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Story Immersion and Theming Big Trend as European Amusement Parks Open New Attractions

(23 March 2015) As the summer season approaches most European amusement parks prepare to open their gates. The more than 300 European amusement parks invest an estimated 550 million Euros in new rides and attractions annually to ensure guests can enjoy different experiences from year-to-year. The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) cites a number of new attractions and expanded areas opening this year immerse guests in fictional stories and connect visitors with well-known characters in new ways.

According to a recently study by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), the 307 amusement parks in Europe entertain approximately 150 million visitors a year. Karen Staley, vice-president of IAAPA European Operations states: “Amusement parks invest continuously in fresh and new experiences to bring guests back year after year and to attract new visitors.”

Whether it is bringing to life fictional characters and stories or creating haunted experiences year-round, many of the new attractions use theming to completely immerse guests in an experience. “Intricately themed rides, attractions, and park areas create a more immersive or intense experience for guests. This year a lot of theming is focused on well-known television characters and stories,” according to Staley.

Amusement parks continuously invest in the ongoing development and improvement of their attractions and in enlargements of accommodations, additions of swimming resorts and leisure pools, and new shows and entertainment will open.

Moreover, a few entirely new parks will open, including the brand new indoor park Yumble in The Netherlands, and two brand new water parks Aqua Mexicana in The Netherlands and Plopsaqua in Belgium.

Below is a list of some of the exciting attractions opening this summer in Europe. This list can also be found on www.iaapa.org.

Belgium

Bobbejaanland, Lichtaart, Family Attraction

“The Forbidden Caves” takes visitors on a thrilling journey into mysterious caves, where danger and supernatural creatures lurk in every corner. “Forbidden Caves” is the first attraction of its kind in the Benelux region. Visitors become part of the story as they enter the caves and mine shafts guarded by monsters.

Park Opening: 4 April 2015. www.bobbejaanland.be

PlopsaCoo, Coo, Family Attraction

PlopsaCoo opens a brand new family attraction at its park in the Belgian Ardennes near the waterfalls of Coo. The dinosaur-themed attraction “Dino Splash,” takes riders in boats down three different slides of 125 and 50 meters, including a unique wave-shaped slide. As the guests come through the slides there are sound and lighting effects.   

Park Opening: 4 April 2015. www.plopsa.com

Plopsaland De Panne, De Panne, Water Park

The new subtropical indoor water park at Plopsaland De Panne. Plopsaqua De Panne offers a unique water park experience themed to the popular franchise of Vic De Viking. Guests can enjoy a wave pool, a disco pool, a wild river, Jacuzzis, a sauna, a children’s playhouse, a toddler pool, an outdoor area, a restaurant and many slides. The 20-meter free-fall “Sky Drop” slide will delight thrill seekers. The park, which celebrates its 15th anniversary also adds a  castle with a restaurant themed to the popular Princessia franchise and a complete renewal for the Samson & Gert fair area with a brand new swing ride ‘Wienerwalz’.

Park opening: Water park 22 March 2015, Theme park 5 April 2015. www.plopsaqua.com, www.plopsa.com

Denmark

Djurs Sommerland, Nimtofte, Themed Area

Djurs Sommerland opens a major new area called ‘Bondegårdsland’ with 10 new family-friendly rides. Parents can join their children as they explore an imaginative farmer’s universe featuring a family roller coaster, an interactive carousel, and other rides which are the first of their kind in Scandinavia. The entire area is decorated with timber-framed houses with thatched roofs, water mills, colorful agricultural machinery and oversize vegetables.

Park Opening: 1 May 2015. www.djurssommerland.dk

Farup Sommerland, Blokhus, Water Slides

Water lovers, thrill seekers, and roller coaster enthusiasts can all enjoy the new attractions opening at Fårup Sommerland The water cannon has a free-fall and two loops, and the a waterfall slide stands  35-meters high  and is designed for people who like to experience thrills and speed.

Park Opening: 27 April 2015. www.faarupsommerland.dk

Legoland Billund, Billund, Family Attraction

The life size X-Wing fighter made out of five million Lego bricks comes to life using special sound and lighting effects.  The spacecraft plays a crucial part in the Star Wars films, as this was the one Luke Skywalker flew when he destroyed the first Death Star. Guests feel as though they are standing on the hangar deck of an intergalactic starship.

