AIMS International announces new Board Officers and Directors for 2019

By | April 9, 2019

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The AIMS International Board of Directors is pleased to announce that effective April 1stFranceen Gonzales, EVP business developmentthe Americas, for WhiteWater, has become president of the AIMS board of directors. She replaces Tim Viox who served as board president for the past two years. The board has also appointed Tony Claassen, rides maintenance compliance officer at Herschend Family Entertainment, as vice president and, George Tso, engineering executive director, Ocean Park, Hong Kong as secretaryLinda Freeman, Rockwell Automation, remains treasurer.

In addition, three new board directors take office after having been elected at the annual membership meeting this past January:

Monty Jasper, corporate vice-president of safety and engineering for the Cedar Fair Entertainment Company.  He is a registered professional engineer with experience in operations, maintenance, construction, safety and engineering and holds Bachelor and Masters Degrees in Mechanical Engineering.  Jasper has worked 46 years in the amusement industry with both Six Flags and Cedar Fair and is a member of the Ohio Amusement Ride Advisory Board and the ASTM Committee F24 on Amusement Rides and Devices.  He also serves on the AIMS Education Committee.

Dr. Kathryn Woodcock, CCPE ICAE PEng, a Professor at Ryerson University in Toronto involved in unique extracurricular training, research, and knowledge of mobilization activities focused on human factors of amusement rides and attractions pertaining to guests, operators, and inspectors. Dr. Woodcock is also a member of TEA, ASTM Committee F24, Ontario TSSA Amusement Devices Advisory Council, Global Safety Committee of IAAPA, IAAPA Foundation Academic Advisory Council, and Board of Directors of the Canadian National Exhibition.

David Bromilow, Global Director of Parks and Attractions, Mobaro Park. Bromilow has worked for more than 40 years in the amusement industry, beginning as an apprentice engineer at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. He has worked as an independent amusement Industry consultant worldwide, at AON / SLE Insurance Group as technical risk control manager and as general manager park operations, at Drayton Manor. He is chairman of the IAAPA EMEA Safety Committee and serves on the IAAPA Global Safety Committee.

Triple-launch coaster Tigris to officially open Friday, April 19 at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

By | April 5, 2019

TAMPA, Fla. — Just in time for the holiday weekend, Busch Gardens® Tampa Bay will officially open Tigris, a triple-launch steel roller coaster, on Friday, April 19, 2019. The new attraction is Florida’s tallest launch coaster and the ninth coaster in the park’s collection, solidifying Busch Gardens Tampa Bay as Florida’s thrill ride leader. 

Tigris will catapult riders through an exhilarating array of looping twists with forward and backward motion, breath-taking drops, a 150-foot skyward surge, and an inverted heartline roll, reaching a top speed of more than 60 miles per hour. Tigris will race riders along more than 1,800 feet of steel track designed to mimic the awe-inspiring agility of the world’s largest and most powerful cat –the tiger

Tigris joins a top-rated list of favorites for coaster enthusiasts, including Cheetah Hunt, the park’s longest coaster, SheiKra, a 200-foot tall floorless dive coaster, Falcon’s Fury, a 335-foot freestanding drop tower, Montu, an inverted coaster, Kumba, and Cobra’s Curse, to name a few. 

The best way to experience Tigris and all of the attractions at Busch Gardens as well as more than a dozen seasonal events throughout the year is with an Annual Pass.  Guests can choose from four unique passes for the benefits and value they want most. Pass Members will also enjoy exclusive ride time on Tigris for the first two weekends in May before the ride opens for the day to general guests. To learn more and be the first to know about new attractions, events and future announcements, fans can follow the park’s blog or join the social conversation using#TakeOnTigris on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Easter at Blackpool Pleasure Beach

By | April 5, 2019

Blackpool Pleasure Beach is gearing up for another cracking Easter with an egg-stravaganza of fun and egg-citement for the whole family.  The famous amusement park is open daily throughout the Easter holidays and its not just the amazing line up of rides for you to enjoy – there are shows and activities taking place each day.

Between Saturday 13th and Monday 22nd April there will be Easter activities taking place each day at FY4, next to the Spectacular Dancing Water Show.  The whole area will be filled with egg-citing games, activities and shows.  Each day will see six different eggs-clusive games played and that’s no YOKE!  There will also be a Live Easter egg-stravaganza with the “HOP ‘N’ BOP” show featuring Bradley and Bella Beaver.  Youngsters can also try their hand at egg decorating and Easter bonnet making with prizes to be won daily and of course lots of Easter Eggs.  You wont be able to control your egg-citement.

