Thursday, January 20, 2005 12:01 PM
So, I have checked into costs at the campus travel agency. Flights to London and Paris are very reasonable (well, kinda cheap), and if the prices stay around where they are, I may consider going to Europe next year to ride coasters and see the sights.. the whole deal.

I have no preference over which area I would like to see, the British Isles or the France-Germany area, but the coaster and park preference is where I need help?

So, which would be better, Holiday Park, Europa Park, and Walibi World... or Alton Towers, Blackpool and Thorpe Park?

I know there are tons of parks in between, and it would probably be for a week, maybe 10 days or so, but which region, the British Isles or the France-Germany plain, would provide the best thrills?

Thursday, January 20, 2005 12:41 PM
Argh, that's a tough one. Holiday Park is only good for one coaster IMHO and that's obviously Ge-Force. Europa Park is a superb, SUPERB theme park, one of the best in Europe. Coaster wise you have Euro Sat which is a great indoor coaster with superb effects, Euro MIR which is fantastic fun, and Silver Star which is a decent hyper coaster. The park is absolutely amazing.

Walibi World is a good park, too. Superman is alright, Robin Hood is a decent woodie, the SLC is pretty rough although there are a lot of decent rides. I haven't done Goliath, although I hear that is a very good mini-hyper, too.

Over to the UK then. Alton Towers is good. Nemesis is fantastic, Oblivion is good if there's no queue, and Air is OK. There are a few good dark rides at Alton too, such as Hex (one of the best Haunted Swings in the world) and Duel. There'll also be Rita too from next year.

Blackpool is simply amazing. As good as Europa IMHO but in a completely different way. Lots and lots of classic rides. Grand National, Wild Mouse and Big Dipper are all superb classics, and the Big One is alright too and in my opinion very under-rated (lack of airtime isn't an issue as you have plenty of other airtime machines available in the park).

Thorpe Park is a nice park. Inferno is good but not up to Nemesis' standards, Colossus is a very different ride and I think is great fun. There are a hell of a lot of great spin rides here too.

To be honest, I can't choose between the two options. If I were you, look into getting a cheap flight to Germany or something from London Stanstead and then you can have the best of both worlds! and do flights from about £30 (~$60) return including taxes.

*** Edited 1/20/2005 5:42:43 PM UTC by Marcus Sheen***

Thursday, January 20, 2005 2:14 PM
The trip around England would obviously be a lot easier to make. Do you realize that Europa and Walibi World are each over 300 miles from Paris in the opposite direction? You would be making a huge triangle across Europe with some very long drives between each park. We did those parks with ACE in 2002, but we were on coaches and didn't have to worry about driving.

As far as coasters go, do you like steel or wood better? If you prefer wood, you would be better off doing Great Britain. If you like steel hypers (or mini-hypers) then the continental parks would be a better choice.

Thursday, January 20, 2005 2:48 PM
I've been trying to plan out a similar trip myself for a while, but the potential costs are simply staggering ...

What's the typical European park charge for admission in US bucks? Is figuring $50 a pop a good rule as it is in the states?

If doing the "continental" run, do the bullet trains and other public transportation run near enough to each park that it would be possible to make it without renting a car?

Third question (sorry to be stealing your show a little!) are there any parks worth the while in Italy? I know there's Katun, but I know nothing of it's surrounding park and I'm curious if there's anything else worth the visit?

Thursday, January 20, 2005 3:01 PM
Yeah, but with those cheap ass flights mentioned in the second post - you could just jet around Europe.

I'm literally seeing one way flights for under £18!

With some planning, I can see how you could cover some serious ground for a relatively inexpensive price.

Thursday, January 20, 2005 3:11 PM
I don't know if there are cheap flights on the continent, but often Ryanair and Easyjet fly for £1 or free with only taxes to pay, but that is from the UK. Not sure if it is the same in Europe.

Trains in Europe (not so much the UK) are easy to use and efficient. Most parks have buses from the nearest station. I know this is the case with Europa, and am sure is the case with Walibi World.

Regarding Italy, I haven't been there, but Gardaland looks amazing with some unique rides including Screamin' Squirrel from next year.

Another country worth considering of course is Spain. Port Aventura is simply amazing, Movie World is absolutely excellent too, and I've heard good things about Terra Mitika. That would be a very, very easy trip to do with three high class modern theme parks.

*** Edited 1/20/2005 8:11:41 PM UTC by Marcus Sheen***

Thursday, January 20, 2005 4:40 PM
Thank you all for the input, I will try to address everything I have read so far.

