For those looking to head off the theme park beaten track (i.e. away from Disney and Universal), Europa Park is the Holy Grail. Europe’s second busiest park (to Disney) and most jam packed full of rides. It’s a one of a kind; producing its own rides through its own company Mack Rides.
Europa Park marked our 8th theme park in the last 8 months. Because of time restrictions we were only able to visit during their Christmas season; a quieter season with many of the rides are closed due to the weather and compensated by decadent Christmas theming. I say compensated but at the time of visit, I wasn’t sure if this would really be the accurate descriptive word as many of the key rides were marked off as closed on the park map; including the silver star, blue fire and all of the water rides. Furthermore, the park had limited opening hours, all and all I was skeptical.
As it turned out, we had nothing to fear, we finished the day very much satisfied & unsure how one could pack more into one day even if more time and rides were available, largely due to the lack of any lines (the most we waited was 10mins, the rest were walk-on)! We were also pleasantly surprised to find that despite it was marked as closed on the map, blue fire was up and running, a truly world-class launched coaster (which I expand upon below).
Here are a few of our highlights from Europa Park:
Smooth thrills, located in the Iceland area of the park. Themed around a gas plant this ride provides an explosive launch of 0-100km/h in 2.5 second. For a little bonus fun, this ride also comes with a heart rate monitor built into the handles!
I find that old wooden rides have the tendency to become a little uncomfortable, so rarely do I find wooden rides that I’m really into. This rides is one of those exceptions, I am very much into this ride. Also in the Iceland section of the park, the ride is named after the Nordic God ‘Odin’ (but written in Germanic style) any my goodness, its not for the faint of heart, as the name suggests it’ll definitely put the fear of god in you. I personally found myself reaching new surprising new decibels of scream as I made my way around the track.
POV video don’t do this ride and themed area justice. Elaborate, well thought out and fun! You don’t need to have seen the movie to enjoy it! The kingdom of the Invisibles shrinks you down to the size of bug with food, drinks and kids play areas that appropriately play with the theme. The Arthur ride itself move both indoors and out through 7 scenes that incorporate both visual sets, sounds and 4D elements such as vibration water and smells.
A mad combination between Disney’s Space Mountain & Disney’s Spaceship Earth, this fun ride with space theme take’s you up a spiral lift, then launches you into space complete with techno music, a bundle of fun!
Our first experience into the world of Virtual Reality technology used on roller coasters and very effective! The simple use of this technology transformed a ride in the twilight years of its life into something original and new, transporting you into a whole another world. I was amazed to see how much the VR messed with my senses, the VR depicted us looping & it actually felt so despite there being no inversions on the ride!
Bob Sled Run
Like a scene from Cool Runnings, the Europa Park Bob Sled Run ride sends ride carriages down through a series of guided (like bumper rails in 10-pin bowling) twists and turns allowing the weight and momentum to determine the exact path. The uncertainty of it all definitely adds an element of excitement!
-The park is huge, a total of 16 themed areas!
-The winter chill adds to the high speed roller coaster experience
-Ice Skating and tobogganing available during winter.
-Europa park distributed during a show glasses that visually transform any light-source into snowflakes (as can be seen in our Cologne Christmas Markets Article), these are very cool and now amongst my prized possessions.
-Originality, where else would you see a gaggle of geese wearing bowties being led through the park by a whistle wielding jester.
-Open fires throughout the park to warm up by (large logs wedged open into quarters and one end with fire in the middle, genius)
-A poor man’s haunted mansion ride – many of the rides feel inspired by Disney’s greatest hits albeit at a much more reasonable rate.
In conclusion, of the 8 theme parks we’ve visited in the last 8 months, Europa Park is very much near the top, world class; even when its not at its full running capacity. So if you ever get the chance to visit, don’t be dumb, take it!
P.s. if you’re curious about how we’d rank the European theme parks we’ve visited, stay tuned! The article is not far away!