Is there anything I should know before going to Europa Park for the first time?

Discussion in 'Europa-Park Trip Plans and Reports' started by Matt N, 16th Sep 2021.

  1. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    Hi guys. Next year, I’m hoping that I may be able to go to Europa Park for the first time with my mum & dad, travel restrictions permitting, so I was only making a thread to ask; is there anything in particular I should know before my first visit? I thought it might be useful to ask you guys because TowersStreet also functions as a Europa Park fansite, and it would appear that many of you have a plethora of first-hand experience with Europa, so you might have some useful insights to offer!

    I do have a couple of specific questions of my own, though, if you wouldn’t mind answering them:
    • Will I need to fluently speak German before visiting? Or at very least, should I learn some basic German phrases? I only ask because I want to be respectful to German culture, and I don’t want to take it for granted that everything is in English, and then get caught out when it isn’t; Europa almost primarily caters to Germany and France, doesn’t it?
    • Is Europa easy to get to from Strasbourg? My parents have gone off the idea of staying in a Europa hotel, and are instead keen to book a house in Strasbourg for a week or so, adding a trip to Europa Park onto the holiday. I’m not 100% sure, but I think we’d be going at some point during the university summer holidays (June-September).
    • Will 2 days be enough to get the most out of Europa Park?
    • Will I be able to do all of the roller coasters (B-a-a-a aside, as I don’t do kiddie creds) in 1 day?
    • Is there anywhere in particular I should head first rides-wise, or any particular way I should navigate the park?
    • What are queues generally like during the summer?
    I would very much appreciate any advice!
     
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    Posted 16th Sep 2021
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  2. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    Sorry to double post, but it would appear I’ve posted this in the wrong forum; could a mod please move it to “Europa Park Trip Plans and Reports”, if they wouldn’t mind?
     
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  3. Thameslink Rail

    Thameslink Rail TowersStreet Member

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    Ok,
    1. No, whilst it's polite to learn a few phrases, most staff speak English so you shouldn't have a problem.
    2. Strasbourg to Europa Park is about a 50 minute drive, or an hour's bus journey.
    3. Two days will be enough to do the rides and a few shows, if you also want to do Rulantica then you would need an extra day.
    4. Probably but there are far more things to do at Europa than just the coasters
    5. Other than avoiding the Voletarium at the start of the day, it doesn't really matter, day guests start in Germany, hotel guests start at the opposite side of the park in Spain and generally people spread out fairly well.
    6. Not bad compared to Merlin, even on the busiest days queues don't usually go over 60 minutes because operations are so fast and there is no Fasttrack or Ride Access Pass system.
     
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  4. AT86

    AT86 TowersStreet Member

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    I would strongly implore you not to see Europa Park as an exercise to tick off coaster creds. It is SO much more than the roller coasters. See a show or two, take in the surroundings, have a nice meal, ride the monorail and/or train, explore the dark rides and the many other attractions that are dotted about.

    You will have such a better time than if you just go from coaster to coaster to coaster.

    I’d say it’s far better to leave after two days with a coaster or two not done (but lots of others experiences covered instead) than to spend all the time focusing on creds.

    Remember you can always go back, and you probably will!
     
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  5. Thameslink Rail

    Thameslink Rail TowersStreet Member

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    May I ask, how are you planning to get to Europa?
     
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  6. Danny

    Danny Gugu Rides’ Number 1 Fan

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    Hello, Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening, Please, Thank you.

    You can get to Ringsheim via rail from Strasbourg, and then the direct shuttle bus to the park.

    Yes, and no. You can get all rides done in two days, but not the full experience of Europa Park (i.e, experiencing multiple places for dining, shows etc). Also, Rulantica as it stands is a 3/4 day experience alone, so factor that in if you wish to visit.

    It depends. On busier days, it can be done albeit re-ride possibility isn't guaranteed. Across multiple days, absolutely.

    Start at the back and work your way to the front. Iceland is a good place to head first to miss the queues for Blue Fire and Wodan, however, Wodan is a must-ride when it is running at its best towards the end of the day.
    It can vary, depending on what days you visit. Regardless of the listed time, the queues generally tend to move quickly. There could be a 60-minute queue for Silver Star or Blue Fire, but you will rarely be held in one spot for too long.
     
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  7. jon81uk

    jon81uk TowersStreet Member

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    That sounds like a description of Disneyland...
     
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  8. Thameslink Rail

    Thameslink Rail TowersStreet Member

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    Well 20-30 years ago you might have described Europa as a rip-off Disneyland (rides like Eurosat and Pirates in Batavia especially were similar to Disney Rides), now I think it would be reasonable to describe it as a laid-back Disneyland, it's not as corporate but it does the experience very well.
     
