October 2023

By | September 27, 2023

The OCTOBER 2023 issue includes:

  • 2023 WWA Symposium, Trade Show headed to the Big Easy
  • Waldameer’s Water World launches Rocket Blast
  • Bolliger & Mabillard to supply Iron Menace coaster to Dorney Park
  • Halloween Horror Nights open for Golden Ticket-winning scares
  • Kings Island to make award-winning kids’ area bigger in 2024
  • Six Flags theme parks roll out largest investment since 2019
  • Extreme Engineering’s Rocky Top Glider opens in Tennessee
  • Minnesota State Fair has 6th best attendance in 164-year history
  • Silverwood Theme Park announces forthcoming park expansion
  • Moosehorn Falls to debut at Canada’s Wonderland in 2024
  • Story Land to grow park with water park addition from Vortex
  • Land of Legends opens record-breaking RocketBlast Water Coaster
  • Midway provider Strates Shows celebrating Centennial of Smiles
  • Connecticut hosts successful NEAAPA Summer Meeting and Golf Tournament
  • Focus on the Horizon: Hudson Wood of Sally Dark Rides
  • New Ellis Aquatic Vigilance System provides end-to-end monitoring
  • Skyline debuts bright, vivid Aurora LED system with P’Sghetti Bowl
  • Europa-Park strives to meet staffing needs with new housing
  • How lifeguards can successfully address the “I’m a doctor” situation

Adventureland challenges guests to earthworm eating contest

By | September 29, 2023

Creepy crawlers emerge from the ground on Saturday, October 7 as Adventureland Resort continues Phantom Fall Fest with an out-of-this-worm contest.

Park guests are invited to put their guts to the test for the ultimate prize package beginning at 3:30 p.m. at the end of Adventureland’s Main Street as they participate in the first-ever Phantom’s Earthworm Challenge. The Home of Iowa’s Best Thrills is looking for five brave and hungry souls to take on the earthworm eating contest as constants compete for the ultimate prize package (valued at more than $1,000) including a Yeti Tundra 45 hard cooler, Yeti cups and accessories, two 2024 Adventureland Platinum Season Passes, Adventureland merch, along with North Face and Carhart hats and more. All participants will also receive an exclusive “Worms: Nature’s Spaghetti” shirt made by RAYGUN.

The contest will be emceed by local celebrity, and winner of season one of Netflix’s “Is It Cake?”Andrew Fuller. The park will allow a maximum of five participants and Fuller will determine the winner. The courageous few who step forward will be challenged to slurp down six earthworms as fast as humanly possible. Must be 18 to enter, sign up on site.

The Phantom’s Earthworm Challenge begins the third weekend of Phantom Fall Fest, the largest Halloween event in Iowa! Phantom Fall Fest includes four all-new scare zones, four haunted houses and the all-new Club Blood, featuring drinks that glow and smoke!

All haunted attractions and rides are included with park admission, available now at the discounted rate of $34.99 for a single day and night of spine-tingling thrills.

Gametime Lanes & Entertainment announces expansion to Northshore Mall

By | September 29, 2023

AMESBURY, Mass. — Gametime Lanes & Entertainment announced that they will open a second location at Northshore Mall in Peabody, Mass, building on the growth and success of their Amesbury family entertainment center.  One of the top entertainment destinations north of Boston, Gametime recently agreed to lease a 30,000 square foot space on the Simon Property.

Gametime Lanes will join other recently-opened upscale establishments, such as L.L.Bean, Arhaus and sweetgreen  as part the final phase of the Promenade redevelopment at Northshore Mall. 

Owner Anthony Decotis says, “The reimagining of the mall makes this the perfect time to bring Gametime to this location and to create a unique entertainment and recreation destination for their customers.” 

The new location will feature similar attractions to the Amesbury complex.  In addition to 12 lanes of ten pin bowling, the new complex will feature two bars including a sports bar with giant TV screens and a full pub menu.  The state-of-the-art arcade will occupy 6,000 square feet with a redemption counter, popular video and virtual reality games, ax throwing and other adult amusements.  Private function rooms will be available for large or small corporate events, bachelor/bachelorette parties, or birthday parties for all ages.  Live music and special events in this premier setting are planned to bring a unique energy to the property, offering a wide array of experiences for patrons to enjoy during the day or evening, after work or on weekends.

