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How would you rank the Theme Parks of Florida from Best to worst?

General Mayhem

Member
Original Poster
Please list from first to last what your best to worst parks in the Orlando/Tampa/Cape areas feel free to explain why as well.
Try to think of this as what you would recommend to first time visitors.
I'll go first:

1a. Magic Kingdom
~Highest number of High quality Attractions, iconic.
1b. Universal's Islands of Adventure
~Great Variety of attractions, themed areas, and has some of the best E-tickets around.
3. Universal Studios Florida
~High number of attractions and E-ticket attractions. Also Seasonal Events are spectacular.
4. Kennedy Space Center
~Extremely high quality exhibits, shows, and experiences. It is an example of what Epcot should be.
5. Disney's Animal Kingdom
~Impeccable themeing, has some of the best shows, easily the one of the most immersive parks.
6. SeaWorld Orlando
~Great Coasters, marine attractions, and shows
7. Legoland Florida
~High quality attractions, what it lacks in thrills it makes up for in charm.
8. Busch Gardens Tampa
~Great selection of Coasters, lack of indoor attractions and themeing places it lower on the list.
9. Disney Hollywood Studios
~Smallest selection of attractions
10. Epcot
~Lack of interesting attractions, updates, and in general half the park is a mess.

Have fun yall!
 
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General Mayhem

Member
Original Poster
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So how would you rank the parks?
 

chriss.moyer

Active Member
right now currently as of april 2019 since this could change with all the new things opening later this year, definitively and not a biased opinion i think it’s...

Islands of Adventure
Animal Kingdom
Magic Kingdom
Busch Gardens Tampa
Universal Studios Florida
Epcot
SeaWorld Orlando
Hollywood Studios
Legoland Florida

I’ll eventually give a detailed explanation for each !!
 

cheezbat

Well-Known Member
1.Magic Kingdom- The classics, park with most to do. One of the best in America.

2.Islands of Adventure- great variety, and theming. Universals best effort in America.

3.Universal Studios- best E tickets and Mummy, and Diagon. Too bad there are so many screens.

4.Animal Kingdom- theming, animals, Pandora. Just wish there was more to do.

5.Sea World- great coasters, shows, animals. Not quite Disney or Universal’s level.

6.Busch Gardens- great coasters, shows animals. Just stinks it’s over an hour drive from the Orlando area.

7.Legoland- most relaxed park, unique, gardens.
Very kid friendly, but not a big park and out of the way.

8.Epcot- World Showcase, Spaceship Earth, needs some love

9.Hollywood Studios- park layout a mess, so few rides, shows are old and tired. Definitely my least favorite in Florida.
 

Paper straw fan

Well-Known Member
  1. Universal Studios
  2. MK
  3. Islands
  4. Animal Kingdom
  5. HS (I am future projecting a smidge)
  6. Busch Gardens
  7. Epcot
  8. C world
  9. Lego land
BG does lack many indoor attractions but has the best collection of thrill rides in the state, and is getting 2 more soon. I like Sea World but it’s holding on for life right now.

I’ll go down swinging that US > IOA. Mummy + MIB and Rip Rocket tips in its favor there.

Knowing what HS is about to be plus having TOT bumps it over Epcot, and yet there’s days that I’d take Ep over any of the rest.

I’m judging as if I had one day to spend at any of them, and did not have fairly frequent access to them all (I’m in state so I can go fairly often)
 
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Big Phil

Well-Known Member
Magic Kingdom - Best rides, best nostalgia, best and most immersive experience
Islands of Adventure - Well themed, excellent rides, worth the price of admission
Epcot - Like no other park in the world
Animal Kingdom - A zoo/theme park like only Disney can do
Universal Studios - The lesser of the two Universals, but still epic
DHS - Lacked a lot of rides last time we went, maybe the expansion will help
Busch Gardens - Almost as if someone wanted to find the best way to combine animals and rollercoasters
Sea World - Who knows what will happen if certain people get their way and remove every sea animal in there. It would be a shame if this ever closed


That's my list. I did not enjoy Kennedy Space Centre when I went as a teenager. Maybe I like it more as an adult? Who knows. But you have to enjoy space to like it, and I'm always "meh" on that. Haven't visited LEGOLAND yet but heard nothing but good reviews. I could have taken my family of 5 for $100 if only I sat in on a time share meeting.
 

