---- THE LATEST INDUSTRY NEWS ----
(7/22/17) S&S Worldwide Being Sued By Injured Valleyfair Employee (MORE...)
(7/20/17) Six Flags CEO Retires, Former Steps Back Into The Role (MORE...)
(7/15/17) Rocky Mountain Construction Working On 7 Projects (MORE...)
(7/14/17) RMC Raptor Test Track POV Video Found (MORE...)
(7/12/17) Wanda Sells Off Parks, Attractions and Hotels (MORE...)
(7/11/17) Cedar Fair Files For Another New Trademark Name (MORE...)
2015 Park Attendance Report - (5/29/16) The big annual TEA / AECOM report on theme park attendance figures for 2015 has been released. You can find the links to download the 2015 report along with several reports from previous years by clicking here.
(6/4/15) The 2014 TEA / AECOM Theme Index attendance report has been released. The list shows double-digit attendance increases for Universal Studios Japan (16.8%) Universal Studios Florida (17%) and Universal Studios Hollywood (11%). Mild growth rates were reported for most Disney parks between 2-4%, however Disney's Paris parks both took a hit, each dropping 4.7%. Meanwhile in the US the SeaWorld branded parks took the biggest attendance hits of the year, reported to have dropped 8% at SeaWorld Orlando and 12% in San Diego. A couple of noteworthy growth spurts also took place in the European market with Parque Warner (Spain) jumping up 25.9%, Parc Asterix (France) gaining 11.1%, Futuroscope (France) gaining 13.7% more visitors over the previous year. Follow the link to download your own copy of the report for the full details.
You can also still download most of the previous years attendance reports too:
Download the 2013 Report
Download the 2012 Report
Download the 2011 Report
Download the 2010 Report
Download the 2009 Report
Download the 2008 Report
Download the 2007 Report
Download the 2006 Report
General News - (7/9/17) According to a bit of news posted by BlooLoop, Holovis and E2M Technology have formed a new “strategic development relationshop” in order to create all new next-gen immersive technology themed attractions that “combines excellence in motion base solutions with complex AV and perfectly synched real-time media.”
(7/7/17) For all you Game of Thrones fans out there, the popular HBO series has worked out a deal that will bring “Game of Thrones: The Touring Exhibition” to a city near you. “From the wintry landscapes of the North to the tree-lined pathway of the Kingsroad ... from iconic settings like the mysterious House of Black and White to the iconic Throne Room, with the Westerosi seat of power in all its glory … HBO Global Licensing and global events provider GES are pleased to announce today that fans of HBO's global phenomenon GAME OF THRONES will be placed in the center of the Seven Kingdoms for an up-close look at authentic props, costumes and set decorations in the new, 10,000-square-foot interactive experience GAME OF THRONES: THE TOURING EXHIBITION, which will open this fall.”
While the first location and date has yet to be announced, they have confirmed that the tour will begin somewhere in Europe.
(6/19/17) Last month I shared with everyone the new theme park, water park and location based entertainment industry jobs and career posting website now created on the ThemeparX website. It has only grown since then with a number of interesting new opportunities and applicants from across the world. ThemeparX contacted me and based in the initial positive response they received from Screamscape readers, they extended a special offer to every “supplier and operator” who contacts them at this specific email address (email@example.com) that you will get a FREE account for posting jobs for a period of 3 months.
You can’t beat that offer, so give them a try! Just remember you MUST contact them through this special email address to get set up for your free trial account, which is their way of verifying that you saw this special offer here at Screamscape.
(5/9/17) ThemeparX has added a new section to their site for those seeking a serious career in the amusement, theme park and attractions industry. The new site compiles a listing of Theme Park, Water Park and Location Based Entertainment Jobs and Careers from companies that currently have openings, as well as a listing of CV's from those seeking a career in the industry.
It is free to post your CV to the site where companies are free to look over your information, while companies can sign up for an official ThemeparX Account to post their own openings. It is worth noting that the site is very international, and the jobs sections reflects that, with easy to identify flag icons showing off where the applicant is from, or where the job is located. The site already have some interesting career options posted as well from Sanderson Group, JoraVision and Vekoma.
I've often been sent emails from people wanting to know the best way to enter into a career in the industry and as a global market with hundreds of international companies out there to choose from, the path was often a complex one to walk. It's great to see a new resource like this has appeared that can really simplify the process, so check it out!
(3/6/17) Was sent an interesting tidbit this morning about a new film on the film festival circuit about traveling carnivals and a story claiming that a large percentage of the workers in the industry now keeping it alive now are from Mexico, legally working in the US through the H-2B guestworker visa program. The film, called Farewell Ferris Wheel, spent six years filming a documentary about the current state of the carnival business, which seems very different from the age-old "carnie" sterotype of the past and held several screenings in the later-half of 2016 with more to come in 2017. Anyone else come across it, or perhaps have seen it? I'd love to hear more about it.
(2/1/17) Would you believe that Johnny Knoxville, star of Jackass and Bad Grandpa, is gearing up to film a new movie about crazy antics inside a theme park? According to the Hollywood Reporter Knoxville will star in "Action Park" for Paramount which is said to imagine what would happen if Knoxville and his cohorts "irresponsibly designed and operated their own theme park". Sounds like this could come off kind of like Bad Grandpa, with some scripted segments tied together by some reality based shock footage. Of course to get away with it all, they are said to be filming it somewhere in South Africa starting this March.
Internet Fun - (7/7/17) Crazy news I don't think I ever expected was just released from Cirque du Soleil. Cirque has announced that they have just "acquired" Blue Man Group. Blue Man Group will continue to exist as a separate brand from Cirque du Soleil, but Cirque will begin to market it as an option to all of their entertainment partners to help the Blue Man Group grow and evolve. You can see the official announcement video below.
(5/31/17) As a fan of the Alien movie series, I'm kind of excited by the announcement from FoxNext that they are developing a new Alien themed VR free-roaming multiplayer experience. The new attraction is said to open the 2,000 sqft free-roam experience sometime before the end of 2017 where it will include hand tracking and haptic effects to allow physical feedback as well as heat and mist effects and even motion platforms.
(5/29/17) Is the WWE looking into concepts for a wrestling themed, theme park? According to this article some details and concept art were revealed from themed attraction design company, Forrec that had plans for a Road To WrestleMania attraction, a haunted house style attraction themed to characters like The Undertaker and Boogeyman, an Andre The Giant fun-house and more.
Before you get your hopes up... my gut feeling says that this wont happen anytime soon, if ever. Tons of potential ideas are dreamed up by design companies all the time and thrown around as blue-sky "what if?" style ideas to companies and investors just to see if someone is willing to pull the trigger on it. Just because there is concept art, doesn't mean it is happening... just that someone dreamed up the ideas at one point.
