Both fall Pennsylvania ride safety seminars cancelled

By | August 5, 2020

ATB. Derek Shaw

PENNSYLVANIA — Due to ongoing COVID-19 mitigation, both Pennsylvania ride safety seminars this fall have been cancelled. 

Conducted by Slaggert Risk Management for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Amusement Ride Safety Division, the Pennsylvania Amusement Ride Safety Seminar is usually held in early November in the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania area.

The other ride safety seminar, known as PACE (Parks and Carnival Education), jointly sponsored by the Pennsylvania State Showmen’s Association (PSSA) and the Pennsylvania Amusement Parks & Attractions (PAPA), typically takes place in late October.

Pennsylvania Amusement Ride Safety Division Supervisor Joe Filoromo provided the following information:

  • Pennsylvania state certified inspectors that are in good standing who have certifications that expire in November and December 2020 will be granted a one year extension of their expiration date. 
  • Inspectors may “log in” to the state ride inspection system as “Inspector” to check the status of their inspector certification dates.  Persons having questions about their certification standing can contact Filoromo by email if necessary at jfiloromo@pa.gov or 717-215-4316.

The spring 2021 Pennsylvania Amusement Ride Safety Seminar is still scheduled for February 25-27 in the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania area.

The 2021 PACE Ride Safety Seminar will be re-scheduled in late October next year for Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania and Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg, Pennsylvania. 

Filoramo went on to say that Quality Assurance Inspections have not stopped in Pennsylvania, as his department is doing virtual inspections and making limited physical visits. They have developed a touch-free QA inspection report while practicing social distancing. 

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Semnox announces integration with Sports Play Connect

By | August 5, 2020

Semnox, the leading RFID-based Venue Management Solutions provider and Sports Simulator have announced the launch of their integrated solution  Sports Play Connect.

With 29+ Sports, 539+ Game Challenges and an active presence at 2266+ Sporting Venues, Sports Simulator is a pioneer in the entertainment industry. The unique detection system developed by Sports Simulator can accurately track any moving object and integrate the same into its Sports Simulation.

The Sports Simulator programming team is focused on the development of multi-sports simulators and custom sports applications. Their goal is to virtually recreate any sport including famous stadiums, spectators in club colors, realistic player movements, and embedded sponsor signage, attaining maximum benefits for clients.  All Sports will offer match play, contest modes and practice modes ensuring that the specific sport can be used by coaches and players to improve technique.

With this integrated solution, clients of Semnox can operate the Sports Simulator game via Semnox Parafait Venue management system, instead of operating it in standalone mode. This way, the entire operation of the facility is seamless & controlled under one single system. Guests are able to enjoy the various sports by simply tapping the RFID wristband or card on the Semnox RFID reader to automatically validate entitlements, play the game and record the score from the play within Parafait.

Our customers’ can now benefit from having the most advanced Sports Simulator integrated with the leading cashless payment system, ensuring their centers are completely seamless,” says Andy Cole, Director at Sports Simulator Limited.

The integrated solution with Sports Simulator brings in tremendous value to our clients. Through this integration, our clients can take advantage of seamless operation of Virtual reality and Simulator games,” says Mathew Ninan, VP of Product Development at Semnox.

Inaugural IAAPA Virtual Expo: Asia connects global attractions industry professionals across the miles

By | August 4, 2020

ORLANDO, Fla. — IAAPA, the global association for the attractions industry, concluded its first-ever virtual Expo and conference – IAAPA Virtual Expo: Asia. The event was attended by more than 4,000 participants, featured 131 companies on the virtual trade show floor, and was widely followed online and on social media. During IAAPA Virtual Expo: Asia, global attractions industry professionals took part in a diverse, international exhibit hall with eight unique pavilions, nine education sessions, and seven IAAPA networking events.

