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California Adventure ranks as the best-value theme park in the U.S.

by Samantha Davis-Friedman

Theme parks are obviously among the most-visited tourist attractions worldwide, but high admission prices can eat up valuable vacation dollars. Luckily, a recent study ranking the best-value theme park (as well as worst-value parks) can help travelers make the most of their money.

best-value theme park - California Adventure
Image courtesy of Disneyland Resort

The study conducted by travel blog ParkSleepFly analyzed the cost of a single-day adult admission ticket to top theme parks – as well as the number of “poor” and “terrible” TripAdvisor reviews received for each park – to rank the best-value and worst-value theme parks.

“World’s Best-Value Theme Parks”

Based on their research, ParkSleepFly found that most of the best-value theme parks are located in Asia, earning five of the top seven spots.

Number one by a mile is Everland Resort in South Korea, which earned a perfect ten out of ten score, with a daily ticket cost of  W50,000 (about $41) and only 2.3% of negative reviews. In second place, Ocean Park Hong Kong earned a score of 7.5 with a ticket price of HK$498 (about $64) and 5.0% negative reviews. The other top-ranked Asian parks are Tokyo DisneySea in fourth place with a score of 6.56, and Hong Kong Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland tied for sixth place with a score of 6.25.

Disney California Adventure in Anaheim, Calif. was rated the best value for U.S. parks with a score of 6.88 out of ten, a ticket price of $104, and only 3.4% of TripAdvisor reviews being negative, but close behind is Universal’s Islands of Adventure in Orlando with a score of 6.56, a ticket price of $109, and 2.7% negative reviews. The third highest best-value U.S. theme park is Universal Studios Hollywood in the number eight spot with a score of 5.94, a $109 ticket price, and 5.8% negative TripAdvisor reviews.

“World’s Worst-Value Theme Parks”

On the other end of the spectrum, Universal Studios Florida earned the not-so-coveted title of the worst-value theme park (and a score of 2.8 out of ten), with a single-day adult ticket costing $109 and 7.8% of reviews for the park being negative.

best-value theme park - Universal Studios Florida
Photo courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort

However, Disney didn’t escape the “worst-value parks” list, with Epcot and Disneyland tied for the worst-value Disney park with a score of 3.44, followed by Magic Kingdom with a score of 3.75 and Disney’s Hollywood Studios with a score of 4.06.

Stradling the middle ground is Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando with a score of 5.63 out of ten, a ticket price of $109, and 4.1% negative reviews; Lotte World in South Korea with a score of 5.0, a ticket price of W56,000 (about $46), and 12.3% negative reviews; and Universal Studios Japan with a score of 4.38, a ticket price of JPY8,400 (about $68), and 6.2% negative reviews.

best- and worst-value theme parks

Methodology

Ticket costs were listed for the lowest-priced single-day adult admission ticket available (prices sourced from theme park websites), and “poor” and “terrible” reviews were sourced from TripAdvisor and calculated as a percentage of the total number of reviews for each park. ParkSleepFly then gave each park a “value score” out of ten by giving each one a normalized score out of ten for both ticket price and percentage of bad reviews and then taking an average of these two scores.

Click here to view the complete study.

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