LOUISVILLE, Ky. – On the heels of a very successful 2016 season, Kentucky Kingdom announces its new attractions and additions for 2017. Leading the list is “Eye of the Storm,” a 24-passenger, high-speed thrill ride with a roller coaster train that circles a seven-story loop, featuring continuous rotations, inversions, and both forward and backward motions (see below photo, video, and spec sheet). With the addition of “Eye of the Storm,” Kentucky Kingdom now has more than 80 rides and attractions, including five roller coasters, 20 water attractions, and one of the largest selections of children’s rides in the region, with two additional children’s rides to be introduced in 2017.
The park is also upgrading its classic wooden coaster, Thunder Run, which will receive a new train and track modifications at a cost of more than half a million dollars. Bill Hargrave, the park’s Vice President of Construction, remarked, “This new train replaces the original Thunder Run train first put into service in 1990. With its advanced technology, the new train, together with the track improvements, will give coaster enthusiasts a smoother and faster ride.”
Other improvements include the installation of more shade structures in the water park and at ride queue lines; additional lockers; a greater number of tables, chairs, and benches throughout the park; more lounge chairs for the water park; beefed-up air conditioning in restrooms and dining areas; upgraded technology to expedite season pass processing and in-park purchases; three additional ticket windows to speed entry into the park; and, for convenience, an additional entrance to the Hurricane Bay water park.
Ed Hart, President and CEO of Kentucky Kingdom, commented, “Last year, we completed our initial three-year development plan and attendance rose to approximately 800,000, representing a 60% increase over attendance at the time the previous park closed (in 2009). With tremendous support from my partners (Ed Glasscock, Bruce Lunsford, and the Al J. Schneider Company), we’ve spent a total of $54 million over the past three years. That’s $10 million more than the amount we committed to spend. Now we are ready for round two – a second three-year development plan, with the goal of achieving at least one million visits. Our approach has always been the same: to add new attractions for every age and thrill level, provide outstanding guest service in a safe and friendly environment, and offer prices the average family can afford.”
Hart went on to add, “We take our role as a leader in the Commonwealth’s tourism industry very seriously. With the hundreds of thousands of out-of-state visitors now coming to Kentucky Kingdom each year, the park not only helps fill local hotel rooms, but also helps boost attendance at other attractions, both locally and throughout the state.”
“In addition,” Hart said, “for many of our more than 1,000 seasonal team members, a summer job at Kentucky Kingdom is their first real job. We are dedicated to providing them the best possible training and mentoring. This not only helps them perform well in their duties here at the park, but also gives them a solid foundation for whatever career path they may ultimately choose.”
In 2017, Kentucky Kingdom’s general admission price will be $49.95. Season passes, which include free parking, a 20% discount on in-park purchases, and $1.00 soft drinks, are now on sale for only $59.95 at the park’s website (www.kentuckykingdom.com) and at all area Kroger stores. For more information, please check the park’s website.
PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. – After assessing the damage wrought by recent wildfires in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, Dollywood is focusing its efforts for the next two days supporting the community.
Dollywood hosts have joined in supporting the needs of their fellow hosts affected as well as assisting other area businesses in supplying personal care items to the shelter at the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge and they continue to feed and house firefighters and first responders.
“I have been watching the terrible fires in the Great Smoky Mountains and I am heartbroken. I am praying for all the families affected by the fire and the firefighters who are working so hard to keep everyone safe. It is a blessing that my Dollywood theme park, the DreamMore Resort, Dixie Stampede and so many businesses in Pigeon Forge have been spared,” Dolly Parton said.
Thanks to the hard work by community firefighters and first responders, Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort is open to guests. The Dollywood theme park will resume normal operation on Friday, December 2 at 2 p.m.
For those interested in helping victims of the wildfires, contact the American Red Cross (1-800-Red Cross) or text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate ten dollars to the American Red Cross disaster relief fund.
ORLANDO, Fla. – IAAPA Attractions Expo 2016 broke all records as an all-time high 35,100 attractions industry professionals gathered in Orlando this week to experience the future of the industry across the largest trade show floor in the event’s 98-year history. The attractions industry business is booming around the world and the success of IAAPA Attractions Expo 2016 rounds out a record-breaking year for all three of IAAPA’s Expos, including the events in Asia and Europe. The weeklong trade show and conference in Orlando took place Nov. 14-18 in the Orange County Convention Center.
