Pandemic increases demand for cashless technology

By | November 13, 2020

ST. LOUIS — Intercard, the world leader in cashless technology for the amusement industry, is pleased to announce growing sales for its systems in international markets. In recent months, the company has installed its systems in family entertainment centers in Australia, Colombia, Egypt, Iraq, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar. These include operators upgrading by swapping out other vendors’ systems for Intercard as well as first-time buyers of cashless technology.

 Among Intercard’s new customers are two Colombian FECs, Afterland in Medellin, and Happy Caguan Park in Florencia Caqueta. “Many international locations that were closed due to COVID19 are reopening. To provide a safer and more sanitary environment for customers, operators are installing cashless technology in greater numbers than ever,” says Alberto Borrero, Intercard’s senior vice-president of international sales. “Many consumers are no longer comfortable using coins or bills to pay for game play, and cashless systems help calm their concerns.”

Borrero advises operators to carefully evaluate vendors for customer service as well as their technology before choosing a system. “Choosing the wrong system can be a very, very costly mistake, especially if you can’t get expert live support when you need it,” he says. “One of Intercard’s many strengths is its network of partners and distributors around the world that provide expert installation and support. Intercard has kept its service and 24/7 live support functions operating throughout the pandemic.”

With sales up, Intercard CEO Scott Sherrod is cautiously optimistic about the fourth quarter of 2020. “Our industry still has a long way to go to recover from the pandemic, but our resilience is showing. We have replaced more of our competitors’ systems with Intercard this year than ever before,” says Sherrod. “I am delighted to welcome more than 30 new customers around the globe who chose our cashless technology for their immediate and future needs.”

Construction starts on Liseberg’s indoor water park Oceana

By | November 13, 2020

After years of planning, the construction can now start on Liseberg’s year-round, indoor water park. The water park – that will be named Oceana – is the second part of Liseberg’s expansion project, marking the parks centennial in 2023. With unique themes and 14 water attractions, the experience will be unlike anything else on the north European market.

Last year construction started on the first part of Liseberg’s expansion project, the park-integrated Liseberg Grand Curiosa Hotel. Now construction of the second part will begin – the indoor water park Oceana. The building of the hotel and water park is an important step on Liseberg’s journey towards becoming a year-round destination.

The water park will, like the hotel, have a unique theme, inspired by Gothenburg’s history and the Swedish East India Company, combined with Liseberg’s own unique DNA. With a gross area of 13 600 m² indoors, and 4 000 m² outdoors, guests will be able to enjoy everything from toddler pools to thrilling water rides. The park has been designed by one of Sweden’s leading architects, Wingårdhs, and the water attractions will be designed and manufactured by WhiteWater.

In addition to a highly themed environment, the park offers a lot of new features – and not just for the Swedish market. These includes the first six-person raft rides in Europe, and the highest mega-drop Master Blaster in the World.” – says Thomas SjöstrandCPO of Liseberg’s Expansion Project.

The construction of Oceana will take approximately three years and represents an investment of 110 million Euros. With a capacity up to 1750 guests simultaneously, Oceana will be one of the largest water parks in northern Europe.

We live in highly uncertain times, but both Liseberg – and our industry – will get through the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Liseberg expansion project does not just represent an investment to counter this crisis – but an investment in Liseberg’s next centennial.” – says Andreas Veilstrup AndersenCEO of the Liseberg Group.

The construction of Oceana, which will open Q1 2024, will include the first two phases of the water park. The park will be continuously expanded with new attractions and experiences in the years following its opening.

2020 November IAAPA Convention issue

By | November 11, 2020

The November 2020 IAAPA Convention issue of Amusement Today
 is available for FREE via 
Digital Edition and/or downloadable PDF!

  • Bellewaerde opens Wakala 
  • Scene75 Dayton set to return
  • Family surprises Europa-Park’s Roland Mack
  • Lake Placid adds ADG mountain coaster
  • RES provides its compact Roller Ball coaster
  • Sun sets on classic Kennywood attractions
  • Lagotronics Projects stays on cutting edge of interactive technology
  • Skywarp Orbit offers big thrills in small size
  • Massive indoor Suntago Water Park opens
  • National Roller Coaster Museum expansion sees progress
  • Safety seminars and organizations change up plans for 2021
  • Conny-Land adds new coaster train from Sunkid
  • Mobaro launches package to help attractions …and more!

