OWA partners with Sally on park’s first dark ride

By | February 21, 2019

 JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Just last week The Park at OWA announced that they will be adding a dark ride to their 2019 lineup, a first for the park. To garner intrigue, they teased with blurred photos and initiated an online naming contest for what they describe as a “new frightfully fun attraction”. While the name of the ride is still to be released, it is confirmed to be a Sally dark ride. 

“We knew we wanted an indoor attraction, something engaging and fun for families. When we decided on an interactive dark ride, there was no better choice than the specialists at Sally,” said Director of OWA Marketing/PR, Kristin Hellmich. Of course we want quality, something that will stand the test of time, but what we’re really after is having park guests leave with a memory that they will want to relive, time and time again. And that’s what you get with a Sally ride.”

Ghost Blasters has been a successful product for Sally, with over 10 parks housing versions of the attraction. While the ghostly theme remains, no ride is exactly the same. OWA’s iteration will encompass the best scenes and gags of past versions, plus the addition of a few new surprises.

Four-passenger ride cars will take riders through 13 whimsical and spooky rooms of the haunted mansion, all rendered in glowing, surrealistically colorful ultraviolet paint. “It’s a vibrantly distinct cartoonish look that screams fun!” exclaims Drew Hunter, VP of Creative Design at Sally. 

 Riders will use their Ghost Eradicators, otherwise known as “boo-blasters” to dispel the mansion of Boocifer and his ghostly cohorts. With over 90 targets in a 3 minute ride experience, the gameplay is sure to wage competition among friends and families visiting the Alabama park. 

Hunter explains, “Ride repeatability is a major goal of any of Sally’s interactive dark rides, and a huge amount of the repeatability is due to the competitive element. No two guest experiences will be quite the same, depending upon the guest’s boo-blasting skills and how many points they accumulate. It’s always fun for guests to see if they can out-score the others in their vehicle!” 

Garcia carnival operating in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

By | February 21, 2019

MEXICO — The Grupo Garcia Carnival was set up this week in Puerto Vallarta ending their 25 day run this weekend. Here, AT caught some of the action on the 21 ride midway from the Chance Giant wheel. Seen at the carnival’s historic carousel from left are Grupo Manager Roberto Gonzalez; Knoebel Amusement Resort’s Dick Knoebel and Jeannie Reddy and AT Publisher Gary Slade. Ride typically thought the show each year from Garcia’s other unties. New to the PV location this year was the Toro, Larson Super loop and the 4-lane Super Slide. The Fabbri drop tower and Pinfari Mark 1 coaster continue to ge popular with guests. AT PHOTOS


Recognition of European fairground culture making progress

By | February 21, 2019

The recognition of European fairground culture as an intangible cultural heritage in the sense of the UNESCO Convention is on the right track. This is the central result of an international panel discussion to which the European Showmen’s Union invited to Essen on 30 January.

Expert speakers from France, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Germany discussed the background to the application and the UNESCO application process with showmen and showwomen from ten European nations. Representatives from the ESU member associations provided supplementary information on their experiences with the inclusion of fairgrounds in the respective national lists of intangible cultural heritage. At the end of the constructive session the European Showmen’s Union was commissioned to coordinate an application to UNESCO for recognition of European fairground culture. For this purpose a working group of experts will be formed under the leadership of the ESU.

The international ESU meeting took place in the context of the 70th General Meeting of the delegates of the German Showmen’s Association (DSB) and the interschau, the largest trade show for travelling showmen in Europe.

Strong demonstration of European Showmen unity
Following the panel discussion the participants took part in the traditional large mass rally of the German Showmen’s Association in the Gruga Halle in Essen. Together with their German colleagues the representatives of the ESU national associations impressively demonstrated the European solidarity of showmen. The traditional flag march with more than 100 flags was the highlight of the event.

