Dynamic Attractions and Chance Rides Team-Up

By | November 14, 2018

ORLANDO, Fla. — Today the attractions industry’s two leading ride manufacturers, Dynamic Attractions and Chance Rides, have announced a strategic alliance.

The two companies’ strategic alliance allows them to combine their respective strengths in engineering and manufacturing.

“By working with the legendary Chance Rides, we’re able to offer theme parks faster build times while maintaining our high standards in build quality,” states Guy Nelson, CEO, Dynamic Attractions. “The artistry and precision of Chance’s fabricators is impressive; we’re delighted to be working with them on a number of our projects.”

Chance Rides has manufactured more products than any other ride manufacturer in the world. Their line of Coasters, Rides, and People Movers includes the C.P. Huntington Train, the carousel and giant wheels.

“Dynamic Attractions continues to raise the bar for innovation,” states Dick Chance, CEO, Chance Rides. His company is looking forward to having access to Dynamic Attractions’ 100+ in-house engineers. “The company constantly wins innovation awards for a good reason; they can see the invisible and do the impossible.”

This will extend the market reach for both companies, give park designers new tools to work with, keep park owners within budget, and provide guests and ride enthusiasts with exciting new experiences.

Hasbro, Inc., and Kilburn Live team up to form new, multi-iconic brand location-based family entertainment centers

By | November 14, 2018

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Los Angeles-based Kilburn Live has entered into a licensing agreement with Hasbro, a global play and entertainment company, to create, build and operate Hasbro-themed family entertainment centers across the US and Canada.

The indoor family entertainment facilities will take iconic Hasbro brands and create interactive, immersive and innovative entertainment experiences in a high-energy, gamified environment with multiple activity zones.

Kilburn Live, in partnership with Fort Worth-based private investment company Goff Capital, a substantial shareholder of Kilburn Live, hired Charlie Keegan, former CEO of Main Event Entertainment, to head the new division that will lead the development of the multiple location rollout across North America.

“Hasbro is a leader in branded play and entertainment, and its iconic brands appeal to a multigenerational fan base.” said Charlie Keegan. John Goff, of Goff Capital, added, “As with everything we do at Goff Capital, we aim to partner with the best and bring in the most qualified people to run our businesses. Hasbro is the world’s largest toy company and hiring Charlie, an experienced industry leader in the location based entertainment space, was a coup.”

“This new concept and collaboration marks our initial step into a wider partnership with Hasbro, a world leading branded play and entertainment company, with one of the best lineup of brands we have come across” said Kilburn Media CEO Mark Manuel. “This exciting new move is an extension of our creative skillsets built over the years and expands on our business of creating and building unique experiences.”

Current licensed brands include well-known franchises including MY LITTLE PONY, MONOPOLY, MR. POTATO HEAD, GI JOE, CLUE, BATTLESHIP, HUNGRY HUNGRY HIPPO, TRIVIAL PURSUIT, CHUTES AND LADDERS and others.

As Hasbro consumers are looking for more ways to engage with its brands that are loved by adults and kids alike, Hasbro believes that this new endeavor will exceed their expectations.

“Hasbro is committed to ‘creating the world’s best play experiences.’ In our 95-year history, Hasbro has transcended the toy aisle to become a lifestyle brand that both kids and adults enjoy,” said Casey Collins, SVP & GM Hasbro Consumer Products. “Our partnership with Kilburn will allow us – for the first time ever – to offer a wholly immersive and true play experience that unlocks a totally new and exciting way for fans to experience the Hasbro family of brands.”

Sally Corporation, PortAventura World and Sesame Workshop announce new dark ride at International Attractions Expo

By | November 14, 2018

ORLANDO, Fla. — November 13th, 2018 – Sally Corporation, the dark ride specialist of Jacksonville, FL, along with PortAventura World, the largest Mediterranean family destination resort, and Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, announced a new dark ride for 2019. The new attraction will be PortAventura’s first dark ride and the first Sesame Stree t dark ride in Europe.

The announcement was made at the International Attractions Expo with a life-sized animatronic Big Bird on display, telling guests about the new adventure he and his friends are about to embark on.

Continuing PortAventura’s policy of constant investment and the goal of offering new and exciting experiences to visitors every year, 2019 will feature a new attraction suitable for all family members – a Sesame Street-themed dark ride to be located in SesamoAventura, a dedicated Sesame Street area featuring the iconic characters and where children are center stage.

