---- THE LATEST INDUSTRY NEWS ----
(6/11/16) Cedar Fair Board Ready To Keep Matt Ouimet On Board As Long As He Likes (MORE...)
(6/6/16) LBEIP Launches Service To Connect Location Based Entertainment sites with IP Holders (MORE...)
(6/6/16) Maurer May Leave The Amusement Industry (MORE...)
(6/3/16) Ride Entertainment - AirSurfer Update (MORE...)
(5/29/16) 2015 Attendance Report Released (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 - (6/6/16) Peter Sanderson, Director of Australian thematic design and construction company Sanderson Group & internet entrepreneur Stefan Zwanzger aka The Theme Park Guy have collaborated to develop LBEIP.com (Location Based Entertainment + Intellectual Property), an interactive online platform that is set to revolutionize the entertainment and attractions industry.
Combining their knowledge of the industry, the new endeavor helps streamline the process of connecting developers of Location Based Entertainment with a variety of Intellectual Property holders world-wide. While the site is built for professional use, the map on the main page is an interesting tool, as you can either click on a country to see what IPs are in use or available there, or click on a list of well know IPs on the right side to light up all the markets in the world currently using them.
(4/28/16) The remains of the former Joyland amusement park in Kansas suffered yet another incident, in a long string of incidents since it closed in 2006, when fire engulfed one of the remaining buildings on the site early Tuesday morning. The cause of the fire is not yet known, though the interior of the building was being used to store lumber it seems.
(4/21/16) Screamscape sends our sincere condolences to the Chance Rides family as Mike Chance, President of the company, passed away at the young age of 42. According to his father, Dick Chance, he had been fighting a "long-term and well-fought battle with depression". Our thoughts, prayers and well-wishes go out to you all.
(3/29/16) In a bit of sad news, I was sent a news report about a suicide bombing that took place at the entrance to a local small amusement park in Pakistan (Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park) on Easter Sunday that killed at least 70 people, including 29 children. While I haven't seen any reports of who is claiming responsibility, there have been a few reports suggesting that the site was targeted because the local Christian families were on site at that time celebrating an Easter event in the park.
(3/20/16) Just a quick word from the theme park community. It seems that a professional photographer and graphic designer in the Orlando area named Jack Crouse (and I'm sure many of our professional readers in the area may be familiar with his work) became hospitalized last week and is currently on life support due to complications with fighting off the H1N1 virus. Jack is the sole supporter of his wife and two teenage daughters and his family could really use help right now, as while his condition is improving, there will be a long road to recovery. Please visit the family's GoFundMe page to read more about Jack's current condition and his family and consider making a donation to help them in their time of need. Every little bit counts.
(2/26/16) ECA / BlooLoop has posted a very impressive 100 page report all about the theme park industry that is worth your ride to read through. They call it a new resource for the entire attractions industry, as a "Global Attraction Landscape" report. Best of all the report is FREE, so you have no excuse. Go on and download it while you read the rest of today's update.
Internet Fun - (5/27/16) Last week we shared a link to a great new site to find honest, reliable and detailed Escape Room reviews, and today Escape Authority unveiled their latest addition – the world’s first social hub for enthusiasts, owners, and designers. Talk with other fellow fans about your favorite games. Share your own review. Ask for trip planning advice to ensure you see the very best games when visiting somewhere new. Interact directly with the owners and designers of your favorite games to give them your feedback personally!
Game Owners and Designers can offer special deals and previews of their coming attractions and use the space to freely promote their venue to fans - as well as have access to a private lounge where they can discuss business strategies or ask for build help among their peers away from the eyes of their paying guests. Beyond that, Escape Authority also listened to your feedback and made sweeping improvements on the way to sort and search for your next game by city, state, company or rating. So what are you waiting for? All you need to do to solve The First Puzzle is click the link and join the World's First Social Hub for the Escape Room Industry!
(5/16/16) A new site, Escape Authority (www.EscapeAuthority.com), has launched this week covering the rapidly growing Escape Room genre - one of the hottest new facets of the amusement industry. Escape Authority spotlights immersive game attractions from around the United States with detailed reviews, exclusive interviews with creators, and insightful articles about the medium.
If you haven't been to an Escape Room yet, there's probably one that's opened in your city recently. But which games are worth seeing, and which should be completely avoided? Escape Authority prides itself on in-depth, honest game reviews written by authors working in the entertainment industry. Each review focuses on story, scenic, and puzzle quality. Before you try a new game, check out Escape Authority’s take on it.
(4/26/16) Time for another flashback to the failed Hard Rock Park. This time the Rex & The Beast Podcast interview Steven Goodwin, the former CEO of Hard Rock Park, who finally talks about his experience during the development and brief operational season of Hard Rock Park, and how the end came for the park as the national economy began to fall apart all around.
(3/24/16) At a time where it almost seems like the classic water flume ride design in American parks is in a steep decline, as so many parks here have either been forced to remove their flumes due to age, or to make room for newer attractions, it's easy to forget that flumes are still being built quite rapidly in the international marketplace where many new parks are just opening for the first time, and a flume ride is always a good design choice to balance our your attraction's selection.
There is a fun article posted to AttractionsManagement that interviews three of today's top water ride designers (Hopkins, Intamin and Interlink) who discuss their most recent projects, and where they see the industry trends heading. A common thread is that parks want their new water rides to feature more hybrid design concepts, a good collection of major features and elements, which is leading to more complex engineering and themeing.
Hopefully these new design ideas will begin to reappear at US theme parks once again for new future projects, because there is always just something fun about a good log ride.
(3/21/16) 2016 has just started and already there is one clear new trend we are seeing... the rise of VR enhanced attractions, mostly on roller coasters. BlooLoop has spoken with five industry professionals to get their opinions on the trend, as well as ask all the big questions about how they think it will turn out, how guests are reacting thus far, how the public in general is being hit by various VR experiences from at-home Google Cardboard experience to Social VR to VR Coasters and the rise of AR (Augmented Reality) experiences as well.
(3/1/16) A fantastic documentary all about the history of Arrow Dynamics called "Legacy of Arrow" has now been posted online and is free to watch. I highly recommend you watch it when you have spare time. You can watch it here.
(1/23/16) Ever wondered what kind of parks you would find in places like Romania or Bulgaria? Then wonder no more as one of our readers went on a trip to the area and visited all the parks and attractions they could find, including a rare look at the Turda Salt Mine attraction, which features a small amusement park like area built deep underground in the old mine.
(12/28/15) Disney and More has posted an interesting report following the premier of Cirque du Soleil’s TORUK, a new show production themed around the universe of James Cameron’s AVATAR film series. The article contains several very long videos showing off segments of the show’s performance, which has some incredible looking costumes and projection effects to bring the world of Avatar to life.
(12/11/15) A hilarious YouTube video takes a look at what visiting a Roller Coaster Tycoon park in real life would be like, using some actual filming inside Knott's Berry Farm as the backdrop standing in for the fictional "Happy Fun Land" park. Check it out below.
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.
(6/12/14) While construction of the first 20th Centry Fox World theme park is underway in Malaysia at Resorts World Genting, Jeffret Godsick, Fox’s president of consumer products claims that similar projects in China and Brazil will also soon be announced.
ABC Rides - (11/30/15) Screamscape has been informed that ABC Rides new Tourbillon flat ride will make its debut in Hong Kong on December 31st, 2015 at a festival-event held in the OLD Hong Kong Airport location. Tourbillon is expected to run at this location for the next three months.
(11/24/15) In the Loop talks with ABC Rides about their new Tourbillon crazy flat ride and other projects in the works. Check out the videos below.
(6/29/15) A fun video has been making the rounds on Facebook this weekend showing off a new flat ride creation from ABC Rides of Switzerland called Tourbillon. In short, it is insane... designed like a giant multi-rider sized gyroscope that may give you flashbacks of that terrible movie Contact. It sure looks incredible to watch... if not puke inducing. I can't wait to see one of these in a theme park, and from the sound of things ABC ride is making the Tourbillon in both portable and park-models so everyone can get in on the fun.
