It’s getting colder and darker. Many theme parks in Europe have closed their gates. Luckily, there are still quite a few that have special events during the winter and some parks remain almost fully operational. We had a look at the European theme park landscape and found 20 options for experiencing attractions and more!
1) Alton Towers (UK)
Alton Towers is offering ‘Festive Breaks’ and ‘Santa’s Sleepover’ packages during the Christmas Season. Unfortunately no thrilling coasters, but family fun guaranteed. The packages may include several of the following:
– Overnight stay at one of the hotels of the resort, including breakfast
– One day access to the Alton Towers Water Park
– One day access to Cbeebiesland and selected rides
– Visit to Santa and his elves (only Santa’s Sleepover package)
– Evening entertainment
– New Tickets for the Pantomine, Aladdin Musical at the resort
2) Chessington World of Adventures (UK)
Although the theme park and rides are closed, The Chessington Winter’s Tail experience offers an alternative. During November and December the Zoo and Sea-life are open on selected days for a wonderful Christmas experience. You can visit Father Christmas, decorate cookies with the else, a special Christmas Panda show and more. Sleepover arrangements are available as well!
3) Disneyland Paris (France)
As usual, Disneyland Paris is ready for the Christmas season. Already during Halloween, decorations were popping up but starting from November 11th, the Christmas spirit will be all around. Here’s what to expect this year:
– Disney Christmas Parade with two new floats
– Disney Dreams of Christmas, the festive spectacular with Olaf from Frozen on the castle.
– Mickey’s Magical Christmas Lights, the lighting of the Christmas Tree on Main Street
– Frozen Sing-A-Long show and A Royal Welcome pre-parade
– Royal Christmas Wishes, a show with the Disney princesses
– Meet ‘n’ greet with Santa and several Disney characters
4) Drayton Manor (UK)
Drayton’s Magical Christmas is all about Thomas Land! The Christmas tree is out and Santa will be there to meet all the guests. Besides Thomas Land, there are some other rides open including the Zoo and the 4D Cinema, which will play The Polar Express 4D! Extra rides are an indoor Slide and Glide ice rink and real life reindeers!
5) Efteling (The Netherlands)
Different from other events, Efteling has it’s own unique Winter season. Not too much focus on Christmas, but more on the cold weather. The fairy tale forest gets a snow overlay, fires are installed all over the park and special entertainment is foreseen. In addition there is an Ice Palace for ice skating and a cross-country skiing track. All rides are open depending on the weather, except Pirana (the rapid river) and De Vliegende Hollander (the water coaster). The season continues until January 31st!
6) Europa-Park (Germany)
One of the biggest winter events in any theme park in Europe! Definitely one of the most beautiful : giant decorations with thousands of lights and figurines, Eurosat transforms in a giant Christmas gift… Europa Park Winterwunderland is a must do. A lot of rides are closed, including all the water rides as well as Silver Star. Blue Fire is scheduled to open only when the temperatures will allow it. The park offers a lot of additional experiences to balance these closed rides including: a big Christmas market in German style, a 55 m tall giant wheel, a kiddie ski school, ice-skating activities as well as a lot of exclusive shows. Not to miss is also the big New Year Party!
7) Futuroscope (France)
As Futuroscope has many indoor rides, it is definitely a great option during the winter season. Moreover, an extra reason this year is the new attraction opening on December: L’ Extraordinaire Voyage. It is the first flight simulator in Europe, similar to Soarin’ in Walt Disney World and Disneyland. Close to closing hour there is also a Spectacle Nocturne, the evening show of the park.
8) Gardaland (Italy)
Gardaland Magic Winter, running from December 8th till January 8th, takes guests to a winter atmosphere near the lake of Garda. Depending on the weather, some of the rides might be closed, especially the water rides. The Sea Life center is also included in a ticket during the winter period.