“IAAPA’s first Virtual Expo truly reflects the resiliency and strength of the global attractions industry,” said June Ko, executive director and vice president, IAAPA Asia Pacific. “Our goal was to provide an innovative, timely new experience that brought the industry together. Our dedicated committee volunteers helped create an education conference and worked throughout to support each session. And our global manufacturer and supplier members partnered with us to provide an event that allowed for easy networking, communication, and connection. We are more inspired than ever by the heart and spirit of this incredible industry and are already taking key learnings from this event and applying them to our next IAAPA virtual events.”

The education conference featured 21 speakers from around the world and included sessions on important topics including best practices for reopening parks and attractions, safety, operations, automation and digitalization, and more.

While the virtual event was live during China Standard Time, registered attendees could access the exhibit hall, chat rooms, and education sessions at any time, allowing for easy access for attendees around the world, in any time zone. In addition, IAAPA Virtual Expo: Asia attendees may continue to engage with the Expo’s on-demand content and continue to follow-up with exhibitors until Saturday, August 8, 5 a.m. China Standard Time (CST), Friday, August 7, 11 p.m. Central European Summer Time (CEST).

During IAAPA Virtual Expo: Asia attendees voted for virtual booth innovations in three categories: Best Booth Downloads, Best Booth Videos and Most Engaging Chat Room. The event’s winners were:

  • Best Booth Videos – Extreme Engineering
  • Best Booth Downloads – Polin Waterparks
  • Most Booth Engaging Chat Room – Themebuilders Philippines, Inc.

IAAPA continues to add innovative digital education and networking experiences to further connect and support the global attractions industry. Registration is now open for IAAPA Virtual Conference: The Americas, set to take place Sept. 2-3, and IAAPA Virtual Conference: EMEA and APAC, scheduled for Sept. 22-24. Attendees will learn from industry leaders from around the world, take part in networking sessions and chats, and come together to share ideas to continue to move the industry forward.   

Immediate legislative call to action: critical Federal Legislation has been introduced

By | August 4, 2020

H.R. 7883, the Agricultural Fairs Rescue Act, which will provide $500 million in grant funding to state, county and local fair organizations has been introduced by U.S. Representatives Jimmy Panetta (D-20th/CA) and Billy Long (R-7th/MO). Ensuring that fair organizations have adequate resources to re-start their hosting of events for 2021 is critical to the recovery of the outdoor amusement industry.

OABA members should immediately contact their U.S. Representative and ask them to 1) become a co-sponsor* of House bill 7883, and 2) express to House Leadership this language should be included in COVID relief package now being considered.

The bi-partisan legislation, if passed and signed into law, would provide grant funding to rescue fair organizations:

  • This bill provides $500 million in Agricultural Fair Rescue Grants to agricultural fairs, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).
  • AMS will provide the grant funding to states or state departments of agriculture based on the loss of attendance those fairs have experienced in 2020 when compared to 2019.
  • The states or state department will then be required to make grants to fairs, prioritizing those that have faced the greatest financial hardship.
  • Grants must be used to assist fairs to continue events that are drivers and promoters of agribusiness.
  • Eligible fairs are local, county, or state fair that helps farmers promote their products or expand agricultural markets through conservation programs, agricultural research, educational programs, or other events that encourage agriculture, horticulture, and the domestic arts.

You may find your U.S. Representative in the House at: bit.ly/30rCrGX

*Members of Congress may contact Mark Dennin in Congressman Panetta’s office at mark.dennin@mail.house.gov or Ben Elleson in Congressman Long’s office at ben.elleson@mail.house.gov to become a co-sponsor of H.R. 7883.

Nickelodeon Universe at Mall of America to reopen August 10

By | August 4, 2020

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Mall of America is excited to welcome guests back to enjoy Nickelodeon Universe beginning August 10. After remaining closed for nearly five months due to COVID-19, the seven-acre theme park located inside Mall of America will reopen with significant changes to maintain a safe, healthy, and comfortable environment for those who visit. The Mall of America team has been working with State and national organizations as well as industry experts to help identify and establish reopening safety protocols for Nickelodeon Universe theme park. These reopening protocols include: 

Significantly reduced capacity
To meet current State guidelines, Nickelodeon Universe will operate with a significantly reduced capacity of 250 people throughout the seven-acre theme park at any given time. Capacity will be controlled by only allowing guests through a single entry point to Nickelodeon Universe. All other entry points to the park will remain closed. Only guests who have purchased a ticket will have access to walk through the park. 

