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New thrills, theming, and shows for European

attractions and amusement parks in 2012

Update : 10/04/12 - 20h35 Published by François Mayné the 9 April 2012, New.

The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) which is the premier trade association for the attractions industry worldwide, stated that the European attractions industry has invested more than 400 million Euros in new projects and improvements to their parks for the 2012 season. A figure that is similar to the previous year and that demonstrates the positive growth of the sector despite the economic crisis. Indeed, for most guests visiting an amusement park has been an important way of spending family leisure time. Annually, the more than 300 amusement parks in Europe welcome over 150 million visitors.

Many parks have expanded their visitor offerings with a new roller coaster in 2012. Karen Staley, Vice President European Operations of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) stated: “The trend of developing a ride with a theme and a story is rising: it is not enough just to build a spectacular ride. Visitors want more of an immersed ride experience; they want to feel as if they are part of a story. Many parks are investing heavily in enhanced theming and development of themed attractions.”

In addition, more and more, amusement parks and attractions are developing into destinations for a short holiday break. Many parks already have or are building new hotels to accomodate overnight stays for guests increasing their length of stay at the attraction. In 2012, two European parks will extend their capacity with the construction of additional hotels and more hotels are planned for the future.

So what’s new in European amusement parks in 2012? Here is a selection of some of the novelties per countries, which some have already been covered here on NewsParcs :


Bakken (Kopenhagen ) opens Vild Muse, a Wild Mouse rollercoaster. Another small carousel for the younger guests, the Kang-O-Bounce is the second new attraction to open. 

Djurs Sommerland (Nimtofte) introduces a big family carousel called The Sun God. As the name indicates the carousel will be placed in the park’s Mexicoland, and the theming of the ride will take its point of departure in the ancient Mayan Culture and the Mexican jungle. Interactive elements make the ride very special: each gondola is controlled by the passengers – and they will have to react on the lyrics of a song, that is being played during the ride. The song from the statues placed around the carousel will indicate the expectation of shooting streams of water at the passengers in the gondolas. 

Many new rides and experiences await visitors to Farup Sommerland (Saltum). There is a new rollercoaster for kids called Pindsvinet (The Hedgehog) with speeds of up to 7m/sec (about 23 feet), a new high dive show in the aquapark with jumps from 25 meters (82 feet) and a brand new restaurant.

In May, Polar Land will open in Legoland Billund. It’s a completely new area themed around the Polar Regions. The main attraction will be Polar X-Plorer - the first rollercoaster in the world to combine a 5 meters (about 16,4 feet)-drop with an outing among live penguins. In the Ice Pilots School attraction guests can try out their pilot skills and furthermore can visit the 15 live Gentoo Penguins in Penguin Bay right in the middle of Polar Land. There is also a new restaurant where visitors can enjoy a meal at Polar Pizza Pasta and eat with a direct view into the penguins underwater play area.
The SwarmDisney Dreams!


This coming summer, Rovio Entertainment’s Angry Birds will take over Särkänniemi Adventure Park (Tampere) with Angry Birds Land. With children and families in mind, Angry Birds Land will be themed and designed according to the style of the world’s leading amusement parks. It will include many different elements such as rides and amusement park games. This area will also include “Magic Places”, where activities and the gaming world meet. Read more : Angry Birds Land

Tykkimaki (Kouvola) presents the Loop Fighter, a new thrill ride mixing together the effects of a fly over spinning pendulum and a the typical looping twirl of a rollercoaster ride! The Loop Fighter dynamic action offers passengers the incredible weightless sensation and delivers unbelievable G-force. It is running up to approx 24 meters(about 78 feet) reaching a maximum of 4,5 G.


As Disneyland Paris (Marne-la-Vallée) turns 20 this year, visitors are invited to join the anniversary. The park presents “Disney Dreams!” - a show that will dazzle guests after dark with thousands of lights, colours and magic, thanks to never-before-seen special effects, showcased at Sleeping Beauty Castle and Disney Magic on Parade! - new music, new floats, new choreography and new characters will provide guests with a completely fresh experience Meet Mickey Mouse. The famous mouse himself will welcome guests in a rehearsal room full of amusing props and his favourite costumes. All guests will be able to take a photo with Mickey, amid the sumptuous theatre décor. Read more: Disney Dreams!

Le Pal (Dompierre-sur-Bresbe) gives the opportunity to its visitors to discover a new exhibit dedicated to the big Asiatic predators. An extension of the zoo has been needed to realize these new environments where visitors can appreciate a very spectacular observation of Asiatic lions and Sumatra tigers. Vision through large windows or from above on a wooden watchtower allow fascinating observation of the animals in their new enclosures. The space has been developed to fit to animals needs (hills, plants filtrated cascades and river, vegetation and comfortable night house....). Le Pal will also open a brand new veterinary clinic.

