacations with the family — especially for anyone looking to make up for amusement park trips that didn't come to fruition in 2020.

Much has been postponed and delayed by the pandemic, but 2021 is likely to see more openings than 2020 ushered in — even if many opening dates still remain vague.

Florida's theme parks, for example, rebounded this spring to levels that often pushed capacity limits.

In California, strict COVID-19 restrictions kept Disneyland Resort in Anaheim closed for a whopping (and no doubt walloping) 13 months. Under California's new health and safety guidelines, however, Disneyland is now set to reopen this week on April 30.

Universal Studios Hollywood reopened on April 16, and Knott's Berry Farm will open its doors to season passholders on May 6 and to the general public on May 21.

Legoland California reopened on April 15 and, after missing its slated 2020 opening, Legoland New York is set to have its grand reveal in 2021, although there's still no news on the official date for that.

While some openings are still in limbo, there are a few new roller coasters and rides that have already opened in 2021 — or are coming soon — to put on your radar for theme park fun this summer and fall.

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Walt Disney World Resort

Remy's ratatouille adventure.

an example of a theme park

Originally slated to open in 2020, Walt Disney World finally announced Oct. 1, 2021, as the official opening date for this favorite trackless ride from Disneyland Paris that's debuting in Orlando.

Timed to launch with Walt Disney World Resort's 50th anniversary , Chef Remy's attraction shrinks you to his size (there's no height requirement, so this is a great family ride) for a rollicking adventure through Gusteau's Parisian restaurant from the Pixar hit "Ratatouille." It all unfolds within the France Pavilion at Epcot, which is being expanded to accommodate the new ride.

La Crêperie de Paris

If you've been wondering if you can get a good crêpe around here, the answer will be oui in Orlando, at least, when La Crêperie de Paris opens Oct. 1 with both table and quick service inside the expanded France Pavilion. Fans of the quintessential French snack who've missed Europe during the pandemic will appreciate the presence of buckwheat galettes and French hard ciders (the typical accouterment to crêpes, when in France) on the menu.

Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser

an example of a theme park

Two-night immersive adventures aboard the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser — essentially a Star Wars-themed hotel — are still said to be coming soon to Hollywood Studios in 2021, with no specific date announced for opening day. Stays at this new hotel, which surely won't come cheap, will include a trip to the bridge of the Halcyon and lightsaber training.

Drawn to Life by Cirque de Soleil

The debut date for this new Cirque du Soleil spectacular at Disney Springs that's being called "a love letter to the art of Disney animation" remains unknown, but is still rumored to be coming in 2021. Cirque du Soleil saw massive layoffs in 2020 in Orlando, so we're keeping our fingers crossed for a strong comeback to the stage.

Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park

an example of a theme park

After being closed for most of 2020 due to the pandemic, Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park reopened on March 7 to welcome spring break-goers to landlocked Orlando in true liquid fun fashion. Highlights include Cross Country Creek which, at 3,000 feet long, is one of the longest lazy rivers in the country.

Dates still haven't been confirmed for 2021 when it comes to when, or if, this new Epcot restaurant nestled between Mission: Space and Test Track might open. However, we're looking forward to peeping views of the Earth's curvature and the International Space Station while dining on "modern American cuisine," whatever that might entail. Disney has so far announced that the drinks selection will include "1,000 bottles of the world's finest wines and a wide selection of craft beer," which does sound otherworldly.

Disneyland Resort

Avengers campus.

an example of a theme park

Just having Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park finally set to reopen April 30 after a crushingly long stretch of pandemic closure is in and of itself is one of the biggest pieces of park news to report. So, it's extra exciting for West Coast theme park lovers that Disney California Adventure Park is opening a brand-new superhero-themed land, the Avengers Campus , on June 4.

Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure is the ride everyone is talking about — an interactive screen ride open to all heights and ages, with good family fun all but guaranteed.

Note that park reservations at Disneyland are a new requirement in 2021. Here are a few more ways Disneyland will be different when it reopens .

Universal Orlando

Jurassic world velocicoaster.

an example of a theme park

Universal is calling this new roller coaster, opening June 10 at the Islands of Adventure theme park, the "apex predator" of roller coasters. And if hurtling along at 70 miles per hour with velociraptors as your wingmen sounds like you're brand of fun, you won't want to miss what will take the lead as Florida's fastest and tallest launch coaster.

Surrounded by detailed rock work and lush landscaping that begets dinosaurs, Jurassic World VelociCoaster promises to make stomachs lurch when it propels riders 155 feet up into the air and then dives into an immediate 80-degree drop — the coaster's signature "top hat" move that has people who yearn for these kinds of thrills counting the days till early June.

Universal Studios Hollywood

Secret life of pets: off the leash.

A crew of 64 animal robot figurines is your supporting cast in this heartwarming new family ride at Universal Studios Hollywood that debuted when the park reopened on April 16.

Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash takes riders on an old-school theme park journey as pets inspired by the movie franchise cavort all around you, luring you into their world of fancy New York City apartments and back-alley antics. At one point, motion-tracking technology even turns the rider, ever so briefly, into a pup for more silliness and smiles all around.

SeaWorld Orlando

Ice breaker.

There's still no update from SeaWorld for when, exactly, in 2021 this new Arctic-themed coaster will open near to the park's Wild Arctic attraction and blast us all with its presence.

Set to be SeaWorld Orlando's first launch-style coaster, Ice Breaker will have both backward and forward launches and flip riders' stomachs with a reverse launch into what's being called the "steepest beyond vertical drop" in Florida, from 93 feet high and a white-knuckle 100-degree angle.

Altitude Burgers

With open-air dining next to Wild Arctic and Glacier Bar, this new build-your-own burger bar (with a chicken sandwich and limited pizza options, too) opened in March as a replacement for Mango Joe's.

SeaWorld San Diego

Hold on to your hats (and sunglasses). Delayed from its originally planned opening for 2020 because of you-know-what, SeaWorld San Diego's all-new dive coaster, Emperor, is still bookmarked for a 2021 opening, according to the park website. With top speeds of 60 miles per hour and a top drop of 150 feet, Emperor's superlative will be the "tallest and fastest floorless dive coaster in the state" (try saying that five times in rapid procession) when it finally debuts.

Fun fact: SeaWorld San Diego is the only place in North America to see the emperor penguin.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Busch Gardens Tampa has no shortage of extreme roller coasters yet continues to one-up itself on a regular basis. Originally scheduled to open in 2020 -- and with no specific date announced beyond a vague "2021," much to the annoyance of fans of the park on Twitter -- the next one-upper coaster contender will be Iron Gwazi.

With three inversions, top speeds of 76 miles per hour and a maximum height of more than 200 feet, it's set to be the fastest and steepest hybrid coaster in the world. The ultimate bragging right on this ride will be a 91-degree drop from 206 feet.

Legoland Florida

Brickbeard's watersports stunt show.

New in February, Legoland Florida's newest stunt show on Lake Eloise, at the heart of the park, features a brand-new female Lego pirate character and an all-new flyboard act designed to thrill. You can count on seeing classic on-water stunts in the show, too, including ski pyramids, barefoot skiing, jump acts and daredevil wakeboarding.

Here's everything you need to know about staying at Pirate Island Hotel at Legoland Florida .

Legoland New York

an example of a theme park

There's still no opening date on the books for New York's first Legoland outpost , but the largest Legoland to date is confirmed as opening this summer in Goshen in New York's Hudson Valley. The park was originally slated to open last summer but was delayed due to the pandemic.

Also opening in 2021, presumably with the park, Legoland Hotel will offer guests daily complimentary breakfast, kids entertainment, a heated pool and — what parent won't love this? — a separate kids' sleeping area in all 250 of its rooms.

Knott's Berry Farm

an example of a theme park

Knott's Bear-y Tales: Return to the Fair

When Knott's Berry Farm finally reopens on May 6, it will come with the debut of this brand-new interactive 4D dark ride. Riders climb aboard vehicles equipped with jelly blasters (to recover stolen pies, of course) for an adventure through reimagined show scenes from the park's original dark ride. Wily pie-stealing coyotes abound as you try to win the blue ribbon for boysenberry pies at the country fair.

Six Flags Fiesta Texas

Dare devil dive flying machines.

Six Flags Fiesta Texas' newest ride debuted in March in the form of a steampunk-themed thriller called Dare Devil Dive Flying Machines. Set within the themed Crackaxle Canyon area of the park, the four-seat ride plays out like an aerial dogfight with banks, loops and dives that thrill.

Six Flags Great Adventure

Jersey devil.

What's a new roller coaster without a superlative to its name? When it launches this summer (exact date still unannounced) at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey, the park's Jersey Devil coaster will break three records at once as the tallest, fastest and longest single-rail roller coaster in the world. Among the hit list of thrills riders will experience on the coaster's 13-story-high track: a zero-gravity roll and 180-degree stall.

Bottom line

This summer theme parks will be abuzz with activity as more Americans are vaccinated and willing to travel to more crowded locations. Families that may have gone camping at a national park , booked a vacation rental home or taken a road trip last summer may now be planning their theme park return.

Just remember that things will look and feel a bit different with ongoing COVID-19 safety protocols — including physical distancing and mask-wearing — in place. But if your family is ready to try some new coasters and attractions, this summer promises tons of fun and thrills.

Theme park design: the art of attractions

Meet the artists utilising their concept art skills to design and build theme park attractions around the world.

Theme park design

Theme park design: it's rarely the first thing that pops into your mind when thinking about the creative industries. You’ve probably been to a theme park, but you may have missed that the concept art behind these fantasy spaces is as inspiring as any imagery that’s created for the latest Hollywood blockbuster. 

What’s more, it’s a massive industry. There are more than 400 amusement parks in the US, and 300 in Europe. Disney alone made 20.29 billion dollars from its theme parks and resorts segment in 2018! Themed entertainment – and the art that underpins it all – is in excellent health. 

Nathaniel West , who's worked on effects-heavy films such as Inception and Godzilla, and theme parks like Harry Potter World in Universal Studios Orlando, and Shanghai Hatching Ocean Park, says that, "Its all the same principles as far as the artwork is concerned."

Know the basics

West explains, “Things like value structure and knowledge of colour theory is important. You also need to know how to work well with people and under deadline pressure, as well as understand the basics of environment lighting and design.”      

But what of the differences? Theme park art, says West, is more “optimistic and bright. Films and games are usually moodier and darker, whereas theme parks emphasise colour and charm much more.” 

Furthermore, you get to walk around in your own creation! The initial stages of concept art may focus on similar stages of film concept, like mood and colour. But then come the architects...

Concept and animation background artist Qianjiao Ma spells it out for us: “Your concepts have to be buildable, and to consider things like ceiling height and furniture size. Unlike concept art for film, which is primarily concerned with cool visuals, theme park design requires the equivalent attention to design for the entire space, not just a single shot. As a theme park designer, I’m also weighing up the visitor experience. How would the guests interact with the attractions?” 

For digital art legend Stephan Martinière , the first and foremost skill you’ll have coming into themed entertainment, “is your imagination.” That will be quite a relief to those expecting you’d need a degree in architecture. In fact, each themed project seems to differ as much as games, films or TV shows, fully depending on the client. Some want hyper-real visuals from the get-go. Others ask artists to work towards reality only once the loose brush marks have captured the feel of the park space. 

Films and games are usually moodier and darker. Theme parks emphasise colour and charm Nathaniel West

“Of course, having architecture design skills can certainly help in understanding circulation or cost, but it’s not a requirement,” says Martinière, who first got into theme park art back in 1980s with the Japanese indoor park Sanrio Puroland. “Theme park companies have technical directors and architects who handle the more technical aspects,” he says. Photoshop CC is Martinière’s primary tool, and though his concepts are usually detailed, they always come with a painterly feel. 

A decade in the making

Yes, the chance to walk in a world you’ve created is a huge appeal, but don’t expect the relatively short lengths of film projects. “The timeline for theme park design is quite extensive,” says Martinière. “One of my credits, the Warner Bros. World in Abu Dhabi, took 10 years to make, from the initial concept art, to completion.” 

Whether the next biggest Disney instalment or a smaller scale affair, most theme park projects take years to design and produce, but, “when you finally experience the Adventure Isle, The Pirates of the Caribbean or the Avatar’s Na’vi River Journey,” Martinière continues, “it does bring a big grin to your face. Theme parks also reconnect me to my childhood.” 

As with any job in any industry, it’s a good idea to ask yourself, “What extras can I bring to the table?” In an ever-demanding industry, for 2D artists that usually means offering 3D skills. 

“Clients often provide you with rough 3D models, generally created in SketchUp,” Martinière says, “so again it’s not essential, but it’s worth it. I was working on a futuristic project recently and was given the blueprints of the different spaces. Being able to build and design the space in 3D from measurements enabled me to be more accurate in creating the different architectural elements for the space, and also to make the concepts work visually from different points of view.” 

For the Pirates of the Caribbean boat ride, Martinière received the 3D block-out model of each of the rooms of the ride along with blueprints, and references from the film. The first step was to have a meeting with the art and creative directors to discuss the visual and narrative direction of the ride,” says Martinière. “During the meeting we also discussed the various technical requirements such as safety, boat clearance, light and FX uses. My task was to create detailed and elaborate paintings to define the mood, details and lighting of each scene.” 

Create a visual guide

The process took months of refinement for Martinière, because his paintings were going to be the main visual guide for the rest of the process. “I also produced the ride entrance poster once the ride was completed. The 3D block-out that was provided was sufficient for me to move on to the painting stage without further need to build extra 3D but for other, more recent projects that required a more tech look, I almost entirely built the scenes in 3D.” 

It’s great to discover a whole new world of art possibilities, but what if you don’t know anyone working in themed entertainment? The truth is, breaking into the theme park industry is pretty much the same as any other. There are various approaches that you can take, from arranging to meet an industry figure at a convention, to sending your portfolio to the theme part art department.

