The World’s Best Theme Parks
A great theme park is one that offers a day (or few) of fun for the whole family. With fun-filled locations all over the world, enjoy the thrills and spills of some of the world’s best theme parks – where a good time is guaranteed for all.
Walt Disney Resort, Florida – USA
The Walt Disney Resort in Florida is more like a mini-city rather than a theme park. In total, this sprawling resort is bigger than Manhattan, and includes four theme parks, two water parks, 23 themed hotels, five golf courses, and countless other entertainment options. With such overwhelming choice, it’s hard to know where to begin, and you’ll definitely need to spend a couple of days here to even scratch the surface. Highlights include the magical Cinderella Castle, Blizzard Beach (with some of the world’s fastest waterslides), the Future World pavilions showcasing design and innovation at Epcot, plus much, much more.
Europa Park – Germany
Explore the entire Continent over a single day with a visit to Europa Park, the largest theme park in Germany. There’s 14 themed country areas, covering everywhere from Greece to England, Portugal, Russia and Switzerland. Parents will love Europa Park, as this place offers a bit more than the usual theme park experience – there’s also the chance to learn about, and experience, many different cultures and cuisines, all within a few hours. The younger ones will also love Europa, as it still retains all the best bits of any good theme park – with more than 100 action-packed rides, and a huge variety of entertainment, including a fiery flamenco show that’s not to be missed. Stay a few days, and have the whole of Europe come to you.
Legoland – Denmark
The first Legoland theme park can be found in Billund Denmark, right next to the original Lego factory. The park itself is an incredible visual marvel, with more than 58 million Lego bricks used in the construction, with miniature working planes, trains, and even ships circling their way around the pathways and waterways. But there’s so much more to be discovered at Legoland than millions of toy bricks. The little ones will enjoy Duplo Land, featuring the Duplo Playhouse – a mini city where children can ride on toy planes and trains, all made entirely out of Duplo bricks. Adventure Land features a range of state-of-the-art roller coasters – don’t worry, you’ll be comfortable, as the Lego theming fortunately doesn’t extend to the ride seating! Don’t miss the brand-new Polar Land, featuring the biggest attraction yet in Legoland – the Polar X-plorer rollercoaster, featuring an incredible frozen lake and a five metre freefall into a den of polar bears. How cool!
DisneySea, Tokyo – Japan
Located just outside Tokyo, DisneySea is a newer theme park, having just celebrated its 11th birthday. Already, many who visit cite it as the best amusement park in the world, and it’s easy to see why. With an overall nautical and undersea theme, more than US$4 billion was spent on constructing this perfect fantasy world – making it the most expensive theme park ever built. Within DisneySea, there are 7 themed areas – Mediterranean Harbor, American Waterfront, Lost River Delta, Port Discovery, Mermaid Lagoon, Arabian Coast and Mysterious Island. Each is a magical land in itself, and some are dedicated to classic Disney films such as ‘The Little Mermaid’ and ‘Aladdin’. Make sure that you leave enough time to properly explore each, with their own unique surprises, thrilling rides and dining experiences.
Dreamworld, Gold Coast – Australia
Located in the theme park mecca of the Gold Coast, Dreamworld has something for the whole family. For the thrillseekers, there’s the Buzzsaw – the highest inversion ride in the Southern Hemisphere, other stomach-churning adrenaline rushes such as the Tower of Terror II and The Claw. For the young, and young at heart, check out Wiggles World, and the newly-opened Shrek Faire Faire Away, and Madagascar Madness theme areas – featuring all your favourite characters from the films. After all the fun and excitement, cool off for a couple of hours at the adjacent Whitewater World. Experience the thrills and spills on the huge Temple of Huey waterslide, or simply kick back at the Cave of Waves beach, and float away the day.
Cedar Point, Ohio – United States
If rollercoasters are your thing, Cedar Point is the place to go. This amusement park has 15 roller-coasters, with a 16th to open in 2013. It’s also the only park in the world with not one, but four, rollercoasters measuring over 60 metres tall. For those who are keen just to kick back and relax and leave the thrills for others, Cedar Point has you covered too, with its own private 1.6km sandy beach. The whole family can enjoy the newest addition to the park, the Dinosaurs Alive! Walk through exhibition, featuring more than 50 incredible, life-sized animatronic dinosaurs. Cedar Point has been named the ‘Best Amusement Park in the World’ by industry publication ‘Amusement Today’ for the last 15 years in a row – visit yourself and see if you agree.
Ferrari World, Yas Island – Abu Dhabi
For something a little different, check out the brand-new Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi. Opening in 2010, it’s the largest indoor theme park in the world, and boasts the Formula Rossa – the world’s fastest rollercoaster, with a top speed of more than 240km/hr. The park is a dream come true for racing fans young and old, featuring a driving school for children, a Ferrari carousel, a realistic recreation of the team setup for a Formula One race, state-of-the-art racing simulators, as well as the largest Ferrari store in the world, and many delicious and authentic Italian dining options. With Abu Dhabi becoming an increasingly popular min-trip destination for families en-route to Europe, Ferrari World is a great way to spend a day when visiting the city.
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