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Most relaxed and most stressful theme parks

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Hi guys. I was reading a Merlin-bashing thread over on CoasterForce earlier, and I noticed a really interesting series of posts that a poster made in that particular thread talking about their recent trip to Alton Towers, in which they made numerous comments inferring that Alton Towers is not an especially relaxed park visit for them:

Like many of us on this site I'm quite anal and militant when visiting parks and I've never felt relaxed and not stressed when at Towers. Even this week when it was dead and I knew I had 2 days I was still in such a rush. I'm not like that at other parks, it's just a Towers thing.

My disappointment stems from the fact that Towers is never a chilled day.

The full series of posts I'm referring to begins here: https://coasterforce.com/forums/threads/wtf-merlin.38748/post-1132260


Their post really inspired me, and it got me thinking about some of the more relaxed and more stressful theme parks I've ever been to. So with that in mind, my question to you today is; what are the most relaxed and most stressful theme parks you've visited? What parks feel like a nice Sunday stroll, where you're as chilled as you can be? What parks feel really stressful to be in (for any reason)?


I'll get the ball rolling with my choices...


For most relaxed, I'm going with Paultons Park. We visited this park during the summer holidays, yet we surprisingly got on 14 rides within a park day of a little over 6 hours. And that was with at least 2 hours of that, possibly getting on for 2.5-3 hours, spent not riding anything; I can't remember exactly, but my photo history from the day suggests that we spent a good hour just aimlessly strolling about taking in the surroundings, we spent a good hour eating a sit-down meal in the Tornado Springs restaurant, and we probably spent another solid 30 minutes in downtime when you add on the good few minutes we spent having drinks and cakes outside Cobra while we watched the ride go round, as well as the stroll we had through the gardens later in the day. We got in a pretty incredible ride count (my second highest ever!), yet it never once felt like we were rushing; the whole park just felt so relaxed and stress-free to be in the whole time we were there!


For most stressful, I'm perhaps controversially going to go with Disney's Magic Kingdom. Don't get me wrong, it's a lovely park, but I wouldn't say I felt overly relaxed in there at all. I can't pinpoint one particular thing that made me feel this way, but there were a number that could have contributed. The sheer crowd levels in the park made me feel pretty anxious; it feels like you're packed in there pretty tightly, and I felt like I had to remain hyper-aware of where I was stepping for the entire time I was there. Queues were sometimes pretty long (often approaching, or even at times exceeding, 2 hours), and I felt like I was slightly rushed trying to get on everything, although FastPass+ was admittedly a big help here. And something about the whole atmosphere made me feel a bit stressed, and I can't quite place my finger on what. For some reason, I'd also say that MK felt more stressful than even the other 3 Disney parks; I'm not even sure why, it just did for some reason.


But what are the most relaxed and most stressful theme parks you've visited?

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Most relaxed


Disneyland Paris Parc. Wonderful park. I've been with Thunder and Space mountain both down all day and had a wonderful relaxed day

Animal Kingdom - Fantastic park to get lost in an animal trails or having a nice drink at Nomad lounge. 

Chessington - Yes Chessington is a lovely place to unwind in. Forget 40 minute Fury waits, just go around the Zoo or watch a show.

Efteling - I love this place. Its just so charming and easy to get lost in.



Most Stressed


Magic Kingdom - Way too stressful. Completely broken park which will take a lot to fix. I don't think it can be mended to be honest

Disneyland - So small, so cramped, so many rides to do but not enough time to do them. Great history but painful to visit. 

Port Aventura - Awful park to be in. Full of queue jumping neanderthals and unbearably hot and humid..

Cedar Point - This is here for Top Thrill Dragster alone which is the most stressful queuing experience of any major rollercoaster. Will it work properly, will it make it over. Awful.


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Ohh interesting thread!


I agree with Merlin’s parks being stressful.

As much as I adore Alton Towers, it isn’t a relaxing day at all is it. Especially on days with shorter hours.


Chessington can be another stressful place with low capacity rides and high crowds, and that’s going to become much worse with their new one train coaster.


I’d say Thorpe CAN be more chilled than Towers sometimes, but can really swing the other way depending on crowds etc.


I think Fastrack sales dramatically adds to the stress and is a major downfall of Merlin’s parks.


As for relaxing parks - Disneyland Paris for sure.

I think Seaworld has got to be the most relaxing park I’ve ever been to though. 
(Aquatica if we are including water parks!)

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This is such a difficult thing to answer, because it can entirely depend on crowd levels. Efteling for example is a park I would call relaxed, but I've had a particular day filled with school trips that was a nightmare and just stress. So I'll try and pick parks which I think would be relaxed/stressful regardless of visitor numbers...



Linnanmaki (Finland) - The park is well designed and has rides that are designed to cope with its crowds. Go variety of rides, good indoor and outdoor selections, good food. It's a nice city park on the outskirts of a city, creating a surprisingly relaxed and chilled out atmosphere.


Hellendoorn (Netherlands) - A spacious park with a good variety sprinkled all across the park. Nice green spaces too.



Fantasy Island - The worst parts of a theme park mixed with worst part of a seaside resort. The market and arcade is just noise and eurgh.


Drievliet (Netherlands) - Awkwardly small space and just weird and annoying. Probably slightly basing this on the fact I visited when a million school kids were there which didn't help, but in general, I think this park would just be annoying and stress.


Parc Saint Paul (France) - Visiting the park feels morally dodgy tbh

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I'm going to ignore, crowd levels etc and go with disability friendly.


Least stressful

Disneyland Paris

Blackpool (this has apparently changed recently)

Flamingoland (Only stressful part was I forgot to take my walking stick so got painful)


Most stressful

Drayton Manor

Alton Towers

Chessington (Gets nerve wracking leaving a wheelchair/walking stick not close to ride platform)


Fire depths of hell

Thorpe Park


Never will I go to Thorpe Park again assuming that I can have an ounce of independance with just a stick and end up still standing in a queue for Colosuss for 30+ minutes just because I felt that I was good enough to do without a wheelchair. Which defeated the point of I am using the disability pass due to mobility not because I HAVE to be in a wheelchair the whole time. 

@Benin can confirm most these stories hopefully!

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My most relaxed would have to be Dollywood Or Cedar point (I visited both for multiple days and they were not busy at all.)

and most stresful would have to be Six flags over texas when it was packed packed.


but sadly with towers short opening hours even an off peak day feels like a rush to do everything. It sucks. such a big park and still 4pm closes? It's been going on for years and its an absolute joke, even in May/June time. Like why?

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On 4/2/2022 at 8:44 PM, JoshC. said:

Parc Saint Paul (France) - Visiting the park feels morally dodgy tbh


My first view of this park (after my car breaking on the way there. Stressful in a different manner) was a chained up elephant. So fun.


On 4/5/2022 at 7:05 AM, Holly said:

Flamingoland (Only stressful part was I forgot to take my walking stick so got painful)



That day was very good. But not having to suffer the terrible operations for more than 5 minutes each ride helped immensely.


Farup and Djurs Sommarland are both incredibly relaxing parks. Hours of fun in the playgrounds alone. Most of the Scandinavian parks are super relaxing to be fair.


I'll admit I'm dreading going back to Phantasialand with a wheelchair. Plus leaving it unattended in Bakken wasn't pleasant.

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