I had no idea that there was a market for theme park art until I saw the work of Eric Heschong Greg Pro

For veteran artist Greg Pro , the key was being hungry for work. In art school he was being taught by the brilliant Fred Fixler, and when Landmark Entertainment contacted Fred for a job producing 12 oil paintings depicting a Japanese fairy tale, to be installed on a carousel in a theme park in Japan, Fred recommended Greg. 

“I had no idea that there was a market for theme park art until I saw the work of Eric Heschong ,” says Pro. “His work inspired me so much that I wanted to be a part of that field. Soon after the carousel art was finished, they assigned me some concept art to do for a dark ride. I can’t recall the project, but I remember using gouache to paint the artwork. That’s when Eric suggested I try Cel-Vinyl paint.” 

Pro stayed on with Landmark for years, creating hundreds of concepts for theme parks all over the world. “I was fortunate enough to work on many high-profile concepts such as Jurassic Park: The Ride, T2-3D: Battle Across Time, Skeleton Warriors, and even Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch,” he says. 

Do your research

Martinière sees getting into theme park art as the same as film, game, comics or animation. Do your research, find out the main companies – Disney is by far the biggest player in the business, having kicked things off with the very first modern theme park, Disneyland, in 1955. Search out contact details, and send in your art that shows the skills needed to build worlds. 

“I didn’t know what to expect at first, but quickly realised I loved the challenge of learning and working within specific spaces, and finding ideas and solutions to particular technical requirements,” says Martinière. 

For West, “It’s like any field. If you do good work and you’re professional, you will stand out within your industry. You might not be known around the world, but you can stand out among your peers."

This article originally appeared in issue 168 of ImagineFX , the world's leading magazine for digital artists. Buy issue 168 or subscribe here . 

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Beren has worked on creative titles at Future Publishing for over 13 years. Cutting his teeth as Staff Writer on the digital art magazine ImagineFX, he moved on to edit several creative titles, and is currently the Ecommerce Editor on the most effective creative website in the world. When he's not testing and reviewing the best ergonomic office chairs, phones, laptops, TVs, monitors and various types of storage, he can be found finding and comparing the best deals on the tech that creatives value the most.

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What Are Theme Parks?

An amusement park is a park that has rides, such as roller coasters, as well as other forms of entertainment. Theme parks are amusement parks that are organized loosely around a central idea or theme. These parks will usually be divided into different sections that use different elements to convey to visitors that they are in a specific place or time, or also to tell a unique story.

The first theme parks in the world that usually comes to mind are Walt Disney World and Disneyland , which are located in Florida and California, respectively. This is no surprise since they are among the largest and most visited themed amusement parks in the world. Walt Disney World embodies the definition of the theme park, and in its main section, the Magic Kingdom, there are several themed mini-parks that display this even further.

A roller coaster at a theme park.

An example of one of these sections is Frontierland, where visitors can experience the architecture of the old west of the United States, and in it can ride rides and see live shows that highlight this era of American culture. Throughout the entire park, these minor themes are tied together with the major themes of the park, such as its mascot, Mickey Mouse .

Amusement parks may charge for parking.

Other theme parks imitate Disney’s successful formula, but alter it by using mainly corporate themes and focusing more mainly on thrill rides for the amusement of patrons. Busch Gardens and Six Flags are examples of these types of parks, and the former uses live animals and a zoo-like atmosphere for some of its themes. Each park can be different and unique in its own ways, and the more successful parks stay in competition with one another by constantly expanding and by adding more shows and rides every couple of years.

Walt Disney World is located in Florida, and is among the largest and most visited themed amusement parks in the world.

Additional types of theme parks that gained popularity towards the end of the 20th century are ones that are based on movie studios, such as Universal Studios. These parks use rides that are based on movies, and feature live shows that give people the experience of either filming or being in a movie. Other parks base their themes upon music, as with Dollywood, a country music-based park, and Hard Rock Park, which revolves around the history of rock music.

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Discussion Comments

One of the best physics teachers I ever had took us to a theme park for a "lesson" in different forces. We had to do some exercises on it afterward, but it was worth it!

Her class was always full, even though it was optional, because everyone knew we got to go to the theme park at some point at the end of the year. It also made everyone try to keep their grades up, because if we didn't we would miss out. Best class ever.

@umbra21 - Yeah, I tried to plan a trip out west to include some of California's theme parks and unfortunately some of the best rides were not operating when I was there. You really have to check ahead, on the websites because the faster rides seem to be down for maintenance quite often. Space Mountain was down when I was able to go to Disneyland, and I was really disappointed, because that is one of my favorite rides. If there is a ride you absolutely have to go on, make sure you plan your trip around it, or you might miss out.

I've known a few people who based an entire trip around the United States or Europe on going to different theme parks. They always try to go to Cedar Park, which is supposed to have most of the biggest and fastest theme parks, and of course Disneyland, or Disneyworld.

My sister did this a couple of years ago, and she had a ball, although she was exhausted by the end of it. She was disappointed though, because she really wanted to see the Harry Potter theme park but it hadn't opened yet.

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8 Types of Theme Parks

8 Types of Theme Parks

Posted by Trash Cans Unlimited on 1st Apr 2020

Welcome to our post on theme parks! Here, we’ll take you through all the different types of theme parks, as well as plenty of examples of all of them too!

What is a Theme Park?

A theme park is an amusement park with a unifying setting, idea, or theme. There are several different categories of course. An amusement park is a large outdoor area with fairground rides, shows, refreshments, games of chance or skill, and any other entertainments. Technically, anything could be the theme for a theme park, but the types we’ll outline below are the most common and popular. Some parks are parks with rides, while others are often more amusement based with exhibits for spectators.

Every theme park is unique, and needs unique waste disposal to match, and here are a variety of custom logo trash cans that can blend in and fit the needs of any sanitation department.

Who Funds Theme Parks?

Some theme parks are permanent, while others can be temporary, traveling or seasonal. County fairs, circuses, even haunted houses are often traveling or seasonal activities, meaning you won’t often be seeing them in wintertime.

County fairs are often funded by taxpayers for community recreation. Contrast this with theme parks like Disneyland, which are privately owned enterprises that attempt to make profits. Some private fairs are run by organizations like schools or churches as fundraisers, and while most parks charge for admission, they may or may not charge for admission or rides and attractions.

Water Theme Parks

1. Water Theme Parks

Water parks are a style of theme park that features water for swimming or other general water-based goofing around. Slides, sprinklers, pools, fountains, and roller coasters that make a splash are common just a few of the most popular features of water parks. They’re seasonal in most places, and it’s never a good time to find trash afloat in the pool. Here’s where our push top trash cans can help. 

Zoological Theme Parks

2. Zoological Theme Parks

Not all theme parks are roller coasters and castles. These types of parks are designed so visitors can view or interact with animals. Everybody loves a trip to the zoo— kids and adults alike. Many have programs for endangered species population recovery, wild animal rehabilitation, and educating the public about conservation and the environment. Keeping zoos clean for visitors and inhabitants is as important as keeping the animals’ natural habitats and your own home clean and free of debris. Trash Cans Unlimited has the inventory to help with that.

Historical Theme Parks

3. Historical Theme Parks

Historical theme parks are usually ones with an educational or recreational purpose, usually involving putting on shows or reenactments. They’re always a good time, and often have the benefit of live, trained participants to help with the immersion. Examples include:

Renaissance Faires

Get a turkey leg while watching a joust. “Renaissance faire” is used to describe similar festivals of periods other than the Renaissance, but generally have a European Middle Ages setting that includes wenches, jesters, and knights.

Get the experience of walking through an old western ghost town with gunfights, saloons, and horses. The US and even other parts of the world have a special nostalgia for the days of the wild west, when the wilderness was being settled by newcomers for the prospect of gold and wide open land. Deadwood is a great example as one of the most famous Wild West towns, with a TV series, movies, and a theme park made about it.

These can often give insight into the experience of colonial settlers. This period is less romanticized than that of Renaissance Europe and the Old West US, but compelling nonetheless. Witch hunts excluded, people are attracted to the simpler, idyllic life of colonial America. Colonial Williamsburg is an extensive colonial theme park, with shows, museums, and reenactments to immerse visitors in Colonial life. 

Wood is a major feature of most historical parks, so having trash cans that blend in is a must.

Regional Theme Parks

4. Regional Theme Parks

Regional parks are often amusement parks that are drawing from or based on the local or surrounding culture. Examples are:

A regional amusement park on Coney Island, known for rides, hot dogs, and street performers befitting of Brooklyn.

Enchanted Forest

Oriented towards children with storybook and nursery rhyme themed attractions.

Celebrates the local everglades and one of its residents, alligators. It is a Zoological theme park, but it is a specific regional niche.

The theme is based on local history of silver mining in Idaho. 

Pop Culture Theme Parks

5. Pop Culture Theme Parks

Pop culture parks are usually amusement parks that are based around movie production studios like Disneyland or Universal. These parks feature rides, food courts, movie experiences, and more. Disneyland is so large that it is basically a small functioning city.

Holy Land Experience, Orlando, Florida

Orlando has so many theme parks it’s hard to know where to start, but the Christian-theme Holy Land Experience is something to behold. It’s got architecture that recreates the atmosphere of ancient Jerusalem, and there’s a museum and theater that showcases artifacts and performs live shows from the bible, as well as offering church services and Bible studies.

Zero Gravity, Dallas, Texas

Freefall is the name of the game at this particular park. You get to swing, fall, jump, soar, and dive through all sorts of different rides. There’s bungee jumping, a skycoaster, and a slingshot. There’s also a giant net you can jump into from sixteen stories up! There’s also a ride that lets you feel some serious Gs too.

Hersheypark, Hersey, Pennsylvania

Let’s talk chocolate. More specifically, a chocolate-based theme park that’s made in collaboration with the Hershey Chocolate Company. It’s a wild and unique time for anyone that’s a fan of chocolate. There’s roller coasters, restaurants, rides, and more for anyone who wants to head down to PA. 

6. Eco theme parks

Eco-friendly parks are usually privately run parks with an emphasis on recreation and nature. Environmental responsibility is the name of the game here, so promote recycling wherever you can .

Nature adventure pool, Vorderhornbach (Austria)

This park in Austria has a pool that was created with only natural materials. Lake Badino, one of the small swimming pools, has natural rocks from which you can dive, as well as an area where water is naturally filtered. No chlorine and chemical substances required, and in the wintertime it becomes an ice rink.

Crealy Great Adventure Park (UK)

This is the first theme park in the United Kingdom that’s powered entirely by renewable energy. The buildings, coasters, and more are powered by solar panels, and the park’s vehicles are fueled by biodiesel. If you want to have fun and care about the environment, this is the place to go!

Golf Courses

7. Golf Courses

Everyone knows what a golf course is: a dedicated area that’s for playing golf. There are country clubs with golf courses, pools, spas, and restaurants for adults, and then there are putt putt courses for kids with arcades, laser tag, and go carts. Refreshments are commonly sold here as well, so having readily available and maintained trash cans is always a good idea.

Ski Resorts

8. Ski Resorts

A ski resort may not be one of the first things people think of when they think of a theme park, but in reality, they are one of the ultimate theme parks--a mountainous region covered in fresh powdery snow makes for a winter wonderland for gallivanting on the slopes and returning to a lodge for a warm beverage and a soak in a hot tub. Like anywhere, you’re going to need waste receptacles there, both in the lodge and elsewhere.

So What Have We Learned?

Theme parks are a beloved attraction for people of all ages. They can be just about anywhere and have any theme. They attract large crowds of people where they frolic and consume refreshments. Theme parks need trash cans to keep the park clean and keep visitors happy. At Trash Cans Unlimited, we’re committed to offering the largest inventory of trash cans to our customers, suited to meet any need, from massive event spaces to personal offices.  Get in touch with us , or chat with one of our customer service reps today!

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Theme Parks Vs. Amusement Parks: What's The Difference, And Why It Matters

Some people use the terms theme park and amusement park interchangeably, but they're not the same thing.

Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom/Fury 325 at Carowinds

The term theme park was first coined with the opening of Disneyland because the thing that Walt Disney had created was so significantly different from the amusement parks that had pre-dated it, the previous term no longer seemed adequate. Today, we tend to use the terms theme park or amusement park almost interchangeably to describe any location where a collection of attractions are built on a significantly large scale. But do they really describe the same thing?

We call a section here at CinemaBlend, "theme parks," but we also cover amusement park news. There is certainly enough similarity between the two to combine them under one name in some cases. However, the differences between theme parks and amusement parks are more than just semantic. There are real, vital differences between what constitutes a theme park like Disneyland and what is an amusement park, like Magic Mountain. Here are the key differences and why they’re important.

Theme Parks Are About Creating A Sense Of Place

At their core, both theme parks and amusement parks are about giving their guests lots of different attractions to experience, but frequently, this is where amusement parks stop. When you get off a ride, you find yourself simply moving on to the next attraction, and there is usually little, if anything, tying them all together. 

By comparison, theme parks are designed to evoke a sense of place wherever you are. At Disneyland, this was done by dividing the park into different lands, with each land being given a different general theme. Today, with lands dedicated to specific IP, like the new Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Hollywood, this theme is even more specific. This theme helps to determine the attractions that you find in it, but even when you’re simply walking between rides, each area has a distinct look and feel so you always know where you are. Everything from the architecture of the buildings to the landscaping is tied into helping to give the guest a feeling that they could be someplace else.

Most amusement parks don’t have themselves divided up in this way. They may have a dedicated area for some attractions, like rides for small children, but that's about it. There are certainly exceptions, Carowinds' new Aeronautica Landing is an area dedicated to North Carolina's history of flight, but the rest of the park is mostly divided into different areas for organizational, not thematic, reasons.

Theme Parks Tell Stories With Their Attractions

The biggest difference between theme and amusement parks comes with the individual attractions themselves. You’ll find many of the same sorts of experiences at both places - roller coasters, carousels, boat rides, maybe a log flume - but it’s what exists around the experience itself that’s truly different. 

Theme park rides tell stories. This is most traditionally done through the dark ride , where a guest is put in a ride vehicle and literally taken on a path through a linear story. This ride design itself could almost define a theme park. Any place that considers itself a theme park basically has to have them in some form, and they are actually quite rare anywhere else.

