Karin Koidl - behind the scenes of the Viennese Prater
Zoe and Giulia have already written you a lot about the Prater in the last blog post. About the part that you can see, experience and visit anytime. Today we look behind the scenes and what it means to work in the Prater. Karin Koidl was so lovley and gave us some insights here.
My husband Stefan and I have a company together, a merger of two Prater families, so to speak. My husband is here already in the third generation, me in the second. He comes from a long-established, traditional Prater family, my father was a career changer.
We got to know each other in 2004, so not from childhood on as you might expect. Then maybe we would not be a couple. Maybe, or just because we come from similar circumstances, we have fallen in love. And have then taken over my father's businesses together. These were the Volare, the Blumenrad and the Break Dance. And then we have everything that came since 2004 as together we expanded the business, as the iceberg, the insider, the free fall tower, this year new the jumper and the AirMax, our small organic bar of which I am very proud.
So what do we do? Stefan is the President of the Prater since a few years already, the association of the Prater Enterprises. He is responsible for the marketing of the Prater to the outside.
Together we run our own business as said before. I take great care of the organic bar, as it was my idea, especially because we have been living this way for many years. Otherwise, it is basically an office job. But we are also out there a lot. For me it's all quite normal, but it's always exciting to hear how others imagine the Prater life.
How do you get to new attractions? Where do you buy, for example a roller coaster?
In principle, as you also buy other things, from the wholesaler. There are own fairgrounds where we go regularly. And our vacations are always very special because we really drive into every amusement park. My husband is even more extreme than me, because he loves everything that has to do with circus, show and other funfair. If he only sees a light flashing somewhere in the distance, then we have to go there. Even if we booked the romantic vacation for two on the beach, as soon as he discovered something we are already there.
Of course we are also very curious, because we always bring with us new ideas. For example, the jumper, we have this year added to our business. In Austria there's no such thing, it comes from Spain where it is very popular. But there is none in any amusement park you know. For the people, the jumper is something completely new. I immediately fell in love with it, wanted to have that for years and now we finally found the place for it. But many visitors are skeptical because they do not know what that thing is
What are you doing in winter?
We have a very long season, even during the Christmas holidays we are open every day. New Year's Eve there is a big firework and until 6th January there is the winter market. Stefan is also working hard to get a year-round operation, which makes much more sense economically. We used to be a classic seasonal company.
How many Prater families are there?
Estimated around 80 families, many go back to a few large families. For example, everyone in Stefan's family also works in the Prater.
What is special about your job? What do you like about it?
What I enjoy so much is that I have the opportunity to contribute everything I want to bring in here. It's also the challenge to stay tuned, even if it's not so much fun. But then there's the variety that I like so much. I can divide my time very freely, which is very practical with 4 children.
I've also been in the coffers a lot myself, I just like these different people coming to the cash register. It is also our job to respond to incidents. But it rarely happens that something really dramatically happens. Our people are all trained, are all first responders and we also have a defibrillator.
The Prater is a place where we do not have a specific target audience. Here you meet everyone, celebrities, tourists and the people from next door. That just makes a nice mix.
It never becomes boring here and I love riding roller coasters so much. I like the adrenaline kick and I've already tried all the business here in the Prater. Especially with ours, I drive regularly, also to look again and again, if the experience is what we tell our visitors.
Right next door is also the Wirtschaftsuniversität (university). Too bad that the students have not yet discovered for themselves, once in the lunch break to take a ride on the roller coaster. After that, it will definitely be easier to learn.
How it all started for me. After school I wanted to study languages, interpreting or similar. But my parents always had the tendency to tell me why, you do not need that, because we need someone to take over the business and we do it all for you. I'm an only child. At least one year I was away from Vienna, in Paris, as an au pair. After that I joined the family business, the rest is history. Since I have my own family here - my husband and our 4 children - I really like it. And we continue to grow with our business, enlarge it, it's just fun.
Something that I remember ...
In the Prater, you experience things that you do not experience elsewhere. Whether in the evening where funny people who are on bachelor parties doing funny things. Or where you sit here and ask yourself, why someone is going through here and selling bananas. It always happens something funny. We are not surprised anymore.
The Prater is a place where everything is possible. It's not a closed area, everyone can walk through. It is a gathering place of sometimes very funny people. For example, there is one who always talks to the spirits of the ghost trains. Everything is allowed here, and who knows, maybe they really talk back to him.
Riesenrad im Wiener Prater ©WienTourismus Paul Bauer
Karin's Vienna tipps
Why do you like to live in Vienna?
Because Vienna is in a sense a village and the city is so green. And right here, where we have on the one hand the bustle in front of the door and at the same time the peace in the green Prater. I walk with my two dogs every day, especially in the morning that is just wonderful.
Even to the city center, it is only a few minutes.
My favorite place in Vienna ...
Around the Lusthaus. There is a natural area, a small nature reserve. Where you can watch the beavers gnawing on the trees. This is my little jungle in the middle of the city.
My favorite restaurant in Vienna ...
Riesenrad im Wiener Prater@WienTourismus Peter Rigaud
Wiener Prater@WienTourismus Peter Rigaud