After the flurry of coverage of the opening of Disneyland Paris’ Ratatouille attraction, we turn our attention this week to Disneyland Paris’ biggest competitor: Europa Park. Not coincidentally, the German park has just opened its newest attraction, Arthur in the Minimoys Kingdom. Alain Littaye of the Disney and more blog thinks that this new ride could give Ratatouille a run for its money. ~~Rick
Arthur in the Minimoys Kingdom:
Europa Park Challenges Ratatouille Ride with New E-Ticket Attraction
by Alain Littaye
Disney and more blog
Let’s have a look at another brand new attraction. This ride also opened just a few days ago, is also located in Europe, and will be a direct competitor to the WDS ride.
Europa Park, located in Germany and not that far from France, is owned by the ride manufacturer Mack, and is also the second in terms of attendance in Europe after Disneyland Paris. Last year DLP Magic Kingdom had 10,430,000 visitors and Europa Park had 4,900,000. Sure, DLP had 6 million more visitors but DLP’s Walt Disney Studios Park had 4,470,000 visitors which was 430,000 shy of Europa Park. Both parks are opening major attractions this year: “Ratatouille, The Adventure” at the Studios and “Arthur In The Minimoys Kingdom” at Europa Park.
“Arthur In The Minimoys Kingdom” is inspired by the animated movie trilogy from director Luc Besson, who worked closely with Europa Park during the development of the new attraction. The new rides at both parks have a different storyline but coincidentally, in both guests are “reduced” – to the size of a rat in Ratatouille and to the size of the Minimoys, two millimeter high creatures living in a garden, for “Arthur In The Minimoys Kingdom”.
Arthur, In The Minimoys Kingdom and Ratatouille have the same length – 4 1/2 minutes – but the ride systems used for the two attractions are completely different – a trackless vehicle and 3D projections for Ratatouille and an indoor-outdoor inverted coaster for “Arthur In The Minimoys Kingdom”. Both have oversize sets, in ride projections and special effects, and “Arthur” also includes Audio-Animatronics! Also, it’s a new kind of coaster invented by Mack, a dynamic ride system with different speeds and in which guests are seated by four in three cars. In addition, guests can choose to turn their car to look either backward or forward. These coaster cars can revolve during the ride, and the new ride system is a world premiere for Mack. The ride capacity is up to 1500 guests per hour and the coaster can go as fast as 19 mph all along the 1/3 mile track, which makes a perfect not-too-fast family ride. As you will see in the video, this new ride system is really interesting. I wouldn’t be surprised if WDI Imagineers or Universal Creatives will be coming to take a closer look at it, perhaps for use in future attractions.
“Arthur In The Minimoys Kingdom” is Europa Park’s most extensive indoor attraction they’ve ever built with an indoor dome which is 52 feet high. The ride is surrounded by the Minimoys village, built under the dome, in which guests can experience other smaller attractions for children. The “Red Poppy” is a 32 foot high free-fall tower (shown above), the Mul Mul Carousel, a large slide paradise, a play area (pictures below), as well as a shop and a food and drink location. It reminds me a bit of the indoor Mermaid Lagoon area at Tokyo DisneySea where guests can find amusement rides as well as a shop and a restaurant. During the ride, the coaster cars “fly” above the Minimoys village and riders discover it from above.
Here is some original artwork as well as the press release and the ride synopsis that will help you follow the video below, especially if you’re not familiar with the Arthur animated movies.
“ARTHUR – In the Minimoys Kingdom”
Ants take on mammoth proportions, a blade of grass is as tall as a skyscraper and bees give jet planes a run for their money: In “ARTHUR – In the Minimoys Kingdom”, nature becomes a huge adventure. Visitors will be swept away into a microcosm like no other. The huge-scale adaptation of the lovingly detailed scenes from star director Luc Besson’s smash hit movie trilogy ARTHUR and the Invisibles shows the peaceful, secret world of the tiny beings known as Minimoys. Oversized ladybugs, gigantic frogs and imposing caterpillars fly, hop, and crawl over huge branches and gigantic rocks. The real world and the animated film merge into a 10.000 m² big experience for the whole family.
The most intricate indoor attraction in the entire history of Europa-Park is hidden under a gigantic, 16-meter dome on a magical island surrounded by two streams and Grimm’s enchanted forest. Teeny-tiny, and yet larger than life – the dream of experiencing vast natural settings up close becomes a reality on this theme attraction! An extraordinary gem is being constructed at Germany’s largest amusement park in cooperation with French film business titan Luc Besson. Visitors experience seven fantastic kingdoms with all five senses on a 550-meter-long flight through the underground universe. Deep underground, the Minimoys seek out their treasure. Adults and children ages 4 and above can accompany them on their daring expedition.