9) Liseberg (Sweden)
There are a lot of extra activities during the winter season at Liseberg! Besides Santa and his real reindeer’s, the Rabbits celebrate Christmas with guests as well. There’s also an authentic Christmas Market including Lapland specialties, an ice rink with The Nutcracker show performed, extra entertainment in the whole park and a medieval midwinter festival!
10) Parque de Atracciones Madrid (Spain)
As many parks, Parque de Atracciones Madrid is offering extra shows and colorful decorations. If you want to see Patrick from Sponge Bob dressed in a Christmas tree, the city park is the place to be. The visit to Santa or the laser show at the end of the day have to be included in your schedule.
11) Parque Warner (Spain)
From December 3th until January 8th, Parque Warner offers lots of fun during winter. A new show, “Jingle” is the main event, while special little shows are present all around the park. The little children will be able to meet Santa, the Three Wise Man or the Looney Tunes, and the best way to end the day is with the “Christmas Parade”.
12) Phantasialand (Germany)
As always, Wintertraum is back at Phantasialand! And this year, besides the spectacles and lights all over the park, Klugheim will be open as well. The newly opened Taron coaster is developed to withstand temperatures below zero, so even in the freezing cold, you will be able to ride the new sensation. Very cool!
13) Plopsaland De Panne (Belgium)
Plopsaland De Panne is the only outdoor park in Belgium that remains open during the winter season. Only a few rides remain closed, but to compensate, they offer a small ice rink and a combo ticket with a true Belgian tradition for children: the Samson & Gert Christmas Show. The Belgian television network for children Ketnet also works together with the park to offer some days with extended opening hours and extra entertainment!
14) PortAventura World (Spain)
Many special shows come to PortAventura during winter, like the acrobatic show “Dreaming on Ice”, “Ya es Navidad en SésamoAventura” featuring the characters from Sesame Street or the big show “Navidad con Amor”. Also, there are many workshops for children around the park, as the Christmas season is targeted to them. The park is open until the 8th of January.
15) Attractiepark Slagharen (The Netherlands)
Spending time at Slagharen is also possible during the winter months. With the water park Aqua Mexicana, you can experience summer during the cold months and from the 5th till the 23rd of December, it’s included in your entrance ticket . There is also a Miracle of Lights parade and a Slagharen On Ice show.
16) Terra Mitica (Spain)
Terra Mitica in Spain is open during the weekend in November and December. To have a bit of a Christmas experience, they offer packages at the Grand Luxor Hotel. The experience differs from the period, and can be checked here. It includes a three lights ceremony, workshops and Santa’s Elves!
17) Toverland (The Netherlands)
‘Magische Winterweken’, magical winter weeks, at Toverland include warm winter atmospheres and entertainment. As the park has two large indoor halls, you can enjoy rides when it’s too cool outside. If the weather is not too bad, some outdoor areas are open as well including Booster Bike and Troy!
18) Tibidabo (Spain)
Tibidabo gets ready for Christmas setting enormous inflatable stars around the park. It will be different workshops for the youngest members of the family, as well as special shows and choirs performing for this special dates. Also, a new movie will be available in Dididado, the 4D cinema.
19) Tivoli Gardens (Denmark)
Tivoli Gardens winter season is all about the decoration. The whole park is transformed in a fairy world of light and beauty. There is not one place in the park where there are no fantastic lights and decorations. Hundreds of Christmas trees are spread all around the park. There is also a giant traditional Christmas market dispatched in the whole park with over 60 stalls offering traditional Danish handmade objects, food and drinks, as the typical danish hot wine, the gløgg. No special rides are added during the winter season, but there are some great special Christmas shows, such as a light spectacular on the lake.
20) Wiener Präter (Austria)
‘Wiener Charme’ awaits those visiting the city park during the winter period. Besides the rides, there is a large Wintermarket including the traditional ‘Glühwein’ and more. So definitely a must-do Christmas Market in Europe!
Thanks so much for reading our Winter Season 2016 Special! Please keep in mind, all images found on this site, unless otherwise stated, are owned by European Coaster Kings! Sharing them is fine, but only if credit to europeancoasterkings.com is given!