Webinar: Accommodating guests with autism

By | January 16, 2020

Did you know that WWA’s Webinar Wednesday programs are available to all current member employees at no additional charge? Well, it’s true! Register today for our next Webinar Wednesday event set for 1 p.m. CT / 2 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. GMT on January 22, 2020.

You’ll hear Meredith Tekin, President for the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards, share insights on the following topic:

Accommodating Guests With Autism
Your customer DNA is changing. 1 in 59 children in the U.S. are diagnosed with autism, and the number is rising. Not only will training and certification increase safety and enhance guest experiences for many families who visit parks and may not identify themselves, it also opens up parks to a huge untapped market. Families and individuals are willing to travel to certified destinations and attractions where they know they will be welcomed and are looking for options where they feel understood. Sometimes the smallest changes can make the biggest impact. Other parks have seen triple digit increases in out-of-market visitors, 50 percent increases in online ticket inquiries, improved employee morale and more community engagement.

The need is there and these families can’t be ignored. You’ll leave this webinar with a better understanding of the size of this market, what is autism, common needs for people with autism, feedback from parents and actionable steps you can take, including certification, that can be helpful to your waterpark or aquatic facility. Hear from the only organization offering this type of certification about the reasons why certification is an important goal for your facility, and discover the requirements for earning this certification


Deputy Managing Director Nick Thompson takes on exciting new development and innovation role

By | January 16, 2020

Blackpool Pleasure Beach Deputy Managing Director Nick Thompson is now responsible for development and innovation. 

Nick has been instrumental in a number of key projects at Blackpool Pleasure Beach and brought the exciting Intellectual Property (IP) of Nickelodeon to the park in 2011 and Wallace & Gromit, the key Aardman Animations IP in 2013.  Nick continued this trend by securing a licence agreement with the Ministry of Defence for the Red Arrows Skyforce ride which opened at Pleasure Beach in 2015.

Together with his sister, Amanda Thompson OBE, Managing Director of Blackpool Pleasure Beach, they launched ICON in 2018.  This £16.25m investment is the UK’s first double launch steel coaster designed and manufactured in Germany by Mack Rides.

In 2017 Nick became the first ever third generation Chairman of the British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions (BALPPA).  Nick’s grandfather, Leonard Thompson, was one of the founding members of association, and the original chairman, in 1936.  He then held the position again almost 25 years later in 1963.  Nick’s father, Geoffrey Thompson carried on the family tradition, holding the post of chairman in 1981 and again in 1992.

Hersheypark selects Mobaro for safety and maintenance

By | January 16, 2020

The iconic Pennsylvanian theme park has signed with software provider Mobaro to digitize the safety, maintenance and operations routines for the upcoming season. 

Founded in 1906, as a leisure park for the employees of the Hershey Chocolate Company, Hersheypark is one of the biggest theme parks in the US today. Comprising both amusement rides, water rides and a zoo department, the park welcomes more than 3,3 million visitors a year.
At their operational scale, the volume of existing procedures for inspections within safety and maintenance is considerable, which is reflected in the motivation for choosing Mobaro.

“We have been looking to go to a paperless inspection system for several years now to enhance our current inspection process. After talking to Mobaro about the functions we wanted, we quickly realized that they could incorporate everything we want with their current platform. We tested the system on a couple rides in 2019 and are excited to go live with the full system on our over 70 attractions in the 2020 season,” says Craig A. Glover who is a Rides Maintenance Manager at Hersheypark.

 He is part of the management team responsible for rolling out the Mobaro solution. The entire maintenance team counts a whopping 140 people that includes rides mechanics, electricians, plumbers and carpenters. For and by the attraction industryTo Mobaro, having welcomed Hersheypark represents another important milestone for the Danish software provider. Since 2017, they have been focusing efforts on gaining traction on the US market with their industry-specific software

“It is needless to say that we are honored to have one of the biggest parks in the US put their faith in our platform and partnership. And we can only applaud the team on their ambition for rolling out full scale for the upcoming season. They come very well-prepared for this operation and we look forward to seeing the solution prove its worth in this park. In general, we are seeing increased interest from North American attractions, and I am confident that Mobaro can be a truly valuable game changer for maintenance teams across the continent,” says Jens Holm-Møller, CCO at Mobaro.

