In a virtual ceremony enjoyed by the entire industry, the Park World Excellence Awards took place at 11.00am GMT on Thursday 16 December. Here, the winners tell us what it meant to be recognised by this leading industry awards scheme for parks and projects in the EMEA region.
BEST RIDE(S), SPONSORED BY SIMWORX
Tornado Springs, Paultons Park
Supplied by the Mancey Family, Mack Rides, Zamperla, Zierer, MK Themed Attractions, Leisure Expert Group, IMAscore and Formula K at Paultons Park
The Mancey family said: “We were delighted to see that Tornado Springs won the Best Ride(s) category in the recent Park World awards. The whole team worked exceptionally hard to create our new land and great care was taken over the ride selection to ensure we offered unique, fun and immersive themed experiences that could be enjoyed by the whole family. We are looking forward to enhancing the ride offering in Tornado Springs even further this year with the opening of our fantastic new junior coaster, Farmyard Flyer, in April.”
Dan Liddle, Formula K said: “The entire team at Formula K are delighted to be recognised in Park World awards for Al’s Auto Academy at Paultons Parks – Tornado Springs. To be in such esteemed company as an award winner really demonstrates how much value design and attention to detail means to the industry. We are a fairly small company manufacturing completely in-house and have always stood on the principles of high quality and reliability as non-negotiable in all of our work. So, in addition we are proud to be also recognised for another core element of Formula K’s manufacturing, the creativity and design flair of our technicians. ”
Belinda Sørensen, MK Themed Attractions said: “A lot goes into creating the best ride, and our contribution to this large-scale project was to enhance the thrilling “tornado” rides with matching theming. Our team worked hard and at times in difficult weathers to get the theming of the rides done for guests to enjoy, so this award put a smile on their lips, and showed that as a team we can create mesmerizing experiences for our clients.”
BEST WATER PARK EXPERIENCE
at Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark, Supplied by Proslide
Philip Baker, ProSlide’s Vice-President Business Development (MENA) said: “Trident Tower was a monumental undertaking between ProSlide and the team at Atlantis. In building it, we sought to create a truly breathtaking guest experience that displayed the pinnacle of our water ride innovation coupled with an awe-inspiring architectural design. We couldn’t be happier that it’s being recognised by our industry and we’re truly honored that it has received the Park World Excellence Award for ‘Best Waterpark Experience.”
BEST ROLLER COASTER, SPONSORED BY ACCESSO
Supplied by Vekoma Rides Manufacturing at Phantasialand
Carin Davits, Vekoma Rides said: “We feel honoured to have received the ParkWorld Excellence Award 2021 for Best Roller Coaster for our flying coaster F.L.Y. at Phantasialand that is the world’s largest and first launched flying coaster! We consider this a token of appreciation from the judges and park guests for our quality, creativity and innovation. It is a crown on our work and accomplishments and on the excellent cooperation with the Phantasialand team. The combination of the different positions of riders, creating a free view dark ride section in combination with a thrill, makes this flying coaster a one of a kind in the roller coaster industry. Together with Phantasialand, it was our goal to create a pure flying sensation with the best possible passenger experience. With F.L.Y. we have created a flying experience like never seen before in the world and park guests are really enthusiastic about the experience and the ride receives nothing but raving reviews!”
Phantasialand Park Director, Sebastian Jonas said: “Here at Phantasialand we didn’t want to create an “off-the-shelf” coaster, but a completely new roller coaster experience. In the case of F.L.Y. we wanted to create a flying experience like no other Flying Coaster in the world. This required a completely new seating system, a new technology and a special track layout. F.L.Y. should become a Flying Coaster on which the dream of flying becomes true. Thank you for honoring our efforts this with this award!”
BEST REGIONAL PARK, SPONSORED BY VEKOMA RIDES
Fårup Sommerland, Denmark
Fårup Sommerland’s Rasmus Mortensen said: “Winning this award means the world to us. Ofcourse it is always nice to win prizes and awards, but when the prize is awarded by our peers, fellow theme park enthusiasts and the industry it adds a little extra. These people notice all the details and understand how much effort it takes to run a park.
“The coming season is one of the most exiting seasons In Fårups history. We’re (hopefully) on the far side of the pandemic and we’re presenting the biggest investment in Fårup ever when we open Fønix in the easter. And winning this prize gives us a very welcoming boost in awareness among the international guests.“
BEST LIVE ENTERTAINMENT
A Pluma y Espada,
at Puy du Fou España, Supplied by Puy du Fou International
Erwan de la Villéon, CEO Puy du Fou España said: “We were absolutely thrilled to be chosen as winners of the prestigious Best Live Entertainment category for ‘A Pluma y Espada’ at the recent Park World Excellence Awards – this really means so much to us. As ever, the competition was fierce but once again, the combined efforts and passion of everyone involved in the show has reaped rewards at the same time as winning over the hearts of the Spanish people in Puy du Fou España’s opening year.”
