Holiday World premieres America’s first launched wing roller coaster

By | April 23, 2015

HW_tbirdSANTA CLAUS, Indiana — With a crowd of hundreds of roller coasters enthusiasts from around the nation cheering, America’s first launched wing coaster took flight over Holiday World Theme Park on April 23.

“This is an incredible day in our park’s history,” says park president Matt Eckert. “We can’t wait to see and hear our guests’ reaction to riding Thunderbird.”

Thunderbird, Holiday World’s new steel roller coaster features a zero-to-60 miles-per-hour launch in 3.5 seconds, followed by multiple inversions — including a 14-story Immelmann loop, Zero-g roll, barrel roll, and a loop soaring 125 feet in the air.

Continuing Holiday World’s tradition of sending roller coasters through its thickly wooded and hilly terrain, Thunderbird at first soars and loops high in the air and then hugs the ground, surprising riders with rapid-fire “near misses” such as keyholes, themed elements, other rides, trees, and even the ground.

“A wing coaster creates a feeling of incredible freedom — you ride beside the coaster track with nothing above or below you,” says Eckert. “Thunderbird is the first launched wing coaster in the nation – it’s a whole new experience for thrill seekers.”

Eckert calls Thunderbird’s manufacturer, Bolliger & Mabillard, the “Cadillac of roller coasters, known for their safety, quality and reliability. We’ve dreamed of adding a B&M steel coaster for many years and are excited that Thunderbird will be B&M’s first launched coaster.”

Thunderbird’s $22 million price tag is more than twice the amount of any other single-ride investment at Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari in the park’s 69-year history.

Thunderbird, which opens to the public on Saturday, is located in the park’s Thanksgiving section. A new restaurant, the SmokeHouse, and a shop named Hevron’s Mercantile will also open Saturday. Also new this season is George’s Gluten-Free Pizza & Snacks, the park’s latest effort to provide menus for those with special dietary needs.

Holiday World, the world’s first theme park, opens for its 69th season on April 25; Splashin’ Safari water park opens May 13.

Picsolve appoints Anthony Boddie as Vice President of Theme Park Operations, North America

By | April 23, 2015

PicSolveGLOBE_MAIN_SmallORLANDO, Florida — Picsolve, the leading image capture partner for the leisure and entertainment industry, has announced the appointment of Anthony Boddie as its new Vice President of Theme Park Operations, North America.

Following Picsolve’s recent $14 million investment in the US, the company has recruited heavily in the region, with Boddie’s position fundamental to the senior leadership team that provides added value for partners looking to offer enhanced guest experiences and future proof their revenues.

Boddie will bring over 25 years of experience in the theme park and attractions industry to his new role, previously working at America’s largest amusement concessionaire, Kaman’s Art Shoppes. During this time, Boddie held several leadership positions including Director of New Business Development and Director of Photo Imaging/Operations, following management positions at theme park photography company John Shawn Productions.

Well-respected in the industry, Boddie has a strong understanding on meeting and exceeding clients’ expectations and will bring his experience of working with operations, financial management, personnel management and business development to his role at Picsolve.

Anthony Boddie, Vice President of Theme Park Operations, North America commented: “I’ve watched Picsolve’s offering develop over the years into something that is unrivaled in the industry and I am looking forward to joining the team to help cement this innovative model even further in the US. With such a forward-thinking culture at Picsolve, there is a huge opportunity in North America to ‘future proof’ theme parks and meet the increasing guest demand for park photography; driven by evolving digital and social media trends.”

COO of Picsolve North America, Don Potts commented – “Having Anthony join our North America team is fundamental to our recent growth and investment in with the region. No one in the segment has Anthony’s experience and proven track record of delivering operational excellence. He’ll be joining a robust team of experts already in place to revolutionise our services for theme parks and attractions, while enhancing the guest experience. As a result, Picsolve’s market leadership position is further strengthened in both the industry and region.”

Circus History to be sold at World Wide Circus Summit 2015

By | April 22, 2015

Springfield, Mass. — Gary Payne, President of the Circus Fans of America, announced that The Enquirer Printing Company of Newtown, Ohio, will be offering a large collection of Circus memorabilia for sale during The World Wide Circus Summit 2015, scheduled for The Big E Fairgrounds, July 14-18.

