Top 10 Theme Parks around the World
5 Fun Facts about Roller Coasters
- The Oldest – The oldest recorded roller coaster now stands in Lakemont Park, Pennsylvania and was built-in 1904.
- There were two roller coasters that were built-in France in the early 1800s that were the first to feature wheeled cars that locked to the track for riders to sit in.
- Biggest Drop – Kingda Ka takes the top spot for the largest drop of any roller coaster, 418 feet from the top of the largest drop to the bottom. Top Thrill Dragster’s drop places second, at 400 feet.
- The earliest known devices resembling roller coasters were ice-covered wooden slides constructed in Russia in the 1400′s
- Wooden roller coasters rarely go upside down, while almost every steel coaster does. This difference has to do with the tracks. Wooden roller coaster tracks are not as flexible as steel tracks. Wooden coasters depend on the centripetal force generated when the coaster goes around curves and the acceleration generated when the coaster goes down a hill. Tubular steel coaster tracks are flexible and able to withstand the forces generated when the coaster goes upside down. Steel coasters also provide a smoother, less bumpy ride. Roller Coaster Science
Amusement parks have come a long way from where they started. Some of them have grown to become the size of small cities with more death defying rides being unveiled every year. In 1927, the Cyclone was unveiled in New York’s Coney Island and instantly became a landmark to the start of one of our favorite summer pastimes. In today’s fast and modern world, Coney Island has become a nostalgic time capsule of the dawning of theme parks and roller coasters while Disney and Six Flags have become the destination. As we have grown older, tiny teacups and Ferris wheels have become something for the kiddies and grandpas while we look forward to riding the newest, highest and most innovative roller coasters. Every year summer comes and our hair gets lighter, skin gets darker and water gets warmer. Check out some of the largest and most popular theme parks across the world! See if one is near you or discover rides that you need to travel to to experience heart stopping moments in the air.
Any list about the world’s greatest theme parks cannot be complete with the mention of Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Magic Kingdom is the first of all the Disney parks built in Florida which opened in 1971. In 2012 alone it hosted over 17 million visitors. It’s no wonder why Magic Kingdom is a wonderland for both kids and adults. Adults go there to experience their childhood’s favorite characters come to life while they bring their children as an excuse to spin around at a mad tea party with Alice in Wonderland or soar the sky with Dumbo. From Fantasyland to Splash Mountain in Frontierland, Magical Kingdom has a little bit of adventure no matter what your age.
Disney Sea is located in Urayasu, Chiba which is just outside of Tokyo, Japan. This nautical-themed land was opened in 2001 and in 2012 hosted over 14 million guests in its 176 acres of fun. Disney Sea is the second theme park to open up in Tokyo Disney Resort and keeps guests flocking there with their dreaded Tower of Terror and the chance to join Indiana Jones’ adventure at the Temple of the Crystal Skull. If the heart pumping rides aren’t your thing then you’ll enjoy the general ambiance of this park. It is totally true to its theme of the sea with the American coast, Mermaid Lagoon and the mysterious island to discover.
If you’re up for thrills then Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey is your next destination. Great Adventure is home to the world’s tallest roller coaster, Kingda ka which reaches the astronomical height of 456 feet up in the air. Six Flags is not a one trick pony, in fact it houses some great roller coasters to please all thrill seekers from the Batman to Green Lantern and Superman. Spend the day flying through the air with some of your favorite Marvel comic book heroes.
With just under 7 million visitors, Everland ranked thirteenth in the world for amusement park attendance in 2012. South Korea’s first theme park opened in 1976 as Yongin Farmland but was later bought by a division of Samsung and transformed into the Everland theme park. Everland sprawls across 3,700 acres and consists of three theme parks: Festival World, Caribbean Bay and the Speedway. Festival World is divided into 5 distinct zones: Global Fair, Zoo-Topia, European Adventure, Magic Land and American Adventure. Caribbean Bay has both indoor and outdoor water facilities, and Speedway offers racing courses. While adventuring through Everland don’t miss the world’s second steepest wooden coaster T Express.
