March 2024

By | February 27, 2024

The MARCH 2024 issue includes:

  • 2024 Amusement Expo show planners expect banner year
  • Big Al’s FEC partners with Embed’s new GoTrain program
  • Spectrum Sports International continues to build its own success
  • Mack, Lagotronics partner with IMPS for Smurfs interactive ride
  • Great Coasters builds wooden coaster for China’s Fantasy Valley
  • Rides returning to Mexico City’s park with Aztlán Parque Urbano
  • Flyover attraction debuting at Chicago’s Navy Pier
  • Galaxy Multi Rides bucks traditional approach to inflatable parks
  • IAAPA FEC Summit 2024 offers abundance of valuable content
  • Fort Worth Stock Show attendance falls victim to cold weather
  • Gibtown Show successful even with a two-week event spread
  • Aquatica Orlando reimagining WhiteWater West Bowl Slides
  • Liseberg’s Oceana Water World destroyed by fire
  • Nearly 1,500 attend annual Pennsylvania Showmen/Fair convention
  • Women of Influence: Embed’s Sara Paz
  • The TEA 30th Anniversary THEA Awards Gala is ready to shine
  • McGowan Companies acquire Parks Plus Insurance
  • Emerging guest feedback resource builds on real time results
  • StarGuard Elite, Urbnsurf forge partnership for surf park safety
  • NAARSO annual seminar advances safety through communication
  • International Ride Training excited about 2024 Ride Camp success
  • Cashless payments can lead to revenue increases …and much more!

Universal Orlando Resort reveals all-new details about the vibrant adventures that await in Dreamworks Land

By | March 1, 2024

ORLANDO — This summer, Universal Orlando Resort will debut DreamWorks Land – a vibrant new themed environment inspired by DreamWorks Animation’s beloved characters Shrek, Trolls and Kung Fu Panda. Located in the Universal Studios Florida theme park, the expansive area will feature tons of fun for the entire family and include a family-friendly coaster, multiple interactive play areas, live entertainment, character meet and greets and more.

As soon as guests step into the spectacular new land, the vivid world and imagination of DreamWorks Animation will surround them as they embark on exciting adventures like exploring Shrek’s Swamp just outside of his 35-foot-tall cottage, taking a ride on a dazzling Trollercoaster, interacting with Po in the Panda Village and meeting favorite characters like Gabby from Gabby’s Dollhouse. Guests will also discover unique treats, photo-op-worthy murals, interactive play areas, splash pads and entertainment offerings themed to popular DreamWorks stories and characters. 

Here are more details about the enchanting and playful new experiences coming to DreamWorks Land:

SHREK
Like ogres and onions, guests can peel back layers of fun in Shrek’s oasis to discover “ogre-the-top” adventures at every turn.

Shrek’s Swamp Meet: Guests can visit Shrek’s Swamp Meet to interact with beloved characters Shrek, Princess Fiona and Donkey, the noble steed eager to joke around and converse with guests, just outside of Shrek’s cottage.

Shrek’s Swamp for Little Ogres: This ogre-sized play area features four fun slides, wet play areas and a playground where guests can climb, bounce and splash around as well as venture into Shrek’s outhouse.

Mama Luna Feline Fiesta: The blockbuster film, Puss in Boots 2: The Last Wish, comes to life with this new interactive experience that takes place in Mama Luna’s retirement home for cats. Here, guests get to play with Mama Luna’s many cats on vivid interactive screens activated by buttons, bells, maracas and levers. They might even spot the one and only Puss in Boots himself.

King Harold’s Swamp Symphony: Guests can create their own melodious masterpiece as they trigger a choir of ever-changing frog ribbits by continually stomping on an array of interactive lily pads.

Swamp Snacks: Families canfeast like an ogre at this new kiosk, which will serve scrumptious snacks inspired by Shrek, including Shrekzel, Far Far A Waffle, Frozen Ogre and more.

TROLLS
A magnificent fountain featuring favorite Trolls characters Poppy and Branch sits at the center of the Trolls Village where “fantastamazing” energy flows and guests can relax and “find their happy place.”