Tom Morrow

Well-Known Member
1. Magic Kingdom - while it is also the biggest PITA of all the parks which makes me dread going often, if you do catch it on a quieter day, especially in the evening, it's absolutely euphoric. It's a beautiful park that feels epic and important and is filled to the brim with nostalgia. It also boasts the highest number of attractions. The park is simultaneously the most frustrating and the most... magical.

2. Disney's Animal Kingdom - my top choice for theming, detail, and immersion. Very few parks have come close to this level of cohesiveness. Pandora, Asia, and Africa are among the top best themed lands in the world. While the attraction count is still on the lower side, many of them are top notch experiences.

3. Islands of Adventure - A very well-rounded park with some of the best thrills. It does not suffer from "screen fatigue" like Universal Studios. By the end of 2020 it will also have two roller coasters open that currently aren't.

4. Disney's Hollywood Studios - currently a mess, but I have fond memories of its past and it's about to become really great. I expect it to move up on the list.

5. Epcot - long overdue for that pending refresh, as a theme park I find Epcot to be relatively dull and tired, however it's still beautiful and my favorite park to just walk around and chill in. Has the best night atmosphere for adults.

6. Universal Studios Florida - "screen fatigue" is a major problem here. It's also by a wide margin, Florida's ugliest, most aesthetically unpleasing theme park, in my opinion. But there's no denying that, when viewed individually, the attractions in its lineup are impressive. They just are all too similar.

7. SeaWorld Orlando - It's a beautifully landscaped park, perhaps the best landscaping, the shows and exhibits are good and it boasts three of Florida's top roller coasters. Service is lackluster, however, and the park lacks a lively, upbeat atmosphere.

8. Busch Gardens Tampa - this is honestly my least favorite theme park out of any I have been to, anywhere. Although it's well maintained and landscaped, the atmosphere here is a complete downer. The place feels downright depressing as there's no life or energy whatsoever. I hate the layout, I've been there ~10 times and I still have trouble finding my way around. It doesn't help that it seems bigger than Epcot despite having a confusing and convoluted layout. The coasters are good, but not particularly noteworthy if you've been to Six Flags and Cedar Fair parks. My biggest complaint, however, is the service. Absolutely awful, without fail. All employees are rude, uncaring, with a complete and total disregard for any sort of efficiency whatsoever. We like to dunk on Six Flags, but seriously, some Six Flags parks have better service than this.

9. Legoland Florida - I've been here once. The only reason I'm putting it last is because unless you have small children, there is not much to offer for anyone else. However, if you have small children, It's fantastic. Kids under 6 or 7 may even like it more than Disney.

N/A - Kennedy Space Center - it's excellent, but I don't consider it a theme park.
 
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The Empress Lilly

Well-Known Member
Right now?

1 EPCOT. Everything they ever did to this park made it worse, with the exception of Illuminations. The last vestiges of its greatness still elevate it over everything else: SSE, Land, RoE and WS before and after the louts.
2 MK. Both the best and worst park in the world.
3 DHS. What's left of it. Which admittedly isn't much. All the Hollywood has been succesfully sucked out of it.
4 DAK. On a good day, my favourite park. The theming choices are questionable and many rides are of the 'almost awesome' type. But the one WDW park that is not bitterly frustrating to visit.
5 SEA. Best landscaping, two awesome coasters, great aquaria and animal exhibits.
6 USF. Too many screens, and visual clutter. Still take a liking to this park.
7 Busch. Animals and coasters!
8 IoA. Great despite coming in last.
 

