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Another one bites the Rust: A Goons Guide to Europa Park

Serena

Miss CoasterForce 2016
Staff member
Social Media Team
What is the identity of Europa Park?

Is it a corporate showcase for Mack Rides to demonstrate their latest ride technology? Yes.
Is it a soulless amusement park with huge thrill coasters, emblazoned with sponsorship deals, plonked down on concrete car parks a'la Six Flags? Yes.
Is it a beautiful theme park with detailed dark rides that pay unashamed homage to the Disney World classics? Yes.
Is it a world class resort with posh hotels and a snazzy new water park? Yes.
Can it be done in one day? Yes.
Do you need 2-3 days? Yes.

Europa Park...
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Some parks are dead easy to figure out. You have the subtle, forest hues of Efteling - where the entire park feels like one themed land. The media patchwork of Thorpe Park - where Angry Birds, The Walking Dead, Love Island and Saw co-exist as if they're a sensible pairing. Then you have the enigma that is Europa Park...I've visited three times and I still don't know what it's supposed to be. Or whether I like it. I guess that's what keeps me coming back. Like eating a sprout every Christmas to see if I like them. Gotta keep checking. Maybe one day I'll have the palette for Europa Park.

Enough rambling, let's get to the coaster talk.

Arrived on Saturday morning and headed over to the parks *ahem* Star attraction. You know the one. Shambhala's older, wiser cousin who sits at the table quietly eating airtime pie, whilst Shambhala hogs all the attention from the family. Lovely, lovely Silver Star - the shyest of the B+M Hypers.

My heart sank when we were allocated to the middle of the train. You know what they say, middle of the train = middle of the road. But it was actually great, full of floater! What a pleasant surprise. A less, pleasant surprise was the removal of the old cheesy Silver Star rock song from the queue. I guess there's no longer a place for silly coaster songs with daft lyrics in the IMAscore world we live in.

I can't really remember what else we did or in what order. But the main thing is we rode Silver Star four times and the back row rides were glorious. I'm contemplating putting it back in my top 10, based purely on consistency. I've had some bad rides on Shambhala and some 10/10 rides on Shambhala, whereas Silver Star has always delivered a solid 8/10 experience for me. I think I'd take that over the highs and lows of Shambhala. Maybe.

...are you....still there? Still reading this offensive piece of coaster blasphemy?


Anyway. A new-to-me experience was Volatarium, the parks Flying Theatre ride. The building is impressive, the indoor queue is gorgeous. But DAMN IT EUROPA, I WANT TO RIDE A FLYING THEATRE THAT ISN'T LIKE WATCHING A CHILDS' CLUMSY FIRST ATTEMPT AT VIDEO EDITING!! Honestly, why are the transitions between scenes so jarring? I was half-expecting a bloody star wipe between the snowy peaks to the sandy beaches! It's so frustrating, because I feel this ride technology has so much potential to tell a story in a moving way.

But every single Flying Theatre I've ridden has no story, no consistency, no flow - just a cobbled montage of different screen-saver scenes. Why would you build such a mega building and queue, but have this dire footage on screen? Ugh. Voletarium. What. a. waste. (No, I haven't ridden Flight of Passage yet - but I am 90% sure it'll be the answer to my flying theatre prayers)

Do you ever get it on a ride, when the ride makes you.. long for another ride? Sometimes I get it on Wickerman. As it traverses The Boring Corner, I bow my head in loving memory of The Flume and yearn for a giant duck to scare the living daylights out of me. Well, this also happened on Europa's world-class family dark ride coaster - Arthur. All I could think about on board was how much I want to ride Dragon Gliders at Motiongate. All the joy of this fantastic ride system, fused with an IP I actually care about. Just imagine. Imagine how good Dragon Gliders is. Alas, Arthur is a lovely attraction and the word 'minimoy' is hilarious, so I'll let them off.

Something else I find hilarious is how the England area of Europa is the worst area by a mile. How apt is this! The most prominent attraction in Europa's England is the toilet block. I feel this sums us up well as a country. It's also funny that Europas' Iceland has the lions share of the big creds, when Iceland the country doesn't even have any creds! Wild stuff, guys. I know.

Speaking of Iceland, let's have some updates on Poo Fire Blue Fire. 1. It's no longer sponsored by Gazprom! 2. It has really gross massive wrap around screens in the queue 3. It actually rides rather well in the front. And that's all from my correspondent at Underwhelming Mack Coasters.