John Anderson, president of The Enquirer Printing Company and one of the fourth generation of the Anderson family to own and operate the company said, “We have been looking for a way to put our warehouse full of circus posters, original art work, wood & metal circus cuts and wood type in the hands of true circus fans. With circus fans from around the world coming to Springfield in July to attend the WCS 2015, we feel it is the perfect place for us to offer a portion of our archives for sale!”

The Enquirer Printing Company, which has been in business and owned by the Anderson family since 1890, was the largest printer of circus posters in United States for many years. When the circus was the king of local entertainment in America, EPC specialized in creating large circus posters. Their work was plastered throughout towns days before the circus train and its big top and parade of elephants arrived. In recent years, the circus poster business has changed with many communities and utilities banning posters on utility poles, and many circuses don’t want the hassle and expense of hiring someone to collect them when they leave town.

However, Enquirer Printing Company still prints for many circuses including Kelly Miller Brothers Circus and Feld Entertainment, Inc., owners of Ringling Brothers. They also provide printing services for several carnivals, fairs, amusement parks and other entertainment venues.

Bill Robinson, of William H. Robinson, Inc., whose company has been retained by EPC to handle the sale says, “Boxes and skids are stacked to the ceiling in a 35,000 square foot building, and every box we open has another surprise. This sale is going to be a huge opportunity for the circus collector, decorators, antiques shops and auctioneers to purchase old/authentic circus advertising and collectables. I don’t believe there has been — or there ever will be — another offering of real circus memorabilia of this magnitude again.”

For more information on the sale, contact Bill Robinson.

For more information on The World Wide Circus Summit 2015, visit worldwidecircussummit2015.com.

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Engineers of Prosperity conference occurs in April

By | April 15, 2015

MAPR-logoMuddy Creeks, Pa. — The Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad Preservation Society is hosting the first joint conference of the two leading national rail preservation organizations, April 16 – 18, 2015. The Association of Tourist Railroads and Railway Museums (ATRRM) and the National Railway Historical Society (NRHS) are meeting together in a spring conference that has been two years in the making. Over 100 leading figures in rail preservation from all over the U.S. and Canada are expected to attend. The Yorktowne Hotel, 48 East Market Street, York, is serving as the official conference hotel.

The York area has a rich railway history that includes pioneer locomotive builder Phineas Davis. He built the first coal burning locomotive and developed the B & O’s (Baltimore and Ohio’s) grasshopper design. Just south of York City is the Howard Tunnel, the oldest railway tunnel in the United States. Starting in the late 1800’s, Billmeyer and Small was a major railroad car builder for standard and narrow gauge lines. By the 1930’s, York’s thriving industrial operations were being served by more than 130 dedicated sidings.

The conference program starts on Thursday, April 16 at the York County Heritage Trust, 250 East Market Street, York, with a 6:00 pm reception followed by 7:00 pm presentation. “Steel Rails to the White Rose City: The Northern Central Railway in York County, PA,” will be presented by Fred Wrabel. Between 1974 and 1986, Wrabel served the Pennsylvania Railroad Technical and Historical Society in a variety of capacities, including editor, writer and President for the Chesapeake Chapter. He created displays for Amtrak, Conrail, the Baltimore Streetcar Museum and others. He has written over twenty lecture/slide presentations. Before and after the presentation, at least a half dozen local rail attractions will have display tables at the Heritage Trust to showcase what they have available for the public. Both activities are free and open to the public.

SeaWorld has rescued more than 25,000 animals

By | April 3, 2015

SW Rescue logo blueORLANDO, Fla. — The SeaWorld Rescue Team has surpassed a sobering milestone: more than 25,000 animals rescued over the past five decades.

2015 is proving to be a challenging year for animals in the wild in need of SeaWorld’s help. Just recently, SeaWorld helped rescue 19 manatees stuck in a storm drain, returned dozens of sea turtles to the ocean, and saved hundreds of sea lions that are stranding on the California coast due to lack of food. SeaWorld San Diego’s Rescue Team alone has already rescued more than 475 marine mammals this year!

Our goal for every animal we rescue is to successfully rehabilitate and return it to the wild. And for the small percentage of animals with conditions that would prevent them from surviving in the wild, they are given lifelong care at SeaWorld or another accredited facility.