Wink World at Area15 to feature Alex Aliume 3-D psychedelic art gallery

By | November 11, 2020

LAS VEGAS — The Aliume 3-D Psychedelic Art Gallerywill be part of the entryway for “Wink World: Portals Into The Infinite” when it opens at AREA15 later this month. Wink World is the 1,500-square-foot immersive infinity room experience that takes founder Chris Wink’s entertaining fusion of whimsy, color, art, technology and music he pioneered with Blue Man Group to the next level.

To strike the right mood for Wink World’s meditation on infinity, Wink recruited rising art-star Alex Aliume to make a cosmically inspired, 3-D black light art gallery in the expanse that leads to exhibit’s first infinity mirror room. Wink worked with Aliume to choose 15 of his distinctive artworks that relate to the concept of infinity. Aliume’s work was already featured inside Wink World’s sixth infinity mirror room, its gift shop and across the entire façade, but Wink sought to give Aliume a space where guests could enjoy his art in a gallery setting. Guest entering the Aliume Gallery will receive ChromaDepth 3-D glasses that make the colors appear to float in separate planes. 

“This phenomenal effect makes you feel like you’re literally going inside the art,” explains Wink. “Talk about immersive experiences—it doesn’t get much more immersive than that!” 

Once open, the Aliume 3-D Psychedelic Art Gallery will be best viewed through ChromaDepth glasses that will be included in the ticket price to Wink World. These glasses can also be used to view numerous sacred geometry designs Aliume painted on the walls throughout AREA15.

For more information about “Wink World: Portals Into The Infinite” at AREA15, click here.

WhiteWater has announced works have commenced on a brand-new project at Mina Seyahi, Dubai

By | November 11, 2020

Jungle Bay – set to be enjoyed exclusively by guests of the Westin Mina Seyahi and Le Meridien Mina Seyahi hotels – is being built right on the beach at Mina Seyahi, just meters from the pristine white sand and azure waves of the Arabian Gulf. 

The water park’s design is inspired by the Cyclades, with a clean, minimalist style. It will feature rides and attractions for all ages; the Lighthouse Mat Racer ride, Whizzard and Body Slides, an impressive AquaPlay structure, gentle Kids’ Slides and a 6-metre pneumatic Wave Pool for all the family. The Refuel Café and Bar will ensure guests can enjoy food and refreshments on tap throughout their day.

Construction is already well underway on the spectacular new project, with works scheduled for completion at the end of the year and the park set to welcome its first hotel guests in January 2021.

The Mina Seyahi area of Dubai covers part of Jumeirah Beach and the newly developed Dubai Harbour, a world-class maritime destination featuring a state-of-the-art cruise terminal and the biggest marina in the region, making it a natural draw for tourists. 

Mike Rigby, Executive Vice President, Middle East and India for WhiteWater, said of the project: “We’re delighted to be working with such a prestigious hotel brand on this exciting new project, which we’re sure will add immeasurable value to the property’s proposition for guests. Dubai is the ideal destination for a water amenity as part of a hotel or resort, with Mina Seyahi being a prime location within the emirate, and Jungle Bay will only enhance the already irresistible experience for visitors.” 

Tolga Lacin, Area General Manager for Marriott International, said: “the Westin Mina Seyahi and Le Meridien Mina Seyahi are already two of Dubai’s most popular hotels, attracting thousands of guests year after year. The addition of Jungle Bay will place the properties firmly at the forefront of the tourism offering in the emirate. We’re excited to be partnering with WhiteWater, having spent many months working with them to design the perfect water amenity for our properties, and we look forward to our first guests enjoying all the action in the park very soon.”

Universal Orlando Resort officially set to grand open Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites on December 15, 2020

By | November 6, 2020

ORLANDO — Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites, the newest hotel at Universal Orlando Resort, will open to guests for the first time on December 15, 2020 with an impressively low starting rate of $79 per night. Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando will also resume operations on December 1, 2020. Safety and well-being protocols will be in place throughout both hotels, as they are across all of Universal Orlando’s hotels and theme parks. 

