Trainertainment’s third annual Advanced Sales Conference to be held August 21-22 at Jake’s Unlimited FEC in Mesa, Arizona

By | August 6, 2019

FORT WORTH — TrainerTainment will hold its third annual Advanced Sales Conference August 21-22, 2019 at Jake’s Unlimited Family Entertainment Center in Mesa, Arizona. The popular two-day training session focuses on advanced techniques that help salespeople find more clients, maximize time and close bigger sales more often. Participants will also learn how to implement these techniques in their own centers to grow birthday party and group sales. 

“New business is the lifeblood of every business and we are going to show sales and operations teams how to make that an easier and more effective process,” says Beth Standlee, CEO of TrainerTainment. “Sales and operations can often clash. We will look at how to create more synergy between these two important parts of the business.”

Topics to be covered will include:

  • Creating Referral Systems that Sell
  • Getting Out the Door More
  • The Dangers of Discounting`
  • Tackling the Toughest Calls
  • Tug of War: Sales vs. Operations

Participants will also be able to visit Jake’s Unlimited, which IAAPA recognized in 2018 as the Top Family Entertainment Center of the World. It is one of several clients of TrainerTainment to have received this honor from IAAPA. Jake’s Unlimited is an indoor entertainment venue for all ages – kids, young adults, adults, and families – offering games, rides, laser tag, bowling, mini bowling, dining, event spaces and more all in one destination. 

For more information and to register for the conference please visit https://trainertainment.net/product/august-sales-growth-conference/

Opposing fans tackle Kennywood’s Steel Curtain

By | August 1, 2019

WEST MIFFLIN, Penn. — Football super fans from Pro Football’s Ultimate Fan Association stopped by in to Kennywood to brave the nine inversions of the park’s new Steel Curtain roller coaster from S&S Worldwide, Inc. The group was nearby in Canton, Ohio, helping to celebrate the NFL’s 100th season which is kicking off during festivities at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Indonesia’s Trans Studio Theme Park gears up for the launch of groundbreaking ‘Pacific Rim Shatterdome Strike’

By | August 1, 2019

CIBUBUR, Indonesia — As the hotly-anticipated Trans Studio Cibubur theme park approaches its grand opening near Indonesia’s capital city of Jakarta, officials have unveiled details of the park’s star attraction, Pacific Rim: Shatterdome Strike – a groundbreaking mega dark ride based on the hit motion picture franchise from Legendary Entertainment.

“We are delighted to collaborate with Trans Studio on the world’s first Pacific Rim dark ride,” says Drew Von Bergen, Manager of Franchise Management at Legendary Entertainment. “Their commitment to both creative ambition and quality of execution has made for an experience that we believe will thrill and delight parkgoers.”

Touted as “The World’s First Immersive Theater Dark Ride”, the experience takes place in four distinct parts encompassing a nearly 20-minute run time, and puts guests face to face with 3 new deadly KAIJUS making their debut within the ride, each with unique powers and abilities. The experience begins at the launch ceremony for the Pan Pacific Defense Corp’s first MARK VII JAEGER – the ground-breaking STORM GARUDA. Guests will experience the thrill of piloting the most advanced mobile weapon in the PPDC’s fleet thanks to the imaginative combination of 3D film sequences, practical effects, and state of the art ride vehicle technology.  There is also a surprise twist midway through the ride portion that is unprecedented in the history of theme parks.

To create this ‘next generation’ dark ride experience, Trans Studio enlisted the talents of Legacy Entertainment, a globally renowned Hollywood-based entertainment design firm, to design, direct and produce the attraction, and Lay-Carnagey Entertainment (“LCE”), an innovative media production team, to direct and produce the attraction’s media components. At the heart of this thrilling attraction, conceptualized and implemented by Legacy Entertainment’s creative team led by Taylor Jeffs, Chris Moschella and writer/creative director Lee Roe, is an action-packed 3D film experience directed by LCE’s Roger Lay Jr, that is seamlessly blended into a larger than life ride experience with elements of live theater, immersive environments, and motion-based ride technology.

