IAAPA officially opens new Orlando, Florida headquarters

By | September 27, 2019

IAAPA officially opened its new Orlando, Fla. headquarters with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house event. Pictured during the ribbon cutting are (l to r): Jerry Demings, Mayor, Orange County, Fla.; David Rosenberg, ICAE, Chairman of the Board IAAPA; and Hal McEvoy, ICAE, President and CEO, IAAPA.

Kings Island announces Vortex roller coaster is closing

By | September 27, 2019

It opened in 1987 as the tallest, full-circuit roller coaster with the highest drop in the world and the first roller coaster in the world with six inversions, but in the coming weeks Kings Island’s Vortex steel roller coaster will be closing for good.  While most coasters of this type typically last 25-30 years, Vortex is currently in its 33rd season and has simply reached the end of its service life.

Final rides will begin this evening when Halloween Haunt opens at 6:00 p.m.  For the remainder of the season, both 2019 and 2020 Gold and Platinum season passholders are being given the opportunity for exclusive Vortex early ride time on Saturdays and Sundays before the park opens to the public. The last day of Vortex operation will be October 27th, the final day of the fall season.  

EAG International Expo 2020: visitor interest surge promises new opportunities for coin-operated sector

By | September 25, 2019

EAG, the Entertainment, Attractions and Gaming International Expo  (ExCeL London, 14-16 January 2020) looks set to fulfill its promise to become the entertainment industry’s leading and most comprehensive trade event, offering vastly increased opportunities for the UK’s coin-operated sector.

By widening the Expo’s scope, bacta, the official trade association for the UK’s coin-operated amusement machine industry, has made the event an attractive proposition for the entire amusements sector. Reaching more than 5,000 potential UK and international industry buyers creates a positive knock-on effect for the coin-operated games sector.

While the event started in 2009 as a response to demand from the coin-operated amusements industry, it is now open to exhibitors across the entire range of leisure areas and activities, from coin-operated amusements, new entertainment technologies and the virtual and augmented reality sectors, along with eSports and other fast-growing markets.

Discussing the benefits of EAG International Expo rebrand for the coin-operated market, Martin Burlin, Chairman of EAG Expo said:

“We had a vision, it’s starting to turn into reality and that’s incredibly exciting. And by bringing the entire leisure and amusements industry under one roof, we can offer the coin-operated market even more opportunities to grow and prosper.”

Exhibitors at EAG International can avail themselves of a complete schedule of seminars along with the opportunity to utilise the Expo’s media promotional channels to promote themselves through press outlets across the UK and worldwide.

Construction starts on Liseberg Grand Curiosa Hotel

By | September 25, 2019

After almost six years of preparation, construction of the park-integrated themed hotel will now start. The hotel is phase one of the Liseberg’s expansion project, celebrating the park’s centennial in 2023. Phase two will be a fully integrated indoor waterpark.

“We intend to sign an agreement with a contractor within the next week, and construction will start in October”, says Thomas Sjöstrand”, CPO at Liseberg. 

Liseberg Grand Curiosa Hotel will be highly themed and fully focused on families with children, and with slides between the floors and a fully integrated wooden carousel from 1923 in the main restaurant, the intent is to create a fully immersive experience. The conceptual platform for the hotel has taken its inspiration from the history of Gothenburg and the East India Trading Company, in combination with Liseberg’s own unique DNA.

The total investment for the hotel project is SEK 1,179m. Phase 2 of the project – the indoor water park – will start construction in 2020.

Intercard and party expert Dorothy Lewis team up to boost customers’ event business

By | September 25, 2019

ST. LOUIS — Intercard has allied with party specialist Dorothy Lewis, who contributed to the development of Intercard’s Shindigger party planning and reservation software. Lewis has worked in the amusement industry for more than 25 years and began her career with the legendary Al Kress, co-founder of Benchmark Games, before going on to work with Fun Station Associates and others. During her 20 year tenure as vice-president of marketing at Fun Station Lewis oversaw thousands of parties and events that expanded overall business by as much as 25% at some locations. 

Lewis will provide installation and product support for Shindigger, which operators can use with or without an Intercard cashless technology system. She will also offer consulting services on the party and event business at a special discount to Shindigger customers. 

“Shindigger is priced to beat competing systems, and subscribers will also get a party business pro as a valuable additional resource,” says Lewis. “There’s so much that Shindigger can do beyond just booking reservations. I will help operators get up to speed and use it to the fullest.”