BEST USE OF THEMING
at Phantasialand, Supplied by MK Themed Attractions
Belinda Sørensen, MK – Themed Attractions said: “As a theming company this truly means a lot to us. What drives us are experience based theming that transform the world of our clients’ guests, into the story of the ride – and this award is proof that we succeeded along with the other suppliers in creating the best theme for this ride. The entire team is beyond excited and honored to have been a part of this amazing project.”
Phantasialand Park Director Sebastian Jonas said: “The plan – or rather the vision – of our owner and managing director Robert Löffelhardt was to create a theme world that is truly self-contained. A world into which one can completely immerse oneself by day and night – where everything merges together, from the theming to the food and the experience at night. Over time this has led to the planning of the Rookburgh theme world with the Flying Launch Coaster F.L.Y. in perfect harmony with the Hotel Charles Lindbergh. The plans were used to create the first models and drawings – which were then brought to life here on site by our phenomenal project department and countless divisions of the company. It makes us very proud to receive especially this reward.”
BEST ROLLER COASTER – LIMITED BUDGET
Fridolin´s verruckter Zauberexpress,
Supplied by ART Engineering, Maschinenbau Kaltenbach, IMAscore and Universal Rocks at Fantasiana Erlebnispark
The team at Fantasiana Erlebnispark said: “We are very pleased to win the Park World Excellence Award for Fridolin´s verruckter Zauberexpress. The whole team put a lot of work, time and skills into bringing our new coaster to life and create this magical experience. Winning this international award confirms that we put things on the right track, and we are beyond happy that other people recognize and appreciate our efforts. We will try our best to continue to excel the expectations of our guests and this wonderful industry we work in.”
Oliver Pierling, managing director, ART Engineering said: “We were very happy about the great award. It shows that our new development of the Family Launch Coaster is absolutely right and that our team has done an excellent job.
“Therefore, I would like to share this award with the entire ART Engineering team. We hope to win more awards with new attractions in the future as this is a great recognition of our work.”
Andreas Kübler, creative director & lead composer, IMS Score said: “Winning the Park World Excellence Award in two categories (for this and our work on Tornado Springs) is a great appreciation of our creative work and a big honour for us. We’re very thankful for our clients for giving us the chance to be a part of so many fantastic projects and for our fans for accompanying us on our journey in the leisure industry.”
Fairytale Farm, UK
Nick Laister, director said: “It is a great honour to be recognised by such a highly respected awards ceremony, especially given the international competition, and it means a lot to us. It is a tribute to the great team of staff that operate Fairytale Farm; without them this would not have been possible. Their energy, passion and enthusiasm make Fairytale Farm such a fantastic place for families to visit.”
WhiteWater CEO Geoff Chutter said: “I’m delighted that we received the Best Supplier award as it demonstrates our approach to invest in the best teams placed in each of our regions is providing the excellent level of customer care we intend. With full offices containing engineers, project managers, sales and marketing in Duabi, Munich, Shanghai, San Diego and Vancouver we are able to be more responsive to our customers in their times zones and understanding their localized needs. The award was a wonderful conclusion to 2021 and our 40th year which included anniversaries for many of these offices. We celebrated 15 years in Dubai, 10 years in Shanghai and the 1st anniversary of our new Munich location in Europe (having moved from Barcelona) where Rainer Maelzer is doing amazing work, a fact also recognized by his industry icon award which is very deserved.”
BEST DARK RIDE OR MEDIA-BASED EXPERIENCE
Supplied by Gosetto, P&P Projects, Lifeformations and TrioTech at Liseberg
Liseberg CEO Andreas Anderson said: “This is a great compliment to the internal and external project team, which has developed the attraction. It was not an easy project to complete during the pandemic, but they succeeded beyond all expectations. We are all very proud to have received this award.”
Deborah Attal, director, Theme Parks Europe at Triotech – CL Corp. division said: “We are very pleased to have participated in the Underlandet project at Liseberg. Our customised immersive experience was integrated into the preshow which brings guests into the universe of the attraction. Our ultimate goal was to create the illusion of moving down underground so that visitors are 100% immersed in the story from the first second in the experience.”
Ifat Capsi, P&P Projects said: “We are extremely proud to have received a Park World Excellence Award for Liseberg’s Underlandet dark ride. Congratulations to Liseberg on this beautiful achievement!
