Theme Parks in Europe

With the likes of Disneyland and Seaworld, it’s a common belief that the greatest theme parks in the world are found in Orlando. However the continuing popularity from European theme parks means that the continent is still definitely a force to be reckoned with. Here are some of the best theme parks you could go to you without having to ‘cross the pond’.

Disneyland Paris

It might not be as large as its brother in Florida, but the Paris resort still possesses all the magic of Disney. The complex offers a wide variety of rides, including the Big Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril. With four different zones brimming with attractions, Disneyland Paris offers to keep the whole family entertained for days upon end.

Port Aventura

The resort is the most famous theme park Spain, offering beautiful weather combined with some of the fastest rides on the planet. Just an hour’s drive from Barcelona, the resort has developed excellent links including its own designated station as well as two airports just half an hour away. In terms of the rides, Dragon Khan promises to leave your heart in your throat; with its ferociously fast paced carriages taking you on eight different inversions at speeds over 65mph. Another thrill-seeking adventure is the Hurakan Condor, where riders are taken up to nearly 200 feet, then thrown back down to the ground at speeds of over 70 mph.

Siam Park

Claiming to be the most spectacular water park in Europe, this 46 acre park in Tenerife has a distinctive Siamese theme and offers an exciting array of water sports that will guarantee to keep you entertained. It boasts the largest wave pool in the world, with the Wave Palace throwing waves nearly 10 ft high straight at you. It also has the Tower of Power, a vertical slide that takes riders through a transparent tank full of sharks and stingrays, a ride not for the faint hearted.

Alton Towers

Finally we move onto the classic British park. Alton towers offer some of the most exciting rides in the world, such as the vertical rollercoaster ‘Oblivion’ and the unrivalled ‘Nemesis’. One of the more recent rides is ‘Air’, meant to give an insight into flying. Riders adopt the prone position and fly close to the ground, hurtling past rocks and trees to give for a frightening experience.

So there are just four excellent parks without even mentioning the titan resorts of Orlando. So the next time you’re thinking about booking a fun filled holiday, why not consider some of the theme parks in Europe. Another positive, acquiring some Port Aventura tickets will certainly be a cheaper than some of the resorts in Orlando, allowing you have a bigger budget for the rest of your trip.

Cruising to Theme Parks

Details of some of the theme parks that are close to ports you can sail to from Southampton in the UK. See www.cruisesfromsouthampton.uk. Thorpe park is only an hours drive from southamption , southampton has the busiest cruise port in the uk, and has cruises to Barcelona(Portaventura), Copenhagen (Tivoli Gardens), Dubai (IMG Worlds of Adventure & Dubai Parks n Resorts), Abu Dhabi (Warner Bros).

Disneyland – Hong Kong

The opening of Disneyland in Hong Kong was considered to be a milestone of Chinese culture development, there was concern amongst some sections of Chinese society that Disneyland epitomized opulence and wastefulness of western society and that this was a slippery-slope that would lead to the degradation of Chinese culture; of course their fears were completely irrational. What Hong Kong now has is a shiny new Disneyland what almost perfectly replicates what you would find in California, complete with ‘Main Street U.S.A’. This park usually gets incredibly crowded so be prepared to do your fair share of queuing, you’ll find all the stock-standard rides that you’re used to. A word of caution: after rain the walk ways around the park become soap-like and it’s very easy to fall over!

Happy Valley – Beijing

Happy Valley is possibly not as good as Disneyland but its located in Beijing which makes it largely more accessible for tourists visiting China, and it’s a lot cheaper! This theme park is basically a Chinese imitation of Disneyland but with some improvements to make it adult-friendly as well. Located only 10kms from the centre of Beijing, Happy Village Park is complete with several different ‘worlds’ including Atlantis, the Lost Maya and Ant World etc. It is very easy to soak up a day wandering around and enjoying rides, there’s more than one roller-coaster, several flumes, and IMAX theater and a shopping complex, as well as my favorite a little Disney-style train that encircles the whole park. I know that it may not be to everyone’s taste to go to China and spend a day at an amusement park, but if the raft of temples, gardens and bridges are getting you down, then why not switch it up for a day?

PortAventura

PortAventura is located just 2 km from the center of Salou and is one of the largest theme parks and more successful in Europe. It is the pride of the Costa Dorada with more than 4 million visitors each year, a number that grows every year and allows the park to constantly innovate, installing new attractions each season.

PortAventura holds 5 thematic areas: the Mediterranean, China, Mexico, Far West and Polynesia. Each perfectly set, where nothing seems out of place. Really! You will be transferred to those places with its buildings, vegetation, even the climate. In addition to the real-life atmosphere, you can release adrenaline through countless attractions like the Dragon Khan, which is one of the highest roller coasters in Europe, Furius Bacco a terrifying landscape catapult, or Huracan Condor with a free fall of 100m, there are quieter attractions or not so shocking ones that family travelers can enjoy together, such as Tutuki Splash, Shambala, Silver River Flume or Angkor. There is a train that starts at the Farwest and runs all along the area until the Antigua China.

The Ferrari Land park, has more than 6 hectares inspired by the artistic heritage of Italy. It is an exclusive motor theme park where Ferrari lovers will enjoy the speed in the most spectacular attractions in Europe.

Get ready to enjoy the latest technologies and uniques virtual experiences with its 16 innovative attractions. The Red Force, the fastest and highest roller-coaster in Europe. Racing circuits, simulators and incredible games where you will become a true Formula 1 driver. 

Fascinating shows, Italian restaurants, souvenir shops of different regions …And a lot more! Do not miss the opportunity to get to know the Italy of Enzo Ferrari and the champions of Formula 1.

