National Roller Coaster Museum to Expand with Mark Moore Memorial Wing

By | October 27, 2017

PLAINVIEW, Texas — The tragic death of National Roller Coaster Museum founding board member Mark Moore in 2016 is allowing the NRCMA to double the size of its current archive facility complex and to create a showroom for public access to select artifacts within the Museum’s collection. The expansion will be named for Moore and will quantify his success in the industry and his support of the NRCMA.

“The response by the industry to recognize Mark has been unprecedented,” said Jeff Novotny, NRCMA Chairman. “Nearly $325,000 was raised in one day at the 2016 IAAPA Expo in Orlando, which proves Mark Moore was an innovator in the industry and inspiration to his peers. This effort is allowing the Museum to realize some of its loftiest goals.”

A second round of fundraising at the 2017 IAAPA EXPO (November 14-17 in Orlando) will assist in raising funds to complete this and more projects.

Architectural designs for the expansion have been donated by Herschman Architects in Cleveland. Its colorful, whimsical design references the heritage of fun and excitement of the midway, while the functional design provides state-of-the-art display and archive space.

This development joins other endowed expansions of the museum archive complex. Building one was donated by fund­ raising efforts by members of the American Coaster Enthusiasts. Building two doubled the size of the facility thanks to donations from the Gary and Linda Hays family of Cliff’s Amusement Park. Building three was a gift from the Knoebels family to honor Barbara Knoebel. A fourth donation allowed for the construction of the current climate-controlled archives area. These four buildings now house equipment donated by Cedar Fair; Disneyland; Dollywood; Hersheypark; Six Flags and many others. Major archive collections have been donated by the Bill Crandall family; the Bill Cobb/John Pierce collection; Harold Hudson; LARC; Tom Major; the Bob Minick family; the Ron Toomer family and countless others.

As NRCMA continues to expand its collection and to work toward both mobile exhibits and a public museum to showcase the history of the amusement industry but it needs the help of the industry and the general public. Donations can be made by mail: NRCMA, Attention: Jerry Willard, PO Box 5424, Arlington, TX 76005-5424.

North Carolina State Fair sees more than one million

By | October 23, 2017

RALIEGH, N.C. — For the fifth time it its 150-year history, more than one million guests visited the North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh, Oct. 12-22.

A total of 1,014,478 persons passed through the gates during the 11-day expo. A complete story will appear in Amusement Today.

Another Successful Year of Celebrating All Things Texan

By | October 23, 2017

DALLAS, Texas — Although the Fair gates are closing on another run of Texas-sized fun, the memories made during the 2017 State Fair of Texas will remain. As an annual celebration of all things Texan, the tradition continued with the Fair’s 2017 theme, “Celebrating Texans.” This year, the Fair welcomed approximately 2.2 million people through the gates, as of the time of this release. The 2017 event brought big crowds and an even bigger community impact. With the majority of funds going to participating vendors, the Fair generated approximately $54.5 million in gross coupon sales for food, beverages and rides – a second best in the Fair’s 131-year history.

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization the Fair aims to support the community, both locally and statewide. The net proceeds from the Fair are reinvested in Fair Park, in the form of capital improvements; given as scholarships to deserving youth throughout the state of Texas; used to support Fair Park museum facilities and community outreach programs; and used to improve the State Fair’s operation. A successful 24-day run for the Fair means more support for Fair Park and the surrounding community.

“We are grateful to have once again brought friends and family from across the state and around the world to Fair Park in Dallas to celebrate all things Texan,” says Mitchell Glieber, State Fair of Texas president. “With another Fair season under our belt, we look forward to reinvesting its success back into Fair Park and the very community who makes this event possible.

Below is only a glimpse of the achievements during the 2017 State Fair of Texas, but the measurement of success goes far beyond these numbers.

