2022: Josefina's Imperial Magic Journey

CSLKenny

TS Member
The African themed Adventureland and the Jungle Rafts attraction’s renovation/retheme has been long planned but delayed by the Batavia fire and then corona. Finally its seems 2022 is to be the year.

Weirdly though Roland recently was quoted saying it would be a 3 month project while this article today suggests much longer. Probably a misquote?

Nevertheless intrigued to see how they transform the area and in what theme direction it goes.

One of the oldest attractions in Europa-Park is about to undergo a major overhaul. In 2022 the area of the "jungle raft trip" is to be rebuilt. After accusations of racism, the revision is forced.


The eight-minute raft trip across the large lake in Europa-Park was opened in 1978 and is one of the oldest attractions in the Baden-Württemberg amusement park. In the past few years, the "jungle raft trip" has been criticized more and more often. The amusement ride is to be revised in 2022. Engelbert Gabriel, spokesman for the management of Europa-Park, explains this to the Badische Zeitung.

The work on the "jungle raft trip" should take at least a year. "This is a huge area that is being rebuilt," Gabriel explains to the newspaper.


Europa-Park regularly renews and redesigns old attractions. In 2018, for example, the children's themed ride “Old 99” became a “Journey through Lummerland” with Jim Knopf and the indoor roller coaster “Eurosat” became a night flight over Paris. A renovation of the "jungle raft trip" was also due anyway, but is being forced due to increasing criticism.

As early as 2017, Europa-Park managing director Michael Mack announced that he wanted to change the "jungle raft trip". At the time, he responded to criticism of the attraction in an article in WirtschaftsWoche.


For a good year now, Europa-Park has been criticized even more, especially on social media channels, said Gabriel. "It started in summer 2020," said the spokesman. "We take the allegations very seriously." Therefore, immediate measures have already been taken and individual figures have been replaced.


In a scene in which a person rides under a basket with a monkey on a cable car, a dark-skinned figure was exchanged for a light-skinned figure. This representation was "downright racist", said the ethnology student Sophia Hiss in the Badische Zeitung. Overall, the “jungle raft trip” romanticizes colonial history and serves the stereotype of the superiority of whites over indigenous people.


Today's jungle theme of the raft trip in Europa-Park was introduced in 1992. Before that, the attraction had a Finnish design and pirates.

How the attraction will be themed in the future is currently still unclear.
https://www.parkerlebnis.de/europa-park-2022-neugestaltung-dschungel-flossfahrt_125633.html
 

emmerse2891

TS Member
Does anyone know when the ride will be down for refurbishment? winter 21/22?, through tour 2022? at end of 2022?

I myself love the ride and find it relaxing and charming! I'm all for making it more acceptable though, and think the ride could work without most or any of the human figures - and make it about the animal figures and scenery.
 

Rob

TS Team
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance
Glad that they are finally able to get this done. I know it is something they've wanted to do for at least 5 or 6 years now, but there were always other more pressing issues. Interested to see what thematic direction they take!
 

John_P

TS Member
Mad that they added the racist stereotypes in the early 90s. I'd assumed they'd been part of the ride since it opened.
 

emmerse2891

TS Member
You've also got to be mindful about what is a stereotype and what is a 'Negative' or racist stereotype - people in African cultural dress at a watermarket might be a stereotype, but is that necessarily negative? it can also be potentially positive i.e. showcasing cultural dress and crafts! I think some people just see a black animatronic and have a knee jerk reaction that it must be racist.... which is racist in its own way (remove all black figures - and you've just whitewashed the whole thing).

The ride DOES have GLARING racist stereotypes like the Voodoo man, the colonial signs and whatever was going on in king solomans mine (well the human figures anyway), also the whole 'white man in explores costume/pith helmets - black people in native costume is boring before its even racist! The ride could still be very viable by filtering out things with a critical eye - its Certain elements that are problematic - not the whole thing!

Basically what I'm saying is I hope they approach it sensitively and imaginatively and not just 'whitewash' the whole ride and scrap any black representation because they think 'black figures are problematic' because I don't think that solves the problem. i.e. If they totally bulldozed the Adventureland/Africa - is that necessarily progress?

Lets see what Disney does to its jungle cruise too, and maybe they should approach some actual African designers/researchers and work together towards a holistic design of how presention should be, i.e. get the costumes right etc.
 

Tim

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Air / Blue Fire
Personally I'd like to see the whole theme change.

Universum der Energie was boring and forgettable. But Madame Freudenreuch Curiosités is quirky creative and interesting.
The same is true for Snori Tourin and Voletarium to name a few recent examples.

