Skip Fletcher, ‘king’ of Fletcher’s Corny Dogs, has died

By | February 1, 2017

DALLAS, Texas – Fletcher’s Corny Dogs has lost its king: Neil “Skip” Fletcher, 82, has died.

State Fair of Texas spokeswoman Karissa Condoianis told The Dallas Morning News Fletcher had been battling pneumonia and died 8 a.m. Tuesday.

On its Facebook page Tuesday, Fletcher’s, a State Fair of Texas icon, asked that people keep the “family in your thoughts and prayers.”

“We are extremely saddened to tell our fans that our Corny Dog King, Skip Fletcher has passed on. As we are preparing for our 75th year at the State Fair of Texas we’ve unexpectedly lost our patriarch,” it continues. “…Skip leaves behind a legacy of love, devotion and adoration for you, his fans, that we will humbly continue.”

According to the Star-Telegram archives, the Fletcher family sold the first corny dog at the 1942 State Fair of Texas and it cost 15 cents. The Fletcher brothers who created them, Neil and Carl, died in the 1980s, but Neil’s sons, Skip and Bill, continued the legacy.

Condoianis told the Morning News funeral plans have not been finalized.

The State Fair of Texas also wrote on Facebook, “We are saddened to hear of the loss of Skip Fletcher, a friend and State Fair icon. His legacy will live on.”

(original story published in the Star-Telegram)

Frontier City announces new thrill slide complex for Wild West Water Works

By | January 26, 2017

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — Frontier City’s Wild West Water Works is growing by 1,249 feet of high-speed thrill slides in the summer of 2017.

On the all-new Gully Washer, riders will plunge off of a 66-foot-tall tower down three enclosed body slides, blasting through narrow loops and twisting tunnels on one of the most exhilarating water rides around. This brand new triple slide complex features back-to-back turns, thrilling dips, and tight 360° curves that will have riders screaming until the very end.

Gully Washer is the fourth new attraction to come to Frontier City in four years and the first major addition to Wild West Water Works since its opening in 2012. It will join the area’s interactive water structure — the largest of its kind in Oklahoma with 198 play elements, 8 slides, and a 1,000-gallon tipping bucket. Wild West Water Works also features a spacious lounge deck, ample shade structures, changing/shower facilities, lockers, and concessions and is included with Frontier City admission or a Double Park Season Pass.

“We are extremely excited to add this super-soaking thrill ride to our skyline,” says Stephen Ball, Frontier City’s General Manager. “Wild West Water Works is one of the park’s most popular attractions, and we are eager to add more fun and thrilling ways for our guests to keep cool during Oklahoma’s hot summer months.”

Guests can get unlimited thrills on Gully Washer and all of the other great rides and attractions at Frontier City and White Water Bay with a Double Park Season Pass. Double Park Season Passes are on sale at FrontierCity.com for $69.99 thru Memorial Day.

Frontier City will open for the season on April 8th. Wild West Water Works will open on May 13th.

Artist rendering courtesy of Frontier City

Roller Skating Hall of Famer Kurt Anthony Anselmi has died

By | January 25, 2017

LAKE ANGELUS, Mich. — Kurt Anthony Anselmi passed away at his home surrounded by his family on January 19th, after a lengthy battle against brain cancer.

Kurt’s youth was spent devoted to the sport of roller skating where he was a perfectionist in style, grace and athleticism. Kurt won many national championships in both singles and pairs, and was a U.S. World Team member multiples times. Roller skating at the Rolladium, his family’s business in Waterford, is where he met and fell in love with his wife Terry. They continued their passion for the sport through coaching and eventually taking over the business. Kurt was inducted into the Roller Skating Association Hall of Fame in 2016.

Kurt was a 1972 graduate of Waterford Township High School. He received his bachelor’s degree from University of Michigan (1976) and Juris Doctor degree with Honors from Detroit College of Law (1981). Kurt was licensed to practice law in the States of Michigan, Colorado and Ohio.

