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New thrills, Theming, and Shows for European Attractions and Amusement Parks


New thrills, Theming, and Shows for European Attractions and Amusement Parks

European Amusement parks prepare for the 2012 season


The spring is in the air and soon roller coaster cars will be as well. Amusement parks will welcome visitors again for a season of family fun, joy, and new adventures. Amusement parks invested heavily this year in order to offer visitors a most unique experience. In 2012 many new (themed) attractions, as well as investments in the further focus on theming in the parks are remarkable: The amusement industry invested more than 400 million euro’s to offer the visitors an amazing experience in 2012.

For most guests, visiting an amusement park has been an important way of spending family leisure time. Annually, the more than 300 parks in Europe welcome over 150 million visitors. The total annual turnover amounts to around 10 billion Euros. For the 2012 season the attractions industry has invested more than 400 million Euros in new projects and improvements to their parks.

Many parks have expanded their visitor offerings with a new roller coaster in 2012. Karen Staley, Vice President European Operations of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) stated: “The trend of developing a ride with a theme and a story is rising: it is not enough just to build a spectacular ride. Visitors want more of an immersed ride experience; they want to feel as if they are part of a story. Many parks are investing heavily in enhanced theming and development of themed attractions.” 

In addition, more and more, amusement parks and attractions are developing into destinations for a short holiday break. Many parks already have or are building new hotels to accommodate overnight stays for guests increasing their length of stay at the attraction. In 2012, two parks will extend their capacity with the construction of additional hotels and more hotels are planned for the future.

A selection of the many novelties in European parks is below:

Bakken, Kopenhagen 
Roller coaster
The world’s oldest amusement park will open the “Wild Mouse” for 2012, a roller coaster for the whole family. As the cars careen around the corners, riders will have the illusion that the car is falling off the track, providing another great thrill, followed by sudden drops and more surprises. Another small carousel for the younger guests, the “Kang-O-Bounce” will be the second new attraction in 2012.

Djurs Sommerland, Nimtofte 
Family attraction
The new attraction for 2012 is a big family carousel called “The Sun God.” As the name indicates the carousel will be placed in the park’s Mexicoland, and the theming of the ride will take its point of departure in the ancient Mayan Culture and the Mexican jungle. Interactive elements make the ride very special: each gondola is controlled by the passengers – and they will have to react on the lyrics of a song, that is being played during the ride. The song from the statues placed around the carousel will indicate the expectation of shooting streams of water at the passengers in the gondolas.

Fårup Sommerland, Saltum
Many new rides and experiences await visitors to Farup Sommerland. There is a new roller coaster for kids called “Pindsvinet” (“The Hedgehog”) with speeds of up to 7m/sec, a new high dive show in the aquapark with jumps from 25 meter into a basin with a depth of only 2.5 meter and a brand new 1100 square meters restaurant with space for up to 350 guests, which is welcoming visitors to Fårup in 2012 season.

Legoland, Billund
Roller coaster, family attraction, restaurant
In May 2012 Polar Land will open in Legoland Billund. It’s a completely new area themed – as the name predicts – around the Polar Regions. The main attraction will be “Polar X-Plorer” - the first rollercoaster in the world to combine a 5m-drop with an outing among live penguins. In the “Ice Pilots School” attraction guests can try out their pilot skills and furthermore can visit the 15 live Gentoo Penguins in Penguin Bay right in the middle of Polar Land. There is also a new restaurant where visitors can enjoy a meal at Polar Pizza Pasta and eat with a direct view into the penguins underwater play area.

Särkänniemi, Tampere
Themed land
This coming summer, Rovio Entertainment’s Angry Birds will take over Särkänniemi Adventure Park with Angry Birds Land. With children and families in mind, Angry Birds Land will be themed and designed according to the style of the world’s leading amusement parks. It will include many different elements such as rides and amusement park games. This area will also include “Magic Places”, where activities and the gaming world meet.

