2022 Golden Ticket Awards registration & reservations are open!

By | May 12, 2022

Amusement Today is excited to bring back the Networking Event of the Year in 2022. The Golden Ticket Awards will return September 9 and 10. The host parks are Morgan’s Wonderland and Six Flags Fiesta Texas. While the ongoing planning is focused on making the event an engaging and entertaining one among industry colleagues, much information is already available. Interested industry professionals can find tentative schedules, registration information and more at www.goldenticketawards.com

San Antonio is both historic and alive with entertainment. In addition to numerous amusement industry venues, such popular tourist attractions such as the Riverwalk, Spanish Missions and historical sites can extend one’s visit into a fantastic getaway. 

The Golden Ticket Awards celebrate the Best of the Best. The weekend event allows the industry to shine and professionals to share ideas and best practices. Attendees will find the networking opportunities to be invaluable. Check out the website and began making plans to be a part of one of the year’s most exciting event.

May 2022

By | April 27, 2022

The MAY 2022 issue includes:

  • Complete 2022 What’s New Guide
  • Intamin’s Pantheon debuts at Busch Gardens Williamsburg
  • Tidal Surge — an S&S Screamin’ Swing — opens at SeaWorld San Antonio
  • Six Flags CEO Selim Bassoul talks with Amusement Today
  • Zamperla provides major ride package to Paradise Pier in Biloxi
  • Thailand’s Jungle Adventure Park opens Wiegand CoasterKart
  • All Speeds from Intamin delivers at Sunac Land Chengdu
  • Vekoma’s Fønix soars at Fårup Sommerland
  • Sartori Rides completes Nova Coaster
  • Funplex Myrtle Beach celebrates first full season
  • Stern Pinball keeps the amusement staple alive
  • Miami-Dade County Youth Fair is back
  • Polin supplies waterslides for New Zealand recreation center
  • Royal Caribbean International expands its exclusive destinations
  • Mack family donates Eurosat coaster train to the NRCMA
  • Six Flags Magic Mountain embraces improvements in amenities
  • Pete Barto launches PB Amusement, LLC
  • Reithoffer Shows refurbishing its fleet for 2022
  • Safety-related vendors exhibit innovations during Gibtown … and much more!

Better, brighter and fresher than ever: Sandcastle Waterpark opens May 21

By | May 18, 2022

WEST HOMESTEAD — BETTER. BRIGHTER. FRESHER THAN EVER. The all-new Sandcastle Waterpark – Pittsburgh’s Hometown Waterpark – will open its gates beginning Saturday, May 21. 

Nominated as one of the Top 20 best outdoor waterparks in 2022, park guests can look forward to a vibrant new look to the park’s Boardwalk and waterslides, plus the eagerly anticipated Bombs Away waterslide, along with new food options, a season line-up of special events and the return of last year’s popular Jammin’ July weekends – all set among the most breathtaking views of the Monongahela River. 

 “We are thrilled to welcome guests to the new and improved Sandcastle featuring head-turning improvements throughout the entire park,” said Kennywood and Sandcastle General Manager Mark Pauls. “Our team has been working around the clock to improve every aspect of the Sandcastle experience.  With the park transformation and the all-new event line-up, this is the perfect time to purchase a Season Pass to not miss a moment of fun all summer long.”

At Bombs Away, guests will enter a chamber at a height of 90 feet over the ground, then plummet into free-falling thrills twisting and turning for a length of 300 feet through an enclosed inverted loop. Bombs Away is projected to open in early June.  In addition to this exciting new water slide, every area of the park received a complete transformation, including:

  • Mon Tsunami and Mushroom Pool – New facades and backdrops bring new life to splashes for years to come.
  • The Boardwalk – Highlighted by a steel archway with illuminated, dimensional lettering, updated lighting, and colorful pole banners, the Boardwalk is guaranteed to be reminiscent of the East Coast.
  • Food & Beverage Enhancements – The all-new Sandcastle Bridge Bar & Grill will debut this summer, headlining a lineup of mouthwatering new menu items and visually enhanced stands sporting new signage and refreshed color palettes that embody a modern, seaside feel;
  • Sandbox – An all-new 2,000 sq. ft. play place dedicated to sand sculptures is now available right off the boardwalk! An oversized Adirondack chair offers the perfect sharable moment with friends and family;
  • Park Landscaping – New foliage, flowers, and ornamental grass can be found in and surrounding the park to make for an awe-inspiring transformation.
  • Slide Paint – Waterslides have been completely refinished to freshen up the fun.

