As expected, Europa Park was a bit fuller on this holiday. Stupidly enough, this already turned out at the cash desks, so that I could not enter the park before 10 o’clock. After I had overcome the first hurdle in the middle of the path of standing French people the way to the big roller coaster novelty of the year Wodan – Timbur Coaster could be taken.
Past the topic areas Switzerland and England I went immediately to Russia and Luxembourg, where besides the advantageous monorail, at least this one has a station in the theme area Iceland, the revolving theatre show Historama, the small dark ride Schlittenfahrt Schneeflöckchen, as well as the revolving gondola roller coaster Euromir are located.
The Historama is actually a great attraction, after all, you can learn a lot about the founding family Mack and their history. But the first room is simply – like many things at Europa Park – much too cluttered. The last room, however, is very naked and shows the self-congratulation of the family. Of course, you can be proud of your own lobbying, but it leaves a very bland aftertaste, which is why you should avoid this attraction at all costs.
The Schlittenfahrt Schneeflöckchen, on the other hand, is an absolute must. Although Bench – The Ride is actually very well visible, it is unfortunately a bit lost in the Russian themed area. The ride itself is one of the best dark rides in the park, despite its inconspicuous appearance, and should therefore be tested by every visitor. The soundtrack is suitable for the ear and effectively underlines the cheerful atmosphere of the ride.
A similar catchy tune can be found on the prototype of Mack’s spinning coaster, the Euro-Mir roller coaster. This roller coaster is a remarkable ride, because thanks to a drum lift and some blocks the capacity is high enough to keep the queue constantly moving, at least it does, if there aren’t any problems in the meantime. The ride is powerful and if you are lucky enough to ride the second part backwards, it’s really awesome. The curves tapering steadily towards the end form a racy finale, which you can unfortunately only find very rarely.
With the monorail arrived in Iceland you can see one of the biggest misdeeds of the park. How one can get the idea to remove the outer cannons of the interactive water ride Whale Adventures remains one of the biggest mysteries of all; after all, as a passenger one wants to get wet. The popularity of the attraction has at least suffered a big slump, after all, the ride is now only interesting for the smallest park guests.
Wodan – Timbur Coaster
In the background you can see a coaster that unfortunately hasn’t been awarded the title again until this year, because actually there should have been a wooden coaster at Europa Park long ago. Wodan – Timbur Coaster is the name of this gem from GCI, whereby the subtitle Timbur Coaster is of course absolute nonsense. Despite the fact that I didn’t really have any expectations of Wodan, I was positively surprised by the ride.
Wodan is, in contrast to most other GCI tracks, not a real Twister, but a mixture of Out & Back Coaster (straight course with several hills) and Twister (curves, baby!) and thus a mixture that doesn’t appeal to everyone and will disappoint especially the Twister fan fraction. Fans of the neat Out & Back layout will definitely find their fun on Wodan, though.
Walking through the queue of the wooden roller coaster Wodan you will be surprised at first how professionally everything has been laid out, after all you are not standing on uneven terrain somewhere between the wooden roller coasters like at Eftelings Joris en de Draak, but on a well constructed wooden path, pass some beautiful caves dedicated to various themes of Nordic mythology and march below the big helix at the beginning of the ride. Quite strange is the circumstance that nothing has been scribbled yet.
After finally being divided into the rows, the trip on Wodan can already start, but the trip to the lift alone is a real highlight. After climbing it, after an unexpectedly high drop, the ride continues with full force into the first curve only to be released quite steeply into the actual first drop. The following curves, tunnels, hills and valleys on Wodan are a dream, but the driving fun is interrupted by a rather unsuccessful part of the layout, only to be released into the last curve combinations. The whole thing is laid down on Wodan with a brute force I didn’t expect in Europa Park anymore, the constant high speed does its best.
Wodan is not a perfect wooden roller coaster, but it is one of the better ones I have come across from time to time. It beats the often highly praised twister Troy in his sleep, but can’t hold a candle to Joris en de Draak Water. Also in national comparison Wodan lags behind the colossus of the Lüneburger Heide, but in southern Germany it is the first choice, which is also a rather easy game with its one competitor.
