Quassy is set to open for 111th season on April 27

By | March 21, 2019

MIDDLEBURY, Conn. — Quassy Amusement Park opens for its 111th season of operation April 27 and 28 with a $45 carload special to benefit the Greater Waterbury Campership Fund.

Up to 10 persons in one car will receive an all-day ride wristband for only $45, parking included. Those not taking part in the carload offer will be charged $7 for parking. Quassy operates 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.

A portion of opening weekend proceeds will benefit the campership fund, a nonprofit, all volunteer organization that helps send underprivileged children to summer camp.

April 27 will also feature the Connecticut Military Corvette Club Inc. Classic Car Show. Registration information is available by e-mailing CMCCcarshow@hotmail.com

The park’s annual egg hunt for prizes will take place at 3 p.m., Sunday, April 28. Children should bring their own bags or other containers to collect eggs and candy in the lawn area during the hunt.

Quassy will feature a second $45 carload weekend on May 4 and 5. The park’s annual Festival of the Arts for student art exhibits takes place on May 4 and a regional Dance Day will be held May 5. More information on those events may be obtained by calling the park office at 203-758-2913.

Guests should also note that Splash Away Bay waterpark and Quassy Beach will open May 25 for the summer season.

Park Improvements

For the 16th consecutive year, Quassy will make marked improvements for its upcoming season.

“We’re pleased to announce the addition of another new family ride for 2019 as well as some other enhancements at the property,” Quassy President Eric Anderson said.

Bouncing Buggies will be the new ride located in the heart of the lakefront property. The ride is being supplied by Italian manufacturer Zamperla and is from its popular Jump Around lineup.

“It has a unique and lively action like nothing we’ve offered before,” the park official noted. “The dune buggy themed vehicles will accommodate both youngsters and adults, making it an ideal fit for our demographic.”

Each of the six vehicles will seat up to four children or one adult and two children. As the ride spins into action, it will combine Zamperla’s patent-pending interactive bouncing motion.

Other Rides From Supplier

In 2017 Quassy acquired a new Zamperla Samba Balloon ride the park calls Up, Up & Away, and in 2012 the property added the supplier’s Tea Cups, titled Crazy Cups by the park. Both are popular family attractions.

In addition, Quassy will refurbish its Ice Cream Parlor and add light emitting diode (LED) lighting to some more existing rides within the park. Last season the Yo-Yo Super Swing ride and Tilt-A-Whirl were enhanced by the new energy-saving light packages.

Also, a new game stand featuring basketball and ring toss will is being erected near the waterpark entrance.

“We’re always looking at ways to make the guest experience more enjoyable at the park,” Anderson added. “Thanks to the continued support of our valued guests, we have been able to make vast improvements in recent years to both the land rides area as well as Splash Away Bay waterpark.”

Petition: President Trump, save small businesses by releasing additional H-2B Visas

By | March 21, 2019

Labor is one of the biggest challenges of the mobile amusement industry. The struggle of many carnival companies, concessionaires, and amusement parks is finding enough American workers who are willing to work in a seasonal business that requires hard, manual labor working during the summertime on nights, weekends and holidays. Using temporary foreign labor through the H-2B Visa program has worked wonders for the amusement industry. With the ability to find workers, companies are able to invest in their company and promote the American workers on their staff to positions with more responsibility.  

President Trump, Please Help Save Small American Businesses

Over 60% of seasonal businesses in 2019 were denied access to the program due to the arbitrary cap of 66,000 visas. The booming Trump economy has resulted in an unemployment rate of 4% and a record number of job openings. DOL’s website highlights the fact that the number of jobs available has exceeded the number of job seekers for ten consecutive months. Seasonal employers are the first to suffer in a tight labor market. Job seekers naturally prefer full-time, year-round work. The need for additional H-2B visas is a sign of a healthy, strong economy.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations bill for fiscal year (FY) 2019, signed into law on February 15th, grants DHS the authority to release up to 69,320 additional H-2B visas.

