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[2023] Europa-Park General Discussion

Is VQ something that Europa are intending to pursue long-term, or will it be phased out when COVID becomes less of a thing in Europe?
Unsure. Personally I hope it goes. I have found it useful on busier days for getting on rides that are less pleasant to queue for (Arthur in particular), but without it I'd either wait it out, or not go on, and it wouldn't bother me. Distribution of VQ tickets are largely quite sparse, but it makes EP feel somewhat tarnished to me.
Shame that the SRQs were removed for Virtual Queue.

They did come in handy. Whilst Blue Fire and Wodan were usually hit and miss with how long they were, and needing to take a long hike through the Blue Fire SRQ to find the actual length, it always came in handy for Arthur, where from the top of the spiral stairs it was never any longer than 10 minute wait and saved wasting 45 minutes ones life in the main queue which I find quite claustrophobic.

Found that the virtual queue tickets to be hard to come by and sometimes one would pop up for a ride, say Mir for example, to ride within the next 10 minutes but you just happened to be at the other side of the park 1/2 way through and Erdinger so no chance. If you were nearby sometimes by the time the ride had been selected on it had gone.

I hope the virtual queue slot purchasing has been refined somewhat since my visit last August, but I would like to see the back of it.
Yeah I've always thought the virtual line system is a bit useless and it would be better to just bring the SRQs back.

On the subject, does SRQ still exist on Voletarium? That's the only one I can think of where virtual line wouldn't get in the way
I'm sure I read that the next coaster is being designed and built with VQ in mind, something backed up by the short queue line visible on initial plans. But then it's early days.

I quite like the system at the moment. It's especially useful for Arthur, but I do acknowledge that sometimes the turnaround is a bit too fast.
We made pretty good use of Virtual Queue when there the other week, meant we didn’t have to join the main Arthur queue at all and were able to quickly get on to CanCan.

Having said that, I would quite like to see it gone. The longer it remains in place, the closer we are to it becoming a paid fastrack option.
From fan events last week some new details about Traumatica this year were confirmed.
The ice show won't be returning instead the circus for the winter season will be set up earlier this year to house a Traumatica show. The junkyard scare zone will make way for it with the mound currently being removed. There will be new more 'colourful' characters however they will still be scary (presumably related to the circus' arrival?).
There will be a new story this year, the previous multi year story of the factions at war with each other is over.

A teaser released last month already featured what seemingly were circus wagons.
Few things I noted on my trip this last week:
  • The park almost feels back to normal, it's pretty much 99%. The only things lacking were one or two smaller food outlets - but to be honest, these would often have been closed off peak anyway. The proof will be in the pudding during August on my next visit to see if things like Magellan and Crocodile Bar are open then.
  • Entertainments seemed back to 100%. The parade, all shows, roaming entertainment - it was everywhere.
  • Closing time extensions seem to be largely back to usual. It was very much off-peak last week, with queues peaking at about 20/25 minutes. Close was 6 or 6.30pm each day - about right although could probably have had an extra 30 minutes on Thursday given the weather.
  • Hotel bars remain frustratingly patchy in terms of what is open on what night. Sadly for us, with a Sunday to Friday stay - we didn't see Buena Vista open and Bar Colosseo seemed closed apart from the Thursday evening.
  • Food & Beverage prices have pretty much universally gone up around 5% on average. I guess this fits with the wider picture across Europe/the world with inflation.
  • Staff seemed friendlier. I don't know how to express it, but there seemed more smiles and generally positive energy coming from staff. In the past, I have found a lot of EP staff quite cold.
  • Hotel "Best Friend" perks included: 10% discount on the room rate, bottle of fizz in the room, chocolates in the room, free drink each at the hotel bar, coffee and cakes at Commedia dell'Arte in Colosseo and a bag of sweets,
That’s quite a few perks for the hotel best friends, great to see 👍

How was the new resort pass (I assume you got one?). Did it link up ok to the hotel reservation and app?
That’s quite a few perks for the hotel best friends, great to see 👍

How was the new resort pass (I assume you got one?). Did it link up ok to the hotel reservation and app?
My old Club Card, which I bought December 2019, remains valid until the start of July so I didn't need the new one.