Honestly we don't seem to hear enough from ABC Rides, though their attractions are always a unique and a little "out there" as far as offering something just a little different from everyone else. Most of their installations are in Europe I believe at a variety of parks and attractions, where they offer a number of small boat, flume and rapids attraction options, as well as small car rides, small tower rides and a few other unique creations. Tourbillion may be one of their biggest flat ride creations to date however, so I can't wait to see what they are cooking up next if this is a new direction for the company.
I'm told that this first version of the ride will premier at a fair in Paris sometime next month, possibly under the name Starlight.
Apex Parks Group - (9/2/15) Apex Parks Group has announced the purchase of the Indiana Beach amusement park. This is the second purchase this year, following the purchase of Sahara Sam’s Oasis indoor/outdoor waterpark.
B&M - (4/2/16) According to a post on Twitter yesterday new golden brownish colored track was spotted outside the B&M track plant in Ohio. Given that yesterday was April 1st, we may have to take the rest of this story with a grain of salt. While I don’t doubt that there is almost always track sitting about the plant, a further piece of information sent my way claims that the track labels on the pieces indicate that this is for a new MegaCoaster going to Hot Go Park in China. While Hot Go Park is building a new B&M coaster, they were building a new Wing coaster for the 2016 season, and the red track was spotted a year ago. So is Hot Go Park adding a second B&M coaster for 2017, or was this just an April Fools joke?
(10/7/15) A new video showing off a look at the B&M Track plant in Ohio has been posted by In The Loop which can be seen below. So far they have a ton of Mako and Valravn track pieces on site, which can be expected, though no sign as of yet for any new Hulk coaster pieces, though there are some rusty looking unpainted track pieces on site as well that could be for Hulk or just about anything.
(9/9/15) Go on a virtual drive-by of the Clermont Steel Fabricators site in Ohio where all the B&M Track is produced. Lots of pieces for Cedar Point's ValRavn and SeaWorld Orlando's Mako on site and ready to be loaded up.
Some pictures were taken of the latest B&M track sitting outside the plant in Ohio this week, thank to a reader. There seems to be a mixture of a faded red or salmon colored track along with some brownish-orange colored track on site. Based on the huge size of the brownish-orange track sections, especially when viewed sitting next to parked parks, I'd say it's a pretty solid bet that is Dive Machine track. To be more specific... this could be for Valravn, the rumored Dive Machine thought to be going to Cedar Point. In addition to some unpainted pieces, there is also an assortment of grey supports on site as well.
Cavu Designwerks - (11/19/15) An interesting new company to watch at IAAPA this year is Cavu Designwerks, who talks a bit about their new media based ride concepts in the video below like Storm Chaser and Amazon Drifter concept that mixes a flume style ride with a motion base experience.
Cedar Fair - (6/11/16) According to the local news, the Cedar Fair board has decided that they like the performance of CEO Matt Ouimet enough that they have put into effect a contract extension with Ouimet that has no expiration date. In short, it sounds like Ouimet can safely stay onboard as CEO as long as he likes, barring any future act of the board to remove him, which would be unlikely.
(4/14/16) Just something to ponder, but remember back before Fury 325 was announced for Carowinds and all the teaser and hints were about the name Centurion? It's worth mentioning that while Cedar Fair filed for a trademark to use the Centurion name for the coaster way back in October of 2013, the trademark is not only still listed as being "Live" for Cedar Fair, but it was also "Published for Opposition" back in October 2015, about 5 or 6 months after Fury 325 opened. Sounds very much like Cedar Fair is still planning on using this name for a new coaster somewhere in the near future... like maybe for the 2017 season. Stay tuned!
(10/9/15) Cedar Fair will hold a conference call to go over their Q3 2015 numbers with investors on Thursday, Nov 5th at 10am EST. You can listen in online by clicking here.
(8/10/15) In Cedar Fair news, this news article reports that Cedar Fair has a couple of used ride experts scouring the European markerplace for any good looking classic rides that might be for sale and salvageable to bring back to their parks to help add not only fun flat rides back into the parks, but add a bit of nostalgia as well.
(4/16/15) According to the interview with Cedar Fair CEO, Matt Ouimet, posted to the LA Times, he plans for Cedar Fair to eventually feature new interactive style dark rides like Wonder Mountain’s Guardian (Canada’s Wonderland) and Voyage to the Iron Reef (Knott’s Berry Farm) to all 11 parks in the park. That said… he also confirmed that there are no dark rides currently in the development pipeline at the moment, so it is unlikely we will see a new one added in 2016.
While these first two dark rides were aided by having some existing infrastructure already in the park to house them, Ouimet confirmed that there are “blank spaces and empty boxes at every park” that they could put to use in the future. And while these first two dark rides haven’t put animatronic characters to use, Knott’s Ouimet hopes to work with Garner Holt on future dark ride projects, after finishing two great back-to-back dark ride refurbishment projects at Knott’s on the Timber Mountain Log Ride and Calico Mine Ride. As for future themes for these rides, don’t look like Cedar Fair to buy into expensive IP’s from studios… they will continue to explore custom made themes about the interesting and mysterious worlds that lie “underneath our parks”.
Disney - (5/25/16) I'm told that the film Escape from Tomorrow, a project that was filmed in secret at Walt Disney World and Disneyland, is currently streaming on Netflix, but it will depart Netflix on May 27th. You've got a few days left to find it if you are interested. It's said to be a bit of a "dark" film, set in contrast to the happy background of Disney theme parks. Not a masterpiece, getting 2 out of 5 stars on Netflix, but see what you think.
(5/16/16) Kinda sad news came from Disney this week when sources close to the matter reported that the company has ceased printing the functional Disney Dollars this week, a collection of actual printed currency good at US Disney Theme Parks and Disney Stores. So if you have any, you may want to put them away someplace safe... as I'm sure they will end up being collectibles someday. Apparently the increased use of gift cards is to blame.
(4/16/16) - UPDATED - Did the The Marvel Experience just quietly sell itself out of the country? We haven't heard a peep about The Marvel Experience traveling theme park project since they quickly pulled the plug on it at the end of the Philadelphia run in early July 2015, claiming that they would bring back the tour soon... but it never happened.
UPDATE - The previous news story posted to The Korea Times, which claimed a deal had been struck between Hero Ventures (who ran The Marvel Experience) and WAW Pictures and their parent company Hans Holdings to bring a Marvel Heroes attraction to South Korea and Japan has been removed.
Screamscape was also contacted by Mike Bundlie, the producer of the Marvel Experience, who asked that we also remove the link to the story. According to Mike, “This was an unauthorized and incorrect post by the Korean Times”, so it has been removed to, “avoid confusion in the market”.
“We are currently working on our Asian strategy but incorrect articles like this only hurt our efforts.” It was indicated that they hope to have something great to announce about their future Asian strategy plans.
(4/5/16) In a move that seems to have surprised everyone, Tom Staggs, who was the heir-apparent to take over Iger's position at Disney to virtually everyone, announced that he will be stepping down as COO on May 6th, but will remain as advisor to Iger through to the end of the fiscal year (Sept 30). Meanwhile the board has announced that they will now broaden their search for a successor to Iger, who's current contract will see him retire at the end of June 2018.
It really is kind of shocking, as I believe Staggs was highly regarded by virtually all in the company, and from an outsider point of view, he really seemed to "get" how to run the Disney theme parks, which has often been a stumbling block for so many other Disney leaders in the past.
So I've got to admit, I'm sorry to see him go.
(3/30/16) Disney has announced the dates for the next D23 Expo in Anaheim, California to take place on July 14 through 17th, 2017, with tickets to go on sale starting July 14, 2016. As you may have noticed, they have bumped up the event which was previously held in mid-August by a month, which will likely put it the week before the insanely popular San Diego Comic-Con. While the San Diego event has yet to announce dates for 2017, the 2016 event will take place July 21-24, which would make July 20-23rd the most likely matching dates for 2017. With the two events being so close, things may get interesting.
(3/22/16) Is Disney planning to begin talks with Universal over the rights issues with Marvel characters on the East Coast? While Iger just mentioned during a shareholder meeting that they internally discuss the concept periodically to determine if the time was right to enter into possible negotiations currently, "there isn't anything active at the moment."
With that in mind, Screamscape was sent an interesting message that points out not only when Disney is thinking of opening negotiations, but what they realistically hope to get from the deal, as they will be negotiating from a weak standpoint because Universal's existing Marvel deal is ironclad.
