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Matt N

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About Matt N

  • Birthday 07/31/2003

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  • Favourite ride
    Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
  • Favourite Theme Park
    Europa Park

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    Male
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    Forest of Dean (UK)

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  1. Disclaimer: This post is extremely long, and if you don't like data analysis and geeky maths talk, I'd suggest you run for the hills and don't look back, because this post has quite a bit of it! Hi guys. Some of you might remember that I recently did a multi-part data analysis investigation on Europe's major coaster selections; the topic is here if you don't know what I'm on about: In that thread, I asked numerous different questions about Europe's major coaster selections. So I thought that a natural next step would be to try North America; it would be rude of me not to pay the Americans a visit given how many coasters and parks are in the USA alone, let alone the rest of North America! But for those of you who have no idea about my previous data analysis investigation, let me just introduce what I'm doing... Introduction There are a lot of theme parks in North America, as well as a lot of roller coasters. So naturally, people (myself included) tend to ask questions like “which park has North America’s best roller coaster lineup?” or “which parks are quality-over-quantity and which parks are quantity-over-quality?”, amongst others. As such, while it’s not really a discussion thread as such, I thought it might be fun to try to take a quantitative look into some of these questions and try to answer them using some data science techniques. So join me as I attempt to perform a quantitative, multi-part analysis of North America’s major coaster selections! I'll split my investigations into a couple of posts, one for each question, to make it a little more digestible. Before we start, let me set out a few prerequisites and explain some of the facts regarding the investigation… Prerequisites of the Investigation I am using the coaster ratings on Captain Coaster (https://captaincoaster.com/en/) as of May 2022 to perform this investigation. If you look at each ride’s page on CC, it has a % score out of 100; this is what I have used and converted into ratings out of 10. For the rating out of 10 of a ride, I converted the percentage into a rating by dividing by 10 (so for instance, a ride rated 87% would have an average rating of 8.7/10). Building upon the ratings stuff; all ratings are rounded to the nearest 0.1 (so to 1dp). As a rule of thumb of what’s considered major, I went with; to be considered, a park must have 5 scoreable roller coasters. If you’re wondering why I get so specific in saying “scoreable roller coasters”, it’s because Captain Coaster does not score what it considers to be “kiddie coasters”, so not every ride in a park's lineup is scored. As such, this means that parks with 5 kiddie coasters wouldn't be eligible for this investigation; my rule ensures that a park in the study has 5 family/family thrill coasters, at the very least. It also doesn't score rides where the ridership is too low, but the effect of that upon this investigation is quite minor; only 1 or 2 parks/rides were affected. Off the top of my head, Tumbili at Kings Dominion and Wonder Woman Coaster at Six Flags Mexico (bizarrely given it opened in 2018) are not scored on CC due to their ridership being too low, therefore the investigation excluded them, but all the other new rides that have opened are counted. So the likes of Iron Gwazi, Ice Breaker, Pantheon, VelociCoaster etc are all included. However, one inconsistency is that Captain Coaster has a somewhat inconsistent definition of what it considers a kiddie coaster. Using some examples from my home continent of Europe, things like the Steeplechases at Blackpool are considered kiddie coasters, but Blue Flyer in the same park, which I personally would consider a kiddie coaster, isn't. I could have taken kiddie coasters into account, but I could not think of a fair way to do it, as rides that fall into this bracket that slipped through the cracks seem to have wildly varying scores. The site also has rides listed on it that some probably wouldn't count as roller coasters, but some do, such as SuperSplash at Plopsaland and Fuga de Atlantide at Gardaland. I just decided to go with the site's scores and the rides that the site scored, as even though I could calculate the mean rating of some unscored rides, I don't think CC's scoring system only uses mean rating, as I seem to remember it being mentioned that members' rankings are also factored in, so me attempting to meddle with CC's system risks introducing bias and skewing the data the wrong way, which you definitely don't want in a data investigation. However, I did think this was something I should raise before we begin. The most important prerequisite of all is that the results of this investigation are not necessarily the final answers to the questions I raised in my introductory paragraph by any stretch. All of this still comes entirely down to personal opinion, of course. Right then; I think that's everything, so let's dive into the dataset... The Dataset When searching through RCDB for theme parks that met my criteria, as well as cross-referencing with Captain Coaster to ensure that the criteria were met in terms of scoreability, I found 41 theme parks with 358 roller coasters between them. These parks, as well as the number of scoreable roller coasters they each contain, are as follows: Six Flags Magic Mountain (USA, California): 16 Canada's Wonderland (Canada): 16 Cedar Point (USA, Ohio): 16 Six Flags Great America (USA, Illinois): 14 Kings Island (USA, Ohio): 14 Hersheypark (USA, Pennsylvania): 14 Six Flags Great Adventure (USA, New Jersey): 13 Carowinds (USA, North Carolina): 13 Kings Dominion (USA, Virginia): 12 Six Flags Over Texas (USA, Texas): 11 Six Flags Over Georgia (USA, Georgia): 10 Six Flags New England (USA, Massachusetts): 10 Busch Gardens Tampa (USA, Florida): 10 Six Flags Fiesta Texas (USA, Texas): 9 Lagoon (USA, Utah): 9 Knott's Berry Farm (USA, California): 9 Six Flags St Louis (USA, Missouri): 9 Busch Gardens Williamsburg (USA, Virginia): 9 Six Flags Discovery Kingdom (USA, California): 8 Six Flags America (USA, Maryland): 8 La Ronde (Canada): 8 Dollywood (USA, Tennessee): 8 Six Flags Mexico (Mexico): 8 Kennywood (USA, Pennsylvania): 8 Six Flags Darien Lake (USA, New York): 7 Valleyfair (USA, Minnesota): 7 Morey's Piers (USA, New Jersey): 6 Worlds of Fun (USA, Missouri): 6 Michigan's Adventure (USA, Michigan): 6 Silver Dollar City (USA, Missouri): 6 Dorney Park (USA, Pennsylvania): 6 SeaWorld Orlando (USA, Florida): 6 Kentucky Kingdom (USA, Kentucky): 6 Luna Park (USA, New York): 5 Indiana Beach (USA, Indiana): 5 Great Escape (USA, New York): 5 SeaWorld San Antonio (USA, Texas): 5 Knoebels (USA, Pennsylvania): 5 Disney's Magic Kingdom (USA, Florida): 5 Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park (USA, New Jersey): 5 Disneyland (USA, California): 5 I think that just about covers everything, but if you feel I’ve missed an obvious one, then don’t be afraid to tell me. Let's move on to some fun stuff now... I'll start analysing some different common questions and see what answers I come out with. I'll use this first post to do... What is North America’s most consistently strong coaster selection? Yes, I’ll be finding out which coaster selection in North America is the most consistently strong! For clarity, this focuses on the entire scoreable selection and sees the consistent strength of a park’s lineup. This is not weighted solely towards a park’s more highly rated coasters (I’ll be examining the top ends of selections on their own in a separate question), but instead considers the consistent strength of a park’s whole selection. I’m basically asking “to what extent does each park in the dataset have a consistently strong, good quality lineup?”. There are numerous data science techniques we can use to find this out. Let’s start with the first one… Mean The first statistical method we can use is the mean. For those that don’t know, the mean is a calculated average, where the sum of all a park’s coaster ratings is calculated and then divided by the number of scoreable coasters in that park to work out the average rating. The formula for the mean is as follows: Mean Rating = Sum of all Ratings/Number of Scoreable Coasters When applying the mean to each park in the dataset, the top 10 most consistently strong coaster selections in North America were as follows: Ranking Park Mean (to 1dp) Number of Scoreable Coasters 1 Silver Dollar City 7.5 6 2 Busch Gardens Williamsburg 7.3 9 3 Dollywood 7.0 8 4 SeaWorld Orlando 7.0 6 5 Cedar Point 6.6 16 6 Six Flags Magic Mountain 6.6 16 7 Busch Gardens Tampa 6.5 10 8 SeaWorld San Antonio 6.4 5 9 Six Flags Fiesta Texas 6.4 9 10 Kennywood 6.4 8 But mean is not the only statistical measure I can use… Median Another statistical measure we can use is the median. For those that don’t know, the median is the middle value in a dataset; the midpoint, if you like. For instance, in a dataset of 9 scoreable roller coasters, the median value would be the 5th highest rated coaster, because there are 4 coasters rated higher than it and 4 coasters rated lower than it. When applying the median to each park in the dataset, the top 10 most consistently strong coaster selections in North America were as follows: Ranking Park Median (to 1dp) Amount of Scoreable Coasters 1 Silver Dollar City 8.6 6 2 Busch Gardens Williamsburg 