Coaster Kingdom

Eurosat, Europa Park
Saturday, February 24, 2007

This article contains spoilers. If you read on, please be aware that surprises or secrets may be revealed in great depth

Europa Park's interpretation of France isn't far wrong. It is completely bedecked with delicate and ornate theming with cobbled streets and street cafes. The pathway swoops dramatically over a rippling river, trimmed with wrought iron railings, finished off with beautiful fountains.

What is most unorthodox, however, is Eurosat, clearly the focal point of this bustling area, but clearly something completely out of the ordinary. The contrast between the fanciful Parisienne buildings and the spherical silver orb of Eurosat is as spectacular as the ride itself.

Even slow-witted visitors will see the similarities between Eurosat and Walt Disney's EPCOT globe, Spaceship Earth, although it would be foolish to think that the inside harks these similarities.

A fragile looking and almost skeletal conical archway supports a slowly rotating globe with Euro Sat on a sash forms the entrance, with white lights cascading down and across the street below.

In the glow of an indigo blue neon Euro Sat sign, the queue swiftly zig-zags to the main entrance.

Once you're let in, an escalator takes you into the building, with scenes of astronauts in a space shuttle to your left. As if you're at a NASA space installation, you briefly queue inside a rather kitsch interpretation of a space centre, with corrugated walls and a neon glow of paladin lighting set into the ceiling.

Windows look out into the stars and constellations outside, before you enter the rather cramped station.

Here it becomes apparent why the queue is so fast moving. Train number 7 rolls into the station, and departs with almost alarming haste.

Each car seats two people meaning it is as bendy as the average slinky. The sleek train is silver with an almost cylindrical front and restrains excited cosmonaughts with individual lap bars.

Trains come into the station with alarming frequency, and here is a good example of German efficiency at it's best, where before the train even stops, the bars spring up and the gates open, and in less than 15-seconds, the train is dispatched.

Seated, you will note that the seats are comfortable and the lap bar unobtrusive. Legroom is adequate as opposed to generous, and if you have long legs, your knees may rub against the padded front of the car.

Conditions in space are reportedly choppy, so brace yourself as it will get rough.

The train is dispatched not long after your bum touches the seat. Through an archway into the gloom, the train pauses briefly. As if you're on a launch pad, an announcement tells us that the conditions on Jupiter are stormy and that the temperature is 450-degrees.

Then, a rich trance track crescendos as you are pulled onto a dark, spiral lift. A cylindrical centre drags the train up, meaning that you pass the wall on your left as the wall on your right follows you.

It is dark, but the atmosphere is electric with upbeat German dance music accompanying your hasty climb into deepest space.

At the top, like an explosion of glitter, the darkened atmosphere bursts into a glittery green light, and dulcet American tones count down from five... four... three... two... one...

You are thrown to the left and dive down in a perpetual spiral, coiling down through the inky blackness throughout delicate white stars. The train tightly snakes down through every turn, getting sharper and sharper.

As you wonder whether this descent continues, an almost implausibly sharp right hand turn sends you careering back in the opposite direction, once again lunging down almost without end.

Again, spectacular green lasers engulf the inside of the sphere in a delicate twinkle before you skim through some mid-course brakes. These hardly hinder the phenomenal pace, and you spiral towards meteors below.

You slalom above these stricken balls of rock, before a swooping turn sends you violently diving down and slicing right through the centre of these black-lit obstacles.

The ride gets quite violent at this point, the train shunting fiercely from left to right as meteors pass on your left, right and above your fragile skull. A climbing turn to the left offers respite as you climb back into the darkness above, before another turn sends you through yet more meteors.

Not as violent, but hardly dull, once again you are thrown in all directions as you avoid collision. A final and surprisingly sharp turn takes you into a light tunnel, funnelling in on the train as you abruptly stop on the final brakes and return to the station.

You haven't even left the station and the train is leaving the station again as you walk quickly down the exit ramp and onto the escalator down, turning to the left and passing through the shop.

Euro Sat is close to being a perfect ride. The theming is a slightly stereotypical interpretation of the future, but the spherical building the ride is crammed into goes to prove that this rather brassy theming is just as easily dated as Disney World's Space Mountain and not because of Europa cutting corners.

Euro Sat is epic. Like many of Europa's rides, music goes hand-in-hand to create a completely immersive experience, this time combining some startling lighting effects and a fast, attention-grabbing roller coaster.

Lighting effects abound. From delicate white stars twinkling above, to a rolling plethora of lasers, the lighting effects are hardly missed by riders, but are careful not to intrude on the darker sections of the ride.

The meteors interact well with the flow of the coaster. You dive down into them, and the train effectively jolts from left to right. It is hardly smooth, but with only a lap bar, is 20-miles away from the town of Discomfort.

The ride delivers quality almost undiscovered by mankind.

The coaster is fast, well paced, forceful and unrelenting. The downward spiral to the right is beautifully highlighted by the sharp whip into the opposing direction, and the scenery perfectly compliments the ride.

With the ride being so steeped in highlights, and with such power until the brakes, as an almost perfect example of a dark coaster, Eurosat is almost everything we expect from a quality coaster.

Please, do not use our ratings to compare rides head-to-head. They rate only how well this ride meets its own objectives using criteria that may not necessarily be relevant with similar reviews.

Good points:

  • The special effects during the ride are mesmerising
  • A fast, choppy and no-holds-barred coaster
  • Very tight turns and a spiralling layout
  • Decent ride time and a fast-moving queue aided by the enormous capacity

Bad points:

  • Kitsch theming
  • Those with long legs may find the limited legroom painful

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