Top US theme parks and their 2020 admission prices

For most families, summertime is often thought of as the best time of the year. These fun filled sunny and warm days are made even better with trips to the beach, summer camps of all types, ice cream trucks, and family vacations. Though lots of parents choose to venture outside of the Untied States with their kids for their long awaited yearly two week vacation, there are even more that decide to stay within the country, instead opting to spend a few days of their vacation time running around one or more of the nation's top rated theme parks.

In fact, there are well over 400 amusement and theme parks within the US alone, with each of them differing from the next which offers lots of great choices to select from. Some focus on water fun with water slides, lazy rivers, and more, some focus on animals and wildlife and others on themed adventures. And of course you can't forget about the famed Disney parks that attract hoards of excited visitors throughout the entire year to both Florida and California.

But because you'll never have enough time to visit each and every park scattered across the US, and the fact that not all of them are worth visiting, we've gone ahead and complied a list of the top US theme parks and their admission prices below, starting with the highest priced theme park at the top. This list has been created by using past attendance rates. Some of the names are quite familiar, while others might be new to you and your family.

An interesting fact: US Theme park attendance has steadily gone up within the last few years and has more than doubled in Orlando, Florida over the past 20 years, meaning that you'll find yourself surrounded by large numbers of like minded people each and every visit.

Top US theme parks and their admission prices

Below you'll find both admission prices for adults and children in US dollars. Infant prices are not included as they are welcomed into the parks listed below free of charge. These prices reflect Summer weekend rates so it's best to keep in mind that prices may vary throughout other portions of the year, either a bit higher or lower. The theme parks are ranked from those with the highest admission rates to those with the lowest admission rates.

Disneyland – Anaheim, California

Adult day pass: US$154.00
Children 3 to 9: US$146.00

Much like Disney World in Florida, Disneyland in California is geared toward both kids and the young at heart. Here you'll find tons of rides, dining options and lots of shops to select from. Some of the more notable attractions within include Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Chip ‘n Dale Treehouse and the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. Because there is so much to do and see here, you'll easily spend the entire day running from attraction to attraction.

You'll want to note that Disneyland has decided to end their annual pass program.

Disney's CA Adventure – Anaheim, California

Adult day pass: US$154.00
Children 3 to 9: US$146.00

An experience that you won't forget anytime soon, Disney's CA Adventure brings 7 exciting lands to life for you and your family to enjoy. These include Grizzly Peak, Hollywood Land, Paradise Pier and Cars Land. Included in your visit are plenty of entertainment options as well, with the World of Color being a must see.

Disney's CA Adventure has also decided to end its annual pass program.

Universal Studios – Universal Orlando, Florida

Adult day pass: US$128.00
Children 3 to 9: US$123.00

With behind the scenes access, fire breathing dragons and much, much more, Universal Studios thrills with animated worlds that come to life. Great for the entire family, you'll find lots of different age appropriate attractions and rides throughout the entire park. Love Harry Potter? Then you won't want to miss the Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts attraction.

Islands of Adventure – Universal Orlando, Florida

Adult day pass: US$128.00
Children 3 to 9: US$123.00

With both land and water based rides and attractions, this theme park will keep you busy all day long. Some top attractions include the Jurassic Park River Adventure, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Doctor Doom's Freefall. Dining, shows and shopping also await you.

Magic Kingdom – Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, Florida

Adult day pass: US$125.00
Children 3 to 9: US$120.00

The most visited with over 20 million visitors in 2015 alone, the Magic Kingdom impresses with top rated attractions and rides, various characters that offer meet and greets throughout the park, themed restaurants and parades. Some classic rides include “it's a small world”, Pirates of the Caribbean and the Jungle Cruise. It's easy to see why this park is constantly referred to as ‘The most magical place on earth'.

Disney's Animal Kingdom – Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, Florida

Adult day pass: US$125.00
Children 3 to 9: US$120.00

If wildlife is your thing, then this theme park was made for you. Here you’ll find a guided tour of an African savanna, a raft ride through jungle landscapes and a venture back into time to the land of dinosaurs. Love the Avatar movie? Then you'll fall in love with Animal Kingdom's newest attraction, The World of Avatar. This attraction impresses with wild animals, Pandora and jungle trails.

Epcot – Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, Florida

Adult day pass: US$125.00
Children 3 to 9: US$120.00

Geared toward those who love to let their imagination run wild, Epcot wows with attraction after attraction taking you into outer space, under the sea and beyond. But not only will you find attractions such as Frozen, but great dining options that bring major events straight to your table. One example is the Biergarten Restaurant which celebrates Oktoberfest all year round with great German cuisine and lots of music.

Disney's Hollywood Studios – Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, Florida

Adult day pass: US$125.00
Children 3 to 9: US$120.00

With thrilling and colorful shows, Hollywood Studios brings movies to life right before your eyes. Some of the top shows include Beauty and the Beast, Disney Juniors and Indiana Jones. You'll also find lots of rides as well, including the famed Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.

Universal Studios Hollywood – Universal City, California

Adult day pass: US$119.00
Children 3 to 9: US$113.00

A fantastic theme park for those who love movies and TV shows and would like to get in on the action themselves, Universal Studios offers a whirlwind experience that will leave the entire family wishing for more. Some top attractions include The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Fast & Furious – Supercharged and Despicable Me Minion Mayhem. You'll also find lots of dining options and gift shops spread throughout the park.

Seaworld FL – Orlando, Florida

All ages day pass: US$105.99

Even with all the recent controversy surrounding the use of captive marine mammals for show, Seaworld has still managed to attract millions of visitors to its park, making it one of the most visited theme parks in the United States. In addition to shows, Seaworld also offers a virtual reality roller coaster, Flamingo paddle boats (which are great for smaller kids) and the famous and iconic Sky Tower. As you can see above, there is only one entrance price for both adults and children. Toddlers and babies aged 2 and under get in free.

The Bottom Line

As you can see from the information above, though there are literally hundreds of different theme parks and attractions throughout the entire United States, the states of Florida and California dominate with their park choices. This seems to be due to the year round great weather that both states are known for, which helps to create a year round steady flow of visitors. Also, it is very apparent that the Disney franchise is still doing very well and has managed to keep its top ranking status throughout the years, even though day ticket prices have steadily increased.

When purchasing your day tickets, you'll want to keep in mind that some parks offer local rates, meaning that if you're visiting the Magic Kingdom and you're a Florida resident, you qualify for a discounted rate (except on certain dates). In addition, you can sometimes also save money by purchasing an advance ticket online.

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