12 November 2014

A Serious Discussion of the Awesomeness of Theme Parks

I've recently come to the conclusion that I am a theme park fan. I know theme parks are a bit of a controversial topic. Many think that the money spent on visiting theme parks would be much better spent visiting sites of historical significance instead.

I understand this logic, I do. I do know that theme parks are completely fake, composed of ridiculous rides and the types of shows that would probably make those knowledgeable about the art of the theater cringe...but still, I really do enjoy them. I think this might be influenced by the fact that 1) I'm not a germaphobe. 2) Crowds of people don't scare me. 3) I've never gotten motion sickness. 4) My husband's excessive love for gaudy flashing lights has rubbed off on me.

I would say my amusement park style could be described as the open-the-park/close-the-park, go on off-off-days so that lines are very short, spend as little money and time on food/eating as possible, run from one ride to the next, see all the shows, try to "do" the entire park as efficiently as possible, and fall into bed happy and sore at the end of one long, long day.

I'm not into souvenirs or any of the paid extras like caricatures at parks. To me, wasting time and money shopping or eating or sitting to have a picture drawn is just silly when you could be riding another ride!

My favorite types of rides are generally, any type of ride that involves water (log rides, water slides, riverboat rides, paddleboats, Pirates of the Caribbean). The rides I refuse to go on are the rides that go straight up and down or roller coasters that are excessively rough. Coincidentally, those are all Angel's favorite rides. I used to be a roller coaster fanatic, but these days, the Disney coasters are more my style than the Millenium Force, which I rode when it first opened and was the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world at the time.

This is possibly a complete list of amusement parks I've been to in a lifetime:

Six Flags Great America (1994?)
Busch Gardens, FL (1998)
Silver Dollar City (1999)
SeaWorld Ohio (2000) Closed.
Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom (2001) 
Cosmo's World Theme Park, KL, Malaysia (2006, 2007)
A Water/Theme Park in Malaysia, the name of which now escapes me. Family, help! (2007)
Beech Bend Park, Bowling Green, KY (2011)
Cedar Point, Ohio (2000, 2011)
Nickelodeon Universe, Mall of America (2012)
Lost World of Tambun, Ipoh, Malaysia (2013)
DisneyWorld (Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios) (2014)
Michigan's Adventure, MI (1999, 2012, 2013, 2014)
Window of the World, ShenZhen, China (2014)

Best park in Angel's opinion: Beech Bend. He was extremely impressed with the perks and the offerings considering how inexpensive this park was (free parking, free sunscreen, and free soda were what impressed him the most). He thought the rides were better at Cedar Point, but at Cedar Point, everything is expensive. It should be noted that Angel, being a California kid, has also been to Disneyland in California and Knott's Berry Farm, two parks I haven't been to.

Best park in my opinion: DisneyWorld. Predictable, I know, but the whole entire thing is pure awesomeness for someone like me.

Planned Park Trip:

Hong Kong Disneyland, for our upcoming anniversary in December.

Any Disney fans interested in the tale of the trip? I have a feeling it will be pretty great.

Parks I'd like to visit someday:

This list is largely influenced by the proximity of these parks to where we are or will be at different points in our lives. I don't tend to look too much at parks in parts of the world that I'm not likely to ever be in.

Chimelong Paradise, GuangZhou
ShangHai Disneyland
Tokyo DisneySea
Six Flags over Texas
Legoland Malaysia

What about you? Are you on the side of loving theme parks, or detesting them with ever fiber of your being? (I've known both types!)
When you're in the parks, what's your style?
What parks of the ones I've been to have you been to? Which ones are on your list for someday? What is the best amusement park that you've ever been to?

Suzanne said...

I've kind of out-grown parks. I've done Disney about 15 times maybe and Orlando, and Universal. I think Universal is my favourite but that is because we paid some big $ to be VIPS and never had to stand in line, got free everything and had our own private guide at the beginning. Once you do that it is hard to go back to being a regular customer.

My favourite part of a park are the roller coasters. The higher the faster the better. Not ones that go upside down though, they kill my bad back and neck.

That is such a cute photo : )


Miss Nutralicious said...

I LOVE amusement parks! My park style is to run around and go on as many rides as possible. My husband's style is to avoid all spinning rides, scream like a girl on roller coasters (he doesn't do well with heights), and see as many shows as he can. We've had to compromise. Cedar Point is my all time favorite, but I haven't been to as many parks as you.

Unknown said...

I'm not so much an amusement park kind of family-especially siblings- love them, though!

Julia said...

We love Disney! I use to be terrified of all rollercoasters, but I've grown to love them, although I haven't been on any that were really intense! I prefer Disney rollercoasters too. :) I HATE the rides the just go up and drop you, no thanks!

Why Girls Are Weird said...

I love theme parks although rides are starting to scare me. But I want to go to Harry Potter world with every fiber of my being!

Anonymous said...

The last time I hit up a theme park was 3 years ago and I can't wait to do it all over again. Rachel xo

AwesomelyOZ said...

Haha I'm indifferent towards parks but I like going and enjoy them when I do go which isn't very frequently. Glad you enjoy them and hope the Disney trip is epic! Have a great one Rachel! -Iva

Angi said...

I LOVE theme parks! I've only been to a few, though - Six Flags Over Texas, Sea World in San Diego (if that counts), Wild Waves/Enchanted Village in Washington, Frontier City in Oklahoma, and Universal Studios in California. So, I guess that's 5 total. I've only been to two of them more than once, though, the rest were all on vacations (the ones in WA and OK were ones I lived near so I've been a few times). I really want to go to Disneyland/Disneyworld, not so much because I think it'll be extremely amazing but because I want to be able to say I've gone...haha.

