International Ride Training unveils new online learning platform

By | April 13, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — International Ride Training, the gold standard in operational safety services in the amusement industry, recently launched its new online training program “Learning the ROPES: Ride Operations Professionalism, Efficiency & Safety”.

Designed by International Ride Training using standards developed in consultation with some of the leading ride operations professionals in the world, Learning the ROPES is an ideal course for both new ride operators who have little or no background in the fundamentals of safe, efficient, and professional operation and seasoned operators who may be in need of a “back to basics” refresher course to shake off bad habits and refocus on their operation with fresh eyes.

“Guests to any park, be it a waterpark, fixed-site theme park, carnival, family entertainment center, or a standalone attraction, expect that their ride experience will always be safe, conducted with an eye toward great guest service, and feature a professional operator,” said Erik Beard, Owner/Managing Member and Legal Counsel for IRT. “Learning the ROPES teaches ride operators to be cognizant of each of these issues so that their operation not only meets, but exceeds, guest expectations.”

One of their first clients to start using Learning the ROPES is the Sydney Royal Easter Show, the largest annual ticketed event in Australia. First held in 1823, The Show is “a celebration of Australian culture, from our rural traditions to our modern-day lifestyles, providing unique experiences for everyone.”

“We are so pleased to be able to offer Learning the ROPES training as an on-demand training option for our mobile ride licensees working this year’s show,” said Shane McGrath, Senior Manager of Operations Product and Development for the Sydney Royal Easter Show. “The training has been very well received and with the great rollout we have had this year, we look forward to expanding its use to more ride operators next year”.

To learn more about Learning the Ropes, go to https://ridetraining.com/ropes/.

Six Flags Over Texas and Hurricane Harbor announce wage increase

By | April 13, 2021

ARLINGTON, Texas — Six Flags Over Texas and Hurricane Harbor Arlington today announced that, effective immediately, seasonal team members wages will increase across most departments. 

“Many positions will see a wage increase of 20-25%, with an even larger increase for seasonal leadership roles. We want to recruit team members who will maintain our high standards of safety and guest service, and it’s crucial that we offer competitive wages to attract and retain these top employees,” said Six Flags Over Texas and Hurricane Harbor Arlington Park President Ron McKenzie. “Our current team members have worked extremely hard over the last year to help our guests have a safe and enjoyable experience at our parks, and this latest wage increase initiative is a direct result of their efforts.”

The most significant wage increases will impact food and beverage operations, security, and lifeguards. Team members in these areas can earn from $11 to $15 per hour. Ride operations, park services, admissions, games, and retail will also see immediate wage increases.

Named one of the Nation’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For® by the National Association for Business Resources for five years in a row, Six Flags offers a wide variety of positions and paid internships. The company provides team members with many benefits including advancement opportunities, reward and recognition programs, educational scholarships, free park admission, incentives from area business, and much more. 

Positions are available for individuals 15 and up.

How to Apply:

  • Apply today- interview today!
  • Six Flags Over Texas and Hurricane Harbor are offering a virtual application process that is available 24 hours a day.
  • Candidates that meet the initial screening criteria will receive a notification for an immediate virtual interview.
  • Contingent offers can be made within minutes of completing the virtual interview process

Available Positions:

  • Operations: Ride Operations, Park Services (clean team), Security, Parking Lot Drivers/Attendants
  • Aquatics: Lifeguards and Ride Attendants (Hurricane Harbor Arlington)
  • In-Park Services: Food Service, Retail, Photographers, Games, Warehouse
  • Guest Experience: Admissions, Guest Relations/VIP Services
  • Entertainment/Events: Costume, Singers, Dancers and High-Profile Characters
  • Maintenance: Electrical, Plumbing, Fiberglass 

Where to Apply

In-person hiring events at both Six Flags Over Texas and Hurricane Harbor Arlington will take place on select Saturdays starting Saturday April 24. Interested applicants should check www.sixflagsjobs.com for more details.

Finding opportunity in the now: Fun Land Entertainment Centers opens a new location

By | April 12, 2021

DALLAS, Texas — Transforming the business of fun since 2001, Embed, the worldwide leader of the cashless business management systems and solutions for the amusement, entertainment, and leisure industries, is proud to partner with Fun Land Entertainment Centers to officially announce the opening of their new location, Fun Land of Fairfax, located in Centreville, Virginia.