If DHS does not release the 69,320 H-2B visas it is authorized to release, there will be severe consequences for seasonal businesses and to the overall economy. Several seasonal businesses denied access to the program due to the insufficient availability of visas have already been forced to scale back their operations, cancel or default on contracts, lay off full-time U.S. workers, and, in some cases, shutter their operations entirely. Failing to release additional H-2B visas will only result in more closures, reduced equipment purchases, and the termination of many of their full-time, year-round U.S. workers.

As a general rule, H-2B employers are strongly conservative and most are Trump supporters. They are small business owners who believe in individual responsibility. 

In the amusement industry for example, many carnivals are generational businesses that all began with a Ferris wheel or carousel and now own multi-million dollar businesses.  These are exactly the type of blue-collar voters you must carry if you are going to win re-election in 2020.

Mr. Trump, don’t leave your supporters hanging. Help us help you. Let’s keep your economy going strong. 

Release the visas. Make Like Nike, Just Do it!

Want to help?  Sign the petition

The astonishing & unusual performing at Silver Dollar City

By | March 21, 2019

BRANSON, Mo. — World leaders in live performance, acrobatics and unconventional music will perform daily on the stages of Silver Dollar City (SDC) during The Festival of Wonder, April 10-28. Billed as “A Most Amazing Entertainment Experience,” the festival features performances that are as unexpected as they are entertaining, with elements like pyro theatrics and aerial acrobatics.

“These are acts you don’t just walk into,” proclaims Rex Burdette, SDC Entertainment & Events Manager, who has traveled the world booking artists for the park for decades. “These are acts from all across the globe we have scouted. Many are TV sensations known for their unique presentations you won’t find anywhere else,” Burdette said.

In support of The Year of Shows & Festivals at Silver Dollar City, new acts grace the stages of The Festival of Wonder in 2019. Phoenix Fire, the world leader in pyro and special effects theatrics, creates a new dimension of entertainment for the guests of Silver Dollar City, forging a level of entertainment unprecedented at the 1880s-style theme park. This multimedia experience will dominate Red Gold Heritage Hall with lasers, special effects and even fire. With over 20 years of experience, Phoenix Fire, based in Vienna, is regarded as the originators of LED, laser and light performance with pixel programming, black lights, projection mapping and interactive visuals

Joining the ranks of the festival’s collection of extraordinary feats of strength and balance is CirqUnique, with five new acts, including the high-flying “Duo Ignite,” direct from America’s Got Talent, swinging and spinning high above the Opera House stage. Other new acts include the staggering “Wheel of Danger,” an 18-foot-tall revolving pendulum, maneuvered by eighth-generation circus performer Jayson Dominguez, and “Rolla Bolla,” an America’s Got Talent routine from sixth-generation circus performer Axel Perez. Crowd-favorite Maria Wolf, regarded as the best female “Diabolist” in the world, returns to the show, all hosted by comedian Adam Ace.

I-Harp Extreme is full of energy, too, with world-renowned harpists Dearbhail Finnegan from Ireland and Marianne Gubri from Italy, and an all-new instrument, the “Laser Harp.” Other new acts include a one-man band show and 24-time, world-record-holder Albert Lucas’ comedic juggling routine. Additional returning acts include PaintJam with Dan Dunn, high-speed painting techniques on an upside-down canvas, and the adrenaline-pumping troupe X-Pogo, vaulting over 10 feet high above Town Square.

The Festival of Wonder runs Wednesdays through Sundays, April 10-28 (closed Easter) at the Branson, Missouri theme park.

North America’s first Legoland Theme Park turns 20 as Legoland California celebrates a bricktacular birthday!

By | March 20, 2019

CARLSBAD, Calif. — Let the party begin! LEGOLAND California turns 20 years old today.  The family theme park in Carlsbad, CA celebrated the historic day with a special Park opening ceremony filled with entertainers, LEGO characters, stilt walkers, and a one-of-a kind 10-foot LEGO birthday cake.  Since opening  its doors in 1999 with 12 rides and Miniland U.S.A.,  North America’s first LEGOLAND theme park has grown into a multi-day destination with more than 60 rides, shows and attractions, a 10-acre water park, two-story aquarium and two interactive LEGO themed hotels.

