My Theme Park Wishlist

After all, “a dream is a wish your heart makes.” Am I right?

Since I’ve gotten married, moved and begun my first post-grad school job, I’ve started making lists of things I want to do now that I have an actual income and vacation time. Of course, these things will require a bit of saving, but, hey, that’s what my Disney princess and Yoda piggy banks are for.

So, take a peek at a few of my wishes. What’s on your theme park bucket list?

1. Adventures by Disney: Southern California 

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I always thought Adventures by Disney, thorough vacation tours put together by the Mouse, was for touring Europe with a Disney spin. And you can do that, with tours to France, Italy, and Norway (hello Frozen), to name a few, but there’s so much more than that. They offer tours in North America, Asia, Africa, Australia and South America, but it’s possible to include a more traditional Disney vacation (i.e., visiting the parks) with an Adventure by Disney.

Adventures by Disney’s Southern California tour is for the true Walt Disney admirer. You experience a behind-the-scenes peek at Walt’s life, visiting his private Disneyland apartment, touring the Disney backlot and exploring Walt Disney Imagineering. You also get a behind-the-scenes look at Disneyland, Jim Henson’s Muppet Studios, and a traditional Hollywood tour. Adventures by Disney offers Southern California tours with an Avengers half marathon focus and a Star Wars half marathon focus, too. With Adventures by Disney, you don’t have to worry about anything. Everything — down to the Fastpasses — are taken care of, but your guides also allow for independent exploration time.

2. SeaWorld San Antonio

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SeaWorld San Antonio is the only SeaWorld park I have yet to visit, and now I’m only 6 hours away. Like Busch Gardens, SeaWorld San Antonio puts on a Howl-O-Scream event, transforming the park into a land of haunted mazes. Unlike Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights, Howl-O-Scream is included in your park admission. The event begins at 7 p.m., lasting until 11 p.m. or 12 a.m., depending on the date. Howl-O-Scream takes place Sept. 26 to Oct. 31.

SeaWorld San Antonio’s dolphin show, Azul, combines beluga whales, dolphins, and birds. I love Blue Horizons at SeaWorld Orlando, but I’m interested to see beluga whales as part of a SeaWorld show. I also want to see SeaWorld San Antonio’s Clyde and Seamore show (the classic, comedic sea lion show), Cannery Row Caper. In this show, Clyde and Seamore have to figure out who is stealing fish from a local cannery. SeaWorld San Antonio also offers high thrills, boasting two steel coasters (Great White and Steel Eel) and their version of the water coaster, Journey to Atlantis.

3. Dining with an Imagineer, Walt Disney World Resort

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You read that right. Disney Dining allows guests to sit down for a meal and chat with an Imagineer, the very people who who think up rides, shows and even entire parks. This is a dream come true for me. I think I will not be able to eat my food because I won’t stop asking questions.

As far as the food, though, it will be delicious, as Dining with an Imagineer takes place at the Hollywood Brown Derby, a recreation of the famous star-studded spot at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Dining with an Imagineer is only offered a few days out of a month, and it is currently booked up through February 2015. This is definitely something you need to plan far in advance. For reservation information, click here. 

4. Six Flags Over Texas 

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I’m now a few hours from Dallas, so I want to make a visit to Six Flags Over Texas soon. I’ve only been to Six Flags Over Georgia, so I’m ready to take on the coasters in a new locale. Six Flags Over Texas boasts Batman the Ride: Backwards, a coaster taking riders on the corkscrews and twirls of the Batman…backwards. It sounds like it may not be for the faint of stomach, but it’s definitely for the adventurous of heart.

Six Flags Over Texas also participates in Fright Fest, Six Flags’ Halloween event. Fright Fest occurs every Friday to Sunday from Sept.27 – Nov. 2, plus Monday, Oct.13 (Columbus Day). Six Flags Over Texas has not posted their lineup yet, but the event will consist of haunted houses, scare zones, rides and shows.

5. Diagon Alley, Universal Orlando 

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I’ve journeyed to Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure, shopping in the village and dining at The Three Broomsticks, but I have ye to experience Diagon Alley.I cannot wait to ride Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, a 3D thrill ride through the most-protected bank in the wizarding world.

Like Hogsmeade, Diagon Alley has distinctively themed shopping and dining. Borgin and Burkes offers supplies for the more questionable wizards in your group. As a sorted Sytherin (according to Pottermore), I definitely plan on paying this creepy spot a visit. The Leaky Cauldron, the dive bar/restaurant serving as the entrance to the wizarding world from London, serves English dishes, much like The Three Broomsticks.

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