Acrobatic diving, “Olympic” athletes and “Gallic sauce”: how Parc Astérix has reinvented its aquatic show without the dolphins

No doubt: you must have taken a good dose of magic potion to take up the challenge of jumping from a diving board 25 meters high. Since July 14, 2022, Parc Astérix, in Plailly, in the Oise, has officially launched its new summer season “L’été gaulois”, inaugurating several new features, such as extended opening hours until at 10 p.m., a parade in the park or, therefore, the show The Dives of Olympusat the Theater of Poseidon.

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This is where, since 1989, and the opening of the park, were the famous dolphins of the park. Their show, which ended in 2021 after a wave of mobilization preceding the law against animal abuse of November 2021 imposing, in particular, on dolphinariums to part with their cetaceans by 2026, was one of the park’s flagship attractions. , and arguably the most applauded by visiting families. “In just a few years, mentalities have changed a lot around animal awareness and well-being, deciphers Maxime Guény, publishing director of Parcs et Loisirs Magazine. Parc Astérix had this cult show, but in which the public, over time, no longer recognized itself. It’s a real shift. The world has changed and so have amusement parks: this is why Parc Astérix got involved and made this shift, almost anticipating it. It’s a paradigm shift“, he insists.

And this new show is about to make people forget these vestiges of another time. The landscape is quickly planted: in honor of Zeus, four athletes from Rome challenge four Greeks in a diving competition. The brave perform ever more spectacular tricks, to end up with the ultimate test at 25 meters in height. And the park ensures it, in a few weeks, it is a “hit”: “The initial feedback has been excellent with nine out of ten visitors recommending it, the highest rating for a show in three years”.

The objective of the Olympe dives is to offer performance and exception: we are not the only park to offer this type of show, but we are the only ones in the world to do it with Gallic sauce!“, assures Hervé Bruneau. The Director of Shows and Entertainment at Parc Astérix details the concept in a few key words: “Performance, irreverence, differentiation in concept, interaction, humor and beautiful sets.” The cast is also particularly muscular: “Divers are athletes who have done or still do competition at a very high level for the most part, such as contests Red Bull Cliff Diving. One of the athletes even participated in the Olympics in diving at 20 meters. They are of seven different nationalities: Mexican, Spanish, Brazilian, Belarusian, Romanian, Polish and French.” This troop of ten profiles for the season – from April to the beginning of November, with variations in costume combination – will ensure between three to five performances per day, in this arena of 3000 places.

And this is an unsuspected challenge for the park, much appreciated by thrill seekers with Thunder 2 Zeus Where Goudurix : “This is a key moment for the park. This show is more than 10,000 people a day. And during the performance, you can see the queues for some attractions reduce to 20 minutes!”, smiled Hervé Bruneau.

But, if it is well known, Rome cannot do this unique spectacle in a day, almost. At a cost of “less than one million euros” and straight inspired byAsterix at the Olympics, it was assembled in a record time of four months. “We started in January for an implementation in May”, explains Hervé Bruneau. This mobilized around forty people in total, all from the park, from the “design concept from the sets to the music, the costumes, without forgetting the restoration of the bleachers.”

Because that is also what is impressive: to make people forget the dolphinarium, instead of the pool, there is a “tiny” swimming pool 10 meters wide (and three meters deep invisible to the public), equipped with different platforms with diving boards at 3, 8, 12 and 25 meters. “For more than a year, which corresponds to the various closures due to Covid, the Poseidon theater has been completely desertedsays the director of the show. We had to reinvent ourselves. But we haven’t forgotten the dolphins.”

“We follow them, we obviously keep abreast of their development”

Hervé Bruneau, from Parc Astérix

at franceinfo

the Asterix Park specify having “news regularly“of the two males who live in a”huge lagoon” at Kolmården, a dolphinarium in Sweden. “The end of dolphins, killer whales or sea lions in amusement parks, it’s the end of a modelexplains for his part Maxime Guény. Moreover, SeaWorld, which was the reference of this kind, has completely transformed itself to offer coastersthese thrill rides.

And what does the future hold? If the future is obviously no longer for animals in parks, the time for robots has come. Disney, in the United States, for example, offers “animatronics”, robots that are more realistic than the cartoon characters that come to life in shows at the moment, such as the amazing “stunt robot” Spiderman.

The American firm has been working for several years on a few avenues to replace its characters, who come to meet visitors or greet children. Moreover, for Maxime Guény, this is the key word: technology will be more and more at the heart of amusement parks: “You just have to look at what the cinema does, like The Lion King, for example, which offers a film about animals… without any animals, only with computer-generated images. We can therefore imagine a journey larger than life only with technology.”

However, Parc Astérix is ​​firmly rooted in reality and relies more than ever on its know-how. If Hervé Bruneau remains discreet, he confides that “Les Plongeons de l’Olympe” should soon evolve into another show – which could thus take the form of a “Water show” as there are in American parks, notably. And within two years, the famous Gallic village will continue to expand: from this winter of 2022, the Halloween season will see the opening of a new dedicated area, with shows, dancing… before transforming in dance floor with DJ sets and artists at night. 2023 will see the birth of a new sensational attraction “unique in the world“: the mysterious “Toutatis”. Before the birth, this time, by 2024, of the very first Asterix musical.”A really nice proposal” do we assure the Gauls.

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Acrobatic diving, “Olympic” athletes and “Gallic sauce”: how Parc Astérix has reinvented its aquatic show without the dolphins

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