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12 Theme Parks Around the World – Beyond the Usual Suspects 2024

12 Theme Parks Around the World – Beyond the Usual Suspects 2024

While the attraction of globally renowned theme parks like Disneyland and Universal Studios is undeniable, the world is dotted with a plethora of other amusement parks that promise equally thrilling adventures, minus the overwhelming crowds. From European cultural experiences to high-adrenaline rides in Asia, these destinations offer unique themes, breathtaking landscapes, and unforgettable attractions. This guide ventures beyond the usual suspects, exploring twelve theme parks around the world that deserve a spot on every thrill-seeker’s itinerary.

1. Efteling, The Netherlands

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Nestled in the heart of the Netherlands, Efteling captivates visitors with its enchanting fairy-tale theme, drawing inspiration from folklore, myths, and legends. Opened in 1952, the park blends classic charm with modern thrills, offering attractions for all ages. From the dark, immersive rides like the “Droomvlucht” and “Fata Morgana” to the adrenaline-pumping “Baron 1898” dive coaster, Efteling provides a magical escape into a world where fairy tales come to life.

Insider’s Tip: Stay at the Efteling Hotel or one of the holiday villages to enjoy early park access and extra magic hours, enhancing your experience.

When to Travel: Efteling is open year-round, but visiting in the spring or fall avoids the summer crowds while still offering pleasant weather.

How to Get There: Efteling is located in Kaatsheuvel, easily accessible by car or public transport from major Dutch cities. The nearest international airport is in Amsterdam, with direct bus services to the park.

2. Gardaland, Italy

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Situated on the picturesque shores of Lake Garda, Gardaland stands as Italy’s premier theme park, offering a diverse array of attractions set against a backdrop of natural beauty. The park features adrenaline-inducing roller coasters, family-friendly rides, and themed areas inspired by fantasy, adventure, and the wonders of the world. Gardaland also includes “Gardaland SEA LIFE Aquarium,” providing an educational dive into marine life.

Insider’s Tip: Consider purchasing a “Gardaland Express” pass to skip the lines on the most popular attractions, maximizing your time in the park.

When to Travel: The best times to visit are late spring and early autumn when the weather is mild, and the crowds are thinner.

How to Get There: Gardaland is located in Castelnuovo del Garda. The nearest airport is in Verona, from where you can take a shuttle service or train to the park.

3. Futuroscope, France

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Futuroscope, located near Poitiers in France, focuses on multimedia, futuristic technology, and scientific exhibits. The park’s architecture is as avant-garde as its attractions, which range from 4D cinemas and interactive shows to thrilling rides that leverage virtual reality and other cutting-edge technologies. Futuroscope’s educational approach to entertainment makes it a unique destination for families and tech enthusiasts alike.

Insider’s Tip: Don’t miss the evening show, a spectacular display of water, light, and fire, included with park admission.

When to Travel: Visit in the off-peak seasons of spring and autumn to enjoy shorter lines and cooler weather.

How to Get There: Futuroscope is easily accessible by car, train, or plane, with the nearest major airport located in Paris. The park’s TGV train station, “Futuroscope-Chasseneuil,” offers direct connections from Paris and other French cities.

4. PortAventura World, Spain

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Located on Spain’s sunny Costa Dorada, PortAventura World is one of Europe’s most iconic theme parks, offering an exhilarating mix of attractions across six themed areas, including the Mediterranean, Wild West, Mexico, China, Polynesia, and Sesame Street for younger visitors. The park is also home to Ferrari Land, celebrating the speed and innovation of the iconic car brand with Europe’s highest and fastest vertical accelerator.

Insider’s Tip: Stay in one of PortAventura’s themed hotels for early park access and discounted admission to Ferrari Land.

When to Travel: The best time to visit is during the shoulder seasons of April-May and September-October, when the weather is pleasant, and the crowds are smaller.

How to Get There: PortAventura World is located just outside Tarragona, with Barcelona as the nearest major airport. The park is accessible by train, bus, or car from Barcelona and other nearby cities.

5. Ocean Park, Hong Kong

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Ocean Park combines the thrills of a theme park with the experiences of an aquarium, offering a diverse range of attractions that include roller coasters, animal exhibits, and shows. The park is divided into two main areas, The Waterfront and The Summit, connected by a scenic cable car ride that offers panoramic views of Hong Kong’s stunning coastline. Ocean Park’s commitment to conservation and education, particularly regarding marine life, sets it apart from other theme parks.

Insider’s Tip: Plan your visit to coincide with feeding times for the park’s animals, offering a closer look at the care and conservation efforts.

When to Travel: The cooler months from October to April provide the most comfortable weather for exploring the park.

How to Get There: Ocean Park has its MTR station, making it easily accessible from anywhere in Hong Kong.

6. Lotte World, South Korea

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Lotte World in Seoul is a massive entertainment complex that includes the world’s largest indoor theme park, an outdoor amusement park called “Magic Island,” a luxury hotel, and a shopping mall. The park features a wide range of rides, from gentle carousels to intense roller coasters, alongside skating rinks, parades, and cultural shows. Lotte World’s indoor setting makes it an ideal year-round destination, offering a mix of traditional Korean culture and modern entertainment.

Insider’s Tip: Purchase the “Magic Pass” to skip the lines on popular rides, especially useful during weekends and holidays when the park can get crowded.

When to Travel: Lotte World is a great destination year-round, but visiting on weekdays helps avoid the large crowds typical of weekends and holidays.

How to Get There: Lotte World is centrally located in Seoul, with easy access via the city’s efficient public transportation system. Jamsil Station, served by Lines 2 and 8 of the Seoul Subway, is directly connected to the complex.