  • At the time of this release, the Fair welcomed approximately 2.2 million fairgoers through the gates
  • Approximately $54.5 million was generated in gross coupon sales for food, beverages, and rides
  • Military Appreciation Day provided free admission for more than 11,300 members of the military and their families
  • More than 7,400 first responders visited the Fair for free on First Responder’s Day
  • The Fair’s single-day gross coupon sales record was broken on October 14, 2017 – the Red River Showdown – with $5.1 million generated
  • The Fair’s livestock and agricultural events hosted a record total of almost 13,000 livestock entries, with 8,100 students competing
  • On Friday, October 6, 2017 the annual Youth Livestock Auction raised a record of more than $1.18 million for youth livestock exhibitors
  • The Grand Champion Market Steer of the Youth Livestock Auction was sold to Superior Trailers and the Big Tex Champion Club for a record high of $141,000
  • Ag Awareness Day gathered more than 8,400 students and leaders representing 179 chapters of 4-H, FFA, and FCCLA to participate in the canned food drive, donating more than 28,000 pounds of food to the North Texas Food Bank
  • Through discount day programs like Kroger’s “It’s a Fair Deal” and Coca-Cola Thursdays, the State Fair helped raise more than 221,577 pounds of food equating to 184,647 meals, all donated to the North Texas Food Bank
  • Several community events were held throughout the 24-day run, the largest being a Community Engagement Day luncheon with 273 in attendance
  • Community members got crafty with a record of 9,569 entries in the Fair’s Creative Arts competitions
  • The Hall of State welcomed 150,000 fairgoers through the doors to showcase its featured exhibits including Texas in the First World War
  • 60 dogs found forever homes at the Fair thanks to “Bark at the Park,” the dog adoption booth run by DFW Rescue Me
  • Fletcher’s celebrated their 75th anniversary by selling more than 615,000 Corny Dogs across their seven concession stands
  • The Big Tex Urban Farms donated more than 220 pounds of fresh produce, including 108 lettuce heads and 72 live basil plants from the farm’s new hydroponic grow tank
  • In 2017, the Fair awarded more than $1.3 million in college scholarship to 217 graduating seniors throughout the Lone Star State
  • Free concerts were once again held on the Chevrolet Main Stage, with FLO RIDA, For King and Country, La Mafia, and The Charlie Daniels Band drawing the largest crowds
  • The Fair hosted 53 events at the brand-new Briscoe Carpenter Livestock Center during its 24-day run
  • More than 128,000 dots were used on the VisitDallas map along Lone Star Boulevard for people to show us where they are from. The dots represented locations from all throughout the world.
  • A new scholarship opportunity was made available to seasonal employees who’ve worked for the Fair for a minimum of 3 years. Eligible recipients include seasonal staff directly employed by the State Fair of Texas or the dependent of a seasonal staff member

With college applications right around the corner, the Fair encourages eligible high school seniors to go online to BigTex.com/scholarship and apply now for a 2018 scholarship. As one of its new initiatives, the State Fair of Texas has partnered with Goodwill Industries of Dallas, Inc. to host the 2nd Annual Big Tex Job Fair on Friday, October 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Fair Park Coliseum. More than 60 local companies will be taking applications and interviewing for employment positions across a broad range of skill sets. A list of participating organizations and additional details can be found at BigTex.com/JobFair.

Polin Waterparks and The Land of Legends Receive WWA’s 2017 Leading Edge Award

By | October 20, 2017

TURKEY — “Polin Waterparks” and “Legends of Aqua Waterpark” at The Land of Legends Theme Park were honored to receive the Leading Edge Award earlier this week during the World Waterpark Association (WWA) Symposium & Trade Show.

Presented by WWA Chairman of the Board Steve Miklosi during the show’s General Session at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach, FL., on October 17 th, 2017, the award was in” recognition of a park and supplier member who, through their combined efforts, have brought a project, product, service or program to fruition, thereby creating industry innovation and leadership.”

