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Is Disneyland’s hometown really less fun than Omaha, Boise and Wichita? This survey says: Yes

A new national survey of the funnest cities in America ranks Walt Disney World’s Orlando near the top and Disneyland’s Anaheim (85) behind vacation hot spots like Omaha, Nebraska (52), Boise, Idaho (72) and Wichita, Kansas (77).

Orlando, Florida, finished second behind top finisher Las Vegas, Nevada in WalletHub’s new survey of the Most Fun Cities in America for 2022.

Anaheim — home to Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, the NHL Ducks, the MLB Angels and Anaheim Convention Center — finished 85th out of the 182 most populated U.S. cities behind Buffalo, New York (51), Tulsa, Oklahoma (53) and Plano, Texas (78).

The survey put the home of the Happiest Place on Earth one spot behind Rapid City, South Dakota (billed as the gateway to Mt. Rushmore), and just ahead of Bakersfield (home to country music hall of famer Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace).

Orlando is the theme park capital of the world. Disney has four theme parks and two water parks in the Orlando area while Universal has two theme parks and a water park and SeaWorld has a marine park.

As expected, San Francisco (6) placed in the survey’s Top 20 — but other Bay Area cities fared poorly. Oakland (80), San Jose (117) Stockton (147), Fremont, (172) and Santa Rosa (178) least fun cities in America, according to the survey.

WalletHub used data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Trust for Public Land, Council for Community and Economic Research, TripAdvisor, Kayak and other sources to rank cities in 65 categories across three key segments: 1) Entertainment and Recreation, 2) Nightlife and Parties and 3) Costs.

The WalletHub survey looked at everything from hotel costs and beer prices in each city to the prevalence of breweries, casinos, dance clubs, coffee shops, beaches, shopping centers, music festivals and amusement parks.

Why is Orlando way more fun than Anaheim?

Orlando has more restaurant diversity, movie theaters, recreational sports centers, public swimming pools, spa and wellness centers, video arcades, pool halls, comedy clubs and hiking trails than Anaheim, according to WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez.

“Anaheim doesn’t have a rich nightlife either,” Gonzalez said via email. “The overall higher cost of living is another thing that brought the city down. Food, movie tickets and bowling alleys in particular are expensive.”

Another key element hurting the fun factor in Anaheim: Hotel accommodations are not very affordable, according to Gonzalez. Anaheim has long had one of the highest hotel bed taxes in the United States.

20 Most Fun Cities in America

1 Las Vegas, NV2 Orlando, FL3 Miami, FL4 Atlanta, GA5 New Orleans, LA6 San Francisco, CA7 Austin, TX8 Honolulu, HI9 New York, NY10 Chicago, IL11 Cincinnati, OH12 Tampa, FL13 Fort Lauderdale, FL14 Portland, OR15 Denver, CO16 San Diego, CA17 Washington, DC18 Houston, TX19 St. Louis, MO20 Los Angeles, CA

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