The World’s 10 Cheapest Theme Parks (You Won’t Believe The Most Expensive)

the worlds 10 cheapest theme parks you wont believe the most
the worlds 10 cheapest theme parks you wont believe the most expensive 1

It’s no secret that theme parks keep getting more and more expensive. A recent report predicts that in 10 years, it will cost a family of four a whopping $1,000 to spend a day at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. And Disney isn’t making it any easier to save: The company recently ditched its popular (and free) FastPass+ system and replaced it with a pay-to-play version called Disney Genie, which will help parkgoers get in shorter lines (for a price). So what’s the solution for a thrillseeker on a budget? A British-based travel news site called ETIAS.com has compiled a new report that lists the world’s top 10 cheapest theme parks based on the cost per ride, as well as the theme parks where you can complete the most rides per day. 

“Travel is opening back up and many families will want to make up for missed holidays throughout 2020 and 2021,” says Angelica Harding, director of international development at ETIAS.com. “As well as this, theme parks are often renowned for being very expensive—especially if you have a family and have to account for extra costs. That’s why collating a list of the most affordable theme parks was important to ETIAS.com, as well as breaking down the cost per ride so it’s worthwhile for families to visit them.”

The company came up with the list by analyzing the top 25 theme parks worldwide, the top 20 theme parks in North America and the top 20 European theme parks. They looked at the cost of a day ticket and the number of rides in order to work out the cost per ride for each theme park. Then, using data from Queue Times—which tracks the waiting times and crowd data for the biggest theme parks in the word—they layered in wait times to calculate the number of rides that you could complete in a day. Note that the number of rides you could complete in a day does not include walk times from ride to ride and any breaks you may take throughout the day.

According to the results, China’s Chimelong Paradise wins the title of the world’s least expensive theme park, costing a very affordable 52 cents per ride. Granted, it will take some effort to get there, given that the park is halfway around the world in Guangzhou. But it might be worth the effort: Not only is Chimelong Paradise cheap, it’s the largest amusement park in China and has a rollercoaster with 10 inversions—one of the most in the world. “Chimelong Paradise is not only the cheapest theme park to visit around the world, but there are 70 rides to pick from,” says Harding. “As well as this, Chimelong Paradise is part of a tourist resort, so visitors can go to the Ocean Kingdom, Safari Park and Circus, too.”

Coming in second place is Canada’s Wonderland Park, which costs just 76 cents per ride. Located just outside Toronto, Wonderland is the largest theme park in Canada and has 17 roller coasters—the third-most in the world—and more than 200 attractions.

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In the United States, the least expensive theme park is Pennsylvania’s Hersheypark, which was founded in 1906 by Milton S. Hershey as a leisure park for the employees of the Hershey Chocolate Company. Adjacent to the park is Hershey’s Chocolate World, a visitors’ center attraction that contains shops, restaurants and a chocolate factory-themed tour ride.

At the more well-known parks, the sky is the limit when it comes to how much it costs. California’s Universal Studios Hollywood—home of Harry Potter’s Forbidden Journey and Jurassic World—tops the charts at $12.79 per ride. The park has the longest wait times of all the parks that ETIAS.com looked at, averaging 43 minutes. This means that you’d only be able to complete 15 rides in a day. “If you have a family, this can really start to add up,” says Harding. “With entry costing nearly $100 for an adult and only 10 rides to choose from—with the average queue taking 43 minutes—there’s no surprise this theme park came out as the most expensive. As well as this, the Hollywood Universal Studios has a Harry Potter-themed ride, so it’s a popular place to visit, meaning prices may increase.”

In fact, the U.S. is home to the most expensive theme parks. Coming in second most expensive is Disney World in Orlando, Florida, where it will cost you about $7.34 per ride. “Disney fanatics can enjoy 17 rides if they’re willing to queue an average time of 34 minutes,” says Harding.

SeaWorld in Orlando rounded out the list of the top three most expensive theme parks in the world.

The full data showing the top 50 least expensive and the top 50 most expensive can be found here, along with wait times and cost per ride. Or read on to see the cheapest and most expensive theme parks.

The World’s 10 Cheapest Theme Parks

  1. Chimelong Paradise, China
  2. Wonderland Park, Canada
  3. Tivoli Gardens, Denmark
  4. Lotte World, South Korea
  5. Hersheypark, Pennsylvania
  6. Everland, South Korea
  7. Cedar Point, Ohio
  8. Parque Warner, Spain
  9. Nagashima Spa Land, Japan
  10. OCT Happy Valley, China

The World’s 10 Most Expensive Theme Parks

  1. Universal Studios Hollywood, California
  2. Walt Disney World, Florida
  3. SeaWorld Orlando, Florida
  4. Walt Disney Studios Park, France
  5. Universal Studios Florida
  6. SeaWorld San Diego, California
  7. Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, China
  8. Six Flags Magic Mountain, California
  9. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Florida

Editor’s Note: On 11/4/21, additional information about data collection was added to this story.

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