---- THE LATEST INDUSTRY NEWS ----
(10/18/17) Insane New SlideWheel Prototype Attraction That You Must See To Believe (MORE...)
(10/14/17) CAVU DesignWerks Shows Off New Turbo Racer Ride Concept Art (MORE...)
(10/14/17) SeaWorld Entertainment - Indoor SeaWorld For China, Another Possible Buyer and Rumored Layoffs Pending (MORE...)
(10/12/17) Internet Fun - Got What It Takes To Run Your Own Jurassic World Park? (MORE...)
(10/6/17) Cedar Fair Announces Leadship Changes in 2018 (MORE...)
(10/6/17) Merlin Entertainment May Offer To Buy Busch Gardens Parks From SeaWorld (MORE...)
(10/6/17) Six Flags Q3 2017 Conference Call Scheduled (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 - (8/24/17) Simworx is working on a new simulation attraction concept with partner, Frontgrid. According to the article they are calling it ParadropVR, described as an immersive virtual reality attraction with interactive game-play action that allows a guest to fully control the experience that simulates flying in a paraglider with simulated up and down motion to create the feeling of floating through the sky while attempting to fly through various "targets" to score points.
(7/9/17) According to a bit of news posted by BlooLoop, Holovis and E2M Technology have formed a new “strategic development relationship 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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!
Internet Fun - (10/18/17) I've mentioned this on my social media channels a couple times over the past week or two, but now its time to show it off to everyone. Introducing the SlideWheel... a crazy new waterpark creation from Wiegand Maelzer GmbH. The prototype is currently sitting into Europe at a Gerstlauer test site, but the basic idea is that the tangled mass of slide tubes will slowly rotate non-stop and sliders on a large raft will enter at one hub via conveyor-belt timed to launch the raft into the SlideWheel at just the right moment in the rotation. According to the plan, they expect to have up to three rafts full of riders in the SlideWheel at any given time, taking a twisting, twirling journey with both forwards and backwards motion before sliding back out again.
Now if you thought the first video was insane, check out the second one below that, showing off some test riders taking a trip through the SlideWheel. I've also added another video with a bit more in-slide footage below that.
I gotta say that I love the idea! While I'm not sure how well this would work at a major outdoor waterpark, I think these may be the perfect new addition for all those indoor waterparks out there like Great Wolf Lodge, Wilderness Resorts and Kalahari. Soon the SlideWheel prototype will be taken down and shipped off to China to be installed at Chimelong Park in Guangzhou as their new 2018 attraction.
(10/12/17) Ready to prove you know to run a Jurassic theme park better than John Hammond? Jurassic World Evolution, a new theme park simulation game is coming in Summer 2018 for Xbox One, Playstation 4 and PC, just in time for the next Jurassic World film to be released as well. Check out a great video full of in-game rendered footage below.
(8/5/17) Want to see something really amazing? Check out the video clip below showing off an amazing new animatronic bust of Aberham Lincoln that has the most amazing and realistic facial movements I've ever seen. According to the description this is part of the "Expressive Head Project" they've been working on which crams over 40 unique motion possibilities into a single robotic head.
(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.
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.
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.
CAVU DesignWerks - (10/14/17) CAVU Designwerks has come up with a fascinating new ride design themed as a high-speed car adventure called Turbo Racer. From the look of the description and animation, it would mix the best elements of a dark ride experience on a motion-base motion vehicle (like Universal's Spider-man or Transformers) with the ability to transfer onto a high speed outdoor track system for outdoor real-speed thrills (like Disney's Test Track or Radiator Springs Racers). Visit the official preview page to see the animation video of the concept, which really could create a fun Fast & Furious style ride experience.
Cedar Fair - (10/6/17) Cedar Fair has announced some interesting leadership changes will begin in 2018. Matt Ouimet (CEO) will take on the newly created position of Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors starting Jan. 1, 2018. As such, Richard Zimmerman (current President and COO) will then take over the CEO position, as well as be added to the Board of Directors.
(9/13/17) Cedar Fair has announced that they have signed an extension to their exclusive North American licensing agreement to use the Peanuts characters that is good through to 2025.
(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.
