It’s that time of year…theme park time! The My Vacation Pants Family loves a good theme park, so we thought it fitting to round up some of the best from around the globe. We collaborated with so many amazing people. Read on to find out where you need to plan your next theme park adventure.
Tokyo Disneyland – Tokyo, Japan
Written by Amy of Family Globetrotters
Tokyo Disneyland is a 115-acre theme park located in Urayasu, just outside of Tokyo and easily accessible by train. It was the first Disney theme park to be built outside of the United States and of the five Disney theme parks I have been to in my lifetime, Tokyo remains my favourite.
Whilst it is quintessentially the same as the others in its attractions across the 7 themed lands with its fast passes, long queues, dire need to get completely scared senseless in Space Mountain, the underlying Japanese cultural undertones make it a very different theme park.
The Japanese don’t do anything by half measures and anything cute is idolized. Annual passes are a thing of the norm for the locals so the park is filled with more Japanese Disney fans than tourists! The Japanese have also perfected the art of personal space in incredibly crowded surroundings so never did I feel anyone pushing me or fighting to get ahead. Their patience didn’t make me feel queuing for rides was stressful whilst getting the top spot for the night parade 4 hours early was no big deal. It all made me feel rather “calm” and I didn’t feel the need to rush like I did at the other theme parks.
We loved all their souvenir shops of course but in particular loved all their diverse popcorn flavours. Our favourites remain butter soy and Japanese curry! We also loved Mickey Mouse shaped chicken nuggets and Minnie Mouse shaped popsicles. But the greatest highlight for us was the night parade. No other Disney park does it like Tokyo does. The colours, the lights on the floats and the ever-changing spectrum of illuminations was gobsmackingly mesmerising! We simply cannot wait to go back again!
Amy is a family travel blogger creating travel adventures with her small blended family. She
imparts practical travel tips and destination guides for families with children of all ages with the aim
of encouraging family travel. Please check out her blog http://familyglobetrotters.
Suốí Tiȇn Amusement Park – Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Written by Jackie of Life of Doing
One of the unusual, yet interesting theme parks that we’ve visited is Suốí Tiȇn Amusement Park in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. If you need a break from the craziness of District 1, then take the 20km (12.4 miles) car, scooter, or bus ride to this park in District 9.
The park was built in 1995 with the theme on Buddhist religion. You’ll see plenty of Buddha statues, temples, and shrines throughout the park.
Admission fee is 100,000 VND ($4.40 USD) while each ride/attraction is a separate fee. There are rides for children and adults, mini zoo where you can also feed crocodiles, 3D/4D shows, go karting, Segway racing, a water park, fish foot massage, and more. Vietnam has their own “Wizarding World of Harry Potter” attraction even though it’s a haunted house. Unfortunately it’s nothing related to the storyline except for the Dobby-like elf sculptures in the entrance. If you miss Disneyland, the park plays Disney music everywhere.
We went on a weekday and the park was empty. Take advantage of the various photo opportunities without the crowds. The weekends and holidays have special events such as performances, parades, and holiday festivals. We hope you consider visiting this place if you’re in Vietnam.
Jackie Szeto is an avid world-traveler, wanderer, and blogger on Life Of Doing. She loves to spend time outdoors either hiking, biking, or walking around town. Otherwise, she is planning her next adventure or weekend trip. Jackie is originally from the Bay Area in California, United States and currently lives in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam with her husband, Justin.
Universal Studios Hollywood – Hollywood, California, USA
Written by Maria of Tigrest
During our latest West Coast USA road trip, we visited Universal Studios Hollywood theme park in Los Angeles. I didn’t make much research and wasn’t expecting it to be so great! The park is huge, more like a mini city. Once you enter the gates, you walk through a shopping street with gift shops selling movie and TV show related goodies and souvenirs. You can even buy your own Oscar!
