“VR Splash Cabin” Fully immerses guests into gaming experience

By | September 22, 2017

TURKEY — Polin Waterparks (Turkey) & Lagotronics (Netherlands) are taking the  experience to the next level with the new “Virtual-Reality Splash Cabin” aquatic attraction.

Using the latest technology in VR goggles, along with handheld shooters, guests will enter an otherworldly environment in which they will feel they are floating along streams and through villages on a remote island.. As they encounter a variety of different situations, they will participate in the greatest water battle of their lives, competing against other players to earn points and “stay alive.”

The next level of “Splash Cabin” gaming

Last fall, Polin introduced the Splash Cabin at IAAPA. That version of the game allows two players to engage in a fun, water-fueled battle with animated competitors using an interactive screen and mounted water shooters. Guests don 3D glasses – either Oculus Rift or HTC Vive – and play from inside a beach-bungalow-style cabin, scoring points by hitting moving targets while trying to avoid being hit themselves by waterjets shooting from screen-embedded nozzles.

The first installation of the Splash Cabin was announced last month when it opened at Aquafantasy Waterpark in Selçuk, İzmir, Turkey.

As Polin continuously innovates its product line via its recently certified Research and Development division as and R&D center, it partners with world-leading experts to develop games unlike any others on the market. For Splash Cabin, Polin partnered with Lagotronics (Venlo, Netherlands), a specialty firm that creates state-of-the-art technology and innovative solutions.

Advantages of the newest innovation

Now, Polin’s and Lagotronics’ second collaboration – the VR Splash Cabin – will be unveiled, pushing the envelope by using VR glasses and handheld water shooters. For smaller parks, the VR Splash Cabin covers a smaller footprint compared to its 3D Splash Cabin cousin. The VR version requires a space of 3.8 meters long x 3.6 meters wide of space (12.5 feet long x 12 feet wide).

The VR version creates a full 360-degree experience using the highest-resolution virtual-reality equipment on the market. Players will experience being “inside the game” while defending themselves using fully robust and durable water shooters. Players will be doused with water splashes – controlled by Polin’s system – according to their game play.

An interactive experience unlike any other
Mark Beumers, CEO of Lagotronics Projects, says most consumers’ experiences to date with virtual-reality gaming have been with home-based consumer devices. “But the VR Splash Cabin allows them to finally feel the power of a true VR experience. When they enter the Splash Cabin and put on their VR goggles, they will believe they truly are lost on a remote island. Our interactive hardware is a powerful system, and guests will feel its breadth in this new aquatic attraction.”
Ali Cansun, Polin’s R&D Director, believes the VR Splash Cabin offers guests an experience they won’t find anywhere else in the world. “The state-of-the-art hardware, software and waterplay components provide the greatest interactive VR experience possible,” he says. “And we’re not beholden to any particular company’s VR equipment when it comes to the future. As the products improve, we will switch brands accordingly to ensure guests get the best available VR glasses in the world.”

In Response to Hurricane Harvey: Extension on IAAPA Attractions Expo 2017

By | September 19, 2017

With the Atlantic hurricane season well underway, many of you may have experienced the impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. We send our best wishes for a swift recovery to each of you and hope your facilities and attractions are either unaffected or back to full operation.

We understand your focus may have been on recovery from the recent hurricanes and we want to help in any way possible. We have extended our Super Saver Registration Rate for IAAPA Attractions Expo 2017 to Tuesday, Oct. 31 for anyone whose business is located in Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico, and surrounding regions. Our hope is this extension will allow your team to still receive our best rate to attend IAAPA Attractions Expo 2017 as you continue to move forward post hurricane. Please use the following promotional codes to take advantage of this special offer:

IAAPA Member and Nonmember Extension of Super Saver Rate: HEART

Promo code instructions are available on the FAQ page and here.

Orlando, Florida was in the path of Hurricane Irma. As of Sept. 17, all properties (Orange County Convention Center, hotels, parks, etc.) involved in the production of IAAPA Attractions Expo are fully operational. Together we look forward to seeing you here in Orlando this November.

Revenge Of The Mummy at Universal Studios Orlando Wins Tenth Consecutive Golden Ticket Award For The World’s Best Indoor Roller Coaster

By | September 17, 2017

Baltimore, MD — Amusement Today has announced the winners of its prestigious Golden Ticket Awards which are presented to the “Best of the Best” in the amusement industry.  The awards were presented at historic Lake Compounce in Bristol, Connecticut during the 20th Annual Golden Ticket Awards Ceremony.   In the 2017 Amusement Today international poll, experienced park enthusiasts voted Universal Studios Orlando’s Revenge of the Mummy as the Best Indoor Roller Coaster in the world.