On Saturday 20th April, the first Late Night Riding and Fireworks event of the year takes place.  Ride into the night on the UK’s tallest coaster, The Big One, check out the twists and turns of ICON at twilight, enjoy a night race on the Grand National or take a night flight into the dusk on Red Arrows Skyforce.  From 10pm that night, the skies will be lit up by an amazing fireworks display with a fantastic musical soundtrack.

Just in time for Easter, Blackpool Pleasure Beach has launched two cracking new products which means guests will be scrambling to save £££s on their visit.  The Open Dated Wristband mean that visitors to Blackpool Pleasure Beach can purchase a wristband for a great online price and then visit on any day of the 2019 season.

When booking, guests will have the option to purchase a wristband with a specific date or an Open Dated Wristband.  Once they purchase the Open Dated Wristband online, they will receive a reference which they can redeem at the Ticket Centre on any day of the season. 

The April Pass is the perfect way to experience Blackpool Pleasure Beach over the Easter Holidays.  This gives you an unlimited ride wristband every day until April 28th 2019.

Open Dated Wristbands can be purchased online from Monday 1st April and cost just £30, a saving of £9 on the gate price.  April Passes cost just £55 when booked online in advance.

2019 will be even bigger at Scandinavia’s biggest summerland

By | April 5, 2019

Danish and foreign families with children of all ages can look forward to a brand-new ride when they visit Scandinavia’s biggest Summerland in 2019. Following an investment of more than EUR 5 million in a large new themed ride means, visitors can take to the air in Tigeren – Denmark’s biggest Gyro Swing – when the park opens on 4 May 2019.

There are lots of thrills and fun to be had for speed-loving children at Djurs Sommerland when the park opens for its 39th season, because once again an exciting big new attraction dominates the programme. Tigeren will be Denmark’s biggest Gyro Swing, and the tallest and fastest ride in the history of Djurs Sommerland.

“We expect this year’s new ride will be a huge success, and I’m convinced that most people will have to really take a breath and summon their courage to step aboard Tigeren. Tigeren is a thrill ride, where a rotating gondola at the end of a giant pendulum swings visitors up 45 metres above the ground at 100 km/h. You will feel as though you’re flying, as you rise up off your seat and experience the feeling of floating in mid-air. It will definitely be fun, and we’re delighted to be offering our visitors yet another ride which can only be found at Djurs Sommerland,” says CEO Henrik B. Nielsen.

Tigeren will be part of Djurs Sommerland’s new Wild Asia theme area together with DrageKongen – Europe’s fastest and longest Family Suspended Coaster – and the family rides Jungle Rally and Safaribussen. Since 2017, more than EUR 20 million has been invested in the new theme area’s comprehensive thematisation and fun rides. Wild Asia will be the park’s ninth theme area.

A thriving amusement park
Since Djurs Sommerland launched its present investment strategy in 2008, the park has invested more than EUR 65 million in new high-quality rides and improvements.

In the past 10 years, an impressive 30 new rides have opened at the park. This includes Denmark’s biggest roller coasters Piraten, Juvelen, Skatteøen and DrageKongen, which rank among the very best roller coasters in Europe. In addition to these spectacular roller coasters, investments have also been made in rides and amusements for guests of all ages. In 2015, for example, Bondegårdsland opened with 10 fun rides, while yet another children’s coaster and family ride opened in 2018.

“Innovation is crucial in our industry, and the numerous investments in recent years have significantly boosted visitor numbers. Since the 2007 season, the number of visitors has increased from 472,000 to this year’s record-breaking 818,000 visitors. Djurs Sommerland is also becoming better known within the industry, and in 2018 we were among the finalists for the title of ‘Europe’s best family park with less than one million visitors a year’,” says Henrik B. Nielsen.

The future undoubtedly looks bright for Djurs Sommerland and all the visitors to the park, where more new big rides and product improvements are planned.

RCI en route to Seatrade Cruise Global

By | April 5, 2019

ALLEGAN, Mich. — Ropes Courses Incorporated (RCI) will soon be saying hello to the Sunshine State for the second year in a row as they will be exhibiting at the Seatrade Cruise Global show in Miami, Florida. The show will take place in the Miami Beach Convention Center from April 9-11 with an estimated 12,000 attendees and over 900+ exhibitors scheduled. Situated in booth #2218 for the entirety of the show, RCI plans to present their premier adventure products, Sky Trail aerial attractions as well as Clip ‘n Climb climbing walls, to showcase both the features and benefits of each to the cruise industry. Currently in 33 countries, RCI adventure products are also present onboard major cruise lines such as MSC Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Costa Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line.

