Registration Now Open for AIMS Safety Seminar

By | October 13, 2016

aims-seminarlogo2017-vec-4-rgbNASHVILLE, Tenn. – Registration for the AIMS International Safety Seminar is now open and available online at www.aimsintl.org.  This comprehensive seminar, to be held January 8-13, 2017 at the Doubletree by Hilton in Orlando, Florida, offers classroom and hands-on safety training along with valuable networking opportunities for ride inspectors, maintenance, operations and aquatic personnel throughout the amusement industry.. More than 350 students are expected to attend this seminar renowned for its diverse curriculum and the quality of instructors who are leading industry professionals in their fields.

Tuition is $595 and includes all class materials, lunches, two daily snack breaks, Continuing Education Units (CEU), and completion certificates. New classes for 2017 include topics on Terrorism, Active Shooter and Workplace Violence, Security (by venue type), FECs, Climbing Walls, ASTM updates, TPM (Total Productive Maintenance), Guest Behaviors, Ride Accessibility, and more

Amusement Today launches La. flood relief fundraiser

By | October 11, 2016

16-bb-pinBATON ROUGE, La. — In August, prolonged rainfall caused flooding in many parts of Louisiana. The city of Baton Rouge received more than 30-inches of rain in a little over a three days. Dixie Landin’ amusement park and Blue Bayou water park were luckily spared any direct flood damage. However, the park’s management and staff were not so fortunate. The flooding caused the park to lose its remaining summer season, only able to open for pre-booked company park buyouts.

Park managers had flooding in their homes up to six feet deep. In the surrounding area, which is home to the park’s operational and seasonal staff, more than 20,000 households were displaced due to flooding. Only 17 percent of those households had flood insurance.

“As a longtime newspaper man, and a veteran of the amusement industry, I felt obligated to do something to benefit the managers and team members of Dixie Landin’,” offered Gary Slade, publisher of Amusement Today.  “With that in mind, we’ve made a special lapel pin available. Its sole purpose is to raise disaster aid relief funds and to show our support for our fellow friends who rely on Dixie Landin’ & Blue Bayou as their income source.”

The blue & gold lapel pins honor the amusement & water park facility as well as Louisiana. “It is our hope that members of the amusement and water park industry will not only purchase these pins, but also wear them during the IAAPA Attractions Expo to show our support as an industry,” continued Slade. the pins made their debut at the World Waterpark Association trade show, just held in New Orleans, La.

The Dixie Landin’ & Blue Bayou flood relief benefit lapel pins are available from Amusement Today during the IAAPA Attractions Expo (booth #4215), online or by calling (817) 460-7220. They may be purchased for $7/each or a pack of four (4) pins for $20. All proceeds from the sale of the pins will fund flood relief efforts for the staff of Dixie Landin’ & Blue Bayou.

Support our friends in Louisiana buy buying a pin and wearing it on the show floor with pride!

Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company Announces the Appointment of John Lawn to President

By | October 4, 2016

john_lawn_head_shotHERSHEY, Penn. – The Board of Directors of Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company (HE&R) has announced the promotion of John Lawn to the role of President of the Company. Lawn’s new role became effective September 30, 2016, and is in addition to his current role as Chief Operating Officer. This announcement is the culmination of the succession planning process that current Chief Executive Officer and past President, William F. Simpson, Jr., and the Board initiated when Simpson notified the Board last June of his intention to retire on January 5, 2018.

“Since joining our Company in 2004, John has a proven track record of developing high performing hospitality teams that continually provide world-class service while producing outstanding financial results. Regardless of whether a guest is at one of our lodging properties, restaurants, golf courses, or enjoying the Hersheypark Entertainment Complex – John’s focus on hospitality does not waiver,” said Simpson.

Lawn began his career with HE&R in 2004 as Food and Beverage Director at Hersheypark and became Assistant General Manager of Hersheypark in 2005. In 2010 Lawn was promoted to Associate Vice President of Operations, and then to the role of Vice President of Operations later that year. Lawn was elected Chief Operating Officer in 2015 and is responsible for management of all the Company’s operating divisions.

“It has been an incredible privilege for me to be part of this remarkable team and outstanding organization – and its core purpose to help children in need,” said Lawn. “I owe so much to the unbelievably dedicated people here at HE&R and the support of leaders like Bill Simpson and our Board of Directors. I look forward to doing everything within my ability to further enhance and develop our outstanding team and continue to provide unparalleled experiences for our guests.”

