August 2020 issue available!

By | July 21, 2020

The August 2020 issue of Amusement Today is available for FREE via Digital Edition and/or downloadable PDF!

  • Kings Island welcomes arrival of Orion
  • Candymonium opens at Hersheypark
  • Eli Bridge wheel is centerpiece of new Scheel’s store
  • World’s largest ropes course at Natural Bridge Caverns
  • Efteling opens Max & Moritz
  • Trans Studio’s Jurassic Island
  • Talley Amusements works to rebuild season
  • Splashin’ Safari adds Cheetah Chase
  • Soaky Mountain Waterpark opens
  • Uncertainty from government ban on visa programs
  • Embed launches Hygiene Defence product line
     …and more!

IAFE Alert: Info from DHS on E-mail phishing attack

By | August 13, 2020

The IAFE has just received a notification from the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) of a malicious e-mail phishing attack, spoofing the SBA COVID-19 relief page.

Please carefully review any e-mails about SBA COVID-19 relief funding and compare to information from CISA at this link.

Dena Ann Calabrese, January 18, 1971 – August 9, 2020

By | August 13, 2020

Dena Ann (Schwanse) Calabrese, born January 18, 1971, passed away peacefully on Sunday, August 9, 2020 from her battle with Cancer. Her husband Giovanni Calabrese was at her side. She is survived by her husband of 20 years: Giovanni, along with their children Dante (14) and Giovanna (9); her parents Herb and Grace Schwanse; brother Herb jr. and his wife Lynda Schwanse, their daughter Rebecca and husband Hoat Nga , her brother Guy Schwanse and his wife Norma, and their children Christian, and Nicholas, along with her inlaws Michele and Maria Calabrese, brother in law: Sam Calabrese, his wife Brigette and son Micheal, along with Sister in law: Rosaria Calabrese with her daughters Alessia and Ezri Minassian. Not to mention numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and godchildren. To say that there were few relatives to be named would be an understatement and would require hours of time to gather and name people not only from our local area, but overseas as well, so forgive us for omitting them here. 

Dena was an alumnus of the Weehawken school system and graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology. She used her education to not only work for Anne Klein in New York City, but to design and create custom drapery and dresses for private local clients. She then took time off from the fashion industry to care for her new born nephew Christian for two years. Around this time, she and Giovanni became reacquainted, fell in love and married on August 26, 2000 and started working together, at their co-owned local scenic studio business: “Themendous”, where they produced costumes and sculpture work for companies such as the Macy’s Parade, Google, Amusement parks, TV shows, Movie props and one of their locally known works: “Mr. Tree” at the Weehawken Public Library. 

Not only was Dena a devoted mother, but she constantly volunteered her free time to various town and school functions. She is known for her contagious smile and laughter that lit up a room, and always making sure to be the last to say “goodbye” to anyone, at any function. She prided herself in being an advocate for so many people in need. She offered help, assistance and guidance to students, friends, employees and family including strays and yes, even insects in any capacity that she could, always helping others before herself.

Giovanni, Dena and their children traveled extensively throughout the States, Italy, Germany, Mexico, Jamaica and even Cuba amongst other places for both work and pleasure. Their travels lead to many adventures, funny stories and moments of danger with near death experiences: scaling up mountain ridges, diving through underwater rock tunnels, and exploring abandoned castles. But while one could reflect on her past and say that Dena has lived a lifetime of adventure, and service to her local community, her time here with us was cut short so that she could serve God in helping others who need her more.

She will be missed, but never forgotten. 

Calling hours will be at Leber Funeral Home, 2000 Kennedy Boulevard, Union City, NJ on Wednesday, August 12, 2020 from 4pm – 8pm. The funeral mass will be at St. Lawrence Church at 10:30am on Thursday, August 13, 2020, 22 Hackensack, Ave., Weehawken, NJ. In lieu of flowers, the family is suggesting donations in Dena’s name to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

Shazade (Chas) Siddiqi passes

By | August 13, 2020

It is with profound sadness that we announce the untimely passing of Shazade (Chas) Siddiqi, a man well-known to the pinball community for his commitment to quality and service to his friends and customers. Chas passed away suddenly earlier this week. 

