The 10s of Europe – A Decade in Review

Sven: It’s over! Goodbye 2010, goodbye 2011 and so on. In the past 10 years we had some great coaster additions all over Europe. Some pretty unexpected while others seemed only normal that they would eventually be built. I’m sure you’re already thinking of quite some coasters and so did we. Read along about a whole decade of new major coasters in Europe!


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2010: A calm year in the European Coaster Kingdom

We started the decade with only a few new major coasters. The most notable ones opened at Efteling: Joris & De Draak, the dueling GCI coaster. It was the company ‘s 4th installment in Europe and the first one to be of the dueling kind. The concept wasn’t new for Europe though, as PortAventura already had Stampida. Yet, it was another step in Efteling’s plan to grow towards one of the biggest resorts in Europe.

Alton Towers opened a new secret weapon in 2010: Th13teen. Pretty much a family coaster by Intamin, but with the secret surprise: the first drop sequence in Europe. Whether you like it or not, for the first time the Secret Weapon wasn’t a B&M coaster. Although we didn’t see a brand new one in 2010, an old one was moved to France. Yes, Walygator Parc opened the Japanese bought Monster, the first French B&M coaster. Also in France, Disney opened a new coaster since Crush’s Coaster in the Walt Disney Studios: RC Racer. Unfortunately, only one of the two Intamin Surfriders made it from the original plans, still causing long queues to this day.

Schwarzkopf fans could also rejoice with the return of a Looping Star. In Italy, Vertigo opened in Zoomarine. A bit more north, a special coaster got installed in Switzerland. Cobra is the only PAX Company Loop Shuttle coaster. And yes, it’s still open at Conny-Land! In Germany, Belantis opened Huracan, a special Euro-Fighter as the trains only hold 6 guests. Lastly, a new theme park opened in the Netherlands: Plopsa Indoor Coevorden. With this indoor park mostly oriented towards children, the Plopsa Group finally went internationally but didn’t stop there. They also agreed the deal to buy Holiday Park adding the renowned Expedition GeForce to their line-up.

As for closures, a Danish park Karolinelund ceased operations and the two looping coasters, A Vekoma Boomerang and a Pinfari, moved to Iraq.

2011: Return of the Dive and Maurer Time

Coasterwise, 2011 should definitely be remembered. Especially because of Merlin as they had bought two B&M coasters: Krake & Raptor. Heide Park got the necessary attention thanks to a well themed Krake that brought back the Dive coaster’s orders. The other one, the first ever Wing coaster by the Swiss company, led to many enthusiasts going to Gardaland in Italy for this beast.

Italy also got a Euro-fighter at Zoosafari Fasanolandia with the unique name Eurofighter. And the country welcomed a new theme park too! Close to Rome, Rainbow Magicland (in the meantime called Magicland) is best known for the Maurer Launch coaster: Shock. Maurer had a good year as they also added coasters in other countries. In Finland,  Linnanmäki went upside down again with Ukko, a Skywheel coaster. Germany got a custom launch coaster Freischütz in Bayern Park. That ride is known to be pretty intense but a real pleaser.

Not only GCI added several coasters this decade in Europe, but also The Gravity Group started building. Their first woodie opened in the Swedish Gröna Lund under the name: Twister. A pretty compact woodie that brought a new style of woodies to the continent. A familiar coaster for Europe however drove people “loco” at Fraispertuis City. Timber Drop in the French turned guests upside down for the first time by this second El Loco installement by S&S in Europe. Yet, one of the most surprising coasters was probably Van Helsing’s Factory at Movie Park Germany. Statswise the ride looked pretty boring but it turned out to be a funfilled Gerstlauer Bobsled coaster you can’t miss.

At Sommerland Syd, another Danish theme park, two coasters closed. One of which a Vekoma Invertigo that eventually reopend in 2012 at Parc Bagatelle as Triops.

2012 – B(ack)&(for)M(ore)

What’s better than 2 new B&M’s in one year? 3 of course! 3 different countries got a new Swiss ride and not just any. In the UK, Thorpe Park added another monster to their line-up: Swarm. The Wing coaster quickly ranked as one of the best coasters in the country. The same applies for Spain as Shambhala opened in PortAventura. That one even got named the best coaster in Europe by quite some fans as the Hyper really knows the word: airtime!  Finally, Compagnie des Alpes dared to add one in one of their parks too, OzIris at Parc Astérix. As the ride was a big hit, fans are still waiting for them to add another B&M to one of their parks. But we don’t say no to the Intamin that’ll come.