A better, brighter, fresher Sandcastle is just the start of the excitement set to hit Pittsburgh’s Hometown Waterpark in 2022. An exciting lineup of special events supports the visual transformation, offering reasons to visit beyond Sandcastle’s new look and signature slides, featuring:

  • June 4 – June 26: Daily operations kick off with Out of School, Into the Pool! Summer vacation has officially begun, and Sandcastle is the perfect staycation spot with fun activities every day like scavenger hunts, balloon artists, ice cream eating contests, and popular TV show characters;
  • July 1 – 31: Last year’s wildly successful Jammin’ July returns for another season, once again featuring a local entertainment lineup headlining Pittsburgh’s most unique concert venue. July also brings a special celebration over the extended Independence Day holiday weekend including an antique car show and visits by Uncle Sam and the Statue of Liberty;
  • August 5 – September 17: Close out summer in style witha new festival-like experience, Sandcastle’s Food And Cocktail Frenzy. Find local breweries, food trucks, DJ’s and more for a star-studded splash on Friday and Saturday evenings; and
  • August 26 – September 16: Paying homage to the old Sandbar from the 90’s, nightlife returns to Sandcastle for Friday Night Swim Under the Lights, an all-new eventwhere guests can swim under the stars and enjoy a late-night beverage.

For more information on Sandcastle’s exciting attractions and events, visit the park website.

State Fair of Texas unveils 2022 commemorative theme art: “Taste of Texas”

By | May 18, 2022

DALLAS — For 136 years, food has been a focal point of the annual State Fair of Texas exposition. When you ask folks what their favorite part of the State Fair is, without skipping a beat, many will answer food. As an event that blends more than 2 million people from all walks of life, our wide variety of food represents just that. Get your tastebuds ready now – opening September 30, the 2022 State Fair themed “Taste of Texas” is brewing to be one to remember.

Inspired by the fun and eclectic nature of sticker collections, this year’s commemorative theme art highlights fan-favorite foods by creating a collage of colorful, eye-catching caricatures that capture the spirit of “Taste of Texas.” Iconic Fair foods like corny dogs, funnel cakes, cotton candy, and turkey legs laid the foundation for our event to become a worldwide foodie destination and even a bucket list item. Over the years, concessionaires have developed countless new food concepts and menu items – shocking combinations like Funnel Cake Bacon Queso Burger and Buffalo Chicken in a Flapjack; yummy sweets that make your mouth water like Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Waffle Balls and Deep Fried Peaches & Cream; and groundbreaking foods so unique even Oprah had to try like Fried Butter. Introduced in 2005, the Big Tex Choice Awards food competition just poured more grease into the fryer, amplifying the concessionaires’ creativity and giving them a platform to share the news of their new creations each year.

“This year’s commemorative theme art is about more than just food,” said Mitchell Glieber, State Fair of Texas president. “It’s about bringing people together. Whether you’re competing in a Creative Arts cooking contest, wandering the Big Tex Urban Farms greenhouse on the Midway, shopping for locally made treats, or taste-testing the Big Tex Choice Awards finalists, food is the common denominator all fairgoers come out to enjoy year after year.”

No matter which way you slice it, this year’s commemorative theme art represents the diverse variety of foods the State Fair has to offer. Food is the bun to our event, holding it all together for folks to enjoy. We welcome you to join us in celebrating the 2022 theme “Taste of Texas” by coming out to this year’s 24-day exposition starting September 30 through October 23 at historic Fair Park in Dallas. “Taste of Texas” merchandise is now available at BigTex.com/Store. More information on season passes and ticketing for the 2022 Fair will be available next month; sign up to be a Big Tex Insider and be the first to know.

