By | November 30, 2021

The DECEMBER 2021 issue includes:

  • 2021 IAFE Convention and Trade Show come to San Antonio
  • Annual Holiday Cooking Guide
  • Gerstlauer, Ride Entertainment bring one-of-a-kind coaster to Texas
  • Holiday merriment unfolds in parks across the country
  • Almost 1.6 million attend Arizona State Fair
  • The Great Frederick Fair has successful run
  • Upgrades and a new slide in store for Adventure Island
  • Cowabunga Bay illuminates off-season with Festival of Lanterns
  • Cincinnati-area youths learn industry secrets as part of Coaster Camp
  • Cedar Point featured on Food Network’s Dinner Impossible
  • WWA welcomes return of networking opportunities for industry
  • January begins industry safety seminars, return to in-person format
  • Bell’s Amusement Park announces a comeback in Oklahoma … and more!

Daniel I. Glosser (1937-2021)

By | December 7, 2021

Daniel I. Glosser passed away at 84 on Dec. 3, 2021 in Newport Beach, California. Born and raised in the North American carnival business he worked every summer in/on traveling carnivals all over the USA with his parents Kitty and Ep. 

Dan worked four years for two insurance agencies specializing in the outdoor amusement industry after graduating college before discovering his passion for amusement ride sales.  Traveling in more than 70 countries around the world as well as every state in the USA for over half a century he sold more than one thousand rides from German, Italian, American, Swiss, French, Dutch, Belgian, Danish, and Spanish ride manufacturers to parks, fun piers plus traveling showmen all over the world. 

Dan was a fierce competitor respected by ride manufacturers, their representatives and buyers around the world.  Danny, as some preferred to call him, especially enjoyed working with designers of new amusement projects because it enabled him to contribute creatively.  Dan’s operational expertise plus intimate knowledge of literally every facet of the outdoor amusement industry was partially why he was so successful and highly regarded.  Especially known for his integrity, perseverance and attention to details, his philosophy of helping clients buy vs. selling, served him and his customers well. 

Survived by three children and two grandchildren plus two sisters.  Dan led a very full life, which anyone who knew him will attest to, his email address says it all: DanTheRideMan.

Donations can be made to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute/The Jimmy Fund, 450 Brookline Avenue Boston, MA. 02215, 800-52-JIMMY

Threshold Entertainment pacts with Fremantle to bring Baywatch-themed immersive location-based entertainment experiences to major cities throughout the world

By | December 7, 2021

LOS ANGELES Ever dream of running in slow motion wearing an iconic red bathing suit down the most alluring beach in the world, then diving in the ocean to save terrified victims from a shark attack? Well, that dream has now come true!

Baywatch is back! And the heroic lifeguard is… you!

Threshold Entertainment’s Larry Kasanoff has teamed with Fremantle and Baywatch co-creator, Michael Berk, to launch free-standing, immersive Baywatch “Theme Park” rides in major tourist destinations throughout the world, it was announced today.

Threshold has built numerous global Theme Park attractions based on world-famous IPs such as Marvel, Spiderman, Lego, Star Trek, and Justice League, for parks including Disney, Universal, and Legoland around the world. Now, Threshold will build a Baywatch Theme Park attraction.  But it won’t go in a theme park.

Using new technology, Baywatch Immersive Experiences will be located in the world’s most highly trafficked tourist destinations like Las Vegas, Leicester Square in London, Times Square in New York and Xian Tian Di in Shanghai. 

“The world becomes our Theme Park,” said Threshold CEO Larry Kasanoff. “Baywatch is one of the most popular TV shows in history that over a billion people worldwide have loved to watch. Now, they can ‘live it’ through our Attraction. We’re elated to be creating this Immersive Baywatch Experience with Fremantle and Michael.”