Another group allowed a park to built quite an impressive coaster: Parques Reunidos. In the Italian park Mirabilandia, we saw one of the first new generation water coasters by Intamin: Divertical. And so they began the battle with Mack regarding water coasters. Europa-Park already has two so instead they added something that they don’t even built themselves: a wooden coaster. Trusted upon the experience of GCI, Wodan opened its viking gates. The ride isn’t only known as a woodie with a punch but also for the well-themed queue. Last but not least, Legoland Billund added a unique family coaster: Polar X-plorer. Just like Th13teen, it features a drop track element but this one got built by Zierer.

2012 turned out to be a bad year for park closures. Not one, but two parks stopped operations. The first seemed expected after closures of ride the year before: Sommerland Syd. Many of the flat rides were sold to Polish park Legendia where they now have a second life. Also the U.K. lost a theme park: Camelot Theme Park. The Schwarzkopf Knightmare coaster can still be seen SBNO when driving by on the nearby highway.

2013: Records (but not all of them turned out to be broken)

The most notable coaster of 2013 in Europe: Ring°Racer. What should have been a record breaking ride, turned out into a disaster. Still SBNO after no one wanted to buy the thing. That said, there were other German parks that succeeded in opening a must do coaster. Take Tripsdrill with a wonderful Infinity coaster by Gerstlauer: Karacho. Although the trains seem Euro-Fighter trains, they aren’t! The launch and tunnel on this coaster really surprise you.

Another Gerstlauer that DID break a record was The Smiler at Alton Towers. The old 10 inversions on a rollercoaster record got smashed by this 14 inversion Infinity coaster. A succesful new Secret Weapon with a huge media campaign.

Quite some small coasters opened too, but not really massive highlights. Two still worth mentioning thpugh with the first one being Orkanen at Fårup Sommerland. A Vekoma Suspended coaster without inversions but very well integrated. Last but not least, Etnaland became not only a water park but also a theme park. They brought the first non-launched Mega coaster to Europe by Mack. Storm became the eye catcher of that transformation.

We saw the closure of a major coaster in Holiday Park too. Plopsa closed the Super Wirbel, a Vekoma MK-1200 but promised to replace it with something worth it.

2014: Two new parks!

2013 can be considered a calm coaster year, but 2014 was quite different. The most important coaster got built in Sweden as Liseberg blew fans away with Helix. The Mack launch coaster remains well regarded among fans and I got to say, the night time rides really bring out the best of it. There was however another Mack installment that put Nigloland on the coaster map: Alpina Blitz. It was the first Mega coaster in Europe without an inversion and the perfect addition for the park.

Germany had two nice major coasters in 2014. First off, a new B&M Wing coaster for Heide Park: Flug der Dämonen. Definitely one of the major coasters of the park, if not the best one there. Also Expedition GeForce got a new neighbor as promised: Sky Scream. Plopsa thus claimed the first Sky Rocket II for Europe and the first copy in the world. Europa-Park didn’t show off with a major coaster, however they added Arthur. Their new type of powered coaster fits perfectly to combine a dark ride and coaster experience.

Finally, two new major parks opened in Europe. Italy got Cinecittà World with two Intamin coasters: Altair, a mirrored version of Colossus and Inferno, an indoor Family Drop coaster. In Poland, Energylandia opened with only 3 family and children coasters at the time. Nowadays, it can already be considered coaster capital of Europe! In Amsterdam however, we said goodbye to Reaper, drop ride to doom!, a custom e-motion coaster by Mack at the Amsterdam Dungeon.

2015: Double Dive and unexpected coasters

If you like Dive coasters, then 2015 probably stood out for you. A major year for Efteling as they added Baron 1898, the first B&M coaster of the Benelux. Steel with a story and still a delightful ride in Europe. Lose the theme but add some extra punch and you have Oblivion – Black Hole. Gardaland’s white Dive was yet another thrilling addition for the Italian park, but the last B&M addition of the decade by Merlin. Nearby park Movieland Park added the former Six Flags America Invertigo to compete. Diabolik by Vekoma made the Lake of Garda extra attractive to visit that year.

Another coaster that came overseas and got added in Italy was Europe’s second Stand-Up: Freestyle. The only major Togo coaster in Europe and now surprisingly found at (a park I had never heard of before) Cavallino Matto. In the UK, a growing park added two new coasters by Vekoma, one of which: Flight of the Pterosaur. The small U.K. park, Paulton’s Park, started to rise as a theme park destination to visit in the country. Nearby however, another park showed its ambitions by installing the first major coaster in Ireland. Yes, Tayto Park built Cú Chulainn, a major Gravity Group coaster.FullSizeRender_2 (Large)

After some successful Infinity coasters in the previous years, Gerstlauer showed another pair of coasters to ride. In Norway, Junker got built and became the star of Tusenfryd. Fun fact: the coaster gets extended in 2020! But the biggest surprise of all Gerstlauer rides has to be Schwur des Kärnan. We already talked about this coaster but as an enthousiast, you really should consider visiting that park if you haven’t already. Go with low expectation or none cause not every ride feels the same.

