FDA Menu Labeling Rule Implementation Begins May 5, 2017

By | April 18, 2017

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a final rule in 2014 requiring restaurants and similar retail food establishments that are part of a chain with 20 or more locations doing business under the same name, to provide calorie information for standard menu items as well as additional written nutrition information available upon request per the requirements in the Affordable Care Act.

Originally, compliance was to begin on December 1, 2016; however, under the FY 2016 Omnibus bill, the FDA was prohibited from using any funding to implement or enforce the regulation under one year after the FDA finalized guidance. A detailed website providing information on the final rule, guidance, and consumer resources are available here.

After many delays, the law goes into effect on May 5, 2017.

Who Must Comply

A covered establishment is a fixed position or site restaurant or similar retail food establishment that is part of a chain of 20 or more locations doing business under the same name regardless of the type of ownership and offering substantially the same menu items for sale. This includes any retail food establishment that offers restaurant-type food including food service facilities and concession stands located within entertainment venues like amusement parks and move theaters. The FDA has published guidance for non-covered establishments that would like to register voluntarily to be covered by the rule.


Covered establishments must provide (1) the number of calories contained in a standard menu item; (2) number of calories contained in a standard menu self-service food; and (3) additional written nutrition information upon consumer request. Certain food items are exempt such as temporary items, daily specials, and custom orders. Establishments must provide the calorie information on the primary writing from which the customer makes an order selection including all written menus, electronic menus, menu boards, and online menus. The additional written nutrition information available upon request must include total calories, calories from fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, dietary fiber, sugars, and protein.

Pacific Park Takes A New Spin On A Classic Ride, World’s First Shark Frenzy Takes A Bite Out Of Tilt-A-Whirl

By | April 17, 2017

SANTA MONICA, Calif. – Pacific Park takes a new spin on a classic ride in 2017. The world’s first Shark Frenzy takes a bite out of the classic Tilt-a-Whirl ride at the two-acre amusement park on the Santa Monica Pier, officially opening on Thursday, April 13.

Sitting aptly over the Pacific Ocean, Pacific Park took its most recognizable inhabitants and adapted the “Tilt-A-Whirl” ride concept for the new “Shark Frenzy” design. With seven whirling cars on tilting platforms, guests sit in the jaws of the ocean’s most iconic sharks including the Blue, Bull, Great White, Lemon, Mako, Sand Tiger and Tiger species. Riders are moved in a circular motion while whirling around and sent side-to-side in sudden, unpredictable movements. The seven colorful breaching shark cars are accentuated with eclectic beach trappings such as shark warning signs, shark-bitten surfboards, lifesaving buoys and beach warning flags.

“We are proud to continue to introduce industry firsts that began with the world’s first solar-powered Ferris wheel to the world’s first wind-powered midway game, and now the world’s first Shark themed Tilt-A-Whirl ride,” says Jeff Klocke, Vice President and General Manager at Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier. “The opening of Shark Frenzy is part of our ongoing commitment to our guests and the community to consistently deliver an authentic California experience.”

The original Tilt-A-Whirl ride has been entertaining guests since 1927 as cherry red, half-globed whirling cars. Pacific Park’s shark themed Tilt-A-Whirl ride offers seven breaching shark cars that seat up to three adults or four children. The minimum height requirement is 36 inches with a supervised companion. Guests 46 inches or taller may ride alone.
The creative concept and branding for Shark Frenzy was designed by VENT, a Los Angeles-based strategy and branding shop. The specific design and artistry of the iconic Shark Frenzy breaching shark cars was by DJ Neff in Santa Monica, Calif. The Tilt-A-Whirl ride manufacturer is Larson Entertainment, Inc. in Plainview, Texas.

Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier, LA’s only admission free amusement park, offers 12 amusement rides, 14 midway games, an oceanfront food plaza and beachside shopping. In addition to the Pacific Wheel solar-powered Ferris wheel, Pacific Park’s signature rides include The West Coaster, a steel roller coaster that races 55 feet above the Santa Monica Bay; and Inkie’s Air Lift Balloon Ride, the high-flying, family-sharing kids’ ride. For additional information and hours of operation, call 310-260-8744, visit www.pacpark.com, follow on Twitter: @pacpark and Like at Facebook: facebook.com/pacificpark.