The Baywatch Immersive Experience features a mood-generating Pre-Show in Baywatch Lifeguard HQ on the most famous beach in the world, preparing you for your final test as a Baywatch Lifeguard in your own tower on the busiest day of summer. You won’t be in your tower long as an array of adrenalin-pumping, life-or-death rescues will demand every ounce of your heroic lifesaving abilities!

The 4D visually-stunning, moving-seat ride will put YOU on a wave runner crashing through pounding surf and slaloming perilous pier pilings! Fearlessly braving fire and flaming debris to rescue victims from a burning boat! Underwater narrowly surviving a lethal shark attack to save an injured baby whale! And more heart-pounding action!

To run in Slow Motion alongside you, and back you up as you heroically save lives, Threshold will launch a worldwide casting search to find a new International Team of athletic and alluring female and male Baywatch Lifeguard. 

“I’m thrilled to be working with Larry and his Threshold team to amplify Baywatch from a passive experience watching a TV show, to an active, visceral experience where you actually ‘feel’ the adrenalin rush, exhilaration and euphoria of saving lives as a Baywatch Lifeguard!”  said Baywatch co-creator Michael Berk.

Hero Zone ups the Location-Based VR game by opening its doors to free-roam content from other studios

By | December 6, 2021

Since the first wireless, affordable headset came out in 2019, both developers and operators have seen its disruptive potential. Using standalone headsets drastically lowers the initial hardware investment, and at the same time, creates a greater sense of freedom. As a result, the business case for offering co-location multiplayer VR became much more interesting. Hero Zone was one of the first companies fully embracing this opportunity giving every venue the possibility to offer their visitors a premium social VR experience. While Hero Zone is packed with immersive fun for all ages and skill levels, its credit-based licensing system and no-contract policy also drastically lower the barrier to entry for the VR market. Over 100 locations across 18 countries jumped aboard in a relatively short time frame.

Following the success of Hero Zone’s four own IP games, the Belgian pioneers decided to open up their platform to third-party productions. One of the strongest features of Hero Zone is that it joins some of the most successful free-roam experiences under one game launcher and makes it possible to switch between them with one click. It discards the inconvenience of having multiple game launchers with their own calibration process, play area sizes, and business model. Hero Zone is excited to announce Cops vs Robbers as their first distribution partnership. Cops vs Robbers is a themed PvP shooter developed by a Dutch team of 5 VR experts with a remarkable track record working on big titles such as Arizona Sunshine from Vertigo Games. They also have five years of hands-on experience in the LBVR market, having 300.000 people experience VR for the first time in their arcade. Cops vs Robbers is known for its interactivity and stunning visual design, resulting in a high-quality VR laser tag game. 

Hero Zone requires a minimum play area of only 4.5m x 4.5m (15ft x 15ft), making it the most space-effective free-roam platform available. Setting up is a breeze and allows you to transform any space into a first-class VR adventure in under an hour. The user-friendly interface, intuitive gameplay, and option to play with up to 6 players make for a fast throughput guaranteeing a high ROI. At the same time, leaderboards and multiplayer mechanics function as a magnet for repeat play.

The platform offers a one-time bonus of 250€ for interested parties reaching out during the Cops vs Robbers launch week from 7-12 December. The only VR tool you need for success is just a click away:

IAFE wraps up final year in San Antonio with successful convention

By | December 6, 2021

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The IAFE Convention & Trade Show wrapped up Wednesday at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas. The IAFE budgeted for and far exceeded a 50% convention, according to IAFE President and CEO Marla Calico. 

“As was said many times throughout the past 22 months, any event that was completed was ‘unlike any other,’ and the IAFE Convention was no exception. Attendance exceeded expectations, as did trade show booth space sales and sponsorships.” Good Morning IAFE kicked off the Convention with a mimosa toast and the national anthem performed by Stephanie Ann, and award-winning photographer Paul Mobley inspired attendees with his keynote presentation.