Trolls Trollercoaster: After strolling through a dazzling marquee starring cherished Trolls characters Poppy, Viva, Tiny Diamond, Satin and Chenille, guests of all ages can take a ride on the iconic Caterbus escaping evil spiders as they speed along a bright orange and yellow track aboard this family-friendly rollercoaster.

Poppy’s Playground: Nestled under a giant, 20-foot mushroom is Poppy’s Playground – a shaded play area featuring colorful flowers and bugs with a bountiful array of fun bouncing and climbing structures for the youngest of trolls.

Trolls Treats: Poppy’s boombox from Trolls Band Together has been transformed into a playful kiosk that offers up brightly colored Trolls ice cream treats inspired by Poppy and Branch like the pink lemonade-flavored Poppy-licious Pink and huckleberry-flavored BroZone Berry.

High Five Hideaway: Cloud Guy hosts this all-new retail location featuring the latest merchandise including apparel, plush and accessories from Shrek, Trolls, Kung Fu Panda, Gabby’s Dollhouse and more.

KUNG FU PANDA
Guests embark on thrilling and fun adventures alongside the lovable panda Po from the action-packed world of the Kung Fu Panda movies.

Po’s Kung Fu Training Camp: Inspired by the hit Kung Fu Panda films, this all-new play area brings the Panda Village to life like never before. Within both wet and dry play areas, guests have the opportunity to help the pandas wash and dry their laundry with enormous water cannons, dump buckets, giant fans and more. Guests will also encounter fun elements throughout the experience, including an interactive gong, mischievous, giggling baby pandas, and oversized merry-go-round noodle bowls from Mr. Ping’s Noodle Shop.

Po Live!: This digital, interactive meet and greet experience gives guests the opportunity to interact with the famous Dragon Warrior himself as he teaches them cool Kung Fu moves, cooks some delicious stir fry and babysits his little cousin, Ling Ling…all at the same time.

ADDITIONAL EXPERIENCES FEATURING DREAMWORKS CHARACTERS
DreamWorks Land will also feature additional opportunities for guests to meet and interact with beloved characters through extraordinary live entertainment, including:

DreamWorks Imagination Celebration: Popular DreamWorks Animation stories leap off the screen and come to life in DreamWorks Imagination Celebration. The multisensory adventure combines hit pop songs, high-energy dancing, advanced technology, and more to create an imaginative party atmosphere that will transport guests to the worlds of their favorite characters within the all-new DreamWorks Theater.

DreamWorks Character Zone: At DreamWorks Character Zone, guests can meet, greet and interact with their favorite DreamWorks characters like Gabby from Gabby’s Dollhouse and more.

Intercard elevates Rob Geiger to manager of North American sales

By | March 1, 2024

ST. LOUIS — Intercard, the world leader in cashless technology, has promoted account executive Rob Geiger to the position of manager of North American sales.

Geiger, who joined Intercard in 2022, has many years of coin-op and amusement industry experience. He is well-respected in the industry having worked for such leading companies as Elaut, Round 1, TriCorp Amusements and QubicaAMF. Early in his career he was mentored by industry guru Michael Getlan of Amusement Consultants. His first coin-op job was helping his uncle Fred with his snack and soda route on Long Island, New York.

Geiger’s first arcade experience was as a teenager, bringing a roll of quarters to his local candy store to play “Dragon’s Lair,” “Dig Dug” and “Defender.” Nowadays he can’t resist playing “any good basketball machine.”

“Rob Geiger joined Intercard after sales success at several leading amusement technology companies and he’s been a valued addition to our domestic sales team,” says Scott Sherrod, CEO of Intercard. “As Intercard continues to grow its North American business, Rob’s experience and leadership will help us enhance our strong reputation for market-leading products and services.”

Welcoming Bryan Blair: a veteran leader in the fair industry joins NAME team!

By | March 1, 2024

It is with great pleasure that we announce the newest member of the North American Midway Entertainment (NAME) family, Mr. Bryan Blair. With an illustrious career spanning over 25 years in the Fair Industry, Bryan brings a wealth of experience and leadership to our organization.

Bryan’s journey includes notable roles such as the charter Board Member and President of the Taylor County Fair, Kentucky State Fair Expositions Administrator from 2009 to 2014, and CEO at the York State Fair from 2018 to 2023. His commitment and contributions to the industry earned him the esteemed title of “2001 KY Fair Person of the Year.”