Tivoli Gardens

Tivoli Gardens amusement park in Copenhagen is a must for all visitors to the city, young and old. Tivoli is located just a few minutes walk from City Hall, and with the Copenhagen Central Station as its nearest neighbour, it is very easy to get to.

Tivoli Gardens was founded in 1843 and has become a national treasure and an international attraction. Fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen visited many times, as did Walt Disney and many other celebrities, who all fell in love with the gardens.

Part of Tivoli Gardens’ secret is that there is something for everyone. The scenery is beautiful with exotic architecture, historic buildings and lush gardens. At night, thousands of colored lights create a fairy tale atmosphere that is completely unique.

The rides are all designed to match Tivoli’s architecture and gardens. Some rides are wonderfully nostalgic. Others will match the expectations of the keenest thrill seekers.

Tivoli’s oldest and most popular ride, the wooden Roller Coaster from 1914, is one of only seven roller coasters worldwide which have a brakeman on board every train.

IMG Worlds of Adventure

Dubai is now home to the largest indoor theme park in the world – IMG Worlds of Adventure

The 4 “Epic Zones” that make up the IMG Worlds of Adventure are themed around some of the biggest entertainment brands in the world – Marvel Comics, Cartoon Network, Lost Valley Dinosaur Adventure and IMG Boulevard. Each zone has rides and experiences that reflects its theme perfectly. The Marvel zone is home to rides such as Avengers Battle of Ultron, Hulk Epsilon Base 3D and Avengers Flight of the Quinjets. In Cartoon Network you will be able to experience The Powerpuff Girls – Mojo Jojo’s Robot Rampage, Ben 10 5D Hero Time and The Amazing Ride of Gumball. The Lost Valley on the other hand is themed around dinosaurs and offers thrilling rides such as The Velociraptor, Predator and Forbidden Territory. Finally, the IMG Boulevard Zone, which is the welcome zone of the park, is home to the spookiest of all experiences – The Haunted Hotel.

Dubai Parks n Resorts

Dubai Parks and Resorts is made up of 4 individually stunning theme parks – Motiongate Dubai, Bollywood Park, LEGOLAND Dubai and LEGOLAND Water Park.Get the ultimate cinematic experience at Motiongate Dubai – the Middle East’s “Hollywood in the desert”. From Shrek and Kung Fu Panda to Toothless the Dragon and the Smurfs, enter the world of your favorite characters through a wide array of exciting rides and attractions. Head to Bollywood Parks Dubai and stroll the streets of Mumbai, dive into adventure in a rural village and catch the region’s first and only Broadway-style Bollywood musical at the dazzling Rajmahal Theatre.

Warner Bros (Abu Dhabi)

The Warner Bros. facility on Yas Island is designed to host 29 thrilling rides and live entertainment across 6 themed lands – Warner Bros. Plaza, Metropolis, Gotham City, Cartoon Junction, Bedrock and Dynamite Gulch. This immersive indoor theme park is said to be one amongst the largest indoor theme parks around the world and is branded as a family friendly destination that caters to all age groups. With rides, shows and attractions for everyone

Thorpe Park

Thorpe Park’s Colossus, until recently, held the record for being the world’s first roller coaster to feature 10 inversions – a Vertical Loop, Cobra Roll (with 2 inversions), 2 Corkscrews and 5 Inline Twists. A clone of Colossus was constructed at a park in China in 2006.

At the moment, Stealth is Europe’s tallest and fastest launched roller coaster. It is Thorpe Parks newest roller coaster and opened in 2006. An accelerator coaster which features a hydraulic 80 mph (128 km/h) launch up a 205 ft top hat incline with approximately 3gs. Upon the upgrade to Stealth 1.1, it now launches to 80mph in 1.9 seconds compared with the previous 80mph in 2.5 seconds.

Another record held by Thorpe Park is for Loggers Leap which is the tallest log flume in the UK. It lost this record for a while, but regained this record after its rival was removed from service.

The world’s only backwards in the dark roller coaster is X:/No Way Out. It opened in 1996 and was the first “Thrill Seeker” ride to be installed at Thorpe Park.

Like any good theme park, Thorpe Park is split up into eight distinctly themed areas. 1. Port Atlantis – a marine theme; 2. Lost City – Mayan Temple theme; 3. Calypso Quay – a calypso theme; 4. Canada Creek – themed around a Canadian Creek; 5. Amity Cove – a 1950s New-Hampshire fishing village theme; 6. Ranger County – themed around the “Thorpe Park Rangers” mascots; 7. Neptune’s Kingdom – the mythical Neptune theme; 8. Octopus’s Garden – small aquatic theme.

Because Thorpe Park was built on the site of a gravel pit, it was partially flooded to make a water theme park, hence the many water and marine-based themes. The Octopus’s Garden area is home of the small rides for the very young children.

Obviously, not everybody wants to experience extreme thrill rides and this is where Thorpe Park comes into its own. The park offers many rides that are for people who prefer to laugh rather than to scream on a ride. These are rides which the whole family can enjoy, but bear in mind, some of them require a minimum height. If you are concerned about the height of your child and not being able to go on the rides, there is a one-time height check available at the Gueset Services.

Eating and drinking is no problem at Thorpe Park. There are loads of places where you can enjoy meals and drinks that are suitable for all ages and tastes. There is an outdoor barbecue which serves char-grilled ribs, burgers, salads and jacket potatoes. There are hot dogs and nachos. Fresh hot donuts, ice cream, hot and cold drinks. Fish and chips. Juices. Mexican. And these are just a few of the many dishes available.

There are numerous facilities at Thorpe Park which will make the family outing even more pleasurable. There is a hire a Buggy facility for young children who are getting too tired to walk any more, there is a wheelchair hire facility for people wishing to borrow a wheelchair. There are also Shopping facilities where you can buy gifts.