Best Amusement Parks of the World

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Travel Features >> Best Amusement Parks of the World

Best Amusement Parks of the World

April 01, 2011

Losing yourself in the magical world of Harry Potter or hanging upside down from a suspended ride may not be every traveller’s idea of a weekend well spent - but there is something extraordinary about amusement parks which transform even the most disinterested of travellers into a group of excited teenagers. As soon as you enter these enchanted places, you experience a child-like wonderment and elation as if under a spell. A portal to the world of everlasting thrill and adventure, amusement parks provides a much needed respite from the banality of life, every now and then. A visit to these vibrant lands is a must for anyone looking to get a taste of some good ‘ol fun.

Islands of Adventure, USA
There is a reason why Islands of Adventure is among the most visited amusement parks in the world. Yet another ‘action-packed adventure’ straight from the Universal Studio’s family, this park boasts of seven islands, each taken from a different pop culture as well as catering to the particular needs of a visitor. If you have waited ever since you were 11, for an admission letter from the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to find you, then all you have to do is come down to Orlando where the ‘Wizarding World of Harry Potter’ happily takes students from all walks of life. You might even bump into Professor Dumbledore as you make your way through the castle, perhaps discovering a secret passageway or two.

If magic doesn’t inspire awe in you and you crave for some vigilante action, experience them come to life at the ‘Marvel Super Hero Island’. Here you can ride the Incredible Hulk or witness the wrath of Doctor Doom as you scream at the top of your lungs. Doesn’t seem enough? Well, for some real super-hero fun, you can also meet the ‘upholders of justice’ straight out of the pages of Marvel comics right here in this amusement park. The remaining islands are equally intriguing and act as a fantastic escape from the ‘real’ to the ‘reel’ world. If dinosaurs catch your fancy, a walk through the ‘Jurassic park’ will leave you a happy person. The ‘Toon Lagoon’ island is for those who don’t mind enjoying a few squirts of water in the land of Popeye and Dudley-Do Right. Little kids will particularly love the colour-infused and literally ‘twisted’ island of Seuss called ‘Seuss Landing’ whereas the ‘Lost Continent’ is perfect for anyone wanting to discover the treasures of Poseidon or go on a voyage with Sinbad. If, however, you are wondering about the seventh island, well, that is the ‘Port of Entry’ where the Pharos Lighthouse welcomes all to these great ‘Islands of Adventure’.

Where: Orlando, Florida, USA
Admission: When it comes to tickets and passes, you are actually spoilt for choice. There are different kinds of tickets that can be bought as per need, budget and convenience, starting at US$74 for a child between 3-9 years and US$ 82 for the adult. You can either purchase a base ticket for access to just one of the parks at the above given prices or you can avail the incredible option of buying a single ticket which allows access to both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios, starting at US$112 for adults and US$104 for kids aged 3-9 years.
Day passes: You can also get the tickets as per the number of days (1, 2, 3, 4, and 7 days) you wish to go to the park/s. Annual passes (Power, preferred and Premier passes),too, are available starting at US$ 159.99 which can be bought either in one go or on installment basis. If you want to save yourself from the queues at the rides or shows, Universal Express Plus passes can be taken advantage of. The park tickets/passes can be simply bought by one click of the mouse-button.
Operating Season: Islands of Adventure operates all year round. The park usually opens at 9:00 am. and the closing time varies as per shows and days of the week. It is recommended to check out the park calendar before rushing off to Islands of adventure.

Legoland, Denmark
Legoland with its many activities is as diverse as an amusement park can get. There are eight different lands which can be visited in your pursuit of pleasure and adventure. Opened in 1968, this amusement park is situated in Billund, Denmark and can rightly be called the mother of all Lego parks.
Treasure hunts and role-playing is the order of the day at Legoland. If the Wild West has always excited you, then visit the ‘Legoredo Town’ to meet Chief Longears. You can become a member of his tribe and bake campfire bread with the Chief. If you like the shine of gold coins, a souvenir from the Legoldmine can be brought home after you ‘pan’ and ‘melt’ the gold.

