After a whole week during which we talked about the new Ratatouille ride and its impressing theming i suggest that we have a look today about another brand new attraction, which opened a few days ago, also located in Europe and which will be the direct competitor this year to the WDS ride.
Europa Park, located in Germany not that far from France is not only an impressive park owned by Mack, the ride manufacturer, but is also the second theme park in terms of attendance in Europe after Disneyland Paris. Last year DLP Magic Kingdom had 10.430.000 visitors and Europa Park had 4.900.000. Sure, DLP had 6 million more visitors but DLP WDS had 4.470.000 visitors, 430.000 less than Europa Park. Both of them open this year major attractions, "Ratatouille, The Adventure" for the WDS and "Arthur, In The Minimoys Kingdom" for Europa Park.
"Arthur, In The Minimoys Kingdom" is inspired by the animated trilogy movies from director Luc Besson, who worked closely with Europa Park during the development of the new attraction. Although both rides have a different storyline but in both of them, coincidence, the guests are supposed to be "reduced" - at the size of a rat in Ratatouille and at the size of the Minimoys, two millimeters high creatures living in a garden, for "Arthur, In The Minimoys Kingdom".
Arthur, In The Minimoys Kingdom and Ratatouille have the same length - 4.30 min - but the ride system used for the two attractions is completely different - trackless vehicle and 3D projections for Ratatouille and an indoor-outdoor inverted coaster for "Arthur, In The Minimoys Kingdom". But both have huge decors, in ride projections and special effects, and "Arthur" also include Audio-Animatronics! Also, it's a new kind of coaster invented by Mack, a dynamic ride system with different speeds and in which guests are seated by four in three cars. In addition, guests can choose to turn it to look either backward or forward. In two words the coaster cars can revolve and this can be done during the ride, and this new ride system is a world premiere for Mack. The ride capacity is up to 1500 guests per hour and the coaster can go as fast as 8,5 M per second ( 31 km/h ) all along the 550 meters track, which makes a perfect family ride as being not too fast. As you will see in the video this new ride system is really interesting and i won't be surprised if WDI Imagineers or Universal Creatives were coming to have a closer look at it, and eventually use it in future attractions.
"Arthur, In The Minimoys Kingdom" is Europa Park most extensive indoor attraction they've ever built with a surface area of 3500sqm and an indoor volume of 45.500 M3 not to forget the indoor dome which is 16 meters high. But there is more than the ride as "Arthur, In The Minimoys Kingdom" also include the Minimoys village, built indoor under the dome, in which guests can others smaller attractions for children with the "Red Poppy" a 10 m high free-fall tower ( picture above ), the Mul Mul Carousel, a large slide paradise, a play area ( pictures below ), as well as a shop and a food and drink location. It reminds me a bit of Mermaid Lagoon at Tokyo Disney Sea where guests can find amusement rides as well as a shop and a restaurant, the whole thing being indoor. In the case of Arthur, it's done of course with a totally different theming and storyline. During the ride the coaster cars "fly" above the Minimoys village and it's a huge decor which stun the visitors when they discover it from above.
Before having a look at the two different POV ride videos, here is some original artwork as well as the press release and the ride synopsis that i suggest you to read before seeing the videos, specially if you're not familiar with the Arthur animated movies.
“ARTHUR – In the Minimoys Kingdom”
Ants take on mammoth proportions, a blade of grass is as tall as a skyscraper and bees give jet planes a run for their money: In “ARTHUR - In the Minimoys Kingdom”, nature becomes a huge adventure. Visitors will be swept away into a microcosm like no other. The huge-scale adaptation of the lovingly detailed scenes from star director Luc Besson’s smash hit movie trilogy ARTHUR and the Invisibles shows the peaceful, secret world of the tiny beings known as Minimoys. Oversized ladybugs, gigantic frogs and imposing caterpillars fly, hop, and crawl over huge branches and gigantic rocks. The real world and the animated film merge into a 10.000 m² big experience for the whole family.
