Top 30 Most Visited Travel Attractions Around the World in 2016

A view of metropolitan cathedral and president's palace in Zocalo

For centuries, some of the attractions on this list forbade visitors from entering their boundaries. However, as empires fell into disarray and democracy took over, countries started opening their borders to international visitors, thereby kick starting an era of travel that saw attractions once hidden from view, opening their gates and attracting millions of visitors each year.

From the 91 million tourists who fight for space at the Grand Bazaar to the 7 million lucky souls who make it to the Eiffel Tower, in this article Bookmundi examines the top most-visited travel attractions around the world. Some of your favorite travel destinations might not feature on this list, but this ranking has been based entirely on the number of visitors who visit a particular attraction in a given year.

Top attraction  #1: Grand Bazaar, Istanbul

The markets of Grand Bazaar
Image by: saiko3p/
  • Annual Visitors: 91,250,000
  • Peak Season: June to August

The Grand Bazaar assaults your senses unlike any other. Famous as one of the oldest and most popular bazaars, the world’s largest covered market is a melting pot of cultures brimming with fragrant smells, exotic spices, colorful oil lamps and a traditional atmosphere. Home to more than 5000 shops and spread over 60 streets, each area reveals exceptional experiences. From carpet salesmen delivering the perfect sales pitch to a staggering variety of merchandise, the Grand Bazaar never fails to captivate. Remember, practice your bargaining skills back home before venturing out to the Grand Bazaar.

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Top attraction  #2. The Zócalo, Mexico City (featured image)

  • Annual Visitors: 85,000,000
  • Peak Season: March to May

Termed as The Zocalo in the 19th century, the heart of Mexico City is the largest city square in the world. The plaza was paved with stones from the ceremonial center of Aztec Tenochtitlán in the 1520s and emerged on the international scene when a maze of market stalls began covering the area in the 18th century. Today, Zocalo is home to some of the best sights in Mexico City such as the Palacio National, Portal de Mercaderes and Catedral Metropolitana. The best view of the Zocalo can be seen as you emerge from metro Zocalo and are greeted to the sight of a humongous plaza covered with Aztec dancers wearing feathered headdresses and snakeskin loincloths

Top attraction  #3. Times Square, New York City

People on Times Square at night
Image by: StudioBarcelona/
  • Annual Visitors: 50,000,000
  • Peak Season: January to March, June to August

Once famous as a seedy, shady area in NYC, the Times Square was transformed into a commercial haven in the mid-90s. The gangsters and muggers of yesterday have given way to comedy club promoters and street artists. Those flashing billboards and restaurants have also helped in attracting millions of tourists and the square has simply become one of those places you must see while in New York. After all, there is something incredible about visiting a neon-lit New York.

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Top attraction  #4. Central Park, New York City

Central Park in Autumn with Belvedere Castle and colorful trees over lake with reflection
Image by: Songquan Deng/
  • Annual Visitors: 40,000,000
  • Peak Season: January to March, June to August

Central Park has often been described as the heart and soul of NYC. Known for its role in inspiring countless movies, novels and poems, the Central Park has been integral to the New York way of life for generations. It is basically an oasis of green that is spread over 843 acres and is located in the heart of the city. It is full of all kinds of attractions such as the Belvedere Castle, Strawberry Fields, Central Park Zoo, Bow Bridge, Conservatory Gardens and Bethesda Fountain and Terrace; and attracts people from all walks of life through its myriad of sights, attractions and activities.

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Top attraction  #5. Union Station, Washington, D.C.

A view of the Union station in Washington Dc
Image by: kuosumo/
  • Annual Visitors: 40,000,000
  • Peak Season: March to June, September to November

Fancy seeing a train station, shopping mall, exhibition and event venue and an architectural gem in the same spot! The Union Station is truly beautiful and is considered to be one of the best examples of the Beaux-Arts style of architecture. But apart from being an architectural marvel, it is also famous for its fast-food restaurants, boutique stores and legionnaire statues that stand guard on top of the arches that span the exits.

