Sunday, 31 July 2011

Europa Park

Europa Park is easily one of the best theme parks in the world, and you'll find plenty of reviews full of superlatives. I tried to do something a bit different with this report focusing on the smaller details that the park has but still spilling superlatives on everything just like every other report.

In the distance is one of the many hotels that the Europa have built turning their park into a fully fledged resort. They appear to build a new hotel every few years and manage to retain an amazing 95% booking rate. So if you're planning on staying here, book well in advance. Reservations are being taken for the hotel they've not even planned yet. That's how busy they are.

Icarus hidden around the Pegasus coaster, which fortunately has a shorter drop than the one he took. Now that would be a ride.

The rather spectacular Euro Mir that we were allowed to queue jump and ride exclusively.

In the Iceland area you can see a cat with the head of a shark.

Why have two identical towers when you can have different designs for each one...although the top is the same, negating my case somewhat.

For many years Europa had a policy of not adding rides to the park that had inversions because they believed going upside down would not appeal to the park demographic. So with Blue Fire they use their mechanical skill to rotate the entire planet around the car giving the impression of going upside down. Those Mack's are amazing

Blue Fire is stunning and must be ridden if visiting the park. It must be, ok?

Patrick makes Blue Fire his 400th coaster. Patrick works in the music industry. Patrick didn't make a sign to celebrate this landmark ride. 400 in Roman numerals is CD. Capiche?

In 2003, living Coaster God Werner Stengel told us in a Q&A that ride designs wouldn't change significantly but manufacturers would need to begin looking at train designs. This train is stunning with no over the shoulder restraints and they've even incorporated gym pulse measuring devices, something I suggested to Holiday Park 5 years ago, but I'm not bitter.

Glasses and wet weather can lead to accidents.

The umbrellas are just theming and remain down even when it rains.

EuroMaus, the park mascot is not a wild mouse. That can be found elsewhere in the park.

Here's a tilt-shift of the park taken from the observation tower. Dirty window aside you can get a feel for how big and beautiful the park is.

EuroSat, the enclosed coaster, is a great ride during an ERS. Your first ride should be in the dark with your hands up, then with the lights on where you're less reluctant to put your hands up because you realise how close the track is.

We had a Silver Star ERS which didn't go as well. I'm not sure if we ran out of time or what but I think we only got 2 goes on it. It's still running very well.

If this is to scale then motor racing drivers are midgets and should be riding horses.

The Pegasus coaster is almost as hard to find as the legendary flying horse.

Listen to the ride carefully and you'll hear galloping and neighing. Talk loudly to your friends in the queue line and you may miss that.

Rumour has it that when constructing the ride they found an entire village that had remained buried for hundreds of years. In amongst the ruins they found urns, coins and my joke book.

In the jungle the mighty jungle the lion seeps tonight.

Poseidon is one of those wet-to-get coasters. Collect the credit and get soaked through for the privilege. I'd already done it so spent the time getting first-timers wet with the water cannon. Be careful of the water cannons here, there's a price to be paid for firing it.

A man with a big prick gets the horn. Poseidon was a perv.

As ever the throughput of the ride was top notch with boats departuring too frequently to keep up with. This however is not the Poseidon station.

This Poseidon Adventure will get you wet but won't kill you.

An orthodox arch that serves no purpose other than to break the otherwise empty pathway up. With more small touches than a midget pervert its this level of detail that puts this park top of most people's lists.

The artwork within the arches tells the story of the Mack family's ancestors travelling through Europe for a plot of land that lay close to France, Switzerland and Germany where they could take advantage of 3 national holiday calendars to maximise public throughput.

Euromir is 14 years open and no matter how many times you'll ride it you'll always end up in a seat that spends most of it's journey going backwards.

Under the restaurant there's a exhibition of rides and models. This here is a little model of the Blue Fire train, built for those too small to ride the real Michael Schumacher...midget!

This is the headchopper EuroSat model. Definitely worth hunting out after you've ridden it.

Foodloop is a new restaurant chain that is gradually opening around Germany. The first was in Hamburg and the third in Nuremburg. Europa came in at number 2 but is the only one thus far to feature a loop.

You order meals via a card-swipe and touch screen then watch it whizz around the track towards you.

Hang around for long enough in here or order the right food then you'll get a little car lit with sparklers (which I didn't catch on camera unfortunately)

Kat plays block the letters to make something rude unless your Spanish in which case she's just pointing out the time.

In the theming around the Atlantica Supersplash ride there's a treasure map which includes Monkey Island. 80s videogame fans amongst you will know about this secret.

The buildings in the Iceland area couldn't be made of metal as they interfered with the mobile phone masts in the area. So they're made of wood but made to look metal.

