Bringing back the magic of the 1900s
With roots stretching back to 1766, the Vienna Prater is one of the oldest amusement parks in the world. Now, as it undergoes regeneration, it is to draw on its rich heritage in an attempt to create a timeless atmosphere for guests arriving at the park.
With roots stretching back to 1766, the Vienna Prater is one of the oldest amusement parks in the world. Now, as it undergoes regeneration, it is to draw on its rich heritage in an attempt to create a timeless atmosphere for guests arriving at the park
This first phase will be a new entrance plaza, a flagship development cited as a catalyst for the renewal and revitalisation of the entire “Wiener Prater.” Designed as a city square, the plaza covers some 16,000 square metres, including a service area with ticketing, retail, restaurants and a lost property office. The restaurants and shops will provide an authentic take on various Viennese and Austrian cuisine, inspired by local legends.
“The concept is content driven,” highlights Dr Gerhard Frank of Explore 5D, the Austrian company appointed as designer and general contractor of the new area. “We have created a strong storyline blending fantasy and fact and see the project as a ‘pre-show’ to the new Prater, where guests will be able to explore the very essence of Vienna.”
“The regeneration is challenging at many levels,” he continues. ““There are many different families that own the individual attractions and we have to work closely with them, the city authorities and investors to ensure future developments are to everyone’s satisfaction.”
Underpinning the new entrance plaza is to the desire bring back the spirit of Basilio Calafati, the entrepreneur and magician that was responsible for many of the early innovations in the Prater. Arguably the park’s golden era was at the turn of the 20th Century, around which time the iconic Giant Wheel was introduced, an attraction that remains a Vienna landmark to this day.
In the new Riesenradplatz (Giant Wheel Square), tributes will be paid to Viennese legends including Mozart, Johann Strauss, Sigmund Freud and The Third Man.
“The heroes of Vienna will be presented so that they will be relevant to all ages,” details Frank. “Mozart’s music could be enjoyed by guests on a breathtaking ride, for example, or Freud may accompany riders on a Ghost Train journey into their subconscious mind. Explore 5D sees the blending of classic music with theme park entertainment as an exciting development for the industry.”
Explore 5D will also manage the implementation of several major new attractions.
The new attractions, all undercover, have been developed under the guidance of Explore 5D and will be realised by an international team of experts from Austria, Germany, the UK, Netherlands and the US.
Vienna Airlines will be a simulated flight experience taking guests back to the precarious early days of flight. At that time the Prater was one of the preferred places for airborne daredevils to land their flying machines, successfully and otherwise. The technology behind the attraction will exploit Explore 5D’s Flyboard 5D ride system, with guests lying in a prone riding position rather than strapped to a seat. The technology will be upgraded from the inaugural Flyboard 5D installation in 2006 to include a larger screen, high fidelity surround sound, special effects and an 600 hourly capacity.
A special effects theatre, Miraculum, will takes its inspiration from a lost book of secrets by Calafati “found” in the cellars of the Prater. Miraculum will blend the latest technologies with a psychological approach to convince audiences the room is alive. The third attraction in this first phase of the redevelopment will be a Vienna Waltzing experience, combined with a regular dinner and music event with appearances by the famous Vienna Symphonic Orchestra. Also located in Reisenradplatz will be a classic refurbished attraction: The Wave Swinger.
The grand opening of the new area is planned for April 27, 2008.
Let the magic begin.