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A success story made by Mack

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Season 2015

40 years Europa-Park

A success story made by Mack
Europa-Park can look back with pride on a very successful business history. In 1975, the first season of Europa-Park, 250,000 visitors came to the park. Today, the family business is by far the biggest theme park in Germany, with more than 5 million visitors last year, and the best-attended seasonal leisure park worldwide. More than 100 million visitors have come to Europa-Park since its foundation. Over 100 attractions and international shows offer fun and entertainment for the whole family on an area of 95 hectares. Meanwhile, Europa-Park developed from being “just” a leisure park into a renowned address for conferences and a popular location for TV productions. With its five 4-star hotels Europa-Park has become a popular short-break destination for guests from all over Europe.
1975 – 1985: years of foundation, growth despite initial resistance

The history of Europa-Park, which today is considered one of the most beautiful leisure parks in the world, is a typical success story. In the 18th century, the workshops in Waldkirch/Germany were famous for their skills in the construction of stage coaches and carriages. In 1870 the company moved on to the fairground business. By 1915, MACK Rides was a preferred supplier of the “Circus Krone” and in 1921 the first roller coaster was built. As of 1930, the family business specialised in the construction of saloon caravans for travelling showmen, carousels, ghost trains and roller coasters. In 1951, MACK has built the first wooden bob run and just one year later risked the leap across the Atlantic to enter the US market. It was Franz Mack who led the company on to become a well-known international business. This success was built on innovative conceptions for rides and on the company’s entrance into the amusement park industry.

In 1975 Europa-Park was opened in Rust/Germany as a theme park with leisure options for all ages and as a “showcase” for the products made by MACK. Under the direction of Franz Mack and his sons Roland and Jürgen, an ideal combination of park facilities, entertainment, culture and attractions for the whole family, almost all of them designed by the parent company MACK Rides in Waldkirch, was created.
But not everyone believed in the concept: In the beginning the Mack family had to face up to great scepticism. “Rust is on the brink of disaster!” or “What happens to the leisure ruins in Rust?” are just some of the headlines, which followed the idea of building a leisure park in Rust/Germany. But the attendance figures confirmed the success: 250,000 visitors came in 1975, one year later already 700,000 and in 1978 one million people visited Europa-Park. An important step in the development of Europa-Park was the opening of the Italian themed area and the realisation of the European themed concept together with the stage designer and film architect Ulrich Damrau in 1982.
1985 – 1995: European orientation, rise to market leader, first awards

The European themed concept is being developed consequently with much love and attention being paid to detail, in succession Holland (1984), England (1988), France (1990), Scandinavia (1992), Spain (1994) and Germany (1996) are created. On the background of the political development in Europe, the concept turned out to be visionary. Signed in 1985, the Schengen Treaty opens the internal borders between the Schengen Member States during the following 10 years until 1995.

The high quality standards set by the Mack brothers can be realised throughout the park: Europa-Park offers food and beverages, attractions, gardens and shows on a very high level. Already in 1990, the highly respected German product testing organisation “Stiftung Warentest” rates Europa-Park with the highest marks. In 1991, two million people visit Europa-Park.
In 1996, “Stiftung Warentest” draws the conclusion that “Europa-Park in Rust offers the best entertainment with the highest quality at a fair price – especially compared to Disneyland Paris”. And one of Germany’s leading experts in the field of tourism, Prof. Horst W. Opaschowski from Hamburg, signs Europa-Park’s visitors’ book with the following words: “Experience your life – this is the prognosis for the future. The future has begun a long time ago here in Rust.”
1995 – 2014: Development into a short-break destination, Ammolite awarded the second Michelin star

The opening of “El Andaluz”, the first hotel in a German leisure park, marks the beginning of a new era. Because of the larger variety of entertainment possibilities and the resulting longer duration of stays, the demand for hotel rooms is increasing. Already during the first year, the occupancy rate of the hotel reaches 87 %, consequently the “Castillo Alcazar” is built in 1999. But the demand stays enormous: the total occupancy rate in 2000 is 97.7 %. Europa-Park draws a record attendance of 3 million visitors.

