The Sunday Six: Theme Parks and Waterparks
1: Disneyland, Paris, France
A dream choice for younger children’s birthdays, Disneyland is one destination where holiday packages offer value. Expect all the magic and schmaltz of Disney with a distinctly Parisian edge. The ghost train leads through an enchanted, magical ballroom that’s truly graceful – and you can enjoy a mean steak frites in between rides and Mickey greeting.
2: Wet ‘n’ Wild, Gold Coast, Australia
Despite its unappealing location by a freeway, the range of slides here is pretty fantastic, with four 360-degree loop slides, plus a range of crazy contraptions that you descend in tubes made for two, three, or even four. The Tornado, which sends you whirling down a 40-metre funnel in huge clover leaf floats, will have even the most jaded screaming.
3: Dreamworld, Bangkok, Thailand
Fancy having a theme park almost to yourself? Head to Dreamworld, outside Bangkok, in the middle of the week during school term time. Features include an indoor space coaster, a fantastic rapids ride, a great outdoor coaster, a Snow Town (in the tropics!), and some hilarious bumper boats, complete with squirt guns.
4: Ho Tay, Hanoi, Vietnam
A really great waterpark in Vietnam? Who’dathunk it? But the Ho Tay waterpark, by the vast Ho Tay Lake, offers everything from wave pools and lazy rivers to slides by the gazillion, terrifying flying foxes and a very, very high diving board. With lake views, too.
B2 Tran Huy Lieu , Giang Vo, Ba Đình, Hanoi. Tel: 0904 376 995
5: Chessington World of Adventures, UK
Once a humble zoo, now one of the UK’s better theme parks, Chessington has a lot to offer. Not just coasters such as the Vampire, which has you dangling, and the lovely Mystic River with its dramatic end, but fun rides like Tomb Blaster, where you compete, armed with laser guns, to eliminate targets in a cod-Egyptian necropolis.
6: Waterbom, Bali, Indonesia
One good reason to go to Kuta, Bali? The Waterbom theme park. Slides span the gamut from 360 degree loops and boomerangs through to cutesy little affairs in the baby pool, with a whole range of smackdowns and lazy rivers in between. Little kids will appreciate the water cannons and dumping bucket in the baby pool.