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel will welcome back guests with newly-renovated rooms and suites throughout the hotel. Guests can relax in surroundings inspired by the beauty, romance and charm of the picturesque seaside village of Portofino, Italy.  A stay at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel includes free Universal Express Unlimited benefits to skip the regular lines at participating rides and attractions at the theme parks. To book a stay, visit https://www.universalorlando.com/web/en/us/places-to-stay/loews-portofino-bay-hotel.

Dockside Inn and Suites will be the second hotel in the destination’s Value category, joining sister property Surfside Inn and Suites. The extra-affordable resort will add 2,050 guest rooms, featuring standard rooms and spacious 2-Bedroom Suites. And with the low $79 per night rate, the all-new hotel creates a value experience that is unmatched in the Orlando area.

Brought to life by the award-winning Universal Creative team, Dockside Inn and Suites will make guests feel like they have escaped to the perfect sunset with the cool, calm feeling of a beach retreat. It’s the destination’s eighth property in partnership with Loews Hotels & Co, providing Universal Orlando guests with a variety of hotel options for every style and budget, complete with exclusive theme park benefits and a seamless vacation experience. 

At Dockside Inn and Suites, guests can experience all that the hotel and Universal Orlando have to offer, including: 

  • 2Bedroom Suites – These suites, which make up more than half the rooms at both Dockside Inn and Suites & Surfside Inn and Suites, sleep up to six and offer guests an unrivaled value. With two separate rooms, families no longer need two connecting rooms for extra space. There is also a kitchenette area, a picnic table for meals and hanging out, and a bathroom with separate bath and vanity areas so multiple people can get ready at once. The 2-Bedroom Suites begin as low as $120 per night based on a four-night stay. 
  • Exclusive Theme Park Benefits – Hotel guests receive exclusive benefits including Early Park Admission to the theme parks, complimentary and convenient shuttle bus transportation, charging privileges with their room key and more. 
  • Pier 8 Market – The all-American Pier 8 Market offers casual dining for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu will feature extra-affordable options with most dishes under $12, ranging from themed comfort foods to convenient on-the-go options. 

Awesome Amenities – The lobby bar, Sunset Lounge, serves specialty cocktails and is the perfect place to unwind after a day at the theme parks. The hotel will feature two pools and two pool bars as well as a Universal Orlando Vacation Planning Center, Universal Studios Store and more.

Industry icon Harold Hudson to keynote AIMS International Virtual Safety Seminar

By | November 6, 2020

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — AIMS International, the unmatched leader in amusement safety education, is pleased to announce Harold Hudson, president and CEO AAPRA Associates, will deliver the keynote address at the 2021 Virtual Safety Seminar.

Prior to joining AAPRA, Harold Hudson spent more than 21 years with Six Flags Theme Parks as the senior vice president of engineering and development. He has extensive knowledge in ride and attractions development, theme park development and park operations, capital planning, and the evaluation of ride systems and manufacturers.

Harold was a founding member of the ASTM F24 Standards Committee and serves on several industry standards and safety commissions and panels where his knowledge of technical safety issues often leads to industry change. He has been a leading advocate of systems that accommodate disabled guests. Valued as a consultant, Harold conducts independent engineering reviews and he is often called as a safety and expert witness in legal proceedings after complicated incidents in our industry.

“Harold is an icon in the amusement industry and a driving force behind many of today’s industry wide safety standards,” said AIMS International Executive Director MJ Brewer. “We are thrilled to have him delivering this year’s keynote address.”

In 2016, Harold was the inaugural AIMS International Safety Award winner and will present this year’s award during his keynote on Monday, January 11, 2021. Presented annually, this prestigious award goes to the individual or organization that demonstrates leadership, innovation, and foresight in improving safety in the amusement industry.

With safety as the industry’s number one priority for guests and employees worldwide, efforts in improving safety are shown in many forms; the design and implementation of new products and technology, the development of safety education programs and training, and by exemplary leadership in influencing others. Nominations for the AIMS International Safety Award will be accepted through December 1, 2020. Nomination forms can be found on the AIMS International website, aimsintl.org under awards.

