Parks that require a lot of walking

Matt N

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
Hi guys. While you might not typically think of theme parking as a form of exercise, walking around theme parks can burn a surprising amount of calories, and be surprisingly effective exercise; I come out of most theme parks I visit having done over 10,000 steps during the day! But some parks require a greater amount of walking than others; sometimes, you visit a park and think to yourself “wow, walking around this place is a real hike…”. So my question to you today is; which parks necessitate a lot of walking throughout the day? Which parks have you come out of thinking “wow, walking around there was a real workout”?

For me, there’s a very easy answer to this one, and that’s Alton Towers. The park is massive, and the walking isn’t just confined to the park itself; if you don’t want to queue for the monorail, the walk to the park from the car parks is a surprising journey in itself! While I’m not sure on the exact stats, doing the walk between the car parks and the park in both directions would get you solidly halfway towards the Fitbit daily target of 10,000 steps in itself, if not more, and that’s before you even take the park itself into consideration! The park does necessitate a surprising amount of walking; although most of us probably just take Alton Towers’ size and walking level for granted, I can imagine the routes to certain attractions (for instance, the route to Forbidden Valley from most parts of the park) being somewhat of a trek for an inexperienced visitor, particularly if they struggle with walking. And that’s even if you don’t go into the Gardens… these are a whole new level of trek, and while they are lovely to look at, I wouldn’t advise walking through them as a shortcut unless you are an experienced walker who has no issues with steep, uneven terrain or have excellent orienteering skills; I haven’t tried the Gardens in a few years, but whenever I do, I always seem to get lost in there. Every time, without fail, I lose my bearings and get totally lost!

All in all, Alton Towers is definitely a fair old hike as far as parks go, in my opinion; I think a day at Alton when I didn’t take the monorail or Skyride at all might well still hold my Fitbit step count record. I think I got something like 18,000 steps that day, and my legs ached a fair bit the day after!

But what parks require a lot of walking in your view?
 

Maelstrom

TS Member
Although the parks are not massive (expect maybe Epcot and animal kingdom) I always end up doing loads of walking when at the Orlando Parks, don't think had many days less than 20,000 steps! most between 20-30k. Will need to be less when I go in august this year due to the higher humidity levels and temps than when have been in the past.
 

John

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance
I mean, you could just call this topic "very big parks" and it'd amount to the same thing. That said, the likes of both Busch Gardens parks and PortAventura can require a disproportionate amount of walking due to their layout. All 3 have a "main loop" path running around the park with most of the rides located on this loop. This is OK if you work your way around the park and go on everything as you get to it but a real pain if you just want to get another ride in on 3 different coasters towards the end of a day. To make it more frustrating, some of the rides inside the loop are very close to each other geographically but a long way apart on the path (e.g PA's log flume/el diablo and BGW's Loch Ness Monster/Griffon). At least at the likes of AT and Efteling the long walks between rides are a result of significant physical distance between them and not just that there's no direct paths.
 

Plastic Person

TS Member
Having visited a broad range of theme parks over the last thirty years, I can confidently conclude that the bigger the park, the more walking is required.

I hate the fact that at Portaventura, you are often feet away from the station of a ride but inexplicably around fifteen minutes walk away from it's entrance. The opposite extreme of this inconvenience is Phantasialand, where it's possible to confidently get from a freezing-temperature night ride on Chiapas to the shower in your hotel room within five minutes. Although using the hair dryer to get your socks back into a wearable state before dinner is less exciting.
 
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Burbs

TS Team
Favourite Ride
Iron Gwazi
At Efteling you can feel like you're walking forever certainly, and even after having been 3 times I forget just how far it is between areas a lot of the time. I'll also mention Walibi Holland here. Despite being a relatively small park, the layout can mean having to take a really inconvenient route to certain rides.
 

MattyH

TS Member
Favourite Ride
GIIBBB
Legendia has to be the most surprising of places I've visited in terms of walking, although the park is small because of the lake meaning you have to walk right the way around to reach Lech and the rest of the rides it means there is a lot of walking in a not so big park.
 

John_P

TS Member
Alton Towers for sure

Efteling is enormous

Walibi Holland is not great due to Goliath being at a dead end. Though now Untamed is open the walk back to another good ride is now considerably shorter.

Six Flags Great Adventure is enormous

Cedar Point is just ridiculously large, the walk from Park entrance to Top Thrill Dragster, then onto Magnum, and then Millennium Force. Plus the whole loop round the frontier trail.

Energylandia is pretty big, and also set out like a maze when it comes to navigating the park. (especially when trying to get all the creds)
 

Matt Creek

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance
Here’s some of mine.

Alton Towers
Enormous as expected, lots of walking between key areas. The gardens also go on for miles and feature a substantial amount of terrain.

Efteling
Humongous place, it’s easy to get lost in the Fairy Tale Forest, let alone the rest of the park. With thar said, it can easily take upwards of 30 minutes going from one end of the park to the other, whilst knowing where you are going.

Energylandia
This one might be of a surprise. Although mostly flat, the size of the park is substantial. Lots of Winding-random walkways to access different areas, not to mention Zadra and the Aqualantis area feeling miles away from the rest of the main park. The walking threshold will no-doubt only be even more substantial in years to come, when further new additions are added. No notable transport rides here either.

Honourable mentions:
Europa Park, Cedar Point, Port Aventura

Shortest walking parks go to Thorpe Park, Chessington and Adventure Island. This excludes piers and mini amusement type places.
 