“We are delighted to welcome Gametime Lanes and Entertainment to our already thriving mall community,” said Scott DeCost, General Manager at Northshore Mall. “In addition to our strong roster of shops and the unique services we offer, Gametime now brings our valued guests an unbeatable experience with their friends and family they will carry with them.”

Construction is underway, and the expected grand opening will be in mid to late 2024.  Follow Gametime Lanes on facebook for updates.

Gametime Lanes & Entertainment started in 2019 and is owned by Anthony DeCotis, Steve Belmonte, Jeff Lajoie, Fursey Keleghan, and Tony Sorrentino, who have a combined 75 years of experience in the industry. Learn more at www.gametimelanes.com. 

WhiteWater’s IAAPA Expo Europe 2023 highlights: new faces, projects, and innovations

By | September 28, 2023

VIENNA, Austria — It has been a busy year for WhiteWater, the leading designer and manufacturer of aquatic atractions, as the company celebrated the opening of nearly 60 projects in 2023. The company witnessed continued expansion in its regional offices, while simultaneously marking significant milestones with projects spanning various venue categories, including cruise ships, hotels, standalone water parks, and community centers, both in terms of completion and groundbreaking. Here’s a recap of the team’s big announcements made this year in Vienna as part of the IAAPA Expo Europe tradeshow.

New Hires Bring Fresh Energy and Leadership into Regional Offices
WhiteWater has significantly strengthened its local team by enlisting specialists in slide path, architecture, and Performance Services to be based in the EMEA region. This strategic decision underscores the company’s steadfast dedication to provide tailored support in the local time zone and language. Among the notable additions to WhiteWater’s team was Jamie Charlesworth, who received a “welcome home” from the team in Dubai as he returned as Managing Director for the Middle East and India. With a remarkable 20-year career in the leisure and entertainment sector, Charlesworth’s expertise spans across the Middle East with notable companies such as Emaar, Majid Al Futaim, and SEVEN, one of Saudi Arabia’s leading amusement developers.

Recognizing the exponential growth of Saudi Arabia’s entertainment industry, WhiteWater has also appointed Hussam Nabil as a Senior Project Manager for this market. Nabil, respected for his engineering expertise, contributed to large scale developments such as Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA) and King Abdullah Financial District.

Meanwhile, at the European regional hub in Munich, WhiteWater introduced fresh talent with the hiring of Diego Reckmann, now serving as Regional Director of Operations. Bringing a wealth of experience in project management, Reckmann leverages his comprehensive understanding of EN standards from his tenure at TÜV Nord. His decade-long journey in the water park manufacturing sector has been instrumental in driving innovation, notably contributing to groundbreaking atractions such as the SlideWheel.

“We have been growing our regional teams over the course of three years, and the addition of top-notch talent like Jamie Charlesworth, Hussam Nabil, and Diego Reckmann reflects our unwavering commitment to deliver excellence in the entertainment industry,” said Geoff Chuter, CEO of WhiteWater. “Their expertise and dedication will undoubtedly propel us to new heights in the EMEA region and beyond. With their leadership, we are well-positioned to continue setting industry standards and providing unmatched experiences for our clients.”

The Year of Indoor Water Parks
Long recognized as tricky spaces with tight space constraints, indoor water parks present a unique set of challenges that WhiteWater has proven to be best placed to solve, with meticulous planning to ensure that visitors can enjoy a varied mix of compact rides year-round. 2023 looked to be the year of indoor as WhiteWater had several key indoor installations open across the global aquatics industry.

Winning a 2023 European Star Award for its Master Blaster + Constrictor Fusion, the team was excited to expand Aqualand Moravia’s offerings for young children, building an AquaForms 300, AquaSplash toys, and Life Floor in Czechia. The aquatic play structure balances both style and substance, providing more available play space while minimizing its footprint. Constructed with corrosive-resistant materials to lead the industry in longevity, the park’s AquaForms 300 includes nine foot and hand activators to create not only a more engaging play experience with true cause and effect interactives but help the park use less water as features are not always running.

