Wednesday, February 21, 2024

IAAPA Showcases 2016 Park and Attraction Highlights for Europe, Africa, and Middle East

ABOVE: Lost Gravity roller coaster. Courtesy Walibi Holland

Brussels, Belgium – As the 2016 season approaches amusement parks and attractions in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa prepare to open their gates with the addition of new rides and attractions. The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) has compiled a list of parks, attractions, and expanded areas set to debut. Trends identified for the 2016 season, include virtual reality combining with roller coasters, a resurgence of wooden roller coasters, and the rapid growth in the Middle East.

During IAAPA Attractions Expo 2015 in November the ability to combine virtual reality (VR) technology and roller coaster debuted. This summer roller coasters across Europe are transforming the roller coaster experience as riders wear specially designed VR headsets that provide a fully immersive experience. Guests become part of a storyline that plays out as 360- degree content corresponds to their motion and accelerometers, gyros, and proximity sensors synchronize in a realistic, yet virtual world.

Wooden roller coasters have been entertaining guests for more than 100 years, and this year new technology provides for a resurgence. Innovations in design give parks the ability to offer guests a choice between a traditional wooden coaster ride experience and a hybrid that provides the inversions, twists, and turns of a steel roller coaster, with the ambiance of a wood coaster.

According to IAAPA’s Global Theme and Amusement Park Outlook Report 2015-2019, the Middle East wants to become a major destination for tourists, with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as the principle driver. New hotels, parks, and attractions are currently under construction in UAE, mostly Dubai. According to the 2015-2019 Outlook Report the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is expected to be the fastest growing over the next five years.

Below is a list of some of the exciting attractions opening this summer in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.


Vienna Prater, Vienna, New Attraction

Vienna Prater, which is located in the middle of Vienna, celebrates its 250th anniversary this year. The park adds “Wind-O-Bona,” a sky diving tunnel that is open year-round to guests ages 8 and older. The flying tunnel accommodates up to 8 people at the same time and simulates a free-fall experience from 4,000 meters altitude as 280 km/h winds surround them. Park is open all year long, 24/7


Plopsaland De Panne, De Panne, New Roller Coaster

Plopsaland adds to their seaside park this July a colossal wooden roller coaster themed to the Studio 100 character Heidi. The coaster reaches 71 km/h at its peak and measures approximately 600 meters in length. A small Swiss-Austrian village will be built around the coaster, and is expected to debut in April 2017. Park Opens: 27 March 2016

Pairi Daiza, Brugelette, Restaurant

The Terre du Froid is the Eigth World at Pairi Daiza. This new themed area spans 18 hectare and is the most ambitious project in the park’s history. The area includes fauna, flora, and architecture of the Great North American plains as well as elements from Siberia, Lapland, Canada, and Antarctica. The main structure in this area is the Ibza. Guests can taste the typical Slav cuisine in this more than 1,500-square-meter building. Other new attractions, include: “Beech 18,” an authentic hydroplane; L’atelier du train, which houses many vintage trains and wagons from previous centuries; La Cave aux Trésors, a cave with interesting and unique objects. The park also welcomes several new animals, including a takin, squirrel monkeys, gorilla’s, koala’s, raccoons, and more. Park Opens: 26 March 2016

Bobbejaanland, Lichtaart, Two New Attractions

Bobbejaanland partnered with Samsung to create a new VR ride to kick off the season. “Mount Mara,” previously “The Revolution,” uses new VR googles to bring demons and volcanos into the ride experience. Bobbejaanland also introduces an escape room experience, Nightmare Hotel. Guests are locked in a room and have eight minutes to determine which of the keys they have opens the door while evil former clients lurk around them. Park Opens: 26 March 2016

Walibi Belgium, Wavre, New Roller Coaster

“Pulsar” a new water roller coaster opens July 2016 at Walibi Belgium. The 70-second ride swings three times side-to-side at a top speed of 100 km/h. The ride has a height of 45 meters and on the ground there is a pool of water where you ravage through going from one side to another. This attraction won the IAAPA Brass Ring Award for Best Concept during IAAPA Attractions Expo 2015 in Orlando. Park Opens: 26 March 2016


Legoland Billund, Billund, New Park

Legoland Billund opens Ninjago Universe, a new section of its park. Lloyd, Cole, Kain, and Jay are featured on an attraction. “Ninjago The Ride,” an interactive experience that takes guests through the elements of earth, wind, water, and fire. Riders show off their best ninjamoves to fight off the enemies and new technology allows the guests movements to transform into ninja forces on the attractions’ screens. Park Opens: 19 March 2016

Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, New Ride

Tivoli Gardens opens a three-in-one experience for the whole family. There is one tower with three different levels, one is more complex, one is moderate, and one is child-friendly. The more complex experience lifts guests to the top and spins them around at 2,5 G force. The moderate level is similar, however, it spins at a slower pace, so riders can enjoy the view of the park and its surroundings. The child-friendly experience is lower to the ground and consists of bumper cars in shape of jackals and rabbits. Tivoli Gardens has named their new attraction “Fatamorgana”. Park Opens: 6 April 2016

Tivoli Friheden, New Roller Coaster

“Bees swarm” opens in the Bug City section of Tivoli Friheden and is designed for families. This spinning coaster is 113 meters long and spins freely during the course of the experience. The four wagons are attached to each other in a way that allows them each to still spin on their own according to the weight on each wagon. Four people can fit in one wagon so a total of 16 passengers can ride at one time. Park Opens: 1 April 2016


Disneyland Paris, Paris, New Shows

Many new shows coming to Disneyland Paris this year. The Broadway-style show “The Forest of Enchantment: a Disney musical adventure” where many Disney-characters come to life on stage, Baloo, Merida, Rapunzel, Tarzan, and Pocahontas. This show runs from 10 February to 8 May. This summer “Mickey and the Magician” opens and in the fall guests can participate in the inaugural Disneyland Paris Half Marathon Weekend. Open the whole year

Kid Parc, Gujan-Mestras, New Ride

The spinning coaster “Boulet de Canon” or “Cannonball” opens at Kid Parc. Riders can control how much or how little they spin on this ride. Park Opens: 9 April 2016

Walibi Rhone Alpes, Les Avenières, New attractions

Walibi Rhone Alpes opens a restaurant, boutique, a child-friendly attraction, and a wooden roller coaster in its new section “Explorer Adventure.” Timber is the park’s largest investment in 15 years, and takes riders up to 17 meters high across 446 meters of track. During the ride 24 passengers experience 11 air-time hills, which refers to the feeling of weightless. IMAscore provided the soundtrack. Park Opening: 9 April 2016

Parc Asterix, Plailly, New Roller Coaster

Parc Asterix replaces “SOS Numerobix,” with “Discolbelix.” The coaster is a giant discus that carries 40 passengers who fly past Greek columns and travel side to side as the discuss ricochets off a pool of water and pivots at the top of a steep slope, causing a flame to be lit. The queue line is filled with many decorations to amuse the guests. Park Opens: 2 April 2016

Puy Du Fou, Les Espesses, New Show

“Le Dernier Panache” is based upon real life events of French heroes who fought in the American War of Independence and in the French Revolution. Audiences follow the journey of François Athanase Charette of Contrie, better known as ‘Charette‘. A multitude of real sets and video projection in Ultra HD span across 100 meters in the 360 degree theatre. Park Opens: 1 April 2016

Futuroscope, Chasseneuil-du-Poitou, New Show

Futuroscope launches its 2016 season with a night show called “La Forge aux Étoiles,” an artistic creation by Cirque du Soleil. The show is composed of visuals, unique aquatic and pyrotechnic effects, and is presented at dusk. Park Opens: 1 March 2016

OK Corral, Cuges-les-Pins, New Attraction

The OK Corral, named after the location of a famous U.S. western gunfight in 1881, opens a flying attraction. The turtle 15 meters tall and can accommodate children and adults. Park Opens: 26 March 2016


Phantasialand, Brühl, Two New Roller Coasters

Phantasialand opens of two roller coasters this summer, “Raik” and “Taron.” “Raik” is a familyfriendly boomerang roller coaster, which travels at a moderate speed and is suitable for novices and families. “Taron” is a multi-launch coaster with a steel, compact design which crosses itself 116 times. Park Opens: 19 March 2016

Europa-Park, Rust, New Area

Europa Park is added an Ireland-themed area, which includes three family-friendly attractions, a large indoor play area, and Irish delicacies. Numerous themed attractions, including three brand-new rides, entertain children and adults and a large indoor area with provides guests with indoor weather-proof activities. The park also has new food and drink options and shopping outlets. Park Opens: 19 March 2016

Hansa-Park, Sierksdorf, New Ride

Hansa-Park opens a beginner coaster, “The Little Tsar” for the kids. The attraction offers the littlest roller coaster riders a melody specifically composed for the Little Tsar and a memorable experience. Park Opens: 24 March 2016