Timeline first... our source says we should look for the talks to begin sometime in late 2016, after Disney has entered their new fiscal year (starting Oct 1, 2016) and after they have finally birthed the giant Shanghai park into the world one and for all. Shanghai is putting a bit of a strain on things, financially, right now so they aren't ready to take on any more shake-ups this year.
So what is Disney after? Actually, it sounds like Disney may be taking a very realistic approach to this situation and they aren't just going to offer to open up the checkbook and buy Universal out. Much like how I described things many months ago, Disney now realizes that Fox has no intention of giving up their X-Men universe characters anytime soon (no one is sure where they stand with the Fantastic Four), and while Sony wasn't willing to give up Spider-man, they were willing to make some fascinating partnership deals with Disney instead. So what does Disney want from Universal?
First of all, in exchange for dropping the clause from the existing contract that gives Universal exclusive theme park rights to Marvel characters East of the Mississippi, Disney is willing to let Universal continue to have the exclusive licensing of all the X-Men, Fantastic Four and Spider-man universe characters, thus freeing up Disney to be able to use their current Marvel Cinematic Universe characters at Walt Disney World.
Second, they want Universal to stop using the name "Marvel" in the park, as well as their marketing. So instead of Marvel Super Hero Island, it would simply be shorted just to "Super Hero Island", or whatever alternate concept Universal may dream up.
The third and final point is said to involve the future of The Hulk character, and I'm told Disney is still willing to make a deal with just the first two points, as this issues is more complicated than just the theme parks, as it involves the studio side of things because Universal Studios still hold film rights to any solo film about The Hulk character, while the Hulk is allowed to be used as much as Disney wants without Universal saying a peep about it as a guest character in any other Marvel film like The Avengers as well as being confirmed to be in the next Thor film as well. Meanwhile Universal Orlando is unlikely to want to drop the Hulk theme as they will soon be reopening The Incredible Hulk coaster.
So will it happen? I think there are good points across the board to make this a win-win situation for both Disney and Universal. Even if Universal keeps the Hulk theme, it really wont hurt Disney that much, and if they drop it... it's not difficult to think that they could eventually repaint the Hulk coaster a different color and give it a new name and theme. Speaking of new themes... one thing that has kept Universal from making new Marvel attractions was that Marvek (aka: Disney) would have had to sign off and approve of them, which just isn't going to happen. But with a new deal giving Universal the rights to use the X-Men, Fantastic Four and Spider-man universe characters, perhaps they could negotiate permission for something new after all. Deadpool: The Ride anyone?
One more interesting item is that I've heard it said that Warner Bros. would love for Universal to make some DC Comics themed attractions around their new comic film universe plans. DC would love to have their rides replace Marvels, but it wouldn't impossible for both so co-exist in a generic sounding "Super Hero Island", would it? Just something to think about... but then again DC could make a good IP for any proposed 3rd parks in development in the future as well.
(2/17/16) According to this report Disney has begun shaving the budgets of the domestic Disney park operations in the US due to cost overruns the company is covering while trying to finish the new Shanghai Disneyland park. This is despite the fact that business at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World theme parks has been through the roof for the past few years, so the cutbacks are sure to be a little shocking to US guests if they encounter them. It sounds like a number of position at the Resorts will be cut back as well as Entertainment related costs as shows and parades are quietly being shut down or having the number of performances cut-back.
(2/1/16) According to several articles, Disney will be hosting a special version of "ABC's The Wonderful World of Disney: Disneyland 60" on February 21 that will feature a musical performance by Elton John, plus Harrison Ford will be on hand to announce some juicy new details all about the new Star Wars themed lands coming to Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
(11/16/16) For all you Disney fans out there, it seems Imagineering has a new head as Bob Weis has been tapped to become the new President of Walt Disney Imagineering. Weis is replacing Bruce Vaughn who is said to be leaving the company along with another WDI Alum, Craig Russel. Weis' recent past projects include being the creative lead on the much needed multi-year California Adventure makeover a few years ago, developing the popular Tower of Terror attractions but most recently he has been overseeing the design and creation of the new Shanghai Disneyland park.
A few other interesting WDI job shifts have also come across my inbox over the past couple months that I’ll share now as well since we’re talking about WDI. Kathy Magnum, who helped oversee the design of the popular Cars Land before heading to Florida to become the WDI overlord of Walt Disney World development is now said to be overseeing the major multi-year renovations and enhancements taking place at Disneyland Paris as well.
Meanwhile I'm told an interesting choice was tapped to oversee the world-wide development and roll-out Marvel attractions, Joe Rohde. Rohde is typically best known to casual fans as the visionary and lead designer behind Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park and attractions as well as Disney's Aulani Resort in Hawaii. He's also been spending the last few years focused on the development of the Avatar land in Animal Kingdom, but looks like his attention to detail will now be put to use with all things Marvel.
Oh, and in case you were wondering who is overseeing the Star Wars Lands, that would be Scott Trowbridge who joined WDI back in late 2007 after a 15 year career at Universal Creative that included the creation of what is still one of the world's best theme park attractions, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man. It is safe to say that Star Wars is in very capable hands.
(1/8/16) Marketwatch reports that Disney has filed for a FAA Section 333 exemption to allow the company to fly up to 50 drones commercially at their US theme parks. Based on a previous trademark filing, Disney did show an interest in the concept, with plans to fly drones for sure in night shows and parades, both as a way to create floating light displays and even as a possible way to pull around large puppet-like animated character displays.
DreamVision Company - (7/14/15) Who didn't see this coming? The local news decided to look in on The Dreamvision Company one again to see if they were getting ready to start constrution before the end of the year, as they had announced, on that new park project in Muscle Shoals. As I expected... things have gone completely silent since the announcement of the Soundscape theme park project back in Feburary, and no one willing to talk seems to have heard a peep from them in either Alabama or Texas since then, with February 8th being the last time they updated their Facebook page for the project.
(2/12/15) The DreamVision Company has announced plans to launch two new theme parks this week... both of which we briefly mentioned last week, one in the Forth Worth, Texas area and the other in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.
The Texas plans will see a park referred to as DreamVision Mountain / DreamScape Texas and would like to open in 2020. The park would feature a large fake mountain at the center that would offer winter sport activities year-round. The rest of the park seems to be an eclectic mix of strangely themed lands, and a few attractions here and there, mixed with show theaters.
Normally I would be excited by such a grand announcement... but this $3.5 billion dollar just seems to be so much blue-sky and not very well thought out. Plus the lands are just so randomly odd and thrown about, including the out of place year-round ski mountain, I just can't take this park seriously. Nevermind the fact that that this $3.5 billion project seems to have no IP's to speak of to help sell merchandise or act as a draw to get people through the gates so they can pay off those huge loan payments. I see that Jim over at Westcoaster also shares many of my same concerns... presented in a very humorous fashion that is also worth a read.
Just a few hours ago the company also made their presentation for Alabama for the DreamVision Soundscape theme park, which they hope to open in 2019. This park will be themed around "the musical heritage of Muscle Shoals"... because we've all heard of Muscle Shoals before now, right? Yeah, me neither. And because Alabama is a top tourist destination for Americans, they will theme the park with neighborhoods themed to different musical themes like: country, pop, gospel, jazz and more. The park also plans to have Oceanica, a domed water playground area, golf courses, hotels and more. Though I didn't see any mention of another giant fake mountain, the Muscle Shoals park will also cost an estimated $3.5 billion.
So the bottom line is...a company we've never heard of, is going to come up with $7 billion to drop over the next 5 years to build two massive theme park resort properties. Sorry to be the Negative Nancy here, but I give this project a 1 in 7 billion chance of actually happening.
Dynamic Attractions - (6/15/15) A fun video showing off some of the inner workings and rides being designed by Dynamic Attractions was posted to YouTube which shows off a non-Disney version of the Soarin' style ride system as well as a section of trick track for a Specal Effects Coaster (tilted drop) they are working on for parks in Abu Dhabi (maybe Ferrari World?) with a second ordered for an attraction in Kuala Lumpur. The parks I've heard of in Kuala Lumpur are either defunct or on the small side, so I wonder if that second order is for the 20th Century Fox World park under construction at Resorts World Genting, about an hours drive away from Kuala Lumpur.
