F2FEC: Hold the dates and your optimism

By | December 22, 2020

  • Face 2 Face: “Gathering” – May 4,5,6 – 2021. Kalahari Resort, Round Rock, TX
  • Face 2 Face: “Entertainment Showgram” – March 1,2,3 2022. Kalahari Resort, Round Rock, TX

In August we announced the planning of F2FEC RISE for March 2021 and we’ve known for several months that a March date, or anytime in Q1 for a Covid-free, face-to-face, or even “mask-optional” meeting is overly optimistic. Also, for those who have attended F2FEC in the past, full-scale production of F2FEC is simply not feasible or prudent in the near term. However, pushing the traditional late February event to May 2021, and presenting a new style “Gathering” will set the stage for a re-imagined industrywide experience now being planned for March 2022.

We have two visionary quests to present in the coming years: In May 2021 the Amigo’s will host The Face 2 Face Gathering, bringing together leaders and good friends to talk about what 2020 has taught us, what’s next, and how inspired thinkers can join forces to establish goals and mobilize a collective commitment to rise from the pandemic and its devastating effects on our economy, our industry, and move forward. The second part of our vision is looking ahead to 2022 and beyond, by delivering on our promise from the conclusion of 2019’s F2FEC IMAGINE, wherein we said that we would return with a re-imagined, new Face-2-Face Entertainment Experience that is “Bigger, Badder, Bolder, Better and Different”. To be unveiled in March 2022 is the Face 2 Face Entertainment Showgram. Mark your calendars now and be open to outcome and change.

We empathize with each of you and understand the hardships and devastation brought on by the pandemic and subsequent forces beyond our control. That said, at the core of F2FEC are relationships, face-to-face engagement; the Amigos see little value in virtual encounters and as such, the planning of these F2FEC branded experiences depend on greater economic certainty, a COVID vaccine that is widely accepted, safety in travel, and a health system with policies that support the true spirit of close face-to-face engagement.

Hold the dates, remain optimistic, and look for more details, news, and updates coming soon in the New Year.

Semcor Manufacturing announcesstrategic brand acquisition in agreement with Owen Trailers

By | December 22, 2020

LA PORTE, Ind. — Semcor Manufacturing (www.Semcor-Mfg.com) is pleased to announce they have entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the assets of Owen Trailers, Inc. (www.OwenTrailers.com)  The sale will insure that Owen Trailers’ legacy of manufacturing affordable, dynamic and eye-catching double deck fun houses, mirror mazes and dark rides for portable amusement operations will continue for decades to come.

“We’re very committed to the vision of a stable and prosperous future for the mobile amusement industry,” said Scott Siefker, President of Semcor “Even during the terrible pandemic year that we’ve all experienced in 2020, we’re steadfast in our belief that expanding Semcor’s offerings with Owen’s equipment is the right path for us and for the customers we serve.”

While manufacturing portable attractions might seem out of step given Semcor’s traditional role in building power generation and distribution equipment, it’s a horizontal integration that makes a lot of sense to Semcor’s affiliated management team.  “Owen Trailers’ customer base is largely the same core group that Semcor Manufacturing has served for years” said Jason Skurow, general manager at Semcor’s affiliate, Showmen Supplies.  “We’re broadening Semcor’s product line while injecting vitality and cost savings into a well-loved brand.”

Once the transaction closes, the existing management team of Ross, Jeff and David Owen, will continue their support of Owen Trailers as consultants to Semcor.   According to Ross Owen, “Our family has a longstanding relationship with Semcor’s leadership.  As we’ve gotten to know additional members of their team over the past year and seen how they do business, we’re excited for the quality and innovation that Semcor can bring to the product line first established by my father nearly 75 years ago.”

The Owen business will be spearheaded by Pat Wiseman, chief project manager for Semcor.  “We plan to shift production from their current location in Southern California to our existing facility near Chicago.” said Wiseman.  “Trucks have already begun rolling to move inventory and equipment and we expect to be in production by early spring.  Next steps moving into 2021-2022 will include work on product updates such as hot dip galvanizing of structural elements and theming updates for several of the most popular pieces” he continued.

Owen Trailers is based in Riverside, California and is led by Ross Owen, a well-respected industry veteran with more than 50 years of experience building specialty trailers and attractions for the mobile amusement industry including the Magic Maze, Cuckoo Haus, Surf Shack and others.

Semcor Manufacturing is based in La Porte, Indiana and is an affiliate of Showmen Supplies and other Siefker Group companies.  Semcor’s business is primarily focused on packaging portable generators ranging from 100kW to 1,000 kW, as well as producing electrical distribution equipment for temporary power applications and specialty lighting for the amusement industry.