“This partnership with the internationally recognized global leader in children’s education and entertainment Sesame Workshop, along with the collaboration with Sally Corporation, as a dark ride specialist will contribute to create an attraction that will be unique experience within the range of the family entert ainment offer.” – Fernando Aldecoa, General Director of PortAventura World.

“Theme parks are one of the most powerful ways for children and families to engage and connect with their favorite characters. Our partner PortAventura World, one of the top regional theme park resorts in Europe, has done an amaz ing job along with Sally Corporation, in capturing the true essence of the Sesame Street brand and creating an immersive experience that brings our characters to life for park guests.” – Ed Wells, Senior Vice President and Head of International Media and Education, Sesame Workshop.

The near six-minute long dark ride attraction will be housed in a newly constructed 14,000 square foot building and will feature a 10 minute preshow and 5:50 minute ride experience. Detective Grover will be your guide through t his interactive adventure, urging guests to collect clues that will help solve a mystery happening on Sesame Street. With numerous animatronic characters, immersive scenery, and interactive gameplay, this mixed media attraction will appeal to guests of all ages.

Kennywood and S&S Worldwide unveil highly-anticipated roller coaster train for the Steel Curtain, the anchor attraction of the fan-centric Steelers Country themed area, opening in 2019

By | November 14, 2018

ORLANDO, Fla. — Since this summer’s announcement that Pittsburgh’s iconic Kennywood Park will open the groundbreaking Steelers Country attraction in 2019, football and roller coaster fans have been eager for news on one of the most exciting projects in recent amusement industry history. Today, S&S Worldwide, Inc. and Kennywood came together to reveal one of the most exciting aspects of Steelers Country’s star player, showcasing the ride vehicles for the Steel Curtain roller coaster for the first time at the International Association of Amusement Park and Attractions’ (IAAPA) International Expo.

Matching the colors of the track and structure of the coaster, the vehicle features the iconic black and gold colors of the Pittsburgh Steeler uniform complete with number 33 on the center of the lead vehicle, a nod to the year the sports franchise was founded (1933). The vehicle’s sleek, comfortable seats are themed and shaped to look like footballs with the laces facing outward. The restraints on the vehicle are lap bar only (no over the shoulder restraint), and guests will notice just how open the vehicle is as the train twists, turns and inverts them smoothly at high speed. “With the Steel Curtain setting the North American record for most inversions, it was critical that the trains offer riders a safe and comfortable experience that has them eager to ride again and again,” said Kennywood General Manager Jerome Gibas. “You can definitely tell you’re in Steelers Country when you board this vehicle.”

The towering Steel Curtain roller coaster will rule Kennywood’s skyline. With a record-breaking 9 inversions (most in the Western Hemisphere), 197 foot-tall inversion, and 220-foot maximum height, Steel Curtain is an adrenaline rush like no other, speeding across 4,000 feet of track at 75 miles per hour. Designed by S&S Worldwide, Steel Curtain will break a Pennsylvania record, a North American record, and a world record. The colossal steel structure of the coaster will serve as a landmark addition to the park and a high-energy entry point welcoming guests to Steelers Country.

“We are very excited about the partnership with Kennywood,” said Steelers Vice President of Sales and Marketing Ryan Huzjak. “Being able to connect the Pittsburgh Steelers with a family attraction like Kennywood is a natural fit for both organizations, and we are thrilled about the tradition and longstanding history the Steelers and Kennywood provide to families in and around the city of Pittsburgh.”

“We are honored to collaborate with this great, historic park and the Pittsburgh Steelers on this coaster, said S&S Worldwide Director of Sales Pete Barto. “We all know how passionate Steelers fans are, and it is our mission to make sure the Steel Curtain vehicle and ride experience lives up to its legendary namesake.”

Ground has already been broken on the Steel Curtain, with the first pieces of the ride being erected this month. Crews will be hard at work to open Steelers Country, highlighted by this record-setting roller coaster, during the 2019 season.

ICON scoops gold at North West CIPR PRide Awards

By | November 14, 2018

Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Rule5 PR are celebrating after winning a Gold award at the North West CIPR PRide Awards for Best Travel, Leisure and Tourism campaign for “A new ICON for Blackpool”.  The campaign was developed to announce the name, raise awareness and build anticipation for Blackpool Pleasure Beach’s new £16.25 rollercoaster which opened in May 2018.

