December 2022 issue

By | November 28, 2022

The December 2022 issue includes:

  • Excitement for the IAFE 2022 Annual Convention & Trade Show
  • Annual Holiday Cooking Guide
  • Anakeesta unveils Astra Lumina
  • B&M leans into past, creates coaster concept for SeaWorld Orlando
  • Growth, experience add to Knoebels’ Joy Through The Grove
  • Five Star Parks acquires Craig’s Cruisers FEC venues in Michigan
  • State Fair of Texas enjoys 24-day run with increased attendance
  • Epic Waters’ FlowaPalooza grows considerably in its third year
  • World Waterpark Association trade show returns to Las Vegas
  • Industry pioneer Alberto Zamperla passes away suddenly at 71
  • Woman of Influence: Jennifer Giesike
  • Industry safety seminars are set to kick off
  • 10 great reasons to attend the 2023 AIMS International Safety Seminar
  • Over 200 attend fall Pennsylvania Amusement Ride Safety Seminar … and much more!

MSC Cruises launches newest flagship MSC Seascape at a dazzling ceremony in New York City

By | December 7, 2022

NEW YORK CITY — Last evening MSC Cruises — the world’s third largest and fastest growing cruise brand — welcomed MSC Seascape to its fleet of innovative and glamourous ships. The ship’s naming ceremony took place at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal in New York City in recognition of New York becoming the line’s newest U.S. homeport in April 2023, ushering in an even wider variety of North American itineraries for guests from the U.S. and around the world.

The new U.S. flagship is packed with high-tech fun including ROBOTRON, the cruise industry’s first-ever interactive thrill ride. ROBOTRON combines the breathtaking rush of a roller coaster with personalized music and lighting. The ship also features two new VR experiences and new high-tech entertainment for all ages.

Rubén A. Rodríguez, President, MSC Cruises USA, said: “Our latest flagship will serve as a great representation for all that we stand for at MSC Cruises, including sustainability, ground-breaking technology and modern design combined with an immersive and enriching guest experience delivered with European flair. Our guests will enjoy all of these wonderful amenities when she begins her sailings from Miami after the naming ceremony.”


  • Riders select their desired thrill level – a first among robotic arm rides
  • Riders select their music preference and colored light display   
  • Rhythm and bass are visualized as colourful patterns and pulses of light on giant, adjacent video screen
  • The robotic arm has an attached gondola that seats three – flying them nearly 175 feet above the sea

Leading manufacturers and suppliers from the global attractions industry partnered with MSC Cruises to bring ROBOTRON to the MSC Seascape, in this first and only of its kind experience.

  • With the development of Robotron for MSC Seascape, JRA , part of RWS Entertainment Group, is leveraging technology to expand the experience of attractions from day to night as well as creating guest experiences that are unique and customizable with each ride
  • Riders utilize a pre-ride touchscreen to select what they want to hear as they fly through the air on ROBOTRON. All tracks were exclusively hand-picked by JRA to create a menu of popular music options that enhance the full visual, audio and physical experience of ROBOTRON, while al providing one-of-a-kind rides guests can adjust with each re-ride. The Volume 1 mix, features more than 20 popular songs, including 5 bonus “hidden” tracks. 
  • German robotic manufacturer, KUKA, built the robotic arm for ROBOTRON
  • Robotron is the latest example from RWS Entertainment Group and its subsidiaries in helping to redefine the modern cruise ship experience through the intersection of technology and entertainment, elevating the travel experience in innovative, refreshing ways.

First Tilt Coaster 2.0 is coming to the USA!

By | December 7, 2022

The most unique thrill coaster development in recent years, offering an exhilarating and visually striking coaster experience to amaze even the most seasoned thrill seekers. “Circuit Breaker” will debut at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas and it will be the first Tilt Coaster in the States!

As the riders slowly climb, a massive seesaw looms in the distance. They stop at a dead-end track, floating in mid-air. The huge track tilts. Riders in the front tip down. Riders in the back lift to 40 meters (131ft) high. Get ready, and… drop! They fall into a sensational pit of camelbacks, full-speed Zero-G roll airtime, inversions and bunny hops. It’s a unique, high-visual-impact ride with thrills unlike any other coaster.