Workshops were on target with current topics and trends. The Fair of the Future series explored what a fair might look like in five years as it relates to agriculture, facilities, competitive exhibits, and more. “The Program Committee, under the capable leadership of Shari Black (Wisconsin State Fair), recommended educational programming that was highly complimented by everyone as having real substance and tackling relevant topics,” said Calico. “We’ve received so many emails, texts, and social media messages that clearly show the attendees loved the 2021 IAFE Convention and Trade Show.”

The Trade Show was a solid success, according to IAFE Director of Sales Steve Siever, and exhibitors and attendees alike appreciated the new two-day format. “The 2021 IAFE Trade Show was the family reunion we all needed,” Siever said. “Nearly 200 exhibitors gathered to reconnect with our fairs as our events move forward into 2022. The 2021 IAFE Trade Show was well attended on both days; the Beyond the Booth Showcasing stage acts were well received and the first-ever Verified Buyers/Exhibitors Breakfast was a big hit with all those who participated. Exhibitors left this year’s show feeling more connected and united as an industry and we will celebrate those relationships again in 2022 at the IAFE Convention and Trade Show in Indianapolis.”

The Wagons & Whiskey Raisin’ for a Reason event was held Sunday evening and raised funds for the IAFE Education Foundation. While the silent auction runs through Dec. 5, the evening itself was a success. Attendees enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and drinks while listening to the music of Highway 96. 

The Convention had plenty of time and activities geared around networking. “Our Director of Meetings, Kate Turner, crafted a schedule that allowed ample time for much-needed networking and ‘reunion’ time,” said Calico. Happy Hour on Tuesday evening featured entertainment by Jenny Tolman, while lunch discussions allowed for attendees to choose where to eat based on discussion topics.

Several awards and recognitions were presented during the Convention. Jim Sinclair, Minnesota State Fair, St. Paul, and Gary Slater, Iowa State Fair, Des Moines, were both inducted into the prestigious IAFE Hall of Fame. Winning Heritage awards were Randy Brown, Iowa State Fair; John Keeney, Warren County Agricultural Association/Warren County Fair, Indianola, Iowa; Tom Kissee, Ozark Empire Fair, Springfield, Mo.; Dawn Rowe, Kissimmee Valley Livestock Show and Osceola County Fair, Kissimmee, Fla.; and Marla Stello, La Crosse County Agricultural Society/La Crosse Interstate Fair, West Salem, Wis. Stello was also awarded the Certified Volunteer Fair Manager designation during the Convention. Jayme Buttke of the Wisconsin Association of Fairs was presented the Executive Director of the Year award, and Jennifer Dunn of the Linn County Fair Association in Central City, Iowa, received the Rising Star award. Next year’s IAFE Convention & Trade Show will be held Nov. 27-30, 2022, in Indianapolis, Ind.

Semnox’s Tixera implemented at India’s futuristic theme park – Thrill City, Hyderabad

By | December 3, 2021

Thrill City opened its gates to visitors on 10th of September 2021 as it went live using the Tixera Parks solution from Semnox. The implementation included access control gates, readers and POS for the Park that is spread across 8000+ square meters with over 50+ experiences & games. Some of the games at the facility are 12D & Dome Theatre, Flight, Car & Bike Simulator, Splash Coaster, VR Roller Coaster, Kids Arcade, Bumping Cars, Horse Carousel, Pendulum and it houses many more fun rides for all age groups.

Semnox’s implementation in the location involves Lumin readers for arcade games, simulators and 3D games at indoor locations and Xcess readers for ride validation at the outdoor games. The access to the location is enabled with flap barriers and turnstiles. The visitors to the park will use reusable RFID-enabled silicon wristbands or Smart Loyalty cards for entry to various rides and games.

“Thrill city is the only amusement park in India located in the heart of Hyderabad with a bundle of fun, thrill and larger-than-life experiences to the visitors. We did not want to compromise on the experience for the customers and Semnox made it possible for us to provide the best-in-class technology to power our systems and provide a smooth experience for our staff and visitors. We are happy to have made this decision”, said Rajnikanth, Director, Thrill City.

