KRAKE: Attack of the giant octopus!

The German amusement park Heide Park has benefited from its last opening weekend before the winter to formally present to the press its great new ride for 2011: a Diving Machine made by Bolliger & Mabillard, second of its kind in Europe and first in Germany.
In front of the park lake, the public was invited to listen a pirate storytelling about a terrible sea monster when, suddenly, one of the boats of the "Der Mississippi-Dampfe" ride has been attacked and virtually "destroyed" in a blaze of fireworks, before that the name KRAKE (means "octopus" in German) is unveiled.

Official presentation of KRAKE to the press (click to enlarge)
With a total investment of 12 million euros, the thematic of KRAKE is focused around a giant octopus that has established itself in the new area "Bay of pirates" . The dark atmosphere will begin in the queue and visitors will be invited to challenge the monster, in a setting inspired by the theme of pirates and a ship destroyed.

The roller coaster layout itself, 476 meters long, will consist of a 41 meters high vertical drop which plunge into a pit (like Oblivion) representing the mouth of the octopus, followed by an underground passage and a landing in a pool of water! Will then follow an Immelmann, a reversal out a half loop before rolling onto itself back down to earth. The tour will conclude with a series of curves and a camelback.

The pit (click to enlarge)

Merlin Entertainments compliments B&M, with project manager Dirk Loppnow explaining they consider the swiss company as the "Ferrari of the roller coaster manufacturers".  KRAKE is the largest investment made in Germany by the group, which opened recently in the United Kingdom Saw: The Ride at Thorpe Park and Th13teen at Alton Towers.

According to Merlin's artistic director, Candy Holland, KRAKE will go into the continuity of development already carried out at Heide Park in recent years with the Maya-Tal area and the Splash Battle Die Bucht der Totenkopfpiraten.

When asked "Why a Diving Machine?", Candy Holland replied with a smile "It's not just a Diving Machine, but a real experience that will be, for its passengers, not only physically but also mentally captivating. They will be like a pirate approaching the plank suspended above the mouth wide open of a terrifying sea monster".

She adds "With a first-class material and attention into the details of the theming, the ride will be unique in Europe, and it a pleasure to work on its design!"

Construction of the water pool (click to enlarge)

The tracks represent the tentacles of the octopus, while the trains will be composed of 3 rows of 6 seats arranged like a staircase, allowing passengers seated in the back row to take advantage as much as others in the drop! Note that the trains will be the less wide in the world, other Diving Machine models offering a row of 8 or 10 seats.

Construction site (click to enlarge)

Several technical details on the huge construction site (10,000 sqm) have also been revealed. KRAKE will require about 50,000 hours of work, 2000 cubic meters of reinforced concrete, 150,000 kilograms of steel rods (for ground works), 700 tons of steel (supports, tracks and structures) as well as thousands of screws, nails and nuts to fix all that! Several concrete blocks of 12 tons have already been used to construct the pool of water.
"Only the bravest will survive the attack of an octopus!" You have been warned!
To see the progress of construction, go to: www.heide-park-baublog.de


New details unveiled for Gardaland's B&M

Chris McCormak, Project Manager for the Merlin Entertainments Group, unveils some details about the Bolliger & Mabillard rollercoaster currently built at Gardaland, Italy.

And for construction pictures, have a look here or over there, without forgetting the webcam!


EAS 2010 - Interview with Benoît Cornet, CEO of Alterface

During his visit to the Euro Attractions Show 2010 in Rome, NewsParcs had the opportunity to meet the Alterface team, a Belgian company specializing in interactive multimedia systems that implement new communications and entertainment modes which allow users to delve into the information and to interact intuitively with it.

The Alterface's CEO Benoît Cornet, gave us a little time to answer our questions and we talk about the future. And future... Alterface has a lot because the company has big plans for 2011, 3 more precisely, and all located in Europe!

The first project will be located at the Futuroscope, France, in place of "La Citadelle du Vertige" experience. It was born of a long creative process that lasted almost 5 years! This will be the "Huitième Continent" (literally, the "Eighth Continent"), a large interactive theater called a "hybrid" because taking over the techniques of augmented reality, and the playful side of video games.

The attraction will be provided with a good projection technique, combined with a panoramic screen 13 meters wide. The film, which is not an animated film, has been developed specifically for this project, but is intended to be distributed in the future. The room will be divided into two parts, two screens will be face to face for 42 people each, totaling 84 people playing in the room at the same time.
Our friends from ParkOtheK have published a comprehensive article on the "Eighth Continent", with lots of details on the future attraction. (in French)

The other two projects will be a real revolution for Alterface that rely on them for its future. There will be two interactive dark rides, very innovative, and for which the company was involved differently.