What sets Bryan apart is his deep appreciation for building relationships within the Fair Industry, particularly between Fairs and Midway Providers. In his own words, “I have always thought that building those relationships between the Fair and the Midway Provider are important.” Now, Bryan is poised to bring his passion to NAME, eager to contribute his unique perspective to our Carnival operations.

Please join us in extending a warm welcome to Bryan Blair. Together, let’s create memorable experiences and continue to elevate NAME to new heights.

Ellis Aquatic Innovations, an Ellis & Associates Company, names aquatic industry veteran Mark Oostman vice president of operations

By | February 29, 2024

MAITLAND, Fla. — Ellis Aquatic Innovations, the Ellis & Associates company driving advanced technology solutions for the aquatics industry, named Mark Oostman Vice President of Operations. Mark is a 40-year veteran of the industry, most recently serving as Director of Operations, where he has been instrumental in the installation and operation of the Ellis Aquatic Vigilance System, also known as EAVS. Since launching EAVS installation just 18 months ago, Oostman and his team have established the integrated, analytic, artificial intelligence system for drowning protection in dozens of aquatic facilities across the country.

Early in his career, Oostman played a significant role in the growth of Ellis & Associates as a national business development manager and subsequently as a member of the board. Prior to returning to E&A in 2021, he served as the President and CEO of The Lifeguard Store, where he was pivotal in the company’s revenue growth, providing uniforms, safety equipment and recreational supplies to the aquatics industry.

“Mark Oostman’s depth of experience in aquatic facility management, operations and financial management, as well as his experience working alongside many E&A clients, will play an important role in his stewardship of EAVS,” said E&A Founder and CEO Jeff Ellis. “We are grateful for his work ensuring the successful launch of EAVS installations in the US and excited about his stewardship of the truly life-changing and life-saving technology that EAVS delivers.”

“I am fortunate to have embarked on my career alongside Jeff Ellis and now to highlight my work, once again, with this true pioneer in aquatic safety,” said Oostman. “Throughout my professional journey and personal life, Jeff has bestowed upon me numerous opportunities. Leading this new advancement in Ellis and Associates technology is a privilege and an honor.”

Oostman’s passion for the water has been part of his entire life. He was a Division 1 swimmer in college and managed the largest chlorinated pool in the country. Mark and his wife have four adult children and currently reside in Florida.

Revamped kangaroo habitat at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Kangaloom, leaps back into action with grand re-opening

By | February 28, 2024

Get ready for a bouncing good time! Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is thrilled to announce the grand reopening of its kangaroo habitat, Kangaloom. This interactive experience, home to a fascinating family of animal ambassadors, including 29 kangaroos, eight wallabies and one wallaroo, has undergone a complete transformation, and is now offering guests an even closer look at these amazing animals. The newly renovated habitat allows free access for all the macropods throughout the habitat with “kangaroo highways” opened to allow them to move between the spaces. The experience is available for guests five years of age and older. Guests under the age of five will be able to enjoy an unobstructed view of the habitat through the newly installed observation window.

Learn More About Kangaroos with an Australia Insider Tour:
With an Australia Insider Tour, guests can embark on a 30-minute insider’s journey with expert Animal Care Specialists and learn all about three different species of kangaroos, wallabies and wallaroos. Guests can also interact with kangaroos and/or wallabies, as well as capturing unforgettable photo memories.

Supporting Conservation:
Since its inception in 2003, the Busch Gardens Conservation Fund has been a champion of worldwide wildlife protection. Through merchandise purchases, guests can directly contribute to this vital program, supporting critical initiatives such as rescue and rehabilitation, conservation education, habitat protection, and species research.

Meow Wolf Grapevine announces Solar Eclipse Watch Party for April 8

By | February 28, 2024

GRAPEVINE, Texas — Meow Wolf, the explorable arts wonderland, announced a multidimensional party to celebrate the solar eclipse over Texas on April 8th. Families can unlock the portal between The Real Unreal and the local galaxy at this all-day celebration that will include an array of spacey activities, interstellar snacks, and an illuminating solar eclipse watch party.