Lewis is a top specialist in party planning and operations and has helped dozens of FECs nation-wide to improve and expand their party business. She is the co-author with Sheryl Bindelglass of “The FUNdamentals of the Party Business,” an influential training guide. 

Long active in industry groups, Lewis served on IAAPA’s FEC committee for five years and received IAAPA’s Meritorious Service award in 2016. She is the immediate past president of the New England Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions and has served on its board for more than 12 years. 

“Dorothy Lewis played an important role in making Shindigger a special addition to the Intercard cashless technology platform,” says Scott Sherrod, CEO of Intercard. “We urge all operators to try it and see how much it can do. They can also save money because it’s priced much more attractively than competing party software.” To schedule an initial phone consultation with Dorothy Lewis, please contact Joe Guccione jguccione@intercardinc.com or Bob Zoellner bzoellner@intercardinc.com of Intercard’s inside sales team.

Alterface’s Popcorn Revenge steals the show in Paris

By | September 24, 2019

WAVRE, Belgium — Alterface enjoyed the recognition and enthusiasm during IAAPA Expo Europe in Paris for its successful Popcorn Revenge. The interactive dark ride in Walibi Belgium was nominated in four categories for the Park World Excellence Award. Finally, Alterface won the Best Use of Technology Award for its innovative Erratic Ride technology, together with partner ETF Ride Systems. Sesame Street: Street Mission, a ride by Sally Corporation with Alterface interactivity, was awarded as Family Ride of the Year. Congrats to all!

During the European Star Awards, taking place in Parc Asterix, Popcorn Revenge was awarded in the category Europe’s Best New Rides 2019. Together with Walibi Belgium, partners Jora Vision and ETF Ride Systems, the Alterface team received its award from druide Panoramix. Another prize was given in the same category to Sesame Street: Street Mission, by Sally Corporation with Alterface interactivity. Cheers to everyone, bring on the mead!

At the booth, Alterface demonstrated its interactive technologies and Popcorn Revenge, now available as turnkey solution with the popular IP and a range of merchandising. Another highlight for the team was visiting the interactive Alterface attraction Le Kinétorium during the IAAPA reception at the Jardin d’Acclamatation in Paris. On its swinging scooter, an Alterface team member obtained the highest score in defeating the aggressive plants attacking the Paris metro!

CEO and Founder Benoit Cornet comments: “IAAPA Expo Europe has been an interesting show for Alterface. It’s always a great opportunity to interact with our customers, partners and industry journalists, which we all thank for visiting us. Our team has enjoyed the overwhelming interest and recognition for Popcorn Revenge, which is now just taking off, so watch out for more to come soon!”

Seaworld Orlando offers free single day park admission to stranded Thomas Cook travelers

By | September 24, 2019

ORLANDO, Fla. — SeaWorld Orlando is offering a respite for displaced Thomas Cook vacationers:  free, single day admission available now through Monday, Sept. 30, 2019.

“We’re pleased that this free offer lets stranded families and friends enjoy a day together,” stated Kyle Miller President of SeaWorld Orlando.  “From our newest immersive experience Sesame Street Land, to exciting ride experiences like Mako to some of the world’s most inspiring animal encounters, SeaWorld Orlando has something for every member of the family.”

“As one of the world’s largest rescue and rehabilitation organizations, inspiring our guests to protect animals and the wild wonders of our world is core to our mission and we are thrilled to share that with our guests,” continued Miller.

On Saturday, Sept. 28 and Sunday, Sept. 29, families can enjoy an all-new Halloween parade, trick-or-treat trail and more at the park’s Halloween Spooktacular.   That same weekend SeaWorld’s Craft Beer Festival features a mix of international, domestic and local Florida craft beers as well as food items.

The single-day ticket offer is valid for stranded Thomas Cook travelers only.  Travelers must show proof of booking along with a current, photo ID at the SeaWorld Orlando front gate ticket window to receive free admission. 

King Cobra wins first place “European Star Award” again

By | September 20, 2019

TURKEY — For the eighth year in a row, Polin Waterparks’ innovative King Cobra waterslide has been honored by Kirmes & Park Revue magazine and sixth time in eight years, it earned the “First Place European Star Award” in the category of “Best Thrill Waterslide in Europe.” Polin is honored by King Cobra’s impact in the waterpark world and is excited to share the results of their dedication to quality, innovation, and technology with partner parks around the world.

