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Europa-Park season opening 2014 press conference

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Europa-Park, Germany’s biggest theme park and the world’s number 21 according to the 2012 attendance report, will open its doors on Saturday for the 2014 summer season. What can we expect, apart from the uncountable attractions, among which there are famous roller coasters as “Silver Star”, “blue fire”, “Euro-Mir” and “Wodan”?

To get to the point: There will be no “Arthur” attraction until May or June, but we’ll come back to this later.

Let’s turn to the new things and to the things we already knew but which got a slightly new twist at the press coference.

One of the things that make Europa-Park a likable park is the fact that it is still owned by a single family – the Mack family. And whenever there’s an important event connected with the park you can be sure to see all of them. Roland and Jürgen Mack who have founded the park together with their father Franz (1921-2010), and Roland’s sons Michael and Thomas.

Roland Mack, one of the founders and owners of Europa-Park

Roland Mack, one of the founders and owners of Europa-Park

Roland Mack gave some insights into the thoughts and plans of the family as well as the company. Some examples:

  • Europa-Park wants to reach the target of 5 million visitors in 2014.
  • There are plans for a second park, a water park, but as negotiations with the authorities are still in progress, there is no further information on that and no planned opening date. The water park will be located next to Europa-Park.
  • The family has given itself a “family constitution” and is willing to run the park as a familiy park for generations.

Okay, let’s go on to the new things:

  • There is a new exhibition of famous Käthe Kruse dolls, with over 200 exhibits.
  • The new Mercedes exhibition in the Mercedes Benz-Hall (next to the mega coaster “Silver Star”) deals with AMG tuned cars.
  • There’s a new show in the “Arena”, called “Viva Ventura”. The ingredients of the show are pretty much the same as last year. There’s a lot of action, fun, horses and sword fights.
This is German "Gemütlichkeit" - one of the refurbished rooms of "See-Restaurant".

This is German “Gemütlichkeit” – one of the refurbished rooms of “See-Restaurant”.

There's no show in Europa-Park's "Arena" without a good sword fighting scene. (From the new show "Viva Ventura".)

There’s no show in Europa-Park’s “Arena” without a good sword fighting scene. (From the new show “Viva Ventura”.)

Acrobatic scene in the Arena show "Viva Ventura".

Acrobatic scene in the Arena show “Viva Ventura”.

Mexican musicians in the new "Viva Ventura" show.

Mexican musicians in the new “Viva Ventura” show.

The mascot Euro-Maus and friends, called "Rustis".

The mascot Euro-Maus and friends, called “Rustis”.

One of the oldest and most precious dolls.

Two of the most precious Käthe Kruse dolls.

One of the AMG cars in the new Mercedes Benz-Hall exhibition.

One of the AMG cars in the new Mercedes Benz-Hall exhibition.

Okay, let’s now come to the things that are not ready yet. First of all, there’s a new major shop coming along. It’s located in the Netherland’s theme area. This is what it looks like today:

"Under construction" - this will become a new store in the Netherlands area.

“Under construction” – this will become a new store in the Netherlands area.

The other (and more important) thing is the new “Arthur” attraction. This will in fact be BIG. Roland Mack has told some details that are totally amazing:

  • The whole new Arthur area has cost around 20 million Euros (27 million US-Dollars).
  • Each train moves independently and has it’s 300 horsepower motor.
  • The ride system is a completely new development.
  • Each train weighs several tons, and to adjust the trains to the system (mechanically and digitally), the technicians need one week.

This last point is the reason for the delay in the opening. There are 9 trains, but only 2 have been installed so far. Europa-Park hopes to be able to open the “Arthur” attraction by the end of May. We’ll keep you informed…

The Arthur attraction is not yet open, but fans and experts can't wait to ride it.

The Arthur attraction is not yet open, but fans and experts can’t wait to ride it.

But even without that this will be another great season in Germany’s biggest and (in my opinion) one of the world’s most beautiful theme parks.