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  9. Matt.GC

    Matt.GC TowersStreet Member

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    I want to reaffirm the point that others have already made that you shouldn't see EP as a coaster whoring exercise. That's NOT what Europa is about. You'll see when you get there why so many us are critical of Towers strategy of focussing on almost nothing but. So yes, you can can get all the coasters done in a day, but I certainly wouldn't advise it as you wouldn't enjoy the park properly.

    In terms of language, don't worry at all. Everything is in English, almost everyone speaks English. However, Germans and French are known for finding it rude for you to not at least show them some courtesy and so they bloody well should! We're an arrogant nation when it comes to languages (my opinion) and a simple hello, goodbye, thank you, please etc should be learnt just out of politeness. I often found myself saying "guten tag" followed by hello so that I at least showed them the respect and indicated that I spoke English. Most will know anyway by your accent, I tried ordering a few things purely in French (as I can speak more french than German) and they would switch to English immediately as they could tell from my accent (I asked one of them why he did this and that's what he said).

    All staff wear badges with flags on indicating what language they speak. Most will have a German flag, French Tricolor and Union Jack on there and are fluent in all 3 (excellent in fact). Some cleaners etc will only have the German flag but even they could speak a little English, enough for you to understand each other. Some who work there are also French as it's so close to the border but most staff speak all 3 languages fluently. I even had some great conversations with other guests in queue lines in English with some thoroughly polite and pleasant people. Even with a lovely lady who found it very funny when my son blurted out "Dad, didn't we fight a war against the Germans?" - you can imagine I wanted the ground to swallow me whole but the people around me laughed and were speaking and messing around with my little boy.

    Whereas a Disney Park has a spoke design, Towers is more of a fork, EP is kind of hour glass shaped. Hotel guests enter at the back via Spain and day guests through the main entrance in Germany. Iceland is at the back of the park near the hotel entrances and Wodan and Blue Fire had the longest queues all day every day last year and the year before. We're talking 50 - 55 mins though because that's considered a long queue in Europa. We found that if we were there for rope drop we could leg it all the way to Iceland for short queues on both but it's not guaranteed due to Hotel guests already being there. Silver Star and Can Can first thing seemed to work though. Whatever you do, don't touch Voletarium until the afternoon as it's to the left of the main entrance.

    Best advice I could give though is to just go and enjoy yourself. You don't have to plan it like a military operation like at Towers or WDW Magic Kingdom. Throughputs and operations are excellent. No queues stand still for long and there's so much to do there that even if something has broken down or has a long queue, there's probably another excellent attraction right next door to it, wherever you are. It really is a park where you can walk in, without much of a plan and just enjoy it stress free. It's beautiful, has loads of thought put into it and almost everything is worth riding at least once. Even on my 7th day visit, I was still discovering new attractions I didn't even know existed.

    Oh, and don't even dream of missing out Rulantica as well. You'll love it.
     
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  10. AstroDan

    AstroDan TS Forum Team Team Member

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    If you want to get the best from your day...

    Staying on resort?
    You'll be able to get into the park at around 8.15/8.20am for some ERT! Rides offered do vary but usually include most of Alpenexpress, Tirol Log Flume, Vienna Wave Swinger, Feria Swing, Columbus' Dinghy, Blue Fire, Whale Adventures and occasionally others.

    Not staying on resort?
    The park actually opens it gates at 8.15am most mornings, sometimes slightly later off peak - but always by 8.30am. Voletarium will be open when the gates open, and you'll also be able to get on Volo da Vinci, Piccolo Mondo and Geisterschloss before 9am and then be well positioned at the secret cut through to the right of Geisterschloss ready to sprint the 100metres to Silver Star the moment it opens!

    :)
     
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  11. Tim

    Tim TowersStreet Member

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    Staying in Strasbourg and getting the most out of the 2 days will be quite a challenge. If I only had 2 days I'd want to be there at 8am and not leave until after close.

    Europa is a massive park. It rivals some of Disney World's parks in terms of size and has more attractions than most 2 gate parks.
    On top of that you don't want to be racing to do everything. It's far better to treat Europa like a Zoo; just follow the path until you see something interesting. You'll be surprised what you find if your not rushing between headline attractions.
     