(5/22/15) Empire Industries has announced a new contract worth $24 million has been signed for their Dynamic Attractions division to build a new ride at a "major theme park in southeast Asia." While they don't name the client, they do say that this is the same client that purchased two other attractions from them that was announced two months ago in March.
(3/5/15) Empire Industries posted another press release a few hours ago mentioning that Dynamic Attractions has been awarded another major contract with a total of $42 million to supply a major theme park in south Asia with TWO of their proprietary attractions over the next 36 months.
While the location of "south Asia" is vague, they do mention that this is their first project in south Asia. And since Dynamic has built attractions in China and Japan up in the northern end of Asia. Wikipedia defines "South Asia" as primarily being the countries of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka which does not sound like any place for a major theme park. Some definitions also include Afghanistan, Iran and a few other nearby areas as well, but again... still sounds a little off.
Meanwhile Singapore may make more sense, but it falls into the area more commonly called Southeast Asia along with the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and more. Here we have a better set of parks more likely to invest in this kind of hardware, from Universal Studios Singapore to the new 20th Century Fox World under construction in Malaysia at the top of my list.
(3/4/15) Empire Industries reports that their Dynamic Attractions division has signed a contract worth $24 million to supply one of their "proprietary robotic track rides" to a major theme park in the United Arab Emirates over the next 24 months.
In this case I'm not sure which part is getting the ride, though if I had to pick one, I'd guess this could be something going to the Motiongate Dubai park in the Dubai Parks & Resorts project.
Great Coasters International - (11/27/15) GCI has posted a new POV video showing off Viper, their new wooden coaster at Wanda (Nanchang) Culture Tourism City in China. It looks like a very fast out-and-back design, focused on speed more than airtime. Check it out below.
(11/19/15) In The Loops chats with Adam House, Lead Engieer at GCI about what the company has been up to, including plans for GhostRider, the new Viper coaster in China and more. Check out the video below.
Great Coasters International has completed the construction of a new record breaking wooden coaster for Wanda's Nanchang Theme Park in China. The coaster is named VIPER and breaks the records for being the tallest at 160 feet and longest at 5,111 feet, coaster in China. With a first drop of 142.5 feet, the coaster hits a top speed of 62mph. Currently the coaster is undergoing final testing, but it will be ready to open in early 2016. b
HUSS Rides - (8/4/15) Huss Park Attractions GmbH has announced "the successful initial testing" of a high performance virtual reality (VR) system set to add-on a completely new and different ride experience to their attractions. We saw such a concept tested by Mack Rides on their Blue Fire coaster at Europa Park last year and now Huss has brought the same kind of concept to life as a way to enhance other "non-coaster" attractions. They tested it out with great success to invited guests at Djurs Sommerland on the park's Huss Viking Ship attraction. Wearing Oculus headgear during their ride experience, guests were treated to a new virtual environment that moved in sync with the ride's motions in real-time.
Check out the great images Huss sent to Screamscape showing off both the virtual environments as well as riders taking the new Huss VR-Ride experience for a spin. I can't wait to see where they go with this concept in the future.
(6/30/15) Huss Rides has announced the redesign of a classic Huss ride experience, which is being reintroduced as Enterprise G2. For starters the classic enclosed Enterprise gondolas have been replaced with open cars with suspended style side-by-side seats with OTS restraints. There is also a version of the new open car which will place the two seats in front of each other instead of side-by-side.
Huss will also offer the Enterprise 2GH (Hybrid) version that will use a mixture of the new suspended seats and the classic style gondola seats. Then there also is the Enterprise 2GH-Plus option that upgrades the lift arm to include an extra pivot point at the end so that the wheel can tilt back to a horizontal spin motion while high in the air.
IAAPA Conventions - (3/15/16) IAAPA has announced that the 2016 EAS show will be located in Barcelona, Spain for the first time, from September 20-22 at the Gran Via Convention Center. Follow the link to find out more details from the official website.
(6/22/15) IAAPA has announced that the Asian Attractions Expo will move to Shanghai for the 2016 show that will take place from June 13 to 16 at the Shanghai New International Expo Center.
Meanwhile you can see pictures from this year's show that was in Hong Kong posted to CoasterForce this week by clicking here.
(5/28/14) Good news for fans of IAAPA’s Orlando location… IAAPA has announced that they have signed a new agreement that will extend the run of IAAPA Attractions Expo in Orlando by an additional 6 years… which will take it through to the 2025 show.
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.
Lionsgate - (11/4/15) According to this article about Lionsgate wanting to build Hunger Games themed theme parks, they are working on two... one in the Atlanta, GA area and the other to go in China near Macau. This is in addition to the Hunger Games themed attractions that will be part of the Lionsgate land at the Motiongate Dubai theme park.
Mack Rides - (12/21/15) The BBC has posted a short video report this month where they were allowed to take cameras inside Mack Ride's top secret factory in Germany for the first time ever. Follow the link and take a peek inside the magic factory.
(12/9/15) According to a report posted by AttractionsManagement, Mack Rides and VR Coaster are working on at least nine new VR Coaster projects at the moment, with one of their projects expected to actually open in January 2016. The article also mentions that the group has been working with Cedar Fair as well and could roll out some of these projects to some of their theme parks. We know they were testing out just such a system for a few days near the end of the season at Canada's Wonderland on that park's Thunder Run coaster.
(11/19/15) Mack Rides has posted an amazing video on their YouTube page showing off how they attached a new spinning coaster car to the back of a Blue Fire launched coaster train. The result, complete with test riders, looks to be perhaps one of the most dizzying and out of control coaster rides I've ever seen.
Why did they do it? According to the description, because they wanted to see what and if it was possible, and what the experience of taking a variety of loops and inversions all while freely spinning was like. In their words, "It was an eyeopener" and they hope to take everything they have learned and apply it to a new project in the near future. Check it out below.
Maurer - (6/6/16) According to a report originally posted by Park World magazine, Maurer may be in talks to officially remove itself from the amusement industry in response a lack of new orders for their product line. As a comapny, Maruer wont be going anywhere, as they are involved in a number of other non-amusement projects such as building and bridge construction. Click here to read a bit more about it.
(11/19/15) Maurer is showing off a new ride design called the Wing Roller Coaster at IAAPA this week. You can see the car and learn a bit more about the ride system in the video interview below from In The Loop.
An animated video from Maurer is below that, showing off how these new cars can be used as both Wing Coasters and Bike Coaster designs.
Merlin Entertainment - (5/17/16) BlooLoop has posted a new interview with James Burleigh, Merlin's "chief ambassador" of Merlin's network of SEA LIFE aquarium attractions. He's been with the SEA LIFE team going back to the previous ownership by Vardon PLC where he started as the Head of Procurement before taking on a leadership role for one of the SEA LIFE sites. Follow the link to read on about what he and the company have in store for the SEA LIFE brand, and where they want to go with it moving forward.
(10/22/15) According to this article, Merlin is said to have struck a deal with China to build a Legoland theme park somewhere near Shanghai, as well as other Merlin owned attractions such as a Shanghai Dungeon and a new attration themed around the Kung-Fu Panda film series. Note: Merlin already has five attractions in China, including Madame Tussauds wax museums in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Beijing and Wung as well as the Chang Feng Ocean World aquarium in Shanghai.
Planet Coaster - (3/23/16) A fun review from playtime with the Planet Coaster Alpha build has been posted to Arstechnica this week, along with tons of new screen shots. Looks like great fun so far.
(1/27/16) Planet Coaster has released a third developer diary video giving us a fantastic look at the new game in action, as well as how it will allow you to build your dream park piece by piece.
(10/27/15) A new development diary video about the Planet Coaster theme park simulation game takes an interesting approach and goes into detail about programming the individual guests in the parks and how they will react not just as a group, but also on their own as individuals touring your theme park.
Take the time to watch the video and really listen to what they are saying about how the individual guests will respond to what they see and do in the park, including all the little things like getting frustrated while bunched up in crowds, in awe when a new ride opens and more. It really seems like they could be bringing these virtual parks and rides to life through the realistic reactions of the park guests.
