It’s interesting to see that in a year when every major theme park in Germany has a new attraction, Europa Park is at the back of the media hype. Fortunately, things looked different for the park in France, so that at least here, interest in Arthur has been awakened. Something else would hardly be conceivable over there, as Luc Besson’s animated film series has always been very successful in France, while Arthur and the Minimoys’ kingdom in Germany was only successful in the media thanks to the voice acting role of the Tokyo Hotel singer Bill Kaulitz.
Since nobody in Germany actually knows the films, it’s very incomprehensible why they decided to apply for these licenses, because even without the film reference and without the rather modest name of the actual ride, the ride could work. On the other hand a lot of French people visit the park and as it has been shown all too often in English amusement parks you need theme areas on license of well-known children’s series to successfully attract the masses nowadays.
The new ride at Europa Park
French lobbying – the Ride is located in the Kingdom of the Minimoys themed area, a very compact hall similar to the Wuze Town themed area in Phantasialand, with some slides, a beautifully designed Zamperla Jump Around and a Zierer Family Freefall Tower. The course of the roller coaster along the ceiling of the hall is the highlight of the publicly visible area.
As the ride is still marked ‘new’ this year, you should hit the ground at the beginning of the day, even if technical teething troubles can push an opening back a few minutes. You don’t have to stand for that long during the day and you can queue up for Arthur right away. As the single rider line is not visible until one passes the entrance portal to the ride, it can be worthwhile to at least stop by there and not be distracted by the regular queue.
After you have passed the waiting area, which is nicely arranged, you take a seat in the suitably designed vehicle, which is handled on a conveyor belt. One turn and a simultaneous film sequence later you find yourself shrunken in the realm of the Minimoys and at the same time you are confronted with a novelty in Europa Park, but more about that later.
Surprisingly fast, the route climbs up the hill before you pass some dark ride scenes at the right speed. Shortly afterwards the first true roller coaster part follows, where you briefly leave the hall. One turn later and back inside the hall, where the ‘Paradise Alley’ shows itself from its best side – an admittedly very originally designed scenery. A few meters of track later you flee from a rat and find yourself under the roof of the hall, whereupon the next scene is about a boss fight. Here, the company Mack demonstrates all kinds of features on their car, and so the button on the bar, which at the beginning still seemed nonsensical, is used. The second roller coaster part of the ride follows, where on a short downwards leading curve combination some speed is offered, but in the following upwards helix the ride is massively slowed down again, whereupon the ride also comes to its end.
The farewell of the protagonists, known or unknown from the film, shows a certain consistency that has been missed on many other themed rides in Europa Park, and Arthur also misses the typical overloaded scenes. So it’s no wonder that Arthur – the Ride, which I had previously, more than jokingly, labeled as French lobby work, is a very convincing dark ride. The ride is well made and has a certain symbiosis of well-designed scenes and almost old-fashioned animatronics, while modern design and a certain, but fortunately subtle, interaction is not missing.
But as a roller coaster Arthur is only a prototype and there is still much to be improved, as for example the general smoothness of the ride is not really exhilarating and you can also play more with the turns of the gondolas. Nevertheless there is a lot of potential in this system, so that there will probably be more units in the next years.
But what is much more important than the actual attraction itself is its location. The fairy tale forest, previously rather less visited, profits from it massively.
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