8.3 9 3 SeaWorld Orlando 8.1 6 4 Busch Gardens Tampa 7.4 10 5 Dollywood 7.3 8 6 Six Flags Great Adventure 7.2 13 7 Cedar Point 7.2 16 8 Disney’s Magic Kingdom 7.0 5 9 Dorney Park 7.0 6 10 Six Flags Magic Mountain 6.9 16 However, there’s one final statistical measure of my own that I’d like to test out… The Matt N Formula for Consistent Strength So far, I have used two pre-existing statistical measures; the mean, a calculated average, and the median, the midpoint value. However, each of these has its own flaws and things that it doesn’t really consider. The mean is flawed in that it can be quite easily skewed by a small number of data items on the extreme ends of the spectrum, thus not providing an accurate picture of the whole selection. Whereas the median, while possibly providing a more accurate picture of the general quality of a selection, does not take the extreme ends of the spectrum into account at all; if a park's coaster selection had a median rating of 6/10, the top value could be a 7/10 or a 10/10 and it would make no difference. With that in mind, I decided to come up with my own formula to determine the consistent strength of a selection. A formula that takes into account both the extreme ends of the spectrum and the general quality across the board. So let me present The Matt N Formula for Consistent Strength; the formula is as follows: Matt N Formula for Consistent Strength = (Highest rating + Upper quartile)*(Lowest rating + Lower quartile) I included the highest rating and the lowest rating to take into account the extreme ends of a selection, while I also integrated quartiles to provide a stronger picture of general quality throughout a selection. Those of you who followed my Europe data analysis might remember that I initially attempted to use this formula to work out strength in general without really quantifying what strength was, but I later decided that this particular formula would work better to determine consistent strength. When I applied the Matt N Formula for Consistent Strength to each park in the dataset, the top 10 most consistently strong coaster selections in North America were as follows: Ranking Park Highest Rating Upper Quartile (to 1dp) Lowest Rating Lower Quartile (to 1dp) Matt N Formula Score (to 1dp) Quantity of Scoreable Coasters 1 Dollywood 9.9 8.0 3.9 6.4 183.0 8 2 Silver Dollar City 9.7 9.3 3.5 6.0 180.7 6 3 Kennywood 9.3 7.2 4.2 5.2 155.3 8 4 SeaWorld San Antonio 8.8 7.6 3.4 5.6 147.6 5 5 Knoebels 9.4 7.5 2.7 5.9 145.3 5 6 Busch Gardens Williamsburg 9.7 9.0 1.1 6.4 140.3 9 7 SeaWorld Orlando 9.6 8.9 0.7 6.7 135.8 6 8 Cedar Point 10.0 8.9 1.5 5.4 130.6 16 9 Six Flags Magic Mountain 9.8 7.8 1.3 5.4 117.9 16 10 Disney’s Magic Kingdom 7.1 7.1 1.9 6.3 116.4 5 Let’s now summarise what we’ve learned… Summary So, what did we learn from this investigation? Well, while the methods used did differ the results somewhat, there were some names that universally appeared in the top 10 regardless. And there was one park in particular that did shine, scoring highly on all 3 measures. As it came top when using 2 of the 3 measures and came second in the measure that it didn’t win, I am saying that my data concludes that Silver Dollar City has North America’s most consistently strong coaster lineup. When a park comes out on top 2 out of 3 times and comes second the 3rd time (and a very close second, at that), it’s hard not to declare it the winner! I’m aware that the results might not be what some expect, and in some ways, they weren’t what I would have expected either, but it is worth me reiterating that this is asking what North America’s most consistently strong coaster lineup is rather than what the strongest coaster lineup is in terms of the park’s highest rated coasters. If I honed in exclusively on each park’s strongest rated coasters (which I will do in a separate question), I can sense these results would look very different. Also, just because my algorithm is saying that Silver Dollar City wins this, that’s not “the correct answer” by any means; it’s all down to personal opinion. The answer I’m showing here is merely the conclusion that my data analysis came to based off of the average opinions of a subset of coaster enthusiasts. Just for reference, here is a box plot I created using Python’s MatPlotLib library to show the spread of ratings for each coaster selection and how they compare to one another in a visual way: I’m aware that that’s a bit of a mess, so just for some idea, here is the order in which the parks appear, from left to right (the number at the side is the number of scoreable coasters the park has: Six Flags Magic Mountain (USA, California): 16 Canada's Wonderland (Canada): 16 Cedar Point (USA, Ohio): 16 Six Flags Great America (USA, Illinois): 14 Kings Island (USA, Ohio): 14 Hersheypark (USA, Pennsylvania): 14 Six Flags Great Adventure (USA, New Jersey): 13 Carowinds (USA, North Carolina): 13 Kings Dominion (USA, Virginia): 12 Six Flags Over Texas (USA, Texas): 11 Six Flags Over Georgia (USA, Georgia): 10 Six Flags New England (USA, Massachusetts): 10 Busch Gardens Tampa (USA, Florida): 10 Six Flags Fiesta Texas (USA, Texas): 9 Lagoon (USA, Utah): 9 Knott's Berry Farm (USA, California): 9 Six Flags St Louis (USA, Missouri): 9 Busch Gardens Williamsburg (USA, Virginia): 9 Six Flags Discovery Kingdom (USA, California): 8 Six Flags America (USA, Maryland): 8 La Ronde (Canada): 8 Dollywood (USA, Tennessee): 8 Six Flags Mexico (Mexico): 8 Kennywood (USA, Pennsylvania): 8 Six Flags Darien Lake (USA, New York): 7 Valleyfair (USA, Minnesota): 7 Morey's Piers (USA, New Jersey): 6 Worlds of Fun (USA, Missouri): 6 Michigan's Adventure (USA, Michigan): 6 Silver Dollar City (USA, Missouri): 6 Dorney Park (USA, Pennsylvania): 6 SeaWorld Orlando (USA, Florida): 6 Kentucky Kingdom (USA, Kentucky): 6 Luna Park (USA, New York): 5 Indiana Beach (USA, Indiana): 5 Great Escape (USA, New York): 5 SeaWorld San Antonio (USA, Texas): 5 Knoebels (USA, Pennsylvania): 5 Disney's Magic Kingdom (USA, Florida): 5 Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park (USA, New Jersey): 5 Disneyland (USA, California): 5 And here is the spreadsheet with the complete raw dataset, for your viewing pleasure: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1D_Zv3-Nb3B8oV7WRe3_G34tWDeAde_rJ8cMSeDN6KpM/edit Thanks for reading part 1 of my analysis of North America’s major coaster selections! I’m hoping part 2 will be on its way before too long, and in that one, I’m planning to dive a bit deeper into the top end of these parks’ coaster selections, to see which parks have the strongest top tier; part 1 focused on the selection as a whole, but I know there is a lot of interest in the top tier of these coaster selections in isolation. But if any of you have any suggestions for questions about this dataset you’d like me to try and answer, then I’m very happy to accept suggestions!
  2. Hi guys. In recent memory, two (as far as I'm aware) theme parks have won the Golden Ticket Award for Best Theme Park in the World. They're two pretty different theme parks, but they share the award in common, and they are Europa Park in Germany and Cedar Point in the USA (or Ohio, to be more precise). So my question to you today is; which of these two GTA winners do you prefer? I obviously can't pass judgement, having never visited Cedar Point. For what it's worth, though, I have visited Europa Park, and I have to say that I think the park is more than deserving of its high reputation; it's unbelievably versatile! You have awesome coasters (for me at least; Silver Star and Wodan are in my top 3, and while it's not quite on the same level, Blue Fire ranks pretty highly for me as well!), but you also have all the strengths of a themed park as well, with a wonderful selection of dark rides, impeccable theming & presentation and a lovely atmosphere throughout! I certainly don't see Cedar Point being versatile in quite the same way (although as I said, I haven't visited), but being a pretty big coaster enthusiast at heart, Cedar Point's coasters could be so awesome that it would be enough to tip the balance... I really wouldn't like to pass judgement, and that's exactly why I never like to vote conclusively on these polls unless I've visited both parks or ridden both attractions! I was actually spurred to do this poll when I stumbled across this (now rather old) park battle by Coaster Studios on the matter: CS' battle saw Cedar Point come out on top by a pretty long way, although Taylor himself admits that his battle method is quite heavily centred towards thrill rides. But does Europa Park or Cedar Point come on top for you out of the GTA winners?
  3. Hi guys. Often when at a theme park, you'll find an attraction you really like and want to reride it. Sometimes, you might even be inclined to ride it over and over. You might ride it as many times as you can hack, or as many times as you're able to queue for it for. So my question to you today is; what is the highest number of rides you've ever had on one attraction in a single day? I'll get the ball rolling with my answer. My current record is 6 rides on Silver Star at Europa Park, and this was set very recently, on 29th April 2022. For some idea of previous record holders, here's my top 3: Silver Star at Europa Park - 6 rides - 29th April 2022 The Swarm at Thorpe Park - 5 rides - 7th September 2021 Megafobia at Oakwood Theme Park - 4 rides - 26th May 2019 After that, there are a fair amount of attractions tied at 3 rides in 1 day. But what is your current record for the most rides you've ever had on one attraction in a day?
  4. I noticed this last season; it was mainly around the entrance area. It is interesting to have it back; I think I controversially prefer the new IMAScore tracks, but the old music is still great!