Over in the United States, Island Waterpark at Showboat set records with its 100,000 square feet of indoor space. The $100 million investment is the world’s largest indoor beachfront water park—and the largest indoor water park in North America under a single OpenAire retractable roof. Among its attractions are 11 water slides, two AquaForms aquatic play structures, and a FlowRider Double.

Prominent resort, casino, and entertainment complex Studio City also opened its indoor expansion this year with all its water slides and water play structures proudly provided by WhiteWater. Working closely with Melco Resorts & Entertainment, the WhiteWater team designed the attractions to integrate seamlessly with the building interior, using bold metallic colours to match the Art Deco look and feel of the themes and architecture. Beyond pleasing to the eye, guests here can enjoy an excellent mix of high- thrill and family ride experiences “teleporting” visitors to the world of space travel.

“We take pride in our ability to transform challenging indoor spaces into aquatic wonders that captivate the imagination and provide lasting memories for families. From Czechia to the United States and beyond, our designs redefine what’s possible in indoor water park design enabling operators make the most of their space,” said Onno Meeter, President of Water Parks at WhiteWater.

Continued Growth Across the Resort & Cruise Ship Sectors
WhiteWater has also been active working with hotels and resorts to boost their profitability by elevating both revenue per available room and the average daily rate through the addition of aquatic amenities. This trend is exemplified by the openings of various properties in the EMEA region in November and December of 2022, including the luxurious Cheval Blanc Randheli in the Maldives, Waldorf Astoria Lusail, Doha in Qatar, and JA Beach Resort in the United Arab Emirates.

Furthermore, the partnership between WhiteWater and MSC Cruises continues to flourish in 2023, reinforcing the commitment of cruise ships to include aquatics in their guest offerings. Notable highlights include the maiden voyage of MSC Seascape in December 2022 and the recent christening of MSC Euriba in June 2023. These ships showcase WhiteWater’s expertise with custom theming, where the

company’s skilled manufacturing team cratis hand-carved sculptures to transform aquatic play structures into captivating artworks, evoking vibrant coral reefs and pirate ships.

Product Innovations
In pursuit of ongoing innovation, WhiteWater looked at how to bring the rollercoaster experience of a theme park into the water park. The result was the Infinity Master Blaster, which uses a vehicle conveyor to allow for a more energy-efficient way of bringing riders to greater heights. This takes inspiration from dry amusement rides as it uses a closed-circuit slide path that unloads and loads at the same spot, giving flexibility to water parks to offer the attraction with a lower tower height.

Continuing to expand the family of Master Blasters, the team looked at how to offer the fan favourite uphill blasts to younger demographics. This led to the creation of the new Mini Master Blaster water slide. Using the same uphill blasts as its larger relative, the Mini Master Blaster uses a highly compact footprint to give kids an introduction to zero-gravity sensations with low to no tower required.

As part of the research into expanding the line of water coasters, WhiteWater noticed a rising emphasis on kid’s areas in aquatic design. A prime example of this approach can be seen in the success of Island Waterpark at Showboat, where the addition of Elevated AquaForms has created a dual-level play experience. This innovative design allows guests to choose between playing on the structure’s upper deck or down below on the splash pad, fostering a family-friendly environment where everyone can enjoy water fun together in a single designated area.

On the surf side of the business, FlowRider, Inc. announced an exclusive partnership with fluid dynamics experts, Hydrostadium, which expands their deep flow surf line up to include lake and river surf waves. By combining our collective know-how, FlowSurf can now boast the lowest power consumption and water volume on the market. “Together, we are revolutionizing deep flow waves with next generation wave technology bringing true surfing, with already announced projects to KSA and the Mediterranean starting in 2024,” said FlowRider President, Marshall Myrman. To learn more and see FlowSurf in action please visit FlowSurf.com.

Looking Ahead
While 2023 brought many remarkable openings, the team is also looking ahead to 2024, which will see two of WhiteWater’s largest European openings in the past 10 years. Between the first Endless Surf pool in the world opening its doors in summer of 2024 and the first six-person atractions in Europe opening at Oceana at Liseberg, there’s still plenty to come for WhiteWater in the region.

“These milestones showcase WhiteWater’s innovation power and is a testament to our commitment to redefine aquatic experiences in Europe and beyond,” said Rainer Maelzer, President, WhiteWater ERA GmbH. “I am thrilled about the positive impact these attractions are anticipated to have on the industry.”