Kurt co-founded Anselmi and Mierzejewski P.C. in 1988. With his guidance as Managing Partner, the firm grew over the last twenty-nine years to more than twenty lawyers and is now one of the fifty largest law firms in Michigan. Kurt was one of the most prominent, accomplished and respected attorneys in the amusement industry. In 1991, Kurt was one of six charter members of the International Amusement and Leisure Defense Association (IALDA) and served the Association as President and member of the Board of Directors. He was the author of the Michigan Roller Skating Safety Act of 1988, the first of its kind in the Country. Ten other states followed Kurt’s lead. Kurt was the co-author of the Roller Skating Risk Management Guidelines which were endorsed by the RSA. He was the co-author of dozens of articles on Risk Management and served on the RSA Risk Management Committee. Kurt presented Risk Management and Litigation seminars at the RSA convention, the World Water Park show and the IAAPA Attractions Expo. Few people knew as much about the subject of Risk Management as Kurt.

Kurt lived life to the fullest and was admired by many for his adventurous spirit. He was a true and passionate outdoorsman. His favorite place was the mountains of the West where he enjoyed hunting, skiing and riding his motorcycle.

Kurt is survived by his loving wife Terry Lee (Campbell), children Terese and Tony Anselmi, and his beloved Mother Marilyn Anselmi, Sisters Kim (Mark) Majoros, Holly Anselmi, Brother Tobin (Kim) Anselmi, father-in-law John Campbell and Sister-in-law Kim (Matt) Decovich. He was a loving Uncle to Stephanie (Dan) Levine, Zachary Anselmi, Daniel Anselmi and Ashely (Brent) Meschke. Kurt was proceeded in death by his Father Albert H. Anselmi.

KCL Engineering chooses Ride Entertainment as sales partner in the attractions industry

By | January 19, 2017

STEVENSVILLE, Md. – KCL Engineering, a leader in custom lighting solutions, has chosen Ride Entertainment as their sales partner in the attractions industry.

KCL burst onto the scene this year with three notable projects at Adventureland Park, the most innovative being a first of its kind LED lighting system on the park’s new Gerstlauer roller coaster, The Monster. The coaster, which stands 131 feet tall, can be seen throughout the park by day, and at night the ground and track-mounted lights make the attraction a focal point. Beyond an illumination solution, on a coaster designed to confuse riders, the lighting systems adds another layer of intrigue and unpredictability.

“When Adventureland shared the concept for The Monster, we had a vision to bring the entire structure to life through dynamic track lighting. Perhaps the fact that this was our first large-scale ride lighting project worked in our favor as we truly felt no limitations. We simply came up with an idea and engineered our way to it,” said Kris Kunze, PE, The Monster’s lead lighting designer.

“As soon as I saw what KCL could do I knew we needed to work with them,” laughed Adam Sandy, Chief Business Development Officer at Ride Entertainment. “We are always on the lookout for innovation in the attractions industry and what they created for Adventureland was unlike anything I have seen. We are thrilled to see where they take their unique illumination concepts next,” he noted.

The Iowa-based engineering company is no stranger to working on high-profile projects worldwide. KCL Engineering has implemented LED solutions for Yankee Stadium, Safeco Field, and numerous skyscrapers around the globe.

“Working with Ride Entertainment is an absolute honor,” declared Kunze. “Their partnership provides immediate immersion into the attractions industry. We look forward to providing a wide variety of custom lighting solutions; from basic LED installations that give an existing attraction new life to park-wide solutions seen nowhere else in the world.”

In loving memory … Bill Morey, Sr.

By | January 16, 2017

William H. Morey, 87, of Wildwood, NJ, a renowned builder during the Jersey Shore Doowop motel boom years, owner/operator of the old Ringo bingo hall on the Wildwood boardwalks, and a cofounder of Morey’s Surfside Pier, where millions of Delaware Valley youth for decades enjoyed their summers, went to be in the loving arms of the Lord, Wednesday, January 11, 2017.

Bill was born at Margaret Mace Hospital in North Wildwood, NJ, on April 19, 1929, and raised in West Wildwood, NJ by his parents, Lewis and Clara Morey. The Morey family birth order was 5 sons: Lewis, Raymond, Wilbert, William, and Charles, and 2 daughters: Yvonne and Esther. He resided in the Wildwoods his entire life, graduated from Wildwood High School in 1948, and married Dolores Peterson Morey in 1951.