Universal Creative Engineer Eric Kaminsky, on behalf of Executive Vice President of Resort Operations Richard Costales, proudly accepted the award stating, “Thank you to our Operations Team and our Maintenance Team for keeping this amazing attraction going every day.  At this point between all three Universal parks that have a Mummy attraction, we have given over 150 million riders the opportunity to experience the Revenge of the Mummy, which is great, so thank you!”

Kaminsky added, “Revenge of the Mummy is an awesome ride!  We have received this award a number of times, so hats off to Jim Seay and the Premier Team for providing us with a really great ride experience.”

Jim Seay, President of Premier Rides, remarked, “We at Premier Rides are honored to have had the opportunity to be a part of the Universal Team that produced the Revenge of the Mummy attraction.  It was exciting to work on this technically complex and sophisticated attraction, and we enjoy continuing to support its impressive reliability.   We are pleased that it continues to garner global acclaim, even defending its position as the world’s best indoor coaster for a full decade!  All of us at Premier Rides are honored that Universal continues to keep us a part of their formula for success and we are thrilled each time we are selected to deliver award-winning attractions to Universal Resorts located both domestically and around the globe.”

The Revenge of the Mummy attraction plunges guests into total darkness as they face fireballs, scarab beetles, and an army of warrior mummies on a psychological thrill ride, unlike anything else.   This highly-themed attraction uses the latest technologies such as magnetic propulsion systems, high speed track switches and show elements to create the ultimate guest experience.  It’s no wonder this combination of the thrill of a coaster, the fear of darkness and breath-taking interactive scenes continues to earn the distinction of Best Indoor Coaster.  Fans of Revenge of the Mummy can also experience The Revenge of the Mummy, at Universal Studios Singapore.  A variation of this award-winning layout can also be enjoyed at Universal Studios Hollywood.

SeaWorld Orlando Rescue Team on the Move After Hurricane Irma

By | September 17, 2017

ORLANDO, Fla. — As Florida continues to clean up in the wake of Hurricane Irma, it’s been a busy week for the SeaWorld Orlando Rescue team. Reports of stranded, displaced and injured animals have increased, and the park’s rescue team, along with partner and government agencies, has been called to assist.

On Thursday, Sept. 14, a manatee calf was found orphaned or abandoned in Southwest Florida, presumably as a result of Hurricane Irma.  Manatee calves and moms have tight bonds, and if a calf is seen without a mom around for several hours it’s very likely that calf has been orphaned.  Since manatees nurse for 1-2 years, a calf on its own has very little chance of survival.  

The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission rescued the calf and transported it to SeaWorld Orlando.  Upon arrival at SeaWorld, the animal care team provided fluids to the calf as it was suffering from dehydration. Beginning this morning, the calf was transitioned to a nutritional formula created by SeaWorld that replicates mother’s milk. An animal care specialist will give the calf a bottle every three hours for the next several months. The veterinary team took x-rays of the calf today to see if his gastrointestinal tract is functioning properly and were pleased to see that it is.

Orphaned calves are typically rehabilitated until they are at least 600 pounds, which usually takes about two to three years.  At that time if they are deemed healthy they will be returned to their natural environments.

Earlier today, the team assisted in successfully rescuing and relocating six manatees that had stranded in the Melbourne, FL area, likely due to unusual tides and water levels associated with Hurricane Irma.

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SeaWorld Orlando aviculturists are also caring for several birds, including an Audubon’s shearwater, a species typically found offshore that may have been blown inland from the storm.  A juvenile brown pelican is also being cared for.
The five dolphins that were relocated from Dolphin Connection in the Florida Keys prior to the hurricane continue to thrive.
SeaWorld will continue to work with other zoological facilities impacted by the storm and are prepared to care for displaced animals as necessary.  Its animal experts have helped more than 31,000 animals in need – ill, injured, orphaned and abandoned – for more than 50 years.

Kennywood’s Log Jammer To Take Final Drops

By | September 15, 2017

WEST MIFFLIN, Penn. – As Kennywood’s 2017 Summer Season winds down and we look ahead to 2018, we’ve come to a very hard decision: the Log Jammer will retire at the end of this season.

To celebrate 42 years of our favorite logs, Kennywood invites friends, families and Pittsburgh visitors to enjoy one last joy ride down the 53-foot drop chute before the summer season comes to an end on September 17.

