Thursday, June 26, 2014

All About "Arthur, In The Minimoys Kingdom" , New E-Ticket Attraction Now Open at Europa Park... and Serious Competitor to DLP WDS Ratatouille Ride !

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.
“ARTHUR” is a world premiere attraction from Mack Rides, the in-house manufacturer in Waldkirch. The attraction fascinates visitors with a unique dark ride and numerous high-tech special effects. Passengers fly through the dream world in rotating cars suspended below a track. “ARTHUR” is even more than a suspended dark ride vehicle: The seats are turning and they have the ability to turn quickly and accelerate out of a scene, which makes it a truly unique and exciting experience. Combined with the outside landscaping, theming, animatronics, sound, lighting, smoke, scents and the music it becomes an unbelievable

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.

And now, here below is a synopsis of the ride itself, right after this picture showing the indoor track CGI model.

"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.
Expelled from the digestive tract, the train makes a turn downhill outside the building before rushing into an air vent leading to dark lines arise where a giant spider and Darkos, the son of the evil Maltazard. The train accelerates to reach "Paradise Alley", a mythical scenes of the second film of the trilogy and the projections of a clip allows a transition with the real sets.
The universe is colorful and noisy, the character of Max riding his giant comes coccivolante tell them the path to follow to find the treasure and rescue the prisoners. Chased by two Unicorns, the train rushes into a dark tunnel where the noise of a huge fan blades attract the riders attention. But the threat is in a huge tin from which emerges a giant rat! Going now backwards after a steep fall, the cars speed and fly over the Minimoys village and its roots slides, the feeling of flying is striking ...

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.


Don in San Diego said...

Spectacular! This makes me want to visit Europa Park. While I have no connection to the characters, I am very impressed with the ride, story and the unexpected experience of flying above the indoor and outdoor village! Disney and More is the best venue to bring this story to theme park fans. We will truly miss your exploration, imagination and blog when you ride away...

Anonymous said...

I am very impressed! Well done Europa Park!

First Universal proved it could out-Disney Disney, and maybe Europa Park / Mack will be the European rival to Disney in the coming years?

Also what Merlin Entertainment is doing now (the owner of the UK's theme parks and the 2nd biggest theme park company in the world, plus they run all the legolands now) is becoming more Disney-like. For example, the Hex ride at their Alton Towers park is definitely up there with a Disney or universal quality ride (it's a simple ride but the theming is superb). And how they decorated their SeaLife London Aquarium is arguably far, far, better (IMHO) than how Disney did The Seas pavilion at Epcot.

Anonymous said...

I am very sorry to say but I am not impressed. This looks typically German to me. They do their best but in the end result all what is left is cluncky robots, I am not going to call them AA's because they are not impressive, garish colors and theming that is spotty at best. If you ask me there still is a huge difference in the theming how Disney does it and the way that for instance Europa park does it.

Sven said...

I am even not impressed. The ride system is great but the theming is just realy German. Too much 2D decors en realy bad animatronics. In Europe are Disney an Efteling the parks witch much better darkrides. Chiapas at Phantasialand, Helix at Liseberg ans Ratatouille are the big new attractions in Europe, Athur at Europa Park definetely not.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the comments above. The park tried hard which is great. However, the result still has the distinct "Europa Park-Style" and is, in my opinion, not on par with Universal or Disney.
Th decor is a little too gaudy, not quite coherent and the show building is not themed that well.
But it is still a great addition for the Europa Park!

James G. said...

"typically German to me. They do their best but in the end result all what is left is cluncky robots" - come on guys, you can do better than that! Where´s Hitler, where´s WWII? So many stereotypes to use here, have another try!

Anonymous said...

I had a chance to ride it today and I am very disappointed, though I must say, not really surprised. The ride system is fantastic, and I really hope that some experienced storytellers get their hands on it. The possibilities are enormous. This ride, like every other ride at Europa-Park by the way, has no real storyline and still tons of technical flaws in the theming. The story does not come across at all, you have no understanding of where you are and what you're supposed to do or what is happening around you, the sound design is horrible and you don't understand a word of what the decent animatronics are trying to say. Europa-Park is on the level of Disney and Universal when it comes to the quality of the rides, the "hardware", so to speak, but they really need someone to teach them how to apply storytelling to their fantastic technical developments.