In 2001/2002 Europa-Park is the first German leisure park to introduce a winter season. 180,000 people visit the park during the opening period of six weeks. With Europa-Park becoming an increasingly important visitor magnet, an own motorway exit is opened in spring 2002 after a long lasting struggle with state bureaucracy who resisted to build a new exit. The construction of a third 4-star hotel is merely a matter of time. The new hotel “Colosseo”, designed in Roman-Italian style, is the largest individual hotel in Baden-Wuerttemberg. In 2007 the fourth 4-star hotel “Santa Isabel” is opened in the style of a Portuguese monastery. Together with the hotels “El Andaluz”, “Castillo Alcazar” and “Colosseo” it forms the largest hotel resort in Germany, according to the number of beds. Already during the first year, the hotel “Colosseo”, which is open year-round, reaches an occupancy rate of 95 %. With the higher capacity of hotel beds, the number of visitors who stay at Europa-Park for several days increases. In addition to the many overnight stays that are booked at Europa-Park Hotel Resort also a large number of overnight stays in the tourist region Black Forest is initiated by Europa-Park.
Also the business with corporate clients is increasing because of the large offer of conference and function rooms. More than 1,500 events are organised each year by the “Confertainment”, which was founded in 1998. At the same time, Europa-Park is becoming a more and more popular location for TV productions. Approximately 200 TV shows are produced in Germany´s biggest theme park every year.
In 2011, the park´s portfolio was expanded by a new “Enchanted Forest”, which guarantees fun for all the family. Here, the visitors can enter their childhood fairy-tales, while the little ones go on a somewhat different gondola ride in the children´s attraction “Piccolo Mondo”. And the new family attraction “Volo da Vinci”, opening on Whitsun 2011, promises interactive fun in one of da Vinci´s ingenuous flight objects. The first loop-restaurant worldwide “FoodLoop” offers a somewhat different rollercoaster experience. Here, cooking pots actually loop the loop before they reach the tables in this new restaurant.
In 2012, the new wooden rollercoaster “WODAN – Timburcoaster” and the fifth hotel “Bell Rock”, which opened in July 2012, represent the biggest investment in the history of Europa-Park. In 2013, the Enchanted Forest was being extended by 6 tales of the Brothers Grimm. Further, the Magic Cinema 4D was completely redesigned as well as the Confertainment Center with its nostalgic Salon-Carousel and new conference facilities.

The Europa-Park gastronomy has been crowned with success: The gourmet restaurant “Ammolite - The Lighthouse Restaurant" in the 4-star Superior Hotel Bell Rock in the Europa-Park has been awarded the second Michelin star in 2014, just about two years after opening. The Restaurant Ammolite is the world's only restaurant in an amusement park to have been awarded two Michelin stars.

Another highlight: Since 2014 nature is a huge adventure in Germany’s biggest theme park. “Arthur – In the Minimoys Kingdom” is the most intricate indoor attraction in the entire history of Europa-Park. It is hidden under a gigantic, 15-meter dome on a magical island surrounded by two streams and Grimm’s enchanted forest. The attraction fascinates visitors with a unique dark ride and numerous high-tech special effects. Passengers fly through the dream world in rotating cars suspended below a track.

More than 3,500 employees, among them 80 trainees, work at Europa-Park during the season, which makes the park by far the largest employer in this region. Moreover, approximately 8,000 indirect jobs are generated by Europa-Park.

Future and succession of generations

But also for the years to follow, the Mack family has made plans. In addition to the improvement of the existing attractions, this means particularly the continuous expansion with new attractions and themed areas. Also the next generation has to find their challenges. In 2007, the sons of Europa-Park’s managing director Roland Mack, Michael and Thomas, have joined the management. Michael is responsible for marketing and sales in the manufacturing company MACK Rides in Waldkirch, for the operative management of Europa-Park and for the MACK Solutions department, which was founded in summer 2008. His brother Thomas is head of the Europa-Park Hotel Resort, the entire Food & Beverage section of the park and for the marketing department of Europa-Park.

Leisure industry of tomorrow – invented, developed and realised by Mack today - a concept, which guarantees success also in the 21st century. A satisfied guest is one of the most important factors for success, this means to keep the main focus on quality and innovation also for the years to come. Managing director Roland Mack: “Our guests only deserve the best, and this is what they get at Europa-Park.”
Europa-Park then and now



Area in Hectares





more than 3,500



more than 5 million


+ Caravan Site




Restaurants/Snack Bars



Admission Prices in €

3 DM

42,50 €



over 100


1 puppet show

23 hours

of show time

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