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Review: Europa Park - Home of the MACK Rides

One of Germany's most famous and best Theme Parks is Europa Park, known for it's extensive theming dedicated to European countries. What makes this park so great and what has MACK Rides to do with it?

Let's get straight to the point. Europa Park is owned by the Mack family, yes from the Mack Rides company we all know. After visiting several theme parks abroad in 1970, the Mack family were inspired to open a theme park too. The intention was to build an exhibition site for all the amusement rides that Mack made. And thus, the park opened in 1975 with 20 different rides, including a monorail and boat ride.

The first European country themed areas opened in the years 1982 - 1996 and over the next 15 years they kept adding new rides and rollercoasters. Europa Park is now rapidly growing with a total of 4.5 million visitors in 2011. Fast forward to 2019 and Europa Park expanded with several new rides and an indoor waterpark, Rulantica. At the moment, the whole Europa Park Resort attracts more than 6 million visitors every year. And with the new multi-launch coaster Voltron opening in 2024, this park is nowhere near done with expanding!

Most of the rides you'll find in this park are, ofcourse, manufactured by Mack Rides themselves. Actually, from the 13 rollercoasters in the park, only two are NOT a Mack. This park truly is a Mack Rides exhibition and they do a real good job! So what exactly is so good about Europa Park? Let me explain this!

In March 2023 I visited Europa Park for the first time. Honestly, I didn't really know anything about the park except that it is good and there is an indoor waterpark. I didn't really do any research on what rides there are, so this visit was full of surprises! The park entrance and main street give a strong Disney-vibe, which isn't surprising considering the Mack family did visit Disney parks for inspiration back in 1970. It's quite an overwhelming park and we didn't really have a plan on what rides to do. We just went for it, explored the park and gazed around at all the theming.

Dutch people (secretly) love their home country and having an all Dutch-themed area in a park is like a dream come true. Not gonna lie, but I loved all the stereotypes that were displayed in that area. Wooden clogs, windmills, old houses and even Dutch themed food! Needless to say that we did spend a good amount of time here.

We explored all other areas, got lost a couple of times and found interesting new rides every single time. Really, when I say finding rides.. I mean finding rides. Europa Park is all about hiding their rides in extremely well themed buildings. It's funny how many times we entered a queue line, not knowing what to expect. Is it a coaster? Is it a dark ride? Is it neither of those? And needless to say that even the queue lines are themed! Seriously, the queue lines are attractions themselves. A lot of it is indoors, which makes perfect sense with the whole 'hiding rides' vibe. One queue line that definitely stood out to me, was the Voletarium. The walk is extremely long, but the whole theming makes up for it.

We spend two whole days in this park and we absolutely needed that. Not because of the wait times, those were basically non-existent in March (longest was probably 20 minutes for Wodan). You need the time, because there are so many rides! I remember ending the first day with the thought "Now we did everything, right?!". And then coming back the next day and finding out we missed quite a lot of hidden rides! Which was a very pleasant surprise so to say. We also did lots of rerides, just because Europa Park has so many extremely good rides. Take Wodan for example, that is one hell of a relentless GCI!! Especially in the backrow. Or Arthur (you can debate whether this is a coaster credit or not), which is an insanely beautiful dark-ride-coaster. A lot of dark rides in Europa Park make use of smells, which I had never experienced before actually. It definitely makes the rides way better!

It's safe to say that theming really makes this park for me. For a long time I was convinced that Disneyland Paris was the best themed park in Europe. Well, not anymore. At least for me personally. Yes Disney does a really good job at their theming and overall their vibe might be more 'magical'. But Europa Park is a whole different level. The theming here is all based on the country-area you are in, which makes it recognizable for everyone. It feels closer to home and makes more sense. I really enjoyed walking around in this park 'traveling' from country to country, exploring the area and buildings. And this park really wins it when it comes to rides, especially when we're talking about thrill rides.

Right after my visit, this park gained a beautiful second place for 'favorite theme park', right behind Energylandia. To be completely honest, this park is way above the Efteling for me. Don't get me wrong, I love the Efteling and as a Dutchie it's part of our culture. But Europa Park is just way better in everything, from theming to rides. I can't even describe the whole experience, you really need to see it for yourself.

My favorite rides at Europa Park were (in no particular order):

- Wodan Timburcoaster

- Silver Star

- Blue Fire Megacoaster

- Matterhorn-Blitz

- Cancan Coaster

- Euro-mir

- Voletarium

- Arthur

- Piraten in Batavia

- Snorri Touren

Are you convinced yet to visit Europa Park? It's definitely worth the travel! Take at least two full days to explore the park and get all the rides done. Especially when it is busy, it might be difficult to fit everything in. There is only one downside to this park and that is it's merchandise. As a Theme Park (or coaster) enthusiast, I love some good park or ride merch. Well, this is not the place to be. The only awesome hoodie they had, was an awfully blinding white color. Besides that, it was very expensive (around €70 for a hoodie)! So unfortunately, no Europa Park merchandise for me. Maybe next time ;) But this doesn't take away from the full experience. Go grab your bags and go for it!

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