SeaWorld Orlando is Ready to Rush the Rapids with Infinity Falls

By | April 14, 2017

ORLANDO, Fla. – SeaWorld Orlando announces its latest world-class attraction, Infinity Falls, to debut summer 2018. Thrilling rapids will roar through the brand new rainforest river experience, while adventure-seeking guests plunge down the world’s tallest river rapid drop.

“We are constantly looking at new ways to amaze our guests – Infinity Falls will do that, and more,” said Jim Dean, President of SeaWorld Orlando Parks. “From the excitement of the thrilling rapids, to the unique vertical lift element, it will be an adventure that appeals to the entire family. Infinity Falls continues our commitment to investing in our park, and developing new ways to entertain and inspire our guests with meaningful, fun-filled vacations.”

To bring Infinity Falls to life, designers were inspired by the rainforests of South America and the flowing rivers found within. Each raft will twist and turn through a lush jungle environment as guests experience the feel of exhilarating Class IV rapids. A unique vertical elevator will lift each raft for a dramatic launch into theriver, 40 feet below.

“Water makes up more than 70% of our planet,” said Brian Morrow, Vice President of Theme Park Design Experience. “We developed Infinity Falls to tell new stories that showcase the beauty and sheer power of water and the amazing wildlife that lives in it. The result is a new river rapids adventure for our guests to explore, and actively help freshwater ecosystems in a way that only SeaWorld can bring to life.”

The addition of Infinity Falls is the perfect addition to SeaWorld’s ever-growing ride portfolio. From the roller coaster thrills of Mako, Manta and Kraken to the water flume fun of Journey to Atlantis, Infinity Falls will soon join the park’s famed attractions as a must-do experience in Orlando.

Infinity Falls will be the centerpiece of a newly themed surrounding area, fully immersing guests in a rainforest canopy. After riding the rapids on Infinity Falls, the entire family can explore the village and take part in interactive experiences that combine play with education to create a positive impact on freshwater ecosystems. SeaWorld’s Animal Ambassadors will also provide up-close encounters with animals native to South America.

Supplied by Intamin, Infinity Falls will open at SeaWorld Orlando in summer 2018.

Kings Island ready to debut new Mystic Timbers roller coaster

By | April 13, 2017

MASON, Ohio – A new roller coaster adventure awaits visitors at Kings Island this year, beginning Saturday, April 15.

The wooden roller coaster, Mystic Timbers, is themed to an abandoned lumber company and traverses16 airtime hills through wooded terrain and over water along a 3,265-foot-long track at 53 mph with a tantalizing mystery: What’s in the shed?

The ride was designed and built by Pennsylvania-based Great Coasters International, Inc., which also created popular wooden roller coasters at the following Cedar Fair Entertainment Company parks: Gold Striker at California’s Great America in Santa Clara, CA, Renegade at Valleyfair in Shakopee, MN and Prowler at Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, MO.

Three trains with the lead car design based on a 1960s pickup truck will accommodate 24 passengers each with a capacity of 1,200 riders per hour. Guests must be at least 48 inches tall to ride.

“Mystic Timbers is a story-driven attraction offering a ride experience that is fun, thrilling and memorable for our guests,” Kings Island’s vice-president and general manager Mike Koontz said. “It’s everything a modern day wooden roller coaster should be, and more.”

Mystic Timbers becomes the 16th roller coaster at Kings Island and the park’s fourth made of wood. The addition gives Kings Island a combined total of 18,804 feet of wooden coaster track – the most at any amusement or theme park in the world.

Kings Island is owned and operated by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, a publicly traded partnership that is listed for trading on The New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “FUN.”

Ride Entertainment Group statement concerning incident in Paris

By | April 11, 2017

STEVENSVILLE, Md. — Ride Entertainment Group has issued a statement concerning a ride mishap on an attraction at the Throne Fair in Paris, France, that resembles one of the company’s products:

Yesterday there was a shocking incident in Paris on the “Adrenaline” Extreme Ride, which is an unauthorized knock off device which attempted to copy Skycoaster’s signature flight experience. In the incident a young girl’s harness apparently failed, leaving her hanging by her ankles as she rode the 50 meter tall ride. Thankfully, despite the dangerous situation, it appears that there were no serious injuries.

The Adrenaline ride is not connected in any way to Skycoaster or Ride Entertainment. Skycoaster and Ride Entertainment have worked tirelessly to achieve its unmatched safety record, including rigid equipment inspections and mandatory operator training. If you have further questions please contact Mark at Info@RideEntertainment.com.

