When visiting Paris on a family holiday the ever popular and highly acclaimed Euro Disney is often the first place which springs to mind. There is however, an overlooked lesser-known hidden gem called Parc Asterix which is inspired by the iconic French comic series "The Adventures of Asterix". Much quieter than Euro Disney meaning less queuing and elbow prodding, a godsend to any parent who has has experienced hours of queuing with very grumpy, bored children! The children loved it, especially my eldest who found himself able to enjoy a much vaster selection of rides than in other parks, a result of less stringent height restrictions. We all thoroughly enjoyed the shows, the performing dolphins being a firm favourite.
My husband underwent a nostalgic journey in Galois Village enjoying all the characters displayed in such a vivid way.
Personally, I favour Parc Asterix very highly above the popular alternative. Quieter, cheaper and oozing character, with a unique quirkiness so often absent from the larger, highly commercialised amusement parks.
For those who want to indulge in a fun family day out and experience theme parks done the French way - Parc Asterix won't disappoint.
Coney Island at the southernmost part of Brooklyn was once a happening place for vacationers or any New Yorker who wanted to ditch the concrete and head for the beach. The neighborhood's steadily decayed since World War II. Many people now know the area as the setting of the film Requiem for a Dream. (I promise not everyone in Coney Island has a drug addiction.) The famous Astroland amusement park was shuttered in 2008 and re-opened last year as Luna Park. Now the landmark rides - including The Cyclone, one of the oldest wooden roller coasters still operating in the U.S. - are back in business. The crowds come in June and July, but if you go now, you'll have all those game machines, mechanized thrills, and carnies to yourself.
This huge water park is a clean and safe place where you can have a lot of fun or just some relaxation. Landscaping is impressive! Plenty of water slides so even when the park is packed with visitors you don't have to queue long.
If you are bit afraid to try any of the slides just take the “lazy river” where you can float around the park. Also you could rent a little hut for you and your family.
On the way from the UK to Paris, in the department of the Oise, this lovely family theme park is a welcome stop-over if you want to break up your journey. It provides entertainment for the whole family (lots of different rides) and unlike its bigger 'rivals' Eurodisney or Asterix Park, no queues and you can have your own BBQ!
The prizes are very reasonable (under £10 per person) and the food on site is excellent. A grand day out!
60650 Saint Paul,
+33(0)3 44 82 20 16
Google map: bit.ly/eDVb3z
For a really different day out with the family in France I recommend the Puy du Fou historical theme park. It is in the Vendee and easy to get to from the coast or from Paris. We were on holiday on the Ile d'Olleron, another gem of a place, and we travelled early in the morning to spend the whole day there. You need to do that because there is just so much to see and do: a Viking long boat, a huge gladiator battle, dancing falcons and a battle of the keep re-enactment, among other things. The highlight is the cinescene in the evening which features, allegedly the largest stage in the world, with over 1000 locals acting and at least 400 fireworks nightly. The best thing is that our family party ranged from ages eight to 80 and there was something for everyone. We all thoroughly enjoyed it and that is despite the fact that it rained from the moment we got there, until the moment we left, and everything was in French.
I recommend Parc Asterix on the outskirts of Paris, just off Junction 7 of the A1 from Paris to Northern France and Calais. It was the best park we had visited in France, and that includes Disneyland Paris and Futuroscope. My family (two adults, three teenagers) thought it was brilliant - a great selection of rides that covered four different time zones in Asterix’s adventures. The rides vary from gentle to the terrifying (with lots of choice in between) and there lots of shows and animations too. The cafes are good, and there are shady places for picnics as well. It was quite easy to walk around – not too huge. We used Tesco vouchers for advance entry which helped our holiday budget, and have been twice now (2007 and 2009). Our accommodation was at a nearby Novotel (there are other chain hotels in the area) but there is public transport from Paris. For us it was a good couple of days on the end of our holiday, but could make a good mini break if you live in the south of England.
