Saw this in The Observer travel section today and then found it online.
The expert panel
This week's question ... Which is your favourite theme park?
* The Observer, Sunday 3 May 2009
* Article history
Founder, European Coaster Club
Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Denmark, is the perfect combination of amusement park, gardens, concert venue and some of the best restaurants in Copenhagen. Founded in 1843 it quickly became a place where parents took their children, who would later take theirs. Possibly its most famous visitor was Walt Disney who, after visiting the park, was quoted as saying: "Now this is what an amusement place should be!" Soon after, Disneyland was born. Even today you can see elements of Tivoli that Disney lifted straight into the Florida park. At Tivoli, experiencing the rides is not essential; it's possible to have a great time there without riding. It delights me more every time.
Roller coaster expert and 'thrill engineer'
Brean Leisure Park in Somerset is a quintessential British seaside amusement park. It's fairly unknown, but has one of the scariest ghost trains in Europe. It's called Terror Castle and was designed by one of the owners, Richard Cadell, who is the face of children's TV show Sooty and a member of the Magic Circle [the worldwide organisation for magicians]. It has references to The Exorcist and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and features animated figures, superb sound effects and things dangling in your face. It's terrifying.
President, American Coaster Enthusiasts
My favourite theme park would have to be Busch Gardens Williamsburg. First off, the park is just plain beautiful. The grounds are always landscaped well and the park is almost always very clean. For me, the variety of roller coasters is great. My favourite rides are the Loch Ness Monster, which is the only interlocking double loop coaster that I know of, and Alpengeist, an inverted coaster set in an Bavarian ski resort. I just wish I could get them to install a wooden coaster.
Head of content, takethefamily.com
By a quirk of fate, I visited Futuroscope in Poitiers, France, both the year it opened and in its 20th birthday year, 2007. The first time, I was a teenager, visiting the fledgling attraction with my penfriend, Sophie. The second, I was with my two young sons and pregnant with my third. Like me, the park had grown, and grown up. Themed on the moving image, its main draws are its 3D cinemas and interactive rides into the future, back to the age of the dinosaurs, and more. There's outdoor fun too, including boats with water cannons. It's very Gallic in feel, and has remained refreshingly free of merchandising madness.
Historian, National Amusement Park Historical Association
Kennywood, outside Pittsburgh, is a wonderful mix of old and new. Opened in 1898, the park retains many of its original features. Scattered through its lushly landscaped grounds are classic amusement park rides such as Turtle, Whip and Kangaroo. But the park also features modern thrillers such as Swingshot, Cosmic Chaos and Ghostwood Estate, a contemporary take on a classic haunted house. But Kennywood is most known for its roller coasters, including classic rides such as the 88-year-old Jack Rabbit - with its one-of-a-kind double dip - Racer, and Thunderbolt, which has four drops into a ravine. Newer thrillers are Phantom's Revenge, with its 72m drop and 85mph top speed, and the indoor Exterminator.
[url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2009/may/03/theme-parks-tivoli-brean-busch-gardens-futuroscope" target="_blank]http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2009/m ... uturoscope[/url]