Multi Centre Holidays in the USA

Sun, sand, sea and theme parks

theme parks
theme parks

For holidays with a theme, Florida in the south eastern US, is a perfect destination. With a surprising range of attractions, a vibrant history and unparalleled climate and natural environment it’s also a fantastic location for multi centre holidays USA style. Nicknamed the Sunshine State, for good reason, the climate is sub-tropical, making it a popular destination at any time of year. During the winter ‘snow birds’ descend from other parts of the US – seasonal residents escaping the colder climes further north. In the summer visitors include tourists from all over the world seeking sun, sand, surf and theme parks!

Early visitors

‘La Florida’ was discovered in 1513, by the Spanish explorer, Juan Ponce de Leon. It is possible that some previous contact with European ‘tourists’ had been made as de Leon did encounter at least one native who could speak Spanish, suggesting that holidays to Florida were already popular. However, de Leon is largely credited with the discovery and the city of St Augustine – the oldest continually inhabited in the continental states – was established close to his original landing site. For those visiting Florida on a twin centre holiday in the USA, Orlando is a good base for the first part of your trip. Located centrally in the state it is the home to the world famous theme parks – Walt Disney World® Resort and Universal Orlando Resort® being two of the most famous. For families an Orlando start to the holiday is a great way to satisfy the kids’ insatiable need for entertainment! It’ll also exhaust them, helping to keep them quiet for at least some of the holiday! Close by to the entertainment capital of the world is the Gold Coast, with stretches of unspoilt beaches and small, attractive, individual towns. Snorkelling, diving, fishing and sailing are all other adventures that you might want to indulge in along this coast.

Rich pickings and relaxed endings

Multi centre holidays in the USA are something of a must really – after all you can’t visit the States without making your own road trip. Florida’s attractive coast is one of the best places to take this trip, cruising along by palm-fringed beaches and tropical coasts while heading south, towards the glittering metropolis that is Miami. Clinging to the last bit of the US, Miami is popular with the rich, the stupidly rich and the unmentionably rich! It does however offer plenty of opportunities for entertainment, shopping and eating in style for the less well off – even here, it’s possible to find a cheap Florida holiday alternative! The beaches close to Miami ooze class, wealth and just a little attitude – but along the coast is Delray Beach, less well known and with a relaxed surfing culture, a good place to unwind. If the kids are still asking ‘are we there yet’ a trip along the Overseas Highway may well shut them up. Typically American, the State of Florida refuses to end just because of an ocean or two. The Florida Keys are a series of coral reefs, stretching out into the Straits of Florida, connected by a road that defies the usual requirement to be built on land. The Keys declared independence a few years ago, under the name of the “Conch Republic” but nobody took any notice – however with a relaxed approach to life, the islanders didn’t much care and carried on enjoying their lifestyle, based on relaxed, friendly ways. The people of the Keys combine Southern charm and hospitality with a streak of resilience and independence – making the Florida Keys a perfect laid-back location to end your twin centre holiday in the USA.

Theme Parks in Italy

Holidays always mean fun and entertainment, especially for children.

It is not uncommon, therefore, for families to look for more and more places to enjoy a few moments of joy, especially involving children.

According to that, it is becoming common in Italy and Europe to find an incredible number of theme parks and wildlife parks.

Theme parks are defined as those proposing just a “theme”, a sort of common thread that often combines various attractions, incredible adventures and continuous entertainment.

Among theme parks we can find all water parks, well known and always crowded during the summer season; the wildlife parks, with attention to nature.

Image by Gardaland
In Italy the best known are Gardaland and Mirabilandia, while in Europe stand Disneyland and Walt Disney Studios, both in Paris.
Among the most curious and unusual parks to visit here’s some suggestions:

  • A world of sports is the motto of “Totem Adventure” in Valle d’Aosta, a playground for rafting fans, including children, as well as kayaking, paragliding, mountain biking, canyoning and hydro speed.
  • Anthares World“, in Candia (To) is one of the most popular adventure parks, which offers summer camps, outdoor pool, acrobatic paths and tools for children aged 5 and over, with expert instructors in a beautiful oasis.
  • Safari Animal Park and Zoo are waiting for you in Bussolengo (VR) at “Parco Natura Viva“, an unmissable opportunity to see up close animals of various species in a natural habitat created especially for them.
  • In Malè (Trentino), the “Flying Park” is a fantastic open-air adventure, which features incredible locations, including lianas, bridges, footpaths and impossible adventure experiences for young and old.
  • In Voghera, the myth of Western is proposed to everybody! At the “Cowboy’s Guest Ranch“, there are attractions for everyone. The Cowboyland is a paradise for children and young indian cowboy who want to enjoy an adventurous time, in a large picnic area, between the animals and play freely. Do you Want to learn to ride like a real cowboy? Here you can!