If you like to make your imagination run wild, a visit to the ‘Imagination Zone’ is a must. Here you can go on a diving expedition to Atlantis, watch movies in 4D or make the music fountain dance to your tunes. If treasure hunts are your forte, ‘Adventureland’ is where you should head to. In this land, visitors get to fight live mummies, dodge jungle animals and survive ‘earthquakes’ in a sturdy jeep, all this to get their hands on a precious treasure. This part of the park is suitable for older kids who can handle thrills and battle villains fearlessly. On the other hand, the ‘Knight’s Kingdom’ is a great place for those who loves a nice fairytale every once in a while. Explore the castles, ride a ferocious dragon or simply witness live Vikings and Knights roaming the Kingdom, only through the power of your Legoland ticket. If role-playing is your thing, ‘Pirate Land’ will surely become your favourite place in this park. Hop on a boat to journey with Captain Roger who will take you into his Secret Cave where you’ll get a glimpse into the lives of a real pirate.

If, however, a noble profession beckons you, then prove your mettle as a firefighter in the Falck Fire Brigade situated in ‘Lego City’. The amusement park also offers many options for kids who are still too small for fighting pirates or hunting treasures. The little tots can have their dose of fun at ‘Duplo Land’ where they can turn into a policeman, a farmer, a storekeeper or a fireman. But, if you are in a rush to grow up really fast, nothing says ‘responsible’ like a driving license of your own. Head towards The traffic school in ‘Miniland’ which issues driving licenses to deserving kids starting from age 7. With exciting treasure hunts, happy pirates, water fights, rowdy cowboys, medieval Vikings and scary live mummies, adventure doesn’t get any better.

Where: Billund,Denmark
Admission: The admission price for children aged 3-12 years is approximately €33 and for adults (13-64 years) and visitors above 64 yrs of age, the price is €37 and €33 respectively. Season passes can also be availed for €66 (children and seniors) and €73 (adults aged 13-64). In order to purchase your tickets or passes, go to the park’s website.
Operating Season: Legoland operates from April to October. Due to the ever-changing nature of the schedule, it’s advisable to check out the park calendar to find out about the open days, timings and the activities.

Disneyland Park, Paris
Is it even remotely possible to think about amusement parks and fail to remember Disneyland? We didn’t think so either. Every kid who cheered Aladdin as he hovered over Agrabah on his magical carpet or gasped in horror when Snow White took a bite of the poisoned apple has fantasized about visiting these faraway lands at one point or another. Disneyland signifies childhood dreams and bedtime stories and a place where ‘once-upon-a-time’ and ‘happily-ever-after’ unites to let you experience a whole different world.

As you enter the architectural genius of Walt Disney, you can visit any of the five different lands, ranging from fairytales to adventure and from space travel to time travel. If fairytales are your thing, head towards ‘Fantasyland’ to fulfill your wishes of meeting Peter Pan and Pinocchio. You can also explore the chateau of Sleeping Beauty or find your way around Alice’s labyrinth. For those who find solace in listening to tales of adventure can actually live them for real with Indiana Jones and the Pirates of the Caribbean in ‘Adventureland’. But if you are more into ghostly manors and towns narrating the legends of the Wild West, ‘Frontierland’ is where you ought to be. The little ones can have their share of fun by roaming about in the village of Pocahontas and their older siblings and parents can sail aboard Mark Twain or Molly Brown to explore the Wild West. If being an astronaut is what you are living for, get a taste of inter-galactic universe in ‘Discoveryland’ where you also get to draw inspiration from one of the most loved characters of Disney-Buzz Lightyear. However, if you want to experience time travel sans a time machine, ‘Main Street USA’ will transport you right back to the USA of 1900’s.

Where: Marne-la-Vallée, Paris, France
Admission: Varied-priced tickets can be purchased as per the number of days you want to spend at the park, with one day ticket starting at €39 for adults and €29 for children aged 3-11 years. You can book or purchase the tickets from Disneyland Park’s website.
Operating Season: Disneyland Park, Paris operates all year round. Usually it opens at 10:00 am and the closing time varies according to the shows planned. It is highly advisable to take a glance at the park’s calendar before venturing to Disneyland Park.

Warner Brothers Movie World, Australia
If you believed only Disney or Universal can bring your favourite movie characters to life, you are in for a happy surprise. Warner Brothers Movie World which was opened in 1991 on the Gold Coast of Australia, prides itself on providing a taste of Hollywood to all those who venture into this 415 acres of amusement park. There are around 17 rides installed for the pleasure of movie-lovers and children, including Scooby Doo Spooky Coaster, Superman Escape and Batwing Spaceshot. Characters of Looney Toons such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety, Sylvester and Wile E are clear winners when it comes to amusing the little angels of your family while grown-ups can enjoy a number of shows organized inside the park to make the Hollywood experience as real as possible.

