Europa Park Opens Doors for Ukrainian Refugees

April 12, 2022, 3:35 PM · The start of the 2022 theme park season has come bittersweetly for many in Europe. While Covid remains a threat, international borders have begun reopening, bringing the promise of more visitors this summer. But a war in Ukraine has reminded all in Europe, and many around the world, that the horrors of the continent’s past are not yet extinct.

In the midst of this crisis, the management at Europa Park has stepped forward to help provide a few moments of peace to those who have had that stripped from their lives.

Before the German theme park opened for its 2022 summer season, Europa Park opened some attractions early for Ukrainian refugees, including the ‘Ba-a-a Express’ children’s roller coaster in the park’s Irish themed area.

Photo courtesy Europa Park

More than four million Ukrainians have fled the country, according to international estimates.

“We will help wherever we can,” Europa Park owner Roland Mack said. “We have immediately accepted 70 women and children who had fled the Ukraine into our ‘Colosseo’ hotel. I am appalled by this suffering and am touched by the gratitude I experienced when the refugees arrived. These people have been on the run for eight days, without a bed and without hot meals. They are traumatised people who have been uprooted and don't know what is happening to them. Among them many orphans, two babies and two old men. They have a mini plastic bag with all of their belongings.

“The Euromaus gifts that we gave out at least caused a brief smile among the children. People feel safe here – without bomb sirens or fear.”

Ukrainians at Europa Park
Roland Mack, upper left, with some of the Ukrainians welcomed to the park. Photo courtesy Europa Park

The Mack family, which owns the park and Mack Rides, has been providing assistance through other means, as well, including charities and children’s funds. Europa Park will continue to welcome Ukrainian refugees to its park and hotels in cooperation with the central state reception center in Freiburg.

Europe is not just Europa Park’s theme. The unity of of a peaceful Europe is the park’s cause.

"I was a great believer of the European idea,” Roland Mack said after being inducted into the IAAPA Hall of Fame in 2016. “If you believe in something, you have to do it.”

“We speak one language, which is fun and laughing,” Mack said at the IAAPA Expo in 2018.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine might have been meant to break western unity, but it instead has strengthened the resolve of many who believe in the European idea. Including those behind Europa Park.

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Replies (6)

April 12, 2022 at 7:17 PM

This is a brief flicker of light in an otherwise dark time. It’s heartbreaking to hear about what these poor families are going through, and also endlessly astonishing how truly resilient children can be, finding moments to laugh and feel joy at the worst of times. I salute Europa park for their outreach, as well as the countless untold thousands who are doing their part as well.

April 13, 2022 at 10:57 AM

Well done, Europa.

We don’t always agree on this site, but I hope we can all agree that the actions of Vladimir Putin and his military are atrocious and that we can all hope for Putin’s eventual falling out of power to be swift and just.

April 13, 2022 at 12:48 PM

Infamously, one of the Juniors in the Mack family once suggested to build a second Europapark in Kiev. Not that it was up for serious discussion, rather just a mean public anecdoate for dad. Would not want to be a heir in that family dynamic no matter how much money is involved. His wife has also Ukrainian routes? Not sure, definitly eastern European so. Four million will not be the end of it and while Ukrainians get threated far better than refugees from Afgahnistan or Syria, poor neighbouring nations, Moldawia in particular, are accomodating a far disproportional share compared to their population. Noticable the lack of refugee camps - most are accomodated at local families homes. Should be less than 100k in Baden-Würtenberg at the moment.

April 15, 2022 at 10:37 AM

Disney would probably tack on a 25% Ukrainian refugee convenience fee.

April 16, 2022 at 10:11 AM

Some here would accuse Europa of being too “woke”. Empathy is a good thing, one day you’ll need it - great job Europa!

April 18, 2022 at 7:41 AM

Good job! I see no reason to refuse help to Ukrainian refugees. It is time to stay together and support each other. I care about children's mental health; they need protection. Psychologists would ([]
offer them free sessions. I read an article that organizes an essay competition for Ukrainian children. It is a method to organize their thoughts and express them in a personal written text. That would allow them to calm down and know that society is next to them and cares. Therefore, let's support the writersperhour review in its tendencies since it is an excellent idea to manifest love for kids.

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