Oziris is the name of the new inverted rollercoaster, which has just opened at Parc Astérix (Plailly). At 40 meters (131 feet) high, 1,000 meters (3.280 feet- long and up to 90 km/h (56 mph) fast, guests will experience 5 inversions and 3 tunnels, while hanging under the track with the feet dangling in the air. OzIris is part of a new Egyptian themed zone inspired by one of the Asterix comic book serie “Asterix and Cleopatra”. With exotic plants, palm trees, rocks, lake, Egyptian monuments and a huge temple, the new zone will combine the characteristic humor of the Asterix cartoons with a new major rollercoaster. Read more : OzIris

The Thea Classic Award recipient Puy du Fou (Les Epesses) has created a fantastic world for its young visitors. The poet Jean de la Fontaine created an extraordinary garden for the Puy du Fou, where statues come to live, trees speak, and the famous fables happen just in front of the eyes of the visitors.

OzIris and a new themed area at Parc AstérixWODAN Timburcoaster


Erlebnispark Tripsdrill (Cleebronn), Germany’s oldest theme park, introduces a new section of timbered houses to their popular main street. These will include many indoor attractions for visitors from ages 3 to 93 years and an exhibition of historic toys. The adjacent animal park presents new accommodation possibilities and an expanded restaurant and adventure playground.

With the new and fifth themed hotel “Bell Rock”, Europa-Park (Rust) transports guests from all around the world to a fascinating New England atmosphere in the Baden town of Rust. The New England Style hotel has 189 rooms and 35 suites, three restaurants, a hotel parking and a large pool with an in- and outdoor area. The 35m high lighthouse is the landmark of the new hotel.

Just in time for the season 2012, “WODAN – Timburcoaster” opened on March 31: It is 1,050 meters (3.445 feet) long, 40 meters (131 feet) high with a speed over 100 km/h (about 62 mph) and a maximal vertical acceleration up to 3.5 G! The new top attraction is being built in the Icelandic themed area. Besides the high speed, racy bends and numerous airtime phases which will make all rollercoaster fans’ hearts beat faster, the attraction offers another spectacular feature: the new rollercoaster will integrate itself in the current rollercoaster landscape, and, moreover, cross the tracks of two other attractions. The park will also present a 4D-movie: “The Secret of Balthasar Castle”. The popular character Euromaus and his friends make their first steps on the big screen and will amuse and amaze the whole family. Read more : WODAN Timburcoaster

Located right at the shores of the Baltic Sea, Hansa-Park (Sierksdorf ) inaugurates this year the 5th section of the themed area of the Hanseatic League in Europe with replicas of historic buildings from London (England), Ribe (Denmark) and Bergen (Norway). A complete new jungle adventure land will offer kids up to 1m40 a heated and covered play paradise; another new outdoor themed playground will be developed in the Hanseatic village. 

After Krake in 2011, Heide-Park (Soltau) unveils Krake alive! Scare-actors and creepy effects in the shipwreck promise to give visitors the shock of their lifetime. A spectactular combination of a rollercoaster and a haunt attraction, which is unique in Germany.

Holiday Park (Hassloch) presents a new face to its visitors: Entering through the complete new entrance gate with a fabulous design, the guests can explore the park and its new family area “Majaland” with eleven attractions for the whole family about the ever-popular Maja the bee. And Maja with her friends Flip, Tabaluga, Wickie and Holly are present daily to take souvenir pictures! Two new shows and many special events with appearances of famous TV stars complete the news for 2012! Read more : Mayaland

On 17 May 2012, LEGOLAND Deutschland (Günzburg) will be celebrating its 10th birthday. Opening at the beginning of the season, the Flying Ninjago, an action-packed flying ride, lets guests take off starting at season opening to have a topsy-turvy adventure at a dizzying height of 22 metres. Another new attraction will be unveiled on May 17: Ninjago MINILAND.



Etnaland’s (Belpasso) newest flume –water ride themed on an Asian twist, is an attraction for guests who want to share a new adventure with the entire family. The 300 meters (about 985 feet) long themed water ride takes guests on an exciting and wet adventure in the water and features two 6 meters (about 19 feet) drops.

The second season of Rainbow MagicLand (Valmontone) will offer many improvements throughout the whole park several new shows:

This summer a new attraction, a splash battle called Mediterranea, will open at Minitalia Leolandia (Capriate San Gervasio). The main character of the story will be Mediterranea, a powerful female pirate with a valuable treasure to defend: visitors will have to protect it by a water canon battle.

Divertical, the highest watercoaster in the World, is coming to Mirabilandia (Ravenna)! The most important investment in the history of Mirabilandia features a 60 meters (197 feet) high drop, two splashes, a braking system that uses water and a track with top speeds of 110 km/h (68 mph). Divertical will be the highest watercoaster in the world, the highest coaster in Italy, and together with the existing rollercoasters Katun and iSpeed will create a trio of absolute champions of European and worldwide attractions fun. Read more : Divertical


Duinrell (Wassenaar) opens a 361 meters (about 1.184 feet) long rollercoaster ride through the trees with many turns and drops from a height of up to 15 meters (49 feet): a fun ride for the whole family. New accommodations (bungalows) offers and improved facilities will provide even more comfort for guests who stay overnight.