  5. Following my recent trip to Europa Park, as well as a bit of general thought, my top 10 and top 30 have some changes! Looking at my last post in here, I also think that I may need to update some of the descriptions for existing entries... Matt N's Top 10 as of May 2022 (Coaster Count: 91) (New entries and description updates in italics, moved entries underlined) Mako - SeaWorld Orlando: My first and last rides on this coaster were in August 2016, but the 3 rides I had on Mako stick out to me as 3 of my favourite coaster rides ever even 5 years on; my first ride in particular gave me a hit of pure joy no coaster has since! As for why this coaster sticks out compared to the rest; where do I begin? As soon as you board the train, the restraints are some of the most gorgeously comfortable coaster restraints I've ever sat in, and when the ride itself kicks into motion, there's so much amazing stuff going on; the sustained airtime is phenomenal throughout, with the first drop, first big hill and speed hill sticking out as 3 particularly biblical airtime moments (I know floater is often considered weak airtime nowadays, but 13 year old me remembers it feeling like I was being catapulted into space, and floating in the air for what felt like forever!), and even away from airtime, the sense of speed is amazing, and the ride is so blissfully smooth, negotiating each element with what feels like flawless precision! And on the whole, while it may not be an intense g-machine, Mako is a coaster where I felt a strong urge to run back round and give it another go each time I did it, more so than any other coaster I've been on; I think the balance between thrill and fun factor/rerideability is just perfect! Prior to riding this, I was a little lost as to why enthusiasts revered airtime so much, but Mako was the coaster that converted me, and made me understand that love for airtime that most enthusiasts have! I'll admit that I'm unsure if this should still be number 1 what with how long it's been (with some of the amazing coasters below like Icon, Wicker Man et al, I worry that this wouldn't stand up if I were to ride it today), but I've decided to keep it here for now on the basis of the memories. What do you guys think? Having recently ridden Silver Star and adored it, I am feeling a fair amount more confident about Mako's placement; the B&M Hyper experience still holds up! 10/10 Silver Star - Europa Park: I had high hopes for Silver Star what with Mako being my number 1, but at the same time, noone seems to especially rate it, so I had somewhat lowered expectations, and I was also extremely nervous to see how the B&M Hyper experience held up 6 years on from Mako. However, I shouldn't have had a single worry; Silver Star was a huge surprise for me! It well and truly blew me away, and the B&M Hyper experience well and truly lived up to my memories of it! I said a lot about Mako in the paragraph above, but by extension, a fair amount of that could describe Silver Star as well, as it encapsulates a vast percentage of Mako's great qualities; it has sublime sustained airtime, it's got an awesome sense of speed, it's smooth, it's rerideable, the trains are awesome, and it has so much more! One other thing I love about Silver Star is its ending and consistent pace; as well as the sublime sustained floater in the first half, you also have some phenomenal pops of ejector after the MCBR, which are both phenomenally strong and surprisingly sustained, as well as a fun s-bend that sends you flying into the brake run! In terms of why it's below Mako; we're honestly talking very pedantic differences here. While SS has sublime and breathtaking airtime, I'd say that no individual moment of airtime on SS had quite the same impact as some of Mako's very strongest airtime moments, like its first drop and first hill, and I'd also say that while SS is very smooth and comfortable on the whole, Mako has this sublime feeling of 100% glass smoothness that Silver Star can't quite compete with, and that was one of the things I loved about it. Nonetheless, though, Silver Star is a truly stunning coaster, and it well and truly had Mako quaking in its boots more than any ride I've ridden post-Mako; while it is #2 rather than #1, there's very little in it, and that verdict was reached after much deliberation! What a stunning ride type the B&M Hyper Coaster is; Mako and Silver Star are both truly phenomenal! 10/10 Wodan Timbur Coaster - Europa Park: Unhinged. Nuts. Crazy. Those are just some of the adjectives you could use to describe Wodan, yet I'm not sure any of them quite do it justice! Wodan is easily the most relentless roller coaster I have ever been on; this is a layout that has not a single dull moment, and it feels truly out of control from start to finish! The twists and turns are really fun too, and the ride is absolutely packed with airtime; every element seems to hurl you out of your seat with an awesome pop of strong ejector, even in places where you might not necessarily expect airtime! The first drop is awesome, with an awesome moment of airtime going down it, the turns in the middle are so fast and ride great, and the little airtime pops towards the end are awesome and provide some sublime ejector airtime! Overall, Wodan is an exceptional roller coaster, and while I wouldn't call it intense in the traditional sense, it is absolutely demented! Yet it's also so much fun; I love it, and it's an easy steal for #3, as well as my #1 wooden coaster spot! 10/10 Icon - Blackpool Pleasure Beach: Controversially, I do really love Icon! I’ve ridden it 4 times on 2 separate visits to Blackpool in 2018 & 2019, and it’s really struck a chord with me, hitting all the right notes each time! It’s fast, it’s thrilling enough to give you a kick but not too intense to be fun, it’s smooth, it’s rerideable, it has some amazing ejector airtime, the trains are lovely, the rapid transitions are great, and on the whole, I see little not to like about Icon from my personal perspective! Sure, the launches aren’t the punchiest (although I don’t personally think they’re as feeble as they’re often made out to be), and the ride as a whole isn’t exactly an intense, pedal-to-the-metal g-machine, but I just find it tremendously, tremendously fun, and it puts a smile on my face and gives me an urge to reride every time! And surely coming off a coaster smiling and wanting to go round again is the most important indicator of enjoyment, is it not? 10/10 Wicker Man - Alton Towers: I’m not usually a hardcore wooden coaster fan like a lot of enthusiasts, but I’d have to say that Wicker Man is most definitely a ride I make an exception for; I find it tremendously fun, fairly smooth and comfortable in wooden coaster terms, and very rerideable! The ride is really, really fast, it has some smooth yet exceedingly fun transitions, many surprising pops of ejector airtime, and as I’ve said with the rides above, it strikes the perfect balance between thrill and fun factor, in my opinion! And on the back row in particular, this coaster is a real hoot, with some excellent airtime moments, although I think every row is fun on Wicker Man, personally! Overall, I think Wicker Man is a hugely fun ride; even if it isn't the most intense coaster, it always puts a huge smile on my face! 10/10 Mine Blower - Fun Spot Kissimmee: I know that 2 3 wooden coasters in my top 5 10 might possibly contradict my earlier statement about not being a hardcore wooden coaster fan, but Mine Blower is the other another ride that I’d say I make an exception for! I should preface what I say about Mine Blower by saying that I only had one ride on it, in the front row, with a practically empty train. However, in spite of this; Mine Blower did impress me, and I think there’s a lot to like about it! The ride is fast-paced from start to finish, and I absolutely love that bouncing, darting sequence of airtime moments the ride incorporates! I also love the ride’s sole inversion; that zero-g roll provides a really excellent moment of sustained hangtime! I know it’s in stark contrast to the more abrupt, erratic sensations in the rest of the layout, but I really like how the start of the ride contrasts with the rest of it! I was slightly worried about Mine Blower’s roughness prior to riding, as I have a low roughness tolerance and I’d heard numerous reports about Mine Blower’s roughness, but on the front row, I’d personally say I didn’t find it overly rough; no more so than something like Wicker Man, anyway. One slight caveat I admittedly have is that I don’t like the trains as much as the GCI trains; the restraints are a bit tight, and I think the GCI rolling stock generally feels a bit more comfortable, in my opinion. Overall, however; even though I’d say the two GCIs just edges beat it for me in terms of woodies (the trains are far more comfortable, and I also really like the smooth twisty bits on Wicker and Wodan, and I think the pacing is on another level on Wodan in particular), I was very impressed by Mine Blower, and I’d say it’s a more than worthy candidate for a favourite woodie! 9/10 Montu - Busch Gardens Tampa: My memories of Busch Gardens Tampa are getting hazier with time, as it’s close to 5 years since my first and only visit, but I do remember very much liking Montu! I remember it being relatively smooth, as B&Ms mostly are, but also packing a real punch! It was a long ride, but one that kept its momentum throughout, and it had many awesome inversions and moments of positive force! The one ride I had certainly sticks out as my favourite ride I’ve had on a B&M invert, and I remember really liking it at the time, but I’m unsure whether I’d rank it quite as highly now, as my tastes have changed slightly towards rides with more negative g’s and a wider variety of forces on offer as opposed to rides with little aside from positive g’s. Still, Montu is a fab invert, in my opinion! 9/10 SheiKra - Busch Gardens Tampa: As I alluded to in my musings about Oblivion above, this is probably a tentative ranking until I get a reride on SheiKra, but in spite of me now saying I rank Oblivion a bit higher, I did still really like SheiKra, from memory! The ride is massive, which adds a certain element of fear to it, and I remember the drops and big, swoopy elements being really nice! I really do need a reride, though; based on my recent experience with Oblivion, it might well end up pushing SheiKra up a few spots… 9/10 Oblivion - Alton Towers: Perhaps oddly given the one-note nature of it, Oblivion is a coaster I've really grown to love with time! This could admittedly be a tentative opinion until I get back on SheiKra, but to be honest, I actually think I like Oblivion more nowadays I think I like SheiKra slightly more, but Oblivion is fantastic in its own right; I love how concise it is, and although it doesn't do a lot, I think Oblivion does everything it has in its arsenal extremely well! The sense of speed on the drop is phenomenal; my dad always says to me whenever we ride it together that Oblivion feels like the fastest coaster he's ever done, and I can certainly see why he thinks that, as it really feels like you're flying at warpspeed through that tunnel! The airtime is also great, in my opinion; the drop itself provides an excellent moment of strong sustained airtime, and the hill into the brakes also provides a surprising bonus pop! The ride is also really smooth and comfortable, in my opinion; for a coaster of 23 years old, I think it's aged phenomenally, and I think that as OTSRs go, B&M's traditional ones are about as unobtrusive and comfortable as they come! Overall, while it might be short, I think Oblivion is certainly sweet! 9/10 Blue Fire - Europa Park: This is a lovely ride! The launch is punchy, the inversions are nice, the trains are comfortable, the hangtime is nice, it's smooth... Blue Fire is just overall a really, really nice coaster. It's rerideable, it's fun, and definitely something I enjoyed; what's not to like? And that last roll is amazing; definitely up there as one of my favourite inversions! However, if I'm being phenomenally picky, it just lacks a little something to make it truly top-tier for me, and I can't quite put my finger on what. I did feel that it lacked airtime for a ride of its type (although it's not really designed to be an airtime machine, I guess), and 1 or 2 of the transitions felt slightly unnatural, but I'm not sure that it was either of those things on its own. It might not help that it's in the same park as the absolutely phenomenal one-two punch of Silver Star and Wodan, but it's definitely not quite hitting my 10/10 tier based on the rides I had, and I definitely rank it lower than Icon, which surprised me slightly based off of most people seemingly preferring Blue Fire. Nevertheless, it's a really excellent coaster that I thoroughly enjoyed, and certainly deserves its place at #10; it's a great ride! 9/10 Matt N's Top 30 as of May 2022 (Coaster Count: 91) (New entries in bold, moved entries in italics Mako - SeaWorld Orlando (10/10) Silver Star - Europa Park (10/10) Wodan Timbur Coaster - Europa Park (10/10) Icon - Blackpool Pleasure Beach (10/10) Wicker Man - Alton Towers (10/10) Mine Blower - Fun Spot Kissimmee (9/10) Montu - Busch Gardens Tampa (9/10) SheiKra - Busch Gardens Tampa (9/10) Oblivion - Alton Towers (9/10) Blue Fire - Europa Park (9/10) Nemesis - Alton Towers (9/10) Nemesis Inferno - Thorpe Park (9/10) Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts - Universal Studios Florida (8/10) Revenge of the Mummy - Universal Studios Florida (8/10) Rita - Alton Towers (8/10) The Swarm - Thorpe Park (8/10) Kraken - SeaWorld Orlando (8/10) Incredible Hulk - Universal's Islands of Adventure (8/10) Kumba - Busch Gardens Tampa (8/10) Cheetah Hunt - Busch Gardens Tampa (8/10) CanCan Coaster - Europa Park (8/10) Thirteen - Alton Towers (8/10) Megafobia - Oakwood (7/10) Rock'n'Rollercoaster - Disney's Hollywood Studios (7/10) Arthur - Europa Park (7/10) Pegasus - Europa Park (7/10) Slinky Dog Dash - Disney's Hollywood Studios (7/10) Avalanche - Blackpool Pleasure Beach (7/10) Seven Dwarfs Mine Train - Disney's Magic Kingdom (7/10) Flight of the Pterosaur - Paultons Park (7/10) I'm not sure I'll ever be truly content with my coaster rankings at this point... this list could look totally different in very little time!