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 - (9/13/17) Sad news for the Disney Imagineering and Animation family this week, as another legendary Disney name has passed away. According to a notice from Disney, Disney Animator and WDI member, X. Atencio passed away the other night at the age of 98. X was involved with the animation of a number of early Disney projects, including Pinocchio and Fantasia as well as being involved with fan favorite Disney attractions, Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion.
(7/29/17) Disney Imagineering Legend, Marty Sklar, passed away this week at the age of 83. A great tribute to the man, his long history with Disney and the industry as a whole as the "Ultimate Imagineer" has been posted to Disney & More that I think you will enjoy. I only wish I would have had a chance to meet with him myself.
(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.
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.
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.
Martin and Vleminckx - (9/5/17) One of our readers discovered something interesting about Martin and Vleminckx while going through the list of exhibitors and booth map on the IAAPA 2017 website. Martin & Vleminckx have been very busy over the past several years building wooden coaster after wooden coaster in the quickly expanding Chinese theme park marketplace, and if you look at the description of their booth at this year's IAAPA it mentions right at the top, "introducing Launch & 360 zero G roll Wood Coasters". To my knowledge, I believe the only launched wooden coaster built so far would be Lightning Rod at Dollywood from RMC, so it could be very interesting if Martin and Vleminckx are also ready to built their own launched wooden coaster projects soon. Anyone know for sure if this is something new for 2017, or if this is something they've been trying to sell previously?
Merlin Entertainment - (8/28/17) A more detailed explanation of what Merlin's LITTLE BIG CITY attraction is all about has been posted to BlooLoop this month. This new attraction concept from Merlin just opened the first site in Berlin in July 2017 with a second site already announced as being on the way to Beijing in the near future.
(8/11/17) Merlin has announced that they will open two new attractions in Shanghai next year. The Shanghai Dungeon, the first of Merlin's Dungeon attractions to open in Asia, will be ready to open by Late Summer 2018 and a second attraction named Little BIG City will soon follow. The first Little BIG City actually opened in Berlin last month, which I had not even heard about until now that features unique displays and stories told through interactive 3D miniature sets enhanced with special effects and projection mapping. Merlin already has three attractions already open in Shanghai: Madame Tussauds, a Legoland Discovery Center and the Changfeng Ocean World aquarium.
(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.
Parque Reunidos - (10/6/17) According to a news article Parque Reunidos has partnered up with Discovery Communications to create themed entertainment centers in North American, Western Europe and the Asia-Pacific regions. The initial plan is to develop 10 such sites that will include entertainment options, "state-of-the-art rides", as well as dining and retail areas, all themed to the various Discovery brand channels available around the world.
(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 - (7/27/17) Congratulations to our friends at Ride Entertainment who was just awarded the 2017 Bright Lights Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship from Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot. The Comptroller’s Bright Lights Award recognizes and celebrates innovation in the private and nonprofit sectors. One company from each of Maryland’s 23 counties and Baltimore City were honored.
“We have a great commitment to developing world-class entertainment systems, and we’re honored to represent Queen Anne’s County and the state of Maryland as leaders in our industry,” said Ed Hiller, CEO of Ride Entertainment. “We’re an adventure and amusement powerhouse that came from humble beginnings, so we’re excited to receive this recognition and make our home state proud.”
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.
S&S-Sansei Technologies - (9/7/17) An assortment of construction photos shot at Sun Tzu Cultural Park in China can be found here, posted by Roller Coaster Dream, showing off the construction of a new S&S launched coaster project which appears in the one photo to be ready to install the final piece of track. S&S has previously announced that they would also be building Space Shot and Turbo Drop tower rides at this same park this year as well.
(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 Corporation - (9/27/17) Congratulations to Sally Corporation on their 40th anniversary, as well as the launch of their all new website. If you're a fan of dark rides, you need to take a look through all the great photos and footage they have posted on there now. Long Live the Dark Ride!
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment - (10/14/17) Once Zhonghong purchased Blackstone's 21% interest in SeaWorld we knew it would only be a matter of time before they began working on building a SeaWorld branded park in China. According to our friends at Behind the Thrills this is exactly what is happening, with plans now in place to build the first SeaWorld park in China that will actually be a new indoor park concept, part of the Beijing Zhonghong Square project, a huge retail mall that is said to contain not just one, but two indoor theme park experiences. The second park experience isn't known, but is said to be focused on young children.