ThatMouse

Well-Known Member
Disney World is a resort first and the parks are just something to do while you're there. I almost wish the resorts had more to do as we spend as much time at the resorts as we do the parks. We've probably spent $500 in boat rentals over the years. It's weird they lock the gates to the "DVC" pool at Polynesian, it has a nice bar area and it's always empty. Given Disney World is an expensive place to just "hang out" we are exploring other areas of Florida.
 

General Mayhem

Member
Original Poster
Disney World is a resort first and the parks are just something to do while you're there. I almost wish the resorts had more to do as we spend as much time at the resorts as we do the parks. We've probably spent $500 in boat rentals over the years. It's weird they lock the gates to the "DVC" pool at Polynesian, it has a nice bar area and it's always empty. Given Disney World is an expensive place to just "hang out" we are exploring other areas of Florida.
Ok but this is a thread about ranking the parks not the resorts.
 

SirWillow

Well-Known Member
Mine is constantly changing, depending on what mood I'm in and where I'm at. probably the best answer is my favorite one is the one I'm in at the moment. hehe

8. Busch Gardens Tampa - this is honestly my least favorite theme park out of any I have been to, anywhere. Although it's well maintained and landscaped, the atmosphere here is a complete downer. The place feels downright depressing as there's no life or energy whatsoever. I hate the layout, I've been there ~10 times and I still have trouble finding my way around. It doesn't help that it seems bigger than Epcot despite having a confusing and convoluted layout. The coasters are good, but not particularly noteworthy if you've been to Six Flags and Cedar Fair parks. My biggest complaint, however, is the service. Absolutely awful, without fail. All employees are rude, uncaring, with a complete and total disregard for any sort of efficiency whatsoever. We like to dunk on Six Flags, but seriously, some Six Flags parks have better service than this.
This is incredibly sad to see and hear, and such a drastic change from when I worked there and when the Busch family still owned it (as a part of Anheuser Busch) There was a conscious effort at the time to try to at least come close to Disney in employee quality, and we took pride in the job that we did. I knew there had been changes when the company was sold to another brewer, and then the parks were sold off, and there had been a lot of struggles and issues, but it sounds like the quality has really plummeted since our last visit around 10 years ago.
 

cheezbat

Well-Known Member
Mine is constantly changing, depending on what mood I'm in and where I'm at. probably the best answer is my favorite one is the one I'm in at the moment. hehe



This is incredibly sad to see and hear, and such a drastic change from when I worked there and when the Busch family still owned it (as a part of Anheuser Busch) There was a conscious effort at the time to try to at least come close to Disney in employee quality, and we took pride in the job that we did. I knew there had been changes when the company was sold to another brewer, and then the parks were sold off, and there had been a lot of struggles and issues, but it sounds like the quality has really plummeted since our last visit around 10 years ago.
I hadn’t visited in awhile when I went late last year, but honestly, the park is still high quality. Everyone has differing opinions and that’s fine, but the coasters are as good as ever, the staff I encountered were as polite as ever, and the food was pretty good too. Only things I found to be a downer was that the Curiousity Caverns were closed and they were replacing Tidal Wave(one of my faves) with an off the shelf multi launch coaster. (Done one before and it was fun, but a capacity nightmare.)
 

Marc Davis Fan

Well-Known Member
In think it's impossible to "rank" the parks unless you specify the criteria by which you are ranking them. Parks that are the best in some ways can be the worse in other ways. And thus, it depends on why a person it going to the park. ("What's your personal favorite park to visit right now?" is a different question.)