Two-hour ticket
Guests will be able to purchase a two-hour ticket which will allow them to enjoy unlimited attractions throughout Nickelodeon Universe within that time frame. Tickets are $19.99 + tax for riders, $4.99 + tax for non-riders and will only be available for purchase onsite (no advance ticket reservations will be available). Capacity is anticipated to be reached early in the day, therefore guests who arrive when the park is at capacity will have the opportunity to join a virtual queue and be notified when they are able to enter Nickelodeon Universe to begin their two-hour unlimited park experience. No other ticket options will be available for purchase at this time. 

Guest safety requirements

  • Nickelodeon Universe guests ages three and up will be required to wear face masks at all times – including the duration of each attraction – to cover the nose and mouth.  Children ages two and under and people with special medical conditions are exempt from this requirement.  Guests may remove their face mask when actively eating or drinking but must be stationary and maintain appropriate social distancing.
  • Guests must sanitize their hands before entering each attraction. Sanitizing stations have been added to the entrance and exit of each attraction.

Limited attractions
Certain attractions will not be open due to limited staffing with the reduced capacity levels as well as the inability to safely social distance. A list of the available attractions that will be running can be found at nickelodeonuniverse.com

Enhanced safety protocols

  • Attractions will be sanitized after each ride by Nickelodeon Universe team members.
  • Team members will assign seats for each attraction to maintain safe social distancing.
  • Queue lines for each attraction have social distancing floor markers for guests waiting to enter an attraction.

 “Reopening Nickelodeon Universe – even with significantly reduced capacity – is a positive step forward,” said Jill Renslow, EVP of Business Development and Marketing for Mall of America. “This is a process, and we will continue to learn, evaluate, and if needed, enhance, this new Nickelodeon Universe experience in the coming weeks and months. We are confident in the health and safety protocols we have in place and look forward to welcoming back guests of all ages to Nickelodeon Universe.” Nickelodeon Universe is also available for group buyouts, allowing groups up to 250 to rent the entire theme park for up to 3 hours with exclusive ride time before or after operating hours. For more information on Nickelodeon Universe group rentals, please email groupsales@moa.net. Nickelodeon Universe will be open 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. daily. For more information on Nickelodeon Universe reopening, visit https://nickelodeonuniverse.com/

Seaworld Orlando now open Thursdays through September 6

By | August 4, 2020

Good news for SeaWorld fans! Guests can now enjoy an extra day of summer fun during the week with Thursdays now offered at SeaWorld Orlando through Labor Day. All guests with existing tickets, Fun Cards, or Annual Passes must make a reservation to visit in advance in order to manage park capacity and maintain physical distancing.  Requiring reservations allows the park to limit the number of guests on property each day, further enhancing the park’s vigorous safety protocols.  Seaworld.com/orlando/tickets/reservations/ 

Ongoing Weekend Events:

Electric Ocean Remix: Fridays and Saturdays, through September 5 and Sunday, September 6
As the sun goes down, SeaWorld comes alive with the glow of Electric Ocean Remix, premiering July 24 on Fridays and Saturdays. Guests are invited to stay late on summer weekends to enjoy electrifying dance music and a brilliant evening of energy that sparks as the sun sets, while maintaining safe physical distancing. The fun glows on with Light Up The Sky, a fireworks and pyrotechnic spectacular that brings the brilliance of the sea to the sky above for guests..  Event details: Seaworld.com/orlando/events/electric-ocean/

