Regional Update: Europe, Middle East, Africa (August 2019)
‘Thunderbirds’ Take Off at Fort Fun Abenteuerland
“Thunderbirds” have taken to the skies at Fort Fun Abenteuerland in Bestwig, Germany. The striking Zamperla Air Race 8.2 ride marks an important step for the park since its acquisition by Looping Group in 2017.
“It is the first big investment in one single attraction for more than 10 years,” says Fort Fun Abenteuerland CEO Andreas Sievering. The project “perfectly underlines Looping Group’s strategy” to invest in the park’s infrastructure and then integrate new offerings tailored to its target audience, families with children, he says.
“Thunderbirds,” based on creatures from Native American mythology, fits into Fort Fun’s American theme. “Storytelling is an important trend in our industry,” notes Sievering. “People love to try different ride experiences and to challenge themselves. This attraction replicates the sensations of flying with a large bird—and who does not dream of flying?” The ride’s rustic design reflects its natural setting.
The totemic ride will become a new centerpiece in the park, encouraging guests to linger longer. “Most importantly, it creates pleasure,” says Sievering, whether guests are riding or watching the thunderbirds’ aerobatics. “We hope to increase visitor satisfaction as well as visitor numbers.”
Ghostly Goings-On at Disneyland Paris
Fans are rediscovering “Phantom Manor” at Disneyland Paris after the attraction reopened in time for summer following a major renovation. The transformation turned the ride into “a more immersive experience than ever before,” according to a Disneyland Paris spokesperson.
The voice of horror movie star Vincent Price now welcomes guests to the manor with ghostly authority. Disney’s Imagineers resurrected the recording of Price originally created for but never used when Disneyland Paris opened in 1992. Narration is available in French and English for the first time.
Technological wizardry breathes new life into the tale of nuptial doom. Paintings morph before guests’ eyes and a spectral bride surprises unwary carriage riders. Skeletons sway in the catacombs—an homage to Walt Disney’s 1929 Silly Symphony animated short, “The Skeleton Dance.”
More than 100 people contributed to the renovation effort, reviving more than 50 animatronic characters, sets, animated props, lighting, and special effects. The action takes place in the American West at the time of the Gold Rush.
Disneyland Paris has extended the experience with a range of collectibles, including a new book: “Phantom Manor – The Attraction Decrypted,” which reveals the attraction’s story and secrets.