“Our immersive exhibition provides the perfect backdrop for an extraordinary eclipse celebration.” said Meow Wolf Grapevine General Manager Kelly Schwartz. “We are thrilled for everyone to partake in spacey activities, explore the exhibition’s wonders, and revel in the unique solar atmosphere that Meow Wolf has created.” 

Whether inside or outside, Meow Wolf Grapevine will be abuzz with excitement, offering a myriad of thrilling activities to engage with the universe(s). Guests can pair this lunar lineup spectacular with the merging of portals within The Real Unreal as they traverse worlds of art that include autonomous geometric space ships, gluttonous interstellar drones, and a floating baby grub. When guests journey through the celestial stars within The Real Unreal, they’ll find themselves immersed in an otherworldly realm of north Texas art. 

From noon to 3 p.m., guests will be able to step outside, snag a pair of protective eclipse glasses, and watch this once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon among the interdimensional beings of Meow Wolf.

The day (and temporary night) will include an array of unique celestial moments at Meow Wolf Grapevine. Guests can choose from a variety of activities  including cyanotype paper crafting sessions, shadow puppetry, and space-age face painting. The party will also include galactic-themed food and beverages from Celestial Brewing, Nikki’s Popcorn, and Hive Bakery! Within the exhibition, guests can consult the stars with tarot readings, interactive art and more inside The Real Unreal.

To participate in this event, guests simply have to reserve a ticket for April 8 at The Real Unreal. Those interested in attending the viewing party should reserve a time slot prior to noon. 

As the celestial portals between worlds merge both within and outside our exhibition, Meow Wolf Grapevine extends a warm invitation to families of all dimensions to join in for a day of lunar lunacy.  Guests of The Real Unreal are sure to find themselves captivated by the magic of the eclipse and the enchanting realms of art within our exhibition. 

Protect your intellectual property at AEI24

By | February 28, 2024

The 2024 Amusement Expo International is just around the corner and all the early indicators are telling us it’s going to be the biggest in its 14-year history.  You’d have to go back to the old AMOA/ASI shows held in the late 80’s/early 90’s to find the last time we held as big an industry trade show.  

With all this good news, there is one issue of concern several prominent exhibitors have brought to the attention of the show owners, AAMA and AMOA – copy games.  

We recognize the threat copy games present to our entire industry and as such, we’re taking proactive measures to stop them from being offered for sale on the tradeshow floor in both physical form and in sales collateral, (i.e. brochures and catalogues).

The co-owners of the show, (AAMA and AMOA) have contracted an IP Attorney to be on site for set up, and during the expo to investigate all claims of copy games being offered for sale on the show floor. If a claim is verified, show management, (Glasgow, Inc.) will take the necessary action(s) to prevent the copy product from being offered for sale, up to and including closing the booth(s) and removing from the floor any confirmed offending exhibitors. 

We need your help.
You are strongly encouraged to bring documentation verifying the trademarks, copyrights, and patents for your current product line, (both for the products you’ll have in your booth as well as any you’re still offering for sale but are not displaying at the show).  This will empower the IP Attorney and show management to do their jobs effectively and efficiently, should the need to investigate a claim arise. Our Intellectual Property policy can be found in our Exhibitor Rules & Regulations. 

To report a copy game or sales collateral promoting the sale of copy games on the show floor, please contact show management at phone number (708) 226-1300 or email, brian@wtglasgow.com.  

Mall of America is ready to welcome guests for an epic spring break

By | February 28, 2024

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Mall of America is prepared to spring into fun! Whether guests are spending their spring break with us or shopping for their upcoming destination, the Mall has everything you can dream of under one roof! Mall of America is the destination for travel must haves, one-day getaways, or a weekend-long escape with exciting entertainment, endless shopping, and amazing dining options around every corner, plus check out our exceptional hotel options to make your stay even easier! 

Here is a look at just some of the amazing fun to be had when you spring break with Mall of America:

Slime Central
It wouldn’t be spring break at Nickelodeon Universe® without Slime. New this season, guests can head to West Market Square which will be transformed into Slime Central. That’s where visitors have the once in a lifetime opportunity to receive a coveted Nickelodeon honor! That’s right, Nickelodeon enthusiasts can join in on the iconic green Slime fun and get Slimed by Team Nick in the one and only Slimulator. After visitors get Slimed, they will receive a t-shirt to show off their Slimed status. There will also be other gooey activations such as DIY Slime making. It is required to purchase your Slime reservation in advance and there is limited availability. Slimings will take place on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays and will cost $45 per person or $55 for two people. Guests must book their time slot online or at the West Guest Service desk in advance. For more information and to make your Slime reservation, please visit https://nickelodeonuniverse.com/event/slime-break/. 

