10 Family Friendly Alternatives to Disneyland Paris for you to consider
Not everyone loves Disneyland Paris. It may be out of your price range or it may be too big and too overcrowded, so I regularly get asked for Disneyland Paris alternatives and what other theme parks in Europe we might recommend.
So in no particular order, here are 10 Family Friendly Alternatives to Disneyland Paris that you may want to consider when trying to choose a theme park in Europe – with reviews from me or other family travel bloggers on their trips to places that are like Disneyland Paris, but aren’t Disney – Oh and if you still want to find out more about Disneyland Paris – you can read our Ultimate Guide to Disneyland Paris here!.
Places like Disneyland Paris in Europe
Puy du Fou – Theme Park In France
Well when I say they aren’t in any order I sort of lied, as Puy du Fou is currently my FAVOURITE alternative to Disneyland Paris.
Puy du Fou is a historical theme park in Les Epesses (between Cholet and La Roche-sur-Yon) in the heart of the Vendée region of Western France. It’s an hour from Nantes airpot and around a 4 hour drive from Paris .
What did we love about Puy du Fou so much?
We loved the pure spectacle of it. At times we were open mouthed with amazement. Did that really happen? Did that viking ship come out of the water, did that horse? Are they really going to flood that entire stage with water and make it look like the sea – oh they are – of course they are
It’s a spectacular like no other we’ve seen, and you can read my full gushing review of Puy Du Fou here!
Europa-Park – Theme Park in Germany
Europa-Park, around 45 minutes from Baden Baden Airport in Germany, is Europe’s second most popular theme park resort (after Disneyland Paris).
The entry price is on average two thirds of the price of Disney and when you factor in the fact that no-one (and I mean no-one) is as good at up-selling as Disney then you will find it a cheaper alternative.
Europa-Park is spit into 15 areas, each representing a different country. It has an Epcot feel at times, yes with lots and lots of rides.
You can read a family review of Europa-Park here.
Efteling – A Disneyland Paris Alternative in Netherlands
I’ve had countless direct messages over the last 12 months alone telling me that Efteling is not just a Disneyland Paris alternative but that Efteling is better than Disneyland Paris and they prefer it.
Why – It’s quieter, the queues aren’t as busy, it feels like you are being sold to less – no-one up sells as well as Disney as we know.
Efteling really does seem to capture the hearts of those that visit whether they are young or old and it seems to have something for everyone.
With a giant storytelling tree, epic rollercoasters and other themed rides, It’s a trip we have talked about every day since we have returned.Carrie from Flying with a Baby
PortAventura Park near Barcelona – Is it a Disneyland Paris alternative?
Portaventura is an enormous leisure complex based just an hour away from Barcelona and only 15 minutes from Reus Airport. Flights from the UK are only a couple of hours, so it’s an easy destination to reach!
We visited in October 2019 when Spain and PortAventura had fully embraced Halloween.
It’s a brilliant park, well laid out, with different theming and areas to explore. There is a great article here from the Independent on how to get the best out of Port Aventura World and if we head back I’ll be sure to follow those tips.
You can also read reviews on PortAventura Park here:
Legoland Billund – Denmark
Whilst not always considered a theme park in the obvious sense. It really is.
LEGOLAND® Billund Resort has more than 50 exciting rides and plenty more fun events.
Billund is around three to four hours’ drive from Copenhagen, or around an hour from Aarhus, but with cheap flights from the UK to Billund, including British Airways and Ryanair out of London and Manchester most people from the UK fly straight there.
We haven’t visited Legoland Billund ourselves, although we did love Legoland Florida, but Cathy from Mummy Travels has, and has written some great posts on how to make the most of a trip to Legoland Billund and what else to do in the area too.
Parc Asterix – France’s second biggest theme park after Disneyland Paris
With more than two million visitors yearly, Parc Astérix is the country’s second biggest theme park after Disneyland Paris and its 14 million annual visitors.
So what’s the reason to visit Asterix over Disneyland Paris? Well cost aside (it is considerably cheaper) you’ll find shorter queues, more thrill rides for older children and according to this article in the Independent
food that is a hundred times better than the appalling Disney fareThe Independent
It’s also easy to get to from the UK being North of Paris and there are new themed hotels for you to try making the whole experience really easy and fun for all the family.
We are hoping to head out to Asterix in 2020 so will report back in full on our return.
Duinrell – A smaller than Disneyland Paris theme park in the Netherlands
Duinrell first opened its doors in 1935. The one million square metre estate has now developed to include an amusement park with over 40 attractions; an indoor and outdoor Pool, and a holiday park area with chalet-style accommodation and camping pitches. You can stay onsite with Duinrell directly or book with a company like Eurocamp or Canvas Holidays.
So what is the theme park like?
There can’t be many amusement parks that list relaxation as one of their USPs. But the forest-flanked Duinrell, in south Holland, features birdsong, flowers, trees and quiet paths.Nell – Pigeon Pair & Me
So in that sense it isn’t a Disneyland Paris alternative. You would never describe Disneyland Paris as relaxing, but if you’re looking for something that isn’t as big, busy or expensive then why not give this a try. Kiddie Holidays also describe Duinrell as perfect for toddlers.
Alton Towers – an alternative to Disneyland Paris?
Whilst you might not naturally think of Alton Towers as a Disneyland alternative because it’s in the UK and easier to get to, the fact is that with all the extensions to Alton Towers in the last few years with CBeebies land, the hotels and the waterpark it really is.
I also think that heading to Alton Tower out of season and taking advantage of the hotel, CBeebies and the waterpark when the larger park is closed, makes Alton Towers a great option for an out of season mini break.
As you don’t have to add in the cost of travel to France too, that definitely makes it a cheaper alternative to Disneyland Paris.
Gardaland – a theme park in the Italian Lakes
One of the most popular places for families to go to when visiting Lake Garda is the theme park Gardaland. Gardaland is nowhere near as big and fancy as Disneyland Paris but there is an exciting new development for 2020.
New for 2020 is the LEGOLAND® Water Park. The LEGOLAND® Water Park is located inside Gardaland theme park, and admission is only granted with the purchase of a combined ticket for Gardaland Park and LEGOLAND® Water Park. This new addition will really increase Gardaland’s offering and encourage more visitors to start taking it seriously as an alternative to Disneyland Paris.
Futuroscope – A different kind of theme park experience in France
With more than 40 million visitors since it opened, Futuroscope is one of the best-loved leisure parks in France and the only one of its kind in Europe. In reality it isn’t far from Puy du Fou as it is also fairly close to BNantes.
Futuroscope is the ideal place to relax in, with 60 hectares of tranquil green countryside and 25 original experiences you won’t find anywhere else: films in giant format, thrill-filled attractions, 3D rides with 4D effects, games, live shows, open-air activities, and more…
The spectacular theatres inside Futuroscope are gigantic sculptures and their futuristic lines blend in smoothly with the surrounding landscape.
Reviews in English of this theme park seem very few and far between though, so if you’ve been please do get in touch and let us know, although you can also read the Tripadvisor reviews.
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Karen Beddow founded Mini Travellers in 2014 while doing what she loves most...going on holiday!
Mini Travellers is for parents looking for holiday ideas, destination reviews, days out and things to do with the kids. We also have family travel tips, activity ideas and all other things family holiday related. Take a look at some of our latest reviews for holidays and day trips in the UK.