The Best Theme Park Shows

Editorials and Rants

World of Color - Disney California Adventure - Theme Park ShowsContinuing my series of the best in the amusement industry, it’s time for one of the “grown-up categories”. I’m kidding. In terms of my theme park fandom, I’ve always been a roller coaster specialist. So, I’m treading in deep water when it comes to breaking down the best theme park shows. So, I asked my colleague Arthur of the About Theme Parks Guide for some help.

Before we get to the results of the Golden Ticket Awards, I wanted to get Arthur’s take on the categories and what makes a great show.

There really are two kinds of park shows, the “nighttime spectaculars,” such as Fantasmic, and more intimate stage productions (hence the two Golden Ticket categories). Both, however, should include:

– Grand spectacle
– Stirring music
– High production value
– Emotional pull
– Interwoven story

Here are the theme parks with the best shows according to the 2013 Golden Ticket Awards:

[notice noticeType=”approved” ]Best Theme Park Shows
Dollywood Pigeon Forge, Tenn. 41%
Six Flags Fiesta Texas San Antonio, Texas 23%
Disney’s Hollywood Studios Orlando, Fla. 6%
Europa-Park Rust, Germany (tie) 5%
SeaWorld Orlando Orlando, Fla. (tie) 5%
Silver Dollar City Branson, Mo. (tie) 5%[/notice]

[notice noticeType=”approved” ]Best Outdoor Show Production
Epcot Orlando, Fla. 29%
Disney California Adventure Anaheim, Calif. 18%
Six Flags Fiesta Texas San Antonio, Texas 12%
Disney’s Hollywood Studios Orlando, Fla. 11.50%
Disneyland Anaheim, Calif. 8%[/notice]

And, here’s Arthur’s analysis of the results:

It’s no surprise that Dollywood (Pigeon Forge, TN) and Six Flags Fiesta Texas (San Antonio, TX) rank so highly for the best theme park shows. Their original mission was to feature music and live entertainment, and while both have expanded and evolved to introduce some great coasters and other attractions, neither has abandoned its commitment to shows. The Disney parks deservedly dominate the outdoor show production category on the strength of their big budget, innovative kiss-goodnight presentations, IllumiNations, Fantasmic, and World of Color.

For more, see Arthur’s video and full review of World of Color at Disney’s California Adventure.

What do you think of the results? Do you agree that these are the theme parks with the best shows? Leave a comment below. Also, check out this related post: The Cleanest & Friendliest Theme Parks

Image courtesy of Flickr User – HarshLight

Founder of CoasterCritic.com. My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.

3 Comments

  1. Great list of parks!

    The best shows I’ve ever seen were at Sea World in Orlando. The way they use animals in their productions is truly incredible. And they don’t just use sea animals, they also have a long running show where rescued domestic animals are the lead performers.

    Reply
    • I agree. I haven’t seen too many theme park shows, but the shows we saw at SeaWorld Orlando were quite impressive and also family-friendly (which isn’t always the case).

      Reply
  2. On our recent trip to WDW, we had a tired-out kid and we didn’t stay for the biggest and latest of the nighttime shows, either at the Magic Kingdom or at Epcot. But we did stay for the classic Main Street Electrical Parade, a 1970s throwback with Moog music that I found weirdly enchanting. I also liked the Festival of the Lion King at Animal Kingdom.

    Reply

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