Last Chance: A Taste of Seven Seas, All American Marke: August 7-9
SeaWorld Orlando’s annual spring event, the Seven Seas Food Festival, resumes this summer in a modified format at SeaWorld Orlando for guests to enjoy select fan favorite food options in a safe environment. Now in the final weekend, guests can sample popular food and drink features from the Seven Seas Food Festival All-American Market, exclusively at SeaWorld’s Lakeside Patio. Guests who have a 2020 Seven Seas Food & Beverage Lanyard from the spring festival can redeem punches at all weekend market locations, and select culinary locations throughout the park. All menu items will also be available for purchase a la carte.  For a full list of menu items visit the website: www.seaworld.com/orlando/events/taste-of-seven-seas/

Flicks and Fireworks:Fridays and Saturdays through September 5 and Sunday, September 6
Experience the fun, nostalgia and magic of a drive-in-movie experience under the stars with SeaWorld’s park-and-view drive-in movie theatre! Start the night by enjoying locally-sourced food trucks, then sit back in the comfort of your car and watch the park’s spectacular fireworks display. Then…the main event, enjoy the movie of the evening with friends and family. This package is only available through Labor Day Weekend, and only at SeaWorld Orlando. https://seaworld.com/orlando/events/flicks-and-fireworks/

Dollywood announces Everyday Heroes Appreciation Days

By | August 4, 2020

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. — Dollywood officials have created a new campaign designed to recognize the hard work and commitment of essential workers.

In celebration of the many frontline workers, first responders, public employees and military who faithfully serve our country and communities, Dollywood’s Everyday Heroes Appreciation Days provides qualifying guests the opportunity to buy a one-day Dollywood admission ticket online for just $39 plus tax.

The online-only offer can be purchased now for a limited time and is valid for use now-Sept. 21. Frontline employees need a special redemption code—available from their employer—to complete the transaction. Eligible employees interested in the program should encourage their employers to fill out an online form (Dollywood.com/EssentialSignUp) to request a redemption code for their company. 

Everyday Heroes may purchase up to six $39 one-day admission tickets to Dollywood Theme Park as part of the program. Additionally, they can receive rates as low as $129 per night at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa.

Dollywood officials also are extending another popular offer that asks the age-old question, “Why do kids get to have all the fun?” Thanks to the Everyone Pays Kids Price promotion, anyone who purchases a regular one-day admission online beginning now can do so at the kids’ ticket price. This ticket also is valid through Sept. 21. 

To add to the value of the Everyone Pays Kids Price promotion, each ticket purchased as part of the offer includes a Dollywood refillable drink mug. The mug is valid for unlimited $.99 cold refills through Jan. 2, 2021. It is a great value for everyone looking to squeeze a little more fun out of the summer months. Who says you can’t be a kid again?

Dollywood officials also recently made operational adjustments to the park’s current visit protocol by removing the reservation requirement for guests. The move is in response to favorable feedback from guests, and the confidence of the park’s management team in being able to continue providing a satisfying experience for guests.

There are still plenty of great memories to be made during Dollywood’s 35th anniversary season. Dollywood’s Harvest Festival presented by Humana (Sept. 25-Oct. 31) features Great Pumpkin LumiNights presented by Covenant Health, while the season concludes with the 12-time winner for Best Theme Park Christmas Event, Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana, Nov. 14, 2020-Jan. 2, 2021.

Take Flight to open at the Wilderness Resort on September 2

By | August 4, 2020

WISCONSIN DELLS, Wis. — Wilderness Resort officials announced today that their new “Take Flight” Aerial Adventure Ride will be opening on Wednesday, September 2.

The new ride, which will also be open to the public, is a FlyRide that takes up to 60 participants on an aerial Adventure. The movie, “Flying Wild” takes participants “soaring” over famous national landmarks, America’s breathtaking national parks and features some of the best aerial footage ever shot of Wisconsin Dells.

The FlyRide has 12 different ride vehicles, which each seat five guests, located on three different stories. Once participants are buckled into their seats, the doors to the theater swiftly rise and the seats surge forward, leaving guests feet dangling as they stare at an enormous 65 x 47 feet, domed movie screen. Artificial scents, wind and mist add to the sensation of flying. 

