Theme park breaks

The title of this blog probably immediately made you think “Florida”. While no article about theme park breaks would be complete without covering the theme park capital of the world, you may not be aware that your options are far greater than that.

Don’t forget that what is considered to be one of the best theme parks in the world – Alton Towers – is right on our doorstep. A break there need not be expensive either, as the Tussauds Group (who also operate Chessington World of Adventure and Thorpe Park) frequently participate in voucher schemes such as Tesco’s recent promotion, and you can cut costs by using Nectar points too. Although the Alton Towers hotel has had rave reviews, you can stay in the area inexpensively by using local B&Bs or camping.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach is the home of The Big One, Europe’s tallest rollercoaster, and The Big Dipper which is one of the few wooden rollercoasters left and has delighted generations of visitors. Blackpool has a vast choice of accommodation so finding something competitively priced shouldn’t be difficult.

For kids (of all ages!) you can’t go far wrong with Legoland – offering ticket and hotel packages. For something a bit different, try Diggerland. There are four theme parks situated in Devon, Durham, Kent and Yorkshire and visitors can ride in and even drive diggers and dumper trucks – haven’t you always wanted to do that?!

Disneyland Paris is a popular option for families wanting to give the kids the Disney experience while it still holds the magic. A reported downside of going to the Florida Disney is the kids will be too small to access rides at other theme parks but waiting until they are old enough for this means that Disney is not quite the same – the characters just become people in suits after a certain age! The options for getting to Disneyland Paris are plentiful and competitively priced, particularly if you use the ferries, Channel Tunnel or a low-cost airline. Again if you are on a tight budget, consider a hotel outside the resort – France has a number of inexpensive hotel chains such as Campanile and Formula 1.

If you ask the question “what is the best theme park in Europe” a likely answer you will hear from many people is Port Aventura, which is just outside Barcelona. Ryanair fly to Girona airport, and the proximity to the Costa Brava means that the park is very accessible to British holidaymakers as part of a package holiday.

If you are going somewhere else in Europe and fancy taking in a theme park, the Theme Park Vision website provides detailed information about 80 theme parks (and 3498 attractions) in 14 European countries.

United States
Florida is the first choice of most people seeking a theme park holiday and the sky is the limit on how much you can spend on such a trip. The good thing about Florida is that there is an excellent range of accommodation options including hotels and self catering, and if you stick to visiting the theme parks you can probably do without a car as the transport links to the theme parks are excellent. Other ways to save include arranging your theme park tickets in advance, and travelling off peak – Florida is usually warm all year and you may also find the theme park queues to be shorter in Autumn and Winter.

For something really off-the-wall, try Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Owned by Dolly Parton, the park pays homage to the legendary lady and even the website is a masterpiece of kitsch.

Don’t forget your travel insurance!
A great thing about theme park breaks is you can get your thrills in a safe environment. But you will still need travel insurance! 24/7 travel insurance offers cover for 1 week in Europe for a family for just £14.00*, or for two weeks in the USA from £43.82** – so it won’t make a dent in your holiday budget either!

*Premium includes Insurance Premium Tax, based on two adults aged 18-54 and their accompanying children aged under 18 taking out a “standard” Single Trip policy (excluding personal possessions cover) for 7 days for European travel and purchased within 14 days of departure date.

**Premium includes Insurance Premium Tax, based on two adults aged 18-54 and their accompanying children aged under 18 taking out a “standard” Single Trip policy (excluding personal possessions cover) for 14 days for Worldwide travel and purchased within 14 days of departure date.