More than 22,600 buyers, including attractions industry owners, presidents, general managers, directors, and managers joined creative innovators throughout the week to announce new products, test the latest technologies, discuss trends and hot topics, taste new food and beverage options, and learn from leading experts. IAAPA Attractions Expo is the premier conference and trade show for the $39.5 billion global attractions industry and serves as the marketplace of innovation for the industry. The event is owned and produced by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA).
“What an amazing week and year. This record-setting show caps off a record year for IAAPA Expos around the world,” said Paul Noland, IAAPA president and CEO. “With the largest gathering in nearly 20 years, the success of IAAPA Attractions Expo 2016 is an indication of sustained growth in the industry.”
The five-day Expo pumped an estimated $51.3 million into the Orlando-area economy.
DENMARK – A generational and ownership change has been implemented in Fårup Sommerland, as Søren Kragelund is selling his shares in the company and will resign as CEO and board member.
“Of course it is with a certain sadness that we are announcing that Søren Kragelund has decided, as he reaches 68, to sell his owner’s share in the company and is stepping down as director and board member of Fårup Sommerland. Over half a lifetime, Søren has created a successful and eminent lighthouse in a North Jutland and the Danish context. His vision, innovation and hard work is the reason why Fårup Sommerland is, today, an extremely well-run company and an internationally renowned amusement park. “Everyone involved in Fårup Sommerland owes Søren Kragelund a big thank you. This includes all of North Jutland tourism and the Region, for putting Fårup Sommerland on the world map”, says Chairman Ole Mølgaard.
Fårup Sommerland was established by Søren Kragelunds father, Anders Kragelund, and Henrik Schancks mother, Kamma Schnack, in 1975. In 1996, the current owners and cousins, Søren Kragelund and Henrik Schnack, took joint ownership, with 50 percent each.
“Of course this is a big, but also very considered, decision I have made. I’ve enjoyed more than 40 fantastic years in Fårup, and my children are pursuing their own careers in London and Copenhagen. It is, therefore, a very good solution for myself and my family that the Schnack family has the opportunity to take over my owner’s share,” says Søren Kragelund.
With the acquisition of Søren Kraglund’s shares in the parent company, M. Kragelund Holdings, Henrik Schnack and his sons, Martin Norrbom Sam and Jacob Schnack, are now the sole owners of Fårup Sommerland.
“I am very pleased that we are able to maintain Fårup Sommerland as a family owned North Jutland business. It will ensure that the core values Fårup stands for will be retained. Over more than 40 years, Fårup achieved a fantastic position and some very good results, and we continue to see good opportunities for positive development, which was, of course, a premise for acquiring the entire shareholding. It is a very well-run company we are acquiring all the shares of, for which Søren must take a very large part of the credit,” says manager Henrik Schnack.
A process will soon be initiated to find a new, future CEO for Fårup Sommerland.
Company board member and former auditor, Tage Borregaard, has taken up the role of new interim director and, together with the experienced staff and the board, he will lead the company until a new CEO is hired.
ORLANDO, Fla. – This November, AV Stumpfl is exhibiting the Wings Engine Raw 8K uncompressed media server for the first time at Booth 1671 at IAAPA Attractions Expo 2016.
As attractions and theme parks work on new ways to excite audiences through gripping visual information, storytelling and creative use of immersive displays, the demand for truly reliable and uncompressed playout solutions is steadily growing.
To the delight of exhibit and content designers worldwide, the Wings Engine Raw 8K media servers are capable of displaying visuals using a full 12-bit color space, delivering more color information than the current media server standard. Additional show control options make the world of AV Stumpfl media server products perfect for creating integrated and hassle free workflows.
Working with uncompressed image sequences can sometimes be time consuming due to the exceptionally large file size. In order to make it easier to transfer such files at short notice, AV Stumpfl’s Wings Vioso RX software has integrated a new workflow model. Working with massive file sizes has never been easier. All Wings Engine Raw media servers now come with Dual 10 GBit network cards. In addition to this, AV Stumpfl also offers certified NAS (network attached storage) systems as well as certified 10 GBit switches for flawless operation. The Wings Vioso RX software now features a dedicated data management and transfer system that does not require all data to be physically copied onto a “Master” server. Instead, data can be copied to the NAS and assigned as so called “Proxy Objects” in the timelines. All “Slave” servers can now get their content directly from the NAS systems.
