What's new

Euro 2024 - Europa Park


Theme Park Superhero
Off to Europe now I guess.

Due to, events, this trip did not go as planned. What did happen was dominated by the significant stuff by means of a bunch of revisits anyway, which I usually struggle to report on in the same manner as when I'm wide-eyed and fresh faced. As such I might be deviating from the usual format and just present some parks, some rides, some thoughts.


On the way down to (spoilers) Europa Park we decided to get a new country cred. Last time this was considered was back in covid days, when you had to write a letter to the King of Luxembourg in order to be granted special permission to enter. We were tempted at the time, given that they had one of those big Schwarzkopf travelling things in town while our own Eurodemption was going down. Postage time may have been an issue though.


First stop was a castle, don't have those at home.


It was free to park and free to wander around, a common theme for Luxembourg, and my kinda sightseeing.


Is nice.


I was a little confused by the strategy of the location upon approach as it seemed to be rather far downhill to get to it, but it makes more sense from over here, in the rain.

Luxembourg City

My recollection of a Tom Scott video had me thinking that all public transport in Luxembourg was free. Sure enough, it was, so we went to the capital, Luxembourg City, and did a park + ride job to get into the centre. Free and easy, just how public transport should be.


We got off the bus in front of this.


Over the road from this.


And this. Everything is very elevated, and green.


Took a wander through the centre, which is very town-like for a city.


Or even model village-like from out the other side. You can basically walk to all the 'things to see'.


History, culture.


Excitement? You can spot our next target out towards the back left.


After crossing a busy city road.


And going down a hill.


The great glass elevator in the sky is a tourist attraction here.


Not your average elevator.


Up top there was a piano, with what I believe to just be another visitor riffing some highly impressive piece and making intense but awkward eye contact with everyone else.


It was great. And free.

And that was Luxembourg. We chilled for a bit, had some food, then drove off to a travelling cred in Germany. Would recommend.

Merzig Funfair

Parking anywhere near here was a nightmare because the entire town was undergoing roadworks and the fair itself was on the only car park.


But it was all worth it of course, for three laps of Kuhnos Farm.

How many cow Wacky Worms have you done?

Up next - Baa-a-a-Express.


Theme Park Superhero
Europa Park


It's been 9 long years since I last visited Europa Park. For the sake of a crazy statistic I had 126 creds to my name at the time, meaning there's been just another 1500-odd in the interim.

I really, really liked the place back then, it was clear that it was a global standout. I had also always looked forward to returning some day but it was always on the preface that they got something worth returning for, to sweeten the deal. The years went by...

I heard they got something.


We spent 2 days on park, which was the perfect amount for our own needs and pace.

The primary need was to experience Voltron as much as possible. I avoided whatever spoilers I could and went in knowing as little as possible.


Presentation-wise, I think the whole thing looks excellent. An entrance exterior with that start coming out of the top of it.


A dedicated observation tower built within the layout. Plenty of opportunity to get in, up and under a lot of track for views and photos, while maintaining a little mystery about the back end of the layout. With constant trains buzzing round, on a summers day it's a coaster lovers dream.


Plus other stuff in the area going on because why not.



The indoor queue brought new hope to my hobby. As I passed through for the first time and absorbed the details in here a crescendo of emotions built to a level of excitement for a new rollercoaster/attraction that I haven't felt in what seems like quite some time. Far surpassing the simple raw excitement of skipping down some queue in China (that's actually open) to ride some world's fastest Mack thing, no, this was an anticipation you can only build with a themed experience. The development of character for a ride. A reason you want to like it, to support it, to back this creation of steel. Standing there in that room for the first time, with those feelings, is exactly why I'm in this game.


The big turret thing that plugs itself into the wall to power up. Mr. Tesla waffling on about who knows what.


Easter egg characters in the return to station screen.


The fact that the shutters close when you see a train enter the preshow, to hide what's going on. And then the ride theme injected into your eardrums by terrifying tesla coil noises. Awe, intimidation, elation, the lot. This is how you make someone (like me) want to like a coaster.

From a practical standpoint, the locker system is the best I've seen yet. Choose your own locker with an RFID card, get on the ride. Don't worry about remembering the number after an overwhelming experience because it can just tell you at the end. Unlike Wildcat's Revenge.
The throughput, capacity and efficiency with the moving station and just Europa Park being Europa Park in general is beautiful to behold once more.