Speaking of fire, the Pirates im Batavia dark ride has been rebuilt and re-opened and it is absolutely stunning. Easily a top 10 dark ride for me, I prefer it to all the Disney Pirates rides. Europa has a lot of silly dark rides, but this is the one you absolutely do not want to miss out on riding. Simply gorgeous.

Snorri Touren, on the other hand, felt like a Mack Technology showcase. The transition between dark ride sets and screens wasn't smooth and the 3D section felt randomly tacked on. It is very much a "look investors, we can also build this type of ride" ride. The mermaids make sexy noises as well, which is a bit weird for a kids ride.

Having visited Europa several times before, Baa Express was the only cred I didn't have. Could I be arsed to get it? Nah. I'm very firmly in Camp @Howie in that I'd rather spend my time riding the good, big coasters (read: Silver Star) than faffing about on a kiddie cred. I only like getting Big Apples when it's with a group of CFers and we can all embrace the silliness. A fair weather cred whore, if you will.

In other news, Wodan was running like a beast. I still rank it behind Troy, Thunderbird (Finland) and Joris. But at least I've finally been exposed to it's relentless charm. Just don't expect much in the way of airtime.

Visually, I think I've decided that my favourite areas of Europa are Portugal and Switzerland. I love sitting on the steps with a hot dog looking at Atlantica Super Splash. I love pottering around the cobbled streets by the rivers and overhanging trees of Switzerland. My least favourite areas are France and Russia. Russia is home to Euro-Mir which instantly makes it the worst area in the entire park. France is just a bit too garish for me.

Speaking of garish, the Dinosaur Dark Ride, AKA Madame Watchamacallits Museum of Curiosities, is a fabulous spark of pure nonsensical joy. The final scene made me squeal with delight. A must ride.

So. Rulantica then.

Never would I have guessed that 4 hours would not be long enough for a water park. This beauty deserves a full day. Don't go expecting Wet N Wild - the slides aren't really the main factor here, despite their abundance. It's just a really lovely place to chill out. There's a heated outdoor pool with a swim up bar. It stays heated all night so you can swim under the stars, which was my personal highlight. There's little indoor pools with bubble sections, lined with trees and blue lights. Tres romantic. The Snorri rapids river is cool and atmospheric, and don't you worry - the sexy mermaids do make an appearance again *swoon*. The slides are decent but short. They lack the wow factor of the Florida water slides. The main pool with the stalagmites looks fantastic in person, especially when night falls and the lighting comes into effect.

A few flaws: the lockers are exactly one billion miles away, so bare that in mind should you want to retrieve something
The food stalls all shut early, meaning we ate no dinner. At all. Rulantica shut at 10pm and all the restaurants surrounding the Kronesar hotel area also shut at the same time. It was a Sunday. Nowhere else was open and they had no vending machines. Seems a bit silly to me. What about all the people who want to eat after they swim?!

If you like floating about in an atmospheric setting, Rulantica is definitely the water park for you. If you want thrills, maybe not. It's the Hex of water parks.

All in all, I had a nice time at Europa Park. It was so good to get back on a Hyper; and the water park makes for a varied weekend visit - should you be accompanied by a non-cred-based holidaymaker. I still haven't the foggiest what the identity of Europa Park is. But whatever it is, I give it a solid 7.5/10 (4 of those points being for each ride on Silver Star)

Thanks for reading my nonsense :)
 
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Serena

Miss CoasterForce 2016
Staff member
Social Media Team
You say that, but ironically I did actually ride Baa Express when I was there a few weeks ago! Don't judge me.
Hey, it was good - it features some very cute singing sheep in the layout. 😁
Oh what! If I had known it had singing sheep I would have ridden it first thing! 😭

My only commiseration is that when someone asks if I have all the Europa creds, I can reply with "all baa one."
 

Hixee

Flojector
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Social Media Team
You say that, but ironically I did actually ride Baa Express when I was there a few weeks ago! Don't judge me.
Hey, it was good - it features some very cute singing sheep in the layout. 😁
I wonder if the pattern is whether or not you think you're going to get photographed on it or not...? ;)

Nice report, Serena. I like Europa - it's one of my favourite parks to have a slow few days. I don't feel the need to rush round the place, love the hotels and restaurants and coasters, and think the theming is quite fab in places. I'd hate to not really have time to enjoy the place, mind.

