Are you ready to hop on a roller coaster and then grab a churro? Amusement park travel can feel overwhelming because it is a very focused destination vacation. All of your activities center around the park. Whether you are planning a country hopping exploration of Disney parks or booking a weekend of nothing but thrill rides at a coaster park, amusement park travel has something for everyone.
Amusement park travel is an awesome opportunity to plan a vacation around your love of rides, shows and amusement park snacks. Read all about it in my Beginner’s Guide to Amusement Park Travel.
Here are ten ideas to help jumpstart your amusement park travel planning:
Tokyo DisneySea, Japan
It’s probably no surprise to see this iconic Disney park at the top of my list. Tokyo DisneySea offers you such a unique experience from its sister parks, like Magic Kingdom in Florida or Disneyland Park in California. There’s an overall nautical theme, as well as really stunning sections inspired by the Mediterranean, Arabian, and American coasts. Additionally, it’s well known for having some delicious, as well as visually appealing, snacks that you can’t get at other Disney parks.
Tivoli Gardens, Denmark
Tivoli Gardens is one of the world’s oldest operating amusement parks. It opened in 1843 and while it’s only 20 acres in size, it offers rides for people of all ages. A beautiful Ferris wheel, bumper cars, as well as one of the world’s oldest operating wooden roller coasters.
Universal’s Islands of Adventure, United States
This is the second park at Universal Studios Orlando, but it often ranks as the fan favorite of the two. There are themed sections that offer something for everyone, like Dr. Seuss’ kid-friendly section to thrill rides like Jurassic World VelociCoaster. Oh, and you can drop by Hogsmeade and grab a butterbeer. No, really. Grab one. They are so delicious.
Six Flags Magic Mountain, United States
If you love roller coasters, make your way to Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California. As of 2022, they have more roller coasters than any other amusement park in the world – 20. With over 100 rides across 260-acres of land, Six Flags earns their self-proclaimed title, “Thrill Capital of the World”.
Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Do you love cars and thrill rides? Ferrari World is a Ferrari-themed amusement park in Abu Dhabi that offers roller coasters and driving experiences. Formula Rossa is currently the world’s fastest roller coaster (as of 2022) and is capable of reaching speeds of over 149 mph.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom, United States
I know, you don’t often see Animal Kingdom topping a list before some of the other Disney parks, but this half zoo, half theme park is a perfect balance of form and function. It includes some of the very best rides that Disney has to offer, like the thrilling Expedition Everest, the absolutely mesmerizing Avatar Flight of Passage, and the always fun Kilimanjaro Safaris which takes you on an adventure to explore many of the animals who call Animal Kingdom home. Also, there’s excellent kid and education content, like Wilderness Explorers. And I think Animal Kingdom offers some of the best food, as well as character costumes of all the Florida Disney parks.
It only opened in 2016, but it’s home to one of the most exciting rides available across all of the global Disney parks: Tron. The Tron Lightcycle Power Run takes guests on a ride through the grid on their very own light cycle. The ride takes you inside and outside of the attraction building going 60 mph which is the fastest of any Disney ride (as of 2022).
Thermas dos Laranjais, Brazil
One of the world’s most popular water parks, Thermas dos Laranjais opened in 1987 and boasts more than 55 attractions, including thrilling waterslides, surfing facilities with a 180 degree surf pool, over 20 thermal pools, lazy rivers, and more. It also has tennis courts and a zoo. And horseback riding.
Disneyland Park, United States
Let’s be honest. This park that opened in 1955 set the stage for what we now know as amusement park tourism today. This was the first theme park in the Disney global park empire and it’s still holding its own out here. You get a mix of nostalgia, like walking down mainstreet, combined with something totally fresh and immersive, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge where you don’t just explore your love of Star Wars but instead enter into an entirely new world. Build a lightsaber, but also make time to head over to classic attractions, like Haunted Mansion (which is decorated and themed to Nightmare Before Christmas for the holidays, as of 2022).
Efteling is one of Europe’s most popular amusement parks. The park is filled with rides, gardens, and attractions that are inspired by Dutch fairy tales. A fan favorite attraction is a 15-acre Fairytale Forest with more than two dozen scenes that reminds you of when Eftling first opened in 1952 as a nature park.