Prior to joining HE&R, Lawn spent more than a decade working in a number of management roles in the sports, entertainment and hospitality industries, including General Manager of Centerplate at FedExField in Landover, Maryland and Executive Director of Major Events for Ridgewells, in Bethesda, Maryland.

Lawn currently serves on the Board of Four Diamonds and The Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance. He was previously on the Board of Children’s Miracle Network and Junior Achievement of Central Pennsylvania.

House Passes Legislation to Delay Implementation of Overtime Rule; Eyes Turn Toward the Senate

By | September 30, 2016

On Sept. 28, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 246-177 to delay by six months implementation of the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime rule. Five Democrats joined the 241 House Republicans to pass the Regulatory Relief for Small Businesses, Schools, and Nonprofits Act (H.R. 6094). The bill faces an uphill battle given the partisan vote taken in the House and a veto threat issued earlier this week by the Obama Administration.

H.R. 6094, introduced by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), would move from the effective date of the DOL final rule from Dec. 1, 2016 to June 1, 2017. The overtime rule, which was finalized by DOL in May, changes the salary threshold for overtime pay from $23,660 to $47,476 per year, and that threshold would be updated automatically every three years.

IAAPA joined the Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity (PPWO) as an active voice urging Congress to pass legislation to provide relief from the impacts of the new overtime regulation. IAAPA and PPWO will continue to push for relief and we will update members as more information becomes available.

2016 Golden Ticket Awards: Cedar Point

By | September 30, 2016

Video courtesy of Adam Sandy, Ride Entertainment

Blackpool Pleasure Beach announces new £16.25m rollercoaster

By | September 29, 2016

press_imageBlackpool Pleasure Beach has announced it is to build a new £16.25m rollercoaster. It will be the UK’s first ever with a double-launch – an advanced technology that gives the roller coaster two powerful thrusts of acceleration during the ride. ‘Construction 2018’ will feature the most number of interactions in the world with 15 interactions involving five different rides and two tunnels.

The ride is being manufactured by Mack Rides at their world-class factory in Waldkirch, Germany, utilising the latest state-of- the-art engineering processes, including laser beam technology for extreme accuracy. The ride will open in Spring 2018.

A double launch will see thrill seekers propelled forward at high speed not only at the start of the ride, but also at a second point half way through the two and a half minute experience. Riders will experience the same levels of G force as felt by the driver of a Formula 1 car. The launch of the ride features acceleration which is 4 times that experienced in a Lamborghini Gallardo.

Construction 2018 will reach heights of 88.5ft with drops of up to 82ft. It will interact with five other Blackpool Pleasure Beach rides including the iconic Big One, Steeplechase, Big Dipper, Pleasure Beach Express and the Grand Prix.

Over 44,800 hours have been invested in the development to date with that number expected to treble ahead of completion.

Speaking on the announcement Deputy Managing Director of Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Nick Thompson, comments: “We have been working on this concept for five years now and are delighted to be able share news of our plans.

“Construction 2018 will be fast, adrenalin fuelled and exhilarating but also smooth and comfortable – an entirely new ride experience. It sees a significant investment in Blackpool Pleasure Beach. We expect to see thrill seekers flock to the park to experience this UK ride first.”

Blackpool Pleasure Beach’s Managing Director, Amanda Thompson OBE, adds, “Construction 2018 follows in the long tradition we have at Blackpool Pleasure Beach of investing in fantastic rides and bringing first of their kind rollercoasters to the UK. Blackpool Pleasure Beach, the world’s most ride intensive amusement park, is home to the UK’s first looping coaster, Revolution, and, at the time it was built, the world’s tallest and fastest rollercoaster, The Big One, plus many more thrilling rides. I’m delighted to be able to continue this tradition and bring such a thrilling ride to the UK.”