  6. For anyone who might be interested, recreations of both the Exodus we’re getting and B&M’s bid have been made by Jamie Rogers: Perhaps controversially; having recently ridden Silver Star and had my love for the B&M Hyper ride type confirmed, I think I prefer the look of the B&M proposal to the ride we’re getting based on those recreations. To me, it looks to have far more of an overt airtime focus than the Exodus we’re getting (while I’m sure Exodus will have airtime, don’t get me wrong, and quite strong airtime at that, I’d be hesitant to call it an overtly airtime-centred layout based on what we know), which would have fitted the UK beautifully, in my view (particularly seeing as the country lacks sustained airtime like B&M Hypers offer far more than it lacks brief airtime, in my view). I also feel that the B&M proposal would have filled more of a gap within Thorpe Park’s lineup; a non-inverting, rerideable thrill coaster in the vein of a B&M Hyper Coaster is something that Thorpe and arguably the UK industry as a whole lacks at present, and Thorpe has no non-inverting thrill coaster aside from Stealth, whereas Exodus, as brilliant as it looks, will ultimately be another variation on a sit-down looping coaster. Granted, I’d imagine it’ll be quite a different variation on this paradigm to Thorpe’s other rides, but it will be a sit-down looping coaster with its elements almost predominantly consisting of inversions, like many of Thorpe’s other rides, all the same. I apologise if this makes me come across as “bitter that my prediction was wrong” or whatever, and I don’t want to imply that I’m not grateful for the ride we’re getting or don’t think it looks great (I think Exodus has an awesome-looking layout, and it’s certainly very unique!), but having now seen this alternative proposal, I do personally think it looks more my cup of tea than the Exodus being built. When I came off Silver Star last week, I’ll admit I did think “wouldn’t it have been great if Thorpe was getting something like this?” (although as I said above, that’s not to say that the Exodus we’re getting doesn’t look great; I’m very excited for it!), and I actually think the proposed B&M Hyper layout looks pretty neat, myself!
  7. A surprisingly unpopular one of mine following my recent trip to Europa is; I prefer Icon to Blue Fire, and by a definite distance.
  8. Matt N's Ode To Europa Park: A Review from my First Ever Visit For those of you that don't know, I recently returned from my first ever visit to Europa Park in Germany. I wrote a trip report series which can be viewed in earlier entries in this blog. Now I know that I did a brief summary of my thoughts on Europa Park at the end of my recent trip report series. However... now I've been back for a couple of days, I'm finding myself wanting to say a lot more than I said in that summary. It feels like I hardly scratched the surface of what I wanted to say about Europa in the closing summary of this trip report series. I apologise if this comes across a tad random or soppy, but I wanted to talk about Europa in more depth and talk about what I thought of it and why I fell in love with it, as both a way to inform the Europa regulars on here that having now been, I get it, as well as to reassure anyone who hasn't visited and is possibly a little sceptical as to whether Europa will be for them. So; Europa Park. Where do I begin? To say that I've wanted to visit Europa for a while would be an understatement; ever since I livestreamed the GTAs back in 2014, when I was only 11 years old, and saw Europa Park get awarded the award for "World's Best Theme Park", I thought to myself "I need to go there". And then I read TowersStreet/EuropaStreet, where all the members absolutely waxed lyrical about Europa even back in 2015 or whenever I started lurking around there, my excitement intensified, and Europa Park became the first big bucket list place I felt like I needed to visit. I'll be honest, I did not know a huge amount about the park at this point, but I knew that everyone loved it, which was all the incentive I needed. I would always say to my parents about Europa Park, and their response was always "we'll take you when you're 18". Seeing as I was probably no older than 12/13 at the time, this seemed a very long way off. And when I finally turned 18 in July 2021, COVID had happened, meaning that the much mooted 18th birthday trip to Europa Park was unable to happen. I did get a nice trip to Legoland Windsor and Paultons Park, though, so every cloud has a silver lining, I guess! So it's safe to say that my first trip was a very long time coming. However, my parents did stick to their word, and finally ended up booking our trip for April 2022. The excitement began. However, I'll digress that after the trip was booked, my skepticism and trepidation began to grow. I'd often heard Europa compared to Disney (I like the Disney parks, don't get me wrong, but I never really fell in love with them), and I'd heard a number of reviewers say that EP was "mediocre" and "massively overhyped", particularly through the lens of thrills (I am personally quite thrill-centred when reviewing theme parks, although they're admittedly not the be all and end all for me). So I had very high expectations, but also a degree of trepidation. I was thinking "Will it really be as good as they all say? Will I even like it that much?". So, did EP live up to its insane hype, and were my years of wanting to visit worth it? Most definitely. I had phenomenally high expectations and hopes, and somehow, there was not one single thing about Europa Park that disappointed me. It truly is absolutely exceptional, in my opinion, and there are numerous reasons why. Ride Selection Let's start with one of the principle elements of any theme park; the rides! Europa Park's ride selection delivered and then some, in my view. Of all the theme parks I've been to, I honestly think Europa Park has the most well-rounded ride selection. By my reckoning, it has at least one really excellent ride in each category of coasters, dark rides and water rides, with a plethora of others accompanying it, and that's without even getting onto the array of other wonderfully random attractions; Europa has you covered whatever your taste in rides is and however high your appetite for thrills is! Yes, the park isn't the most thrilling theme park on earth, with drop towers, huge RMCs and nuts launch coasters rammed around every corner, but I think the thrill coasters that EP has are plenty satisfying enough to quench any coaster lover's thirst for thrills; I'm reasonably thrill-centred, and they were certainly more than enough to leave me feeling fulfilled! I know that none of Europa's thrill coasters are especially intense per se, but what they are is extremely fun and rerideable. And as someone who values fun and rerideability in a coaster more than out-and-out intensity, that suited me down to the ground! Silver Star, my favourite coaster at EP, is truly euphoric and absolutely breathtaking, in my view; an epically fun and intensely rerideable coaster with phenomenal airtime, and it shot straight into my #2 spot! Wodan, a close second for me, is also truly exceptional; it's absolutely demented, packed with airtime, and is so much fun, in my opinion! And Blue Fire is also a really excellent ride; with how I've been referring to it as "a distant third among Europa's big 3", you'd be forgiven for thinking that I didn't think much to it, but that couldn't be further from the truth. BF is great fun, in my opinion, with some lovely hangtime, a punchy launch, and a smooth ride experience, and that last inversion is absolutely amazing! When a ride like Blue Fire is being relegated to "distant third" status, I know that a park's thrill credentials are delivering for me, and I was slightly stunned at how one park can have two coasters as phenomenal as Silver Star and Wodan (both in my top 3!)! Even pushing aside Europa's big 3 thrill coasters; many of Europa's plethora of sideline coasters are really great fun, and will put a smile on your face whether you're a young child, a teenager or a grandparent! And the park also has some really big hits, with truly universal appeal, in terms of dark rides and water rides as well; Piraten in Batavia is a truly spectacular dark ride (my favourite outside of Florida, and I like it a fair bit more than the original POTC at Magic Kingdom), and Voletarium is also a really solid, well-done dark ride as well. And I thought Fjord-Rafting was a really strong water ride too (I'd probably say it's my favourite water ride outside of Florida). Not to mention that for every big-ticket ride, there are about 5 smaller ones; in my opinion, one of the wonders of Europa Park is how many smaller sideline attractions there are. And in many cases, I don't think relegating them to "sideline attraction" status does them justice at all, because EP still weave a lot of magic and care into them; many of the smaller dark rides, for instance, are really quite fun in their own right, and even though some admittedly aren't as strong as others, in my view, something about stumbling across that type of attraction is really quite wonderful, and their presence makes EP's lineup so expansive, and you're never, ever short of things to do! I spent 3 full days at Europa, and there are still plenty of attractions I didn't experience and plenty of nooks and crannies I didn't even set foot in; it's truly massive! Theming Let's now talk about Europa's theming. I was unsure how well themed Europa would be, as they don't have the same types of budgets as the big duo of Disney & Universal, so I have to admit that I was stunned at how beautiful Europa is. Some of the vistas are absolutely stunning, and the general standard of theming and presentation at Europa is absolutely impeccable, in my opinion! Every crevice of Europa Park is packed with charm and detail; even many of the sideline attractions have stunningly detailed queue lines and great theming! For my money, Europa's general standard of theming is easily on par with the big 2; while they never hit quite the same highs as Disney & Universal in terms of raw scale and detail of themed vistas, I'd argue that the park is very consistent, and is easily on par with, if not more strongly themed than, a surprising proportion of Disney & Universal stuff. I also found that the themes really resonated with me; perhaps controversially, I've always liked the world style of theming, and I really enjoyed World Showcase at Epcot. When I left Epcot in April 2019, my thought was "World Showcase was great! If you removed Future World from the equation, gave each country a bit more depth and added considerably more rides, I think you'd have a truly epic park!". And as I was walking around Europa Park, I realised; 3 years ago, I was essentially describing Europa when describing the Epcot of my dreams. Theming-wise, I think the park is easily on par with World Showcase, and when you have countries with far greater depth and the amazing ride selection that Europa has, then I think 2019 Matt N was right; it did make a truly epic park! Atmosphere/Warmth Another thing that makes Europa great in my opinion is the atmosphere. I'm not someone who likes busy places, so with Europa being a 6 million a year theme park, I was unsure if I'd find it too crowded for me, but I found Europa to have a consistently relaxing and wonderfully pleasant atmosphere throughout, which made the park absolutely wonderful to be in, in my opinion; I never once felt uncomfortable within Europa Park! Adding onto this point, I found the whole place to have a wonderfully warm feeling about it throughout that I can't quite place my finger on; it almost reminded me in many ways of somewhere like Paultons Park, and I found it very heartwarming! I don't know quite what causes it, but the place feels very warm, special and magical throughout; "magic" is a cliched term within theme parkery by now, but I genuinely felt a very true sense of magic within Europa, and even setting foot in the place put a huge smile on my face; it's just so nice to be in! Efficiency/Operations I somehow haven't even mentioned the efficiency yet. My word; they don't mess around, do they? On the whole, Europa is a phenomenally well oiled machine, and that's perhaps most evident when you set foot into their coaster stations. It feels like you hardly have time to blink between sitting down and the train being dispatched; the hosts are literally running up and down the platforms, in some cases, and queues move phenomenally fast as a result. I attempted dispatch timing, and my results ended up being very unreliable, as you're never stood still long enough to get a good reading! With very limited levels of Fastrack compared to the average theme park also being added into the equation, queues that look massive do not take long at all; me and my mum rode Silver Star one day when the queue was bursting out of the Mercedes-Benz Hall and through