While I suppose it could always be something like a small indoor waterpark (Aquatica?) perhaps, I do wonder if they could be looking into the idea of a Sesame Place style park in China. As far as my understanding goes, the deal between Sesame and Seaworld Entertainment is only for the rights to use the characters in North America, but they did just renew their deal with expansion in mind and the idea to build more Sesame Place parks. So I suppose the true question is just how popular are the Sesame Street characters in China at this time and are they on TV at all currently? Sesame Street did have a Chinese version of the show that was short lived from 1998 to 2001, and was said to be revived between 2010-2011, but i'm not sure if it continued on past that. There is also said to be a spin-off animated Elmo show that started in 2012, but again... I'm not sure if any of these are still currently being shown.
Back to the business side of things in the US, Merlin has confirmed that they have no interest in buying any of the SeaWorld branded park due to their policy on not owning parks that keep marine mammals, so their offer is only to purchase the Busch Gardens parks. Meanwhile BlooLoop reports that Parque Reunidos may be interesting in buying up the entire chain, though I do wonder if they could be thinking of working up a deal with Merlin to buy and split the parks up, making such a deal more digestible to all parties involved. Then again... there is also Zhonghong's ownership interest to consider as well and if they wish to take advantage of the timing to increase their own ownership of the company.
Sadly... and I hate to end this on a down note, things may take a turn for the worse once again in the short term future. Various Screamscape sources have indicated that budget cuts and a new round of employee layoffs are expected to take place company-wide starting this week once again in what has almost become an annual tradition for the company ahead of the year-end holiday season.
Stay safe my friends...
(10/6/17) According to an article at Bloomberg, Merlin Entertainment is said to have approached SeaWorld Entertainment about the possibility of buying the two Busch Gardens theme parks from them in an effort to expand the Merlin chain in the US. Generally it wouldn’t be ideal for the SeaWorld chain of parks to remove the two Busch Gardens parks from the mix, as having a little diversity in your lineup generally makes you stronger, especially as the SeaWorld parks themselves are still suffering from the negative effects unleashed following the launch of the Blackfish propaganda film. I’m my opinion, selling off the Busch Gardens parks alone, rather than trying to find a buying willing to take the entire chain, could possibly doom the remainder of the company if left to stand alone.
(8/9/17) An interesting assessment of what going on with SeaWorld Entertainment was posted to ThemeParkUniversity this week, based ont he park’s Q2 2017 earnings report. They mention that while attendance in Q2 2017 was up when compared to the previous quarter the year before, though some of this gain was due to the shifting of Easter in Q2 2017 this year. So when you compare the first half of 2017 to the first half of 2016, overall attendance was actually down for the chain, with big drops at SeaWorld Orlando and San Diego.
The drops make sense somewhat when you pick apart what has happened thus far this year. In In Orlando the only major new attraction was the slapping of a VR system onto the existing Kraken coaster, which while it may wow guests for the short term, the long-term impact will see some guest frustration with the longer loading procedures resulting in less people riding per day. Add in the dismantling of much of the story and themeing elements on the park’s Journey To Atlantis, and you are probably looking at some frustrated riders who may have taken their journeys elsewhere to find their thrills. Plus don’t forget that major new attractions opened at Universal, Disney and even Legoland this year, so the competition was stiff.
Meanwhile the San Diego park got to play guinea-pig for some of Joel Manby’s experimental concepts this summer, being the first park to launch the new Orca Encounter education experience replacing the old traditional Shamu Show. The park also cut their long-time popular all summer nightly fireworks program in favor of the new Electric Ocean night entertainment concept, and then suffered the loss of their last polar bear at the park’s Wild Arctic attraction in April leaving the habitat empty inside. Unlike Orlando, the park did launch a whole new kids land with several rides, but apparently it wasn’t enough to overcome attendance woes… but I’m betting they will turn things around in 2018 with Electric Eel.
