Launch - One Track, Two Rides - January 2019


The Mack family opened the new “Eurosat – CanCan Coaster” with Jean-Jacques and Jean-Victor Clerico of Moulin Rouge. (Credit: Europa-Park)

Can We Do It? Yes, We CanCan!

Europa-Park’s Renewed ‘Eurosat – CanCan Coaster’ Combines Real and Virtual Ingenuity with French Flair

Europa-Park’s space-themed “Eurosat” was a galactic caper of a coaster, conceived in the ’80s by park founder Franz Mack. More than 80 million people enjoyed the ride between its debut in 1989 and final run on Nov. 5, 2017. For 2018, Michael Mack, managing partner of Europa-Park in Rust, Germany, wanted to honor his grandfather’s legacy while reinventing the ride as “Eurosat – CanCan Coaster” for the park’s refreshed French-themed area. 

“Eurosat” is associated with “a lot of childhood memories,” he said, adding “Eurosat – CanCan Coaster’s” opening in September was “emotional” and “really exciting.”

The project team had a tremendous task with a 10-month deadline. It planned not one, but two different rides on one track, “an absolute novelty,” according to Europa-Park Owner Roland Mack. First, the Mack family envisioned “Eurosat – CanCan Coaster” as a colorful dark coaster ride through the City of Lights at night. Second, Mack Rides, MackMedia, VR Coaster, and Holodeck VR joined forces to bring French director Luc Besson’s film “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” to life in a second ride: “Eurosat Coastiality,” the world’s first Roam & Ride virtual reality (VR) experience. The sci-fi action starts in the ride station, where guests roam around wearing VR headsets, and continue the VR experience while riding the coaster. Michael Mack calls the use of technology “compelling.” 

Meanwhile, recreated just for (high) kicks, Moulin Rouge’s iconic scarlet windmill welcomes guests into a “sexy” new French-themed entry leading to a separate boarding platform for “Eurosat – CanCan Coaster.”

After carrying out laser scans of the 45-meter-high silver sphere that houses the original “Eurosat,” Mack’s team realized the feat of engineering the earlier ride represented.

“It’s amazing how this coaster was designed on the drawing board, without 3D tools and laser scans,” says Thorsten Koebele, chief officer of sales and marketing at Mack Rides. The ride crosses over and under itself 69 times.

Mack Rides installed new track to ensure a gentler and quieter ride, while using the existing support structure. The enclosed spiral lift remains, and the 922-meter track sticks close to the original layout. 

“Eurosat – CanCan Coaster” has five trains (each seating 14 riders), lasts 3 and a half minutes, with a capacity of 1,050 people per hour. “Eurosat Coastiality” has two trains, its own dedicated ride station, and is capable of handling 250 people an hour. The free-roaming, VR pre-ride adventure has “prolonged the experience to nearly nine minutes,” says Michael Mack. 

While “Eurosat Coastiality’s” VR attraction has proven to be a headline grabber, the unsung—and unseen—hero of the whole project is a unique track switch mechanism located between the two boarding platforms. Weighing close to four tons, the track switch rotates 360 degrees, allowing trains to move between the separate ride stations and servicing bay. “It’s a masterpiece,” says Michael Mack, and is sure to inspire exciting new ride possibilities in future.