Of course this wouldn't be the first time that the WWE has fiddled around with the idea of themed entertainment. Back in the late '90's the WWE (then WWF) purchased the Debbie Reynolds Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas with the intention of turning it into a wrestling themed casino attraction, only to bail out on the idea soon after and sell off the casino to a new buyer about two years later. WWE also jumped into the themed restaurant biz when they opened a WWE Restaurant in New York's Times Square from the late '90s until about 2003. Then there was the WWE Niagara Falls entertainment and retail complex that opened around 2002 that featured The Pile Driver, a 220 foot tall drop tower attraction.
So all these years later, could it be that WWE is looking into the idea of a themed entertainment complex once again? Never say never...
(3/27/17) Our friends at BlooLoop have a pretty funny, yet interesting, article about what lengths a local park in China was willing to go to stop their guests from stealing toiler paper from the attraction. Apparently the park staff were not sure why they were running through the rolls at a rapid pace until a staff member spotted members of the public stuffing huge wads of toiler paper into their bags. It seems this began to be a problem back in 2007 when the park started to offer "free paper" in the toilets. (Which begs me to wonder... is it a common practice in China for businesses to charge for toilet paper??!)
To combat the problem, the park is testing out a group of machines that will use facial recognition software to scan the guest's face before dispatching a specific length of paper for use. For those in need of a bit more, if having some personal issues that day, additional paper is said to being provided based on a "need to go" basis.
20th Century Fox - (5/16/15) According to this article, another 20th Century Fox based theme park is under consideration for South Korea on Yeongjong Island, Incheon. If possible, they would like to build it as a resort project that would feature not only a theme park, but hotels as an entire entertainment complex. Fox itself is not funding the project however, but the Incheon Metro Government will serve as a partner and help conduct the search for investors.
Previously Fox was said to be looking at sites in South Gyeongsang, but may have since moved on to Incheon, possibly due to an investigation being conducted into the politicians in Gyeongsang. Currently the first 20th Century Fox World theme park is now under construction in Malaysia at Resorts World Genting.
AlterFace - (5/30/17) According to an article posted by BlooLoop, Alterface will show off their next-gen Rotating Theater interactive attraction concept at their booth at the AAE Singapore tradeshow (Booth #B394) that features a new storyline where guests fight off pesky popcorn warriors bent on revenge by gumming them up with caramel dispenser guns. To create Afterface’s new “Popcorn Revenge” attraction they also worked with Jora Vision on the design and scenic fabrication.
The Roating Theater concept is interesting, as it seems to allow for a decent throughput and different themed environments all to be created within a very compact footprint as guests load into one of six different theaters sitting on top of a giant carousel like rotating platform that will rotates from scene to scene until coming back to the load/unload room at the end again. Follow the link to see the concept art and learn more.
(12/7/16) The previous release about AlterFace and Jora Vision joining forces to create spectacular new attraction concepts has been edited at the request of AlterFace, as has the content of the article we were linking to over at BlooLoop.
B&M - (5/4/17) According to a new rumor sent in, track spotters who like to frequent B&M track fabrication plant in Ohio may want to keep their eyes open for something interesting... the possible creation of track pieces for a new B&M Stand-Up coaster. Yep... even in this age where we are starting to see some older B&M Stand-Ups converted into Floorless coasters (Mantis to Rougarou and Vortex to Patriot) our source says that someone has opted to buy the first new B&M Stand-Up coaster since Georgia Scorcher opened back in 1999.
While I'm sure the track design will remain similar to standard B&M track, our source went on to say that we can expect a slight redesign to the trains, including modification to that annoying bicycle style seat thing that goes between your legs and the addition of new restraints that will incorporate a stand-up version of B&M's new vest style system (as seen on Banshee and all the Wing Coasters), which should cut down on any possible head-banging.
While we’re on the subject, Midway Mayhem posted a video look around the plant shot back in late April featuring some new red and blue track sections, along with unpainted sections. Both the Red and Blue track pieces seem to be for new Wing Coaster projects that I’m betting with be shipped overseas.
(11/4/16) A new photo update from the B&M plant in Ohio has been posted to Midway Mayhem's Facebook page this week. Lots of new raw steel track and sections only covered in a grey primer are currently sitting on site for unknown new coaster projects. Unfortunately I don't see any close-up photos of the ID tags on the end, so it's hard to know just what these are for yet. As of right now however, it doesn't look like B&M have any projects opening in the US in 2017... only a Dive Coaster going to China at Happy Valley Chengdu and a Wing coaster at Happy Valley Chongqing.
CAVU / DreamCraft Attractions Ltd. - (11/14/16) I'm not entirely sure where it is going, as the link doesn't seem to work, but CAVU Designwerks posted to Twitter than they have signed a deal to build a signature turn key Flying Theater attraction to a park in China. Anyone know more?
(10/19/16) CAVU Designwerks has announced the launch of their connected corporation, DreamCraft Attractions Ltd. Through this new company CAVU will develop new theme park experiences and attractions that are described as being revolutionary, blending the concepts of Virtual Reality with Augmented Reality and even Artificial Intelligence.
According to a description by BlooLoop, the first attraction they are bringing to market is called DreamCraft VR, described as the first VR attraction that will use a motion base and place "guests inside the frame". Instead of every rider seeing and feeling the same shared attraction experience, the DreamCraft attraction will provide a unique tailored experience to every rider based on their own actions and reactions. Look for more information about this incredible sounding new attraction concept at their booth at IAAPA in Orlando (Nov. 15-18) in booth #1386.
Cedar Fair - (7/11/17) Cedar Fair has filed for another new trademark name this month (July 5th)... this time to use the name “RAILBLAZER”. More than the others they’ve filed for thus far, this sounds like a perfect name for a coaster. Now the question is which project is it for?
(7/3/17) What looks like a possible alternate name to "The Ledge" trademark file application filed by Cedar Fair back on May 1st, they submitted an application to use the name, 'Hangtime" on May 31st.
(5/8/17) Cedar Fair has made a new Trademark filing this month, selecting to use "The Ledge" as the name for an unknown new attraction. While my first take on this was that perhaps it was the name for a new waterslide, as I've actually seen this name used for a waterslide in the past that no longer exists (Anyone else remember The Edge and The Ledge from Wild Rivers in Irvine, CA?) the trick here is that Cedar Fair does not seem to usually bother going through the expense of trademarking their new waterslide names, so this means that the name is probably for a big steel ride at one of the theme parks.
