Everything you never wanted to know about Europa-Park, a trip report

I am copying @mousematt’s logic - since Europa Park is said to be Germany’s WDW, this trip report belongs here :joy:

About the park

Europa Park is owned by Mack Rides - WDW fans might know them as the makers of Slinky Dog Dash.

It serves 2 purposes: it is a major theme park with the second largest attendance (6 million visitors in 2019) in Europe, only behind Disneyland Paris. But it is also a showcase of Mack’s technologies, and this is evident in how the park operates.

Located on Germany’s black forest - where Grimm’s fairytales are set. Divided into 18 themed lands - showcasing 15 European countries and 3 magical words. Think of it as EPCOT’s World Showcase with a lot of rides.

Corona concerns

Safety protocols there are pretty standard: masks are mandatory whenever you are indoors and at every attraction and queues.

Rides are disinfected all the time, and hand sanitizer is everywhere.

Most indoor dining and shows are closed, and the few that are open are being operated with open windows and physical distancing.

At this point that park has been open for 2 months. Contact tracing is pretty intense in Germany, and so far no outbreak has been traced to an amusement park.

Due to physical distancing, Single Rider is no longer being offered. SR infrastructure has been repurposed to support Virtual Lines, more on that later.

My biggest driver for going now was my belief that things are as good as they will get here while the pandemic lasts. R has been dancing slightly above 1, which means things are slowly getting worse. Summer also means that everything that can be done outside is taking place outside, which helps a lot, but won’t last - and schools will reopen. So this is the lowest risk I would find for a while - everything about this analysis is specific to Germany.

Logistics

I spent 2 days there, July 27th and 28th, staying off site - my hotel was a 1 minute walk away from the front entrance.

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I’m looking forward to this!

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Oh nice! I think I went there in the mid-80s!
Can’t remember a thing about it so I’m really interested in your visit!

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Park opening was scheduled for 9am, I arrived at 8:30am. As soon as I entered I was amazed by just how pretty the park is. So many charming details, everything is themed, every building is cute.

Rides in Italy and Germany were already working, while onsite guests had exclusive access to rides on Iceland.

My first stop was grabbing a timed ticket to the Voletarium. Exactly like a paper FP, offered only for this ride. Every guest can get one per day.

My plan was to start on Switzerland, at the Bobsled coaster. So I proceeded to walk on that general direction, and stopped at the rope.

Rope dropped at 8:50, and I calmly walked to Switzerland - I hate the stress of rope dropping headliners, and going on a B ride first proved to be a great strategy. I rode on the first train, and was able to stay on for a second ride without getting of the vehicle.

Here is a POV video (not mine) for those interested:

This ride exemplifies exactly how theming works at Europa Park - the queue, ride vehicle and ride themselves are themed, and it goes through a bunch of lovely scenery! But, if this was WDW, the track itself would be on a mountain. On Imagineering Story someone talks about the 3 levels of design - the grand structures, the buildings and details. At Europa Park buildings and details are spot on, but there are no grand things like mountains. Since details are what brings me the most joy, this was not a big problem for me.

Another thing this ride exemplifies is how much the park was built as a technology showcase. Just look at the ride info page on the app:

The operations geek inside me just fell in love at seeing this page :heart:

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Next up was Euro Mir - this bizarre spinning coaster is themed after the Mir space station. From what I understood, the story is about going to space and then back to Earth. Way smoother than what I anticipated (a constant on this park), this ride comes with a very unexpected techno soundtrack. Luckily it was a walk on, because I wouldn’t feel comfortable waiting on the indoor queue for more than 10 minutes. Unluckily I ended up on the very first car, and being terrified of heights this means the nice view was wasted on my closed eyes.

After some struggling, I was able to convince the app that I was indeed inside the park and get in a Virtual Line. Pretty much a FastPass, but with a 10 minutes return window that you don’t get to choose. I used this feature to avoid indoor queues, but people less paranoid than me could probably be successful using it to maximize the number of rides in a day. My first VL was for Can Can Coaster.

I saw on the app that Arthur still had a 10 minutes wait, so I headed to that. What an amazing ride! It has all the good elements of Forbidden Journey - combining scenery, screens, projections and animatronics with movement, but instead of being shaken, you are launched (similar feeling to Slinky), which ends up creating a much better ride. I have no knowledge of the underlying IP, but the ride still makes sense if you pretend it is about A bug’s life. It would be just perfect if the ride used some IP I actually care about.

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I’m loving this thread. I went to Europa-Park when I was 11 or 12 (something like that) and I remember Euro-Mir was the first ride we did that day. I also got the first car and the first seat when you emerge from the darkness for the drop. And that’s when I realized I was terrified of heights lol.