On 31 May 2012, Efteling (Kaatsheuvel) will celebrate its 60th anniversary in fitting style with the première of the fantastic water show, Aquanura. The anniversary show Aquanura will be a magical and sensational water ballet, which features the elements of water, fire, music and light. Aquanura will be one of the three largest water shows in the world, after the Dubai Fountain (Middle East) and the Fountains of Bellagio (Las Vegas, USA). Read more : Aquanura

Toverland (Sevenum) invested 1.5 million Euros in a new interior for the first hall that will strengthen the magical theming along with newly composed music to enhance the experience. In October the park will introduce, in a completely new area, a new 20 meters (about 65 feet) high and 500 meters (about 1.640 feet) long spinning coaster. 

Walibi Holland (Biddinghuizen) opens Club Psyke: the 5D Experience. This movie is an attraction that activates all of the five senses. It is the exciting adventure of Walibi (the mascot of the park) and his friends Fibi, Zenko and Haaz; an experience, which is filled with sensational special effects.


Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the 1992 World Exposition in Sevilla, Isla Magica will host plenty of festivities this summer. In addition, the park presents a new family monorail. New movies for the 4D cinema and the simulator will be equally presented. Read more: Monorail 

At Parque de Atracciones (Madrid), a new mine train rollercoaster entertains guests since this spring. At 17.5 meters (about 57 feet) in height, it will be the highest family attraction of the kids area with continuous ups and downs, steps by underground galleries, and falls of water. The ride is 450 meters (about 1.476 feet) long and lasts about two minutes, reaching a maximum speed of 55 km/h (about 34 mph). The coaster is surrounded by an artificial mountain with a river and waterfalls: a ride depicting a real mine.

At Port Aventura (Salou), Shambhala, the tallest rollercoaster in Europe (76 meters / about 250 feet)), will make passengers enjoy the experience of the legends and adventure of the Himalayas. They will feel like they can touch the sky because it offers a perfect mix of sensations for a great expedition: scaling the highest summits, descending into mountainous steep chasms, journeying through dark tunnels and mountain lakes, all on a ride featuring an outline reminiscent of a real mountain range. Read more : Shambhala

Mayaland and a new entrance at Holiday ParkAquanura


At Liseberg (Gothenburg), this year's most spectacular new feature is The Liseberg Wheel; a giant ferris wheel that guarantee a breathtaking view of all of Gothenburg close to a 100m above sea level. In addition, the old all-time favorite Juke Box ride is upgraded to the newest technology with new cars and beautiful design and theming in the style of the 1960’s. 

Skara Sommerland (Axvall) will open a fantastic new waterslide in 2012. Guests will be able to compete while going down head-first the four lanes of the waterslide right next to each other. To add another dimension of competing, guests will be able to see who made it in the fastest time when racing against friends.

United Kingdom

The Alton Towers Resort is launching two new attractions for the 2012 season. The Ice Age cinema combines 3D footage, based on the third movie in the Blockbuster series, with an exhilarating variety of physical effects including icy blasts, snow and bubbles. Fans will also have the opportunity to meet both Sid and Scrat around the Alton Towers Resort, before staying over in one of the new Ice Age themed bedrooms in the Splash Landings Hotel. Also new for the Alton Towers Resort in 2012 is Nemesis Sub-Terra, a psychologically and physically thrilling experience, taking place in a dark, intense underground setting which will be based around the back-story of the original Nemesis attraction, which opened in 1994. Set to be one of the Resort’s most terrifying attractions, Nemesis Sub-Terra takes guests down into the deepest, darkest location of the theme park for the experience. Read more : Nemesis Sub-Terra & Ice Age

Legoland Windsor opens a unique 150 room, fully themed Legoland Hotel. Dedicated to interactive family fun, the unique hotel brings Lego to life with imaginative theming and a host of child friendly features. Read more : StarWars Miniland & LEGOLAND Hotel

While London is gearing up for the Olympics, Pleasure Beach (Blackpool) will be welcoming its own special troupe of Mexican Olympic high divers as part its new attractions with death-defying high dives from heights of up to 25 meters (81 feet), combining comedy, fire and Olympic dives. The amazing Hot Ice show will celebrate its 75th production in 2012 when Entice will be skating its way on to the ice with more than 30 skating stars from around the world and over 400 stunning costumes to mesmerising music, lasers, and pyrotechnic effects. Also this year one of Pleasure Beach’s most famous rides will undergo a massive transformation. The Revolution, the iconic looping rollercoaster, will go all industrial for a stunning new look.

At Thorpe Park (Chertsey), guests now brave a death-defying flight through apocalyptic devastation on Europe’s tallest winged rollercoaster, The Swarm. Visitors will be picked up and dragged on the wings of The Swarm as you’re left exposed and vulnerable to extreme near misses and gut-wrenching inversions. Visitors will experience a unique head first, inverted drop from 39 meters (127 feet) on the UK’s first winged rollercoaster and will be relentlessly ripped through the sky on its mission of complete annihilation.
- - -

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