“This year’s commemorative theme art is about more than just food,” said Mitchell Glieber, State Fair of Texas president. “It’s about bringing people together. Whether you’re competing in a Creative Arts cooking contest, wandering the Big Tex Urban Farms greenhouse on the Midway, shopping for locally made treats, or taste-testing the Big Tex Choice Awards finalists, food is the common denominator all fairgoers come out to enjoy year after year.”

No matter which way you slice it, this year’s commemorative theme art represents the diverse variety of foods the State Fair has to offer. Food is the bun to our event, holding it all together for folks to enjoy. We welcome you to join us in celebrating the 2022 theme “Taste of Texas” by coming out to this year’s 24-day exposition starting September 30 through October 23 at historic Fair Park in Dallas. “Taste of Texas” merchandise is now available at BigTex.com/Store. More information on season passes and ticketing for the 2022 Fair will be available next month; sign up to be a Big Tex Insider and be the first to know.

Kings Island: New nightly finale to include fire bursts, lasers, 200 drones & yes, plenty of fireworks

By | May 18, 2022

MASON, Ohio – Kings Island’s brand-new nighttime finale, “Fun, Fireworks and Fifty – A Kings Island Nighttime Spectacular,” will debut on Saturday, May 28, and continue nightly throughout the summer. Created to pay tribute to the park’s 50th anniversary season, the evening finale will take guests on a nostalgic journey through the amusement park’s first five decades of fun, thrilling moments and memories.

“Guests tell us that our nightly summer fireworks finale is a tradition that sets us apart from amusement parks across the country,” said Kings Island Vice President and General Manager Mike Koontz. “Fun, Fireworks and Fifty is the best nighttime spectacular we’ve ever done and an immersive reflection of the past, a thrilling moment for today and a promise of excitement for the park’s future.”

The 14-minute show is four times longer than Kings Island’s traditional evening finale and will take place every night throughout the summer. The immersive experience will feature fireworks, 200 synchronized drones, fire bursts, laser projections on International Street and an all-new song created just for the celebration.

Barry Williams To Tell Story of Kings Island’s First 50 Years | At the Park on Saturday, May 28
During the finale, Barry Williams will narrate the story of Kings Island’s first 50 years. Williams will be on hand at Kings Island on Saturday, May 28, to help kick off the celebration. He is best known for his role as Greg Brady, the eldest Brady son on the 1970’s television series, The Brady Brunch. The show visited Kings Island in 1973 for the filming of the famous “Cincinnati Kids” episode, which remains one of the most popular episodes in the show’s five seasons.

The Golden Celebration Begins
Memorial Day weekend also kicks off the amusement park’s Golden Celebration which includes new live shows, entertainment and culinary offerings that pay tribute to the park’s rich past.

Omni Arena debuts at Autobahn

By | May 18, 2022

We’re pleased to announce that Omni Arena has debuted at Accelerate Indoor Speedway in Waukesha, WI. Accelerate is a brand of Autobahn, the nation’s second-largest go-karting operator. Autobahn owns and operates eleven venues in nine states. This installation is Virtuix’s 55th Omni Arena system in the U.S.

In Omni Arena, up to four players can compete for top spots on the leaderboard to win cash from a $100,00 prize pool sponsored by Virtuix, resulting in high repeat play. At Accelerate, to date, 30% of all plays have been repeat plays. This repeat play rate is among the highest in the industry.

In a survey filled out by nearly 50 Omni Arena players at Accelerate, 98% reported they wanted to play again, and 48% reported they had come to the venue specifically to play Omni Arena. These numbers illustrate how Omni Arena has become an anchor attraction at entertainment venues, attracting guests who might otherwise not visit.