In their speeches the German Federal Minister of Labour Hubertus Heil, Vice-President of the NRW State Parliament Carina Gödecke, NRW State Labour Minister Karl-Josef Laumann, SPD Chairwoman and Chairwoman of the SPD Parliamentary Group Andrea Nahles as well as Essen’s Mayor Thomas Kufen congratulated the ESU on the 65th anniversary and emphasised the importance of European fairground culture for a free, peaceful and united Europe. President Albert Ritter warned that the centuries-old culture of the European fairgrounds would only survive if the framework conditions for the showmen were right.

Above all the lack of manpower is currently a problem threatening the existence of companies in Europe.

SeaWorld San Antonio to launch 2019 season Saturday, Feb. 23

By | February 20, 2019

SAN ANTONIO, Texas —SeaWorld San Antonio will launch its 2019 season Saturday, Feb. 23, with the first of four new Sesame Street Kids’ Weekends featuring fun for the entire family.

Opening later this spring will be a new and interactive sea turtle attraction, two thrilling new rides and the tallest drop slide in Texas, which will give guests something special to experience and bring more waves of adventure to SeaWorld and Aquatica.

“We’re looking forward to an exhilarating season jam-packed with a wide assortment of features every member of the family will enjoy,” said SeaWorld & Aquatica San Antonio Park President Carl Lum.  “With the addition of Turtle Reef, Sea Swinger, Riptide Rescue and Ihu’s Breakaway Falls, we’ll further expand our parks’ appeal to kids of all ages.”

This year’s lineup includes the following exciting, family-friendly events, rides and attractions – all included with park admission or an Annual Pass:

NEW:  Super Grover’s Box Car Derby:  Grand Opening Feb. 23
Super Grover’s great box car race takes place in the form of a family-friendly coaster that’s full of hills and thrills, including big turns and mini-dives. This action-packed “race” is the perfect first steel roller coaster for kids and adults.

NEW:  Sesame Street Kids’ Weekends:  Feb. 23-24; March 2-3; Aug. 17-18 and Aug. 24-25
In celebration of Sesame Street’s 50th anniversary, SeaWorld will kick-off a year of Sesame Street celebrations with special festivities and experiences, beginning with Sesame Street Kids’ Weekends. Guests can join Elmo, Cookie Monster, Abby Cadabby and all their favorite furry friends for hands-on activities, photo opportunities, a live DJ and much more.  Sesame Street Kids’ Weekends, which will be held in the park’s Sesame Street Bay of Play area, are included with park admission.

NEW:  Ihu’s Breakaway Falls: March 9
The tallest multi-tower drop slide in Texas, Ihu’s Breakaway Falls, drops in to Aquatica San Antonio just in time for Spring Break. Riders will climb nearly 70 feet to the top of an eight-story tower and step in to one of two colorful breakaway boxes, or face the plummet slide. As the door closes, riders cross their arms and give a thumbs up in preparation for their drop – not knowing when the floor beneath them will disappear. Facing each other, riders watch as fellow riders fall. After dropping in, riders descend at 20-24 feet per second into a spiraling speed slide before racing into a final splashdown.

Inside Look:  Weekends, March 30-31; April 6-7; April 13-14 and Weekends, Aug. 17-18, Aug. 24-25
Guests can go behind the scenes and visit animal care facilities previously not open to the public. SeaWorld’s renowned veterinarians and animal experts will offer an intimate look at the day-to-day care they provide for animals large and small. This will be an excellent opportunity to meet animal experts and animal rescuers and learn about their fascinating work. These visits will take place during normal park operating hours and are included with park admission.

Seven Seas Food Festival:  Weekends, April 19 – May 27
The popular Seven Seas Food Festival is returning to SeaWorld in the spring with more than 100 dishes to devour.  As guests sip and sample their way through the park, they will discover globally-inspired flavors and enjoy outstanding wines, craft cocktails, imported beers, live entertainment and fusion food from around the world.

