Monday, May 11, 2015

Knoebels, Walt Disney World Named Top Amusement Parks in America

Lombard, IL – The National Amusement Park Historical Association (NAPHA) released the results of its 29th annual NAPHA Amusement Park and Attractions Survey. The NAPHA survey is the oldest of its type.

“Throughout its existence, the NAPHA survey has been highly regarded not only to enthusiasts, but to the industry,” noted NAPHA’s Survey Coordinator, Marlowe McClasky Futrell. “Over the years, the NAPHA survey has proven to be one of its most effective publicity tools as many parks incorporate the results into their publicity materials.”

Knoebels Amusement Park in Elysburg, PA was named by NAPHA members as their ‘Favorite Traditional Amusement Park.’ Its Phoenix roller coaster is topped the list as members’ ‘Favorite Wood Coaster.’ The park was also recognized as the second ‘Best Park for Families.’

For the 12th successive years, Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, FL, took the honors for NAPHA members’ ‘Favorite Theme Park.’ Disneyland (Anaheim, CA) was second in that category.

Other attractions seizing the top spots in the NAPHA 2014 survey include:

* Best Park for Families: Idlewild & Soak Zone (Ligonier, PA)

* Most Beautiful Park: Busch Gardens Williamsburg (Williamsburg, VA) for the 25th consecutive year

* Favorite Steel Coaster: Millennium Force, Cedar Point (Sandusky, OH)

NAPHA members are experienced riders who have visited countless amusement parks and have ridden a diverse assortment of roller coasters and other rides. The average member has been to nearly 100 different amusement parks and has ridden about 300 roller coasters.


As noted, Knoebels Amusement Resort was voted number one, a position it also held in 2013, 2012 and 2010. Kennywood (West Mifflin, PA), another Pennsylvania amusement park, and Knoebels have been neck and neck in the standings since 1996 with each holding one of the top two positions in this category.

1 Knoebels Amusement Resort (Elysburg, PA)
2 Kennywood (West Mifflin, PA)


As referenced above, Walt Disney World has been named NAPHA members’ Favorite Theme Park for twelve consecutive years – more than a decade. Disneyland (Anaheim, CA) once again came in second, a position it has held since 2010.

1 Walt Disney World (Lake Buena Vista, FL)
2 Disneyland (Anaheim, CA)


Idlewild and Soak Zone was named as the best park for families, a jump from number two in 2013. Since 2010, Idlewild and Knoebels swapped the top position several times.

1 Idlewild and Soak Zone (Ligonier, PA)
2 Knoebels Amusement Resort (Elysburg, PA)


Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA, has been voted the World’s Most Beautiful Amusement Park for twenty-five consecutive years. Dollywood (Pigeon Forge, TN) was named the second most beautiful.


Cedar Point, Dollywood, Kennywood and Knoebels Amusement Resort were cited by numerous NAPHA members as the Best Post-Summer Parks. After the traditional season, Cedar Point celebrates HalloWeekends, Dollywood holds a Smokey Mountain Christmas, Kennywood hosts both Phantom Fright Nights and Holiday Lights, while Knoebels celebrates Halloween with Hallo-Fun.


The Phoenix was once again was voted by NAPHA members as Favorite Wood Roller Coaster. The Voyage secured the second position. The two wood coasters have been named as either the favorite or second favorite since 2006 and Phoenix has held the top spot since 2011.


1 Phoenix, Knoebels Amusement Resort (Elysburg, PA)
2 Voyage, Holiday World (Santa Claus, IN)


Millennium Force, members’ Favorite Steel Roller Coaster, has been the top ranked or tied for the favorite steel coaster since 2002. Kennywood’s Phantom’s Revenge grabbed the second spot, a position it has held since 2011.


1 Millennium Force, Cedar Point (Sandusky, OH)
2 Phantom’s Revenge, Kennywood (West Mifflin, PA)


The National Amusement Park Historical Association, founded in 1978, is an international, educational and enthusiast’s organization dedicated to preserving and documenting the heritage of the amusement park industry, past, present and future.

For more information about the survey or about NAPHA, please contact Marlowe McClasky Futrell, Survey Coordinator, at (412) 831-6315 or at, or go to

This study was conducted for NAPHA by MMc Marketing Research, which can be reached at (412) 813-6315, or via email at