He was an avid golfer, a member of the Wildwood Golf and Country Club, and scored a hole in one at the age of 80. Family members humorously called him “Commander Whitehead”, and friends and colleagues coined the nickname for him, “Silver Fox.” He is survived by his wife: Dolores, 2 sons: William and Thomas, twin daughters: Jane and Joan, and William’s spouse: Carolyn. He also has 7 grandchildren: William “Bud”, Eric, and Brett Morey, John and Sara Freeman, Drew and Jenna Ankney, 6 great-grandchildren: William “Buddy”, Ellasyn, Delaney, Waylon, Joel, and Marshall Morey.

A funeral service will be held at St. Ann’s Roman Catholic Church at Magnolia and Atlantic Avenues in Wildwood, NJ on Saturday, January 21, at 11am. Calling hours will be held at the church from 9am to 10:45am. In lieu of flowers and gifts, donations to the Pulmonary Care of the Cape Regional Medical Center will be accepted in memory of William H Morey, Sr.

Mystic Timbers roller coaster at Kings Island

By | January 12, 2017

MASON, Ohio – Construction on Kings Island’s new Mystic Timbers roller coaster is taking shape. By the time workmen complete construction on the ride, they will have used approximately 330,00 board feet of southern yellow lumber; 30,000 pounds of nails; 88,000 bolts and washers and 5,500 cubic yards of concrete for the foundation. Themed to an abandoned lumber company, the 109-foot-tall wooden roller coaster will feature 16 airtime moments through wooded terrain along 3,265 feet of track at speeds up to 53 mph with a spellbinding mystery: What’s in the shed? Mystic Timbers will make its highly-anticipated debut this spring and will become Kings Island’s 16th roller coaster.

2017 AIMS Safety Seminar underway in Orlando

By | January 9, 2017

ORLANDO, Fla. – The 2017 AIMS Safety Seminar is currently underway.

Jim Seay of Premier Rides (left) offered the AIMS Safety Seminar opening session keynote. Greg Hale, vice-president of worldwide safety at Disney, provided opening safety remarks.

360 plus students registered, a new AIMS record. The annual seminar is currently underway at the Doubletree in Orlando and runs through Jan. 13. Some of the new areas to be covered include security, active shooter, terrorism, total productive maintenance programs, ASTM standards and guest behaviors, as well as classes specific to ride accessibility, climbing walls, family entertainment centers and more.

 

 

SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. Announces Denise Godreau Joins The Company As Chief Marketing Officer

By | January 5, 2017

ORLANDO, Fla. – SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: SEAS), a leading theme park and entertainment company, today announced that Denise Godreau has joined the company as Chief Marketing Officer. Godreau brings extensive industry experience in driving global brand strategy, digital marketing and technology, and revenue generation.

“We are looking forward to the leadership and experience Denise brings to our marketing team,” said Joel Manby, President and Chief Executive Officer of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. “She will be focused on driving increased visitation and communicating the company brand in a meaningful way to help us deliver on our strategic business plan.”

Denise Godreau has been a senior executive in notable companies in hospitality and entertainment for more than 20 years. She has worked at Fortune 500 and startup companies, in the US and abroad, developing a deep understanding of the global consumer and marketplace.

Denise served as a senior executive at Disney Parks for more than a decade, where she was responsible for strategies driving attendance and occupancy for all theme parks, water parks, and hotels for Walt Disney World Resort. Following her successful career at Disney, Denise joined a start-up team to create a new online university (Brandman University in Southern California), and later, a new mega resort (Baha Mar) in Nassau, Bahamas. Earlier in her career, Denise worked for the international divisions of Procter & Gamble, Pizza Hut and Blockbuster Entertainment.

Denise has a Bachelor of Science in economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School.

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment announces leadership changes for Tampa and Orlando parks

By | January 4, 2017

TAMPA, Fla. – SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment today announced leadership changes for the company’s parks in Orlando and Tampa. Jim Dean, President of Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and Adventure Island, has been named park president of the company’s Orlando parks, SeaWorld, Aquatica and Discovery Cove. Stewart Clark, Vice President of Discovery Cove, has been named park president of Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and Adventure Island. The changes will be effective January 16, 2017.

“Jim is an outstanding theme park leader who has led excellence, performance and growth in Tampa. I am pleased to now have him at the helm of our flagship operations in Orlando,” said Joel Manby, President and Chief Executive Officer of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. “The Busch Gardens Tampa Bay parks will gain a proven and innovative leader, as Stewart’s operations and zoological expertise has contributed to more than a decade of acclaimed guest experience at Discovery Cove.”