Park Opening: 28 March 2015. www.legoland.dk

Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Restaurants

Tivoli Gardens in central Copenhagen celebrates its 173rd season and plans to open three new restaurants. At Fru Nimb guests will find traditional Danish smørrebrød. A new family oriented concept is planned for the Tivoli’s Divan first location and the Royal Rock Café will open up as a pop-up pub. Summer concerts include performance by such artists as Mark Knopfler, Elton John, and Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga.

Park Opening: 1 April 2015. www.tivoli.dk

France

Disneyland Paris, Marne-La-Vallée, New entertainment

Guests can enjoy the musical production “Frozen,” inspired by the Oscar-winning movie from 1 June to 13 September. Disney Halloween Festival and Disney’s Enchanted Christmas return at the end of the year in an even more festive way. Additionally, Disney’s Newport Bay Club completes renovations and iconic attractions, such as “Space Mountain: Mission 2,” which celebrates 20 years of operation and Les Mystères du Nautilus will reopen for the summer season after general refreshment.

Park open all year. www.disneylandparis.com

Futuroscope, Jaunay-Clan/Poitiers, Family Attractions

In February 2015, Futuroscope opened The Fun Xperiences Arena, a 1000-square meterglass building where families can enjoy nine  sports and play activities. In April 2015, Futuroscope  introduces a next-generation live show “The Kube Mysteries,” which combines the latest imaging and mapping technologies with acrobatic and artistic performances.

Park Opening: 7 February 2015. www.futuroscope.com

Puy du Fou, Les Epesses, Show

In 2015, Puy du Fou conquers a new historical period. The 20th century joins the journey through time with a new spectacle for this year, “The Lovers of Verdun” a moving and spectacular show that whisks the audience back to the trenches of the Great War. Ten actors take visitors back to that evening of Christmas 1916, providing a taste of their everyday lives: queuing up for soup, waiting for letters from home, the buzzing communications post and the urgency of the medical bay. Visitors are right at the heart of the action and emotions.

Park Opening: 11 April 2015. www.puydufou.com

Germany

Europa-Park, Rust, Family Attractions

A highlight for Europa-Park’s 40th anniversary season is the new, 4-D film “Das Zeitkarussell” produced in-house by Mack Media. Also, the parks parade, which winds throughout Europa-Park will debut new carriages. The park adds two indoor sections to “Whale Adventures,”, a new beer garden in the Austrian-themed area, and the totally redesigned  “Euro Tower” in the French-themed area. The Europa-Park Golfclub will also welcome guests for the first time on this beautiful 27hole course just 15min away from the park. A very special surprise attraction will also be revealed for the opening of the season.

Park Opening: 28 March 2015. www.europapark.de  

Hansa-Park, Sierksdorf, Roller Coaster

Hansa-Park, Sierksdorf opens its new steel, hyper coaster “The Oath of Käran.”  The coaster has a 73-meter lift hill and its tower measures 79 meters.  The 1,235-meter-long ride reaches speeds of up to 127 kph. The theming will be completed by 2016 and it will complement the overall theme of Hansa-Park which is the Hanseatic League.

Park Opening: 1 April 2015. www.hansapark.de

Holiday Park, Hassloch, Family Attractions and Events

 “Sky Fly” at Holiday Park combines flying fun with interactivity. Each passenger can individually control how much thrill he or she wants to experience from a tranquil scenic flight to an endless series of rollovers. Also, the queue of the 22-meter-tall “Sky Scream” roller coaster that opened last year is now themed to a horror laboratory with scary sound and light effects and animatronics, which will offer a complete new experience to the ride that was opened last year. Also the foodies have many new options, including the Italian themed Casa Palatina.

Park Opening: 28 March 2015. www.holidaypark.de

Legoland Deutschland Resort, Günzburg, New Zone

Guests can chase robbers at the new Lego City Police Station and can get a close-up look at bamboo sharks in the underwater world “Atlantis” by Sea Life. The new accommodations, Camping Barrels, open at Legoland Holiday Village.

Park Opening: 28 March 2015. www.legoland.de

Movie Park Germany, Bottrop, Entertainment

In 2015, Movie Park Germany introduces even more Hollywood in the park with the arrival of The Minions, a new stunt crew and new shows in the park. The yellow little men from the US animated film ‘Despicable Me’ will be there for meet and greets and will also play a role in the parade which runs daily through the park. Other news includes the new interactive “Western Stunt Show” in the Old West area and the “Break the Rules” show in the Streets of New York area.