Registration Open for Three Charity Events to Benefit Give Kids The World Village During IAAPA Attractions Expo 2016

By | September 28, 2016

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Three fundraisers to benefit Give Kids The World (GKTW) Village will be held during IAAPA Attractions Expo 2016 the week of Nov. 14 in Orlando, Florida: the IAAPA International Charity Golf Tournament, IAAPA Motorcycle Ride, and IAAPA Charity 5K Run and 1K Walk, Footprints from the Heart. Companies exhibiting during the trade show can also donate items to the Village at the conclusion of the week. Funds and donations collected will benefit GKTW, a 70-acre, nonprofit resort based in Central Florida that creates magical memories for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) and its members have raised more than $1 million for GKTW over its 20-year partnership.

golfteelogo-2009new1-copyIAAPA International Charity Golf Tournament
The 18-hole scramble starts at 8 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 13, at Hawk’s Landing Golf Club in Orlando. Playing slots are limited to 144 and available on a first-come, first-served basis. (Members are encouraged to register early as the event is expected to sell out weeks in advance.) The $200 registration fee includes practice facility time, bag service, lunch, and more. The registration deadline for individuals, pairs, threesomes, or foursomes is Nov. 4

IAAPA Motorcycle Ride
The motorcycle ride begins at 8 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 13. The $100 registration fee includes basic registration and lunch. Details regarding the specific route are forthcoming. The fee does not include motorcycle rental, which is available through Orlando Harley-Davidson at +1 407/238-8660. All registrations must be completed by Nov. 4.

logo-2014Charity 5K Run and 1K Walk, Footprints from the Heart
The IAAPA 5K Fun Run and 1K Walk, Footprints from the Heart takes place Thursday, Nov. 17, at GKTW Village. Once runners and walkers register they can create a personal fundraising page online to share with family and friends to raise additional donations. Fundraising prizes are awarded to the top individual fundraiser and top team fundraiser. Teams of five or more register at a minimum donation of $30 per person; individuals can register for a minimum donation of $35 per person. People do not actually have to run or walk to participate. IAAPA’s virtual runner program (formerly known as cheerleaders) allows anyone to donate (minimum donation is $35) and create a personal fundraising page. Advance registration is open online until Nov. 16 and on-site at the Expo at the GKTW Booth #3431 up until 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16. Runners can also register in person the morning of the event, Thursday, Nov. 17.

Exhibitor Donations
Exhibiting companies can donate leftover booth items, such as plush toys, games, t-shirts, etc., to the Village. Additional information will be distributed to each booth during the week and will be available at the Exhibitor Services Desk behind IAAPA Central, Booth #3831, Thursday, Nov. 17, or Friday, Nov. 18.

Event registration information and details are available at www.IAAPA.org/GKTWatExpo.

Sponsorship opportunities are also available. Visit www.IAAPA.org/GKTWatExpo or e-mail GKTWCharityEvents@IAAPA.org for additional information.

Industry veteran Chris Gray joins National Roller Coaster Museum Board

By | September 27, 2016

chris-m-gray-head-shotPLAINVIEW, Texas – Chris Gray, co-founder and Vice-President of Skyline Attractions will join the National Rollercoaster Museum and Archive board of directors after the passing of NRCMA founding board member, Mark Moore, the founder and President of urethane wheel manufacturer Uremet.

While replacing Mark Moore on the board was difficult, a search ensued to find another industry veteran that shared Moore’s passion and entrepreneurial skills. Chris Gray was immediately identified as a match for Moore’s passion for the industry and NRCMA’s efforts.
“I have known Chris for many years,” Gary Slade, NRCMA Chairman said. “His passion and experience in the industry will greatly benefit our efforts at the National Roller Coaster Museum.”

Gray is a U.S. Navy veteran who has worked in the industry for nearly 20 years. In 1998, Gray founded CMG Models, a photo-realistic attraction model fabrication company for the amusement and architecture industry. He also served as the Procurement and Assembly Director for Great Coasters International, the global wooden coaster manufacturer. During his tenure there, Gray worked on projects around the world including seven of the top 25 wood roller coasters. As co-founder of Skyline Attractions, he now develops experiential rides and games for the amusement industry. Most recently, Skyline has produced the innovative “Strike U Up” and “Spin U Win” ridable, interactive midway games for amusement parks and family entertainment centers.

“Chris has wanted to be part of the board for several years and has waited patiently in the wings. Now we can get him more involved with our projects,” Richard Munch, American Coaster Enthusiasts Founder and NRCMA Historian said. “We look forward to having him bring fresh new ideas to the table and welcome his expertise in model building, as well maybe directing repairs to the many models we have in the archival collection.”

Gray received unanimous approval by the NRCMA board and assumes his position on the board immediately.

