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School’s out, time for some fun with the family! While Disneyland might have started in the US, it has inspired many other theme parks that are just as magical.
From the biggest theme parks in the world to the really unique, here’s a selection of Top 20 theme parks that are worth making a trip to.
The best part? There’s no need to travel all the way to Florida or California!
Home to 3 of the world’s top 5 theme parks, Japan is an ideal holiday destination if you’re looking to get a taste of both Universal Studios and Disneyland in a single trip. Thanks to the country’s efficient bullet train (shinkansen) network, Tokyo and Osaka are only 2-3 hours apart.
Make a beeline for Pooh’s Hunny Hunt. Exclusive to Tokyo Disneyland, this trackless ride remains one of the most popular attractions in the park. Board a honey pot to join Winnie the Pooh on his adventure through Hundred Acre Wood.
As evening falls, be sure to grab a spot to catch the electrical parade for its dazzling LED lights and spellbinding characters from films such as Tangled and Frozen. Cap off the day of fun with the spectacular light show, which sees colourful images projected onto the Cinderella Castle, complete with mesmerising music and dramatic pyrotechnics.
Being the only one in the world, the neighbouring Tokyo DisneySea is definitely not to be missed Whether you choose to get around by the Venice-style gondolas or the steamers, you’re bound to be amazed by how well this park showcases the nautical theme.
From Ariel’s Playground at the Mermaid Lagoon to the SeaRider submersible that allows you to explore the world of Nemo and friends, the seven ports of call are inspired by legends of the sea. Even more unique are the parades and shows presented on water, especially the impressive Fantasmic! night performance.
Tip: Compared to its land-based counterpart, Tokyo DisneySea might be more suitable for older children due to the nature of the rides.
Even if you’ve been to Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios Florida, you’ll find attractions in Osaka that you won’t find anywhere else, such as the world’s largest Minion area. Despicable Me’s mischievous characters are celebrated in a big way here through the 3D ride, Minion-themed snacks and more.
Unique to the park are also three Snoopy attractions, while Hello Kitty Fashion Avenue is a nod to Japan’s favourite cat. Plus Potterheads will love exploring The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a hot favourite at all Universal Studios theme parks.
South Korea’s capital of Seoul is an ideal base to spend time at these 2 playgrounds of fun, which are consistently ranked among the world’s most popular theme parks.
Farther out from Seoul, the bigger Everland is often compared with Lotte World. If you’d rather be in an outdoor park and among nature, Everland is where you should go.
Unique here are the wildlife encounters at Zootopia, where you have a choice of two safari-like rides that offer opportunities to get up-close to a wide variety of animals such as giraffes, lions, tigers and bears.
Daredevils must also catch the T-Express. South Korea’s first wooden roller coaster is said to be one of the most exhilarating in the world, and is definitely not for the faint-hearted.
This massive indoor amusement park has an outdoor extension, with over 50 experiences catering to all ages. You’ll find typical attractions such as roller coasters, bumper cars, a swinging pirate ship and a carousel as well as interesting ones such as the balloon ride that glides along the ceiling.
Each level has different rides and navigating this mall-like complex can be difficult, so do ask for directions if you find yourself circling the same area.
Tip: Do plan your itinerary in advance as Lotte World Adventure is part of a larger entertainment destination that includes other attractions such as the Seoul Sky observatory, an indoor/outdoor water park and an aquarium, and you can enjoy savings when purchasing a combined ticket.
Often seen as an alternative to Disneyland Paris, head to Parc Astérix if queues are just not your thing and you want a more local experience.
Europe’s most-visited theme park and Disney’s only outpost in Europe awes millions of visitors every year, with many falling in love with the Sleeping Beauty castle, which is possibly the most breathtaking of any Disney park. It’s also the only one with a dragon in the dark dungeon below.
Other familiar attractions have also been given a Parisian twist, such as the extra spooky Phantom Manor (reminiscent of Disney’s Haunted Mansion). But rest assured that you can still find the classics here, such as the family-friendly “it’s a small world” boat ride and Big Thunder Mountain’s runaway mine carts.
Tip: Disneyland Paris actually comprises two parks, Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park, with the latter taking you behind the scenes of Disney films.
Based on the famous comic book series, this park takes visitors back in time, with themed zones harking back to Ancient Greece, the Roman Empire and more. A popular day trip from Paris for families, thrill-seekers will love the many options here.