We grabbed a map and started planning our day – you really need to decide ahead on where to go. First stop was Wizarding World of Harry Potter– amazing little village with shops, cafes and wizard schools. I recommend going for the ride (motion simulation) located in Hogwarts School (castle). This ride is one of the kind!
The other rides we went to were Transformers 3D, Fast & Furious supercharged, The Mummy ride and of course the famous Studio Tour. The latter was a truly great experience, as you get to see the sets of many famous movies filmed there.
If possible, try to visit on a rainy or cloudy day. That will help you to avoid the crowds.
One day is hardly enough to enjoy this awesome park – I would recommend at least two days. When you get hungry, there are plenty of options to sit down and enjoy the sunshine.
Check out Maria’s travel tips at https://tigrest.com/usa-west-coast-road-trip-best-moments/.
Tayto Park – Dublin, Ireland
By Jennifer (aka Dr. J) from Sidewalk Safari
Tayto Park is Ireland’s (and probably the world’s) only potato-based theme park. Located less than an hour outside of Dublin, Tayto Park is great fun for a day trip with or without children in tow.
You’ll meet Mr. Tayto, the most formally named mascot I’ve ever encountered. Mr. Tayto’s entourage brings him out and about in the park a couple times a day. Make sure to get your photo and a hug.
Tayto Park is actually three experiences in one. First, Tayto Park is a classic theme park with adrenaline-inducing rides including a vintage wooden roller-coaster featuring a heart stopping drop and a zip line. Second, Tayto Park is a kind of zoo. You’ll find animals on display including a tiger and a herd of buffalo (not in the same enclosure of course…) You can also check out really cool bird of prey demonstrations during your visit. Third, Tayto Park offers a self-guided factory tour. Tayto is one of the most popular brands of potato chips in Ireland. While visiting Tayto Park, you can watch the mouthwatering crisps being made. As you can imagine, there are plenty of crisps for sale at the park too.
Because Tayto Park is located in Ireland, you need to be prepared for four seasons in one day; be ready for anything. Regardless of the weather, you’re sure to have a rewarding and fun experience.
By Jennifer (aka Dr. J) from Sidewalk Safari
Disneyland and California Adventure
Written by Susie of Photo Jeepers
When it comes to theme parks, Disneyland in the quintessential place to go. I’ve been to four Disney parks around the world, and after hundreds of visits, Disneyland is still my favorite. The best thing about Disneyland is the atmosphere, and the best part is, that can be enjoyed by anyone. There are musicians and performers on every corner, friendly smiles on every face, music playing in the background, bubbles blowing, churro smells, and happy people. Make sure you take some time to just soak in the atmosphere during your visit.
You can ride a carousel in a lot of places, but there aren’t many places you can meet Mickey Mouse. The smile on my 2 year old’s face doesn’t get any bigger than when he’s having a little chat with one of his character friends.
A big difference between Disneyland and other amusement parks, is that you can take babies on almost any ride. The roller coasters, and a few other rides, have height requirements, but a lot of Disney rides don’t. You can take a newborn on Pirates of the Caribbean, or spin around with a 6 month old on the Mad Tea Party. The whole family can enjoy many rides together, without having to split up or take turns.
Tip: Get there early – plan to arrive at the gate at least half an hour before the park opens, to make the most of your day.
Susie Chadwick, family travel writer at Photojeepers.com and mother of four, has been to Disneyland hundreds of times, as well as visiting several other Disney parks around the world. Visiting Disneyland with kids ranging in age from newborns to teens, she’s learned a variety of ways to enjoy Disneyland in any season of life. When she’s not at Disneyland, Susie spends time hiking, or at the beach – with kids, of course! Check out her blog at Photojeepers.com.
Efteling Theme Park – Netherlands
Written by Naomi of Probe Around the Globe
The Efteling Theme Park is located in the south of the Netherlands. Only an hour from Amsterdam and Brussels, this is a mandatory visit for anyone who loves theme parks, romantic nostalgia and beautiful outdoors settings. The Efteling Theme Park has it all. Based on the imaginations of nostalgic drawer, Mr. Anton Pieck, the Efteling is covered in a sauce of magic nostalgia. Cute lampposts, romantic benches, cobble stones, a little shop to buy sweets.