The first interactive dark ride will be built in Rainbow Magicland, second park of the AlfaPark group, located in Valmonte, Italy, and which will open in spring 2011. For this one, Alterface is responsible for the integration of interactive animations into the set. AlfaPark has not yet revealed details about it, but we have no doubt this will soon be the case!

Benoit Cornet could not reveal the exact location of the second interactive dark ride, but he explained that Alterface will be responsible for all content of the latter, thus exceeding the "simple" integration Magicland!

The company relies heavily on this specific ride, and positions clearly itself in the field of Toy Story Mania (Walt Disney Imagineering), while asserting it will be even better! Despite the embargo about this future great European first, Alterface reveals however it will consist of 42 screens and it will be a pure concept of dark rides "media-based" in which interactivity will be very high among the players and their environment.

In the future, Alterface intends to develop a lot this concept of interactive dark ride "new generation" by incorporating the ability to customize and modify the content to create alternative scenarios! Benoit Cornet thinks there will be convergence between the attractiveness of a video game and the fact that is fun to play several times to learn all alternatives purposes. Briefly, it also states that its purpose is to make excellent quality, without making too "cerebral."
Benoît Cornet highlights the success of its product "TheHouse" (the haunted house that combines a spinning gondola, special effects, 3D animations and interactive displays). The formula has been found and the two copies that have opened in 2009 (at Castle of Chaos, USA) and 2010 (at Tussenfryd, Norway) received positive feedback from visitors. A third "TheHouse" will be built in Europe in 2011, no further details at the moment, but the machine is on!

 The House model (click to enlarge)

Cinema 5Di

Regarding his latest product, Cinema 5Di, Alterface currently developing distribution networks and considers itself in a year of transition. The biggest challenge this year was to create the new "Desperados" in 3D. The company now surrounds himself with new partners to expand its catalog of films, which will include 9 titles in 2011.

On the EAS booth, "Desperados 3D" drew crowds and has conquered them! We loved it! (Click to enlarge)

On its booth, Benoît Cornet also presented this beautiful interactive theater "Mission Ocean", a project conducted on behalf of Compagnie des Alpes at the Bioscope (France) in 2008.

Maquette de Mission Océan (cliquez pour agrandir)

Finally, he told us that the website of the company will be rebuilt soon, and that he is always looking for engineers specialized in programming, and content integration. This information should involve more than one, so the future looks bright for Alterface!

We will return soon on future developments, projects and news of this great company!

Alterface's team, with Benoît Cornet on the left, poses in front of the Cinema 5Di (click to enlarge)

Interview by François Mayné and Sébastien Ganzer. 

Thank you to Olivier Vincent, Alterface's Content & Communication Manager, for his help.

EAS 2010 - Mack Rides projects for 2011

At the Euro Attractions Show in Rome, we stopped at the booth of Mack Rides, a German company specialized in 5 main product: roller coasters, spin rides, water rides, dark rides and people movers.

In the field of roller coasters, it has evolved in recent years, particularly with the launching of the YoungStar Coaster (designed for families) and the Launch Coaster whose only copy Blue Fire (Europa Park, Germany), has been praised by many professionals!

We had the opportunity to talk with the marketing manager who came back on the achievements of 2010 and the projects for 2011.

Twist’n’Splash debuts in 2011

As the central element of the booth, visitors could watch a superb model of the newest product of the firm: the Twist'n'Splash. To design it, Mack Rides engineers were inspired by their famous Tea Cups, a reference in the industry, that they wanted to combine with interactive water games like those you have with the Splash Battle.

On this occasion, two patents were filed, allowing the boats (9 in the small model, and 12 in the large) floating on water with safety while turning on themselves. The principle is the same as Tea Cups, namely 3 rotations: the main platform, secondary platforms, and each boat.

Visitors sit at four (or six), looking outside, and are equipped with a water cannon they operate with a crank pumping water under the boat. Water effects are incorporated into decorative elements on the platform, offering more opportunities for passengers to get wet, especially as other water cannons, available to the public, are installed along the ride!

Among other technical points, they mention the ability to vary the speed of rotation of the various platforms, the different boat types, and the liftable platform for a dry and secure load/unload procedure.

In his sales pitch, Mack Rides highlights the low maintenance costs on the attraction that does not include electrical drives submerged. Operational side, the largest version (12 boats to 6 people) can carry nearly 1,440 people per hour.

Twist'n'Splash model presented at the EAS 2010 (click to enlarge)

For young children from 1 meter, Mack Rides has designed another model called "Twist'n'Splash Mini" which offers the same type of interaction with water, but in a simplified version. The secondary platforms are removed because the boats (6 or 8 depending on the version) are placed next to each other on the main platform. So there are only two movements of rotation. The configuration of the boats is totally different, because child-centered who shares a single water cannon with 1 or 2 adults. Each boat can hold 2 adults and 4 children back to back..