For those that still need to register, it is not too late to secure the Early Bird registration today at aimsintl.org.

New year starts with fun

By | November 3, 2020

Countdown has started for the 9th International Attractions-Events, Parks-Recreations Exhibition ATRAX 2021 organized by Tureks Uluslararası Fuarcılık. With its motto of ‘WE PLAY BIG’, the Exhibition is getting ready to kick start the sector between 4-6 February 2021 after a long break. ATRAX will be opening its doors at İstanbul Fuar Merkezi and will bring under the same roof, the leading global attraction facility investors, game and equipment manufacturers, event organizers, touristic facility owners, municipalities, hotels, shopping mall directors, construction companies, architects, corporations and suppliers.

As the rules of the game change across the world due to the global pandemic, ATRAX is getting ready to welcome an accumulated potential between 4-6 February 2021, as the first exhibition of the year as a renewed exhibition with high quality standards. With its ever-growing audience every year, the exhibition had hosted 180 exhibitors from 38 countries and 18000 visitors and is expected to host 190000 visitors from 40 countries this year.

“Big Games are played by Big Players”
Having taken on the mission of supporting revival of the sector and commerce with its motto of ‘We Play Big’, ATRAX will be announcing its sponsors with the “Big Games are played by Big Players” slogan. Among the above mentioned “big players” are Polin Waterparks which has become the Gold Sponsor and is a leading name with its innovative and creative products in the global market, as well as Dof Robotics. Nergis Aslan, General Manager of ATRAX organizer Tureks Uluslararası Fuarcılık, stated that ATRAX Exhibition will serve as a bridge to a new era after the current period of recession and that it will serve as a guide for new and upcoming projects by enabling the players of the sector to come together again.

‘’We now understand the value of fun ‘’
Aslan said ‘’During the period we were all locked down in our homes, we understood the value of hanging out together and having fun. We need more than ever to get back to those good old days. Life under lockdown is not a sustainable thing. We will continue our way by implementing personal protection measures like social distancing and using personal protective items and making this our main strategy. Nothing will be the same again. This is what we hear the most during the pandemic…What we all have in common in terms of our foresights is novelty and change. The world will rise again from the crisis and enter a new era of reconstruction. New models of production will emerge. No single society can isolate itself from change. This era is in fact the sound of the footsteps of the new world order. The players have been replaced; the game has changed. The rules of the game have changed as well. We don’t have the luxury to let things happen in their own way. We are renovating our business in order to reconstruct the future correctly. We are getting ready to come together for bigger projects in the new year. Together, we’ll be rearranging the game and we’ll be playing big”.

It’s a wrap in Hollywood in Germany: Movie Park Germany closes the season 2020 earlier due to official Covid-19 rules

By | November 3, 2020

BOTTROP-KIRCHHELLEN — The curtain for the year 2020 already had to fall last weekend in Hollywood in Germany. As part of the decisions of the federal and state government, Movie Park Germany had to close its doors earlier than planned, which also meant that the Halloween Horror Festival had to end after 1 November. The last planned Halloween weekend on 6, 7 and 8 November will therefore be cancelled. The reason for the official decision is the current developments of the Corona pandemic throughout Germany, but also especially in the state of NRW.

Due to the Corona pandemic Germany’s largest movie and amusement park started the new season at the end of May with increased hygiene and infection protection measures. These were regularly reviewed and expanded during the year. The safety and health of all guests and employees had top priority right from the start. This also left a positive impact on the seasonal course of 2020:

“Our hygiene and infection protection concept has been successful. We are pleased to report that, to our knowledge, no chains of infection have been detected among our guests that can be traced back to the park,” says Managing Director Thorsten Backhaus. “We would like to take this opportunity to thank the authorities once again for their good and constructive cooperation and for the quick coordination when the situation required it. Special thanks also go to our guests and employees for their support and assistance in complying with the measures.”