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Top attraction  #6. Las Vegas Strip

View of the Las Vegas strip
Image by: kobby_dagan/
  • Annual Visitors: 30,500,000
  • Peak Season: U.S. Holidays

It’s always hot and happening on The Strip. Famous as the hippest spot in the hippest city on the planet, The Strip is home to those most of those fantasy-land-like casino resorts of Las Vegas as well as most of its best sights and attractions. From the Venice-like canals of The Venetian to the grand fountain at the Bellagio, everything you want to see in Venice can be found in The Strip. It is everything you dream of, but it still manages to surprise you by throwing in that something extra.

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Top attraction  #7. Meiji Jingu Shrine, Tokyo

A view of the Meji jingu shrine
Image by: Nattee Chalermtiragool/
  • Annual Visitors: 30,000,000
  • Peak Season: March to April, September to October

The Meiji Jingu Shrine has been dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. The shrine was destroyed during the air raids that took place during the WWII and was finally rebuilt in the year 1958. What makes this shrine so unique is that unlike other reconstructions, this shrine somehow managed to retain its authentic feel, an experience that is somewhat defined by that huge tori gate which was made using a 1500-year-old Cyprus.

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Top attraction  #8. Sensoji Temple, Tokyo

A view of the Sensoji Temple
Image by: TTstudio/
  • Annual Visitors: 30,000,000
  • Peak Season: March to April, September to October

Senso-ji, also known as Asakusa Kannon, holds a special place in the hearts of the locals. It is Tokyo’s oldest temple and according to legends, the statue of Kannon has been saving worshipers ever since it was first discovered approximately 1400 years ago in the Sumida River. The most famous attraction at Senso-jo is the Thunder Gate, an imposing Buddhist structure that has been dramatically painted in red and black colors. The distinctive Japanese pagoda and that beautiful garden are also worth a watch.

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Top attraction  #9. Niagara Falls, New York and Ontario

A view of the American side of Niagara Falls
Image by: ZIMNEVAN/
  • Annual Visitors: 22,000,000
  • Peak Season: June to August

It may not be the tallest or the largest waterfall on the planet, but it is without a doubt the most popular one. The sheer spectacle of seeing that unstoppable flow of water and those plumes of icy mist leaves you in a hypnotic trance shrieking in delight, thanking your stars for this once-in-a-lifetime experience. The town has been a major honeymoon destination for decades, and hence, Niagara might feel like an outdated amusement park, but the falls themselves are another matter altogether. The best way to experience the falls is to board a boat and see all that magnificence from up close. The Maid of the Mist tour takes you right up to the falls from the US side and the Journey Behind the Falls offers a similar experience in Canada.

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Top attraction  #10. Grand Central Terminal, New York City

Grand Central terminal in New York City
Image by: Stu99/
  • Annual Visitors: 21,600,000
  • Peak Season: January to March, June to August

The Grand Central Terminal takes you back to another era which beautifully showcases the rich and glorious past of New York City. Look at that ceiling mural in the main concourse or spend some time in that legendary Oyster Bar, the experience is bound to be unlike any other. And if you’re lucky enough to visit the Grand Central Terminal with your loved one, don’t forget to check out the Whispering Gallery. Stand at the end of Oyster Bar ramp and you’ll be heard all the way across the other side.

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Top attraction  #11. Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico City

The basilica of our lady of Guadalupe in Mexico city
Image by: shakzu/
  • Annual Visitors: 20,000,000
  • Peak Season: July to August

Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is the most-visited Catholic shrine in the world. Our Lady of Guadalupe is believed to be a form of Virgin Mary who appeared in the year 1531, asking an Aztec convert to build a church at the very site. The most popular attraction at the shrine is that miraculous apron which contains the image of Virgin hands. The shrine also has a picture of a woman with olive skin, believed to represent Our Lady of Guadalupe as an advocate of indigenous rights.