In most parks, theming like this would be lost within a week. Nothing so fishy happens here.

The park is finally adding a wooden coaster to its roster, to some people, making it the most perfect park. It's due to open in 2012 and it'll be interesting to see how the park is able to handle the high throughput on this ride.

The watersplash ride is one of the best themed ones. What would you expect?

Hidden in the Iceland theming is some work in progress photos taken of the construction and the inspiration for the building designs.

The Blue Fire launch track moves the coaster from nought to quick in a few seconds. OK, it reaches 100km/h in 2.5 seconds stat fans!

At 32m the loop is the largest of any launched coaster in Europe. If you can guess which European non-launched coaster has a bigger loop then you've probably ridden Dragon Khan, geek!

Some of the Blue Fire merchandise is very unique, but unfortunately with the ride sponsored by an energy conglomerate means that you have their branding on everything too. One of the few areas that the park could improve on.

The park's Splash Battle attraction has to be the best themed one of them all.

This is Atlantica Supersplash. You can get an idea of how the ride is run with boats being sent round all the time.

This building in the Spanish area is modelled on the paranoid Seville Bullring. If you want to know why I think it's paranoid click here

Some of the posts on this page are complete bull. This on the other hand is completely bull, and therein lies the paradox.

Garden theming inside one of the park hotels.

More garden theming. The park employ 200 hundred gardeners to keep everything looking lovely.

The king and queen statue within the pool area of the Castillo Alcazar hotel complex.

This rather clever lion has managed to make his water bounce.

The entrance to Castillo. These guys don't do requests.

Given time the water causes the ball to tip and roll a lap around the course, before doing it all over again. If you're genuinely tired of the park, or have an OCD that needs nurturing, then watch this...for ever!

We were staying within the Colosseo hotel, which is covered in Italian replica artwork and is one of my favourite hotels.

The Venetian costumes that those of you who've played Assassins Creed will recognise.

and if you've played that game you're probably wondering if there's a glyph up there somewhere. That part of the hotel is where the top-end suites are.

It's just theming but bloody good theming at that! Enough touches to make you potty.

This is not the Tower of Terror...but it would be cool if it could be modified to be so.

This overly religious hotel is the Santa Isabel Hotel. For the atheists amongst us this was all a little bit "urgh!"

Hotel theming that goes as far as having a confessional. Kat confessed to the terrible sin of being a coaster whore. She was sentenced to ride more coasters...perverse! (and that's exactly what she did after this trip, choosing to do a silly tour de France)

This is the buffet hall, yep they even themed that.

Just a typical Europa hotel foyer!

Ronald McDonald playing with his balls, I mean ball. I wonder where the other is?

Guiness were in the park trialling their new subliminal advertising campaign. I didn't think it'll take off.

Loving the theming on their Superbob ride.

The wave swinger features rear facing seats.

In the fairytale section of the park not every tree is what it seems.

This building uses the same trick that Disney use on their castle to make it appear bigger than it really is. Each floor is shorter than the ones beneath it. That's called "Forced Perspective"

Some of the animals on this ride have eyes that imply there were more mushrooms around this ride.

Unlike some other parks on this tour, the gnomes here have their lanterns, are happy to show them off, and they work.

Someone needs to tell Ronald that this frog has his other ball.

Impressive carving. If this gets infested would it be woodworm or bookworm?

The Hansel and Gretl house looks sweet!...Dude!...sweet!

We couldn't quite work out what this carving was supposed to be, but we could convince Kat to climb into it for no reason.

Dodgems with a twist. If you're lucky they'll throw in a giant football for you to kick about.

This little indoor area of the park is sponsored by a well known sport brand.

We actually felt sorry for the park parade. They only made it to the end of the first street before a torrential downpour stopped them in their tracks. There was no option but to u-turn and head back :(

The Mack bobsled ride was still running really well and as ever had tremendous throughput with random couples being paired up to fill every car (not really)

Loving the details. The plants are different in each part of the park.

The French for flag is "drapeau" which is where the word "drapes" originates. So everytime you see the flag think bedding.

This is an ramp to allow the ducks to enter the water without jumping in. They were all too shy to use it with us watching. This is because French ducks are ashamed of their feet.

That in the background is Silver Star. The screen on the first drop prevents the screams of the riders from polluting the nearby village.

The park has a 4D cinema which they park runs as a normal cinema for the locals. They add the effects to the movies e.g. using smoke during Harry Potter. This is quite a cool idea and something other parks should perhaps offer.

These are carbonite castings of celebrities who used the "do you know who I am" line to get into the park for free.

Some of the celebs were particular rude when frozen in the carbonite.