But, even something like a roller coaster will be a very different experience between a theme park and an amusement park. At Universal’s Islands of Adventure, you can ride Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure , which sends you on a wild ride through the world of Harry Potter , with the ride framed as a class being taught by Hagrid. Even attractions not specifically tied to popular IP still tell stories. Big Bear Mountain, the new roller coaster at Dollywood is all about the hunt for the elusive Big Bear, a massive black bear bigger than any seen before, with the queue area designed to resemble an expedition’s basecamp and the ride itself designed to be the hunt.

By comparison, you might ride a roller coaster at a Six Flags park that is named after Wonder Woman or Batman, but it isn’t telling a specific story. You're not going on an adventure alongside Batman, you're just riding a roller coaster named after him, which might be painted a certain color or include other aesthetic decisions that simply remind you of the character.

Amusement Parks Tend To Be Thrill Ride Focused 

Because theme parks tend to focus on telling stories, attractions tend to connect with guests through emotion. Without those stories, amusement parks often look to connect with guests through motion rather than emotion. While you’ll almost certainly find at least one roller coaster at any park, you're unlikely to find the biggest, best, or most, of them at theme parks.

There’s almost a roller coaster arms race happening among many amusement parks in the world. Simply building new coasters isn’t enough, the new coasters have to be record-setting experiences ; the tallest, longest, or fastest ever built. For places like Cedar Point or Magic Mountain, the sheer number of coasters is the primary selling point to guests. 

To be sure, theme parks can have great coasters. Universal Orlando’s Jurassic World Velocicoaster is seen by many as one of the great new roller coasters in the last few years, but most theme park roller coasters are as fun as they are because of the story that they are telling. Space Mountain at Disneyland is nearly 50 years old and, from a technical level, is far from state of the art, but the feeling of blasting through space that some simple projections and a synchronized soundtrack help create is hard for any ride to beat. 

Theme Parks And Amusement Parks Are Different Experiences For Different Types Of Guests 

Theme parks and amusement parks are, in the end, just a collection of fun attractions in one place for people to experience, but it’s how these attractions are designed and presented that sets them apart from each other. Amusement parks want to give you experiences, theme parks want to tell you stories. 

Neither of these things are inherently better than the other. Most of us probably love both and might prefer one over the other at different times, depending on our mood. The thing is that it’s important to understand which parks are which, because it will help set your expectations based on the type of place you’re visiting.  

Does it really matter if you call Disneyland an amusement park? No, it doesn't. But those working at the parks will usually use the correct language when describing it, and so clearly it matters to them. Depending on just what sort of experience you're looking for, it will matter to you, as well.


Your Daily Blend of Entertainment News

Dirk Libbey

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.

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Theme Park Insider

So what, exactly, is a theme park, anyway?

August 20, 2019, 10:48 PM · Let's tackle what might be the most frequently asked question around here: Just what, exactly, is a "theme park" anyway?

This isn't just a question about theme versus amusement parks, though that's certainly one issue within the debate. The term "theme park" also gets thrown around whenever someone wants to dismiss a place as artificial or simplistic. But is that fair? Can the themed entertainment industry better protect the reputation of its core product by providing the term "theme park" with a more precise definition?

Ultimately, that's for the public to decide, but I think we should have a go at crafting that better definition, nevertheless.

Starting broadly, a theme park needs to be, well, a park. It's got to be a defined space. Not only that, a theme park is a defined space with some form of controlled access. A part of a city, another destination, or an event can feel or look like a theme park, but to actually be one it needs to be a permanently defined space with controlled access.

I love the business district in The Netherlands' Maastricht and get definite Epcot World Showcase vibes there, for example, but that ain't a theme park. It's a city.


A themed park also is a designed space. Theme parks are a form of entertainment and as such represent the work of creative professionals. They're not accidental or the product of natural evolution, though they can be influenced by that. But being designed work never should be taken as a knock on theme parks. Broadway shows, music concerts, movies, and books are all creative works, too, and no one smack-talks them because people created those. Just because theme parks are creative works in physical space should not be used to imply that they are inherently inferior to other, non-designed physical spaces (or to other creative works, for that matter). Those are lazy arguments from people who do not respect the work of themed entertainment designers among other creative artists.

Now you can find plenty of well-defined, creatively designed spaces with controlled access in this world — malls, museums, stadia, and theaters all fit that definition. So what makes one of these spaces a theme park? This is where the word "theme" in "theme park" comes into play. A theme park is a defined, designed space whose design reflects a unifying theme or collection of themes. Those themes can draw from fiction or other forms of storytelling, from history, or even just from other locations around the world.

Still, this definition doesn't get us all the way there. I can recall examples of defined, designed and themed spaces that I would not call a "theme park," including some shopping malls and even gated residential communities. We are not there yet because it would be naive to define "theme park" using only linguistics.

The term's history flows from that of amusement parks, which provide an indivisible part of theme parks' identity. To me, theme parks represent a subset of amusement parks and therefore must include a collection of distinct attractions, including rides, as amusement parks do.

Without rides and other attractions such as shows and walk-through experiences, a defined, designed and themed space that is devoted primarily to entertainment rather than commerce might still represent themed entertainment, but it is not a "theme park."

I would assign role-playing installations such as Evermore and some Ren fairs into this space, as well as some zoos and aquariums, brand experiences, and themed museums, especially those that serve educational rather than entertainment purposes.

An amusement parks that does not reflect a collection of themes is not a "theme park," either. The conflation of theme and amusement parks happened when theme parks such as Disneyland, Universal Studios, SeaWorld, and Busch Gardens grew more popular than the traditional amusement parks that inspired their design (both positively and negatively). That helped to make "theme park" the more popular — and therefore more universal — term in the public's mind, even though, logically, "theme park" should be a subset of "amusement park."

If you want a rough analogy here, consider how a large percentage of visitors call the Magic Kingdom "Disney World," even though the MK is just one park in the larger Walt Disney World Resort.

The distinction between theme and amusement park also is not helped by the gradual devolution of some parks that were founded as unmistakably themed parks into what today ought to be considered non-themed amusement parks, such as the original Six Flags parks as well as Kings Island and the former Paramount parks. So there's understandable confusion to cut through here.

As fans and as industry insiders, I think we can help protect the public image of theme parks by pushing back against attempts to expand their definition to include other spaces, especially when the term is used as attack. This should not be to limit the creativity of themed entertainment designers or to stop the expansion of themed entertainment design into other areas of public accommodation.

Elements of and lessons learned from theme parks should be influencing the development of museums, zoos, malls, brand experiences, art installations, theaters, stadia, housing developments, neighborhoods, and cities. But "theme parks" should remain a distinct and well-defined subset of both amusement parks and themed entertainment, in recognition of the unique skills required to create and maintain these spaces.

To be a "theme park" is to be something special and well respected — it never should be accepted as a dismissal, a slur, or an insult.

What do you think?

Update: The TL;DR — a theme park is a defined, designed space that features themed rides and attractions. Theme parks are a subset of amusement parks, and they have inspired the development of themed entertainment design within other public spaces, including museums, zoos, theaters, and shopping districts. People who use the term "theme park" to belittle public spaces that are not actually theme parks are nitwits.

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Agree with most of this overall definition of what constitutes a "theme park," though I believe the importance of story telling needs to be emphasized in this. A narrative is a key ingredient, whether that storyline is for the overall venue or if it involves multiple, different stories told in individual components of the park as a whole- the attractions, shows, retail and food outlets. Have to define both words or what some refer to as "theme" can apply to something that is merely "styled" but has no narrative. True theme park attractions are at their core the products of a story telling medium. Also not convinced that "theme parks" are a subset of 'amusement parks" though they are certainly descended from amusement parks, as they are an evolution of their forebears. There are related venues within the genre that fall into a grey area, such as Puy du Fou and Song Cheng, which are based on elaborate shows based on a specific, detailed narrative, as well as Evermore, which certainly is based on specific, detailed narrative. While they do not boast rides, they do involve multiple component parts that serve as attractions and they are certainly gated environments with a specific story to immerse guests in. Then there's the more involved concept of the theme park resort destination, which involves a larger resort complex centered on one or more gated theme parks and includes on-site accommodations and additional leisure facilities that often are also part of the overall narrative of the destination and have attributes of story telling of their own. Example of what constitutes a true theme park destination resort as opposed to what Asian real estate developers refer to as an "integrated resort complex"- Walt Disney World Resort. Overall, the entire development is intended as "the vacation kingdom of the world" though each of its major components has a distinct, official "brand identity" that all of the various narratives are supposed to reinforce. Magic Kingdom's is Fantasy; Epcot is Discovery; Disney's Hollywood Studios is Show Business(morphing into Entertainment); Animal Kingdom is Adventure and the non theme park entities within the overall Resort have brand identites as well: Disney Springs has "Indulgence " while the resort hotels share "Magical Homecoming. " These brand identities are intended to ensure that all the stories told in this self contained environment are consistent with their assigned category whether it's an entire themed area, a pool area or a restaurant or a kiosk or a special event or a night time show.


Oh no - not this!! I guess we haven't heard from TH in a while, so something had to be done to get him to crawl out from backstage.


I love the point of "controlled access" being a prerequisite for the label of "theme park." My question is, back when Disneyland required tickets for individual attractions and not the park as a whole (I think that's correct? I'm afraid that was a few years before my time), it may not have met that requirement. Yet, it was responsible for ushering in the era of the theme park. Perhaps that's a light requirement? I do agree with it, of course, I just wonder how we'd address that use case.


IMHO a theme park should have unique rides that can't be found on a fair. The exterior should fit the ride and the narrative. As should be food, drinks and merchandise. Nowadays I have the feeling that the rides at Disney play second fiddle to the theme so there is a need for balance between the theme and the quality of the ride. In the end the ride should be the most important aspect of the theme park.

Clayton, Disneyland always had controlled access to the actual theme park, as did Magic Kingdom, when both had the individual attractions ticket media (A through E tickets), so would certainly fit the definition of the term invented to describe itself:)


Clayton, when WDW opened, you bought a general admission ticket for a couple of bucks (you also got a transportation ticket as at the time the train and the monorail belonged to WED or Retlaw or whoever - that changed not too long after). Most folks bought those as part of a ticket book that also included attraction tickets (the famous A-E tickets). I assume Disneyland worked similarly at the time.

Ah, welp, I need to brush up on my Disney parks history. Sheesh! Carry on folks! :-)

Robert, presume the recent round of media regarding "overtourism" in some of the world's popular tourist destinations that included a few intellectual snobs asserting that visitors treat their towns and landmarks "like theme parks" inspired this thread? Coupled with what some newcomers to the industry, especially in our soon-to-be largest single market, China,tend to practice lumping all visitor attractions of every type together as "cultural tourism," calling every FEC, water park, etc "theme parks"?


I'm afraid that the definition of a theme park is changing. With Galaxy's Edge, it means immersiveness to the point of hyper reality. The traditional design of Disneyland was themed lands with different themed attractions, like Snow White next to Peter Pan in Fantasyland. I think this allowed for more flexibility and a fuller experience.

For Star Wars, it could have been Jabba's palace next to an Endor Speeder Bike attraction. In Galaxy's Edge, the insistence that it be a 'real' place conflicts with the fantasy of the rest of Disneyland, and it limits what you can do. It may work with Harry Potter, but Wizarding World was at least inviting and based on the original characters and places that people knew and loved.


The term “rides and attractions”, are we defining this as a single group (things that are rides or attractions” or are we saying this is two groups (ie theme parks must have both things that are rides AND things that are attractions).

If it’s the former, does the Tower of London therefore qualify as a theme park. It has attractions such as the armoury, the Crown Jewels, the ravens, etc.

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By Jeremy Thompson


“Theme Park.”

“Amusement Park.”

an example of a theme park

Is categorization a matter of hierarchies, whereby all theme parks are amusement parks but not all amusement parks are theme parks? Or is it more like a Venn diagram, with theme and amusement parks each occupying their own separate spheres that have overlapped? Is there a continual spectrum from one ideal form to the other, or are there too many separate sub-categorical branches that make the theme and amusement park dichotomy a false choice? And is the word properly spelled “themeing” or “theming,” assuming that either is correct?

an example of a theme park

This lack of clarity on terminology likely originates from the fact that widespread adoption of each phrase evolved from distinct historical conditions that reflected the popular design trends of American amusements from different eras. These interrelated trends continued their evolution throughout the 20 th century with little concern for semantic precision until recent decades as they grew into a major industry with a need for uniform representation. This segment will attempt to briefly trace the origins of “amusement” and “theme” parks, both as terms and as the places these terms represent.

an example of a theme park

The concept of large public entertainment spaces eventually migrated across the Atlantic to Coney Island, New York in the mid-to-late 1800’s. Evolving from a collection of beach resorts, sideshows, and standalone amusements, the area eventually saw the debut of the first modern amusement park facility, Sea Lion Park, opened in 1895. It was distinguished as the first permanent park to enclose the property and charge one-price admission, as well as by its heavy emphasis on aquatic shows and mechanical rides, all features commonly associated with today’s amusement parks.

an example of a theme park

The term “amusement park” first appeared in print around the middle of the 1900’s decade, coinciding with the ascension of Coney Island from local playground to national jewel. However, the name “amusement park” was not the only generic descriptor that could be used for these parks during the initial golden age that lasted from roughly 1903 to 1929. There were several other generic names, including “trolley park” which was adopted due to the fact that many of these parks in cities around the country were owned and operated by trolley companies, and were built at the end of the lines to drive rail traffic during the weekends. Other parks simply adopted the monikers of their inspiration sources to easily communicate to their audiences what sort of experience they’d provide, and as a result hundreds of Coney Islands, Luna Parks, Dreamlands, White Cities, and Electric Parks sprouted up across the country and around the world. In fact, in several languages (French, Greek, Polish, Turkish, etc.) “amusement park” still translates as “luna park.” Such was the cultural impact of the Coney Island original.