Tykkimaki, Kouvola
Thrill ride
The Finnish park presents the brand new “Loop Fighter,” a new thrill ride mixing together the effects of a fly over spinning pendulum and a the typical looping twirl of a roller coaster ride.

The “Loop Fighter” dynamic action offers passengers the incredible weightless sensation and delivers unbelievable G-force. It is running up to approximately 24m reaching a maximum of 4.5 G, giving the passengers a strong negative and positive acceleration for incredible weight change sensations.

Disneyland Paris, Marne-la-Vallée
Show, family attraction
As Disneyland Paris turns 20 this year, visitors are invited to join the anniversary celebrations from 1st April 2012. The park presents “Disney Dreams!” - a show that will dazzle guests after dark with thousands of lights, colours and magic, thanks to never-before-seen special effects, showcased at Sleeping Beauty Castle and Disney Magic on Parade! - new music, new floats, new choreography and new characters will provide guests with a completely fresh experience Meet Mickey Mouse. The famous mouse himself will welcome guests in a rehearsal room full of amusing props and his favourite costumes. All guests will be able to take a photo with Mickey, amid the sumptuous theatre décor.

Le Pal, Dompierre-sur-Bresbe
Animal exhibits
For this new season 2012 Le Pal gives the opportunity to its visitors to discover a new exhibit dedicated to the big Asiatic predators. An extension of the zoo has been needed to realize these new environments where visitors can appreciate a very spectacular observation of Asiatic lions and Sumatra tigers. Vision through large windows or from above on a wooden watchtower allow fascinating observation of the animals in their new enclosures (3,000m2 for the tigers and 2,500m2 for the lions). The space has been developed to fit the animal’s needs (hills, plants filtrated cascades and river, vegetation and comfortable night house....). Le Pal will also open a brand new veterinary clinic.

Parc Asterix, Plailly 
Roller coaster
“Oziris” is the name of the new inverted rollercoaster, which will open this season. At 40m high, 1,000m long and up to 90 km/h fast, guests will experience 5 inversions and 3 tunnels, while hanging under the track with the feet dangling in the air. “OzIris” is part of a new Egyptian themed zone inspired by one of the Asterix comic book serie “Asterix and Cleopatra.” With exotic plants, palm trees, rocks, lake, Egyptian monuments and a huge temple, the new zone will combine the characteristic humor of the Asterix cartoons with a new major rollercoaster.

Puy du Fou, Les Epesses
Kids attractions
This year, the park has created a fantastic world for its young visitors. The poet Jean de la Fontaine created an extraordinary garden for the Puy du Fou, where statues come to live, trees speak, and the famous fables happen just in front of the eyes of the visitors. Le Monde Imaginaire de La Fontaine is a small world on its own in the Puy du Fou, full of surprises and discoveries, fun and games for the kids. The park becomes a mythical universe for the youngest guests and for everyone who wants to find their inner child.

Erlebnispark Tripsdrill, Cleebronn
Family attractions, theming

Germany’s oldest theme park introduces a new section of timbered houses to their popular main street. These will include many indoor attractions for visitors from ages 3 to 93 years and an exhibition of historic toys as for example a Märklin miniature railroad from 1920. The adjacent animal park presents new accommodation possibilities and an expanded restaurant and adventure playground.

Europa-Park, Rust 
Hotel, rollercoaster, 4-D movie
With the new and fifth themed hotel “Bell Rock”, Europa-Park transports guests from all around the world to a fascinating New England atmosphere in the Baden town of Rust. The New England Style hotel has 189 rooms and 35 suites, three restaurants, a hotel parking and a large pool with an in- and outdoor area. The 35m high lighthouse is the landmark of the new hotel.

Just in time for the season 2012, “WODAN – Timburcoaster” opened on March 31: It is 1,050m long, 35m high with a speed over 100 km/h and a maximal vertical acceleration up to 3.5 G! The new top attraction is being built in the Icelandic themed area. Besides the high speed, racy bends and numerous airtime phases which will make all rollercoaster fans’ hearts beat faster, the attraction offers another spectacular feature: the new rollercoaster will integrate itself in the current rollercoaster landscape, and, moreover, cross the tracks of two other attractions. The park will also present a 4-D movie: “The Secret of Balthasar Castle.” The popular character Euromaus and his friends make their first steps on the big screen and will amuse and amaze the whole family.