7. Alton Towers, United Kingdom

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Alton Towers, nestled in the Staffordshire countryside, is the UK’s largest theme park, offering an impressive array of rides and attractions set within a historic estate. The park is renowned for its thrilling roller coasters, like “The Smiler” with its world-record 14 inversions, and “Nemesis,” one of Europe’s first inverted coasters. Alton Towers also caters to younger guests with CBeebies Land, making it an ideal destination for families.

Insider’s Tip: Consider staying at one of the Alton Towers Resort hotels to gain early park access and enjoy themed rooms that extend the magic beyond the park.

When to Travel: Visiting outside of school holidays and summer weekends can significantly reduce wait times for attractions.

How to Get There: Alton Towers is accessible by car and offers parking on-site. Alternatively, buses run to the park from Stoke-on-Trent, Derby, Nottingham, and other regional cities.

8. Universal Studios Singapore

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Universal Studios Singapore, located on Sentosa Island, brings the magic of the movies to life with its seven themed zones, including Hollywood, New York, Sci-Fi City, Ancient Egypt, The Lost World, Far Far Away, and Madagascar. Each area offers a mix of rides, shows, and attractions inspired by blockbuster films and television series. The park is particularly famous for its cutting-edge rides like “Transformers: The Ride” and “Battlestar Galactica: Human vs. Cylon.”

Insider’s Tip: Purchase an “Express Pass” to minimize waiting times, especially for the park’s most popular rides.

When to Travel: The best time to visit is during the weekdays in the off-peak months of February, May, and October to avoid the crowds and enjoy cooler weather.

How to Get There: Universal Studios Singapore is easily accessible via public transport, with the Sentosa Express monorail linking Sentosa Island to Singapore’s mainland. Buses and taxis also service the island.

9. Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi, UAE

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Ferrari World, located on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, is the world’s first Ferrari-branded theme park and home to the fastest roller coaster on the planet, “Formula Rossa.” The park offers a thrilling glimpse into the world of Ferrari, with rides, exhibitions, and attractions that celebrate the iconic brand’s speed, innovation, and history. Ferrari World’s indoor setting provides a respite from the desert heat, making it a year-round destination for families and motorsport enthusiasts.

Insider’s Tip: Check the schedule for live shows and performances that take place throughout the day to enhance your visit.

When to Travel: The cooler months from November to March offer the most pleasant weather for exploring Yas Island and the surrounding attractions.

How to Get There: Ferrari World is located on Yas Island, a short drive from Abu Dhabi International Airport. The park is also accessible from Dubai via the E11 highway, approximately a 90-minute drive.

10. Tivoli Gardens, Denmark

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Tivoli Gardens, located in the heart of Copenhagen, is one of the oldest operating amusement parks in the world. This charming park combines historic architecture, scenic gardens, and modern thrill rides, offering something for visitors of all ages. Tivoli is as much a cultural institution as it is an amusement park, with a packed calendar of concerts, performances, and seasonal festivals.

Insider’s Tip: Visit during the Christmas season to experience Tivoli’s magical holiday market and decorations, adding an extra layer of enchantment to the park.

When to Travel: Tivoli Gardens is open from April to September and then again for the Halloween and Christmas seasons. Each season offers unique themes and attractions.

How to Get There: Tivoli Gardens is centrally located in Copenhagen, within walking distance from the Central Station and easily accessible by bus and metro.

11. Canada’s Wonderland, Canada

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Canada’s Wonderland, located just outside Toronto, is the country’s largest theme park, featuring over 200 attractions, including 17 roller coasters. The park is known for its diverse range of rides, from family-friendly carousels to the record-breaking “Yukon Striker” dive coaster. Canada’s Wonderland also offers a water park, live entertainment, and seasonal events, making it a comprehensive entertainment destination.

Insider’s Tip: Purchase a “Fast Lane” pass to bypass the regular lines on the park’s most popular rides, especially useful during peak visiting times.

When to Travel: The park operates from May to October, with additional weekends in November for special events. Visiting in May or September can help avoid the peak summer crowds.

How to Get There: Canada’s Wonderland is located in Vaughan, Ontario, and is accessible by car from downtown Toronto in under an hour. Public transportation options are also available, including buses from Vaughan Metropolitan Centre.

12. Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, UAE

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Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, situated on Yas Island, is an immersive indoor theme park that brings to life the worlds of Warner Bros.’ beloved characters and stories. The park features six themed lands, including Gotham City, Metropolis, Cartoon Junction, Bedrock, Dynamite Gulch, and Warner Bros. Plaza. Each area offers a mix of rides, interactive family attractions, and live entertainment, making it an ideal destination for fans of all ages.

Insider’s Tip: Don’t miss the chance to meet and greet your favorite Warner Bros. characters throughout the park; it’s a perfect photo opportunity for families.

When to Travel: Warner Bros. World is a great year-round destination as an indoor park, offering a comfortable climate-controlled environment.

How to Get There: Warner Bros. World is located on Yas Island, easily accessible from Abu Dhabi International Airport and a short drive from Dubai.

The Bottom Line

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Exploring the world of theme parks beyond the usual suspects opens up a realm of adventure, entertainment, and cultural immersion. Each park on this list offers unique attractions and experiences beyond mere thrills, inviting visitors to create lasting memories.

Whether you’re exploring the fairy-tale realms of Efteling, stepping into the cinematic worlds of Universal Studios Singapore, or experiencing the high-speed thrills of Ferrari World, these theme parks enrich your travels with moments of joy, wonder, and excitement. As you plan your next theme park adventure, remember that the magic lies in the rides and the stories, settings, and shared experiences that bring these fantastical worlds to life.

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The post 12 Theme Parks Around the World – Beyond the Usual Suspects 2024 first appeared on The Green Voyage.

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For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.

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