Kentucky Kingdom sets attendance record

By | September 26, 2016

NewKentuckyKingdom_4cLogo_ CleanLOUISVILLE, Kentucky — Kentucky Kingdom announced that it hosted 800,000 visitors during its recently completed 2016 season, surpassing last year’s attendance by more than 200,000 visitors. The majority of the increase is represented by out-of-state visitors, 78% from Indiana and Tennessee and the remaining 22% from the other 48 states.

“Over the past three years, Kentucky Kingdom has firmly established itself as a regional attraction and is now drawing visitors from all over the country,” commented Ed Hart, President and CEO. “Our goal is to reach 1 million visitors as early as next year and we expect much of the increase to come from out of state. Of course, we also value our season pass holders, who make up the majority of our local customer base. We’re dedicated to providing our season pass holders – and all of our guests – the best in family fun at affordable prices.”

Added Julie Johnson, Director of Sales and Marketing, “Delivering an outstanding experience for our guests is the key to our success. We offer a great selection of rides and attractions, beautifully landscaped grounds, a friendly staff, and a clean, safe, and fun environment.”

Aaron Banks, Kentucky Kingdom’s Executive Chef, who manages food quality, procurement, and catering, remarked, “This year, our food service staff prepared more than 80,000 catered meals. To satisfy our guests, we know how important it is to serve food of the highest quality. We pride ourselves on buying the best ingredients, preparing delicious food and presenting it well, and serving ample portions at reasonable prices. Frankly, the feedback from our guests has been terrific.”

Hart went on to say, “We are very grateful to both our full-time staff and our seasonal team members, many of whom are completing their third season with us. We could not have made Kentucky Kingdom the success it is today without their hard work and dedication. In cooperation with state and local officials, the Mayor’s office, the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Kentucky State Fair Board, we continue to work toward the goal we’ve always had, which is to develop the park into the state’s number one summertime destination for family fun. We will continue to do our best to deliver on that promise.”

Kentucky Kingdom 2017 season passes are now on sale for only $59.95 (plus tax) at all area Kroger stores. If purchased prior to October 31, 2016, the 2017 pass includes free drinks throughout the season. A season pass also comes with other valuable benefits, such as free parking and a 20% discount on all food and merchandise purchased in the park.

Cineplex Announces Strategic Acquisition of Tricorp Amusements Inc.

By | September 22, 2016

TORONTO, Ontario – Cineplex Entertainment (“Cineplex”) today announced that it is acquiring all of the issued and outstanding shares of Tricorp Amusements Inc. (“Tricorp”).  Upon completion of the transaction, which is expected to close in early October, New Jersey-based Tricorp will become part of Cineplex Starburst Inc. (“CSI”), a wholly owned and operated subsidiary of Cineplex Entertainment.  Financial terms were not disclosed. 
 
“With Premier Amusements as well as through strategic mergers and acquisitions like Brady Starburst last year, CSI has become one of the leading distributors and operators of amusement and gaming equipment across North America,” said Ellis Jacob, President and CEO of Cineplex Entertainment.  “The acquisition of Tricorp enables CSI to further scale its US presence and create opportunities for significant growth.”
 
Tricorp is a leading provider of interactive video, redemption and amusement gaming services through revenue sharing agreements in the United States. It has a diversified client portfolio focusing on the theatrical exhibition vertical as well as community-based family entertainment destinations such as bowling centres, amusement and water parks, indoor mini-golf and laser tag facilities, as well as casinos and restaurants. It also specializes in entertainment centre design and has over 35 years of experience in delivering high quality entertainment programing and attraction selection.
 
“This transaction with Cineplex is exciting because it will allow for greater scale in our existing business channel and provide for even more opportunities for the entire Tricorp team,” said Charles T. Peitz, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Tricorp Amusements Inc. “Combining our two organizations creates a powerful, strong and diverse amusement company that can now provide amusement services to a much broader and expanded market across North America.”
 
Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, CSI has 16 offices across Canada and the United States operating as Cineplex Starburst, Brady Starburst, Premier Amusements and Playdium. The acquisition announced today strengthens CSI’s already strong US market position by adding nearly 100 Tricorp employees covering over 20 states from five regional distribution centres across the eastern seaboard. The Tricorp corporate offices will remain in New Jersey and the executive management team will continue to be led by industry veterans Charles ‘Chuck’ Peitz and Joe Ingui.
 
With pro forma revenues of approximately $28.0 million USD and pro forma adjusted EBITDA of approximately $6.0 million USD, the Tricorp acquisition will be financed with cash-on-hand and existing credit facilities.