Opening of North Carolina State Fair delayed

By | October 11, 2018

RALEIGH, N.C. — Opening day of the North Carolina State Fair here has been postponed until Friday due to hurricane Michael, which will strike the state today as a tropical storm.

Fair officials said the delay was a precaution as the killer storm churned through the Carolinas after causing widespread devastation in the Florida Panhandle and Georgia. Heavy rain and wind gusts in excess of 40 mph were forecast for central and eastern North Carolina this afternoon and into early Friday.

Many school systems in the state were also closed today due to the weather.

Powers Great American Midways had all equipment set up and ready for opening before the announcement was made to postpone the fair’s debut.

SeaWorld’s new annual passes bring in waves of savings all-new dueling coaster ‘Tidal Twister’ will have guests riding the tide

By | October 10, 2018

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — SeaWorld continues to be the San Diego value leader with the unveiling of its new annual Passes. For only $7.99 a month, the best price of the year, guests will receive 12-months admission, exclusive events and giveaways, and savings on parking. The monthly installment for this new annual Pass is the lowest in recent history.

“SeaWorld is great place to spend time together with family and friends,” said Marilyn Hannes, SeaWorld San Diego’s park president. “We want our guests to not only have fun and meaningful experiences at the park, but we want to make visiting SeaWorld affordable for them too.  Our new annual Pass options do just that – value and affordability.”

The introduction of a new tiered annual Pass program provides increasing levels of value, as much as $580, as well as flexibility, making SeaWorld the place to visit over and over again in 2019.

The park is also excited to launch Tidal Twister, a dueling roller coaster, as its thrilling new attraction for 2019. The first of its kind in the world, this unique and horizontal ride is an exhilarating experience that demonstrates the power of the ocean.

Accelerating to 30 miles per hour, riders will twist and bank as if they are riding the tide along a tight figure-8 track that includes dynamic Zero-G roll at the center section.  Two trains, holding 16 passengers each, load at opposite ends of the figure-8 and cross in the center with guests facing both forward and backward on the trains. A lower-height requirement of 48 inches makes this attraction a perfect ride for younger guests and families.

“There is no other coaster experience in the world like Tidal Twister,” said Hannes. “The two trains duel one another and guests will see the excitement on the faces of other riders. You’ll almost feel like you can reach out and touch them. The tight turns, the inversion and the airtime hill will leave our guests wondering which way is up.”

Tidal Twister, elevated 16 feet off the ground, will be located adjacent the Aquaria touch pool and aquarium in the northwest corner of the park, the perfect location to accentuate the new attraction’s conservation element that focuses on sustainable aquaculture and coral reef protection.

Rising Tide Conservation, started by SeaWorld in 2009, is dedicated to developing and promoting aquaculture of marine ornamental fish through the collaborative efforts of researchers, public aquaria, and conservation groups. This aquaculture effort is aimed at providing a sustainable alternative to wild fish collection which can result in tremendous damage to the coral reefs where they live.

SeaWorld’s Aquaria: World of Fishes aquarium will have a research support aquarium dedicated to the type of ornamental fish Rising Tide Conservation is concentrated on, as well as providing educational information to guests on the importance of protecting the ocean and coral reefs.

“I am so excited that SeaWorld San Diego is part of the Rising Tide Conservation team,” said Mike Price, curator of fishes at SeaWorld. “Creating sustainable populations of these marine fishes helps support healthy fish populations, which are a cornerstone of maintaining healthy active coral reefs. It’s great to help advance this groundbreaking science here at the park.”

Tidal Twister, a Skywarp Horizon model built by Skyline Attractions, is scheduled to open May 2019 and will join Electric Eel and Manta as SeaWorld’s newest coaster-type ride experience.

Efteling announces new ride for 2020 — A new family roller coaster will open on the site of the ‘Bob’ bobsleigh run

By | October 10, 2018

Efteling – the fairytale theme park in the south of Holland – has revealed that a new attraction is to launch where the Bob bobsleigh run is currently located, scheduled to open in spring 2020.

After more than 34 years of service as a children’s roller coaster, next year the Bob will make way for a new rollercoaster aimed at children aged between 4 and 10 years old. Max & Moritz will be a dual-tracked roller coaster, based on a well-known German visual poem about two naughty boys called Max and Moritz.  Like Bob, Max & Moritz will be suitable for the whole family (with a minimum passenger’s height of one metre) and will open in spring 2020.

The Bob’s current Swiss theming and its station building will be retained for the new attraction, while the construction of the track will start in September 2019 and is expected to cost 15 million euros. The Bobsleigh run will remain open until then.