Except... probably not at Cedar Point either. Why? Because the trademark was done under the Cedar Fair corporate name and for some reason Cedar Point trademarks are filed under the ownership of that specific park. They used to do the same thing with the attractions at Knott's as well, though they have since transferred ownership of those to the main Cedar Fair corporate name.
So... "The LEDGE" - Kinda sound perfect for a Dive Machine doesn't it? Or some kind of extreme upcharge attraction that you have to jump from the top of maybe. At this point in the year however, most Cedar Fair parks (other than Cedar Point) are either finished or finishing up with their 2017 additions and are not yet ready to begin on their 2018 attractions, with the exception of Knott's. Or perhaps they've just locked into a name they liked early. Either way, just something to keep in mind as we move into the 2018 rumor season.
Speaking of which, some interesting news came from the Cedar Fair earnings call the other day that got the coaster lovers out there in a tizzy. During one point in the call they confirmed that Cedar Fair would be adding four new coasters in 2018. Two we are already well aware of are the two RMC conversion projects now in progress: Mean Streak at Cedar Point and Hurler at Kings Dominion. Meanwhile hints were given about the other two... with one project said to be a new never-before seen coaster design and the other being a project from a coaster manufacture who they have worked with before, but not someone who they have been working with as of late.
This last rumor has led some to jump to assume they mean Intamin, but this could also apply just as well to Premier Rides, Mack and even Vekoma. I'm a bit more curious about the other hint about a new coaster design... so could this be a hint about a Raptor style ride from RMC, or something else entirely? Then there was the persistant rumor that Carowinds was going to convert Vortex, the last B&M Stand-Up in the chain, to become a Floorless coaster as they have already done to Mantis at Cedar Point and Vortex at California's Great America. But would the conversion of an existing coaster be counted as one of the four new coasters for 2018? Or have they perhaps thought better of making this move for Carowinds at this time. Time will tell... so stay tuned.
(3/1/17) In an interesting move, Cedar Fair will offer their passholders a new season-long drink option this season. In addition to the offers of the past, which revolved around purchasing a refillable plastic bottle with the option of having unlimited refills for the day of purchase (and cheap refills if you bring it back for future visits) or unlimited season-long refills for a bit more. The pain here has always been the plastic bottle… having to remember to take it with you, having the lug it around all day long, especially in these days where parks are more frequently asking guests to use lockers to store all items when riding the big coasters and not allowing loose items in the station.
Starting in March, Cedar Fair will begin to ofer a new “disposable cup” unlimited drink season pass option for the same price (aprox. $27) as the season-long refillable bottle. You have to pick which plan you want at the start and stick with it, but for those on the move (and always on the rides) who don’t want to lug around a plastic bottle everywhere you go, this new plan will be a perfect alternative option.
Chance Rides - (6/14/17) A new video posted by Chance Rides shows off animation of a Unicoaster 2.0 concept ride. Check it out below.
Disney - (6/22/17) I'm kind of surprised by this, given Bob Iger's comments about not being interested in developing any VR based attractions for the Disney theme parks, but according to Comicbook.com, Disney has filed a patent for what they believe is for a Captain America themed VR attraction concept that would involve Cap's shield throwing skills.
With all that in mind however, and looking directly at the patent itself, I'm not seeing anything that says this is for a theme park attraction. Instead the patent is mostly concerrned with the arm-mounted "rail device" that would allow people to simulate the sensation of throwing Cap's shield, with sensors built in to determine the path the shield would take in the VR environment. To me however, this sounds like something more for a VR based video game that would be sold at a premium, since the user would need to also purchase the arm mounted device as well. So sorry... I don't think this is a future attraction at all, but it could be a fun game, and pushing down the same path, you could almost see how the same technology described in this patent could be used to also simulate SpiderMan's web slingers or even the action of Thor throwing his hammer. Just food for thought.
(5/2/17) According to an Instagram post from Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, he revealed after a meeting about his involvement in a Jungle Cruise themed feature film that he will star in and help produce, that he will also partner up with Disney Imagineers to help "re-engineer and re-design" the Jungle Cruise rides at Disney theme parks around the world.
Like it or hate it, adding some new energy along with some love to a classic attraction like Jungle Cruise can breathe new life into it and could actually bring along some much loved new improvements for years to come. Just think back to when they first announced that Pirates of the Caribbean would become a feature film... and at the time we had already seen Disney "mess up" similar projects to bring Country Bears and Haunted Mansion to the silver screen, but the Pirates films became such monstrous hits that they've inspired an all new version of the ride in Shanghai to be themed entirely after the film series from the start. Who knows where this Jungle Cruise project will lead us... but I'm wiling to wait and see. (Update: Disney has since responded that while they did talk with him, they are not planning any updates to the Jungle Cruise attraction at this time...)
(3/27/17) The Walt Disney Company has confirmed that Bob Iger's contract as CEO has been extended once again, this time through to July 2, 2019 to give more time to find and groom and successor to the Disney throne.
Dynamic Attractions - (5/22/17) The news is very brief... but always an interesting item for consideration when it involves Empire Industries, the owners of Dynamic Attractions. According to the news brief, Empire has signed a "$120 million, multi-year, multi-theme park ride system series of contracts".
In other words, a major theme park company with multiple parks just hired them to build two or more ride system clones to be copied into two or more different theme parks. Unfortunately there is no telling exactly who the parks or rides involved, but if Dynamic Attractions is involved with one or both of the new Star Wars themed rides for Disney, then this could be the contract to cover the installation of the 2 or 4 ride systems involved at the two Star Wars Land projects that will be taking place between now and 2019.
(11/24/16) Dynamic Attractions shows off their new Dynamic Motion Theater concept at IAAPA 2016 in the latest video from our friends at In The Loop. The concept is actually quite unique, blending a theater style audience setting onto a dynamic motion base, surrounding by projection screens that can move and reveal actual three dimensional sets behind them where live action sequences can also take place. You've got to see it to really get an idea of the near infinite possibilities possible with this system.
Check it out below.
(9/21/16) Dynamic Attractions has announced that the company has been awarded a contract worth over $21 million to build a ride system for a major theme park opening in Asia. The contract is said to run for the next 36 months (3 years), so with that in mind I wouldn't be surprised if this ended up being another Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey attraction for the new Universal Studios park planned to open in China in 2020.
(9/6/16) Dynamic Attractions has signed a co-op agreement with Altair (Shanghai) Space Technology Ltd. Co to design, develop and co-own and operate a new theme park to be called Space Park in Hangzhou, China. The project has an estimated budget of CAD$ 600 million (3 billion yuan). While it is too early to go into details on the attractions yet, I'd expect Dynamic Attractions to pretty much roll out their entire impressive catalog of known attraction concepts, as well as some secret new ones the world may not have seen yet. They do say that the attraction lineup will feature both Virtual Reality as well as Augmented Reality attractions to thrill the park's guests as well as make the park stand apart from other attractions in China through a heavy use of high technology. If all goes as planned, Space Park could be ready to open as early as 2020.