On a related note, an article was posted by TheLedger claiming that Merlin may be snooping around SeaWorld Entertainment to possibly buy up a park or two, but probably not the whole chain. According to that article, Merlin may have been showing interest in buying off the the chain’s Busch Gardens parks. With a successful operation already underway in Florida with the Legoland park, I could see them being able to do something with Busch Gardens Tampa, and the Williamsburg park is just such a great park, I couldn’t blame anyone for wanting to buy it. The question is… would SeaWorld Entertainment be willing to sell them off if given the right offer?
(8/2/17) In what may be a sign of an interesting business move to come, TheStreet reports that SeaWorld Entertainment has hired "Evercore" to work with them. Evercore is an "investment banking advisory firm" who is known to work with companies during times of mergers/acuisitions, corporate restructuring, and financial matters involving both IPOs and going private.
It is unknown which strategy SeaWorld Entertainment may be looking to favor, or simply at this point, they may be open to just about any solution that could reformat the company and solve of their current problems.
(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 - (10/6/17) Six Flags will announce their Q3 2017 earnings results on Oct. 25, 2017, followed by an investor conference call that starts at 8am. You can listed in through the official website here.
(9/4/17) Six Flags theme park fans take note, today is the last today to take advantage of the chain's annual Labor Day Flash sale where they offer 2018 season passes for sale at 70% off the regular price. Many parks offer special perks as well along with it such as parking upgrades, ride skipping passes, photos and more, but you'll have to check that out for yourself.
To find out the details on this sale that ends today, go to SixFlags.com and click on the map to find your local park page. From there click on the "Passes & Memberships" tab to see the details of your park's deal for the Flash Sale on 2018 Season Passes. You wont find a cheaper deal on these anytime else so jump on it today if you can.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
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 - (8/14/17) Work on The Fast & The Furious Live Show with Universal Studios has begun as Vin Diesel posted a video on Facebook earlier this week while he was in New York, taking a break from shooting new content that will be used for the live action show. Previous announcements mentioned that the live tour would begin in January 2018 and according to comments from Diesel, he mentions being told that the first shows would take place at the O2 Arena in London, kicking off a European tour leg before the show would come to the US.
(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.
Vekoma - (9/5/17) Some fun footage shot at a Vekoma testing facility has been making the rounds over the past few days (see below), as a train like creation makes a rotation around a test-track, though the last car has a pair of inverted/flying style coaster seats attached. Previously we had some still photos of this track under construction posted to Screamscape from several months back where I guessed that this looked like they were actually building a unique Flying coaster loading system I first saw in a patent application from B&M many many years ago (but never built) that would put the ability for the base of the flying seats to rotate on a giant disk like structure. The coaster track would then roll into a sideway position as it entered the station and the rider's seats would roll with it so that the train would appear as a giant row of seats when parked in the station, to allow for easy loading and unloading.
As we know, B&M went a system that simply raises and lowers their Flying coaster seats in the station instead, and to my knowledge, has never built this sideways style loading system, even though they applied for a patent to build their own version back in 2001 according to the filing as seen on Google.
The next question however may be to wonder who Vekoma is building this for, as so far their previously attempt at building Flying style coasters hasn't been very successful, with only a handful of creations ever to come off the drawing board. Logic would seem to indicate that this could be a new loading system for the F.L.Y. coaster project going to Phantasialand in Germany, which is rumored to be the first Launched Vekoma flying coaster. So making a more simple loading system (with less hardware and lighter trains) would be desirable for a launched flying coaster. You'll also notice that the test-car in the video appears to have two-across seating instead of the more standard 4-across seating used previously on Vekoma flying coasters.
Wanda Group - (8/24/17) According to a post from BlooLoop, the Dalian Wanda Group is still alive and well, and just announced that they have plans to build another cultural tourism project in Lanzhou, capital of Gansu Province in NorthWest China.
(7/30/17) According to BlooLoop, it looks like the sale of some of Wanda's parks and hotels to Sunac isn't the end of the story. They now report that another property developer, R&F Properties, will now be buying 77 of Wanda's hotels in a deal worth $5 billion, meanwhile Sunac will now be paying about $6.5 billion to buy a 91% ownership stake in Wanda's theme park business. Meanwhile, according to a statement from Wanda's Chairman, Wang Jianlin, the theme park division of Wanda is apparently $6.73 billion in debt... all of which will be transferred to Sunac once the deal is completed.
(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.