It would be apt that a footballer would leave a foot print. Well they couldn't get Rudy Voeller's mullet to sink into the clay properly so made do with his foot.

I think the people buried here were done so vertically, or they were midgets.

The haunted ride is easily missed but worth going on. Did this inspire Haunted Mansion or vice versa?

A tip for the pervs. Bring ear plugs if you want to watch these dancers. The chipmunk voices grates more than a block of parmesan at a spaghetti bolognaise convention.

Gothic style corner extensions. I don't think this is quite English though.

Yep, a place to park your dog. This park have thought of everything...although no place to park your cat or grandparent.

Impressive statue and icicles.


Strangely out of proportion big squished Ted. He'd clearly seen better times during his Playschool run and being made redundant had brought him down somewhat.

Could this be the world's smallest carousel? It could also be one of the oldest. Most Dampf Carousels found around Europe are larger and dated 2 years later.

This was some random chalk formula, which didn't photo too well. 20*C+M+B*11. We'd guessed the 20 and 11 was the year but wasn't sure what the letters meant. Turns out it's a religious blessing C,M&B are the initials of the three wise men (Charles, Michael & Benny) but also conveniently represent "Christus Mansionem Benedicat" which translates at Christ Bless this House. I promise never to post a long religious comment ever again.

In a poor attempt to charm JC, Kat resorts to becoming a blonde!

This was a new ride added into an already cramped park, in fact it had only opened 2 days prior to our arrival. It's themed around the works of Leonardo Da Vinci.

The ride station is themed beautifully with nods to the work of the bampot inventor and a simple animatronic of him.

The throughput was actually slow here but we found out later it was because not all the trains were running, as they hadn't all completed their safety checks. Still there was plenty to look at in there.

The Hudson Hawk glider.

The da Vinci wartank, that those who've played the second Assassins Creed game might recognise.

Some of his early geometric modelling designs too.

The train looks wicked. You pedal to move the vehicle along the track. If you don't pedal, it'll move anyway. This is a relief for those of us who have gotten too tired pedalling half way round a circuit :)

Arguably the most famous painting of all time sends you on your way. Munch's "The Scream"

Some kids found the theming fun enough to play on.

Another of those aeroplane spin rides but this one rotated properly unlike the one at the safari park.

The Swiss themed mouse coaster is within a heavy wood themed enclosure and has these two ageing pop-stars in the queue line. Karen and Richard Carpenter.

This is not a tame rat. It's a wild mouse.

Tucked away next to Eurosat is an indoor dinosaur dark ride, which is really good. It's just a shame you can't take nice photos in it.

Atelier is french for "workshop". In England a "workshop" is where kids used to work for no money. If you get into an argument with your family then this is a good place to make up.

This guy was destined to be a basketball player and would have been amazing however he refused to compromise his fashion tastes and take off the hat, so they sacked him. How fortunate that Europa were looking for a tall person with a hat!

More detail in the statues that are easily overlooked (actually as this is on a rooftop technically it's very difficult to look over it at all). This piece is called "The armpit".

This woman and her colleague were quite entertaining. It's obviously a fake dog but she'd have it attack people who walked past.

Innocent kids loved playing with the dog puppets.

Big kids were genuinely scared by them, or perhaps it's just the old Kat and Dog issue rearing it's head again.

The park has mailboxes should you wish to send postcards and dead pets abroad.

This is Anthony Banderas's favourite building in Europa Park. Spanish speakers might get that crap pun immediately.

A couple more random statues. This is definitely a park that you have to look up at as well as around.

Around the bull fountain are small plaques indicating the direction and distance of a number of capitals around Europe.

Whilst Kat was flossing her entire mouth a little man emerged from within and told her to take her time.

Justin attacked by stick wielding Kat. Enough siad.

Guess which part of Europe this is? Yup, Barbershop County, Northamptonshire.

The statue of David, easily missed, but not me, because I'd learnt to look up.

A little St Marks Clocktower. There's a glyph up there too Assassins Creed fans.

I think the boy has the worse side of the see saw here. Look at the drop.

The caricaturist station is near the Swiss part of the park.

More themed trees. I think this one is a little bit sad because he's been planted into concrete.

Now where in the park can you find an attraction that contains every country in the world?
In the globe! This is a replica of Shakespeare's theatre that has it's home in London. Our's is a bit more white rather than cream though.

Dare you meddle with the wizard's beard?

This is the park's Autopia equivalent. Now this ride was due to be removed but Mr Mack walked past it one day and saw how popular it was then decided it wasn't right to remove it whilst it was still popular. Nice to see decisions other than financial opportunity being the reason.

If you get lost then look for this sign, it looks like it has every attraction on it!

