New plans: Europa-Park closes controversial raft trip to Africa

Renovation within the next year

Accusations of racism have disturbed the amusement park idyll in Rust: the raft ride through a cliched African world called critics to action. Now Europa-Park is closing the attraction. As well as the “Flight of Icarus” and the “Dreamtime Dome”. What is known about the new plans for Europa-Park.

The raft ride also awakens childhood memories in park visitors: the ride has existed since 1975 and three years later was transformed into an African “jungle”.

Photo: Patrick Seeger / dpa

First, Europa-Park was suspected of racism, then changed some details of his raft trip to Africa and is now closing the attraction for a complete makeover. The exotic world of the jungle is about to become a little Austria. Will the fairytale empress “Sisi” play a main character?

Die-hard fans of Germany’s largest amusement park are already speculating with enthusiasm. The Mack family, who own it, have urged them to search for clues with a new video.

But one thing is certain: this Sunday visitors can let themselves be sailed for the last time across the lake and through an exotic fantasy landscape.

With the winter season, the Macks close three famous attractions at the same time: in addition to the raft ride, the “Volo di Icaro” carousel and the “La Cupola dei Sogni” cinema.

Too bad for the elephant that sprays water with its trunk.

Europa-Park fan on the YouTube channel “EPfan95”.

“Nothing is more constant than change,” commented Michael Mack of the changes on his Twitter account. The three areas of the park would leave room for “future and exciting adventures”. “Are you ready?” Mack asks.

Not all fans would answer “yes”.

“I hope that the dinghy trip will remain and will only be redirected”, writes one under a video on the YouTube channel “Epfan95”. “It’s a shame for the elephant that sprays water with its trunk.”

Some fans may think the 44-year-old African world has fallen out of time, but the raft ride is still popular with many visitors, despite all the arguments and allegations of politically motivated racism. Also because it is so “relaxing”.

Raft trip to Africa: Cliché served by colonial masters?

The African area has come under criticism due to its cliché portrayal of Africans on the one hand – and trivial references to the colonial era. For example, the snack bar was called “Colonial Food Store”. Under pressure from public opinion, Europa-Park renamed it more politically correct from colonial shop to “Adventure Food Store” in 2021. It became an adventure snack bar, so to speak.

Critical visitors also took offense at the white man, who wore a colonial-style safari suit, while locals wore traditional costumes and did simple manual labor. It was a romantic depiction of a period of oppression and exploitation, they argued.

Even the white colonial gentleman or the safari tourist has offended: for some visitors to the park it represented the thinking of the European master, others still do not understand all the excitement to this day.

Photo: private

Africa World in Rust simply reminded other visitors of the folklore shows in tourism today. Asked if the debate on racism was the deciding factor in ending the raft trip, the spokesperson for Europa-Park replied evasively.

“Basically, the strength of Europa-Park lies in the fact that there is no stopping, the attractions are constantly being renovated or even newly created,” he explains. Due to limited space, it can happen again and again that attractions are completely replaced. “So it is now with the Jungle Raft, the complete redesign of which was decided several years ago. The plans were delayed by Corona. “

Reassure fans of rafts: a trip on the water will be possible again in the future. Europa-Park also hid clues to where the trip was going in a farewell video of the raft trip – the Austrian flag appeared twice there. In the vicinity of imaginary Africa there is already the Austrian amusement park with the Alpen-Express and the Tyrolean wild watercourse.

At the start of the 2023 season, the conversion to Europa-Park is expected to be completely finished

Will it continue to be a peaceful and comfortable boat trip? Well, some fans speculate that motorized speedboats, so-called motor boats, will cross the lake in Rust in the future.

The amusement park team hasn’t given any details yet. Just that: the conversion is planned in two stages. Final Completion: “Probably for the season opening in 2023,” says the park spokesperson. “But guests can already expect the first news at the start of the 2022 season”.

“Ikarus” and “Traumzeit-Dome” must give way to the main attractions

For the other two tourist destinations, it seems the final end has come: “The closure of the ‘Flug des Ikarus’ and ‘Dome of Dreams’ attractions serves to prepare another major attraction that is expected to open in the course of 2023,” says Ruggine. .

“Further information on this has not yet been disclosed.” Fans have high hopes: a new super agile and large roller coaster will replace Ikarus and the Dome.

And as for the fairytale empress Sisi: in the latest Europa-Park video, a portrait of her in a golden frame is leaning against an African hut.

A photo of Empress Sisi points to the future: in the Europa-Park farewell video, a portrait of the famous and magical Austrian empress is leaning against an African hut. Now fans are speculating on the role it will play in the converted rafting area.

Photo: Europa-Park / Screenshot BNN

And as the park management had announced: “If you look closely, you might be able to get one or the other clue to the future.”

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