Extreme Engineering - (10/19/16) BlooLoop reports that Extreme Engineering, the makers of the new Cloud Coaster attraction, have teamed up with S&S Sansei who will act as their new sales distributor for the Cloud Coaster. They also mention that a new addition to the attraction in 2017 will be a new 'tandem cart' system to increase capacity and allow guests to enjoy the ride together.
(7/7/16) BlooLoop has posted an interesting article about Extreme Engineering and their new Cloud Coaster project, filling the gap between ZipLines and Coasters, will open at Rockin' Jump in Dublin, California. This actually isn't the first Cloud Coaster from Extreme Engineering, as we mentioned not long ago that another version has just opened at the new Margaritaville Resort in Biloxi.
Goddard Group - (11/2/16) A new article posted to BlooLoop talks a bit with the Goddard Group about several of their new immersive projects around the world currently in the works. Projects like the Cirque du Soleil attraction in Mexico, new parks in China (Hengdian Shanghai Bund Movie World, Haichang Polar Ocean World and Kingdom of Poseidon) as well as work on "The Encounter" in New York city.
Holovis - (6/14/17) According to a news report Holovis will put a new attraction concept on display at the Attractions Expo in Singapore this week. They call it R3ex, which is short for Rideable Realtime Robot Experience, where guests put on a VR headset and take a ride on a giant robot arm, where they can battle against riders in another robot arm unit.
IAAPA Conventions - (4/20/17) Just a quick reminder that IAAPA's Asian Attractions Expo (AAE) 2017 will be taking place at The Sands Expo and Convention Center in Singapore from June 13-16, with the tradeshow floor open June 14-16. Follow the link to read up on the details of the show.
(9/22/16) IAAPA has announced that they will relocate their global headquarters from Virginia to Orlando in 2017. Along with the move, they also confirmed that the annual IAAPA show contract has now been extended to keep the tradeshow in Orlando through to at least 2030.
Intamin - (3/14/16) Intamin is showing off two unique new ride simulator concepts at CAE 2016 in Beijing and a report posted about them on BlooLoop has images and details. One is called the Dome Ride Theater and looks to place 80-riders in a circular shaped ring platform that can spin and tilt in the middle of a projection dome, with images above them and to be seen below them through the center of the ring.
The second ride concept is the Ultra Tower, which looks almost like a supersized tower ride, but with platforms of theater seats along each of the four sides of the tower that can rise and fall, while riders watch a projected film along tall cylinder shaped screens that surround each of the four sides. The real kicker is that each section of rider seats is actually on a motion-base, in addition to the tower itself being capable of both high speed ascents and negative-g inducing drops.
(2/27/16) Intamin has announced they are offering a new version of their Zac Spin coaster called the LSM Zac Spin. According to the report on BlooLoop the new version of the ride would start off the experience with an LSM magetic launch out of the station and up a steel incline to the top of the structure. I can't help but think that the new layout looks a bit similar to S&S's FreeFly 4D coaster layout, with the addition of the launch track and incline of course. Intamin is offering trains pairs with dual front, dual reverse, or face to face seating configurations. Check out the concept artwork and see what you think.
Mack Rides - (11/19/16) Our friends at In The Loop had a chance to chat with Mack Rider about their new extreme spinning coaster concept, featuring a look at a scale model they had at the IAAPA show floor, plus more video footage of the concept in action.
(11/16/16) Mack Rides has announced a new coaster design at IAAPA this year called the Extreme Spinnng Coaster. Last year we saw Mack testing a unique new spinning coaster car attached to the back of one of their launched coasters and now we know that it was a test for this. The layout is a unique and compact complete circuit coaster that starts with a launch backwards before rolling forward into a full speed forward launch through the circuit. Upon stopping, the station track is actually attached to a turntable so that a second train of riders was being unloaded and loaded while the first was making the run on the track. The turntable flips everyone around 180º to quickly swap the two trains for increased capacity and more speedy loading which is great. Mack first used the same idea this past summer on their prototype Power Splash flume/coaster concept that opened as Pulsar at Walibi Belgium to fantastic reviews.
Check out the video below from Mack below to see an animated preview of the Extreme Spinning Coaster concept, along with some real world footage of the test spinning car mixed in.
Maurer - (11/14/16) While the "Spike" isn't exactly a true roller coaster, Coaster101 talked with Maurer about their unique new powered coaster style creation and shows off exactly how the new drive system works to power the car around the track.
Merlin Entertainment - (3/13/17) According to our friends at BlooLoop, Merlin Entertainment has signed a deal that will see the first Legoland theme park built in China in the Shanghai area. The timetable to start construction sounds like it is still a bit fluid, but they hope to have it ready to open by 2022. This was first mentioned back in 2015, and at the time they said the plan was to also open other Merlin attractions in Shanghai such as a Shanghai Dungeon and a new concept themed around the Kung-Fu Panda series. Merlin already has a Madame Tussauds in Shanghai and owns the Chang Feng Ocean World aquarium.
(2/28/17) While the horrific accident on The Smiler in 2015 brought the focus of a world upon Alton Towers and their safety procedures, it then brought Merlin's own corporate safety departments into the public eye as well as they sought to not only figure out what went wrong, but how to make everything they do safer than ever. Our friends at BlooLoop has posted a detailed article and interview with Merlin's Group Health, Safety and Security Director, Dominic Wigley that addresses not just The Smiler incident, but goes into detail about what they have learned and changed as an entire company in the aftermath, and how they are sharing everything they've learned with the industry world-wide.
Parque Reunidos - (1/26/17) According to a report posted to BlooLoop, Spain's Parque Reunidos has been tapped to manage the new Dragon Park in Ha Long City, Vietnam along with the nearby Typhoon Cove waterpark opening later this year. This marks the first time the company will manage a park in the Asian market. Fun note: it appears as if this is the park where the former Led Zeppelin - The Ride coaster from Hard Rock Park ended up.
(11/16/16) Parque Reunidos has announced a new partnership with Lionsgate to build Lionsgate branded "leisure centers in high-traffic shopping areas". For those not in the know, Lionsgate is the studio behind The Hunger Games film series as well as Saw, The Expendables, the Divergent film series, The Twilight Saga and the upcoming Power Rangers film.