New arcade location from Family Entertainment Group brings jobs, latest in entertainment to Greater Cincinnati

By | September 26, 2023

LIBERTY TOWNSHIP, Ohio — In The Game family entertainment centers have brought high-intensity fun to cities across the U.S. Now, Family Entertainment Group is bringing the excitement to Greater Cincinnati area with its seventh installment of the arcade.

In The Game Liberty Center, located at 7510 Bales Street, Liberty Township, Ohio, celebrated its grand opening weekend Sept. 21–24 with a ribbon cutting and VIP event.

“We’re very excited to be celebrating the Grand Opening of our seventh In The Game location in the Queen City,” said Scott Brown, Director of Marketing with Family Entertainment Group. “We look forward to creating a vibrant, exciting space where families and communities can enjoy excellent food and exceptional entertainment.”

In The Game Liberty Center offers 17,000-square-feet of entertainment space designed with guests of all ages in mind. This dynamic space features the latest in virtual reality technology, a large variety of video, redemption and group challenge games, plus a motion thrill ride theater. Guests can also enjoy a night in the Las Vegas-themed escape room and try their hand at axe throwing.

In addition to bringing thrills and delicious eats, the new family entertainment center will provide employment opportunities for up to 80 full-time and part-time positions for the Greater Cincinnati community.

Area15 announces return of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” immersive viewing experience, Oct. 27, 29

By | September 26, 2023

LAS VEGAS — AREA15 announces the return of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” Immersive Viewing Experience inside The Portal on Friday, Oct. 27 and Sunday, Oct. 29. Guests will have a frightfully riotous night while watching this 1975 musical comedy horror film by 20th Century Fox—the longest-running theatrical release in film history.

Attendees can also look forward to live performances by more than a dozen experienced Las Vegas entertainers, led by Brandon “Axle” Pereyda in the role of Frank-N-Furter. Pereyda’s career spans 20 years on the Las Vegas Strip in productions including “Chippendales,” “Zumanity,” “Michael Jackson the Immortal World Tour” and more.

Guests are also encouraged to come dressed as one of their favorite characters from the cult classic for a night of mischief, dance, music and more.

Shows will begin at 8 p.m. and midnight. Attendees are also invited to a cocktail party in between showings from 10 to 11:30 p.m. in The Sanctuary for a special edition of Silent Disco and a meet and greet with the cast.

General admission tickets are $44.95 per person and include one specialty cocktail; VIP tickets are $69.95 per person and include one specialty cocktail, access to preferred seating and special participation props and prizes. Goodie bag prop kits will also be available to purchase for $5. Must be 21 or older to attend.

Zamperla goes XL: introducing bigger fun for all ages

By | September 26, 2023

Zamperla, the historic company in amusement ride and roller coaster manufacturing, introduces Magic Bikes XL and GoGo Bounze 8.4, two attractions designed to provide visitors of all ages with the opportunity to enjoy shared fun.

Magic Bikes XL, a magnified version of the best-selling Magic Bikes, boasts four times the capacity of its predecessor: from the 12 passengers of the 6.2 version to the 48 of the biggest one. Now, parents, kids, and grandparents can delight in the adventure together, fostering cherished moments of shared exhilaration.

The ride’s design incorporates a pedaling mechanism, allowing riders to control the arm’s motion—the more they pedal, the higher the arm soars. Furthermore, the flying experience opens up limitless theming possibilities, immersing guests in uniquely themed adventures.

The GoGo Bounze 8.4 represents a remarkable upgrade of the classic Jump Around, re-engineered to accommodate larger capacities and assert its presence in the midway.

This family thrill ride features a system of air cylinders that drive individual arm movements, resulting in captivating bouncing patterns. The ride’s flexibility allows for customized wave patterns or alternating jumps, offering a new twist with every ride. Accommodating 2 adults and 2 children in each vehicle, the GoGo Bounze 8.4 becomes the centerpiece of any family area, drawing visitors from all corners of the park.

Safety is paramount, and Zamperla ensures a secure experience with individual lap bars, catering to both children and parents alike. The ride’s adaptability extends to seamless theming integration, effortlessly blending with any park’s unique atmosphere.

