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Matt N’s Europa Park Initiation 26th-30th April 2022 (27th April 2022: Europa Park Day 1)


Matt N

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27th April 2022 (Europa Park Day 1)

Today, our first day in the park finally arrived! It’s a day I had dreamed about for ages, and quite literally dreamed about within the last few months… although unlike in my dreams, no vloggers stopping me from boarding rides or university staff with cricket bats were here to ruin it for me (if you don’t know what I mean, check out the theme park dreams thread)! And it was a very exciting day for sure… let me get straight to the good stuff!

 

We did not go into the park for ERT this morning, instead opting for a more relaxed start to the day. We headed into Europa at a little after 9:30am through the hotel guest entrance, which was very quick and easy:

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After getting into the park, we initially considered starting with Alpenexpress Enzian, but we could not find the entrance, so we instead decided to start with a nearby ride that we were all hotly ancitipating…

Wodan Timbur Coaster

Wodan was on an advertised 40 minute queue, so we decided to join it. I was very excited to ride Wodan; Wicker Man was my #3 prior to visiting Europa, so I naturally had high expectations for its bigger, badder cousin. The queue for Wodan is an attraction in itself, with very elaborate theming throughout, and we also had the bonus of it only being 20 minutes as opposed to the advertised 40, which is always good! So, how was the ride? Well, we rode in row 8, and I thought it was absolutely phenomenal; the pacing was truly relentless like no other ride I’ve ever ridden, and every bit of the ride felt like it was trying to fling you out of the seat in some way, including some very unexpected moments of airtime! Interestingly, I thought it encapsulated elements from all 3 of the modern wooden coasters I’ve done previously (Wicker Man, Mine Blower and Megafobia); the initial sequence of elements reminded me a lot of Megafobia with the sustained air on the way down the first drop and the big turnaround directly after, while the fun twists and turns, the relative smoothness and the comfy trains reminded me a lot of Wicker Man, and the awesome little pops of air at the end reminded me a lot of Mine Blower. And it integrated all of these elements wonderfully to make it an absolutely phenomenal wooden roller coaster; Wodan definitely became my favourite wooden roller coaster I’ve ridden (yes, I concede that I definitely liked it more than Wicker Man), and it has definitely blazed its way into my top 3 for sure! My parents loved the ride, too:

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After Wodan, we headed to the other major roller coaster in Iceland…

Blue Fire

Blue Fire was on an advertised 20 minute wait, so we decided to give it a go. Seeing as Icon was my #2 prior to visiting Europa, I was very interested to ride the prototype Mack launch coaster. Many had told me that Blue Fire was superior to Icon, so I was interested to see what I thought to it given my Icon love. The wait took a tad longer than 20 minutes due to a breakdown, but that certainly wasn’t for lack of trying on the part of the ride team; trains were being hammered out, and as I later found would be the case with every ride at Europa, the queue moved very quickly, and the boarding/checking process took very little time at all; they don’t mess around! So, how was Blue Fire? Well, I thought it was a very fun ride; it was smooth, the inversions were nice (particularly the first and last ones; the last one is challenging for my favourite inversion), there were some nice transitions and it was overall a nice, fun coaster! However… I did think it was lacking a little something relative to Icon. I can’t quite put my finger on what, but I wasn’t getting quite the same wow feeling that I get from a ride on Icon. It could be that it’s not the most airtime-y ride, and I do enjoy airtime on this style of coaster, so I was missing a little air on there, but I’m not sure that was entirely it; while it was a terrific coaster, I did think it was missing that little spark to make it a true 10/10 tier ride for me. That’s not to say that Blue Fire isn’t a great ride, though; I thoroughly enjoyed myself on it, and it still makes my top 10! Neither of my parents seemed overly keen, though; my mum said it was “sick-making”, and said she isn’t riding again this trip, while my dad said that it felt slow for a ride of 62mph:

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After Blue Fire, we decided to wander for a bit and see where the path took us. It took us to Scandinavia, and Fjord-Rafting was initially considered as our next ride, but we then made the conservative decision to leave the water rides for a hotter day on our trip (tomorrow and Friday are due to be hotter), so we instead chose to ride…

Snorri Touren

I didn’t actually know how long the queue for Snorri Touren was, but I thought it looked intriguing, so we joined the queue. For such a hidden away attraction, I thought the queue was very nicely themed, with lots to look at and odd appearances from an octopus who I’m guessing is Snorri (?). So, how was the ride? Well, I thought it was a fun little ride for what it was, with some nice theming, a catchy soundtrack, good projection mapping, and a rather surprising and clever section that almost resembled a simulator-style ride, which I thought was interesting! Overall, I thought it was a fun and intriguing ride, and my parents seemed to agree:

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After Snorri Touren, we decided to head to another dark ride that I knew a little more about…

Piraten in Batavia

Piraten in Batavia was on an advertised 20 minute queue, so we joined it. We thought the queue looked rather big from the outside, as it was spilling out of the building into the plaza, but it turned out that the sign was right, as the queue moved at a very fast pace and took no longer than advertised, perhaps even slightly less! The queue was also incredibly well themed, with some surprisingly massive rooms and lots to look at, which is always good! So, how was the ride? Well, I didn’t know too much about it other than that it was similar to Pirates of the Caribbean at Disney and replaced an older attraction of the same premise, so I went in (relatively) blind aside from people telling me it was brilliant. And I must say, I thought it was a truly excellent dark ride, and perhaps controversially, I’d take it over its Disney source material any day of the week (well, the WDW version). There was lots of theming to look at throughout, the scenes were really excellent (with some being surprisingly grand in scale), and other tools such as smells and projection mapping were also used very effectively in there; I thought it was a fantastic dark ride, and it seemed to be a hit with my parents too:

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After Piraten in Batavia, we headed to our next roller coaster, which was very nearby…

Euro Mir

Euro Mir was on an advertised 15 minute wait, so we decided to give it a go. The ride looks very impressive from off-ride, with the huge glass buildings and the big rocket giving it a very strong presence within the surrounding area. The ride also has an… interesting indoor queue, with some fun UV lighting and a soundtrack that is bound to be stuck in one’s head after riding (as is the case with a surprising number of Europa’s rides)! So, how was Euro Mir? Well, I was interested to see what I thought to it, as it seems quite marmite; I’ve noticed that people seem to either really like it or not think much to it at all. And sadly, me and my parents all fell quite comfortably into the latter camp. Europa had certainly been buttering us the right way up to this point, so I hate to say it, but… oh dear. This was genuinely horrible, and I don’t think any of us enjoyed it at all. I thought it was quite a strange coaster, with an interesting start with some controlled spinning and a very long lift hill given the height, which was intriguing. The aerial turns were OK, providing some nice views of the park… but that’s where the ride went hugely downhill, both literally and figuratively. Interestingly, it didn’t spin at all in the main thrilling body of the coaster, so nausea wasn’t really an issue, but whenever it sped up or turned, it got horrifically rough. Me and my mum were facing forwards, and we got bashed around a hell of a lot (particularly our shins/knees, getting bashed against the hard side of the car), but my dad, who was facing backwards, seemed to get the brunt of the bashing, with him saying that it really hurt his shins. Granted, Euro Mir is a fairly forceful coaster for a ride of its type, and it’s certainly novel, so I probably shouldn’t be so harsh, but none of us especially enjoyed it at all:

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After Euro Mir, we wandered into the Great Britain section of the park, where we had a spot of lunch in the sports bar before having a little stroll around the Great Britain area while working out where to go next:

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I’ve got to say, Europa is the perfect park for just strolling around; it’s truly beautiful throughout, and never feels too busy given that it gets over 5 million guests per year!

 

After a brief stroll through Britain, we stumbled into Switzerland, where we boarded our next attraction:

Schweizer Bobbahn

Schweizer Bobbahn had a 15 minute advertised queue, so we joined it. I was interested to ride Schweizer Bobbahn; I’d remembered really liking Avalanche at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, so I was hopeful for quite a fun little coaster. So, how was the ride? Well, I thought it was rather good fun myself, with some nice helixes and turns! I didn’t think it quite stacked up to Avalanche, though; it didn’t seem quite as fast, and it had a slight rattle in some of the more forceful sections that I don’t remember Avalanche having, which detracted ever so slightly. Nevertheless, I thought it was a fun little coaster for what it was, and certainly something I enjoyed:

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After Schweizer Bobbahn, we headed to do the other coaster in Switzerland…

Matterhorn Blitz

Matterhorn Blitz had an advertised 20 minute queue, so we decided to join it and give it a go. The queue felt like one of the longest queues of the day, however; Matterhorn Blitz is not the highest capacity ride at Europa, and the ride did appear quite popular. It was a fairly nicely themed queue, though, with a very nicely themed indoor section at the end, although I’ll digress that I found some of the animatronics a tad disconcerting! Putting aside the queue, though; how was the ride? Well, I thought the elevator lift was really interesting, and it was relatively smooth for a wild mouse, as well as well themed, but I don’t generally rate wild mouse coasters that highly, so saying it’s my favourite wild mouse coaster is damning with faint praise a tad. With that being said, though, I did like the theme, and it certainly looks pretty; this style of ride just isn’t really my thing, so I’m not sure I was ever going to rate it super highly:

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After Matterhorn Blitz, we took a stroll and found ourselves in Greece, where we got in line for…

Abenteuer Atlantis

I thought Abenteuer Atlantis looked intriguing, and it was on a 1 minute advertised queue, so we decided to join it and give ourselves a brief respite from coastering. The queue board certainly wasn’t lying; we literally waltzed straight on, and interestingly, we boarded entirely by ourselves, with seemingly no host there at all! So, how was Abenteuer Atlantis? Well, I thought it was a fun little interactive dark ride, with some excellent theming and animatronics and an overall fun vibe; I really liked it, and my mum and dad seemed to as well. Mum & dad scored well, with them getting scores in the 20,000-30,000 ballpark, but being as shocking at interactive dark rides as I am, I got a truly abysmal 701; I have very poor aim, so I never score particularly well on these. Nevertheless, we all found it a fun little ride:

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After Abenteuer Atlantis, we initially pondered riding Pegasus, but we were instead drawn to a somewhat more anticipated coaster located right next to it…

Silver Star

Silver Star was on an advertised 15 minute queue, so we decided to give it a go. One thing I must say about Silver Star is that I think it is quite possibly one of the fastest moving queues I have ever stood in; we were initially doubtful about whether it would actually take 15 minutes, as the queue looked quite large, but the sign wasn’t wrong, perhaps even a little pessimistic; we reached the station in around 10 minutes. I was going into Silver Star with very mixed expectations and feelings. My pre-Europa #1 was also a B&M Hyper Coaster (Mako at SeaWorld Orlando), so I had high expectations for SS, but I also had somewhat low expectations too, as it never seems to get very positive press; it appears to have marmite status among Europa’s coasters at best, with a fair percentage of people not rating it very highly at all while another percentage likes it, but doesn’t love it. As such, I was wondering whether to expect a pretty rough coaster lacking in airtime more akin to The Big One at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, as a number of reviews had implied Silver Star to be quite rough and severely lacking in airtime. I was excited to ride Silver Star, but also quite nervous as well. Would the B&M Hyper experience live up to my glorious memories of Mako from 6 years earlier now that I’ve ridden considerably more rides?

 

Well, I shouldn’t have worried. Unlike the similarly marmite Euro Mir, me and my parents fell firmly into the “love it” category with this ride, and I thought it was truly spectacular! I was a tad skeptical about how our first ride would be, as we were seated in row 5 (slap bang in the middle… not usually the best spot on airtime coasters) but it was absolutely breathtaking! The first drop provided stunning sustained floater, and it bought all of those glorious Mako memories flooding back. Each successive hill had glorious sustained air for seconds and seconds, and I thought the ride was pretty smooth and comfortable too (admittedly not quite the same wonderful level of glass smoothness as 2016 Mako, but that’s to be expected given that Mako was brand new when I rode it, while SS is 20 years old). The ending was excellent too; we got properly yanked off the MCBR with a phenomenal and surprisingly abrupt jolt of airtime, with each successive hill in the post-MCBR section being similar, and the s-bend rode pretty well too! Overall, I was truly blown away by Silver Star, and my parents appeared to be too; they both raved about the experience:

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After an epic ride on Silver Star, we headed to the other roller coaster in France…

Cancan Coaster

Cancan Coaster was on a 25 minute advertised queue, so we decided to give it a go. As with many rides at Europa, this had a beautiful queue, with tons to look at, and it moved quickly too; what more can you ask for? So, how was the ride? Well, I thought it was really good fun, and definitely a surprising one; the ride was very smooth, and packed surprising pace throughout, with some really fun turns being packed in there too. I also thought the theming was very fun and whimsical, and I did like having the can can playing to you while you were riding! Overall, I thought Cancan was great fun; definitely one we all enjoyed:

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After Cancan Coaster, we decided to relax for a bit and sit down in the town square in France to watch the fountain show for 10 minutes or so:

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I must say, Europa’s France section is beautiful; it had a very nice atmosphere, and was lovely to spend time in! The fountain show was quite a fun watch, too!