So what kind of Lionsgate themed attractions could they be dreaming up? It's hard to say, though the possibilities could be near infinite. We'll have to wait and see what they can bring to life.
Premier Rides - (3/8/17) Premier Rides posted an interesting tease of a picture to Twitter in late February, showing off the first shipment of hardware for a new coaster projects heading to China. Any ideas where this may be going?
(11/14/16) Our friends at BlooLoop report that The Producers Group and Premier Rides have worked together to create what they are calling the world's first "Immersive Dining Experience". They have named the turnkey attraction, "Extraordinary Voyages Adventure Dining" which takes guests aboard for a unique luxury passenger travel experience aboard the "Centurion" while being taken for a tour around the world, or even through space or time for a cinematic adventure dining experience.
The attraction design space would include two such Centurion vehicle sets, which can be set for various departure schedules (45, 60 or 90 minutes) with each able to accommodate 80 guests for the journey.
On a fun side note, I’d love to see a Hitchhiker’s Guide To the Galaxy version of this themed as time traveling Milliways, also known as “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe”, where diners enjoy the spectacular and explosive “end” to the Universe as we know it and then time travel back to safety afterwards while enjoying dessert.
Ride Entertainment - (3/6/17)
Our friends at Ride Entertainment have announced that, "A revolutionary partnership to distribute Extreme Engineering’s award winning Cloud Coaster has been formed with the one of the world’s leading attractions industry products distributors, Ride Entertainment. As the official distributor of the Cloud Coaster, Ride Entertainment will increase visibility and availability of the world’s first cart-less roller coaster."
As the world's largest adventure product supplier for the amusement and resort industries, Extreme Engineering desired a distribution agent for the Cloud Coaster with a stellar reputation, long standing history and world-wide reach. As one of the largest distributors in attractions to the amusement industry with a robust world renowned reputation, Ride Entertainment was an ideal match for distributing their unique and groundbreaking product. Extreme Engineering and Ride Entertainment both share a long standing and active history with the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), which further connected the two companies together to form this exciting and dynamic new relationship.
Ride Entertainment is a world leader in providing thrilling products to the attractions industry, having earned international recognition for innovation and commitment to quality entertainment, and will be the exclusive Cloud Coaster distributor in the Middle East including distribution towards large amusement parks and waterparks such as Six Flags, Universal and Disney worldwide.
Adam Sandy, Chief Business Development Officer for Ride Entertainment states, “We are thrilled to unite with one of the world’s largest adventure and amusement pioneers to promote growth in distribution of their innovative Cloud Coaster. We look forward to serving countless satisfied customers and thrill seekers through this respected and rewarding partnership.”
Developed and designed by the entertainment experts at Extreme Engineering, the Cloud Coaster is an innovative part zip line and part flying roller coaster. The world’s first cart-less roller coaster gets its riders adrenaline pumping using a unique custom lift system to raise riders slowly, simulating the traditional anxious feeling at the start of a large roller coaster, then blasting off and giving the triple sensation of flying, zip-lining and rocketing up and down.
The Cloud Coaster also holds the esteemed title of being the only zipline coaster on the market using lifts, which allows tandem riders to be pulled up a track on motors to zip up hills for a truly unique ride. The Cloud Coaster won back-to-back IAAPA awards for best product display in 2015 and 2016 and was recently honored by USA Today as a Top Attraction. The 2017 track design features a new tandem cart system so participants can enjoy ride the together, as well as exciting lifts and upgraded MBS braking technology. The Cloud Coaster is the premier family-friendly thrill ride.
Jeff Wilson, CEO of Extreme Engineering states, "We are honored to see our one of a kind and treasured product distributed by an internationally recognized amusement and adventure powerhouse. Given their stellar reputation as a world renowned industry leader, it is as inventive as it is logical to partner with Ride Entertainment to distribute our groundbreaking and award winning Cloud Coaster. We look forward to seeing our cherished product soar to new heights through this exciting new relationship.”
For more information and to purchase the award winning Cloud Coaster, please visit Extreme Engineering at ExtremeEngineering.com or RideEntertainment.com.
(10/10/16) BlooLoop reports that Lagotronics' first 3D GameChanger ride has premiered at the indoor Max Wonder Park in Shimao's Skyscraper City, Shishi (China) under the name Max Ranger. Riders sit in seats that each have a game cannon and sit on a rotating platform that allows for one segment to be in an load/unload position, then rotate through 6 different game rooms before returning back to unload. On this particular ride they will play through a 3D game experience from Lagotronics called Moon Bunny Rescue.
(9/14/16) Ride Entertainment partner company, Lagotronics, is behind the interactive elements of an interesting new dark ride at Wanda Mall Nanchang that features ride hardware that looks like a near-clone of that used by Disney's Toy Story Mania rides. Check out a video of the new dark ride in action below. This isn't the first such ride they've made either, having built a Journey To the West themed ride using the same system at Wanda's Movie Park in Wuhan and yet another, the oddly titled Moon Bunny Rescue at EonTime World in Harbin, China. which features bizarre giant carrot shaped blasters.
(6/3/16) Ride Entertainment partnered with TAIT Towers to design and fabricate, AirSurfer, the world’s first automated, standing and turning zipline. After jointly acquiring the IP for AirSurfer, Ride Entertainment and TAIT worked together to refine and perfect this unique attraction. AirSurfer has the ability to automatically climb and descend hills while turning corners at speeds up to 55 km/h (34 mph). With two years in the making, Ride Entertainment and TAIT are excited to reveal AirSurfer to attraction industry professionals at the 2016 IAAPA Asian Attractions Expo.
Built in the USA, AirSurfer is fully adaptable to fit any site or terrain that traditional ziplines cannot handle. Its wireless control system ensures safety by maintaining distance between vehicles and controlling the speed of each vehicle. AirSurfer is available in three different vehicle models and offers custom-designed course layouts that fit any property. All of AirSurfer’s vehicles accelerate up to 55 km/h (34 mph) on straightaways as riders are thrilled with turns, speed and unfolding vistas.
Rocky Mountain Construction - (7/15/17) A post at NewsPlusNotes goes into detail a bit about what Rocky Mountain Construction has in the works for the 2018 season. Apparently they have 7 projects in the works right now, with 1 said to have already shipped to Japan, which I guess may leave the rest for North America. The really surprising news however is that they also confirmed they are also working on a new train design that will come to the next batch of coasters to open in the US. Hopefully they have resigned or removed that uncomfortable shin-bar.
You can also watch a brief video from a local news station who went on-site to RMC to do the interview and who rode the Raptor test track. At the end of the ride you get a good look at the reporter sitting in the Raptor test train which also features some interesting looking restraints as well, with what looks like an adjustable belt system over the shoulders and chest that run down to your lapbar.
