So, Wodan opened and off we went to Europa-Park to ride it.
I was reasonably grounded with my expectation from the physical ride hardware, mainly as the layout had never massively appealed to me (aside from a massive first drop) and the realisaion that "rubber wheels" were going to hinder the pace of the ride. As a big fan of Troy, I was fairly sure that this would not beat it. And, I was right. At least, I was right in terms of track and train. However - it's not one big competition and when taken as an attraction at Europa-Park, Wodan is well and truly spot on.
It simply isn't the sort of ride you discuss on the basis of track and train. It is much, much more than that. Europa-Park have got a solid wooden coaster, with the best throughputs of any built by GCI, and dressed it up so incredibly, that it seems to dwarf most others in Europe, at least in terms of experience.
Where Die Vliegende Hollander has a sensational queue/station and then a dour rollercoaster, Wodan ensures that the sensational queue is then followed by a genuinely fun and exciting experience. At least as high quality (and better in parts) as the queue for DVH at Efteling, you are treated to stunning views of the ride as you wait. With animatronics, mist, fire and projection mapping used in multiple places, it’s a feast for the eye. It’s definitely Europa-Park’s best themed project since Poseidon opened in 2000.
Every inch of detail seems to be dealt with. Whether it’s waterfalls flowing down the grand entrance, mist enveloping guests, fire burning on a lake or hammers causing mini earthquakes under the ground - EP have got it. The statues in the station, whose heads turn to face arriving and departing trains add yet more mystery to it all.
Music is also a key component of the experience which has been created by Mack Solutions. The Belarus Philharmonic Orchestra were used to record the rides soundtrack, and the triumphant yet eerie score which greets every train departing the station and eager guests in the queue ensures the atmosphere is red hot.
Upon departing the station, a surprisingly high speed out banked corner comes before the lift hill. Passing the fire wolves at the top of the lift (who will breath fire in due course), the train picks up breathtaking pace before the first, massive, dive into the tunnel. What follows is a camelback, although airtime is limited, and then a fantastically fun increasingly banked corner which then dips under the entrance arch and into the banked station flythrough. The pace at this point is brilliant. Following the flythrough, the ride loses a lot of pace on the camelback, which sadly offers no airtime or any major thrill. However, the restbite is followed by a quick left hand dive down, and some fun dips and kinks before the Atlantica turnaround. The bunny hop over Atlantica again doesn’t deliver much by way of airtime, but there is then a very fun left hand dive into yet another tunnel, which causes a lot of screaming as the ride picks up some more pace. Some fun dips and dives follow, before the ride makes its way into the brakes. Overall - track and train - it’s a solid, good rollercoaster without being one of the worlds best. With just a little more pace on the camelbacks and in the final fifth of the ride, I feel Wodan would get masses more praise. However, I fear that the coaster junkies who will ride it expecting the next Troy or Prowler, may be left disappointed.
What is for certain, though, is that the experience adds yet more value to an already packed theme park and one of the best themed ride experiences in Europe. It’s a sensational piece of artistry and one that Europa-Park should be very, very proud of.
I think the following video sums it up very well indeed:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7U1IO03UgR4