45 Years of Fun
Even though 2020 has proved to be an unusual year, it still brings plenty to celebrate. Four IAAPA member parks in Europe will fete their 45th anniversary this year. Fårup Sommerland, Walibi Belgium, Gardaland, and Europa-Park have all spent four and half decades creating fun for families from all over the world. IAAPA talked to these legendary parks to celebrate this momentous occasion in their own words.
“We think Fårup Sommerland has endured for 45 years because we have created and developed an oasis for playfulness in harmony with the forest.
Fårup is known as a place where kids can be kids, and grownups can become kids again. We are an analog/non-digital experience, where you have to become involved in the experience: less screen time and more family time. We are built on the mantra that the biggest experiences in life appear when we have experiences together—and we want to enhance that in everything we do in Fårup Sommerland.
We have many guests that have the greatest memories of Fårup Sommerland—they remember visiting us when they were small kids, then they keep coming back each year, and then with their own kids and then grandkids. It’s wonderful! We have a special Fårup atmosphere in the park. We are centered in the middle of the forest and it gives a unique coziness to the experience.
Throughout the years we have not forgotten the ‘core values’ of Fårup. We have kept guest favorites like the canoes and the horses—even though they take up a lot of space that could be used for new roller coasters. We think it is important that we don’t forget who we are and how we, in the best way, support our DNA.
We will never be the park with the highest and wildest coasters, but we can be the park with the most heart-warming experience. And our greatest asset in that context is our employees. We are just as proud of this part of our experience as our roller coasters. We take great pride and effort to educate our employees, to give our guests the best imaginable guest service. They play such an essential part of the experience in our park.
So the employees and their interaction with our guests—and the Fårup spirit they enforce each day—is definitely what we are most proud of.”
“Walibi Belgium will celebrate its 45th anniversary on Sunday July 26th. Due to the health crisis, it isn’t possible to organize a big event in the park for our visitors. We have therefore chosen to celebrate it in a different manner.
Instead of receiving a gift, we would like to offer a gift. Even though the coronavirus hit us hard, we believe we have a privileged position in comparison with less fortunate persons and countries. We have therefore chosen to offer the benefits of our park entries on July 26th to an organization that is helping COVID-19 victims.
The beautiful thing about our park is that everyone in Belgium has a story with or about it.
We have collected 45 years of amazing memories and sensations.
The other important thing is that we have always had an attractive portfolio of attractions and we have been pioneers since our opening in 1975. It was important for Walibi Belgium to innovate and to offer sensations to the public that they could not find somewhere else.
We are very proud of our portfolio in general and of the future perspectives. Our current master plan will transform the park into immersive themed zones with exciting new attractions.
Walibi Belgium has been awarded ‘Best Theme Park in Belgium’ and our attractions are recognized worldwide. For example, dark ride ‘Popcorn Revenge’ recently received a TEA Thea Awards for ‘Outstanding Achievement.’ We are very proud and thankful of all the recognition we receive.”
“In a ‘normal’ year we’d arrange a special day with extended time and a huge party (DJ set, partnership with No. 1 radio in Italy, performers, etc.) 2020 is a very peculiar year so we’ll celebrate with our fans on social media.
We’ve endured for 45 years because of our location: the richest and most populated area in North Italy, Lake Garda. It’s a great tourism destination (estimated 5 million arrivals per year) close to Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (our most important international markets) and highways and railway lines. Our international guests make up 25% of park visitors and 50% of hotel guests.
Our investment and innovation are also to credit. Over time we’ve installed new rides, opened new second gates (Sea Life Aquarium and LEGOLAND Waterpark), and launched new accommodation (Adventure Hotel, Magic Hotel).
And our Gardaland brand is key as well. Gardaland is an institution in Italy with 100% brand awareness and highest intention to visit. We also have top social network numbers and are visited by celebrities, influencers, and bloggers.
We are most proud that Gardaland is Italy’s No. 1 theme park for families of all ages and thrill seekers as well. So, Peppa Pig Land is the attraction that preschool families love the most. The roller coasters ‘Raptor’ and ‘Oblivion’ are the top rides for teenagers and young adults. Our water attractions, such as ‘Escape from Atlantis,’ ‘Colorado Boat,’ and ‘Jungle Rapids’ are the best family attractions for a hot summer day out.”
“Of course we had to change our long and large planned celebrations in this very special year. Nevertheless, we wanted to give our guests some specials when we turned 45 on July 12th. We had a large marching band wandering through the park and artists gave out 10,000 flying balloons to guests. We also hid 45 gifts throughout the park. The lucky guests who found them received great Europa-Park gifts in return.
More than 240 years ago, the Europa-Park owner family Mack declared its goal to provide people unforgettable moments. Since then, the company motto has been ‘The wide world is my field.’ Germany´s largest theme park always strives to reach even greater heights and tries to expand what it has to offer at all times. As Europa-Park can´t allow itself to stand still if it is to remain attractive to visitors from all over the world, the family company is continuously in search for novelties and unique attractions. Europa-Park is always looking for innovations and open to new ideas. The concept ‘leisure industry of tomorrow—invented, developed, and realized by Mack today’ guarantees success also in the 21st century.
As a traditional family company, which is now in its eighth generation, Germany´s largest theme park attaches great importance to an organic growth and a healthy investment volume. Apart from that, Europa-Park is a family-owned company, which follows the approach ‘from family for families’. Satisfied guests, especially parents and their children, are one of the most important factors for success. Therefore, Europa-Park takes their wishes into consideration too. A good example of this is the opening of the new water world Rulantica.
Moreover, Europa-Park values tradition, high-quality production, day-to-day innovation as well as fair and regional partnerships.
Europa-Park has a company history to be extremely proud of: 250,000 visitors came when it opened in the summer of 1975 and, today, the family-run park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country with more than 5.7 million visitors last year. With more than 100 attractions and international shows, fun and entertainment for the whole family is guaranteed on a site measuring 95 hectares. It is very difficult to state a single attraction as success bringer. The full portfolio has many different types of attractions—for everyone despite age and interests.
In a few days, Europa-Park will reopen the ‘Pirates in Batavia’. With this family attraction especially, many emotions and stories are connected. Visitors can go on a fascinating boat trip with notorious sailors through the exotic harbor town of Batavia and have the opportunity to join Bartholomeus van Robbemond in the search of the legendary dagger. Around 90 new animatronics, with the latest technology, breathe life into the imaginative world. The 'Bamboe Baai' restaurant also offers plenty of culinary delights. In the middle of a Far Eastern atmosphere, there are delicious dishes from the wok and fresh salad bowls that take guests back to 18th century in Indonesia. We cannot wait to let the first guests experience this!