The “Pacific Rim: Shatterdome Strike” experience expands the Pacific Rim mythology by introducing new Jaegers and Kaiju to the growing universe. Trans Studio worked closely with Legendary Entertainment to ensure that all of the new story elements, technology, and creatures would fit into the ever-evolving Pacific Rim canon.”

Trans Studio challenged us to create a dark ride experience unlike any other,” says Eric Carnagey, the project’s Executive Producer at Legacy Entertainment. “The result is one of the most unique theme park experiences in the industry today. No matter what park guests have seen before, they’ll be shocked by what we have in store for them at Pacific Rim: Shatterdome Strike.”

First launched in 2013, Legendary’s Pacific Rim franchise traces humanity’s ongoing war against a monstrous global threat that can only be fought when the bravest among us level the battlefield at the helm of powerful mechs built to defend our very existence. The series has grossed over $700M at the global box office and has spawned not only several comic book series including Pacific Rim: Aftermath, but also an anime series set to debut on Netflix in 2020.

IAFE comments on the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting

By | July 31, 2019

The tragic shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival is sad news for all of us. The festival was, at one time, a member of IAFE. We, along with our friends from the International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA) are sending prayers and sympathy to all involved. The volunteers and supporters will be hit especially hard by this senseless act of violence.

With permission, we are sharing the following from Steve Schmader, President & CEO of the IFEA:

It is with great sadness and sympathies that we let you all know of yesterday’s mass shooting during the final day of the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Gilroy, California. At this time there are an estimated 12 people injured and 4 fatalities (including the suspect) after a gunman randomly opened fire on those attending the event. A second suspect is still being investigated. As has become unacceptably too common in our country and around the world, we send our deepest sympathies, prayers and support to all those affected – directly and indirectly – by this horrific incident, through friends, families and loved ones.

While no different in terms of the tragedy and loss, this scenario is the first at what we would categorize as a ‘typical’ small(er) town festival/celebration, that a large majority of our industry fits into. It is a category that we would all like to believe is a bit safer and at less risk than the potential larger target events, in bigger cities, with higher media focus surrounding them. It opens up many new and very real considerations that we must now work with our global risk management experts to re-examine and re-address, so that we may maintain the safe havens that we hope all of our events will be for our attendees, volunteers and all stakeholders.

We are in the midst of the peak of fair season, so it is even more critical that all members review emergency plans, security assessments and risk mitigation strategies. This news story from NBC highlights the vulnerabilities our fairs and events face. The new IAFE website, www.fairsandexpos.com, has resources in the library, as well as at www.fairsandexpos.com/event-security (under the MyIAFE tab), which provides invaluable resources from the US Department of Homeland Security.

The IAFE works closely with allied organizations such as the IFEA, IAAPA, IAVM, and OABA to learn and share information that is essential to all in the events sector and we will update our members as we identify resources that will help us all provide a safe environment for our guests.

Jeff Miller of Wisdom Rides passes

By | July 30, 2019

The Showman’s League of America would like to send out our deepest condolences and prayers to the family of Jeff Miller of Wisdom Rides of America.

Jeff passed away Saturday after complications from surgery.

Jeff’s Celebration of Life will be held on August 10, 2019 at:Moore Funeral Home, 4216 S Bowen Road, Arlington, Texas 76016.

Amusement Today will pass along more information when it is available.

Hersheypark announces “Candymonium” Hypercoaster for summer 2020

By | July 25, 2019

HERSHEY, Penn. — Hersheypark amusement park, a 121-acre theme park with more than 70 rides, a water park and a zoo, today unwrapped the details of the Candymonium hypercoaster, its 15th coaster. The hypercoaster will feature a lift height of 210 feet, max speed of 76 mph and track length of 4,636 feet – making it the tallest, fastest, longest and sweetest coaster in Hersheypark

Candymonium will open in summer 2020 as part of the all-new Hershey’s Chocolatetown region, Hersheypark’s $150 million transformational expansion. The addition of this 15th coaster also means Hersheypark will have the most coasters of any park in the Northeast in 2020.