Tilman

Written by Tilman

April 3rd, 2014at11:58 pm

“it’s a small world” – more a phenomenon than a ride

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“it’s a small world” – The Song

The following has happened to me more than once: I wake up in the morning with a tune in my head that I cannot exactly relate to something. Then, suddenly, words come along with the tune.

“It’s a world of laughter a world of tears, it’s a world of hopes and a world of fears…”

Ah, that one!

It doesn’t take more to make me recognize the song.

Nevertheless, I’ll give you more of the text:

“There’s so much that we share that it’s time we’re aware – It’s a small world after all”

“it’s a small world” – Disneyland California
the outside

"it's a small world" - Disneyland California inside

“it’s a small world” – Disneyland California
inside

“it’s a small world” – The Ride

Not that this boat ride was very spectacular. You’re shipping through some very (!) colorful landscapes, representing different continents and different cultures and different dresses and different people. There are little figurines, animatronics moving to the rhythm of the song described above. That’s it. But it’s great fun.

And: The ride is very much the same in very different places. I’ve been inside “it’s a small world” many times. In Magic Kingdom Orlando, Disneyland California and Disneyland Paris.

Children all over the world love this ride. Parents who visited it as children may also love it. Others might simply do their kids a favor when riding with them.

But it’s there, everywhere.

And, as I said, it’s great.

"it's a small world" - Magic Kingdom Orlando outside

“it’s a small world” – Magic Kingdom Orlando
outside

 

"it's a small world" - Magic Kingdom Orlando inside

“it’s a small world” – Magic Kingdom Orlando
inside

“it’s a small world” – The Addiction

 

Once you have it inside your head you will go there over and over again. A visit to a Disney park with a Fantasyland without “it’s a small world”? Can’t think of it.

It’s not just a ride. It’s a phenomenon. Don’t you agree?

"it's a small world" - Disneyland Paris outside

“it’s a small world” – Disneyland Paris
outside

"it's a small world" - Disneyland Paris inside

“it’s a small world” – Disneyland Paris
inside

Written by Tilman

February 16th, 2014at11:51 am

A pre-holiday visit at Europa-Park Germany

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You probably know the phenomenon: Holidays are only a few days away and everyone dreams of snow-covered landscapes and crackling fires. I’m one of the people with this rather romantic concept and I’m not feeling ashamed of it. As far as I’m concerned I can perfectly understand why some theme parks in Florida or California produce artificial snow to meet the wishes of their guests.

Artificial snow is not what you think of an December 20 when visiting Europa-Park. It’s Germany’s most visited theme park and located in the south of Black Forest. There is a good chance of white Christmas in this part of the world. But probably not in 2013. And not today, that’s for sure. It was a rainy day, more a November’s than a December’s day.

Nevertheless, after 5 hours in the park, I can say that every minute of it was worthwile. The park is beautifully decorated for the Holiday season and even though some of the major attractions are closed for weather reasons, there is plenty to do. We, that is Inpark team members Sebastian and myself, did about 15 attractions. The giant Ferris wheel “Bellevue”, the boat trip “Piraten in Batavia”, the monorail, the railroad, the 4-D movie, the fairy tale forest, the Euro-Tower and much more.

Here some impressions of a great day in a not so winterly, but very Holidays-like park.

Have some great Holidays all of you,

Tilman

Eurosat

Indoor coaster “Eurosat” is wrapped like a Christmas present. But there’s hardly a tree big enough to lay it underneath.

 

Europa-Park Christmas market

Christmas market, located in Europa-Park’s theme area “Germany”. Hot spiced wine, craftwork, Holiday decoration – there’s hardly a seasonal thing you won’t find here.

Europa-Park Ferris wheel

This is the Ferris wheel “Bellevue”, with its classical design and the closed cabins. It’s located in the area “Portugal”, you have a phantastic view over the whole park and its surrounding.

 

Europa-Park Skating Rink

Our favorite sport during Holiday season…

 

Pearly Gates Post Office

This friendly man, sitting inside the season post office, writes down all the children’s wishes… but we don’t know if he’s also the man to deliver them.