Max & Moritz will be themed on the 1865 German illustrated story of the same name, written and drawn by Wilhelm Busch. The forerunner of the comic strip, the original copy consists of drawings and text, with each image accompanied by a few lines in rhyme.  The story follows Max & Moritz, two naughty boys who make fun of villagers with their mischievous behaviour. Efteling will create a free adaptation of the original story in the attraction; a happy nod to the story about the two boys.

With the announcement of Max and Moritz, the opening of another new attraction in a soon-to-be expanded area to the east of the amusement park will be postponed until 2021. It will be part of a completely new themed area. The new themed area will be part of the adventurous Reizenrijk, and include the new attraction next to the Efteling Hotel, renovations at the hotel and a few smaller attractions.

IAAPA Announcement: president and CEO

By | October 8, 2018

On behalf of the Board of Directors, Andreas Anderson of IAAPA is pleased to announce Hal McEvoy has been named president and CEO of IAAPA, effective immediately. Based in Orlando, Florida, Hal has served the association as interim president and CEO since February.

This process involved an extensive global search. The association’s Compensation Committee worked diligently to ensure the right candidate was hired for this critical role. IAAPA is appreciative of their commitment and dedication and could not have come to this decision without them. With each step taken, it became evident Hal was the right choice for IAAPA and its membership.

Hal joined IAAPA as chief financial officer in April 2017. He came to the association following a successful 42-year career with Busch Entertainment Corporation/SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. Prior to joining the IAAPA team, Hal attended IAAPA expos and participated on association task forces and panels. He was a member of IAAPA’s Audit Committee since its inception in 2005 and he chaired the committee from 2013 through 2016. Hal’s deep industry experience, exceptional leadership abilities, and strategic vision will help him lead the association to further connect with the global attractions industry.

Hal is committed to serving IAAPA, executing the association’s strategic plan and supporting the IAAPA team so they can continue to serve you and your company. His passion for the industry and his relationships with members around the globe, coupled with his collaborative leadership style, make him the ideal person for this important position. I look forward to this exciting next chapter for IAAPA and its members.

Please join IAAPA in congratulating Hal.

John ‘Nick’ L. Alberts of Reithoffer Shows passes at 61

By | October 8, 2018

SUN CITY CENTER, Fla. — John “Nick” L. Alberts, a longtime employee and truck driver with Reithoffer Shows of Gibsonton, passed away surrounded by friends and family on Oct. 2. He was 61.

Known for being a kind, spirited man who made friends easily and always left a smile on everyone’s face, Alberts was born Dec. 6, 1956, to Joseph and Betty (Jessup) Alberts in Baltimore, Md. At the age of 14 he dedicated himself to the carnival business, spending 47 years with Reithoffer Shows up until his last days.

Alberts loved to entertain friends, family, and strangers alike. He had an appreciation for fishing, playing cards and everything related to Harley-Davidson. On any given day, he could be found on one of his bikes, at a card table playing poker or on a boat trying to catch anything that was biting. He loved spending time with family, eating his favorite food (spaghetti) and showing his true Maryland side with his craving for Tastykakes.

Alberts is survived by children Jerry Condo, Nick Alberts, Jordan Alberts and Julie Alberts; and grandchildren Anthony Condo and Meadow Alberts. He also is survived by siblings Helen Thornhill, Larry Green, June Hitt, Joseph Alberts, Jr., Betty Kirby, Loretta Murray, Toni Nuccio, Charlene Clapper, Jeff Alberts and Doug Alberts.

A service for Alberts will be held at First Baptist Church of Riverview, located at 8626 US 301 in Riverview, on Oct. 12 at 1 p.m. A celebration of life will follow in the church’s Fellowship Hall.

In lieu of flowers, family and friends are asked to donate to the Outdoor Amusement Business Association’s (OABA) Duke Smith Memorial Scholarship Fund at 1035 S. Semoran Blvd., Ste. 1045, Winter Park, FL, 32792. (Donations should indicate “on behalf of Nick Alberts.”)

Dolly Parton selects the Great Smoky Mountains for second Pirates Voyage dinner and show

By | October 5, 2018

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. — Keep an eye to the spyglass, mateys; Dolly’s pirates will be searching for treasure in the Great Smoky Mountains, next summer!

After nearly a decade of rave reviews and financial success on the Carolina coast, Dolly Parton’s newest Pirates Voyage dinner attraction is slated to open in the spring. “The show has been so successful in Myrtle Beach that we kept looking at Pigeon Forge and wondering why we didn’t already have a Pirates show there,” Parton said. “We have the perfect location, in one of the hottest areas of Pigeon Forge, and the time is now for my pirates to stake claim to the Great Smoky Mountains!”