Astrid Lindgrens World is a theme park in Sweden based on the numerous children's books by Astrid Lindgren (most famously Pippi Longstocking) but this is a theme park without rides. Instead, you walk around the park and woods to find model villages with the houses and shops of the books' settings. Children (and adults) can roam freely in and out, go upstairs, sit on the beds, whizz down the slide from the giant's house, run through a maze, haul themselves across a (small) river... Actors in costume stroll about, speaking Swedish and English, and there are some shows throughout the day, which my daughter seemed to enjoy even though they were in Swedish. As grown up fans of the books, my mother and I enjoyed the place and my then 18-month-old daughter loved going into the little houses. There are cafes but there are also lots of picnic areas, and there are plenty of toilets. There are a few shops selling rather expensive costumes, toys, books and stationery. We were staying nearby but there is camping and chalet accomodation attached to the park. It makes for a lovely day out for people of all ages who know the books or young children who simply appreciate child size houses to explore.
+46 492 79800
The Efteling Fairy Tale Forest was designed by the famous illustrator Anton Pieck, and built in 1952, which makes it one of the world's oldest theme parks. I visited several times as a child. Wandering through the forest you'll come upon Sleeping Beauty's castle (you can see she's sleeping: her chest moves up and down), a gingerbread cottage with a witch in the doorway, a dragon who lunges terrifyingly at you if you try to touch his treasure chest, a whole community of dwarfs... enchantment upon enchantment, brought beautifully to full-size life. If that sounds a bit genteel, the Fairy Tale Forest is just one of four themed zones. Nowadays there are astonishing animatronic scenarios through which you move by boat: the mad Villa Volta, a loop corkscrew rollercoaster called The Python, a carousel that lifts you high up into the sky, and many many other amazing and exciting attractions for all ages. There's even a golf course for the less adventurous. In fact, it's the biggest theme park in the Benelux. I took my son when he was ten and we both loved it. So do the Dutch - 94 percent of the population has visited! We took the Harwich to Hook of Holland ferry, and from the Hook it's only an hour by car. There's so much to see and do that we stayed ovenight in the four-star hotel. As well as the hotel restaurant, there are food outlets within the park for anything from a loempia and chips (with mayonnaise of course) to a sit-down dinner. What's a loempia? It's nasi goreng wrapped in a parcel and deep-fried. What's nasi goreng? It's- oops, run out of spa
Dreamworld is one of the many theme/fun parks situated on the Gold Coast in SE Queensland. As with all these theme parks, you have a wide choice of rides (some NOT for the faint of heart) but if that's not your scene, Dreamworld has quite a lot of other attractions, from an Imax theatre to the Australian wildlife experience. Tickets are not cheap but once in everything is free (except food and drink). Dreamworld is a good fun day out.
Playmobil Fun Land is a themed activity park based on the Playmobil children's toys. It is aimed at children under 12 and is fun interactive activities. There is minimal queing and no roller coasters, just lots of things to do. We spent two whole days there. Hight season entry (August 2009) was 10 Euros per person irrespective of age, so 40 Euros for a family of four per day.
Things to note:
Much of the play involves water, so come with swimming gear to stand under the waterfalls. If soemone gets wet, use the tumble dryers provided to dry clothes.
There is a large indoor section if it's raining. Outdoors, sandpits and things are covered with awnings on hot days.
Food and drink is NOT a rip off e.g. tea for one Euro, single scoop ice cream cone 80 Cents!
The cafeteria has lots of choice eg pasta with different sauces and pizza, very much aimed at kids. A kids meal is 42 Euros.
You pay a pfand (deposit) on all crockery which is then refunded when you hand it all in, so keeping everying tidy and clean.
Most staff speak very good english.
Much of the park is wheel chair accessibile (so good for buggies too) and they have a wheel chair raft on the boating lake.
We had two super days out and the kids would love to go back.
There is an appartment hotel with family rooms for four across the road from the park. However, as the park is not loacated in a particularly interesting part of Zirndorf we stayed at the Hotel Knorz, an easy walk to/from Playmobil and the town centre.
Phone 0911/96 66-1700
Nearest station is Zirndorf which has a 30 minute train service from Furth which is on the main line to Nuremberg (or use the Underground)
Alternatively, get the bus 113 from central Nuremberg. Tourist info in Nuremberg have all the details and will printout timetables for you.
You’ll find plenty to do in the city of Bologna itself, but you can take a day trip if you hire a car to Mirabilandia, which is about an hours drive from Bologna.
Mirabilandia is a theme park with its own beach area and beautiful gardens but most people visit Mirabilandia for the fantastic thrill rides.