The campaign devised by the team used simulations of the ride, interviews and animations to create a video which announced the name of the new ride and could be shared with the media. This was then followed by milestone announcements and updates as the ride’s construction continued.  The official launch saw media, influencers and fans from across the country invited to celebrate this ICONic event and be amongst the first to ride ICON.  The campaign was a huge success and generated huge amounts of national and international press coverage and included a six minute live feature on This Morning.

On the submission, the judges stated that “The use of motion graphics was an innovative solution in building anticipation of an incomplete ride. Interactive press packs were also on brand and numerous news hooks delivered by the team resulted in incredible national and multi-platform coverage. To date, the impact of the campaign has delivered impressive results and will undoubtedly go on to achieve much more!”

On winning the award, Amanda Thompson OBE, Managing Director of Blackpool Pleasure Beach, comments, “I’m delighted that our team have won such a prestigious award for the ICON launch campaign.  The ride has been a huge success with many people visiting Blackpool Pleasure Beach to experience the UK’s only double launch rollercoaster.”

Dynamic Attractions unveils the world’s first motion base coaster

By | November 13, 2018

ORLANDO, Fla. — A roller coaster capable of doing spin-outs and other racing moves was unveiled today by innovative ride manufacturer Dynamic Attractions at the global exposition for theme park operators put on by the International Attractions and Amusement Parks Association (IAAPA).

“The Dual Power Coaster the world’s most advanced roller coaster vehicle,” states Hao Wang, President, Dynamic Attractions. “Most coasters are all about the track. That is only half of the excitement in this ride, where the cart itself is powered and moves, creating racing sensations never possible before on a roller coaster.”

The unique roller coaster vehicles have new technology that allow four degrees of freedom (4-DOF); these motion platforms enable each vehicle to pitch forward, roll side-to-side, change heading, and heave up and down while moving along the track. Wang explains how this feels to guests, “The Dual Power Coaster simulates drifting, air time, 360-spin outs, and other racing phenomena which have been impossible up until now.”

In addition to the 4-DOF motion platform, it has dual propulsion. The combination of On-Board drive and an Off-Board Linear Synchronous Motor drive heightens the experience for guests. “Imagine racing on a track and then suddenly ‘powering-up’ to boost your speed,” adds Wang.

Dynamic Attractions’ first Dual Power Coaster will open in Malaysia in the Spring of 2019.

“Theme parks are eager for the next centerpiece attraction because it draws guests,” adds Wang. “The Dual Power Coaster offers a dramatically new sensory experience. It will be a game-changer for creative teams, park owners and guests.”

Dynamic Attractions’ new products have consistently been recognized by IAAPA as the ‘Best New Product Concept’. Over the past three years, the coveted Brass Ring has been awarded to Dynamic’s All-Terrain Dark Ride (2017), Motion Theater (2016), and SFX Coaster (2015).

AIMS International Executive Director Karen Oertley to Retire in 2019

By | November 13, 2018

Karen Oertley, Executive Director of AIMS International, has announced her retirement effective April 2019. Oertley has served as Executive Director since 2014.

Karen has played a critical role in the growth of AIMS, and the AIMS International Board of Directors is grateful for her work over the last 5 years. Under her leadership, AIMS has experienced growth in seminar attendance and sponsorship and has established a platform to deliver its mission beyond the annual safety seminar with expanded certification and education programs delivered regionally.

In announcing her retirement to the board, Karen said, “I have been fortunate to have had a long and successful career in the amusement and live entertainment industry which began forty years ago, in 1978. I truly appreciate and have enjoyed the opportunity to lead AIMS International.  Our safety education mission is vital to the success of the industry we all love.”

Oertley’s career in the industry began with Amusement Business where she spent more than 25 years, last serving as Publisher and Editor in Chief.  She is the former chair of the Amusement Business/Liseberg Applause Award Board of Governors and was a member of AIMS International’s Board of Directors for eight years. She has served on several IAAPA (International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions) committees including the Manufacturers & Suppliers (M&S) Committee. She has also worked as Director of Marketing for Hopkins Rides with marketing and communications responsibilities for WhiteWater. Earlier, she worked as Executive Director of Leadership Music and as Publisher of Hospitality Design magazine.

During the next few months, the AIMS board will conduct a search to find the new Executive Director for AIMS International. Interested candidates can contact Tim Viox at Viox@LeisureLabsLLC.com.

The AIMS International Board of Directors thanks Karen for the dedication and enthusiasm she has given AIMS International. She will be greatly missed by the board and those who support the mission of AIMS.