In honor of the special birthday, LEGOLAND California is handing out free child-size Minifigure hands to the first 1,000 kids entering the Park. The LEGO birthday cake, created out of more than 100,000 LEGO bricks, will also be on display showcasing the many attractions that have been added to the family theme park since it opened 20 years ago including a LEGO submarine, representing the Park’s newest ride, LEGO City Deep Sea Adventure submarine ride.

The birthday kicks off a year-long celebration that includes a new interactive Birthday Dance Party, LEGO Friends birthday show, exclusive birthday desserts, pop badges and more. The new shows can be seen daily now through Sept. 1 and are filled with singing, dancing and characters for all families to enjoy.  Plus, LEGOLAND California is paying the birthday fun forward to its younger guests – all children ages 12 and under get free admission on their birthday all year long!

iPlay America announces grand opening of Topgolf Swing Suite for May 2019

By | March 19, 2019

FREEHOLD, N.J. —  The much-anticipated Topgolf Swing Suite at iPlay America is set to celebrate its grand opening on Friday, May 3. iPlay America is the first family entertainment center in the country to adopt Topgolf Swing Suite, which will feature six simulator bays with, multiple HDTVs and full food and beverage service, all set within a luxury lounge environment.

Powered by industry-leading Full Swing simulators, games are designed for both nongolfers and golfers alike. The selection of games, created for up to eight players per bay, includes Topgolf favorites such as TopContender, TopPressure, and TopChallenge, and non-golf immersive games like Carnival Classic, Hockey Shots and Zombie Dodgeball. Guests will also be able to enjoy a drink from the dedicated full bar or order food off the brand-new menu from iPlay America’s restaurant, Game Time Bar & Grill, including a variety of options perfect for sharing.  

“We’re eagerly counting down the days until we open Topgolf Swing Suite at iPlay America to all of our fans,” said Jessica Schwartz, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at iPlay America. “We’re thrilled to be the first family entertainment center to incorporate this state-of-the-art experience into our attraction offerings. Not only does Topgolf Swing Suite expand our selection of unique activities, but it also meets a demand from our older demographic. Topgolf Swing Suite is the ideal venue for friends to relax, grab a drink, enjoy some delicious food and just have a great time together, anytime of year.”

Topgolf Swing Suite complements iPlay America’s numerous attractions, including 250+ arcade games, rides, laser tag and more. Bays are available on a first-come, first-served basis during regular business hours, with a limited number of reservations accepted daily. Conveniently situated between Game Time Bar & Grill and the Event Center @ iPA, Topgolf Swing Suite can also be rented for parties, social gatherings and corporate events and team building outings. Pricing varies per hour depending on the day of the week and time of day.

Dreamworld Invests in team members’ futures with launch of new Training Academy

By | March 19, 2019

As part of Ardent Leisure’s ongoing commitment to be a leader in all aspects of theme park operations and safety, Dreamworld has established a Training Academy to deliver continued learning and development opportunities to its team members.

The Dreamworld Training Academy will partner with local businesses to integrate its nationally accredited training programs in tourism, hospitality, leadership, health and safety and role specific training including ride operations.

These training opportunities will support career progression across all areas of the business by developing employee career pathways.

Dreamworld CEO, John Osborne said the company is committed to the ongoing development of every team member to ensure they reach their full potential.

“Our team members are our most valuable resource, therefore it’s important for us to ensure they have the skills needed to succeed in their career at Australia’s biggest theme park,” Mr Osborne said.”

“The Training Academy has been established to take our team to the next level,” he added.

It will feature training programs for ride operators and loaders, which will continue to include nationally accredited units of competency to ensure they have the skillset needed for these specific roles.

“It is proof that Dreamworld’s commitment to being a global leader in theme park operations and safety is stronger than ever, and shows how serious we are about the safety of our guests and team members,” Mr Osborne said.

Ardent Leisure has previously stated that the Coroner’s recommendations arising out of the coronial inquest will be implemented in consultation with Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and the theme park industry.