“From the initial design collaboration to creative engineering, to the turnkey production of theming, AV, show lighting and special effects, delivering this experience was a true pleasure.
“We had great fun bringing to life this authentic, warmhearted attraction and creating a home for Liseberg’s main characters.
“We’d like to thank our fellow teams for this wonderful collaboration – and of course, many thanks to Park World for honoring us with this award.”
Walibi Belgium Team Members
Speaking on behalf of the team, Walibi’s Justien Dewil said: “We were deeply touched and incredibly honoured to receive the Unsung Hero award! Last year was particularly difficult and challenging. This award is a beautiful recognition for our team’s resilience. We thank you and we thank the entire Walibi Team for their countless efforts.”
BEST RIDE(S) – LIMITED BUDGET
Supplied by Hafema at Jaderpark
Mathias Nick, managing director, Hafema water rides said: “We are proud of our ride concept for small parks and are very pleased how Jaderpark have integrated it into their park and made a great story line and theming.”
INDUSTRY ICON – SUPPLIER
Rainer Maelzer, WhiteWater
“I am incredibly humbled. This award goes beyond me to the great teams I have had the opportunity to work with.
“Thank you to my previous team and business partners at wiegand.maelzer. We entered this industry 15 years ago and worked together to push the boundaries of water slide engineering with the creation of the SlideWheel.
“Thank you to the Therme Group for working with me to create the future of wellbeing in inner-city projects, with a perfect symbiosis of European experience and international products.
“Thank you to the WhiteWater team, the new home of the SlideWheel, for entering me for this award and working with me in pursuit of being the top #waterpark supplier in Europe, Russia, and Africa. It has been so exciting to see the team grow and relocate to Munich, and I cannot wait to share with the rest of the world what we come up with next.”
BEST GREEN INITIATIVE
Reducing the impact on the environment during construction of “Mexico” new themed land at OK Corral
OK Corral CEO Mathijs Bembom said: “Winning the PWEA Best Green Initiative is wonderful news ! Thank you to all. It means so much to everybody here at OK Corral. The award recognizes all the hard work that was put into building “Mexico” during these uncertain times. It proves how simple straightforward actions can give splendid results. We are most definitely going to broaden the practices to other areas in the park.”
INDUSTRY ICON – OPERATOR
Mathijs Bembom , OK Corral
Mathijs said: “Bedankt, Thank you and Merci ! Since childhood I have been in the amusement business. I have traveled through Europe in different parks and made OK CORRAL my home for more than 30 years. I am truly humbled by being recognized as an industry icon. I love what I do. The industry is such a fantastic world with so many friends, and being able to provide fun to so many is a great feeling. I must thank all my team and family for their support, as well as he team behind the award, without forgetting our guests who make it all worthwhile.”
BEST LARGE PARK, SPONSORED BY BROGENT
Pjantasialand, Park Director Sebastian Jonas said: “Here, in Phantasialand it is our superior goal that our guests immerse themselves in phantastic worlds where everything is perfectly harmonized: Attractions, design, plants, food, clothing, music are all themed in each unique area. Once you enter Rookburgh, you immediately become a Rookburger and just minutes later you could enter Klugheim and believe you are in a whole different world. At Phantasialand we enjoy creating our very own worlds with a “wow-factor”. Thank you for this award which shows us that we are obviously doing a pretty good job implementing our vision.”
BEST PRODUCT INNOVATION (RIDES/SHOWS)
Xtreme Spinning Coaster,
Supplied by Mack Rides at Plopsaland De Panne
Plopsaland De Panne named the ride “Ride to Happiness”. Steve Van den Kerkhof, CEO of the Plopsa Group said: “Thank you very much for the award, we are very happy that “The Ride to Happiness” is so enthusiastically being appreciated by so many countries in Europe! It was our intention to create something unique in Europe and we are delighted that we succeeded!”
BEST WATER PARK
After only 26 months of construction, the groundbreaking major project ‘Rulantica – the new water world at Europa-Park’ opened on 28 November 2019. In addition to the sixth themed hotel ‘Krønasår’, the Mack family thus realised their dream of a second park and a spectacular Scandinavian-style water adventure world on an expansion site covering 450,000 square metres. Numerous water attractions in the breathtaking, 20-metre-high hall provide guests with splashing water delight. Rulantica won in the same category at the 2020 Park World Excellence Awards.
Thomas Mack, managing partner, Europa-Park said: “We are very proud and happy about the repeated accolade that is the Park World Excellence Award in the category ‘Best Water Park’. This award is yet another proof of the outstanding quality of Rulantica, as well as the strong innovative energy of our family business. Just last summer, we have extended the outdoor area by 11,000 square metres with an outdoor world of slides that is unique in its way in Europe and compliments the 32,600 square metres indoor area perfectly. The new offer is received incredibly well by our visitors and extends the duration of stay of our visitors, which further strengthens sustainably the destination around Europa-Park.”