This is a reconstruction of that scene from The Fifth Element where Bruce and Milla attempt to leave the spaceport. "Multipass"

If you fancy a break from walking around then behind the kid's area there are these loungers that you can relax on. Given they're unoccupied you can deduce that they're hidden or that it was raining when I took this.

The Mack family crest found on a building ordained with various shields.

The parks' jungle river cruise attraction. For a ride that has such a large foot print it's an easy ride to miss.

Inside the MausHaus there's a stained glass window with the park mascots.

In the same room some of the portraits are animated such as this one. Not sure why they used Sarah Jessica "Face for Radio" Parker though. Perhaps they wanted this to be really scary, in which case they chose well.

At night the children's forest takes on a different appearance with the addition of the Halloween lighting effects, and if you like Halloween then this park goes mental with pumpkins. If you're allergic to pumpkins then visit another time.

The mine train is a cool ride and we took advantage of there being no queue to have a couple of goes.

Otzi the Iceman was found on the Austrian Swiss border and tests revealed that he was about 5,000 years old. This model is a replica of that and is found next to the mine train exit. We know of course that the original was thawed out and he went on to release that awful "Hey Baby" track.

In the mine train queue line a couple of bears get into a fight.

The 2-lap mine train is pretty good, the grotto cave that it shoots through is very dark though.

The mosaic that forms the exit path must be one of the largest mosaics in existence.

If you spot this chap then well done. He's quite removed from the park up in the Spanish area.

A little kids playground has been added beside the Spanish entrance to the park.

The phone works but I'm not going to tell you what the voice down the line says to you.

Today was a mild day. This barometer can be found in the Spanish hotel.

In the Spanish hotel there's some pretty good pieces of art including some chubby Botero pieces.

and tucked away in a corner is a portrait of Mr Mack with some of the rides and models in the park.

The park is also a popular concert location. I've not heard of DJ Bobo for over 10 years. I used to like Euro-Trance Pop back in the early Mayday parade.

Here's some footage of the live show and his biggest hit Freedom, which was the big tune when I last heard all those years ago.

I found this in the Subway from the Colosseo hotel to the park. A little play on words. Tust, is the name of the nearby town.

That's the entrance to the Colosseo Hotel.

When you're in the hotel an occasional look up can reveal even more amazing theming.

This is the monorail station. Notice that there are no barriers whatsoever. Gotta love Europe! Getting into the park this way is actually the back way in.

Here's a ride on the monorail around some of the park.

This is the main entrance, right over at the other end of the park. We were leaving the park as we'd been invited to dinner at the park's campsite, yep they have one of those too!

From the car park I took the opportunity to get some Silverstar photos from a slightly different angle. The park was closed so no shots of the train running.

This is the entrance to the campsite, and yes the theming team have been let loose here too turning the whole place into a Western settlement.

The car obviously isn't part of the theming here.

They've painted the wagon.

Some of the chalets with Silver Star in the background.

It all gets too much for Kat and we left her there whilst we went off for dinner.

Well, I guess that message is quite clear.

The evening entertainment was not to our liking with a cowboy singer doing requests. You'd choose the songs from a karaoke book and he'd sing them. We requested he stop singing but he didn't appreciate that suggestion. These dancers were a little weird too.

and a guy with a whip. Obviously the assistant was the only good part of the show. Once the food was over a lot of us headed back to the hotel rather than sit through the remainder of the show. It's great if you like both kinds of music (country and western) but to those of us who despise it being in there was torturous.

Walking under Silverstar, a shame there was no trains running, this would have been a great angle.

Like a lot of theme parks are doing Europa have added solar panels to some of their car park.

Back at the main entrance!

Andy takes advantage of the park being empty to get his entrance shot...and this reminds me I need to send him some photos from this trip as it was Andy who lost his camera at Dusseldorf Fair.

Just inside the park is this piece of the Berlin Wall. Glad to see the country has moved on from that.

The evening was spent in a private party for the hotel guests with the Iceland area being opened up and turned into a chillout lounge area. The poor weather had meant not all the comfy seating could come out but we still had a really nice evening unwinding after a long day. We were joined by Miro, a club member and also head of operations at the park for an informal chat and Q&A.

It was during this conversation that we discussed name for the new wooden coaster and I proposed "Wodan" due to it fitting in with the Nordic Mythology and association to wood. 6 months later and the park announce that as the ride's name. If only I'd gotten this trip report out sooner, but in my defence I do have witnesses who remember me suggesting it :)

Europa was one of my favourite parks but it lacked some stellar coasters, although didn't need them. But now they've got them with Blue Fire and what's bound to be a great wooden coaster, it's now jumped to the top of the list I don't keep. Well done Europa and I'll definitely be going back when the new coaster opens.

No comments:

Post a Comment