Europa-Park is the largest park in Germany and the second largest park in Europe hosting 4.6 million visitors in 2012 alone. Visitors become world explorers as they walk through countries such as Italy, Netherlands and Iceland but also dive into more mysterious areas such as Grimm’s Enchanted Forest. This 210 acre amusement park is for the thrill seeker in mind because it hosts 11 roller coasters including the one-of-a-kind spinning roller coaster, the Euro-Mir. This heart stopping coaster is inspired by Russian space missions and features one of the longest ride times of any coaster and moments of weightlessness.
The ultimate thrill seekers destination is Cedar Point. Cedar Point dubbed themselves ‘the roller coaster capital of the world’ with 13 coasters throughout their 364 acres. Amongst these 13, is the second highest roller coaster in the world the Top Thrill Dragster for your shrill screaming enjoyment. In 2012, they were awarded the Amusement Today Golden Ticket award for Best Park and had over 3 million visitors. Most were probably cueing up to test their bravery by riding on Millennium Force or the Gatekeeper; the highest and longest wing coaster in the world. From soaking your feet in the sandy waters to soaring in the open skies, Cedar Point is an experience you’ll never forget.
The Hollywood movie buff cannot go without visiting Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. This star packed park comes 16 on the most visited parks in 2012 with over 6 million visitors perusing through the scenes of their favorite movies and more. With many of the park’s present and past attractions developed by the actual creators of the films they are based on, Universal Studios is a great place to experience little pieces from the movies we love. Steven Spielberg himself helped to create E.T. Adventure and was a creative consultant for Back to the Future: The Ride, Jaws and Transformers: The Ride. Apart from the Dr. Sues world and adventuring through the land of dinosaurs from Jurassic Park, muggles and wizards alike can journey into the magical world of Harry Potter. Just next door in Islands of Adventure, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a full experience of J.K. Rowling’s magical land where park visitors can sit down in Hogsmeade for a butterbear or wander into Ollivanders for their first wand. Just remember: "the wand chooses the wizard".
Dreamworld is Australia’s largest theme park. Situated in the theme park corridor between Brisbane and the Gold Coast on Australia's eastern coast, Dreamworld’s 210 acres includes a zoo, tiger island, ocean parade which includes the Tower of Terror and a waterpark. Look forward to embarking on a wild experience where park visitors can experience Aboriginal culture and interact with kangaroos, emus, dingoes, crocodiles and koalas. After their animal adventure, visitors can strap into their seats for a whirlwind ride on the Madagascar roller coaster. Dreamworld has a little bit for everyone to enjoy, from the thrill seeker to the animal lover, you won’t be disappointed!
Disneyland Park in Paris, France is the 5th most visited park in the world with over 11 million visitors flocking to discover this magical feast in 2012 alone. There are tons of must-sees in Disneyland Paris: rides, themed lands and restaurants which all represent quintessential elements of what makes up this magic kingdom. From riding on the happiness cruise, ‘It’s a Small World’, to experiencing Buffalo Bill’s Wild Wild West Show then escaping to the unknown on Big Thunder Mountain, Disneyland Paris is a wondrous place Walt Disney would be proud to call home. This year they are celebrating their 20th anniversary with Disney Dream, it is a thrilling nighttime spectacular performed in front of sleeping beauty’s castle every night. This performance of lights, fireworks and treasured Disney characters is a jaw-dropping finale to any Disney guest’s day.
Alton Towers is the 9th most visited park in Europe with over 2.4 million visitors in 2012. Alton Towers is much more dark and mysterious than most parks on this list. While Disney is pushing the colorful and magical fairy tales to enchant young and old, Alton Towers has become serious about scary with their rides and attractions. Their ride Th13teen, inspired by the horror film, is the first vertical freefall drop roller coaster that plummets riders 16 feet into darkness. Their new roller coaster, The Smiler, is the world’s first coaster with 14 inversions which must be a mind spinning experience for anyone willing to strap into their chair; did I mention the 98 foot drop? Apart from the thrills, The Smiler also has 5 mind manipulations which are sure to get the rider smiling and mesmerized by the end of their experience.
From the UK to Asia to the United States, don’t let your destination be the reason why you are not testing your bravery by boarding an epic roller coaster. Take a destination trip to Orlando, Florida and experience Universal Studios, Sea World and the magical world of Disney. Summer should be a chance to experience and fully immerse yourself in the sun and fun. Let your hair down, put on your walking shoes and lock your possessions in a locker while you embark on an adventure of a lifetime at your chosen theme park. They will not disappoint!