Germany’s Europa-Park is the world’s largest seasonal theme park, home to more than 100 attractions and shows. It is owned and run by the Mack family, who set out to create a world-class entertainment experience inspired by some of the most famous and evocative Scandinavian legends.
Europa-Park is also home to Rulantica: a grand water park regarded as one of the world’s leading water park experiences. Opened in 2019, Rulantica was the first collaboration between ProSlide, a leading water ride manufacturer, and the Mack family. Together they developed an industry-leading ride mix that has become a gold standard for indoor water parks.
Now, the theme park has worked with ProSlide once again to create an outdoor extension of the Rulantica experience, called Svalgurok. Blooloop speaks to Michael Mack, CEO of Europa-Park, and Jeff Janovich, ProSlide’s Senior Vice-President of Global Strategic Partnerships, to find out more.
More aquatic fun for Europa-Park
“We always planned to add an outdoor area to Rulantica in the second stage of the project,” says Mack. “We have been planning the new water world for many years. During this time we conducted many surveys among our loyal Europa-Park visitors, asking them what they would like to see from a resort extension.
“It was clear that a water world would be the next step for Europa-Park as a resort. Plus, it was also clear that we would need an attractive outdoor area. We enjoy the most sun hours in Germany and very warm temperatures during the summer months, after all.”
To realise this vision, the park opted to build on its previous collaboration with ProSlide. This enabled it to continue the success of the initial ride mix by offering a brand-new outdoor experience.
“ProSlide did a fantastic job in stage one of the Rulantica development. So, it was a very straightforward decision to work with them again,” says Mack.
“We did our due diligence and sought other options. But in the end, never change a winning team. Their products are among the best in the world, and they were able to facilitate what we needed. Knowing the guys from working together previously obviously also helped. We could build on a trusted relationship, which makes everything a little bit easier.”
Europa-Park and ProSlide
“ProSlide has always been the innovation leader in the waterpark industry. Much like Mack Rides has always been an innovation leader in theme park rides,” says Janovich.
“For a park like Rulantica, which is a leader in the waterpark space, they are certainly going to look to a company that is the most innovative, in terms of the newest and latest greatest attractions that are coming out in the industry.”
This summer the result of this latest collaboration between the two companies was revealed, with the opening of Svalgurok. This is a monumental ride complex at Rulantica: an iconic custom RideHOUSE unlike any other. As one of the flagship attractions in ProSlide’s WaterKINGDOM, this feat of design, engineering, and animatronic theming sets a new standard in aquatic play.
Vision and design exceed expectations
For this latest project, Europa-Park set out to create one of the top water park attractions in all of Europe and has now seen that goal fulfilled. Svalgurok takes its name from Rulantica’s famous sea serpent and visitors can find it just outside of the park’s main building.
The RideHOUSE is fully customized, meaning it seamlessly integrates into the park’s mythologically inspired Scandinavian theming.
“We call Svalgurok our ‘Nordic Outdoor World of Slides’!” says Mack. “It is an impressively large playing area with over 100 playing opportunities. There are 10 water slides with several action levels, and theming that is second to none in the world. It is quite likely the most themed outdoor water play structure in the world.
“One of the main features is our moving sea snake head of Svalgur, which is such an eye-catcher. It is huge and towers high above the guests. Another key feature is our massive tipping water bucket, it brings so much joy to guests of all ages. Besides Svalgurok, we also opened Snorri Strand. This is an area right next to Svalgurok that focuses entirely on our youngest visitors. This safe place where the little ones can discover water fun, maybe for the first time. The outdoor area is a total family area with fun for all ages.”
Highly themed new attraction
Savalgurok depicts the scene of a massive aquatic battle, with the towering sea serpent Svalgur perching high above. The serpent overlooks the entire play structure while locked in battle with a giant octopus, which is an expertly themed ProSlide Continuous BodyBOWL, with massive tentacles encircling the RideHOUSE.
Speaking about the concept, Janovich says:
“Europa-Park was looking for something unique and impactful. Rulantica was such a game-changer when they built it, in terms of the themed environment, the architecture, the storyline and the whole immersive experience. So, the RideHOUSE had to be on par with that calibre.
“We worked with their creative team and came up with a creative concept for the play structure that was very impactful right from the beginning. Our play structure, RideHOUSE, is really the ‘Lego blocks’. Then it’s all the creative elements that went on top of the structure that made it unique. We were able to take these Lego blocks and create a structure with a lot of unique elements, such as slides and features. We could then dress it up with the creative dramatic elements that took it over the top.”
Svalgurok provides immersive entertainment
Intricate detail work elevates the theming on the structure. This has been integrated into every element to maintain the level of immersion for guests. Precise robotic engineering enables Svalgur’s head to move and spray up to 200 gallons per minute of water from four nozzles inside its mouth. Guests can even take the reins and control the sea serpent’s head on their own, thanks to the integration of advanced technology.
Not everything is as obvious as a water spraying serpent though. More subtle details like hand-painted designs on the water slides ensure they effortlessly blend into the structure. Meanwhile, a closer look at the large fibreglass tipping bucket reveals that it’s made to look as though it’s constructed from ship planks, deepening the experience.