Take Flight will be open from 9 am to 11 pm on weekends and from 9 am to 10 pm on weekdays. Tickets cost $19.99 for adults and $15.99 for kids 12 and under. Wilderness guests will receive a $5 discount on admission tickets. Military members and veterans can fly for $13.99.  The new attraction is located off of the New Frontier lobby. 

This summer Wilderness Resort also unveiled a new 3,000 square foot Lost Cabin Laser Tag and a new “Twister” room escape by DOA based on the 1974 Super Outbreak. In addition, the resort completely redid its New Frontier entrance and created a stunning, new modern lobby featuring three-story cathedral ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides of the space. Cozy seating, a convenience store, three party rooms, additional check in stations are all part of the new space.

Earlier this year, the Wilderness also opened Camp Social which serves up a variety of  breakfast, lunch and dinner options as The Burger Bar, a full‐service bar serving up a small menu of great burgers; the Coffee Canteen, serving locally-sourced Bella Goose coffee, teas, smoothies, & doughnuts; and The Candy Cabin, where guests can satisfy their sweet tooth with unique candy and ice cream innovations.
  

The Wilderness Resort consists of over 600 wooded acres in Wisconsin Dells and is home to Wilderness Hotel & Golf Resort, which features 444 guest rooms, 40 Vacation Villas, 76 Frontier Condominiums and 35 cabins. It is also home to Wilderness on the Lake which features 108 luxurious two and three bedroom condominium units overlooking Lake Delton; and Glacier Canyon Lodge, which features 460 upscale condominium units. 

Combined, these three properties offer four indoor and four outdoor waterparks that total nearly 500,000 square feet – that’s over 12 football fields of extreme water fun! The resort is also home to Glacier Canyon Conference Center; Sundara Spa; Wild Rock Golf Club; The Woods 9-Hole Golf Course; three massive prize arcades; Timberland Play Park; three Clip ‘N Climb Challenge Walls; The Wild Abyss indoor 3-D black light mini golf; bumper boats; indoor and outdoor go-karts and kiddy-karts; zip line tour; Northern Lights Sky Ropes Course; three Room Escapes by DOA; and outdoor Jurassic mini golf. Dining options include Field’s at the Wilderness; Sarento’s; Survivors; Thirsty Buffalo and several other quick service options.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg launches new special event – Coasters and Craft Brews

By | July 30, 2020

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — Busch Gardens Williamsburg announced today the launch of an all-new special event – Coasters and Craft Brews. While the general park remains closed, this new specially ticketed outdoor event will highlight an array of hand-picked park experiences including three iconic roller coasters, high flying Screamin’ Swing, ice cold local and craft brews, and tasty barbeque. Coasters and Craft Brews will run August 6 -16, Thursdays from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. and Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.   The park will host a Members only sneak peek on Wednesday, August 5 from 5 – 9 p.m. 

Reservations for the Coasters and Craft Brews special event are required for all those who attend and will be available starting today by visiting buschgardens.com/williamsburg/reservation. In compliance with Virginia’s phase 3 safety guidelines for reopening businesses, the park will operate with enhanced health and safety protocols for cleaning and sanitizing, physical distancing, face covering requirements and temperature screenings. Special event capacity will be extremely limited to create ample space for guests to enjoy their experience, while maintaining physical distancing in a safe environment. 

At Coasters and Craft Brews, guests will have plenty of open space to explore the charm of select villages including Ireland, Scotland, France and New France, before they take in the thrills of their favorite iconic coasters including InvadR®, Griffon®, Loch Ness Monster® and the park’s most recent high thrill attraction, Finnegan’s Flyer®.  In addition to visiting Busch Gardens’ famous Clydesdales, wolves and eagles, guests can relax with delicious barbeque fare at Trapper’s Smokehouse along with a selection of over 20 local and craft cold brews at Grogan’s Pub.