“Omni Arena is a groundbreaking attraction that takes virtual reality to the next level, allowing players to walk and run around inside video games. Some of our guests play again and again thanks to the $100,000 esports prize pool. The built-in contests are a good fit for our go-karting audience.”- David Larson, Managing Partner, Autobahn

ProSlide debuts groundbreaking dueling FlyingSAUCER at Adventure Island

By | May 17, 2022

ProSlide Technology Inc., the industry leader in water ride design, technology and manufacturing, is congratulating SeaWorld’s Adventure Island on the debut of Rapids Racer, the world’s first ProSlide Dueling FlyingSAUCER. This global debut is the newest innovation by ProSlide, combining two exclusive technologies to deliver a high-performance racing attraction that signifies the next step in competitive water ride racing. ProSlide has worked on five SeaWorld properties during their decades-long partnership and the Dueling FlyingSAUCER marks their 10th installation at Adventure Island.

Changing the Landscape
ProSlide’s Dueling FlyingSAUCER is unique in that it’s the only feature of its kind; a dueling feature that allows riders to race in the same direction. “This new feature is built on the foundation of award-winning rides and ProSlide innovation”, says Ray Smegal, ProSlide’s Chief Commercial Officer. “It establishes a completely new category of ride feature and is poised to create a monumental shift in the water ride landscape. We’re thrilled to partner again with SeaWorld and Adventure Island to debut this one-of-a-kind ProSlide water ride.”

Bring Water Ride Features Together
The Dueling FlyingSAUCER combines aspects of ProSlide’s Dueling PIPEline and FlyingSAUCER into a single water ride feature. “These are two of our most popular water rides around the world”, says Greg White, ProSlide’s Vice-President, Products, when speaking about the two features that inspired the Dueling FlyingSAUCER. “Both draw a tremendous amount of their inspiration from our company’s history in competitive ski racing, so combining them into a single experience was a natural progression for us.”

The Ultimate Water Ride Experience
With the Dueling FlyingSAUCER, two vehicles enter the feature via two closed dueling flumes. As riders drop and dive through the feature like world cup skiers through a giant slalom ski turn, they can see and hear their competition, creating a neck-and-neck competitive racing experience.

Nighttime Zoo: San Diego Zoo announces extended summer hours

By | May 17, 2022

The San Diego Zoo invites visitors to join in the fun of Nighttime Zoo, a summertime experience that offers guests the chance to explore the Zoo at night, when it’s usually closed to the public. From June 3 through Sept. 5, the Zoo will be open late and filled with live entertainment from a variety of artists, special summer treats, and an opportunity to see wildlife from a different perspective. At every turn, Zoo-goers will be enchanted by musical performers, dancers, acrobats, and crowd favorite Dr. Zoolittle, among others. Nighttime Zoo has long been a favorite summer event, but this year it starts even earlier—meaning the Zoo will be open late for 94 adventure-filled nights!

Nighttime Zoo also provides explorers of all ages the chance to see the new Denny Sanford Wildlife Explorers Basecamp like never before. This 3.2-acre environment blends immersive technology with opportunities to check out extraordinary wildlife species, and it’s designed to serve as a launch pad for budding conservationists. Wildlife Explorers Basecamp is divided into four types of habitats and features the wildlife that live in these areas—Rainforest, Wild Woods, Marsh Meadows and Desert Dunes. For the first time ever, Nighttime Zoo visitors will get to see their favorite nocturnal wildlife from each habitat when they’re most active, including caimans, an ocelot, a tamandua, a prehensile-tailed porcupine, scorpions, a coconut crab, fennec foxes, and more! 

With each visit during Nighttime Zoo this summer, wildlife allies will help support San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance in its mission to save wildlife worldwide and help create a world where all life thrives.

Legoland California Resort unveils global debut of world’s-first Lego Ferrari Build And Race Attraction!