With Magic Bikes XL and GoGo Bounze 8.4, Zamperla sets the standard for innovation, pushing the boundaries of imagination, and uniting generations through unforgettable shared experiences.

The GoGo Bounze 8.4 will be showcased at the most important industry event of the year, IAAPA Expo in Orlando. During this event, you will have the opportunity to experience the ride firsthand and witness the iconic Zamperla approach. The quality of craftsmanship in the ride is of the highest standard, reflecting the care and attention to detail that our artistic department puts into every Zamperla project.

Gateway Ticketing Systems, Inc. renews referral partnership agreement with NetServ Applications, Inc. (and Tatvam Insights)

By | September 26, 2023

GILBERTSVILLE, Pa. —  Gateway Ticketing Systems, Inc., the world leader in ticketing, admission control and revenue-generating solutions within the attractions industry, is please to announce the renewal of its referral partnership agreement with NetServ Application, a leading provider of innovative data analytics and customer experience solutions with Executive and Leadership Dashboards and their Tatvam Insights software.

The partnership between Gateway Ticketing Systems and NetServ has been longstanding. With both organizations expanding vastly on delivering cutting-edge solutions to the attractions and entertainment industry since its inception, they both agree these are complementary products to one another to better the customer experience. Tatvam Insights offers advanced data analytics and customer engagement solutions that empower Gateway Ticketing Systems’ clients to gain valuable insights, optimize operations, and enhance the overall guest experience – using the data.

“Gateway Ticketing Systems is excited to continue our partnership with NetServ and their Tatvam Insights software,” said Peter Wolf, Director of Sales and Marketing at Gateway Ticketing Systems. “Their exceptional data analytics and customer engagement skills have proven immensely beneficial for our clients by helping them make informed decisions and improve their operations. We look forward to building on our successful collaboration and delivering greater value to the attractions industry.”

Under this renewed agreement, NetServ will continue collaborating with Gateway to offer tailored solutions to their clients. These solutions will include the creation of dashboards that tie together multiple data sources (different systems), providing advanced analytics, customer segmentation, and personalized marketing strategies to help attractions and venues better understand their guests and drive revenue growth. The bulk of this is done using the Tatvam Insights product, which aggregates your social media reviews/comments and surveys into a centralized database and provides sentiment analysis on the results.

Easily find out what your guests like most about you and where you might fall short of expectations.

“We are thrilled to renew our partnership with Gateway Ticketing Systems,” said Jamie Flaherty, VP of Business Development and Marketing at NetServ. “Over the years, these two organizations have worked closely to provide data-driven solutions that help our mutual clients thrive in an ever-evolving industry. This renewal solidifies our commitment to delivering innovative technology and exceptional service to the attractions we serve and keeping the end customer in mind at all times.”

This renewed partnership underscores the commitment of Gateway Ticketing and NetServ to support the attractions and entertainment industry by providing innovative solutions that drive success. Together, they aim to empower attractions and venues to deliver exceptional guest experiences, increase revenue, and navigate the challenges of a dynamic marketplace.

Covenant Health is now operating partner of Dollywood employee healthcare center

By | September 22, 2023

IGEON FORGE, Tenn. — Dollywood Parks & Resorts and Covenant Health have announced that the East Tennessee healthcare system now serves as the operating partner for the theme park company’s employee healthcare center. The two entities have enjoyed a strong partnership since February 2020, when Covenant Health was named the “Official Health System Partner of Dollywood.”

Dollywood employees—or hosts as they are known—enjoy a large number of perks, including free lunches, 100% free tuition through the Herschend GROW U. program, complimentary park admissions for family and friends, as well as free or reduced admission to a large number of regional attractions. A key benefit for all hosts and their families, however, is access to the on-site Dollywood Family Healthcare Center.

“The Dollywood Family Healthcare Center is a unique benefit for our employees,” said Dollywood Parks & Resorts President Eugene Naughton. “Thanks to our partners at Covenant Health, we are able to provide a high-quality and convenient healthcare option that is affordable for our hosts and their families. We take host care very seriously, and I’m proud that we have a relationship with a team that feels the same way.

