Theme Parks & Attractions: Magic moments

Theme Parks & Attractions: Magic moments

Make a theme park break even more special, writes Katie McGonagle

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In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, it takes an elusive golden ticket to grant Charlie unparalleled access to Willy Wonka’s magical sweet emporium. But there’s no need for your clients to chomp through chocolate bars to get insider access to their favourite theme park attractions – all it takes is a little ‘upselling’.

Chances are, you probably already offer theme park tickets as an automatic add-on to any Orlando booking, and you may even upgrade with queue jumps or higher-value multi park passes, but why stop there?

Annabel Cove, business development manager at Do Something Different, says: “The key to selling attraction tickets is to remember there is always something extra that can be suggested. This isn’t a case of hard-selling, but of providing the best holiday experience for the customer.

“Attraction tickets are the crux of any theme park holiday, but it’s the added extras that make the experience so memorable, increase commission earnings, and ensure customers come back to the agent.”

VIP Treatment

If a simple queue skip isn’t special enough, there are plenty of experiences that really roll out the red carpet.

Gold Medal USA product manager Mark White says: “If customers are looking for a spot of VIP treatment, there’s only one place for it, Universal Studios Hollywood. The VIP experience is a behind-the-scenes glimpse at areas such as the props department and sound stages. Guests also receive front-of-line access, reserve seating at shows, a gourmet lunch and an expert guide to reveal hidden secrets.” Prices start at £293 via Gold Medal.

Animal enthusiasts can also delve deeper on SeaWorld’s Behind the Scenes Tour, which includes a chat with park vets about its rescue and rehabilitation programme, as well as close-up views of a shark and a penguin (from £22 adult/£7 child through Do Something Different, in addition to park entry).

Star treatment can last long into the evening too, with a VIP Dinner at Planet Hollywood Orlando. Guests are whisked to Downtown Disney in a stretch limousine with champagne or soda, before dining in Hollywood style, surrounded by movie memorabilia (from £55 for transport and a voucher towards the cost of the meal, bookable through Funway Holidays).

Wild Side

Serengetti Safari at Busch Gardens

Unless they’ve already ticked an African safari off their bucket list, this might be the first time your clients have seen exotic species first-hand, so it’s worth offering to make their first glimpse even more memorable.

The Serengeti Safari at Busch Gardens Tampa, for example, lets them feed a giraffe as well as see ostriches, zebras and rhino, and learn about conservation projects (from £23).

If they’re more interested in life underwater than on the savannah, sister parks SeaWorld and Discovery Cove have several add-ons to take clients to the heart of the action.

Dine with Shamu is a meal with a difference, offering ringside seats to see the famous killer whale (from £22 adult/£15 child under nine with Attraction World), while for those who want to get more involved, the Beluga Interaction Programme will have them donning wetsuits to jump in alongside the gentle Arctic mammals (from £97).

Over in Discovery Cove, guests can really immerse themselves using a dive helmet to see rays, tropical fish, sharks and other sea creatures up-close – perfect for those who have never tried diving but still want a taste of life in the ocean (£45 with Do Something Different, plus park entrance from £120).

Good Character

There’s nothing more exciting than seeing much-loved characters come to life before your eyes, which is why Disney’s character dining options are among its most popular add-ons.

SuperBreak can roll a character breakfast or lunch at Café Mickey in Disney Village into any Disneyland Paris break, from £20.50 or £33/£17.50 respectively, giving guests a chance to meet and take photos with an array of their favourite characters.

Adding even more glitz, Do Something Different counts the Disney VIP Character Breakfast among its best-selling attractions in Orlando.

The ticket (£70 adult/£57 child) includes a luxury limousine transfer to Disney’s Contemporary Resort for an unlimited buffet breakfast with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto and Donald Duck.

Little princesses might prefer lunch at Cinderella’s Royal Table, a favourite with Funway clients, offering a chance to meet and pose for photos with Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother (from £30/£19).

Win a family holiday to SeaWorld


SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment is offering agents the chance to win a seven-night VIP family holiday to Florida, then share their experience in Travel Weekly.

The winner will receive return flights to Orlando and accommodation for two adults and two children (one of whom must be aged seven-12), plus entry into all four SeaWorld parks in Florida: SeaWorld Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa, Discovery Cove and Aquatica Orlando.

You and your family will go behind the scenes at SeaWorld Orlando to meet veterinarians and learn about the animal rescue programme that has helped over 24,000 ill, injured or abandoned animals, from grey whales to sea turtles, since it began 50 years ago.

You’ll also get VIP access to SeaWorld’s largest-ever expansion, Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, coming face-to-face with one of 250 gentoo, adélie, king or rockhopper penguins, before heading to TurtleTrek to see rescued manatees and sea turtles.

For budding vets, Busch Gardens Tampa is the place to see animals up-close, observe veterinary procedures and learn about animal nutrition, then head out on a Serengeti Safari to see rhino and zebra, and feed a giraffe. Then swoop like a bird of prey on latest thrill ride Falcon’s Fury, the world’s first face-down drop tower of its kind.

Next, swim with dolphins at Discovery Cove, snorkel with rays and tropical fish in The Grand Reef, then either wind down at waterpark Aquatica Orlando or brave newest ride Ihu’s Breakaway Falls, but be warned: it’s the tallest, steepest and only multi-drop tower slide in Orlando.

On your return, you and one or both of your children will be interviewed by Travel Weekly about your experience – the ultimate holiday momento.

How to enter

Answer this question:

Q. How many ill, injured or sick animals has SeaWorld rescued over the past 50 years?
A) Over 24,000
B) Over 20,000
C) Over 21,000

Sumbit your answer, by April 2, at
The winner and their family must be available to travel from May 23-30. Full T&Cs online.


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