New research reveals Florida's top 10 best-rated amusement parks, with Universal's Islands of Adventure taking the top spot.

Report: Universal Beats Disney As The Best-Rated Theme Park In Florida

Universal Studios
Source: TFP File Photo

New research reveals Florida’s top 10 best-rated amusement parks, with Universal’s Islands of Adventure taking the top spot.

The research conducted by Westgate Palace Hotel at Universal analyzed every amusement park located in Florida based on three key factors: Instagram hashtags, monthly Google search volume, and the percentage of ‘excellent’ reviews on TripAdvisor.

These factors were then combined in an index to give each amusement park a total score to discover the most popular in the state.

The factors were also weighted in favor of customer experiences, so TripAdvisor reviews were given a higher weight due to them directly reflecting parkgoers’ satisfaction. 

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A spokesperson for Westgate Palace Hotel at Universal commented on the findings: “It comes as no surprise that theme parks operated by Walt Disney and Universal Studios have dominated the list. What may be surprising, however, is that the research crowns Universal’s Islands of Adventure as the best-rated theme park, beating all four major Disney parks.” 

“Universal Studios Orlando stands out as the premier theme park destination in Florida due to its unrivaled customer experience and unwavering commitment to visitor satisfaction.” 

Universal’s Islands of Adventure takes the crown as the most popular theme park in Florida, according to the research. Islands of Adventure is one of the two major parks at Universal Orlando Resort, famous for its thrilling rides and experiences, including the acclaimed The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The Universal park claimed the top spot due to its impressive total index score of 91.1 out of 100. Boasting 52,310 reviews from park-goers, 74% fall under the ‘excellent’ rating, the highest rating in not only Florida, but the entire United States. TripAdvisor ratings, alongside 854,821 Instagram hashtags, place Islands of Adventure firmly in the top spot. 

Disney’s Magic Kingdom narrowly misses out on the top spot, placing second behind Universal, scoring 90.4. Home to the iconic Cinderella’s Castle, Magic Kingdom is the most visited vacation resort in Florida, amassing more than 17 million visitors in 2022 alone, but only the second highest-rated. Magic Kingdom ranks as the most Instagrammable theme park in the United States, holding the highest number of Instagram hashtags of any theme park worldwide, with a whopping 8,012,859 posts. 

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The research revealed that Disney’s Animal Kingdom ranks as the third best-rated theme park in Florida. Animal Kingdom is the most Googled theme park in Florida, receiving 379,000 average monthly searches nationwide, and has the third-highest number of hashtags in the ranking, with 4,752,545 hashtags. Opening in 1998, Animal Kingdom is the largest of the four Disney theme parks in terms of land area and is the second Walt Disney World park to feature on the list, with a total score of 80.7. 

Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park places next in the ranking, in fourth place. Typhoon Lagoon is one of two water parks at Walt Disney World, the other being Blizzard Beach, which ranks in seventh place. The water park is the third highest-rated Florida park on TripAdvisor, with 63% of its reviews labeled ‘excellent’ out of 9,188 total reviews, contributing to its final index score of 77.7. 

The study revealed that EPCOT is the fifth most acclaimed amusement park in Florida, based on park-goers experience. EPCOT is known for its unique blend of futuristic innovation and cultural exploration, home to popular rides such as Spaceship Earth and Test Track, as well as the celebrated World Showcase. EPCOT is the second most Instagrammable park in Florida, with 4,944,301 hashtags and final score of 77.6. 

The top 10 best-rated amusement parks in Florida 

          Rank         Amusement park         Final score out of 100 
          1.         Universal’s Islands of Adventure         91.1 
          2.         Magic Kingdom          90.4 
          3.         Animal Kingdom         80.7 
          4.         Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park         77.7 
          5.         EPCOT         77.6 
          6.         Universal Studios Florida         77.3 
          7.         Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park         73.6 
          8.         SeaWorld Orlando         73.5 
          9.         Hollywood Studios         72.3 
          10.         Busch Gardens Tampa Bay         70.2 

Universal Studios Florida ranks as the sixth best-rated theme park in Florida, according to the findings. Universal Orlando Resort features two major theme parks: Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure, with Universal Studios better known for its movie-themed attractions and shows. Universal Studios has a score of 77.3 due to its average monthly search volume of 95,000 searches and its 3,340,628 Instagram hashtags of the park. 

The top 10 best-rated amusement parks in Florida are rounded out by Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park ranking in seventh place, followed by SeaWorld Orlando, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay in eighth, ninth, and tenth, respectively. 

The spokesperson from Westgate Palace Hotel at Universal continued: “With a recorded 37.9 million tourists in the first three months of 2023 alone, Florida continues to be a major vacation hotspot in the United States.” 

“Florida stands out as the perfect location for a family vacation. From the enchanting world of Walt Disney World to the exhilarating experiences at Universal Orlando, Florida’s theme parks add a touch of magic to any vacation. There’s only so much fun you can fit in during a single day in a park, so naturally guests will extend their stay to visit as many of Florida’s major theme parks as possible. Our family-friendly hotel suites are strategically located on I-Drive for easy access to these attractions and offer a welcoming retreat after a day of park exploration.” 

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