 “As The World’s Sweetest CoasterCandymonium will truly merge fun and iconic Hershey brands to provide a thrilling experience our guests can only get in Hershey,” said John Lawn, president and CEO of Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company (HE&R). “We worked with leading industry manufacturer Bolliger & Mabillard (B&M) to assemble a one-of-a-kind hypercoaster with the most airtime of any coaster in Hersheypark.”

Candymonium will span 7 acres at the new entrance of Hershey’s Chocolatetown, a new region at Hersheypark where guests can play, eat, shop and gather year round. Guestswill be welcomed by the signature milk chocolate-colored track and candy-themed trains representing the world-renowned Hershey Company brands of Hershey’s KissesReese’s Peanut Butter Cupsand Twizzlers

The thrilling 2 minute and 26 second ride experience on Candymonium will begin as soon as guests 54” and taller (Twizzlers height requirement and above) enter the Park’s most immersive coaster station to date with extensive theming. 

Riders will embark on a heart-pounding, 210-foot ascent up the tallest hill in Hersheypark before dipping into thrilling drops, including seven camelback hills and a 123-degree hammerhead curve that serve up the ultimate feeling of freedom with the most airtime in Hersheypark. The finishing touch is an impressive panoramic banked curve that wraps around the new iconic Kisses Fountain. 

Guests can experience a thrilling point of view video of Candymonium and learn more about the next chapter of Hersheypark at www.hersheypark.com/chocolatetown/coaster.php.

Candymonium will join other marquee elements of Hershey’s Chocolatetown in 2020, including a new arrival experience and front gate; restaurant, bar and patio; ice cream parlor and confectionary scratch kitchen; a Starbucks® store; and a flagship retail store with the largest collection of Hersheypark merchandise. For more information on this transformational expansion, explore www.Hersheypark.com/chocolatetown and follow along using #HPChocolatetown. 

To celebrate the announcement of CandymoniumHersheypark also announcednew programs and perks for 2020 Season Passes. For the first time, guests can choose between three all-new programs – King Size, Full Size and Bite Size – with 12-month payment plans starting at $11 a month. New King Size perks like being the first to ride Candymonium, free Season Pass Drink Plan and free Hersheypark tickets join current popular benefits like unlimited visits, one-hour early access and free parking for Season Pass holders. Limited time offers and more information are available at https://www.hersheypark.com/tickets/season-passes.php.

Pure Hygge at Europa-Park: reopening of the Scandinavian themed area

By | July 24, 2019

From afar, it’s already possible to see the colourful houses and the first impression of the hygge-culture from the north. Visitors to Germany’s biggest theme park can now discover the rebuilt Scandinavian themed area and look forward to great highlights such as the ice cream parlor ‘Is Huset’, the ‘Poengsum’ play area and the photo spot with the great white shark. In addition, the newly designed ‘Fjord Restaurant’ is especially worth a visit.

On a small rise next to the Norwegian stave church, bounded by the Fjord Rafting stream, the rebuilt Scandinavia themed area welcomes all young and old explorers. The Nordic peninsula has been part of Germany’s largest theme park since 1992. Tasty fish specialties, fairy-tale tower and the popular white shark shine in brand new splendour after just one year of construction. The silhouette of the harbour and the gentle sea breeze of the Fjord Rafting fountains are the first harbingers of an exciting exploration of Nordic culture. In the Scandinavian country house style ‘Fjord Restaurant’, built together with the fish counter ‘Fiskehuset’, a wide selection of fresh dishes straight from the far north can be found. Whether juicy köttbullar, baked salmon, fresh salads or delicious smørrebrød, with the local dishes there is something for the whole family. Numerous fresh sandwiches filled with crab, smoked salmon and herring salad can be taken as a snack from the ‘Fiskehuset’. If visitors fancy cakes, they can head to the second floor and onto the beautiful sun terrace with a berry skyr cake. The ‘Is Huset’ is also definitely worth a visit, offering sweet treats such as Scandinavian-inspired sundaes, as well as bubble waffles with delicious fillings to satisfy those sweet teeth.

At ‘Poengsum’, visitors can try out their skills and put their own luck to the test. A ball must be thrown into the basket over a sloping wall – competitive fun for the whole family. In sight of this is the next much-anticipated highlight: The famous photo point with the shark is back. Right next to the Fashionworld of Camp David & Soccx, guests have the opportunity to take a funny souvenir photo with the sea creature. In the shops ‘Sportsbutikk’ and ‘Snorri’s Varehus’ there are plenty of memorabilia for visitors of all ages to take home.

