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What's New for 2013 at European Parks and Attractions

New parks, themed areas, and record-breaking rides to debut at
European attractions and amusement parks in 2013

More than 300 amusement parks and attractions in Europe are currently in their last phase of preparations for the new season, which starts for many at the end of March. To attract more guests for a fun day out for the whole family, parks across Europe have invested more than 500 million Euros during the winter to offer more thrills, more fun, and more enjoyable experiences in 2013. 

Visiting an amusement park is a great way to have a fun day out with the whole family. To enhance the experience, parks and attractions all across Europe have invested massively to bring even more excitement to their guests. Two complete new theme parks will open in the spring season 2013 in Istanbul/Turkey and Sicily/Italy.

In addition, the many existing parks will present plenty of new record-breaking rides and roller coasters to thrill their guests. Many facilities have also expanded their attractions possibilities with complete new themed areas in the park. These highly themed areas will take the visitor on an immersive journey into the world of fairytales, children’s books, fantasy lands, and exotic regions from far away. Karen Staley, Vice President, European Operations for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) states: “Storytelling continues to be more and more important for all parks. It is their goal to offer families the opportunity to experience together a unique adventure when stepping into a completely different world leaving the reality of daily life behind.”

Also part of the new attractions strategy is the additional investment into greater accommodation offerings for guests. Many facilities are offering visitors the ability to stay longer at their facilities for a short holiday break and many are building new hotels to accomodate overnight stays for guests. In 2013, two parks will extend their capacity with the construction of unique accommodation offers. In France guests will be able to sleep in lodges overlooking the savannah with African animals. In Southern Germany visitors can enjoy the experience of sleeping in a Medieval knight’s castle.

Annually, the more than 300 parks in Europe welcome over 160 million visitors. The total annual turnover amounts to around 10 billion Euros. For the 2013 season the attractions industry has invested more than 500 million Euros in new projects and improvements to their parks. 

Below is a selection of the many new novelties in European parks for 2013.

Bellewaerde Park, Ieper
Roller coaster

“Huracan” is the name of the new indoor family coaster at Bellewaerde Park. “Huracan”, the god of wind, storm, and fire, was locked into a Mayan temple in the Mexico area of the park. From 30 March, visitors of Bellewaerde Park have the chance to visit him but beware: “Huracan” is a treacherous god and will use all his forces to imprison the visitors in the temple forever. Together with the two-headed snake the visitors twist themselves on this exciting roller coaster ride into all possible corners to escape “Huracan” and defy the swirling water, the devastating fire and the stormy wind that the gods will send upon them during the ride.

Plopsaland, De Panne
Family Attraction, Theatre

This summer, Plopsaland De Panne opens a new zone themed to the popular character Vic the Viking. The center part of the area features two family attractions: a ‘Disk’O Coaster’ and a ‘Splash Battle’, where boats float gently on the waterway, while guests enjoy the interactivity of shooting water on either other boats or targets they pass by. A new restaurant is also part of this newly themed 5,000 m² area. In addition, the park will open a new “Kaatje Zone” themed around the famous character of the TV station “Ketnet”. Studio 100-artists will perform from this summer on a variety of fantastic shows for young and old in a luxurious new 1.400 seat theatre.

Djurs Sommerland, Nimtofte
Roller coaster

Djurs Sommerland presents for 2013 “The Jewel”, Europe’s only double launch coaster and at a length of 1km the longest roller coaster in Denmark. Guests are launched forward not once but twice on a hair-raising ride through the Mexican jungle on cool all terrain vehicles (ATVs). During the ride, the cars reach top speeds of 85 km/h and riders experience rapid swings from side to side with a banking of the track of up to 80°. At the same time, it’s a roller coaster experience for the whole family with an expected minimum height of 120 cm for riders.

Fårup Sommerland, Saltum
Roller coaster

In June 2013, the largest new ride in the park’s history opens in Fårup Sommerland. The “Orkanen” rollercoaster travels both over and under the water – the only one in northern Europe to do so. Orkanen takes riders to the height of seven stories, and then – at a speed of 75 km/h – rushes them down under the water, continuing scarily close to trees and bushes – while riders’ feet dangle free in the air! The coaster can be experienced by guests with a minimum height of 105cm.

Tivoli, Copenhagen
New Area, Family Attraction, Thrill Ride

In 2013, Tivoli in Copenhagen, Denmark, expanded its attractions area by 600 m² offering three new amusement rides in a newly themed area inspired by the world famous Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe. Among the attractions in the area is a new, wild ride for adults called “Galaksen”, which takes riders on an amazing journey which replicates the experiences and sensations of an acrobatic aeroplane flight. This unique ride is very exclusive and can only be found in a few amusement parks around the world. Young children can also look forward to new thrills with a eight metres high drop tower and “The Little Pilot”, a classic Tivoli amusement ride, redesigned into an interactive flying merry-go-round four metres up in the air that allows younger children to operate a joystick to control their height during the ride.