Record-breaking season for GARDALAND RESORT the absolute leader in Italy in themed hotels thanks to the new Gardaland Magic Hotel

By | November 12, 2018

The gates of Gardaland Magic Halloween have just been closed and – while awaiting the next opening for Magic Winter – the first conclusions can be made regarding the current season.

2018 turned out to be, for Gardaland Resort, a real record-breaking season, recording a positive trend both inside the Park and in the two hotels of the Resort.

The Park – declares Aldo Maria Vigevani, CEO Gardaland – experienced an increase in the number of Visitors, with a 17% growth compared to 2017 while the occupancy rate of the two Hotels rose by 5%. We are very pleased – continues Aldo Maria Vigevani – to have met the objectives that we had set for ourselves: Gardaland Hotel and Gardaland Adventure Hotel are almost always fully-booked, to the point that we reached an occupancy rate of 85% during this past season.”

On the strength of the success of season 2018 Gardaland Resort is strengthening its leadership in the domestic themed hotels field thanks to a 20 million Euro investment for the construction of Gardaland Magic Hotel. 128 rooms dedicated to magic divided in three different themes: Foresta Incantata (Enchanted Forest), Cristallo Magico (Magic Crystal) and Grande Mago (Great Wizard).

We are looking at the birth of the first themed hotels hub in Italy making Gardaland Resort the only real, undisputed player in Italy for themed accommodation.

In regards to foreign markets – which Gardaland will keep working on thanks to new agreements to be signed in 2019 – Gardaland Resort’s hotels registered a great flow of Austrian, German, Swiss and British visitors, with a lot of families with children appreciating the entertainment offer promoted by Gardaland Resort. Very positive are also the presences from Israel, favoured by the consolidated links between the airports of Tel Aviv and Verona, with main airline and charter flights.

Gardaland Resort is especially popular among families with children that see their stay as the fulfilment of a dream and of a unique experience that continues beyond the mere visit of the Park. A stay at the hotels of Gardaland Resort offers the functionality and the comfort of a four-star hotel with the opportunity to “take home” an exclusive and unique range of emotions.

In terms of what kind of client is currently choosing to stay at the hotels of Gardaland Resort, a highly significant figure can be found in the strong growth of bookings by Italian tourists – 17.2% more compared to 2017 – with the national market representing, out of the grand total of bookings in the two hotels, 58.4%. Top Visitors were families of 4 people originating from Rome, Milan, Turin, Bari and Venice with an average stay of two nights.

Movie Park Germany set new record for visitors with its Halloween Horror Festival

By | November 12, 2018

Bottrop-Kirchhellen — Season closes with best results yet! On the 20th anniversary of its multi-award winning Halloween Horror Festival, Movie Park Germany attracted more visitors than ever before, in the process setting a new personal best for the third year running. “Compared with last year, this year we’ve seen an increase of more than 9% in visitor numbers,” explains a delighted Thorsten Backhaus, General Manager. “At the same time, we’ve enjoyed our most successful autumn since 2000. We are thrilled that our Halloween event has attracted such great interest and drawn so many visitors to the park. This is also a huge endorsement for our team and the ideas we developed during our anniversary year. The ideal incentive to ensure that we get off to a flying start next year, too.”

Yet more horror attractions, hundreds of spotlights, decorative details and an unmistakable spine-chilling atmosphere: Europe’s biggest Halloween event not only got a new name this year. With its new “Wrong Turn” maze, two new scare zones and some excellent live music acts, the award-winning Halloween Horror event evolved into a festival in its 20th anniversary year to become a much bigger spectacle. “Of course we’re especially proud of our new horror attraction “Wrong Turn”. The indoor maze was a real hit with visitors. We’re thrilled that it’ll be an integral part of our portfolio over the next two years,” says Project Manager, Manuel Prossotowicz. “In total we had eight horror attractions and four different scare zones in the park, which put visitors in the right Halloween mood.” On top of that we had over 280 monsters who were on site in the film and amusement park across 18 action days, making the horror event a real scary experience for visitors.

All in all, Movie Park Germany saw a slight increase in visitor numbers for the 2018 season. “Despite some challenges over the summer, we’ve enjoyed a satisfactory year overall,” explains General Manager, Thorsten Backhaus. “The strides made by our tour operator “Movie Park Holidays” have been very positive, too. With our approx. 50 partner hotels, we also experienced further growth in this area. The desire of visitors to spend two days in the park has been established once again.”