Hansa Park, Sierksdorf 
Kids attractions, theming
Located right at the shores of the Baltic Sea, Hansa-Park inaugurates this year the 5th section of the themed area of the Hanseatic League in Europe with replicas of historic buildings from London (England), Ribe (Denmark) and Bergen (Norway).

A complete new jungle adventure land will offer kids up to 1m40 a heated and covered play paradise; another new outdoor themed playground will be developed in the Hanseatic village.

Heide-Park, Soltau
Scare attraction
“Krake” and “Krake alive!” Two fantastic attractions merge into a sensational thrill adventure. The unique roller coaster experience “Krake” (2011) waits for brave guests in the bay of the skull pirates: Germany's first dive coaster pulls riders down into the depths directly into the mouth of the sea monster. The beast is also on the hunt in the brand-new horror cabinet “Krake alive!” Scare-actors and creepy effects in the shipwreck promise to give visitors the shock of their lifetime. A spectacular combination of a roller coaster and a haunt attraction, which is unique in Germany.

Holiday Park, Hassloch
Family attractions, theming, shows
The German park presents a new face to its visitors: Entering through the complete new entrance gate with a fabulous design, the guests can explore the park and its new family area “Majaland” with eleven attractions for the whole family about the ever-popular Maja the bee. And Maja with her friends Flip, Tabaluga, Wickie and Holly are present daily to take souvenir pictures! Two new shows and many special events with appearances of famous TV stars complete the news for 2012!

Legoland Deutschland, Günzburg
Thrill ride, family attractions
On 17 May 2012, Legoland Deutschland will be celebrating its 10th birthday. Legoland is celebrating its jubilee with its guests by whisking them off to the legendary world of the “Lego Ninjago” series. Opening at the beginning of the season, the “Flying Ninjago,” an action-packed flying ride, lets guests take off starting at season opening to have a topsy-turvy adventure at a dizzying height of 22 metres. Another new attraction will be unveiled just in time for Legoland’s 10th birthday celebrations on May 17: “Ninjago Miniland.” Visitors can explore the mystical world of Ninjago at the 100 m2 theme site, enjoying the adventures of Master Sensei Wu and his ninjas. A life-size Lego model of the evil Sith warrior Darth Maul in the Miniland and pinecone fish, deep-sea isopods and various crabs as new habitants of Legoland Atlantis by Sea Life complete the new jubilee attractions.

Etnaland, Belpasso
Water ride
Etnaland’s newest flume –water ride themed on an Asian twist, is an attraction for guests who want to share a new adventure with the entire family. The 300m long themed water ride takes guests on an exciting and wet adventure in the water and features two 6m drops. This is another step for this park in becoming a full amusement park for the entire family.

Magic Land, Valmontone 
The second season of this new amusement park will offer many improvements throughout the whole park several new shows: At the Grand Theatre the mascot of the park shares in the musical “Gattobaleno and the magic sword” the amazing love story between the Prince and Princess Wonder Foltachioma. Two new children’s shows will be hosted in the little theatre. But the real big news of the 2012 season is “Gladiators”, a truly unique show with Roman wrestlers that is staged in the majestic setting of the Palabaleno: a perfect reconstruction of the Colosseum.

Minitalia Leolandia, Capriate San Gervasio
Water ride
This summer a new attraction, a splash battle called “Mediterranea,” will open. The main character of the story will be Mediterranea, a powerful female pirate with a valuable treasure to defend: visitors will have to protect it by a water canon battle. Many cultural and historical elements will appear in the theming such as nautical settings and the 4 Maritime Republics’ coat of arms: Amalfi, Pisa, Genova e Venezia.

