Let's start with my newest love, Bollywood Boulevard from Bollywood Parks Dubai. Paul Sierra's artistic design distills the spectacle of a Bollywood musical into a colorful street that offers more visual delights with every step. And with the wonderful Raj Mahal as the weenie at the end, Bollywood Boulevard won me over within moments of entering the park for the first time. That's what a great theme park entry ought to do.
Keeping with international parks, my next-favorite theme park entryway is the approach to the Revenge of the Mummy ride at Universal Studios Singapore. Now this is how you set the scene for a thrill ride! And Singapore's Mummy delivers on this promise, with the darkest (and most wickedly entertaining) version of this ride yet.
But my favorite moment in any park outside the United States happened when I walked into the Chamber of Planets in Fortress Explorations at Tokyo DisneySea. This impressive solar system model allows you to turn a handle... and make the heavens move. It's a sublime moment that demonstrates the power of great artistic design.
Coming back closer to home, I love every moment I spend and every morsel I eat in The Three Broomsticks at Universal Studios Hollywood. My favorite quick-service theme park restaurant is your's too, as USH's Wizarding World of Harry Potter restaurant won our Theme Park Insider Award in this category last year.
But let me fly back to Orlando to cast spells in Universal Studios Florida's Diagon Alley — the most perfect single theme park land in the world.
And while I am in Orlando, take me to Epcot for the most perfect theme park movie ever made, Walt Disney World's Impressions de France.
If you are in the park this month, be sure to check out the pop-up Animation Academy during the Festival of the Arts. I mourn the loss of this hands-on attraction at the old Disney Animation pavilion in Hollywood Studios, but never miss a chance to spend a class in the one that remains in Disney California Adventure.
How many of you first heard of Theme Park Insider when you saw the sign outside Mythos Restaurant at Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure? Our winner for Best Theme Park Restaurant from 2003-2008 continues to boast of its honors with a banner above its door, and I adore them for that.
But as much as I love the tastes of Mythos and The Three Broomsticks, the sight of Bollywood, the feel of the planets moving at DisneySea, and the music of Epcot's France, there is one smell that immediately makes my theme park loving heart melt. (And as crazy as this one might sound, I know many of you share this one, too.) I'll admit it, I love the unique smell inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.
And the final spot on this list is held for another one of my former homes, the attraction I most loved to work as a cast member at Walt Disney World. It was my favorite attraction as a child and my place where I spend so many of my favorite moments working in the parks. My dearest theme park valentine, the Tom Sawyer Island Rafts.
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