If you think that there are only two Disney resorts worldwide, Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California and Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, you’ve got another thing coming. Besides these two stateside resorts, there are actually four other Disney resorts across the globe, one in Europe and three in Asia, making up twelve parks in total in the world.
In this guide, we’re going to discuss each of these resorts and rank all twelve Disney Parks from better to best. Because, let’s be honest, everything created by Walt Disney Imagineering is always going to be awesome. Since we’ve had the opportunity to explore each of them, we have a pretty good idea of which Disney destinations are the best and which ones may be worth skipping (hint: none). Updated March 24, 2023
Disney Theme Parks Around the World: Where to Go for Your Next Disney Vacation?
As the original Disney Parks, Disneyland and Disney World are the two most well-known resorts, having opened in 1955 and 1971, respectively. They are also where you’ll see the most remnants of Walt Disney’s influence, Disneyland especially, making them must-visits for hardcore Disney fans. Of the many Disney destinations globally, Walt Disney World is the most visited resort in the world, with over 60 million guests visiting every year.
Between Disneyland and Disney World, there are six theme parks and two water parks, including Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park in California and Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Typhoon Lagoon Water Park and Blizzard Beach Water Park in Florida.
So, how many Disney Parks are there internationally? Add in the four other resorts worldwide, including Shanghai Disney, Tokyo Disney Resort, Hong Kong Disneyland and Disneyland Paris, and you have six other Disney theme parks, including Shanghai Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland in China, Tokyo DisneySea and Tokyo Disneyland in Japan, and Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios Park in France.
Between each of these theme parks, there’s a lot of fun to be had. (And that doesn’t even include all of the Disney cruise ships you can set sail on with the Disney Cruise Line!) Each one is unique in its own way, including design, attractions, characters, dining and more. Because of this, we highly recommend guests try and visit as many as possible, so they can get their own experience of each park. For now, though, we’ll be ranking them based on our experience with them, and maybe it will help you decide which one to add to your bucket list first!
A Breakdown of Disney Theme Parks Across the Globe
Before we jump into ranking each of the different Disney Parks, we’re first going to give a brief description of each resort, including its theme parks, resort hotels and featured attractions, as well as when it opened. Since we’ll be splitting the juicy stuff between here and our rankings, be sure to read everything so you don’t miss out.
The list of resorts around the world include:
- Walt Disney World Resort – Lake Buena Vista, FL
- Disneyland Resort – Anaheim, CA
- Disneyland Paris – Chessy, France
- Shanghai Disney – Shanghai, China
- Hong Kong Disneyland – Lantau Island, Hong Kong
- Tokyo Disney Resort – Urayasu, Japan
Each of the international parks functions very similarly to the ones found in the United States, as these were their models when they were built. All include a host of attractions, a line-skipping service like Disney Genie+, dining locations, Disney resort hotels, shopping and shows, as well as world-class entertainment offerings like parades, fireworks and character experiences.
Tokyo Disney Resort | Japan
The Tokyo Disney Resort is found just outside of Tokyo on 494 acres of beautiful oceanfront property. It features two parks, Disneyland Park and Tokyo DisneySea. Disneyland Park opened first in 1983, followed by Tokyo DisneySea in 2001. The resort features four property hotels, including the Ambassador Hotel, Hotel MiraCosta, Disneyland Hotel and Celebration Hotel.
For those looking for the perfect memento, there is a shopping complex similar to Downtown Disney in the U.S. called Ikspirari. Getting to Disneyland Tokyo is also relatively easy, as guests can travel to the resort using the Tokyo Subway, as well as a monorail that connects both theme parks. And, just in case you need a last-minute gift before you leave or you realize you forgot a souvenir on your list, the resort’s biggest flagship store, called Bon Voyage, is located right next to the subway station.
Tokyo is the only Disney resort not fully owned by the Walt Disney Company. Disneyland Park and Tokyo DisneySea are each managed by the Oriental Land Company, which makes both parks sort of a franchise, as they’re independently owned and operated. Interestingly, this is the only resort Disney ever did this with. It will probably also be the last resort that Disney will ever do this with, but that’s a whole other story entirely.
Hong Kong Disneyland | Hong Kong
Hong Kong Disneyland is the smallest Disney park in the world, spanning only 68 acres in size. Opened in 2005, the Hong Kong resort has only one park, Disneyland, and three resort hotels, including the Hollywood Hotel, Disneyland Hotel and Explorers Lodge. Of all the Disney Parks in the world, Hong Kong was the first to receive a brand new castle, whimsically called the Castle of Magical Dreams, in 2020, replacing a much smaller one which was similar to Sleeping Beauty Castle in California.