Twist'n'Splash Mini concept-art

Currently, requests for Twist'n'Splash tributary, and particularly for the water parks. For 2011 on has been sold to Pleasure Beach Blackpool (with SpongeBob theme, see here) and another one in southern Europe. It is not scheduled to open one in Europa Park.

The revival of Spinning Coaster

The company had tried his own Spinning Coaster in 1997 by opening Euro Mir at Europa Park, a park also owned by the Mack family. Contrary to models of a competitor of that time (Reverchon), the rotation of the cars of Euro Mir is not free, but is managed electrically according to gear position on the circuit. Thus, they automatically turn into the flat parts, but remain blocked into the curves and spirals.

It took 10 years for a second Spinning Coaster come out of the Mack factory , with the command of American Knott's Berry Farm (Sierra Sidewinder). And from that moment, Mack introduced the cars with free spinning.

A Mack Rides Spinning Coaster train (Sierra Sidewinder)

Since then, Mack took the opportunity to refine the product and a third project, also custom built, was conducted on behalf of Universal Studios Japan in 2010. Built indoor, Space Fantasy The Ride is a mix between spinning coaster and dark ride around the theme of space, all with 19 trains, with a very significant flow of 2000 persons per hour! And the success was at the end, the ride totaling up to 5 hours of waiting time this summer!

Space Fantasy The Ride station

The company is very proud of this achievement and believe that this combination roller coaster / dark rides will be the big trend in coming years!

Another Spinning Coaster has been purchased by the French amusement park Le Pal which will have the exclusivity of the first free spinning Mack roller coaster in Europe.

Other roller coaster projects in 2011

Besides Le Pal, the company is currently working on two other roller coasters for next year.

The first will be an E-powered coaster, custom built, for the Ocean Park in Hong Kong. Called "Article Blast", the attraction is described as "a real expedition" and the train will be equipped with light effects (similar to Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit of Maurer Söhne). A special access platform for disabled will be installed on the station.

In Europe, the Danish amusement park Djurs Sommerland bought a Water Coaster along 450 meters which will provide a descent of 28 meters high.

A Water Coaster

Note that another Water Coaster is in talks with an Italian park, with no more details yet!

Projects Launch Coaster

We talked about it earlier in this article, Mack Rides has introduced last year with success the production of a Launch Coaster, surfing on the success of competing models, including those of Maurer Söhne and Gerstlauer.

The Launch Coaster is apparently very popular, and Mack Rides has announced us two projects were in talks: a first in Asia and second in the United States.

Pictures of Blue Fire at Europa Park, Germany

Good review for the Interactive Boat Ride

The Mack version of the Splash Battle, called "Interactive Boat Ride" works well enough as we have seen this year with Whales Adventures at Europa Park, and last year with Pirates Attack at Fraispertuis City, France. There are currently three projects under way including one on behalf of Sea World Australia.

In the rest of its actuality, we note that the company has launched a new website, http://www.mack-rides.com, whose content is presented in a more interactive way.

We will remain attentive to the future plans of Mack Rides!

Pictures: NewsParcs if mentions, or © Mack Rides


EAS 2010 - Maurer Söhne: innovations and new markets!

During our visit to the Euro Attractions Show, we have visited the booth of the German roller coasters manufacturer Maurer Söhne. This company has literally invested in the market since the early 2000s with original attractions and quality, especially with its products "S-Coaster Spinning Coaster" (Winja's at Phantasialand, Tarantula at Parque de Atracciones Madrid) and "X -Car Coaster" (G Force at Drayton Manor, Formule X at Drievliet Amusement Park).

Maurer Söhne at the EAS 2010 in Roma (click to enlarge)

We have talked to several persons in charge with whom we discussed existing and future achievements of the company, in Europe and worldwide.

2010, and opening up new markets

Maurer Söhne is very active in new markets, these countries are beginning to develop a range of theme parks increasingly important, and that investors are now very attractive to manufacturers.The company is very proud of the double Launched Coaster (LSM) conducted on behalf of Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, UAE. Named Fiorano GT Challenge, the attraction will offer, from 27 October, to visitors to experience a ride on Ferrari cars, simulating accelerations (3 total) and braking over a distance of 1,000 meters. The X-Car trains (3x4 passengers) are lifelike replicas of Ferrari F430 Spider. And as they see it big there, each passenger will receive a pair of glasses before the ride!

Fiorano GT Challenge's train model  (with a different car design) (click to enlarge)

Besides this major project in the UAE, Maurer Söhne has announced this year having built a X-Car Coaster similar to G Force (Drayton Manor, UK) in Iraq, a country undergoing reconstruction!