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  12. John C

    John C TowersStreet Member

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    If your parents don't want to stay in a Europa Hotel would they consider staying in an apartment in Rust? There are plenty of good options to choose from. I think a visit would be much better if staying in Rust and it's an absolute pleasure being able to walk to the park in the mornings. Having your own apartment there would also let you explore the surrounding area with ease. Rust is a really nice place with a couple of supermarkets ideal for self catering. There are also plenty of restaurants too.

    I would agree that you need at least two full days in Europa Park, but having three days would ensure you get everything done at a more leisurely pace.

    While in the area I would highly recommend doing the Hasenhorn Mountain Coaster which is just over an hours drive from Rust. The drive there takes you through some stunning scenery and the mountain coaster itself was exhilarating. There are some good videos on YouTube.
     
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  13. Vik

    Vik TowersStreet Member

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    How are your family looking at travelling to EP?

    If driving, then when arriving across the Channel, consider taking the French Toll Roads which will take you via Reims, Metz & Strasbourg. Note, this is a pretty expensive way of doing things, especially when you add fuel on top (be sure to have a full tank before you leave UK, the days of filling up cheaply when arriving in France are long gone, even if its diesel) , but the drive is a breeze and much better than the more congested route through Belgium.

    Not sure about best Eurostar connections as have not done that. If flying, then Basel is usually a decent bet. Ryanair do fly to Strasbourg which is a much better location in Summer usually, but flights are limited. Easyjet did briefly but was quickly pulled. I remember flying that route twice return, and never more than around 1/4 full flight tops. Other options are Stuttgart, and though rail service is pretty decent(though doesn't take much to fall apart!), it is a lot of faff with a few changes and takes a while. Baden Baden is another but with limited bus service to main rail station, which if you miss is an hour wait or longer, and Frankfurt, which again is a pain with quite a few changes and takes a while.

    As for places to stay, Rust is awash with B&B's at affordable prices so consider this over Strasbourg if the main resort hotels aren't really an option, and probably never more than a 15 min walk to main entrance. You can still go to the main resort hotels and book reservations for meals etc. Only you can not enter the park via the Hotel entrance. It is also a good base for visiting other areas if you are in car such as Black Forrest, Strasbourg, Freiburg

    If staying in Strasbourg and using public transport, there are coaches that leave in morning and arrive around 9:30, no idea of return time or cost. If using train, then Strasbourg to Offenburg, change at Offenburg, then Ringsheim for bus to EP. Can get a Europass which will also cover bus, also trams around Strasbourg, lasts for 24 hours from purchase. Good luck in finding that on the ticket machines at Strasbourg, but it is there. Buses tend to meet the trains at Ringsheim, but if you are heading home in morning prepare for it to be late as it gets caught up in park traffic, and miss the train. happened to me twice now and there really isn't much at all in Ringsheim to while away an hour (or on the first occasion, 3 hours) before the next train.

    Consider a minimum of 3 days, 4 if you add on waterpark. (Doesn't have to be 3 consecutive days either). I usually have first day as more of a rides day but usually get quickly distracted by beer and that goes out of the window! and the following two days more relaxed though I make sure I get in rides on Wodan, Blue Fire, Silver Star & Mir as a minimum usually. As others have said, don't have a masterplan, go and enjoy yourself and don't worry to much if you see a wait time of 50-60 mins. Whilst it may be accurate, the queue will move pretty quick and thus, for me at least, often feels a lot less.

    Don't forget the smaller attractions too such as madame freudenreich curiosités, which never gets a queue and is a delight to ride at least once each day, Geisterschloss, amongst others and breaks up doing coaster after coaster too. And of course take in a show or two if you can, or just simply go and drink lots of beer.

    Mastering a few basic German phrases wouldn't go amiss, though most will speak English it is at least good to show you can make some effort.
     
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  14. venny

    venny TowersStreet Member

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    3-4 days minimum are required to see all the attractions I’d suggest. Add another day for Rulantica too. The more you rush, the less you’ll enjoy. Europa rewards stopping to smell the roses.
     
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  15. Lurker

    Lurker TowersStreet Member

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    Hi, I've just returned from my first trip to EP and my first international park trip. I knew relatively little about the park, I'd studied the map so I had my bearings but generally wanted to explore it organically and be surprised by the rides and experiences. The hype here got me very excited but I tried to put it out of my mind as to not be disappointed, I was very impressed by the park but wanted to avoid Paris syndrome for EP.

    We spent 4 nights in the onsite hotels, with 2 park days and 1 Rulantica day. Plus travel days.

    I don't speak any German, but it was helpful to have read up a bit to be able to get away with most things. People have flags on their badges, which indicates if they speak English but you don't get to choose who you speak to all the time obviously.

