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Busch Gardens Williamsburg has confirmed that it will begin a soft opening of its updated simulator ride, Europe in the Air, on April 30, 2010.

The park's official website describes the April 30 date as the start of "test flights", with only one of two simulators expected to be operational. A recent report on the park's blog suggests that the left "bay" is nearly complete, and that this will be used for public testing ahead of a full opening of both bays later in the spring.

Europe in the Air is similar in concept to Disney's hugely popular Soarin' attraction, and will take guests on a simulated flight over a number of famous European landmarks. These will include Stonehenge in England, Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany and the Coliseum in Italy.

The new attraction will re-use Busch Gardens Williamsburg's existing simulators, which previously showed the Corkscrew Hill movie. Although it will not feature a "handglider-style" ride system as seen on Soarin', the park is keen to stress that the switch to new theme has involved physical changes as well as the creation of new visuals.

To improve the ride's video quality, Busch Gardens is investing in a new projection system that features a resolution nearly seven times greater than broadcast high definition television. This will projected onto a new, larger screen. In addition, a new dimension will be added through the installation of six high-volume fans to blow scents onto riders as they "glide" over Europe - for instance, chocolate smells over Paris. Finally, new seatbelts have been added to the ride to make loading and unloading faster.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg has released videos showing off its latest addition.

The second video is a behind-the-scenes look at how the park captured the aerial scenes of European landmarks used in Europe in the Air, featuring producer Scott Helmstedter:

You can keep up to date with the latest confirmed and rumored opening dates for new attractions through Theme Park Tourist's "New Attraction Watch" section, and by signing up for our weekly newsletter.

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