Movie Park Germany, Bottrop, New Attraction

Movie Park celebrates its 20th anniversary with new shows, street entertainment, and a 4-D movie. The parks adds a permanent horror attraction, “The Walking Dead Breakout.” It is scheduled to open early during this season and offers film and amusement park guests a live experience based on “The Walking Dead” television show. The attraction spans 700 square meters. Park Opens: 18 March 2016

Heide-Park, Soltau, New Theme Area

Heide Park opens a new theme area based on the movie “How to Train Your Dragon.”. The area features a hotel and four confirmed attractions, including “How To Train Your Dragon – The Island” and four children’s attractions. Park Opens: 19 March 2016

Fort Fun, Bestwig, New Area

Fort Fun collaborated with Yalp and Playparc to create a modern interactive attraction for the youth. L.A.B.S., which stands for Learn, Activate, Move and Play, is a big indoor area with a futuristic theme. The innovative concept offers games, including “Toro,” “Sutu,” “Fono,” “Memo,” and “Sona” for kids and teens to play in Fort Fun. Park Opens: 25 March 2016

Holiday Park, Haßloch, New Attraction

Holiday Park celebrates its 45th anniversary with “Airshow ’71” the chain swing “Wellenflug” and the childrens ride “Red Baron.” The park also debuts a new show this season. Park Opens: 19 March 2016


Gardaland, Castelnuovo del Garda, New Attraction and New Hotel

Gardaland Adventure Hotel is 15.000 square meters and has four themed areas, each inspired by a themed area of the Park. Room themes include the Jungle Adventure, the Arctic Adventure, the Arabian Adventure, and the Wild West Adventure. The park also opens an area themed entirely to entertainment and fun for the whole family, and inspired by the characters of the film “Kung Fu Panda 3.” The area offers attractions, interactive games, and more. Park Opens: 24 March 2016

Mirabilandia, Savio, New Atttractions

Mirabilandia opens “Far West Valley,” a themed area designed for the entire family and inspired by far west stories and legends. The new area is 19.000 square meters and welcomes guests in the atmosphere of an old western town. Guests can also enjoy dance shows, stunt shows, magic shows, and more. Park Opens: 25 March 2016


Sindibad Park, Casablanca, New Park

Sindibad Park is an entirely new park opening in the center of Casablanca in Morocco. Spread across 32 hectares, the ground offers a variety of spaces: a leisure park, an animal park, an ecological park, souvenir shops, restaurants, and sandwich kiosks. Guests experience 22 attractions, including flying chairs, a roller coaster, a small train, a slide, and a carousel.


Walibi Holland, Biddinghuizen, New Roller Coaster

Walibi Holland opens “Lost Gravity” on which guests experience two inversion-moments present, one zero-G roll, and one dive loop. A soundtrack plays during the ride. The peak of the roller coaster is 32 meters and the maximum speed is 87 km/h. Park Opens: 24 March 2016

Efteling, Kaatsheuvel, New Musical Show

New show “Pinokkio” debuts at Efteling and a restaurant and a fairy-tale theater opens. This place will be inaugurated 24 March. The theater show started last year in September 2015 and it will end 28 March. This show is appropriated for children aged 4-12 and their parents. Park is open all year long

Duinrell, Wassenaar, New Attraction

The new attraction at Duinrell allows guests to feel like a real stunt pilot with a force of 2,7G riders spin on a miniature airplane at 22 meters altitude. While the pilots are circling they decide if they want to make extra acrobatic moves. It’s possible to do up to 40 rolls per minute. There are twelve individually moveable and controlled seats. Each plane moves independently so everyone can determine for themselves how exciting they want to make their flight. Park Opens: 22 March 2016

South Africa

Gold Reef City, Johannesburg, New Additions

Gold Reef City, is open throughout the year and includes a Magic Company 12-lane bowling alley and various movie theaters. The destination features new dining options and a refurbishment to the Apartheid Museum. Restaurants include Back o’ the Moon, which has undergone a total makeover and offers accessible upmarket dining, Vigour & Verve, Spur Steak Ranch, Boston BBQ, Calisto’s Portuguese Restaurant, The Raj Indian Restaurant, Ocean Basket, Vida e Café, and Col Cacchio Pizzeria. Park is opened all year long