IRT/iROC: Call for presentations

By | March 14, 2019

International Ride Training is now accepting presentation proposals for its next International Ride Operator Certification Safety School to be held February 4-7, 2020 (location TBA). Each year, IRT prides itself on offering the best, most creative and interactive ride operations training in the world, and we are looking for nothing short of this high standard for our 2020 Safety School. 

Your topic should be relevant to Ride Operations. Remember – a ride is a ride is a ride. There is no need to focus solely on traditional hard rides! Submissions dealing with rides of all types, including waterslides, aquatic attractions, zip lines, inflatables, trampolines, and adventure attractions are encouraged as much as those dealing with traditional hard rides. We also welcome submissions from all types of facilities: large and small parks, FEC’s, manufacturers, mobile operators, and suppliers / consultants to the industry.

Please click on the submission link here: Fill Out Form. Forms must be emailed to erik@ridetraining.com no later than 5:00 p.m. on Friday, 3/29/19. IRT will review submissions and notify those that have been selected in April.

Attendees eager to glean innovation, ideas during Amusement Expo International in Vegas

By | March 14, 2019

 MOKENA, Il. — Almost here! The 10th edition of the AAMA-AMOA Amusement Expo International (AEI) is set to unfold at the end of this month. 

The March 26-28, 2019 AEI education/equipment venue at the Las Vegas Convention Center (Hall N-1) will continue to fulfill its role as an unparalleled, annual source for new products, information and contacts/networking. 

Amusement/coin-op game operators comprise a solid nucleus of attendees, who, during the past decade, have been joined by other allied segments, including the family entertainment center market, bulk vending, laser tag and virtual reality components. 

AEI includes one full-day dedicated to industry education, as well as two full days focused on exhibits of items that cover the complete spectrum for the “street” and FEC: jukeboxes, merchandisers, video games, kiddie rides, pinball machines, cranes, dartboards, pool tables, redemption equipment, ATMs, play spaces and much more. 

From the opening Keynote by Kindra Hall on “The Irresistible Power of Strategic Storytelling” to the Closing Session by Tyler Bushnell on “Build Recurring Business by Leveraging the Nuances of Millennials and Gen Z,” a stellar lineup of presentations and panels await AEI visitors interested in amusement/FEC, laser tag, and virtual reality markets. Expo Education Day runs 8 a.m.-5:15 p.m. on Tuesday, March 26 at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. 

A pair of street operator roundtable sessions will cover key management and operational topics, with other offerings addressing ATM trends, cause-related leagues/tournaments and connectivity tips. 

FEC-focused programs will include discussions on areas such as operational diversity, enhanced concessions, E-sports, cashless systems, and perfecting employee teams. 

Visit www.amusementexpo.org for the complete lineup and to register for the sessions. Education packages, which include materials and lunch, as well as admission to both the full Amusement Expo education program, and the full VR education program, cost $99 per person. 

And from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on both Wednesday, March 27th and Thursday, March 28, the latest equipment and programs for the trade will span the entire exhibit space of Hall N-1 of the Convention Center. 

Besides education and equipment, a highlight of AEI will be the All-Industry Gala Reception, to be held 5:15-7:15 p.m. on Tuesday, March 26 in the Westgate Resort and Casino, adjacent to the Convention Center, where the exhibition program will be featured. 

Westgate will serve as the official housing partner in 2019, as it has for virtually all of the AEIs during the past 10 years. A special $95 nightly rate has been set for AEI showgoers, not including tax or resort fee. 

New multi-weekend event to debut at Valleyfair

By | March 14, 2019

SHAKOPEE, Minn. — Valleyfair will debut a multi-weekend event, Peanuts Celebration, for the 2019 season. This is an all-new event uniquely dedicated to celebrating the beloved Peanuts characters and invites guests to step inside the pages of a Charles M. Schulz comic strip as the characters take over the park for the very first time.  

The newly introduced event will take place on weekends beginning June 8 through June 30. This limited time celebration invites fans of all ages to join in on the fun by introducing new ways for guests to play and interact with the Peanuts Gang throughout the park. Valleyfair will spend each weekend celebrating Schulz’s creation with enthusiasm only found in Minnesota. 

