Theme Park, Amusement Park and Attractions Industry News

Kernels – February 2012

Read on for our latest collection of bite-sized news…

Japan’s Tokyo Disney Resort will open Toy Story Mania! this summer. The ride, which has already been a hit at Disney’s parks in the States, will feature as part of Toyville Trolley Park, a new area of Tokyo DisneySea themed as an old-fashioned amusement park.

After road-testing a temporary version of its waxworks attraction in Tokyo, Merlin Entertainments it is to open a permanent Madame Tussauds in the Japanese capital. The full size Madame Tussauds Tokyo will join Merlin’s Legoland Discovery Centre at the Decks Tokyo Beach Mall when it opens in spring 2013.

A Huss Enterprise and a Fabbri drop tower will appear as part of the line-up for 2012 at Pleasurewood Hills in England. The Enterprise was acquired from Henk Bembon at Loudoun Castle in Scotland, while the 40-metre tower ride was formerly travelled by showman Michael Wallis. Located near the town of Lowestoft, Pleasurewood Hills sold last year to from one French operator to another, Looping Holding taking control after Compagnie des Alpes decided to dispose of some its smaller parks across Europe.

Wilderness Hotel & Golf Resort, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, has opened an indoor Northern Lights Sky Ropes Course from Ropes Courses Inc.

New York’s Darien Lake has named Bob Montgomery as its new vice-president and general manager. Montgomery has been employed by Herschend Family Entertainment (HFE), the park’s new management company, for over a decade, and also boasts experience at Legoland, Toronto’s CN Tower and Canada’s Wonderland. Working with Montgomery will be assistant general manager Chris Thorpe. Darien Lake also gets a new director of marketing in the shape of Steve Hallowell.

Cassandra Weber has been named General Manager of Legoland Discovery Center Chicago. Opened in 2008, the attraction was the first LDC outlet from Merlin Entertainments in North America. Relocating from Bloomington, Minnesota, Weber joins the LDC Chicago after 11 years with Merlin’s Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium in the Mall of America.

Rich Hill, who joined Sally Corporation 12 years ago as an artist, has been promoted to the position of senior designer. Hill works directly with Drew Hunter, vice-president of creative design, on all aspects of conceptualisation and design for the company’s interactive dark rides, animatronics, and exhibits.

Bombay Amusement Rides (BAL) recently completed a Sky Swinger (wave swinger) for Jawa Timur park in Indonesia, and also has four Sky Kopter rides on order, for customers in the USA (3) and India.

The North American ride manufacturer Larson has sold two Flying Scooters, one each in the USA and Canada. A Jumping Jumbo, a Super Shot and a Fireball are also on order. A flea market in Houston, Texas, has ordered a Star Dancer observation tower. Larson is also finishing work on two trains for Knoebel’s new Flying Turns in Pennsylvania, while five rides are in for refurbishment.

As well as a Loop Fighter for a British showman, Technical Park will also supply a version of the ride in 2012 for the Finnish amusement park Tykimäkki.

Former director of engineering at PARC Management, Jeff Glinter has joined Premier Rides in the same capacity. Glinter, who started his career with General Motors, also provided engineering expertise and construction management for Six Flags, as well as serving as senior project engineer on EPCOT’s Test Track.

The British train builder and people-moving specialist Severn Lamb currently has five trains in production. Ranging from 32 to 144 passenger capacity, they are on order for customers in South Korea, India, Indonesia (2) and Qatar.

The first TapeMyDay video capture system looks likely to go into operation during 2012 at a snow dome in the Netherlands. Talks are also ongoing with several Dutch theme parks.

Lo-Q has extended its contract with Six Flags and will continue to supply its Q-bot virtual queuing system under the guise of ‘Flash Pass’ to 11 parks in North America. Following a successful tial at Six Flags White Water waterpark in Atlanta last summer, Lo-Q will also install its Q-band system at seven other waterpark sites across the United States as quickly as possible. The Q-band uses a waterproof RFID wristband.

WhiteWater has introduced the industry’s first 10-year warranty against waterslide fading and “chalking,” offering superior gloss retention, increased durability and very low maintenance.

TAA Industries is to complete some supplementary theming for the Krake (Octopus) coaster at Heide Park in Germany. Elsewhere in Europe there is work planned at Hansa Park in the north of Germany, Conny Land in Switzerland, Studio 100/Plopsaland in Belgium and Center Parcs’ new Aquariuz resort in the French Alps. ”Right now though,” notes TAA president Udo Weisenburger, “2013 is actually looking much busier than 2013. A lot of parks seem to be leaving things to the last minute for the coming season.”

Magic Memories, the New Zealand-based tourism photography company, is to begin operations in the USA. The company offers attraction visitors a detailed account of their day in a booklet, online and via social media without even having to bring a camera. Led by Stuart Norris and John Wikstrom, Magic Memories now has some 70 operations in mainland Europe, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, partnering with operators including Merlin Entertainments. Its new US general manager is Justin Ward, while The Kreisler Group will assist with marketing.

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