an example of a theme park

When Walt Disney announced his plans to build his Disneyland Park during the postwar economic boom of the 1950’s, the company realized that it needed to differentiate his product from the oft-perceived seedy and rundown amusement parks that speckled the country. Although in the first several years of operation Disneyland was simply “Disneyland,” an amusement park-like place unlike any other, the term “theme park” was eventually coined in the early 1960’s first in a newspaper article and then adopted as a piece of advertising copy to communicate to the public Disneyland’s distinctive brand of clean, organized simulated environments (or “lands” as they became known), built by Hollywood set designers and based on popular movie and fiction genres of the era. Like Luna Park, Disneyland took much of its inspiration from World Fairs and Expositions, as well as European pleasure gardens such as Tivoli Gardens in Denmark (itself inspired from older parks in France, England, and Italy). Also like Luna Park, Disneyland kick-started a wave of imitators that redefined the amusement business and even prompted changes to the vernacular. However, unlike Luna Park (which, despite its opulent façades, was located in a place once colloquially known as “Sodom by the Sea”) Disneyland rejected the maximalist, laissez-faire philosophy underlying the original Coney Island that gave it its somewhat tawdry sense of spectacle, and instead went with a clean, organized approach to design that emphasized continuity and cohesiveness.

an example of a theme park

Much of this confusion stems from the fact that many of these parks represent a mix of features commonly attributed to either theme or amusement parks, which has made many efforts to categorize the two extremely difficult. Most modern amusement parks display some theme park characteristics, and vice versa. Although amusement and theme parks are not synonymous, the sheer number of facilities that overlap the two concepts (and the scarcity of “purebred” examples) makes it so that either these terms could be reasonably applied to a majority of large parks around the world.

an example of a theme park

The conclusion of this historical review is that neither the term “amusement park” nor “theme park” has a clear origin that precisely describe the types of attractions they represent. Today’s commonly mixed, overlapping usages of the two terms stem from a history in which the meaning of these terms was even more muddled and murky, and attempts to create a clear, precise distinction between the two are only a fairly recent phenomenon. In many regards both terms were created under similar conditions: as ways to differentiate the new parks of their respective eras from the old, and the collection of design methods that became associated with each term tended to reflect popular business models of the time rather than fit to a neatly organized theory.

This isn’t to suggest that there’s no significant distinction between the two forms beyond subtleties in marketing jargon. To the contrary, there is a huge stylistic gulf that can make amusement and theme parks two entirely different media for entertainment and creative expression. However, making that distinction clear will require a more theoretical approach rooted in aesthetics, rather than a historically oriented approach rooted in statistics. The purpose of such a categorical understanding of experiential entertainment shouldn’t be to simply draw arbitrary boundaries that create limiting claims such as, “an average amusement park contains 4.8 roller coasters, 1.8 carousels, 1.3 Ferris wheels, etc.” Theme, amusement, and other related entertainment forms still have tremendous room for creative growth, and a critical examination of what makes these parks such uniquely singular aesthetic experiences will help future designers better understand their craft.

an example of a theme park

Problematizing the Divide

For many fans and professionals in the world of themed entertainment, discussing the difference between theme and amusement parks is frequently regarded as a problem of public relations. If the public can be properly educated about the difference between theme and amusement parks, then the misusage of terminology will cease and the problem will go away. Even if there’s room for debate over how to categorize certain specific parks that mix elements from the theme and amusement categories, the general defining elements of each category are assumed to be relatively concrete and immutable. An amusement park is a collection of rides on a park ground with shops and other supporting facilities, while the theme park takes the foundation of an amusement park and overlays it with immersive environmental story worlds and characters.

However, this common approach to the divide between theme and amusement parks introduces several problems. Firstly, it presents a potential fallacy of false choice. Given the somewhat circumstantial origins of the terms “amusement park” and “theme park,” the question should immediately be raised of whether these really are the only two categories of parks that exist within location-based entertainment, or if there are more categories that simply didn’t have as good a marketing team behind them when it came time to mint new linguistic currency. I will propose in a later segment that there are indeed distinct missing categories that are often improperly grouped under theme or amusement labels; and in fact that theme and amusement parks are better thought of as subsets of larger categories that include numerous other related types of design.

Additionally, the current theme and amusement park dichotomy introduces a hierarchical structure to the categorization that designates theme parks as inherently more complex, more creative, or even categorically “better” (depending on who’s interpreting) than amusement parks. As the argument often goes, an amusement park plus themed design equals a theme park; theme parks are therefore “above” amusement parks and represent a higher-order level of quality. Because theme parks are highly organized to maintain a cohesive narrative structure, it reasons to follow that amusement parks must represent an opposing tendency to be disorganized or visually chaotic by comparison. There have been several recent opinion pieces comparing these two categories that describe amusement parks with similarly unflattering language. One notable example, Margaret J. King and J.G. O’Boyle stated in the essay The Theme Park: The Art of Time and Space , “A theme park without rides is still a theme park: an amusement park without rides is a parking lot with popcorn.” (7) This was among many other statements suggesting that amusement parks are limited experiences that are less than an artform in comparison to theme parks.

This hierarchic classification generally ignores the complexities of amusement park design and requires inventing an “amusement park” stereotype resembling traveling carnivals that has little empiric support when surveying actual amusement parks of similar size and scale to their theme park counterparts. Many large modern amusement parks share with theme parks an emphasis on attractive and artistic presentation, carefully managed sightlines when considering attraction placement, and crafting emotional sequences for guests that follow narrative-like structures, but none of which is done for the purpose of creating a fictional story-world to parallel or cover over the park-going experience. This suggests that there’s a unique language to amusement park design that’s separate from theme park design, and they both deserve to be represented separately in a survey of design theories. Dismissing amusement parks as inferior, incomplete theme parks seems a bit like dismissing popular music as an inferior, incomplete attempt at classical music.

Hierarchical categorization also has the tendency to become a self-fulfilling prophecy; parks with lower budgets frequently receive the amusement park label as a way to denote that their audience is from a lower socio-economic rung, and a majority of both new park projects and amusement parks that are looking to upgrade the quality of their experience are more frequently turning to themed design as a way to easily prove to guests that theirs is the more expensive product. Wanting to avoid this negative label, there are an increasing number of instances of cheap, patchwork themed design elements being overlaid on classic amusement parks in misguided attempts to “class up” the park, which have arguably compromised the park’s original authentic design. A traditional, rustic countryside park might suddenly begin to sport fiberglass pirate-themed props under the misguided belief that any form of simulacra is an improvement to the guest experience over no simulacra; and then the small park wonders why comparisons to world class theme parks is always negative. In many cases, the theme and amusement park distinction has become coded for a distinction between the middle and lower class, which become particularly problematic when it’s also inferred that one is of greater cultural and social merit than the other. Disney or Universal-style hyperreal themed design is far from the only kind that can be applied to a world-class park, even if their immense brand recognition has meant that most world-class parks have also adopted this style looking to emulate their success.

It’s true that theme parks on average are more expensive and technically complex than amusement parks, but this isn’t necessarily because of an innate aesthetic hierarchy (in which amusement parks are just theme parks missing theming), but simply from the economic reality that today’s consumer preferences and design trends allows for more capital to go to themed projects. It also has to do with the fact that the popular hyperreal style of themed design requires many more resources to properly realize, in the same way a CGI-laden science fiction fantasy film requires a bigger budget than a cinéma vérité character melodrama. Just as these different styles of filmmaking shouldn’t be misconstrued as falling under an aesthetic hierarchy, neither should theme and amusement parks be considered to be part of their own hierarchy; amusement parks offer rich creative opportunities if designers and fans are willing to look closely.

A final problem facing the topic “what is a theme park,” is to consider the question: “What is a theme?” Theme is a literary term, and while it might seem appropriate given that theme park designers share much in common with storytellers in other media, there’s a frequent disconnect between this word’s application in amusement industry jargon and its use in broader contexts. This lack of semantic precision can pose additional challenges to the task of defining a theme park.

Theme is an abstract noun. It refers to other abstract nouns: the ideas, motifs, or values that unify a work of art and allows for meaningful interpretations by the viewer. A theme is typically stated as something like “the love of life,” “the spirit of adventure,” or “the danger of unchecked ambition.” However, when referring to a theme within a theme park context, the colloquial usage typically reifies these subjects into concrete nouns: pirates, space travel, Harry Potter, etc. These aren’t “dramatic themes” in the literary tradition of the word but rather “tag themes” that indicate a particular setting or subject matter, similar to the theme of a prom or birthday party.

This reification of “theme” may be taken one step further so that the word refers directly to the physical props, sets, and decorations that compose a theme park. This is done by transforming the word into the verb form “to theme,” (e.g. “The designers will theme this area to nautical exploration,”) from which is derived the noun form “theming,” (e.g. “This fake rockwork and wood panel theming is very realistic,”) and adjective form “themed,” (e.g. “Now we’re walking through the western-themed area of the park”). Although these usages have become widespread within industry jargon and among fans, there are still several unresolved issues with their continued use. Firstly, the majority of dictionary usage panels continue to reject these forms derived from the verb “to theme.” The word “theming” also becomes overly malleable to encompass nearly any form of decorative element in a park, thus narrowing the useful distinction between theme and amusement parks, since virtually all contemporary public spaces include some form of ornamentation that could be considered “theming.” Additionally, by redefining a valuable abstract literary term to mean something more concrete, it risks robbing theme parks of a sense of their artistic merit. Imagine if theme park fans discussed a park’s themes in the same way that a literary critic would discuss a new novel’s? Reconciling and organizing this nomenclature is another necessary step for defining a theme park.

The next section will address the underpinnings of aesthetic theory that will attempt to offer an admittedly incomplete solution to the question, “What is a theme park?” Bearing in mind the problems addressed in the preceding paragraphs, this solution will view theme and amusement parks as two distinct aesthetic categories, albeit categories that can be endlessly mixed along a spectrum. Later, it will also consider the possibility of additional categories of parks that are missing from the current amusement and theme park division.

an example of a theme park

Theme Parks as Stories, Symbols, and Series

an example of a theme park

Thus, a theme park can partly be defined as a place that is significantly composed of theming or themed objects – in either case, symbols – that cause a displaced sense of location. The referent for the theme park symbol is almost always external to the park, meaning that a theme park requires a certain amount of cultural literacy, usually about distant environments and time periods in order to be properly read and understood. If the referent is meaningless to a viewer, so too is the themed object. This requirement is also perhaps why most theme parks tend to skew towards relatively high concept themes or familiar brands whose symbols can be easily read by a majority of audiences.

an example of a theme park

It’s from here that the second part of the equation defining a theme park can be added: the series. After all, physically manifested symbols, even those that are hyperreal and meant to substitute for the real thing, make up a vast portion of the modern landscape and are found in countless places that would never be considered a theme park, from restaurants to shopping malls to children’s bedrooms. What sets theme parks apart is the way that those physical symbols are placed in series, allowing them to control meaning and manipulate identity in a way that isolated symbols are unable to do. Series are what gives theme parks their distinctive “story” quality, in which the brain processes information in a sequential order that allows for the reveal of key emotional moments. However, while all narratives are series, not all series are manifested as narratives. John Hench, former senior vice president of Walt Disney Imagineering, articulated the concept of the series as it applies to theme parks in the essay “Disneyland is Good For You,” from an interview with New West Magazine in December 1978:

“[Disneyland] is easily understandable when you think of it like a film and how identity is controlled in a film. Identity is a figure-ground relationship: Scene five takes its identity from scenes one, two, three and four. If you put scene five against that background, you understand it, but if you just dropped it in the audience’s laps they wouldn’t know what was going on. […] One side of Main Street is aware of the other side. It was planned for this very effect, and who else but motion-picture people, who design sets, could do it? Walt understood the relation between scene one and scene two, he knew how to identify something and how to hold the identity due to something the Germans call gestalt. Nothing has an identity of its own until it’s related to something else. If you can control that relation, you can control identity. You can use images in a literate way.” (16)

an example of a theme park

The stratified series is also arranged in space rather than time. Again, while “story” typically implies a dramatic arc and therefore a series of events that change over time, a theme park such as Disneyland often uses series for the opposite effect: to create a permanent, immutable image of an environment frozen in time. The props and buildings in Main Street represent a plurality of unique objects and each have their own distinctive features and quirks, but because they all share a common category, “Small Town Americana,” the themed area can establish a fixed identity. For Hench, the value of a theme park’s organized, stratified series is to create a sense of environmental harmony that contrasts the chaotic feel of the typical cities with many discordant visual elements that create a threatening (although stimulating) impression on its inhabitants.

an example of a theme park

Extending the Spectrum: Amusement Parks and More

an example of a theme park

Additionally, the use of series in these amusement parks could perhaps best be described as “inclusive,” as opposed to the principle of exclusive series found in modern theme parks. While a themed environment’s goal is generally to remove all conflicting images from its landscape to achieve a singular sense of place, Coney Island’s laissez-faire spirit allowed for the layering of many competing elements into the same environment, creating a kaleidoscopic sensory collage that could be variously described as fantastical, eclectic, noisy, or tacky. This inclusive spirit can still be seen in contemporary amusement park design, particularly in older or urban parks where land is scarce and new attractions and design elements must be densely layered beside the old. The series functions as a form of alchemy, arranging and combining many distinct elements to create an altogether new multisensory experience, a potpourri of displaced architecture, landscapes, music, pop-culture references, and feats of mechanical engineering that serve little practical purpose besides to give people a novel experience.