I feel like we had different experiences at Rulantica though. As you may have read in my report, I felt like it needed a little more to make it a full day thing. I did like it, but it felt unfinished to me (e.g. what is going on with top of the stairs in the ice area?). Thankfully they're building more stuff, so I think in a year or two it'll be excellent.
 
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MouseAT

Active Member
This has to be one of the most interesting reports I've read in a while. It's kept me entertained with the usual humorous flair, but it's also touched on something that, until now, I hadn't given a lot of thought to.
Then you have the enigma that is Europa Park...I've visited three times and I still don't know what it's supposed to be. Or whether I like it.
See, that's interesting. I've visited twice, had very different experiences on my two visits, and until now never really had a proper handle on the "why". I'd never really considered the fact that the park is, as you say, a bit weird. When you look at the line-up, it almost looks like a European answer to a Six Flags or Cedar Fair park, with a few flagship attractions (Silver Star, Blue Fire, Wodan) and a bunch of filler. Problem is, if you try to approach the park that way, you tend to end up disappointed when the flagships don't always have the wow factor you'd expect, and most of the filler roller coasters seem to fall short of expectations. The park is really well presented, but oddly inconsistent too - some areas (e.g. France, Scandinavia, Greece) have a real sense of location to them, and an attention to detail rivalling the likes of Disney, whilst other large areas just feel like pleasant but generic greenery.

I always figured that some of the difference is in how you approach the park, and who you choose to visit with. I think a lot of the appeal is in taking your time, and doing some of the brilliant little side attractions that are easy to overlook. It's almost as if the park really needs to be approached as if it's a scaled up version of a smaller park like Tripsdrill, rather than a typical, high coaster count mega-park. Focus on the experience, and on the quirkier stuff as much as the coasters, and I reckon you'll probably have a really good time. I suspect it's probably a park that works better with a smaller group as well. I can't imagine the faff of trying to herd a group of 50+ goons around Europa working in its favour, but a small bunch of people with the right mentality? That's got real potential.

I can't really remember what else we did or in what order. But the main thing is we rode Silver Star four times and the back row rides were glorious. I'm contemplating putting it back in my top 10, based purely on consistency. I've had some bad rides on Shambhala and some 10/10 rides on Shambhala, whereas Silver Star has always delivered a solid 8/10 experience for me. I think I'd take that over the highs and lows of Shambhala. Maybe.
I'm actually inclined to agree with you here. Shambhala seems to be a bit hit and miss, Silver Star seemed to consistently deliver each time I rode it, and with the operations at Europa, you'll probably get a lot more opportunities to ride. I'll extinguish the torch, and put the pitchfork away.

Anyway. A new-to-me experience was Volatarium, the parks Flying Theatre ride. The building is impressive, the indoor queue is gorgeous. But DAMN IT EUROPA, I WANT TO RIDE A FLYING THEATRE THAT ISN'T LIKE WATCHING A CHILDS' CLUMSY FIRST ATTEMPT AT VIDEO EDITING!! Honestly, why are the transitions between scenes so jarring? I was half-expecting a bloody star wipe between the snowy peaks to the sandy beaches! It's so frustrating, because I feel this ride technology has so much potential to tell a story in a moving way.
It's even more annoying as the individual sequences are done pretty well, and I remember the ride giving a pretty good sensation of flying. All it'd take is for someone who cares enough to find a way to string together a few sequences in a believable way. Fly up into the clouds and back down again. Fly over a mountain, dip down into a valley, emerge from the valley into a town or city and fly through the streets. Dip under a bridge, fly out of a river mouth, and skim over the surface of the sea. Even without a story, it'd be so easy to make a worthwhile experience, if only the parks could be bothered to make it happen.

Having visited Europa several times before, Baa Express was the only cred I didn't have. Could I be arsed to get it? Nah.
We've got a non-believer here! Torches and pitchforks at the ready!
 

CSLKennyNI

Active Member
A less, pleasant surprise was the removal of the old cheesy Silver Star rock song from the queue. I guess there's no longer a place for silly coaster songs with daft lyrics in the IMAscore world we live in.
Its new soundtrack comes back to your sponsorship point - they now play Blinding Lights by The Weeknd because that's what Mercedes use in their latest advertising campaign...

Nevertheless good to see you enjoyed your trip!
 
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