How to choose which Gold Coast theme park is right for you and your family
So you are all geared up and ready to have a day of fun with your family. The theme parks are beckoning and seeing as though we live in the Theme Park Capital of Australia it seems you are spoilt for choice as to all the wonderful places you could go. Almost too spoilt in fact. With five awesome holiday theme parks to choose from the hardest part can sometimes be working out which one is the best one to spend your time at. Sure, it would be great to go to ALL of them but in reality if you are choosing between the different grouped passes or only planning to go to one it will help to invest your time and money at the one that will suit you and your family the best.
To help make the decision a little easier below is a list of the five main parks, what they have on offer and who they cater for and why.
Like all the theme parks, Movie World has something for everyone but is especially loved by little ones who adore their Warner Brothers characters. The smallest of children will love the colourful and magical cartoon world that is the WB Fun Zone. Designed for young children (and for the young child in all of us) there will be plenty to keep them entertained and many lovable characters to interact with.
Of course, Movie World is also seen as the premiere theme park destination for any movie buffs so if you have a budding star or big screen fan then they will go crazy for all the shows and thrill rides centred on popular films. Teenagers will be exhilarated by the Green Lantern and Superman Escape rollercoasters and will love the new Justice League 3D attraction where they can grab their laser blaster and fight against the evil villain Starro the Conqueror.
The whole family can enjoy the many live performances and street shows and as we enter the festive season why not wrap yourself up in a magical White Christmas adventure with your whole family as Movie World is transformed into an enchanting winter wonderland!
Dreamworld has always been a favourite of mine and is definitely a full day (or two) for those wanting to have a go on and experience everything it has to offer. This theme park is perfect if you have older children as there are the Big 8 Thrill Rides on offer and as an adult it can be hard to walk by them all if you only have little ones in tow. There is of course the Tower of Terror and the gut-churning Giant Drop but the BuzzSaw attraction will also cause a stir. Get into the action at Zombie Evilution – Are you a Zombie or a Solider? The Battle for Kevil Hill has begun and YOU need to choose a side. You’ll love checking this one out with your older ones.
Whilst it is a playground for the older ones it most definitely caters for the little kids as well. If you have some avid Wiggle fans (does anyone NOT?) then they will go mad for the Wiggles World area and will also love the The Dreamworld Express train that is a great way to save tired feet and make your way around the park. Madagascar Madness has shows and rides for any child over one and a huge ball playground to explore. Shrek’s Faire Faire Away land of rides and fun is another option too.
Everyone will love Dreamworld’s Australian Wildlife Experience which consists of one of the largest, native, wildlife parks in South East Queensland. Tiger Island is also a huge hit! Standby tiger lovers – Dreamworld’s youngest tiger siblings Baru & Ravi roar into action with their new Cub College Tiger Show December 26th!
Another huge hit for those families with young kids or for any child or adult that LOVES wildlife is Sea World. If you have very small children who are too young to be allowed on most rides then they will love the many stunt, character and animal shows available at this theme park. Whilst there are definitely rides for all ages on offer if your main aim is not the big thrill ones and more about accommodating the younger kids then this is the place to go.
Come and meet Australia’s only baby Polar Bear ‘Henry’. This gorgeous bundle of fluff has just come out to play at Polar Bear Shores ‘Polar Pre-School’ and he can’t wait to meet you. The same can be said for the beautiful dolphins, scary sharks and adorable penguins. As most of the park attractions have a focus on aquatic wildlife in some form it is good if your kids love animals and are not easily bored by them. In saying that, it is the one theme park that is both a lot of fun and also quite educational with most of the shows accompanied by informative commentary that is both light hearted and easy to understand for the kids too.
But of course there are also the thrill rides for those wanting to test their limits. Experience a ride the whole family will love as you’re taken on a thrilling journey featuring amazing water and fire effects. The Storm Coaster is now open and the only ride of its kind in Australia and a must do this summer! There is also the Sea Viper’s famous inverted coaster ride – not to be missed!
As far as water parks go – Wet’n’Wild is a thrill a minute and there is no way you are leaving this place without being both soaking wet and grinning from ear to ear. There are a multitude of rides and water play options on offer though with many of the main ones having a height restriction of 100cm you may enjoy the day more if you are with a group of similar aged children.
If you only have small ones with you then you can spend the time with them at Buccaneer Bay which includes shallow water lagoons, a giant tipping bucket, fun slides and plenty of colourful interactive elements to keep little minds active and excited. The Giant Wave pool is fun for the entire family and you can hire floatation devices which is a good idea for smaller children.
For adults and older children there is a full days worth of adventure to be had. If you love combining water play with extreme thrills then the options are endless and you just may never want to leave! From dropping on the Kamikaze almost vertically 11 metres on a tube to being blasted down a 40 metre tunnel on a raft on the Tornado you will barely have time to come up for air! Whether you challenge your family on the 8 lane Aqua racer or simply challenge yourself on the Constrictor you will love every minute of your day here!
Hugely popular for parents with kids that are small, this water park has a great section for the little ones and is the perfect spot for you to cool off with them these holidays. Wiggle Bay is the official watery home of the Wiggles (yep, here they are again!) and is a completely supervised area. Its features include giant instruments, colourful water cannons, interactive sprays and even little slides for children to explore.
While the smaller kids are making a splash at Wiggle Bay the older children will be clamouring to get on all the other slides, rides and thrills this water park contains. Get your cozzies on kids! It’s time to go to WhiteWater World and try out the newly refurbished Pipeline Plunge. Watch that bucket of water! Also not for the feint-hearted, the Wedgie will see you plummet feet first down a translucent pipe and barrel through Australia’s only human half coil.
One thing that families will love about this water park is the fact that conveyor belts are available to take tubes up to the top of the rides. A small luxury maybe but it takes away the time (and effort) of carrying these up numerous stairs and there will be no racing back down after any that manage to escape too! This park is another great family option that caters for all ages in different attractions and rides.
The truth is, you could choose ANY of the parks above and be guaranteed you and your little ones will have a blast but some will just contain attractions and themes that will hold their attention more than others. Going to a theme park is always an awesome way to spend any time with your family and is a full day (and sometimes night) affair so check out the one your kid’s age and interests are suited to best. Either way though, whichever one you choose you are guaranteed a day of laughter, excitement and family-fun time together – what more could you ask for?!