A powerful real-time pixel mapping engine has just been added to the Wings Vioso RX software platform (available for all Wings Engine media servers). The mapping matrix can be imported from CSV tables for real-time editing.
During the IAAPA Attractions Expo, Matt Finke, founder of the acclaimed show and lighting design company Loop Light, takes visitors on a journey into the world of Wings. The award winning designer shares insights and his first-hand experiences in live event production environments. Loop Light has worked on several exciting live event presentations to date using Wings Engine Raw.
Finke will present the very latest Wings developments, including the Avio Manager combined with the Wings Touch’s new master pages. They promise to reduce the time taken to create a user interface and connections needed to run a presentation system more smoothly.
The unique configuration allows for double the occupancy of most wave pools by giving guests access to the pool at both ends.
David Allacher, aquatic supervisor at Splash Cove, said, “The guest response to the Twin Tides pool is astronomical. They love this wave pool; any time they walk in, they see the waves rolling and they are ready to get in and rock and roll.”
ORLANDO, Fla. – UK-based Simworx has announced the launch of another major addition to its product range, the 360° Flying Theatre.
The specialist supplier of media based dynamic simulation attractions has partnered with Dutch company Mondial, one of the leading amusement ride manufacturers in the world, to bring an all new range of technologies together for a spectacular new attraction. Providing a real sensation of flying with the passengers’ legs dangling freely below them, the Flying Theatre is available with 60 seats in three rows of 20 and offers unique movements with up and down, sideways to both sides, forward and backward motion.
Riders watch a movie on a huge dome screen as they ‘fly’ through the experience which is enhanced by a range of new technologies and optional special effects. Complete show control and an integrated audio visual system are combined with Simworx’s world renowned expertise in delivering high quality 3D AV solutions to ensure a thrilling experience suitable for a wide age range.
The Flying Theatre is supplied as a full turnkey solution, with all audio visual and effects hardware supplied by Simworx. The attraction is designed, built and produced exclusively for the UK company by Mondial, bringing together a combination of knowledge and expertise from both organisations to create what Simworx is confident will be a hugely popular attraction at a wide range of venues.
“We are delighted to announce the launch of the new Flying Theatre which has been an exciting project for us to develop,” said Simworx Managing Director Terry Monkton. “In conjunction with Mondial we have created a thrilling attraction that utilises cutting edge ride technology and the latest AV solutions to provide what will be hugely exciting and enjoyable experiences.
“As operators increasingly seek to install unique attractions that help them differentiate themselves from their competitors and which appeal to all the family, we are confident our Flying Theatre will create much interest throughout the global attractions industry.”
Simworx is recognised as a world leader in the supply of media based dynamic simulation attractions – including its 4D effects cinemas and Immersive Tunnel – for the worldwide entertainment, education and corporate markets. Its capabilities extend from full turnkey solutions, custom attractions, product development, manufacturing and service support, to film content and complete themed attractions. Clients also have access to a vast film library with hugely varied subject content suitable for the wide variety of venue types the company works with.
ORLANDO, Fla. – The lakefront kiddieland at Quassy Amusement & Waterpark, Middlebury, Conn., will be taking flight with two new rides for the 2017 season, park officials said today.
Skipper’s Clipper’s, a Pirate Jet ride from SBF/Visa Group, and Up, Up & Away, a Zamperla Samba Balloon, have been purchased by the landmark property, Quassy owners Eric Anderson and George Frantzis II announced during a press conference at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) Attractions Expo at the Orange County Convention Center here.
“We’re excited about bringing these two new attractions to the park,” Anderson said during the gathering at the SBF/Visa Group booth on the tradeshow floor. “They represent our continued commitment to reinvesting in the property and improving the guest experience.”
The new rides will be located in a kiddieland area formally occupied by two children’s Hampton Umbrella Rides. Both of those attractions were retired by the park after the close of the 2016 season.
“These are great modern rides for the youngsters,” noted Frantzis. “And unlike the Hamptons, adults may accompany their children on the new rides.”