He and the rest of the team at Mobaro have built their platform around the needs and wants from the attractions industry, with a heavy focus on analyzing real-life procedures and designing effective software for it.

Embed enhances customer experience at Apex Entertainment’s 3rd location

By | January 16, 2020

DALLAS, Texas — Embed is pleased to be involved n the opening of Apex Entertainment’s 3rd location in Albany, New York.

With the opening of Apex’s Albany location in November 2019, the 3rd location installed with Embed’s 100 smartTOUCH Tap Readers, 5 kiosks, and 2 PRIZES workstation, customers visiting this outlet can expect to receive a superior guest experience, thanks to Embed’s integrated business platform that enables business owners to achieve greater operational efficiency while reducing costs and increasing their profitability.

“We’ve worked with Embed since the beginning, and when we talk about Embed, it’s not just another vendor that we work with. It’s a partnership that we want to grow with and be able to have 10 more locations with. So far, we’ve seen great success in everything from A to Z.” said Joey Slawinski, Director of Operations, Apex Entertainment.

“We believe that anything is possible and offer solutions to meet the wide-ranging needs of guests and operators alike. Embed is designed to deliver a superior guest experience and our solution is a completely integrated business platform that enables business owners to achieve greater operational efficiency while reducing costs and increasing their profitability.” said Renee Welsh, CEO Solutions Group.

JW Winco standing strong with leveling feet

By | January 14, 2020

Machine feet, articulated feet, leveling feet, corrosion resistant stainless steel, and elegant forms: The range of leveling feet available in the JW Winco portfolio is extensive. And it continues to grow because the requirements only appear simple until you take a deeper look.

There is no doubt that at the start of an engineering process, designers seldomly pay attention to the leveling feet. And yet hardly any construction can be completed without leveling feet that support the entire load of everything above them. What must leveling feet offer to stand up to the harsh conditions of industrial applications?

Above all, stability, the secure acceptance of any loads, precise adjustability, and long service life. And finally, they must also visually express all of these qualities.

The latter aspect is particularly exemplified by the GN 21 leveling foot just added to the JW Winco assortment. It consists entirely of stainless steel and its plate is machined from solid material that exhibits a refined surface. The version with mounting holes in the plate, bears the designation of series GN 23.

With WN 9000 / WN 9000.1 leveling feet, the spindle has a ball-end that moves freely in the leveling mount base, allowing differences in incline between the ground and the machine to be easily compensated. The base is made of a glass-filled nylon plastic and is available with or without a an elastomer rubber non-skid pad. Two holes for mounting the leveling mount base are standard in this version. The spindles are made of either steel or stainless steel.

Also new are the “duckfoot” types GN 42 and GN 43. Their strange name comes from the half round, half rectangular shape. These leveling feet are suitable for universal use and have tolerance friendly slots, while ribs reinforce the plate under heavy loads. Depending on the standard, either galvanized steel or 304 stainless steel is used; a vulcanized layer on the underside of the plate is also optionally available.

Theme park Toverland announces new admission prices

By | January 14, 2020

From the start of this year’s summer season is Theme park Toverland going to introduce variable admission prices. There will be four different price categories based on the period in which people visit the theme park. Online tickets with a fixed date will also be given huge discounts. This means that the price of a regular ticket on Toverland’s website starts at just € 22.50. Also the maximum height for a children’s ticket has been extended from 120 cm to 140 cm. The new admission prices will be in force from Saturday 28 March. 

Price categories 
Toverland’s new admission prices are split in four categories: Bronze (from € 22.50), Silver (from € 26.-), Gold (from € 27.-) and Platinum (from € 29.-). “These new prices are based on our opening times and associated park offer”, explains General Director Jean Gelissen jr.. “This means that visitors need a Platinum ticket to visit our Midsummer Evenings and Halloween Nights because we’re open from 10:00 to 23:00 hours during these events and we also provide extra shows and entertainment alongside our normal attractions, hereby ensuring a higher added value to our guest experience.” 