Särkänniemi, Tampere
New Area

This summer, the Finnish park will open Doghill, a new themed area based on the characters of the famous Finnish writer Mauri Kunnas. The area includes the Town of Doghill, Doghill Farm as well as Drakkula’s Castle. In addition to a new stage/ theater area there will be a new stable for the animals of the zoo. The one hectare large Dogville was created in close cooperation with Kunnas and will give visitors the feeling of stepping into the spectacular fairytale world of the famous books.

Futuroscope, Poitiers
Family Attraction, Show

Music finds its home at Futuroscope in 2013, taking centre stage in a line-up designed to give the whole family new experiences and a show schedule with even more original content and novel experiences. Lady O is the spectacular new nighttime show using the lake of the park for lightshows on water screens, visual mapping, fountains, and pyrotechnics.

The famous French DJ Martin Solveig helped develop the first robot party, where his hits, audio-visual, and robotic technologies take visitors into the nightclub of the future; where men and robots dance together: “Dance With the Robots”. In addition the “Fab 4D” is a musical animated film that takes visitors on a journey to the source of pop music and to the heart of the Beatles’ musical world.

Grand Parc du Puy du Fou, Les Epesses

In 2013, the French theme park debuts “The Knights of the Round Table”. Pure magic and amazing illusions combined with fantastic and supernatural effects to create a new and captivating show that gallops along at a wild pace. With the assistance of the world’s top magicians, Dani Lary and Bertran Lotth, Puy du Fou has once again created a whole new world where spectacular and exceptional effects meet the most famous of legends.

Le Pal, Dompierre sur Bresbe

Le Pal creates a new family hotel for its 2013 season: “Les Lodges du PAL”. The 24 lodges, decorated in African style and equipped with modern amenities such as air conditioning, flat TVs and Wi-Fi, have been inspired by southern African reserves. Large bay windows open onto the wooden terraces which overhang the savannah and offer several points to observe the wildlife. Settled in comfortably, guests can watch wild species from the African savannah, including zebras, antelopes, warthogs, ostriches, and cranes. All guests are provided with information sheets and binoculars in order to observe and understand the animals that surround them. Accompanied by Le Pal guides, night excursions in the heart of the zoo are also part of the attractions programme. Just like Le Pal, “Les Lodges du PAL” have been certified by Green Globe (international certification programme for sustainable tourism).

Europa-Park, Rust
Themed Land

The popular characters from the Brothers Grimm come to life in a new area at Europa-Park during the summer of 2013. They reign over the fantasy world that lies between the picturesque “alte Elz” stream and Adventure Land. Children will be amazed by the donkey from “The Wishing-Table, the Golden Donkey, and the Cudgel in the Sack”, which spits out a huge stream of gold coins. A goat that talks when it’s fed is also a sight to behold and believed. And Doctor Know-all is sure to know an answer to any question – truly amazing! Quaint little houses at the entrance to the village, a magical glockenspiel, and an enchanted tower high above the rooftops are all part of the expanded Enchanted Forest. In addition, the park will open a new Confertainment Center, a historic Eden Palladium indoor carousel, and a totally redesigned Magic Cinema 4D.

Legoland, Günzburg
Accommodation, Darkride

The highlight of the 6,000 m² newly created Kingdom of the Pharaos the indoor “Temple X-pedition” ride, for which intrepid explorers board a jeep on an interactive treasure hunt through the temple’s dark interior. Equipped with infrared pistols, riders aid the Legoheroes in search of the hidden treasure. The more targets they hit on the way, the more they score and the closer they get to the treasure in the pharaoh’s burial chamber.

The Legoland Resort has also expanded with the new Knight’s Castle in the Legoland Holiday Village. With 34 themed family rooms on two floors, guests receive the truly royal treatment. While the little princesses and knights are conquering the castle over the drawbridge or ascending the throne in the entry hall, their parents can relax and unwind in splendid surroundings. The rooms are tastefully decorated and have numerous Lego models, so guests can spend the night as real lords of the castle in a Lego kingdom.

Etnaland, Catania
New Park

This spring, the Sicilian water park will open the doors to its brand new theme park with new attractions that will involve people of all ages in a real oasis of fun. The highlights are the two large roller coasters: “The Storm”, a thrilling megalite coaster and “Eldorado”, a classic mine train coaster greatly themed, which runs inside and around a typical mine. Other new attractions include a 60m high “Shot & Drop Tower”, an interactive dark ride through a school, a new water ride, 4D cinema, a kid’s land, and many more attractions for the whole family. The park, already home to an impressive 40-acre water park and a prehistoric park with 21 life-size dinosaur models, is the largest attraction in Southern Italy.