- - -

Onto the ride experience then. I didn't know what the trick was, and it's hilarious. Brilliant for first timers and crowd reactions. I love it, but it loses impact over a few goes, so I kinda hope it remains somewhat unique to this attraction and that not everyone starts doing it, there's a risk of losing the magic as always. Possibilities are endless though, so mix it up.

Before you've fully recovered from that you're lurched off, and up, and over, and out. Of that start. It's so unnatural but it's done so gracefully considering the combination of technology and forces. Looking at it, it shouldn't feel like it does, but it works, and then you're suspended in the air for a brief moment for a 'this is where the fun begins' into the layout proper.


Frantic, I think is the word for all the elements that go on in between the defined sections, namely a combination of inversions and airtime moments. It's our bread and butter at this point. It reflects the theme of science experiment gone wrong rather perfectly in this regard, but, critical hat on, I'm going to introduce another word into the fray. Lumpy.


I like and appreciate the individual components of what's going on in this sequence, but there's something about the flow. It's lumpy. I think this is just an inherent issue I personally find with shorter trains and ride vehicles. It reflects back to my experience with the Big Dipper model, and by extension Infinity coasters (both of which I love more than most) and Eurofighters. Regardless of their execution I just can't see myself sitting in one and thinking 'this is the best rollercoaster layout in the world'. You can't create as beautiful a symphony of forces with a ride that's built for the tightest of manoeuvres. Blame physics.


Anyway there's a multi launch bit on a curve in there which follows the recent industry trend of 'adds a little pep, doesn't take your breath away' moments into the recent industry trend of the stall. A couple of newer rides have made this their own standout moment (Batman GCE and the super boomerang spring to mind), sadly Voltron does not. Surprisingly the most characterful moment for me hits home when you come slamming into the brakes at the end of the first half. It's pretty brutal. And then you're on a turntable with lightning and what the hell is this?

I've got two ways of looking at this - it's amazing, clever, fun to behold, did you know it can turn in either direction? I didn't until a few laps in. Quirky, love it.
The other - it leaves a little to be desired in terms of presentation when compared with the station, queue, pre-launch experience. You're just in a crude circular cage with no roof and a sunbleached graphics display. Doesn't quite uphold the wonder.

What it does lead to is a wild backwards launch, again another great crowd reaction moment but you can give it your own extra punch with anticipation by putting your arms and legs directly in front of you and getting a wicked 'fold you over the restraint' moment. Then you're forwards again with the most satisfying launch, one which lands closest to those I personally adore with their 'the fun is far from over yet' sensation. It's faffy, but given it isn't detracting from 'damn near best thing ever' status either side of it, I think it works.


The wonky top hat puts me straight back into the 'lumpy' mindset however, albeit what follows is an incredible sequence of powerful airtime moments, shouty after shouty, including up into and back out of another mid course. Dizzying inversions and strong positives round out proceedings before one final shout of airtime into the brakes. Ends strong this one.


And I think that review should demonstrate a little why I'm all over the place on Voltron. There's so much of the experience that I adore to the core, but as a coaster it fell short of perfect in many, many ways. To clarify, the 'lumpy' business is nothing to do with ride comfort. I've heard riders found discomfort in left wing seats etc. and while there was noticeably a bit more shake there, it didn't impact my personal ride experience. It is pretty damn intense though, and I don't doubt that the 'lumpy' flow of the layout does exacerbate such feelings.


I'll stop saying lumpy now, but I will also mention that a few of the inversions lack definition and character. If you're going for the golden seven, make them count.

Though I went in with lack of spoilers there was a little thought at the back of my mind with the whole 9 years away from Europa Park thing. What a wonderful moment it could have been, having traversed the globe and, by my most recent assessments, ridden basically everything worth riding, to come back to such an early days trip and land a new #1. It was Mack, it was Multi-launch, it was Europa Park. It was possible. It wasn't to be.

Enough ramblings, it's the perfect prototype and near perfect showcase. Go ride it if you haven't already, it needs to be beheld.
Technology 11/10. Presentation 9.5/10. Layout 8/10.
By all rights it should be threatening my top 20, but I keep talking myself out of it.
For the feels.

Well, even recounting that was exhausting, I'll do the rest of the park separately I guess.

