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Tuesday, August 23, 2011 | This article is listed in the sections Amusement parks, Interviews and Magazine.

Parkscout presents: ECC

The European Coaster Club (ECC) is the largest rollercoaster fanclub of Europe with more than 1.500 members worldwide. Although a community, the ECC does not operate any forum for discussion, but uses a mailing list for information as well as the great magazine "First Drop", included in the membership fee of 31 EUR and being published on a regular base. The ECC was not only founded in Great Britain, but also is an international club – so all communications are in English, though German members have their own contact person helping with language issues.

Yvonne Janik and Justin Garvanovic
The ECC not only offers the "First Drop", but also organizes leasure park trips for its members within Europe, to the U.S. or even Asia. Additionally there are lots of discounts in parks when showing the ECC membership card, even in Germany. Parkscout talked with Justin Garvanovic, founder of the European Coaster Club, and Yvonne Janik about the previous trip to Germany and the history and future of the largest European rollercoaster club.

Parkscout: Can you tell us something about your club? When was it founded and what kind of people are your members?

Yvonne: The club was founded 16 years ago by Justin Garvanovic. The members are people from around Europe, the United States, and Canada. We do have a few members in other countries as well, but mostly from the counties listed above. We have all ages of members from all different professions -- a very good mix of people.

Parkscout: You have some funny names for your trips around the world. The Germany tour ist titled "Shortzkopf". Is this a kind of tribute to German coaster builder Anton Schwarzkopf?

Yvonne: We try to be clever in naming our trips, and since 21 of our members were coming over from England for only 4 days of the 14 day trip, and the focus of their visit was the fair in Dusseldorf, we thought "Shortzkopf" would be a good name. They rode Olympia Looping and Alpina Bahn on the trip (both Schwarzkopf coasters). We had a 5 day Sweden trip in June and named it "Out and Back" but wrote that in Swedish. Since we went around Germany in a loop for this 14 day trip, we named it "Deutschlandfunde."

Parkscout: What parks did you visit in Germany and why did you choose them?

Yvonne: We visited 23 parks including the Kirmes in Dusseldorf and planned our trip around going on opening night to the Kirmes and ending in Europa Park and then going to Skyline Park on the way to the airport in Munich. We enjoy the small, medium, and large parks both family-owned and corporately owned ones. Our idea was to start in Munich and end in Rust and go to all the parks along the way in our loop around Germany with a dip into France for 2 parks. Here is our list: Bayern Park. Geiselwind, Schloss Thurn, Plohn, Belantis, Erse Park, Heide Park, Hansa Park, Serengeti Park, Potts Park, Fort Fun Abenteurland, Movie Park Germany, Schloss Beck, Kirmes in Dusseldorf, Wild- und Freizeit Klotten, Phantasialand, Walygator Parc, Didi'Land, Holiday Park, Tripsdrill, Schwaben Park, Europa Park and Skyline Park.

Parkscout: Are there any significant differences between German and British parks?

Yvonne: The German parks are really beautiful; so much effort is made to have lovely flowers and landscaping. A person could enjoy coming to any German park just to walk around and relax and not even ride the rides there.

Parkscout: What are your plans for the future?

Yvonne: We plan to keep publishing First Drop, our club's magazine, keep taking trips (several short trips in Europe and then a 2 week trip somewhere each year -- in even numbered years the 2 week trip is in America and in odd-numbered years the trip is in Europe, Japan, China or somewhere else), and keep attracting members who love riding roller coasters.

Parkscout: How can German themepark fans become a member of the ECC?

Yvonne: Go to http://coasterclub.org and click on the "Join" tab at the top of the website.

© parkscout/MV, Photos: ECC, Parkscout

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