The most intricate indoor attraction in the entire history of Europa-Park is hidden under a gigantic, 16-meter dome on a magical island surrounded by two streams and Grimm’s enchanted forest. Teeny-tiny, and yet larger than life – the dream of experiencing vast natural settings up close becomes a reality on this theme attraction! An extraordinary gem is being constructed at Germany’s largest amusement park in cooperation with French film business titan Luc Besson. Visitors experience seven fantastic kingdoms with all five senses on a 550-meter-long flight through the underground universe. Deep underground, the Minimoys seek out their treasure. Adults and children ages 4 and above can accompany them on their daring expedition.
Musical accompaniment for the “ARTHUR” ride was provided by composer Eric Serra, who has created a four-minute song specially for Europa-Park. The composition has been perfectly coordinated to match the attraction’s atmosphere and emphasises the emotional moments. Eric Serra is a close friend of Luc Besson; he already composed the film scores of the three “ARTHUR” films for the director. Europa-Park has remained true to this story and completed their ARTHUR project by choosing Eric Serra to compose the “ARTHUR” background music.
Occupying 3,500 m² of space and with volume of 45,000 m³, the Kingdom of the Minimoys is the largest indoor attraction since Europa-Park opened in 1975. It offers breathtaking indoor and outdoor segments for a dynamic flight from the microcosmic world into the real natural world and back as visitors pass through key locations from the spellbinding movies, finally encountering the evil Maltazard, who has stolen the Minimoys’ treasure. Alongside “ARTHUR,” a ten-meter-tall children’s free-fall tower shaped like a magnificent red poppy, a large slide area and a “mül-müls” carousel with adorable round, fluffy white creatures await fans of the courageous fantasy creatures of all ages.
"After the departure of the ride the first scene is a projection on a large screen. The scene is set in the garden of the grandmother of Arthur and allows the visitor to project the size of the Minimoys.
At the end of this sequence, the train rotates and plunges into a real and oversized setting where the public finds our hero busy picking fruit to prepare a great feast. Butterflies, leaves, giant grass, ladybug, myriad of glowworms ... harmony and joy is in the garden, but the danger is everywhere! Pit bull Koolomassai threat to snap the visitors who, by avoiding it, are swallowed by a giant caterpillar taxi which they passes through the guts.
Then the cars rush into a hole that leads to Necropolis, the lair of Maltazard! Facing the guests, the treasure, a wall of ruby but also Arthur, Selenia, Bétamèche Archibald imprisoned. To save them, passengers can send light beams on the treasure by activating a button on the safety barrier seat. The walls shake, Necropolis collapses and Maltazard disappear in a large cloud of smoke. Fleeing the earthquake, the train accelerates to an external output for fly over a river while dodging through trees. A return to reality, a breath of fresh air before returning to the building by entering a hive located in Necropolis.
Perched on a pile of rubies and free, Arthur, Selenia and Archibald thank their hosts for saving the world of the Minimoys in finding the treasure. In a final touch of malice, Bétamèche, riding a bee, invites them to leave the boat. Thus ends this adventure!"
O-Kay, it's more than time to have a look at the real thing, isn't it? So here are two videos, the first one has been shot probably using a GoPro, but contrary and the wide lens of the GoPro is here welcome to allow large views of the decor.
This next one was shot by a normal camera and will allow you to have a closer look t the Audio-Animatronics all along the ride. Sure, they're not as sophisticated as the AAs from WDI but they do the job quite well and the decor of the Minimoys village is really impressive.
As you've seen, Europa Park built this year its own E-Ticket attraction and although it's a totally different ride than Ratatouille i think they did a pretty good job - specially considering that the budget was not the same than the 150M€ spent for Ratatouille. "Arthur, In The Minimoys Kingdom" surely will attract visitors at Europa Park and it will be interesting to compare again next year the numbers of visitors who came at both Europa Park and DLP WDS to see which one will have won the competition!
Pictures: copyright Europa Park.