While we know that the Log Jammer is a beloved ride for many of our guests and has been for us as well, we’re looking forward to exploring exciting new developments in that corner of the park in future seasons.

“It is a bittersweet decision, but one that in time will create some exciting opportunities for our guests,” says Kennywood General Manager Jerome Gibas. “While no final decisions have been made regarding what will replace the Log Jammer, Kennywood is committed to enhancing our guests’ experiences while preserving our signature balance of modern thrills and traditional family favorites.”

The Log Jammer debuted at Kennywood in 1975 as the park’s first million-dollar attraction. The site of the Jammer was previously home to attractions including the Kangaroo, Loop-O-Plane, Bayern Kurve, a Ferris Wheel, and, from 1930 until 1974, a pony track.

SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. Announces New Chairman And New Lead Independent Director

By | September 14, 2017

ORLANDO, Fla., Sept. 13, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc., a leading theme park and entertainment company, today announced that its Board of Directors (the “Board”) has elected Yoshikazu Maruyama as Chairman, succeeding David F. D’Alessandro effective October 9, 2017. The company has also elected Donald C. Robinsonas Lead Independent Director, effective October 9, 2017.

“I am honored to succeed David and want to express my deepest appreciation to him for his years of dedication to SeaWorld,” Mr. Maruyama said. “I am excited to bring a fresh perspective to the Board and deeply committed to working with the management team to deliver memorable guest experiences, extend SeaWorld’s iconic brands to global audiences, improve business performance, and enhance value for shareholders and all our important stakeholders.”

Mr. Maruyama, a SeaWorld director since June 2017, is President of Zhonghong Group’s American operation and represents the perspective of a significant, long-term shareholder. He brings over 20 years of global theme park and family entertainment industry experience and helped to lead the early turnaround of Universal Studios Japan, which was recently acquired by Comcast NBCUniversal.

Mr. Robinson, a SeaWorld Director since June 2016, was formerly the Executive Vice President of Hong Kong Disneyland. He has extensive operations expertise, as well as over thirty years of executive and management positions in global theme park, retail, restaurant, resort, and entertainment businesses.

“Our Board is committed to continuing to advance its governance standards and independence, and we believe that by establishing these two complementary roles with clear responsibilities, we can enhance the rigorous and independent oversight of the company and the Board,” Mr. Robinson said. “Yoshi and I intend to work closely with the other directors and the management team to advance the company’s progress on behalf of all its shareholders and other stakeholders.”

“This transition demonstrates our dedication to ensure SeaWorld’s long-term success and growth for the interests of its shareholders and our commitment to a sustainable future,” Mr. D’ Alessandro said. “Yoshi brings the perspective of our largest shareholder. He also has over 20 years of experience in the global theme park industry and helped drive the turnaround of a leading theme park company, creating significant value for its stakeholders. Our company and our Board will benefit from his leadership.”

The company also announced that Mr. D’Alessandro, Judith A. McHale, and Ellen O. Tauscher will step down from the Board of Directors, effective October 9, 2017.

“The Board thanks David, Judith, and Ellen for their many contributions to SeaWorld,” Mr. Maruyama added.

Cedar Fair and Peanuts Worldwide Extend Peanuts Licensing Agreement to 2025

By | September 12, 2017

SANDUSKY, Ohio — Cedar Fair, L.P. (NYSE: FUN), a leader in regional amusement parks, water parks and active entertainment, Peanuts Worldwide, a subsidiary controlled by DHX Media, Ltd. (TSX: DHX.A, DHX.B; NASDAQ: DHXM), and the family of Charles M. Schulz have renewed the license agreement to showcase the iconic Peanuts characters, created by Schulz, throughout Cedar Fair’s 11 amusement park locations. The agreement covers Cedar Fair’s North American exclusive use of Peanuts in the company’s attractions, entertainment and sports, food and beverage, lodging and retail operations. The new agreement extends the relationship to 2025.

Cedar Fair Chief Executive Officer Matt Ouimet said, “The renewed relationship between Cedar Fair and Peanuts Worldwide allows both companies to develop and extend their brands, creating a more immersive experience for guests through meet-and-greets, live entertainment, merchandise and themed areas throughout the parks. The value Peanuts brings to our parks is demonstrated in many ways; for example, our Peanuts themed Planet Snoopy children’s area at Kings Island near Cincinnati was just named “Best Kid’s Area” for the 17th year by Amusements Today, the leading industry news source. With more than half of our parks now offering a free pre-K season pass for children, our continued showcasing of the beloved Peanuts characters underscores our commitment to entertaining young families.”