The Efteling Theme Park started with a fairy tale forest. Based on the common European fairy tales, the stories come to life with sound and movement. Everything is located in a woodland area with flower bulbs popping up everywhere.
But since the early beginning in the 1940’s, the Efteling has evolved into an exciting theme park for young and older kids. My favorite features are several of their dark rides and roller coasters. My favorite at the moment is the Flying Dutchmen. Based on the story of the haunted ship called the Flying Dutchmen, you set out in a thrilling boat ride through mist, harbors and a big splash in the end.
The Efteling Theme Park is open year round. From November till March you can visit the Winter Efteling. The park is covered with patches of (fake) snow and the creatures in the fairy tale forest dress up warm. Camp fires to warm up to are located throughout the park and you can take a spin on the huge ice rink in the park.
As the park is growing, it become more and more difficult to visit the theme park Efteling in one day. You can stay overnight at the Efteling Hotel in their Cinderella suite or stay in a tree house on their campsite.
Naomi is a travel blogger from the Netherlands. She has a passion for (long) train travels and a long lost love for (Roman) History. She lives a couple of miles from the best theme park in the Netherlands and basically grew up in the Efteling Theme Park. For more details about the Efteling, please read Naomi’s introduction guide to the Efteling.
Liseburg – Gothenburg, Sweden
Written by Stella of Around the World in 24 Hours
Nobody does theme parks better than the Scandinavians. Some people say Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen is the best of the bunch, but I think Liseberg in charming Gothenburg, Sweden has a possible claim to the title. Liseberg (pronounced Leeza-burry) is full of exciting rides, gorgeous scenery, surprisingly excellent flavored popcorn, and the world’s cutest theme park mascot: a giant green rabbit. I personally think they should name the rabbit the Lise-bunny, but nobody asked my opinion.
There are so many fantastic rides and attractions that it would be impossible to do them all in one day. For fans of old-fashioned roller coasters, there is Balder, which is one of the world’s largest wooden roller coasters. For thrill seekers, there is AtmosFear, the tallest free fall ride in Europe. My personal favorite was Helix, which is the longest and fastest roller coaster in Scandinavia, but then I am a bit of a coaster junkie. Don’t worry if you are scared of loops and free falls, though! Liseberg has plenty of tamer rides like a log flume, and there are bumper cars and flying elephant rides for kids.
Liseberg is a convenient and accommodating theme park destination for just about any traveler. Almost all of the signs are in Swedish only, but the staff speaks uniformly excellent English, so there shouldn’t be any communication issues. Vegetarian travelers can stop at their vegetable-only restaurant The Green Room. Whether you are a family with small children or an adult looking for roller coasters and screams, Liseberg can give you what you are looking for. You’ll have so much fun, you might even take home a pair of your very own green bunny ears so you can recreate your favorite Liseberg memories at home. (Not that I did this or anything. Ahem.)
Stella Jane provides her readers with perfect 24 hour travel itineraries on her website Around the World in 24 Hours. She hopes that she can motivate others to get out there, see the world, learn something, and have a sense of humor about it all. www.aroundtheworldin24hours.co
Disneyland Paris – Paris, France
Written by Jenn of Will Save for Travel
A short 45-minute train ride from the city center of Paris will bring you to Disneyland Paris. There are two parks on the property here: Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park. You’ll also find several hotels to stay close to the magic! You can cover most of the two parks in one day with a park hopper ticket!
Disneyland Park: As you enter the park and walk down Main Street USA you’ll spot Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. From there you can split off into the different themed lands of Frontierland,Adventureland, Fantasyland and Discoveryland. Many of your favourite attractions from the United States have been built here with a French twist: Haunted Mansion, It’s A Small World, and Big Thunder Mountain to name a few, along with a few unique to Paris. Don’t worry too much about the language barrier; everything is accessible in English and French. There are also parades and a night-time fireworks show for you to enjoy!