A tunnel – replicating the appearance of whale bones – serves as a bridge between sections. And even more subtle aspects, such as guardrails, include immersive details, like hand-carved Viking shields and wood planks, to cement the fantasy experience.
“At Europa-Park, we have always put a lot of emphasis on theming, and it was clear that we will continue this with Rulantica as well,” says Mack. “Our guests have come to expect a high level of theming with the best quality, and we wanted to make sure to meet those expectations. We are even going a step beyond theming now in that we offer an elaborate story world around Rulantica, complete with books, audio plays and online experiences.”
High-performance water rides amplify the experience
An integral part of RideHOUSE’s appeal is the inclusion of ProSlide’s high-performance water rides. Svalgurok’s industry-leading theming is matched by expertly engineered ProSlide water rides that make up the ride mix. A mix of 10 tracks of high-performance ProSlide water rides is anchored to the RideHOUSE. This provides a fun range of different experiences in a single location.
Rides like the two-lane competitive ProRACER let riders race their friends in a high-speed dash to the finish line. And with the addition of three TWISTERS and four KIDZ TWISTERS, riders of any age can enjoy the classic, open-flume experience as they accelerate into turns and high-banking loops.
“The play structure is designed for families and primarily younger kids, but the reality is, the whole family can participate,” says Janovich. “When you look at the rides we did inside, there is the TornadoWAVE which is a high thrill family ride and our MAMMOTH raft ride, as well as some inner tube rides and the Dueling PIPEline.
“The idea was to have rides for all different demographics and different thrill levels. So, the play structure is for everyone, really. The rides are typically all body slides, they’re not super high. It’s more of a discovery type of structure.”
Something for everyone at Svalgurok
“We go as high as about 10 metres with some of the taller slides, but they’re all generally more accommodating for all ages,” continues Janovich.
“Younger kids and their parents can participate together in terms of exploring the structure. They can play with the interactive toys like the sprays on their way up the structure, and then you’ve got these different ways to slide back down. With 10 slides on the structure, there are 10 different experiences you can have on the way down.”
“We have something for every age and every preference,” adds Mack. “We are and have always been about the family. Yes, it is important to have thrills. But it is equally important to offer experiences for the little ones, for older guests who might come with their grandchildren.
“Therefore, Rulantica, just as Europa-Park, has fun for all ages. From slides that will get your heart racing, to water play areas, to relaxation areas, swim-up bars and cosy corners to chill out after all the fun. Everyone will find their favourite corner in Rulantica.”
Fun for the whole family at Rulantica
Rulantica first opened to the public in November 2019 and is the largest single investment in Europa-Park’s history. The second-gate water park covers an area of 32,600 square metres. This highly themed landscape is home to 25 water attractions, including 17 slides.
The focal point is the Surf Fjørd wave pool at the heart of Lumåfals. Meanwhile, Vinterhal, which is themed as an ice palace, is home to most of Rulantica’s most spectacular attractions, all by ProSlide. These include the Vinter Rytt (TornadoWAVE), Stormvind (CannonBOWL 40), Två Fall tube slide (Dueling PIPEline), Svalgur Rytt rafting slide (MAMMOTH). Guests can also enjoy Isbrekker (TWISTER drop slides), two ‘shotgun fall’ slides that climax with a 1.5m drop into the water.
The Rulantica storyline is based around a mystical Scandinavian Island. It features loveable characters such as Snorri the octopus, developed in-house by Mack Solutions. The water park was an instant hit for Europa-Park, thanks to the attention to detail and the rich theming.
“Rulantica blew me away,” says Janovich, who was involved in the project since the beginning. “It really is a whole different experience. All the theming, the story that they built around it, that is what makes it really feel unique.”
The Europa-Park team did not rest on its laurels after the initial launch, however. In October 2020, it also opened a new relax and sauna area Hyggedal. And now, the opening of Svalgurok in June 2021 has taken this popular water park to a whole new level.
Svalgurok elevates aquatic play to new levels
The team at ProSlide is thrilled with the outcome:
“Rulantica fulfilled its incredible vision to create a world-leading WaterKINGDOM RideHOUSE that extends and enhances their second-to-none theming”, says Janovich. “Svalgurok is our next-generation RideHOUSE. It showcases how the world’s first interactive, robotic theming, along with 10 tracks of cutting-edge ProSlide Water Rides, work together to create an attraction unlike anything seen before.”
“The feedback we have had so far was very positive,” says Mack. “Because we spent so much time planning for Rulantica, we were relatively certain that we knew what our guests wanted. So, it was just a matter of whether we would meet their expectations in terms of quality and experience. And it is safe to say we did, and in many ways surpassed their expectations once more.”
“Guests can’t stop talking about Svalgurok”, adds Europa-Park’s owner, Roland Mack. “From the rides to the design, to the theming and everything else. The RideHOUSE blows their expectations out of the water in every single way.
“Svalgurok is definitely the perfect outdoor addition to our unique water world, where ProSlide´s high-quality products were already among the absolute highlights before. From lovingly themed slides for the youngest visitors to huge and spectacular slides, every guest is guaranteed to find exactly what they are looking for thanks to the outstanding collaboration with ProSlide.”