Polin’s partner in receiving the award, the world-class Land of Legends Theme Park in Antalya, Turkey, is the first Turkish theme park – and first in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region of the world – to ever be honored with a Leading Edge Award. The Land of Legends features a long and varied list of attractions – from a five-star hotel to a dolphinarium, a wildlife park, a theme park and its “Legend of Aqua waterpark” that sets the park apart.  

A pinnacle of park achievements
Sohret Pakis, the Director of Marketing and Communications for Polin Waterparks, says her company considers the project to be a highpoint among its achievements in 2016. “It’s truly our ‘project of the year,'”she says. “The waterpark part of the project was a huge and truly unique project and one of which we are immensely proud both in terms of design and experience and also in terms of the wide variety of waterpark attractions. We truly congratulate this amazing park with full heart. This award is so well deserved for the Land of Legends.”

Pinar Pehlivan, Marketing Director of The Land of Legends accepted the award at the ceremony alongside Sohret Pakis, Polin’s Director of Marketing & Communications and Kubilay Alpdogan, Director of Sales and Design.  She added: “It is a humbling experience to be considered among the best when so many other outstanding companies and projects also were being recognized. I would like to congratulate all winners.” she said.

The honor is especially rewarding considering that the Land of Legends is new and is already planning to expand. The Land of Legends is adding a new hyper coaster set to open May 2018.”

Following up previous awards from WWA

Polin Waterparks previously received WWA’s Leading Edge Award in 2014 as supplier partner of the Cartoon Network Amazone Waterpark, in Pattaya, Thailand. CN Amazone features 10 themed-entertainment zones with more than 25 rides. The water park also boasts captivating live and multimedia entertainment that incorporates the latest in interactive smart-screen technology.

Since receiving that award, more recently, Polin Waterparks was acknowledged with a 2016 Leading Edge Award during WWA’s event in New Orleans for expertise in innovation. Specifically, last year’s award recognized Polin’s “innovation in waterslide manufacturing that allows for artistic theming, unique patterns and sound effects.”

The WWA’s Board of Directors selected Polin Waterparks for the exclusive honor based on the company’s unique, pioneering and exclusive waterslide-manufacturing technologies, such as closed-molded manufacturing technology, Natural Light Effects, Special Pattern Effects, Patterned Translucency, Slide ‘n Roll, Translucent Slide Parts and new design options that allow parks to offer customized theming, storytelling, spectator appeal and an interactive rider experience.

Amusement Industry Moving Aggressively to Enhance Ride Inspections

By | October 18, 2017

WINTER PARK, Fla. — Government regulators and the amusement industry are moving quickly to improve inspections and testing of major amusement rides after a fatal accident at the Ohio State Fair. The accident identified a hidden problem that was not detected even though the operator and independent inspectors followed current inspection protocols.

Investigators from the Consumer Product Safety Commission concluded that, “Excessive corrosion inside the gondola support beam was the cause of the accident,” and that, “a visual inspection after the ride is in place would not detect corrosion thinning of internal walls.”

“Safety is our number one priority,” said Rob Vivona, whose family has operated Amusements of America since 1939.

“The Ohio incident could have occurred at any venue worldwide,” said Bob Johnson, president of the Outdoor Amusement Business Association. “That is why our industry, IAAPA, many state ride inspection authorities and amusement ride safety organizations, such as the National Association of Amusement Ride Safety Officials (NAARSO), AIMS International, ASTM International, an organization that establishes safety standards worldwide, and the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission met this month to discuss this important issue.”

“We would expect to see new inspection and testing protocols, new safety and design standards and new state requirements to look for this hidden, and until recently, unidentified ride safety issue,” Johnson said. “OABA supports the CPSC recommendations for new performance requirements to prevent water pooling or condensation in critical components that could result in corrosion, and means to facilitate visual inspection of the interior of structural beams and criteria to assess corrosion and action to be taken based on the condition of the material.

