New ‘Star Wars’-themed land taps The Force at Disneyland

By | May 30, 2019

Opening May 31, Galaxy’s Edge aims to impress fans and redefine ‘immersive’

AT: Dean Lamanna

ANAHEIM — After five years of planning and near-hyperdrive-speed construction, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens to general public at Disneyland on Friday, May 31. The themed land’s debut follows a splashy world premiere attended by Amusement Today and hundreds of international journalists on Wednesday, May 29.

With George Lucas, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Bill Dee Williams joining Disney CEO Bob Iger to launch the new land, the midweek media event unfolded with a distinct air of pop culture and attractions industry history in the making — revealing an area that renders tangible more than four decades of the Star Wars universe in ways that are likely to exceed the expectations of the hardest-core fans. One of two virtually identical 14-acre sci-fi/fantasy areas emerging at the Walt Disney Co.’s U.S. theme parks this summer (the other, at Walt Disney World Resort’s Disney Hollywood Studios in Orlando, is scheduled to debut Aug. 29), the project represents the largest single-themed land the Southern California park has ever introduced.

The massive effort, which included the extended temporary and permanent closure of several attractions and the rerouting of the Disneyland Railroad and Rivers of America, have been well worth it. Galaxy’s Edge occupies what was formerly the northern part of Frontierland and a backstage area, maximizing the use of the park’s confined space.

The land transports guests to Black Spire Outpost, a village on the never-before-seen planet of Batuu filled with otherworldly sights, sounds, smells and tastes. Visitors become part of the story as they sample exotic food and beverages, explore a collection of merchant shops and take the controls of the most famous ship in the galaxy with Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, a flight simulator ride guided by the characters Hondo Ohnaka and Chewbacca located inside a stunning full-size replica of the vessel. Rey, Finn, Poe, BB-8 and Chewbacca are among the characters guests may encounter during their journey.

This represents the project’s first phase. The next, launching later this year, will be the unveiling of a second major attraction called Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance — billed as even more advanced and ambitious than the Millennium Falcon adventure. The multi-element dark ride will place guests in the middle of a climactic battle between the First Order and the Resistance.

Making culture ‘pop’
Galaxy’s Edge, the seamlessness of which is enhanced by new atmospheric theme music by celebrated Star Wars composer John Williams, culminates decades of collaboration between Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) and Lucasfilm, Ltd., the now Disney-owned guardian of the 42-year-old franchise. Their creative partnership dates back to 1987, when the groundbreaking Star Tours attraction opened at Disneyland.

Designing the land required every technological tool in the box, including 3D modeling, digital animation and virtual reality. The techniques enabled teams from WDI, Lucasfilm and the venerable, multi-award-winning visual effects house Industrial Light & Magic to carefully plan and pre-experience everything from Black Spire Outpost’s unusual, partly-Middle Eastern-inspired architecture and street market scene to the movement of the Millennium Falcon ride.

New to the Star Wars universe, the setting is “a place that, in days of yore, was a necessary stopping off point to get food and provisions and refuel as you explored the outer reaches of the galaxy,” explained Scott Trowbridge, creative executive for the global Star Wars portfolio. “But over time, and especially with the advent of faster-than-light travel, it lost its prominence. It became much more of a home for smugglers and bounty hunters… maybe even some folks that are trying to avoid the ever-expanding watch of the First Order.”

Trowbridge added that Galaxy’s Edge gives guests “a massive E-ticket experience filled with story and characters and ways to explore and experience this galaxy far, far away like never before. One of the things we know about our guests is that they want more and more to lean into these stories, to get closer to these characters. They want to participate more, not just be a spectator.

“It’s all focused towards a single goal: to give our guests the opportunity to live their Star Wars story.”

Star wares and “wears”
Another thing the Galaxy’s Edge creative team knows about Star Wars fans is their penchant for merchandise. Storefronts and stalls throughout the new area brim with authentic franchise collectibles, gear and souvenirs.