The Top 5 Theme Parks in the UK

 The UK may not have a climate to match that of theme park hotspots such as Florida and California, but thrill-seeking residents and visitors are still spoilt for choice. Nearly 30 amusement parks have survived the economic gloom of recent years, with visitor numbers at the most popular parks on the rise. With a number of major new attractions due to be installed in the near future, the industry looks set to flourish for many years to come. The top parks are on a par with those anywhere else in the world – and 5 of the best are highlighted below.

5. Legoland Windsor

Aimed at families with children aged 2-12, Legoland Windsor features the least intense selection of attractions of any park on the list. Kids will be in their element here, able to fulfil dreams such as driving a car (Driving School), captaining a boat (Boating School) and dousing flames (Fire Academy). For older visitors, the Atlantis Submarine Voyage ride offers the chance to view a wide range of aquatic creatures from an underwater vantage point, and The Dragon roller coaster is fun for all ages.

Don’t miss:

  • Miniland – famous landmarks from all over the world are recreated in miniature using millions of Lego bricks. A new Star Wars-themed section will open in 2012.

4. Chessington World of Adventures

Located close to Legoland Windsor, Chessington World of Adventures caters for a slightly older age group. While several of its thrill rides were moved to sister park Thorpe Park after the two were brought under the same ownership, it still offers a diverse line-up of attractions. This includes curiosities such as the Bubbleworks indoor boat ride, which sees guests travel through a soap factory, and the surreal walk-through Hocus Pocus Hall attraction. For those after white-knuckle thrills, the Vampire and Dragon’s Fury roller coasters fit the bill without crossing the boundary into pure terror. The park is also home to a zoo and a Sea Life centre, both of which house a variety of exotic creatures.

Don’t miss:

  • Tomb Blasters – few laser gun rides can match the setting of Chessington’s, which sees riders battling the undead in a stunningly detailed “tomb”.

3. Flamingo Land

While parts of Flamingo Land resemble an old-fashioned caravan park (and indeed, its camping site is still a major part of its business), the park has developed into one of the UK’s leading visitor attractions. Like Chessington, it is home to a zoo, in this case one so expansive that it is worth a full day’s visit in itself. It also has an impressive line-up of rides and shows, including roller coasters Mumbo Jumbo (which briefly held the record for being the world’s steepest coaster) and Kumali (a twisting, turning suspended coaster).

Don’t miss:

  • Velocity – the UK’s only motorbike launch coaster sees guests straddling bike-style vehicles, and is the tallest and fastest ride of its kind in the world.

2. Thorpe Park

Thorpe Park’s owners, Merlin Entertainments Group, have billed the park in recent years as “the nation’s thrill capital” and this is an increasingly fair description. Almost every ride aimed at young children has been stripped out of the park, and its line-up is now packed full of roller coasters, thrill rides and water rides. The coasters are some of the best in the UK, including the heavily-themed Saw – The Ride (based on the horror movie franchise), Nemesis Inferno (based around a steamy volcano) and Stealth (which sees riders blasted up a near-vertical slope). Bring a change of clothes if you plan to try out the water rides – the Tidal Wave attraction, in particular, more than lives up to its name.

Don’t miss:

  • The Swarm – Thorpe Park’s new attraction for 2012 is the first “Wing Rider” coaster in the UK, with guests dangling over either side of the track as they swoop through a post-apocalyptic landscape.

1. Alton Towers

Far and away the most popular theme park in the UK, Alton Towers is well worthy of its status. Built around a genuine gothic mansion which provides a stunning visual focal point, it is spread across an enormous 800 acre site that also houses extensive gardens. It features a wide range of attractions for every age group, and it is near-impossible to see everything in a single day. If you’re short on time, be sure to check out the innovative roller coasters Air, Oblivion, Thirteen and Rita, and don’t miss the underrated Hex: The Legend of the Towers, housed in the mansion itself.

Don’t miss:

  • Nemesis – opened in 1994, Europe first’s inverted roller coaster still regularly features at the top of “best ride” lists all over the world.

Wherever you are based in the UK, there is almost certainly at least one theme park in the near vicinity. With Alton Towers plotting a new roller coaster for 2013, and other parks likely to follow suit, the excitement on offer should only continue to grow.

Nick Sim covers theme park news, reviews and guides for his own website, where you can find a range of money-saving deals including Alton Towers 2-for-1 vouchers.