“This event draws on the roots the Schulz family built in Minnesota,” Raul Rehnborg, Valleyfair’s General Manager, said, “We are sure that guests will find the fun, joy, and humor in this event that Charles Schulz portrayed in each of his comics.”  

The event will feature special Peanuts inspired décor, new social media worthy comic strip photo ops, new character experiences, live shows, exclusive merchandise and deliciously themed treats to complete this whimsical celebration. Everyone’s favorite messy pal, Pig Pen, will be making his Valleyfair debut as he hosts a special meetup at Peanuts Pavilion with some of his favorite animal friends. 

The Peanuts inspired festivities continue at Peanuts Sketch School as the park introduces an experience that gives both the young and the young at heart a lesson on how to draw their favorite Peanuts character. The Peanuts Sketch School will include our resident cartoonist who will provide step by step instructions on how to draw the perfect Peanuts masterpiece. 

The celebration continues at Superior Stage where the Peanuts characters have two all-new musical surprises for guests. During the day Sally and Schroder will host a retrospective of music in The Music Goes Round and Round where they’ll have the audience dancing in the aisles.  At nightfall, the stage will transform into a musical extravaganza as the park presents the first ever Woodstock’s Musical Festival. The musical event will feature the Peanuts Gang performing a high energy rock concert for the whole family. 

“These shows are specifically designed to keep the audience on the edge of their seat, or better yet, on their feet, “Justine Bergevin, Valleyfair’s Entertainment Manager, said, “We are so excited for guests to experience these awesome performances.” 

On Saturday, June 15, Valleyfair is celebrating Good Ol’ Charlie Brown by hosting Charlie Brown Day. The park invites guests to enjoy the celebration to show love to everyone’s favorite blockhead Charlie Brown by hosting the largest gathering of Charlie Browns in one picture. If your name is Charlie Brown you can receive FREE admission to the park on June 15-16. Simply show a valid ID at our admissions building to receive your complimentary ticket.

 Find the full entertainment lineup at Valleyfair.com/PeanutsCelebration

Movie Park Germany is all about families and presents lots of new attractions

By | March 14, 2019

Bottrop-Kirchhellen — Even more entertainment, action and cinematic experiences for the whole family: Movie Park Germany is rolling out the red carpet in 2019 for a season with lots of new attractions! The new PAW Patrol “Adventure Bay” area opens in May with exciting attractions and interactive features. A new LOONEY TUNES 4-D Experience starring Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote, a revised show concept as well as the mysterious “Area 51 – Top Secret” – a re-theming of the popular Bermuda Triangle ride – awaits visitors this season.. The park reopens its doors on 29 March.

A howling good time for the whole family at the new PAW Patrol “Adventure Bay” area. The popular Nickelodeon series is brought to life with new attractions and interactive features. “PAW Patrol has consistently gained in popularity in recent years”, says Managing Director Thorsten Backhaus, “and so we’re delighted to have an area dedicated to the series. Construction has been going at full speed since the winter.” At the new “PAW Patrol Adventure Tour” the whole family goes on a thrilling off-road ride with their four-footed heroes. Parents and children can sit in one of the six well-known rescue vehicles, including Marshall’s Fire Truck and Rubble’s Bulldozer. A new PAW Patrol beach playground ushers fans into the world of the Labrador Zuma and bulldog Rubble. An additional highlight: the pups’ secret Lookout Tower. At the foot of the 15-metre tower are a photo point and a meet-and-greet area. Young visitors will love “Zuma’s Zoomers”, a hovercraft ride on the beach at “Adventure Bay”.

