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The One Difference Between a Theme Park and an Amusement Park

Theme parks and Amusement parks are words that are often used synonymously.

However, some visitors will point out that there's a big difference between the two.

In this page, we will explain what the difference between a theme park and an amusement park are.

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What's the Difference Between a Theme Park and an Amusement Park?

The biggest difference between a theme park and an amusement park is that a theme park has a theme (or themes) that the park follows.

Amusement parks on the other hand still have rides, shows and games, but there isn't a theme that the entire park aims to follow.

Disney World Tickets

Rather than having an entire park around one main theme, the park is able to expand on their storytelling, visuals, audio and even scent, in sections throughout the park.

Theme parks are able to accomplish this by using different types of themes on different areas of the park.

Disney's Hollywood Studios Theme Park

We can see a great example of this when we break down Disney's Hollywood Studios.

The park is broken down into 9 different areas, with each area offering something completely different and unique from the other.

  1. Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge
  2. Sunset Boulevard
  3. Hollywood Boulevard
  4. Pixar Place
  5. Toy Story Land
  6. Grand Avenue
  7. Animation Courtyard
  8. Commissary Lane
  9. Echo Lake 

Although all of these areas are separately-themed, it all belongs to Disney (specifically Star Wars and Toy Story), keeping it within a Disney-theme.

Below we'll break down our two favorite areas, what makes them special, and what theme they're based around.

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge Theme

The ultra-popular Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge is an area that is entirely themed around Star Wars.

star wars galaxys edge

Everything is Star wars-themed, and transitions perfectly from one area to another. Every ride, every architecture, landscaping, every restaurant and even every cast member is dressed around the Star Wars franchise.

It will genuinely feel as if you're in the actual Star Wars movies.

In fact, if you ask a cast-member a question inside of Galaxy's Edge a question, they will respond with a Star Wars twist.

When we went to ask how long the wait at Oga's Cantina would be, the cast member answered, but also asked us "What world may you be visiting from today?".

Oga's cantina hollywood studios

This area also features amazing rides, shops, restaurants, and gift shops.

This is a great area to explore, and it is also pretty large in size at 14 acres.

Toy Story Land

Toy Story Land in Hollywood Studios is an 11 acre area themed around Andy's backyard from the Toy Story series.

The unique aspect of this area is that it is designed to 'shrink down' visitors, so guests will feel like they are toy-sized, just as the Toy Story series did.

buzz lightyear in hollywood studios

How the park does this is by making everything in this area gigantic, starting from all of the toy blocks/balls on the ground, to all of the actual toys in action propped on top of buildings, to the giant Buzz Lightyear and Rex statues.

Additionally, all of the rides, shows, and shops are even based around Toy Story.

The best part (for both kids and adults) however, is that you'll often see Toy Story characters such as Buzz, Woody and Jessie walking around the park.

You'll be able to not only meet them, but take a picture with them as well.

This area also features:

  • Slinky Dog Dash - One of the Most Popular Rides at Hollywood Studios
  • Alien Swirling Saucers - Indoor Spinning Ride
  • Toy Story Mania - Carnival-Themed 4D Arcade Ride Where Visitors Get Points By Shooting and Hitting Targets
  • Green Army Drum Corps - Live Percussion Show Done by the Famous Toy Story Characters
  • Shops - Jessie's Trading Post
  • Woody's Lunch Box - A Place For You and the Little Ones to Eat

Can You Use Theme Park and Amusement Park Interchangeably?

At the end of the day, most visitors will use theme parks and amusement parks interchangeably and it won't be a big deal to anyone else.

For the most part, everyone understands that theme parks and amusement parks are very similar, and due to this will use them synonymously without a second-thought.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Disney a Theme Park or Amusement Park?

Technically, Disney is a theme park, as it offers a number of different areas around the park that are all individually based around a certain theme. Disney goes through tremendous lengths to achieve this, as every ride, building, and even cast members are strategically themed around their specific area.

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