Walt Disney Studios Park: Smaller than Disneyland Park, but packed with things to do. You’ll find many
favorites that you can’t find in Florida anymore like the Backlot Tour, and the Moteurs…Action Stunt Show Spectacular. It also has many unique attractions like Ratatouille: The Adventure and Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop.
Jenn Neilson is a personal finance and travel blogger with a Disney obsession. She helps people take control of their finances so they can be financially free to live their (travel) dreams! You can find her at https://willsavefortravel.com.
Cedar Point – Sandusky, Ohio, USA
Written by Kris of Nomad By Trade
Cedar Point is heaven for thrill-seekers. The theme park is constantly opening innovative and record-breaking roller coasters that make adrenaline junkies drool. Four of its current coasters held the record for tallest in the world at the time they were opened, so if you like big drops and air time, this is the place for you. Fans of fast speeds and big drops will positively drool over Top Thrill Dragster, which was the first roller coaster to top 400 feet, and Millennium Force, which was the first to top 300 feet a few years prior. Riders who like loops and flips won’t be able to walk past Raptor or Gatekeeper which dominate the entrance to the park.
If you’re not into thrill rides, there are plenty of mild rides for kids. The park has two family areas, including two small “starter” roller coasters. If you need a break from the action, you can hit the beach and enjoy some time swimming or participating in water sports on the Lake Erie shore. I especially love visiting in the fall when the weather cools down and the park hosts a special Halloween event with spooky haunted houses.
Lotte World – Seoul, South Korea
Written by Viola of The Blessing Bucket
Lotte World is one of the Seoul’s must visit attractions. This mammoth recreation complex is great for families, friends, and couples. It contains two sections. First, the Indoor Adventure. This section is the largest indoor amusement park in the world! Complete with roller coaster rides, an ice rink, mascot characters, parades, and shops, it feels just like a Korean version of Disneyland. The outdoor Magic Island also offers fun activities that last all day long. I went to Lotte World during the Halloween season and the entire park was transformed into a zombie zone. Park staff dressed up as zombies and chased screaming visitors around. It was really hilarious to watch. So watch out for these fun seasonal themes if you are visiting the park during holiday times. A Daily Passport at the park costs 46,000 Won (US$44) for adults, and cheaper for teenagers and kids. If you are only planning on going on a couple rides, you can get the Admission Only ticket and pay for rides individually once you are in (The rides cost between 1,000 and 5,000 won). There are also discounted admission prices after 4 p.m. A great tip is to pre-purchase online and you can save almost 50%!
Viola is a Canadian girl who is obsessed with seeing the world. She loves hunting for unusual destinations and best sunset spots with her camera. Viola currently documents her adventures living in Japan and travels throughout Asia. Read her easy to digest itineraries, foodie guides, packing advice and more on her blog www.theblessingbucket.com.
Prater – Vienna, Austria
Written by Jacky of Nomad Epicureans
One of my favorite amusement parks is and will forever be Prater amusement park in Vienna. Of course, a lot of it is due to nostalgia. Growing up in Austria, Prater was the highlight of any visit to Vienna. Former hunting grounds for the Habsburg monarchy, the park was made public in 1766. It didn’t take long for the first snack stands and rides to open on the ground and thus Prater amusement park was born. The parks (and perhaps Vienna’s) most recognizable landmark is the Great Ferris Wheel which has been on the grounds since 1897. It was originally considered a commercial failure but attracts thousands of visitors every year today.
The park itself is open around the year, although the majority of the rides are only open between March and October. What’s great is that there is no entrance fee which means you can go and take in the atmosphere for absolutely no money. Although many of the rides are closed during the winter, there is a lovely Christmas market just adjacent to the Ferris wheel. And even though it may seem expensive, don’t miss out on going on the ride itself. To me, it’s almost a magical experience. I mean, can you imagine that people rode the very same Ferris wheel more than a 100 years ago?