Written by Tilman

December 20th, 2013at10:22 pm

Software update – some improvements

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Have you checked your iTunes for app updates, lately? Then you might have noticed that our InPark apps have undergone some changes. Some of them of a marginal kind – but some also with major effects.

Befor I describe some of the changes, first of all one thing: thanks to all the users who have given us feedback. This is what we need to know what you expect of a useful theme park app (that, by the way, should bring some fun at the same time). Please go on mailing and commenting if you find things that need to be improved, changed… or things you absolutely like.

Okay, let’s talk about the new InPark version 1.6.4. Like all updates, this one concerns not only our full app “InPark”, but also all the single (and free) apps for Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, Disneyland California, Disneyland Paris and so on. Find the complete list of our apps under here.

The most important innovation is the top park menu of InPark full version. You’ll find some new elements here.

new menuFirst of all, the “Fits your profile” button. This brings you to a list of attractions that agree best with your personal profile. (You can edit your profile and tell the software if you are especially interested in thrill, water rides or family attractions.)

The second button in the top row opens the calendar (the calendar feature is  part of the free apps as well). This calendar is refreshed daily (as far as you have an internet connection) and not only features opening hours, but also show times and character meeting times.

The third and last button in that row brings you to the wait times menu you already know. This screen is part of the free InPark apps as well as of the full version. This list shows the current wait times in green (short wait), yellow (middle wait) and red (long wait) – if there’s a question mark, we don’t have a current wait time. If you’re inside the park, please contribute as many times as possible by pressing on the time button and submitting the time.

The wait time list features show and character times as well.

We hope that the new version really brings some big improvements, in usefulness as well as in fun. Please tell us if so or if not so. We’re also delighted for every rating in iTunes app store.

Have much fun in the parks!

Tilman

Written by Tilman

March 14th, 2013at5:31 pm

Posted in InPark News

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InPark Disneyland California Apps

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We finally made it, as a holiday gift to ourselves and – hopefully – a gift for all our present and futur users as well: tree new iPhone apps have been added to the InPark app family.

Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure have now their own waiting time apps:

And there’s a third one as well, covering both Disney Anaheim parks:

 

What you get is much like what you might know from other InPark theme park apps. Mostly these apps are a source of information on all the attractions, restaurants, shops, service points, restrooms and so on. But there is another core function: the wait time assistant.

For Disney California Adventure, for example, this looks as follows:

As default setting, you get a list with all the current wait times.

We’ve been asked what the different colors of these wait times indicate. Well, the green color means just a short wait at the attraction. Yellow is moderate and red is a long wait, which could go up to more than 120 minites for the most popular attractions during high seasons.

By touching the screen on the waiting time number, you get into the submission screen. Are you inside the park and know of waiting times? You can submit them – even if you just confirm the last entry. This helps anyway, because it keeps the times precise. This app solely works with waiting times submitted by users.

And what happens, when you touch the screen at another point? Then you get to the detail site of the particular attraction you clicked upon. Example:

This gives you information like category, height requirement, duration of ride, accessibility and so on.

You want even more, especially more photos? Then get our full version of InPark. This app costs less then a Dollar (in US iTunes App Store on December 29, 2012) – and you get all the parks available for InPark. That means: all 8 Disney theme parks in North America and Europe, 2 Universal parks in Orlando, Florida. 5 more parks in Germany and the Netherlands, like Europa-Park and Efteling. And you can even download the HD versions for free – with much more pictures in higher resolution.

That’s a lot, yes.

And that’s it, for now. We hope you will have a great new year’s eve celebration and a perfect start in a happy year 2013. Enjoy the parks, enjoy your life.

All the best,

Tilman

 

 

Written by Tilman

December 29th, 2012at10:20 am

30 Years of Epcot – A Eulogy

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First of all: Epcot is one of my Top 3 theme park favorites. Worldwide. Full stop.

Spaceship Earth

But why Epcot?

Epcot is not what Walt Disney dreamt of originally!

Walt Disney thought of a Utopian place, a city for people to live in. An “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow“ (E.P.C.O.T.). The Epcot that finally was built, is a theme park.