the outdoor switchbacks, and we guesstimated that this queue would ordinarily be in the ballpark of an hour. It only took 15 minutes. Talk about efficient! Before I ramble too much (as I'm conscious that I've already rambled quite a bit), I'll just conclude by saying that the key thing I love about Europa is that it is a true chameleon of a theme park. More so than anywhere else I've ever visited, it is well and truly shape-shifting; it can be whatever you want it to be at a given point in time. You want to endlessly reride coasters? You can do that! You want to discover dark rides and go on a world-class journey of immersion? You can do that! You want to just relax and take in pleasant, well-themed surroundings? You can do that! You want to eat & drink from various different outlets? You can do that! Europa Park just says "yes" to absolutely everything and delivers upon whatever your demand is extraordinarily well; you can spend a day focusing on just about anything at Europa Park, and every day will be equally fulfilling! Most theme parks I've been to seem to hone in on either thrills or immersion, but Europa Park is a wonderful cocktail of both, and I truly love that. I find it absolutely amazing how I can go from repeat riding 2 coasters in my top 3 to experiencing wonderfully themed dark rides to just strolling along taking in pleasant, well-themed surroundings all in the same park; that is no mean feat, but Europa somehow pulls it off! So the big question is; after all the hype and obscenely high ratings, is Europa my favourite theme park I've ever visited? I can answer that rather decisively; yes. Of what I've visited, Europa Park is my favourite theme park in the world. Don't get me wrong, Islands of Adventure in Orlando, my previous favourite, is an absolutely phenomenal theme park, with an amazing ride lineup and exceptional theming making for a truly impeccable theme park experience that never stops giving and always feels well and truly magical, but Europa just nails every single aspect of theme parking, and is just so expansive and wonderful and consistently high quality in thrills, theming and everything else in between that it's absolutely unrivalled within the sphere of theme parks I've been to, in my opinion. I may have only visited once, but I got it and I felt the magic right from the off; it is a truly stunning theme park, and one I've truly fallen in love with. I can't wait for my next visit!
  9. 30th April 2022 (Europa Park Hotel Resort, Travel Home and Trip Summary) Today was considerably less busy than the last 3 days, so as such, my report of our actual day will be far briefer. We had no 4th day on our entry tickets to Europa Park, but our flight out of Baden-Airpark was not until 7pm, so after checking out of our room at 11am, we had time to kill. And as we were on a huge resort and hadn’t explored too much of the other hotels aside from our own (Castillo Alcazar), we decided to have a relaxed amble around the Europa Park hotel resort for the day. As we didn’t really have anywhere to be, we didn’t leave our room until close to the 11am checkout time. After breakfast and packing were done, I spent my time timing the throughputs of various different rides out of the hotel room window; I could see Wodan, Blue Fire, Atlantica, Euro Mir and Silver Star very easily, which made for perfect dispatch timing conditions! After leaving our hotel room, we initially had a little amble around El Andaluz and the exterior area of that hotel: Then, we crossed over the road and strolled over to Bell Rock to take a look in that hotel: I’ve got to say, all of Europa’s hotels are stunningly themed; we were looking around Bell Rock, and that has so many stunning little details, but on reflection, all of them do! After a stroll around Bell Rock, we headed down a path into the town of Rust to briefly explore, passing by the other side of Bell Rock while we were there: We then headed into Hotel Colosseo, where we ambled around the piazza area for a bit. We wandered back up to the Colosseum to take in the views of the surrounding area, including of Rulantica and of the piazza and fountains: After that, we sat and watched the fountains for a good few minutes. I must say, they really are captivating to watch, and such a cleverly designed little touch! (I apologise, as after the Colosseum, my picture taking stopped for a good few hours…) We then headed into Pizzeria La Romantica for some lunch after having a delicious evening meal there on Wednesday. I’ve got to say, sitting outside in Colosseo’s piazza eating lasagne was a very nice way to kill time; it’s such a nice environment! After that, we then went inside the Hotel Colosseo lobby and had a look in the shop before having a sit down and also looking at all the pictures on the walls (the IAAPA Wall of Fame and such). The Mack family have certainly hosted a lot of celebrities at Europa over the years, and I don’t think I’ve ever been to a theme park before that displays its array of industry accolades so prominently! We then headed into the Colosseo cafe for a little dessert. I had a lovely bowl of caramel ice cream, and that was certainly a nice way to finish off our trip! After that, we headed back over to El Andaluz and sat in the lobby for a few minutes just taking in the surroundings: After our brief sit down, we then headed to our car to leave Europa Park Resort and head to Baden-Baden for our flight back to London Stansted. Interestingly, the travel home is where we encountered quite possibly our longest wait of the trip; getting out of London Stansted took nearly 1.5 hours all in. So, that was our final day! I apologise for today’s slightly dull report; I tried to make it sound as interesting as possible, but we really didn’t do that much. It was a nice relaxing end to a wonderful trip, though! To add a bit of heft onto today’s slightly dull report, I may as well do my final summarising thoughts… Trip Summary Well, the trip has now ended. And what a trip it’s been! As most of you probably know, it’s one I had been planning for some time, and it was my first ever trip to Europa Park, a heavily revered theme park and a place that was high on my bucket list! So, did Europa Park live up to the hype, and was it worth my many years of wishing to go there? Definitely. Without a doubt, it was all worth it. Europa Park is truly phenomenal. Stunning. Breathtaking. Joyful. I can think of so many superlatives to describe it, and when I say them, I mean every single one of them. In my opinion, Europa Park is a truly exceptional theme park for so many reasons, and despite my sky-high expectations, it did not disappoint in the slightest! It delivered in so many different ways for me, and there is so much I could say about it, but a few particular things that stood out to me were: The ride lineup is phenomenally well-rounded, and incredibly expansive: Europa has an incredibly well-rounded and expansive ride lineup. Rides-wise, you’re totally covered regardless of your taste. Europa has a plethora of coasters, including some absolutely phenomenal thrill coasters, yet it also has an expansive lineup of dark rides, a solid selection of water rides, and a wide array of very light-hearted, relaxing filler rides to stumble across! Yes, it might not be the most thrill-packed theme park on earth, with giant drop towers and huge coasters around every corner, but the thrill rides they do have are excellent, and more than satisfy anyone yearning for thrills, in my opinion! Silver Star is intensely rerideable, and such an epic ride in my opinion, and if you get bored of riding Silver Star, you’ve got Wodan, which is an exceptional coaster in its own right, and even though Blue Fire isn’t quite on the same level of brilliance as the other two in my opinion, it’s still a really excellent coaster, and an incredibly solid ride for thrillseekers! And I think EP caters to the whole family demographic wonderfully; I can think of so many Europa rides that would have young children, teenagers and grandparents alike all stepping off with huge smiles on their faces! So all in all, Europa Park has a exceptional ride lineup with almost universal appeal, in my opinion! The park as a whole is phenomenally well-rounded: Building upon my point about the park’s phenomenally well-rounded ride lineup; I think the park is extremely rounded in other aspects too! Everything has been thought about with Europa; ride hardware is not everything here. The theming and presentation are absolutely impeccable. The food is really nice and there’s a wide variety of things to pick from. The park is filled with nice little touches of flair and things to notice and look at. The atmosphere is lovely and relaxed throughout. I don’t think there’s one element of theme parking that the Mack family haven’t thought about and attempted to include within Europa Park, and for that reason, I would challenge anybody to visit and not find something to enjoy. Even if you’re not overly into rides, there’s a hell of a lot you can enjoy at EP. It is a true chameleon of a theme park, more so than any other I’ve yet visited; you could have totally different days at Europa Park and they would all be equally fulfilling. Do you want to hammer coasters non-stop? You can do that! Do you want to ride dark rides and discover wonderfully random rides you never knew existed? You can do that! Do you want to have loads of different food & drink? You can do that! Do you want to just sit back and take in a really pleasant atmosphere without overly exerting yourself? You can do that! At Europa Park, you can spend a day doing just about anything and it will always be fulfilling! The theming is surprisingly phenomenal: One thing that did surprise me about Europa Park was just how phenomenally well themed it is throughout. With it not being a Disney or Universal park or having the same kind of budgets, I was unsure how well themed it would actually be, but I was stunned at how beautiful every area is and how much effort is put into theming each ride and making it really special. The theming is absolutely exceptional at Europa, and while it’s not as grand in scale as the best parts of the likes of Disney and Universal, it’s very consistent, and there are so many little details interwoven around! I’d go as far as to say that while it doesn’t hit the highs of the big 2 theming-wise, I’d argue that Europa is generally more strongly themed than, or at very least matching, a fair proportion of Disney & Universal stuff. I certainly think the general level of theming and detail at Europa is at least up there with, if not above, some of the more weakly themed parts of the big 2, which really surprised me. The park has a wonderful vibe throughout: Interestingly given it’s quite a big player with huge visitor numbers, Europa feels remarkably relaxed throughout, and the vibe is absolutely wonderful in every area of the park; even as someone who doesn’t particularly like large crowds, I did not find one moment in Europa even vaguely stressful! Also, the park has a real feeling of warmth throughout that I can’t quite place my finger on; in a bizarre way, it almost reminded me of the warmth of somewhere smaller like Paultons Park, and it was very endearing! There are so many things I could say, but those are just some of the main ones! So all in all then, I was blown away by Europa Park. The place felt special; the second I stepped through the gates each day, I just felt my face curl into a grin of wonder! I probably looked quite silly, but it was truly brilliant and it truly made me happy; I could have spent many more days there! There are just so many things I loved about the park, and it truly resonated with me on so many levels. For that reason, I’m going to drop a far more decisive bombshell than last night’s, that I don’t see myself u-turning on tomorrow morning; Europa Park is my new favourite theme park in the world, of what I’ve visited. There, I said it. I love the theming, I love the coasters, I love the dark rides, I love the atmosphere; there’s just so much I love about it! Islands of Adventure (my previous favourite) is without doubt a phenomenal theme park, but Europa’s raw breadth of attraction lineup, consistent theming quality and phenomenal coasters are just something else for me! In terms of some key stats of interest; let me just break it down: New coasters ridden: 12 Coaster count after trip: 91 Favourite ride: Silver Star Favourite roller coaster: Silver Star (#2 overall out of 91… after some careful thought, Mako remains top dog) Favourite non-coaster: Piraten in Batavia Favourite dark ride: Piraten in Batavia Favourite water ride: Fjord-Rafting Overall ride count: 50 (over 3 days) Highest 1-day count: 21 (on 29th April 2022/Day 3) Most ridden ride: Silver Star (ridden 10 times) Thank you for reading this report over the last 5 days! I’ve loved recounting my first experience of Europa Park to you each day, and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my reports!