Top attraction  #12. Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, Orlando

Sorcerer's Hat at Disney's World Magic Kingdom
Image by: KingsmanPhotography/
  • Annual Visitors: 18,588,000
  • Peak Season: U.S. Holidays

Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is truly the kingdom of your dreams. It is where you let all those childhood fantasies come true in the form of classic Disney attractions, musical parades, your most popular Disney characters and fireworks across 6 uniquely themed lands. As you explore Adventureland, Tomorrowland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, Main Street and Liberty Square, you realize that this is a journey not only through space and time, but also through dreams and imaginations. Some of the most popular attractions include the Barnstormer, Cinderella Castle, Jungle Cruise, Haunted Mansion, Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Space Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean.

Top attraction  #13. Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston

Building of Faneuil Hall, Boston
Image by: jennyt/
  • Annual Visitors: 18,000,000
  • Peak Season: April to June, September to October

Built in the year 1742, the Faneuil Hall was once famous for speeches delivered by icons such as George Washington and Samuel Adams. Today, this downtown marketplace, also known as Quincy Market, is a pedestrian-only area that is more famous for its 100 specialty shops, traditional American restaurants and its street performers. The Faneuil Hall also hosts the tallest Christmas tree in Boston together with choirs and festive lights. Don’t forget to visit this marketplace, also a part of the Freedom Trail, on your next trip to Boston.

Top attraction  #14. Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo

Artificial volcano in Disneyland, Tokyo
Image by: dizainera/
  • Annual Visitors: 17,214,000
  • Peak Season: March to August

Tokyo Disneyland is the most popular theme park in this part of the world. Opened in the year 1983, Tokyo Disneyland emerged as one of the first theme parks outside the US. The park has been modeled after Disney’s Magic Kingdom and features 7 unique lands that present all kinds of parades and decorations. The World Bazaar is designed to resemble a 20th century American town and is full of stores and brands. Tomorrowland revolves around futuristic technology and outer space, Toontown is home to your favorite Disney characters and traditional Disney rides, and Fantasyland has Cinderella, Snow White and Winnie the Pooh. Critter County, Westernland and Adventureland are the other themed lands in Tokyo Disneyland. Whoever said you need to travel all the way to the US to make your Disney dreams come true!!

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Top attraction  #15. Disneyland Park, California

Princess castle in disneyland Los Angeles, California
Image by: outline205/
  • Annual Visitors: 16,202,000
  • Peak Season: U.S. Holidays

Home to 7 unique lands, the Disneyland Park in California brings all those Disney characters back to life through a unique collection of attractions, entertainment and dining establishments. With new additions such as Cars Land and Buena Vista Street joining already established areas such as Pacific Wharf, Hollywood Land, Grizzly Peak, Paradise Pier and Bug Land, you’re sure to have more than you can possibly handle. Rides such as The Bakery Tour, California Screamin’, Monsters Inc., Sorcerer’s Workshop and the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror will keep you excited, but the World of Color fountain show is what tends to take your breath away.

Top attraction  #16. Forbidden City, Beijing

The Gate of Supreme Harmony in Forbidden City
Image by: felker/
  • Annual Visitors: 15,340,000
  • Peak Season: Chinese Holidays

The name says it all. The Forbidden City was once closed for most people and you needed to be really special to get a chance to see it in all its glory. That said, it is quite possible to explore its mysteries and beauty through a simple tour today. The Forbidden City is the best-preserved palace in China and the largest ancient palace on the planet. It is a tribute to traditional Chinese architecture and is recognized as one of the top five palaces around the world. This UNESCO World Heritage Site hosts a vast collection of ancient buildings that are steeped in Byzantine regal protocols and were home to two dynasties of imperial rulers.