Epcot was too late for Walt Disney to see it!

Walt Disney died in 1966, Epcot was opened 15 years later.

Epcot Future World: Imaginationa!

Even the original theme park plans have not been completely realized.

Many of the planned attractions have never been built, like a boat trip in the German Worldcase pavilion. There are many other examples throughout the park. Reason was the lack of business partners.

Yes. All true.

Epcot World Showcase: American Adventure

But instead of stressing all the things that Epcot is NOT, one could also tell what Epcot is and what it has:

– Epcot one of the most innovative theme parks in the world.
– Epcot is a multicultural showcase  an everlasting World Expo.
– The iconic structure of the “Spaceship Earth” attraction has inspired many other theme park companies (like German “Europa-Park” and “Phantasialand”).
– There is hardly a theme park of this popularity with that vastness in space – outside the most popular attractions there are always areas of recreation.
– The World Showcase pavilions have fantastic architecture.
– Some of the Future World attractions belong to the most popular ones of all Disney parks, especially “Soarin’” and “Test Track”.

Epcot Future World: The Land

I could go on for a while, but I won’t.
Instead, I cut the long story short: Epcot is fun for one day and more, for one visit and more!

Spaceship Earth (Epcot) at night

Happy anniversary, EPCOT!

Epcot World Showcase: Germany

Epcot World Showcase: Morocco

Epcot Future World: Test Track, one of Disney World’s most popular attractions

Written by Tilman

October 1st, 2012at11:15 pm

InPark data problem solved

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Dear InPark users.

Some of you have encountered a problem with our software lately. The program said “No Park Data – please download” – and if you entered the download-section, the program said “All park data is up to date”.
This is really a contradiction and it is caused by a phenomenon that has to do with Apple’s new iCloud functionality. The park data of InPark is saved in a folder that is now regularly erased by newer iOS versions. But the InPark folder has registered the data download – this leads to the “misunderstanding”.

We have solved the problem. A new version of InPark is submitted to Apple iTunes. You should be able to download it in 10 to 12 days. (The updates have to be approved by Apple.)

But this means:
InPark 1.5.3 requires iOS 5.1 minimum (until now it was iOS 4.3).
The data will be saved in a folder that is not automatically erased.

There is a temporary workaround for all those who don’t want to wait: erase InPark on your device and install it again. But this will erase all park data and your personal data. Park data can be downloaded for free, as always.

We hope that our solution meets the needs of our users. Please give feedback. And we’re very sorry for the inconvenience. We hope that Apple won’t make such „surprising“ changes in the future.

All the best,
Sebastian & Tilman

Written by Tilman

September 25th, 2012at11:34 am

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InPark team runs Disneyland Half Marathon 2012

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Yes, we did it!

The InPark team successfully participated at the Disneyland Half Marathon 2012, September 2.

It was our first half marathon together and my first half marathon ever. As you can imagine, I was a bit nervous, being on the 13.1 miles course – THIS course, of all:

Disney’s California Adventure – Mickey’s Fun Wheel

It wasn’t that bad! And with every inch the sun was rising, I was getting nearer to the finish. Here it was not so far away:

3.1 miles to go

Nothing could stop me then.

Sebastian, who was dressed in a Minnie Mouse skirt to practice for the Princess Half Marathon next February in Disney World, could relax. He is used to full marathons – and to another speed. Running as my trainer, motivating me over the miles, his heart rate was at no time higher than 150 bpm. He even found time to take some souvenir pictures of me and to pose for some souvenir photos himself. Isn’t he really Minnie-Mouse-like?

Sebastian posing for souvenir photos

Then this moment, I’ve trained for several months. The moment I received my first half marathon medal ever. A very special Disneyland medal. THANKS very much, runDisney!

Two winners, after 2 hours and 22 minutes. Brings them to places 4750 or so.

And I look forward to the 2013 Princess Half Marathon!

Of the good things only the best for you,

Tilman

Written by Tilman

September 17th, 2012at11:26 pm