New Rides at Nickelodeon Universe

Nickelodeon Universe at Mall of America is preparing to open an exciting new ride. Based off the popular Nickelodeon show, Avatar: The Last AirbenderFly with Appa is set to open this spring break season. Guests will be able to take flight as they will climb aboard their very own sky bison and feel the rush of exhilaration as they take to the skies, enjoying stunning aerial views while traveling up, down, and all around. Boots’ Banana Swings is another new addition to Nickelodeon Universe featuring the beloved character Boots from Dora the Explorer. Riders get the chance to monkey around with Boots as they swing along the breathtaking rainforest treetops.

PAW Patrol: Pups Off Duty Show

Get ready for some howling fun! Join Chase and Marshall for our PAW Patrol: Pups Off Duty show. Kids can dance the afternoon away as they learn the Pup Pup Boogie from the show’s fan-favorite characters. Shows take place at the Blue Spot in Nickelodeon Universe every Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. beginning March 2 – April 7. For more information, visit https://nickelodeonuniverse.com/event/paw-patrol-pups-off-duty/.

Scrambled Egg Mix Up – Easter Egg Hunt
During the month of March, Nickelodeon Universe visitors will be in for a special treat! Guests can pick up a map at the Nickelodeon Shop for $5.99 and then embark on a scavenger hunt to find each of the giant Easter eggs scattered throughout the Park. Once guests have found all the eggs and unscrambled the puzzle, they can return their completed map to the Nickelodeon shop to receive a special surprise. Additionally, during the last two weekends in March, SpongeBob will be available for meet and greets dressed in his Easter best!

Extended Sunday Hours
Throughout spring break, Mall of America will be extending its hours on Sundays to offer guests even more time to shop, dine, and play! On Sunday, March 3, 10, 17, 24, and April 7, Mall of America will be open 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

The Resorts Companies welcomes Lee Lorimer as cew Corporate Director of Human Resources

By | February 28, 2024

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — The Resorts Companies, Inc., owner of Massanutten Resort in Rockingham County, Virginia near Harrisonburg and Wilderness Presidential Resort in Spotsylvania County, Virginia near Fredericksburg, today announced the appointment of Lee Lorimer as its new Corporate Director of Human Resources. In this newly created position, Lorimer will play a crucial role in overseeing all HR needs across The Resorts Companies’ various locations. Lorimer brings a wealth of experience from his extensive HR career spanning nearly 30 years in multiple industries, including service, technology, retail, hospitality, manufacturing and healthcare.

“Lee’s appointment reflects our commitment to strategic growth and the well-being of our team members,” said Steve Krohn, president and chief executive officer of The Resorts Companies. “His extensive experience and dedication to talent development aligns perfectly with our company’s goals and we are excited to have him onboard to help prepare the company for our many new initiatives.”

Prior to working at The Resorts Companies, Lorimer served as the Senior Vice President for Wellstar Healthcare, where he led a significant transformation of the HR service delivery model. His healthcare background provides him with fantastic insight into the wide range of employees The Resorts Companies needs to thrive, ranging from highly skilled maintenance and technical roles to the various licensed/certified positions the company employs. Lorimer’s impressive track record also includes leading HR for the Western region of Wyndham Worldwide, overseeing hotel, resort and timeshare groups.

Lorimer is recognized for his passion and expertise in talent development systems, process improvement, change management and driving results through engaging team members. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in Human Resource Management and Instructional Technology and Design from Utah State University.

“I’m excited to return to a hospitality-driven organization, especially one that is so clearly focused on providing exceptional experiences for team members, guests, owners and the surrounding community,” said Lorimer. “I’m honored to have the opportunity to take on this new role, especially in a 100 percent employee-owned company.”

The Resorts Companies is confident that Lorimer’s appointment will contribute significantly to the company’s continued success and growth.