NEW:  Turtle Reef:  Opening Spring 2019
Turtle Reef is an interactive sea turtle attraction that will give guests an up-close look at threatened and endangered sea turtles, plus identify threats they face in the wild. The focal point of Turtle Reef will be a 126,000-gallon reef-themed environment with a unique and natural bio-filtration system, the first of its kind in the world. This reduces water and energy consumption and allows for a bio-diverse, multi-species habitat, including green sea turtles and hundreds of multi-colored fish.

NEW:  Sea Swinger:  Opening Spring 2019
Sea Swinger, a new pendulum family ride coming to the new Turtle Reef area will spin and swing guests 180 degrees in both directions on one of the most-thrilling swing rides in the state of Texas.

NEW:  Riptide Rescue:  Opening Spring 2019
Also situated in the Turtle Reef area, Riptide Rescue will enable families to set out on their own exciting sea turtle rescue mission. This adventure will take place on a fast-paced, three-armed ride putting “rescuers” into exhilarating spins.

Walltopia announces upgraded Ninja Course with steel structure

By | February 20, 2019

The new Ninja Course now comes in a variety of colors, better column padding with print options and 30% lower price. The customer experience can be also enhanced with fluorescent paint variations. There are more than 45 different obstacles compatible with the new steel structure. This update is part of the Walltopia strategy to standardize its products which will improve lead times to meet the customer demand.

The Walltopia Ninja Course is a modular construction that allows clients to easily modify the number of lanes and obstacles according to their preference and space available. There is a variety of obstacles with different levels of difficulty available that can challenge a wide audience of participants. A Ninja Course can be a great fit to trampoline parks, FECs, sports centers, training facilities and climbing walls.

WhiteWater announces the hiring of Philip Edgell as President of Vantage

By | February 20, 2019

Vancouver, Canada — WhiteWater is thrilled to welcome Phil Edgell as President of Vantage, the company’s pioneering guest engagement platform designed to elevate venue operations and visitor experiences.  

A well-known name in Canada’s technology industry, Edgell most recently led Vancouver tech darling Hootsuite’s sales operations as their Global Vice President; helping to drive revenue predictability for the world’s most widely used social media management platform. Prior to joining Hootsuite, he was the Executive Vice President of Operations at Long View Systems, an information technology services and solutions company, where he was organizationally responsible for business performance in both North America and Europe. 

A product as new and innovative as Vantage requires a forward-thinking and results-driven leader to help bring it to market. With a proven track record of scaling technology products and brands to success, and his over 20 years of experience in translating business insights into winning strategies, made Edgell the clear choice to lead Vantage. “We are extremely happy to have someone with Phil’s impressive experience on board. He is the technology leader needed to ensure that the potential of Vantage is delivered rapidly to market, establishing Vantage as the originator of truly integrated, cutting-edge parks of the future,” says Geoff Chutter, President and CEO of WhiteWater. 

Launched this past November at the IAAPA Attractions Expo in Orlando, Florida, Vantage captures all of a venue’s visitor and operations data to give operators real-time insights to respond immediately to conditions, and analyze trends, while empowering guests to personalize their experiences. 

Vantage’s second installation at Island H2O Live! water park in Kissimmee, Florida has already garnered plenty of media attention and interest well before its projected opening of late spring 2019. The park, located at the new Margaritaville Resort Orlando, has integrated Vantage into its attractions, food and beverage, retail outlets, and more to provide guests with a seamless and personalized in-park experience. Further, the park’s operations will be amplified by Vantage’s presence throughout the park, improving safety for both staff and guests while empowering real-time decision-making and long-term strategic planning.

Discovery Cove is now a Certified Autism Center

By | February 19, 2019

ORLANDO, Fla. — Today, Discovery Cove, in conjunction with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES), announced the completion of a staff-wide autism sensitivity and awareness training as well as an onsite review of the park property and guest experience. The completion designates Discovery Cove as a Certified Autism Center (CAC) as distinguished by IBCCES, making it the first all-inclusive day resort and animal interaction park in the U.S to be certified.  