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Top attraction  #17. Golden Gate National Recreation Area, San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge At Dawn
Image by: worldofphotos/
  • Annual Visitors: 14,289,121
  • Peak Season: March to June, September to October

If you felt that the Yosemite, the Grand Canyon or the Yellowstone was the most popular national park in the West, think again. The Golden Gate National Recreation Area easily beats the others, and it has the numbers to prove it. The thing with the Golden Gate National Reserve Area is that it also includes attractions such as the Muir Woods, Fort Point, Marin Headlands, Alcatraz Island, Ocean Beach and Crissy Field, which means that many visitors don’t realize that they’re actually visiting a national park. Over the years, the park has managed to spread its boundaries over 80000 acres spread across 3 counties and it consists of approximately 700 historic structures that were purchased or donated.

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Top attraction  #18. Tokyo DisneySea, Tokyo

  • Annual Visitors: 14,084,000
  • Peak Season: March to August

Tokyo DisneySea is another popular Disney attraction in Japan that introduces visitors to real and imaginary lands and makes all their dreams come true. Unlike Disneyland, the Tokyo DisneySea feels entirely unique. Its stellar line-up includes major crowd pullers such as Big Band Beat, a Broadway venue featuring tap dancing and orchestra, A Table is Waiting, a comical show that focuses on world cuisines, Fantasmic, the place where Mickey meets music, Journey to the Center of the Earth, a hair-raising ride that presents life-like replicas of the caverns and mysteries located deep within the planet, and 20000 Leagues Under the Sea, an illusionary sea rover ride that is famous as the most spectacular attraction in Tokyo DisneySea.

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Top attraction  #19. Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris

A view of Notre Dame De Paris Cathedral
Image by: Eugene Sergeev
  • Annual Visitors: 14,000,000
  • Peak Season: June to August

Apart from being top attraction in the city, Notre Dame Cathedral has also been at the center of catholic Paris for more than seven centuries. Tourists fall in love with its larger-than-life scenes and spectacular architecture such as those magnificent bell towers and those enthralling rose windows. The towers also let you climb 400-odd steps to the very top to bring you face-to-face with scary gargoyles and present magnificent views of the city. Another noteworthy aspect of the church is its central choir with its wooden stalls and statues that represent Passion of the Christ. The church treasury is brimming with beautiful artworks, interesting objects and first-class relics. For the best view of Notre Dame, head over to the Jean XXIII square (the small park located behind the cathedral). Don’t miss the vibe of the Gothic Notre Dame Cathedral on your holiday to Paris.

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Top attraction  #20. Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

The Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco California United States of America
Image by: f8grapher/
  • Annual Visitors: 13,000,000
  • Peak Season: May to October

The California Academy of Sciences. Strawberry Hill. Golden Gate Park Playground. Golden Gate Park Windmills and Tulips. Japanese Tea Garden. Strybing Arboretum. And that’s not even counting those countless sights and attractions. No wonder the Golden Gate Park manages to attract more than 13 million visitors per year! Famous as one of the greatest treasures of San Francisco, this spectacular 1017-acre oasis introduces you to all kinds of playgrounds, lakes, trails, picnic tables, groves, monuments and a delightful selection of cultural activities and special programmes. And if you’re brimming with energy, we recommend a trip to the western edge of the park, where you get to check out herds of bison at the Bison Paddock.

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Top attraction  #21. Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park in San Diego California at night
Image by: Andy777/
  • Annual Visitors: 12,000,000 to 14,000,000
  • Peak Season: January to March

Affectionately called ‘Smithsonian of the West’, Balboa Park is a magnificent cultural oasis that is home to 8 magnificent gardens, the spectacular San Diego Zoo and as many as 17 museums. It is the largest cultural park in North America and is full of all kinds of architectural wonders, lush green locales, breathtaking relics, award-winning performances and serene gardens. The most popular museums in the park include San Diego Museum of Art, Casa del Prado, Natural History Museum, Aerospace Museum and Museum of San Diego History. Balboa is open 24 hours a day and entry is free, making it a popular spot for locals as well as tourists. There are a number of eateries and restaurants located within the park as well.