To let its visitors immerse in the world of movies, even under the current regulations, Movie Park Germany always remained true to its motto ‘Hollywood in Germany’ when implementing the new hygiene and safety measures. Whether floor markings, loudspeaker announcements or visitors’ interaction with walking acts such as Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra – everything had been implemented in keeping with the typical DNA of the movie and amusement park. Attractions were cleaned at regular intervals and even far more often than required to prevent infection. In addition, more security personnel and special corona cops were on duty in the park. They did not only monitor guests’ compliance with regulations such as the obligation to wear a face mask or minimum distance rules, but also triggered a very positive media echo.

Also new this year was the online reservation system to regulate the number of visitors. This year, the maximum visitor capacity had to be significantly reduced by official order and strictly adhered to. Finally, only one third of the maximum possible total capacity of visitors was allowed to visit the park.

However, the Corona pandemic has also left its mark economically and the leisure industry is no exception. “After a continuous increase in the number of visitors in recent years, we have recorded a significant drop in the number of visitors this season and are nowhere near matching the results of recent years. This throws us back considerably in our original plans and investment projects. As a result, our quality strategy can no longer be fully implemented in the near future, which we regret very much. This includes, for example, the complete renovation of the sanitary facilities and the installation of more shading areas in the park”, explains Managing Director Thorsten Backhaus. “Despite the current situation, however, we can assure our visitors that Hollywood in Germany never sleeps! The work on our new Multi Dimension Coaster is still in full swing to prepare a fitting present for our visitors for the park’s 25th birthday. The construction of the new family coaster is our big goal for the season 2021 and we are looking forward to presenting a new attraction highlight to our guests”.

Already a few weeks ago, the first rail parts of the new Intamin coaster were delivered. In the coming weeks, these as well as the station of the attraction will be set up and first theming elements will be delivered.

After the PAW Patrol area “Adventure Bay” and “Area 51 – Top Secret”, Germany’s largest movie and amusement park is thus once again expanding its portfolio of attractions for the whole family and thereby living up to its latest award: In the year of the Corona pandemic, the park was again able to convince with its family friendliness. Only recently, Movie Park Germany was again given a Gold rating (No. 1 in amusement parks) by Welt am Sonntag and Service Value.

“The current Corona situation is challenging, but we must not lose our optimism and look positively towards 2021. Our claim remains to be a safe destination for families”, Thorsten Backhaus summarizes.

Cloud data storage from Intercard helps skating center owners recover from devastating fire

By | November 2, 2020

ST. LOUIS — In September, fire ravaged the King Family Fun Center, popularly known as Skate Tiffany’s, in Puyallup, Washington. Fortunately, no one was hurt, but the iconic community skating rink and other indoor attractions were devastated.

Owners Dennis and Melinda King put out a call to the community for help with the clean-up. Intercard sales rep Amber Lambert lives nearby, and she and her family volunteered to spend a Saturday morning cleaning up smoke-damaged roller skates at the popular roller rink and FEC.

“Intercard’s customers are part of a global family, and family helps out in times of need,” says Lambert. “I also toured the facility and saw the damage done by the fire, including the destruction of their computer servers and arcade games. They were a total loss.”

Thanks to Intercard’s use of data storage in a secure cloud environment, the Kings did not lose any of their business data despite the destruction of their computer servers. “Intercard had all their point-of-sale data backed up,” says Lambert. “This has made it possible to retrieve data and get access to the financial reporting they need for their insurance claim.”

The Kings told MYNorthwest.com News that they plan to come back strong and get the skating rink rebuilt as soon as possible. “We know how much it means to the community, and that’s what saddens us the most, is not having a place for the community,” Dennis King said. The center’s outdoor attractions remain open.

About King Family Entertainment Center 
Opened in November 1969 and originally known as Tiffany’s Skate Inn, the center has been family owned and operated for over 50 years. The late Dennis King, Sr. and his wife Carole ran Tiffany’s and three other roller skating facilities in Washington state. When the Kings retired, they sold the business to their son, Dennis King, Jr., and his wife, Melinda.  In 2013, Tiffany’s Skate Inn became “Skate Tiffany’s Roller Skating & Family Fun Center.” Then in 2020 the Kings rebranded their business as “King Family Fun Centers” as part of their plan to open additional skating FECs in Western Washington and beyond.