I'd like to see a similar quirky use of the towboat ride. And if not a new theme the fairytale section could get expanded. I just don't see any benefit to keeping the African theme. It can't compete with Phantasialand as a serious theme and going quirky could put them in danger of doing something intentionally (if unknowingly) offensive.
 

emmerse2891

TS Member
Theres something I personally like about the disjointedness of say elephants next to Grimms fairytales ......and in a way thats what 'makes' Europa - that miss-mash more-is-more approach, don't get me wrong I love the Disney level and world building stuff too - part of the Europa charm is that slight randomness.
 
I still haven't got round to writing up my visit to Europa this summer, but one of my central observations will/would have been that the park is definitely losing that element of disjointedness that @emmerse2891 references above, in favour of a more slick EP 'universe'. When they pull this off it works wonderfully, although I find the Rualantica side of things a bit sterile, personally.

I would rather they knocked the African theme stuff on the head, for the reasons @Tim outlines above. The idea of consulting and recruiting African designers is a really nice one in principle. However, having lived in Germany and observed the way that race, culture and heritage is handled here, I don't really trust the Macks, nor many Germans, to make that work. It feels like too much fuss for a throwaway attraction.

In the case of Jungle Cruise, Disney had to keep it. Not only have they just launched a new film franchise based on it's brand value, but the ride is still immensely popular and part of their heritage. The raft ride at EP feels like more of a relic from when the park had aspirations to be a German Disneyland, but little in the way of imagination to do their own thing. They can definitely do better with this opportunity. Madame Freudenreuch Curiosités is lightyears ahead of Universum Der Energie, and I have faith that this could go the same way.
 
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emmerse2891

TS Member
I suppose if we look at say Merlins quest at Toverland - a big impact can be achieved with a small dark ride section - which I hope remains - and as a dark ride fan I can only look forward to the creation. I always wondered in fact if the dark ride section could be extended?
 

Sam

TS Member
I had no idea that the ride used to have "a Finnish design and pirates".

Are there any photos?
 

Ramius

TS Member
Madame Freudenreuch Curiosités is lightyears ahead of Universum Der Energie
Can you explain why this is the case. The ride itself ist just the same as before. All Dinos are still there. Just a little bit more childish decoration. I can't see this ride now lightyears ahead of Universum der Energie.
 
Can you explain why this is the case. The ride itself ist just the same as before. All Dinos are still there. Just a little bit more childish decoration. I can't see this ride now lightyears ahead of Universum der Energie.

To me, simple dark rides live or die based on their charm and character. Universum der Energie felt very lacking; the mood was oddly oppressive, the ride was too dull for adults, and maybe too gloomy and unpredictable for kids. Now, the atmosphere is fun, the silly/childish elements play up to the limitations of the animatronic dinosaurs (a fantasy setting, rather than anything attempting realism), and the theme expands into EP's 'universe'.
 

AstroDan

TS Team
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance, Cedar Point
I fully agree about Madame Freudenreich Curiosités. It is far more entertaining than the previous ride. It also has a lot of charm due to the choice of theme.
 

CSLKenny

TS Member
Madame Freundenreich is a masterpiece. I mean the leap from creepy dark dinosaur ride to happy, whimsical, grandmother baking cakes with dinosaurs in her garden is crazy but absolute genius.

As for Adventure Land/Africa in EP its days are numbered with a recent article confirming the Africa theme will not return.
Be interesting how they deal with Spices then - its popular and not that old.

The attraction should also "no longer be located on the African continent"
https://www.stuttgarter-zeitung.de/...all.f55accd9-2018-4a3b-9bd7-87303beb2225.html
 

emmerse2891

TS Member
If We take Madame Freundenreich as an example of keeping 'some; of the ride but completely modifying it (I.e. the Dino Animatronics) - I could kind of see them doing some sort of theme like a zoo where the animals have escaped or a kind of vague Madagascar rip off (in-so-far as ship-of-animals-gets-wrecked, animals cause havoc) sort of thing. There would be a lot of exotic animal animatronic's homeless - and as the MACKS love to re-cycle there figures, I can't see where else they'd end up!
 

djtruefitt

TS Team
I do wonder what this area will become, it surely can’t stay as Africa, as it just doesn’t really fit in to EP. So would it become a new country, or just get merged with the countries around it?

I do agree it’s long overdue, the ride and area is quite tired looking, and certainly not a great centrepiece for the big lake they’ve got there.
 
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