Movie Park Germany is also rolling out some exciting innovations as part of its long-term quality strategy. This summer, an old classic will be getting an upgrade: a re-theming of the “Bermuda Triangle” water attraction. This popular ride, a unique mix of dark ride and water ride and the only one of its size in Europe, is being given a new theme involving the mysterious “Area 51” on Groom Lake in the Nevada desert. “The water attraction is one of the oldest rides in the park and also one of our most popular rides. Many of our regular visitors wanted a re-theming, and with ‘Area 51 – Top Secret’we’ll be offering our guests some refreshment fitting for hot summer days”, says Marketing & Sales Director Manuel Prossotowicz, with a wink. Visitors can even enjoy a musical soundtrack composed by IMAscore as well as lots of effects. The idea came from Movie Park Germany’s own creative department, which developed it in close collaboration with the IMAmedia team. The new theme takes visitors back to the 1950s. This military zone around Area 51 is kept closed off from the civil population, with rumors of alien life forms at Groom Lake. To promote transparency, the United States government invites the local population to an open day on the military base. On this mysterious trip visitors can learn for themselves how much truth lies behind the rumors and what secrets Groom Lake may still hold. The attraction will remain closed until June due to extensive renovations and redesigning. Opening is anticipated for the summer holidays.

‘Back to the roots’ is the name of the game at the Roxy 4-D cinema: two well-known figures are celebrating their comeback for a limited time at Movie Park Germany at the start of the season. With the new theatrical adventure „LOONEY TUNES 4D starring ROAD RUNNER and WILE E. COYOTE”, Movie Park Germany brings the two iconic animated characters back and onto the screen. Fans who grew up watching Warner Bros.’ LOONEY TUNES animated classics or who are discovering their timeless antics for the first time will enjoy zipping around the desert as WILE E. COYOTE pursues the upbeat and un-catchable ROAD RUNNER with fruitless, yet unwavering, determination. Presented in high-definition, digital 3-D with immersive special effects, these classic LOONEY TUNES characters come to life and bring guests along for the ride on their zany adventure as WILE E. COYOTE uses absurdly complex contraptions and elaborate plans to pursue the ROAD RUNNER in these hilarious, laugh-out-loud high action shorts.

Germany’s largest film park is remaining true to its slogan, “Hollywood in Germany” for its street entertainment and shows. Well-known walking acts like Marilyn Monroe and Elvis will be joined by new figures like Laurel and Hardy as they stroll along Hollywood Boulevard and entertain spectators. “This season we’ll have even more artists, look-alikes and street entertainment ushering guests into the world of film”, says Thorsten Backhaus. The stunt show “Crazy Cops New York” is also getting some new features. “We’ve given the stands a fresh coat of paint. The story line of the stunt show is also being further developed and gets the additional title ‘The Chameleon’. The spectators will experience new stunts, vehicles and a reworked show.” In addition, the jet-ski show by the Folco Team will be revived from May until September.

In the food services area, the park has also considered a new approach for its “Pizza & Pasta” restaurant. The street in front of the restaurant shall be raised and be re-purposed as an outdoor area with seating so that guests to this area may use it for leisurely dining in future. The facade of the restaurant and the inner courtyard will be upgraded with a new color scheme and decorations.

Guests will encounter extra action on selected days during the year, when a series of different events will take place in the park. “Last year’s Cosplay Day was quite well received by visitors. This year we’ll again be inviting numerous costumed performers to appear in the park as heroes from the film and gaming worlds to get this exciting event going on 15 June”, explains Thorsten Backhaus. Visitors will also enjoy Pyro Games, a very special fireworks duel, and events like the Cheerleading Championship. A highlight capping the season will be the 21st Halloween Horror Festival in October, when over 280 monsters will guarantee gruesome fun. Last year Movie Park Germany celebrated the 20th birthday of this event, the strongest autumn since 2000 and setting a new record for visitor numbers for the third year in a row. “We have lots of ideas for this year and can hardly wait to implement them. The Halloween Horror Festival is always a highlight for us”, says Manuel Prossotowicz, who will once again be putting the creative touches on the attraction together with his team.

Managing Director Thorsten Backhaus sums it up: “Movie Park Germany has made it its goal again this year to give families a day like being in a movie, with a mix of new attractions, re-themed rides and lots of entertainment”. Fittingly, the park was awarded a series of family-friendly quality seals in 2018: Movie Park Germany was again given a Gold rating (No. 1 in amusement parks) by Welt am Sonntag and Service Value. The park was also awarded the rating “Outstanding” as amusement park champion in the Große Deutschlandtest by Focus Money.