To quickly summarize the distinctions between theme and amusement parks: Theme parks are defined by symbols that substitute their externalized referents in an exclusive, stratified series of objects, while amusement parks use symbols with internal (or decontextualized external) referents in an inclusive series. Put in simpler language, theme parks simulate worlds and environments different from their actual setting in a way that visitors feel immersed in without noticing the intrusion of the outside world, while amusement parks use their design elements in a way that creates a unique environment unmistakable for anyplace other than itself, and typically have a “the more the merrier” approach to design. However, reiterating the earlier chapter, in reality the majority of parks are a hybrid of different styles or just use “whatever works,” which makes such categorization useful more on a conceptual level than for cataloguing all real world examples.

an example of a theme park

A discovery park uses a design style known as presentationalism, which is often related to traditional themed design but with one major difference: the symbols function through representation rather than substitution, keeping the viewer at an objective remove. Essentially, presentationalism retains the proscenium and places a fourth wall between audiences and the environment. While a theme park uses stratified design to create the appearance that the environment completely immerses the viewer and continues indefinitely beyond the berm, the images used in a presentational design are contained in an obviously finite series that stop at the frame’s edge, and which viewers deliberately perceive as an artificial representative construct and not as a hyperreal substitute for the real thing. Presentationalism is the third-person, objective point-of-view of themed entertainment design that counterpoints the first-person, subjective point-of-view of traditional theme parks, sharing a similar relationship to theme parks as documentaries share with feature narrative films.

Presentational discovery parks often contains a narrative device that provides commentary for the attraction from a similar third-person remove as the audience. Multimedia use is also common, which is typically presented so that viewers are consciously aware of the device by which the media is delivered, and not as a “window into another world” as is common in theme park use. Lacking the subjective immersion of a theme park, but filled with far-flung topics and subject matter in neatly controlled series unlike an amusement park, presentationalism is often (although not always) used for attractions with a heavier intellectual component, intentionally distancing audiences to provide them room to think and reflect.

an example of a theme park

The distinction that presentational discovery parks assumes an objective third person viewpoint is an important contrast to both theme and amusement parks, and may provide an additional dimension along which such parks can be categorized. While the biggest difference between theme park design and amusement park design is found in their use of symbols (external versus internal referents, creating a sense of being immersed in another place versus being immersed in a place with its own unique identity), in both cases visitors are still made to feel completely immersed in the environment presented before them, and the focus of each attraction is on their own subjective viewpoint, whether their experience is rampaging through a forbidden temple or down a four-hundred foot vertical freefall. By contrast, presentationalism differentiates itself not through the relationship between symbols and their referents (discovery parks often appropriate many of the same types of symbols found in a theme park; e.g. foreign cultures, exotic landscapes, or distant times), but in the relationship between symbols and the viewers, and the objective remove it places between them.

an example of a theme park

Yet while discovery parks typically present a far removed subject matter in which it would be difficult if not impossible to witness the “real thing,” cultural attractions share the end of the spectrum with amusement parks in the way that their symbolic content is derived almost entirely from within. Tours of Independence Hall are able to craft a unique experience for visitors with stories and artifacts in which the symbols referred to are physically located on property. The guest feels as though they’ve stepped on important, even hallowed ground, buoyed by the fact (or at least the pretense) that everything one witnesses is an authentic original. While many cultural attractions or related experiences may contain more elements of re-construction or simulation than many visitors might realize, what’s important is that visitors aren’t necessarily suspending their disbelief for the purposes of entertainment, but have a real belief in the experience’s authenticity to begin with.

Compare the original Independence Hall in Philadelphia to the replica in Buena Park, California. Although both might be nearly identical in terms of physical construction or story beats, Buena Park’s Independence Hall is still a very different experience from Philadelphia’s. In Buena Park there’s still a pervasive sense of disbelief, suspended above a representational version of reality, compelled simply by the fact that the symbols refer to things and events located in Pennsylvania, not California where the viewer is located. In Philadelphia, there’s no such dissonance between the location of the symbol and the location of the referent; both viewer and the viewed are “here.” The east coast version is fundamentally a story about history as told by the concrete artifacts left behind as evidence of the story’s authenticity, while the west coast version is more a story about how people remember, interpret, and reconstruct history through the lens of architecture. Despite their surface similarities, the two Independence Halls belong in two different (though not necessarily opposing) categories of location-based attractions.

Matrix of Location-Based Attractions

an example of a theme park

Placing these four categories into a two-by-two matrix, we can get a full view of the multiple ways that location-based experiential attractions differentiate themselves through the use of symbols (broadly referring to all the themed objects, signs, environments, architecture, show writing, and so on that gives that gives the experience its meaningful characteristics). Each axis measures the two main qualities associated with the symbols as established in this section’s analysis: first, the symbol’s relationship to its referent, and second, the symbol’s relationship to the viewer. The four combinations of these qualities are then used to produce a simple three-word statement that succinctly labels the type of experience they produce: “Here you are,” “There it is,” “Here it is,” and “There you are.” These statements are essentially the most rudimentary, archetypal form that a written narrative for an experiential attraction can take, stripping away all attraction-specific content and identifying only the basic relationships between subject and object.

an example of a theme park

First, at the intersection of external referents with a subjective point-of-view are attractions that assume a narrative structure of “There you are,” among which theme parks are typically the most popular and well known. Other attractions in this category might include immersive role-playing attractions, such as the “5 Wits” interactive puzzle games at locations around the American northeast, or the infamous “La Caminata Nocturna” illegal border crossing participatory simulation in Mexico; or living museums with believable historic environments and costumed interpreters who remain in period character, such as Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. Descriptions of these attractions often include the phrases “looks like” or “feels like” to convey the way these environments seem to realistically (or hyperrealistically) imitate other places around the world.

an example of a theme park

(Note the part of speech “is/are” remains in the same present tense in all four cases. Theoretically the verb could also be in the past or present tense (was/were, will be), thus adding a third dimension to the matrix of experiential attractions. However this is really only possible in some presentational or cultural attractions that retain an objective viewpoint, since participants necessarily always encounter their own subjective experiences in the present tense, even in those that simulate an environment from the past or future. The viewer’s relationship to time is also generally less important than their relationship to space within an experiential attraction, so these varieties aren’t listed as their own categories.)

an example of a theme park

Much of the confusion surrounding these different types of location-based entertainment is a result of imprecise nomenclature. The distinction between “theme” and “amusement” parks was originally created as a marketing ploy to distinguish between upper and lower classes of otherwise similar mechanical ride parks, and the most distinguishing characteristic of the highbrow parks – the lifelike imitative architecture and décor – eventually became the associated as the singular defining element for what a theme park is. Currently, “theming” is frequently used as a catchall term for any decorative element that can be found in an attraction, with amusement parks defined by their lack of such decorative objects and a preponderance of mechanical rides. This approach to terminology, however, is insufficient at capturing the true breadth of creative design possibilities that such attractions offer; hyperreal imitation makes up a fairly small percentage of other modern creative art forms, and the same should be true of theme parks. Thus the purpose of this project was to help illuminate the range and variety of these categories, both by narrowing and specifying the meaning of theme park, mounting a defense of the amusement park against its traditionally lowbrow connotation, and searching for other less commonly recognized aesthetic categories of location-based entertainment design. While it can’t suggest in every instance what the correct nomenclature should be, (minting new words is a difficult process that requires time and consensus) it does hopefully point out in a systematic process where common industry jargon may fall short, especially regarding terms such as “amusement” and “theme.”

First of all, as stated in an earlier section, “theming” is a problematic word for multiple reasons, and if possible there are preferable alternatives. But if it must be used, it should be spelled as “theming” rather than “themeing,” without a second e, partly for simplicity, and also because the closest comparables that add a gerund to an “-eme” stem, “scheme” and “scheming,” also drops the second e.

“Themed” is preferable to “theming,” since at least it implies that the action “to theme” has been completed. A “themed object” has its theme applied to it at the point that it was created; it isn’t an ongoing process where the object is actively “theming” itself every time spectators look at it. This is still far from ideal; literature isn’t said to be “themed” when their authors frequently evoke dramatic themes of greed or mortality or so on, nor are films “themed” when they depict a setting or subject matter such as westerns or high piracy. However, given how deeply entrenched the word theme is used to imply “tag themes” in the context of location-based entertainment, it’s unrealistic to expect the industry to shift back to the traditional “dramatic theme” denotation.

Given that limitation, “themed” objects or environments should only describe design elements that symbolize a concrete object in which the symbol is also manifested in a concrete form, such that the symbol attempts to substitute the original external referent; in other words, imitation objects and environments. Original artifacts, abstract or modern design, and multimedia (excluding uses of media that simulate a “window into another world”), should generally not be considered as part of themed design. “Simulated” (“simulacra”) and “hyperreal” are two additional terms that can be substituted for “themed,” however, both these terms have their origins from postmodern critical theory, and thus may carry with them a slightly negative connotation.

The bottom-right “Here It Is” corner, representing cultural attractions and so on, can be described as “artifacts” as opposed to “themed objects.” These are the authentic originals, the original referent to which a themed copy might attempt to simulate, and given that museums and cultural attractions existed for much of their history as independent from themed entertainment with their own lexicons, less focus will need to be applied here.

Discovery parks hew very closely to theme parks, and in many cases it would not be inappropriate to apply “themed” terminology to these parks as well. After all, both theme and discovery parks paint pictures of faraway worlds in three dimensions; the difference is that in a theme park the picture completely surrounds the guest, while in a presentational discovery park the guest can still see the frame. Thus, the terminology for this class of attractions can be split between the “themed objects” as the content within the frames, and the architecture or media as the prosceniums that frame that content. Epcot, for example, would therefore be a mix between themed design inside the attractions (the audio-animatronic figures inside Spaceship Earth, for example), and architectural design and multimedia (the abstract architectural globe, the third-person on-board narration); the synthesis of these two styles put together can then become labeled as “presentational design.”

The final category, the “here you are” narrative of amusement parks and other related attractions, is perhaps the most complicated. Defined by higher degree of abstraction that frequently appropriates design techniques from other disciplines, there’s no single term that can define the features of this category; some might be highly architectural, others might consist largely of sculptural arts or landscape design, and in the cases of many amusement parks the mechanical rides are themselves the decorative symbolic objects. These attractions may even make use of themed objects, provided that they’re presented in an all-inclusive series of non-sequiturs rather than a stratified series that contains a singular identity.

Finally, it must be said that none of the experiential entertainment categories presented in this project, including theme and amusement parks, are airtight. These categories aren’t meant to represent the most successful business models or suggest that an attraction that doesn’t neatly fall into a given category is somehow designed incorrectly. To the contrary, many of the most successful parks and attractions mix of two or more of the above styles as part of a deliberate creative choice. The historical origins of most attraction types is decidedly mixed, with the earliest amusement parks being a bit more like theme parks, and the earliest theme parks being a bit more like amusement parks, and the categories have passed through multiple phases of divergence and synthesis since then. Most attractions mix categories to some degree; some even encompass qualities at opposite ends of the matrix, such as Universal Studios Hollywood’s Studio Tram Tour, which mixes an authentic behind-the-scenes tour of a working movie studio backlot with moments of themed hyperrealism that literally jumps out at spectators; or Epcot, where presentational design on the inside of many pavilions gives way to both themed design in the World Showcase environments or to completely original non-themed architectural environments in Future World, covering three of the categories.

The purpose of these categories is to be as broad and open ended as possible, so as to inspire rather than exclude experimentation and creativity in location-based experiential entertainment. By conceptualizing these categories not by content, which is always changing due to new technologies and popular trends, but as a system of relationships, mostly binary, such as the relationships between symbols and referents (internal/external), between subjects and objects (first- or third-person), or within spatial and temporal series (exclusive/inclusive), there’s a much greater chance that these categories will be flexible enough to change with new trends, or include old or unusual styles from throughout history, while still capturing the timeless qualities that have long been at the heart of distinguishing between types of location-based entertainment. It’s these relationships that illustrate the most essential, basic qualities that define a guest’s experience of a location-based attraction: how the attraction derives meaning in an emotionally or intellectually resonate way (symbols), how it arranges that meaning over time and space (series), and how guests subjectively perceive themselves in relationship to those symbols (point-of-view). If attraction designers understand these points, then their artistic palette has virtually limitless creative possibilities.

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N. american parks.

  • Adventure City
  • Bay Beach Amusement Park
  • Busch Gardens Tampa
  • Canada's Wonderland
  • Cedar Point
  • Clementon Park
  • Cliff's Amusement Park
  • Columbus Zoo
  • Coney Island
  • Conneaut Lake Park
  • DelGrosso's Amusement Park
  • Disney California Adventure
  • Disney's Animal Kingdom
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios
  • Dorney Park
  • Dutch Wonderland
  • Enchanted Forest
  • Geauga Lake
  • Gillian's Wonderland Pier
  • Hard Rock Park
  • Hersheypark
  • Holiday World
  • Idlewild Park
  • Indiana Beach
  • Indianapolis Zoo
  • Kings Island
  • Knoebels Amusement Resort
  • Knott's Berry Farm
  • Lakemont Park
  • Little Amerricka
  • Magic Kingdom
  • Michigan's Adventure
  • Mt. Olympus Theme Park
  • Nickelodeon Universe
  • Noah's Ark Water Park
  • Oaks Amusement Park
  • Pacific Park
  • Playland's Castaway Cove
  • SeaWorld Orlando
  • Six Flags Great Adventure
  • Six Flags Great America
  • Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom
  • Six Flags Magic Mountain
  • Stricker's Grove
  • Timber Falls Adventure Park
  • Universal Studios Florida
  • Universal's Islands of Adventure
  • Valleyfair!
  • Waldameer Park
  • Wet 'n Wild

European Parks

  • Adventure Island
  • Alton Towers
  • Blackpool Pleasure Beach
  • Botton's Pleasure Beach
  • Chessington World of Adven.s
  • Disneyland Paris
  • Drayton Manor
  • Erlebnispark Tripsdrill
  • Europa Park
  • Fantasy Island
  • Flamingo Land
  • Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach
  • Holiday Park
  • Jardin d'Acclimatation
  • Legoland Windsor
  • Lightwater Valley
  • M&Ds Scotland's Theme Park
  • Mirabilandia
  • Monte Igueldo
  • Oakwood Leisure Park
  • Parque de Atracciones Madrid
  • Parque Warner Madrid
  • Phantasialand
  • Pleasurewood Hills
  • PortAventura
  • Terra Mítica
  • Thorpe Park
  • Walt Disney Studios Park
  • Wiener Prater
  • Zoosafari Fasanolandia

Asian Parks

  • Aqua Stadium
  • Berjaya Times Square
  • Children's Grand Park
  • Chimelong Paradise
  • Discovery World
  • E-DA Theme Park
  • EonTime World
  • Farglory Ocean Park
  • Formosan Aboriginal Village
  • Fuji-Q Highland
  • Genting Highlands
  • Giant Wheel Park of Suzhou
  • Gyeongju World
  • Hanayashiki
  • Happy Valley Beijing
  • Happy Valley Chengdu
  • Happy Valley Shanghai
  • Happy Valley Shenzhen
  • Hong Kong Disneyland
  • Janfusun Fancyworld
  • Jin Jiang Action Park
  • Knight Valley
  • Kumdori Land
  • Leofoo Village Theme Park
  • Lotte World
  • Mitsui Greenland
  • Ocean Park Hong Kong
  • Parque España-Shima Village
  • Shanghai Disneyland
  • Space World
  • Suzhou Amusement Land
  • Tokyo Dome City
  • Tokyo Joypolis
  • Universal Studios Japan
  • Universal Studios Singapore
  • Window of the World
  • Window on China Theme Park
  • Woobang Towerland
  • World Joyland

Beware the barrenness of a busy life. – Socrates

Book cover

Key Concepts in Theme Park Studies pp 1–19 Cite as

Introduction: Defining Theme Parks and Assessing Theme Park Studies

  • Salvador Anton Clavé 14 ,
  • Filippo Carlà-Uhink 15 &
  • Florian Freitag 16  
  • First Online: 04 March 2023

699 Accesses

The introduction offers a thorough discussion of various definitions of theme parks, a detailed reflection on the development of theme park studies, and a systematic presentation of the state of the art in theme park studies across various disciplines. It will further provide readers with a rationale for the organization of the book and the ways in which it can be used.