Themepark and Resort Slagharen
New Area, Family Attractions

To celebrate the 50th birthday of the park, Slagharen will open a new themed area in 2013: the Jules Verne Adventureland with four brand new attractions. The “Magic Bikes” allow passengers to be in full control as they swoop and fly their way through the sky. The “Passepartout Explorer” is a driving school for kids where they can get their first drivers license. The “Fogg’s Trouble” takes guests on a stormy boat ride, while “Expedition Nautilus” is a water ride, where riders should get the other riders as wet as possible using the water blasters in their boats.

Toverland, Sevenum
New Area, Roller coaster

Toverland will open the Magical Valley, a complete new themed area with no less than eight new rides, a new restaurant, and several shops. The eye catchers of the area are “D’wervelwind”, a brand-new spinning roller coaster with sudden drops, spinning turns, and onboard soundtrack, and “Djengu River”, a river rapid ride through the heart of the valley, where riders meet the Dwervels, the inhabitants of the valley. In addition to these two major rides, the Magical Valley also offers new rides for the younger guests: an observation tower, a water carrousel, trampolines, a climbing castle, a small survival parcour, and an enchanted fountain show in front of the restaurant terrace.

PortAventura, Salou
Water Park

This season, PortAventura presents one of its most anxiously awaited projects; the complete renovation and expansion of the Costa Caribe Aquatic Park, the second park of the resort. The project completes an enlargement of 14,000 m² of new facilities, including swimming pools for families and new attractions. On the top of the area visitors will find: the highest free fall slide in Europe at 31 meters tall (similar to a 12 story building), a multi-bump slide, and a racing slide, where up to six riders compete in a race against each other.

Astrid Lindgren’s World, Vimmerby
New Area

Astrid Lindgren’s World will open its new Emil in Lönneberg area in connection with the 50th anniversary celebration of the first book about Emil. A new Katthult setting, in- and outdoor play areas, as well as a traditional small town setting from the turn of the last century are part of the newly themed area. Guests are able to experience a farm from the beginning of the last century with animals, meadows, pastures, and much more, as well as a town setting with a restaurant and a candy maker.

Gröna Lund, Stockholm
Thrill Ride

As Gröna Lund is to celebrate its 130th anniversary in 2013, the park invested in a new sensational ride to celebrate this event. “Eclipse”, the first StarFlyer in Sweden, and at a height of 121 metres, “Eclipse” is the highest swing ride in the world. “Eclipse” is a unique family attraction, with a height requirement of only 120cm for all riders, but with an incredibly high excitement level. The question is not if the guests can handle the ride, but whether or not they dare to ride it. Eclipse has 12 swings with double seats hanging from eight-meter-long chains. If guests ride the attraction at full speed, they reach an impressive 70 km/h as they soar high above Stockholm.

Liseberg, Gothenburg
Children’s area

To mark its 90th anniversary, Liseberg celebrates by making the largest investment in the history of the amusement park. More than 20 Million EUR have been invested into building the 13,000 m² massive themed area for children called Rabbit Land. This area includes nine new rides, a new playground, and three new restaurants awaiting to be discovered by the guests. Among the new rides are an interactive monorail, two junior freefall towers, a junior Ferris wheel, a family roller coaster, a circuit of kiddie cars, junior flying chairs, and a balloon ride.

Skara Sommarland, Axvall
Wate rslide

In 2013, the combined water and amusement park Skara Sommarland presents “Big Drop,” a new 82-meter-long water slide that features a 21-meter freefall with a trapdoor. The slide allows riders to reach a top speed of 60 km/h.

Vialand, Istanbul
New Park

Turkey’s first modern theme park Vialand opens its doors this spring. Visitors are able to experience on 600.000 m² more than 50 attractions including a 110 km/h fast-launched roller coaster, a water coaster combining a roller coaster experience with a water ride, and a family coaster. Other attractions include a rapid river ride, drop tower, dark ride, and many more. The park is highly themed reflecting the daily life in old Istanbul and also features a large shopping centre right next to the park. The opening is scheduled for April 23, 2013.

United Kingdom
Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Blackpool

“Wallace & Gromit’s Thrill-O-Matic” is Blackpool Pleasure Beach’s new ride for 2013! The dynamic duo takes thrill-seekers through their most famous adventures with a number of loveable and not-so-friendly characters popping up on their travels! The riveting ride also features a shop where guests can buy Wallace & Gromit merchandise.

Sandcastle Waterpark, Blackpool
Spa Area

New for this season the UK's Largest indoor water park opens a new relaxing spa area with seven individual features including aromatherapy, foot spas, salt inhalation, and much more - it's so new that this hidden grotto of delight hasn't even decided on its name yet! A competition is currently running to give the area its name.

In addition, Sandcastle Waterpark splashes into 2013 with a new radio frequency identification (RFID) Cashless Wristband purchasing system so that guests can enjoy paying for their refreshments while inside the water park using their pre-loaded wristband for payment.