There are currently seven themed lands at this resort, including Main Street U.S.A., Adventureland, Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, Toy Story Land, Grizzly Gulch and Mystic Point. If you’re looking for a reason to fly to the other side of the globe for a more international Disney vacation, the latter two themed lands are only found at Hong Kong Disneyland. (You’re welcome.) And, if that wasn’t enough motivation, with expansions, the resort will soon feature two new lands, including Arendelle: The World of Frozen and Stark Expo.
As a bonus, Hong Kong’s Disney theme park only sees about six to seven million guests walk through its turnstiles each year, far below that of the other Disney theme parks. So, you should enjoy much more manageable crowds and shorter lines than what you’d see at Walt Disney World or Disneyland stateside.
Disneyland Paris | France
The only Disney Resort found in Europe, Disneyland Paris, formerly known as Euro Disney, is located just outside Paris in the city of Chessy, France and is made up of two Disney parks, Disneyland and Walt Disney Studios. For its size (a total of 4,800 acres), it features the most hotels of any resort with only two parks, at eight total. These include the Disneyland Hotel, Hotel New York, Newport Bay Club, Sequoia Lodge, Hotel Cheyenne, Hotel Santa Fe, Davy Crockett Ranch and Les Villages Nature.
Disneyland in Paris is the only international resort that is completely owned by the Walt Disney Company (the rest, excluding Tokyo, have minority owners who manage them). The resort opened in 1992 with just Disneyland Park, which was followed ten years later by Walt Disney Studios in 2002. The resort has been updated several times, including its recent Marvel expansion. And with a Frozen land to open in the future, too, guests are sure to come swarming back to Paris in droves.
Shanghai Disney Resort | China
The only Disney resort in mainland China, Shanghai Disney Resort is the most recent Disney theme park to open its doors, officially making its debut in 2016 after much delay and a final price tag of $5.5 billion (way over budget). The resort is known for its substantial and modern-day upgrades to classic attractions such as Pirates of the Caribbean and Peter Pan’s Flight and features seven lands, including Adventure Isle, Gardens of Imagination, Mickey Avenue, Tomorrowland, Treasure Cove, Fantasyland and Toy Story Land.
When the park opened, a new attraction based on TRON was introduced and has since become one of the most popular Disney theme park rides in the world. However, you will soon be able to ride it at Magic Kingdom, too, when it opens in April 2023. The Shanghai Disney Resort sits on 963 acres of land and includes 2 hotels: The Shanghai Disneyland Hotel and The Toy Story Hotel. It also has a shopping district called Disneytown, which features several merchandise shops and restaurants.
Walt Disney World Resort | Florida
Disney World was Walt’s biggest dream ever, which makes it even more appropriate that it’s gone on to become Disney’s biggest resort in the world, both in size and popularity. Sitting on 25,000 acres of land in Orange County, Florida, Walt Disney World is made up of four theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom.
Unlike its predecessor, Disney World has grown by leaps and bounds since its maiden voyage many years ago. Its first theme park opened in 1971 with the debut of Magic Kingdom, followed by its second theme park, Epcot, a little over 10 years later in 1982. Epcot Center was Walt’s dream of a futuristic city but, sadly, it never came to fruition after his passing. Instead, it was changed into a theme park broken up into two main sections, Future World and World Showcase.
In 1989, Disney-MGM Studios opened and was based around the Disney Studios found on the lot. Since then, it has been renamed to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the functioning studio attractions have unfortunately closed. In their place, however, is the incredibly popular Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which continues to be a huge draw for the park.
The last Disney World park to open was Animal Kingdom in 1998. It also happens to be the largest Disney theme park worldwide, taking up 580 acres. Along with each of the theme parks, the resort also features Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach water parks, several golf courses, two mini-golf courses, and the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Most guests choose to stay at one of the 22 Disney resort hotels, the most of any theme parks located across the globe, from deluxe resorts like Disney’s Contemporary Resort and the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa to value hotels like Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and the Pop Century Resort. Its shopping district, Disney Springs, is the biggest of all the resorts and features the largest Disney merchandise shop in the world, the World of Disney store. If you want, you can even live on Disney World property at Golden Oak, a luxury community that’s attached to the Four Seasons Resort Orlando
Disneyland Resort | California
This is it, the original park that started it all. Envisioned by Walt Disney as a themed amusement park where families could go to have fun together, Disneyland opened its doors in 1955 after just one year of construction. To make his dream a reality, Walt purchased 160 acres, to begin with, and began building Disneyland in 1954. To build excitement and raise funds for the project, Disney created a show called Disneyland, which would give viewers a sneak peek of what was to come, while a portion of the show’s profits would go towards construction.