Those who still rode Magnus Colossus in 2015 got Lucky as it has been SBNO ever since. Terra Mítica still welcomes guests but definitely struggled since. Other riders that rode The Smiler didn’t get lucky… The famous incident definitely marks as one of the darkest theme park days in the decade.

2016: A Year to remember

2016 was a turning point for the Walibi parks. Both Walibi Belgium and Holland invested in some nice unique coasters. First up, Pulsar by Mack Rides, the first ever PowerSplash. The ride can be seen as a coaster, thrill ride or water ride so why not all three? It’s the first ride of their 5 year plan to become the most visited park in Belgium again. The Walibi Holland coaster also got built by Mack: Lost Gravity. The first Big Dipper of its kind also marked a new investment plan for the Dutch park. The third park, Walibi Rhône-Alpes, the opened Timber. Another woodie by Gravity Group and the first new woodie in France since 1997 (Tonnère de Zeus).

Probably the biggest surprise of the decade can be found at Kolmården in Sweden. There out of the blue, the zoo built the first RMC in Europe: Wildfire, still considered as one of the best coasters in the world! But that wasn’t the only top notch coaster that opened that year. Phantasialand amazed many when they opened Klugheim and its two coasters. Taron erupted from the rocky area, one of the best Intamin launch coasters out there. Last but not least, Energylandia built its first major coaster: Formuła 1. The beginning of a new era for Vekoma.

Another exciting novelty in 2016 was the launch of European Coaster Kings! What started out as a separate site, but became eventually part of the Coaster Kings website. But on social media, you can still find us seperatly sharing our European coaster updates ever since!

At M&D’s Scotland Theme Park, we had a more unfortunate event. The Pinfari rollercoaster Tsunami derailed and eventually got removed from the park. The U.K.  Pleasure Island Family Theme Park closed as well and with it their Vekoma Boomerang got shipped to Indonesia. At Attractiepark Slagharen, their Schwarkopz Thunder Loop closed due to high maintenance costs. And at Liseberg, riders waved Kanonen goodbye to make room for a different coaster.

2017: Launch it!

For the fourth year in a row, some major coasters opened in Europe. After the investments of Compagnie des Alpes in their Walibi parks, next up was Parc Astérix with a brand new family launch coaster: Pégase Express. Once again a hit for the target groups of the park. But quite a few other coasters launched for the first time. In Finland, we welcomed the second Sky Rocket II: Hype! And also Parques Reunidos added a two new launch coasters. Star Trek: Operation Enterprise gave Movie Park Germany the long sought eye-catcher they deserved. And Gold Rush replaced the former Schwarzkopf Looping Star but proved to be a worthy replacement at Attractiepark Slagharen.

The biggest launch coaster though, got built in a brand new park in Spain. Ferrari Land opened as the second gate of PortAventura World with several rides but most importantly: Red Force. The little one, compared to Kingda Ka and Top Thrill Dragster, broke the records of highest and fastest coaster in Europe. Obviously smaller parks would never have that amount of budget for a coaster like that, but Skyline Park still chose a first-of-its-kind. Sky Dragster opened as the first Maurer Motobike launch coaster where the speed can be controlled.

The list continues with the first Intamin Suspended coaster: DrageKongen. The ride at Djurs Sommerland added again another hit to their line-up. For those who were sad about the removal of Thunder Loop at Slagharen, could be pleased by the new park in Croatia! Fun Park Biograd opened with three coasters, one of which is the Schwarzkopf Silverarrow Big Blue. With a year delay, Plopsaland De Panne finally opened the second woodie in Belgium and this time by GCI. Heide The Ride, an almost identical coaster to White Lightning at Fun Spot Orlando, raced through the park for the first time.

Last but certainly not least, Lech Coaster got built at Legendia in Poland. As the park felt the competition from Energylandia, they got a rebranding and the addition of one of Europe’s best. A compact layout with nice theming and a wonderful and thrilling ride experience.

Meanwhile at Linnanmäki, they made room for the new spectacular coaster of 2019 by removing the unique Premier Rides Liquid coaster: Vonkaputous.

2018: The Return of B&M and the UK Battle of the best

After 3 years without a new B&M coaster opening, we got two new ones in 2018. Another new Dive opened at Liseberg but this time the the biggest installment of the type in Europe. Valkyria took the spot of Kanonen which became unnecessary due to the addition of Helix.  Surprisingly, the other B&M opened in the Netherlands with Toverland flying high with Fēnix . Statswise right in between the other Wing coasters in Europe but probably the most intense one of the 4.