The Droid Depot invites guests to construct their own droids. Patrons can pick pieces and parts off a conveyor belt to build one of two core models (R-series or BB-series) and customize their droids with various parts and colors. These creations, in turn, are capable of interacting with elements in the land.

At Savi’s Workshop, visitors can craft and customize their very own lightsabers. Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities offers a selection of rare and mysterious items representing different Star Wars eras, including holocrons, ancient Jedi and Sith artifacts, and more.

The Black Spire Outpost market features the Creature Stall, dedicated to replicas of rare and fascinating creatures that populate the galaxy; and Black Spire Outfitters, showcasing the latest in accessories. There’s also Toydarian Toymaker, a stall filled with toys crafted by a Toydarian (the flying alien species first seen in Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace, in 1999).

Guests can even demonstrate where their loyalties lie with the wearables they purchase. The Resistance Supply stall sells pins, badges, hats and other accessories to help visitors feel like part of the cause. First Order Cargo, meanwhile, sells pins, caps and model spaceships.

“We strove to be better than we’ve ever been before, to push ourselves further in product and design than we’ve ever pushed ourselves,” said Brad Schoeneberg, WDI’s director of merchandise strategy and a lifelong fan of the movie series. “Star Wars toys are the cornerstone of many generations of children and their childhood. So we knew it was important to offer them something different in this living land than they’ve ever seen before.

“The product in this land is new, developed specifically for this place. You will not find any of our traditional Star Wars or evergreen products here. Everything was created through the lens of Galaxy’s Edge.”

That includes food and drink. Several outlets and street vendors serve treats such as flavored milk in shades of blue and green and savory eats like Ronto Wraps filled with grilled sausage and roasted pork.

At Oga’s Cantina, even the blaster-bolt scorches on the walls tell a story. Here, revelers gather to share their tales from around the galaxy as they enjoy exotic beverages served in unique vessels and enjoy musical entertainment provided by DJ R-3X, otherwise known as Rex — the former Starspeeder 3000 pilot droid from the original Star Tours.

Know before you go…
Galaxy’s Edge is the first land within a Disney park designed to integrate with the Play Disney Parks mobile app, which debuted last year and offers interactive adventures within the park environment. When guests use the app on their own cell phones, it allows them to engage with the land — whether through galactic language translation, mission assignments or role-playing games.

“It’s an invitation to play, to go as deep as you want, using this new personal technology,” Trowbridge said.

Guests planning to visit Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland between May 31 and June 23 will need a valid theme park admission and be required to make a no-cost reservation, subject to availability. Guests staying at one of the three Disneyland Resort hotels within this period will receive a designated reservation to access the new land during their stay (one reservation per registered guest; valid theme park admission required).

Reservations for the land will not be required after June 23, but depending on demand, the park may implement virtual queuing. Access to Disneyland, Galaxy’s Edge and the experiences is subject to capacity.

Visit Disneyland’s website for additional information, including details on expanded parking and the latest park rules regarding costumes, smoking and the use of strollers. Look for complete coverage of the grand opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in the July print edition of Amusement Today.

disneyland.com

‘I Like Scary Movies’ a bracing mix of interactive art, wit

By | May 30, 2019

AT: Dean Lamanna

LOS ANGELES — Horror film mavens, especially those in Southern California, think they’ve seen it all when it comes to live fright-genre presentations such as Knott’s Scary Farm and Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights. And that’s something of which “I Like Scary Movies,” a new interactive art installation, seems keenly aware.

The 25,000-square foot presentation, occupying the second floor of The Desmond, a historic building on Wilshire Boulevard in L.A.’s Miracle Mile district, eschews easy funhouse scares, flashy strobe effects and in-your-face costume characters with please-touch-me-if-you-dare detail, multisensory creepiness and social media-friendly staging — lacing it all with surprising wit. It opened in early April and is scheduled to run in its inaugural location through June 16 before going on tour.