Stay up-to-date on our latest rescue stories, and also track how many different types of animals we rescue on the new SeaWorldCares.com website.

S&S Worldwide announces new tower ride for park in China

By | April 2, 2015

S&S ~ SanseiLOGAN, Utah — Another park in China will be installing an S&S tower ride later this year. S&S Worldwide, Inc. (“S&S”) is pleased to announce that a Double Shot tower ride is on tap to open in late 2015 at the Eon Time theme park in Hohhot, China.

As the world’s leading producers of tower rides, S&S is pleased to have the opportunity to place a Double Shot ride in the exciting and innovative Eon Time project. The developer, Eon Time Real Estate Corporation, has created a mixed-use development that fuses various aspects of natural elements with the surrounding context of the city, which will give the project a distinct identity.

“At S&S, we are very honored to have been selected to participate in the unique Eon Time project,” said Tim Timco, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for S&S. “Eon Time is focused on creating developments that allow people and the environment to exist in harmony, for which the environmentally friendly air-launched Double Shot tower ride was a natural fit.”

The Double Shot, already in production by S&S, will launch 12 passengers nearly 80 feet (24 meters) through two cycles of positive 3-G and negative 1-G ride experiences. The cycle repeats with two 30 mph launch sequences in every ride. According to Timco, “The Double Shot earned its name from the extra shot (or thrilling acceleration) that riders experience during the ride cycle.”

Timco added, “Our team at S&S has more experience than anyone in the world in providing high-quality tower rides; and we believe that the Double Shot will be an important feature of Eon Time’s exciting new venture. We’re looking forward to the opening of this new ride in the coming months.”

Carowinds opens Fury 325 roller coaster

By | March 26, 2015

Fury_325_LogoCHARLOTTE, N.C. — On Wednesday March 25 (3-25) Carowinds unveiled its monstrous Fury 325 roller coaster to the media and invited members of coaster enthusiast organizations. At 325 feet, the mega-wonder is the tallest new coaster to open this year and the tallest in the world utilizing a traditional lift hill.

The coaster is part of $50 million makeover that includes a completely redesigned front entrance, of which, Fury 325 is a key component. The new 8.2-acre main entrance plaza includes a state-of-the-art ticketing and season pass processing area and expanded guest service facilities. Upon entering the park, guests walk right through the action as riders on Fury 325 scream by both overhead and underneath at speeds not legal on nearby Interstate 77.

Themed to the fierce attributes of a hornet, the coaster exceeds 95 mph as it burns through 6,602 feet of track in just over three minutes emulating the wild, spontaneous flight of this largest member of the wasp family. Like an angry hornet chasing its target, Fury 325 will race through a series of hills, curves and quick transitions.

Guest reaction has been overwhelmingly positive with members of American Coaster Enthusiasts queuing up to enjoy as many rides as possible during the preview event. The coaster’s opening garnered national attention with coverage from USA today and even made an appearance on NBC’s Today Show.

Built by the Swiss engineering firm Bolliger & Mabillard, Fury 325 is the largest coaster of the company’s nearly 100 coasters, superseding Leviathan, a 306-foot tall coaster of similar style that debuted in 2012 at Carowind’s sister park, Canada’s Wonderland in Ontario.

Carowind’s and the new Fury 325 open to the general public on Saturday, March 28th.

SeaWorld Entertainment names Joel Manby as President and CEO

By | March 19, 2015

SeaWorld Joel Manby CEOORLANDO, Fla. — SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: SEAS), a leading theme park and entertainment company, announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Joel Manby as President and Chief Executive Officer, effective April 7, 2015. At that time, Manby, 55, will also join the Company’s Board of Directors. David F. D’Alessandro, who has served as interim CEO, will continue to serve as the Company’s Chairman.

“The Board of Directors has completed an extensive search process and we are extremely pleased to welcome Joel Manby to SeaWorld Entertainment. Joel has nearly 20 years’ experience and a proven track record with business models very similar to ours – multiple brands and multiple properties in the entertainment and theme park industries,” said D’Alessandro. “Even in the most challenging business environments, Joel has consistently enhanced the performance of the companies he has led for customers, investors and employees alike. He has the experience and qualifications to lead our Company into the future.”