He will be missed. 

-Gary Stern,
Stern Pinball, Inc.

HALLOWinter at Europa-Park: For the first time Germany’s largest theme park is open between the Halloween and Winter seasons

By | August 13, 2020

Anyone who has always shied away from being spoiled for choice and couldn’t decide between bright orange pumpkins and snow-covered Christmas trees should mark November bold in their calendar. For the first time in its history, Europa-Park is also open between the Halloween and winter seasons. ‘HALLOWinter’ offers the perfect mix of gruesomely beautiful spooky time and wonderfully beautiful winter weeks. From the 9th until the 27th November 2020 Germany’s largest theme park is going crazy! Witches wear red pointed hats and next to lovingly decorated pumpkin figures, roasted almonds and mulled wine beckon. The combination of two seasons is unique in the world. While preparations for the ice rink and ski slope are in full swing in the Scandinavian themed area, in the Greek themed area you can cool down in the Poseidon water roller coaster. Europa-Park is known for its diversity and attention to detail. ‘HALLOWinter’ proves this once again and is an attractive and innovative offer that gives visitors even more opportunities for a short break in a year with limited visitor capacity. Don’t miss the new, spectacular themed ride ‘Pirates in Batavia’ – an adventure for the whole family whatever the weather. Even bigger, more beautiful and more exciting! 

Europa-Park is open daily from the 9th until the 27th November 2020 from 11am until 7pm. The classic Halloween season starts on 26th September until the 8th November; on the 28th November the classic winter season will begin, ending on 10th January 2021 (except 24/25th December 2020). Only the water attractions ‘Atlantica SuperSplash’ and ‘Fjord Rafting’ will be closed during the HALLOWinter period due to preparations for the winter season. The admission price will be €50 for adults and €42 for children.

Newly designed Polin Waterparks website is now online

By | August 11, 2020

We are pleased to officially announce that our new website is now live! Come check us out at

Our newly designed website offers our viewers a user-friendly, easy to navigate website. It allows our viewers to easily browse for information and solutions and shows how Polin Waterparks can provide those ultimate solutions and serve your needs.

It has an improved section providing examples of work we have done for some of our clients. Why not take a look and you may find some inspiration for your next project?

In addition to showcasing our extensive product offering and impressive experiences, we’re pleased to present an updated website that provides all the necessary and up-to-date information about all our services.

Our website is also built with responsive design in mind allowing it to adapt to any device, meaning you will get the same experience when you’re on the move as you will when you are at home or in the office.

Currently, the enhanced site is only available in English. However, other versions will follow in this month. As the new site launches, we would like to remind our visitors that they may need to clear their browser’s past caches through their tools menu to make sure the new site loads properly.

Knoebels announces “Joy Through the Grove” – a Christmas light experience

By | August 11, 2020

ELYSBURG, Pa. — Knoebels Amusement Resort is thrilled to announce there will be a new season of fun for guests. On November 27, Knoebels will launch their newest event: Joy Through the Grove – A drive through Christmas light display.

According to park officials, the light display will begin near Impulse roller coaster, travel down the park’s main boulevard, and throughout much of the campground.

“This is a great opportunity to provide another season of Knoebels for our guests,” said Jon Slodysko, event organizer. “There will be over 15 miles of string lights, and over 400 light up pieces.”

The drive through light display will be open nightly throughout the event, which will conclude the first week of January.

“We’re really excited to give guests something new to look forward to,” said Stacy Ososkie, Knoebels’ Public Relations Director. “Guests have been asking for a Knoebels Christmas experience for many years, and we believe the time is right to make it happen!”

Knoebels plans to operate the amusement park daily through Labor Day, on weekends in September after Labor Day, and for Hallo-Fun October 9-11, 16-18, 23-25, and 30-November 1. Knoebels will announce additional details for the Christmas event as they become available.

A letter on behalf of the Attractions Industry in New York

By | August 10, 2020

Among the summer’s greatest disappointments in New York are the closed amusement and water parks. Although the attractions industry knows how to operate safely and wants to open, it is prevented by the state’s guidelines. Initially it was thought that parks would be open in Forward NY’s Phase Three. However, there is now a complete lack of guidance as to when and under what rules your favorite parks will be permitted to open, either this year or next.