The display offers some strikingly visionary interpretations of iconic scenes from five horror / fantasy movies produced by Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema: Beetlejuice (Netherworld waiting room), It (Pennywise’s sewer lair), The Lost Boys (misty railroad bridge vampire hangout), A Nightmare on Elm Street (Freddy Kreuger’s boiler room) and The Shining (bloody elevator hallway, hedge maze and more). And unlike most haunt attractions, it encourages participants to sidle up to and step inside the fearsome “props” — in effect, inviting them to help shape the experience.

Wonder what it’s like to be caught in the grip of Freddy’s finger knives? You’ll find yourself encaged by them here.

“I Like Scary Movies” is the brainchild of locally based experiential artist Maximillian, with his wife, Robyn Snodgrass, executive-producing through their company, Ultra Prods. It taps into its creator’s 20-year history of making multimedia promotional and entertainment installations for the likes of Comic-Con, Marvel Entertainment, Pixar, Walt Disney Pictures and his current collaborator, Warner Bros. Consumer Products.

During a chat in his exhibit-adjacent office — a space filled with concept illustrations, copies of Fangoria magazine and wall art patterned after the Overlook Hotel’s trippy geometric carpet in The Shining — the artist told Amusement Today that he considers the installation “3D fan art.”

“We’ve done a lot of things that were promotionally based, but no one had really tapped into doing anything that was celebrating movie IP [intellectual property] in a ticketed experience,” said Maximillian, who spent a good part of his youth building backyard haunted houses and invested a year and a half seeing “I Like Scary Movies” from concept to completion. “I’ve always loved illustrated fan art, and our goal was to create an experience where fans could take their time to engage with the fantastical worlds of scary movies that have shaped their fandom.”

Having established a prior working relationship with Warner Bros., he realized that many of his favorite genre movies were produced by the studio — and their partnership on the installation followed naturally.

“When I pitched this concept to them, I had these five movies in mind,” the artist said. “I wanted a little bit of something for every horror fan, from throwbacks to current. I wanted classic slasher with A Nightmare on Elm Street. I wanted Tim Burton fans with Beetlejuice. I wanted ’80s vampires with The Lost Boys. I wanted classic horror with The Shining and a millennial blockbuster with It. It’s one ticket, five movies — with a little dash in there for everybody. It can bring every demographic of horror fan in.”

Working with 56 fabricators and artists “of every ilk” — from foam sculpting and fiberglass work to scenic painting — Maximillian realized his vision while deriving additional ideas and approaches to his own concepts. “I gently pushed them out of their comfort zone to do something different,” he said. “I didn’t want this to be all shiny and fiberglass; it’s horror, so it had to be a little rough around the edges. It had to have some darkness to it, a little bit of D.I.Y. It couldn’t be glossy and shiny and bright.”

An aspect of the project he particularly loved was working with individual artists who were just as passionate about creating something one would not find in, say, a theme park haunt. One element of the It exhibit illustrating this is a walkthrough section featuring wavy curtains of strung-together paper boats — a kind of floating tunnel that sets observers adrift between reality and fantasy while guiding them toward the next scary scene.

“The boats are made of paper sno-cone bottoms and hot dog trays,” the artist said proudly. “I wanted to keep them in the carnival world, and amusement, and have that be something that would be a call-out to that and also striking and cool. One of my artists and I wracked our brains figuring out how to do it, but it worked. We wanted to something different from the origami boat you see in the movie. It was about pushing the edges, pushing the boundaries, and making it tactile.”

Although he continues to make minor adjustments to the exhibit daily, Maximillian, for now, is enjoying the role of observer — peering with satisfaction from behind the exhibit’s black curtains as fellow horror fans give his elaborate “die”-oramas dynamic life.

“We want them to be able to take a deep creative dive into some of their favorite movies in a way that is fun, engaging, artistic and memorable — allowing them to really explore and enjoy the thrill of it all.”