(6/19/15) During interviews about Planet Coaster the developers confirmed a few new aspects that are in the works for this new title. One item of note is that they confirmed that players will be able to build connected "villages" of parks and share coaster designs with each other. They also confirmed that they decided to drop the whole "Tycoon" name branding from the title after realizing that the name itself comes with too much baggage, as there have been a number of horrid games released over the years that have also used the "Tycoon" branding to try and sell themselves.
(6/18/15) Frontier is back with the first teaser trailer for their new theme park simulation game that was previously announced as Coaster Park Tycoon... it has now been thankfully renamed as Planet Coaster. Check out the teaser below... and it's a good one. It really has a feel good and fun look to it that will appeal to any fans of the old Roller Coaster Tycoon game series and in the end, could actually out-do Roller Coaster Tycoon World. Just watch the teaser... it really is great looking nod to everything Frontier learned from working on the RCT series before this. I just hope the actual gameplay can keep the warm fuzzy feeling as well as this animated teaser when the game finally comes out sometime in 2016.
Rocky Mountain Construction - (2/19/16) Just a quick clarification regarding the RMC Raptor vs TRex track. At IAAPA they were showing off two different sizes of the track at the booth, and the TRex track was to use normal two-across style trains, and now we see that the smaller "Raptor" single rail system is for compact, single-seat width trains.
(2/18/16) Rocky Mountain has posted details and teaser art for new attraction concepts this week. In addition to details about a new Compact Wooden Coaster design (featuring Topper Track), they also mention a new all compact steel single-rail system they are calling Raptor Track (formerly known as TRex it seems).
You can see a video of Raptor Track in action here, and while it looks very wicked and fast, the downside to it all are that the trains only hold 1 rider per row (8-per train), with hourly capacity of only 200, 400 or 600 PPH, depending on if you buy a 1, 2 or 3 train coaster. With that in mind, I wouldn't look for one of these to open at one of the big theme parks out there, as it seems to be aimed primarily at small parks who may have previously found the cost of buying a coaster a bit too high, or who lacked the space requirements.
(11/19/15) Rocky Mountain Construction is showing off their new single steel rail coaster system at IAAPA this week, calling it TRex Track. A photo of the display at their IAAPA booth can be seen in this Tweet. A video interview with RMC all about the TRex Track was also posted by our friends at In The Loop.
(9/18/15) Curious to see what RMC may be dreaming up next? CoasterForce was able to take a guided tour of RMC's facility where they were shown something very interesting... a new 'single rail' concept coaster idea they have, where the trains would ride along this single massive steel rail beam. You can see a few pictures of it at their Facebook page, as well as a bunch of other pictures from the tour here.
Ride Entertainment - (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.
(1/16/16) Ride Entertainment has partnered with Lagotronics Projects in the North American theme park industry. So who is Lagotronics Projects? They are described as being “a leader in the theme park industry, with the best quality interactive systems and technology in the world. By combining this with audiovisual products, lighting and games, they create unforgettable memories for visitors of theme parks. Their innovative and high quality solutions offer great experiences for virtually every leisure business, such as theme parks, museums, amusement parks, shopping centers, and retail areas. Their completed projects speak tremendously to the imagination.” From the look of things, they have been responsible for the interactive systems behind several popular dark rides and other effects systems.You can see a list of their past projects on their website that includes theme park attractions like Ghost (Legoland Billund), Atlantis (Euriopa-Park), Journey to the West (Wuhan Movie Park China), Ramses II (Gardaland) and more.
(9/18/15) Ride Entertainment has signed a new partnership with Metallbau-Emmeln, a German company known for providing family attractions as well as containers and controlled access systems. Ride Entertainment will act of their North American sales representative.
Roller Coaster Tycoon World - (4/17/16) While I haven’t tried it yet myself, it seems that the early release of Roller Coaster Tycoon World on Steam has been met with plenty of criticism from the fans. ATARI has acknowlded this and has pleged to not only continue to support the title, but they will keep working to fix the various issues people are having.
One such issue is that the title seems to have favored having a higher frame rate at the expense of graphic quality, but they promise that a future update will address this issue and raise the quality of the games graphics. The choice to favor frame-rate over graphics was a concern over how the title was going to perform on the various user hardware once released. Now they have a better idea of where to set the bar in terms of graphic performance.
Note, this is the early access version of the title and not the finished code, and the number of features in the game are still limited, with much more content in the development pipeline to be released in the future as things progress, even after the final release, more features will be added on going forward.
(3/29/16) Roller Coaster Tycoon World will arrive in the Steam Early Access program starting sometime within the next week. Note that this isn't the official final version of the game, but a working preview that will allow those with Early Access to try it while the programmers work to finish up all the bells and whistles as well as fix problems based on Early Access feedback. I believe Steam Early Access will make it available on March 30th.
(3/4/16) Atari has released a new video for Roller Coaster Tycoon World that shows off how User-Generated Content will be built and shared between users around the world.
(2/23/16) A quick update on the status and features we can expect to find in Roller Coaster Tycoon World when it ships sometime this year can be found at Kotaku. So far it is looking quite impressive, especially after development has been handed over to new studios a couple of times along the way through the development cycle.
(11/16/15) According to this update, following the Beta test of Roller Coaster Tycoon World, Atari has opted to delay the launch of the game until early 2016 from the previously announced Dec. 10, 2015 release date. From the Beta build, it sounded as if many features of the game were not yet finished, and Beta players found certain aspects of the build to be frustrating, so numerous improvements will be put into place before it gets released.
(9/30/15) Good news for those eagerly awaiting Roller Coaster Tycoon World. Atari has announced that they are now accepting pre-orders for the title on Steam, which will give you access to exclusive Beta Weekends and Five Unique Peep Skins if you pre-order the Standard or Deluxe Editions. The official final release date is December 10, 2015.
(9/23/15) A new video has been released showing off the progress on Roller Coaster Tycoon World, along with the announcement that the game is working with Six Flags on some kind of partnership. I suspect that we’ll end up seeing some official Six Flags parks, or at least some pre-made coaster designs, included with the final release of the game. Of course this isn’t too surprising, as Six Flags also became involved in the same manor with some of the earlier editions of the game as well.
(8/31/15) A reader who attended the PAX 2015 show got to make a quick test of the Roller Coaster Tycoon World build that was being shown off and took a quick video of it in action... with some disastrous results for the Peeps. Meanwhile a pretty good explanation of the latest developments along with a longer sample of the gameplay being offered can be found here.
The breakdown is that so far the game will have 30 different flat rides and 10 different style coasters, with 4 different track styles. It was mentioned that while they visited parks and rides to get design inspirations, the rides in the game are not direct recreations of any one existing ride out there in the real-world marketplace. As an example they show off what appears to be their own custom version of a Gravaton style flat ride, but with a clear roof. Of course since the game will be open to the world's community this time around, I suspect it wont be long before some fan re-creations of some actual real-world rides start to show up as well once they open the floodgates.
(8/14/15) Some great new images showing off Roller Coaster Tycoon World were posted in the latest development blog update this week showing off some incredible detail in the rendering of a wooden coaster station. They also mention that "multiplayer" will not be ready with the initial release, but will instead be added to the game for free in a post-launch update.
The update also mentions an extensive list of creative tools, including 3D track editor and fully deformable terrain and water editors. You can also import your own custom scenery, peeps and more in "any 3D editing program that works with Unity". The game will also offer Park Management tools for managing your park's finances as well as new features, such as a "heat map". They also note that the coasters will use a more complex physics simulation program than any previous game in the series. And while full multi-player action will come later, you will still be able to visit your friends parks.
(7/10/15) Roller Coaster Tycoon World has posted a new blog update this week, one with an awesome image showing off an "unedited screenshot" of RCT-World taken this week, showing off an amazing view of a highly detailed roller coaster, station, pathways and queue, as well as a stunning rocky landscape background. Plants, trees, hexagon brick paver pathways, lightposts, trash cans, banners, railings... they are all there. The detail is so well done, it actually got me looking to see if they included any stray rabbits, squirrels or birds as random environment wildlife features. Don't get me started on the rocky hillside in the background that got me craving to build an Alpine Coaster to weave between the rocks. (Note to pass on to the developers... please include Alpine Coasters!)
