THEME parks are throwing open their gates for a fantastic new season of fun, thrills and spills.
It’s the year of the mouse as Mickey celebrates the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World and the 30th birthday of Disneyland Paris. Peppa Pig is getting her own theme park, and more fairytales are being brought to life with amazing attractions and rip-roaring rides.
Trisha Harbord gives you the lowdown on what’s new for 2022.
DISNEY LAND PARIS
EUROPE’S top tourist destination launches its 30th-anniversary celebrations today.
Disneyland Paris promises to “shine like never before” with new shows, spectacular gardens, restaurant menus and shopping.
The daytime show — performed several times on Central Plaza — will feature 30 Disney characters in anniversary costumes. At night, Disney D-Light combines video projections, illuminated water jets, songs and drone choreography to create even more magic.
GO: Two nights’ room-only at Disney’s Hotel Santa Fe, including three-day access to the park and Eurostar from London St Pancras on September 21, from £271 per person. See disneyholidays.co.uk.
BLACKPOOL PLEASURE BEACH
THE electrifying ride towering over Blackpool Pleasure Beach is about to get even more terrifying.
Rear seats on ICON, the UK’s first double-launch rollercoaster, are being “twisted” this spring to create even more thrills.
You’ll be able to board the new Enso carriage and control your own spins as the coaster hurtles 52mph to heights of 88ft.
Valhalla, voted the world’s best water ride, is back this season with a new soundtrack. The park has more than 125 rides and attractions.
GO: The park is open for White Knuckle weekends until the new season starts on April 2. Adult from £36, 11 and under £30. See blackpoolpleasurebeach.com. B&B double at the Big Blue Hotel from £65. See bigbluehotel.com.
FAIRYTALE park Efteling is celebrating its 70th anniversary with new attractions.
A spinning ride and water playground are themed around Sinbad the sailor from the One Thousand And One Nights tales.
Families will board boats on Sirocco and end up on an adventure through a raging storm.
Efteling, just over an hour south of Amsterdam, opened in 1952 featuring just ten fairytale scenes. It is now one of Europe’s largest parks with rollercoasters, shows, a hotel and gardens.
GO: Opendaily. Two nights’ B&B in a room for four at Efteling Hotel, from May 21, including three-day park ticket for four, is from £644. See efteling.com Return flights from Luton to Amsterdam from £60. See easyJet.com.
PEPPA PIG THEME PARK, FLORIDA
THE first Peppa Pig Theme Park has just opened, steps away from LEGOLAND Florida in Winter Haven. It’s paradise for pre-school kids with interactive rides and attractions including George’s tricycle trail and a Muddy Puddles Splash Pad for tots.
LEGOLAND has added Pirate River Quest for 2022, a treasure hunt adventure with a crew of pirates to explore the murky waters of Cypress Gardens.
GO: Ticket for both parks from £84pp. See attractiontickets.com. Seven nights at the 3H Avanti Palms on I-Drive, Orlando, with Virgin Atlantic with Heathrow flights on May 11, costs £689pp or £931 including car hire. See virginholidays.co.uk and visitorlando.com.
WALT DISNEY WORLD, FLORIDA
BIG 5-0 celebrations continue throughout 2022, with new rides and restaurants, elaborate shows and light extravaganzas.
A Marvel-themed rollercoaster, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, opens at Epcot in the summer. Vehicles will rotate 360 degrees and do a reverse launch — a first for Disney.
Other highlights include the Disney Kite Tails show, and the Space 220 restaurant.
GO: Seven nights room-only at 3H Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort, including BA flights from Gatwick on September 15 and seven-day park tickets, costs from £1,275pp, based on two adults and two children sharing. See disneyholidays.co.uk.
NEW attractions await tots and adults when the UK’s biggest theme park, re-opens on March 19.
CBeebies Land is getting three new experiences: Hey Duggee adventure park, Andy’s Adventures Dinosaur Dig and JoJo & Gran Gran animation show and families can book Bing-themed rooms in CBeebies Land Hotel.
Get an adrenaline-rush at the park’s Festival Of Thrills from April 4 to May 6 with the scariest rollercoasters including Wicker Man, Oblivion and Nemesis.
GO: Ticket from £34, under-threes free. Overnight stay at an Alton Towers resort hotel from £88 for a family of four. See altontowers.com.
CHESSINGTON WORLD OF ADVENTURES
REOPENING on March 17, Chessington is planning a new adventure land, Shipwreck Coast. The Surrey resort has a “Year of Eventures” including the new Mardi Grrra! running from May 27 until June 26.
GO: Tickets from £34, under-threes free. Short breaks including B&B for a family of four at Chessington Resort Hotel on April 3 from £317. See chessington.com
IT continues to add attractions to its new £12million land, Tornado Springs. Farmyard Flyer, a family rollercoaster, will take riders on a flight from April 1.
Paultons Park in the New Forest, Hants, has more than 70 rides and attractions, including Peppa Pig World. Hoppy Easter, from April 8-26, kicks off the season.
GO: Adult from £39.75, family from £116.75. Paultons’ short break for a family of four, including B&B and two days park entry for the price of one, costs from £199. See paultonspark.co.uk.
THE park in Skegness opening on March 19, is adding more attractions including The Guardian. Prepare for your heart to jump as you are immersed into darkness, twisting and turning through the indoor blazing adventure.
Cool off while spinning and splashing along Wild River Rapids before entering choppy waters. Another new ride, Harrington Flint’s Island Adventure involves traveling through mines, and jungles to shoot zombies.
Fantasy Island has more than 30 rides for all ages, including, one of the UK’s tallest rollercoasters Odyssey.
GO: Wristband packages for rides from £12. Self-catering holiday homes, sleeping up to six or eight people, available from £430 for three nights. See fantasyisland.co.uk.
SEAWORLD Orlando has just opened the giant Ice Breaker rollercoaster which catapults riders backwards and forwards, twisting along the 1,900ft track at 52mph.
The final adrenaline-rush comes from a reverse launch into the steepest beyond-vertical drop in Florida. Ice Breaker joins other white-knuckle rides, including Manta and Mako, at the park.
Sister park Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay has Iron Gwazi, the world’s fastest and steepest hybrid coaster on March 11.
GO: Three-park ticket for up to 14 days from £143 an adult, £139 a child. See seaworldparks.co.uk. Flights from Gatwick to Orlando on August 5 from £500 per person, see cheapflights.co.uk. Seven nights room-only for family of four at Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Orlando at SeaWorld, from £770. See hilton.com