Most park patrons eagerly await their expected thrills and are always enthusiastic about the newest attraction, but few are aware of the stringent safety requirements and protocols behind the scenes. Amusement and water parks have one common mission: to provide the safest environment while providing a “touch of magic” for their patrons. Notice that safety is first. The industry prides itself as being one of the safest in the world. Each park operates under strict dictates of daily inspections and operation procedures. There are on-site safety professionals who perform regular training and inspections. Safety is always the number one concern in planning and executing ride operations, shows and events, as it is in all aspects of the experience in every amusement and water park. In short, this is an industry built on safety, knowing what to do and how to enforce the rules.  

Of course, COVID-19 presents special challenges. Following CDC guidelines, industry safety experts have taken great pains to develop very specific protocols to stay safe against the virus. These challenges are overcome, in part, by limiting access thereby reducing crowd size, eliminating close encounter events like character greetings, adding enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols, socially distancing on rides, and strict enforcement of mask wearing rules. New York parks are equipped and ready to welcome back their guests and operate under a system of guidelines to keep everyone safe.

In their efforts to open, New York park operators point to the successes of their neighbors. Parks in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Maine are all open and operating under these special protocols. The experience has been completely positive. These parks have been able to “deliver their magic” while keeping everyone safe. The incidents of outbreaks or spikes in these states have been very low and absolutely no such event has been attributable to attendance at any of the many amusement and water parks that are open. Currently, New York stands as one of the safest states in terms of COVID-19 and there is every expectation that its parks can provide the same positive experience as in neighboring states.

Should New York’s amusement parks be open? Industry professionals from the New England Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions as well as those in other neighboring states say YES. Park operators in New York want to be open and have pleaded their case to state officials but have been left in the dark. New York State has not permitted them to open but more importantly, has issued no guidance as to if and when and how they can open in the future.

A few things must be considered. Amusement and water parks provide a form of much needed and desired recreation. When considering overall health, mental health must be included in that equation. Stress levels and depression rates are high due to the virus. Recreation and the stress relieving escape provided by amusement and water parks, safely operated, is sorely needed. Additionally, these parks are local economic engines, supplying thousands of summer and skilled jobs. Jobs now unfilled, taxes not collected, and park owners without revenue while having to pay ongoing mortgages, loans and business expenses. These are serious issues, all of which are foreshadowed by issues of public health. In other words, we wouldn’t mention them if not for the fact that there is ample evidence that the parks can be operated safely in New York as they are elsewhere.

There are other related casualties to this situation as well. Take for instance Coney Island’s Wonder Wheel. Operated by three generations of the Vourderis family, it is not only a Coney Island icon but a New York City landmark known around the world. It would have celebrated its 100th anniversary this season. It is a naturally virus safe ride, completely outside, able to keep families together while isolating them from each other, as its cars are more than 20 feet apart. A celebration had been planned, which of course has not happened. We think at least this ride should be allowed to operate and celebrate this important anniversary for the Vourderis family and all who have loved the ride for all of these years.

We urge Governor Cuomo and his staff to take a closer look and look regionally. The experience is good. While of course there are issues, locally we are in a place where amusement and water parks can be safely opened. Safety and diligence are critically important. That’s where this industry shines. It is built on safety. It’s an industry built on protocols from ride safety, crowd safety, water safety, food safety, mechanical safety, operational safety and on and on every day. The COVID-19 protocols have been established and proven to work safely. New York parks should be open now.

We know that all operators are willing and more than able to follow and enforce the rules to be open in the safest environment possible. We also know that New York operators understand that should the condition in the state change, everything can be shut down again. We can work together with government to make it happen the right way. New York’s amusement and water parks seek an open dialogue to know what to expect now and in the future for the benefit of all, but especially our loyal guests.

-Eric Anderson

WWA Show 2020 update – WWA40 moves to virtual experience

By | August 10, 2020

To Our WWA Show Attendees,

Adaptability has been the name of the game this year. Over the past few months, we’ve been awed by the way our members have managed through the ever-changing challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic and humbled by the way they have selflessly come together to develop and share solutions to them.