When complete, the 21,000 square foot arena, adjacent to The Island in Pigeon Forge, will be the stage for Crimson and Sapphire pirates to battle on deck, in the water and in the sky above their full-sized pirate ships in a 15-foot-deep indoor lagoon. Spectacular acrobatic competitions, live animals and an original music score by Parton and Mark Brymer creates an immersive adventure experience all while guests enjoy a spectacular four-course pirate feast.

“We’re glad we can finally share Dolly’s exciting news,” Jim Rule, World Choice Investments CEO said.  “For some time, we have been working on set and costume designs, unique show elements for this theater and animal and staff training. We’re all looking forward to opening in 2019.”

Additional details about the project will be released soon.  Site construction is slated to begin in early January with an opening projected for spring.

Hershey’s Chocolatetown opening at Hersheypark summer 2020

By | October 3, 2018

Hershey, Pennsylvania is home to one of America’s sweetest success stories. Each page recounts our rich history of creating fun, making chocolate, cultivating community, and continuing the powerful legacy of Milton S. Hershey. In 2020, Hersheypark® is unlocking an all-new chapter – one Where Fun Meets Chocolate in more ways than ever before. Welcome to Hershey’s Chocolatetown – the most transformative expansion in Hersheypark history.

We’re thrilled to announce our tallest, fastest, longest, and sweetest addition yet. The unique theme and masterful design of our newest coaster will leave you craving another ride.

Hershey’s Chocolatetown will be home to the largest themed restaurant, bar & patio in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The innovative fare, craft cocktails, fun atmosphere, and one-of-a-kind views of Hersheypark all continue the exciting story of our newest chapter.

Visit our 10,000-square-foot Flagship Store to shop the largest collection of apparel, personalized souvenirs, toys, and more – exclusive to Hersheypark. Then, explore a sweet collection of shops and interactive experiences in our all-new boutique!

Ride Entertainment Focused on Future Growth

By | October 3, 2018

Adam Sandy

Stevensville, Md. — As Ride Entertainment continues to celebrate a remarkable first 20 years it is also keeping an eye on the future.   In order to facilitate the continued exceptional growth Ride Entertainment has experienced since its founding, it announced the company will create two divisions to manage all of their activities under the larger Ride Entertainment banner.

The Business Development division will include the Attraction Sales, Ride Installations, Financial Partnerships, and SkyCoaster business segments. Day to day operations will be overseen by Adam Sandy, long-serving Chief Business Development Officer of Ride Entertainment who will now assume the role of President of this division. “I am thrilled to be a part of the companies continued evolution.” Adam said, “I have loved my fourteen years with Ride Entertainment and am excited to grow all of our segments that serve the industry.”

David Gaist

The Parks and Attractions division will include the operations that Ride Entertainment has in its portfolio. Parks and Attractions will be overseen by David Galst, current Managing Director of Operations, who will now assume the role of President of this division.  “It has been an incredible journey developing the operations division of Ride Entertainment over the past seven years,” David said.  “I look forward to continue growing with our current and future sites.”

Ed Hiller, CEO of Ride Entertainment, commented: “the new divisions and leadership will position our company for future growth as we continue to expand our global footprint in the entertainment industry.”

Silver Dollar City’s An Old Time Christmas Features Christmas In Midtown Light Spectacular, 6.5 Million Lights, Light Parade & Time Traveler

By | October 3, 2018

BRANSON, Mo. — Silver Dollar City’s An Old Time Christmas presents the park’s brightest season with 6.5 million lights, featuring the popular Christmas in Midtown Light Spectacular, and 30 miles of new lights illuminating the walkways and load station area for the new ground-breaking coaster Time Traveler. The festival also features an evening light parade, two Broadway-style original musical productions, a 5-Story Special Effects Christmas tree with a sound and light show and holiday dining, November 3 – December 30.

Christmas in Midtown takes holiday lighting to a new level, filling over an acre with 1.5 million LED lights — 145 miles of lights covering 70,000 square feet — in the Midtown area alone. Huge light tunnels and wreath portals lead into the area, which includes light displays 9 stories high, flying angels, running reindeer, moving trains, a 90-foot tree, musical trees with moving lights, dozens of stars and snowflakes, and a giant turning globe, all created at Silver Dollar City.

Thirty miles of new lights lead up to the new $26 million Time Traveler, the World’s Fastest, Steepest and Tallest Complete-Circuit Spinning Roller Coaster. Bright lights enhance the views from above for night rides on Time Traveler and all of the select rides open, as weather permits.