This work is contributed by Salvador Anton Clavé, Filippo Carlà-Uhink, Florian Freitag, Astrid Böger, Thibaut Clément, Scott A. Lukas, Sabrina Mittermeier, Céline Molter, Crispin Paine, Ariane Schwarz, Jean-François Staszak, Jan-Erik Steinkrüger, Torsten Widmann. The corresponding authors are Salvador Anton Clavé, Departament de Geografia, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Vila-seca, Spain; Filippo Carlà-Uhink, Historisches Institut, Universität Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany; Florian Freitag, Institut für Anglophone Studien, Universität Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany.

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Anton Clavé, S., Carlà-Uhink, F., Freitag, F. (2023). Introduction: Defining Theme Parks and Assessing Theme Park Studies. In: Key Concepts in Theme Park Studies. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-11132-7_1

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Experience and Technology Design for Theme Parks: How to do it well

The development and design of theme parks can be complex, requiring long-term considerations and extensive master planning. What was the standard is now rapidly evolving, considering such uncertainty in the global leisure industry. However, this “stress test” on the industry led to innovation in intelligent, flexible solutions to improve operations.

One of the biggest drivers of change in theme parks is technology. It’s a problem solver for managerial challenges and increasing profit margins and yields. Another primary use case is experience design, helping deliver the best and most unique experiences to visitors. Because it has such potential, it also gives you a competitive edge.

In this post, we’ll explore the attributes and vision regarding experience design  location-based entertainment  and what will propel this industry forward.

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The Art of Storytelling

Theme parks  have always been great storytellers. If you think about the most well-known parks, they are full of immersive stories. Now, the push is to make them more engaging and exciting with technology. With many tools available to help you create this, the most critical aspect is setting the stage for a meaningful story to unfold.

Consider the bedrock to any experience to be the story. Th e process of designing a park is not unlike house building, where the story is the foundation. Developers can then follow a pattern to develop it in the environment in ways for people to enjoy.

The story is a vision, dream, or message. It can carry people back in time or have them experience the future. Being consistent and cohesive will allow developers to make the right choices regarding themes, transportation, ride systems, special effects, audio-animatronics and more.

An excellent example of storytelling experience design is the new Star Wars Rise of the Resistance at Disneyland. It includes multiple ride systems and sets visitors off on a mission to join the Resistance. It’s billed not as a ride but an experience, immersing guests into a new world filled with AT-AT walkers, simulated blaster fire, and audio-animatronics.

Building a Brand Identity

Cultivating a brand identity for location-based development goes hand in hand with the story. Developing a consistent, impactful brand will serve you well in leveraging experience design. It becomes an avenue for diversification once development is more mature. Branding can act as a tool in enabling flexibility.

Once you’ve proven your business concept and have greater resource access, you can invest more strategically in technology to deliver experiences for  your target audience. Because you started with a story and tying it to your brand, you likely won’t face a need to rebrand. Branding and experience design should be the same bucket, aligning the vision for the present and future. That should both be part of your all-encompassing strategic marketing plan.  

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Imagining the Experien ce and the Roles Needed to Make It Possible

With storytelling and branding in place, it’s time to imagine those experiences you feel will resonate with your target visitor. Of course, it’s more than just a notion at this point, but you’ll need the right team to bring it to life. That will likely include skilled people, such as architects, engineers, designers, writers, strategists, and  technology design consultants .

Building such a team is essential to cover every aspect of an experience. You should place your guest at the center of this. As a result, all team members see the experience through their eyes.

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Digitization to Meet Guest Expectations

Digitization is a crucial layer within experience design, and its focus is on meeting guest expectations. However, technology is quickly evolving, so that requires a different lens on this component.

It’s about answering what do visitors need to have the best experience in a forward-looking approach. That could include:

  • Parking stations with chargers for electric vehicles.
  • A robust and agile IT and audiovisual (AV) infrastructure.
  • Centralized control centers.
  • Digital screens for information, wayfinding, menus, and more.
  • Assets or takeaways that enable guests to continue to engage with the location after they leave.

Digitization of the leisure business encompasses so many components, but it’s easier to manage and navigate with a technology master plan.

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IoT’s Role in Experience Design for Theme Parks

While IoT (Internet of Things) devices aren’t new in theme parks, it’s becoming more substantial as parks build out the necessary infrastructure. That includes sensors within the park as well as guests wearing them, as is the case with Disney’s MagicBands. 

Parks have been using this technology to gather data about traffic patterns, support predictive maintenance, and improve operational efficiency. 

The future use cases of IoT could include:

  • Personalization : If parks know who is standing in line and where they’ve been, they can deliver more specific messaging. For example, a visitor that’s wearing a band may provide demographic data. Combining that with location information, the guest might receive pop-ups on their smartphone or see custom messaging on digital screens. Those could guide them to a part of the park they haven’t been to yet with details on wait times and amenities. 
  • More data collection on patterns can power future design : As IoT devices gather more historical data, there’s more to sift through and process. By using AI and machine learning, theme park managers can uncover trends. This could be very useful in planning new attractions to manage queues better and tailor ride hours based on peak times. 
  • Enhancing immersive experiences : IoT can also play a role in attractions. This is a new category for the technology, as it’s been chiefly applicable to guest convenience and operations. However, beacons and sensors should be part of these experiences. In cases where guests are self-pacing, those walking into a space can trigger the devices and the experience. Additionally, there’s also an opportunity for personalization here so that the moments are unique and custom. It could be something like visuals looking different based on that person’s preferences. 

Let Electrosonic Guide You to Create Next-Level Experiences

Electrosonic has the experience, skills, and expertise to help you build, integrate and support experience design. We can provide you with the guidance you need with a technology master plan that will enable you to leverage these trends and create immersive worlds,  contact us today .  

Alexander Hann

Alexander Hann, Communications Specialist, understands the challenges that clients face when they are making decisions about technology. He uses his extensive experience of communicating complex concepts to write about the latest developments in technology in a way that clearly explains benefits for business and technical decision-makers.

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Office cubicles are so 2000, and for better or worse, the 2010s have been the decade of the open office layout. Young millennial workers have little if any, actual experience working in unattractive...


What You Need to Know About Electrosonic's Technology Master Planning

In today’s digital economy, technology is a necessity in order to effectively compete in an increasingly global environment. After all, the digital economy is all about delivering immersive...

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The Future of Onsite AV Support

The world of audiovisual technology is changing, and effective design, planning, engineering and installation of a holistic AV solution is now a prerequisite to doing business in an increasingly...

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5 Powerful Ways Communication Can Improve The Theme Park Experience

Particularly as the world moves on from an era unlike any we’ve ever seen, visitors to leisure, entertainment and themed entertainment experiences will have higher expectations for how they’re...

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The Role of Security, Access Control and More in the (New Normal)

We’ve examined the ways technology, particularly artificial intelligence and augmented and extended reality, might play key parts in the world’s collective march toward reopening and what’s likely to...

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The History of Theme Park Innovation: How Bold Roots Have Grown into Remarkable Experiences

The themed entertainment industry is one that knows how to leverage cutting-edge technology to deliver memorable experiences – but it didn’t reach its current heights without the willingness to take...

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Which LED Solution You Should Choose This Year

LED displays are the gold standard for large, impactful, modern spaces – but, within the world of LED solutions, innovation abounds. The sprawling landscape of display solutions, including microLED,...

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Why Smart Design Matters in a Converged Environment [New Podcast]

Back in 2019 we dedicated a lot of time in discussing the 5 trends key trends driving the audiovisual industry. When you look back those advances are still as relevant then as they are now and the...

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What Building Designers Need To Look for in a Technology Partner for 2021

The challenges left in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly as they relate to the ways in which we design and construct the places where we live, work and play, will continue to demand...


Planning to Hire an AV Company?

Exceptional projects demand an exceptional team. When engaging an audio visual (AV) solutions provider with so many companies out there… how do you choose? From design, to procurement, commissioning...

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6 Technology Trends that Will Create The Next Generation of Workplaces in 2021

With COVID-19 vaccines beginning to secure emergency approval and roll out across the globe, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel for enterprise organizations large and small looking for ways to...

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7 Ways Resorts Can Bring Guests Back in 2021 by Integrating Technology Solutions

Widespread COVID-19 vaccination might be on the horizon, but “normal” life is still months away – and many precautions borne of this global crisis will likely persist for years to come, if not...

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From Medical Training to Telemedicine: How Technology Integrators Are Changing the Way Healthcare Operates

It’s never been more critical that healthcare providers have solutions that enable them to provide safe, confident care to patients – care that also needs to give those patients peace of mind during...

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Themed Entertainment: Looking Back at 2020 and Toward a Promising Future

There’s no denying it – 2020 has brought one of the greatest, if not the single greatest, challenges the themed entertainment and leisure industries have ever faced. From juggernauts like Universal...

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The Future of Waiting for Your Turn: Crowd Management in the New Normal and Beyond

Themed entertainment spaces and theme parks offer some of the most exciting, immersive and narrative experiences in the world – once visitors can get to them. Line management and queueing solutions...

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Improving Public Space Safety Through Integrated Innovative Technology

As the global reopening in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic continues, there is still much uncertainty surrounding when and how public spaces will become truly safe once again. Visitors have begun...

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The Evolution of Immersive Ride Technology: The Past, Present and Future of the Dark Ride

The dark ride, which offers guests a unique experience and immerses them in a world much larger than the space they’re actually in through the use of technology, lighting, audio and more, may seem...

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7 Theme Park Advances You Can Use in Your Corporate Spaces

The theme park and themed entertainment industry has been a model of technological innovation in recent years. Themed entertainment uses technology to enhance and support narrative and immerse...

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First Impressions: Bringing Theme Park Entrances into the Future

The pace of technological innovation is staggering. Themed entertainment and theme parks are primed to take advantage of these advances, with extended reality solutions, projection, advanced audio...

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The Role of Technology in the Themed Entertainment Industry

As the global reopening marches on in the wake of the COVID-19, the themed entertainment industry is primed to leverage the power of technology to return to pre-pandemic levels of growth and visitor...

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What Comes First in Experiential Design, the Story or the Technology?

For audiovisual solutions to leave a lasting impact in the spaces where we live, work and play, they must be a part of a cohesive and memorable narrative experience. But how do you get there? Do you...

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The Lobby: How the Technology Experience Starts at the Door

The places where we live, work and play don’t always have doors, for one, or distinct “lobbies” – but that doesn’t mean that attention to detail shouldn’t be given to the first impression a space and...

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How Can Theme Parks Embody the Innovative Focus that Drives Immersive Experiences

Theme parks are the epitome of fun and nostalgia. From your first experiences as a child to taking your own children and experiencing the magic of themed entertainment into your golden years, theme...

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How Themed Entertainment Is Proving Its Strength in the COVID-19 Era

As 2020 continues to bring new challenges for the theme park and attractions industry, it’s time to focus on a realistic view of the industry and what lies ahead. The ripple effects of COVID-19 are...

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How to Make the Impossible Possible with Technology

In the world of design, whether it be for themed entertainment and theme parks, immersive experiences, museums, or any other space where we live, work and play, there are really two distinct camps of...

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Qualities to Look for in a Technology Master Planner

When planning how you’ll incorporate audiovisual and technology solutions into a space, leveraging the expertise of an experienced and proven AV consultant from end to end can make all the...

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Electrosonic Projects Land on AV Awards Shortlist

The AV Awards annually recognize the “outstanding achievements of individuals, companies, projects and technology across the AV, events and production sectors” – and three Electrosonic projects have...

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How Close is XR to Saving Themed Experiences in a Post-Pandemic World?

As reopening begins, every industry the world over is looking for ways to re-engage with customers in ways that deliver the same impactful, memorable experiences they were accustomed to before the...

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Providing Peace of Mind for Tenants through Technology Solutions

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, much of the concern surrounding workplace safety has centered on employees’ peace of mind and comfort and on maintaining productivity despite protective...

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How Briefing Centers Elevate Operations and Act as an Extension of Your Brand (New Podcast)

Engaging experiences aren’t just for traditional leisure spaces where consumers live and play. More and more, corporations are adding briefing centers, which are themed, immersive spaces where...

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The Benefits of Planning for Long-Term Development During a Period of Crisis

As we saw in the first two blogs in our series on the reopening of leisure experiences, bringing back a sense of normalcy to the leisure sector requires an initial focus on safe, secure operations....