So what are the 7 projects? I really don't know about the Japanese one, unless for some reason they were hired by Fuji-Q to build the new giant loop added to Do-Dodonpa. Otherwise we know about the conversions of Mean Steak at Cedar Point and Hurler at Kings Dominion, and sources indicate that Georgia Cyclone at Six Flags over Georgia will also undergo the same treatment. Add in TWO rumored Raptor style coasters in 2018 (rumors point to California's Great America and Six Flags Fiesta Texas for the moment) and that indicates up to 5 of the non Japanese projects. So where is that last one going... hmmmm....
(7/14/17) Remember that brief video showing off RMC's Raptor test track they built at their HQ? Now a POV video of what it looks like to ride it has been posted to YouTube. Check it out!
(7/9/17) RMC has now posted a new video showing off the Raptor test track they have set up at their HQ in Idaho and are working on the concept now, which could some to a park as early as 2018 if all goes well. They’ve even posted a video of a test-run in action. As expected, the narrow single-seat per row coaster concept looks like it can perform tight turns and big acrobatics in confined spaces with minimal supports. While it isn’t doing anything we haven’t seen a bigger coaster do, keep in mind that I’m expecting this to be a major cost saver due to the new design concept, which will make this coaster system much more affordable to parks and attractions who operate with much smaller budgets that the big chains.
(5/19/17) RMC posted a picture of Fred Grubb, RMC Owner, seated in one of the new test cars for the Raptor test track prototype creation they are building on site at their Idaho HQ.
(4/25/17) Rocky Mountain Construction shared a pair of interesting photos on their Facebook page a few hours ago, giving us the first real look at a couple of pieces of new RAPTOR track sitting in the plant. Raptor was the name given to a steel tracked coaster project they were working on that would use a single-rail style track system for very small single rider width coaster systems, while a larger single rail system was also in development called TREX for more traditional sized coaster cars.
S&S-Sansei Technologies - (7/22/17) S&S Worldwide finds themselves on the end of an interesting new lawsuit this week brought to bear by a Valleyfair employee who says he suffered major injuries while performing maintenance on that park's Power Tower ride (manufactured by S&S). According to the news report he needed to perform maintenance work on the the ride (possibly to the seat carriage) and that he and another employee put the ride in "mainteance mode" and raised the carriage so they could access the hydraulic cylinders in the seats to be recharged. He stepped under the carriage and the other employee attempted to slowly lower it down again so he could reach it when suddenly the carriage dropped to the ground, trapping him under it. According to the lawsuit, they were unable to raise the carriage because it had automatically converted to a "gravity power mode" when the carriage tripped a sensor on the tower when it reaches a certain height.
The employee is claiming numerous physical injuries from the incident including damage to lungs, ripcage, shoulder, eyes, spine, traumatic brain injury, plus now suffering from mental and emotional distress issues.
(6/19/17) According to a tweet from VHCoasters, World Fairytale Land park in Hainan, China will be getting an S&S Free Spin coaster.
(2/24/17) S&S Worldwide released a list of 17 new rides they will be opening in 2017 this week, many known, but the list also includes some others we didn't know about. Check it out below.
Dutch Wonderland - Family Inverted Coaster
Fuji-Q Highland, Japan - Dodonpa Loop (ride enhancement)
Happy Valley Chongqing, China - Space Shot and Turbo Drop
Hersheypark - Triple Tower Complex
Huayi Brothers Movie World, Suzhou, China - Combo Tower
Nagashima Spa Land, Japan - 4D Free Spin Coaster
Playland's Castaway Cove - Triple-Launch Coaster (delayed opening)
PortAventura, Ferrari Land - Combo Tower
Six Flags Great America - 4D Free Spin Coaster
Six Flags New England - 4D Free Spin Coaster
Six Flags Over Texas - 4D Free Spin Coaster
Sun Tzu Cultural Park, Shandong, China - Air-Launch Coaster
Sun Tzu Cultural Park, Shandong, China - Space Shot and Turbo Drop
Wanda Harbin Amusement Park, Harbin, China - Space Shot and Turbo Drop
Weihai Rio Carnival, Weihai, China - Space Shot and Turbo Drop
TBA Park in Middle East - Combo Tower
TBA Park in Southeast Asia - Combo Tower
(1/7/17) You gotta love it when ride companies announce major new products and S&S-Sansei has announced a whopper of a new ride concept. They are calling it the Immersive Elevator MediaCoaster and our friends at BlooLoop have the scoop on the project. The Immersive Elevator MediaCoaster is actually part of a joint project between S&S-Sansei Technologies and Holovis, designed to extend the ride experience of a roller coaster from being "a short, dynamic ride through to a fully engaging story-driven experience."
The design concept sees guests pass through an extensively themed and interactive pre-show experience before climbing into the ride vehicle that could look more like a dark ride style vehicle than a traditional coaster. The vehicle is then able to travel into a 360º projection dome that will surround them in a themed environment to tell the story, combining the rich media-attraction of Holovis with S&S's coaster experience and Sansei's extensive experience with elevator systems to create "a unique and unforgettable experience" like no other that can merge the experience of a fully themed dark ride with the plunge of a drop-tower and roller coaster thrills.
I've got to admit I really like the sound of this concept, which really seems to offer the ability to combine the various elements in different ways to create a wide variety of ride experiences suitable to whatever storyline or IP a park wants to use.
(1/7/16) S&S Worldwide has sent out a correction regarding the announced rides going to the Wanda Groiup parks. The 16-Seat Dual Tower ride will go to the Guangzhou Wanda park (Opening Aug. 2018) and a 12-Seat Space Shot Tower will go to the Wuxi Wanda park (opening March 2018).
Sally Dark Rides - (12/12/16) Sally Corp's founder and CEO, John Wood, spoke at length with BlooLoop about the history of the company, how it started off, their early work with animatronics and traditional dark rides as well as their shift into interactive and "mixed media attractions".
(11/19/16) Sally had some fun displays at IAAPA this year, featuring the return of many of their previous displays (like The Walking Dead) but new this year was a proposed new dark ride attraction concept themed to the Five Nights at Freddy's mobile game experience where guests will fight off the darkness with their flashlights. A video below from In The Loop interviews Sally's Drew Hunter about their new concept.
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment - (5/19/17) SeaWorld Entertainment and the Sesame Workshop have announced an extended partnership agreement that will see a new Sesame Street themed kids land open at SeaWorld Orlando by Fall 2022 and perhaps most importantly, a brand new Sesame Place theme park will open somewhere within the United States by 2021 at a location still to be determined. The deal will also give SeaWorld Entertainment the rights to build and open MORE Sesame Place parks in the US after the opening of the second Sesame Place park. The deal has extended their existing business relationship through to December 2031.