Fun Land of Fairfax is 50,000 square feet of fun for all ages. Attractions include 100 arcade games, Clip ‘n Climb, Ropes Course, Indoor Go-Karts, Laser Tag, Hologate VR, and Fun Land Entertainment Centers’ first full restaurant & bar, Tailgaters Sports Grill. Embed’s involvement includes the addition of 155 smartTOUCH readers, the industry’s most advanced and award-winning readers, and self-service kiosks that come with easy upsell features, package deals, and reloading of game cards.

Because of Embed’s partnership with CenterEdge, Fun Land created a more powerful tool in their Fredericksburg location, and it was a no-brainer to implement the same Embed technology at Fairfax as well. Leveraging this integration allowed Fun Land to fine-tune their guest experience and create a custom-tailored experience for everyone visiting their locations. 

“Fun Land of Fairfax is our second location. The biggest challenge with opening the facility revolved around COVID restrictions. But we have been following the CDC guidelines and the Virginia Health Department, and we are really excited to see what the future holds,” said Clint Novak, General Manager, Fun Land of Fredericksburg.

“We are completely focused on providing tailored solutions to help our customers drive more profits for their business by increasing their revenue, reducing their costs, and achieving their business goals. Our ‘customer first’ approach focuses on solutions that enable the optimum guest experience, and it’s the driver behind our development efforts because when the customer thrives, the operators thrives!” said Renee Welsh, CEO Solutions Group.

What’s new for 2021?

By | April 9, 2021

Amusement Today will be publishing its annual amusement industry preview in the May 2021 issue. To make certain your new-for-2021 installs are included, send a list of your 2021 projects to jseifert@amusementtoday.com.

The deadline for inclusion is April 16, 2021. AT is looking for any new ride or attraction at parks, water parks, family entertainment centers, traveling carnivals shows, cruise ships, even stand-alone attractions such as giant wheels, tower rides and alpine coasters.

Virtuix reports latest revenue results at reopened entertainment venues

By | April 7, 2021

AUSTIN — Virtuix, creator of the “Omni Arena” virtual reality esports attraction, has reported the latest usage data from Omni Arena sites nationwide. Over the spring break vacation, many sites earned record-breaking revenues, indicating that the FEC industry is rebounding.

Omni Arena revenues at FECs averaged $15,315 in March, up 9% from the pre-pandemic monthly average of $14,050. Eight Omni Arena sites, or nearly 25% of sites, were on track to earn over $20,000 in a single month.

Breaking down the results by venue type, go-karting venues and multi-themed FECs have recovered the fastest. Trampoline parks and movie theaters are also enjoying an upswing, though recovering more slowly.

“Our operators’ revenues have not only recovered, but at many sites, they are exceeding pre-pandemic numbers,” said Jan Goetgeluk, founder and CEO of Virtuix. “The data indicates that our industry is surging back. Guests are returning to entertainment venues and spending money.”

Omni Arena is a full-body virtual reality attraction for up to four players. Motion platforms inside the attraction enable players to walk and run around inside video games. Guests can compete for top spots on leaderboards and win a share of a $100,000 esports prize pool sponsored by Virtuix and HP.

Ride Entertainment bolsters team with new, key hires

By | April 7, 2021

STEVENSVILLE, Md. — Ride Entertainment, the Gold Standard in the attractions industry for safety, sales and support, is proud to announce two new, key additions to their award-winning team: Communications Manager, Kris Rowberry and Marketing Manager, Ed Hodgdon.

“Passion for what we do is a major part of our success,” said Ed Hiller, CEO of Ride Entertainment. “We cannot wait for our partners around the world to experience the incredible talents these two bring to our business each and every day.”

“It is an honor and privilege to work for a company as innovative and influential as Ride Entertainment,” said Rowberry. “Working in this role is an absolute dream come true.”

“I am thrilled to be working with the entire Ride Entertainment team,” said Hodgdon. “I cannot wait to be able to bring Ride’s ‘Gold Standard’ to all our clients around the world.”

Rowberry comes to the Ride Entertainment team with over 10 years of attractions industry experience and is an IAAPA Brass Ring Award winner for social media. He volunteers his time for both American Coaster Enthusiasts and the National Roller Coaster Museum & Archives.