Semnox Solutions wins big at IAAPA Expo 2022

By | December 7, 2022

ORLANDO — Semnox, an integrated technology solutions company for the entertainment and leisure industry, wins a Brass Ring Award for best new amusement-related services, equipment, and supplies at the 2022 IAAPA expo.

The Brass Ring Award for the best new amusement-related services, equipment, and suppliers of equipment/services encompasses supplies and accessory equipment such as computer systems, cables, batteries, lights, and all other supplies and equipment not included in another award category. The equipment taking home second place is the Semnox Parafait LuminOS debit card reader, which features tap-to-play technology, 256+ color combinations, and multi-language support for display and audio, making it extremely inclusive and user-friendly, and an aesthetic dream. It’s FCC/CE certified, completely customizable, and can sense the tap anywhere on the screen.

With LuminOS operational in multiple client locations and with over 700 readers deployed, our customers are beginning to reap the advantages of multi-play and variable pricing that the readers offer. Semnox is looking forward to making more innovative products for the industry to enable the operators gain maximum leverage of new technologies while surpassing the customer expectations.

Semnox’s Parafait FEC Solution software is a complete ecosystem of integrated solutions for entertainment venues, including a range of self-service kiosks for booking and redemptions, SmartFun – a mobile app for FECs, a range of RFID readers, and much more.

The Global Association for the Attraction Industry, or IAAPA, was founded in 1918 and represents leading industry attractions and supplier companies, consultants, and individual members from more than 100 countries. Its global events and conferences help spread successful ideas and practices, provide valuable tools and resources, and draw industry professionals from amusement parks, theme parks, attractions, waterparks, resorts, family entertainment centers, and more together under one roof.

Kiran Karanki, Chief Executive Officer of Semnox Americas stated, “The IAAPA Orlando show is always something that we look forward to, where we meet with our customers, prospects, industry peers, and partners. It has always been an excellent opportunity for us to seek feedback from our customers and channel the same toward the product roadmap.”

Celebrate the most wonderful time of year at LEGOLAND Discovery Center Kansas City

By | December 6, 2022

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — ‘Tis the season to celebrate the most festive time of year at LEGOLAND Discovery Center’s Holiday Bricktacular! Now through January 1st, guests are invited to spend this holiday season at the North Pole’s ultimate indoor playground. 

Families can enjoy many activities including:

  • Eat cookies and sip hot chocolate with Santa (see website for schedule)
  • Build holiday ornaments with the Master Model Builder to hang on the tree
  • Stroll through MINILAND in awe of the winter scene in Kansas City LEGO style!
  • Write a letter to LEGO Santa and place it in the mailbox for a chance to get one of your wishes!
  • Snap a selfie with LEGO Santa and the Gingerbread Man

The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter debuts all-new collection of interactive Ollivanders Wands available exclusively at Universal Parks across the globe

By | December 5, 2022

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. —  A brand-new collection of authentic, interactive Ollivanders wands has arrived at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal theme parks around the globe, bringing 12 all-new wands  – plus an additional one that is exclusive to each destination – to Universal Orlando Resort, Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Japan and Universal Beijing Resort.

Each original wand within the new assortment pairs a wood type with one of the three powerful cores preferred by master wandmaker Garrick Ollivander from the Harry Potter film series – unicorn hair, dragon heartstring and phoenix feather – and comes with a first-ever “wand lore” insert that details the distinct properties of that specific wand and the attributes of its ideal owner. Guests can also use the new wands to cast spells and reveal magical surprises with the right incantation and a gentle flick of the wrist at select locations within the spectacularly themed lands.

The new collection also brings a unique wand to each Universal park that is exclusive to that destination and not available anywhere else, including:

  • a larch and phoenix feather wand at Universal Orlando Resort
  • a walnut and dragon heartstring wand at Universal Studios Hollywood
  • a cherry and unicorn hair wand at Universal Studios Japan
  • a red oak and unicorn hair wand at Universal Beijing Resort

The lineup of new interactive Ollivanders wands is available now at Universal Orlando Resort, Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Japan and Universal Beijing Resort, and joins each park’s current selection of wands inspired by beloved characters from the Harry Potter series. For more information about Universal Parks & Resorts,

More than 300 international participants at the fifth AUREA Award in Europa-Park

By | December 5, 2022

The Europa-Park Resort once again served as the meeting place for innovative entrepreneurs, experts and visionaries from all over the world. On 1st December 2022, the best products for immersive tech and entertainment developments in VR, AR, XR and MR were honoured at the fifth AUREA Awards. The award ceremony took place as part of the industry conference NTR – The Metaverse Summit, in cooperation with the Bundesverband Digitale Wirtschaft (BVDW) e.V. and MACK NeXT, which saw the international participants meeting in Rust from 1st to 2nd December.