While they says the site has yet to be determined, you really don't make this kind of announcement unless you already have two of three final sites in mind for the new park, but like any good business deal, I'm sure they are going to try and find the site that can give them the best financial deal and tax credit programs. This makes me very curious about where it will go, as it seems clear it wont go into Orlando, and with Sesame lands in place at both Busch Gardens parks, and the other two SeaWorld parks, it really kind of opens up things in a good way, as we will likely see the company expand into a new market they have yet to tap into before.
(3/27/17) SeaWorld Entertainment announced that China's Zhonghong Holding Co Ltd has signed an agreement to purchased Blackstone's remaining 21% stake in the company. The news apparently worked in SeaWorld's favor as it was reported that their struggling stock price rose about 5% following the announcement. The new deal also gives SeaWorld Entertainment an easy-in to the blooming Chinese theme park market, with the deal including licensing and consulting deals for future park development opportunities in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.
Zhonghong's current theme park developments in China include the Monkey Kingdom park under construction in the Beijing area themed to the famous "Journey to the West" story.
Six Flags - (7/20/17) John Duffey who took over at CEO of Six Flags from Jim Reid-Anderson back in early 2016 (allowing Jim to serve as the Executive Chairman) has suddenly left Six Flags. According to an announcement from the Six Flags corporate office, Duffey has "retired from the company". The board will put Jim Reid-Anderson back in charge as CEO for the time being.
(6/29/17) Six Flags will make their 2017 Q2 Earnings call on the morning of July 26 at 8am. You can listen in that morning by clicking here.
(5/22/17) I received an interesting note regarding the use of Garfield as the primary cartoon character IP at Six Flags' new Chinese theme parks. According to the note, apparently Garfield has become something of a big hit in China... and is actually more well known to the Chinese people than WB's Looney Tunes characters, so Six Flags may actually be on to something here.
How so? Did you know that the second Garfield film that essentially bombed in the US blew away box office records in China when it came out for an animated film release? Yes, Garfield 2 made more money in China than Disney’s The Lion King. I’ve also heard that the Chinese government uses Garfield to help teach English to children in school. Who knew?
(5/19/17) In an interesting development Six Flags has just announced that instead of Bugs Bunny or any of the Looney Tunes characters, Garfield and friends will be the signature characters to be used in the children's areas of the Six Flags branded parks in China. The first Chinese park, Six Flags Zhejiang, is slated to open in 2019 followed by Six Flags Chongqing in 2020.
With this in mind, now I'm curious what characters they will use in the Dubai park opened in 2019 as well, as WB is unlikely to let them use any of them at Six Flags when they will all be put to use in the Warner Bros World park in nearby Abu Dhabi.
(4/5/17) Six Flags will announce the chain's Q1 2017 earnings figures on April 26, following an investor conference call at 8am Central Time. You can listen in online by clicking here.
(3/6/17) A reader local to SFOG reports taking a new survey for the park online this week which asked a lot of questions about possible new roller coaster themes. Now before we get into the details, keep in mind that Six Flags sends out a ton of surveys to guests of all the parks, and names and themes of rides sent to one park's guests don't always mean that the project in question is even being considered for your local park, but may be for an idea under consideration elsewhere.
That said, there were several questions asking guests opinions on the ideas of having a new coaster be themed to either Wonder Woman theme or having a Justice League theme with questions asking for your overall preference, which coaster theme "is more likely to go the fastest?", which is more likely to be made of steel (instead of wood), which is more likely to have spins and flips, and which theme would "likely to be more thrilling?". Then a couple of other oddball questions including one asking which character would you rather have a meal with: Wonder Woman or The Justice League... which is kind of a weird question because Wonder Woman is part of the Justice League. But now that I think of it, the entire survey is kind of odd for exactly the same reason. How are you supposed to compare a single super hero against a team of heroes that also includes that same single hero?
(2/22/17) Six Flags reports that they have signed “definitive agreements” with Riverside Investment Group Co. Ltd. to build more Six Flags branded theme parks in China. The latest developments will be two additional Six Flags branded parks (theme park and water park) built in Bishan, a district of Chongqing, with a goal of opening the first phase in 2020.
Meanwhile the first Six Flags park in China is set to open in 2019 in Haiyan, Zhejiang province, outside Shanghai and is now under construction.
(1/26/17) Six Flags will announce their Q4 and 2016 Year End earnings on Feb. 22, 2017. You can listen in on the investor call starting at 8am that morning by clicking here.
(12/22/16) Six Flags has confirmed that they will open a Six Flags Hurricane Harbor waterpark in China next to the new Six Flags Zhejiang park that is currently under construction.
(10/20/16) According to an update posted by BlooLoop, Six Flags is now setting their sights on adding another international park somewhere in Vietnam according to John Odum, who is now serving as the President of Six Flags new international efforts. Unlike some other markets in Asia, they believe Vietnam is still relatively untapped by the major amusement business players.
(7/22/16) According to various news reports Six Flags has signed another deal to look into developing a second theme park in China, this one would be in Dishan, a district of Chongquin. The only thing known about this particular site is that they want to build both a theme park and water park.
(3/23/16) Six Flags has announced a new deal to design and license the Six Flags brand into two new parks in Vietnam over the next four years. The project calls for a Six Flags theme park and for a Six Flags branded Hurricane Harbor waterpark to be built in the vicinity of Ho Chi Minh City by 2020.
Skyline Attractions - (7/7/17) Probably in answer to the rumor we posted last week about Skyline Attractions, the company has confirmed this week that they have indeed signed a deal for the “first of many” Skywarp attractions, which will make a public debut in Summer 2018. “The train begins rocking back and forth, building up to full speed before completing several thrilling forward and reverse rotations through the twin Immelmann inversions.”
Unfortunately they could not yet reveal which park or even the company to whom will get the honor of opening the very first Skywarp.
(7/3/17) Did Skyline Attractions sign an exclusive deal with Six Flags to get the first Skywarp rides? It is hard to say for certain due to the typical NDA's everyone involved with a ride sale is required to sign, but a new rumor making the rounds claims that a non-Six Flags park in the US was attempting to purchase one for the 2018 season, only to be told they couldn't have for 2018. This has led to the rumor that Six Flags may have signed some kind of bulk-purchase deal with Skyline to purchase anywhere from 3 to 5 clones of their new Skywarp ride in exchange for being the only parks in North America with them.
Of course, this rumor could be completely bogus, and maybe Skyline isn't ready to put the ride into actual production on that scale until 2019, but I guess we'll find out soon enough as Six Flags typically announces new rides in late August.