Jacky is an avid adrenaline junkie and travel blogger over at nomadepicureans.com. Besides seeking her next thrill, she also loves to blog about her home Austria and her new adopted home Denmark.
Popeye’s Village – Malta
Written by Janelle of My Vacation Pants
At first glance, Popeye’s Village, on the gorgeous Mediterranean island of Malta, looks like a sleepy seaside village from the last century. Look a little closer, and you’ll find one of the most unique theme parks in the world. The village was built for the 1980 movie Popeye, starring Robin Williams and Shelly Duvall, and when the filmmakers were through, they left the sets intact.
A perfect place for film buffs and travelers, the park features activities and history from the film, and some great water based attractions as well. The admission is fair, about 16 USD. Make sure you bring your swimsuit because they have plenty of places to swim and soak up the sun. Our favorite part was interacting with Popeye and Olive Oyl. They wandered the town, along with other characters from the movie, so you feel like you’re a part of the village. There is also a boat ride to some sea caves that is included with admission. If you remember the movie, that is where the big aquatic battle with an octopus happens. Pretty cool!
If you want more information about this tropical paradise make sure you check out their website. It gives very, very detailed descriptions of what is available and what you can do. Be sure to check out Popeye’s Village if you are ever in Malta!
We are a one income family of four that travels every chance we get. We don’t spend much when we travel and we go some fantastic places. Read my posts to get budget friendly travel tips, advice on traveling with young children, and detailed travelogues of places we have been. Check out more on this site www.myvacationpants.com and on Instagram at www.instagram.com/myvactionpants.
Hong Kong Disneyland – Lantau Island, Hong Kong
By Roneth of The Fickle Feet
Like every little girl, I also wanted to be a princess.
When I visited Hong Kong Disneyland, my emotions were rushing through my entire body. I was really happy to see all the castles and the Disney Princesses in person. It was like I was a little kid again. I wanted to explore every corner of the theme park and experience the magic of fairy tales. All I wanted at that time was to have my own fairy godmother and turn me into a princess once and for all.
For the very first time, I got to experience Disneyland. It felt like I was on cloud nine and everything was a dream. I tried different rides even though my back was aching during my visit. It didn’t stop me from enjoying the park I’ve been wanting to visit for a long time. I felt so thankful and happy that I got to experience Disneyland finally. It was a wonderful memory that I will surely treasure.
For me, young ones or old ones can still enjoy theme parks like this. It brings back good old childhood memories that we once had. It was a nice experience to feel like a kid again and I will surely visit more places like this in the future.
Roneth is a dreamer guided by her wanderlust and curiosity. When she’s not sleeping, she’s probably wandering somewhere. She writes about her adventures and misadventures at www.theficklefeet.com.
Walt Disney World – Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA
Written by Martha of Quirky Globetrotter
Deemed “the happiest place on earth,” it most certainly can be if you avoid the crowds and manage to not spend 75% of your day waiting in line. I’ve been to Disney multiple times throughout the years and I’m still surprised by the amount of joy it brings me — even my adult-self. My favorite lands in the park are definitely Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. Each time I visit the park it transports me back to simpler and happier time. I don’t worry about my bills or upcoming deadlines, I am free to happy and carefree, like a child again.
Due to the massiveness of the park, it’s unrealistic to assume that you’re going to be able to see everything in a short period of time. Choose your top must-sees and plan accordingly. My favorites would be: taking pictures with Alice in Wonderland and her entourage, riding Mount Everest in Animal Kingdom, eating your way through the world in Epcot, visiting Ariel’s grotto in Magic Kingdom and have a picnic overlooking Cinderella’s castle. Remember to arm yourself with plenty of water and patience.
If you’ve been considering visiting Disney World as an adult and without children, I would highly recommend it. It’s a trip down memory lane as you get to see your favorite childhood, classic films come to life before your eyes.