Park Opening: 27 March 2015. www.movieparkgermany.de

Phantasialand, Brühl, New Show

Phantasialand presents a brand new spectacle in its Wintergarten theater: “Musarteum – A Night at the Museum”. Visitors can utilize the park’s new annual pass, Erlebnis-Pass, which provides guests three options.

Park Opening: 28 March 2015. www.phantasialand.de

Ireland

Tayto Park, Kilbrew, Roller Coaster and Family Attractions

Tayto Park, Co.Meath, is Ireland’s only theme park and zoo. Tayto Park launches seven new attractions, including a 5-D cinema, “Air Race,” “Shot Tower,” “Dinosaur Alive” train ride, “Steam Train Express,” and new food outlets.

Park Opening: 26 March 2015. www.taytopark.ie

Italy

Gardaland, Castelnuovo del Garda, Roller Coaster

“Oblivion - The Black Hole,” stands 42.5 meters tall and takes guests up a 87-degree incline and reaches speeds of up to 100 kph. Aboard the adrenaline-filled roller coaster passengers travel through a mysterious space-time passage and will feel as though they narrowly miss the ground, and obstacles as they experience inversions, head-over-heels upturns, tailspins on big spirals, and 360-degree rotations.

Park Opening: 28 March 2015. www.gardaland.it

Leolandia, Capriate San Gervasio, Themed Area

In March 2015, Leolandia opens an all-new themed area dedicated to Peppa Pig, the favorite cartoon piggy. The new area is a favorite among fans of the Peppa Pig franchise as it enables children to jump in muddy puddles, peek into Mummy Pig’s oven, or go into Peppa and George’s bedroom. The park also offers four new live shows.

Park Opening: 28 March 2015. www.leolandia.it

Mirabilandia, Ravenna, Kids area

Mirabilandia now boasts 12,000 square meters of land in Italy dedicated to the world of the dinosaurs, which includes 54 realistic dinosaur reproductions. Also opening this year is six attractions, including  “Brontocars,” a children’s driving school and “Bicisaurio,” where parents can join their children for a flight on a dinosaur. Vegetation surrounds the area  to simulate the Jurassic era with big representations of dinosaurs.

Park Opening: 2 April 2015. www.mirabilandia.it

Netherlands

Attractiepark Slaharen, Slagharen, Water Park

Aqua Mexicana, the new water park of Slagharen is scheduled to open in May 2015. Both young and old will enjoy this 5,200-square-meter Mexican-themed facility. The water park will have 10 slides, three will feature interactive  special effects, sounds, and 3-D animations. There will also be a 70-person bubble-bath and a children’s play area.

Park Opening: 1 May 2015. www.slagharen.com

Efteling, Kaatsheuvel, Roller Coaster

Efteling opens a new dive coaster “Baron 1898.” The coaster’s theming and storyline transports visitors back to the age of the Dutch mining industry, in the late 19th century. Riders experience a 37.5-meter freefall before entering the mineshaft at speeds of up to 90 km per hour. Efteling also adds 51 new accommodations to the Efteling Village Bosrijk, including  new cottages and group accommodations for up to 24 persons.

Park open all year. www.efteling.com

Roermond Yumble, Roermond, New Park

Yumble is a brand new indoor theme park experience next to the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet in Roermond. The attraction feature 8,000 square meters of interaction, innovation, and entertainment in the form of rides and shows. The park offers a state-of-the-art attraction mix, restaurants and cafes, and a digital backdrop based on projection technology.

Park Opening: 21 March 2015. www.yumble.nl

Toverland, Sevenum, Family Attraction

Toverland opens the thrill ride “Maximus’ Blitz Bahn.” The story goes as follows: Maximus Müller, an inventor of Austrian descent and a real genius has built his chalet next to Villa Fiasko, the house he grew up in. After some years in Austria, he is back to test a first prototype of the ‘fastest bobsleigh’.  This new thrill ride is Maximus’ latest invention and he is looking for the fastest test drivers to establish a new speed record.

Park Opening: 28 March 2015. www.toverland.nl

Norway

Hunderfossen, Lillehammer, Entertainment

Hunderfossen premieres its late evening show “Trollnight.”  After closing time, the park comes alive, and the guests are invited to participate in the spectacular feast. The park also adds a new pre-show at the popular John Deere Tractor ride. As guests are in the queue for four different shows they can meet the old huge speaking tree, the “kind of rude” magpie, and the cute squirrel – entertaining the guests in the line, with 4 different shows.