The company recently announced the debut of an expanded Peanuts themed children’s area at Carowinds, its popular park in Charlotte, N.C. The Camp Snoopy area will feature five new rides, an 8,000 square foot climb-and-play area called ‘Beagle Scout Acres,’ and enhanced dining and relaxation facilities. Parks throughout the portfolio offer value-added attractions featuring the Peanuts such as character breakfasts, seasonal events like The Great Pumpkin Fest, and other themed entertainment year-round. The Peanuts characters were first featured at Knott’s Berry Farm, acquired by Cedar Fair in 1997; in 2014, the Southern California park unveiled a newly expanded and revitalized Camp Snoopy children’s area in celebration of the 30-year relationship.

“Cedar Fair has been a long-standing and cherished partner to Peanuts, dating back many years to when Camp Snoopy first opened at Knott’s Berry Farm in 1983,” said Craig Schulz, son of Charles M. Schulz and President and CEO of Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates. “On behalf of my entire family, I look forward to many more years of bringing the joy of my father’s characters to the fans in Cedar Fair’s parks.”

“On the heels of our recent acquisition of the Peanuts brand further cementing our relationship with Cedar Fair assures an extensive and continued North American presence in the amusement park area,” stated Dana Landry, Chief Executive Officer of DHX Media. “This agreement extension speaks to the enduring appeal of the Peanuts brand, and as a leader in children’s content and brands, we value the opportunity to work with Cedar Fair to reach an all-family audience for Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts gang.”

JW Winco strengthens commitment to the future by introducing new logo, Launching enhanced website

By | September 12, 2017

NEW BERLIN, Wisc.  – JW Winco, Inc., A Ganter Company, has launched an evolved company logo and website to reflect its commitment to continued growth and leadership in the standard parts industry.

For over 35 years, Ganter, a global leader in manufacturing of standard parts since 1894, formed a synergistic partnership with JW Winco that has since provided world-class business solutions to customers. In 2009, JW Winco officially became part of A Ganter Company, which expanded capabilities and solidified resources globally. Since then, both sales and inventory increased by 80% respectively.

Winco’s new logo evolved from its previous look, depicting the face and mane of a lion with stylized shapes of products that Winco sells. The lion represents strength and leadership, two qualities the company continues to integrate into all aspects of business.

“With our founding in 1978, our company is built on the belief that true strength comes from our relationships with our customers, business partners, and employees.. We are dedicated to providing our customers with the most comprehensive and highest quality line of standard machine components and assembly hardware available in the world,” said John Winkler Jr., JW Winco Chief Executive Officer, and member of the Office of the President. “Our new website, with improved 3D CAD and online buying, allows us to provide a more comprehensive, yet streamlined experience for our customers.”

Winco’s new mobile-responsive website, www.jwwinco.com, is dedicated to providing the customer with modern navigation and usability. The new look and feel of the site reflects the strength in commitment to the customer and the future of the standard machine components industry. Features include:

  • Filtering capabilities to find products faster and easier.
  • Ability to build and price parts to easily create the standard part required for the design.
  • Modern CAD program for improved drawing  / CAD model accuracy.
  • Multiple languages capabilities, with Spanish and French versions coming soon.

The new website’s home page allows visitors to see new product availability, plus special application possibilities for various products. There are also links to Winco’s social media platforms and a sign-up form to receive Winco’s monthly e-newsletter.

“We strive to provide design engineers, project engineers, purchasing agents, and others involved in the product selection process the largest variety of products and technical information available in our industry,” Winkler said. “For new equipment designs and redesigns of existing equipment, standard machine components not only save time and reduce costs of the equipment, they ultimately improve the equipment design and function. We help companies design it faster, build it better, and deliver it more quickly.”

J.W. Winco Inc., which is ISO 9001:2008 certified, prides itself on having the largest selection of standard parts, offering standard machine components in inch and metric, made of aluminum, steel, stainless steel, and plastic. “Our product line is constantly evolving through the research and development of new products,” Winkler said. “With over 60,000 sku’s in stock, we have the ability to ship the majority of orders we receive within 24 hours. With our experience, flexibility, and our machining facility, we are able to deliver special customer requests even in small quantities.”

Winco’s North American headquarters is located in New Berlin, Wisconsin, with sales locations in Canada and Mexico.

“When we say JW Winco, A Ganter Company, we mean unmatched strength in market innovation and solutions,” Winkler said. “Our combined technical knowledge, customer service, design engineering, manufacturing, stocking, and distribution capabilities are our greatest strengths and solutions we offer to our clients.”

