Dreaming of a better 2022 for theme parks – Orange County Register
Do you want to daydream with me?
I know Omicron is driving everything crazy again, airlines are canceling flights and international travel rules seem to be changing all the time. But one of the pleasures of travel is that none of it can keep you from dreaming about your next trip.
Do you want to get away from it all, as the airlines’ advertising campaign progresses? Then dream with me of visiting some of the best theme parks in the world. Here are the four international parks that I dream of visiting.
Let’s start with Disney’s best theme park, Tokyo DisneySea. I’m not dunking on Disneyland here because I’ve yet to meet a Disney cast member who has been to this park who will disagree that Tokyo DisneySea beats everything Disney suggest something else.
Other Disney parks have castles at their hearts, but Tokyo DisneySea has an erupting volcano. Inside this mountain, you’ll find a Radiator Springs Racers-like ride based on Jules Verne’s “Journey to the Center of the Earth” that ends in one of the great theme park surprises. Magellan’s restaurant next door is sublime and serves as the headquarters for the ever-expanding character franchise of the Disney Explorers and Adventurers Society.
Did you know that one-day tickets to Tokyo DisneySea start at around $68? You can also get an on-site hotel room at the Hilton at Tokyo Disney Resort for around $130 a night. When quarantine restrictions are lifted, fans upset over Disneyland prices may want to seek out cheap plane tickets to Tokyo for a satisfying alternative.
While in Japan, let’s take an imaginary bullet train to Osaka to visit Universal Studios Japan. There’s no need to wait for Universal Studios Hollywood’s Super Nintendo World, as the land featuring a real Mario Kart ride is open right now in Japan. A stacked array of attractions, including Harry Potter, Spider-Man and Jaws, help make this Universal’s most-visited theme park.
Next, let’s fly to the Middle East for the world’s biggest and best indoor theme park, Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi. Gotham, Metropolis and Bedrock come to life in this thematic environmental design masterclass. But my favorite experience here is an interactive dark ride through the Acme factory, which is as wonderfully dysfunctional as anything it sells in Wile E. Coyote.
An imaginary flight to Amsterdam brings me to a train ride from Efteling in the Netherlands, which might be the most charming park in the world. Celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, the heart of Efteling remains the Fairy Tale Forest – an installation of life-size scenes from 30 fairy tales, pioneered by park co-founder Anton Pieck.
Efteling also has the best collection of dark rides outside of a Disney theme park, including Fata Morgana, an Arabian Nights-themed indoor boat ride, and Symbolica, a trackless dark ride with the best pre-show surprise in the industry.
Who knows what 2022 will bring? But this uncertainty will not prevent me from dreaming of wonderful things.