In fact, the one and only thing that really breaks the illusion for me of this being a virtual re-creation of a true theme park somewhere is the inclusion of a yellow "ticket booth" at the end of the ride queue before riders are sent up the ramp to the station. No modern theme park has this feature, though it was a staple of the previous RCT games to be able to charge admission to individual rides, so I guess I can give it a pass... but still it just bugs my eyes. I'd rather see it removed all together and simply replaced by some kind of entrance portal with the ride's logo instead.
(7/2/15) The latest blog post from Roller Coaster Tycoon World doesn't’ show off any rides, but shows off an amazingly themed look down a simple theme park pathway, showing off an impressive amount of detail that it will be possible to create. Benches, landscaping, lightposts are things you may take for granted when you want to just build the best roller coaster, but it’s nice to see this level of detail put into the simple things you may not even have thought about before along a quiet park pathway. If this level of detail is here, I can’t wait to see the level of detail they put into the rides.
(6/2/15) The latest RCTWorld Blog talks about the latest innovations programmed into the coaster building system software, as well as giving us a look at a B&M Hypercoaster style train rendered by the game engine.
(5/19/15) Latest Roller Coaster Tycoon World development blog has been posted showing off a look at a set of coaster wheels running along new fully rendered coaster track, taken directly from the game engine itself, "unedited and untouched". Just this alone is setting the graphics bar for RCTWorld so much higher than ever before by finally making the ride hardware look photo realistic.
(8/13/14) ATARI has announced that the next-gen RCT game, “Roller Coaster Tycoon World”, will come out for PC in early 2015. Based on the very brief animation released, it appears to be a 3D rendered world once again, but with a realistic appearance as opposed to the cartoon look RCT3 had when it was released way WAY back in late 2004! (Can’ you believe it has been 10 years since the last one was released?)
The interesting new features that will come into play in RCT-World is that your massive theme park can be cooperatively built and worked on by up to four players at once. RCT-World will also take your creation online as well, allowing you to visit and tour other player’s parks as well. And to put your fears as rest, this will be a full release title that promises to be “micro-transaction free”, giving you access to the full range of content right out of the box.
S&S WorldWide - (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).
(3/18/15) S&S Worldwide has announced the sale of a new 12-passenger S&S Double Shot tower ride that will be installed in China at the Eon Time theme park in Hohhot. They expect the ride to open in late 2015.
(8/14/14) S&S Worldwide has confirmed the signing of a deal with the Wanda Group to design and build two Space Shot tower rides for new theme parks at Wanda Harbin Tourism City and Wanda Hefei Cultural Tourist City that will open in 2015 and 2016.
Sally Corp - (11/27/15) Sally Corp has posted a new attraction preview concept video for something valled Volcanikus 4D, something they were promoting at IAAPA the previous week.
(11/23/15) Our good friend Arthur at About.com got an exclusive bonus with his interview about Sally's new The Walking Dead dark ride concept in the form of some never before seen concept artwork. Follow the link and check it out.
With IAAPA on the horizon, the great team at Sally Dark Rides decided to spread a little early excitement by sending out an interesting package to a few lucky people... myself included. Inside was a burlap sack tied shut, and inside of that sack was a small cardboard box and a folded up map of Georgia that should look very familiar to anyone familiar with AMC's The Walking Dead. It was a replica of the Map to Terminus, and inside the box was a wrapped up handkerchief with a very realistic severed finger inside.
Why would Sally Corp. send me a map to Terminus? Because Sally and AMC have partnered up to create "The Walking Dead: Battle for Survival!" a new thrilling, interactive and very DARK dark ride concept that will be put on display at Sally's IAAPA booth (#2253). I can't wait to hear more... and I wonder if anyone has already signed on to get the first one yet.
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment - (5/3/16) SeaWorld's CEO, Joel Manby, has announced another change to how they will be treating the Killer Whales going forward. While we know they have put an end to the breeding program, and OSHA put an end to trainers swimming in the water with them, SeaWorld has now announced that the whale will no longer "pose, dance or kiss each other" during performances in an effort to only focus on behaviors that the whales would do naturally.
Now while Joel is saying "no more" to these behaviors, having spent as much time around the whales as I have in my past (and that's another long story for another time) I think the proper way this should have been announced would be to say that the "trainers" will no longer ask the whales to do these things. I'm pretty sure we'll see some of these behaviors still take place from time to time from the whales themselves, as the whales are always free to do pretty much whatever they really want to do, and they do see to amuse themselves by seeing how human's react to certain behaviors they have learned.
For example, while not banned (yet), you may have seen the whales randomly come up to the glass to watch the humans on the other side and occasionally spit water over the glass. From what I saw, the sound of squealing humans hit by cold water and the little dance they do as they run away really did seem to amuse the whales to no end. So it became a self-generating act of positive reinforcement for them to keep doing it on their own.
Anyway, enough with the memories of the past, going forward the plan is to make the new method of displaying the whales more like something from National Geographic or the Discovery Channel, and less like a music video.
(11/5/15) I'm hearing that there are some big announcements planned to take place at the SeaWorld shareholders meeting taking place later today regarding the future direction and plans for the company's parks. Stay tuned.
(8/10/15) According to the latest earnings report the SeaWorld parks are still seeing a small decline in attendance over the last quarter, and while the parks have fallen below revenue expectations the company says they still hope to meet their overall financial targets by the end of the year. They site weather issues as the primary reason for attendance problems in Texas (likely true), and something they refer to as "brand challenges" for the California park's drop in turnstile counts. However, attendance in Orlando was said to be fairly strong.
(7/22/15) Interesting new names filed in the Trademark database by SeaWorld Parks back in May for the names "Reptitan" and "Strikewinder". Curious... I wonder what kind of ride this could be? "Cobra's Curse" was also filed at about the same time, so these could be alternate names for that coaster... or perhaps they could be for something else.
Six Flags - (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.
(2/26/16) Six Flags may be planning another LARGE roller coaster for one of the parks in the chain, as they have filed paperwork to trademark the name "TITAN" for a future ride. To date Six Flags has only used the "Titan" name once, at Six Flags over Texas for the sister ride of Magic Mountain's Goliath.
With the only other "Titan" in Texas, you can count that they wont use that name again at Fiesta Texas, so look for the name to possibly drop at one of the parks more likely to add a new coaster in 2017 like SF Magic Mountain, SF New England, SF Over Georgia or maybe even La Ronde.
(2/19/16) Six Flags made a new announcements and some internal structure changes at the corporate level on Thursday. For starters, Jim Reid-Anderson has been named to serve as the company's new "Executive Chairman", meanwhile John Duffey has been promoted to take over Jim's old spot as President and CEO of Six Flags.
Other promotions include Marshall Barber taking over the CFO spot (up from VP of Financial Planning and Analysis), the retirement of SVP of In-Park Services,John Bement who will be replaced by David McKillips, and Brett Petit (SVPof Marketing & Sales) has now assumed the responsibility of the Corporate Alliance Sales Team, putting all marketing and sales groups under his leadership.
The report was a good one, with reports of large increases in attendance and season pass sales, as well as huge turnouts for the chain's Halloween and Holiday In The Park seasonal events. You can pull up some of the financial figures here.
(2/5/16) Six Flags chain of parks will grow by one more in 2017 when they open Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Qaxtepec in Mexico. The plan will see Six Flags buy and reopen a 67-acre park located in the State of Morelos, which has been closed to the public for several years. Six Flags will add an assortment of new slides and water attractions to the park, along with all new restaurant and retail locations.
From what I've been able to figure out, I believe the park they are taking over is the former Parque Acuatico Oaxtepec, which the local news in Mexico confirms that Six Flags won a bidding contest to reopen and operate this park from the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS).
(1/11/16) Six Flags has confirmed their new park plans for China on their official website with the creation of an official page for Six Flags Haiyan, China. While they don't have any details of the ride's package posted, the page does say that the park will feature a number of "record-breaking roller coasters, unique thrill experiences, incredible live shows and more."
While the park's concept art is interesting, concept art is just that... concept... and not a guarantee of what the park's major coasters will actually be. That said however, one common coaster that you can spot in just about every piece of concept art appears to be something I've never seen before... which can be best described as a B&M Inverted Dive Machine. Check out the artwork and see if you can make out what I'm seeing.
Also, the park held an official Ground Breaking cremony on Jan. 4th, so stay tuned.
