400 million euros of new rides, thrills, shows and attractions at European amusement parks
As the 2012 season approaches, theme parks and attractions are getting ready to welcome guests to revamped entertainment venues across Europe, following industry investments of more than 400 million euros.
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European amusement parks total more than 300 and have a total annual turnover of around 10 billion euros, with around 150 million visitors attending the various attractions every year.
Not only have many parks added a rollercoaster for the 2012 season, but they are also adopting themes in order to make their attractions even more appealing to families.
“The trend of developing a ride with a theme and a story is rising: it is not enough just to build a spectacular ride. Visitors want more of an immersed ride experience; they want to feel as if they are part of a story. Many parks are investing heavily in enhanced theming and development of themed attractions, ” explained Karen Staley, Vice President European Operations of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA).
In addition to this, many venues are adding accommodation options for guests so that visitors will extend their stay and thus their spending at entertainment parks.
What’s new at European attractions for 2012?
At Bakken, Kopenhagen, Denmark, a new rollercoaster designed for families is set to open for 2012. The Wild Mouse features sudden drops and thrilling cornering which gives the illusion that the car is about to careen off-track. A smaller, less terrifying ride for the younger guests, the Kang-O Bounce is also set to open for the new season.
Also in Denmark at Djurs Sommerland, Nimtofte, a new large family carousel called The Sun God will also open its doors and will appear in the park’s Mexicoland section where the themed ride will carry passengers in a gondola around the interactive Mexican jungle.
At Fårup Sommerland, Saltum there are several new rides waiting to thrill visitors including the kid’s rollercoaster, Pindsvinet (The Hedgehog) and a new high dive show coming to the attraction’s aquapark. At Legoland in Billund, a completely new themed area Polar Land is due to open and includes a new restaurant which gives a direct view into the penguin’s underwater play area, something which is sure to be a hit with adults and kids alike.
Finland’s entertainment parks have been busy too and the incredibly popular Angry Birds are set to take off at the Särkänniemi Adventure Land in Tampere. This brand new themed attraction is aimed at families and will include rides, park games and “Magic Places”, an Angry Birds Land themed activity area.
Elsewhere in Finland, at Tykkimaki, Kouvola, a new thrill ride Loop Fighter is expected to prove popular due to the feeling of weightlessness it evokes alongside an incredible G-force which reaches a maximum of 4-5 G.
French parks have been busy in the run up to the new season too, with Disneyland Paris celebrating its 20-year anniversary this year and adding a fantastic new show to its offering which features “never-before-seen special effects” at the Sleeping Beauty castle and Disney Magic on Parade.
Le Pal, Dompierre-sur-Bresbe has a new animal-themed exhibition which is dedicated to the big Asiatic predators and at the Parc Asterix, Plailly, new rollercoaster Oziris has been introduced, which is 40m high, 1000m long and reaches speeds of up 90 km/h. The new ride is part of a new Egyptian themed area inspired by the Asterix comics.
For younger thrill seekers in France, Puy du Fou, Les Epesses a new interactive garden has been created that sees statues come to life and famous fairy tales brought to life with games and surprises in store for the little ones.
Erlebnispark Tripsdrill, Cleebronn is Germany’s oldest theme park and has introduced a new section for 2012 which includes a mini-railway, a new section of timbered houses, an adventure playground and an extension of the existing restaurant.
Elsewhere in Germany, Europa-Park in Rust has introduced a fifth, New England themed hotel which features 189 rooms, 3 restaurants, a large pool and a 35m high lighthouse. Tumburcoaster also opening in time for the season, which is a new rollercoaster sure to take rider’s breath away with its 1050m long, 35m high design which whisks guests along an exciting 100km/h journey. The park will also present a new 4D movie following the adventures of Euromaus and his friends; “The Secret of Balthasar Castle” is expected to prove popular with families on his first step onto the big screen.
Hansa Park, Sierksdorf has a new, fifth section of its themed area of the Hanseatic League in Europe and features replicas of historic buildings from London (England), Ribe (Denmark) and Bergen (Norway).