Race through 7 loops in a few minutes, dangle from an inverted coaster or freewheel in a bobsleigh, to name a few. There’s also enough fun for the younger ones, from milder twists and turns to encounters with Asterix and Obelix.
One of Europe’s top theme park destinations, three parks are rolled into one here. Travel the ‘world’ from the Mediterranean coastline to Mexico, all within a day at the sprawling PortAventura Park. Take a boat ride to ancient China, board a steam train in the Far West or ride a pony in Mexico – it’s your choice! There’s also an entire area dedicated to Sesame Street, with a good variety of rides to keep the kids entertained.
Over the last one year, more visitors have also been heading down from Barcelona to Salou, thanks to the opening of Ferrari Land, the second in the world after Abu Dhabi. Speed and innovation are buzzwords here: Don’t miss Red Force, which accelerates to 180kmh in 5 seconds, whizzing you up to a height of over 100m.
Tip: PortAventura’s Caribbean-themed water park closes during winter so do check their website when planning your trip.
Rated the UK’s no. 1 theme park on TripAdvisor, many make the two-hour journey from London to Hampshire because of its huge Peppa Pig-themed area. With 9 rides, a spaceship playzone and even ‘muddy puddles’ to jump in, fans of the British cartoon will most certainly squeal in delight.
However, many are equally impressed by the newer dinosaur-themed world. At the Lost Kingdom, guests get to drive a 4×4 and go on a Jurassic expedition, soar through the sky on a suspended coaster and come face to face with life-like animatronic dinosaurs.
Dubai has always been a city of superlatives, and this mega entertainment destination located in the emirate is no different. Breaking records when it opened in 2016 as the world’s largest indoor theme park, iconic superheroes such as Spider-Man and Thor can be found in the MARVEL adventure zone, which is home to 5 exciting rides that are inspired by these comic-book characters.
Other zones aim to deliver as much fun: Have a roaring good time at the Lost Valley – Dinosaur Adventure with its thrilling rides and terrifying creatures, or imagine yourself as one of the characters in The Powerpuff Girls and Ben 10 TV series in the Cartoon Network zone.
Easily accessible from Brisbane, Gold Coast might be better known for its surfing beaches, but it’s also the theme park capital of Australia. If you like amusement parks with an old-world charm, the Luna Parks in Melbourne and Sydney will transport you back to yesteryear.
Inspired by the original Luna Park on New York’s Coney Island, the carnival-like Luna Park opened in Melbourne in 1912 while Sydney’s opened in 1935. Towering over visitors, the iconic face at the entrance of both historic parks is easily the most photographed ‘face’ in both cities.
Hop on the classic ferris wheel for a spectacular view of Sydney Harbour or ride the world’s oldest continually operating roller coaster that soars over St Kilda Beach.
Tip: If you’re headed to Luna Park Sydney, check out the distorting mirrors, giant slides and rotating barrels at Coney Island Funny Land, which is said to be the only operating example of a 1930s-style funhouse left in the world.
Bringing together Justice League superheroes and Looney Tunes characters such as Bugs Bunny and Tweety, fans of either will be star-struck. Catch them at the daily parade along Main Street, or take rides that are inspired by them. The Superman Escape, for instance, shoots your carriage into the air, reaching 100kmh in just 2 seconds.
Besides the fear-inducing and family-friendly rides, there are also performances such as the Hollywood Stunt Driver 2 show and exclusive experiences that will make your child feel like a prince or princess.
Australia’s largest theme park combines hair-rising rides that will excite adrenaline junkies, with animal encounters on Tiger Island and attractions designed for kids.
Pre-schoolers will be enchanted by the DreamWorks Experience, where well-loved films such as Shrek, Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda come alive; the party-like atmosphere at the DreamWorks Trolls Village; and ABC KIDS WORLD, home to Australian TV characters such as Bananas in Pyjamas.
Tip: You might want to spend more than a day here, as your ticket also includes entry to WhiteWater World, a year-round attraction that has rides, slides and pools that are heated during winter!
When it comes to fun, the island of Sentosa does it well. You won’t go wrong with setting aside at least a day to explore its many attractions.