“Amusement rides are one of the best known, most popular and safest forms of family entertainment,” Johnson said. “Our entire industry and the government agencies we work with are committed to addressing the issues raised in Ohio.”

Amusement Today’s Gary Slade honored by World Waterpark Association

By | October 18, 2017

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — During the 37th Annual World Waterpark Association Symposium and Trade Show in West Palm Beach, FL, today, Amusement Today publisher and editor Gary Slade was presented with the WWA Commitment to Excellence Award.

Also receiving the honor were Joann Cortéz, director of communication for Hyland Hills Park and Recreation District (Water World) in Federal Heights, CO, and Jim Basala, CEO of Lake County Parks (Deep River Waterpark) in Crown Point, IN. Congratulations to all!

ADG wins WWA’s Leading Edge Award for Twin Tides dual entry wave pool water ride attraction

By | October 18, 2017

COHOES, N.Y. —  Aquatic Development Group (ADG) is proud to announce for the third year in a row, the receipt of the World Waterpark Association’s (WWA) Leading Edge Award. This year, ADG has received the award for their innovative take on the traditional wave pool, Twin Tides.  The award was presented today during the General Opening Session at this year’s WWA Show in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Twin Tides is a dual entry wave pool that employs a unique wave system configuration which allows for continuous wave action across the pool, eliminating dead space and doubling capacity. It is the first-of-its-kind in the market. 

ADG’s first Twin Tides
 opened in 2016 at Splash Cove in Shawnee, KS.  The second reiteration was designed as a crescent shaped version and premiered this past spring at the new H2OBX Waterpark in Powell’s Point, NC. 

“Incorporating the Twin Tides water ride into our mix of attractions at H2OBX was a differentiating factor that set us apart from other waterparks in North America,” said Brian Czarnecki , VP Marketing H2OBX. “It drew in the crowds and kept guests of all ages splashing in the water all day long. With the ability to double the waves and capacity levels, we were able to accommodate the multitude of guests that sought out this ride.”

The Twin Tides Ride is powered by ADG’s Wavetek wave generation system and produces up to four different kinds of recreational waves patterns, from gentle rollers to high-action diamond waves. With a footprint of only 7,000 sqft, this dual-entry wave pool creates double the ride capacity of a standard waterpark wave pool, while at the same time allows for maximization of the surrounding space for additional capacity at both ends.

“We designed the Twin Tides Ride to respond to the need for parks to continue to differentiate with new and innovative attractions that create excitement and cater to the overall park experience,” said Jim Dunn, ADG Executive VP. “Instead of adding yet another slide, our Water Rides give parks the opportunity to create an entirely new destination experience that expands capacity and optimizes throughout.”

As a leading designer and builder of water parks and attractions in North America, ADG draws on their decades of experience when it comes to creating their new line of Premier Water Ride Attractions. Unique in their approach and delivery, ADG’s Water Rides are sold as all-inclusive, turn-key attractions that enable park owners to have a complete understanding of the entire project scope and costs from the onset. Focusing on both the in-water and out-of-water guest experience, their rides further differentiate in that they showcase detailed layouts highlighting opportunities to maximize site capacity and incorporate areas for F&B and retail to generate incremental revenue.

Aquatic Development Group’s President and CEO, Ken Ellis, is inducted into the World Waterpark Hall Of Fame

By | October 18, 2017

COHOES, N.Y. — Aquatic Development Group (ADG) is proud to announce the WWA’s most recent inductee to the Hall of Fame, Ken Ellis. This prestigious honor is awarded to individuals who have had a substantial impact and contribution to our industry and Ken Ellis certainly fits that bill. 

Even as a young child Ken Ellis always knew that he wanted to be involved in the waterpark industry. In high school Ken began working part-time for his dad, Herb Ellis. In 1987 he began selling wave systems and waterpark design/build projects, many of which are still operating today. Then in 1997, Ellis progressed to President and CEO of Aquatic Development Group, a position in which he has now served for more than 20 years.