January 2021 issue

By | December 20, 2020

The January 2021 issue of Amusement Today
 is available for FREE via 
Digital Edition and/or downloadable PDF!

  • 2021 kicks off with AIMS Virtual Safety Seminar
  • Kalahari opens nation’s largest indoor water park in Round Rock
  • Indiana Beach saves coaster, adding Polyp
  • 2021 IAFE Virtual Vision recap
  • Mack Rides’s extreme spinning coaster for Plopsa De Panne
  • Knoebels looking ahead
  • North Pole Productions creates fair lighting displays
  • Strates Shows keeps things on the rails
  • WaveGarden delivers in South Korea
  • Park winterization in the COVID-era
  • Women of Influence: Hersheypark’s Laura Woodburn Krolczyk
  • Book Review: Action Park
  • Appetize surveys customer trends during pandemic …and more!

Mauer Rides: Signature Tower ST 30 — an idea makes its mark

By | December 17, 2020

Maurer Rides has designed a concept that will inspire technicians and marketing managers alike: The Spike Signature Tower makes a own trademark and digs itself into the most memorable experiences of its guests like a rideable autograph.

Imagine a roller coaster in the future that looks like a signature or autograph; like the company logo or the lettering of the leading brand product – in other words, a brand becomes an unforgettable experience. Emotion is paired with a message – and it’s visible from afar.

No, this is not a pipe dream, this is the core of the new concept “Signature Tower” from the Munich-based roller coaster manufacturer Maurer Rides. The technical basis of the Signature Tower is the patented and award-winning Spike® drive. It frees the designers from limiting facts like lifts, launches or block brakes and opens up a densely packed ride experience.

And who says you have to stay “close” to the ground: The Signature Tower spirals upward: curve, arc, loop, figure eight, one level after another, passengers’ jet upward, experiencing wide-open views and uplifting forces – before plummeting back down into the tangle of calligraphy styled Signature coils.

The tower concept saves on only one thing: the footprint. Instead, it puts an exclamation mark on the landscape. This roller coaster tower, which is 30 meters high in concept, can be scaled to any height. And if the passengers get a little queasy in this process: Part of the Spike® concept is that passengers actually control their own speed at every moment of the ride. This means that even spectacular track layouts can be ridden family-like.

Another effect of the dense tower design is that the cars meet each other on the ascent and descent, something that rarely happens on conventional roller coaster layouts.

The new concept idea has so much potential that Maurer Rides wants to build up its own sub-brand from it: “Signature towers make their mark: in the landscape, in the design, and in recognition. Every company gets its very own unmistakable tower with a color and lighting concept,” enthused Managing Director and engineer, Jörg Beutler.

Especially at night, the Signature Towers are visible from afar. And they are more than just an illuminated ride: they are a pure brand, visible, accessible, unique.

Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park, designed by Legacy Entertainment, wins big at Chinese Theme Park Awards

By | December 16, 2020

ZHENGZHOU, China — The Legacy Entertainment-designed Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park took this year’s “Golden Crown Awards” event by storm, winning three major awards: “Outstanding Themed Land Park,” “Outstanding Family Entertainment Center” and “Outstanding Social Media Famous Tourist Attraction.” The awards were presented on December 10th during the 2020 Amusement World Cultural Tourism Development Summit held at the Yinji International Tourism Resort in Zhengzhou – the capital of China’s Henan Province.

These recognitions are only the latest for Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park, a major marine life theme park which welcomed over 3,000,000 guests in its inaugural year. In 2019, Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park was named “Best Theme Park” by China’s largest theme park organization, CAAPA (Chinese Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions), whilst one of the park’s signature attractions, Lava Drifting, was recognized with IAAPA’s prestigious Brass Ring Award for innovation. Haichang invested over $700,000,000 to build the 73-acre theme park in Shanghai’s Pudong district. The park, which debuted in November 2018, is the primary competitor to the nearby Shanghai Disneyland resort.

“From the start of this project in 2013, Haichang was firm in their commitment to building a marine life park that would set a new standard for domestic Chinese audiences,” said Taylor Jeffs of Legacy Entertainment, the park’s designer. “Obviously we are thrilled to see their audacity has paid off, not only in satisfied customers, but also in recognition from their peers.”

