Thrill-seeking or just yearning for a good day of family fun? Skyscanner lists some of the best theme parks in the world, which rides you need to go on, how to get to them and where to stay when you’re there. Let the coaster-thrills commence!
1. Superman Escape, Warner Bros Movie World, Gold Coast
This is the most powerful roller coaster in the Warner Bros Movie World Park on the Gold Coast, going from 0 to 100kph in 2 seconds flat! There are 6 big rides to get through in the Warner Bros theme park, but little ones can enjoy the WB Kids Zone too.
It’s easy to reach with a flight to Coolangatta or Brisbane airport, then you can either catch your hotel transfer, or rent a car from one of the providers at the airport. There are hotels in the park and on the Gold Coast – which you might prefer if you’d like to be by the beach.
2. California Screamin ‘, Disneyland, Florida
California Screamin’ is for the old school thrill-seekers; this is one of the oldest roller coasters in the Anaheim-based theme park and it’s the only roller coaster in Disneyland to feature an inversion.
Disneyland Resort offers a mix of different accommodation on site, and it’s easy to reach from Los Angeles airport with either a transfer or a train. You also have the option of renting a car, but you won’t need one for exploring this huge theme park – all the attractions are within walking distance once you’re in Disneyland.
3. The Dragon, Ocean Park, Hong Kong
Whilst the loops on this coaster might be terrifying, the views are amazing – you’re rewarded with 360-degree views of the South China Sea at the top. This steel monster is the biggest roller coaster in Hong Kong, but the Wild West Mine is also worth checking out if you’re venturing into Ocean Park.
There aren’t any hotels in Ocean Park – the closest accommodation is in Wong Chuk Hang just north of the theme park. There are several direct buses from the city into the theme park, and there’s also a ferry transfer if you’re coming to Hong Kong from Shenzen Bay in China.
4. Dodonpa, Fuji-Q Highland, Japan
Dodonpa reaches 172kph in 1.8 seconds. Interested? This is the fastest ride in Fuji-Q Highland, one of the biggest resorts in Japan. It’s previously been listed as one of the most scary roller coasters in the world by Time magazine and Travel + Leisure, so it’s certainly one for the thrill-seekers.
Fuji-Q Highland is a 2-hour drive away from Haneda airport, but there are plenty of hotels in the area as it’s situated at the base of Mount Fuji.
5. Tower of Terror, Dreamworld, Gold Coast
If the idea of plummeting 100 metres towards the ground tickles your fancy, the Tower of Terror will be right up your alley. This ride has now been running for 14 years, but it still excites, thrills and terrifies passengers by speeding up to 161kph. The vertical drop is visible on entry to the park, and is part of Dreamworld’s iconic skyline.
Dreamworld is a bus stop on the route from Brisbane to the Gold Coast, however, it only takes 35 minutes to reach the theme park from the airport too. There are also public transport links between Surfers and Dreamworld. There are B&Bs and inns around the theme park, but again, there are much better family-friendly options on the coast.
6. Steel Dragon, Nagashima Spa Land, Japan
Steel Dragon is the longest steel rollercoaster in the world with a track measuring 2,479 metres – just over taking Millenium Force at Cedar Point. Nagashima Spa Land is a great all rounder as far as theme parks go, with many children’s rides and attractions for adults too.
There are a few hotels in Nagashima Spa Land, but it’s so close to Nagoya that you may as well see the rest of the city whilst you’re here. Nagoya is the closest airport to Nagashima, and it only takes 45 minutes to drive or catch the bus to the theme park.
7. T Express, Everland, South Korea
This is South Korea’s first ‘family’ theme park, and the T Express is the only one of its kind in South Korea – it’s the country’s first wooden coaster, and the fourth steepest roller coaster in the world. Everland is the largest theme park in South Korea, and if you don’t fancy the coasters there’s always a water park and a zoo to explore too.
You can easily get to Yongin (where Everland is) from Seoul via the free shuttle bus operated by Everland. However, if you want to stay near the park, you could book a hotel near Yongin or Suwon.
8. Full Throttle, Six Flags Magic Mountain, California
This is it – this is (currently) the biggest, most beastly roller coaster in the world. No other ride loops 160ft into the sky, and once you think it’s all over, it pulls you backwards so you can relive the thrills all over again. Think you can handle it?
Six Flags Magic Mountain is a huge theme park on the outskirts of Valencia, California. There are hotels that make it easy to drop in and out of the theme park, and the easiest way to get here is by renting a car and driving from Los Angeles airport.
9. Millennium Force, Cedar Point, Ohio
When it was built in 2000, Millennium Force broke several world records, and since then it’s been voted the number one amusement ride in the world 9 times by Amusement Today. Although Steel Dragon took over its title of the biggest looping roller coaster, it’s still one of the biggest and fastest roller coasters in the world. Cedar Point is a brilliant amusement park for big groups of friends and families, as there’s so much to do.
It’s on the edge of Lake Erie in Sandusky, Ohio, and Cleveland is the largest international airport. It’s 55 miles away, and whilst there are public transport links, it’s much easier to rent a car and drive to Cedar Point. There are plenty of camping grounds and hotels around the amusement park.