The world’s best theme parks - that aren’t Disneyland


Fans of the world’s most famous mouse were outraged yesterday when Disneyland and Disney California hiked up the prices of its annual passes by as much as $300 to $1,049, even though part of the park will be closed from January as works starts on a new Star Wars themed ‘land’. Earlier this year, Disneyland increased the cost of one-day tickets by $3 to $99 a ticket. But how do its entrance prices compare to the world’s other popular theme parks?

Universal Islands of Adventure was voted the world’s top theme park by Tripadvisor users, but it is slightly more expensive, charging $102 for an adult, $97 for a child. For those extra bucks, visitors get islands with rides including the Incredible Hulk Coaster on Marvel Super Hero Island, a river adventure in Jurassic Park, the zany Cat in the Hat ride in Seuss Landing and magical rides in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Fortunately theme parks elsewhere offer better value. At Puy du Fou, in the Vendée region of France history is brought to life with historic extravaganzas including the biggest night-time show in the world in which 3,000 volunteers take to the stage. Expect a Viking ship that emerges from a lake, sword-fighting musketeers, lion-taming gladiators, knights on horseback and mega firework shows. In between shows you can visit medieval bakeries, 18th century farms and working blacksmiths. It’s a bargain at just €100 for a family of four.

You can cover the cost of a virtual round-Europe trip for a family of four for just €159,00 at Europa Parkin Denmark. Visitors can experience life in up 13 different European countries including France, Russia, Austria and Iceland, with zones featuring the country’s typical architecture, gastronomy, natural landscape and architecture as well as circus, music and dance shows that celebrate its national culture – and 11 rollercoasters to make your hair stand on end.

Spain’s biggest theme park Porta Ventura and gives you a round-the-world trip for just €168 for a family of four. The attraction near Barcelona has zones inspired by the Mediterranean, the Far West, Polynesia, China, Mexico and Sesamo, with 40 daily shows, a water park and record-breaking rides including the Furius Baco, the fastest roller coaster in Europe, which accelerates from 0-135km/h in just three seconds and Shambhala, Europe’s highest roller coaster with a drop of 96m.

It costs just $92 for an annual pass to the largest theme park in Latin America, Beto Carrero in Penha Brazil, or just $24 for a day pass for an adult and one child. There’s something for everyone in its nine areas with rides and shows dedicated to themes including Madagascar, Fast and Furious, the wild West, indigenous Indians and pirates, as well as a zoo.

Read more:Disneyland Paris guide

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