I REALLY want to go somewhere soon with huge rollercoasters. Isaiah hasn't been on any of the huge ones before that he can remember - we went on a really small one at SeaWorld in San Diego and you should have seen the look on his face. I could not. stop. laughing.

Paige @ Reasons to Come Home said...

I love theme parks but haven't been in years because Cory is terrified of roller coasters. I've begged him to go but he sees it as complete waste of money because he would just be watching me ride rides all day.

deanna@delirious-rhapsody said...

kentucky kingdom is closed?!?!?!?!?!

Michelle said...

I am that person that detests theme parks with every fiber of my being. The first time I went to Cedar Point, I threw up all over the park all day long from motion sickness, and I had to be wheeled out to the car on a stretcher. I also have a very minimal tolerance of crowds. I avoid theme parks now at all costs. Disneyland, on the the other hand, I love. I'll take a kiddie ride any day and leave the roller coasters to everyone else.

Susannah said...

I'm with you! I LOVE theme parks!!!!

Bekah Loves Blog said...

Yes, please! I'd love to visit every Disney park but until then I'll be happy with your synopsis. also, stay in China a few more years until Shanghai Disney opens and review that one too ;)

Elizabeth said...

I enjoy theme parks, although I've only ever been to two. I've been to Valleyfair a few different times and I've been to Nickelodeon Universe back when it was Camp Snoopy. I used to hate roller coasters until my friends convinced me to try them and now they are my favorite ride! I also love water rides! I think it would be fun to go to Disneyland or Disneyworld some day too.

Moonofsilver said...

my husband loves theme parks! I don't! Thats all I could think of to say :P

Jennifer Prod said...

"My husband's excessive love for gaudy flashing lights has rubbed off on me." ha, that made me laugh. jon and i both a) hate crowds b) hate lines and jon alone a) gets motion sickness and so theme parks are out of the question for us. that said, we tend to get inventive and adventurous with all our other trips :)

Unknown said...

I think they are just o.k. I don't like lines or amusement park food. I have gone on a few big roller coasters in my time but since researching roller coaster fatalities a few years ago I will never ride on one again. :( (Don't do that if you want to keep riding roller coasters.) But I have had fun at Silver Dollar City and at The Mall of America. I bet you liked the log ride there! It's a fun one! I want to take my son to Disneyworld sometime during his childhood, just because I feel like I "should". I've heard the lines are very long there, though.

Rachel said...

Yes, I can see the point of avoiding researching too closely in this case. I'm sure lines can be crazy at Disney, we went during January to avoid them and almost never had to wait, that probably made it extra fun!

Jamie said...

You have an awesome lists if parks you've been to!

Jamie said...


Anonymous said...

It makes me SO HAPPY that you love DisneyWorld and are going to the one in Hong Kong soon!! I'm going to work at the one in Orlando after I graduate in December. It's definitely a magical experience different than anywhere else I've ever been. Thanks for sharing!

V. Nino said...

Pirates of the Caribbean was the best! Last time we went to Disneyland it had JUST opened (2007, I believe). My youngest daughter was 3 years old at the time and she kept her eyes closed the entire ride. We want to go back just so she can experience it with open eyes now that she's older :)

Can I give you a water park suggestion? Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels, Texas! It is humongous! said...

I love that list! six flags great american?! Was that in Northern California? If so I grew up going there! I actually went to my first concert there (Aaron Carter of course).

Corlie said...

I'm a hater... I don't like crowds and i get pretty severe motion sickness, not the best combination for a theme park!

Unknown said...

Wow Rachel! You've seen a fair few amusement parks in your time! What a unique post. I loved it.

I've not been to many amusement parks but I would absolutely JUMP at the opportunity to visit Harry Potter world wherever that is.


Tayler Morrell said...

I LOVE theme parks, and especially roller coasters. I've been to King's Dominion in VA numerous times, Busch Gardens in VA for free each year (military family pass for Memorial Day), Disneyland numerous times, and Lagoon in UT numerous times.

Tina @ Girl-Meets-Globe said...

This has been on my mind as we just used coupons to go to a theme park here in England. I was not looking forward to going. I loved rollercoasters in my teens and early twenties. Living in the Dallas/Fort Worth area we frequented Six Flags. Then I went again in my 30s and for some reason didn't enjoy myself and chalked it up to getting old and just not liking theme parks any more. My kids were really looking forward to going, I was dreading it, but doing it for them. I was slow to get into it and my twins were too young to go on the bigger rides, so my husband and daughter went on the big ones.
We did find a medium sized rollercoaster that we went on about 5 times and I found I do still love a good ride!! I look forward to my kids getting a bit bigger and going again!! I haven't done Disney and would love to do that. Maybe I haven't lost my adventure for a good rollercoaster! ;) So, count me in on a good theme park. I love the feeling after a fun day of laughs!!

Lauren {at} Life.Love.Lauren said...

My favorite without a shadow of a doubt is Cedar Point. I love the fast roller coasters!

Budget Splurge Beauty said...

oooh you've hit my favorite topic. Growing up near tampa florida you kind of grow up on theme parks! I have had a busch gardens/sea world pass my ENTIRE life. And for the past 2 years I have had a Disney World pass because l am OBSESSED with Disney. So yeah. DEFINITELYYYY SOOOOOOO (is that enough Os?) interested in your visit to Hong Kong Disney!

Anonymous said...

I love a good theme park, but I like to only do a visit once or twice a year so that it's just as magical every time. :)