I've been to Disney World four times. Once when I was a kid, twice as a teacher chaperoning the high school senior trip, and once with my own boys about five years ago. Personally, I have never found anything magical about the Magic Kingdom. I've always left disappointed, but I know plenty of people who love it and go every year. For many people who've never had the chance to go to Disney World or Disneyland, it's a bucket list item.
But there is one theme park that I am dying to visit. In fact, it's fairly high up on my bucket list because it's a theme park devoted to wine. Could this be the best theme park ever? Maybe.
La Cité du Vin (City of Wine) is a "10-story, $91 million museum with a Disneyland approach to its 20 themed areas and exhibits," according to Conde Nast Traveler. The park, which opened in June, boasts one ride, a simulated boat ride that takes visitors through "the maritime journey of a merchant’s galley across the globe." Some attractions get even more interactive than that. There are expert tastings that take park visitors through the 5 S's of wine: see, swirl, sniff, sip and savor. There's also an attraction that focuses on the sniff part with 3-D images and olfactory whiffs.
Call me eccentric, but that attraction sounds a lot more fun than the attractions at Disney. (Except Space Mountain. Space Mountain is awesome.)
Here are a few other reasons why visiting La Cité du Vin is on this wine-lover's bucket list:
- It's a bargain. The base ticket price is only 20 euro, the equivalent of $22.40 right now and includes a glass of wine. Workshops, some tastings and other events will incur additional charge.
- A digital guide included with the entrance fee will translate things into English, or seven other languages.
- They offer some workshops in English. At the moment, there's a "Question of Style: Bordeaux" workshop in English, complete with tasting. (Yes, please!)
- One of the permanent exhibits has to do with wine and the "Art of Living." I'm particularly interested in the communal aspect of wine, and this exhibit is about how wine is "inextricably linked to the concept of sharing and conviviality."
- The eighth floor has a panoramic view of Bordeaux, the city, vineyards and surroundings. It also holds a restaurant, tapas bar, and boutique wine store that sells wines from 80 countries.
- There's a document library in the works sourcing from five different languages that contains "a wide selection of literary, historic, artistic and even anthropological works relating to the world of wine."
- Outside La Cité du Vin is Bordeaux with restaurants, wineries, vineyards, markets ... much better than the fast-food restaurants and pancake houses that surround many of the theme parks here in the U.S.
- And, while I don't expect to be taking my kids there unless they want to go when they're older, the venue is family-friendly.
For years, I've been talking about a trip to France, and it looks like next year it's going to happen. La Cité du Vin is definitely on my bucket list of wine activities to do while I'm there.