By | May 17, 2022

CARLSBAD, Calif. — Start your engines! Today, LEGOLAND California Resort debuted its newest attraction, LEGO Ferrari Build and Race. Capitalizing on the increased popularity of Formula 1 racing (with viewership up 56% compared to 2020), the new attraction puts visitors in the driver’s seat with cutting-edge digital technology that guests have never experienced at any other LEGOLAND theme park in the world. 

“Kicking off what is anticipated to be one of the biggest vacation seasons to date, LEGOLAND California is thrilled to bring this first-of-its-kind attraction to Carlsbad, California,” said President of LEGOLAND California Resort Kurt Stocks. “On the heels of Miami’s Grand Prix, we know what a thrill the Formula 1 races can be, and we’re excited to give our guests a taste of that experience here at the Park.” 

The centerpiece of the opening was a life-size, bright red Ferrari F40 model developed by the LEGO Group, the only model of its kind in the world. The LEGO model took a team of Master Model builders more than 3,800 hours and more than 350,000 LEGO elements to create. It stands at 14 feet long, 6 ½ feet wide, 4 feet tall, and weighs more than 3,000 lbs. A permanent, visual centerpiece of the attraction’s “garage,” guests can sit in the full-scale Ferrari F40 model and have their photos taken.

LEGO Ferrari Build and Race lets guests build, test, and race their very own LEGO Ferrari. Drawing inspiration from Ferrari fun facts, race history and awards featured in the “garage”, Young racers get to tap into their creativity as they head into the build and test area to construct their own LEGO Ferrari car to race at one of three test tracks which include the test zone, steering test track and speed test track. Each track offers guests different obstacles, challenges and a chance to clock in the fastest time.

Once guests have fine-tuned their vehicles, they will then head into the race area and use digital technology developed by Dimensional Innovations, a leader in immersive and engaging experiences, to digitally scan their cars and virtually race them in an effort to capture the fastest lap time. A fully customizable experience, guests will be able to digitally modify their LEGO car down to its engine size, tire specs, power, and aerodynamics, plus personalize the license plate and even add stickers.

Once on the “track,” LEGO Ferrari Build and Race is designed to be interactive and challenging as racers adapt to changing racecourse conditions due to weather, wind, temperature, and wind speed. Guests will have three laps to set their fastest time using touchpads to give their car extra acceleration and to pass competitors through straghtaways. Families can join in the fun by viewing overhead monitors with a bird’s eye view of the action and leaderboards displaying the status of current races and highlighting top performers of the day.

The journey continues in the DUPLO build zone where younger guests have the chance to drive their imagination and design their creations out of bigger bricks. A LEGO pit crewmember will also be on hand to share Ferrari fun facts, race history, and showcase themed LEGO race gear and awards. 

Red Raion launches keynote to present their Moby Dick – Friends to the Rescue! in view of SEA participation

By | May 17, 2022

CATANIA, Italy — Red Raion, the CGI studio specialized in media-based attractions, have created a keynote presentation of their newest CGI film for licensing, Moby Dick – Friends to the Rescue!

The title is inspired by the popular Moby Dick IP, revisited in a family-friendly key: produced in 5D, VR and Dome formats, the film follows the adventures of Willa, the little daughter of the famous and majestic Moby Dick: once again, the villain is captain Ahab, and once again he will be left empty-handed thanks to the help of the whale’s friends.

Red Raion, who will attend Saudi Entertainment & Amusement Expo in Riyadh from May 16- 18, has created a video presentation showing what lies behind the creation of this title: from the marketing analysis to the creative approach, this keynote gives an insight into the process that brought this film to life.

Sara Menegazzi, the company’s Creative Director – who will be at the SEA Expo – declared: “Creating this kind of CGI content requires intense creative research, because you need to establish an immediate connection with your audience: everything has to happen quickly but at the same time it has to look spontaneous to the eye of the people who try the experience.”

“We strongly wanted to illustrate how our products are born,” added Valeria Rizzo, Red Raion’s Business Development Director. “We feel it’s important to show operators what’s the added value that our specialization brings to the CGI content we produce: each of our titles stems from deep research, both from a marketing and creative perspective, focused on giving operators the kinds of content that best fit their venues and target audience. We will be happy to talk about this process with the operators that will come to visit us in Riyadh!” Enjoy the keynote presentation of Moby Dick – Friends to the rescue!