For example, let's take what could be considered the top parks in several categories:

Most detailed/immersive theming: Disney's Animal Kingdom

Best park for a first-timer who's never been to Disney or Universal before: Magic Kingdom

Most grand/amazing: Epcot

Best attractions: quite possibly DHS after GE and MMRR open, since it'll have RotR, ToT, and MMRR, which might turn out to be the best three attractions at WDW
 

Astro_Digital

Active Member
Magic Kingdom - Best rides, best nostalgia, best and most immersive experience
Epcot - Like no other park in the world
Islands of Adventure - Well themed Harry Potter... say no more, excellent rides, worth the price of admission
Universal Studios - The lesser of the two Universals, but still epic
DHS - But I fear Star Wars will send the place to the dark side with epic crowds. Pixar Land sounds like it was over hyped.
Kennedy Space Center the US sent men to the moon, then the shuttle now .... not much and nothing ever changes
Animal Kingdom - A zoo/theme park and boring Avatar does nothing for me.
Busch Gardens - Almost as if someone wanted to find the best way to combine animals and rollercoasters
Sea World - Who knows what will happen if certain people get their way and remove every sea animal in there. It would be a shame if this ever closed
 

Paper straw fan

Well-Known Member
Mine is constantly changing, depending on what mood I'm in and where I'm at. probably the best answer is my favorite one is the one I'm in at the moment. hehe



This is incredibly sad to see and hear, and such a drastic change from when I worked there and when the Busch family still owned it (as a part of Anheuser Busch) There was a conscious effort at the time to try to at least come close to Disney in employee quality, and we took pride in the job that we did. I knew there had been changes when the company was sold to another brewer, and then the parks were sold off, and there had been a lot of struggles and issues, but it sounds like the quality has really plummeted since our last visit around 10 years ago.
It’s not that bad. I guess when compared to Disney then yeah, customer service isn’t as great. I worked there also in the 90’s and while you did your best, some guests you just had to sort of answer their rant and move along before you said something you shouldn’t, but I’d say also- there’s no college students coming there from around the country (and world) and being lodged right off site, who won’t want to say or do anything to potentially cost their jobs. It’s just teens and young adults from the Tampa area and just another job. If I happened to get fired from BG, oh well, I’ll go work at Publix. So while I never told anyone off or was especially rude, in hour 9 of a 95 degree day, I wasn’t going to be apologetic when I refused to fill your refillable mug with chocolate ice cream.

Their thrill rides, however, are without peer in Florida. Yeah Cedar Point has better ones but you can go to BG 365 days a year as opposed to a seasonal park, and likely never wait in a line half that at CP. They just opened Tigris, which looks insane, and are redoing their old Gwazi ride into something completely different and supposedly the worlds fastest wood/steel hybrid coaster.

It hasn’t gone down the tubes. It occasionally struggles to keep up with Universal and Disney, but that’s a huge task to take on.

The real area they lack is not having a resort area like those 2, and not having the backdrop of Orlando like Sea World where there’s enough hotels in the area anyway. Your options nearby are limited to your typical 3* Doubletree type places a mile down the road. But judging park only, it does offer rides you won’t get anywhere else, and the zoo/animal areas are still as good as AK, although their safaris are another out of pocket expense.
 