Jim Dean started his career as a financial analyst in the corporate headquarters of Anheuser-Busch (A-B) in St. Louis, Mo. He transferred to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay as finance manager in 1990 and Sesame Place in Langhorne, Pa. in 1993 as finance vice president. Dean accepted the head of finance position with A-B’s European trade office in London in 2000 before returning to the U.S. five years later as vice president of accounting for the U.S. brewing division of A-B. He moved back to the company’s theme parks in 2008 as head of corporate finance before accepting the role of park president for Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and Adventure Island in 2010. Dean holds an engineering degree from Memphis State University and an MBA from St. Louis University.

Stewart Clark started his career with SeaWorld in 1983 and brings more than 30 years of zoological and theme park leadership experience. During his career, Clark served in five parks including Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Most recently, Clark served as the Vice President of Discovery Cove and was instrumental in developing Discovery Cove’s interactive programs, animal exhibits, and culture of customer service excellence. Clark earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in applied behavior and organizational management from National-Louis University and currently serves as the Chair of the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums.

Donnie Mills, current park president of the Orlando parks has announced his retirement after 42 years of dedicated service with the company.

“Donnie has made a lasting contribution to our parks and our people by serving as park president in three of our six markets, leading the operations team and instilling a culture committed to the highest levels of operational execution across this great company,” Manby said.

Donnie began his career at Busch Gardens Tampa in 1974 in the Park Operations department, and served as both the Vice President of Park Operations at Busch Gardens and General Manager of Adventure Island during his initial time in Tampa. He subsequently served as Vice President of Operations at SeaWorld San Diego and then at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Donnie was promoted to Park President of Busch Gardens Williamsburg in 2003 and then Busch Gardens Tampa in 2007. In February 2010, Donnie was appointed Chief Operating Officer for the Busch Gardens and Sesame branded parks. In 2015, Donnie took on the role of Orlando Parks President.

Jake Inners, owner of Majestic Midways, dies

By | December 30, 2016

YORK, Pa. — Wayne E. “Jake” Inners, 70, owner and CEO of Inners Amusement Company, DBA Majestic Midways, passed away Dec. 10. He was 70.

Inners was the youngest of seven boys and two girls who grew up in a family with entertainment roots stretching back to 1909. His father, Francis Grover Cleveland Inners, was as a trapeze artist before forming Inners Amusement Company in 1946.

Inners joined the family business in 1963 with his purchase of a Theel carousel. In 1974, he formed Majestic Midways apart from the amusement business he at that time shared with his brother, Edward, when he purchased all assets of Reynolds Rides & Amusements in Chesapeake City, Md. The operation currently has 35 rides and travels to locations in eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland.

“My father was a pioneer and innovator in our industry,” said Jake’s son, Scott, who is president and safety director of Majestic Midways. “He was loved and respected by all who knew him.

“My father helped many people throughout the years who could testify that his actions spoke far louder than his words. Few people knew of the things he accomplished with charities, donations of equipment and substantial financial resources for several meaningful projects.”

Causes favored by Jake Inners included City of Light Children’s School and What Matters Ministries. Added Scott: “I am proud to say he created a culture within our family and company: Giving to those who couldn’t give back, which is the very heart of Christ.”

Colleagues admired Inners for his commitment to managing a solid, respectable business.

“He had a good appreciation for electrical things,” said Joe Filoromo, supervisor of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Amusement Ride Safety Division. “Jake ran a clean, safe, nice operation. I will miss his ethics.”

Inners was a life member of the Pennsylvania State Showmen’s Association (PSSA) and previously served as president of the organization; additionally, he was named by PSSA as 1989 Showman of the Year. He most recently served as chairman of the Outdoor Amusement Business Association committee.

“He was one of the best supporters PSSA ever had, plain and simple,” said Beverly Gruber, PSSA secretary.

In the early 1980s, Inners and Steve Swika, Jr., of S&S Amusements were original members of the committee that crafted the Pennsylvania Amusement Ride Safety Act, which went into effect in 1984. Inners still served on the committee until recently.

A celebration of Jake’s life was held at Grace Fellowship in York on Dec. 19. The third generation of the Inners family will continue the amusement operation uninterrupted. —B. Derek Shaw