More than 300 participants came together at the Europa-Park event to network and exchange views on current developments and opportunities relating to the Metaverse. At the start of the NTR – The Metaverse Summit, Michael Mack, Managing Partner of Europa-Park and founder of MACK NeXT, and BVDW President Dirk Freytag welcomed the participants. “For generations, our family business has reinvented itself and ventured into uncharted territory. As an example, our developments have seen the combination of virtual reality with a rollercoaster ride to create a completely new experience for visitors. Since 2015, over 40 million riders worldwide have used our Coastiality system in partnership with VR Coaster. Digitisation therefore plays a central role in a wide variety of areas and is largely responsible for the success and not least for the progress of our company,” says Michael Mack.

BVDW President Dirk Freytag then added: “Europa-Park is perfect for discussing the Metaverse. It’s right here on-site that visitors can experience virtual worlds today. The NTR – The Metaverse Summit provides a comprehensive insight into the next generation of the internet, in cooperation with international top speakers. And when we look to the future, and look at all the excellent work shown here at the AUREA Awards, it seems that virtual entertainment and the metaverse will be much more exciting than even we can currently foresee.”

Ten finalists prevailed against the competition at the AUREA Award, and were able to present their projects to an international jury of experts. As in previous years, the five-strong panel of experts was chaired by tech star Kathleen Cohen (The Collaboratorium), supported again by Thomas Wagner (co-founder & managing director of VR Coaster) and Frank Govaere (animation director, producer & VFX supervisor, UFA). Dirk Freytag (President BVDW) and AUREA award winner Laura Bücheler (CIO Feelbelt) joined the jury for the first time.

The AUREA Award was given out for the categories of Innovation, Experience, Impact, Immersion and Creative. The jury was particularly impressed by the Canadian development team Re:Naissance, who have created a completely new experience with their combination of virtual reality and classical opera. The project not only received the AUREA Award for Innovation, as founder Debi Wong also accepted the award for the Creative category. This year, the AUREA Award Experience was shared by two winners who managed to impress the jury equally. The Italian start-up WEART was honoured for its innovative glove, which can make VR games an even more immersive experience with the addition of haptics that allow the creation of tangible differences in temperature and textures within the virtual world. The company OWO from Spain is pursuing a similar idea, with their gaming shirt that conveys up to 30 different haptic experiences, individually adapting for the digital events. The Brighter AI team from Germany received the award in the Impact category at the glamorous gala. Brighter AI’s artificial intelligence specialises in anonymising people in photo or video images and helping to protect their personal rights, such as in public spaces. The ‘Colnaghi Virtual Art Gallery’ promises a particularly immersive experience in cooperation with Endava, which gives visitors interested in art a unique insight into the works of old masters.

The award ceremony was hosted once again by Clark Parsons and Emily Olman, and set in the Europa-Park Dinner Show, which features a top-class show program and an exquisite 4-course gala menu.

IAFE Convention wraps up this week in Indianapolis

By | December 5, 2022

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The 2022 IAFE Convention & Trade Show wrapped up this week in Indianapolis. The event was held Nov. 27-30 at the Indianapolis Convention Center, according to IAFE President and CEO Marla Calico.

“About 2,500 people attended the 2022 IAFE Convention & Trade Show, with delegates coming from 48 states, Canada, and Australia. The turnout was just shy of that of the 2019 Convention. More importantly, the revenue goals set for the event were exceeded,” Calico said.

“The ‘Fair-A-Palooza’ event at the Indiana State Fair produced by their staff and North American Midway Entertainment was a huge success and will be talked about for years to come,” Calico said.