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Ensuring You Deliver a Positive Guest Experience During Challenging Times

In the first blog in this series, we explained how innovative technology can help leisure operators reopen and run their facilities safely as lockdown begins to ease. Now, with restrictions easing...

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Innovative Technology’s Role in Operating Leisure Facilities Safely as Lockdown Ends

As the global pandemic shows signs of easing, theme parks and other leisure facilities around the world are beginning to reopen, although on a limited scale. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s time...

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Blending of Physical Environments and Digital Interfaces Will Drive Powerful Experiences for Casinos and Gaming

There’s been much said about how offices might look as the world’s reopening and efforts to achieve a “new normal” march forward, and it’s a certainty that technology will play a critical role in...

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International Spy Museum Wows, Earns Electrosonic Integration Awards Win for Museum Project of the Year

Electrosonic is no stranger to recognition for spectacular museum projects. In fact, in 2019, the Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Centre took home the Best Museum Project of the Year award from the...


Crafting the World’s Most Spectacular Integrated Resort at MGM COTAI

There’s no other way to say it – the $3.4 billion MGM COTAI resort in Macau, China is likely the most awe-inspiring and innovative integrated experience the world has ever known. It features the...

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How Are Electrosonic’s Managed Services Crafted For You? (New Podcast)

It’s not enough to simply throw technology and audiovisual solutions at your operation and expect efficiency to result. Effective managed services promote uptime, help teams collaborate more...

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What will Brick-and-Mortar Offices Look Like Post-COVID-19?

With some of the world’s biggest companies – including Amazon, Microsoft, Google and many others – extending work-from-home policies or contemplating a permanent shift to remote work, one key...

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How Will We Utilize Technology to Reconfigure A Safe Office Again?

We’ve highlighted how the digital workplace will likely be forever altered in the wake of the spread of the novel coronavirus and the ensuing COVID-19 pandemic. It’s clear that this period of...

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How Can Augmented Reality and AI Better Help us Adapt to the (New Normal)?

There’s no question that technology will play a critical role in the post-pandemic future of the ways we live, work and play. From an increasing reliance on videoconferencing to increased security...

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Entering the New Normal: A Reshaped Technological Landscape

The world is collectively striving toward a return to pre-pandemic life and business operation. However, even as signs of progress and glimmers of hope appear in the wake of the COVID-19 disruption,...

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Choosing the Right Managed Service Provider: Checklist

You’ve recognized the need for thorough and robust audiovisual solutions. It’s simply the way business is conducted in the current operational landscape, with videoconferencing, remote work and...

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The Post-Pandemic Future of the Digital Workplace

It’s clear that the current state of uncertainty brought about how the COVID-19 pandemic has engineered drastic shifts in the way we think about different corners of society – and remote work and...

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Effectively Utilizing Video Collaboration to Boost Remote Work Efficiency

Being agile is critical at all times, and ensuring your team’s remote capabilities match that desired agility and allow for a smooth transition to home work and other remote situations without...

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Providing Needed Audiovisual Solutions for Vital and Emergency Services

Effectively coping with – and ultimately resolving – crisis situations often requires swift action from essential personnel. Unfortunately, during times of uncertainty, fear, panic and confusion can...

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How Important Is It for Your Audiovisual Partner to Handle Your Managed Services?

When creating or elevating a space, it’s easy to get lost in the forward-facing, solutions-oriented side of AV installations. You’re concerned with how your integrator is supporting your overall...

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Hospitality environments have completely changed as a result of the growing experience economy – and for good reason. Over the past few decades, hospitality environments have heavily shifted from...

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New Dark Ride Plunges Guests Into Mysterious New World

The award-winning Europa-Park is the largest theme park in Germany, and one of the most popular theme park resorts in Europe. Since 2014, Europa-Park has been named the world's best amusement park by...

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The Way Forward for Sustainability in Audiovisual Design

Modern society is becoming more concerned with sustainability and the protection of our shared environment seemingly every day – with the wealth of information at our fingertips about the potential...

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How Audiovisual Technology and Casinos Work Hand in Hand to Provide Cutting-Edge Experiences

Stepping into a casino is no longer about heading straight for the craps table – the entire experience has evolved alongside the technology and experience-centric modern landscape. Today’s casino...

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Understanding the Ingredients Needed to Create Smart Workplaces (New Podcast)

The thirst for experiences that seems to be driving everything in the current market goes well beyond the hospitality, retail and amusement-based environments. And for good reason. After all, as a...

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Why Architects Need a Dedicated Audiovisual Partner

At its core, architecture is a creative field – architects seek to create stunning and lasting spaces, and that process can feel like an extremely personal one. However, architects shouldn’t let this...

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What Does a Modern Retail Environment Look Like?

Few operating environments have changed to the same extent as the retail space. As one of the true consumer-facing environments, retail has understandably experienced some dramatic swings.

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Beyond Dubai: Middle East Entertainment, Attractions Primed for Expansion

It’s no secret where the current heart of the Middle East’s entertainment and attractions industry lies – Dubai, the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates with more than three million people...

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Delivering Innovative AV Integration and Storytelling in Iconic, Historic Spaces

As audiovisual technology marches forward, some of the world’s most iconic and historic places are being swept into the current. There’s a common desire to maintain these powerful spaces, but also to...

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Immersive Stadiums: Outdoing Living Rooms Everywhere

Sports stadiums have a formidable rival: high-def, flat-panel TVs. After all, why pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a stadium seat—where you can easily miss a play or a call—when you can...

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Are You Ready for ISE?

Taking place in Amsterdam February 11-14, the Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) exhibition is a premier event focused entirely on audiovisual (AV) and systems integration. If you have a project on the...

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SEA 2020 - Turning Saudi Arabia Into the Entertainment Hub of the Middle East

Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority (GEA), which is responsible for the development and regulation of the Kingdom’s entertainment sector, has led the drive towards supporting the...

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Technology for Technology Sake Is Not Innovative

No doubt, the cool factor of today’s smart spaces has a unique ability to generate buzz. Yet, in a world where smart devices have become the norm, smart spaces need to be able to deliver more.

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What Does a Modern Museum Look Like?

As a continuation of this modern spaces series, we are taking a look at how the new year of transformation has helped the museum space evolve.

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What Does a Modern Control Room Look Like?

For the past decade or more, 2020 has been the year that many analysts have predicted for next generation offerings. With this in mind, we are going to spend the next few weeks looking at how...

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Is Your AV Deployment Secure?

The need for security impacts everyone. And, unfortunately, unmonitored access points can quickly lead to a costly data breach. The massive Target breach from a few years ago was the result of an...

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Does 5G Matter for Your AV Deployments?

If you pay even the slightest amount of attention to technology trends, you already know that the hype around 5G is rapidly gaining steam. The question is what does the eventual movement from current...

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Looking Back at a Decade of Opportunity

Each time we hit a new decade, it is always fun and often rewarding to take a look in the rearview mirror to see how the company has progressed. The past 10 years represent a decade of significant...


What's on Your Wishlist?

Do you have a project on the horizon? Is your goal to captivate your audience? In the spirit of the holidays, we have created a wish list of the qualities a company should consider when selecting an...


Looking Back - 10 Notable Projects From the Past Decade

Over the last ten years, Electrosonic has had the opportunity to work on a wide array of projects. Projects that stretch across global borders, serving numerous industries and leveraging a wide array...


Why Financial Services Organizations Need a Global AV Partner

Customer expectations are at an all-time high at a time when the digital realm has provided consumers have significantly more choices and added control. As a result, consumers are actively seeking...


Understanding How Moore’s Law Impacts Your AV Decisions

Each time we seemingly reach a plateau where it seems like technology evolution is slowing down, an innovation enters the landscape, often kicking off an entirely new wave of product iterations....


What You Need to Know About Working with a Global AV Partner

Being able to conquer the biggest, most complex audiovisual (AV) projects requires expertise that comes from dealing with diverse experiences. The type of diverse experiences that only happen when a...


What You Need to Know About Building Smart Spaces

Much like today’s consumers, building owners have high expectations. They want far more out of their investments as they build new spaces and renovate existing environments. A key driver? The...


Dark Rides Create Extension Opportunities

Brand extension is a goal for any themed environment. After all, extension allows a theme park operator to build a thriving community within the existing ecosystem. Within a themed environment an...


Dark Rides Make the Most of Today's AV Technology

We live in a technology driven world. In fact, most of your guests have a supercomputer in their pocket capable of seamlessly connecting them to a never-ending world of information and opportunities.


Dark Rides Provide Continued Growth Opportunities

When a theme park undergoes an expansion project, the sky should be the limit. Unfortunately, theme parks can quickly consume large parcels of land. This is especially true when a park starts to...


Dark Rides Help Theme Parks Meet Evolving Expectations

The best route to success is to meet customer demands. And, today’s consumers understand what they want, far more so than previous generations. More importantly, they are far more vocal about it – if...


Dark Rides Expand Branding Opportunities

Brands are more important today than ever before. Why? Today’s consumer likes to relate to a brand – it is part of the experience they desire. This is true whether they are buying a product or...


Dark Rides Protect Your Park's Future

Nostalgia has its place even with the Millennial crowd. There is something comforting about a known experience. It helps the guest even temporarily relive cherished childhood memories. That is the...


3 Keys to an Experience-Centered Theme Park

Entertainment has a meaningful role in today’s growing experience economy. Simply put, consumers crave experiences. And when it comes to entertainment, they are looking for something that is better...


Is Technology Helping Your Retail Space Thrive? It Should Be!

The face of retail has changed dramatically in recent years. Simply put, online activity continues to impact how consumers buy a growing array of goods. However, stats still show that, despite the...


4 Key Components to Successful Projection

While there is no universal best screen for every application, selecting the wrong surface can create problems, including poor image quality or viewing difficulties for part of the audience.


7 Things You Need to Do During IAAPA

There is a lot of excitement at IAAPA, and without a plan the entire experience can quickly become overwhelming. Sensory overload is always a real possibility! Having participated in these events for...


Are You Ready to Enter the World of Espionage? (New Podcast)

Fictional or factual, the world of espionage has a way of captivating people. In part, the intrigue has to do with the mystique of carrying on the façade of being someone else. However, the hidden...


Are You Ready for IAAPA?

As the attraction industry’s biggest expo, IAAPA is always a great opportunity to shine a spotlight on what we have done over the past year, as well as a time to meet with existing and prospective...


Do You Really Need an AV Consultant?

As the experience economy continues to mature and evolve, it is has become increasingly more important to embrace creative and meaningful ways to visually interact with team members and customers....


What does it take to deliver the world’s largest museum (New Podcast)?

It’s not every day that you can be involved in delivering the world’s largest anything. That is part of what makes the Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Centre so unique and intriguing. Designed and...


Bringing the Past Back to Life with AV Technology

There are a lot of lessons to learn from the past. However, keeping people actively engaged can be challenging. As many museums have learned, the proper (and creative) use of audiovisual (AV)...


Is it Possible to Extend the Sporting Experience?

Sport teams have a magical way of maintaining brand loyalty. One of the reasons is the ability to build excitement that only comes with community. This is pretty easy to keep the momentum going...


What You Need to Know About Shareable Experiences

The experience economy is here. And, when properly utilized audiovisual (AV) technology can play an instrumental role in transforming the customer experience. When people experience something...


Are You Ready for AV-As-A-Service?

The cloud-based as-a-service market has been one of the fastest growing sectors over the past 5 years. So much so that it’s estimated that organizations will spend $94.8 billion on these cloud-based...


11 Things Oil and Gas Leaders Need to Know About Smart Control Rooms

Oil and gas fields are constantly evolving. And in many instances, they have become technologically advanced environments – even when they are located in some of the world’s most remote and...


How Interactives Can Become Viral

We have talked in detail about the significant role that interactive audiovisual deployments can have as guests engage and ultimately embrace the immersive experience. What we haven’t discussed is...


How Disruptive Technology Can Fuel Design Considerations

Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen once defined disruptive technology as one that displaces an established technology, shaking up the industry, or a ground-breaking technology...

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11 Things the Energy and Utilities Industry Should Know About Smart Control Rooms

Control rooms have long played a meaningful role in helping Energy and Utility organizations keep a watchful eye on key mission critical assets in the field. However, the control rooms powering...

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Four Sessions You Need to Attend At IAAPA Expo Europe

Electrosonic is exhibiting at the IAAPA Expo Europe 2019 in Paris next week. Hosted by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, this combined industry conference and...


What are the Benefits of Immersive Technologies?

One of the biggest drivers of the new digital economy – the growing thirst for experiences. Simply put, consumers want to partner with brands who take the steps necessary to satisfy this desire.


What are the Benefits of Digital Communications and Media Walls?

We live in a fast-paced, technology-fueled environment where people put a significant value on their time. They desire everything they need in a quick consumable fashion. Fortunately, the audiovisual...


Addressing Learning Disabilities

Today’s educators are far more in-tune with the need to adjust lessons to meet individualized student needs. Addressing learning disabilities is a prime example.


What are the Benefits of Remote Monitoring and Repair?

Audiovisual (AV) and collaboration systems are crucial to many aspects of business success. However, the range and complexity of different systems create a significant workload for IT.


Future of the Digital Workplace

The digital economy is here and with it comes a new way of conducting business. Technology is at the core of almost every job. Smart offices have become the norm with an influx of highly interactive...

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Spotlight on Excellence - Electrosonic Makes the Shortlist

Much like the Oscars for the motion picture industry, the annual AV Awards is in place to recognize the most phenomenal audiovisual (AV) deployments around the world as well as the organizations...


Collaboration and Communication

When properly leveraged, audiovisual (AV) technology is at the core of most highly effective collaboration and communications efforts in today’s digital world. After all, AV technology has the...

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Unpacking the XR Revolution (New Podcast)

We are in the beginning stages of a true revolution – the extended reality revolution. Although some components have been around for a handful of years, the current level of maturity, understanding...


The Technologies Providing Opportunities for Huddle Rooms

The ultimate goal in creating huddle rooms is to build small spaces that encourage and empower multidisciplined teams to meet. By design these spaces are intended to facilitate productivity – without...