Throughout the 3-day expo, RCI will be available to talk to developers about all that adventure attractions like Sky Trail® can provide their ship or port destination such as high throughputs, minimal maintenance, low operator costs and of course memorable experiences for guests of all ages and skill levels. In addition to the many benefits RCI products can provide on and off the cruise ship, Sky Trail® is also constructed using marine-grade materials to give the attraction increased durability, strength and longevity as it entertains by the sea. 

“We want to showcase to the maritime industry how our adventure products can be valuable assets and drive sustainable growth on both cruise ships as well as at ports of call locations” explains Jon Weston, chief sales officer for RCI. “For any moment in the itinerary, RCI attractions are there to further extend the cruise experience for families of all ages.”

The 2019 Seatrade Cruise Global show is not the only major involvement in the marine industry for RCI as the company has several projects lined up for this year as well as into 2020 and beyond. During the month of April, the renovated Carnival Sunrise, previously Carnival Triumph, will set sail with a 10 pole, 1 level Sky Trail attraction that stands 22 feet tall (6.71m) and will feature 20 interactive elements for participants to traverse over including a ‘Walk the Plank’ element which consists of a 6-inch wide beam extending out above the ocean waters below for an extra thrill. Receiving a similar addition though not yet setting sail, the MSC Grandiosa cruise ship will also soon be home to a 24 foot tall (7.49m) Sky Trail® with 24 elements for participants to challenge themselves with. Though details cannot be disclosed yet at this time, MSC Cruise Line and RCI do have plans to collaborate once again on a few additional ships in 2020 and 2021.

Even with upcoming projects and expo appearance in April, RCI is not slowing down. In June, RCI will be returning to Florida from June 18-21 for the first ever Cruise Ship Interiors Expo also held at the Miami Beach Convention Center. With over 200 diverse suppliers within the cruise industry anticipated to attend, RCI will be in booth #147 talking with industry professionals, learning from other exhibitors in the industry and further expanding their involvement onboard cruise ships through their engaging adventure products.

DNP Releases software update for Snap Lab SL620A photo printing kiosk solution

By | April 4, 2019

CONCORD, N.C. — DNP Imagingcomm America Corporation (DNP IAM) today announced the immediate availability of its Snap Lab SL620A software update – version 3.4.25.0. The new software version provides a range of functional updates and improvements.

As part of the new software version, users can now execute a digital wireless transfer of images from cell phones to the Snap Lab without use of the mobile app. This new capability makes it easier for customers to input and print the photos. A new index print feature has also been added. The index print can be added to the print job and will show thumbnails of every image in the print job order. 

Other enhancements for better workflows during events include a new Event Mode control which now allows an operator to set the quantity for minimum and maximum photos per order and the ability to process credit card payment directly through the interface.

“Adding this functionality and new features to the Snap Lab software is a direct result of feedback from our customers in the event photography and photo retail markets,” stated Shinichi Yamashita, President of DNP IAM. “These improvements are part of continuous upgrades we have made to the software platform, enhancing its capabilities with no additional investment required.” 

The DNP Snap Lab photo printing system has become one of the best-selling, most desired event photography systems on the market because of its ease-of-use, light weight, small footprint, and full feature set in a compact photo solution — with no PC required. The Snap Lab has been engineered with a 10.1 -inch touch-sensitive color LCD and a user-friendly graphical user interface (GUI), providing instant photo printing and access to numerous templates to add borders and text to photos, collages, calendars, and a host of other features. 

OWA announces $100 million+ expansion plans for Phase II

By | April 3, 2019

FOLEY, Ala. — OWA (oh-wah), the Gulf Coast’s largest entertainment destination, is continuing to expand with the announcement of a $100 million investment for Phase II. Construction is slated to begin summer 2019 and will include the Gulf Coast’s largest indoor waterpark, an accompanying 200-room resort hotel with conference space, and a luxury, family-friendly RV Park.

Creek Indian Enterprises Development Authority (CIEDA), the economic development arm of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, has continually invested in OWA over the last three years. With the addition of Phase II, CIEDA’s investments will exceed $350 million+ towards advancing OWA’s presence as a year-round Alabama resort destination.”