In recent years, Legacy Entertainment has solidified its place among the world’s leading aquarium and zoo design firms, with several high-profile developments currently under-construction. Among the most dramatic is the Chimelong Marine Science Center, currently slated to debut in mid-2021 in Zhuhai, China. Upon its launch, it will claim the record of ‘World’s Largest Indoor Theme Park,’ boasting nearly 4,000,000 square feet of guest area. Another collaboration between Chimelong and Legacy Entertainment, Chimelong Forest Kingdom, held its formal groundbreaking ceremony on November 202020, and construction is anticipated to take around three years.

Further south, Legacy Entertainment’s first project in Vietnam is also slated for a mid-2021 debut. The Sea Shell aquarium, located at the VinWonders Theme Park complex on the island of Phu Quoc, is the largest and most ambitious aquarium ever built in the southeast Asian country. Its striking façade, inspired by local folklore, takes the form of a giant turtle which has just emerged by the Gulf of Thailand a few steps away.

BoldMove launches Houba World, Marsupilami’s great adventures for all-family indoor entertainment

By | December 16, 2020

BRUSSELS, Belgium — BoldMove, creator of happier worlds with media-based attractions, is pleased to announce a spectacular new indoor concept: Houba World, Marsupilami’s great adventures. This has been developed in close cooperation with the creative team of Mediatoon Licensing. As part of the French and Belgian Média Participations Group, Mediatoon Licensing manages the IP of many famous cartoon characters such as Spirou, Lucky Luke and Marsupilami, to name just a few. BoldMove selected the Marsupilami family to develop an amazing concept for an immersive indoor entertainment center, including a range of media-based attractions and innovative technologies.

Based on a detailed master plan, spanning 3,000 square meters, the park features a BoldMove Smash & Reload dark ride with adjusted gameplay and suitable temple theming. In a fitting and impressive decor of a tropical forest with riverside, temples and rock formations, 15 attractions can be situated alongside a themed restaurant and a vast retail area with merchandising items. The center is being designed in such a way that it provides the adequate throughput and capacity to match the initial investment and recurrent upgrades.

Jerome Leclercq, CEO at Mediatoon Licensing, comments: “It is an exciting journey to develop such a high-level indoor attraction park featuring our beloved Marsupilami family. The IP is already a great success in merchandising with 50 partners and more than 500 products available. A new CG animated series is in development. We are pleased that BoldMove is helping us to dive further into the Location-Based Entertainment world, bringing the characters closer to everyone’s heart and allowing a bonding and immersive experience. The BoldMove team captured the spirit of our IP into a well-balanced mix of attractions with the most suitable technologies to enrich visitor experiences. We look forward to the roll-out of the concept and our further cooperation in the leisure industry.”

BoldMove CEO Benoit Cornet explains: “Houba World successfully merges three dimensions that are part of BoldMove’s DNA: quality, creativity and respect. We create a happy themed world as indoor park, infused with fun attractions centered around the Smash & Reload super compact dark ride, and enhanced with AR and VR technologies. Our expert team and partners ensure a successful end result by handling the creative process up to the actual building and beyond, following the highest quality standards. It’s very inspiring to work so closely with the Mediatoon Licensing creative team, adding our market and technology expertise for everyone to enjoy this great IP.”

Immersive Marsupilami happy world
Houba World makes people dream and immerse them into the exotic world of the Marsupilami family. This strong and colourful IP is grateful to bring attractions alive so kids, teenagers and families feel truly part of the adventure. Climbing the rocks and nest, exploring the temple and riverside with VR tracks, visiting the 4D cinema and many other thrillling and challenging experiences. All gameplays and attractions are kept simple and easy to understand for young and old so everyone can join in without headaches, just enjoying an afternoon in the Houba Forest as part of the friendly Marsupilami family.

Houba World can be built adjacent to an existing location like a shopping mall, cinema or FEC. But it can also be easily integrated into a destination park, regional park or zoo to attract visitors on rainy days. The mix of attractions perfectly allows for a hybrid indoor/outdoor approach and obviously adds great flexibility. Every aspect of the center has been thought through to allow a smooth and extensive operation, whatever the time of the day or the week. A center can be constructed from 650sqm to complement an existing facility, as of 2000sqm it can stand alone with all required infrastructure.  Besides attracting more visitors to nearby facilities and raising income from entry tickets, venue and park owners also benefit from an elaborate merchandising offer of over 500 SKUs.

“The likeability of the Marsupilami, the abundance of merchandising combined with the forward thinking of the IP owner make this concept a safe and profitable choice. This new Houba World consolidates BoldMove’s expertise into an immersive experience across the magical Marsupilami world. We strongly believe creating and building such happy worlds will be a fun experience for all involved!”  Benoit Cornet concludes.