Top attraction  #22. South Street Seaport, New York City

The South Street Seaport in downtown Manhattan with the Brooklyn skyline on the background
Image by: Kamira/
  • Annual Visitors: 12,000,000
  • Peak Season: January to March, June to August

All you have to do is walk along those cobblestone streets all the way down to Pier 16 and you’ll across the gateway to the cultural diversity and rich maritime history of Lower Manhattan. South Street Seaport is most famous as home to the South Street Seaport Museum, but also presents a variety of harbor cruises, boutique stores, exciting eateries and unique trendy cultural activities to choose from. The museum is a 30000 sq. ft. historical extravaganza that recreates the sailing and fishing history of the area. The best time to visit the area is on a Sunday, the only day you get to see the Fulton Stall Market. There are dozens of vendors selling all kinds of organic products, exotic fish, fresh produce and organic products.

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Top attraction  #23. San Antonio River Walk, Texas

San Antonio Riverwalk
Image by: Brandon Seidel/
  • Annual Visitors: 11,500,000
  • Peak Season: May to August

The San Antonio River Walk is a modern-day oasis that is full of arched stone bridges, verdant landscapes and cypress trees. It winds its way through the center of the city and attracts millions of visitors with its historic sights, cultural hot spots, shopping and eateries. Riverside tables are covered with colorful umbrellas to offer an array of exotic cuisines and let you choose your favorite – American, Italian, or everything in between. The best way to explore the area is on a bike or on foot. With more than 15 miles of paths and sidewalks to stroll around, you’re sure to have a blast at the San Antonio River Walk. Some of the top things to explore along the way include the King William Historic District, ancient Spanish missions, shops, restaurants and museums.

Top attraction  #24. Epcot, Disney World, Orlando

Disney's Epcot centre at Night in Florida
Image by: KingsmanPhotography/
  • Annual Visitors: 11,229,000
  • Peak Season: U.S. Holidays

Epcot, another Disney extravaganza, is twice as big as the Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, and it hardly ever feels crowded, something that is all too common in Magic Kingdom. And if you start missing those crowds, all you have to do is check out some of the headliners at Epcot such as Space Mountain or Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. The park is divided into two sections – The World Showcase and Future World – and is particularly focused on the little ones. Future World is the front section of the park and its attractions are themed on the sea, cars and space. Some of the top rides in this section include the Seas with Nemo and Friends, Living with the Land, Soarin and Spaceship Earth. And as the name suggests, the World Showcase showcases a sampling of the world.

Top attraction  #25. St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City

A view of Vatican city
Image by: PHOTOCREO Michal Bednarek/
  • Annual Visitors: 11,000,000
  • Peak Season: June to August

This beautiful piece of architecture is the largest church on the planet as well as the center of Christianity. St. Peter’s Basilica is often the first image that comes to mind the moment you think of The Vatican, and it always manages to leave you spellbound when you really see it, no matter how many times you lay your eyes upon those pictures floating online. The dome of St. Peter’s Basilica was designed by none other than Michelangelo and it is one of the main highlights of the church. Other things worth exploring include the St. Peter’s Square that is home to two mesmerizing fountains, the 25.5 meter obelisk which belonged to 13th century BC Egypt, the Bernini colonnade and its 140 statues of saints and the humongous statues of St. Peter and St. Paul, the patron saints of Rome.

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Top attraction  #26. Great Wall of China

Great wall of China
Image by: zhudifeng/
  • Annual Visitors: 10,720,000
  • Peak Season: Chinese Holidays

The Great Wall of China is one of the most amazing sights on the planet. Famous as the longest wall in the world, it was once responsible for shutting out the East from the rest of the world. The barriers have long disappeared, but the wall still stands in all its ancient glory and entertains tourists with its awe-inspiring architecture. The Great Wall of China is divided into several sections, but almost all sections are easily accessible by car. Mutianyu is the most beautiful section of the wall, Juyongguan is the closest and Badaling is the one that attracts the most crowds due to the simple fact that it has the easiest climb.

