Around the world, there are many self-proclaimed amusement park junkies. Travelling from country to country, their mission is to find the ultimate machine that will push the limits of their endurance. While their numbers are not considerable in India, the country is seeing a rise in amusement park travel with more people willing to plan their itinerary around a visit to a theme park.
“This is a fairly new trend. Most travellers combine a trip to the amusement park with a visit to other sites of the country. But there are a few destinations where the primary purpose is the amusement park,” says Karan Anand, head-relationships, Cox & Kings Ltd, adding that the cost depends on the destination.
Popular options include Walt Disney World in Orlando (USA), Genting Highlands in Malaysia, Sentosa and Universal Studios in Singapore, Sea World in Australia, Disneyland in France, USA and Hong Kong. “Theme parks draw travellers with their unique offerings, like high-adrenaline rides, family-friendly attractions, state-of-the-art simulators and live shows,” adds Vishal Suri, deputy chief operating officer, tour operating, Kuoni India.
Incidentally, the crowd enquiring doesn’t just belong to big cities, like Mumbai or Delhi. “We’ve seen strong growth from our Tier II and III markets. Peer pressure, especially among school-going kids, adds further impetus,” says Madhav Pai, director, leisure travel (outbound), Thomas Cook (India) Ltd.
There are new ones catching attention too. The latest are Malaysia’s Legoland and Hello Kitty Town. You could also head to the Wild Wadi Water Park in Dubai that has over a dozen ingeniously interconnected rides. “Or head to Pleasure Beach in Great Britain. It is a 16-hectare collection of more than 145 rides, and is easily the best amusement park in Britain. The modern rides share space with a marvelous collection of old-style wooden roller coasters,” says Sheema Mookherjee, publisher, Lonely Planet India.
X-Scream, US: This unusual ride tilts riders 27 feet off the edge of the Stratosphere Las Vegas, a hotel-casino in USA. It is the third highest thrill ride in the world.
Diggerland, United Kingdom: This UK-based chain of theme parks transforms used construction equipment into rides.
Amusement Park, Abbotabad Pakistan: The site where US Seals killed Osama Bin Laden, could host up to 50 attractions and activities, including zoos and food courts.
Shweeb, New Zealand: Riders climb into translucent, pedal-powered tubes that hang from a monorail to race each other.
SkyCycle, Japan: Located in the Washuzan Highland Park, this unusual roller coaster requires passengers to pedal through it.
Formula Rossa at Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi: Ranked the fastest roller coaster in the world, you hit speeds of up to 240km/h.
Black Mamba at Phantasialand, Germany: This African-themed ride is an inverted roller coaster, with up to 4.5 G acceleration. Superman: Krypton Coaster at Six Flags Fiesta Texas, USA: Thrilling fans for nearly 13 years, it is a floorless coaster that throws you through the biggest loop in the world. The park wanted to upgrade the ride. However, determined fans got together and stopped that from happening.
Takabisha at Fuji-Q Highland, Japan: Hurtle towards Earth at 100km/h, have a 121 degree free-fall and enjoy with seven major twists. Amazing view of nearby Mount Fuji too is on offer.
Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure, USA: At a height equivalent to 45 storeys up when you are at the top, this is the world’s tallest roller coaster.