I will buy it next month...

Video of the Snorri Touren clone that Mack sold to Kazakhstan. Largely the same with only a few small changes like the location of the maintenance bay and switch. Funnily the Party in Trolldal song is the original German and not translated.
It is a bit odd on the surface, but I guess it does also work somewhat as a standalone attraction. I wonder if they also sell Snorri merchandise, and if so do Mack get a cut?

Interesting to see Mack are now delivering full ride packages too, rather than just the transit systems which are then themed by others.
Interesting to see Mack are now delivering full ride packages too, rather than just the transit systems which are then themed by others.

AlpenExpress VR was fitted to Tibidabo Express which is a Zamperla in the opposite way around.
I'd imagine this is one of the main reasons as to why we are seeing pretty much all of the fire effects turned off at EP at the moment. If there is to be gas rationing, they will want to ensure they do get enough to use in places where it is essential to operations, such as in kitchens or for heating in the winter.
In an interview Roland has expressed his concerns about the shortage of staff since corona. Additionally the crisis is making them hesitant to pursue large projects right now.
"In 45 years, I've never worried that we'd find employees when we're building a new hotel, for example," explains Roland Mack. A bottleneck was unimaginable. That's different now. Since the pandemic at Europa-Park we have been asking ourselves: “Where are all these people who were there before?” An answer to this has not yet been found. In the meantime, employees are therefore being recruited from Central Asia. “We are now looking – and fortunately are finding – good people in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.”

The personnel situation is "really enormously difficult," he explains in an interview. The difficulties in recruiting personnel has consequences for future investments at the Europa-Park resort. "You know what's incredible? I'm worried about building a new hotel at the moment." Luckily, the Rulantica water park with the new hotel "Krønasår" is already there. When the resort expansion opened in 2019, several hundred people had to be hired in one fell swoop. "Today, I'll tell you quite honestly, I wouldn't dare to do it," says Mack.

"I see problems with the young people too," says Roland Mack, when it comes to recruiting good German employees. The phrase "work-life balance" worries him. "There are 25-year-olds who only want to work for three days - they still have their whole life ahead of them, could become something here, take on responsibility, make a career." Mack also sees home office as a "huge problem". "Not structurally, that would be possible for many, but when I think about equal treatment: That's just not possible."

Europa-Park has already responded to demands for a work-life balance and home office by raising wages claims Mack. But even that is not easy. “We already pay far above the minimum wage, and have now raised the wages again. But that doesn't help if the first question is: do I have to work on the weekends?"

Mack has long exemplified what he demands of employees. That is the "most important leadership element" that he got from his father. “If our busiest days at the park are on the weekends, I can't have a nice vacation when my staff are working hard. I have to be there as well.” Roland Mack admits that the park is “half a drug” for him. "I also haven't built up any hobbies my whole life because my hobby is my work, my park."

In an interview with the Basler Zeitung, Mack also talks about excessive bureaucracy, a lack of culture for debate and a lack of appreciation for amusement parks on the part of politicians.

Of course the issue of staffing is industry wide since many left to find alternative work during lockdowns, and then in general the line of work is seen by many as unattractive due to long hours and limited career prospects (as much as Roland may claim the park has opportunities). Most local young people see that line of work more as a temporary thing before pursuing higher education or apprenticeships, or just an in-between summer thing.
How do much resorts especially one as ambitious for expansion as EP go on now and make themselves more attractive to locals? Or is the future simply getting a larger workforce from abroad and teaching them the language as the park is trying now?
It's an interesting situation and a worrying one as no one clear perfect answer seems to exist for the park imo.