Ellis is also the owner of several waterparks and resort properties including Camelback Resort, H2OBX Waterpark, and Kartrite Hotel & Indoor Waterpark which is currently under construction.

Whether it’s through his work with ADG or his ownership of so many successful waterpark properties, Ellis has established himself as an accomplished strategist, developer and marketer in all things water related. His vision and expertise in the aquatic industry has contributed to the success of some of the most highly attended indoor and outdoor waterparks in the U.S. and the attractions and equipment that his company designs and manufactures can be found in over 4,000 facilities across the globe.

“I am honored to have been inducted into the World Waterpark Hall of Fame, standing amongst many other influential patrons in the waterpark industry, “ said Ellis.

Ellis is especially proud that he and his father will share a place in the WWA Hall of Fame. Herb Ellis was one of the original inductees when the World Waterpark Association was founded.

Goddard Group to celebrate 15th anniversary at IAAPA 2017

By | October 12, 2017

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Goddard Group, world leaders in the design and creation of themed entertainment attractions and experiences, will celebrate its 15th Anniversary in conjunction with IAAPA 2017 in Orlando, Florida. Concurrently, Goddard Group has unveiled the latest details on the company’s roster, including six immersive projects currently under-construction around the globe. In addition, during the past year the company has also been involved in presenting unprecedented immersive live theater presentations in New York.

“We’ve enjoyed quite a ride these past 15 years!” says Gary Goddard, Chairman/CEO of Goddard Group. “This has been a banner year for us so far, but our sights are really set on 2018 and beyond, when our next generation of highly immersive parks and attractions will be coming online. Between the exciting new experiences we are creating in China, Indonesia, and the Middle East, along with everything else happening around the world, there’s quite a bit to be enthusiastic about.”

He adds, “It’s extremely gratifying that we’ve achieved what we set out to do 15 years ago. It’s also quite humbling for me that at this point in my career, my team and I continue to have the opportunity to create our largest and most exciting projects yet. For that, we’re all very grateful.”

“The Kingdom of Poseidon,” Harbin, China

In its 15th year, Goddard Group is very pleased with the opening of the massive new indoor theme park, waterpark, and aquarium entitled “The Kingdom of Poseidon,” in Harbin, China, which the company designed for its client, the Malaysia-based KW Zone Group. The new destination attraction, which includes a family hotel and a themed RD&E district, is a one-of-a-kind experience that started off with a smashing debut. Says Taylor Jeffs, Goddard Group’s Creative Director, “Our goal was to create something entirely different with ‘Kingdom of Poseidon,’ by providing new ways to involve park guests in the mysteries, adventures, myths, sagas, and legends about the seas – stories which have been with us since mankind’s earliest days of civilization. Man’s connection with the world’s oceans are communicated at the park through a series of exciting and heart-felt emotional attractions.”

Chimelong’s “Forest Kindgom” in Qinyun, China

Of Goddard Group’s upcoming slate, the most sizeable project is Chimelong Group’s “Forest Kingdom” theme park, a major new destination resort and theme park that is being built in Qinyun, China. Sure to instantly become a world class attraction, the new “Forest Kingdom” park is a follow up to Chimelong’s wildly successful “Ocean Kingdom” theme park in Zhuhai, China, which debuted in 2014, and hosted a record-breaking 8.4 million visitors in 2016. Goddard Group executives expect the new “Forest Kingdom” to be a “fantastic next step for Chimelong’s continued growth. We are honored to be working with Chairman Su and his dedicated team,” Mr. Goddard said.

“Polar Ocean World” in Shanghai

Further north in China, Haichang’s “Shanghai Polar Ocean World” theme park, also designed by Goddard Group, recently celebrated a major milestone. The facility construction was topped off, putting the 300,000 square meter project on-track for its targeted August 2018 debut. The park promises to bring a new kind of immersive entertainment world to visitors, and is sure to become the ideal complement to Disney’s destination theme park, also located there.

