Popular theme parks around the world for kids
Wonderful, wacky and sometimes weird - theme parks have been entertaining and creating memorable experiences for families for centuries. What better way to have a good dose of fun as a family than by taking a trip to an iconic theme park? Whether it's the Ferris wheel, merry-go-round, bumper cars, waterslides, or plush toy prizes that get your kids jumping for joy, you can be sure they'll be excited by the prospect of visiting some of the world's most popular theme parks.
From the famous, original Disneyland Park in California, to Parc Asterix in France, to Sanrio Puroland in Japan, our guide to popular theme parks around the world has great tips and ideas for your next holiday abroad with the kids.
Disneyland Park - Anaheim, United States
It's hard not to think of Disneyland when you hear the words "theme park". The iconic Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California was created by renowned American animator and entrepreneur Walt Disney in 1955i and has since been a source of wonder and joy for kids and familiesii. Now a global phenomenon, families can also visit Disneyland Park in France, Japan and Hong Kongiii, but those wanting a taste of the original Disneyland should head to California.
The fun-filled attraction is themed on Disney's classic cartoon characters, including Mickey and Minnie Mouse, as well as more recent additions, including characters from the Disney Pixar films, such as Nemo from Finding Nemo and Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story. Kids and parents can look forward to well-loved rides such as "it's a small world" and Alice in Wonderland, or travel on-board the Disneyland Railroad for a scenic tour of the park. The fun doesn't end when the sun sets - be prepared to be dazzled by spectacular fireworks and parades at night.
Getting to the park is convenient with a range of transportation options for visitors. Shuttle buses, limousines and taxis can take passengers from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) directly to the Disneyland Resort areaiv. Alternatively, passengers can hop on the Disneyland Resort Express, which travels between LAX and the Disneyland Resorts, and does not require a reservationiv. You can also access Disneyland Park via the Los Angeles Metro networkiv.
The park is open to visitors all year round, although opening hours vary from season to seasonv.
Parc Astérix - Plailly, France
Disneyland Park may be in Paris, but those looking for a truly French theme park adventure should not go past Parc Astérix. Based on René Goscinny's playful comic book series The Adventures of Asterix, the theme park is located just north of Paris and has entertained families with its fun and humorous take on prehistoric French (Gallic) history since 1989vi. Shows like Main Basse Sur La Joconde, a comedic show about the theft of the Mona Lisa painting, will entertain audiences of all ages, and with rides named Flight of Icarus and Caesar's Spies, adventure and fun is sure to be had. In addition to the rides and shows, kids (and parents) can look forward to meeting the enchanting characters from the comics and, more importantly, visiting the 40 confectionery stores located in the park.
Visitors staying anywhere in Greater Paris can easily access the park by shuttle bus or carvii. A ticket to board the shuttle bus gets you a return trip from the coach park at the Carrousel du Louvrevii. There is also the option of taking a taxi, but if you're travelling directly from Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport, make use of the shuttle bus that travels between the airport and the parkvii.
Parc Astérix is closed over winterviii, so you'll have to plan your visit for the warmer months. Opening hours also vary from season to seasonviii.
Everland - Yongin, South Korea
Originally called Yongin Farmland when it first opened in 1976, Everland Resort was South Korea's first amusement parkix. Sprawling across 15 square kilometresix, it consists of two separate theme parks - Everland and Caribbean Bayx - each filled with a mix of fun and quirky rides and attractions that will surprise you from the moment you enter the park. In addition to the rides and entertainment, families can pay a visit to the zoo or parents can wind down and relax by taking a few swings at the golf course.
Those wanting to experience modern Korean culture can do so with Everland's K-pop hologram show, which showcases famous Korean artists like PSY and Big Bang through a three-dimensional hologramxi.
The park is located south of Seoul City and is accessible by a range of public transport services. There is the option of taking a taxi, but the various express service buses that travel between Seoul City and Everland Resort are convenient and cheaperxii.
The park is open to visitors all year round, but opening hours may vary across the yearxiii.
Ratanga Junction - Cape Town, South Africa
It's no safari, but the Ratanga Junction theme park in Cape Town doesn't sell itself short when it comes to fun and adventure. With rides named Crocodile Swamp, Masai Tailspin and Barrel Roll, kids can expect to be thrilled and entertained by the wonderful adventures to be had at Ratanga Junctionxiv. The park regularly runs a "Birds of Africa" showxv, which is both fun and educational for kids and parents alike. The park also has an animal petting zoo and a nine-hole miniature indoor golf course.
Like other theme parks, Ratanga Junction has its own original cast of (merchandisable) characters - something for the kids to take home as a souvenir.
The park's operating hours vary throughout the year and are subject to change without noticexvi. Before booking your holiday, it's best to contact the park and check that it will be open during the time you plan to visit and for information on the best transportation options for getting to and from the parkxvii.
Sanrio Puroland - Tama, Japan
Sanrio Puroland is home to Japan's most famous animated characters, including Hello Kitty, Little Twin Stars and My Melody. Dedicated to all things cute and pink, Sanrio Puroland promises nothing other than flamboyance and flair. Among the many rides and attractions on offer is Hello Kitty in Wonderland, which incorporates elements of the classic tale of Alice in Wonderland to the fantastical world of Hello Kittyxviii. The park also offers a unique experience to guests celebrating their birthday - prepare to be greeted by Sanrio's favourite characters in song and dancexix!
The park opens its doors to visitors all year round, except for the occasional Wednesdays and Thursdaysxx. Sanrio Puroland is located within Tokyo prefecture and is easily accessible by public transport. Shuttle buses travel between both Narita and Haneda airports and Sanrio Puroland regularlyxxi. Alternatively, you can take the express train from Shinjuku station to Hashimoto, which takes you to Tama Center station, which is just a short walk from the park's main entrancexxi.
Preparation and planning is an important aspect of every trip. When you book your next overseas family holiday, make sure you take out travel insurance in the event of a setback during your trip. Get a travel insurance quote from Allianz today.