Terra Mitica, Benidorm, New Hotel

Terra Mitica opens the first phase of a two phase hotel project. The first phase opens summer of 2016 and has a total of 226 luxurious rooms and spacious suites, including junior suites, a large pool, a spa with Jacuzzis, multipurpose rooms, and large gardens.. The second phase expands the hotel by 120 new themed rooms. Park Opens: 31 May 2016

Parque Warner, Madrid, New Shows

This year at Parque Warners debuts seven new shows and attractions, including ‘The Gotham City Streetmosphere Show” and “The League of Justice.” The Gotham City StreetMosphere Show offers an energetic behind-the-scenes view at Hollywood stunts and special effects and features pyrotechnics, sound, fights, and motorcycle chases. “The League of Justice” introduces guests to their favorite superheroes during meet and greets. Some of these superheroes are Flash, Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. Additonal performances at the park, include Scooby-Doo, the Musical, and the Police Academy Stunt Show. Park Opens: 18 March 2016


Liseberg, Gothenburg, New Area

Liseberg gardens is the new area at Liseberg and offers activities and experiences that are included in the entry price. The first ride is the “Flower Carousel,” a double-decker carousel located in the heart of the Children’s Paradise playground. Children’s Paradise has four slides, two suspended bridges, two climbing towers, three bird cages, a climbing track, six net tunnels, and more. The “AeroSpin,” a sky roller that allows guests to compete with friends to see who can rotate the most, and enjoy the spectacular view 35 meters above the park. Park Opens: 23 April 2016

Kolmarden, Braviken, New Roller Coaster

Visitors of Kolmarden enjoy “Wildfire,” a new wood-hybrid roller coaster manufactured by Rocky Mountain Construction. The roller coaster is a 120-second-ride that takes passengers through three inversions and through 12 air-time hills and reaches speeds of up to 110 km/h. Park Opens: 29 April 2016


Chaplin’s World, Corsier-sur-Vevey, New Museum

Grevin is opening a venue for the sole purpose of allowing visitors of all ages to experience the world of Charlie Chaplin. The Manoir retraces the private and public life of this genius of the seventh art. The Studio, a new building of Hollywood inspiration, presents the cinematographic work of one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. The four-hectare park showcases hundred-year-old trees beloved by Charlie Chaplin and a breathtaking view of Lake Leman and the Alps. Park Opens: April 17 2016


Eko Temali Park Rixos, Antalya, New Park

Eko Temali Theme Park covers more than 250.000 square meters. Its aquatic facilities contain more than 35 million liters of water and offer a dolphinarium, water slides, a sea trek aquarium, an aquarium restaurant, wave pools, lazy rivers, and more. JRA provided the concept realization, plans, and designs of Eko Temali Park. The project is financed and managed under the Rixos Group. Park Opens: Summer 2016

United Arab Emirates

Legoland Dubai and Legoland Water Park, Dubai, New Parks

Legoland Dubai features more than 40 interactive rides, shows, and attractions and 15.000 Lego model structures made from over 60 million Lego bricks. Legoland Dubai has six themed lands: Lego City, Adventure, Kingdoms, Imagination, Factory, and Miniland. Legoland Water Park offers visitors more than 20 water slides, each with its own experience, including the highly anticipated “Build-A-Raft River” where children of all ages can customise their own raft using Lego soft bricks, before floating around a 10-meter-long lazy river. Park Opens: October 2016.

Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi, New Roller Coaster

“Flying Aces” is the Ferrari World Abu Dhabi’s new roller coaster. The coaster is inspired by Italy’s Count Francesco Baracca, a famous Italian aviator of the 1900’s who painted the Prancing Horse emblem, the Cavallino logo, on his Biplane. Riders will experience a 52- meter-tall loop, 51-degree cable lift, and 10 zero-G moments. The ride can reach speeds of up to 120 km/h. Park is opened all year long

Motiongate Dubai, Dubai, New Park

The Hollywood-themed Motiongate Dubai brings to the United Arab Emirates entertainment from three of the largest motion picture studios: Sony Pictures Studios, DreamWorks Animation, and Lionsgate. The 176.515-square-meter area has 27 rides and attractions inspired by 13 Hollywood films. The park is divided in five distinct zones: Studio Central, Sony Pictures Studios, DreamWorks, Lionsgate, and Smurfs Village. There are themed restaurants and many quick service outlets, and 15 retail shops. Park Opens: October 2016