Each year, the IAFE conducts contests for fair members, which recognize and reward excellence. A total of 1,726 entries across five divisions in five different contests and 48 categories were entered this year, a significant increase over 2021.

In addition to well over 300 booths, the Trade Show also featured 17 different acts on showcasing stages inside the show, as well as an opportunity for exhibitors to participate in a Buyers/Exhibitors networking breakfast.

“The 2022 IAFE Trade Show provided a great chance for all aspects of the fair business to unite.  Exhibitors reported great attendance to show management over the course of the two-day event. Trade Show booth sales were up 9% over 2021,” IAFE Director of Sales Steve Siever said.

The 2023 Board of Directors elections were held at the Convention. The board is as follows (* indicates newly elected): IAFE Chair Jennifer Giesike, CFE, Washington Town & Country Fair, Washington, Mo.; First Vice Chair Jo Reynolds, CFE, Warren County Fair, Indianola, Iowa; Second Vice Chair Ken Karns*, CFE, OC Fair & Event Center, Costa Mesa, Calif.; Treasurer Jaime Navarro, State Fair of Texas, Dallas; Immediate Past Chair Jeremy Parsons, CFE, Clay County Fair, Spencer, Iowa; Past Chair Eugene Cassidy, CFE, Eastern States Exposition (The Big E), West Springfield, Mass.; Zone 1 Director Andy Imperati *, Dutchess County Fair, Rhinebeck, N.Y.; Zone 2 Director Kelly Collins, CFE, State Fair of West Virginia, Lewisburg; Zone 3 Director L.C. Scramlin*, Oakland County Fair, Davisburg, Mich.; Zone 4 Director Scott Kozelka, Steele County Free Fair, Owatonna, Minn.; Zone 5 Director Aaron Owen, CFE, Ozark Empire Fair, Springfield, Mo.; Zone 6 Director Mitchell Glieber, State Fair of Texas; Zone 7 Director Brandon Bird*, CFE, Eastern Idaho State Fair, Blackfoot; Zone 8 Director Geoff Hinds, CFE, Deschutes County Fair & Expo, Redmond, Ore.; State & Provincial Associations Representative Steve Patterson*, CFE, Indiana Association of Fairs; Canadian Association of Fairs & Exhibitions Representative Jeff Strickland*, Pacific National Exhibition, Vancouver, British Columbia; Outside the U.S. & Canada Representative Brad Jenkins*, Melbourne Royal Show, Ascot Vale, Victoria; Director at Large from Associate Members Sandy Class*, Tavern at the Park, LLC, Apollo Beach, Fla.; Director at Large from Associate Members Jay Strates, Strates Shows, Orlando, Fla.; and President and CEO Marla Calico, CFE. 

“The feedback received throughout the Convention was extremely positive. Attendees were very outspoken in their comments about the quality of the educational programming, the opportunity to network, and to celebrate achievements,” stated Calico.

“We are very grateful to the sponsors and exhibitors for their dedicated participation, and especially so to the attendees who took time away from their families, their fairs and their ‘real-life’ work to attend the 2022 Convention.” Attendees and exhibitors were already expressing great interest in the 2023 IAFE Convention & Trade Show, Nov. 26-29 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Back by popular demand, Scuba Claus visits with kids

By | December 2, 2022

You’re invited to experience the most unusual Santa visit in Dallas. Scuba Claus’s dives were so popular last weekend that he’s coming back again this Saturday and Sunday.

Families can bring their cameras and smartphones to take pictures of the kids with Santa as he dives in the Aquarium’s underwater habitats.

Santa’s dives take place on the following days and times:

  • Saturday, December 3 at 1 and 3 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 4 at 1 and 3 p.m.

The Santa visit is free to Members and free to the public with general admission to the Aquarium. Members just show their cards at the door for admission. Tickets are available for the general public at the door or online in advance at

Admission is always free for Members; free for kids 2 and under, $9.95 for kids ages 3 to 12 and $13.95 for anyone 13 and older.

Before or after the Santa dives, guests can stay to enjoy all of the hands-on, hands-wet animal adventures at the Aquarium. Activities include getting nibbled by Doctor Fish, meeting ambassador animals, feeding the Archer Fish, touching the invertebrates and so much more

The Children’s Aquarium Dallas is open from 9 a.m to 5 p.m daily. Free parking is available close to the Aquarium in Lot Six. The Aquarium is located at 1462 1st Ave., Dallas, TX 75210 in Fair Park.