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Top attraction  #27. Sacré Coeur Basilica, Paris

Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Paris, France
Image by: SerrNovik/
  • Annual Visitors: 10,500,000
  • Peak Season: June to August

Sacré Coeur’s gleaming white facades have been attracting visitors for years and treating them to delicious views of Paris. The basilica is easily recognized through its ivory domes and is an integral part of the city’s skyline. You are sure to fall in love with its Romanesque architecture and that huge clock tower, home to one of the largest clocks on the planet. Sacré Coeur may feel bland and mansion-like from the outside, but its interiors are as warm as they get. The highlight is that glittery ceiling showcasing images of Joan of Arc, St. Michael and Jesus Christ through red and blue mosaics. For the best experience, climb up those 234 steps to the very top of the dome and check out the City of Light in all its beauty.

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Top attraction  #28. Disneyland Park, France

A view of Disneyland Park in France
Image by: Veniamin Kraskov/
  • Annual Visitors: 10,430,000
  • Peak Season: June to August

Months of hard labor, millions of dollars and an undying vision was ultimately responsible for giving Europe its first Disney extravaganza in the form of the Disneyland Park in France. The park is much bigger than its Anaheim inspiration and more beautiful than the one in Florida. In other words, the Disneyland Park in France is as good as it gets. What makes this park so alluring is that it is neither big nor small, neither cozy nor impersonal. The top attractions at Disneyland Park include Adventure Isle, Crush’s Coaster, Disney Studio, Le Passage Enchante d’Alladin, Peter Pan’s Flight, Pirate’s Beach and Pirates of the Caribbean. Disney finally manages to get the balance right and present a park that has only one thing in mind – entertainment. Irrespective of your age, gender or preference, you’re sure to fall in love with Disneyland Park, the ultimate Disney extravaganza.

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Top attraction  #29. Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Florida

  • Annual Visitors: 10,198,000
  • Peak Season: U.S. Holidays

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is one of the largest theme parks that revolves around animals. It is home to as many as 2000 animals from approximately 300 species and is divided into 6 beautiful themed exhibits – USA, DinoLand, Africa, Discovery Land, Oasis and Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Disney actually managed to recreate an African town in the form of the Harambe village, also home to Disney’s star attraction – the Kilimanjaro safari. DinoLand takes inspiration from one of those Jurassic Park movies (or vice versa maybe?) and presents the perfect place to bring back your dino fantasies to life. Don’t forget to hop on-board the Primeval Whirl, a gut-wrenching roller coaster that is full of mysteries, twists and turns. Those who like Disney movies are sure to fall in love with Festival of the Lion King, known for its beautiful parades and elaborate performances. The Asia exhibit brings you closer to tropical rainforests and forbidden temples (Lara Croft anyone?) through exciting rides such as the Maharajah Jungle Trek. To end your perfect adventure, don’t forget to camp for a night in the Animal Kingdom Lodge, a traditional African lodge where zebras, giraffes and wildebeests stroll past your bedroom windows.

Top attraction  #30. Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Florida

  • Annual Visitors: 10,110,000
  • Peak Season: U.S. Holidays

A trip to Disney’s Hollywood Studios is exciting, enthralling, entertaining and harrowing at the same time. The excitement is there for all to see, but the venue’s popularity means that it is always crowded, and this means that you must always tackle huge crowds, irrespective of which season you choose to visit. Hollywood Studios is Disney’s tribute to the Golden Age of Hollywood. Its streets and attractions are themed around blockbuster TV shows and movies and you feel like you’re actually walking in a real-life studio. Some of the top attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios include Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, Voyage of the Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage, Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Toy Story Midway Mania, The Great Movie Ride and Star Tours.

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