Best Amusement Parks in the US: Christmas Holiday Plans with Your Kids
Rarely would you find a child who does not like amusement parks. Yes, there would be kids who do not like the roller coaster rides or an occasional fast ride. But most theme parks offer a lot of options which kids find amusing. With this in mind, a visit to an amusement park during the Christmas holidays seems to be a great idea. The United States of America is a vast country with 52 states, and every state has more than one amusement park. With so many options, it becomes difficult to choose one that would be best for your family. To make it easier for you, we present to you some of the best and the most popular amusement parks in the USA.
Disney California Adventure Park
The list of best amusement parks cannot be completed without Disney’s own adventure park. Disney movies and characters are loved by children all around the world, making it the perfect adventure park to visit when you are in the USA. The Disney California Adventure Park, also known as DCA, is located at Anaheim in California. Right from our own Mickey Mouse to the wonderful sisters Elsa and Anna of Frozen as well as our superheroes including Spiderman, Captain America and Superman, your children would get to meet each of their onscreen heroes in person. There are also some really exciting roller coasters and other rides for people of all ages. You get to visit 7 exciting and interesting lands and enjoy several live entertainment shows and celebrations. Moreover, Disneyland makes it even more special during the holiday season. Starting November, the park has organized several exciting events for their visitors. So, you must definitely not miss a visit to Disney California Adventure Park this Christmas holiday!
Park Timing: The Park opens at 8 AM and closes at 11 PM. The closing time may vary on weekends and holidays or for some other reason. It is important to check the timing on the park website before you book your tickets.
Park Ticket Price: The one day value ticket to DCA begins at $97. You can choose to buy a 3-day, 4-day or 5-day ticket if you want to spend more time at the park. On the other hand, you can also opt for annual tickets or passports to enjoy special services during every visit in a year. If you want to enjoy the holiday season at DCA, the Disneyland Resort Hotel Vacation Package would be ideal for you.
Guest Services: This amusement park has all the facilities to make your visit extremely comfortable and pleasant. There are innumerable dining options as well as places where you can shop for Disney souvenirs. You will also find ATMs, baby care centres, drinking fountains, ECV rentals, picnic areas, locker rentals, restrooms, etc. at multiple locations at the park. You can also get Wi-Fi access at the park.
How to Reach: DCA is just 39 minutes away from Los Angeles and driving to the place is comfortable and hassle-free. However, if you are a tourist in California, you would be able to find several transport companies offer shuttle services that take you to DCA either from your hotel or from the airport.
Nickelodeon Universe is an amusement park based on the shows of Nickelodeon. This park is the largest indoor theme park in the USA. And the thing that makes it unique is that it is located inside the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. Young kids can enjoy rides including Backyardigans Swing-Along, Big Rigs, Guppy Bubbler, Blue’s Skidoo, La Adventure de Azul, Swiper’s Sweeper, Wonder Pet’s Flyboat, etc., young and older adults would love some of the thrill rides including Fairly Odd Coaster, Avatar Airbender, Pepsi Orange Streak, Shredder’s Mutant Masher, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Shell Shock, etc. One ride that you should definitely not miss is the Spongebob Squarepants Rock Bottom Plunge. This is the tallest roller coaster in the park and involves a sharp vertical drop, a cutback and a heartline roll, making it a ride not for the faint-hearted. Minnesota enjoys a white Christmas with the temperature dropping below zero degrees Celsius sometimes. So visiting the Nickelodeon Universe is the perfect way to keep your kids engaged, interested and warm!
Park Timing: The Park remains open from 10 in the morning to 9.30 in the evening from Monday to Saturday. On Sunday, the park opens at 11 in the morning and stays open till 7 in the evening. These timings can be changed by the park authorities without further notice.
Park Ticket Price: You can enter the amusement park free of cost. However, each ride would cost you money. You have the option to choose from various point passes which give you access to a number of rides as per the money you paid. The lowest price for this is $3.45 while the highest is $67.99. You can also buy an all day wristband for $35.99 or a two day wristband for $49.99. These would give you access to unlimited rides for one day or two consecutive days respectively. If you are a resident of Minnesota or a nearby state, you can also get an annual pass at $139 which would give you access to all rides for a year.
Guest Services: To ensure your safety and comfort, you would find Guest Services at the Centre of the theme park. The officials at the park are well-trained to help you in case of lost children, lost items and also to provide general information. You can also ask all queries and doubts regarding park guests with disabilities here. Rider safety information is also available at Guest Services section.
How to Reach: Mall of America is just 19 minutes away from Minneapolis and really easy to get to. Most hotels offer free shuttle service from the hotel or the airport to the mall. You can also choose taxis or tour buses to reach the mall where the amusement park is located. The light rail is also a good option to reach the mall. The light rail runs from the airport to the mall.