Hodgdon brings over 20 years of marketing experience to Ride Entertainment. He is the current Secretary of NEAAPA and sits on the Board of Directors for the Maine Beaches Association.

Carrie Boldman named vice president and general manager at Cedar Point

By | April 7, 2021

SANDUSKY, Ohio — Cedar Point today announced that Carrie Boldman has been named vice president and general manager of the park. She succeeds Jason McClure, who has been promoted to senior vice president, park operations, at Cedar Point’s parent company, Cedar Fair Entertainment Company.

Boldman previously served as Cedar Point’s vice president of merchandise and games, and brings 25 years of experience in strategic development, brand management and merchandising expertise to her new role. She spent 16 years as director of product development and design for Disney Parks and Resorts. She then spent two years as director of marketing and sales for The Chef’s Garden, a family-owned sustainable farm in Huron, Ohio, before joining the Cedar Fair team in 2013. Boldman will also make history as the first female general manager of the park in its 150 years of operation.

“Carrie is a talented leader with an impressive track record in product development and design,” said Tim Fisher, chief operating officer of Cedar Fair. “We are confident that her skills and experience will help build on Cedar Point’s rich legacy of creating memorable experiences for the millions of guests who visit the park each year.”    

“As a Huron native who grew up coming to Cedar Point and spent six years working here as a seasonal associate, I am tremendously proud to have the opportunity lead this talented team,” said Boldman, whose two daughters also work at the park. “The park has been a vital part of the Sandusky community for 150 years, and I look forward to forging even stronger connections with our guests through fun, immersive experiences.”     

In McClure’s new role, he will oversee operations at the following Cedar Fair parks: Canada’s Wonderland in Toronto; Cedar Point; Michigan’s Adventure in Muskegon, Michigan; Dorney Park in Allentown, Pennsylvania; Kings Island near Cincinnati; and Worlds of Fun in Kansas City. He had served as vice president and general manager at Cedar Point since 2014, with responsibility for the day-to-day operations and financial performance of the 150-year-old amusement park. He began his Cedar Fair career in 2001 in the finance division of Carowinds in Charlotte, North Carolina. McClure earned his way up to vice president of finance and, in 2005, transitioned to the same role at Kings Island. In 2008, he became vice president and general manager of Dorney Park before taking the top role at Cedar Point.  

“Jason brings significant operations and finance experience to this senior leadership role, as well as a deep passion for delivering on our commitment to provide guests with fun, dynamic and memorable experiences they can share with their family and friends,” Fisher said. 

“I am thrilled to take on this new role, leading several Cedar Fair parks in their mission to deliver great experiences and memories for our guests and associates,” said McClure. “Cedar Point is in great hands. Carrie is passionate about the park, its associates and their desire to continue the legacy of providing legendary fun, and I look forward to continue working with her and the Cedar Point team.”

Manny Gonzalez named Vice President and General Manager at Carowinds

By | April 7, 2021

 CHARLOTTE, North Carolina — Carowinds, the premier entertainment destination of the Southeast, announced today that Manny Gonzalez has been named vice president and general manager of the park. He succeeds Pat Jones, who has been promoted to senior vice president, park operations, at Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, Carowinds’ parent company. 

Gonzalez brings a wealth of experience to Carowinds, having held leadership roles with a number of recognized companies in the entertainment and leisure industry. These roles include vice president and general manager at Six Flags in Oklahoma City for 17 years, chief operating officer at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio for nearly three years, and a board member of Hawaiian Falls Waterparks in Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas, from 2015-2017. For the past three years, Gonzalez has served as vice president and general manager at California’s Great America, which is Cedar Fair’s park in Santa Clara. 

“Manny is a passionate leader with global experience in the leisure and hospitality industry, including strategic development for theme parks, zoos, cruise lines and live events,” said Tim Fisher, Cedar Fair chief operating officer. “His keen insights and strategic perspective will help enhance Carowinds’ already-strong reputation for providing guests with amazing experiences and memories that last a lifetime.” 

“I look forward to joining the Carowinds team,” Gonzalez said. “I’m honored to lead the well-loved park through its next phase of evolution and am committed to continuing to deliver the high-quality experiences its guests expect and enjoy.” 

In Jones’ new role as senior vice president, she will have operational oversight for the following parks: California’s Great America, Carowinds, Kings Dominion in Virginia, Knott’s Berry Farm in California, Schlitterbahn parks in New Braunfels and Galveston, Texas, and Valleyfair in Minnesota. 