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KINGLOUIS1993

Well-Known Member
I will have to base mine on what I have actually been to and from my last visit in 2016, everything could change come October when I will next be there.
  1. Magic Kingdom - Has a great variety of rides, great themes and is a Disney classic. It gives you that warm fuzzy feeling like no other park and makes 25 Year Old Louis back to 5 Year Old Louis. It has some iconic attractions and we always try and do it at least twice when we visit.
  2. Universal Studios Islands of Adventure - Do I love Jurassic Park? Yes. Do I love Marvel? Yes. But more than that I love the rides and overall look of this park. A great mix of fun kids attractions and lands. My Favorite Water Ride, Jurassic Park River Adventure one of my favorite Coasters, Hulk.
  3. Busch Gardens - In my humble opinion it has the best Coasters squeezed into one park which is good for me as a Coaster fan. I really like the immersion of the Animals in this park and the Cable Car over the Safari area is a amazing. It does lack a bit of atmosphere I agree but the Tiger enclosure there is immense and I like the Train.
  4. Disney's Animal Kingdom - Easily the second best park at Disney for me. I can't wait to finally visit Pandora and sample it for myself. Has some really fun and cool rides with Dinosaur and Everest and I always love a trip on the safari. It's only blemish for me is the overall theme of Dinoland U.S.A.
  5. Universal Studios Florida - So I know more attractions have opened since my last visit so i expect this to maybe move up my list after October but it already is a very good overall park. I really love the HP area in this park, it is (pardon the pun) magical and made me a Harry Potter fan even more than the movies and books. Men In Black is a great dark ride and is the best of it's kind in Orlando. The Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit is probably my favorite coaster, or at least in my top 3.
  6. Sea World Orlando - I love that it is quiet and you can get on rides quickly. Manta is fantastic btw and I cannot believe I got to ride it Back to back because the queue was only 20 minutes. It is a lovely park to walk around too, I find it to be a very clean and tranquil place to be and look forward to seeing all of the new attractions there.
  7. Disney's Epcot - I love the World Showcase, it is fantastic and the food options are brilliant. The level of detail is so satisfying to see and is staggering. I love Test Track, well not so much the new version but it has always been a ride I must go on. I know the rest of the park is bit messy but it is what it is I guess, the best thing now is to get some solid attractions in there.
  8. Disney's Hollywood Studios - I really hope this changes from being bottom of my list because this used to be my favorite. I used to love all of the attractions here, has three of my favorites in ToT, ST and RnRC. Being a huge Star Wars fan I am looking forward to Galaxy's Edge and I believe it will be the Best land in any park, I really do believe that. A game changer, I hope.
 

Sirwalterraleigh

Well-Known Member
Epcot, magic kingdom, islands, sea world, USO, DAK, Busch, MGM....

Even though Epcot is a battered spouse at this point (bad analogy...can’t think of a better one)
 

PiratesMansion

Well-Known Member
  1. Animal Kingdom...Easily the most immersively themed and my favorite park to be in.
  2. Discovery Cove-If this counts, easily the most immersive park outside of Disney and a fantastic experience.
  3. Busch Gardens-Certainly not for everyone, but the mix of coasters, animals, and theming definitely works for me.
  4. Magic Kingdom-Probably the best park of the region on paper. In practice it is a pain in the butt to visit as a result of crowding, FP+, shortened hours, transportation to and from the parking lot, etc.
  5. EPCOT-Fantastic atmosphere mostly via WS, but other than LWTL and SSE has no attractions I feel a strong attachment to (Test Track is fun but slight compared to RSR, New Soarin' is worse than the original).
  6. USF-One of the best attraction slates in FL, but atmosphere outside of Diagon Alley isn't great, with no sense of cohesion as a park.
  7. IOA-Revolutionary in 1999, but too little has changed since then, IMO. Theming is superficially impressive but other than HP falls flat compared to more detailed parks like AK, DLP, or TDS.
  8. SeaWorld-Although it's pleasant enough, other than the coasters I feel like I don't have a reason to come back. Much preferred the food, atmosphere, and exhibits at the San Diego park.
  9. HS-Tower is one of the best attractions in Orlando, but nothing else in the park right now comes to its level. Not enough attractions.
  10. Legoland-Not the target demographic at all here, but then I still had a great time at the one in California. The Florida property is in a terrible location, and you can tell that it was not a totally new build, which hurts the atmosphere IMO. The gardens are breathtaking, but can only take up so much of your time.
 

Tom Morrow

Well-Known Member
Ehh if you've been to more than the Florida parks, the service at Busch Gardens Tampa stands out as particularly bad. Yes, they don't have the legacy of service and college program like Disney, but neither does Universal, and Universal manages to have decent service. At Busch Gardens Tampa you will watch in frustration as the ride crews take 5 minutes per train dispatch, only because its more important for them to gossip and mess around with each other than operate their ride. No park I've been to across the country is as slow and inefficient and uncaring as BGT.
 
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