The certification follows sister parks Sesame Place, the first theme park in the world to reach this accreditation, and Aquatica Orlando, the first water park in the world to be accredited. Discovery Cove is SeaWorld Entertainment’s day resort park, where guests can enjoy a one-of-a-kind opportunity to swim with dolphins, snorkel among thousands of tropical fish and rays and other unique animal interactions, all in a tropical setting of rocky lagoons, lush landscaping and white, sandy beaches.  Working closely with IBCCES, the staff at Discovery Cove will be continually trained to assist guests with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families, to help ensure a positive experience during their visit.  Guests will also be provided with specific information about each of the Discovery Cove experiences, along with in park accommodations to help them plan their day and make informed choices best suited to their individual needs. 

 “Discovery Cove has long been recognized for its adventure-filled yet relaxed environment with a variety of open, clear spaces that make attractions and services more accessible. and reduces sensory overload for guests with cognitive disorders,” said Kyle Miller, President of Discovery Cove.   “Autism certification is a natural step for us as we continue to create safe and meaningful experiences for all of our guests.  We have seen how well received this certification has been at our Sesame Place and Aquatica Orlando parks, and we are committed in our efforts to offer families inclusive activities for children with autism and other special needs.”  

For almost 20 years, IBCCES has been the industry leader in autism training for licensed healthcare professionals and educators around the globe. IBCCES recognized that many families with children who have special needs have limited travel options, and in response, created training and certification programs specifically for the hospitality and travel industry.  As a Certified Autism Center, Discovery Cove is required to provide ongoing training to ensure that team members have the requisite knowledge, skills, temperament and expertise to interact with all families and children with special needs, specifically on the autism spectrum.  Training takes place in the areas of sensory awareness, environment, communication, motor and social skills, program development, and emotional awareness as well as a comprehensive autism competency exam. The autism training must be taken every two years in order to maintain the certification.

According to Myron Pincomb, Board Chairman of IBCCES, “We’re thrilled to see the commitment and enthusiasm of the team at Discovery Cove and its sister parks in serving guests on the spectrum and with sensory sensitivities. Certification and review are so important to ensure all guests feel welcomed and safe in these environments. This should be the industry standard, and we’re working with leaders in the field to make that happen.”Larry Celzo, a member of the IBCCES community and parent with a son on the autism spectrum said of the Discovery Cove certification, “After so many years of learning how to integrate our 15-year old son with autism into our community, it is refreshing to witness society becoming more aware of how hard we work to provide the same type of recreation and entertainment families without special needs enjoy. I really applaud the organizations who go above and beyond to become trained and certified in autism and other special needs.”

Robust pre-visit planning resources will be added to the park’s website including a sensory guide developed by IBCCES. This sensory guide will make it easier for parents to plan activities that satisfy their child’s specific needs and accommodations by providing insight on how a child with sensory processing issues may be affected by each sense for each attraction.   Added IBCCES’ Pincomb, pre-planning is vital for families in the autism community.  “Having a comprehensive resource that allows families to plan their day and avoid the element of surprise is vital. Understanding what the park offers, from its experiences to available food selections, helps in making their day a success.”

The park will also have a quiet space inside the park with adjustable lighting and a comfortable seating area for guests to take a break.

World’s Largest Swimming Lesson celebrates 10th anniversary, June 20, 2019

By | February 19, 2019

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Registration for the 2019 World’s Largest Swimming Lesson (WLSL) will open February 14th. This year’s event will take place Thursday, June 20th. Organizers are urging aquatic facilities of all types to show their love for water safety and drowning prevention by registering as an official 2019 Host Location and sharing that love on social media.