“We want to thank our guests for their patience and are so excited to be able to give them a taste of Busch Gardens Williamsburg when we safely welcome them back to enjoy Coasters and Craft Brews,” said Kevin Lembke, president of Busch Gardens Williamsburg. “The health and safety of our guests and employees is our foremost priority and we are working hard to prepare the park for this special event so guests can join us for a fun and safe experience.”

Busch Gardens Williamsburg has launched a new safety website with detailed information about the measures that guests can expect when they arrive at the park, including key operational changes. Specific information can be found by visiting: Buschgardens.com/williamsburg/park-info/park-safety/ Special event tickets are available for $44.99 or guests have the option to purchase a Membership for as low as $10.99 per month, with no down payment. Members receive 12 months of unlimited visitation and park benefits and rewards including FREE parking*, in-park discounts and much more. Admission is free for active Members, Annual Pass Holders and Fun Card holders.

The all-new Taste of Knott’s features classic flavors from around the park, for a limited time starting August 21st

By | July 30, 2020

While the theme park remains closed, Knott’s Berry Farm is introducing another new outdoor dining and retail experience beginning August 21 with the all-new Taste of Knott’s. Expanding upon the popular Taste of Calico introduced earlier this month, Taste of Knott’s will celebrate classic flavors from around the park including new and one-of-a-kind  food, drink and merchandise offerings throughout Ghost Town, Fiesta Village and Boardwalk. With over 35 food and drink items to choose from, the Taste of Knott’s event will offer more food variety with the addition of Mexican-inspired cuisine, Knott’s famous BBQ offerings and classic Knott’s dishes pulled from the pages of the celebrated Knott’s Berry Farm Cookbook. In addition to dining, guests can shop at the 14 artisan booths or at select Knott’s retail stores to purchase special limited event merchandise. This special dining and retail experience is complemented by the unique Knott’s Berry Farm atmosphere that can’t be found anywhere else. 

The event will run weekends only, Fridays-Sundays, August 21- September 13. The only way to experience the limited time Taste of Knott’s is with a tasting card purchased in advance at knotts.com (a tasting card is required for event entry). Event hours will be Fridays and Saturdays from 12pm -9pm and Sundays from 12pm to 8pm. Regular tasting cards (ages 12+) are priced at $30 (plus tax) and will include five food tastings and Junior  tasting cards (ages 3-11) are $15 (plus tax) and include three tastings; children two and under are free. Tasting cards are date specific and must be purchased online at knotts.com or through the Knott’s Berry Farm mobile app prior to the date of visit. In order to manage proper physical distancing of guests, Taste of Knott’s tasting cards will be limited each day and may sell out. 

As Knott’s Berry Farm continues to follow state, local and CDC health guidelines, these are the new safety measures and operational changes we are establishing to ensure the safety of our guests:

  • Tasting cards will be limited each day to ensure proper physical distancing
  • Upon arrival, guests will be required to enter a temperature screening and security checkpoint at the main gate
  • All associates and guests must wear a facial covering while visiting Taste of Knott’s or the Knott’s California Marketplace store locations and restaurants – masks are not required while sitting at a table or bench to eat  
  • Frequently touched surfaces will be disinfected daily and sanitized frequently. This includes but is not limited to cash counters, scanners, EMV readers, pens at cashier counters, register screens, store fixtures, door handles, and shopping baskets
  • Signage is present to aid guests in the proper direction of travel and as a reminder to practice social distancing
  • Seating will be spaced out throughout the Taste of Knott’s event footprint
  • Hand sanitizing stations are available throughout the event area
  • All associates will be screened, including temperature and symptom checks using CDC guidelines before being allowed on the property to work
  • Associates have been trained on the importance of handwashing, physical distancing, and overall hygiene
  • Separate entrances and exits will appear at some store locations
  • Store occupancy is limited to less than 50% of the normal building capacity Queue lines outside of store locations are marked with six-foot markers where needed.

Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, August 21 – September 13 Fridays and Saturdays from 12pm to 9pm and Sundays from 12pm to 8pm