We've been waiting for a waterpark at Europa-Park for over a decade. In fact, the water park topic on TS was created in 2013 - and even that was years after the rumours began. The complex planning put sword to many of the Macks' hopes of an opening some time ago and so, here we are, the winter of 2019/20 - and a waterpark finally opens in Rust. When the concepts were first revealed, we perhaps expected something on a scale Europe had not seen before. Yet, as time went by, expectations somewhat dipped as the sheer cost of such a development became clear. Even Europa-Park weren't going to be able to deliver on their wildest dreams no matter how much they wanted to. So, the project was reduced in size and scale and instead, we've ended up with the first of what we presume will be many phases of expansion and, no doubt, these will start imminently given the immediate popularity of the park. Before going in for the first time, my expectations were effectively treading a line between one of hope and one of fear. We knew that on the day of our visit, Rulantica was effectively at capacity. They were not permitting any further ticket sales. We spent the first part of the day in Europa-Park before heading into Rulantica at 3.30pm. First impressions? The entrance hall is extremely well designed and impressive. Indeed, it's unlike any waterpark entrance you will have seen. The Rula-Band is given to you and this is used to open and close the locker. Hotel guests benefit from free locker rental and free towel hire. Non hotel-guests will pay a surcharge for locker use, which will be added to their bill on exit, and must provide their own towel. At this point, I should add - on the ground floor is the changing rooms and showers for day visitors. On the first floor, accessed by an exclusive bridge from Hotel Kronasar, is the hotel guest changing rooms and showers. This really helps capacity. Hotel guests can enter from 9.00am - out of sight of the day guests. Everyone else can enter from 10.00am. The changing facilities are exemplary. There are plenty of changing rooms and plenty of lockers to deal with the number of guests in the park. It was all very clean and tidy and exceptionally well themed. Once you are changed, you deposit your articles, securing the locker with the Rula-Band. Then, you exit the shower world and into the park. Rulantica is made up of a multitude of themed areas - some more impressive than others. Each has rides and/or attractions within and food/drink outlets are scattered around. The theming in some places (Ragnakor, Skog Lagoon) is very, very well done but in others it is perhaps less so (Snorri's Saga lacked a certain something, for example). The key thing for me though was the way that the waterpark felt spacious in spite of the fact it was apparently at capacity. Perhaps, with the steep admission fee, they want to ensure that guests aren't packed in like sardines. Fair play. My favourite areas were Ragnakor (the village on stilts) and Skog Lagoon (the area surrounded by trees). We had a brilliant time at Rulantica, I have to say. It's certainly not perfect and nor is it entirely finished. However, it is good that they actually opened on time and it hasn't been a calamity by any stretch. No doubt work on various areas will continue post Christmas during the quieter periods before the peak returns once the theme park re-opens. From my experiences of water parks, it's certainly the best indoor one I have done. Food (for me) a slightly weak point in Rulantica, although I guess they don't want anything too rich and/or heavy in a waterpark. What we ate was good quality and prices were as expected, but there wasn't anything interesting as you would expect in the hotels and/or Europa-Park itself. Pizza, pasta, burgers and salads along with a few sandwiches and you are about done. However, payment for all of this is a breeze with the Rula-Band system. There are three bars on site - one is swim up (Skog Bar), one is walk up (Skal Bar) and the other has both options (Frigg Tempel). There were cocktails, beers, wine and shots! I had never seen this in a pool before and thought it was really novel. Let's now have a brief look at the rides/attractions in Rulantica. This is not something that has been widely talked about and, in truth, it's a pity the park does not have a truly mindblowingly unique and/or special ride to really get global fans talking. However, the narrative behind the park's theming is the main USP and I guess, in time, we'll see that killer ride. For now, though - there are certainly plenty of rides to talk about most of which were perfectly good fun. At this point, I am having to look at a copy of the park map as I cannot quite remember everything off the top of my head! The Surf Fjord