Energylandia opened not one, but two major Intamin coasters. Speed, a copy of Divertical, brought the first water coaster to Poland. Yet, the real reason for visiting the park that year was the opening of Hyperion. A wonderful new hyper that made Poland even more a must visit country for coasters in Europe. Because also the Plopsa Group opened a new park in the country called Mayaland Kownaty. No big coasters opened along, but we know about the first one a year later.

In the south of France, a new theme park opened: Parc Spirou. The major looping coaster that would have been built by Zierer got cancelled which made it less attractive to visit. Also in France however was the addition of yet another wooden coaster, this time at Parc Saint-Paul. Actually, not 100% a woodie as it’s a hybrid by Gravity Group: Wood Express. A family friendly compact ride perfect for the park. Another small family park that made a special investment, was Schwaben Park in Germany. They surprised us with a new type of coaster by Ride Engineering Switzerland. Yes, we’re talking about Wilde Hilde, a family friendly Roller Ball!

That leaves us with the two major coasters that opened in the UK. In one corner: Wicker Man, the GCI woodie at Alton Towers. In the other: Icon, the Mack launch coaster at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Both are not the most impressive coasters out there, but nice additions to the existing line-ups. Personally, I expected a bit more from both but with the right expectations, you’ll quite like both.

Drayton Manor suddenly closed down G Force in 2018, leaving Shockwave as the park’s only thrilling coaster. It kept breaking down and thus not worth keeping. The removal should be ongoing right now. Besides that, another major closure got announced at Walibi Holland.  Goodbye to one of the only three Vekoma woodies, Robin Hood but I think no one was really sad about it due to the announced modifications.

2019: The Rise of RMC

That leaves us with last year and we ended the decade with some wonderful new coaster thrills. First up, Belgium with finally a new coaster for Bobbejaanland. The Gerstlauer Fury can be called Belgium’s best coaster (for now) launching guests both forwards and backwards. An even bigger launch coaster opened in Finland, finally replacing Vonkaputous. Taiga, an Intamin launch coaster with inversions put Linnanmäki in the spotlight with again one of the best out there. The blue track appeals and calls for a visit to Helsinki for every Intamin lover.

 

In Italy, we saw a double Maurer motorbike launch coaster at Mirabilandia as part of their new Ducati World area. Desmo Race challenges guests to win the race between the two coasters. Freizeitpark Plohn however choose to add a more thrilling coaster. They picked a Mack Big Dipper coaster: Dynamite, a coaster similar to Lost Gravity. Walibi parks got attention again too with an all new Gerstlauer Infinity coaster Mystic riding for the first time in Walibi Rhône-Alpes. What looked as a forgotten Walibi park at the beginning of the decade, now has it’s own style and unique coasters.

And the other Walibi park that got a coaster, isn’t 100% new. Indeed, the old Vekoma Robin Hood got transformed by RMC into Untamed. Some see it as the best coaster in the Benelux and with good reason. The multi inversion hybrid in the new Wilderness area stands out as one of the most thrilling coasters in Europe. That said, we were fortunate enough to have another RMC opening in Energylandia. Yes, Zadra is their tallest installment on the continent so far. And also in Poland, another Plopsa woodie opened in Mayaland Kownaty: Wilkołak, the Polish word for werewolf. Yet again a GCI almost identical to Heidi and White Lightning.

Some rare coaster types disappeared in 2019 too. Efteling can claim the most regrettable closure with the final rides of Bob. An Intamin Bobsled coaster becomes a rare sight with only two remaining at Six Flags parks. Another Intamin type coaster that became more rare is the Half Pipe. Särkänniemi,  decided to close their Half Pipe to hopefully make room for a different exciting ride. In Europe, only RC Racer at the Walt Disney Studios offers a similar experience. Speaking of that park, they retired their Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster theme to reopen the Vekoma Launch coaster in a few years as part of the Avengers expansion.

What a decade!

That’s it! We end with almost double the amount of B&M coasters, the first three RMCs, plenty of new thrilling Gerstlauer, Intamin, GCI, Gravity Group coasters and much more. As mentioned, we didn’t list up all the coasters and events but as the years fly by, we notice a lot more new ones. Competition between the parks and groups can only be encouraged for us fans. And we already know that the next few years have some pretty good coasters in store too. This year already, we look forward to ride Hals-über-Kopf, Abyssus, Objectif Mars & F.L.Y. (even though officially we don’t know the opening date of that last one yet.)


 

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