“I Like Scary Movies” reinterprets scenes from several beloved horror / fantasy films, including Beetlejuice, It, The Lost Boys, A Nightmare on Elm Street and The Shining. Experiential artist Maximillian, shown with his wife, exhibit executive producer Robyn Snodgrass, created the installation. COURTESY “I LIKE SCARY MOVIES”; AT/DEAN LAMANNA

ilikescarymoviesexperience.com

Read about the ‘I Like Scary Movies’ exhibit in
the JUNE 2019 issue of Amusement Today.
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Firestone Financial’s Executive Vice President, Chief Operations Officer, Michael Smith, assumes company’s top leadership position

By | May 30, 2019

NEEDHAM, Mass. — Firestone Financial, a subsidiary of Berkshire Bank, announced today that Michael Smith, Executive Vice President, Chief Operations Officer, assumed the company’s top leadership position. Long-time Chief Executive Officer David Cohen transitioned out of the company in mid-May 2019. 

“I come into my expanded role excited to continue the foundation David set and bring a renewed energy and excitement for the future,” remarked Smith. “David’s commitment to the growth and prosperity of all the industries we serve is ingrained in everything we do. And that commitment will remain the same.” 

The management change is part of a well-coordinated succession plan that was in process since Berkshire Bank acquired Firestone Financial in 2015. Smith has led all key functional areas of the business during his tenure and brings a deep knowledge of the business and its customers. Customers and partners will experience no significant changes in the management of their account or points of contact during or after the transition. 

“Firestone is at a point where we not only want to continue in the industries that the business was built on, but also deepen relationships with channel partners, vendors, manufacturers, and distributors as well as expand into additional industries,” said Tom Varriale, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “Coming off a record year in 2018 and under Mike’s leadership we’re poised better than ever to meet our aggressive goals, increase efficiencies, and deliver even more value to our customers and partners.” 

Michael Smith joined Firestone Financial in 2008. He was hired to lead key operational areas as the Vice President, Credit, Operations, and Risk Management. In 2015, Smith, an attorney, was appointed Senior Vice President, Portfolio Risk Officer and led the credit, risk, loan operations, and portfolio management teams. In 2018 he was named Executive Vice President, Chief Operations Officer, adding oversight of sales and marketing, technology, and finance functions. He has over 30 years of finance and lending experience, previously working as the Director of Operations and legal counsel for AGFA Financial Services Inc. 

A message from JKJ Workforce regarding H2B program

By | May 30, 2019

Reps. Bergman (R-MI) and Keating (D-MA) are circulating this letter that will be sent to House Appropriations Committee leaders in advance of committee action on the Fiscal 2020 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill in mid-June.  We are grateful for their leadership on this issue. 

Please call your Representative and ask him or her to sign the attached letter.   If they have signed supportive H-2B letters in the past, please thank them for their continued efforts and support.  Please also be aware that members of the Appropriations Committee will often not sign on a letter to appropriations leaders even if they are very supportive of the H-2B program.  If this is the case with your Member, thank him or her for their support and encourage them to support any effort to include H-2B cap relief in the DHS funding bill. 

You can reach you Representative through the Capitol switchboard at 202-225-3121.  Once connected to the office, please ask to speak to the staff person that handles H-2B visas issues.  You can also send an email to your lawmakers by using the following link set up by NALP: https://p2a.co/l5fTSY7

The Rats Return! – get your Ama-Rat-O Sour at the San Francisco Dungeon this June

By | May 30, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO — Cocktails and vermin, anyone? From the crazy f*@#s at The San Francisco Dungeon who brought you the inexplicably popular Rat Café comes the next iteration of what the Department of Public Health will “allow”: Rat Bar.

Journey into the dark place where live rats run free and the booze flows like water. The San Francisco Dungeon will host this peculiar pop-up bar for a limited time only: Thursday, June 13 through Saturday, June 15 – or until the rats drink themselves into a stupor.

Here’s how it will work: right off the rat bat, arrive and start drinking Rat Bar’s signature cocktail—The Ama-RAT-o Sour. Take one guess what’s in it. Yes! Amaretto, some kind of a citrusy mix and a “rat’s tail” as garnish. 