“ARTHUR” is a world premiere attraction from Mack Rides, the in-house manufacturer in Waldkirch. The attraction fascinates visitors with a unique dark ride and numerous high-tech special effects. Passengers fly through the dream world in rotating cars suspended below a track. “ARTHUR” is even more than a suspended dark ride vehicle: The seats are turning and they have the ability to turn quickly and accelerate out of a scene, which makes it a truly unique and exciting experience. Combined with the outside landscaping, theming, animatronics, sound, lighting, smoke, scents and the music it becomes an unbelievable package.
Musical accompaniment for the “ARTHUR” ride was provided by composer Eric Serra, who has created a four-minute song specially for Europa-Park. The composition has been perfectly coordinated to match the attraction’s atmosphere and emphasises the emotional moments. Eric Serra is a close friend of Luc Besson; he already composed the film scores of the three “ARTHUR” films for the director. Europa-Park has remained true to this story and completed their ARTHUR project by choosing Eric Serra to compose the “ARTHUR” background music.
Occupying 3,500 m² of space and with volume of 45,000 m³, the Kingdom of the Minimoys is the largest indoor attraction since Europa-Park opened in 1975. It offers breathtaking indoor and outdoor segments for a dynamic flight from the microcosmic world into the real natural world and back as visitors pass through key locations from the spellbinding movies, finally encountering the evil Maltazard, who has stolen the Minimoys’ treasure. Alongside “ARTHUR,” a ten-meter-tall children’s free-fall tower shaped like a magnificent red poppy, a large slide area and a “mül-müls” carousel with adorable round, fluffy white creatures await fans of the courageous fantasy creatures of all ages.
And now, here below is a synopsis of the ride itself, right after this picture showing the indoor track CGI model.
“After departure, the first scene is a projection on a large screen. The scene is set in the garden of the grandmother of Arthur and allows the visitor to project the size of the Minimoys.
At the end of this sequence, the train rotates and plunges into a real and oversized setting where the public finds our hero busy picking fruit to prepare a great feast. Butterflies, leaves, giant grass, ladybug, myriad of glowworms … harmony and joy is in the garden, but the danger is everywhere! Pit bull Koolomassai threat to snap the visitors who, by avoiding it, are swallowed by a giant caterpillar taxi which they passes through the guts.
Expelled from the digestive tract, the train makes a turn downhill outside the building before rushing into an air vent leading to dark lines arise where a giant spider and Darkos, the son of the evil Maltazard. The train accelerates to reach “Paradise Alley”, a mythical scenes of the second film of the trilogy and the projections of a clip allows a transition with the real sets.
The universe is colorful and noisy, the character Max comes to tell them the path to follow to find the treasure and rescue the prisoners. Chased by two Unicorns, the train rushes into a dark tunnel where the noise of a huge fan blades attract the riders attention. But the threat is in a huge tin from which emerges a giant rat! Going now backwards after a steep fall, the cars speed and fly over the Minimoys village and its roots slides, the feeling of flying is striking …
Then the cars rush into a hole that leads to Necropolis, the lair of Maltazard! Facing the guests, the treasure, a wall of ruby but also Arthur, Selenia, Bétamèche Archibald imprisoned. To save them, passengers can send light beams on the treasure by activating a button on the safety barrier seat. The walls shake, Necropolis collapses and Maltazard disappear in a large cloud of smoke. Fleeing the earthquake, the train accelerates to an external section for fly over a river while dodging through trees. A return to reality, a breath of fresh air before returning to the building by entering a hive located in Necropolis.
Perched on a pile of rubies and free, Arthur, Selenia and Archibald thank their hosts for saving the world of the Minimoys in finding the treasure. In a final touch of malice, Bétamèche, riding a bee, invites them to leave the boat. Thus ends this adventure!”
The following video will allow you to have a closer look the Audio-Animatronics all along the ride. They may not be as sophisticated as the AAs from WDI but they do the job quite well and the decor of the Minimoys village is really impressive.
As you’ve seen, Europa Park has built quite the E-Ticket attraction of their own this year and although it’s a totally different ride than Ratatouille I think they did a pretty good job – especially considering that the budget was not the same as that spent for Ratatouille. “Arthur In The Minimoys Kingdom” will surely attract visitors to Europa Park and it will be interesting to compare the attendance numbers next year to see which one has won the competition!
Pictures: copyright Europa Park
Alain is the editor of one of the most amazing Disney books ever published. This book is a must for every serious Disney book collector.
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