Riding High or Plummeting Quickly: Have Theme Parks Had Their Day?

Theme parks have long been an option for a day of family entertainment. The 1950s saw the first proper amusement parks open their doors to the public, including the world-famous Disneyland. Rides often included carousels, Ferris wheels and of course the adrenaline seekers dream: the roller coaster. Since then the industry has grown enormously through technological advancements which have allowed for steeper coasters, faster rides and increasing levels of G-force. But are theme parks still as popular as they used to be?

It is true that admission prices have certainly sky-rocketed in modern times, with the increasing size and magnitude of parks encouraging a boost in fees. This can leave you feeling slightly dizzy before you’ve even been on any rides. Trips to amusement parks are perhaps more likely to be reserved for special outings rather than being a regular activity on the calendar.

“The vast number of parks that are operating today speaks volumes”

They are also often found away from populated regions, in areas with enough space to build the expansive complexes. This can make parks difficult to reach as they are mainly accessible by car, without public transport links. Therefore, expense is again a factor when travelling to theme parks, particularly if you are driving long distances to attend.

However, all of this does not seem to have affected the popularity of theme parks, with millions of people still making trips of all distances to experience the thrills on offer. The vast number of parks that are operating today speaks volumes for the current state of the theme park tourist industry. For example, there are roughly 20 major parks just in the UK alone, with many smaller venues also open for family entertainment.

“The feeling that theme park rides can give you is not easily forgotten”

The consistent popularity of theme parks could partly be attributed to their practical nature. The premise of amusement parks is built on the actual thrill of experiencing a ride which gets your adrenaline pumping and forces you to live in the moment. The feeling that theme park rides can give you is not easily forgotten and is difficult to replicate through other activities. This helps to explain why people are prepared to spend their money and travel long distances to visit.

So, having established that theme parks are still in high-demand, which parks deserve a look? Here is a selection of top theme parks from around the globe.

  • Cedar Point, Cleveland, USA: This park features the world’s tallest roller coaster and claims to offer more rides than any other park in the world. Worth a visit if you are looking for a full on, adrenaline packed day.
  • Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi: This indoor theme park is covered by a roof shaped like the door of a (you guessed it) Ferrari. If this quirky spectacle is not enough to convince you to consider a visit, the park is also home to the world’s fastest roller coaster where you can travel at speeds of 150mph.
  • Disneyland, Paris: Europe’s largest and most popular theme park also deserves a mention. From the iconic Disney castle and characters to the exciting rides and performances, this park has the perfect recipe for a family trip of dreams.


Of course, you don’t have to go abroad to find excellent theme parks. The UK offers some well-established theme parks too, including Thorpe Park and Alton Towers. They provide an equally fun day but without the need to board a plane. In addition to these, a new park is also soon to be in development.

“Perhaps the resort will provide you the opportunity to be immersed in a Mission Impossible style assignment”

This is currently named ‘The London Resort‘. A park projected to cost billions of pounds to build, it will be three times larger than any other park in the UK. The 535-acre site will incorporate two theme parks, a water park and accommodation. A partnership with Paramount pictures has also been agreed which suggests the rides will likely link to well-known films and tv series to add that extra layer of fun to the whole experience.

Perhaps the resort will provide you the opportunity to be immersed in a Mission Impossible style assignment or a chance to experience the thrill of outrunning the creatures from 2018 film, A Quiet Place. Unfortunately, this is only speculation as we still have a while to wait to see this project finished in its full glory as its expected to open in 2024.

Meghan Jarvis

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Featured image courtesy of Matt Dempsey via Flickr. Image usage license here. No changes were made to the image.

Main images courtesy of @DisneylandParis and @supercarsbuzz via Instagram. 

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