We made great strides in a remarkably short amount of time and all of us were hopeful that after the summer ended, we’d come together to celebrate and plan for 2021. In May, June and early July, COVID-19 projections were encouraging, and it appeared our members would be able to operate, travel would open up and we would have the opportunity to host our 40th Annual Symposium and Trade Show.

Unfortunately, that has not been the case. Based on current public health advisories and travel restrictions around the world, including the State of Nevada which currently bans gatherings of more than 50 people, it is not possible for us to move ahead with this year’s WWA Show in Las Vegas.

Cancelling the in-person portion of our 40th anniversary show was not what we had hoped for, but as we have so many times this year, we will continue to adapt to challenges as they arise.

Going forward, we’ll shift our attention to delivering a virtual show experience that will honor our strong commitment to providing the best educational and networking opportunities available to you as a water leisure professional. Look for more details coming soon about our WWA40 virtual experience.

And, let’s all mark our calendars for when we’ll be together again at the WWA’s 41st Annual Symposium & Trade Show, October 19-22, 2021 in San Antonio, Texas, U.S.A.

Be safe and take care of yourselves, your families and your teams.

Damien Latham,
Chair, WWA Board of Directors
Rick Root,
President, World Waterpark Association

Chance Rides, Great Coasters International, Larson International and Premier Rides: A letter to our valued customers

By | August 7, 2020

To our Valued Customers,

The IAAPA Expo in Orlando is the most important annual gathering of amusement industry professionals and enthusiasts and is truly the epicenter of attractions innovation and business.  In 2019, a record-setting 42,000 attendees including CEOs, global leaders, visionary designers, sales people, and technical experts gathered to conduct business, educate, and network at the industry’s gold standard conference and trade show.  The 2019 show was a confirmation of the strength of the attractions industry which this past year set all-time records globally for attendance.  Business had never been better.

2020 will not be the same.  The companies listed below represent well over 100 years of continuous exhibiting at the IAAPA Expo.  We are competitors, yet we work together closely to ensure amusement ride safety.  We put our heart and soul into this industry with the like goal of creating lifetime memories for millions of people around the globe.  And we all look forward to the opportunity each year to gather in Orlando and to be with colleagues and friends from nearly every country in the globe.  There are no better words to describe the show environment than “one big family”.  With that in mind, we are deeply saddened to share the news with you that we will not be exhibiting at the 2020 IAAPA Expo.  We know this news will come as a great disappointment to many of you, and we have made this hard decision with great angst and with significant consideration of several factors.   

First, the industry is hurting on all levels.  Even with a global effort lead by IAAPA to establish very safe facility operations, our guests have not come back to the parks in the numbers for which we had all hoped.  As suppliers to the industry, we know that successful business for us requires successful business for our valued clients.  We get it.  We understand there is a right time to sell and this is not the right time.  Parks and attractions need to focus all their attention on keeping their facilities healthy and well-maintained so they can open strong in 2021.  We are here to help you in any way possible, whether it be service or technical support and we will be here when the time is right to talk about new innovative attractions. 

Additionally, and understandably, the ability to travel from both a global and a domestic standpoint has been so greatly diminished to the point it is impractical.  Each day the news brings additional quarantines and restrictions.  Flying from around the globe to Florida is almost impossible, and even in the US with its myriad of quarantine rules it would presently require 28 days of quarantine to visit the show from New York.  Again, impractical.

And finally, and most importantly, we need to prioritize the health of our employees who have dedicated themselves to making our companies successful and who are what make visiting our booths so great and so welcoming.  We understand all the precautions that are being taken for the IAAPA Expo, and we are grateful for that significant effort.  There is indeed hope for the near future with rapid global achievements in the medical field.  But for this show, with just over three months to go, the clock has run out.

We have each reached out to our valued clients around the globe and also here in the United States.  The message has been the same.  For all the reasons above, “we can’t come” is what we are being told.  We understand and respect the situation and for the same reasons we will not be at the show either.  We will dearly miss you.