“Shanghai Bund Movie Studio and Theme Park” in Hengdian, China

In the Chinese city of Hengdian, another kind of entertainment attraction also designed by Goddard Group is aiming for a 2018 premiere as well. Hengdian Movie Studios, famed in China for its massive backlot of standing sets, including vintage period Chinese villages and towns, and also including a near full-scale standing set of the Forbidden City, will now present its largest new standing set, entitled “The Shanghai Bund Movie World.” When that new standing set comes online, it will serve dual functions – both as a working film and television production facility, featuring a massive recreation of the pre-WWII Shanghai Bund, as well as a movie-themed theme park that treats guests to an authentic, behind-the-scenes look at how China’s most popular media content is created.

A new project for “Lotte World,” South Korea

In South Korea, Goddard Group was recently announced as the designer of Lotte’s new theme park, currently undergoing site preparation in the city of Busan. In addition, Lotte’s flagship park in Seoul, “Lotte World,” has seen a surge in attendance over the last few years, following the addition of eight new Goddard Group-designed attractions.

The Cirque Du Soleil “Project X”

Furthest out on the horizon is perhaps Goddard Group’s mostly highly-anticipated project – the inaugural collaboration between the company and Cirque du Soleil of an unprecedented, Cirque-themed park set to open near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, in 2020. While only scarce details about this project have been released to date, both partners promise the park will mark the next step in the evolution of theme parks and water parks.

“In & Of Itself” and “The Encounter” – Live Theatre in NYC

In the world of New York City theater, Gary Goddard Entertainment Live (GGE LIVE), the company’s Live Entertainment Division led by Tony Award winning producers Gary Goddard and Forbes Candlish, has recently produced two highly successful and immersive theatrical presentations: “In And Of Itself” (Off Broadway) and “The Encounter” (On Broadway), both of which have astounded audiences during this past year. Both shows were designated New York Times Critic Picks. “The Encounter” was called “One of the most fully immersive theater pieces ever created,” by Ben Brantley of the Times, while Alexis Soloski of the Times has said of “In & Of Itself,” “Derek DelGaudio sets himself apart from the abracadabra crowd. Beautiful! Tender! Astonishing!”

“In & Of Itself,” in fact, has been so successful that it just announced its 4th extension in New York – the play is now set to continue through May 6, 2018.  Says Forbes Candlish, GGE LIVE’s Supervising Producer, “For over 30 years we have been producing shows on and off Broadway, and during that time, we have always been interested in pushing the envelope and breaking the fourth wall. As the medium of live theater keeps moving in the direction of immersion for the audience, we plan to remain at the forefront of this movement. We believe this is the future of live entertainment.”

In addition to their on-going current work, Gary Goddard and Goddard Group’s legacy of success can be seen in the many milestone anniversaries currently taking place around the world during 2017 – anniversaries of acclaimed, high-profile projects he and his team designed and/or produced in the past.

Diggerland USA debuts mischievous Night of the Living Machines experience

By | October 4, 2017

WEST BERLIN, N.J. – Every autumn, Diggerland USA kicks off the changing of seasons with Diggerfest, a gleesome fall extravaganza for the family filled with pumpkins, corn mazes and of course, heavy machinery. When the sun goes down this month, the facility will transform into a mystifying Halloween adventure, just spooky enough for the little ones to enjoy.

This year, America’s only construction-themed adventure park has added a hair-raising hayride into the unknown to their list of fall festivities dubbed Night of the Living Machines. The four-date experience is scheduled to take place select Friday and Saturday evenings in October from 6PM-10PM.

Night of the Living Machines is a free event for all annual members. General admission pricing applies to guests without memberships and may be purchased online. Park-goers have the leisure of driving, riding and operating Diggerland’s various attractions, in addition to everything the facility has to offer after dark.