Finally, this is on the side of the giant Chinese that the company is watching, as much as 3 projects are underway in this country. This year, a standard SkyLoop (model XT-150) will open at Knight Valley in the province of Shenzhen. This roller coaster ride, designed on the basis of X-Car Coaster has a run in a loop with a vertical lift, a reversal and an inversion (Sky Loop) to 46 meters in height.

SkyLoop (XT-150) model (click to enlarge)

In 2011, a "XL 100" X-Car Coaster (similar to Formula X at Drievliet) will also be open at Knight Valley, while another SkyLoop XT-150 (called Mystery of Clouds) will be built at World Joyland, a park located in the Wujin District.

2011 Innovations

Maurer Söhne has presented three new "product concepts" in its booth:

X-Car FlyingLaunch: the first GreenCoaster© concept 

The small German Bayern Park has created a surprise by announcing the purchase of an X-Car FlyingLaunch custom built, whose layout includes an inverted top hat, a figure never seen at Maurer Söhne.

The FlyingLaunch will use its linear synchronous motor as both drive and brakes. Its means the possibility of sending passengers into another run without slowdown or stopping. With common roller coasters, all of the energy not consumed by friction is finally lost in the brakes. But Maurer's new technology is able to recover 50% of the expended energy and store it in super capacitors, only to use it again in the next start. This ingenious system will be a world first, and will make the Flying launch probably the greenest launch coaster available on the market.

Model of the world first X-Car FlyingLaunch of Bayern Park, the GreenCoaster© concept (click to enlarge)

LEDs wheel

What caught the attention of all who passed on the booth, is this coaster wheel in which LEDs have been embedded. In keeping with the green spirit, the electric power needed to operate these LEDs is supplied by the wheel itself, which acts as a generator during friction with the rail. This innovation could make its appearance at Bayern Park ... but it's not confirmed yet!

LEDs are embedded on the right one (click to enlarge)

The X-Train

Until now, trains of X-Car Coaster consisted of one or two cars of 3 rows of 2 seats, not to mention the version to 3 cars with 2 rows of 2 seats on Fiorano GT Challenge.

Maurer Söhne now offers a large train consisting of rows of 4 seats, up to 9 total (for 36 people). The central seats are advanced compared with those at the extremities which are floorless, giving their passengers more thrills!

Of course, this train still proposes a beautifully executed design and an incredible comfort thanks to lapbars specifically designed by Maurer.

A X-train model (with 6 rows, for 24 passengers) (click ton enlarge)

Rainbow MagicLand

Maurer Söhne is also very pleased to have been chosen by the Italian group AlfaPark to build two roller coaster at Rainbow Magicland, their second theme park which will open next spring in Valmonte, Italy.

The first coaster is undoubtedly the future symbol of the park. It is an X-Car Launch Coaster, custom built, which is themed on "energy", trains symbolizing a sudden discharge of energy. This will once again a magnetic launch that will reach 95 km / h in 2.5 seconds.

The coaster will be composed, over a length of 750 meters, of a huge camelback, the "Not Inverted Loop", several curves, helix, and an Heartline Roll. The run lasts about 80 seconds to a maximum flow of 1,000 people per hour.

  Pictures from EAS tour, last 8th of October (click to enlarge)

The second is a custom built indoor Spinning Coaster (model Xtended SC-3000) that Maurer Söhne qualifies as its "most aggressive spinning" The reasons, although the interior theme is not yet defined, are that AlfaPark wants to do something very dark, chaotic and disorienting. The boarding station is in hight, the track has two lifts (a little above the station, and a bigger one at the end), a horseshoe inclined at 80°, a 50° first drop, is 17 meters high and a have a very short passage to the outside, to enable future visitors to see what lurks inside the building.

Like all of the Maurer Spinning Coasters, each car includes a brake within the structure to limit rotation so they do not become too intense. There will be a total of 7 vehicles, 4 on the track and 3 at the station for a theoretical flow of 850 persons per hour.

Pictures from EAS tour, last 8th of October (click to enlarge)

During the construction site tour held on October 8, NewsParcs had the opportunity to see the ride in action, what we have immortalized on video.

Two other projects in Europe for 2011

Furthermore Bayern Park and Rainbow MagicLand, the orders book of Maurer Söhne has grown from two other European projects for next year.

The first will be a custom built Spinning Coaster for Bobbejaanland in Belgium, property of Parque Reunidos.

The second, a standard Sky Loop XT-150, will be built at Linnanmäki in Finland, and named Ukko

According to what we see, we are sure that Maurer Söhne will still impress us in the future!