Europa Park- Monday 26th March-Wednesday 28th March Having viewed various Vlogs of Europe’s largest theme park, I finally decided to take the plunge and visit Europa Park for two days during the opening week of the 2018 season. My only previous visit (during adulthood) to an overseas park was last year when I visited Port Aventura for the first time. Expectations were high, and having had the odd visit to Blackpool and Thorpe Park over the last few years, I was excited to visit a world class THEME park. Needless to say, I was not disappointed, and had a fantastic visit which I will summarise in more detail below. Travel/Accommodation- We flew out to Basel from Luton on Sunday 25th March and decided to take the train from Basel to Ringsheim. The travel aspect of the trip had been left in my hands, and in hindsight I wish I had pre-booked train tickets (Sanbrooke style), but my laziness got the better of me and I had to part ways with around about 140 GPB for 2 return train tickets. The plus side was that these tickets would be valid on trains at all times which helped reduce the Missus’s anxiety of missing the plane home come Wednesday morning! We had to change trains at Freiburg where we boarded a double decker train to Ringsheim. It was a relaxing train journey and we arrived at Ringsheim shortly after 5 PM. We then waited an hour for the Bus to Europa Park (silly Sunday Service). This wasn’t much fun as there appeared to be nothing near Ringsheim Station. A couple of pints to quench the thirst whilst waiting would have gone down a treat, but alas, we couldn’t even locate a Toilet! The Bus finally arrived and my lack of organisation got the better of me again. Neither of us had any cash on us (only cards), and the driver informed us that they did not accept cards. Thankfully, the geezer took pity on us and let us on for free. If you are reading this Driver, I owe you a jar! We got off outside the main park entrance and there appeared to be large crowds leaving the Park. It was the opening weekend for the Summer season, and the atmosphere was buzzing. We briefly admired Silver Star before setting off to the apartment where we were spending the next three nights at. It was about a ten minute walk away in the centre of Rust, and suited us just fine in that it was clean, had a comfy bed, and wasn’t too far away from the park. Oh, and it was also 1 euro 20 for a large bottle of beer from the fridge in the reception! It is worth noting that there is very little to do in Rust itself. There are a few small restaurants, a bakery, a Kebab house and various guest houses. Park operations/Atmosphere- Across both days, the operations on Park were fantastic. Everything was open (on time as well might I add), rides were running 2/3 trains (even with walk on queues!), audio was heard throughout the park, the Parade ran daily and there was an abundance of characters and entertainment/shows to keep everyone entertained (take note UK parks).I was also pleasantly surprised to see lots of Dogs enjoying their day on park. The cleanliness of the park really was splendid to see, and the theming of each individual area was exceptional (take note UK parks) It was definitely a great time to visit as it wasn’t the School holidays in Germany yet, and we got on all the main rides multiple times. However, the throughputs and operations were so good that I can’t imagine queues ever get too bad in the height of the Summer Season, a fact made more relevant by the fact that a Fast track system is not in place (take note UK P- yeah you get the message now). I also liked the fact that there were separate queue lines for those wishing to sit in the front row on some of the main coasters. Indeed, it was in this queue that we queued for the longest amount of time- a whole 15 minutes for front row on Blue Fire! The Coasters- We managed to get on all the Coaster credits at the park apart from Euro Sat due to it currently being refurbished. The coaster count was as followed: Blue Fire (4 rides)- My first ever Mack mega coaster and it did not disappoint. The colour scheme looks fantastic and the indoor part of the ride before the launch was very enjoyable. The ride itself felt very smooth and has a great layout. The launch is nowhere near as forceful as Baco, Red Force or even Stealth but it does still pack a punch. An excellent all round coaster. Silver Star (4 rides)- Having been on Shambhala last year, expectations for this were high, and although I don’t think it is as good as Shambhala, it is still a very good coaster. Shambhala beats it for me due to it having more airtime, height and speed, and better views at the top. However, Silver Star does have some great moments of airtime, and it really does look the part off ride. Wodan (4 rides)- I really was excited for this one, and again, it did not disappoint! This felt like a relentless ride wherever you sat in terms of speed, intensity and near misses. Definitely a top wooden coaster. Arthur (2 rides)- Wow, where do I begin?! A truly