Every good park needs a wooden rollercoaster. This rule of the theme park world is well known, and generally true. There are obvious exceptions: Islands of Adventure, the Disney parks, Alton Towers, and until now Europa park. Europa Park is undoubtedly one of the world’s stand-out parks; its renowned theming, friendliness, ride roster and all around care is legendary. Many go as far as saying that it is pretty much the complete park. But with the planned 2012 wooden roller coaster, could it be about to become even more complete?
A Thrill Machine
Europa Park has a strict policy that it will never install a ride with over-the-shoulder restraints, so that all of the park's rides are accessible to the whole family. This rule has made it pretty hard to add generic thrill machines to its line-up, as most models from Intamin, B&M, Gerstlauer etc. all utilise the safety mechanism. In the past the park has got around the restriction by carefully selecting its ride models. For example, 2002’s Silver Star, is an impressive 239ft hypercoaster, the only B&M model that uses lap bar restraints.
In 2009 when Europa Park installed Blue Fire, a launched multi-looping coaster manufactured by the park's owner Mack, it featured an entirely new track and train system. 2012’s new coaster will also be very much a thrill-oriented attraction. The only criticism of Germany's leading theme park in the past has been that there was a distinctive lack of real adrenaline rides, but this will certainly have been rectified by next year; it’ll have a strong trio of big boys in Silver Star, Blue Fire and the upcoming Mythos.
What’s in a name?
As of yet, the ride’s name is not confirmed, but the working title is currently ‘Mythos,’ simply meaning ‘myth’ in German (Update: the park has now confirmed the coaster's name as Wodan). This idea has been confirmed by the park, and it will be themed specifically to Norse mythology (so think Vikings and Valkyries). We’ve seen this theme work brilliantly before, specifically on Valhalla at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, and with Europa Park’s attention to detail this should be executed very well. Even the primal concept art released at its announcement looks stunning to say the least.
As stated above, most attractions in Europa Park are built by Mack, its parent company. Wodan however will not follow this trend, with Mack having never built a wooden roller coaster. Although it was anticipated that the company may try itself, it has more sensibly turned to Great Coaster International, Inc. to manufacture its latest addition. Mack actually has very strong ties with GCI, representing it in Europe (many anticipate a future merger).
Originally, in the late nineties, GCI were very much the second place wooden manufacturers, behind CCI, producing atrocities such as Gwazi at Busch Gardens Tampa, and Roar at multiple Six Flags parks. However since CCI’s demise they have picked up their game massively, putting out numerous winners in the past 5 or 6 years, such as Troy and Thunderhead.
Mythos will push the limits of the company; most of their roller coasters stand at around 100ft and travel at 50mph, it will stand taller at 115ft and race at a swift 62mph. At 3444ft long, it’s also a very decent length. The highlight of the ride will no doubt be the first drop - it’s set to be a twisting, diving drop that curls back under the lift hill, around the station and into an underground ravine. There will then be a raised bank, which will swerve around the Blue Fire roller coaster, before it dives back under a pathway and seemingly passes through the station again. It will then break into a low-to-the-ground hill, which looks like it could provide some serious airtime, and wraps around Atlantica SuperSplash’s drop. Finally, it will fire along more, smaller airtime hills before curving back into the station.
2012 is shaping up to be a great year for European coasters, but this could well be the icing on the cake. Separately, Europa Park and GCII have delivered consistently throughout the last half-decade, and with the two coming together we could really be seeing something spectacular. We can expect to be given an intense ride, packed with airtime, which is also themed and integrated beautifully into Europa Park’s immersive environment. If this matches up to Knight Valley’s new coaster, and the aforementioned Troy at Toverland, this could well be a new addition to Top 10 lists. If you have any excuse to get out to Germany next year, take it, and definitely consider Europa Park a two-day job.