First off, thank you Marcus for the great, more in-depth comparison of the two. I too had difficulty choosing. The websites you provided are awesome too, definately bookmarked. Just one question, a pound equates to a little more than a USD, correct?

In response to Jeffrey, if I did the Continental trip (good term whoever first brought it up, better than how I described it), I would indeed follow Impulsive's advice and attempt to ride the trains. Of course, schedules and stations would make an impact, and would need more planning. My father was in Europe for a while and said the train systems are much more effective over there than in the US.

See, my main problem is the lack of prolonged time off. This would probably be over spring break or between the summer and fall semesters, so I am a bit pressed for time, or else a major trip hitting as much of Europe as possible would be nice. Spain was certainly a great suggestion too, it eluded my first thoughts but yes, those three parks all look fantastic.

Thanks for the tips y'all, and I'd love to hear more.

Thursday, January 20, 2005 5:11 PM
Yes, I forgot to mention at the risk of plugging my site, many of the rides are featured in great depth. I think only Walibi World and Terra Mitika are the only omissions.

If you like large, crisp, modern theme parks, then Spain is one of the best bets. Movie World is a great park. Superman is a great ride, Batman is amazing (although you've probably ridden that in US), Wild Wild West is fun, there are some good shows, great water rides and it isn't too busy yet.

Port Aventura has Dragon Khan which is simply sublime, as well as Stampida and the new drop ride from next year. The shows here beggar belief, too. Honestly, they're sublime and I'm not really into shows.

Both Port Aventura and Movie World have their own train stations and are so easy to get to. Port Aventura is 10 minutes away from Reus airport so is a good one to fly to.

Currency rate is on 1 USD = 0.53 GBP

If you want to do the UK, you will need a car to be honest. Blackpool is easy to get to by train, but Alton Towers is as good as impossible as it is in a very rural location. Even Thorpe is a bit of a challenge without a car. The UK's roads are very safe, but can get very busy.

I would say Spain is the easiest option, although every park there is similar in that it has modern rides.

Blackpool is really the most extra-ordinary park in the UK, although both Alton and Thorpe are good.

Europa in Germany is wonderful, although getting around on train will require quite a lot of planning I suspect. Die Bhan ( is a fantastic way to plan European train travel.

If you want to refine your visit to only Germany for example, you could do Europa Park, Phantasialand and maybe a German Fair (Dusseldorf or Stugart) using on site hotels, as both Phantasialand and Europa are easily accessible by public transport, are both very good parks, and German fairs are out of this world. Seriously, it is like a drug to me and I am no hardcore spin ride fan. Sorry if I'm giving you too many things to think about!

Let us know what you decide to do. I'm happy to help further.

Thursday, January 20, 2005 5:26 PM
Thorpe is doable by train/bus - take the train to Staines and there's a bus that goes from there to the park.

Blackpool, you can fly direct with Ryanair - the airport is walking distance from the park.

Alton is a challenge though, definitely.

Thursday, January 20, 2005 5:44 PM
I didn't say Thorpe was impossible, but it is a challenge. Changes are required on the train, the bus service is infrequent, and is absolutely horrendous at closing time being jam packed full the very worst citizen that Britain has to offer.
Thursday, January 20, 2005 6:02 PM

Richard Bannister said:
Blackpool, you can fly direct with Ryanair - the airport is walking distance from the park.

Thank you. THAT detail solves SO many issues for this American who longs to get back to Blackpool.

Thursday, January 20, 2005 7:02 PM
Keep in mind that some Euro trains have sleeper coaches. You could forgo the cost of hotel rooms/hostels by sleeping while you're traveling to different parks.
Friday, January 21, 2005 3:07 AM
^^ It's also very easy to get to Blackpool by train. Start off in London, make one change at Preston, get off at Blackpool station, and it's a quick taxi ride from the Blackpool station to the park.

Why not just drive? Personally, I find driving in England WAY easier than driving in the US.

--Robb "Blackpool is one of the easier parks to get to without a car, it's Alton that's a pain in the ass!" Alvey *** Edited 1/21/2005 8:10:19 AM UTC by Robb Alvey***

Saturday, January 22, 2005 12:13 AM
Driving in England can't be worse than the highways in Atlanta, or even worse, I95 through the Beltway.

Thanks for the tips, I'll keep researching and fiddling with itineraries and such.

By the way, Marcus, I rather enjoyed your site.


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