Anyone else know more?
(11/16/16) Skyline Attractions had a fantastic looking functional model on display at their IAAPA booth this week showing off their new Skywarp ride. Again, this is just a fantastic looking beast, so I can't wait for parks to begin buying this one so we can see the real deal.
(9/21/16) Skyline Attractions has released a video showing off a brand new attraction concept called Skywarp. I'm kind of digging the look of this one, as it kind of looks like a Siamese-Twin version of a Fireball style ride, on steroids, flying through a giant infinity symbol style track layout. I can't wait to see someone build one of these for real.
Triotech - (11/24/16) Triotech had a demo of The Flyer, their new flying theater concept on display at IAAPA as well as making announcements about several new attractions. The first version of The Flyer will open on Pier 39 in San Francisco in Summer 2017, a Fear The Walking Dead attraction is coming to Freemont Street in Las Vegas in Spring 2017, and they also talk about the previously mentioned Ghostbusters dark ride opening at Heide Park next summer as well. Check out the video from In The Loop below.
UbiSoft - (12/10/16) According to an interesting article UbiSoft is looking to move their video game IPs into the real world as quickly as possible. In addition to the new feature film hitting theaters in 2017 based on their hit Assassin's Creed game series, the company was announced as an IP partner for the new IMG Worlds of Legend park planned for Dubai. UbiSoft had also previously announced plans to open an indoor park / attraction in Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur) by 2020 that would be entirely themed around their game characters and worlds. To date I believe the only UbiSoft franchise to make it into the world so far is the fantastic looking time travel adventure dark ride themed around the Raving Rabbid characters at Futuroscope in France though other dark ride concepts are also said to be in development.
Universal Studios - (5/4/17) While a report issued earlier today by Variety claimed thast Dreamworks was pulling out of the $2.4 billion Dream Center project in China, it seems this is not true, and the article has been updated to say that even under Comcast's new ownership, DreamWorks Animation's role with the project has always been purely a "passive, financial role" and that has not changed.
(4/28/17) Great news this week for NBCUniversal, as the multi-media and theme park company reported a revenue increase of 14.7% in Q1 of 2017, compared to the same quarter the year before. Adjusted-earnings increased 24.4%, or $2 billion, with key performers for the quarter being Universal's film and theme park divisions. In the case of the later attendance is up at the California, Florida and Japan theme parks.
(2/22/17) Universal Studios reports that they are launching a joint promotional campaign that will serve both the Hollywood and Orlando parks that they are calling, “I’m Ready”, showcasing how a trip to Universal theme parks can take family vacations up to an entirely new level.
(2/15/17) Congratulations to Universal’s Mark Woodbury this week, as he has been appointed to serve in a new position as Vice Chairman of Universal Parks & Resorts. Woodbury will however also be keeping his current position as President of Universal Creative, and reporting directly to Chairman and CEO of Universal Parks & Resort, Tom Williams.
(2/13/17) While not theme park news, file this one under live entertainment news, as Universal Studios is teaming up with Brand Events to produce an official "Fast & Furious Live" themed arena show tour show that will kick off in January 2018. The idea is to reenact some of the famous movie series scenes as well as street racing attitude for a live audience. This should prove to be an interesting show concept, so I'm eager to see how it develops.
(8/25/16) Behind the Thrills shares details about a new patent application filed by Universal Parks & Resorts for something they are calling "Video Game Ride". While the interactive ride concept would work for a future Nintendo themed attraction, details also mention interacting with the ride via a magic wand, which would make it work as a future Wizarding World themed ride as well.
The idea seems to indicate that riders will compete by shooting at targets during the ride, but also feature changing environments, alternate ride path systems, making the outcome of the attraction dependant on the actions and skills of the riders.
Wanda Group - (7/12/17) Wow... consider me shocked. Just last week there was speculation about how Wanda was falling out of favor with the Chinese government over their large spending and debts. Now this week it has been confirmed that Wanda has signed a deal to sell their theme park and hotel bushinesses to a "Sunac China Holdings" company for an estimated $9 BILLION!!
I don't know a thing about Sunac China Holdings, so if anyone out there knows more, I'd love to hear more about the new park owners, but according to the news article all the parks will continue to keep the 'Wanda' name going forward. The deal comes in two separate parts... one that includes 76 of Wanda's 102 hotels for $4.9 billion, while a second separate deal was made for the theme parks and attractions properties. It is also interesting to note that while the park's have a new owner... Wanda will remain onboard as the "operations management" for the attractions, as well as remaining involved in the design and construction of the attractions, including those still in the works.
No word yet on what is taking place with the Wanda Movie Park Wuhan attraction which closed shortly after opening for 'upgrades', but it still has yet to reopen.
(7/3/17) The Wanda Group is keeping busy in China these days, this time they have opened a new indoor ski resort attraction as part of their Harbin Wanda City attraction complex. The article from Nikkei does mention some interesting news I had not heard before that seems to indicate that the Wanda Group may be getting a bit of stink-eye from the Chinese Government amid financial concerns about their ongoing financial expenses, including a rumored directive that the government has ordered their banks to "evaluate their exposure" to the property developer.
(11/14/16) Premier Rides has announced a new contract has been signed for them to provide a new "World's First" attraction for the Wanda Group in China. According to the press release, Premier Rides, known for their coasters, will "build one of the most cutting-edge attractions ever to be introduced to the theme park industry. The first-of-its-kind attraction will set a new standard for technical innovation and will reinforce Wanda’s stated goal to be the leader in China’s themed entertainment industry. The project will represent the most significant investment to date by Wanda on a single attraction and will introduce stunning new technologies that are sure to impress Wanda’s millions of fans."
While nothing more was said about what kind of ride this will be... this is Premier Rides after all... known for their steel coasters... specifically launched steel coasters, so we'll just leave it at that until we know more.
(10/19/16) According to Reuters the Wanda Group has hired a former Walt Disney exec to help lead their own theme park division: Andrew Kam. Kam was previously the managing director for Hong Kong Disneyland until he departed the company earlier this year.
(8/26/16) The Wanda Group isn't' done building theme parks yet it seems, despite complications that have closed one of their latest big projects (Wuhan) for a major overhaul. Now Wanda is reported as having signed a new deal to build a $9.4 billion theme park resort project in the northern Chinese city of Jinan. The project is said to have a heavy "sports" theme and will feature a 10,000-Seat Ice Hockey / Basketball stadium, a retail mall, restaurants, an outdoor theme park, hotels and a venue for a stage show. Look for it to break ground sometime in 2017 and be open as early as 2020.