Being a substantial economic driver for the State of Alabama, we have continually invested into OWA’s diverse entertainment offerings in an effort to provide visitors and residents with a one-of-a-kind resort experience,” said Cody Williamson, President/CEO of CIEDA.

Keeping in line with OWA’s theme of “big water,” which is derived from the Muscogee Creek language, the decision was easily made to add the Gulf Coast’s largest indoor waterpark to the next phase. Selecting this newest amenity will allow the beach experience to be available throughout the year.

“We chose to start the next phase with a large indoor waterpark because it allows our guests a year-round opportunity to play in the water,” said Kristin Hellmich, OWA’s Director of Marketing/PR. “whether it’s cooling off their summer sun burns or escaping cold temperatures, this exciting new amenity will provide never-ending thrills.” 

Construction will begin this summer for all additions in Phase II. Tentative completion dates currently target the end of 2019 for the RV park opening, with an early 2021 opening for the hotel and indoor water park. For more information about OWA, go to VisitOWA.com.

Guests to get a peek behind the scenes during SeaWorld’s ‘Inside Look’

By | April 3, 2019

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — During SeaWorld San Antonio’s “Inside Look,” guests can go behind the scenes to see firsthand what goes into providing world-class animal care and to hear from the professionals who provide that care every day of the year. 

 Inside Look, which is included with park admission, will bring together park guests, zoological staff members and amazing animals. It will be available during normal park operating hours on three consecutive Saturdays and Sundays – March 30-31; April 6-7 and April 13-14.  

“We believe this one-of-a-kind experience will amaze and inspire,” said Carl Lum, SeaWorld park president. “It will enable our guests to learn more about the top-notch, day-to-day care our animal experts provide. Inside Look participants will have the opportunity to meet SeaWorld veterinarians, animal rescuers and marine-zoological specialists and ask them questions.” 

Guests will be able to visit six Inside Look locations throughout the park where SeaWorld’s animal care experts and behaviorists will share specifics about the park’s mission to provide extraordinary care and help animals in need. Upon entering the park, guests can pick up an Explorer’s Guide to help plan their day. Those who collect six stamps in their Explorer’s Guide will earn a SeaWorld Expert Explorer’s pin, while supplies last. Inside Look tours are available at Beluga Stadium (Global Conservation), Pacific Point Preserve (Sea Lions), Orca Stadium (Orca Care and Research), Zoological Support Area (Zoological Support), Penguin Encounter (Penguins) and the Animal Connections Center (Animal Ambassadors) at various times throughout the day. For more information, visit SeaWorldSanAntonio.com

On Inside Look days, SeaWorld will make available two special offers – a 10 percent discount on plush animals and a buy-any-animal-tour, get-a-shark-tour-free opportunity.

Daytona Lagoon announces official grand opening of new water slides

By | April 3, 2019

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — As an unseasonable cold winter and spring has many Floridians dreaming of warmer days, Daytona Lagoon has made moves to ensure the upcoming season is the best one yet.  Central Florida’s favorite waterpark and family entertainment center has added two new major water slides for the 2019 season.

“There’s nothing much better than a new waterslide opening, except for two brand new waterslides opening!” exclaims Tyler Currie, General Manager of Daytona Lagoon. 

Shaka Halfpipe is an all-new pendulum-style ride that adrenaline junkies will love.  Hang loose on this single or two-person, over-the-edge inner tube experience that propels riders straight up then backwards over a 50-foot half pipe.  The high thrill float ride merges the thrill of a freefall and uphill movement in an oscillating sequence that leaves you ready to ride again.

Kraken’s Revenge replaces and upgrades Kraken’s Quest, which was damaged by Hurricane Irma.  Rising over 50 feet tall, this multi-colored four lane, forward face racing slide offers riders a rush while sliding through a high-speed time warp tunnel and competing against each other.  The sky-light rings used to create the tunnel effect are the first of its kind for Central Florida. 

The nearly 1.5 million-dollar collection of off-season park improvements also include a new wave maker for bigger waves at the popular Treasure Lagoon Wave Pool, new arcade games for new challenges to conquer including Virtual Rabbids Virtual Reality game, a newly expanded and remodeled retail and redemption store, plus newer, more flavorful food options. “We are so excited for guests to experience some new thrills and our park improvements in 2019, while we maintain our commitment to provide the same family friendly, affordable prices,” continues Currie.