Matt N

CF Legend
Great report @HeartlineCoaster! I'm sorry to hear that the trip didn't go as planned, and from having read your other thread, what happened sounds awful and I'm so sorry it happened to you. I hope you're all doing OK now.

Nonetheless, it was interesting to hear your thoughts on Voltron. Given your love of Mack multi-launches, I did wonder if it would be another Helix or RTH calibre ride for you, so I'm mildly surprised to hear that it isn't. You use the word "lumpy" quite a bit; if you don't mind me asking, what do you mean by this exactly?

On a slightly more random note; if you don't mind me asking, what is it that continually keeps Helix at your #1 spot after all these years and after all these other coasters you've ridden?


Theme Park Superhero
Nonetheless, it was interesting to hear your thoughts on Voltron. Given your love of Mack multi-launches, I did wonder if it would be another Helix or RTH calibre ride for you, so I'm mildly surprised to hear that it isn't. You use the word "lumpy" quite a bit; if you don't mind me asking, what do you mean by this exactly?
Ah, it's really hard to describe, but it pertains to the layout, or 'flow' of the coaster.
Picture you've been asked to design a ride. You first begin by listing out a sequence of elements that you want to have. These individual elements form all of your favourite sensations on a coaster.
The next step in your design is that you have to determine the timeline - how long do you spend within each of those elements, and between those elements for them each to best be appreciated. This determines the flow of the coaster.
Now imagine someone else comes along and messes up all of that timing that you planned out, and sticks another few lesser elements in there, just because they can.
The result is lumpy. Great things are still happening, but not in a timeline that flows from one to the other nicely. One moment hits you, but then before you're done with it, something else gets in the way.

Something like that anyway, but my feeling is that it's something in the way rides with shorter trains need to behave. It's just less... masterful.

On a slightly more random note; if you don't mind me asking, what is it that continually keeps Helix at your #1 spot after all these years and after all these other coasters you've ridden?

I'm gonna have to copy paste and then tweak the answer I gave you a couple years ago after RtH, it mostly hasn't changed:
Layout, landscape, location, interaction, the hill. Helix is still another level for me, but Voltron had a good crack at it.
The future is here, and it's launching beyond vertical.

Latest thoughts on the rest of the park then.

Alpenexpressenen Enzian


Fire is bad, but getting a new +1 is good. Fresh Mack mine train, rides well.
I was glad to not feel obliged to need the VR on this occasion and thereby ruin the visual experience although it's a shame it don't go through the diamond cave no more.
This statue of the miner mourning the loss of the dragon is such a beautiful touch.

Baa-a-a Express


Last time I was here this was under construction, a little blip of track seen from the observation tower.
It was being lovingly run by an old guy, so chill. Retirement goals to work on a ride like this.
The sheep sings as you go round, what more could you ask from a +1.

Piccolo Mondo



Don't remember much of anything about it from before. Don't remember much more now. Was cute.

Madame Freudenreich's Curiosites


Don't remember much of anything about the old dinosaur ride but this genre of 'add more character to a tired old dark ride' is something I can definitely get behind.



Gorgeous queue.



And dinosaurs with cake. Perfection.

Abenteueuer Atlantis


I liked working out which targets score more points on the interactive dark ride. Tactics always add to these things. S'alright.

Bench: the Ride



Don't remember much of anything about it from before. Don't remember much more now. Was cute.



I liked Euromir a lot, save for the fact it bashed my knees up back in the day. Managed to avoid that this time and had a great time on it. Spins less than I remember with the whole controlled rotation aspect, but is probably wise, it goes real hard in that final section and would probably mess people up at any other angle. Great ride with great character. Next one to get a looking at now that Croatia is done though I hear.

Piraten in Batavia


Fire is bad, but getting a dark ride rebuilt is good. Don't remember much of anything about it from before.



Now it's amazing, a real standout in the park. In being very comparable to such Disney rides, it's nice to ride one that isn't a clone and matches the quality in many ways. Epic scenes, gorgeous scenery, a good time all round.

Snorri Touren


I love how understated some of the entrances are at Europa. With such a breadth of things to do they don't even need to hammer you over the head with -->MAJOR RIDE HERE<--.


And Snorri is a solid addition to the dark ride lineup. Love the character and the pacing in the first half of the ride but then it does end in a rather jarring and abrupt fashion, which I found a bit odd.