(11/19/15) Concept artwork showing off a proposed Six Flags China theme park design have been posted to ThemeparX this week. I've got to say that this certainly doesn't look anything like any Six Flags theme park I've ever seen before, especially with the unique location next to the water. According to another link, they are calling this a "Six Flags International Resort" which will be located in Zhejiang Province, which also has photos from the agreement signing between Wenyuan Investment Group and Six Flags Entertainment Corporation.
From the look of things, the Six Flags park will only be on part of the resort, built along a shoreline at the Yangtze River Delta with a marina, that is being described as the world's first "land-sea interaction Six Flags park." The overall resort will also feature a museum and much more.
(10/21/15) According to the new numbers released from Six Flags, the company appears to had a good Q3, reporting increases in revenue and net income. Total revenue was $575.26 million for the quarter, up from $541.84 from the same time period last year. $20 extra million is credited to increases in admission and another $16 million from in park sales.
(10/19/15) There is an interesting change coming to all Six Flags theme parks starting on November 7th, 2015. According to the official Six Flags website, they will launch a new "Attraction Access Pass" program at that time, replacing their old Equal Access Pass program. According to the terms the Attraction Access Pass is "for guests who are unable to wait in ride lines due to a disability, mobility impairments, or certain qualifying impairments. Beginning November 7, 2015 any guest requesting use of one of these special passes will need to provide a doctor’s note at Guest Services at the time they pick up the pass. This new program replaces our old Equal Access Pass program."
Guests who qualify for the pass will enter through an alternate entrance and receive a ride reservation time to return equal to the current wait time for the attraction. At the correct time, you may return to ride without waiting in line and take up to three guests with you. The kicker is to obtain the new Attraction Access Pass, you must have a doctor note with specific information on it, though the note must also NOT describe the nature of your disability. (Because you know... privacy...)
So is this a good thing or a bad thing? While it probably is a pain in the rear for most people to go get a note from your doctor for something like this, this is also unfortunately the kind of procedure that has long been coming for years because of abuse of the old systems. It was just a couple of years ago we saw a major shake-up at Disney over revamping their access pass system, and it's just been a mater of time before many of those changes trickled down to Six Flags to make as well. The timing is good at least, as a November kick off date will come at the end of the season, giving most of you well read Screamscape readers time to get that note from your doctor well in advance, and have a copy of it ready for the foreseeable future. Those who really do need a pass like this will know the value of it and how it will benefit their time spent in the parks with loved once, while those who may have been abusing the system, will now find it difficult to keep on doing so. (Note: On the plus side, Six Flags does say that you only need to show them the note ONCE... and they will add you into some kind of system-wide database, good for when you visit any and all Six Flags theme parks and not just the one you first presented the note to.)
(10/9/15) Six Flags will host a Q3 2015 Earnings conference call on Oct. 20th starting at 8am Central Time. You can access the call and listen in by clicking here.
(8/26/15) It looks like the new official Fright Fest 2015 pages for all of the Six Flags parks is now live. Click here to go to the main page and select which park you are interested in.
(7/31/15) While nothing may have been signed yet... Screamscape has heard that the Six Flags corporate office may be looking for a new high-end flat ride concept that they could install into parks in 2016 in place of some previously planned Larson Giant Loops. One such concept that may have made it to the boardroom presentations is said to be a new "Giant" version of the Zamperla Air Race that would see the Air Race style ride system mounted to a telescoping tower that would raise it up into the air.
(7/24/15) It is official... Six Flags has joined the Disney theme parks for a company wide ban of Selfie Sticks in their theme parks.
(7/22/15) Six Flags has filed for a number of new trademarks over the past few weeks, including one to use the name "Titan" again (did they let it lapse?) along with filings for "Gale Force 7" and the previously mentioned one for "Total Mayhem".
While Titan and Total Mayhem are likely coaster names, Gale Force 7 sounds more like a big waterslide complex tower to me.
(7/3/15) Six Flags has filed for a new name trademark this month for their latest attraction to be called "Total Mayhem". While this could be for any Six Flags theme park, the name would be a perfect fit for an S&S Free Fly 4D style coaster, the type that was rumored to be on the way for SFGAdv.
(6/9/15) After talking to a few people, I'm hearing that two more version of Justice League: Battle for Metropolis are being planned for the 2016 season. From the sound of things, the one solid lock for the first one seems to be for Six Flags Great America. I don't know the location of where it might go, though it was pointed out that the park could put the old IMAX / Pictorium building to use for it.
The location of the second one is more up for debate it seems, with rumors pointing to both Six Flags Mexico as well as Six Flags over Georgia. If I had to guess myself, I'd lean towards Georgia myself, for many of the reason I posted yesterday in my thoughts on the issue as well.
(6/8/15) With the successful openings of not just one, but two versions of the new Justice League: Battle for Metropolis under Six Flags’ belt this year, and both of them hitting all the right high marks and rave reviews from both media and fans, I only have one real question right now.
Where will Six Flags build the next one?
Yep, at this point I think it is simply a matter of WHERE and not WHEN this will happen, especially when the 2016 versions of these dark rides will essentially get a free media “push” from the opening of the Batman Vs. Superman feature film next summer as well. So when the current is going your way, don’t fight it… swim with it and… to borrow a catch-phrase… Go Big!
At this point it would be difficult to say exactly where another clone (or clones) of this ride might appear within the chain, but some parks may have a slight advantage over others. Of the old former Six Flags simulator ride buildings, the Chicago park demolished their Space Shuttle America building to make way for Hurricane Harbor, but at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey, that park still has the old building from The Right Stuff: Mach 1 Adventure ride sitting there empty and unused. This is important because Six Flags over Texas converted the same building into their version of Justice League with no problem, they just needed to expand the building to make it a bit bigger to accommodate the dark ride. With nothing but a Go-Kart track next door, it would be easy to expand the building into that area to make room for it. Even better… this area of the park is also home to both the Green Lantern and Superman: Ultimate Flight coasters, making it a perfect location for Justice League: Battle for Metropolis. So far however, the only rumors I’ve heard from this park were about new coasters, but with Six Flags everything is always subject to change.
It would be hard to go wrong by adding this attraction to any other park, though it would be a more welcome at some more than others I think. Six Flags Magic Mountain is always ready to welcome a new themed ride, especially as the local market is used to having such great themed attractions from Disney, Universal and Knott’s. As The Mountain is already home to the most rides with DC character themes (Riddler’s Revenge, Batman: The Ride, Green Lantern: First Flight, Superman: Escape from Krypton, Lex Luthor: Drop of Doom, The Flash: Speed Force, Wonder Woman: Lasso of Truth) so you could drop in a Justice League dark ride with little effort just about anywhere in the park.
Where else? I have heard a quiet rumor suggesting Six Flags over Georgia as a possible location as well, as the park’s Gotham section of the park features Batman: The Ride and a host of Batman villain themed rides (Crime Wave, Harley Quinn Spin-Sanity, Joker’s Chaos Coaster and Mindbender) with a Superman coaster on the other side of the park. The park’s fans also love and responded well to the park’s Monster Mansion/Plantation dark ride, so another air-conditioned dark right for Hot-lanta may be just what the doctor ordered.
Either way, with the "middle" of the country covered by the first two rides in Dallas and Missouri, it would make sense to spread the love to both the East and West coast in 2016 at the very least.
(4/14/15) According to this news article, Six Flags is seeking a Malaysian corporate partner to franchise the brand to build the first official Six Flags park in Malaysia.
(2/17/15) According to a brief article at TheBeijinger, Six Flags will open a park in Tianjin by 2018.
Sky Turtle - (7/30/15) Remember the Sky Turtle? I came across a weird German video as they sent a reporter down the prototype unit with cameras, giving us our first really good look at the capsule you are supposed ride inside and what the experience is like. Instead of the "coaster" style restraint system they promoted in the IAAPA video, they strap this poor fellow inside near the end of the video with a five point belt harness and shove him over the edge.
According to the video description, two of these are supposed to be installed into waterparks somewhere in the US for 2016. That said... I thought it looked like fun at first, but now I think I may have to pass after seeing how claustrophobic the capsule experience appears to be, and I'm not e claustrophobic person at all. Add in the fact that you are essentially trapped inside, half-submerged in water in the trough at the end... with no way to escape, sit up, or roll over and cough or spit-up any water you may have inhaled on the way down when screaming... uhhh... again... I'll pass. It just looks like it would trigger some serious primal fear issues.