“We are glad to partner with Thrill City in a major city like Hyderabad to provide the cutting-edge technology demand for the park. The venue is designed as futuristic amusement park, and Semnox has been able to help them live up to the expectation of the park. With the cashless solution implementation the guests have a great and worry free experience and Thrill city benefits from this. We look forward to more projects with Thrill city to enhance the customer experience in days to come.”, commented Ashish KS, Group Client Manager, Semnox Solutions.

Mall of America and Nickelodeon Universe add new accessibility options renewing commitment to Certified Autism Center designation

By | December 3, 2021

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Since Mall of America (MOA) and Nickelodeon Universe earned the Certified Autism Center designation in 2019, the team has implemented a variety of additional options to enhance the guest experience and recently renewed their commitment to the CAC program.

“The certification has been well received and it has allowed the team to not only share personal breakthrough stories but also to be more comfortable talking about them. We think the biggest takeaway from the IBCCES certification is that employees are excited about being able to add the credentials to their resume and utilizing the insights and information beyond the walls of Mall of America and Nickelodeon Universe,” said Mayra Ferraro, Attractions Manager for Mall of America.

As part of the continued commitment to the CAC designation, MOA and Nickelodeon Universe staff have completed updated renewal training to help better understand and communicate with visitors who are autistic or have sensory needs. Nickelodeon Universe also offers sensory guides, created by IBCCES, as well as quiet areas and other options.

“We’re excited to continue working with the team at Mall of America and Nickelodeon Universe to create a great experience for all visitors and help empower the teams that engage with those visitors every day,” says Myron Pincomb, IBCCES Board Chairman. “Our goal is to provide ongoing support to our CAC partners to ensure they continue to grow their accessibility options.”

IBCCES created the CAC designation to help provide training and other support to attractions and destinations that want to provide better experiences for visitors and commit to ongoing professional development. Many families and autistic individuals are seeking locations that have accommodations and training to ensure all visitors have options where they feel included, safe, welcomed, and understood.

Universal Orlando Resort takes guests on a thrilling behind-the-scenes journey into the creation of its most ambitious roller coaster in “The Making Of Jurassic World Velocicoaster” special, streaming now exclusively on Peacock

By | December 3, 2021

ORLANDO — Following the colossal success of Universal Orlando’s most ambitious roller coaster, Jurassic World VelociCoaster, viewers will get a compelling look at its creation with the debut of “The Making of Jurassic World VelociCoaster” special – streaming now exclusively on Peacock and narrated by TV personality and Universal theme park fan, Mario Lopez.  

The special provides viewers with an intriguing glimpse into the three-year development of the apex predator of roller coasters – highlighting everything from its bold vision and immersive theming to the intense coaster maneuvers that continue to captivate riders. They’ll also gain insight into what it took to create the ultimate thrill ride from Universal Creative’s award-winning visionary team – including Mark Woodbury, President of Universal Creative and Vice Chairman of Universal Parks & Resorts, Thierry Coup, Senior Vice President and Chief Creative Officer of Universal Creative, and project leads, Shelby Honea (Show Producer) and Greg Hall (Art Director) – along with Jurassic World filmmakers, Colin Trevorrow (Director) and Frank Marshall (Producer).

Praised by fans as “unmatched,” “a beast of a coaster,” “relentless” and “hands down, the best coaster ever,” Jurassic World VelociCoaster at Universal’s Islands of Adventure is a gamechanger within the theme park industry – raising the bar as one of the most elaborate and extreme roller coasters ever designed. Starring the film’s original cast – Chris Pratt as Owen Grady, Bryce Dallas Howard as Claire Dearing and BD Wong as Dr. Henry Wu, the astounding thrill ride propels guests into an immersive dinosaur habitat where they hurtle at breakneck speeds alongside the Velociraptor pack, Blue, Charlie, Delta and Echo. 