The light experience begins on the Square with the 5-Story Special Effects Christmas tree, a massive tree with over 350,000 colorful LED lights. The tree blazes to the movements of Christmas songs, with up to 100 light changes per second, while lights around the Square flash along.

A parade of lights, Rudolph’s Holly Jolly™ Christmas Light Parade, winds through the streets of the City twice each evening. As Grand Marshal, Rudolph leads the evening parade of nine musical, lighted floats, illuminated with 200,000 LED lights. The parade is accompanied by 45 colorful costumed characters, including Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, 14-foot moose characters, 12-foot tall elves, 10-foot candy canes, penguins, elves and marching wooden soldiers.

The festival also features two original musical productions, A Dickens’ Christmas Carol and the final year of It’s a Wonderful Life. A Dickens’ Christmas Carol is an adaptation of the Dickens classic, with revolving sets, flying spirits, pyrotechnic special effects and a cast of 15, accompanied by a live band. It’s a Wonderful Life presents a musical interpretation of the classic film, with unique special effects and a cast of 14 singers/actors.

Popular festival features include shows such as Tinker Junior’s Toy Shop, with a 12-foot talking Christmas tree; a dramatic musical Living Nativity; strolling carolers; and holiday foods from a prime rib buffet to fresh-made fruitcakes, ginger cookies and hot wassail.. Fine craftsmanship is also showcased as the park’s 100 craftsmen create one-of-a-kind holiday items.

Since its debut more than two decades ago, Silver Dollar City’s An Old Time Christmas has become one of the country’s most recognized events for spectacular lighting and entertainment, and has been profiled as one of the top holiday celebrations by USA Today, CNN Travel, The Travel Channel and Good Morning America.

During An Old Time Christmas, Silver Dollar City is open Thursdays – Sundays Nov. 3 – 18, then Wednesdays – Sundays Nov. 21 – Dec. 30. Hours are 1 to 9 p.m. most days, with extended hours on select days, including some Fridays, Saturdays and Thanksgiving weekend.

Silver Dollar City is also open New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day for a “New Year’s Celebration.” The 6.5 million holiday lights are still on and special entertainment is presented.

Kentucky Kingdom launches 30th anniversary celebration, announces new roller coaster from The Gravity Group for 2019

By | October 1, 2018

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — To launch the celebration of its 30th anniversary, Kentucky Kingdom hosted a reunion last night for the members of “Save My Park,” a group of longtime supporters of Kentucky Kingdom who led the effort to convince state and local officials not to bulldoze the theme park when the former operator closed and abandoned it.

John Mulcahy, a leader in the “Save My Park” movement, remarked, “After the park was abruptly abandoned in early 2010, everyone thought that was the end of Kentucky Kingdom.  But we rallied 6,000 supporters on Facebook, got the attention of Ed Hart, and now here we are – celebrating 30 years of fun!”

Dan English, a key organizer of the “Save My Park” group, commented, “I can hardly believe it’s been five years since the new Kentucky Kingdom reopened – and 30 years since Ed Hart’s team first resuscitated the original park.”

To celebrate the park’s 30th anniversary, Adam Birkner, Kentucky Kingdom’s senior marketing manager, announced that a new roller coaster, the Kentucky Flyer, will be ready to ride on the park’s opening day in 2019.

Birkner remarked, “What better way to celebrate Kentucky Kingdom’s 30th anniversary than to add our sixth roller coaster! The Kentucky Flyer is designed by The Gravity Group, an internationally acclaimed American wooden roller coaster supplier. The Kentucky Flyer will navigate through 56-degree hairpin turns at rapid speeds, treating riders to plenty of airtime. It’s also a big plus that the unique design of The Gravity Group’s Timberliner coaster train comfortably accommodates a wide range of passenger sizes [minimum 40-inch height] and weights.”

Korey Kiepert, principal with The Gravity Group, added, “Many coasters have a minimum height requirement of 48 inches, which is the average height of an eight-year old, but the minimum height for riders of the Kentucky Flyer will be only 40 inches [when accompanied by an adult]. We’re excited about providing Kentucky Kingdom a ride that will allow younger children, many for the first time, to join their moms, dads, brothers, and sisters in experiencing the exhilaration of a high-speed roller coaster. Our goal was to build a coaster that the whole family can enjoy, but without sacrificing the thrills that coaster enthusiasts have come to expect from The Gravity Group. The Kentucky Flyer certainly accomplishes that goal.”

To add to the celebration of Kentucky Kingdom’s 30th anniversary, operating hours at the Hurricane Bay water park will be extended to 7 p.m. on weekdays during the month of July. In addition, the price for “early bird” season pass purchases will be lowered by $10.