Har Kupers receives the 2017 AIMS International Safety Award

By | September 12, 2017

BRISTOL, Conn. – Vekoma Rides’, Har Kupers was presented with the 2017 AIMS International Safety award during the Golden Ticket Awards held Saturday, September 9, at Lake Compounce in Bristol, Connecticut.  The Award, presented to Har by AIMS International board member, Jim Seay, and AIMS Executive Director, Karen Oertley, recognizes a person or organization that has made a significant impact or contribution in improving safety in the amusement industry by demonstrating leadership, innovation, and foresight.

In presenting the award, Karen Oertley remarked, “As we all know, safety is of utmost importance to the vitality of the amusement industry. We received many nominations for individuals deserving of this important award and are thrilled so many individuals are dedicated to improving safety for both guests and employees. The AIMS board of directors has selected one of the industry’s finest to receive the 2017 AIMS International Safety Award.”

In presenting the award to Har, Jim Seay commented, “Har is well known to the amusement industry for his thousands of hours work in development and support of EN, ISO, and ASTM Safety Standards. He was instrumental in bringing the ASTM International standards development work into the EN Task Group harmonization effort and has worked for almost twenty years on an international amusement design standard as an contributor, facilitator and ambassador between EN, ISO and ASTM International.”

“Har is also renowned for his amusement ride design and engineering expertise and is one of the foremost authorities on ride dynamics and guest safety.  In addition to standards development, Har’s long support and dedication to AIMS International has been influential in promoting global safety training, and certification.”

While accepting the award, Har Kupers expressed, “I really feel honored to receive this award from AIMS, AIMS – being a very important organization promoting safety in our industry.”

He also expressed his gratitude to Vekoma and its owner Henk Roodenburg to give him the opportunity to do this work, both inside and outside his job.

Har was very proud to be the second in line — after Harold Hudson — to receive this prestigious award.

He further thanked all the individuals and organizations in the industry that support the work to improve amusement industry safety worldwide.

About The AIMS International Safety Award

Created in 2016, The AIMS International Safety Award is presented annually to the individual or organization that demonstrates leadership, innovation, and foresight in improving safety in the amusement industry. With safety as the industry’s #1 concern for amusement industry guests and employees worldwide, efforts in improving safety are shown in many forms: the design and implementation of new products and technology, the development of safety education programs and training, and by exemplary leadership in influencing others. The 2016 AIMS Safety Award was presented to Harold Hudson.

Nominations for the AIMS Safety Award are submitted by individuals within the amusement industry and the winner is selected by a vote of AIMS International’s board of directors. The award is presented annually during the Golden Ticket Awards.

CEO Charlie Keegan To Leave Main Event Entertainment

By | September 12, 2017

DALLAS, Texas – Main Event Entertainment announced today that Charlie Keegan has resigned as President & Chief Executive Officer of the company. Keegan will step away from his day-to-day duties on Nov. 24, and has agreed to remain available in a consulting capacity for an additional 12 months.

Keegan has led Main Event since Oct. 2006, when the company was sold to Macquarie Leisure Trust Group. During his tenure, the concept was completely re-engineered and put on a steady growth track. Main Event is now the nation’s fastest-growing bowling-anchored dining and entertainment destination, with 38 centers in 14 states, serving more than 20 million guests annually.

Keegan sent a heart-felt message to Main Event employees across the system this morning reading, in part: “Main Event Entertainment has been one of the greatest sources of pride in my life. What we have accomplished together is nothing short of amazing. We have gone from being a locally known bowling alley in Texas to a nationally recognized entertainment brand with industry admiration and global appeal. Our compound annual growth rate the last five years alone is over 30%. And we have built an impressive leadership team, with a proven track record of success, to lead Main Event Entertainment into the future.”

“It is important to me that I share with all of you what I believe makes Main Event Entertainment such a compelling story. It is our reputation as a place with Noticeably Better People and a Noticeably Distinctive Culture,” continued Keegan. “It is people like you that our guests identify with, and people like you that make our experience so special. We are unique in the industry because of all the work you do to create compelling offerings, signature branding, excellent service and amazing properties.”

“People want to be us, companies want to be like us, but there is nothing like the original. I’m so proud of the work you have done and it’s been an honor working with you. There is more amazing left in Main Event Entertainment and I look forward to watching it unfold.”

A leading global search firm has been engaged to find a suitable successor to lead the business through its next phase of development.