Before I begin this post, these are not in order of my favourites. This is a small collection that I have come to love during my travels, including the UK. I am a critic of theme parks, if there are areas that are looking run down or I find the operations half arsed and terrible, I will not rate the park highly.
As a theme park enthusiast, we are highly critical of theme parks. Always expecting the best throughputs on rides, the theming to be pristine, the entertainment and ride selection to cater to all our needs. Everyone is different on what they class as a good theme park but generally there is an agreement among enthusiasts – I say generally. Sometimes you might find the odd enthusiast who will rate a park you absolutely despise, and vice versa.
So let’s get on with my favourite parks to visit.
Quintessentially the most popular theme park to visit among enthusiasts. I can’t even begin to describe the low-key Berlin entrance, walking through to a three tier Victorian style Carousel before walking down the stairs to the Berlin-esque buildings and right at the bottom of the street, a wave swinger with fountains. This park is quaint and pretty, and the amount of theming that goes into its rides are insane. Do I need to go on about how awesome Klugheim is as an area or Chiapas is as a ride in Mexico? The selection of rides for me are perfect, and it’s easy to miss certain areas if you just focus on the main attractions. There are areas that are looking rundown but with Phantasialand, you know that area will eventually be under development – hopefully Temple of the Night Hawk and Hollywood Tour will be on the way out *wink wink*. And with the new Vekoma (I was incorrect in saying it was a B&M, oops!) Flying coaster under construction now, there’s no way I am not visiting next year!
Now, I know a lot of enthusiasts who LOVE Europa Park. And to be honest, you can see why BUT it is very overhyped (sorry EP fanboys/girls). I have a soft spot for Blue Fire, Wodan and the what was classic ‘EuroSat’ but the park is MASSIVE. You could easily get lost if it is your first time visiting and you don’t have a clue where you are going. I was smart and went with people who knew the place like the back of their hand. It is a lot to take in but I can’t fault how pretty each area is. You can see the differences between the old and new, but that gives Europa it’s unique beauty. You can’t fault the park in its operations, they are HANDS DOWN the best I’ve had when visiting parks before. There are a lot of rides to do, so you are going to need a good 3 to 4 days to fully appreciate and walk around the entire park. And let’s not forget the fab hotels you can stay at, including Hotel Bell Rock and Hotel Colosseo. I had the privilege of staying at El Andaluz in 2014 and I thoroughly enjoyed my stay there.
Magic Kingdom (Walt Disney World)
This list wouldn’t be complete without a Disney park. I really love Magic Kingdom at WDW. It may not have the most thrilling of rides there, but it has a really good collection, including Seven Dwarves Mine Train, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Haunted Mansion… the list goes on. I love the different areas, and how they all blend together. My favourite view is the castle (and it is worth noting, MK is my favourite castle out of them all even if I haven’t visited all the Disney parks yet). I may feel like a big kid when I visit a Disney park but I don’t care. If you can visit Magic Kingdom, the Keys to the Kingdom tour is a great chance to go backstage and see the utilidors and explore the behind the scenes of the park. You can learn about the history of the park and enjoy the operations ‘behind the magic’.
I have never had a bad experience visiting Efteling, regardless of the fact that my first visit was wet and horrible, and my second visit was cold and raining (had a little bit of snow too!) I don’t know what it is about the park, but there is that essence of beauty to it. What most people will probably say about this is the theming (this seems to be a recurring element in this list), more so the theming of the rides. Baron 1898, De Vliegende Hollander, Fata Morgana, Droomvlucht… the list goes on. It isn’t just the theming of the rides that makes the park, the music is so perfect! It really adds to the atmosphere, if you get a chance to visit, don’t forget to buy the 2-disc CD. There is plenty to do in the park that it is a park to be done over 2 days. You can always add to your stay by staying at the beautiful Efteling hotel – I’ve stayed there once last year and thoroughly enjoyed it. The rooms were so pretty!
Now, I can’t really do this without including a UK park. To be honest, Alton Towers is a park that I just love to visit. You can’t really beat walking down Towers Street and seeing the Towers in front of you. Okay, I know it is struggling with the cutbacks from Merlin and the amount of rides that have been closed. But for thrillseekers there is a good selection to keep you entertained, such as the Big Six coasters. I never tire of riding Nemesis or Oblivion. I enjoy visiting during Scarefest and on the odd occasion, the Fireworks event. In the UK, it is my favourite park out of them all. I am looking forward to riding the new coaster, SW8 (Name to be announced!) next year. It’s been long awaited having a woodie at a Merlin park, and now we get the chance to ride one. Despite all its faults, Alton Towers still has a small piece of my heart.
This was my first ever theme park when I was little, I think I was about 3 or 4 when I first visited. This may be a theme park aimed at younger children but this park is definitely one to watch. The new areas that they have produced, from Critter Creek to Lost Kingdom just shows you what this park can achieve. The two new coasters to Lost Kingdom have been a real hit with enthusiasts, and it is easy to see why. Vekoma have done well in producing a Boomerang coaster and Suspended coaster, both are fun and enjoyable for the whole family. The park is pretty in all aspects. The Gardens may not be on the same scale of Alton Towers but it does add to the park, especially when you want to walk from one side of the park to the other side. I have been visiting since I was a kid, and I won’t stop visiting in the future – I look forward to seeing what’s next for the park.
Last year I had the pleasure of visiting Denmark to tick off a few parks. Now, Denmark is one hell of a beautiful country! I didn’t think I would love a park on this trip as much as I loved Farup Sommerland. This isn’t a massive park and it is located in a secluded part of Denmark. When driving to it, you almost want to say ‘Are we there yet?’. There may only be 6 creds but I just loved my visit to the park. It reminded me very much of Paultons Park. The staff were really friendly, it was a beautiful park (yet again, another recurring theme!) and I really enjoyed Lynet and Orkanen – my two fave rides at the park! I don’t think you should miss this park when you are travelling to Denmark, there are some good rides to enjoy here, including a waterpark.
Now I know this isn’t really classed as a theme park however there are rides and rollercoasters to be found here, including the popular RMC woodie, Wildfire. This place is one of my need-to-visit places when travelling to Sweden. It is located in a secluded part of Sweden but it is so pretty and majestic. The range of animals at this park is insane, from wolves to bears to dolphins. I was in awe as soon as I walked in. The majority of the rides are for kids but you can’t avoid a few goes on Wildfire. And I must give a mention to the fab Safari cable car. It might be a long 30 minutes of seeing all the big enclosures, from Lions to Giraffes, but you also get some fab shots of Wildfire along the horizon at points. It was a truly beautiful place in a beautiful country.
That’s all for now!