  10. To be honest, having slept on my number 1 coaster bombshell, I think I may have made it a tad rashly. Mulling it over, I think I still liked Mako slightly more than I liked Silver Star from memory. I think it was ever so slightly more refined and some of the elements had a tad more impact. I think I just absolutely loved riding Silver Star loads of times, and that may have spurred me to make the bombshell I did, but mulling it over, I still think I liked Mako a tad more as a ride.
  11. I rank coasters based on fun and rerideability rather than out and out intensity, and while Silver Star is not the most intense coaster in terms of positive g-forces, I think it delivered those two things in droves for me! When I looked at the map, it seemed like we’d covered most things in the park at least once. The most glaring omission appeared to be Tirol Log Flume. What sort of things were you thinking of, out of interest? I’d be very surprised if I don’t go back at some stage; I absolutely loved my 3 days!
  12. 29th April 2022: Europa Park Day 3 Today was the final day of Europa Park awesomeness! We started a bit earlier today, opting to head in for ERT, and my mum had actually looked at the map and jotted down a plan of action for today, so we certainly had no shortage of things to do! My mum and I headed on into Europa at slightly after 8:30am this morning, with my dad joining us a touch later. As with both of the previous days, we used the hotel entrance, accessed via El Andaluz: The first ride in our plan of action was… Alpenexpress Alpenexpress was first on our action plan, and it had a walk-on queue, so we decided to give it a go. So, how was it? Well, we were seated in row 7, and it was a really good, fun powered coaster, just like it was on Wednesday. One thing I forgot to mention about this that I found really interesting is that they do not do physical restraint checks; they must clearly have a lot of trust in their ride system. That’s not an issue by any means, but I certainly found it interesting: After that, my dad wasn’t quite ready yet, so we had another ride on Alpenexpress while waiting for him to arrive. We were seated in row 10, and it was again great fun! After that, my dad arrived, and we headed over to Holland to ride… Piraten in Batavia Piraten in Batavia was on a walk-on queue, so we decided to give it a go. After enjoying it yesterday, we were keen to do it again during ERT this morning. So, how was it? Well, it was still an excellent dark ride; I was noticing all kinds of details I didn’t notice the first time, and as an overall package, I’ll concede that it’s absolutely spectacular, with so many different types of effects and theming blended together seamlessly. I don’t think it’s quite my favourite dark ride I’ve ever done (many of the Universal Orlando ones are still something else entirely), but it’s certainly in the upper echelons of the dark rides I’ve ridden. If I ranked dark rides, it would certainly be top 10 material, and I have no qualms about saying that of what I’ve done (Europa, the UK and Florida), it is easily my favourite dark ride outside the state of Florida. A really rather magical ride that I’ve been thoroughly impressed with both times I’ve ridden: We actually broke down on Piraten in Batavia, however. As such, we were stuck in the ending scene for around 15-20 minutes. I’ll admit that it was very interesting being stuck on the boat within the restaurant scene; the restaurant was totally empty, which made it rather eerie! After getting off Piraten in Batavia, our plan next saw us heading to… Blue Fire Blue Fire was on a mere 5 minute queue, so me and my dad decided to give it a go (mum declined, as she didn’t like it on Tuesday). As it turned out, 5 minutes was a slight overstatement, as me and my dad literally had a one train wait; always a bonus! So, how was Blue Fire? Well, we were seated in row 6, and it was really good fun, with some nice hangtime, a smooth ride, and that last inversion still being rather brilliant! However, I did notice that while the ride overall is very smooth, there are 1 or 2 slightly weird transitions on Blue Fire that did hurt my head a touch; hardly a deal breaker, but definitely something I noticed and something that detracted ever so slightly for me. Nonetheless, Blue Fire was a fun ride that I really enjoyed: After Blue Fire, we tackled the other roller coaster in Iceland… Wodan Timbur Coaster Wodan was on an advertised 30 minute queue, so we decided to give it a go. It ultimately ended up feeling like it may have been a little longer than 30 minutes, but I wasn’t 100% sure. So, how was the ride? Well, we scored our first back row Wodan ride of the trip (the only one of the big 3 I hadn’t scored back row on), and it was phenomenal! However, I don’t think sitting directly on the back made an awful lot of difference on Wodan compared to something like Wicker Man, where it elevates the ride by a surprising amount; the back felt very similar to the other rides I had. Still, it was exceptional, and we all loved it: After Wodan, we ambled steadily over to a new ride we hadn’t done yet… Fluch der Kassandra Fluch der Kassandra was on our hit list for today, and it was on a mere 5 minute queue, so we decided to give it a go. One thing I immediately noticed as soon as we entered the ride is that unlike the other 2 Madhouses I’ve done (Hex and Haunted House Monster Party), the ride had no pre-show whatsoever; you were batched straight onto the ride. I think I was able to grasp the basic gist of the story, however. So, how was the ride? Well, it was perfectly OK, but I’d definitely say it was the weakest of the 3 Madhouses I’ve done, personally. Rightly or wrongly, I did feel that the lack of any pre-show took a little something away for me, and the ride itself didn’t seem quite as fun as the other 2 Madhouses I’ve done. It also seemed a bit more sickly than the other 2, which I found interesting. However, it was still a fun ride, and I did like certain little touches in there; for instance, the little “surprises” in the seating later on in the ride definitely caught me off guard and were a very nice touch: After Fluch der Kassandra, we headed a short distance to another re-ride from the previous 2 days… Silver Star Silver Star was on an advertised 20 minute queue time, so we decided to give it a go. From the outside, the queue looked quite long, so we were thought it would take longer than 20 minutes. However, with Silver Star being the throughput machine that it is, the ride well and truly proved us wrong, with the queue ending up at 20 minutes or possibly even slightly less! The throughput on Silver Star really is something to behold; most of Europa’s throughputs are pretty high, but Silver Star’s seems to be on a whole different level! Me and my mum were discussing it in the queue, and I think that that 15-20 minute queue had enough people in it that it would probably be close to an hour on a ride at any of the major UK parks; truly a testament to both B&M’s efficient design and Europa’s efficient operations! So, how was the ride? Well, we were seated in row 4, and it was excellent as always, however I was pretty stapled in, so I didn’t get quite as much airtime as on previous rides. Still, it was a phenomenal ride that I absolutely loved! (I apologise, as I realise I took no picture of Silver Star on this ride…) After our ride on Silver Star, we fancied a change in tempo to something a touch more relaxing… Euro Tower Euro Tower was on a mere 5 minute wait, so we decided to give it a go. I was keen to get on this, as I was hoping to get some good aerial photographs of the park, particularly of some of the bits that are somewhat harder to photograph from ground level (for instance, Silver Star… I wanted to have some better photos of the ride than repeated photos of the entrance). So, how was it? Well, I thought it was a really nice, relaxing ride, and it offered some excellent viewpoints; here are some of the photos I took: After a relaxing ride on Euro Tower, we headed to Great Britain for something completely different… Abraka-Shakespeare: Reloaded We fancied trying a show, as we had not watched any yet. As such, we went to the 11:45am showing of this magic show in the Globe Theatre. I must say, the Globe Theatre is a surprisingly phenomenal replica of the true thing, and it did feel very British! Anyway, how was the show? Well, I won’t deny that from an objective standpoint, it was a very impressive show; some of the illusions were very impressive, and the overall production value was excellent! However, it did reinforce my previous belief that shows aren’t really my thing, so as such, I decided after this to opt out of watching the Spanish horse show with my parents later on. That’s nothing against the show we watched, as I thought it was rather impressive, but they’re not really my kind of thing on the whole: After the show, we sat down in France to eat some lunch. We once again ate from the boulangerie, but we tried some baguettes this time, and they were once again delicious! After eating lunch, I noticed that Silver Star was on a mere 10 minute queue. I couldn’t miss an open goal like that (My favourite ride in the park is a stone’s throw away and on a 10 minute queue? Get me in line!), so I dashed off alone and had a quick ride. I was seated in row 8, and it was phenomenal, with considerably more airtime than the earlier ride: After my awesome ride on Silver Star, I met back up with my parents, and we headed to ride… Cancan Coaster Cancan was on an advertised 20 minute queue, so we decided to give it a go. The queue was distinctly shorter than it had been on Wednesday, which was a definite bonus; we were on quickly! So, how was the ride? Well, I really enjoyed it! I noticed many new details within the queue and ride that I hadn’t noticed on the previous ride, and the coaster itself was great fun and surprisingly thrilling as it had been the first time! Yes, this ride might not be big 3 level, but I think it’s a terrifically fun coaster, and the themed experience aspect of it is beautifully crafted from start to finish; everything has been thought about, and it’s absolutely seamless, and so well done as a themed attraction! Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Cancan Coaster, and my parents seemed to as well: After Cancan Coaster, we had a brief sit down to watch the fountains in France before heading to a different area to ride… Volo da Vinci Volo da Vinci was on a 10 minute advertised queue time, so we decided to give it a go. The queue took slightly longer than 10 minutes (more like 15-20), but I have to say that I was very impressed with the queue from a design standpoint. It’s very well themed, and this leads me on to a wider overall point I’ve been noticing over the last 3 days; Europa’s smaller attractions have almost as much effort put into them as their larger attractions, which I’ll admit really surprised me. When you see something like Volo da Vinci, or a smaller dark ride like Snorri Touren or Madame Freudenreich’s, having such a well designed and in-depth queue, I’ll admit it is a very pleasant surprise, and does make even the most mundane of attractions feel that little bit more special! So, how was the ride? Well, I thought it was a nice little ride for what it was! You got really good views, and the pedalling aspect was quite novel: After Volo da Vinci, we strolled through Germany for a bit, and decided to try something else slightly different… Marionetten Bootsfahrt We noticed that this ride (I apologise, as I’ve probably butchered the spelling…) had no queue whatsoever, and we thought it looked intriguing, so we decided to give it a go. I never even knew this ride existed prior to stumbling across it on our stroll, so it was a surprising one to discover! So, how was it? Well, I’ll admit it was rather weird, and slightly unnerving, but something about it was weirdly charming, and I thought it was a nice little ride to relax on: After the puppet boat ride, we decided to try another more relaxing ride… Panorama-Bahn Panorama-Bahn had no queue, and we noticed it was convenient for getting towards another ride we wanted to do, so we decided to give it a go. Anyway, how was it? Well, I thought it was a nice little train ride, with some very nice views of Europa’s various different areas: (I apologise, as I notice I didn’t take any photos on the ride…) We got off Panorama-Bahn in Great Britain, and from there, we decided to take a stroll through Austria and the wonderfully charming fairytale section in order to get over to… Arthur Arthur was on an advertised 20 minute queue, so we decided to give it a go. We really enjoyed this yesterday, so were keen to give it another ride today. The queue was distinctly shorter than it had been the previous day, which was a definite bonus! So, how was the ride? Well, it was just as brilliant as it had been yesterday; the theming is incredibly well done throughout, and the coaster sections have surprising vigour! Yes, it might not be big 3 level, but it’s a really fun attraction that never fails to put a smile on your face: After Arthur, it was not far off being time for the Spanish horse show, so my parents headed over to Spain to watch that while I split off to do a few more rides. I examined the queue times, and my first port of call was Silver Star. I did this not once, but twice in a row, and on my first ride, I decided to queue up for the front row. I was unsure how it would ride up front, as some elements did seem like they’d benefit from being ridden at the back, but I’ve got to say that it was still absolutely phenomenal, and possibly my strongest ride on Silver Star yet at that point! You really got pushed over the big camelback hills in the first half in such wonderful fashion, with some truly sublime sustained floater, and even some of the elements I thought would be more suited to the back, such as the second half and the first drop, were still truly excellent! And surprisingly, it was similar to a launch coaster in that the sense of speed felt heightened up front; even though Silver Star doesn’t look overly fast from off-ride, it feels phenomenally fast when you’re on the front! I initially thought that the front was my favourite row on Silver Star, but my second ride was on row 8 and it was equally sublime, so then I started second guessing myself! You know a ride is good when you can’t decide your favourite row! After that, I went for a second ride on Cancan, on an advertised 15 minute queue. It was just as fun as earlier on, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! After that, I then went back to Silver Star, and I enjoyed a further 2 rides. My one ride was in row 4, and my other ride was in row 6, and both were absolutely exceptional! I also got a certain sense of personal satisfaction because that took my ride tally on Silver Star for today to 6 rides, which took the record for the most rides I’ve had on one roller coaster in a single park day; the previous record holder was Swarm, where I had 5 rides on it in September 2021. Those were my last rides on Silver Star of the trip; they certainly ended my rides on that coaster on a high! However, I need to talk a little more about it before I move on. I have to say that the ride has grown on me over the course of my 3 days in Europa; it is truly sublime, the airtime is something else, it’s smooth and comfortable, it keeps its pace throughout, and I love it to bits! I also had plenty of rides on it over the last 3 days (10 in total), and that 10th ride had exactly the same impact as the first; every ride I had on Silver Star had me in complete shock and fits of laughter, and every ride gave me a true euphoric feeling of wanting to run straight back round. My rides on it today in particular made me grow very attached to it in a way I can’t quite explain, and as I was floating down the first drop and camelback hills, and being ejected off the MCBR, I was having truly scary thoughts. I was thinking to myself “is Mako really better than this?”. Yes, Mako is ever so slightly smoother than Silver Star, and the shock I had upon first experiencing that immense first drop and those phenomenal airtime hills will live with me forever and always make it a special ride, as well as one that ranks highly, but it’s been absolutely years now since I rode Mako (and I only rode 3 times, at that), and I have to say, Silver Star’s raw greatness was truly having an impact on me. I love how it keeps its pace and phenomenal airtime right to the end, and I love how every airtime moment is phenomenally impactful in its own special way, and I love how smooth and rerideable it is, and getting in the queue to ride it was truly making me feel a palpable buzz. I found it hard to tear myself away after my 6th ride; I could have kept going until ride close! With that in mind; I have had a change of heart. Mako’s had a good 6 years at number 1, and it’s still an epic ride, but until I ride it again, I think it’s been narrowly surpassed. Silver Star is my new number 1 roller coaster. Sorry about that… that bombshell sounded far better in my head than it looks on the screen… Anyway, back to my Europa day. After leaving Silver Star, I headed over to Iceland. However, I decided to have a slight change of tempo on the way and try something new… Schlittenfahrt Schneefloecken Schlittenfahrt Schneefloecken was walk on, and I hadn’t done it yet, so I decided to give it a whirl. I believe this is the ride that enthusiasts refer to as “Bench” (correct me if I’m wrong), so I was interested to give it a go. So, how was it? Well, it was slightly unnerving riding it on my own, but it was a perfectly charming little ride, if not anything earth-shattering: After Schlittenfahrt Schneefloecken, I ended my day with a ride on Wodan. I was seated in row 6, and it was phenomenal; it’s perhaps the most unhinged roller coaster I’ve ever been on, but it maintains immense rerideability! After that, I left the park for the last time this trip: I then met up with my parents again, and we headed to Hotel Colosseo for a delicious evening meal in Antica Roma, the Italian buffet restaurant: After that, the day came to a close. So all in all, I had a phenomenal final day at Europa! It was quite a different day to the first 2 in many ways, but still equally fulfilling, and I was very satisfied! As well as my “ride count on one roller coaster in a day” record being broken on Silver Star, I also broke my overall ride count record; I make my total count for the day to be 21 (previous record was 16), and if you need a reminder, I did the following rides: Silver Star x6 Wodan x2 Cancan x2 Alpenexpress x2 Blue Fire x1 Piraten in Batavia x1 Fluch der Kassandra x1 Euro Tower x1 Volo da Vinci x1 Marionetten Bootfahrt x1 Panorama-Bahn x1 Arthur x1 Schlittenfahrt Schneefloecken x1 I was very satisfied with that, personally! Thanks for reading! Tomorrow, we’re going to be spending a few hours exploring the Europa Park hotel resort, so my summary will probably be somewhat briefer tomorrow, but keep your eyes peeled for a report all the same!