-Adam Sandy, Chief Business Development Officer, Ride Entertainment Group

Calling All Foodies! 11 Great Reasons to Bring Your Appetite to SeaWorld

By | April 5, 2017

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – SeaWorld San Antonio kicks off its third annual Seven Seas Food & Wine Festival on April 21st. Sip and savor more than 85 chef-created dishes, unique wines, craft cocktails and beers from around the world as you stroll through the park each Friday, Saturday and Sunday from April 21st – May 29th. Highlighting 11 countries in six distinctive maritime regions, festival goers can sample tasty bites inspired by the great chefs of Italy, Greece, France, Mexico, Cuba, Jamaica, Korea, Japan, Argentina, Brazil and Spain. The interactive event also features live entertainment such as the Japanese taiko drummers and the Art of Food, which transforms ordinary fare into an extraordinary art form.

“Texans love to experience great food in a great atmosphere and no one can combine the two better than SeaWorld San Antonio,” said park president Carl Lum. “Our culinary team led by our executive chef, Scott Ronczkowski, brings the opportunity to sample international cuisine in a casual atmosphere, while guests can also enjoy a fun day filled with shows and thrills,” added Lum.  

The festival is included with any SeaWorld Pass, Fun Card or daily admission. Guests may purchase individual tastings or sampler packages that include multiple tastings starting at $26.99. To view a complete menu, including specialty wines, craft beers and cocktails from each region, visit the festival website.

The Seven Seas Food & Wine Festival offers bold flavors for every taste on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays (April 21–May 28) and Memorial Day on Monday, May 29. The festival is open from 11 a.m. to park close on all event days.

Six Flags Theme Parks Announces Partnership with Nathan’s Famous

By | April 5, 2017

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas – Six Flags Entertainment Corporation (NYSE: SIX), the world’s largest regional theme park company, today announced a new multi-year marketing partnership and food service program with Nathan’s Famous, Inc. The new agreement makes Nathan’s Famous the “Official Hot Dog of Six Flags” across the United States.

Six Flags will serve Nathan’s Famous frankfurters exclusively at food locations in 15 of the U.S. theme and water parks in 2017, adding the Chicago market in 2018. The partnership will be supported across Six Flags media networks, featuring Nielsen-measured Six Flags TV, in-park activations, integrations into the Six Flags mobile app, and through in-park signage. In market, Six Flags will partner with Nathan’s to highlight Nathan’s summer rewards, including sweepstakes hosted on the Nathan’s website and the brand’s social media pages.

“We are thrilled to welcome Nathan’s to our premier portfolio of national partners,” said Stephanie Borges, Six Flags vice president of North American strategic marketing and partnerships. “This partnership highlights our ability to deliver integrated platforms using our Six Flags Media Networks and experiential teams to drive sales at retail, while offering quality products to our guests.”

In support of the official partnership, Six Flags and Nathan’s Famous will also be incorporating an array of consumer-facing special offers, including ticket and shopper marketing programs throughout the span of the agreement.

“Aligning with a popular family friendly brand like Six Flags is a natural fit for us,” said Leigh Platte, Nathan’s Famous vice president of sales. “Nathan’s celebrates family and fun. We are proud that Six Flags guests will now be able to enjoy our premium hot dogs, and that the brand will enhance the overall entertainment experience. We couldn’t be more excited to be the official hot dog of these great parks.”

Smithfield Foods is the licensee of Nathan’s Famous pre-packaged hot dogs, selling a wide variety of beef franks at thousands of supermarkets across the country including natural casing, skinless, bun-length, 50 percent reduced fat, angus, and more.

Universal CityWalk Toasts the Arrival of Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Restaurant, the First-Ever to Open in California, with a Celebratory Performance by Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band

By | March 31, 2017

Universal Studios Hollywood toasted the arrival of Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant to Universal CityWalk with an exciting performance by Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band on Thursday, March 30, 2017.UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. – At 5 O’Clock today, Universal CityWalk toasted the official arrival of Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant to its destination marking the occasion with an exciting performance by singer, songwriter and best-selling author, Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band.

Hundreds of Parrotheads and fans alike joined in the celebration that also marked the first-ever Margaritaville restaurant to open in California.

Jimmy Buffett said, “I walked onto the site of CityWalk when it was still under construction, and my first thought was ‘I want a Margaritaville here.’ Thanks to the great folks at Universal, we made it.  It’s great to play at the opening and I look forward to visiting regularly on my journeys to the West Coast.  Fins Up!”

“Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville is a perfect complement to Universal CityWalk,” said Karen Irwin, President and COO, Universal Studios Hollywood. “With its inviting tropical vibe, incredible selection of Margaritas and signature dishes, Margaritaville offers another exceptional dining experience at CityWalk that everyone can enjoy.”

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo record-breaking attendance of more than 2.6 million fans at the 2017 show

By | March 27, 2017

HOUSTON, Texas – The world’s largest celebration of agriculture, education, entertainment and Western heritage drew a record-breaking 2,611,176 visitors in total attendance to the 85th annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, March 7 – 26, 2017.

“Powered by more than 33,000 volunteers, the 2017 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo successfully provided a record number of visitors with a world-class entertainment experience,” said Joel Cowley, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo president and CEO.

 “During the 2017 Show, fans were immersed in one-of-a-kind educational and agricultural exhibits, larger-than-life entertainment, and nightly celebrations of Western heritage during RODEOHOUSTON.”

The total 2017 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo attendance was more than the population of any Texas city.

• Total attendance for all activities on the grounds was a record 2,611,176. In three days, the World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest entertained 226,369 guests, and on Thursday, March 2, attendance reached an opening-day record of 47,883.

Another record was broken on Saturday, March 18, with a single-day attendance of 185,667, when the Show had more people on the grounds than Texas’ 16th most populated city.

• Paid Rodeo/concert attendance reached 1,370,263. Two of the RODEOHOUSTON performances landed on the list of the Show’s top 20 paid rodeo/concert attendance records. First: Sunday, March 19, 2017 – Go Tejano Day – Banda El Recodo and Siggno – 75,557; 17th: Thursday, March 16, 2017 – Luke Bryan – 75,033.


SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. Announces Long-Term Investment by Zhonghong Group

By | March 24, 2017

ORLANDO, Fla. – SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: SEAS) (“SeaWorld”), a leading theme park and entertainment company, today announced that a wholly owned subsidiary of Zhonghong Zhuoye Group Co., Ltd. (“Zhonghong Group”), a diversified holding company focused on strategic growth opportunities in the leisure, tourism, and culture industries, will acquire an approximately 21% equity interest in SeaWorld from certain funds affiliated with Blackstone at a price of $23.00 per share.

SeaWorld and Zhonghong Holding Co., Ltd. (“Zhonghong Holding“), an affiliate of Zhonghong Group, have also agreed to advisory services and support agreements under which SeaWorld will advise Zhonghong Holding exclusively on the concept development and design of theme parks, water parks, and family entertainment centers to be developed and operated by Zhonghong Holding, including exclusive rights in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.

“Zhonghong Group is making a significant, long-term investment in SeaWorld, reflecting their appreciation of the strength of our brand, our potential to grow the company and a shared commitment to protect wildlife and the environment,” said Joel Manby, President and CEO of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. “Zhonghong Group has a strong track record of performance in the leisure and travel industries, and a solid management team with valuable experience in theme parks, family entertainment, and real estate development in Asia.”

“We are delighted to engage with SeaWorld to bring this iconic, world-class family entertainment brand to China. SeaWorld’s commitment to inspiring guests to protect animals and our oceans is increasingly relevant to people all around the world,” said Yoshikazu Maruyama, President of Zhonghong Group’s American operation. “Zhonghong Group hopes to contribute our experience and resources in global tourism and project development to enhance long-term value to all of SeaWorld’s shareholders. We look forward to a highly collaborative relationship and to serve as a key partner to grow its business and further its mission.”

Zhonghong Group has entered into a stockholders agreement with SeaWorld and, effective upon closing of the transaction, SeaWorld will increase the size of its Board to 11 and Zhonghong Group executives Yoshikazu Maruyama, President of Zhonghong Group’s American operation, and Yongli Wang, Chief Strategy Officer of Zhonghong Group, will join the SeaWorld Board providing long-term shareholder perspectives and substantive expertise in global themed entertainment and business development in China.

The agreement also contains certain restrictions on Zhonghong Group’s ability to sell its interest in SeaWorld for a period of two years, limitations on its ability to acquire more than 24.9% of SeaWorld’s outstanding shares without the approval of the independent directors of SeaWorld’s Board and other customary restrictions including voting and standstill to protect SeaWorld and all of its stockholders.

Upon receipt of regulatory approvals and satisfaction of other customary closing conditions, the transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2017. Following the closing contemplated by the agreements, Blackstone and its affiliates will no longer hold any interests in SeaWorld or have seats on SeaWorld’s Board.