Blue Fire Megacoaster
Since I criticized the neighboring Blue Fire Megacoaster three years ago too deeply, another ride had to be dared to update this criticism if necessary. As always, pure chance wanted me to take a seat in the second row and thus find an optimal basis for comparison, and to my surprise a lot has happened.
The dark ride part is still absolutely nonsense, after all there is now an animatronics that tells you that something is going wrong. The launch has increased in intensity and is now similar to the launch of a Vekoma Launched Coaster and not the Dutch company’s Motocoaster. Therefore the following part is not driven through so slowly anymore and you can finally guess that the looping is a looping. The part after the block brake is still not very exhilarating. The corkscrews are still going too fast, at least hangtime would be an advantage here, the curves that lead into the still failed roll are somehow stupid and so one is happy to be back at the station again.
Blue Fire is a nice roller coaster for in between, but that’s it, I still can’t understand the hype about the ride and probably never will. The real attraction next to Wodan in this area is and will be the coffee house in close proximity to Blue Fire.
Passing Portugal with his wannabe Spillwater imitation Atlantika Supersplash, where I had to give up a ride due to time reasons and listlessness, I went to Austria to finally get wet. The Tiroler Wildwasserbahn is one of the best in Europe and due to its first shot it is definitely a very wet log flume. You won’t notice the age of the ride at all, so you can literally race through the canal, just like on the Wildwasser 1 in Heide-Park. It is nice to see parks taking care of their rides and renewing them if necessary.
The Powered Coaster Alpenexpress Enzian shares a grotto with the log flume and a walk through the magical world of diamonds. The ride itself has quite a bit of speed and, like the other attractions that share the grotto, is worth a ride just for the scent in it. The wave swinger next door shows that the park also knows a thing or two about rides and runs it, untypically, not on a low flame.
Speaking of rides, the best flat ride Europa Park is in the Swiss themed area and is called the Jungfrau Gletscherflieger. This unique ride is not dissimilar to a Zierer hang-glider, but it offers much better comfort and more fun and can show a high degree of swing, especially when riding at ground level. Since the waiting time at most roundabout rides is close to zero, you should definitely try a ride or two on this ride.
The Schweizer Bobbahn in the same theme area is not really a good roller coaster despite its idiosyncratic layout, which you can somehow understand on a prototype. However, for the family audience of Europa Park, which certainly didn’t come in contact with any other bobsleigh coaster, this is certainly sufficient. But the beautifully designed inner courtyard and the general design of the coaster can convince.
Three years ago, the extended Wild Mouse with vertical lift Matterhorn Blitz was my 100th roller coaster, a fact I was not very satisfied with. However, as my reputation against Wild Mice grew from year to year and I got to know the dead-braked X-treme racer from Legoland Billund, I have to admit that the ride is definitely worth a ride. Unfortunately the layout does not correspond to the standard layout and a certain madness as you can find on a Wild Mouse by Gerstlauer or Maurer Söhne is missing, but you can take a ride without hesitation, even if you should reconsider this at a certain queue length.
In the French themed area you can find by far the best roller coaster of Europa Park, the dark roller coaster Eurosat. Due to the immense capacity, one never really queues for a long time, even if the queue is full. The ride itself is very powerful, although slightly jerky and equipped with some strong jolts. The curve combinations are sometimes so bumpy that it can only be good. The biggest innovation are the magnetic brakes which bring the train to a halt with such a force and without any acoustic warning that it borders on sheer madness and underlines the characteristics of the track.
Universum der Energien
The ride Universum der Energien hidden under the roller coaster is the best dark ride in Europa Park. Some would say it’s the sleepy, boring boat ride Pirates in Batavia, but such a ride has to be consistent and not overloaded and that’s the ride through the land of the dinosaurs.