BEST FEC PROJECT
Das U-Boot – Deine Mission,
Supplied by GearProd at HCC Rostock
This is an escape like game (one hour, team play) which allows guests to take control of a submarine for a very special mission. “This is a very immersive experience,” said the judges.
BEST PRODUCT INNOVATION (GUEST EXPERIENCE / PARK OPERATIONS)
Supplied by Miral at Yas Theme Parks
In line with Yas Island’s ambitions to become a fully contactless destination, Yas Theme Parks, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld and Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi became the first theme parks in the region to adopt contactless technology through the introduction of FacePass.
Launched in 2021 at Yas Theme Parks, FacePass delivers cutting-edge contactless technology to streamline guest experiences using facial recognition. The technology allows guests to avail contactless access and payment solutions.
The new feature takes contactless transactions to the next level as guests who opt-in will be able to access the parks and attractions and make payments using facial recognition as well as via other methods, including mobile. Not only will this provide convenience and quick queue-free access, the new technology will eliminate the need to physically interact with turnstiles and points of sale, including those at dining and retail outlets, a measure that will undoubtedly contribute to safeguarding the health and wellbeing of guests.
BEST OF THE BEST 2021, SPONSORED BY DYNAMIC ATTRACTIONS
Efteling CEO Fons Jurgens said: “We are delighted to have been recognised by our industry peers in this very special ‘Best of the Best’ category at the 2021 Park World Excellence Awards. It is a testament to all Efteling employees – both front of house and behind the scenes – who work so hard to make our World of Wonders a place where our visitors can escape from the everyday, even when we had to close our doors a few times.
“We have continued to innovate and invest in Efteling over the past few years to continue to enhance the guest experience. In 2020, we opened the new family roller coaster Max & Moritz, and subsequently a whole new themed area around the new ride including two new eateries. In spring 2021, we launched Nest! play forest, designed for children with and without disabilities to play together, and we have also renovated parts of the Efteling Hotel. As part of our ongoing sustainability initiatives, we have added even more charging points for electrical cars at the front of the visitor’s car park.
“This recognition also comes at an exciting time for Efteling as we mark our 70th anniversary in 2022 with celebrations taking place throughout the year. As soon as Efteling reopens, a new thematic area can be explored: the World of Sindbad, along with two new attractions, Sirocco and Archipel. Then at the beginning of February, the celebrations will begin in earnest, with decorations, party music and a jubilant atmosphere throughout the park. We’re looking forward to once again welcoming guests from all over the world to our World of Wonders and celebrating with our visitors, colleagues and partners.”
Thank you to our judges
Julian Tschech, managing director, TUBERIDES, said: “I would like to congratulate all winners and nominees on bringing some joy into these difficult times. Despite the unpredictable situations the pandemic brought to all of us, many parks decided to expand their portfolio and we could see a surprising amount of world-class new attractions last year. I am also happy to say that I could visit and try many of the listed attractions myself, making me confident that our jury picked the rightful winners.“
Phil Taylor, managing director, Team Leisure, said: “I have to say, I find the whole experience of the awards, from researching the nominees to voting to watching the award ceremony incredibly uplifting and deeply reassuring on a professional level for the long-term growth and success of our industry but on a personal level I love it for the evocative memories it brings of sunny days, family, friends and fun and all the brilliant people that make it possible.
Francois Mayne, owner of OOPARC, said: “Despite the pandemic affecting all our industry, a tremendous number of projects were completed throughout the EMEA region last year. Operators took risks to create new rides, shows and experiences for their guests, despite the uncertainties related to the situation. Both suppliers and manufacturers have also accomplished great things, something they can be proud of. I’d like to warmly congratulate all finalists and winners for their achievements.”
Richard Pawley, director of operations and ride safety, VTP Global Holdings, said: “The standard was excellent. As a judge I found it very educational and it was a privilege to have an insight as to what is happening within our Industry. The winners need to be congratulated for their outstanding achievements in still a COVID year of operation. I’m looking forward as a judge for 2022 to see what magical, illusion and fantasy you will all deliver for your guest and reviewing your applications for the awards ceremony in London. Good luck to all for a successful year of operation in 2022.”
Nicole Rojo, representative of the European Coaster Club (EEC) for Germany, Switzerland and Austria, said: ”I think all the winners really deserved it. They did a great job, especially in this pandemic times. To invest in new rides and projects was not an easy decision and I’m happy that they did it and that they did it so well.”