Normally, people don’t like long queues. They try to avoid getting stuck in traffic, eating too much sugary, expensive food, and when it comes to being subjected by massive amounts of G-Force against their will, then they really get ticked off. But even though you’ll usually encounter all of these things when visiting a theme park, it’s usually not a problem because… well, who doesn’t love a theme park? Whether it’s a one-off trip to somewhere really special, or an annual pilgrimage to your favorite ride, theme parks are still big business, and still growing. In fact, there are dozens of new theme parks opening or being constructed, so here’s a look at some of the biggest and best.
The largest growing market in the world for theme parks can be found in the Middle East, with the United Arab Emirates leading the way. With a number of huge theme parks already, including Ferrari World and Legoland Dubai, there are several other new parks under construction, but one of the new ones is a genuinely incredible construction. With 1.5 million square feet of space, IMG Worlds Of Adventure would be the same as any other theme park %u2013 with themed zones, rides, restaurants and other attractions – but for the fact that it’s entirely indoors, in order to combat the fierce Dubai heat.
The link between movie studios and theme parks is as old as the idea of theme parks themselves. Disneyland in California has been around since 1954, but has gone through a number of expansions and revamps to keep the experience fresh. When you combine this with a filmmaker who strives to make the viewing experience as real as possible, something quite special happens. That’s exactly the case with Pandora: The World Of Avatar, which is opening in Florida in May this year. Who better to oversee the recreation of another world than the man who created it? James Cameron’s personal interest in the park means that no details will be missed, and you’ll find yourself truly transported to another world. As if that weren’t enough, Disney have another expansion in the works – Star Wars. Opening in 2019, this 14 acre space in each of Disney’s parks will offer a number of unique experiences, including the opportunity to rub shoulders with protocol droids on the street, and a chance to pilot the Millenium Falcon.
Over on mainland Europe, things are a little more restrained. If you’re a fan of the classic children’s story Heidi, for example, then I’ve got great news for you: there’s a second Heidi-based theme park under construction in Switzerland! Being only 15 miles apart, both parks work along similar themes – an appreciation for the stunning Alpine surroundings and the simple pastoral life of those that live in them. Attractions at the new park, due to open in 2020, include milking goats, making stools and a period-set 3D journey to Frankfurt. If that doesn’t quite sound exciting enough, then maybe you should head to Norway. This is where Thor’s Rike is being constructed, a Viking-themed park where you can take a tour through the Norse underworld, barter at a Viking market and eat in a Viking mead-hall. I’m pretty sure taking long and dangerous sea voyages isn’t part of the tour, and pillaging is probably frowned upon, but it sounds like fun nonetheless.
Finally, we visit Japan, who can be relied upon to go completely overboard with the theme park themes. The mayor of the town of Beppu, an area famed for its hot springs in the Kyushu Province, recently took to Facebook with an interesting proposal. He had created a video concept for what a theme park in Beppu might look like – and Beppu being all about the hot springs, that was what the theme park would be about. A rollercoaster made of hot tubs. Hot tubs in the cable car. A hot tub carousel. And so on, and so forth. If the video (which you can watch here) got 1 million ‘likes’, production would begin on making the concept a reality. 1.8 million ‘likes’ later, and things are about to get started on the world’s first SPAmusement Park.