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Some parks run special events at different times of the year – for example, Halloween or Christmas. If you intend to go at these times, then you'll need to buy tickets well in advance. Some seasonal exhibits require separate tickets, too. If you want to avoid queues, then try going to the most popular rides early in the day. Some theme parks sell passes that allow you to 'jump' the queues, although these can be expensive. You might want to time your visit to avoid US school holidays, as the crowds reach their peak during these times

American Theme Parks Highlights
Six Flags Adventure Park in New Jersey has some traditional funfair attractions, but also state of the art rollercoasters and the Bugs Bunny National Park

King's Dominion Park in Virginia has an excellent aquapark. It also has areas themed after the Congo and Tomb Raider

Hersheypark is a great family park, with plenty of water rides – and the opportunity to gorge yourself on chocolate!

Six Flags in Massachusets is a great old-fashioned park, and a trip here can easily be included into a vacation to Boston or Cape Cod

Theme Parks, America

Disneyworld is Florida is the most popular theme park in the world. The Magic Kingdom is the oldest part of the resort, and has rides featuring Disney characters that include Flying Carpets from Aladdin, Pirates of the Caribbean, Space Mountain and many, many others. There are also parades every day, as well as a firework show at closing time. In the Hollywood Studios section of the park, there are rides devoted to Indiana Jones, Aerosmith, and other famous entertainment brands, while the Animal Kingdom mixes exotic animals with theme park diversions. As well as rides and other attractions, there's also a golf course, a beach, shopping malls and numerous other sporting and leisure activities.

Universal Studios is the main competitor to Disney – and is arguably more fun for older children, and those who find Disney a bit cloying. You'll find rides based on the Mummy, Men In Black, ET, Terminator and numerous other classic films – there are also shows and experiences where you can find out more about filmmaking. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is part of the park – where you can enjoy rides, meet characters and buy souvenirs related to the Boy Who lived. Universal Studios also have a theme park in Hollywood.

Disneyland in California's Orange County is the original Disney theme park. Hop on the railroad in Main Street, USA for a fantastic day. The main rides are the Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage and of course Pirates of the Caribbean, the ride that spawned the smash hit films as well as the cult Monkey Island computer games. There are also parades, the Fantasmic show and fireworks' displays, all accompanies by your favourite Disney characters. The nearby Disney California Adventures has yet more attractions, many of which are geared towards older children and adults.

Cedar Point, Ohio, is less famous than the other parks covered here, but has more rides than any other theme park in the US, and has been judged the best theme park in the world by experts. The concentration of high roller coasters and other white-knuckle attractions mean it's a must for thrill seekers. Less adventurous members of the family may want to check out the sailing, go karts, and younger kids will love the Peanuts tie-in.

Dollywood might possibly win an award for the most kitschy theme park, as its theme is Dolly Parton. There are rollercoasters and other rides, and numerous shows. You might not cross oceans just to visit here, but it's worthwhile checking out if you have a family but are mainly interested in the musical and cultural sights in Tennessee.


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