But the journey of discovery is not over just yet: a new family attraction will open its doors in autumn with Snorri Touren. Alongisde the cheeky octopus, visitors can embark on a mysterious journey to the island of Rulantica on the new multimedia theme cruise.

Luxury hotel The Boulevard to open at Blackpool Pleasure Beach this summer

By | July 17, 2019

Blackpool has long been regarded as the entertainment capital of the north west, with millions of visitors flocking to the world-famous seaside town each year. At its heart lies the legendary Blackpool Pleasure Beach, where recently installed rides such as Red Arrows Skyforce and ICON, the nation’s first double launch rollercoaster, have seen it reinforce its reputation as one of the UK’s most popular attractions. Now the resort’s multi-million-pound investment programme continues with the summer’s eagerly awaited opening of the luxurious Boulevard Hotel. 

Not only is this high-end property perfectly located for those eager to visit the likes of the aforementioned ICON and Valhalla, recently named the world’s best water ride for the fourth year in succession at the Golden Ticket awards, but it also enjoys an unrivalled position on Ocean Boulevard, adjacent to Blackpool’s beautiful golden sands, with unrivalled views of the stunning west coast sunsets.

The £12 million Boulevard Hotel comprises 120 stylish rooms, including eight junior suites, two park view suites and eight coastal suites, all with either coastal vistas or direct views of the attractions and rollercoasters – perfect for building the excitement. All boast bespoke artwork complemented by materials sourced from renowned British companies, including handmade furniture by Tetrad, Designers Guild fabrics and wall coverings by Andrew Martin. 

This superior accommodation will be complemented by a 90-seat signature restaurant, The Beachside, which uses locally sourced ingredients to create an array of exquisite dishes from around the globe.

The Shoreside Conference Centre meanwhile, with its state-of-the-art technology and bespoke event planning, can cater for up to 200 delegates. It is also the ideal location for weddings, with the hotel licenced to carry out civil ceremonies. 

Perfect for families, weekend breakers and those hosting all types of private and corporate events, the Boulevard Hotel will set the standard for luxury accommodation in Blackpool. 

The hotel is the latest addition to the Blackpool Pleasure Beach accommodation offering, which also includes the adjacent award-winning Big Blue Hotel. Both these properties are part of the Blackpool Pleasure Beach portfolio which has been operated by the Thompson family since the resort’s inception in 1896.

Amanda Thompson OBE, Managing Director of Blackpool Pleasure Beach, said: “We are delighted to be able to build on the success of the Big Blue Hotel by offering both leisure and business visitors another hotel which exceeds all expectations. This is a continuation of Blackpool Pleasure Beach’s ongoing investment and a pivotal moment for the town as a whole. We are proud to be at the very heart of a transformation that will see Blackpool become one of the UK’s most exciting resorts.” 

SeaWorld Orlando, San Antonio and San Diego launch First Responders Salute with half-off admission to parks

By | July 16, 2019

ORLANDO, Fla. — Now through July 31, SeaWorld Parks are proud to offer first responders and three of their guests half-price admission to its award-winning SeaWorld Orlando and San Diego parks as well as $25 tickets to SeaWorld San Antonio. 

“We have always taken immense pride in honoring those who dedicate themselves to helping others,” said Gus Antorcha, Chief Executive Officer of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. “This summer, we’re especially excited to welcome first respondents and their families or friends to parks across the country as they make lifelong memories on our newest attractions. Offering first responders discounted entry is a simple way for us to show just how grateful we are.”