Is Your Team Failing to Communicate? What You Need to Know About Unified Communications.

The ability to effectively communicate is a key component to having productive teams who get their work done. Whether communication is between colleagues, with suppliers and strategic partners or...


Impact of Audiovisual Innovations to the Education Sector

As digitalization has become the new reality, the impact of user facing innovations has been phenomenal. Regardless of industry or user environment, the boost (and acceptance) of new innovations has...


Why Businesses Favor a Huddle Room

The global market is rapidly evolving, and if organizations hope to compete – or better yet thrive – they need to rethink their physical environments. Gone are the work weeks where workers file into...


Combining Innovative Design and Modern Technology to Create Inspirational Spaces

Architecture has a way of evoking awe unlike any other art form. Perhaps it’s because buildings allow us to immerse ourselves into a space for a uniquely holistic experience. Whether classic or...


Reinventing Spaces: Retailtainment

Modern retail venues are constantly evolving – merging entertainment with shopping to create lifestyle destinations for people to shop, eat, drink, socialize and work. They are ultimately redefining...


Why Audiovisual Solutions Matter

In today’s digital economy, how businesses leverage technology is often a key differentiator. While various technologies play a role in fueling this evolving environment properly deploy audiovisual...


3 Steps to Educating with Immersive Technology

We live in an environment where technology has placed access to information at our fingertips. Wherever we are our mobile devices and search tools like Google can provide us answers to just about any...


The Changing Expectations of Today's Learners

Education at every age level has always had one common thread – the need to convey content in a manner that the learner engages with the lesson and ultimately internalizes the information. The...


4 Things You Need to Know About the Changing Face of the Traditional Workplace

It’s time to accept that the digital economy is here to stay. And as organizations embrace this new reality there is an increased focus on offering products and services that ultimately deliver the...


What is a Huddle Room?

As Millennials started replacing Boomers, they brought with them the idea of open office environments. And, while these open spaces created an aesthetic the new professionals desired, it also shined...

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It’s Not The Technology That is Exciting. It’s The Potential to Create Experiences (New Podcast)

With all of the exciting audiovisual (AV) technology on display at InfoComm 2019, the potential to creatively address new applications is exhilarating. Each year top vendors and a few up-and-coming...


3 Ways AV Brings Your Zoo or Aquarium into the Digital Age

Zoos and aquariums have an intriguing capability to attract guests of all ages. One of the reasons for the lasting appeal is their unique ability to offer guests the opportunity to at least...


Optimizing Design with AV in Mind

When creating a distinctive structure for a client, it is easy to get caught up in the aesthetics of delivering a truly unique design capable of setting a facility apart from the pack. However, doing...


Reinventing the Corporate Enterprise Space to Captivate Visitors & Employees

Corporate lobbies and office reception areas have the potential to become incredible spaces – delivering brand messages, capturing the attention of visitors, and engaging employees.


What are You Offering Beyond the Main Attraction?

Destination locations are often known for providing excitement and hitting the extremes. Think about destinations like Las Vegas, Dubai, Atlantic City or Macau. The opportunities to have fun are...


Putting an End to Terminal Boredom

Airport terminals can be busy and heavily congested environments, especially during peak travel times. However, even though terminals are often filled with people rapidly moving from point A to point...

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One of the Reasons Theme Parks Are So Appealing? They Deliver Immersive Experiences (New Podcast)

Expectations are high when visiting theme parks. So much so that guests demand an immersive experience when making the investment to take the family on a truly magical vacation.


You Want to Capitalize on What Technology Offers? Build A Modern Control Room!

Revitalizing the control room environment is a great way for oil and gas businesses with a host of remote offshore operations to truly capitalize on improved communications and networking...

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5 Trends Impacting the Need to Revitalize Control Rooms

Control rooms have long been mission-critical environments, especially within the oil and gas industries. These systems play an essential role in maximizing operational efficiency, reducing risk,...


Upcoming Event Focuses on Technology's Role in the Future of Oil & Gas

Technology touches all industries. And when organizations embrace what technology has to offer, the opportunity exists to excel. This is exactly what is happening at the Future Oil & Gas conference...


6 Examples of Cool Things Electrosonic Has Accomplished at Museums

Museums are a key part of our culture. Since Electrosonic’s inception, over 55 years ago, we have worked with a wide array of museums. Whether it’s a local museum aiming to improve the visitor...

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If You Are Not Designing With Your Ears, You Are Doing it Wrong [Webinar]

Effective design cannot take place in a vacuum. The need for a comprehensive approach is growing as more organizations strategically shift focus away from building purely trendy spaces towards...


The Importance of Audiovisual Design in Multi-Use and Open Spaces

An organisation’s spaces represent, after its people, its biggest investment. This, along with cultural, economic and demographic drivers, means we are beginning to see the proliferation of multi-use...


3 Things You Need to Know About the AAM Museum Expo (Event Preview)

Looking for interesting ways to improve your museum’s ability to attract and engage patrons? Interested in learning (and seeing) how your peers are running their operations? If so, the 2019 AAM...


How Theme Parks Create Great Customer Experiences

The relationship between technological innovation, audiovisual technology, and the theme park is nothing new.


You Are Wrong if You Think Your Museum is Too Small to Wow

It’s easy to get drawn in by all the elaborate exhibits that the largest museums (admitted blessed with deep pocket donors) unveil. After all, they embrace the challenge of creating immersive...


Audiovisual Best Practices Architects and Designers Need to Know

Today, architects, designers, main contractors and other key stakeholders are being asked to integrate thoughtful audiovisual(AV) designs into their project designs in order to create better...


The Future of Technology In Design is Here. We Call it Technology Master Planning (New Podcast)

The digital economy has arrived. As a result, technology is no longer simply nice to have – its an expectation. However, how specifically organizations utilize technology can differ considerably.

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Ignoring Millennials is Killing Your Museum

Simply put, it’s a monumental mistake to overlook the power of the millennial generation. A recent Brookings Institute Study shows that at over 75 million strong, the millennials are America’s...

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3 Ways to Tell Your Brand’s Story With Technology

We all have a story to tell. It’s what helps separate us from our competition.


3 Ways Technology Master Planning Can Help Your Bottom Line

When organizations embrace new technology, the potential exists to introduce significant new benefits to the company’s existing environment. So much so that technology can significantly differentiate...


Bringing History to Life with Technology – The National World War I Museum [New Video]

The National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri, tells the story of The Great War and related global events from 1914 through the 1918 Armistice and 1919 Paris Peace Conference....

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16 Facts You May Not Know About Electrosonic

For the past 55 years, Electrosonic has operated behind the scenes, with a proven record of helping our clients realize truly immersive experiences. Electrosonic creates innovative experiences by...

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What You Need to Know About Control Rooms [New Podcast]

When most people hear the words control room, it instantly incites a vision of a space filled with gages, levers, flashing lights and a lot of tension. This is because control rooms often play a...


Experience Redefined: ISE2019 Emerging Technologies for Attractions

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  1. Most Popular Theme Parks By Attendance

    an example of a theme park

  2. Awesome New Theme Park Rides Worth the Pricey Admission

    an example of a theme park

  3. 10 Things to do at the Theme Parks during the Fall

    an example of a theme park

  4. Top 25 Amusement Parks Ranked By The TripAdvisor

    an example of a theme park

  5. Citigraph Theme Park and Attraction Map Design Examples

    an example of a theme park

  6. Map of Crealy Theme Park & Resort

    an example of a theme park


  1. 25 Best Theme Parks in the United States

    9. Silver Dollar City — Branson, Missouri. Located in Missouri's Ozark Mountains, Silver Dollar City is an 1880s-style theme park with over 40 rides and attractions, plus demonstrations from ...

  2. What Is A Theme Park?

    The Walt Disney Company is most well known for their theme parks which have themes encompassing fantasy tales, movies and other mythology. Other theme parks like Islands of Adventure are themed after multiple lands based on works of literature like comics (Marvel) and books (Harry Potter, Dr. Seuss).

  3. 100 Best Theme Parks in the World

    1 - Walt Disney World Resort There's a reason why they call Orlando Florida's Disney resort a "world". The mega-resort Walt Disney World features four marvelous parks to lose yourself in the wonderful world of Disney. Magic Kingdom They say fantasy becomes a reality at the Magic Kingdom, and who are we to argue?

  4. What are the top 25 theme park attractions in the world?

    From rollercoasters to dark rides to virtual 3-D experiences, here's Blooloop's list of the world's top 25 theme park attractions for 2020: 25. Voletarium - Europa-Park, Germany Image courtesy...

  5. Types of Theme Park Attractions

    Types of Theme Park Attractions What Are Dark Rides, Flat Rides, VR Rides, 4D Rides, and Other Park Rides? By Arthur Levine Updated on 11/13/20 The Walt Disney Company You know what roller coasters, carousels, and Ferris wheels are. But have you ever heard the term, "dark ride," and wondered what it meant? How about "flat ride?"

  6. Amusement park

    An example of this is the world's oldest amusement park, Bakken ("The Hill"), which opened in mainland Europe in 1583. It is located north of Copenhagen in Klampenborg, Denmark. [11] [12] Vauxhall Gardens, founded in 1661 as one of the first pleasure gardens Another early garden was the Vauxhall Gardens, founded in 1661 in London.

  7. I've Been to Every Theme Park in America—And These Are My Favorites

    Kennywood, located just outside of Pittsburgh in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, is my favorite traditional amusement park in the United States. It reminds me of the amusement park I grew up...

  8. The Differences Between Theme Parks and Amusement Parks

    Arthur Levine Updated on 09/06/19 Goofy welcomes guests to Mickey's Toontown at Disneyland. Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort Theme park or amusement park? Have you ever wondered whether there is any difference between the two terms? Some might argue it's one of those you-say- tomato -and-I-say- tomahto things.

  9. Guide to Theme Park Design

    Design Guide | Jan 5, 2022 Designing a theme park is an ambitious and exciting enterprise. Whether it's to attract new visitors to an area, entertain a built-in audience or fulfill a life-long dream, this type of endeavor requires a healthy amount of planning, preparation and passion.

  10. Theme Park Ideas

    Villains For decades theme park fans have been clamoring for a villain theme park or land, especially one based on iconic Disney villains. Ideas for this theme park can include stories of what would have happened if a certain villain took over the world or following the classic stories we all know, but from the villain's point of view.

  11. 18 hottest new theme park attractions for 2021

    The grand opening for Remy's Ratatouille Adventure is set for Oct. 1. (Photo by Matt Stroshane/Walt Disney World) Originally slated to open in 2020, Walt Disney World finally announced Oct. 1, 2021, as the official opening date for this favorite trackless ride from Disneyland Paris that's debuting in Orlando.

  12. The 20 things every great theme park should have

    Robert Niles The 20 things every great theme park should have May 20, 2016, 1:03 PM · What makes a theme park great? Powerful franchises with memorable characters and thrilling rides have...

  13. Theme park design: the art of attractions

    Theme park art, says West, is more "optimistic and bright. Films and games are usually moodier and darker, whereas theme parks emphasise colour and charm much more.". Furthermore, you get to walk around in your own creation! The initial stages of concept art may focus on similar stages of film concept, like mood and colour.

  14. What Are Theme Parks? (with pictures)

    A roller coaster at a theme park. An example of one of these sections is Frontierland, where visitors can experience the architecture of the old west of the United States, and in it can ride rides and see live shows that highlight this era of American culture.

  15. 8 Types of Theme Parks

    Silverwood The theme is based on local history of silver mining in Idaho.  5. Pop Culture Theme Parks Pop culture parks are usually amusement parks that are based around movie production studios like Disneyland or Universal. These parks feature rides, food courts, movie experiences, and more.

  16. Theme Parks Vs. Amusement Parks: What's The Difference, And Why It

    (Image credit: Disneyland Resort) Theme Parks Are About Creating A Sense Of Place At their core, both theme parks and amusement parks are about giving their guests lots of different...

  17. So what, exactly, is a theme park, anyway?

    Update: The TL;DR — a theme park is a defined, designed space that features themed rides and attractions. Theme parks are a subset of amusement parks, and they have inspired the development of ...

  18. What Is A Theme Park?

    One notable example, Margaret J. King and J.G. O'Boyle stated in the essay The Theme Park: The Art of Time and Space, "A theme park without rides is still a theme park: an amusement park without rides is a parking lot with popcorn." (7) This was among many other statements suggesting that amusement parks are limited experiences that are ...

  19. What is a Theme Park? A Synthesis and Research Framework

    Within the tourism literature, focal theme parks have spanned the exemplars of Disneyland and Universal Studios ( Milman, 2008, 2009 ); small and less themed amusement parks such as Six Flags, Cedar Point, and Happy Valley (China; Liang, 2019 ); even smaller sites like Legoland and Holy Land Experience in the United States ( Clavé, 2007 ); and n...

  20. Introduction: Defining Theme Parks and Assessing Theme Park Studies

    Abstract. The introduction offers a thorough discussion of various definitions of theme parks, a detailed reflection on the development of theme park studies, and a systematic presentation of the state of the art in theme park studies across various disciplines. It will further provide readers with a rationale for the organization of the book ...

  21. What is a Theme Park? A Synthesis and Research Framework

    1. Provides a comprehensive review on theme park literature across disciplines. 2. Offer an integrated definition of theme park. 3. Identifies five core characteristics of theme park: thematic identity, closed space with controlled access, hybrid consumption, performative labor, and merchandising. 4.

  22. What it's like to be a theme park designer

    Taylor Jeffs is living his dream. Growing up in Orange County, California, near Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm, he visited some of the world's best theme parks on a regular basis. "Back ...

  23. Experience and Technology Design for Theme Parks: How to do it well

    An excellent example of storytelling experience design is the new Star Wars Rise of the Resistance at Disneyland. It includes multiple ride systems and sets visitors off on a mission to join the Resistance. ... By using AI and machine learning, theme park managers can uncover trends. This could be very useful in planning new attractions to ...