Mirabilandia, Ravenna
Roller coaster
Divertical, the highest watercoaster in the World, is coming to Ravenna! The most important investment in the history of Mirabilandia features a 60m high drop, two splashes, a braking system that uses water and a track with top speeds of 110 km/h. Divertical will be the highest watercoaster in the world, the highest coaster in Italy, and together with the existing roller coasters “Katun” and “iSpeed” will create a trio of absolute champions of European and worldwide attractions fun.

Duinrell, Wassenaar
Roller coaster
Beginning in April visitors can experience a 361m long roller coaster ride through the trees with many turns and drops from a height of up to 15m: a fun ride for the whole family. New accommodations (bungalows) offers and improved facilities will provide even more comfort for guests who stay overnight.

Efteling, Kaatsheuvel
On 31 May 2012, Efteling will celebrate its 60th anniversary in fitting style with the première of the fantastic water show, “Aquanura.” The anniversary show “Aquanura” will be a magical and sensational water ballet, which features the elements of water, fire, music and light. Aquanura will be one of the three largest water shows in the world, after the Dubai Fountain (Middle East) and the Fountains of Bellagio (Las Vegas, USA).

Floriade, Venlo
New park
After an interval of ten years, the gates to the spectacular World Horticultural Expo will be opening again! Floriade will be taking place from April 5th to October 7th 2012 in a stunning park in Venlo. The park is made up of five unique worlds which are linked together by woodland. Here the most beautiful gardens and pavilions in the world can be admired for six months.

Toverland, Sevenum
New interior, shows, and a spinning Roller coaster
Toverland invested 1.5 million Euros in preparation for the 2012 season. The park will present a new interior in the first hall that will strengthen the magical theming along with newly composed music to enhance the experience. 2012 will be “even more magical” with several new and different shows such a new large De Toverzolder Magic Show. In October, Toverland will introduce, in a completely new area which includes a new 20m high and 500m long spinning coaster.

Walibi Holland, Biddinghuizen
Walibi Holland opens “Club Psyke: the 5-D Experience.” This 5-D movie is an attraction that activates all of the five senses. It is the exciting adventure of Walibi (the mascot of the park) and his friends Fibi, Zenko and Haaz; an experience, which is filled with sensational special effects.

Isla Magica, Sevilla
Family attraction, 4-D movies
Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the 1992 World Exposition in Sevilla, Isla Magica will host plenty of festivities this summer. In addition, the park presents a new family monorail. The bee-themed gondolas leave their hive and invite you to take a ride over the heights of the kid’s area La Isla de los Ninos, 4.5m high above the ground with wonderful views of the area and the lake. New movies for the 4-D cinema and the simulator will be equally presented.

Parque de Atracciones, Madrid
Roller coaster
A new mine train rollercoaster will entertain guests beginning this spring. At 17.5m in height, the “Mine Train” will be the highest family attraction of the kid’s area with continuous ups and downs, steps by underground galleries, and falls of water. The ride is 450m long and lasts about two minutes, reaching a maximum speed of 55 km/h. The coaster will be surrounded by an artificial mountain with a river and waterfalls: a ride depicting a real mine.

Port Aventura, Salou
Roller coaster
“Shambhala,” the tallest rollercoaster in Europe (76m), will make passengers enjoy the experience of the legends and adventure of the Himalayas. They will feel like they can touch the sky because it offers a perfect mix of sensations for a great expedition: scaling the highest summits, descending into mountainous steep chasms, journeying through dark tunnels and mountain lakes, all on a ride featuring an outline reminiscent of a real mountain range.

Liseberg, Gothenburg
Family attractions
This year's most spectacular new feature is “The Liseberg Wheel;” a giant Ferris wheel that guarantees a breathtaking view of all of Gothenburg close to a 100m above sea level. In addition, the old all-time favorite Juke Box ride is upgraded to the newest technology with new cars and beautiful design and theming in the style of the 1960’s.