  13. 28th April 2022 (Europa Park Day 2) Day 2 today! I know I said that we were planning to have a more relaxed day today, but we had more left to do rides-wise than we’d previously anticipated, and if I’m being honest, I am quite naturally drawn to rides compared to Europa’s other stuff, so I’ll digress that that did go out of the window somewhat as the day went on. It wasn’t quite as intense as yesterday, however; there were less coasters involved, and my parents said it felt more relaxed than yesterday. We did oversleep slightly, and my parents weren’t feeling ready to enter the park early, so I did enter the park on my own at a little before 10am. As with yesterday, I was compelled to start on… Wodan Timbur Coaster Wodan was on an advertised 20 minute queue time, so I decided to give it a go. The queue ended up being a bit longer than advertised, taking around 35-40 minutes. So, how was the ride? Well, I was seated in row 9, and it was just as phenomenal as yesterday, being blisteringly fast and packed with airtime: After an awesome ride on Wodan, I decided to have another try of the other coaster in Iceland… Blue Fire Blue Fire was on an advertised 30 minute queue time, so I decided to give it a go. Interestingly, the ride once again had a brief breakdown while I was in the queue, but it must be said that it was resolved very quickly; only one empty train cycled and then people were back on it! Operations were also phenomenal; for some idea, 20-seat trains were launching before the train in front had even hit the final brake run, which is really quite nuts! So, how was the ride? Well, I was seated in row 8, and it was similar to yesterday; a very good, fun ride with some nice inversions and hangtime: After Blue Fire, my parents entered the park, and we headed together to ride… Arthur Arthur was on a 35 minute advertised queue time, so we decided to give it a go seeing as we hadn’t done it yesterday. The queue for this was quite long compared to other rides in the park, and it took a little longer than 35 minutes (perhaps closer to 45 minutes to an hour), but it was very well themed (although that is admittedly the case for most queue lines at EP)! So, how was the ride? Well, I must say it was a very pleasant surprise! I went in anticipating quite a tame, kiddified ride, but I’ve got to say that it was really quite a fun dark ride roller coaster; the dark ride portion was brilliant, with some great scenes, and the coaster element was more thrilling and more substantial than expected! Overall, Arthur was a really fun attraction that we all thoroughly enjoyed; certainly a pleasant surprise: After Arthur, we sauntered around the Austrian lake for a bit before riding… Josefina’s Magical Imperial Journey Josefina’s was nearby, it had a very minimal queue, and my mum had expressed desire to ride it, so we decided to give it a go. I’ll admit that this was slightly different to what I was expecting from having viewed the Austrian lake yesterday; I thought riders had water cannons to shoot passers-by with, but it turns out that that was a completely different ride! Anyway, how was Josefina’s Imperial Journey? Well, I thought it was a really nice attraction; nothing too thrilling for sure, but a very nice way to relax for a few minutes, with wonderful scenery and some really cool fountains! Overall, we really enjoyed Josefina’s, and it was certainly a nice little ride for what it was: After our ride on Josefina’s, we decided to trek over to Greece to have a go on… Pegasus Pegasus was on an advertised 25 minute wait, so we decided to give it a go. This was one of the 4 credits I was missing, and the only non-water coaster remaining at that point, so I was intrigued to try it. I did notice that Pegasus appeared to be one of the lower capacity Europa coasters; with only one train of 18 riders, it wasn’t throttling people through at quite the same rate as the others, so the queue ended up perhaps being longer per the amount of people in the queue than some of the park’s other rides. That’s not to say that it was at all slow, mind you; as is usual in Europa, the staff certainly didn’t hang about when the ride was parked, and the train appeared to be sent in very little time at all; great job, guys! Anyway, how was the ride? Well, it was quite a pleasant surprise! I was expecting something akin to a Vekoma Rollerskater like Hippogriff, but the actual ride was very fun, very smooth and a fair bit more thrilling than expected; it reminded me more of Thirteen’s outdoor section, with perhaps even a tad more punch than that, and on the back row (where we were seated), it had a surprisingly fun pop of airtime on the drop, as well as in one other area that I remember! Overall, I thought Pegasus was a very fun ride, and definitely a pleasant surprise: After Pegasus, we decided to tackle the other Greek roller coaster, and our first water ride… Poseidon Poseidon was on an advertised 20 minute queue, so we decided to give it a go. This was our first water ride of the trip, so I was interested to see what it was like. Before getting onto the ride itself, I must talk about a rather embarrassing moment that occurred in the queue. I was taking photographs with my phone, and I was prepping to take a photograph of a boat splashing down the first drop. However, I didn’t realise that the queue was designed in such a way that the waves could come over into it, so as such, I got caught off-guard and got surprisingly drenched! My phone was fine, but things certainly got off to a pretty wet start on Poseidon! It must be said that the queue and general area are stunningly themed; I think the whole bit around Poseidon is a truly stunning vista within Europa, and the queue is fantastic! So, how was the ride? Well I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a fan at all. I was intrigued to see how the coaster sections rode on Poseidon, as my only previous experience with a Mack Water Coaster was Journey to Atlantis at SeaWorld Orlando, whose coaster section is not especially extensive, but I’m sad to say that I didn’t especially enjoy the coaster bits of Poseidon. It was similar to Euro Mir in that it seemed to get hideously rough whenever it sped up or turned (although perhaps slightly less bad than Euro Mir), and I was bashed around like hell. And even on the straight bits, it seemed to vibrate in a rather uncomfortable way that hurt my bottom a bit (I know that sounds weird, but that’s what I genuinely felt). Wetness-wise, I got pretty soaked; my trousers were soaking wet through! However, we’re not talking anywhere near a Valhalla level soaking or anything; it was still within the comfortable realm of wetness, so I’d say it delivered as a water ride. Overall, while Poseidon looks beautiful, I wasn’t really a fan of its on-ride experience; it was too rough for me, I’m afraid: After Poseidon, we had a bit of a sit down in France with some delicious baked goods; we had pretzels from the boulangerie, and they were delicious! After that, we walked for a bit, and headed onto… Piccolo Mondo Piccolo Mondo was on a walk-on queue, so we decided to give it a go; it was a new dark ride that I thought looked intriguing. So, how was it? Well, I thought it was quite good fun; it was certainly quirky, but it had quite a fun vibe about it, and it had lots of fun animatronics and scenes! All in all, definitely a fun little ride: After Piccolo Mondo, we decided to try the other dark ride in Italy… Geisterschloss Geisterschloss also had a very small queue, so we decided to give it a whirl. I’d heard that this was very similar to Disney’s Haunted Mansion, which I really liked, so I was interested to give it a try. So, how was it? Well, I can definitely see the similarities between HM and Geisterschloss (not least the stretching room pre-show, which was almost an exact replica of its Disney inspiration), but it was surprisingly dark and gory in comparison to Haunted Mansion, with a lot of heads being cut off and dead bodies. It also appeared more reliant on jumpscares than HM, and while it was a nice dark ride, I’m not sure I liked it quite as much as its Disney sibling: After Geisterschloss, we cut through an alleyway to get nearer to the entrance of… Silver Star Silver Star was on an advertised 15 minute queue, so we decided to give it a ride. As with yesterday’s rides, the queue moved at phenomenal pace, and I’m not sure it even took 15 minutes! So, how was the ride? Well, we were seated in row 7, and it was just as phenomenal as yesterday, being packed full of awesome airtime: After Silver Star, we sauntered steadily over to Portugal to do our final new coaster, and our next water ride… Atlantica SuperSplash Atlantica was on an advertised 35 minute wait, so we decided to give it a go. Unfortunately, this was somewhat understated, and it ended up taking close to an hour all in, which was the longest queue of the trip so far. That’s not through the fault of the ride team, however; the queue still moved fast, and there are many theme parks where I’d be thrilled with an hour’s wait, so I guess Europa has just spoiled me over the last 2 days! So, how was the ride? Well, it was perfectly all right, but not something I was particularly thrilled with or something I’d rush to do again unless it had a short queue. The main drop was quite good, and the airtime hill was a fun moment too, but the ride didn’t do an awful lot, and I thought the coaster functionality didn’t really serve much purpose; it just kind of existed, and it didn’t really add a lot to the ride for me. Don’t get me wrong, Atlantica wasn’t a bad ride by any means, and I did get pretty wet on it, so it certainly served its purpose as a water ride, but it wasn’t a favourite of mine, and I think my parents agreed. It looks beautiful, however, and is very well themed: After Atlantica, we sat down for a few minutes before deciding to do another water ride while we were still wet… Fjord-Rafting Fjord-Rafting was on an advertised 20 minute queue, so we decided to give it a go. We were going to do this yesterday, so I was intrigued to see what it was like now that we’d vowed to do water rides today. So, how was it? Well, I thought it was a very enjoyable rapids ride; there were loads of good waves, loads of good effects, some really nice theming, and it was overall a really good, fun rapids that was decently wet while still being within the realms of fun! I definitely liked this rapids a lot! (I apologise, as I realise I forgot to photograph Fjord-Rafting…) After a fun ride on Fjord-Rafting, I split off from my parents; they went to the paddle steamer in France for some drinks, while I had one last ride on each of the big 3. I initially started with Silver Star, where I scored a back row ride; it was absolutely sublime, with tons of phenomenal airtime! I then trekked over to Iceland, where I joined a 25 minute queue for Blue Fire. I scored a back row ride on this too, and similarly to earlier, it was good fun! I then finished the day with a ride on Wodan. I was seated in row 9, and this was possibly the most fast-paced Wodan ride yet; the ride felt absolutely unstoppable! Having done the big 3 in quick succession, and having done multiple rides on each now, I am definitely noticing a hierarchy emerging in terms of how I rank them. Silver Star is top dog (a truly spectacular ride that is packed with fun and infectiously rerideable!), Wodan is a very close second to Silver Star (absolutely relentless, and so much fun!), and Blue Fire is a more distant third (still an excellent coaster, but lacking a certain something to take it into that truly top tier alongside Silver Star and Wodan. Nevertheless, the last inversion is truly excellent, and the ride is certainly great fun!). After my rides on the big 3, I headed back to our hotel, where I met back up with my parents to close off the day with a lovely evening meal in Restaurant Castillo. So, that was day 2! We had a great day today, and I thoroughly enjoyed ticking off more attractions we hadn’t done, including some slightly different ones compared to the rather coaster-heavy first day! Thanks for reading; I hope you enjoyed my report from day 2! Day 3 will be coming tomorrow, and my mum has already strategised a plan of action for us tomorrow that involves ERT and getting on some of the remaining rides we haven’t done, as well as rerides on our favourites and possibly a show or two as well!
  14. 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: After Madame Freudenreich’s, we decided to take a gradual stroll down to Deutsche Allee, Europa’s very nice entrance area: 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: 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: We eventually found ourselves in Austria, where we briefly sat down to look at the fountains: 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: 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: 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: 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!
  15. Ouch; the end of that one sounds painful! Thank you; the actual first day at Europa Park is tomorrow, so let’s hope that my dream wasn’t a premonition!
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