Next – and pay attention because here’s the part you need to know – you and your odd little friend who booked this with you will experience The San Francisco Dungeon, the 60-minute interactive show where you’ll learn all about the weird, twisted, dark side of the city’s history – and trust us, there’s a lot to take in on that front. You’ll move through different points in time with actors recreating San Francisco’s darkest moments including the gold rush, Chinatown gangs, Miss Piggott’s saloon where you’ll get Shanghaied (Google it if you didn’t pay attention in history class), the plague (Yassss! More rats!) and conclude in an Alcatraz prison cell where super-creepy ghosts f*#& with you. The San Francisco Dungeon experience also includes a thrilling underground drop ride as well because—why the hell not? 

Once you emerge from the show, the rat canoodling begins! You’ll have 30 minutes to touch and hold the real-live rodents. (Don’t think about doing more, weirdo.) Since the attraction’s staff couldn’t find enough rats on their own, they’ve partnered with Ratical Rodent Rescue, which will provide the whiskery guests of honor. When you’re done letting the skittish little critters scurry all over you, head upstairs to The San Francisco Dungeon’s retail shop where a cash bar awaits. Here you can hang out for a while, make new friends with other freaky rat lovers and share a toast in honor of your newly minted furry friends.  

“Let’s be honest – pastries and coffee were nice and all when we hosted the Rat Café but that was a lot of work. We thought, ‘F it. This time, get drunk, see our show, touch rats and get drunk some more,’” says Matthew Clarkson, regional head of marketing for West Coast Midway Attractions, North America, Merlin Entertainments Group (parent company of The San Francisco Dungeon). 

If the s*#tshow described above strikes you as an educational or otherwise Instagrammable family-friendly occasion to enjoy with your spawn, virgin mocktails will be available for those under 21. 

Selfies go epic as Picsolve launches innovative new capture product

By | May 30, 2019

LONDON — Picsolve, the leading photo and video capture partner for world-class visitor destinations, today announces the launch of its new Epic Selfie technology – an evolution of the popular panoramic Super Selfie technology it launched last year in partnership with Panora.me. Picsolve’s Epic Selfie, which is being debuted at this year’s IAAPA Expo Asia in Shanghai, virtually places visitors into fantastic new worlds or iconic destinations, resulting in a highly shareable bitesize video that begins with a selfie and dramatically zooms out to reveal a panoramic backdrop.

Picsolve’s Epic Selfie technology allows attractions to capture visitors and transport them into a world beyond the realms of possibility – whether overlooking the Shanghai skyline or submerged in an underwater adventure. Epic Selfie provides guests with a unique piece of content that they could never capture themselves, and which can allow destinations to amplify their visibility on social media platforms through compelling content shared by guests.

The technology is a perfect addition to Picsolve’s Green Screen or Experience Wall installations at any destination and increases the range of exciting content a visitor can share or take home from a single capture opportunity.

The technology has already caught the eye of a key partner, with the first installation going live this summer at one of Merlin Entertainments’ London attractions, following the recent announcement that Picsolve is the sole partner for a five-year deal covering five iconic destinations. 

A live demo of the Epic Selfie will be on show at Picsolve’s booth at IAAPA Expo Shanghai, where visitors will be able to try it out first hand. At the show, Picsolve will also be providing updates on new installations of its Super Selfie, and its continued expansion in Asia.

International roll-out of innovative capture technology continues at pace
As well as the launch of the Epic Selfie, the uptake of Picsolve’s Super Selfie and Experience Wall continues to grow, strengthening their commitment to bring new and innovative capture experiences to visitors around the world.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is expanding its partnership with Picsolve, with the first US installation of the Super Selfie content capture technology. Visitors to the Rocket Garden, an outdoor attraction which showcases rockets from three of NASA’s famous space programs, can experience the ultimate space selfie as Picsolve’s technology captures video content which starts with their image and zooms into outer space.

