Offering endless thrills and unrivalled family fun, THEME PARK HOTELS make for the ultimate family getaways
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It’s no big secret but staying at a hotel located within a theme park means you can sometimes enjoy considerable savings on entrance tickets which make a huge difference when you have a big family, convenient access to the park or even beat the queue at some places which allow you early entry before the official opening time. Staying near or within the park grounds also means that you can save time commuting and use that time to explore the park instead.
Here’s our pick of the TOP 10 THEME PARK HOTELS that will bring joy to you and your family.
1. TOKYO DISNEYLAND, TOKYO, JAPAN
Tokyo Disneyland, the first Disney park to be built outside the United States, although 36 years old, is still wildly popular among locals and tourists. Adjacent to Tokyo Disneyland is another theme park with a nautical twist, Tokyo DisneySea. Fortunately, a one-day ticket can be used for both parks.
Guests staying at one of the four Disney hotels at the park can enjoy early entry to certain areas of the park 15 minutes before the official opening time and free rides on the monorail and shuttle bus.
2. UNIVERSAL STUDIOS, OSAKA, JAPAN
For movie buffs in Asia who find the Universal Studios in the United States too far and the one in Singapore too hot, Japan is the best choice, especially during spring and autumn when the flowers are in bloom. The park, which opened in 2001, attracts more than 10 million visitors each year, so expect it to be crowded but in an orderly manner as good manners is a common trait in Japan.
There are 29 hotels affiliated with the park including seven official hotels. The Park Front Hotel is the nearest to park, located just outside the park’s main gate. As a guest, you can purchase tickets at the hotel itself without having to queue up at the ticket booth. Get the Universal Express Pass if you prefer quick access to some of the popular attractions.
3. SEA WORLD RESORT, GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA
Sea World is an oceanarium, marine and theme park. It also offers exciting rides, animal exhibits, shows and other attractions. The park has been around for 48 years but it is still packing in the crowds with new attractions being added over the years.
Guests staying at Sea World Resort are allowed unlimited access to four theme parks, namely Sea World, Movie World, Wet‘n’Wild Gold Coast and Paradise Country. From the hotel, you can hop onto the monorail for direct access to Sea World. But do bear in mind that the other three theme parks are located about 20km from Sea World, so you may have to plan your schedule carefully. Sea World can easily take up one to two days if you want to enjoy all the attractions.
4. UNIVERSAL STUDIOS, SINGAPORE
Universal Studios, which opened in 2011, is a movie-themed park located on a small island off Singapore, in an area called Resorts World Sentosa. The park features exciting rides, shows and attractions in several themed zones.
There are four hotels located around the park offering 3D2N packages which include full-day tickets to Universal Studios and another three attractions, the SEA Aquarium, the Adventure Cove Waterpark and the Maritime Experiential Museum. At Ocean Suites, one of the themed hotels, you can sleep with an underwater view of the aquarium filled with marine animals.
5. SHANGHAI DISNEYLAND PARK, SHANGHAI, CHINA
The Shanghai Disneyland Park, which opened in 2016, is part of the Shanghai Disney Resort located on the east side of the city called Pudong. Unlike other Disneylands around the world which are showing signs of age, everything here is spanking new. The park is big so you would need at least two days to fully enjoy the attractions.
There are two Disney-themed hotels at the park: Shanghai Disneyland Hotel and Toy Story Hotel. Guests at both hotels enjoy priority entry to Disneyland via Disneytown which opens earlier than the park’s main entrance, which is great as you would be spared the infamous long queue. Hotel guests also enjoy complimentary water taxi rides to the park.
6. PORTAVENTURA WORLD, TARRAGONA, SPAIN
Located along Spain’s east coast and about an hour’s drive outside Barcelona, PortAventura World is a world-famous amusement park for both young and old. The park features historic themes such as the American Wild West, Mediterranean, Mexico and Polynesian, among others. There are plenty of entertaining shows and wild rides including the King Khajuna, the highest fall slide in Europe.
Around the park are six hotels ranging from four- to five-star, the newest being the wild-west themed Hotel Colorado Creek which just opened in June 2019. Hotel guests get a one-day pass to PortAventura and the adjacent Ferrari Land theme park.
7. EUROPA PARK, RUST, GERMANY
If you have a need for speed and is a true fan of roller coasters, head towards Europa Park, the largest theme park in Germany attracting nearly six million visitors a year. Opened in 1975 in the small town of Rust about two hours’ drive from Stuttgart, the park features 13 roller coasters, water attractions, slides, surf simulator and many other attractions.
Around the park are six themed hotels and two camp resorts, including Krønasår - The Museum Hotel which was newly launched in May 2019. Hotel guests can take the bus shuttle or hop on an e-bike to get to the park.
8. EFTELING, KAATSHEUVEL, THE NETHERLANDS
The Efteling is the largest and oldest theme park in the Netherlands. It first opened in 1952 with its Fairytale Forest and has since grown and evolved into a fantasy-themed park featuring myths and legends, fairy tales, fables and folklore. Located about an hour’s drive south of Amsterdam, the park is now the third most-visited theme park in Europe, attracting five million visitors yearly. Many people time their visits during winter, which also happens to be a peak period, to enjoy the festive spirit.
Around the park are four hotels or holiday houses for larger groups and overnight stays which include unlimited access to the park.
Most of the activities at theme parks are enjoyed outdoors, so do be prepared for the weather. In tropical climates, a sunscreen lotion, a hat or umbrella would come in handy. A change of clothing is also advisable as you might get splashed while enjoying the water rides.
If you bring kids, chances are they might get lost in the crowd. Let your kids wear a tag with information such as your name, contact number or the hotel front desk number.