Since I’ve been a parent, I’ve had a much greater appreciation for the kids areas at the theme parks that I’ve visited. Even when I’ve taken solo trips without the family, I’ve noted the good and not-so-good kids areas that I’ve encountered.
The Golden Ticket Awards has two categories related to the best theme parks for kids and best areas for children. Out of the top parks, I’ve been to Universal’s Islands of Adventure & Legoland Florida with my kids. I’d definitely say that they’re deserving of their spots. My kids loved Seuss Landing at Islands of Adventure (pictured right). And Legoland Florida was entire park dedicated to kids 2 to 9. Both experiences had safe, well-maintained rides, in well-themed imaginative areas. I’d highly recommend both.
Here were the 2013 results for the best theme parks and areas for kids:
[notice noticeType=”approved” ]Best Children’s Park
Idlewild & SoakZone Ligonier, Pa. 39%
Legoland California Carlsbad, Calif. 16%
Legoland Florida Winter Haven, Fla. 11%
Dutch Wonderland Lancaster, Pa. (tie) 7%
Story Land Glen, N.H. (tie) 7%[/notice]
[notice noticeType=”approved” ]Best Kids’ Area
Kings Island Mason, Ohio 32%
Universal’s Islands of Adventure Orlando, Fla. 15%
Nickelodeon Universe Bloomington, Minn. 12%
Efteling Kaatsheuvel, Netherlands 8%
Cedar Point Sandusky, Ohio (tie) 7%
Kings Dominion Doswell, Va. (tie) 7%[/notice]
Was Disney Snubbed?
Disney parks are suspiciously missing, but to be honest, I’m kind of glad that they are. As far as I know, there wasn’t a conscious decision to exclude Disney from the results as they were included in the Best Theme Park Shows results.
I’m glad that they weren’t included, because they’re such obvious choices. There wouldn’t really be a point in “informing” the masses that Disney World, Disneyland, Magic Kingdom, etc. are good parks for kids. On the other hand, theme park-goers are likely less to be familiar with these mostly regional parks and what they might have to offer families with young kids. There are probably plenty of Pennsylvanians who have never visited Idlewild and also Cincinnati residents who didn’t know Kings Island had a great kids area.
Again, I’d have to imagine Disney was kind of ignored by the voters because of their popularity and prominence as THE destination for kids when it comes to amusement parks; if that makes any sense. But I’d love to hear someone argue that the Disney parks weren’t picked because they’re actually NOT good kids parks. I can’t imagine that’s the case though.