Aside from that, I have great memories from that day though it’s been over 20 years now and I always wanted to go back. Just not on Euro-Mir lol

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I still had some time before my VL for CanCan was up, so I went to Austria for Alpenexpress Enzian, which had a 5 minutes wait, it was really a walk on. The first coaster ever built on the park, this is a very short mine train with some blink-and-you-miss-it dark ride elements. It was fun, but not very memorable.

This ride offered an upcharge VR option. Reviews are good, but I get very motion sick every time I try VR headsets, so I decided to skip.

Time was up for my CanCan VL, so I ran across the park to get to France on time (the park is huge!). Although the theming makes 0 sense, I loved CanCan Coaster. Imagine if Space Mountain was faster and way smoother, with Can Can theme and music (I think you are supposed to be flying around Paris, but why are there flying legs?). Also, why is this inside a geodesic dome (like EPCOT’s) with a Moulin Rouge entrance? Nevertheless, it is really good!

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While using the Virtual Line I took a look into the standby queue. It was not that long (never more than 40 minutes), but being almost all indoors, I decided to only use VL for this ride and avoid stressing. I got a new VL pass for it as soon as the app let me.

Arthur also had the same issue, when the queue got too long it was too much time inside, so that ride also went to my “only on VL” list.

At this point I was hungry and tired, so I stopped by the boulangerie to get a cappuccino and croissants. Food was delicious and not that expensive, but food lines are worse than ride lines at this park!

I ate watching a water fountain show. I recorded a video, but I just discovered I can’t upload videos. Here is a photo, just imagine the water is dancing and there is music:

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Did the bobsleigh go past Spaceship Earth?! I love your pics!

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I think I am going to have to visit! Would I struggle since I don’t speak German? Or very little anyway.

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It goes inside a Magic Diamond Mine. Later I discovered I could walk around it and took more pictures (coming soon :yum:) There are actually 2 rides which use the same dark ride portion.

I don’t speak German either, although I really should :flushed: Signs are in English, French and German, animatronics usually alternate between languages as well. I think shows are in German, but they seem to be mostly visual. I didn’t watch any - they look super interesting and went to my post-corona todo list. As always around here, language was only a barrier while getting food, but mostly because I am stubborn and try to speak in German instead of using English, which everyone understands.

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I’ve heard of Europa but never been. We hope to take a trip to Germany sometime (DH’s parents used to live there and his two oldest siblings were born there) so I’ll add it to the list of places to possibly visit. The rides look great! My only European amusement park experience has been Tivoli in Copenhagen which was lovely and charming.

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Thanks for sharing this with us. I’ve never heard of Europa-Park before. It sounds so nicely themed.

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Oh I assumed you did! Very sensible of them to have English and french as well to appeal to a wider audience.

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When the fountain show ended, it was time for my Voletarium FP. The plot is that you are flying in the world’s first flight machine, that has just been re-discovered.

This is 100% Soarin around Europe. In my 2 days I rode it 4 times paying a lot of attention to the ride system. Everything - the system, movement, vehicle, screen looked exactly the same as Soarin. It has wind, it has smells, it blasts cold mint-scented air on you whenever there is ice on the screen :joy: TBH I even preferred Voletarium (better theming, more immersive movie).

The queue looked so pretty I decided to Rope Drop the ride on the next day so I could experience it without people (being an indoor queue, it was also on my not-standby list).

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What a gorgeous park! Love the pics.

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This sounds amazing! I’ve just been researching the hotels :joy: DH is not up for it though.

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The park in on the border with France, it is closer to Strasbourg then to any large German city. I probably heard more French then German when I was there.

It is a reasonable assumption, I do live in Germany :joy: But my job is 100% in English and I have so few real life interactions that my German is not progressing. I basically speak restaurant German at this point, with some bakery words here and there. Going back to German lessons is also on my post-corona todo list.

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I had around one hour before my next CanCan VL was up. I was not really on the mood for a ride queue, but the park has 3 different transportation networks!

  • EP Express - very similar to WDW’s monorail

  • Monorail - this felt more like a PeopleMover (slow, smooth, open, one booth per party) - I took some pictures from it, but ended up without any good pictures of it

  • Panorama train - cousin to WD’s railroad

I spent the hour jumping around transportation systems until time was up for CanCan.

Here are more pictures I took while circling around different tracks:

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France has a geodesic dome somewhere, I remember visiting it as a child. But tbh the details as to where and what it is escape me. But that’s why it’s in that part of the park.

I’m loving all the pictures!

EDIT: did some research. It’s La Geode in Paris and is like an IMAX theater in a park. Built in the 80s

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