The global roll out of the cutting-edge technology will see further installations of the Super Selfie at San Diego Zoo and Safari Park and LEGOLAND® Florida Resort over the coming months. The popularity of the Experience Wall also continues to grow within the attractions industry, with new installations now live in London and Washington D.C., including the company’s first Asia installation of the Experience Wall at SEA LIFE Bangkok Aquarium.

Continued growth in Asia

In addition to these new installations, Picsolve has also rolled-out its new digital platform in China – which connects visitors to their captured content, offering a seamless visitor experience. With a range of association features, the platform ensures attractions can take advantage of a host of new capture technologies including the popular Super Selfie, new Epic Selfie and Video Overlays.

Following the recent announcement of a series of new partnership wins and contract extensions across Asia and the Middle East, including Merlin Entertainments’ new attractions in China, Picsolve continues to expand its footprint in the region. Since entering the market in 2007, Picsolve is now the photo and video capture provider to 27 partners in Asia and the Middle East and expects to see additional growth opportunities with the addition of the Epic Selfie technology.

Picsolve CEO, David Hockley, commented, “In a region which prides itself on leading technological innovation, we understand the importance of developing new and exciting capture technologies that will excite visitors and drive additional revenue streams for destinations whilst enhancing customer experience. Epic Selfie delivers thrilling content that’s impossible for visitors to capture themselves, and we can’t wait to show it off for the first time at IAAPA Expo Asia.”

He continues: “Our continued innovation in photo and video capture is bringing new opportunities to our partners all around the world, including Merlin Entertainments. I’m in no doubt that 2019 will be a busy year for us as we continue to expand our portfolio and build new partnerships in Asia and the rest of the world.”

Picsolve is showcasing its new technology at IAAPA Expo Asia, where the team will be showing live demos of the Epic Selfie at booth number #2813 and welcomes attendees to experience the technology for themselves. Picsolve is also the official photography sponsor of IAAPA Expo Asia in Shanghai.

Six Flags and Atari partner to add branded real-world theme park attractions to RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch

By | May 30, 2019

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas — Six Flags Entertainment, the world’s largest regional theme park company, and Atari — one of the world’s most iconic consumer brands and interactive entertainment producers—today announced a licensing partnership that will feature real-world Six Flags content in the smash hit RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch mobile game. The Six Flags content will include the company’s world record-breaking roller coasters and attractions, plus its popular restaurants, retail stores, and signature landmarks. The selected properties will serve as special content for RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch players, giving them the unique opportunity to design and manage their own theme parks via their mobile devices.

“We are thrilled to partner with Atari on this carefully curated and very special in-game content,” said Six Flags President of International Development David McKillips. “Our strategy of extending the Six Flags brand—virtually in RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch, and with our branded theme park destinations worldwide, is very exciting. This platform is a great way to offer theme park and gaming fans the ability to interact with the world’s largest and most well-known regional theme park brand, taking the experience anywhere, anytime.”

“When you think of amazing theme parks and incredible rides, Six Flags immediately comes to mind,” said Tony Chien, Vice President of Marketing, Atari. “Atari could not be more excited to collaborate with Six Flags to bring together the world’s best known regional theme park brand and RollerCoaster Tycoon, the world’s most popular theme park simulation series.”

The partnership includes several installments of additional Six Flags branded assets delivered as periodic content updates, as well as promotion across Six Flags’ in-park Media Networks and via both companies’ social channels throughout North America. RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch is available now on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, as well as Android devices.

Call for nominations for the 2019 AIMS International Safety Award

By | May 23, 2019

NASHVILLE, TN – 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.  

Nominations for the 2019 AIMS Safety Award can be submitted by individuals within the amusement industry. The winner will be selected by a vote of AIMS International’s board of directors and the award will be presented during Amusement Today‘s Golden Ticket Awards at Silverwood Theme Park in Athol, Idaho, on Saturday, September 7, 2019.

