Disney properties dominate a new ranking of the world’s most-visited theme parks in 2017, with Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, taking the top spot.

Last year, 20.45 million people took a trip to Magic Kingdom, giving it the edge over Disneyland in Anaheim, California, and Tokyo Disneyland, which round out the top three spots.

On the global scale, however, it was attendance at theme parks across China that helped overall visitor numbers among the major park operators rise nearly 9% in 2017, notes The Theme Index And Museum Index, published by the Themed Entertainment Association and AECOM.

In hard numbers, that translates to nearly half a billion visits a year – more than double the attendance of all major sport leagues around the world, the report points out.

In China alone, attendance swelled by nearly 20%, with much of this growth credited to Shanghai Disneyland, which marked its first full year of operations in 2017.

Despite being a mature market, North America also saw a 2.3% increase in visitors, crossing the 150 million mark for the first time.

Authors credit the increase in activity in large part to the opening of Pandora – The World Of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando.

While Britain, Germany and Italy recorded mediocre results, authors note that parks in France performed well in 2017, with Parc Asterix seeing an 8% growth in visits thanks to new investments and hotel rooms.

Disneyland Paris – which hosted a slew of special events in 2017 to mark its 25th anniversary – and Puy du Fou in western France, also saw modest growth last year. – AFP Relaxnews

Here are the most popular theme parks in the world in 2017:

1. Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, Orlando

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Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Orlando, USA.

2. Disneyland, Anaheim
3. Tokyo Disneyland

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Tokyo Disneyland in Japan.

4. Universal Studios Japan, Osaka

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Electrifying: See the the Zinogre brought to life with special effects at Universal Studios Japan. Photo: Universal Studios Japan

5. Tokyo Disneysea, Tokyo
6. Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World, Orlando
7. Epcot at Walt Disney World, Orlando
8. Shanghai Disneyland
9. Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World, Orlando
10. Universal Studios at Universal Orlando