Bollywood Parks Dubai, Dubai, New Park

Cinematic simulation rides, blockbuster attractions, extravagant live shows are what guests enjoy at the new Bollywood Park in Dubai. The park offers 16 rides and attractions, fine dining and street food, party venues, numerous shopping outlets, and five movie-themed areas. The movie-themed areas include: Bollywood Boulevard, Mumbai Chowk, Rustic Ravine, Royal Plaza, and Bollywood Film Studios featuring Hall of Heroes. Park Opens: October 2016

Riverland Dubai, Dubai, New Outlet Area

The new Riverland Dubai outlet features four unique themed zones, including The French Village, Boardwalk, India Gate, and The Peninsula. These areas feature dining, retail, and entertainment options for visitors to enjoy. The complex is more than 20 square meters and and offers more than 50 restaurants and retail shops. Park Opening: October 2016

Blue Waters, Dubai, New Attraction

A Ferris wheel opens at Bluewaters Island development and includes 48 luxury capsules capable of holding 1400 visitors. Riders enjoy views of Dubai’s iconic landmarks, including Burj Al Arab, Palm Jumeirah, and Burj Khalifa. Additionally, an 80 meter LED-screen is mounted on the wheel to broadcast movies, advertisements, and interactive information. The area around the wheel is a promenade with dining and retail stores. Blue waters Island will also add a boutique, five-star hotel to this area.

IMG Worlds of Adventure, Dubai, New Park

IMG Worlds of Adventure indoor theme park opens in Dubai. The park is divided into four zones each based on a different theme. It contains various leisure attractions, including roller coasters, a 5-D cinema, and several retail areas and restaurants.

United Kingdom

Camel Creek Adventure Park, Tredinnick, New Park

The brainchild of John Broome, the founder and former owner of Alton Towers, Camel Creek is on the site of the famous Cornwall’s Great Adventure Park. The park offers a variety of new rides and attractions. Camel Creek is an all-weather attraction and attractions “Buccaneer Battles” and “Pirates Treasure Sand Play” are now both covered by purpose-built awnings.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Blackpool, New Attraction

“Red Arrows Skyforce” opens at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. This 22-meter-high ride is located next to “Big One” roller coaster and takes guests on a 360-degree tour. Passengers step into their own Red Arrows cockpit, take control of the plane to spin, glide, and take formation in any way they choose. Park Opens: 25 March 2016

Thorpe Park, Chertsey, New Attractions

Thorpe Park debuts a new, 10-15 minute train ride with a mixture of live action sequences, 4- D special effects and illusions, next generation technology, and physical transit. Guests can also enjoy the adventure maze “I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!,” as they experience life as a campmate and have to solve riddles to succeed and make it out alive. The maze is based on some iconic moments from the television series. Park Opens: 17 March 2016

Paultons Park, Hampshire, New Attraction

Paultons Park opens its new £ 8 million attraction, “Lost Kingdom,” a unique, dinosaur-themed family-friendly world. The new theme park is home to many dinosaur attractions, including two family roller coasters, “Flight of the Pterosaur” and “Velociraptor” and Jurassic-themed family rides, “Boulder-Dash,” “Temple Heights,” and “Dino-Chase,” a dinosaur adventure play park. Park Opens: 18 March 2016

Alton Towers, Staffordshire, New Restaurant and New Attraction

“Galactica” opens at Alton Towers with new, virtual reality glasses to wear during the ride which allows the visitors to see a different world than they would see in reality. The glasses connect to the coaster trains so that the images are in sync with the roller coaster. The layout remains unchanged, but passengers will experience a completely different track. The new roller coaster restaurant has thirteen round tables that are directly connected to the kitchen by a mini-roller coaster. The small roller coaster for pots includes two loops in its track and an eight-meter spiral. Park Opens: 18 March 2016

Joe Kleiman
Joe Kleiman
Raised in San Diego on theme parks, zoos, and IMAX films, InPark's Senior Correspondent Joe Kleiman would expand his childhood loves into two decades as a projectionist and theater director within the giant screen industry. In addition to his work in commercial and museum operations, Joe has volunteered his time to animal husbandry at leading facilities in California and Texas and has played a leading management role for a number of performing arts companies. Joe previously served as News Editor and has remained a contributing author to InPark Magazine since 2011. HIs writing has also appeared in Sound & Communications, LF Examiner, Jim Hill Media, The Planetarian, Behind the Thrills, and MiceChat His blog, takes an unconventional look at the attractions industry. Follow on twitter @ThemesRenewed Joe lives in Sacramento, California with his wife, dog, and a ghost.

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