Ask the average person to name an American theme park and they will undoubtedly say ‘Disney World’. The world’s largest theme park resort has made Orlando into a tourist hotspot, anchored by the Magic Kingdom Park, which is the world’s busiest theme park, attracting over 17 million people annually. Florida is especially popular with Brits, who flock not only to visit Disney’s four parks and two waterparks, but also the Universal and SeaWorld parks.
However, America is a massive country and there are so many more theme parks worth visiting. Sure, Orlando is great. It’s a tourist haven, home to some of the world’s most popular tourist attractions. Many people count themselves as repeat visitors, choosing Orlando as their ultimate holiday destination. But, to put it simply, they are missing out.
America is widely regarded as the capital of theme parks and amusements, with hundreds of parks scattered from coast to coast. Here are some theme parks that are off the beaten track for the typical British tourist, but these hidden gems are certainly worth a visit!
Known as ‘America’s Roller Coast’ Cedar Point has been voted the world’s best amusement park by the Golden Ticket Awards for the past 16 consecutive years. Located on a peninsula in Lake Erie in Sandusky, OH, Cedar Point is famous for its skyline of tall coasters and rides that entices you in as you drive along the road across the lake.
What makes Cedar Point so special is that it offers plenty of rides for people of all tastes, and it boasts a waterpark as well as many miles of beaches with golden sands. It is home to many ground-breaking rides, including Magnum XL-200, the first coaster taller than 200 feet, Millennium Force, the first taller than 300 feet and Top Thrill Dragster, the first taller than 400 feet.
Some of the park’s newest rides include Windseeker, which spins you round a central tower over 300 feet high, and Gatekeeper, a thrilling ‘wing’coaster where you sit on either side of the track with nothing above or below you.
Luna Park at Coney Island
For a slice of Americana, head to the famous Luna Park at Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York. This seaside park is most famous for its Cyclone coaster, which dates back to 1927 and is one of the world’s most popular roller coasters.
The park has plenty of other thrilling rides, including the Soarin’ Eagle flying coaster and the launched Steeplechase coaster. Visit Deano’s Wonder Wheel Amusement, smack bang in the middle of Luna Park, and ride the ever popular Wonder Wheel, that has rocking cars that slide along a track, adding extra moments of pure thrills.
Try some delicious hotdogs from Nathan’s Famous, enjoy a leisurely stroll along the boardwalk, or relax on the beach, which stretches for over 2.5 miles.
This family-oriented theme park can be found in Santa Claus, Indiana, and is famous for its friendly staff, numerous industry awards, and free soft drinks! This charming theme park has an enviable reputation and really does put its customers’ needs first.
It is divided into four sections, each of which is themed after a different holiday (Halloween, Christmas, Thanksgiving and Fourth of July) and boasts an impressive line-up of attractions, with something for everyone in the family. One of the park’s standout rids is The Voyage, which is one of the world’s longest coasters and boasts more air time, the moment you experience weightlessness and fly out of your seat, than any other coaster.
There’s also the Splashin’ Safari waterpark, with offers an ever-growing selection of waterslides, including some of the world’s longest and most thrilling.
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Six Flags Magic Mountain
Located in Valencia, California, Six Flags Magic Mountain is an adrenalin junkie’s haven. Among its stellar line-up of 20 roller coasters are some of the world’s wildest, tallest, fastest and most innovative creations.
Take a perilous flight on Tatsu, the world’s tallest, fastest and longest flying coaster, where you get a bird’s eye view from over 150 feet up in the air. Get flipped upside down in every which way possible on X2, a stomach-churning coaster whose seats rotate forwards and backwards on a 360 degree axis. Catch your breath as you are launched forwards and backwards on the newest coaster, Full Throttle, then admire the stunning views on Lex Luthor: Drop of Doom before plummeting 400 feet to the ground.
Kids can enjoy a plethora of kiddie rides in Bugs Bunny World and Whistlestop park while just next door is the Hurricane Harbour waterpark, which boasts an array of thrilling slides and pools to cool off in when the Californian sun is out.
Disneyland is a must-see for any ardent Disney fan. Boasting a line-up of classic attractions, as well as some more modern additions, Disneyland was the very first Disney Park and the only one to have been opened while Walt Disney himself was still alive.
The park is steeped in history and has welcomed over 650 million guests since opening day back in 1955. When you walk through this park’s many themed lands, you cannot help but notice its charm and character. Each attraction is expertly and whimsically themed to help bring its story to life. Stop by the Haunted Mansion to greet the 999 happy haunts, explore the deepest corners of Space Mountain on a rampant roller coaster ride and cool off with a 5-storey plunge on Splash Mountain.