May 28, 2024, 12:15 PM ·

On this day 25 years ago, the best theme park in the world officially opened to the public.

Okay, maybe it wasn’t the best theme park in the world yet on Day One. But it sure was impressive. Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure wowed fans with impressive place-making and thrilling new attractions – providing a stark contrast to the chaotic opening of elder sibling Universal Studios Florida just nine years before.We started our Theme Park Insider Awards just three years after the park opened, in 2002. And Islands of Adventure won our inaugural award as the world’s best theme park, also picking up the honor for Best Attraction for The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man.Today, IOA continues as the winner of our most recent Best Theme Park award, with Jurassic World VelociCoaster being our readers’ pick for Best Roller Coaster, as well. IOA holds four of the top six picks on our World’s Best Theme Park Attractions list, with Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey from the world’s first Wizarding World of Harry Potter joining Spidey and the Raptors. (That band was amazing on the side stage at Coachella this year, by the way.)

We’d love to hear your favorite IOA stories, in the comments. If you cannot make it to the park today, enjoy our video playlist of walking around the park and riding some of its top attractions.To keep up to date with more theme park news, please sign up for Theme Park Insider’s weekly newsletter.

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