 

After our sit down, we decided to spice things up with another random ride we stumbled across…

Madame Freudenreich’s Curiosities

I thought Madame Freudenreich’s Curiosities looked intriguing, so we decided to give it a go. As with Abenteuer Atlantis earlier, the queue was walk-on, which is always a bonus! So, how was the ride? Well, I thought it was quite a fun little ride! Certainly quirky for sure, but it was certainly a fun little detour, with some fun animatronics, a fun storyline, and surprisingly excellent theming:

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After Madame Freudenreich’s, we decided to take a gradual stroll down to Deutsche Allee, Europa’s very nice entrance area:

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We didn’t just stroll down to EP’s entrance area for the sake of it, however. While in the area, we took a ride on…

Voletarium

Voletarium was on a mere 5 minute advertised queue, so we decided to give it a go. The queue for Voletarium is almost an attraction in itself; it’s absolutely stunning, with some huge rooms and tons to look at! However, we didn’t get a lot of time to look at anything, as we practically waltzed straight onto the ride! So, how was Voletarium? Well, I thought it was a really nice ride, with some good cinematography, nice smells and some nice special effects on the side; definitely a good fun dark ride:

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After Voletarium, we took a bit of a stroll through the gardens area by Europa’s entrance, as in all honesty, we weren’t really sure where we were going at this point:

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We eventually found ourselves in Austria, where we briefly sat down to look at the fountains:

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After our brief sit down, we headed over to ride…

Alpenexpress Enzian

Alpenexpress had a 15 minute advertised queue, so we joined it. VR was in operation on this ride, but on our train, there were no VR riders, so we managed to score a ride towards the back of the train; always a bonus with these powered coasters! So, how was the ride? Well, I thought it was really good fun, with two surprisingly fast helixes; it’s probably up there with Alton Towers’ Runaway Mine Train as one of my favourite powered coasters:

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After Alpenexpress, we decided to gradually stroll back over to Iceland to take a second ride on Wodan. I was seated in row 7 for this ride, and it was just as phenomenal as earlier; in fact, it was possibly a tad faster, and I was genuinely somewhat worried for my unzipped jacket’s life over some of the airtime hills!

 

After that, I split off from my parents to go for one final ride on Silver Star. You don’t think of EP as being overly big, but the walk from Iceland to France is surprisingly hefty! In terms of my second ride on Silver Star; I scored the back row, and it was even more phenomenal than earlier! Even with the trim brakes biting somewhat, every hill had a truly phenomenal yank of airtime over it, and the ride was absolutely exquisite from start to finish!

 

You may notice that I have thus far steered clear of doing a direct comparison between Silver Star and Mako. So, has Silver Star dethroned Mako as my number 1 coaster? My answer is… not quite, but there’s phenomenally little in it; that verdict was not reached easily, and my rides on Silver Star today certainly had me second guessing Mako’s #1 placement more than any other ride has since Mako. It was a very tough decision, but I ultimately decided to keep Mako on top because while Silver Star is absolutely spectacular, I don’t think any individual element on it had quite the same wow factor as elements like Mako’s sublime first drop and first camelback hill, from memory, and while still very smooth and comfortable for the most part, Silver Star doesn’t ride quite as exquisitely as Mako did in 2016, and Mako’s completely glass smooth ride was one of the things I loved about it. I know that those sound like very pedantic reasons, but when two rides are both that good and it’s the top spot being fought for, I’m afraid that it has to be pedantry that ultimately decides which ride comes out on top. Nonetheless, Silver Star is a phenomenal coaster that truly took my breath away, and that back row ride in particular certainly had Mako quaking in its boots!

 

After a glorious ride on Silver Star, I met back up with my parents, and we headed out of the park for the day:

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After that, we headed to Hotel Colosseo for a lovely meal in Pizzeria de Romantica before heading back to our room, saying goodnight to Europa Park for the day:

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So in conclusion, we had a wonderful first day in Europa Park! The park is absolutely stunning, with stunning rides and stunning theming; it’s certainly a phenomenally well rounded park, in my view, and I can’t wait to see the rest of what it has to offer over the next 2 days!

 

I’m aware that our schedule was quite intense today (I was possibly further down the rabbit hole of “new park stress” than I’d have perhaps liked), so we agreed that we’re going to have a more relaxed day tomorrow, with some shows scattered in alongside rides we haven’t done yet (including water rides and the remaining 4 coaster credits), as well as rerides on our favourites.

 

Thanks for reading (apologies for the length; if you read it all, you deserve a medal!), and I hope you enjoyed my report; I’ll be back tomorrow with day 2!

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