One of the novelties for this year can be found in the Mercedes Benz exhibition, where they have fortunately decided to decorate the walls with new motifs. To make the whole theme more French, the racing driver Michel Vaillant is now decorating the hall. Unfortunately, the cult intro song for the cartoon series was not included, which would have been good for Silver Star.
The ride, built by Bollinger & Mabillard, looks quite good from the outside, scores with its height and its speed, but apart from that the ride can’t do much. Unfortunately the ride comfort is not equal to any ride built by Intamin of this height and so there are annoying vibrations in the valleys. The floating airtime is unfortunately on a very low level, at least I remember it a bit more pronounced and the last curves don’t make the ride any better, so that the ride is the worst coaster of this manufacturer in Germany, even if the Black Mamba from Brühl is only a touch better.
At Magic Cinema you can watch a new film this year, which is a daring self-production. The story is suitable for children and seems to have been made perfect for the French audience by the well-rehearsed effects, after all I have never seen so many people being scared by such predictable things.
The animation of the film surprised me in a positive way, I only expect such a detail accuracy from a few companies, only at one point I would have wished for something more, because at least I could hardly make out a difference between before and after immersion in the water, and at the same time animals in particular should just drip with water. The 3D effects are offered in a purity that I have never seen before in a theme park. The child-friendly humor is very similar to the humour you are confronted with, especially in Denmark, which is a pity. There was a part with a flat joke that only I could laugh about, which, like in the new Muppet movies, speaks rather against the audience and not against the kind of humour. Here I would have wished for more in this respect. One part that could have been better avoided is the part with the Euromausi and the commentary about the men, in general you could have avoided the Euromausi in the film, because apart from the fact that she is there she makes no difference. Apart from the dubbing voice of Euromaus, it has to be pointed out that Böckli is one of the leading roles in the film, after all the best mascot of Europa Park, as well as the commentary with the wooden roller coaster Wodan.
Piccolo Mondo and Geisterschloss
In the Italian themed area you will find last year’s novelty, but also two dark rides. The short ride in Piccolo Mondo through Italy is well done, due to the high kitsch content again a bit too kitschy, for in between the ride is at least quite nice. The big dark ride Geisterschloss right next door offered a live assassin in the queue but otherwise the creepiness was gone. The ride is neither convincing as a dark ride nor as a ghost train, everything is mercilessly overloaded and simply not nice to look at. The fact that you leave the ride through the little horror shop doesn’t make the ride any better, but it gives you an idea for the redesign of the ride, because Audrey II would surely be happy about food on the assembly line.
Pegasus, Poseidon and Fluch der Kassandra
One area that is best visited late in the afternoon is the area of the EU’s problem child: Greece. Here you can find the witches swing Curse of Cassandra, the darkride expedition Atlantis, as well as the two roller coasters Pegasus and Poseidon.
Pegasus itself used to be the most airtime-rich roller coaster at Europa-Park, three years later I was surprised not to feel it anymore. In general, the ride did not stay in the same condition as before, so in contrast to the newer Carrecaminos Bip Bip from the Spanish Parque Warner, the ride was even slightly jerky.
Poseidon is still the epitome of a water coaster. A great, although at some points borderline, track and shot rides where you can also get wet with a little luck complete the experience. The setting of the ride and the possibility, like on Atlantika Supersplash, to get into a soak zone is still exemplary.
The fact that Spaniards babbling from all sides can spoil a ride in a witches’ swing was shown in Parque Warner, but that three prepubescent girls are enough is a pity and shows once again that the youth is absolutely spoiled. Such a type of attraction is only visited for one thing: the story and the music. Since the story is unfortunately lost in the Fluch der Kassandra anyway, you should at least be able to let the music take effect on you.
Pictures Europa Park
The Europa Park is and remains one of the best European theme parks, the fact that I didn’t watch any show this year was only because the only show I was interested in premiered at the end of the month with Ornella de Santi. Especially worth mentioning is the way the park’s opening hours are handled, so far no visitor has to leave the park before one hour after the original closing time, which is neither possible nor common practice at most other amusement parks.
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