For an academic project I'm doing at the moment, I need to come up with a list of around 20-40 representative theme parks (and I stress theme parks, not amusement parks!), and would like some opinions and suggestions for parks that would make the list. Essentially the parks should be chosen due to their quality of theming, story and aesthetic design, popularity, history, financial success or similar reasons. Fundamentally a list of the best and most significant theme parks globally - even ones that no longer currently hold that position.
Now I've immediately added every Disney and Universal park for obvious reasons, and I've then added to that Alton Towers, Terra Mitica and PortAventura, which are each parks I have visited and can therefore reflect upon with some personal experience. I have also added Freedomland USA due to its interesting, albeit brief, history.
I'm purposefully avoiding the SeaWorld and Legoland parks at the moment, the first because of the animal park core and the second because of the child specific focus.
I do have some possibilities of others to include but as I haven't visited them myself, I'd prefer to hear from others whether they would consider them worthy theme parks. These are:
Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Chessington World of Adventures
Six Flags Over Texas (although it certainly practically defines amusement park now, its origins were very much theme park)
Knott's Berry Farm (as above, and I'm very inclined to include this)
Plopsaland de Panne
Warner Bros. Movie World
Movie Park Germany
Are these parks true theme parks? If you can offer any opinion of whether these parks above should or should not be included, or if you have any suggestions for theme parks I've missed, I'd really appreciate them!