VelociCoaster lives up to its name by delivering an unparalleled roller coaster experience where guests are  catapulted along 4,700 feet of track, 155 feet in the air at 70 mph, through a series of high-speed launches and more – all culminating in a spiraling 360-degree inversion inches above the lagoon.

Integration forms a complete event management software solution for fairs and showgrounds

By | December 3, 2021

ST. LOUIS — Ungerboeck, the world’s leading event management software provider, announced today that it has acquired ShoWorks, the system used by 75% of all fairs in North America to manage their exhibits and competition entries. 

After serving the same industry for more than two decades, both brands understand the specific needs of fair organizers and fair attendees. They both have developed powerful solutions that elevate operations and efficiencies. Unifying the brands forms one seamless, integrated solution that offers world-class development and expert support for customers. 

Mike Hnatt, Founder of ShoWorks, will join the Ungerboeck team, effective immediately, to focus on meeting the ongoing needs and challenges of the fairs and fairgrounds market. 

“Integrating ShoWorks into the Ungerboeck family combines our resources and effectively multiplies our ability by 50 to deliver world-class technology to our customers,” said Hnatt. “Fairs can expect great innovation and quality to be delivered when the two largest and longest running fair software companies with such a track record in the fair industry work as one team.” 

Bringing ShoWorks into the Ungerboeck family means a new level of efficiency for customers – and accelerated technology for the entire fairs industry.” 

Customers will continue to receive the same software and support as before, but as the two brands come together, customers can look forward to more opportunities for future growth and innovation.  

The move comes a year after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down nearly all fairs across the continent. Now that fairs are making a comeback, organizers have new requirements to meet so they can safely reopen. This acquisition fast tracks the development of technology designed for post-pandemic operations, allowing customers to bring in more entries, vendors, and guests. 

“Fairs offer a unique event experience that bring people together from all across the country, and our teams share a long-standing passion for the industry,” said Manish Chandak, President and CEO of Ungerboeck. “We are excited to be joining together to bring innovative mobile experiences to fair vendors and attendees and efficiency to fair organizers.” 

Alterface announces first implementations of its newest technology “Wander” and more exciting news

By | December 3, 2021

WAVRE, Belgium — IAAPA Expo 2021 was an incredible week for Alterface: the Belgian company announced its Wander technology, which enables personal storytelling at the scale of an entertainment venue. One of the first implementations will be at Studios Occitanie Méditerranée. Alterface is partnering with leading video game publisher Ubisoft, along with Storyland Studios to launch the first ‘Ubisoft Entertainment Center’. Wander will also be implemented in an educational project at Dierenrijk zoo in the Netherlands.

Alterface is honoured to have once again been chosen by the incredible Sally Dark Rides team to provide the interactive system for their two new dark rides announced at IAAPA Orlando: “VOLKANU – Quest for the Golden Idol,” one of the first major attractions to debut at the new Lost Island Theme Park, in Waterloo, Iowa and “Treasure Hunt: The Ride”, which will be located on historic Cannery Row in Monterey Bay, California.

And last but not least, first place for Action League in the Brass Ring Awards – Best New Product Concept category, was the icing on the cake of the IAAPA 2021. “We at Alterface are extremely proud to receive the Brass Ring Awards for Best New Product Concept.” Says Pim Dams, Sales Manager at Alterface “Action League is a stand-alone attraction where guests will experience a unique mix of tournament, interactive gaming and motion. I can not wait to install it anytime soon!”

About Wander
“The Wander technology has been designed to enable unlimited opportunities for guests who want to engage with any story on a deeper level, to do so in an interactive, personalized and ever-evolving way” said Etienne Sainton, Product Manager at Alterface.

The Ubisoft multi-brand themed entertainment experience designed by Storyland Studios is the first in a series of centers that will immerse fans and newcomers alike in fully interactive worlds based on Ubisoft’s popular game franchises. “Working together, Ubisoft and Storyland Studios will be creating themed environments you can play. All thanks to Alterface, who developed this amazing technology”. Ben Thompson, Chief Strategy Officer and Head of Global Clients at Storyland Studios.

