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Which is the World's Greatest Theme Park?

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by Bryony Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
Published December 11th 2013


When you book a holiday abroad, it is usually for one of two reasons:

a) to soak up the sun if you lack it at home.
b) to experience another culture and go sightseeing.

There is, however, a third reason. Some people travel all the way to another country just to go on a roller coaster ride. It sounds bizarre, but theme parks really are that popular. They are so popular that most come with their very own hotel for guests to stay at. Unlike fairgrounds, people don't just arrive for the day, and then go home; they make an entire week of the experience.

So what in your opinion makes theme parks so great, and which do you think is the greatest of them all? Are theme parks places to go only if you have children, or would you consider going on an adult-only holiday?



I have been to only two theme parks (that I can remember), and they were both before I was ten years old. My nanny once took me to Thorpe Park when I had an ear infection. I was not well enough to go to school, but apparently I was well enough to go on one of the water rides. My nanny could beat Mary Poppins any day.

Since Thorpe Park is in Surrey, it was close enough for just a day trip, but if you are travelling from somewhere further away from London, then you can book a stay at the Water Front Hotel.



I expect a lot has changed since I went there, and while they still have the good old Tidal Wave, many new rides have appeared. For example, this year saw the arrival of The Swarm: get dragged up a steep incline before plummeting a hundred and twenty-seven feet. Backwards. Not for the faint hearted.



The other theme park I went to was Legoland Windsor, while I was staying with friends. Two memories stick in my mind about this trip. First was getting lost when my mum turned a corner. That lasted only about thirty seconds, but for a small child in such a big place, it is pretty scary. Much scarier than any of the rides. The experience left me with somewhat ill feelings towards this theme park. A little unfair, I admit, because I also remember very much enjoying a dragon themed roller coaster.



Other UK theme parks include Alton Towers and Chessington World of Adventures. What makes Chessington special is that it also has a zoo. I would like to go to Chessington, but won't because of the price. I am only interested in the zoo section, but tickets are priced for the full park. I think this is a disadvantage, and it would be great if you could buy tickets to the two areas separately if you wanted.



Moving beyond my patch of land, across the Channel, you'll discover one of the most magical kingdom's on Earth. Disneyland Paris. A bit further still, and you'll get to Disney World. I have not been to either of these places, but I am curious to know, what's the difference? Is one better than the other? Why?



Disney World is in Orlando, Florida, which is also the home of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Fans of the series can eat at the Three Broom Sticks, get their wand from Olivanders, and enter the Triwizard Tournament.
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