Mack Rides, Europa-Park unveil innovative Eatrenalin experience

AT: Tim Baldwin

RUST, Germany — How does one describe the indescribable? 

The Europa-Park Resort has introduced something so ingenious and innovative; it has become a continuously sold-out dining experience — Eatrenalin. It is called “new dimensions in dining.”

Eatrenalin’s origins date back five years when the concept was envisioned by Europa-Park managing partner Thomas Mack and Oliver Altherr, CEO of Movenpick Marche, a company of fresh-dining restaurants with 150 locations on two continents. 

“Oliver and I were part of a food and beverage jury,” said Mack. “We did a lot of travels, almost on every continent. We realized it was more about experience, using all your senses. We asked, ‘How can we attract all the senses and increase the experience of the food.’ Then we asked how we could move people, and as a ride manufacturer, we wanted to integrate a ride system.”

From the immersive dining experiences the two had traveled to other countries to visit, they found they were seated at one big table in the same room for the entire evening. It was then that they got the creative inspiration to do something really one of a kind.

A working name was “Restaurant of the Future: 2030.”

“Because he is working so fast,” Altherr said of Mack, “We were already ready in 2022. We realized there should be something different.”

Eatrenalin opened in November of last year.

So, what is it? To help keep the mystique about the experience under wraps, photos are extremely restricted — even for Amusement Today. The reception area, a bar following the dining experience and two of the nine rooms are the only places guests are allowed to take pictures. AT isn’t about to give away too many spoilers, but the entire experience is draped in creativity and orchestrated with a sense of wonder.

Part food tasting, part show experience, part fine dining, part dark ride — Eatrenalin is like nothing else that exists on earth. The vehicles in which patrons ride were created by Mack Rides.

“The design process was done in-house with a dedicated group focusing on the chairs themselves. We brought in experts for animation, robotics, mechanical engineering to work on these for quite a while,” said Maximilian Roeser, marketing, Mack Rides. “We also spoke to many vendors of parts for the vehicles in order to find suppliers we could use. With several components, we found stronger in-house solutions so that we did not only gain expertise in the ride system itself but also the components of the floating chairs.”

Once guests board their personal chairs in one of the earlier rooms, they remain seated for 90 minutes and drift from one scenario — and course — to another. Many surprises await each individual. 

Mack explained that one of the first concepts was to build it inside the theme park within the rotating pyramid. However, with Eatrenalin’s stand-alone location at the resort, people have the flexibility to drive in from out of town just for the dining experience.

The “floating chair” was the seventh concept in the ride’s evolution.

“We create wholistic experiences that are completely different from room to room,” said Altherr. 

“It’s really unique. You are floating through the restaurant,” said Mack. “There’s no track.”

“Fitting all the technology in a rather small space was one of the challenges,” Roeser told AT. “Of course, we wanted to have the chair as small as possible to navigate tight spaces, therefore it was created very compact. From the perspective of show and entertainment, we had to come up with solutions to have one part of the dinner already on board while you board, and that displays itself during the ride. Together with Mack Animation we had to create a system to configure and train the chairs to follow from one position to another without any guidance in the floor.” 

Guests travel through the experience in a sensory ballet, sometimes as individuals, sometimes in a counter setting and sometimes floating through the room in groups. Each environment is different, which makes the entire production infused with the wow factor.

Two types of menus allow vegetarians and vegans to be immersed into the experience, just as those who enjoy meat and fish. Each room presents each course with its unique theatrical flair.

“At Eatrenalin, it is more magical. You never know what is coming next,” said Mack.

With the investment into this new technology, Mack Rides sees potential for it in the future.

“The floating chairs open up a new technology of trackless rides for us,” Roeser said. “We currently are investigating the possibility that comes with this development and whether we want to actively work on a trackless ride system from us. We know that we do have a strong position with the floating chairs and are certain to see more use cases for the technology.” 

Sixteen ticketed guests begin their journey every 20 minutes. The cost of the experience is €195 per person. The menu will change every few months.

This article appears in the  MAY 2023 issue of Amusement Today.
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