Universal Studios and Universal Studios Islands of Adventure
One adventure park that you should definitely not miss is the Universal Studios and the newer version the Universal Studios Islands of Adventure. It is located in Orlando, Florida, and is a part of the Universal Orlando Resort. Some of the attractions that kids would enjoy include Revenge of the Mummy, MEN IN BLACK: Alien Attack, Transformers: The Ride 3-D, Universal Orlando’s Horror Make-Up Show, Animal Actors on Location, The Simpsons Ride, Shrek 4-D, etc. While adults would too enjoy these attractions, they would also love Hollywood, New York, San Francisco and Middle America of Springfield avenues of the park. But what takes the cake is definitely the Harry Potter World. Harry Potter fans would be delighted as they would get to visit Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, Hogsmade, etc. Plus, you can have some fun with an interactive game of Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. Apart from all this, you get to celebrate Christmas Harry Potter style. There are many more attractions and events to look forward during the holiday season especially during Christmas. In short, you get to celebrate Christmas with your favourite movie characters.
Park Timing: The Universal Studios Florida theme park opens at 8:00 AM and closes at 5:00 PM while the Universal Islands of Adventure opens at 9 AM and closes at 8 PM. If you are a guest at one of the on-site resort hotel, you can access these parks one hour before the actual opening time.
Park Tickets: The price for the entry ticket to one park starts from $58 for one day. You can save money by buying multi-day 2 park tickets which would give you access to both the parks. Single day tickets are also available which would cost you minimum $110 for one day. 2 park seasonal and annual passes are also available, starting at $284.99. Various vacation packages are also available for the guests to choose from.
Guest Services: With children around, you cannot rule out the possibilities of minor injuries and hurts. In such situations, you would easily find first aid facilities at the parks. The parks also have child swap & nursing facilities. The child swap facility helps the family to enjoy rides even when they have small children with them. One of your family members can stay with the children in a comfortable room while the rest of the members enjoy the ride and swap places later. There are also ample number of restrooms and kennel boarding at the parks. Postal services are also available for the guests who would like to send postcards to their loved ones.
How to Reach: The distance between Orlando International Airport and Universal Studios is around 20 minutes. Most hotels offer free shuttle services from the airport to the resort for their customers. There are also private shuttle services, line buses, taxis, town cars, etc. to choose from. You can also opt for Uber service to reach your destination. Bus is the cheapest way to reach the amusement park.
While Busch Gardens is also located in Tampa, here we are taking about Busch Gardens located in Williamsburg, Virginia. This amusement park has a European theme and is divided into seven sections, each based on a particular European country. Some of the thrill rides here include Apollo’s Chariot, The Curse of DarKastle, Alpengeist, Loch Ness Monster, Escape from Pompeii, Griffon, etc. Moreover, Busch Gardens has its very own Christmas Town where you can see the largest Christmas light display with around 8 million Christmas lights. Plus, there is good food and some amazing Christmas shows to look forward to. Kids would definitely have a great time here as they not only get to meet Santa Claus but also have Christmas dinner at Santa’s Fireside Feast. To enjoy all this and more, what you need to do is book your tickets to Busch Gardens at Williamsburg this Christmas holidays.
Timings: The Park opens at 2 in the afternoon and closes at 10 in the evening. In the month of December, the park is open throughout the month except for 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 25th of December. The park schedule might change and hence it would be better to check the official park website before you book your tickets.
Park Tickets: The price for a single-day ticket starts from $60. Children above the age of 3 need to have a ticket. If you stay nearby and want to wish to visit the park again and again, you can get Fall Fun Cards which starts at $90. You can also go for annual pass which starts at $12 per month and includes several exclusive benefits.
Guest Services: The Park provides several services to make the visit comfortable and pleasant for the visitors. Electric scooters, wheelchairs and baby strollers can be rented at the entrance of the park. There are several restaurants and other dining options inside the park. In case you want to have homemade food, there are picnic areas both at the entrance and exit of the park. You can get yourself stamped so that you do not have to pay again to re-enter the park. Apart from this, there are nursing rooms, parking, pet care centre, etc. at the park.
How to Reach: It would take around an hour to reach Busch Gardens, Williamsburg from Norfolk if you travel by road. It would take almost the same time to reach this park from Virginia Beach and Richmond.
Magic Kingdom in Florida is a place you must visit if you have little kids with you. This amusement park is a part of the Walt Disney World Resort at Bay Lake. The park has sic themed lands which are Adventure land, Main Street USA, Fantasyland, Liberty Square, Frontier land and Tomorrow land. Each place has varied rides and attractions. Some of the attractions that kids would love at Magic Kingdom include Astro Orbiter, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Cindrela Castle, The Barnstormer, and Enchanted Tales with Belle, Haunted, Horses – Disney Animals, Mad Tea Party, Jungle Cruise, Mickey’s PhilarMagic, etc. In short, every fairy tale becomes a reality in this magical land of Disney. Moreover, when it comes to Christmas celebrations, the place becomes even more enchanting. Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration, A Frozen Holiday Wish, Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, Here Come Mickey and Santa are some of the shows and attractions you would find at Magical Kingdom. Other than this, fantastic fireworks are also something to look forward to at the park during Christmas.