The deadline for nominations is Friday, July 5, 2019. Information on the AIMS Safety Award and official nomination forms can be found on the AIMS website at http://aimsintl.org/aa-SafetyAward.asp. Requests for forms can also be sent to AIMS at info@aimsintl.org.

The AIMS International Safety Award was created in 2016 and is presented annually during the Golden Ticket Awards. The inaugural award was presented to Harold Hudson at the 2016 Golden Ticket Awards at Cedar Point. In 2017, the award was presented to Har Kupers at the GTA at Lake Compounce and in 2018, the award was presented to Patrick Hoffman at the GTA at Silver Dollar City.

The heroic pups of PAW Patrol find a new home in Movie Park Germany’s Nickland

By | May 22, 2019

BOTTROP-KIRCHHELLEN — PAW Patrol is about to start its next exciting mission – at Movie Park Germany! The popular TV rescue pup team from the hit animated Nickelodeon TV series produced by Spin Master Entertainment has now found a new, adventurous home: the family-friendly world of “Adventure Bay” opens today, based on the setting of the hit kids’ series, bringing the world of the popular pups to life. The new family attraction features a children’s playground and the iconic Command Center – now open to the public in Europe’s largest Nickland. Visitors and fans of the series can now immerse themselves in the world of these well-known four-legged heroes. German TV actor Jörn Schlönvoigt (known from GZSZ) also stopped by for the official opening of the new themed world and took a tour of “Adventure Bay” with his wife and daughter.

“Now the time has finally come and all families with children can explore the world of PAW Patrol together,” says Managing Director Thorsten Backhaus. “Numerous experts and employees were involved in reproducing the ‘Adventure Bay’ area as faithfully as possible. True to the series’ motto ‘No job is too big, no pup is too small’, construction work on the new PAW Patrol themed world has been in full swing since last winter. We are very satisfied with the final results and look forward to presenting the new area to our visitors”.

“Our goal is to make the world a more playful place, both on and beyond the screen,” said Gerald Raines, Senior Vice President, Global Location Based Experiences, Nickelodeon/Viacom International Media Networks. “We’re excited to bring one of Nickelodeon’s most beloved properties to Movie Park Germany and can’t wait for families to experience everything the new Adventure Bay has to offer.”

In “Adventure Bay” visitors of all ages have a lot to discover. In addition to new attractions for parents and children, the new area features many creative and interactive elements. “Over 315 liters of paint, 11,590 kg of construction steel, 86,000 kg of sand and 294 m³ of concrete were added to the new 1,800 m² themed area in Europe’s largest Nickland to give visitors a special experience,” summarizes Thorsten Backhaus. Design elements and the storyline were developed by the Movie Park Germany project team under Wiebe Damstra in close cooperation with Nickelodeon Experience Design in Orlando and the design experts from the Netherlands-based Leisure Expert Group. The Spanish company Rocas & Design, previously commissioned for “Lost Temple”, was responsible for designing and implementing the various thematic aspects of the new area.

A howling good time for the whole family!
Get in and buckle up for a fast-paced ride with the hero pups in the new “PAW Patrol Adventure Tour”! In this new family attraction, children and their parents can sit right inside one of the pups’ six well-known rescue vehicles, including Marshall’s fire engine and Rubble’s bulldozer. A brand new PAW Patrol beach playground ushers fans into the world of chocolate labrador retriever Zuma and cheeky bulldog Rubble. “Zuma’s Zoomers”, a wild hovercraft ride along the beach of “Adventure Bay”, will provide plenty of fun for young visitors as well.

Live experiences and personal souvenirs for young visitors
Children and families can take advantage of numerous photo points and meet and greet opportunities to experience their animal heroes up close. Visitors can also enjoy the focal point of ‘Adventure Bay,’ the iconic PAW Patrol Command Center. An exclusive photo point and a meet and greet area are located at the base of the 15-meter tower which is modelled faithfully on the original tower from the series. Here, all fans can experience PAW Patrol up close and take home personal souvenir photos.