Kilburn Live partners with Semnox for its technology solutions

By | May 17, 2022

DALLAS — Kilburn Live, is the latest addition to Semnox’s growing list of clients to implement Semnox technology at their new family entertainment center concept in Mississauga, Ontario.  In partnership, Semnox and Kilburn Live have developed the “Parafait-Game Hub integration” allowing seamless activation of various games and experiences using RFID wristbands and the Parafait Gamification API framework.

The new facility created by Kilburn Live called GYGO! (Get Your Game On) features an action-packed indoor active play zone that showcases a variety of active play experiences.  Powered by Kilburn’s propriety scoring backbone, Game Hub, these challenges are scored and tallied on a venue-wide leaderboard, allowing guests to compete for the top spot on a daily, monthly, and all-time basis.  Basketball, baseball, football, a ninja style obstacle course, and foam blaster play activities are just some of the unique challenges awaiting GYGO! Visitors.

” The importance of the underlying technology that powers our experiences cannot be understated.  The complexity must be invisible to the guest and yet be designed with future technologies and enhancements in mind.  Semnox’s Parafait system is both of those things and is so feature rich, that it became the obvious choice for integration with Game Hub and GYGO!” said Jonathan Sanford, COO of Kilburn Live, LLC.

Using the “Parafait-Game Hub integration,” the entertainment center can activate game play and pass scores between the systems to maintain the leaderboards throughout the venue. In addition to this technology, GYGO! uses a range of other Semnox solutions including an online ticketing and POS system, birthday party booking, liability waivers and RFID activations.

“Kilburn is well known for building interactive experiences that are entertaining, innovative and cutting edge. It is an honor for Semnox to partner with them to integrate our technology into these experiences. Through the GYGO! project, the foundational gaming framework has been established between the Parafait and Game-Hub systems and we look forward to leveraging the numerous expansion possibilities that is ahead of us in this partnership.” said Bepin Jose, President of Semnox Solution LLC.

Lights, camera, action capture!

By | May 17, 2022

CONCORD, N.C. — Whether guests are bouncing off the walls or climbing up them, they’re almost always going to leave experience centers with a story worth telling; yet with little to show. DNP Imagingcomm America Corporation (DNP IAM) today launches its Action Capture system to elevate the guest experience at theme parks, family fun centers, rock climbing gyms, ropes courses and other attraction venues.

DNP’s Action Capture system snaps candid moments of guests from angles unobtainable by friends or family or with a selfie. As guests participate in games, events and other experiences, the Action Capture system freezes their proudest and fun moments to take home and share.

Transforming attraction venues into experiences, DNP makes the photo taking process as easy as pressing a button. Here is how the Action Capture system works:

  1. Venue places the Action Capture camera at the top-of-route or completion point.
  2. Guests press a button to activate the camera during an activity.
  3. The camera captures the moment and immediately transfers the image(s) to the printer control unit.
  4. Venues choose to print images automatically or give guests an opportunity to curate the list of images they want before printing.

Venues can also create an on-site, automatic updating slide show for guests showcasing pictures captured throughout the day.

DNP’s new Action Capture system enables venues to easily add branded content, such as logos and other graphics, to the images before they are printed—helping ensure a strong brand tie with guests and those they share the images with. Venues can also use this feature to upsell photo packages on private events by adding a personal branded image package as a service when booking with guests.   

The Action Capture system comes with an easy-to-install camera module, a trigger button for camera activation, a touch-screen control unit with HDMI output, a network router (PoE+) to connect the camera module to the control unit, a starter supply of media and the DNP QW410 compact professional printer.

Theme parks, family fun centers, rock climbing walls, ropes courses and other attraction venues thrive on creating a guest experience to remember. With DNP’s new Action Capture system, guests can take a part of their day home to share for years to come.