Heide-Park, Soltau have merged two attractions this year to bring guests a fantastic new thrill ride which provides shocking special effects that will leave visitors gasping for breath. Krake is a unique attraction that combines the best of rollercoaster fun with the chills of a haunt attraction.
At Holiday Park, Hassloch, a new entrance gate welcomes visitors to the new family area, Majaland, where they can make the most of eleven new attractions alongside a host of special events and two new shows created for 2012.
Legoland Deutschland, Günzburg will also be celebrating this year as it reaches its 10th birthday and will transport guests into the world of the LEGO Ninjago series.
Moving on to Italy’s attraction improvements, Etnaland, Belpasso has introduced a new, Asian themed 300m flume water ride that has two 6m drops and Magic Land, Valmontone has a host of improvements throughout the park which includes a variety of new shows.
At Minitalia Leolandia, Capriate San Gervasio another new water ride is to open which features a powerful pirate character called Mediterranea, who defends her ship’s treasure with the help of a water canon and park visitors.
Mirabilandia, Ravenna also have a thrilling new water-ride in the shape of Divertical, which will be the highest watercoaster in the world. The attraction features a stunning 60m drop and has top speeds of 110km/h.
In the Netherlands, Duinrell, Wassenaar, opens a new 361m rollercoaster which whisks riders through the trees and features drops of up to 15m and new accommodation and better facilities complement the new ride and offer further options to families.
Efteling, Kaatsheuvel will celebrate its 60th anniversary on 31 May 2012 and is expected to put on a great water show Aquanura. The show will feature all of the elements and will be one of the largest water shows in the world.
Floriade, Venlo (right) is expected to open its gates after an interval of ten years, with the reopening of the World Horticultural Expo. Floriade will be taking place from April 5th to October 7th 2012 in Venlo, located in a beautiful park that links five separate worlds by woodland.
Staying with the Netherlands, Toverland, Sevenum made an investment of 1.5 million euros in anticipation of the new season and has improved the park with a new interior designed to strengthen themed area as well as invested in new shows. Further improvements will be coming in October with the opening of new 20m high ride and a brand new area.
Walibi Holland, Biddinghuizen will open a new 5D attraction with Club Psyke, which follows the adventures of Walibi, the park mascot, and his friends.
In Spain, Isla Magica, Sevilla, will be celebrating the 20-year anniversary of the 1992 Seville World Expo and are expected to play host to a number of festivities in the summer.
Parque de Atracciones, Madrid will be entertaining guests with their new rollercoaster, The Mine Train, a 450m long ride which whisks guests along an artificial mountain at speeds of up to 55km/h.
At Port Aventura, Salou, Shambhala will take guest’s breath away as the brand new rollercoaster’s mountain range theme does justice to the ride’s title as the tallest rollercoaster in Europe.
Sweden’s entertainment parks have also seen improvements and investment and Liseberg, Gothenburg now features a new giant ferris wheel that gives outstanding views across Gothernburg.
Skara Sommerland, Axvall will be opening its fantastic new waterslide, which features four parallel water lanes designed so that guests can add a competitive edge to the attraction by racing each other.
In the UK, popular attraction Alton Towers will be launching two new rides for 2012, Ice Age cinema and Nemesis Sub-Terra, a dark underground ride which will have guests quivering with intensity.
Legoland Windsor, Windsor will be opening its doors to visitors who can now stay in the 150 room, themed Legoland Windsor Hotel. Kids will adore the Pirate, Kingdom and Adventure themed rooms in the hotel, which is situated on the edge of the popular theme park.
Pleasure Beach, Blackpool will be getting into the Olympic spirit with the introduction of a troupe of Mexican Olympic high divers. The group will put on a show which includes 25m dives as well as elements of comedy and fire. It’s also expected that one of the Pleasure Beach’s most famous rides, The Revolution will be transformed with a new industrial look.
The Swarm at Thorpe Park, Chertsey offers truly dedicated thrill seekers the opportunity to experience a drop of 39m head first, on the UK’s first winged rollercoaster which also offers heart-pounding near misses.