Those who take advantage of this special offer will be able to take in a multitude of recently opened and record-breaking attractions, animal exhibits and rides across all parks, including:

  • SeaWorld Orlando’s Sesame Street Land allows families to add to their own memory lane, where they can stroll down one of the most famous lanes of all time. From the stoop at 123 to Hooper’s Store, Sesame Street Land and its accompanying parade is a world all its own — and it’s open now. Plus, Infinity Falls™ river ride traverses rapids as it winds through tropical surrounding before plummeting riders down a tallest-of-its-kind drop into a pool of rushing whitewater.
  • SeaWorld San Antonio’s equal parts educational and exhilarating, one-of-a-kind Turtle Reef is home to these two new breathtaking rides as well as rescued turtles and hundreds of multi-colored Caribbean fish. With two new thrill rides including Riptide Rescue™, a heart-pounding rescue adventure taking families on a mission to help save marine animals, and Sea Swinger™, a thrilling high swing ride that will launch riders on an arc almost parallel with the ground at the top of its trajectory, before sending them soaring to the same point in the opposite direction — all in mere seconds.
  • SeaWorld San Diego’s Electric Eel is San Diego’s tallest and fastest roller coaster with astounding loops, twists and airtime. Featuring multiple launch experiences, Electric Eel propels riders forward and backward as they speed through the ride’s station house, accelerating to more than 60 miles per hour in seconds before rocketing skyward nearly 150 feet to brave an inverted “heartline” roll and adrenaline-pumping loops.

Award winning firms SP-I and Pixomondo form partnership to create immersive and interactive attractions in China

By | July 16, 2019

NEW YORK — New York Entertainment developers SP Immersive Entertainment (SP-I) and international visual effects company Pixomondo have formed a partnership to create experiential, interactive media attractions in China, the companies jointly announced today.

The deal comes on the heels of the duo’s successful collaboration on the stunning Times Square, New York City attraction, National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey.  The award-winning, walk-through digital aquarium allows visitors to experience rare encounters with creatures of the deep, bringing them up close and personal with life-size whales, interacting with playful sea lions, and witnessing rare, unseen moments of nature.

With this new alliance, to be represented by CAA China, SP-I and Pixomondo will develop immersive, interactive attractions and experiences in China, encompassing a wide range of applications such as location based attractions, theme parks, museums and retail mall installations.

As David Garber, Senior VP Themed Entertainment for Pixomondo relates, “Collaborating with SP-I founders, Alexander Svezia and William Pennell, has been immensely rewarding, and together, we continue to push the boundaries of interactive, immersive moments that lift the participants into new realms of experience.”

Pixomondo, known for its Oscar winning work on Martin Scorsese Hugo and for its multiple Emmys for Game of Thrones – provided the visual media for National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey, creating photo-real, underwater environments populated by 330,00 digital fish. Under the new CAA-led collaboration, Pixomondo will continue to provide concept design, media and original IP for projects.

SP-I was formed by Alexander Svezia and William after the successful launch of National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey, aLIMA Global Award Winner: Best Location Based or Experiential Initiative.  The company is currently developing immersive, media based attractions in Las Vegas and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

Alexander Svezia says, “SP-I is approached everyday by groups worldwide looking to create immersive experiences as a way to showcase their brands and/or create stand-alone location based entertainment properties. This partnership with Pixomondo along with CAA China’s representation is a natural way for SPI-I to expand its award-winning services and deliver premium experiences.”

The deal also continues Pixomondo’s stronghold in the themed entertainment arena. Currently, the company is providing all visual media for rock band Aerosmith’s Las Vegas residency at the Park MGM, including the 20-minute pre-show and the 90-minute main show. Up next is the media for Jurassic World Live Tour, which kicks off in North America this fall, as well as a series of immersive attractions for the Paramount-branded theme park in Doha, Qatar, slated to open in 2020. Pixomondo is also a few weeks away from celebrating the one-year anniversary of Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabipark,whereit created the media for several immersive rides including the venue’s star attraction, the 4D flying theater experience Green Lantern Galactic Odyssey.

Pixomondo is currently in its fifth year of collaborating with its clients in China. This includes a long-running relationship with the Wanda Group, for whom it created flying theaters and motion platform simulators at Wanda Wuhan Movie Park, Wanda Nanchang Movie Park, and Wanda Harbin Movie Park. Pixomondo is also currently working on a series of attractions, which include Ocean Flower Island in Danzhou, China with one of the country’s largest property developers, The Evergrande Group, and a new venue for Chimelong Ocean Kingdom in Zhuhai, China.