The Disney Photopass is available in Disney World, Florida (I can't yet confirm the other parks). It is basically a free barcode to get photos taken by Disney photographers around the parks.
It's free to get the pass - there are photographers all over the parks (including the water parks) and they will take your photo for free. They will also often use your camera as well, if you ask nicely.
The first time you have it done, they give you a photopass. This is a bar code (and ID number) to identify your photos. You can then use the same pass for every photographer around the parks and they all go to the same account. Then, register online and it is possible to browse through the photos they have taken (or in one of the photo stores in the parks and Downtown Disney). You can pick photos for prints or - recommended - get all of your photos on a CD.
The photo CD is around 140 US dollars including tax (Feb 2009) and you get three "free" 7" x 5" prints with it. This seems a lot, but if, like me, you are never in any holiday photos because you are keeper-of-the-camera then it is a great way to get some nice snaps to prove you were there. Once you have bought the cd you can make as many prints/copies as you want at home/via cheaper printing outlets (you buy the copyright licence with it). In fact as long as you are not using them commercially you can pretty much do anything that you want with them.
I did it for the first time this February (as a couple) but it seems to me that if you are on a group/family holiday you can easily get 100 photos of your group in a week and split the cost between a few of you and it becomes a really economical way to get some lovely photos. There are also enhancements, such as Disney borders that you can add to copies of the photos. The online editting is pretty good and there are even some magical additions (such as Tinkerbell) that can appear in your hand, etc - which although cheesy are surprisingly nice in some photos.
www.disneyphotopass.com/, Walt Disney World, Florida
Just off the A9 at Carrbridge, 23 miles south of Inverness, the 30-acre Landmark Forest Theme Park is a great outdoor activity place for kids. It's got loads of forest and nature trails as well as a watercoaster and a working steam powered sawmill. There's also a wildlife feeding area which is known to attract the ever elusive red squirrel.
Tel: 0800 731 3446
I love to go to Duinrell in Holland. I go by Ferry. Duinrell is a theme park and there's lots of scary, lovely, fun and wet rides to go on. If you stay at the park you can go on the rides as many times as you like every day. I love to go to
the Tiki Pool there. It's a very big pool with lots of slides. My
favourites are Moonlight and Starfright which are both fast, dark slides with lots of lights inside them. You have to ride in a boat
shaped like a number eight. There is also a Lazy River which goes
very slowly. You have to ride in a special ring.
From Niall Scruton (age 7)
Duinrell is located in Wassenaar, South Holland a short drive from the Hook of Holland ferry terminal. There are daily crossings from Harwich to the Hook of Holland by Stena Line.)
Disneyland Resort Paris is the most magical place I have ever been to.
Trust me, you won't just go there once - you will be booking another holiday there as soon as you get back!! Why do I love it?
I'll tell you. . .
Once you step on to the cobbles of Main Street USA and see Sleeping Beauty's Castle up ahead, you will be tingling with excitement!!
Rides that I recommend:
Space Mountain; Mission 2
Rock 'n' Rollercoaster
Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast
Pirates of the Caribbean
I stayed at Hotel New York and it was just amazing. It has 2 restaurants, bars and so much more!! Definitely a must!
Restaurants that I recommend:
The Blue Lagoon
I hope that I have given you an insight into the magical world of Disneyland Resort Paris!
From Rhian (age 12).
To contact Disneyland Resort Paris (general information, booking. . .)
CALL 08705 03 03 03 (UK)
A trip to Vienna is not complete without visiting the Prater and riding on the Riesenrad (ferris wheel). When you are up there in the rustic red carriages you can look down and see all the rides and people, and on a dark night you can almost hear the Harry Lime tune cranking away in the background . . .
Google map: tinyurl.com/lhnx8a
In the spring, summer or autumn, go to Liseberg - Sweden's largest amusement park which is unusually tasteful and un-tacky. Make sure you try 'Balder', Scandinavia's biggest wooden rollercoaster. In the winter go to the Christmas markets at Liseberg.
Found this online today: for $199 (adult) the City Pass gives you entrance to five (5) amusement parks: Disneyland, Disney's California Adventure, SeaWorld in San Diego, Universal Studios Hollywood and San Diego Zoo or San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park. You have 14 days to use it. Saves a bundle if these parks are your funky thang.
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