    Things you'll need
    1) numbers (helpful for saying you are a group of X people and understanding you'll sit on row X and Y). Though you can mostly get away with fingers for numbers.
    2) please, thank you, good day/good morning/good evening
    3) Table for X please is a handy one at the hotel restaurants/bar.
    4) Can I have a ... please
    5) Sorry I only speak English.

    The staff are very good at using gestures and other methods to make clear what they mean.

    We got by fine and there was no need to worry. My confidence to use a little of the language picked up over our break.

    I would personally recommend staying in the resort hotels. I appreciate it's a huge expense but we just had the most amazing time, and being able to get to the park for opening without much trouble meant we were able to make the most of the days. Also getting back to the hotel for a shower before going to a restaurant / bar for dinner and drinks was a huge perk. Remember that Europa opens EARLY and if you want to make the most of your days, it's ideal to be so close. Even staying in rust would give a lot of advantages and the restaurants and bars of the resort are of course open to non-hotel guests.

    We did 2 days and managed to get on most rides twice. We only saw one show though, and the parade, but more time would have been ideal if we could. Europa is a lovely park to sit and have a drink and some food and soak in the atmosphere, if you've only got 2 days and you want to do all rides then it's going to be a full on day, non-stop.

    I know from reading your previous posts that your family aren't the kind to go full on with non-stop rides, be at the park for every second of the long opening, and with the travel time from Strasbourg too it sounds like it's going to be stretched thin. I'd consider more time to allow the family to relax a bit more if it's within budget.

    As I said we stayed on resort so used the hotel entrance at the back of the park and so the obvious go-to area was Iceland to do blue fire and wodan. I'm not sure what the best idea would be from the main entrance.

    We did early September and queues maxed out at 40 mins for coasters but most dark rides (except pirates) were walk on. I used queue-times.com to check the average queues in advance of booking.

    I think if you have less time for whatever reason just manage your expectations. If you are spending 2 half days at the park and not hammering rides the whole time, know you won't get through them all as there is a lot! And don't forget the time of walking between attractions too, it's a big park so the order is important.

    You will thoroughly enjoy yourself however you do it and you have to do what is right and important to your group. Some are happy to spend an hour in a beer garden with some live music, I'd rather a go on Can Can Coaster and Madame Freudenreich Curiosités. That's up to you and do it in the way that you'll have the best day.

    Having said that Europa has a variety of rides and you have to do more than just coasters as there are lots of other things to see (unlike some very coaster heavy parks here in the UK). The views from the transport rides, the tranquility of some of the boat rides, the fantastic dark rides, water rides and flat rides. If you want to make the most of Europa mix your day up with a bit of everything as they all give different experiences.

    Good luck with the planning!
     
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  16. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    Sorry for the late reply, but thanks very much for all the responses; I do really appreciate it!

    To answer a few questions and clear a few things up;
    • My parents’ plan in terms of getting there was to stay in a house/villa in the Strasbourg area and go to Europa Park directly from there. I think the intention was that we’d spend two days at Europa in total, possibly separated out from one another. We’d spend the rest of the week doing various other things in the local area.
    • In terms of not treating it like a credit-counting exercise; I have to say that the credits would be one of my biggest personal priorities (Ba-a-a aside, as I’m not one to do kiddie coasters) across the 2 days, although I would also be keen to do some of the dark rides, like Voletarium and Piraten in Batavia.
    • As much as I’d personally love to stay on site at Europa or in Rust, my mum & dad aren’t overly keen, and the reason definitely isn’t cost, from what I can tell. I’m not actually sure what the reason is, but they weren’t too keen last time I mentioned it, much preferring their own idea of staying in a house in Strasbourg and travelling to Europa from there. As much as this is my 19th birthday present, I don’t want to push my parents to do anything they aren’t keen to do, as I am still the child after all, and I should count myself very grateful that they’re even offering to take me to Europa!
    • As much as I’d love to do things nearby like Holiday Park/Expedition GeForce, I again don’t want to drag my parents too far out of our way under duress, as although EGF is so highly rated and I’d love to get on it, I need to take my parents’ wants into account as well, and I can sense that they wouldn’t be keen to do a 2 hour car journey from Europa. (Might even be longer from Strasbourg…)
    • I’m unsure whether my mum & dad would be up for doing Rulantica, although we did all enjoy the Florida water parks, as well as the likes of Center Parcs’ indoor waterpark, so it may be on the table dependant on how things go!
     