Jones brings more than 40 years of industry experience to her new position. She began her career as a game attendant at Kings Dominion. She later held increasingly responsible roles on her way to managing retail at the park. In the 1990s she moved to Carowinds as vice president of resale, overseeing food, merchandise and games. Jones then returned to Kings Dominion to serve as vice president of resale until 2004 when she was tapped to serve as corporate vice president of resale at Paramount Parks. After Cedar Fair purchased Paramount, she was brought back to lead park operations for both Kings Dominion and Carowinds. In 2016 she relocated to Charlotte to focus solely on Carowinds’ growth. 

“Pat brings significant operations and finance experience to this senior leadership role, as well as a deep passion for delivering on our commitment to provide guests with fun, dynamic and memorable experiences they can share with their family and friends,” Fisher said. 

“I’m excited for the opportunity help lead Cedar Fair’s continued pursuit of excellence at its parks across the country,” Jones said. “It’s a privilege to take on this role at such a pivotal time in the industry.” 

Semnox joins Foundations Entertainment University as their preferred cashless payment & IT provider

By | April 7, 2021

Semnox Solutions LLC has been chosen as the newest sponsor for Foundations Entertainment University as their preferred Cashless Payment & IT provider. The Dallas-based group will be joining Foundations for their first time at the upcoming Virtual Seminar on April 28 & 29, 2021.

Jerry Merola, Executive Director of Foundations Entertainment University expressed his delight in having Semnox onboard by saying, “We are thrilled to welcome Semnox to our elite class of sponsors at Foundations.  As a leader in technology solutions for the industry, Semnox’s expertise will prove invaluable in educating and preparing our development-focused attendees in their quest to deliver a premium experience within their upcoming entertainment venues”.

“Semnox is so pleased to join such a prestigious instructional program like Foundations University, who have been educating the Amusement Industry for the last 19 years,” added Brian Duke, Senior Sales Partner at Semnox. “I’ve known Frank Seninsky & Jerry Morola even longer, so to finally be able to partner with them bringing the best Venue Management and Debit Card System to their attendees is an honor and privilege”.

For more information or to sign up for the upcoming Foundations Virtual Roadshow, please visit their website at www.foundationsuniversity.com or email Jackie Zilligen at jazilligen@comcast.net

Registration for the 2021 World’s Largest Swimming Lesson opens April 1st in celebration of April Pools Day

By | April 5, 2021

The World Waterpark Association is officially opening registration for the 12th Annual World’s Largest Swimming Lesson on Thursday, April 1st. Host Locations can celebrate April Pools Day by signing-up for this year’s worldwide lesson at https://www.wlsl.org/WLSL/host_an_event.aspx.

Tens of millions of children missed the opportunity to participate in aquatics last summer, creating an urgent need for swim lessons in 2021. Organizers are urging aquatic facilities of all types to register for this global, one-day event and to host at least 21 participants (#21in21) to build awareness about the need and importance of swim lessons in their local communities.

Per the World Health Organization, drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional injury-related death, accounting for 7 percent of all injury-related deaths worldwide. In the U.S., drowning remains the leading cause of preventable injury-related death for children ages 1-4, and the second leading cause for children under 14. Yet, according to a 2020 research study completed by the American Red Cross, more than half (54%) of U.S. kids ages 4-17 are not able to perform the basic water safety skills that can save their life. 

The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson™ provides kids, parents and caregivers exposure to life-saving water safety skills while building buzz and awareness about the importance of teaching children to swim and providing undistracted adult supervision to help prevent drowning.

Aquatics facilities and providers can join TEAM WLSL in their mission to prevent childhood drowning through education by registering to conduct the 30-minute lesson any time of day during the 24-hour event on Thursday, June 17th. Learn more at https://www.wlsl.org.  

About The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson
The WLSL event serves as a platform for the aquatics industry to use one voice to send the clear and united message, Swimming Lessons Save Lives. Since the program was launched in 2010, the Swimming Lessons Save Lives message has been shared more than two billion times in the U.S. alone. WLSL events have provided more than 160,000 working hours of water safety training with more than 320,000 children and adults in 48 countries having participated in local lessons.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApSY4iFZCDc