PIRATE JET – With a capacity of 24 children, or 12 children and six adults, Skipper’s Clipper’s (Pirate Jet) consists of six smartly-themed pirate ships that are gently lifted into the air and revolve around its center drive mechanism.
Each rider has a ship’s wheel (helm) to interact with on the brightly-decorated and lighted vessels.
The ride is manufactured by Visa International of the SBF/Visa Group, Montagnana, Italy. SBF/Visa Group is represented in the U.S. by Rides4U, Somerville, N.J.
UP, UP & AWAY – Quassy named its Zamperla Samba Balloon ride Up, Up & Away and it will be the first attraction of its type in the 20-acre property.
“The unique thing about the ride is that it oscillates – rising and diving as it turns,” Frantzis asserted. “The experience reminds me of our former Octopus ride, but on a smaller scale.”
Each of the eight balloon baskets also spin – controlled by the guests – adding additional thrill to the experience. Up to 32 children – or 16 children and eight adults – may participate on the ride. The attraction has a brilliant computerized light package for added appeal.
Zamperla is headquartered in Altavilla Vincentina, Italy, with U.S. offices Boonton, N.J. The new attractions are expected to be ready for the park’s opening on Saturday, May 6, 2017.
ORLANDO, Fla. – Andretti Indoor Karting & Games debuted details about their ground breaking upcoming Orlando track design and attractions to more than 30,000 attractions industry professionals from around the world in Orlando, Florida, during IAAPA Attractions Expo, the attractions industry’s premier trade show and conference.
Opening in July 2017 off of I-Drive, behind the Orange County Convention Center and next to the new Top Golf, the Orlando AIKG location will bring the realm of Orlando entertainment to a new level with the world’s first indoor high speed karting track with multiple modular track designs featuring the most elevation changes and banked turns in the world. Beyond the track, locals, tourists and convention goers alike will get their heart pounding with the multitude of attractions like 120+ state of the art arcade games, two-level laser tag arena, elevated ropes course featuring the first curved zip line, professional racing simulators, 12 lanes of upscale boutique bowling and the thrilling interactive Dark Ride motion theater. “We are always growing and striving to provide the latest and most thrilling entertainment experiences to our guests,” said Eddie Hamann, Managing Member. “We are in talks with several new one of a kind attractions here at IAAPA that we are looking at possibly featuring at our new Orlando location.”
Andretti Indoor Karting and Games is headquartered in Roswell, Ga. and was established in 2001. Their locations feature high-speed super-karts, European-style tracks, a state of the art arcade, XD motion theater, racing simulators, ropes course and attractions such as cosmic rock wall, zip line, laser tag and bowling. Each location is also home to The Andretti Grill, a full bar/ restaurant capable of serving our 10,000+ square feet of event and meeting space.
ORLANDO, Fla. – Biannually, since 1980, the prestigious Applause Award honors a park whose management, operations and creative accomplishments have inspired the industry with foresight, originality and sound business development.
The winner of the 2016 Applause Award is Busch Gardens Tampa, FL, USA.
“With a unique mix of world-class attractions, outstanding animal exhibits and strong seasonal events, Busch Gardens Tampa is not just one of the leading destination parks in North America, but also a favorite amongst Florida residents. Busch Gardens Tampa has through continuous re-investments, attention to guest value and a focus on employees as the primary source for long-term success, established itself as one of the beacons of the global attractions industry”, says Andreas Veilstrup Andersen, President and CEO, Liseberg Group and Chairman of The Applause Award Board of Governors.
The Applause Award was presented today at the opening ceremony of IAAPA Attractions Expo 2016 in Orlando, Florida.
Previous winners of The Applause Award:
1980 Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, USA
1982 Opryland, USA
1986 Epcot Center, USA
1988 Knott´s Berry Farm, USA
1990 EuropaPark, Germany
1992 Efteling, the Netherlands
1994 Universal Studios, Florida, USA
1996 Cedar Point, USA
1998 Silver Dollar City, USA
2000 Hershey Park, USA
2002 Busch Gardens, Williamsburg, USA
2004 Holiday World & Splashing Safari, USA
2006 Universal´s Islands of Adventure, USA
2008 Xetulul, Guatemala
2010 Dollywood, USA
2012 Ocean Park, Hong Kong
2014 Puy du Fou, France
2016 Busch Gardens Tampa, USA