Best Amusement and Water Parks 2014 Advisors

Our advisors for Travel's Best Amusement Parks and Water Parks 2014 scoured the globe in search of the most thrilling theme parks and the most hair-raising, heart-pumping roller coasters and rides all over the world. From Tokyo’s DisneySea to Tennessee’s Dollywood, there’s a park for every type of thrill seeker.

Meet our panel of advisors — including Travel Channel's resident daredevil and host of Trip Flip Bert Kreischer, roller coaster reviewer Robb Alvey and family travel expert Erin Gifford -- who handpicked our list of top parks you’ll want to add to your family’s travel to-do list.

1. Bert Kreischer

Gabriela Herman
Bert Kreischer is a comedian, author and – since his college days – a master of the art of fun. For the past 15 years, he has been entertaining audiences throughout the world as he journeys from city to city with his unique brand of comedy. Kreischer found his way to Travel Channel in 2009 and stands among the network's most popular hosts. He is currently the host of Travel Channel's series Trip Flip, which features Kreischer as he takes 2 people on a spontaneous, surprise adventure.

When Kreischer is not passionately discovering local adventures, traditions and thrills for Travel Channel, viewers can find him touring comedy clubs and colleges throughout the US. Prior to becoming Travel Channel's adventure-seeker on his first series for the network, Bert the Conqueror, Kreischer began his career at the Boston Comedy Club. His hilarious storytelling grabbed the attention of Hollywood A-lister Will Smith, who signed him to a television development deal. He has co-hosted FX's The X Show and made his acting debut starring in the CBS/20th Century Fox pilot, Life with David J, with Elliot Gould.

Most recently, Kreischer penned the book, Life of the Party: Stories of a Perpetual Man-Child (St. Martin's Press; on-sale May 27, 2014). In this guidebook on how not to grow up, Kreischer shares some of his most outrageous stories and more.

2. Robb Alvey

Robb Alvey, founder of has been featured on many Travel Channel shows as a theme park and roller coaster expert. He has traveled around the world visiting theme parks for over 20 years and has ridden more than 1,500 different roller coasters!

Robb can be seen on Travel Channel shows such as Insane Coaster Wars and Future Scream Machines. He has also appeared in interviews on CNN, HLN, CNBC and many other news outlets on subjects like ride safety and the overall state of the theme park industry.

His website, features information on over 700 theme parks across the globe. You can follow Robb Alvey on Twitter @ThemeParkReview.

3. Erin Gifford

Erin Gifford is a family travel expert and founder of, an award-winning travel resource designed to help moms and dads plan adventures that are both educational and fun. A mother of 4 young children, Erin serves as one of 5 Smart Family Travel experts for Scholastic Parent & Child magazine, dispensing tips and advice to families interested in memorable vacation experiences. Recently, Erin was named to Merck's Active Family Project Play Council, which seeks to empower moms to enjoy healthy and active lifestyles with their families.

Since its launch in 2011, has been named the Best Family Travel Blog by Parents magazine and the travel website, Luxury Travel Mavens, and was named a finalist in the Top Family Travel Sites category by the Red Tricycle Totally Awesome Awards. Erin's travel writing can be found on,, MiniTime, and more.

4. Steve VanDis

Steve VanDis is a seasoned reality and adventure producer who has worked for Travel Channel, Mark Burnett Productions, The Discovery Channel, The History Channel and all the major networks.

For the past 3 years Steve has spearheaded Travel Channel's series on the world's greatest roller coasters, Insane Coaster Wars. Steve's crews have traveled from Dubai's Formula Rossa, the fastest coaster in the world, to the world's steepest coaster, Takabisha at Fuji-q Highland in Japan, and experienced Kingda Ka and Intimidator 305 in the United States. Steve and his crews strive to film these roller coasters in a way that's never been done before, giving the viewers at home the ultimate ride experience.

Steve and his crew at Indigo Films have filmed over 90 roller coasters worldwide. His upcoming season of Insane Coaster Wars: World Domination will air this summer and feature some of the world's newest and hottest roller coasters.
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