Four of the best theme parks

From Europe's second-biggest to the new ride at Universal Studios in Florida, Chris Carter takes a tour of four of the world's best theme parks.


Europa-Park in the Black Forest: the second biggest theme park in Europe

Europa-Park, Germany

Yet the theme park in Germany's Black Forest is the second biggest in Europe, packing 100 rides into 95 hectares, divided into zones with different national themes.

So in one park you can visit an English sports bar for a drink then pop next door to Russia's Mir space station. "I can't think of a more appropriate post-referendum attraction. A harmonious, fun Europe."


Subscribe to MoneyWeek

Subscribe to MoneyWeek today and get your first six magazine issues absolutely FREE

Get 6 issues free

Sign up to Money Morning

Don't miss the latest investment and personal finances news, market analysis, plus money-saving tips with our free twice-daily newsletter

Don't miss the latest investment and personal finances news, market analysis, plus money-saving tips with our free twice-daily newsletter

Sign up

Universal studios, Florida


Universal studios in Orlando, Florida, has taken technical wizardry to a whole new level. Its new Skull Island: Reign of Kong attraction is a "dizzying combination" of 3D film, animatronic creatures and a theme-park ride that immerses you in King Kong's "terrifying world", says Lisa Minot in The Sun on Sunday. Even the queue is fun, snaking through caves and ancient temples, with "a few scares along the way".


Paultons Park, Hampshire


La Cit du Vin, France


The newly opened Cit du Vin "is an over-the-top, mega project with all the scope of a wine theme park for adults", says Mike MacEacheran in Cond Nast Traveller magazine. It takes a "Disneyland approach" to its 20 themed areas, complete with a multi-sensory "tasting experience". But wine drinking comes first. The Belvedere saloon bar offers panoramic views and there are expert-led tastings to hone your palate. This is Bordeaux, after all.


It's raining yuan at Disneyland Shanghai


Disney opened its newest $5.5bn theme park in Shanghai last month. For two organisations that love synchronised dancing Disney and the Chinese Communist Party it's no surprise the opening ceremony was choreographed to perfection, says Charles Clover in the FT. Replete with speeches and fireworks, there was no room for subtlety. This is, after all, "the world's biggest entertainment company celebrating its beachhead into the world's fastest growing entertainment market".

The journey has been fraught, "underlining Beijing's schizophrenic relationship with mass American culture". Yet for now, not even the drizzle on the opening daywas enough to put off China's vice-premier, Wang Yang. The weather was a blessing, he insisted, representing "a rain of fortune, a rain of US dollars and renminbi".

Chris Carter

Chris Carter spent three glorious years reading English literature on the beautiful Welsh coast at Aberystwyth University. Graduating in 2005, he left for the University of York to specialise in Renaissance literature for his MA, before returning to his native Twickenham, in southwest London. He joined a Richmond-based recruitment company, where he worked with several clients, including the Queen’s bank, Coutts, as well as the super luxury, Dorchester-owned Coworth Park country house hotel, near Ascot in Berkshire.

Then, in 2011, Chris joined MoneyWeek. Initially working as part of the website production team, Chris soon rose to the lofty heights of wealth editor, overseeing MoneyWeek’s Spending It lifestyle section. Chris travels the globe in pursuit of his work, soaking up the local culture and sampling the very finest in cuisine, hotels and resorts for the magazine’s discerning readership. He also enjoys writing his fortnightly page on collectables, delving into the fascinating world of auctions and art, classic cars, coins, watches, wine and whisky investing.

You can follow Chris on Instagram.