Online discounts 
Visitors can order tickets with a fixed date at huge discounts via Toverland’s website. If you order a ticket at least 7 days before the date of your visit, you receive up to € 7.- discount compared to the price paid at the ticket office. Orders that are placed 0 – 6 days before the visiting date receive a discount of up to € 2.- on the ticket office-price. Discounts apply to all price categories. “Using tickets with a fixed date enables us to provide a better guarantee that park offer and staff planning ties in with the number of visitors. This way we ensure that all our visitors experience a magical day at Toverland”, says Jean Gelissen. It is also possible to buy tickets with an open date. These are € 33.- in spring and autumn, and a ticket that is valid throughout the entire summer season costs € 36.-. 

Extension children’s tariff 
Previously, children’s tariffs applied to children with a height of 90 – 120 cm. From the start of the spring school holiday this is going to change to 90 – 140 cm. Children’s tickets are available via Toverland’s website from € 17.50. All of Toverland’s attractions are accessible from a height of 140 cm and therefore regular admission prices apply. Disabled persons, wheelchair users and over-60s can buy tickets at reduced tariffs. All new admission prices can be found on Toverland’s website. 

Toverland announced previously that it will extend its opening times this year and that more events will take place than ever before. Visitors can now enjoy no less than 12 Midsummer Evenings and 14 Halloween Nights. During spring school holiday and the weekends thereafter will Toverland open its entire park sooner than ever during the ‘Pre-Season’. The start of the summer season is on Saturday 28 March and all indoor and outdoor attractions are open every day until Sunday 8 November. 

European premiere: Aquapark Reda celebrates the opening of the SlideWheel – a world first development, created by wiegand.waterrides

By | January 14, 2020

POLAND — Aquapark in Reda, Poland, inaugurated the first SlideWheel in Europe on January 10, 2020. 

The SlideWheel – developed by wiegand.waterrides GmbH – is a combination of a Ferris wheel and a water slide offering a unique dimension of sliding which is not comparable to any other existing slide. This unique ride experience offers sudden G-forces, backward movements, pendulum action, moments of weightless as well as incomparable external visuals. wiegand.waterrides GmbH proudly already accepted several awards for this innovative product. 

The first preparations for the construction of this huge slide began in April 2019. With its 27.7 m in height, the SlideWheel in Reda is by far the highest of its kind. 470 guests can be transported per hour. This 160-ton colossus spins on its own axis at almost two revolutions per minute. Riders are seated in four-person rafts while splashing through the tube with a stunning diameter of 2.7 m and a length of 130 m. 

The world’s first SlideWheel was completed in 2018 at Chimelong Water Park in Guangzhou, China. It is the most visited water park in the world. Since then, more than 1 million enthusiastic guests have experienced this landmark attraction. 

Aquapark Reda has named this exceptional slide creation #Aquaspinner. 

Physics programs, elementary project and wacky science offered at Quassy

By | January 10, 2020

MIDDLEBURY, Conn. – As the train on the thrilling Wooden Warrior roller coaster zips by, those waiting in the line for the ride might wonder just how fast it is going.

Students will be able to provide the answer by participating in Quassy Amusement & Waterpark’s Fun With Physics, one of the educational programs sponsored by the lakeside property. 

Fun With Physics is 38-page scholastic booklet Quassy prepared which incorporates a variety of experiments using rides within the park. The project has been accredited by the American Association of Physics Teachers. 

One section deals with roller coaster physics and provides the formula for determining the average speed of a coaster. In addition to Wooden Warrior, Little Dipper is another roller coaster in the family-owned park on which the experiment may be conducted.

Using an accelerometer, students are also encouraged to complete a number of questions related to the gigantic pendulum motion of the Tidal Wave swinging ship.