The most sought after attraction is ‘All Star Parade’ which involves costumed movie characters to parade the park along with their vehicles and props. But if you would rather make memories with your favorite characters by capturing them through the lens of your camera, you can happily do so as Scooby Doo, Batman, Marilyn Monroe, Austin Powers and The Mystery Inc, are always eager to pose alongside visitors. If you visit this amusement park on Halloween or anywhere around Christmas, you’ll be treated to Hollywood Fright Nights and White Christmas- two really interesting events planned specially for the respective occasions. Whether you visit this park during special occasions or for an engaging weekend, you are sure to get lost into the world of movies. With no dearth of Hollywood themed rides, shows and attractions, Warner Brothers Movie World truly is ‘Hollywood on the Gold Coast’.

Where:Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Admission: For single park entry, the cost of the tickets is as follows: $74.99 for adults, $49.99 for children aged 3-13 years and AUD$49.99 for pensioners. However, the price of the annual passes is common for all- $99.99. To purchase tickets, you can log on to the park’s website. Prices are in Australian Dollars.
Operating Season: Warner Brothers Movie World operates all year round except on Christmas. The park opens at 10:00 am and close by 5:30 pm. However, the rides and attractions close by 5:00 pm.

Cedar Point, USA
USA isn’t called the home to some of the finest amusement parks in the world for nothing. Built in 1870, Cedar Point boasts of holding many records in the entire length of its history, including the record for being the best amusement park of the world for the last 13 years.

With a total of 75 rides, the park offers variety to all kinds of people, but it’s especially fit for those who love the thrill of a roller coaster. Cedar Point houses around 17 roller coasters out of which four are taller than 200 feet. If you are amongst the bravest of the bravest, hop on these adrenaline-pumping roller coasters to get high on adventure and thrills. But if you aren’t too keen on screaming at the top of your lungs, there are other rides which are perfectly suitable to your taste. After all with 75 rides, you really are spoilt for choice.

There are all kinds of rides in this park, measured on a scale of one to five, with ‘one’ providing the lowest thrill and ‘five’ touted as providing the ‘aggressive thrill’. If rides altogether aren’t your cup of tea, plenty of live entertainment shows are there at your disposal to enjoy. Whether you want to have a fun-filled day with your family, hang out with your beloved friends or simply want to reminisce your childhood, Cedar Point is a perfect place to go to.

Where: Sandusky, Ohio, USA
Admission: The prices of the tickets vary as per the height of an individual, with US$ 46.99 being the rate for a 48” and taller person for a single-day admission. The facility for purchasing tickets online is available on the park’s website.
Operating Season: Cedar Point operates from May through October. As far as the timings are concerned, they keep on fluctuating throughout the summer, with 10:00 am-10:00 pm being the most common. It is highly recommended to check the online calendar to know the exact hours of the park for a given day.

Europa Park, Germany
If you thought the only way to learn about European countries was slogging through books, think again. Europa Park, the largest theme park in Germany consists of 15 different areas, 13 of which are named after the most popular countries located in Europe. This means you can have all the fun you want and learn something interesting about some of the beautiful countries in Europe. If you are wondering about the activities in the 15 areas, let us give you a hint.

In Germany, you can maneuver Vintage cars and get a glimpse into the history of the country from an attraction called ‘Berlin wall’. If England is where your heart is, be a part of a fantastic football exhibition known as ‘Walk of Fame’ and watch live performances in the ‘globe’ which is modelled after the Shakespeare Theatre in England. France is best experienced by sitting in a glass lift providing a scenic view of the Vosges or by visiting the Film Adventure World. Greece is all about discovering the lost city of Atlantis and riding the exciting water roller coaster called Poseidon. When it comes to Holland, windmills are the clear winners here but you must also fight pirates in Batavia and travel to Neverland with Peter Pan. When you visit Italy, make sure you ride the Venetian gondolas and enter the Ghost Castle for some spooky fun. If you are in Austria, saving yourself from dragons, volcanoes and goblins is the order of the day. Portugal is synonymous with battling the turbulent waters whereas Russia welcomes anyone wishing to obtain insight into the working of a space station. If you want to refresh yourself, either spend time admiring the wooden huts of a village in Switzerland or enjoy the flamenco performances in Spain. In order to fulfill your romantic aspirations, visit Scandinavia where you can get married to your beloved in the Norvegian Stave Church. But if you enter Iceland, a mega roller coaster ride awaits you, so choose wisely.