Wander is a software-based solution for the design and activation of adventures taking places in themed venues. Thousands of visitors can play at the same time with multiple days of content dynamically adjusted to their actions.

Visitors will now be able to interact anywhere in the venue: interact with live actors, solve physical puzzles, impact other visitor’s adventures, use our interactive technology to interact with virtual worlds…the possibilities are endless! Whether for existing or newly created worlds, The Wander can bring them to life providing visitors with a personalized, always evolving Story.

“It has been a great honour to be recognized by the Blooloop Innovation Awards that celebrates innovation in the visitor attractions business!” says Stéphane Battaille, CEO of Alterface. “ But Wander is not only about activating Theme parks, it is completely scalable and the ideal product to empower any place, from small venues up to the largest theme park. Wander will also be implemented in an educational project in the Dierenrijk zoo in the Netherlands. It is another facet of the numerous uses of the Wander.”

“We discovered Wander a few months ago and we were enthusiastic from the start. We think it is a perfect way to add interactive and educational elements in our park. Something that really adds value to a guest’s day in the park. We are looking forward to working with Alterface to create an unforgettable experience in our park in the foreseeable future.” Peter van der

The Wander system can be organized as an indoor experience or any other location inside and outside. It is the ideal product to add interactivity in places which are not suited for traditional ride systems.

Alterface team will help you allocate the space based on an optimal visitor flow, maximizing throughput whilst securing an exceptional experience. Custom themes and devices can be developed to make sure this attraction perfectly fits your facilities. Your park is no longer a collection of attractions but becomes THE attraction!

“Whatever the product, our technology is made to support the brilliant ideas of the designers and our team of experts is always happy to assist them along their creative process”, says Battaille.

Bolt roller coaster recognized with “Best Of What’s New” Award by Popular Science Magazine

By | December 3, 2021

The Proving that the first roller coaster at sea is both fun and a feat of modern engineering, Popular Science magazine has recognized Carnival and Maurer Rides with its “Best of What’s New” engineering award for the innovation and design work that resulted in the July 2021 debut of BOLT, the first roller coaster at sea on board the line’s flagship Mardi Gras.

Since 1988, Popular Science annually reviews thousands of new products and innovations and chooses the top 100 winners across 10 categories. To win, a product or technology must represent a significant step forward in its category.

“Normal roller coasters use gravity to send thrill-seekers zooming and looping. But if you want to build a ride on a cruise ship—where stable, level ground is far from guaranteed—you have to get creative,” according to Popular Science.

“As you’re whipping around the Mardi Gras’ funnel while riding BOLT, I doubt many people are thinking about how we got the roller coaster built, but this recognition from Popular Science underscores the tremendous work that went into making this happen,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “While ultimately, we’re about providing new ways for our guests to have fun, we’re also honored and appreciative of this incredible recognition for our team.”

A marvel in maritime engineering, BOLT is an all-electric roller coaster encompassing an elevated track across Mardi Gras’ upper decks with 800 feet of exhilarating twists, drops and turns, including hairpin turn around the ship’s iconic funnel. Riders can achieve speeds of up to 40 miles per hour as they enjoy views to the sea 187 feet below.

Patented Spike drive
Technically, the whole thing is based on the innovative and patented Spike drive from MAURER Rides. Spike is, in simple terms, a further developed gear drive. Its special feature is that it turns roller coaster passengers into real riders. They can brake or accelerate themselves anywhere on the track, with 100% traction and 1.2 g of propulsion.

Established in 1872, Popular Science is one of America’s oldest and most trusted magazine brands with a legacy of bringing readers groundbreaking innovations and discoveries.

Sister ships to Mardi Gras, Carnival Celebration and Carnival Jubilee will also feature BOLT: The Ultimate Sea Coaster when they debut in late 2022 in Miami and in 2023 in Galveston, Tex., respectively.