Park Opening: 23 May 2015. www.hunderfossen.no

Russia

Sochi Park, Sochi, New Park

Just next to the Olympic site for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi is located a new theme park. Sochi Park is the first park based on the rich cultural and historical heritage of Russia. It consists out of five areas where tales live and adventures rule. Go on an adventure full of rides, shows, shops, cafés and restaurants or even stay in their medieval style Bogatyr Hotel.

Park Opening: April 2015. www.sochipark.ru

Spain

Faunia, Madrid, Steller Sea Lions

Faunia is preparing for the arrival of two stunning marine habitants, Steller sea lions. Visit the new Steller Bay to meet Mirai and Hooper, an amazing species that can reach the ton. Let yourself be conquered by our group of marine mammals in a new exhibition that closely meet the affable fur seals, seals or timid vitulinas agile fur seals. The nursery Komodo dragons or the Amazonian jungle await visitors in the new season.

Park open on certain days throughout the year. www.faunia.es

Madrid Zoo Aquarium, Madrid, Aquarium

Madrid Zoo Aquarium celebrates its 20th anniversary and opens  modern facilities and offers its visitors a new underwater journey from the warm sandy beaches of the Indo-Pacific to the open sea and the ocean depths through the stunning coral reefs that populate the seabed.  Visitors can observe 2,300 specimens of 300 species in the warm salty waters of the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, or the Caribbean. The new exhibit features 30 tanks and 2 million liters of sea water.

Park open all year. www.zoomadrid.com

Parque de Atracciones De Madrid, Madrid,  Kids Area

Nickelodeon, the global multimedia entertainment brand for kids and family, and Parque de Atracciones de Madrid, the most important thematic center in Spain, joined to create a special new themed, kids area. An area of the park is dedicated to Nickelodeon’s world, including recognizable characters such as SpongeBob Squarepants, Dora the Explorer, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Also, the park offers guests a new horror experience based on the successful television show “The Walking Dead.”

Park Opening: 3 January 2015. www.parquedeatracciones.es

Parque Warner Madrid, San Martin de la Vega, Exhibition

In recognition of the characters’ recent 75th anniversary, Parque Warner Madrid pays tribute to one of the most beloved superheroes, Batman, with a complete exhibition featuring the main characters from the films, and the three spectacular Batmobiles. During the summer months, Batman will be present as the star of a new show with impressive special effects.

Park Opening: 19 March 2015. www.parquewarner.com

Port Aventura, Tarragona, Hotel and Events

PortAventura Resort celebrates its 20th anniversary. New offerings include shows with emphasis on performances for the whole family, and “Amaluna” a new Cirque du Soleil show. The park opens a 5-star hotel that is themed as Victorian-era mansion in the Far West.

Park Opening: 21 March 2015. www.portaventura.es  

Sweden

Grona Lund, Stockholm, Family Attraction

Grona Lund’s debuts “House of Nightmares” comprised of frightening experiencing as visitors step into Dr. Morphio’s abandoned house, which is haunted by dark nightmares. The attraction is equipped with state-of-the-art digital technology and animatronics.

Park Opening: 25 April 2015. www.gronalund.com

Kolmarden Wildlife Park, Kolmarden, Family Attraction

Kolmarden in Kolmården, Scandinavia, celebrates its 50th anniversary. To mark this milestone, it opens one of the park’s biggest capital investments the expansion of “World of Bamse” with all-new areas and rides themed to the popular Swedish comic book about Bamse the bear and his friends. Kolmården and its parent company, Parks and Resorts, have also invested SEK80 million to help make every child’s dream of visiting the World of Bamse come true.

Park Opening: 1 May 2015. www.kolmarden.com

Liseberg, Göteborg, Thrill Ride

Liseberg opens “Mechanica,” a powerful, high-speed attraction that spins riders 360 degrees and takes them 30 meters in the air. Guests can also shop in three new retail stores. For the first time the park is operating for the Halloween season from 24 October until 1 November.

Park Opening: 25 April 2015. www.liseberg.com

United Kingdom

Alton Towers Resort, Staffordshire, Accommodation

Alton Towers Resort prepares to open its new Enchanted World in 2015. This captivating hideaway is located in the woodland next to the Alton Towers Hotel and will offer a distinctive short break destination for guests with luxury treehouses and enchanting lodges. Younger visitors can look forward to the arrival of Captain Barnacles and his crew at CBeebies Land with the new Octonauts Rollercoaster Adventure.