Quassy turns back time by offering $20 all-day passes

By | December 16, 2020

MIDDLEBURY, Conn. —  Do you remember when  you could take your family to an amusement park and enjoy the rides all day for less than $100? That was probably 30 or 40 years ago.

Quassy Amusement & Waterpark here is turning back time by offering all-day ride and waterpark passes for only $20 each during a special online holiday sale. The discount passes will be valid weekdays during the 2021 season and may be used by visitors of any age.

Go to www.quassy.com to purchase the $20 tickets, but get them soon as the clock is ticketing toward the end of the sale.

Quassy also has gift cards for as little as $10 each and 2021 season passes are available as well.

About Quassy
Quassy Amusement Park & Waterpark is in its 113th year and features more than two dozen rides and attractions. Quassy will open in late April for the 2021 season.

Rides include the award-winning Wooden Warrior roller coaster, Reverse Time, Frantic, Music Fest, Yo-Yo super swings, Free Fall ‘N’ Drop Tower and Grand Carousel. Last year the park introduced Tidal Wave, a giant swinging ship.

Splash Away Bay waterpark has dozens of ways to get drenched on warm summer days, including 15 slides, Saturation Station modular play area and a splash pad for toddlers.

Quassy also features a laser maze attraction in its huge arcade building.

The park also has a restaurant, redemption arcade, games, live entertainment and special events.

Season passes are on sale now at the park office and through the Quassy website at www.quassy.com. Company picnics, school fieldtrips and other catered events are also being scheduled through the park office at (203) 758-2913.

Quassy is located at 2132 Middlebury Road, Route 64, in Middlebury, Conn., on the shores of Lake Quassapaug.

Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn And Suites is now open

By | December 16, 2020

ORLANDO — Today, Universal Orlando Resort welcomed the first guests to its newest hotel – Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites – with an impressively low starting rate of $77 per night. 

Dockside Inn and Suites is the second hotel in the destination’s Value category, joining sister property Surfside Inn and Suites. The extra-affordable resort adds 2,050 guest rooms, featuring standard rooms and spacious 2-Bedroom Suites. With exclusive theme park benefits like Early Park Admission and rates as low as $77 per night, the all-new hotel creates a value experience that is unmatched in the Orlando area, and quite possibly anywhere in the nation.

Brought to life by the award-winning Universal Creative team, Dockside Inn and Suites makes guests feel like they have escaped to the perfect sunset with the cool, calm feeling of a beach retreat in a hotel that over delivers on value. 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 to its three theme parks, Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal’s Volcano Bay.  

At Dockside Inn and Suites, guests can experience: 

  • 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 gathering, 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 $115 per night. 
  • 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 features 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 features two pools and two pool bars as well as a Universal Orlando Vacation Planning Center, Universal Studios Store, Starbucks and more.

International Water Park expert WhiteWater commemorates 40th anniversary

By | December 16, 2020

VANCOUVER, B.C. — WhiteWater, the leading global designer and manufacturer of innovative water park products and active family attractions, announced December 15th that it is has begun a year-long celebration to commemorate its 40th anniversary. WhiteWater was founded in 1980 with one clear purpose, to create places where families unite to make joyful lasting memories. Now, 40 years later, they are the world’s largest provider of everything a water park needs, from park design to the broadest range of attractions in the industry.

Looking back on the past 40 years, Geoff Chutter, WhiteWater’s Founder and CEO, still remembers where it all started, “when I opened WhiteWater Waterpark in 1980, I didn’t imagine we would become the industry leader it is today, and I’m humbled. Four decades later and WhiteWater is a designer and manufacturer of over 100 incredible attractions, which can be found in thousands of parks all over the world. Even after all this time, the motivation remains the same, I’ve always wanted to see families have safe, healthy fun together, and alongside with our clients, we continue to achieve that.”

WhiteWater’s odyssey began as one of Canada’s first water parks, where in a fledgling industry, water slide manufacturers were few and far between. As necessity is the mother of invention, WhiteWater started constructing its own water slides and soon after, other parks came calling. Within five years, WhiteWater had acquired a fiberglass manufacturing plant and a local engineering firm to become a complete manufacturing solution provider for water parks around the world.

Throughout its first decade, the company continued to grow, and in 1988, Geoff Chutter met and partnered with Andrew Wray from Barr and Wray North America, and so began their journey of acquiring companies with the best products on the market that water parks need for a complete and satisfying ride mix. WhiteWater has consistently spotted trends early, licensing FlowRider® back in 1998 (acquired in 2014), Master Blaster joined the portfolio in 2003, AquaLoop added thrills in 2008, and most recently SlideWheel’s® Ferris wheel-like rotations in 2019. 

