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  • Top Non-Disney Theme Parks

    How about your list of the top 10 "Best Non-Disney Theme Parks" in the world. Here's mine:
    1) Universal's Islands of Adventure
    2) Universal Studios Japan
    3) Universal Studios Florida
    4) Busch Gardens - Williamsburg
    5) Busch Gardens - Tampa Bay
    6) Everland - South Korea
    7) Terra Mitica - Spain
    8) Port Aventura - Spain
    9) Warner Brothers Movieworld - Spain
    10) Lotte World- South Korea

  • #2
    Re: Top Non-Disney Theme Parks

    something is wrong here... where is USH.. without it florida would have never been created...

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    • #3
      Re: Top Non-Disney Theme Parks

      In my opinion, parks like Busch Gardens and Port Aventura aren't really theme parks. They are great amusement parks, with extremely well-done decoration. But it's all very superficial, there's no story or anything.

      In my book, I wonder if the world even has 10 theme parks that are not Disney
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      • #4
        Re: Top Non-Disney Theme Parks

        Thriller has a point. I can only think of the Universal Parks that really count. There are lots of great amusement parks out there, but VERY few real theme parks.
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        • #5
          Re: Top Non-Disney Theme Parks

          Great points...I'm really interested in the definition of a theme park. I agree that there is clearly a sense in which Walt's revolution in creating immersive, 3 dimensional filmic environments is rarely matched outside of most Disney parks. However, most definitions of the term "theme park" would accommodate regional parks that operate well below the budgets and international draw of the Disney / Universal parks. The original Six Flags park (Texas) was the first viable one to tell a simple regional historical story with a few inexpensive, but immersive experiences borrowed and adapted from 50s DL such as a canoe ride, railroad, Confederate "Skull Island", and a fantasy flooded mine dark ride set within environments designed by a Hollywood Art Director. For the most part, I agree that most American regional parks have turned into iron ride parks in which theme / story is not a driver of the experience / attendance. But is this really the case internationally? Aren't attractions like Rhino Rally and DarKastle a difference from an off-the shelf coaster w/ only a themed name/sign/queue?

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          • #6
            Re: Top Non-Disney Theme Parks

            Figment 1986, although I consider Universal City Hollywood the best / most authentic movie attraction (because of its location, the real working studio, and the Citywalk complex which serves as a great "Main Street"), the actual gated park is a haphazard, unplanned mess with no cohesive story or themed zones (eg. Terminator next to Streets of the World next to Flinstones carnival). The newer Universal parks are well planned theme parks which were done in earnest by ballsy executives who wanted to "kick Disney's butt" and spared little expense.

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            • #7
              Re: Top Non-Disney Theme Parks

              Originally posted by figment1986
              something is wrong here... where is USH.. without it florida would have never been created...
              And your point is?
              BACKPACKING REALNESS

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              (VERY OLD!)
              TRIP REPORTS

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              • #8
                Re: Top Non-Disney Theme Parks

                Epcotplanner, you are so right about Universal Hollyweird!

                Originally posted by Dustysage
                Thriller has a point. I can only think of the Universal Parks that really count. There are lots of great amusement parks out there, but VERY few real theme parks.
                Yep, Universal's parks are themeparks. De Efteling in Holland is, in my opinion, a theme park. Non clear "lands" or anything, but their non-coaster rides do tell stories or at the very least, are mood-setters not unlike Disneyland's Haunted Mansion.

                Alton Towers in the UK has some very well themed rides, but their newest entries are pretty much iron.

                Busch Gardens Williamsburg has a few storytelling rides. So I guess that their are themed rides with storytelling, but most of them are singled out inside more or less ordinary parks ( not to say that those parks aren't great - I love BGW for example ).
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                • #9
                  Re: Top Non-Disney Theme Parks

                  BGW has a coherent theme that works pretty well... (the coasters are close to it..)

                  BGT is just getting into the theme.. look at the new part of stanlyville.. (ignore the old part that needs to be updated in a few years..)

                  this is new ride.. they are getting the hang of themeing.. so maybe they will expand on that and continue to theme expensive.. (have the resturant be themed with the ride helps..)

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                  • #10
                    Re: Top Non-Disney Theme Parks

                    I would put Parc Asterix on the list, but then you might expect that from my screen name.

                    www.parcasterix.fr

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                    • #11
                      Re: Top Non-Disney Theme Parks

                      In my opinion, parks like Busch Gardens and Port Aventura aren't really theme parks. They are great amusement parks, with extremely well-done decoration. But it's all very superficial, there's no story or anything.
                      How are we defining theme parks? I mean, if you're going by storyline value, well... what's the storyline to New Orleans Square? To Main Street? There really isn't one, it's just a very well done, detailed, immersive atmosphere. So on that level, I think Busch Gardens Williamsburg is an amazing theme park.

                      Even if you define theme park on a ride storyline level, BGW can still hold it's own. Even the Big Bad Wolf has a "storyline" (you are the wolf, terrorizing a village). Escape from Pompei has a definite, well-done storyline, and the flat rides in the Da Vinci area are themed to be his "creations".

                      Let's not forget about the often forgotten "original", Knott's--which pre-dates Disney, people! Their Ghost Town is still a great, immersive atmosphere. I admit the other areas haven't held up as well over time as "themed" areas, but still... it was years ahead of it's time. I think the only reason it's not thought of as a theme park is that the term hadn't orginated yet when it was built! (Well, and maybe now it's present condition... but back in the day, I completely would have called it a theme park.)

                      I can't really comment on IOA or the international parks, since I haven't been yet. But I had to speak up about BGW, and give a little kudo to KFB.
                      Does anyone even bother with signatures anymore?

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                      • #12
                        Re: Top Non-Disney Theme Parks

                        I have to argue here. I lived less than 2 hours from Busch Gardens Williamsburg for over 5 years, and never saw the need to go more than once. There was nothing there.
                        (in their defense, it was the day they decided to let all military and dependants in for free, and, well, you just can't say "free" to members of the military without riot gear!)
                        I reject your reality, and subsitute my own!

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                        • #13
                          Re: Top Non-Disney Theme Parks

                          Quote<How are we defining theme parks?>

                          The term (in common language) incorporates a range of parks, with a definite scale ranging from Disney (with immersive environments and narrative attractions) to Six Flags (in which the theme is not a driver of the experience, is expressed on facades and graphics, and is so thin that most visitors couldn't list any "lands" or "districts". I agree that Knott's, lacking the sophistication and budget of Disney, successfully created both themed environments and attractions back in the day.

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