Ribbon-Cutting Celebration Planned
The waterslides are now open with a symbolic “ribbon cutting” celebration to take place on Friday, April 26 from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m. to welcome the new water slides.  Media is encouraged to attend.

Dignitaries, media personalities, and the mascots from the Daytona Tortugas, Daytona’s professional baseball team, will participate in the festivities. 

The celebration comes almost two years after Volusia County was hit by Hurricane Irma.  During this time, Daytona Lagoon was lucky enough to reopen within a week of the storm and became a community gathering spot for those without power.

SeaWorld Orlando is now a certified autism center

By | April 3, 2019

ORLANDO, Fla. — Today, on World Autism Awareness Day, SeaWorld Orlando announced that it has been designated as a certified autism center by The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES). SeaWorld Orlando joins Aquatica Orlando and Discovery Cove to become the first family of parks, in the world’s leading theme park destination, to be certified.    

“We are incredibly proud to be the first family of Orlando theme parks to achieve these certifications,” said Mark Pauls, SeaWorld Orlando park president. “We want to create lasting memories for all our guests. As families start planning their summer travel, the resources and tools that our parks now offer can provide peace of mind for families with members that have autism and other special needs.  Our parks and staff are now equipped to offer families inclusive activities, helping to ensure meaningful experiences for everyone.”

Earlier this year, Aquatica Orlando became the world’s first water park to be recognized as a certified autism center and Discovery Cove in Orlando became the first all-inclusive day resort and animal interaction park in the U.S to be designated.  Theses certifications followed sister park Sesame Place, the first theme park in the world to reach this accreditation in April 2018.

The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) worked with SeaWorld Orlando on the completion of a staff-wide autism sensitivity and awareness training as well as an onsite review of the park property and guest experience, officially designating SeaWorld Orlando as a Certified Autism Center (CAC).

“SeaWorld Orlando creates fun, educational experiences that are intended to be enjoyed by all. We think the training and the park specific sensory guides provide useful information to ensure that our guests are armed with all the information they need to prepare, be informed and enjoy their time at our parks”, continued Pauls.   

As Certified Autism Centers, the parks are required to provide ongoing training to ensure that team members have the requisite knowledge, skills, temperament and expertise to interact with all families and children with special needs, specifically on the autism spectrum.  Training takes place in the areas of sensory awareness, environment, communication, motor and social skills, program development, and emotional awareness as well as a comprehensive autism competency exam. The autism training must be taken every two years in order to maintain the certification.

In addition, robust pre-visit planning resources have been added to SeaWorld Orlando’s website including a park specific sensory guide developed by IBCCES. This sensory guide makes it easier for parents to plan activities that satisfy their child’s specific needs and accommodations, by providing insight on how a child with sensory processing issues may be affected by each sense for each attraction, including highlighting areas that are more soothing.

SeaWorld Orlando recently debuted Sesame Street at SeaWorld Orlando, a fully immersive and interactive six-acre land providing all the fun, laughter and learning of Sesame Street.  The land features the iconic Sesame Street neighborhood including Abby Cadabby’s Garden, Big Bird’s Nest, Mr. Hooper’s Store and the famous 123 Stoop, as well as everyone’s favorite Sesame Street friends and a first ever daily parade.    

One of SeaWorld Orlando’s designated quiet spaces can be found here, with adjustable lighting and a comfortable seating area for guests to take a break from the sensory overload often found in theme parks.    Another quiet space is near the front of the park, and both can be easily found on the park map. Stated Myron Pincomb, IBCCES Board Chairman,  “IBCCES is excited to be on this journey with SeaWorld as we work in tandem to educate and train their staff.  With 1 in 59 children diagnosed on the autism spectrum it is nice to see SeaWorld’s long term commitment to providing services that encourage inclusivity in the parks.  This should be the industry standard  and we’re working with leaders in the field to make that happen. Thousands of hours of hard work and training have been completed by SeaWorld’s dedicated ambassadors, and they are opening doors for all individuals to engage in the different activities the parks have to offer. Having conducted an onsite review of the park property and guest experience, we have seen firsthand SeaWorld’s commitment and contributions to education and animal care and their enthusiasm for sharing those experiences with all guests.” Kerry Magro is an IBCCES Board Member, an advocate for the autism community and is also on the autism spectrum. “To see SeaWorld Orlando continue to want to make an impact and be a leader in the industry and in the autism community is wonderful. We need more groups like them.”