Tim

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Air / Blue Fire
I want to give Lotte World a shout out for being a tiny park which surprisingly does involve a fair bit of walking.
The park only takes up the main hall of a mall and a small piece of land on a lake. But that main hall is across 4 Floors (6 if you include the 2 basement levels) and unless you know where a ride entrance is it's easy to make multiple trips across floors while looking. Not to mention that the outdoor area is accessed from a bridge on the 2nd floor that's also hard to find.
Obviously your step count won't be anywhere near as high as one of these massive parks but for a tiny park it deffinetly adds up.
 

Ian

TS Team
Favourite Ride
Dizz, Bobby’s Yarn Land 🧶
Towers and Efteling are absolutely the worst two I’ve come across to date.

At Efteling not only can you end up walking miles and miles to get between attractions (Vogel Rok to Fata Morgana being a particular killer), but it’s so easy to get lost. People have stepped into the fairytale forest as children and emerged decades later, wrinkled and old. No, it’s not some sort of fairy magic, they’ve just been trapped in there for that long.

In fact I’m pretty sure most missing person cases in The Netherlands can be attributed to that damn forest.

And for the love of god, never try to take a shortcut. It just makes everything so much worse. @Sir Queer Llama I’m sure will remember all to well the time we squeezed through a hedge trying to save time, only to walk for 10 minutes and end up back EXACTLY where we had started.

The only saving grace of the park is that it’s so flat.
 

Rob

TS Team
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance
I would argue that a full day at most major theme parks requires a lot of walking. Of course it is easier at those where the park is smaller with more rides crammed in to less space (e.g. Thorpe Park or Phantasialand) or those where the layout can make it relatively easy to get from any one part of a park to any other part (hub and spoke layout parks work well for this).

Of course there are some massive parks out there, or some where you have to walk a hell of a long way to get somewhere that is not actually that far away. I remember the last time I was at Busch Gardens Tampa, I think we were trying to walk from SheiKra to Montu. It did not look far as the crow flies but the route you had to take was long and illogical.

Also I do not recommend losing your group at Cedar Point, and trekking from the back of the park, all of the way to the front of the park, and then all the way to the back again. Made the beer more enjoyable mind!
 

Sammy

TS Team
Favourite Ride
Untamed - Walibi Holland
Towers and Efteling are absolutely the worst two I’ve come across to date.

At Efteling not only can you end up walking miles and miles to get between attractions (Vogel Rok to Fata Morgana being a particular killer), but it’s so easy to get lost. People have stepped into the fairytale forest as children and emerged decades later, wrinkled and old. No, it’s not some sort of fairy magic, they’ve just been trapped in there for that long.

In fact I’m pretty sure most missing person cases in The Netherlands can be attributed to that damn forest.

And for the love of god, never try to take a shortcut. It just makes everything so much worse. @Sir Queer Llama I’m sure will remember all to well the time we squeezed through a hedge trying to save time, only to walk for 10 minutes and end up EXACTLY where we had started.

Quite. And just look at that state of me now…


As for my personal thoughts, could not agree more with @John in the annoyance of PA’s loop system. On that note, Europes other PA, Parc Asterix is a deceptively large park and in previous years suffered similar issues with no direct link between Goudurix and Zeus. Now that was a walk, though thankfully back then once you’d done Goudurix once there was no need to ever return to that end of the park.

Another one for me to an extent is the back portions of Heide Park, though thankfully that is where more of the rides are, which makes it somewhat more bearable. Basically any park built with a lake at its centre causes issues. American Adventure way back when, though small, the lack of link between Missile & the (new) entrance. My God!
 
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Ian

TS Team
Favourite Ride
Dizz, Bobby’s Yarn Land 🧶
I remember the last time I was at Busch Gardens Tampa, I think we were trying to walk from SheiKra to Montu. It did not look far as the crow flies but the route you had to take was long and illogical.

When we did our behind the scenes tour at BGT they actually took you through the admin and services area when walking between SheiKra and Montu. It really hammered home just how geographically close they are and backwards the walking route is!
 

Cheese

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Helix, Liseberg
Not the most obvious place to mention here perhaps, especially as it's really a zoo that happens to have a couple of park areas, but Kolmården comes to mind for me. It isn't just vast, it's seemingly built across the top of a number of hills, making it a very strenuous day out (especially if you visit on a scorching hot day). Also, as tempting as it is to go straight to Wildfire, it's pretty well as far from the entrance as possible, so working your way across to it steadily is a much better idea.
 

Matt.GC

TS Member
I didn't know it was possible to go to Towers for a day and walk less than 30000 steps? I clock this almost every time I'm there. If Nemesis is walk on, I'm the kind of guy that will march all the way over there from the bottom of X Sector to beat the queues. I smash almost every ride early in the day then spend the rest of the day smashing it from area to area to get a short queue. I clocked 41000 steps there once at Scarefest a few years ago. If staying over I find it hard to get up the next morning and if driving back home for 3 hours I have to take my shoes off in the car and put my Jim jams on.

It's the hills that are a killer, and I normally spend the last hour of the day walking from the exit to Nemesis up to the top then back into the queue line over and over again when it's walk on. Shattering stuff but worth it. Pushing a push chair from Enterprise up to the top should be made an Olympic sport, I did it many times when my kids where young and it's a killer. Done it with my daughter on my shoulders a few times as well. It was like a clip from Rocky movie without the statue at the top "we did it Adrien!".

Europa on the other hand (as it has been mentioned) I've spent 7 days there in total and never went over 20k. The park is actually quite small it just gives the illusion of size due to how much there is to do there. Even though I kind of know my way round it now, I still kind of get lost due to how immersive it is.

Hopefully doing a joint Phantasialand and Efteling trip in May and I'm now looking forward to getting fully lost in the Fairytale Forest.
 

rob666

TS Member
Using express parking for our picnic, I find changing footwear in the middle of the day makes a massive difference for sore feet.
Lighter trainers in the afternoon feel like slippers!
 
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