Most recently, Manby has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Herschend Enterprises, the largest family-owned theme park and entertainment company in the United States. While at Herschend, he has consistently driven profitable growth, expanding the company from six to 26 properties while more than doubling annual EBITDA and net cash flow. Herschend reports annual attendance of more than 14 million across its companies.

“I am honored to be selected as SeaWorld Entertainment’s new CEO. This Company has tremendous brands, and for more than 50 years, families have come to our parks to learn about animals, have fun and be entertained,” Manby said. “We are known for our exceptional operations and world-class animal care. My job is to build on that foundation while consistently improving and innovating in a competitive environment. I look forward to working with our more than 23,000 team members through the challenges ahead.”

Before joining Herschend, Mr. Manby spent 20 years in the auto industry. From 1996-2000, he served as CEO of Saab Automobile USA, where he increased the company’s sales by over 60 percent and improved its J.D. Power Quality Rating from 30th to fifth in the industry. Prior to joining Saab, Mr. Manby held various roles at GM, and was a member of the start-up team for Saturn Corporation, where he was instrumental in launching Saturn’s innovative marketing and distribution strategy.

Mr. Manby was the valedictorian of Albion College, where he was a Rhodes scholarship finalist, and he earned an MBA from Harvard Business School. He serves on the boards of several companies and organizations, including Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc. and the National Advisory Board of the Salvation Army. Mr. Manby is married and has four daughters.

Rainforest Adventure coming to Grapevine, Texas

By | March 16, 2015

SEALIFE-GrapevineGRAPEVINE, Texas — Construction has started on the new 3,500-square-foot Rainforest Adventure scheduled to open this summer at Sea Life Grapevine Aquarium. The new permanent exhibit takes guests to the lush environment of the world’s rainforests where they will encounter brand new species to Sea Life, including crocodiles, piranha, anaconda and more.

The five-gallery display replaces the freshwater lakes exhibit and spotlights a variety of animals native to exotic locations from around the world. Unique features include a piranha walk-through tunnel, a domed pop-up tank in the middle of the anaconda cave, and touch tanks with fish and invertebrates.

Guests begin their journey through the rainforest where rays of light shine through mist and the forest canopy. In the Amazonian rivers gallery, freshwater fish swim amongst twisted roots, tree stumps and lush planting. The caiman exhibit takes visitors to an abandoned ancient temple reclaimed by the forest and crocodiles. Next, visitors of all ages get an up-close view of piranha as they swim overhead in the 40-foot walk through tunnel. In the anaconda cave is a domed pop-up tank where kids can observe the intriguing lifestyle of the world’s largest species of snake. Upon exiting the rainforest, guests will discover the newly re-imagined rock pools where they can touch and learn about coldwater fish and invertebrates native to the Pacific Northwest.

“This is the biggest investment we’ve made since our opening in 2011,” says Iain Scouller, Regional General Manager Sea Life Grapevine. “The new Rainforest Adventure exhibit will recreate extraordinary natural environments with exciting architectural elements, creating a highly immersive experience for visitors.”

SEA LIFE Grapevine is located at 3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway, Grapevine, Texas 76051. More information is available at visitsealife.com/grapevine.

Proposed new ASTM waterpark standard highlights stationary wave systems

By | March 3, 2015

ASTM_logoW. CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. — Stationary wave systems bring the thrill of surfing to water parks. A proposed new ASTM standard (WK31624, Practice for the Classification, Design, Manufacture, Construction and Operation of Standing Wave Systems) will provide a reference tool for safe construction and operation that will prove useful to both manufacturers and owners of standing wave systems.

“Riding a sheet wave is an exhilarating experience,” says ASTM member Marshall Myrman, leader of the FlowRider and Waves division of WhiteWater West Industries Ltd. “Since the participant is riding a 25 mile per hour sheet of water, there are certain issues that need to be addressed to ensure the safest experience possible, and that is what we are doing.”

The proposed standard will present such manufacturing guidelines as structural design requirements, identification markings and design responsibilities. Regulatory agencies will be able to use the standard as a tool for enforcement and laboratories will find it helpful for benchmark testing.

This proposed standard is being developed by Subcommittee F24.70 on Water-Related Amusement Rides and Devices, part of ASTM Committee F24 on Amusement Rides and Devices. Myrman welcomes all interested parties, particularly those representing standing wave manufacturers, to join in the development of WK31624.