The remaining two areas in the park are known as ‘Adventure Land’ and ‘Children’s World’ wherein the former is all about getting lost in the stories of Grimm Brothers and going on an exciting cruise with Mark Twain whereas the latter is for the little kids to have fun at.

Where: Rust, Germany
Admission: Tickets are divided into three categories- single day, two-days and annual tickets. A single day ticket for children aged 4-11 years costs € 32,00, for adults- € 36,00 and visitors aged 60 and above- € 32,00 whereas a two- day ticket for children is € 59,50, for adults- € 67,00 and visitors aged 60 and above is € 59,50. For an annual ticket, you’ll have to shell out € 124 for children (4-11 years), € 145 for adults and € 130 for visitors aged 60 and above.
Operating Season: Europa Park operates from April to January. The park usually opens between 9:00 am till 6:00 pm. However, the park schedule given online must be checked out before heading off to Europa Park. Tickets can be purchased from the website of the amusement park.

PortAventura, Spain
A brainchild of Tussauds Group, Anheuser-Busch and Universal Studios, PortAventura in Spain contains five theme zones representing varied ‘destinations’ to entice the visitors. All rides, attractions and shows in each of the areas are designed or choreographed keeping in mind the respective destination themes.

The entrance better known as ‘The Mediterrania’ is a great place to collect souvenirs from. Even though it doesn’t offer many rides (one, to be precise), there are spectacular shows which pretty much makes up for the lack of rides in this area. If you set sail on the great waters of The Mediterrania, you can reach the fascinating land of ‘China’. The rides in this zone are inspired by interesting Chinese legends and tales and intrigues even those who are clueless about the lore of the country.

Wild West seems to be amongst the most wanted themes in almost all great amusement parks and that is precisely the reason why PortAventura created ‘Far West’, representing the old towns of the region. The rides here aren’t as wild as imagined to be, with most of them offering medium level thrill. If you are craving for some excitement though, a ride on Stampida will serve your purpose. If you are a water-baby and don’t mind a gentle shower, Polynesia is sure to put a smile on your face. But if you are looking to meet Woody, the friendly mascot of PortAventura or wish to watch characters of Sesame Street entertain you Mexican style, a visit to the region of ‘Mexico’ is a must.

PortAventura is an amazing park with some really cool rides but the shows steal the show!

Where: Salou, Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain
Admission: A one day pass for children and seniors costs around €36 whereas for adults the admission price is €44. Different packages can also be bought as per your need and budget. For booking or purchase, log on to PortAventura’s website.
Operating Season: Operating season is from April to January, when the park is open from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm. However, on Christmas and January 1st, the park opens an hour late at 11:00 am. Checking out the park’s calendar is a must before planning a trip to PortAventura.

Pleasure Beach Blackpool, UK
If you are looking to visit the most popular amusement park in UK, you already know where to go to. Pleasure Beach is the perfect place where all members of the family can let go of their inhibitions and make some fantastic memories with their families and friends. This amusement park holds the records for many ‘firsts’ and the presence of some of the most interesting rides and attractions is bound to take your breath away.

If you want to experience UK’s tallest roller coaster, the Pepsi Max Big One will leave you weak in the knees. Infusion, the world’s first suspended looping coaster constructed over water, can also be found here. If you are looking to ride the world’s most expensive dark ride, Valhalla with all its magnificent effects, will leave for wanting for more. For those who like seeing the world upside down will surely enjoy a ride on Irn Bru Revolution which is Europe’s first fully looping roller coaster. This park also offers many indoor attractions including interactive exhibitions from Ripley’s Believe it or Not. You can also ice-skate, bowl and play many action packed games in attractions known as Ice skating, Bowladrome and arcades. Visitors who are looking for an early Halloween can check out the Horror Crypt and the Pasaje del Terror. But if rides and spooky attractions aren’t your idea of a fun-filled day, you can find a number of family rides to take your worries away.

Where: Blackpool, Lancashire, England
Admission: A family of four can get the wristband pass for £86.00 which allows access to unlimited rides. There different packages and passes available online which can be bought suiting your convenience. If you want to book or purchase the tickets, log on to the park’s website.
Operating Season: Pleasure Beach operates from February till November. The opening time is usually 10:30 am and the closing time borders between 5 or 6 pm. It is recommended to have a peek at the park’s calendar before you head off to the park.

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