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    Posted 5th Oct 2021
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  17. AT86

    AT86 TowersStreet Member

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    In terms of staying in Strasbourg, it’s a lovely place and certainly worthy of a visit in its own right. But it’s just not overly practical to keep travelling backwards and forwards between there and Europa Park in my view. It’s about 60km away and nearly an hours drive.

    [​IMG]

    It’s a bit like planning a two day trip to Alton Towers and planning on staying in Nottingham. There are much better options for various reasons.

    I would definitely have a chat with your parents about staying in Rust, it is a nice place with plenty of accommodation which is often self catering too so you can have a little kitchen area etc too.

    From your trip reports I gather your parents aren’t the biggest theme park fans and often want to arrive late and leave early. If you stay in Rust, then you can perhaps head into the park before them, or leave after (or both!), meaning they are happy as they can have a break and you are happy to maximise your time at the park. All the Rust accommodation is within walking distance to the park with paths and lighting etc so this would be easy to do on your own.

    Staying in Strasbourg wouldn’t give you this flexibility, it would also be more tiring for the driver and probably work out quite a bit more expensive too.
     
    Last edited: 5th Oct 2021
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  18. NuttySquirrel

    NuttySquirrel TowersStreet Member

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    Hi Matt

    Sounds to me as though your parents are keen to make this into more of a family holiday with a couple of theme park days, than a full-blown theme park trip. That's fair enough I guess, there'll be things they'll want to do as well and Strasbourg is certainly a good base from which to explore the region.

    But what you want matters too and I'd agree with others that it would be much better not to have that hour-long 'commute' to the park each day, and if you can stay nearby it would mean you would be free to spend full days on park whilst enabling them to join in with you for some of the time but then leave you to it when they'd had enough. Could you persuade them to perhaps rent somewhere nice in Strasbourg for, say, 5-6 days and them move to one of the EP hotels for 1-2 nights? The only restriction is that you would have to have your Europa-Park days back to back, but I don't really see that as an issue.

    If they're really against staying on resort then staying in Rust is a good alternative, but it might be prudent not to fight them over the Strasbourg suggestion and just move down to Rust for a couple of days when they've explored everything they want to do further north.

    It was the same story when I was younger but with Disneyland Paris - there was always a fair bit of negotiation required over which would be 'park' days and which would be 'culture/sightseeing' days! I was once forced to trade in a full park day (staying on resort no less) for a boat trip on the Seine (mainly for my mum's benefit) which I wasn't too happy about at first! But it's a holiday for all of you as a family, so it's definitely worth taking the time to make sure that everyone's needs are being catered for at different stages of the trip. Good luck!
     
    Posted 5th Oct 2021
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  19. Plastic Person

    Plastic Person TowersStreet Member

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    Yeah, @Matt N you need to twist their arm on this one, if only for the sake of practicality. Even if you don't stay in an EP hotel, there is loads of great accommodation in and around Rust, and the area is lovely. I think, in general, your long-suffering parents will be surprised by how much they enjoy the park. My parents first got dragged there by myself in my teens, and now, fifteen-plus years later, it's the only park they will voluntarily revisit without much persuasion.

    Also, yes, you're the 'child' (although you are nineteen...), but it's your birthday! I'm not slighting your folks here, and I always respect your generosity and flexibility, but this is a big deal for you.

    Also, it's been mentioned before, but don't think of EP in terms of credits! You have to try Voletarium and Pirates, they are absolute world-class attractions, and everyone will love them.
     
    Posted 5th Oct 2021
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  20. Tim

    Tim TowersStreet Member

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    To agree with Plastic Person my parents actually enjoyed Europa so much they went back, without me! And are considering going back again soon (which will be their 4th trip).

    I'm not saying this will be the case with your parents, but Europa can win anyone over.
    But... you'll never manage it if you spend the whole trip racing for credits. Take your time to explore the park and they might also find something to enjoy too.

    The only rides I'd say are absolute musts are:
    Blue Fire, Woden and Silver Star.
    Then I'd highly recommend:
    Arthur, Voletarium, EuroSat Can Can and Pirates in Batavia.
    Everything else can be missed and it won't ruin your experience. There are some great and interesting rides I haven't listed. Poseidon, EuroMir, Madame Freudenreich Curiosités (to name a few) but you'll enjoy them a lot more if you find them and ride them while exploring then trying to tick them off a credit list.

    And don't worry if you don't get everything done that you want to do. I first visited Europa with my parents when I was 18 in a very similar situation to you. 2 years later we went back. 2 years after I took my girlfriend (who's also hooked on the place) and I've organised a few group trips since then.
    The point I'm making is if you like the place you'll be back, and sooner than you think.
     
    Posted 5th Oct 2021
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