Park Opening: 21 March 2015. www.altontowers.com

Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Blackpool, Thrill Ride

The 42-acre amusement park has joined forces with the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, to launch a unique thrill ride which will take excitement sky-high. Blackpool Pleasure Beach will become the first tourist attraction to have a ride based on the planet’s best aerobatic display team. Preparing for deployment in the Spring, the ride’s aircraft will provide an exhilarating experience like no other. Complete in Red Arrows livery, the brand new ride will also feature its own control tower from which novice pilots will be prepared for take-off.

Park Opening: daily from 21 March 2015. www.blackpoolpleasurebeach.com

Chessington World of Adventures Resort, Chessington, Family Attraction

2015 is the Year of the Penguins at Chessington World of Adventures Resort. Discover Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private - the penguin characters from the Dreamworks movie Madagascar - in a new park show, in a newly themed ride, in a walk-through experience and in the game zone of the park’s Africa land. Also new are special Madagascar penguins themed bedrooms at the Chessington Safari Hotel.

Park opening: 18 March 2015. www.chessington.com

Drayton Manor Park, Staffordshire, Family Attraction

This year Drayton Manor Park celebrates its 65th anniversary and recognizes the 70th anniversary of “Thomas the Tank Engine” with a series of events. The park opens a £2.5 million expansion of Thomas Land at Easter with brand new rides and attractions, which grows the area by nearly 40 percent.

Park Opening: 21 March 2015. www.draytonmanor.co.uk

Legoland, Windsor, Improved Themed Experiences

Legoland Windsor’s  “Lego City Driving School” introduces a new lane on the test course and has more child-size cars. “The Boating School” adds more boats and more Lego models, featuring surprising animations and sound effects. At the Legoland Windsor Resort Hotel, 10 premium themed rooms open together with a Lego Friends area.

Park Opening: 13 March 2015. Website: www.legoland.co.uk  

Oceanarium, Bournemouth, New Habitat

The seafront attraction opens the largest project in its 16 year history, which increases the size of the Oceanarium by a third. The centerpiece is a penguin beach, pool, and underwater viewing area along with a special area for visitors to interact with penguins during feeding time.

Facility open all year. www.oceanarium.co.uk  

Paultons Family Theme Park, Hampshire, Themed Area

Paultons Family Theme Park in the New Forest opens “Critter Creek,” which takes  families into a heavily themed mini-land filled with foliage, plant life, and creatures. Visitors wishing to be transported through the twisted foliage of Critter Creek can take a ride upon the The family-friendly “Cat-O-Pillar” roller coaster loops riders around up to 10 meters. Younger explorers can hop on board  “Expedition Express” a train ride to experience a close encounter with a number of plants and creatures. Visitors can also discover the hidden depths of Beastie Burrow, where families step inside a giant tree trunk and come face-to-face with a number of fascinating fish, bugs, and reptiles.

Critter Creek opens March 20th. www.paultonspark.co.uk  

West Midland Safari Park, Bewdley, Themed Area

In 2015, the UK’s largest animatronic Dinosaur attraction opens at West Midland Safari Park. “Land of the Living Dinosaurs” is an immersive walking trail featuring 38 life size dinosaurs, each with moving eyes, mouth and neck. The exhibit is themed, landscaped and planted with copious amounts of flora, including tree ferns, gunnera, reeds and monkey-puzzle trees. Sound effects indicative of the lost world add atmosphere, whilst static fossil displays, a volcanic vent, three pools and a geyser intensifies the whole experience. It is a journey that spans four ages of dinosaur reign - Permian, Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous.

Park Opening: 21 March 2015. www.wmsp.co.uk

About IAAPA

The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) is the premier trade association for the attractions industry worldwide. Founded in 1918, IAAPA is the largest international trade association for permanently located amusement facilities and attractions and is dedicated to the preservation and prosperity of the amusement industry. IAAPA represents more than 4,700 attractions, suppliers, and individual members from more than 90 countries. The association’s global headquarters office is in Alexandria, Virginia, United States. The association maintains regional offices in Brussels, Mexico City, Hong Kong and Orlando, Florida, United States. www.IAAPA.org

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