While it’s got your usual high-speed water slides, wave pool and lazy river, this park is worth a mention because of its special experiences. Get up-close with fascinating marine life by strolling underwater with the Sea Trek helmet, feeding dozens of stingrays or swimming among sharks within the safety of a customised enclosure.
These experiences require an additional fee, but you could also choose to snorkel with thousands of tropical fishes in the rainbow reef for free!
Tip: You can easily add on a trip to the S.E.A. Aquarium located one level below by spending half a day at each attraction.
The only Universal Studios theme park in Southeast Asia, it’s much smaller in scale compared to other sister parks around the world. However, its size means you can comfortably cover most of the key attractions within a day, while still having lots of fun.
A highlight for many visitors is the Battlestar Galatica, the world’s tallest pair of duelling roller coasters. There’s also no lack of entertainment for the younger ones, with adventures such as the Shrek-themed Enchanted Airways junior coaster and the Sesame Street Spaghetti Space Chase, an immersive indoor slow-speed ride.
While unlikely to be the first place that comes to mind when planning a theme park holiday, the country’s southern-most city of Johor Bahru is shaping up to be a family-friendly destination with recent additions.
Just an hour away from Singapore, this is where you’ll find LEGOLAND’s first theme park in Asia as well as two theme parks at Puteri Harbour that bring together popular characters such as Hello Kitty, Thomas & Friends and Barney.
This park is a must-visit for all LEGO fans. With over 15,000 LEGO models made from more than 60 million LEGO bricks, an entire area dedicated to LEGO NINJAGO as well as action-packed rides designed for younger guests, you can easily spend a day here. Kids can go to Driving School or saddle up for the Royal Joust and gallop their way to victory.
For more thrills and spills, hop over to the water park next door, where you can build a raft with LEGO bricks and float along the lazy river, splash around in the DUPLO-inspired water playground and experience an adrenaline rush on multiple slides.
Try your hand at Hello Kitty craft activities, take a whirl on the tea cup ride and explore her house, which all offer plenty of photo opportunities. There’ll also be Meet & Greet with other Sanrio characters such as My Melody and Bad Badtz-Maru.
Continue the fun upstairs at Thomas Town with its kid-size rides. This two-storey attraction also features other characters such as Barney, Bob the Builder and Pingu, which are brought to life by stage performances and themed play areas.
Tip: Both parks are entirely indoors, so this makes for a great place to visit if you’re worried about the weather.
The newest addition to the Disney family, Shanghai is where you’ll find the largest Disney castle. In fact, it’s also the first castle that is not dedicated to a specific Disney princess but multiple princesses. So huge is the Enchanted Storybook Castle that boats from the Voyage to the Crystal Grotto attraction even travel through underneath.
Other highlights that should not be missed are the futuristic-looking TRON Lightcycle Power Run, one of the fastest indoor roller coasters in Disney’s history, as well as the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, which is unlike any of its counterparts in other parks because of the incredible technology used.
Sitting in the heart of Thailand’s famous capital, the Siam Square area is not only the go-to place for fashion buys but also family-friendly attractions.
With its focus on edutainment, KidZania is definitely not your usual theme park. At this miniature city, kids learn through play as they get to try out various occupations such as a pilot, firefighter, chef and vet.
There are more than 65 establishments to choose from, including an airport, bank, hospital, bottling factory and more. It’s also a great opportunity for the little ones to learn about financial literacy, as they earn kidZos that can be spent on items and activities.
Tip: Your child might not be able to try every job depending on the queues, so do manage their (and your) expectations before arriving! Not enough time? KidZania can also be found in other cities such as Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Jakarta, Tokyo, Seoul, London, Dubai and Istanbul.
Who knew that a messaging app started in Japan would take the world by storm and inspire an entire attraction built around the cute characters that appear in its virtual stickers? The first of its kind in the world, LINE Village Bangkok spans three floors and features digital games and activities, including a 4D VR rollercoaster ride.
One room cleverly opens into another, and you’ll be able to take a selfie with the iconic Brown bear in his cosy room and whip up a ‘meal’ in Cony’s Instagrammable pink kitchen, among other interactive experiences.
Visiting any of these destinations? Stay with us to experience award-winning hospitality at our centrally-located serviced apartments and hotels.
For bookings from now until 15 December 2018, you’ll also be able to enjoy a host of special offers including up to 30% off. Check out Frasers Hospitality’s Holiday Extravaganza for more details!