On its opening day, Disneyland had 20 attractions that open for the park’s maiden voyage, including nostalgic favorites that are still around today like the Jungle Cruise, Peter Pan’s Flight and, of course, Sleeping Beauty Castle. This Disney park was and remains so popular that it’s still much as it was when it first opened those many years ago. In fact, it wasn’t until 2001 that the resort received its first major expansion: Disney California Adventure Park. Disneyland Park’s biggest land expansion wouldn’t come for almost another 20 years when Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opened up in 2019.
Initially imagined as an ode to the Golden State in theme-park form, Disney California Adventure Park has evolved a bit since opening to guests. While much of the original idea still remains in lands like Grizzly Peak, Pacific Wharf and Paradise Gardens Park, others have evolved to pay more attention to Disney’s ever-popular characters, such as Pixar Pier, Cars Land and Avengers Campus.
Anaheim’s resort also features a shopping district called Downtown Disney and three resort hotels, including the Disneyland Hotel, Paradise Pier Hotel and the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. Sadly, unlike other Disney parks around the world, Disneyland does not own much property outside the parks. It’s surrounded by other hotels and dining restaurants, many found just across the street. So, don’t expect too many other expansions to be built in the future.
All the Disney Parks Around the World – Ranked!
Alright, it’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for: the moment when we crown the best Disney park in the world (according to us anyway). With 12 to choose from, this isn’t an easy task. There are some small things that we love about each park, but we also can discount things like which has the best attractions and theming. Luckily, since we’ve visited each of the Disney theme parks worldwide, we have the firsthand experience with it all.
For attractions, it all comes down to whether there is enough to keep both kids and adults entertained for an entire day, if not more. Are the attractions one-hit wonders or do they keep us coming back? For theming we’re looking at uniqueness and originality. Is it fun and inviting or just blah?
For dining options, we want a place that offers fantastic quick-service food (beyond hot dogs and popcorn), as well as some nice sit-down restaurants with great menus. Shopping should have lots of unique stores offering merchandise that highlights the park and theme itself. Lastly, access and location should be easy to get and should feel like it transports to you another place entirely once you step inside. Let’s get started!
Disney Park Rankings
12. Disneyland Park – Paris
Don’t let this scare you or keep you away from visiting Disney’s Parisian castle park. Although this European Disneyland is undoubtedly charming, just like its predecessors, it’s definitely a one-day park and, as of right now, doesn’t really offer us anything we haven’t seen before.
11. Hong Kong Disneyland
We love Hong Kong Disneyland because it’s very intimate and small. However, its strength is also its weakness. On the bright side, this is a castle park at its heart. And after its redo, it’s now easily one of the most beautiful Disney castles at any of the theme parks worldwide and certainly much better than the one found at Disneyland.
10. Tokyo Disneyland Park
Just like other castle parks, Tokyo Disneyland is very similar to Magic Kingdom and the original Disneyland in California. The one thing that this park has going for it is its own version of the Blue Bayou, which we love. That said, Tokyo Disneyland could climb the ranks once its Frozen land opens. Plus, it’s also the only Disney theme park that, as of right now, isn’t going to retheme Splash Mountain
9. Disney’s Hollywood Studios
For a time, Toy Story Land was the highlight of Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Slinky Dog Dash is an awesome kid-friendly roller coaster that even grown-ups will love), but you can now find the land at other Disney Parks, too. Then, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opened and it blew up in popularity…but so did the one at Disneyland Park. Is it still a great theme park that’s well worth a visit? Absolutely. However, there isn’t much here that’s new or unique. That said, rides like Tower of Terror, Rise of the Resistance and Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster are sure to have you coming back again and again.
8. Disney California Adventure Park
We’re so glad they rethemed Disney California Adventure Park several years ago, otherwise, it would have landed firmly at the bottom of our list. Happily, that is no longer the case. With its animated theming and the wonderful Radiator Springs Racers, Cars Land is one of the highlights of this park. That said, following the opening of Avengers Campus, including Marvel-ous rides like WEB Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure and Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!, this is now one theme park we can’t get enough of.