However, it’s WhiteWater’s in-house innovations that have become water park staples, enjoyed the world over. Since its debut in 2005, the Boomerango has become most park goer’s favourite gravity-defying water park ride. Other notable additions to the world of water park attractions include Anaconda, with the world’s largest flume, FusionFortress, a complete all-in-one water park structure, and the world’s first fully clear acrylic water slide, the AquaDuck.

When Geoff’s son, Paul Chutter, WhiteWater’s Chief Business Development Officer, entered the business seven years ago he helped to redefine aquatic entertainment even further. Not long after Paul came on board, WhiteWater launched Vantage, a guest journey platform designed to elevate guest experiences while at the same time improve a park’s operational efficiency. It’s a pioneering product that ishelping to bring technology to consumers that have grown to expect it.

With no signs of slowing down, Paul and Geoff founded Endless Surf, a revolutionary inland surf experience that they launched while most of the world was in a pandemic lockdown. Their vision and bravery have already been rewarded with half a dozen confirmed Endless Surf projects spanning, Europe, Southeast Asia, Australia, and the Americas.

Proud of what his father has accomplished, Paul commented, “this year saw my Dad recognized as EY’s Canadian Entrepreneur of The Year. What he has built, alongside Andrew Wray, inspires so many of us and makes WhiteWater a very special place for 600 people to continue to push entertainment boundaries and raise the bar.” “WhiteWater’s success is thanks to the hugely talented people we’ve assembled. I’m so proud to be part of a team I believe to be the very best in the industry and I can honestly say we’re unstoppable. It is in thanks and recognition we celebrate our 40th anniversary.” Paul concluded. 

New leadership elected at IAFE annual meeting

By | December 16, 2020

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Annual Business Meeting of the IAFE was conducted virtually December 8, 2020. The meeting included a report of the Nominating Committee, election of new officers, as well as a “state of the state” address from President & CEO Marla Calico.

“Presenting the Annual Business Meeting virtually proved to be an engaging and more intimate way of conducting necessary business as compared to the on-stage presentation in a theater or convention center ballroom. Attendees were able to provide comments through chat functions to congratulate individuals,” stated Calico.

Outgoing Chair Nancy Smith shared her reflections on 2020 and presented a message of hope for the future. Incoming Chair Eugene Cassidy recognized Smith’s unique leadership role.

“The heartfelt message from Nancy Smith as our chair was very well received. So much so that the video capture of her remarks will be posted on the IAFE website as a wonderful message to share with all members,” stated Calico. 

In virtual meetings conducted in November, new directors for two Zones were elected. Aaron Owen, CFE, of the Ozark Empire Fair in Springfield, MO, will represent Zone 5 (IA, IL, KS, MO, NE) and Chris Pickering of the Northwest Washington Fair in Lynden will represent Zone 8 (AZ, CA, OR, WA, AK, NV, BC, HI). Brock Gilmour of the Sydney Royal Easter Show in Sydney, New South Wales, was elected by the Board of Directors to represent fairs not in the U.S. or Canada. The associate members (those providing services and products) gathered virtually November 17 to select from their rank an individual for the Nominating Committee to bring forward as a Director-At-Large. In the election held at the Business Meeting, Kathy Ross of Ross Concessions (FL) was elected to a two year term. 

The Nominating Committee also brought forward the name of Jennifer Giesike, CFE, of the Washington Town & Country Fair in Washington, MO, to enter as second vice chair. Giesike has previously served the Association as a director for Zone 5 and was one of the original co-chairs for the Young Professionals Initiative (YPI) when it was formed in 2009. Bryon Lopez, CFE, of the Pima County Fair in Tucson, AZ, was nominated to serve a third and final year as the treasurer. Giesike and Lopez were elected by acclamation.

Retiring Directors were recognized for their service and included Rick Vymlatil, CFE, of the South Florida Fair (Past Chair); Jo Reynolds, CFE, of the Warren County Fair in Indianola, IA (Zone 5); Leah Perkins-Hagele, CFE, of the Washington County Fair in Hillsboro, OR (Zone 8); Tom Hodson of the Thomas Hodson Company (Director-At-Large); and Peter Cooper of the Perth Royal Show, Western Australia (fairs not in the U.S. or Canada). “The entire staff is looking forward to working with our 2021 Chair Gene Cassidy and his leadership team from the various committees for an exciting Convention in San Antonio, November 28 to December 1. The theme for that Convention will be ‘Grow Fair Strong,'” stated Calico.