“Not only does Covenant Health believe in our mission of creating long-lasting memories for our guests, they sponsor two of our popular festivals—Flower & Food Festival and Great Pumpkin LumiNights—as well as our baby care facilities and nursing centers. They are eager to provide the absolute best healthcare experience possible for our hosts. We’ve leaned on them a lot since 2020, and I’m glad we’re able to now partner in this way. It just makes sense!”

The partnership began at a crucial time. The multi-year agreement was announced in February 2020, less than a month before the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. Dollywood Parks & Resorts officials relied heavily on Covenant Health’s team of experts for guidance in reopening and managing The Dollywood Company properties during the pandemic. From the beginning, the goal of the partnership has been to focus on the organizations’ shared commitments to excellence, strong and vibrant communities, guest services and experiences, and to improving the quality of life in the region.

“At first, Covenant Health’s partnership with Dollywood seemed like a great opportunity to raise the awareness of our great enterprise to the people of East Tennessee, but after the pandemic changed nearly every way we lived our lives, the partnership became a clear opportunity to improve the health and wellness of park employees and visitors,” said Jim VanderSteeg, Covenant Health President and CEO. “Now, we are pleased to expand that role by providing healthcare for Dollywood’s employees and their families.”

Through the years, Covenant Health has offered a number of health-related activities for Dollywood guests, including sponsorship of hand sanitizing stations and health tips signage throughout the park. Covenant also became a co-presenting sponsor of Dollywood’s Light the Way 5k. In addition, the partnership extended to the park’s baby care facilities, adult changing areas, nursing centers, and Dollywood’s calming room, one of the first at a theme park in the world. 

Dollywood’s “BIG” 2023 season, which includes the May debut of the Big Bear Mountain roller coaster and the opening of HeartSong Lodge & Resort this October, continues with the upcoming Harvest Festival (Sept. 20- Oct. 30). The award-winning festival features Great Pumpkin LumiNights presented by Covenant Health and has become an annual tradition for millions of people during its existence. The season concludes with the theme park industry’s best Christmas event, Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas. With more than 6 million lights, it’s the perfect way to experience the holidays!

Dreambox360º – an immersive, intimate 5D projection experience – to open on Las Vegas Strip in early 2024

By | September 22, 2023

LAS VEGAS — DREAMBOX360º, the immersive and intimate 5D projection experience, announces it will open at The LINQ Promenade on the Las Vegas Strip in early 2024. Developed by the team behind Minus5º ICEBAR, DREAMBOX360º will offer several captivating and thrilling adventures, including The Arctic Ghost Ship: A Quest in Search of the Lost Rum, The Weekend Trip—a psychedelic-inspired experience—and more.

Featuring a 15-minute original, animated adventure, The Arctic Ghost Ship experience will invite guests to sip cocktails with Captain Flint McGreggor as they embark on a quest for the lost rum. Surrounded by 360 degrees of cutting-edge visuals and sound, guests will become even more immersed in this unique journey with 5D effects such as rain, mist, wind and more. 

On Friday and Saturday evenings, DREAMBOX360º will transform into The Weekend Trip – a psychedelic experience that will offer mind-blowing, trippy projections, a live DJ, open bar featuring an array of libations and 5D effects such as thunderstorms and blizzards.

Distinctive from other projection attractions around the globe, DREAMBOX360º is designed for small audiences of up to 35 to create an even more intimate and immersive atmosphere.  

The versatile space will also be customizable for corporate events and product launches with branded logos and imagery. Bespoke slideshows can also be produced for personal celebrations and private events such as engagements, anniversaries, birthdays, reunions and more.  

“As passive projection attractions continue to grow in popularity, we aim to spearhead the future of storytelling by producing an even more personalized and action-packed experience with DREAMBOX360º,” said Noel Bowman, owner, DREAMBOX360º. “Combining smaller, more intimate crowds with 5D elements will create an immersive atmosphere that you can actually feel, unlike anything seen before. We cannot wait for visitors to enjoy this concept next year.”  DREAMBOX360º will be located at 3545 S. Las Vegas Blvd. next to Minus5º ICEBAR at The LINQ Promenade on the Las Vegas Strip. Tickets to DREAMBOX360º experiences will be available in the coming months. Guests must be 12 or older to visit the attraction. For more information or to inquire about private events, visit dreambox360.com.