Visits to theme parks and amusement parks likely evoke happy childhood memories. In fact, a lot of us were happy with simply going to the occasional travelling amusement park that turned up in our towns once a year or so, complete with garish painting, copious amounts of candyfloss and theme park rides of dubious safety levels. While this may sound like a scenario that could easily have been set in Victorian times, the antiquated theme park experience is still popular today, retaining its charm and nostalgia in the face of the many bigger, more corporate options.
Of course, the advent of the very first Disneyland in 1955 put an end to many smaller, travelling operations. For the first time there was a huge park with all the amusement park rides a kid could dream of, created by one of the best-loved children's film-makers in the world. The original Disneyland was set up in Orange County and proved a huge hit even during its comparatively humble beginnings, enticing over fifty million visitors over the first decade of its existence. Since then Disneyland has branched out, and there are now Disney park locations worldwide, including in Paris and in Tokyo.
The enduring popularity of such parks demonstrates that there's a place for magic in the lives of all children and adults alike, and people are willing to pay a fair amount of money in order to spend a day at these dream factories. Just how much is a lot for entry to one of the big parks? This list numbers five of the most expensive theme parks in the world, taking a look at what each park offers that might entice guests to part with so many dollars.
5 SeaWorld, Orlando — $80.00 per day
The only non-rides-based theme park on this list is SeaWorld, in Orlando, Florida. A day pass to the theme park for all those above the age of three would set you back a considerable eighty dollars per head. SeaWorld has been around for over fifty years. Concerns have recently escalated regarding animal rights issues at the park, and its turnover has concurrently declined, but the park's overall popularity is still relatively sound - after all, they can still charge relatively high rates for admission.
After a trainer tragically died in an incident at the park in 2009, doubts as to the viability of SeaWorld as a source of entertainment arose, but the lure of getting up close to exotic sea creatures has meant that SeaWorld's doors remain steadfastly open. The park does offer a few amusement park rides of mainly water-based themes, which include the Kraken and the Journey to Atlantis. There are more gentle rides geared towards the younger generation, such as the Swishy Fishies tea cups and the flamingo paddle boats. However, SeaWorld's main attraction is its shows. A typical performance of this kind is One Ocean, a whale-centric spectacle which brings viewers up close and personal with a number of performing killer whales.
4 Universal Studios, Hollywood — $92.00 per day
A day pass to Hollywood-based Universal Studios may be one of the less expensive tickets on this list, but is still considerable at ninety-two dollars per person over the age of the ten, and eighty-four dollars for those between the ages of three and nine, per day. This park brings to life well-known films, TV shows and characters, and allows guests to experience these things to their fullest on its different rides and attractions. Universal Studios Hollywood not only caters for more recent and popular films, such as the Despicable Me movies, but also features many less well known films such as Revenge of the Mummy and Shrek 4. The Studios offer a haunted house, the House of Horrors, although not for much longer; patrons are urged to try it while they can, before it closes its doors on September 1st.
3 Disneyland, California — $96.00 per day
One of numerous Disneylands, this one is based in California. With the climate for maximum enjoyment of a theme park, this one can certainly afford to charge the prices it does. Over-tens will pay slightly less than they would in Orlando for a day pass, at ninety-six dollars, while three-to-nine year olds pay ninety dollars. This allows access only to one of the two parks based there, with an upgrade of thirty-nine dollars meaning that guests can "park hop" between both Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park. For the ninety-something dollars guests pay for access to the latter, they can expect to enjoy eight different lands that focus on both Disney and Pixar characters and stories. The Adventure Park caters to guests of all ages, housing both gentle, all-ages rides such as Mickey's Fun Wheel, and also more extreme rides for the older adrenaline junkies, such as the California Screamin' roller coaster.
It also provides various other forms of impressive entertainment, including the live action Disney's Aladdin — A Musical Spectacular, and the Mad T Party, a night-time dance party accessible, suitably, only through a giant rabbit hole. If Disneyland Park is more your style, you can try more classic Disney-style rides, such as a trip on Dumbo the Flying Elephant and Peter Pan's Flight. Other newly updated attractions allow avid Frozen fans a meeting with Elsa and Anna, and there is of course the spectacular night-time firework show 'Fantasmic!'.
2 Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida — $99.00 per day
One of the world's most iconic theme parks is Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. While loved by children and adults alike, it doesn't come particularly cheap — a one-day ticket to the Magic Kingdom Park will cost ninety-nine dollars for the over-tens, and is only a few dollars less for those aged three-to-nine, who require a ninety-three dollar ticket. For that price, however, you get access to popular rides such as Space Mountain, Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, as well as newer hits like the water-centric Casey Jr. Splash 'N' Soak Station, with other attractions such as the Cinderella Castle also garnering attention.
There are also the usual Disney-esque events, like the Magic Kingdom Welcome Show, a parade in which Disney characters perform for the guests, the fireworks show and the Main Street Electrical Parade, a fantastic lighting show. For slightly cheaper fees you can visit other attractions based in the same place, such as the Epcot Theme Park. Epcot contains such enticing prospects as different technological innovations, found in the Future World section, which allows guests amongst other things to journey through space and transform into a secret agent. There's also a space named World Showcase, in which guests can sample the cuisine and culture of eleven different countries, including Mexico, Morocco, and Norway.
1 Universal Studios, Florida — $136.00 per day
Another Florida institution is Universal Studios, which is no cheap day out: for a day ticket to the theme park, an adult would pay one hundred and thirty-six dollars, while a child wouldn't be much cheaper at one hundred and thirty dollars. For this price, however, you do have access to Universal's Islands of Adventure as well. Universal Studios offers visitors the chance to step inside their favourite movies and TV shows, which gives it the niche that makes it so popular. You can join in battles on TRANSFORMERS: The Ride, and pay a visit to Springfield on the Simpson Ride. The relatively new addition of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to the theme parks has proved an enormous success with visitors. Guests can shop in Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, eat at the Leaky Cauldron, and experience the breathtaking, multi-dimensional ride of Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. The Islands of Adventure also bring to life different-themed traditional theme park rides, such as Doctor Doom's Fearfall and The Incredible Hulk Coaster, all of which are based around best-loved stories, cartoons, myths and comic books.