Skara Sommerland, Axvall
The Swedish park will open a fantastic new waterslide in 2012. Guests will be able to compete while going down head-first the four lanes of the waterslide right next to each other. To add another dimension of competing, guests will be able to see who made it in the fastest time when racing against friends.

United Kingdom 
Alton Towers, Alton
4-D movie, scare attraction
The Alton Towers Resort is launching two new attractions for the 2012 season. “The Ice Age” cinema will combine 3-D footage, based on the third movie in the Blockbuster series, with an exhilarating variety of physical effects including icy blasts, snow and bubbles. Fans will also have the opportunity to meet both Sid and Scrat around the Alton Towers Resort, before staying over in one of the new Ice Age themed bedrooms in the Splash Landings Hotel.

Also new for the Alton Towers Resort in 2012 is Nemesis Sub-Terra, a psychologically and physically thrilling experience, taking place in a dark, intense underground setting which will be based around the back-story of the original Nemesis attraction, which opened in 1994. Set to be one of the Resort’s most terrifying attractions, Nemesis Sub-Terra takes guests down into the deepest, darkest location of the theme park for the experience.

Legoland Windsor, Windsor
An unforgettable Lego adventure awaits families in March 2012 with the opening of the unique 150 room, fully themed Legoland Hotel. Dedicated to interactive family fun, the unique hotel will bring Lego to life with imaginative theming and a host of child friendly features. There will be three types of themed bedrooms – Pirate, Kingdom or Adventure – all with interactive challenges to keep children mesmerized for hours on end. Stunning play spaces, including a Lego Pirates themed splash pool, will inspire little imaginations and Lego fans of all ages will delight in spotting their favorite iconic Lego figures. Children’s entertainment, movies available on demand and the Bricks buffet restaurant which will serve up a menu of quality produce are all designed firmly with kids in mind. The hotel will be situated in a tranquil but convenient location, right on the edge of the Legoland Windsor theme park.

Pleasure Beach, Blackpool
Shows, theming
While London is gearing up for the Olympics, Pleasure Beach will be welcoming its own special troupe of Mexican Olympic high divers as part its new attractions with death-defying high dives from heights of up to 25m (81 ft), combining comedy, fire and Olympic dives. The amazing “Hot Ice” show will celebrate its 75th production in 2012 when Entice will be skating its way on to the ice with more than 30 skating stars from around the world and over 400 stunning costumes to mesmerizing music, lasers, and pyrotechnic effects. Also this year one of Pleasure Beach’s most famous rides will undergo a massive transformation. “The Revolution,” the iconic looping roller coaster, will go all industrial for a stunning new look.

Thorpe Park, Chertsey
Roller coaster
New for 2012 at Thorpe Park, guests will brave a death-defying flight through apocalyptic devastation on Europe’s tallest winged roller coaster, “The Swarm.” Visitors will be picked up and dragged on the wings of The Swarm as you’re left exposed and vulnerable to extreme near misses and gut-wrenching inversions. Visitors will experience a unique head first, inverted drop from 39m (127ft) on the UK’s first winged rollercoaster and will be relentlessly ripped through the sky on its mission of complete annihilation.

IAAPA is the premier trade association for the attractions industry worldwide. Founded in 1918, IAAPA is the largest international trade association for permanently situated amusement facilities and attractions, and is dedicated to the preservation and prosperity of the attractions industry. The association’s global headquarters is in Alexandria, Virginia, United States and it maintains regional offices in Brussels, Mexico City, and Hong Kong. www.IAAPA.org

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Editor’s Note: Every effort was made to ensure the information included in this release was accurate at the time of publication. For the most up-to-date information, including the opening date of the new attraction, please visit the attraction’s website listed with each entry or contact the facility directly.

Contact Information

Karen Staley Jakob Wahl
Vice President, European Operations Programme Manager, IAAPA Europe
E-mail: kstaley@IAAPA.org E-mail: jwahl@IAAPA.org
Phone: +32 492 72 02 68 Phone: +32 492 72 02 67