Theme Parks with a difference — Part 1

Which of us does not have found memories of Disney films, Disney characters and, ultimately — Disney theme parks. My first ever experience of the Disney ‘product’ was a visit to the original Disney theme park in Anaheim with two of my three kids back in 1992 and it was an amazing experience. Since then, I’ve visited Disneyland Paris twice and Disneyworld in Orlando once. Am I likely to complete the whole set by visiting their other parks in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo? Probably not as I feel that the novelty factor has long since worn off me.

If you feel the same but would like to reproduce the ‘thrill’ of experiencing a new theme park for the first time, then here is an arbitrary selection of other fun-focused parks around the world that you may be interested in experiencing someday soon. I list them in no particular order of importance or preference so you can make up your own mind. I’ve also left out well known parks such as Universal Studios, SeaWorld and Busch Gardens as I feel that they are already well known to Irish Holiday makers. Also excluded are Legoland and Thorpe Park in the UK, Efteling in the Netherlands, Europa Park in Germany or Futuroscope or Parc Asterix in France as you’ve probably heard of them as well.

Here so is an eclectic selection of theme parks from around the world that you’ve either never heard of; may be surprised exist in the first place or are so off the wall, that they may merit a visit at some point in the near future:



Bon-Bon Land, Holme Olstrup (Willy Wonka meets theme park with rides)

This confectionary-themed park has loads of rides for both adults and kids but be warned of some adult themes and scatological references throughout! Novelty value: 5/10


Hershey Park, Pensylvania

America’s answer to Cadburys have their very own confectionary-themed park located in the town named after them, located about 95 miles west of Philadelphia. Novelty value: 5/10



Ferrari Land, Portaventura

If you’re a motorhead, then you’ll want to make tracks to Ferrari Land, the latest addition to the large Portaventura complex, located just outside the popular Spanish resort of Salou. Novelty value: 6/10


United Arab Emirates

Bollywood Parks, Dubai

Who isn’t fascinated by Bollywood movies? In what other cinematic medium does everyone simultaneously break out into song and highly-choreographed dancing in the middle of a serious dramatic film? Novelty value: 8/10



Knott’s Berry Farm, California

When Walt Disney’s original theme park in Anaheim opened in 1955 (Admission: $1), Knott’s Berry Farm had already been going strong for 35 years. Based around a Wild West theme, the park was the 12th most visited theme park in North America in 2015. Novelty value: 5/10.



Popeye Village

This purpose-built set (also known as Sweethaven Village was built from scratch back in 1980 for a live-action musical starring Robin Williams  so it is not a theme park in the traditional sense of the world as it doesn’t boast any rides but is a great location for taking selfies — particularly if you’ve ever seen the film. Novelty value: 7/10



Diggerland (various locations)

What small boy (and it’s mostly boys) isn’t fascinated with diggers. This theme park is a one-trick pny in that it centres around rides on diggers; dricing diggers etc but it’s fascinating nonetheless. Novelty value: 8/10



Circque Du Soleil, Nuevo Vallarta

The Canadian-based entertainment company that revolutionised the traditional world of circuses, trapeze artists and jugglers will be opening its very first, Cirque Du Soleil-themed park in Mexico next year so roll on 2018! Novelty value: 6/10



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