Park News - (7/15/17) According to the local news, Ardent Leisure, owner of Dreamworld, got a nice little financial shot in the arm this week when Sun Hung Kai & Co., the financial-investment arm of Malaysian billionaire (Seng Huang Lee), acquired a 5.3% ownership stake in Ardent for $44.6 million. The article goes on to mention that Lee is also the Chairman of his family's flagship group, Mulpha, which focuses on investments into "infrastructure, hospitality and real estate", where they are also Malaysia's largest real-estate investor and developer in Australia. It is also interesting to note that Mulpha's head of operations in Australia is one Greg Shaw, who was a former head of Ardent.
(5/30/17) According to this news report the owners of the Dreamworld theme park in Australia announced that they are looking into options to expand the park, including the addition of a resort hotel as well as an on-site retail and dining district, similar to what you would find at a Disney or Universal theme park resort. Currently the park, owned by Ardent Leisure, takes up 35 hectares of a 60 hectare site owned by Ardent, so they have lots of room to expand.
Following the accidental deaths of four guests on the park’s river rapids ride back in October, Dreamworld is expected to post a financial loss for the year. Amid rumors and speculation that Ardent may have been looking to just sell off the park and be done with it, the news that they want to improve the site and expand does seem like they are setting their new course for future development and ownership of the property.
(11/30/16) According to the local news Dreamworld is looking to reopen the theme park to the public on December 10th. The park has been closed since the accident on Thunder River Rapids took place on October 25th.
(11/11/16) According to the latest headlines, Dreamworld has been handed back over to the park as the police accident investigation is now complete. Meanwhile the park has also confirmed that the Thunder River Rapids ride will not reopen and be torn down out of respect for the victims and their families.
Currently the rest of the park and every ride is now said to be undergoing a thorough review and inspection by a third party engineering company. No attraction will reopen until they have passed through the new review (internal and external) process.
(10/31/16) While Dreamworld continues to recover following the death of four guests last week, the news reports that the park is reaming closed for the time being and has not released a date as to when they may reopen while the accident investigation is still ongoing. In the meantime the park is attempting to move forward with the community following the disaster as part of the recovery process and has appointed a retired inspector to speadhead their community recovery process who has had 41 years experience with the Queensland police and with recovery efforts following the aftermath of several natural disasters in the area over the years. For now local area mourners are paying their respects those lost at the park where a large floral tribue has amassed at the entrance to the theme park since Tuesday.
Meanwhile the CEO of Ardent Leisure, the company who owns Dreamworld, has announced she will be donating her entire bonus (worth over $167,000) to the Red Cross to support those affected by this disaster.
(10/28/16) Looking at the accident pictures of Dreamworld's Thunder River Rapids ride something just didn't sit right with me. The lift itself just looked so odd... nothing at all like any other rapids ride lift I had seem before, with huge gaps in the wooden slats that just looked so strange. I tried to shrug it off, and thought maybe I just had not seen enough of them to know for sure, but it seems my hunch was on the right track.
According to Parkz, Dreamworks appears to have modified the ride's lift hill to be that way at some point, removing many of the wooden slats that were there when the ride first opened. The ride was built in 1986, and it seems it was thought to have mostly been built in-house. As it turns out, Intamin has also confirmed that they had no involvement in this ride project at all. They've posted a video of old footage from the park from 1993 where the lift hill looked more other similar attraction lifts elsewhere, so they believe that at some point between 1993 and 2008 the lift hill was changed to the current configuration with the wide gaps between the boards.
(10/26/16) A horrifying accident took place at Dreamworld on Tuesday on the park's Thunder River Rapids ride that resulted in the death of four park guests: two women and two men aged between 32 and 42.
According to the details released so far in the various news reports I've seen so far, there were also two children on the 6-passenger raft who were 'thrown' from the raft to safety as the raft itself was rapidly tipped up on it's side when coming into contact with another empty raft that had someone being stalled or stuck in place ahead of it. The remaining four riders apparently either fell down into the conveyor-system and were crushed to death, or fell down into the water below it and became trapped and drowned. It is incredibly sad that the two mothers of the two children who survived the accident were killed right in front of them.
The investigation is still ongoing, but I wouldn't expect to see the ride reopen anytime soon while all those involved are still very much in shock over the horror of this tragedy.
(9/21/16) AusParks reports that Dreamworld has begun testing a VR Coaster experience on the park's "Mick Doohan's Motocoaster" ride. So far this is just the test and they have not announced an official opening date for the VR experience.
Fall 2016 - NEW Tiger Island - (9/16/16) AusParks reports that Dreamworld will reopen the all new Tiger Island this Sunday. The attraction has been closed for months to receive a $7 million refurbishment that includes a new restaurant called the Island Noodle Hut, a retail store, a stadium with 500 covered seats, underwater viewing areas and more.
(2/23/16) AusParks reports that Dreamworld's Tiger Island attraction will soon close for refurbishment in March for three months to bring the area back up to standards and make it suitable for the two new15-week old white tiger cubs the park has just acquired.