On top of that, “Adventure Bay” has six additional realistic photo points to offer, giving kids the chance to take photos with their favorite characters. Here, they can also climb into diverse rescue vehicles just like their furry friends – for example, Rocky’s transporter or Chase’s police car.

Young and young-at-heart fans of the pups can also take advantage of the new family offers at Movie Park Germany. For example, PAW Patrol-themed kids’ birthday packages can be booked. In addition, special PAW Patrol family tickets are available for purchase. For further information: www.adventure-bay.de

Space Center Houston Apollo Celebration tickets on sale Friday

By | May 21, 2019

HOUSTON — Plan to join Space Center Houston’s Apollo 11 50th Live, presented by JSC Federal Credit Union. Tickets for the spectacular Apollo-themed celebrations go on-sale Friday, May 24 at noon.

All eyes will be on Houston, the home of human spaceflight, as the world celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing and Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the Moon on July 20.

Meet Apollo legends, see the restored Apollo Mission Control Center, a National Historic Landmark and celebrate the legacy of the Apollo-era and the future of space exploration at Space Center Houston.

Experience celebration complete with an array of space-themed events launching the anniversary of the Apollo 11 liftoff on July 16 through the mission’s conclusion when the astronauts safely splashed down back on Earth on July 24. The leading science and space exploration learning center will provide Apollo 11-themed Pop-Up Science Labs, Mission Briefings on the Apollo 11 mission and special NASA Tram Tours featuring the restored Apollo Mission Control Center, daily July 16-24.

Each day of the celebrations highlights something unique, making Space Center Houston the best place to experience lunar celebrations. Space Center Houston’s lunar event schedule includes: 

  • Lunch with Apollo Flight Controllers, July 16. Attendees will be seated to enjoy a catered lunch with an Apollo-era flight controller. Learn about their experiences, memories and learnings.
  • Lunch with the Children of Apollo, July 18. Dine in style while enjoying a panel discussion featuring children of Apollo-era astronauts and flight controllers sharing memories and reflecting on their experiences growing up with fathers who played pivotal roles in the Apollo-era mission. The panel will include Jeff and Barbara Lovell, Amy Bean, Tracy Cernan Woolie and Gwen Griffin (moderator).
  • Space on Screen with Dinner: “Armstrong,” July 18. A new dramatic, moving and deeply human documentary, “Armstrong” offers the definitive life story of Neil Armstrong: from his childhood in Ohio to his first steps on the Moon and beyond, using home videos shot by the man himself and unseen footage from NASA.
  • Lessons from Mission Control, July 19. Legendary NASA flight director Gene Kranz will provide a special talk after a plated dinner reflecting on the creation of the Apollo Mission Control Center and its historic significance during the Apollo 11 landing.
  • Apollo 11 50th Live at Space Center Houston, July 20. The celebrations will include a countdown to Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the Moon at 9:56 p.m. CST, late night NASA Tram Tours to Rocket Park and Apollo Mission Control Center, notable speakers, book signings, an outdoor festival with a concert, a family STEM zone and more! VIP packages will be available and a special ticket will be required for all visitors on this day. General admission tickets are not valid on July 20, 2019.
  • Lunch with Apollo Flight Controllers, July 24. Attendees will be seated to enjoy a catered lunch with an Apollo-era flight controller. Learn about their experiences, memories and learnings.
  • Apollo 11 Mission Splashdown Party, July 24. Experience a 1960s-themed evening bash with live music and activities surrounded by Space Center Houston’s extensive collection of Apollo-era artifacts, as well as lots of interactive exhibits and activities featuring the exciting present and future of human space exploration.

Apollo 11 anniversary celebration tickets go on sale to the general public Friday, May 24 at noon. Visit spacecenter.org for more information about the activities and hours of operation during this special period. Be a part of the celebration. Join the conversation, use #ApolloHOU. Become a member and come back free as often as you like for one year, plus gain early access to Apollo 50th anniversary event tickets. Start making your plans now!