Timings: The usual park timings are from 9 AM to 7 PM. However, the timings change during weekends and holidays, and hence it is best to check the time on their website before you plan your visit.
Park Tickets: The price of the park tickets would depend on the number of days you plan to visit. You can buy tickets either for one day or for several days. Children below the age of 3 do not need a ticket while children between the ages of 3 and 9 can get tickets are lower rates. If you buy tickets online, you not only get a discount but also do not have to waste time waiting in queues after reaching the park.
Guest Services: The Park has several facilities to make your visit memorable and comfortable. You will find ATMs, baby care centres, car rentals, childcare services, coin press machines, first aid, guest relations, mail services, etc. at several locations of the park.
How to Reach: Magical Kingdom is 36 minutes away from Orlando and can be easily reached by cab or your own vehicle. You can also use the airport shuttle service to reach the place.
Six Flags Over Texas
Six Flags Over Texas is located in Arlington in the state of Texas. While it is a great place for children, it also caters to people of all ages. You would not only find rides for kids but also for adults, families and thrill seekers. Some of the amazing rides at this park are AQUAMAN Splashdown, BATMANTM The Ride, Bugs Bunny Boomtown, Boomtown Depot, Cloud Bouncer, Chaparral Antique Cars, Dive Bomber Alley, El Aserradero, El Sombrero, Gunslinger, Judge Roy Scream, Looney Tunes Adventure Camp, Marvin the Martian Space Rockets, New Texas Giant, Texas Skyscreamer, Pandemonium, etc. There are also everyday events and live shows as well as the opportunities for dining and shopping at the park. As for Christmas celebrations, there are several fun activities to do at the park. Santa’s Workshop is an activity that gives kids the chance to meet Mr. & Mrs. Claus and have a fun time with cookie decoration, snow-sledding, etc. While the lights and decorations at the park will dazzle you, the special Christmas shows will keep you entertained. Also, it is a great place to indulge in a variety of special holiday treats.
Timings: The park timings vary from day to day and month to month. Also, it is not open on all days. It is best to check the park website before you book your tickets or plan your visit.
Park Tickets: The price for per day ticket is $76.99 but if you buy online, it would be much less. Apart from per day tickets, you can also buy season passes or even get a membership. If you are visiting the park with a group of 15 or more, it is best to buy group tickets to save money.
Guest Services: The Park offers ATMs, baby care centre, automobile assistance, lockers, first aid, strollers, pet kennel, strollers, parent swap passes as well as wheelchairs and assistance for guests with disabilities.
How to Reach: Six Flags Over Texas is 20 minutes away from downtown Dallas and downtown Fort Worth. Public transportation is available that would take you to the park. Likewise, you can take your own vehicle or even a cab to reach the place.
Knott’s Berry Farm
Based in California, Knott’s Berry Farm stands on a 160-acre land and is the 12th most visited theme park in the USA. The park has 35 rides in total which include rides for kids, family rides, roller coasters, historical rides and even water rides. Some of the most popular rides of the park are Dragon Swing, High Sierra Ferris Wheel, Linus Launcher, Montezooma’s Revenge, Pacific Scrambler, Pony Express, Sol Spin, Supreme Scream, Silver Bullet, etc. While these are some of the extreme rides meant for adults, kids can have fun at WaveSwinger, Woodstock’s Airmail, Wheeler Dealer Bumper Cars, Pig Pen’s Mug Buggies, Rocky Mountain Trucking Company, Merry Go Round, etc. While these are the regular rides and attractions of the park, you would find a whole new level of fun during Christmas. The entire park and its attractions are decorated beautifully with lights. Christmas on Engine 41, Merry Christmas, Snoopy! Ice Skating Show, etc. are some of the special Christmas attractions. Moreover, the holiday treats at Knott’s Merry Farm are something you must definitely not miss.
Timings: The park opens at 10 AM on most days while the closing time can be anywhere between 5 PM to 10 PM.
Park Tickets: Knott’s Daily Admission Tickets cost $75.00 if you buy it from the park. However, it would cost you only $45.00 if you buy it online. The park also offers you different seasonal passes if you want to visit the place more often during the year.
Guest Services: The park offers several in-park services like stroller and wheelchair rentals, lockets, baby changing and nursing stations, ATMs, etc.
How to Reach: The park is around 30 minutes away from Los Angeles and can be reached by metrolink trains, shuttle services and even Uber services. Of course, you can take your own vehicle too.
These amusement parks are surely some of the most important ones in the US but they are just the tip of the iceberg. There are several more that have and continue to entertain people from all around the world for several years. As theme and amusement parks are quite popular holiday destinations, you need to decide your favourite amusement park, book your tickets and get a US visa (if you are not a resident) immediately to enjoy good deals and hotel options. With this note, we wish you the best Christmas holiday with your family!