5. Dining Experience: Restaurants and food selection used to be an industry joke ten years ago, but in today’s age of theme park eateries, a high quality dining experience is a necessity to make your park-going experience complete. Resorts around the world, including Disney Parks and Universal Studios, use dining as an “attraction” to lure in large crowds. Great food and immersive restaurant experiences has become a huge piece of the theme park puzzle that can boost or taint a park’s reputation. A tasty meal in a well themed environment is pretty awesome. EPCOT at Walt Disney World is among my favorite parks because of the food and beverage experience.
4. Thrill Rides: There are so many types of rides in the theme park; transportation rides like the Monorail, kiddie rides like Dumbo, dark rides like The Haunted Mansion, simulators like Star Tours, the list goes on; however, every major theme park also inhabits a selection of thrill rides. Yes! Roller coasters, drop towers, and all the crazy spin and puke contraptions you can think of (I swore myself away from the tilt-a-whirl…never again). I’m a huge adrenaline junky and I love any ride that can give me those few thrilling seconds of gravitational defiance. BTW, If your in Nor Cal, hit up Goldstriker at California’s Great America…a masterpiece.
3. Special/Seasonal Events: The theme park is always fun, but during a celebration or seasonal event (uhhh…hello Halloween!), it becomes twice as big and ten times more fun. Disneyland will be a blast this year thanks to the 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration; Christmas at Walt Disney World is a very merry experience that will enhance your family vacation. Events like these make a theme park visit better, however, parks like Knott’s Berry Farm and Universal Studios, create the greatest theme park experiences; during the Halloween season with Haunt and Horror Nights. Not only is there great rides and shows, but these events unleash daring scare zones and mazes to keep your adrenaline running through the entire night. It’s like living in a horror movie. Amazing!
2. Immersive Storytelling – The whole reason you spend the big bucks for admission into parks like Disneyland and Universal’s Islands of Adventure is to get away from the real world for a day. These parks invest millions of dollars into environments and attractions to make you part of a story–to journey through fantasy. Rides like Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, and Transformers: The Ride, literally remove you from reality and place you in a fictional adventure. It’s the movies on crack…because you are truly “in it!” Nothing can come close to these special experiences and that’s why we are willing to plan, budget, and escape to these places – to experience the impossible.
1. Memories: I’ll keep this simple. Theme parks are, for the most part, a social endeavor. It’s a chance to share a day (or days) with friends and family. The great experiences that you encounter and share, will create timeless memories. Whether it’s with your parents, siblings, girlfriend, boyfriend, closest friends, and of course, children, those people and those moments, will live with you forever. I guess that’s why they refer to it as magic.