bonkers ride in every sense of the word. The theming is second to none, and the ride system itself was superb. An amazing ride for all the family (providing you don’t mind the little ones shacking out to a bit of Snoop and Dre-obscenities and all!). Euro-Mir (3 rides)- A truly unique coaster experience. I loved the lift hill, and that felt like an attraction in itself. The views of the park at the top were epic, and although a bit rough in places, it is a thoroughly enjoyable coaster. Worth noting that the theme tune is still stuck in my head (lord help the ride ops). This was the only ride that seemed to have some downtime during our visit, but it was minimal and quickly resolved. Matterhorn Blitz (4 rides)- Arguably the surprise package of the trip. This was a really enjoyable, and very well themed wild mouse. Poseidon (1 ride)- Another very enjoyable attraction with some excellent theming. Would be glorious to ride in the height of Summer. Alpenexpress (1 ride)- A decent enough mine train with the highlight being the indoor section and interaction with the log flume. Did not try it with the VR. Schweizer Bobbahn (1 ride)- An average bobsleigh cred in a wonderfully themed area. Atlantica SuperSplash (2 rides)- Another excellent water ride. The drop offers a decent bit of air time, and you get a solid soaking. Just so happened that someone had put their 50 cent in to the machine which prompts one of the water effects to shoot off just as we were coming round after the drop on our second ride, and I seemed to wear most of it. Pegasus- (1 ride)-A solid coaster for all the family. Did not try it with the VR. Other Rides/Attractions As well as all the Coasters, there really is an abundance of other rides and attractions to take in for all of the family. I’m sure we probably missed a few as there are simply so many rides on the park, and some can appear to be hidden due to the nature of their location. Europa’s take on Pirates of the Caribbean (Pirates in Batavia) was a highly enjoyable dark water ride, and their Haunted House attraction (Ghost Castle) was another solid and well themed dark ride. There are multiple other dark rides with their own unique themes which means that on a wet day, there is always something to get on to escape Mother Nature herself (UK PARKS TAKE NOTE). We had just the one flight on Voletarium, and thought it was a solid attraction. It isn’t something that I would want to re-ride again and again or queue particularly long for, but it is another unique and thoroughly well themed attraction. The number of water rides on the park is fantastic, and we had rides on all of them whilst basking in the German Spring sunshine. We noticed that nearly every ride has a unique element to it whether it be an indoor themed section on an otherwise fairly standard boat ride or the unique lift hill present on Mattehorn Blitz. I’ve never been particularly big on shows, and despite the missus showing a slight interest in the Paddington on Ice show, we decided to just stick to the rides (thankfully!). However, if you do enjoy your shows, there are various ones on offer as well as a daily Parade and various other street style entertainment. Food/Drink Although we only had a couple of meals on the park, they were both very enjoyable. We dined at the Loop Restaurant for lunch on day number one, and although the food was very tasty, the highlight was definitely my beer hurtling down a track and into my hands. On the second day, we kept it simple with a Bratwurst and chips which again was very tasty. I also sampled some lovely fresh Churros as well as a few nice beers (the ship themed bar overlooking the Iceland area was particularly nice). One thing for sure is you will definitely not go hungry (or thirsty) whilst visiting Europa. With regards to the evening food/drink, we did stroll over to the Silver Lake Saloon one evening and had a very nice meal there. On our last night, we had planned on walking over to the other Europa Park hotels and having a feast and a few drinks there but the heavens opened and due to the lack of Uber/taxis (none apparently in Rust?!?!), we instead dined at an eatery in the centre of Rust. Next time, I definitely intend on fully exploring (and maybe staying) at the onsite hotels at Europa as they did look fantastic. Final thoughts Lastly, I just wanted to apologise for going on a bit but Europa Park definitely lived up to all of its hype. As someone who grew up going to theme parks fairly regularly thanks to my older brother’s thirst for the industry, I pretty much lost all interest in the industry whilst growing up through my teenage and early adulthood years other than the odd trip to Alton Towers or Thorpe Park. Due to the intensive vlogging culture currently present on YouTube, I re-discovered my interest in the industry a year or so ago, and Europa Park has been a place I had wanted to visit for a good while now. It truly puts our parks here in the UK to shame on every level, and I hope to visit again sometime in the future.