The show is a major investment and we have already spent significantly on the show; funds that can never be recovered.  We will use the savings from not exhibiting to maintain our company’s operations in order to be ready when you are.  In addition, our industry is known for giving and we are all making some generous donations with part of our savings.

We will be giving to:

  • Give Kids The World to help make up for the annual IAAPA Expo Harley Davidson fundraiser.
  • Doctors Without Borders in recognition that we are indeed a global industry that positively impacts people arounds the world.
  • Heart of Florida United Way because we care deeply about the people of Orlando, the home of IAAPA and the IAAPA Expo.

We encourage everyone who reads this to also consider contributing to one of more of these organizations, even if the amount is small.

We work in an industry that is extremely resilient.  Through wars, through recessions, and yes, even through pandemics, our industry has survived.  People have a basic need to smile, to have fun.  And in tough times, amusement parks are a place where families can enjoy themselves.

The show must go on and will go on!  Just not this year.

We will see you again in 2021.  And yes, we will once again smile.

Thank you for your understanding. 

Belmont Magic Show transforms to spectacular Open-Air Theater of Magic!

By | August 6, 2020

Now, there is no need for a tent or enclosed space to present a spectacular theatrical show. Al Belmont is as pleased as he can be about the reception given his Open-Air Theater of Magic Show, Belmont’s Evening of Fun & Magic, in Wildwood, New Jersey’s premier family resort.

Ranging from a prime-time, two-minute story on the NBC Network owned, NBC 10 News Philadelphia to feature stories in the Atlantic City Press and Jersey Cape Magazine, the press has widely praised the show itself, and the precautions taken to keep everyone safe.

Most important, with an audience mix of 65% adults/35% children, guest response to the show has been overwhelmingly positive. The show received all 5-Star ratings on TripAdvisor with customer reviews like:      

  • “This show is perfect as it’s entertainment parents will enjoy alongside their children!”
  • “The show presented by world class performers makes for a fun night with the family. Wonderful illusions combined with humor and storytelling keeps everyone engaged. Social distancing is a breeze in this outdoor environment. Comfortable padded chairs are provided. After the show, I saw a staff member disinfecting the chairs. I would definitely go again!”
  • “Every act keeps you on the edge of your seat wanting to know what comes next.”
  • “Everything about this magic show is perfect. All wonderful performers. You can tell they truly love what they’re doing which definitely adds to the show value.”
  • “My 10 yr old son said, “my mind was BLOWN” high praise from a tough critic. It was a great night out! The show takes great safety measures for covid19 which helped ease our minds.”
  • “My wife and I had a great time! Amazing magic and illusion performed to perfection. We witnessed up close (but socially distanced) feats of magic that even with front row seats, we couldn’t discover their secrets. The illusions were flawless. The personalities of the performers were so down to earth and friendly we are probably going to return with friends before they close. Bring the family for a great show. Reasonably priced & comfortable seats too.”

The 30 to 45 minute, six-member ensemble presentation featured at Fairs & Festivals as The Master Magicians stars three award-winning acts – The Belmonts (Christopher Masters Award, & Gwynne Showmanship Award); John Bundy (Christopher Illusionist Award); and the Ultimate Liberated Woman, Morgan (CW Network, Worlds Greatest Magic: Escape Artist).

As with network tv and national theater tour magic shows, the show is paced to assure that audience members will never be bored, and designed so that there is something to dazzle every audience member, regardless of their age. Kid friendly but not a kiddie show, the show is balanced to engage adults so that they will thoroughly enjoy the show at their own adult level.

In limited space, Belmont has created a family-friendly, unique, and very safe entertainment experience – an open-air theatre equipped with comfortable seating and scenic surround fence as well as an impressive portable stage with Broadway quality lighting and sound.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, employee and guest safety is a top priority. All employees are temperature-checked prior to opening and all staff are required to mask when they interact with guests. Seating is limited to 15 sections of seats so that families and social-bubble groups can be seated in their own section, at least 6 feet away from all other audience members.

Cast size and running time can be adjusted to meet individual Fair & Festival needs and budgets. Bookings are now being accepted for 2021 events.