WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WRIC) – Virginia’s Busch Gardens, California’s Disneyland, and Tennessee’s Dollywood are tied for the title of America’s “Favorite Theme Park,” according to the results of an annual survey.
The National Amusement Park Historical Association (NAPHA) — described as an “international educational and enthusiasts’ organization” for fans and industry insiders — conducts the yearly survey to assess its members’ thoughts on the best rides, parks and attractions across the country. Categories include Favorite Theme Park, Favorite Traditional Theme Park, Most Beautiful Park, Favorite Wood Coaster, Favorite Steel Coaster and Favorite New Attraction.
In addition to the three-way tie for the best overall park, members of the NAPHA voted Busch Gardens Williamsburg as the Most Beautiful Park in the U.S. for a 32nd straight year. Knoebels Amusement Resort in Elyburg, Pennsylvania, also earned the distinction of Favorite Traditional Theme Park, a category reserved for smaller regional parks.
The survey, based on data collected in 2021, found that members went to an average of 10 parks last year, compared to just 3.8 the previous year. The average member has also visited 100 different parks in their lifetime, and rode on roughly 367 roller coasters.
“It’s good to see that people are returning to amusement parks as reflected in the NAPHA Survey,” noted Marlowe McClasky Futrell, the NAPHA survey coordinator, in a press release. “This rebound speaks to the timeless appeal of amusement parks.”
More information about 2021’s NAPHA-preferred roller coasters and new attractions, as well as past years’ survey results, can be found at NAPHA’s official site.
The National Amusement Park Historical Association is open to members from “the United States, Europe and Asia,” according to its site. McClasky told WFXR’s sister station, WRIC, she could not disclose how many members are in the group, only saying “the organization is growing.”