The park now enters the winter break after a successful end to the year. A new attraction with accompanying licence is already in the pipeline for 2019. “We can already reveal this much: our youngest visitors can look forward to a new family attraction in the coming season, which will further bolster our park offer,” says General Manager, Thorsten Backhaus. Movie Park Germany opens its doors again for the new season on 29 March 2019.

Apollo Legends Reunite, Restored Historic Mission Control Unveiled

By | November 9, 2018

HOUSTON, Texas — It was an historic sight – living legends who worked on the Apollo program reunited for a major milestone to the see the unveiling of restored Historic Mission Control consoles used to send humans to the Moon. The newly restored units arrived in a return flight to Ellington Airport by way of NASA’s Super Guppy.

NASA Johnson Space Center and Space Center Houston are leading the restoration of Historic Mission Control and yesterday marked a major milestone in the ongoing campaign to restore a National Historic Landmark before the Apollo 11 mission’s 50th anniversary.

Designed to carry oversized cargo, the Super Guppy airlifted the consoles from the Cosmosphere, a space museum in Hutchinson, Kansas. Luminaries of NASA Johnson Space Center’s Apollo program welcomed the consoles under a hangar at Ellington Airport. Together the alumni observed the restored consoles for the first time. Special guests from the Apollo-era included Will Davidson, Ed Fendell, Robert Grilli, Milt Heflin, Denny Holt, James Kelly, Thomas Loe, Glynn Lunney, Merlin Merritt, Bill Moon, Bill Reeves, and Milt Windler.

Johnson Space Center and Space Center Houston leadership were in attendance and spoke briefly about the work on the restoration and significance of restoring Historic Mission Control to its authentic Apollo-era configuration. Those in attendance included NASA Johnson Space Center director Mark Geyer, Space Center Houston president and CEO William T. Harris, NASA Johnson Space Center Apollo Mission Control restoration project manager Jim Thornton, and NASA Johnson Space Center director of flight operations Brian Kelly.

The leading science and space exploration learning center aims to restore Historic Mission Control as an authentic learning experience. “We want to keep the legacy of the Apollo-era alive and preserve Historic Mission Control,” said Harris. “Thanks to the combined efforts of so many people, future generations can experience this iconic room exactly as it was when Neil Armstrong made his historic first steps on the Moon.”

Restored consoles from the room were unveiled for the first time. The consoles revealed were used by the flight surgeon and capsule communication (CAPCOM). Located on the far left console of the second row was the flight surgeon. This position was held by a medical doctor, a flight systems officer who monitored the health of the astronauts. Immediately next to the flight surgeon was the CAPCOM. This was the only flight controller allowed to talk to the astronauts.

The history behind NASA’s historic Mission Operations Control Room spans more than 50 years and time took a toll on the room. The historic Mission Operations Control Room, used during the Gemini, Apollo and Space Shuttle eras, was in acute need of restoration. The project is restoring flight control consoles and reactivating mission situational awareness displays to recreate Apollo-era use of the wall-size screens. Furnishings such as carpeting, tile, paperwork, coffee cups and ashtrays in the room are being collected and restored to recreate the appearance of an active Mission Control room during the Apollo era. When completed, the room will accurately portray how the area looked the moment the first Moon landing occurred on July 20, 1969.
Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1985, the control room celebrates human space exploration and inspires people from around the world who visit. Johnson Space Center, Space Center Houston, and the city of Webster are working together to restore the room that made what seemed an inconceivable dream become a reality.

The restoration of the National Historic Landmark began in July 2017 and is coordinated by NASA Johnson Space Center with funds raised by the nonprofit Space Center Houston, the Official Visitor Center of Johnson Space Center. The Cosmosphere has been hired to restore nearly two dozen consoles.

The restored Historic Mission Control Room will be unveiled to the world in time for the Apollo 11 mission’s 50th anniversary and the city of Houston will host a month-long celebration, including a ribbon-cutting for the restored Mission Control room.

The city of Webster, a longtime supporter of Space Center Houston, gave a $3.5 million lead gift toward the $5 million “On a Mission” campaign. Space Center Houston then led a 30-day funding campaign drawing more than 4,000 pledges from 15 countries including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany. The city of Webster matched the crowdfunding campaign gifts dollar-for-dollar up to $400,000 as a component of the lead gift. Current proceeds stand at approximately $4.5 million leaving $500,000 remaining to meet the $5 million On a Mission campaign goal.