“Our physics booklet really provides an exceptional educational experience for students while visiting the park,” Quassy President Eric Anderson said of the program. “Teachers have the opportunity to assign as many projects as they want and there’s something in there for most grade levels.”

Elementary Student Program
For younger students the park offers It’s Elementary, a series of worksheets specifically designed for elementary classes. The project includes spelling and math quizzes as well as art assignments.

Schools wanting to participate in a self-guided physics tour are invited to participate in Commotion About Motion. The associated worksheets offer a number of visual experiments students participate in while walking through Quassy. Teachers will receive a coaching and answer sheet for the tour when they arrive at the park.

Faculty members can download the materials for all three programs mentioned above at https://www.quassy.com/group-rates-catered-outings/school-trips. There are no fees for these educational materials.

Wacky Science On The Stage
In addition, the park will continue to offer its popular Wacky Science interactive stage presentation in which students help uncork some fun and educational experiments. Advance reservations are required for 25-minute program that takes place at the Carousel Theatre stage. Schools are encouraged to make reservations now as dates generally filling up quickly for Wacky Science.

All of the above educational programs are free of change when making advance fieldtrip reservations with the park office at (203) 758-2913. School fieldtrips start May 29 and run through and including June 19. 

Quiz Show
Quassy also offers Quiz Show Mania, the park’s own version of a popular educational game show for students. Complete with electronic scoreboards, sound system and a Quassy host, there is a fee associated with booking the game show for schools staging an event at the park. Call 203-758-2913 for details.

Knoebels announces new ride for 2020 season

By | January 10, 2020

ELYSBURG, Pa. – Knoebels Amusement Resort is celebrating the new year with the announcement of a new ride for their 2020 season.

America’s largest free-admission amusement park announced a new ride named “Tornado.” According to Knoebels’ spokesperson, Stacy Ososkie, the 32-passenger ride is expected to be ready for the park’s April 25 opening day.

“Eight cars hold four passengers each in individual seats facing the inside of the car,” said Ososkie. “Once the ride reaches speed moving in a circle, it tilts 20 degrees and lifts the cars up to 15 feet from ground level.”

According to Knoebels’ park president, Richard “Dick” Knoebel, there’s another aspect of the ride that will likely be the favorite for many guests.

“Controlling part of a ride provides a really unique and exciting experience,” said Knoebel. “Riders will be able to spin the cars of our new ride themselves, choosing their thrill level.”

Visitors need to be 38 inches tall to ride Tornado with an adult, and 48 inches to ride alone. It will be located near StratosFEAR drop tower ride and Kreeper’s Pumpkin Patch game.

While there will be an addition to the ride lineup, 2020 will also see the removal of a ride that has been at the park for more than 20 years. Debuting at Knoebels in 1998, 1001 Nacht took guests on a magic carpet ride reaching 85 feet in height.

“The ride is nearing the end of its operational life and ridership isn’t strong, meaning it makes sense for us to remove it to help with future planning for the park,” said Ososkie. More details on 2020 changes and additions will be made available as Knoebels’ 94th season approaches.

Antic’s Land chooses Intercard cashless technology for the largest indoor theme park in the UAE

By | January 9, 2020

ST. LOUIS — Intercard, the world leader in cashless technology, has installed its latest systems in the new VAR Zone at Antic’s Land in the Sharjah Mega Mall in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. Antic’s Land is the largest indoor family theme park in Sharjah, considered the cultural and entertainment capital of the UAE. 

The elaborately-designed Arabian Nights-themed Antic’s Land is one of the largest indoor family theme parks in the Middle East. It covers 75,000 square feet and features a variety of exciting attractions for families including a roller coaster, monorail, 5D cinema, 7D interactive cinema, arcade and VR games. 

“Intercard has been leading the way with cashless technology in the Middle East since Encounter Zone, the first FEC in the region, opened in Wafi Mall in Dubai more than 20 years ago,” says Alberto Borrero, Intercard’s senior vice-president international sales. “Since then the industry has boomed and Intercard’s innovations and renowned customer service have made its technology the most-used in the region.”