in Lumafals was fantastic! The best wave pool I have been in. It was so choppy with waves crashing in all directions. They also lasted for a fair while. Highly recommended - although finding the entrance was a challenge!! Over in Vinterhal are the majority of slides. Tva-Fall is a standard tube slide which had waits of 5-10 minutes - think Rush and/or Rampage at Splash Landings only in twos and a much more interesting and longer slide. Stormvind was my personal favourite ride - the drop into the bowl was really exciting and the 15 minute queue was worth the wait. Isbrekker is a simple small slide which sends you out crashing into the pool. Seemed fine for what it was, but this one I didn't do. Vinter Rytt is the half pipe 'cliff' slide which you complete in fours. The drop and half pipe was awesome, although the latter part of the slide was a bit of an anti-climax once you had done the trick. This ride commanded waits of 30 minutes - although they were advertised longer. It was just about worth it. Svalgur Rytt on the other hand was probably our least favourite of the slides. We waited 30 minutes for this family raft ride and quite frankly it was dull as dishwater. It barely span and compared to family raft rides I have done at PortAventura and Typhoon Lagoon this was rubbish. Skog Lagoon is home to the Skog Bar and the bubble baths. This a great place to relax. It would be nice if this area was adults only, although I guess this could make it awkward for parents with younger children. The trees around this area made it feel quite secluded. Skip Strand is next door, the area is dominated by the large ship. From here there are 3 small slides - all of which are great fun given their size! Overstor and Overstabb are hilarious! Wide slides which you just hurtle down and crash into the pool. Oversnurra is a small slide - think Flash Floods at Splash Landings but a little more agressive. Skip Strand also has an obstacle course and pool area. Frigg Tempel is the outdoor pool which in summer will be a dream. The bar here is swim up on one side and walk up on the other. For winter, they had a pool party and were playing schlager hits and had lights/music. Kind of fun although this area will come into its own next June, July, August and September. Vildstrom can be found next door and is the park's wild river. This was great! Expect to lose control here as you hurtle round bends and into waves. Crashing into people is part of the deal. Just make sure you don't injure yourself! There are two routes so it's definitely worth doing twice. Ragnakor is the other anchor area in terms of slides. Hugin and Munin are racing raft slides which have, combined, great capacity and therefore short waits (5-10 minutes). Nothing too intense here, and if you set off at the same time as your friends it's fun to keep seeing them. However, the thrill sensation at the park is found on Dugdrob and Vildfal. These drop slides are high adrenaline and not for the faint hearted. However, the engineering means you won't hurt yourself and the capacity also seems solid for these 1-person slides. The queue was 5 minutes here, perhaps people are simply too frightened!! I had not done one of these slides before and thought they were insane. On the first floor of this area you will find the Skal Bar for a relax. Trolldal is the kids area - we didn't go in here but it looked fun. There are some small slides and pools for the kids and the theming is nice. Finally, Snorri's Saga is the lazy river but sadly, in spite of some grand theming, it was quite soulless and a little dull. The bubble section is cool but the attraction lacked waves, water features or anything of interest. After dark Rulantica is better - the lighting is wonderful and the experience is absolutely first class. I can't say anything high enough for the job the lighting designers have done on this project. We spent 6 1/2 hours in Rulantica before we had to leave as it was closing (10pm). However, in hindsight, we wished we'd arrived around noon as I believe you could easily spend 9-10 hours in there. Next time, I will aim to arrive around lunchtime and stay till close. After you are changed, you simply return your Rula-Band to the cash desk, pay your bill and then leave. Easy! Things which need improvement from our point of view? Some walls in the Ragnakor and Vinterhal areas are not yet themed Some floors are a little slippy in places Pads need adding to Svalgur Rytt to cause the dinghies to spin Clocks need adding around the water park so you know what time it is Overall? It's definitely worth a visit. I can't wait to go back in there and look forward to seeing what comes in the future. Hopefully, we'll see the first additions in 2021. A Master Blaster would be a very, very good start!