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Theme Park vs. Amusement Park

In a world where we are all constantly arguing about semantics on the internet, a hot topic to date has been the interchangeable use of “theme park” and “amusement park” that is rampant online.

Many people are currently in this very moment operating in a reality where they believe that theme parks and amusement parks are the same thing.

In reality, this is a situation comparable to the old debates about rectangles and squares.

The simple truth is that a theme park is an amusement park, but an amusement park is not necessarily a theme park. 

What is an Amusement Park?

An amusement park is a park that is quite literally designed for your amusement.

They are known for certain things like having fun rides, cool shows, and often times games of some sort.

These parks are built as a fun public space that will allow people to enjoy themselves with these features. 

The majority of amusement parks are filled with a wide range of experiences that can be enjoyed by the public.

These attractions can vary greatly in design and intent. Whenever you visit an amusement park, you will find a complex variety of rides that come in all shapes and sizes.

An example of this would be Six Flags where their area is built with any new and exciting rides that they can find.

They vary in size, intent, and type to provide a complete amusement parks experience that you can wander through.

These random collections of rides and experiences are brought together by the owners of the parks and enjoyed by many. 

What is a Theme Park?

A theme park is a specific type of amusement park that is known for having a designated theme.

Some amusement parks are built around a central theme that the entire park conforms to. An example of this would be Legoland.

Other parks are built around a broader theme entirely and then broken down into various themes depending on where you go in the park.

This would be something like Disneyland where the themes differ entirely in terms of content and actual theme.

In the same vein, something like The Wizarding World of Harry Potter within Universal Studios would also be a theme park.

This why a theme park can be an amusement park, but an amusement park isn’t automatically a theme park. Not all amusement parks have themes. 

Which one is better? 

There are many reasons that you might go to one type of park over the other, but in most cases, it is based on your interests.

Since theme parks are built around a specific theme, it really only makes sense to go if you are a fan of the theme itself. 

People who hate Disney, if such people exist at all, probably have no business going to Disneyworld.

Most theme parks are fandom-based in some way, and that can generally determine if you want to go.

To put it simply, if you’re a fan of the theme, it might be very exciting for you to go to a specific theme park.

On the other hand, if you’re just looking to enjoy rides and a good time, an amusement park might be better for you.

Another primary difference between the two types of parks is pricing. In many cases, theme parks cost more to get into than traditional amusement parks.

amusement park and water

While none of these places are generally cheap to visit, theme parks are almost always more expensive when it comes to tickets.

This is likely used to fund the completely in-house research and development that these places operate, and many of them have unique offerings, but pricing can kill for some people.

If you don’t want to spend half a week’s pay to visit a theme park, going to a traditional amusement park can help you to save some money fairly quickly.

It isn’t to say that some amusement parks aren’t also expensive, but generally normal amusement parks do cost less than theme parks.

The final difference between these two kinds of parks is the number of visitors that they attract.

As a general rule, amusement parks in all shapes and sizes have a tendency to draw a crowd.

However, since theme parks are more specialized, they are known to draw an excessive and dedicated crowd that can absolutely impact your overall experience.

In most cases, theme parks are known for being true attractions.

While someone might visit an amusement park on their trip somewhere, people have a tendency to build entire trips specifically around theme parks.

With this in mind, you can expect some pretty serious wait times when it comes to rides.

This number is even larger depending on the season and how frequently a new attraction has been built.

Since theme parks are generally focused on a specific fandom, enthusiasts are known to flock to these places en masse.

This can have a pretty significant impact on your overall experience. If you’re looking to have a good time but not spend literal hours in line, a traditional amusement park might be a better use of your time.


The true differences between a standard amusement park and a theme park are all built around what interests people.

An amusement park is ideal for those who just want to have a good time and enjoy a good experience. For people who want to ride some rides and enjoy some interesting activities, an amusement park will always be good enough.

However, for those daring folks who are so committed to a theme that they truly want to see an entire park built around it, theme parks can provide an absolutely delightful experience that will make your social media collect way more likes than you’re used to getting. 

There are pros and cons for each of these types of entertainment, but at the end of the day, they are an awesome way to spend a day whether you are on vacation or going somewhere local. You can’t beat a day out having fun with those close to you.

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