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EXCLUSIVE Europa-Park Voletarium Interview

We spoke to our friends at Europa-Park in February 2017 about their new flying theatre ride for 2017 Voletarium. It was then known only as ‘Project V’…

Briefly explain the concept of Project V

Project V is a next generation flight simulator. With a range of realistic flight movements, exposed seating and a wide screen encompassing all angles, you can’t help but feel you are part of the film.

At a glance, the ride system appears to have similarities with Soarin’ at Disney’s parks. How does Project V differ?

The idea behind each ride is very similar. However, the technology is completely different. Soarin’ works on three huge moving grids while Project V has seven individual seating tiers per theatre. Our motion technology sits right behind visitors ensuring the movement can be so much more accurate and intense when needed. Another palpable difference is the narrative behind the ride itself. It is told throughout 11 rooms across our waiting area. Visitors can expect the most well thought out queue line in the whole park.

Tell us about the design and theme of the ride and the decision to create this in-house rather than licence another intellectual property

With Project V we also introduce the new Adventurers Club of Europe (ACE), a mysterious organisation which will connect various storylines and themes both inside and outside the park. Our new waterpark will play a big part in this narrative too. With Project V you will be introduced to many of the ACE members — most notably the flight-mad Eulenstein brothers. There just isn’t a similar narrative on the market that could encompass the huge world we are creating. And it goes without saying we just love being able to tell each new story.

How important are ‘dark ride’ type attractions to Europa-Park overall?

They are becoming increasingly important, especially throughout our winter season which is becoming more and more popular every year. We are, in many ways, a ‘coaster park’ — we opened in 1975 as an exhibition for Mack Rides and still keep that in our being to this day. However, we are also extremely aware that the ‘indoor factor’ must be able to compete with the big rollercoasters.

The latest dark rides such as Project V are moving away from more traditional ‘ghost train’ style ride types, do these classic rides have a future or must parks move forward with technology?

At Europa-Park we have many classic dark rides ourselves. Rides which, of course, we will keep. We do need to find a way to blend them with modern technology though. Take, for example, last year’s Horror Nights. We tried to convert a classic endless system dark ride with new VR technology. It turned out to be a great success and gave us some great ideas on how to take this technology further.

Thanks to Patrick Marx of Europa-Park for his time. Voletarium is now open at Europa-Park.

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