King Cobra has won numerous awards since its debut. The waterslide is unique in its thrilling ride. As a whole, however, it is considered a game-changing waterslide because of its compelling appearance; it is the first in the world that offers its own theming built directly into the fiberglass. When installed with its original theme, it features bold red, black and white scales that create an imposing veneer over both its exterior and interior. Its sheer size also gains respect: It reaches a massive height of 50 feet (15.24 meters) with a length of 260 feet (790 meters). Yet, parks have many options with the impressive slide, because it can also be designed to match a park’s own theming, being customized with unending variations.

“We’re as proud today as we were the very first time we won a European Star Award,” says Sohret Pakis, Director of Marketing and Communication for Polin Waterparks. “We take these awards very seriously because they are official recognition of our dedication to continuous R&D & delivering innovative, game-changing attractions. We will continue to focus on designing waterslides that promise experiences and ensure we maintain the trust of our partner parks. And we will never stop innovating, because our industry is evolving. So, we will continue to evolve, too.”

Including the award won by King Cobra, a total of nine awards were presented to our partner parks across Europe at this year’s IAAPA Expo Europe which was hosted at Parc Asterix in Paris, France on September 16, 2019. This year, winners were selected across 14 categories by an international jury of 40 industry experts. In each category, members of the jury chose among European theme and water parks (including those in Russia and Turkey) with at least one operating attraction. 

Andreas Veilstrup Andersen returns to Liseberg as CEO and President

By | September 20, 2019

Liseberg has completed the search for a new CEO and President. After a thorough process with more than 300 applicants and a strong field of candidates, the search has concluded with Liseberg recruiting back Andreas Veilstrup Andersen, whom announced his departure in April.

Andersen will return to his previous position at Liseberg on October 1, 2019. In this role, he will – amongst other things – continue to overlook Liseberg’s expansion project; a 454-room themed hotel and indoor water park, opening in conjunction with Liseberg’s centennial in 2023. 

‘The main reason for my departure earlier this year was to find a more sustainable arrangement around my family-logistics,’ says Andersen. ‘This has been resolved with a more flexible contract. I look very much forward to returning to Liseberg – and to complete the many exciting projects we have initiated over the last few years.’

Although Andersen’s time at Tivoli Gardens was short, the bond between the two organizations remains strong: “Tivoli Gardens will always have a very special place in my heart. And I know that the very talented Tivoli Team will I continue the exceptional transformation of this world-class destination.”

Legoland Florida Resort reveals first look at Pirate Island Hotel and announces grand opening on April 17, 2020

By | September 19, 2019

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Arrrgh, ye ready? LEGOLAND Pirate Island Hotel, the first LEGO Pirate themed hotel in North America, is set to open April 17, 2020! The newest on-site accommodation at LEGOLAND Florida Resort will invite brick fans to vacation like a pirate just steps from the entrance to the theme park built for kids. In honor of “International Talk Like a Pirate Day”, the resort is releasing an animated “fly-through” video which offers an in-depth behind-the-scenes look inside this unique resort.  

LEGOLAND Pirate Island Hotel will be the resort’s third accommodation and will feature 150 fun-filled rooms (including four suites), a heated pool with pool deck (complete with LEGO soft bricks to build in the pool), hundreds of LEGO models, in-room LEGO treasure hunts and exclusive character experiences. Similar to the popular LEGOLAND Hotel, each room will include two separate spaces; a kid’s sleeping area and an adult area. The adult side of the room comes furnished with LEGO pirate décor, a king bed and television, while the other separate area just for kids will feature a bunk bed, LEGO play areas and their very own television to watch all of their favorite LEGO movies! The new hotel rooms will also be fully themed with interactive LEGO Pirate models throughout and include an array of humorous decor designed specifically for a kid-centric family vacation.

The five-story hotel will house the pirate-themed Shipwreck Restaurant, Smuggler’s Bar for adult swashbucklers, an entertainment area with kid-friendly nightly programming and LEGO play areas. Also, with every overnight stay, guests will enjoy a complimentary family-style breakfast. The wreckage of a pirate ship sits directly outside the entrance of the hotel and offers guests a unique photo opportunity. 

The pirates are recruiting buccaneers to join their crew with a limited time offer: buy two nights and receive one night free! Guests can book their pirate adventure today at www.legoland.com/pirate-island-hotel.

In addition to Pirate Island Hotel, LEGOLAND Florida Resort recently opened its newest park expansion, THE LEGO MOVIE WORLD. The newest expansion features three new rides and numerous attractions, all inspired by the characters and themes of the worldwide blockbuster THE LEGO MOVIE and the exciting animated adventure sequel THE LEGOMOVIE 2: The Second Part.