7. Magic Kingdom Park
It pains us to put magic Kingdom so far down on this list. However, for those paying attention, you can kind of see a trend here. Most of the lower-ranking Disney parks (if you even want to call them that—they’re still great ) are based off of Disneyland, the fairy godmother of the castle parks. And while this Walt Disney Company classic is undeniably magical (it is called the Most Magical Place on Earth, after all), the rides here are familiar and don’t offer much in the way of uniqueness. Still, there is something comforting about strolling down Main Street, USA towards Cinderella Castle or enjoying the spooky open house that is the Haunted Mansion. Luckily, rides like TRON and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train help to keep the entire experience.
6. Shanghai Disneyland
As the newest of Disney’s castle parks, we love Shanghai Disneyland for so many reasons, but mainly because they took Walt’s passion for “plussing” things and applied it throughout the park, making it fully deserving of our second-place spot. The park is huge with plenty of open space for strolling (and hopefully some expansions!). Plus, several familiar attractions have received next-level updates, especially the tech-heavy Pirates of the Caribbean. Even the massive enchanted storybook castle at the center of the park is on a whole other level. Having said that, there is still plenty to see here that will be familiar. And, not to mention absolutely everything is in Mandarin. However, between the updated attractions and unique dining here, there’s a lot to love.
We’ll be honest, if Epcot theme park had turned out the way it was supposed to, it wouldn’t even be on this list. Boy, are we glad it is! (We know, that’s a bit of a hot take for diehard Walt Disney fans.) Not only is this the first park Disney opened that wasn’t a castle park but, in a true ode to Walt Disney and his work with the World’s Fair, it’s also the only park worldwide to feature a massive showcase of countries featuring authentic dining, drinking and shopping experiences. Recently opened rides like Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind only cement its place on our list.
4. Disneyland Park
Classics are classics for a reason, and that includes The Happiest Place on Earth. As, the original castle park and the model for basically all international Disneylands, including Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland in Paris and, of course, Magic Kingdom, it deserves a place of honor on our ranking. Disneyland will always hold a special place in our hearts, and it’s so nostalgic that placing it at #4 hurts a bit, but it’s where it belongs. During your visit, make sure your trip includes must-do Disneyland attractions such as Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, “it’s a small world,” Critter Country and the quintessential American waterfront, New Orleans Square.
3. Walt Disney Studios Park
When it comes to factors that make us want to grab our passports and book a plane ticket to the other side of the world, uniqueness is key, and Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris has that in spades. Its theming is everything we used to love about Hollywood Studios. Here you’ll find fun, family-friendly rides like Crush’s Coaster and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, as well as the Marvel-inspired Avengers Campus. Add in the Frozen land that is just around the corner, and you’ll probably want to plan a trip to Paris in the very near future.
2. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
Like no other park in the world, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park more than deserves to be near the top of the list of Disney’s best parks. Its themed lands are stunningly beautiful and incredibly detailed, as they’re based on the extensive travel that Imagineers did during the park’s planning process. It also features some of Walt Disney World’s most unique attractions like Kilimanjaro Safaris, Avatar Flight of Passage, Festival of the Lion King and Expedition Everest, as well as the gorgeous Tree of Life on Discovery Island. It’s hard to beat taking a safari one minute and flying on the back of a Banshee the next.
1. Tokyo DisneySea
When it comes to the top Disney theme parks, the winner is, without a doubt, Tokyo DisneySea. It’s hard to put into words why this international park is rated #1. We could say it’s because of everything, but that wouldn’t do it justice. Just know that everything here is superior to any of its fellow Disney Parks. The themed lands are amazing, especially Mysterious Island. The attractions are all fun and many of them can only be found there. If you had to choose only one park to visit overseas, we would recommend this one every time. Seriously, do yourself a favor and star packing your suitcase now.
So there you have it—every Disney theme park ranked in the world. Tokyo DisneySea is easily #1 on our list and will probably remain that way for years to come. So, how many Disneylands are on your wander list? Which is your favorite park for a Disney vacation? Where do you think Disney should build their next resort? Disneyland New York, anyone? Let us know in the comments!
Whether you plan on staying inside the United States or want to travel to one of the other parks around the world, be sure to see our Touring Plans. They’ll help you get acquainted with the parks’ many attractions and unique quirks and learn the best ways to approach them, including buying tickets, transportation, dining and more.
Traveling to one of the Disney Parks in the U.S.? Be sure to purchase your discounted tickets online and in advance to help you save some precious cash. And, don’t miss our planning guides for both Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World, which are filled with plenty of useful tips and tricks to help you make the most of your experience. Hoping to set sail on a Disney cruise instead? Check out our various Disney Cruise Line guides covering everything from pirate night to Castaway Cay.