Always more scary sensations

© F.Julie /The Future is wild
Meetings with animals from the future or dragons, travels in the past or in the Fourth Dimension, adventures at the time of Julius Cesar,…. Amusement parks vie with each other on terms of imagination to attract kids and adults. The choice is wide.

[ Practical ]

- Futuroscope
Getting there : TGV to Futuroscope.
Open every day till November 16th.
Children 5-16 : 25 €, adults : 33 €
Tel : 0549493080,
- Vulcania
Getting there : By road, 14 km from Clermont-Ferrand and 435 km from Paris. Trains till Clermont-Ferrand
Open every day till August 31st, then closed on Mondays and Thursdays till November 12th.
Children 6-16 : 13,50 €, adults : 21 €
- Disneyland
Getting there : From Paris, RER A till Marne-la-Vallée
Open every day
Entrance from 35 €
- Parc Asterix
Getting there : 30 km north of Paris by autoroute A1
Paying shuttle (19 € per adult, 13 € per child) from the Louvre.
Open every day till August 31st, then on week-ends and during school vacations.
Children 3-11 : 27 €, adults : 37 €
- Europa Park
Getting there : TGV till Strasbourg + train till Offenburg, then shuttle bus.
Open every day till November 2nd then from November 29th.
Children 4-11 : 28 €, adults : 31,50 €
- Cité de la Mer Cherbourg
Getting there : By road, 355 km from Paris. Train from Paris Saint-Lazare.
Open every day till August 31st.
Children 5-17 : 10,50 €, adults : 15,50 €
As every year, to prompt young and old alike to come again, amusement parks start the tourist season with new attractions. Using widely the high technologies, they offer a very varied range of sensations and feelings appropriate to satisfy the tastes of everyone.

©F.Julie /The Future is wild
 Launched far into the future
In this spring 2008, the palm of innovation goes to the Futuroscope for “Les Animaux du Futur” (The Future is wild), a world premiere. Equipped with 3D binoculars and a wrist sensor, visitors board small vehicles for a 6 mn ride and are launched far into the future, successively 5, 100 and 200 millions years from now. Going through settings featuring a dry and cold steppe, a swampy valley, ocean deeps and tropical jungle, they discover extraordinary animals they can communicate with thanks to a process of increased reality. The baboukari, a monkey living on ground. The tortunosaure, a 7 m high herbivore weighting 120 tons that goes back to turtle. The suceur-sauteur (sucker-jumper), a 30 cm high snail that moves by jumping. An octopus-monkey that goes back to squid and lives in trees. But these astonishing creatures and the settings haven’t been invented by chance. Everything fit evolution models of the Earth climate developed by scientists.

© Futuroscope
 Six extraordinary worlds
Second novelty of the year in the Futuroscope, the Castle of Giddiness is an itinerary – show where peoples experience optical illusions in settings devised by comics author Moebius. Wearing a visor with a mirror, they follow the hero of “The Airtight Garage” comic book who is searching for his jailed beloved one. A quest that makes them go through and fly six extraordinary worlds with the feeling of being in levitation.
Besides, a new program is on at the Imax Dome cinema with a film about dinosaurs while at the Dynamic cinema a film makes you cross Lapland at full speed on a snowmobile.

© Vulcania
 In the depths of the Earth
On its side Vulcania pursues the change engaged last year by proposing more playful attractions while keeping an educational and informative aspect on the driving forces of the Earth. With Dragon Ride the visitors are firmly belted into seats capable of performing 100 movements per second and simulating a 2G acceleration to make a four minutes trip in the depths of the Earth through a 4D film. There, they encounter more or less friendly and quiet dragons that take them through various adventures. In some countries these legendary creatures were indeed accused to provoke tsunamis or volcanic eruptions. More scientific, a 120 m2 area hosts scale models of the volcanoes from Auvergne and explains the volcanic phenomenon in this region. Outside, a Grand Geyser, has been recreated and throws water up to 20 m high in the middle of an aquatic garden, where you will find interactive fountains, water tunnels and other amusing water displays. Lastly, the VolcanBul is an electric vehicle guided by GPS takes you around the park with commentaries explaining the volcanic phenomenon that shaped the surroundings landscapes.

© Disney
 Breathtaking drop
Disneyland Paris gets you back to scary sensations with the Tower of Terror. In the frightening setting of a deserted luxury hotel, kids and adults board an elevator that takes them through corridors where ghostly images of disappeared customers appear. Then, suddenly, the elevator makes a breathtaking13 floors drop faster than the speed of gravity that brings them into another dimension, the Twilight Zone. More quiet, Stitch Line allows kids to talk and play in real time with the alien Stitch who welcomes them on board of its space vessel.
As to the second large park of Paris area, Asterix offers the visitors to take up a challenge from Cesar, Le Défi de César. During 20 mn they are plunged in the comic universe on an interactive way thanks to special effects as morphing and animatronics. Meeting their heroes, they must go through four tests to be considered worthy to become spies of the Roman emperor. To do so they must know how to disguise themselves, to resist the charm of pretty Gallic women, to travel on a galley and to face Cesar, Asterix and Obelix.

© Europa Park
 Medieval legend
Once again take a journey through time in Le Puy du Fou with the Odyssey that not only makes you travel to the Antique Rome but also to the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the Fantasy Forest. A 20 mn interactive tour mixing settings, actors and special effects where giant elevator, changing shapes walls, moving armoury and secret doors will come one after the other. Second novelty, The Legend of Martin is mainly for children. Inspired by a real medieval legend, this musical puppet show takes them to the past where they must help inhabitants from a little village terrorized by a monstrous beast.
In Germany, but near Strasbourg, Europa Park gets an English style with two new attraction reminding London. “London bus” that invites travellers to a trip full of jolts 7 m over the ground. “Crazy Taxi”, where children above four years old can drive replicas of London cabs in a garage setting.

© Cite de la Mer
 In the ocean abyss
Moreover, two new shows are on the agenda. “The Fight of the Nobles” that put on stages horses and knights in the Spanish Arena. “Vision”, that combines acrobatics, illusion and comedy on the theme of the four elements, earth, air, fire and water. Lastly, the Mercedes Benz hall hosts an exhibition on Formula One with videos showing races, pictures, cars and pilots outfits from different times.
And finally, in Cherbourg, The Cité de la Mer launches “On a Marché sous la Mer” (We walked under the Sea). A one hour virtual trip that, thanks to simulators, takes the visitors in an underwater base and till 10 000 m deep, in the ocean abyss. But prior to this expedition, they are given information in order to become familiar with this universe made of volcanic phenomenon, strange landscapes, total darkness and not well-known animal species.
Travels in the future, in the past, underground or under the sea, now you just have to make your choice.

April 21, 2008
Thierry Joly