Deaf Santa Claus uses American Sign Language to bring the joy of Christmas to deaf and hard of hearing children

By | December 2, 2022

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Santa Claus can communicate with children all over the world in many different languages, but deaf and hard of hearing children have struggled to understand why they can’t share their holiday wishes with Santa. For kids who are deaf and hard of hearing, this year’s visit with Santa will offer a joyful, new experience. The Gaylord National Resort, located just outside of Washington D.C., will host (deaf) Santa Charles December 12 from 5 to 9 p.m. for those who communicate via American Sign Language (ASL). With his authentic beard and jolly red suit, Santa Charles is one of the country’s few deaf Santa’s who exclusively communicates in ASL.  

“We feel it’s incredibly important to offer this holiday tradition to children in their own language, without the need for an interpreter,” said Jennifer Cerasani, director of marketing and public relations for the Gaylord National Resort. “With so many children in our area who are deaf or hearing-impaired, this Christmas will be magical, memorable and truly authentic.”

“Too many children are not seen for who they are and aspire to be, and this is the connection I strive to make with every individual I meet. What each of us can do – Santa Claus or not – is make that person feel seen and valued,” said Santa Charles representative Anthony Mowl.

Guests are encouraged to reserve a December 12 photo session with Santa Charles prior to their visit. Professional photography provided by DEI, and a variety of photo packages and keepsakes are available for purchase. Parents are encouraged to sign up today as space is limited. 

Guests who visit Gaylord National December 12 can also experience ICE! for the first time since 2019, and fan-favorite activities like ice skating, ice tubing, ice bumper cars and gingerbread decorating. They can also experience shows like the new Cirque: Spirit of Christmas and SHINE light show. Newly-added experiences include an over-the-top gingerbread display, a Christmas-themed pop-up bar, a NITROPEPSI pop-up featuring holiday-themed cocktails and mocktails, and more. Gaylord National will also offer its popular Christmas Suites – decked out in holiday décor for a home-for-the-holidays feel.

PortAventura World and Sony Pictures Entertainment announce world’s first ‘Uncharted’ dark ride roller coaster

By | December 1, 2022

PORTAVENTURA WORLD — PortAventura World and Sony Pictures Entertainment announced today, Uncharted, the world’s first dark ride roller coaster based on the box office hit film, will open in mid-2023. The new attraction will be located in the resort’s Far West zone and will allow visitors to go on a dangerous search for one of the greatest treasures ever found.

David Garcia, EVP and Managing Director of PortAventura World, declares “we are excited about the announcement of this strategic agreement with a reference company in the entertainment industry like Sony Pictures. This alliance will allow us to be present at a global scale launching our first dark ride roller coaster and perfectly complement our offering. We are convinced that this new attraction with state-of-the art technology will be instrumental in creating great moments and memories for families and friends that come to spend their holidays and free time in our resort.

Jeffrey Godsick, EVP of Global Partnerships and Brand Management and Head of Location Based Entertainment at Sony Pictures Entertainment said: “The team at PortAventura World has designed a thrilling ride so that fans of the game and film can now step into Nate and Sully’s shoes and go on their own white-knuckle, treasure-hunting race.”

Asad Qizilbash, Head of PlayStation Productions said: “Following the huge success of the Uncharted movie, we’re excited to see this entertainment franchise further expand into new and exciting spaces.

The most daring visitors will be able to enjoy nearly 700 meters of a vibrant ride on this exclusive dark ride roller coaster that reaches over 12 meters high in a unique enveloping space, 4,800 square meters and 16 meters high. This thrilling new ride promises to reveal dark and unexplored territories during an exhilarating expedition that will not fail to excite them. To this end, the new

attraction will feature a pre-show full of surprises and a journey of unexpected events in a totally immersive experience in search of the great treasure.

With an investment in excess of 25 million euros, the project has been made possible thanks to a licensing agreement with Sony Pictures and its creation counts on the collaboration of the renowned design company Intamin Amusement Rides, and Sally Dark Rides, a leading international enterprise specialising in the development of dark rides and animatronics design.