Best thing about the whole thing - his animatronic actually hits the right mushroom drums in time with the soundtrack.



Best thing about the whole thing - the drone in the queue.


It's fine, it's a flying theatre. Having one run semi-efficiently without a huge interruption between pre-show storyline and final showdown makes for a nice change but it's still a faff and then just wafting over some stuff. Was interesting how many European locations I didn't recognise - I swear they made some of them up.



The park has an excellent donkey game.



There's even one in the new area, with a hat.


Also love how many parts of the park can simply go unseen. Tell me where this is.



I was extremely worried about what had happened to my beloved Eurosat. Really fell hard for this ride in the past, it was a defining moment of the trip back in the day, an overwhelming emotional rollercoaster hearing the soundtrack in person on the lift, thoughts equivalent to 'I'm finally out living the dream and visiting these worldwide theme parks' in the early days of my hobby, perfectly paralelled with the phrase in the soundtrack 'finally, the time has come'.


Then they said they were making it the Can-Can. It felt like they were turning it into a joke. There's no way that can work, ride ruined.


And yet, somehow, it works. I expected to despise everything it had become but sitting there on that endless spiral lift hill - wait, what's this? They've kept the old music here, an updated and slowed orchestral version in perfect tribute to what this ride once was. The emotions hit me all again while in the dark, anticipating the inevitable. It's such a beautiful touch.

Then with all the build up and crescendo of reaching the top and it turning into something wild and fun, the Can-Can music actually works too. A wink from the moon and a bon voyage leads to a frantic carnival of sound with a wild indoor ride that still hauls and still kicks ass in all the ways it shouldn't be able to given the limitations of its situation. A classic piece of music that doesn't know how to end, but then neither does the ride, as you drop through a windmill and then there's just a whole extra floor to go after its already been going on an age.

It ends to epic fanfare, as it should. They've made it better, against all odds. I can only applaud.

Only thing I miss is the astronaut stuck in a wall mouthing words we'll never understand.

Silver Star


I'd heard they killed the fun of this ride too, by canning the cheesy ass song that was its only character anyway.


Don't remember the queue being quite as unpleasant, but it is. Basically a warehouse with some bad cars in it, and tv adverts for bad cars. But then on our second go, the theme hit on the speakers. It was all we needed. Ride on, Silver Star.


Still one of the better B&M hypers in my books, I had worried how it would stand the test of time (and experience). The old school nature doesn't lend itself well to that magic row near the front, which works on many of the newer ones but is a bit of a dud here. Instead, back row is best for the unrefined, jankier moments that include ejector out of the midcourse and some uncharacteristically fun twists and turns that so many others fall short on.



Better than a Vekoma Junior, but priced accordingly.



I don't remember this madhouse being so incomprehensible, but it is. The magic of the swing is a little lost when you don't know what's going on in the themed experience, but the magic within the seat itself cannot be denied.

Jim Button


Hadn't heard of this, and though this park is likely highly researched, it looked like it posed the question 'is it a dark ride?'


It wasn't, but this big dragon is great.



Still one of the better GCIs in my books, I had worried how it would stand the test of time (and experience). I don't see it as being quite as epic as it once was, it's better than 'the norm' but far from up there with the greats. What have they done to the start? I remember it being real out of control into that first drop but now it just wobbles around on some asphalt.



This went up in my estimation in that it was nothing like how I remembered. The locker faff has been rectified. I remember issues with the screens in that sitting in the back row would miss all the action in a comedic sense, unless I'm confusing it with another ride. There aren't many though. The soundtrack was funny. It had far more physical sets than I recall. It rode with a little vigor too and thus, wasn't entirely pointless. I'll assume they've fixed things rather than that I was wrong.
Oh, and is that spotlight and camera combo meant to look like a face? Creepy.


Frog game is pretty good too.

Think that's about it for Europa. Blue Fire was a thing of course, but I've ridden like 12 of them since, so really didn't care. They messed up the onboard soundtrack on my single lap, which is the only thing that makes the original worth doing to me, so that sucked.

Had a lovely 2 days, queues were a little bigger than you'd normally like to get absolutely everything done or spend time on some filler coasters, but shout out to the free fastrack system. If you game it on your phone in the first couple hours it can reward you pretty well, including a walk on Voltron or two.

Mm.. Voltron.

Up next - Coccinelle