Skycoaster - (12/11/15)
Skycoaster installed two major new attractions in Mexico during the 2015 season. We knew about X-Flight, a 180 foot Skycoaster that opened at Six Flags Mexico in October, but they tell us they opened a second one in the tourist city of Acapulco at El Rollo Waterpark. This one is only 109 feet tall by comparison, but it allows the riders to fly out over the scenic Acapulco beach due to the incredible beachside location.
Skyline Attractions - (10/20/15) Skyline Attractions has announced a new product this week called the Crazy Couch. The Crazy Couch is a new kids ride concept that will allow kids and adults to ride, tilting side-to-side and up-and-down. So what is Crazy Couch exactly? Follow the link to the Skyline Attractions website to read all the details, though you can also watch the animated video below to see what the ride action is like.
Soaring Eagle Ziplines - (11/26/15) Scan Checketts is back to promote a new ride experience from his Soarin' Eagle zipline company called "The Saddle Swing" and a "Triple Tower" concept attraction. If this sounds familiar, it does look like a redesign of Stan's old "Insane" launch ride, which was deemed as being a little too intense and ahead of it's time back at the start of the 21st Century with it's open saddle style seat and lack of hard restraints. While "Insane" was quickly relaunched with a more traditional style seat and restraint system as Sky Sling, it looks like Stan has used his old Insane concept as inspiration for this new Saddle Swing concept. You can also find another video below showing off the Daring Drop, Saddle Sling and Dive Ride all together in one three tower complex.
Triotech - (2/22/16) A quick correction on our previous Triotech piece. I've been informed that Charles Decarie from Cirque du Soleil was actually hired on as the new COO, and not CEO as I had previously reported. Earnest Yale, founder of the company, will continue to serve as the CEO.
(2/19/16) Triotech has announced that they have signed on an impressive new COO, a former Cirque du Soleil Operations Manager (Charles Decarie). Head on over to BlooLoop to see what impact this will have on the Canadian company going forward into the future.
Universal Studios - BREAKING - (4/28/16) While it was just mentioned for the first time yesterday as an initial idea, today it is reality and Comcast has agreed to purchase DreamWorks Animation for a whopping $3.8 BILLION DOLLARS! The deal still has to be finalized and go through the regulatory process mean isn’t expected to be complete until later this year, but the impact will quickly be felt in both the Entertainment and Theme Park industries.
On the numbers side of things, Comcast’s purchase price for DreamWorks Animation wasn’t bad, as they ended up paying just over half the purchase price of what The Walt Disney Company paid to purchase Pixar in 2006, which was $7.4 billion. (And for the curious, Disney also paid $4 billion for Marvel in 2009 and paid another $4 billion in 2012 to buy Lucasfilm for Star Wars and Indiana Jones).
The DreamWorks Animation deal will come with a huge collection of popular animated IP’s that the Universal Studios theme parks will soon be able to tap into freely, though individual deals for certain characters (like Shrek) are already in place for many of the parks. Current popular characters include the Kung Fu Panda series, the How To Train Your Dragon series, The Croods, Home, Madagascar, Turbo and Shrek. Other previous popular films also include Megamind, Monsters vs Aliens, Over the Hedge and Rise of the Guardians, along with several others. There is also a new film coming in November 2016 called Trolls, and other than the latest Kung Fu Panda I believe the film before that was Mr. Peabody & Sherman. (Fun fact: A Peabody & Sherman time-machine themed attraction was once envisioned as a possible attraction for Universal’s Islands of Adventure park and would have been located in Toon Lagoon.)
If Comcast has proven one thing, it’s that they aren’t one to wait for too long before putting projects into development, and no one would several of the DreamWorks IPs fit right into the existing Universal theme parks, but they now have enough new themes and ideas to help build out a third theme park if need be, and with a fresh purchase of a huge tract of land in Orlando now complete, I’d say that things are definitely coming together nicely.
(4/28/16) In a very interesting move Comcast, the parent company of Universal Studios, confirmed that they are interested in purchasing DreamWorks Animation. While Universal has been having no problem generating animated hits of their own lately, the ramifications of being able to bring the many DreamWorks Animation characters into the company's theme parks would be huge for Universal's theme park division. The possible cost of such a deal is valued at about $3 billion.
(2/11/16) Remember how I mentioned not long ago that Universal was planning on launching their new shared cinematic universe for the rebooted classic Monster films this year? Since then the rumored of Tom Cruise attached to the new Mummy reboot were confirmed, though rumors of Angelina Jolie as the Bride of Frankenstein have yet to be confirmed. Now you can add Johnny Depp to the mix, as the Hollywood trades are all reporting that he has signed on to become the new Invisible Man for Universal.
Keep in mind that as the films get fleshed out and hit the theaters one by one, assuming they are popular at the box-office, you can pretty much guarantee that Universal will find a way to bring them all to life inside their theme parks as well.
(1/21/16) Universal Studios and Trip Advisor have launched one hell of an incredible new Harry Potter themed contest this week. The grand prize is the Ultimate Harry Potter Trip Around The World! You'll be transported away with three friends to visit all three Wizarding World of Harry Potter locations starting with the Grand Opening of the new Universal Studios Hollywood version, then off to Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Japan, and to round things out you will also visit The Making of Harry Potter attraction at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in London. It couldn’t be easier to enter... just follow this link.
(1/7/16) Is Universal Studios South Korea back on track? According to this article a small group of Korean companies will partner with Universal Parks & Resorts to build the new theme park resort. The project is expected to include hotel accommodations, a golf course, a waterpark, a CityWalk style retail and restaurant area and possibly even a concert arena, and open by 2020 if all goes well. The amusement resort will be placed about a 60 minute drive from Seoul and cost an estimated $4.25 billion.
(11/27/15) Universal has made no secret that they're been hoping to create a unified world (like the Marvel Cinematic Universe) for their reboot of the classic Universal Monsters films and characters, but to date they haven't made much progress on the big screen so far. So far Universal has only released Dracula Untold, which has only been reported as a possible inclusion into this new shared universe concept... only if they want it to be, but it likely will be ignored entirely.
Previously Universal was looking to launch this universe with reboots of The Mummy and Van Helsing characters instead, which are apparently still in development after being delayed several times. The new Mummy is currently on the release slate for March 24th, 2017, and while Universal was apparently in talks with Tom Cruise to star in the rebooted Van Helsing, it looks like those talks have taken a twist, and instead Tom Cruise is apparently now attached to star in the rebooted Mummy film instead. While the current plot of the film is unknown, it was reported at one time that instead of a more period piece like the last Mummy series of films, the new Mummy films would be brought to modern times. A concept was said to be in the works that would involve a Navy SEAL team hunting terrorists in the middle east who end up accidentally unleashing the ancient evil of The Mummy upon the earth once again. Of course, with the new involvement of Tom Cruise, the story could have completely changed by now.
The Hollywood trades are also reporting this week that Universal is in talks with Angelina Jolie to take the lead in a new Bride of Frankenstein film as well.
(7/29/15) Jurassic World fans... take note! Universal Studios has already set the premier date for Jurassic World 2, which will hit theaters on June 22nd, 2018 and will see the return of Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard. It's too early to talk plot, but with the time-table of a little under 3 years time until it hits theaters, it would also seem to be a perfect gap of time in which Universal Creative could possibly come up with a new Jurassic World themed attraction for one or more of the Universal theme parks as well that could open at about the same time. Just saying... and who wouldn't want to go for a spin on a Gyrosphere ride?
(5/7/15) Talk about a strange piece of news to wake up to this morning, but Nintendo and Comcast have announced a new agreement that will see the worlds and characters from Nintendo video games brought to the Universal Parks & Resorts in both America and in Japan. While they have no details of how this may be realized, or what park may get it first, they did say that Universal will create, “spectacular, dedicated experiences based on Nintendo’s wildly popular games, characters and worlds.”
(5/7/15) Good news for Universal Studios theme park lovers, because Comcast is still very excited and happy with the theme park side of the company and mentions during their earnings call on Monday that they are still planning to keep investing new capital into the parks, so that we will continue to see a new attraction open at each resort, each year, when possible.