The purpose of the lesson? Provide kids and parents exposure to life-saving water safety skills and build awareness about the vital importance of teaching children to swim to help prevent drowning. Program organizers are working to connect the dots between the real risk of childhood drowning and the need for basic water competency skills and crucial parental supervision to keep kids safe in and around the water. Research shows:

  • The problem is life threatening for children: Per the World Health Organization, drowning is third leading cause of unintentional injury-related death, accounting for 7 percent of all injury-related deaths. In the U.S., drowning remains the leading cause of injury related death for children ages 1-4, and the second leading cause for children under 14.
  • Many lack basic swimming skills: In 2014, a survey completed by the American Red Cross found more than half of all Americans (54 percent) either can’t swim or don’t have all of the basic swimming skills.
  • Parents don’t recognize supervision is key: According to a 2016 Safe Kids Worldwide report, despite the fact that lack of supervision played a role in the majority of drowning deaths, less than half of parents (49 percent) indicate they remain within arms’ reach of their child in the water.

However, there is reason to hope. Since the WLSL event launched in 2010, the Swimming Lessons Save Lives message has been shared with more than a billion people. Now in its 10th year, program organizers anticipate more than 600 facilities will host a WLSL event in more than 20 countries. Register at WLSL.org.

About The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson
was created as a platform to build awareness about the fundamental importance of teaching children to swim to prevent drowning. Each year, WLSL events provide more than 20,000 man hours of water safety training in a single day. Since its inception, more than 278,000 children and adults in close to 50 countries have participated in WLSL lessons.

Eastern States Exposition welcomes Cliff Hedges as director of Public Safety

By | February 19, 2019

West Springfield, Mass. — Eastern States Exposition (ESE) announces that Cliff Hedges, of Longmeadow, Mass., has joined ESE and will serve as the organization’s director of Public Safety. 

Hedges has an extensive, 31-year background in federal and local law enforcement, having retired from the Federal Bureau of Investigations in 2012 after 26 years as special agent and a supervisory special agent; spending 21 of those years in the FBI’s Springfield office. He also served as a patrolman and subsequently a detective on the Crimes Against Persons Unit with the Dallas, Texas, Police Department.

Gene Cassidy, ESE president and CEO, said, “I am very pleased to welcome Cliff Hedges to the important role of director of Public Safety. Cliff brings his career of experiences at the highest levels in U.S. law enforcement to Eastern States Exposition. This will enhance our capacity to manage The Big E and the myriad of events that take place on the grounds.”

Hedges, a native of Louisville, Kentucky, comes to the Exposition from his most recent position as regional director of Compliance and Privacy at Regional Care Capella HealthCare in Brentwood, Tennessee. He was a healthcare compliance, privacy and risk specialist focusing on State and Federal regulatory guidance, rules and regulations.

A graduate of Kentucky’s University of Louisville, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Justice Administration. He also holds a Master of Science in Communications & Information Management from Bay Path University, where he was an adjunct professor of Criminal Justice.

He received the Presidential Integrity Achievement Award for Investigations for his work on the public corruption initiative in Springfield. He has also received multiple awards from the Department of Justice and the US Attorney’s Office for investigative techniques and a Special Team award from the New England Narcotics Association.

He is also the 2002 recipient of the Cliff Zundel Citizen of the Year for the Town of Longmeadow for his involvement in girls’ youth sports.

FICO Project Draft released

By | February 19, 2019

FICO Eataly World is a training ground for a sensorial and educational experience about food and its biodiversity. The wonders of the Italian food and wine industry are presented and narrated starting at their birth from Mother Earth to their final destination on a dish and in a glass. FICO welcomes hundreds of small and medium-sized Italian high-quality food producers that showcase their manufacturing and artisanal crafting.

Last November 2018, Zamperla Group introduced the project of a new indoor theme Family Entertainment Centre (FEC) inside FICO, which will be entirely managed by Zamperla and will opened next fall 2019. This park will be specifically targeted for children, and Zamperla has entrusted the design and the development of the FEC to Team Park Project. This will represent the return of the company to parks management in Italy, after the great success of Luna Park in Coney Island and Victorian Gardens in New York City.

Furthermore, the FEC will host 12 rides and offer also rides for people with disabilities. Inside the park will be expected an operator that will bring them to visit the park.

Below you can see the first draft of the park released by Team Park Project.