Thursday, November 30, 2023

IAAPA Expo 2018 roundup

A special section devoted to the industry’s biggest week in Orlando

InPark’s editorial team: Rona Gindin, Joe Kleiman, Martin Palicki & Judith Rubin


IAAPA Global Headquarters under construction. Photo by Joe Kleiman

IAAPA settles into Orlando, celebrates 100 years, rebrands

by Rona Gindin & Joe Kleiman

Orlando, November 2018 — Kicking off the annual IAAPA Attractions Expo, the industry trade association unveiled a new logo and a new mission while introducing its new Board and announcing awards recipients. It does so as the association – which recently relocated its headquarters from Alexandria, VA to Orlando, FL – begins its second century serving the worldwide attractions industry, and constructs new offices. This year’s Expo was the largest yet, with reported registration of some 42,000 industry professionals, and a full program of education and events in addition to a bustling exhibition hall. The sold-out trade show included the new “Exploration Station” – a temperature-controlled, covered outdoor space for some 140 of the 1,151 exhibitors.

IAAPA’s new logo is a colorful pinwheel. The vibrant colors represent diversity, the flares forward motion, the burst in the middle inspiration, and the connecting letters in IAAPA itself represent connection. The new mission, or strategic plan, is to “continue to serve its members and uphold the highest levels of professional standards,” said Andreas Andersen, 2018 chair of the IAAPA Board of Directors and president and CEO of Liseberg.

Incoming IAAPA Chair David Rosenberg (Monterey Bay Aquarium). Photo by Rona Gindin

“IAAPA remains focused on helping produce safe and memorable experiences for all, and we look forward to this newest chapter in IAAPA history.” The new brand and logo were determined following two years of study, during which time 2,209 industry professionals in 112 countries submitted surveys. According to IAAPA, the majority indicated that they want IAAPA to provide more connection with others in the field, more ways to interact, and more diversity. As part of the rebranding, IAAPA also renamed its three annual Expos to IAAPA Expo Asia, IAAPA Expo Europe, and IAAPA Expo [Orlando, USA].

The organization is building a new headquarters in Orlando and we were taken to the construction site for a sneak peek. Located at the intersection of highway 528 and John Young Drive, the new headquarters is equidistant from the Orange County Convention Center and the Orlando International Airport, about 10 minutes away in each direction.

IAAPA has been renting space at SeaWorld’s corporate headquarters, but when the new IAAPA headquarters building opens in 2019 on the shores of Shingle Creek, headwaters of the Everglades, it will be custom-made to meet the needs of IAAPA’s staff and welcome its membership. It will even facilitate visits from members of the press, with podcast studios and the ability for live television feeds to international media.

While the new IAAPA Global Headquarters looks to the future, it also respects the past. In a place of honor within the building will be a carousel horse constructed for IAAPA by Dynamic Attractions, evoking the old logo, and throughout the facility will be displays of archival materials showcasing the birth, evolution, and growth of the industry. •

Board news

David Rosenberg of Monterey Bay Aquarium stepped in as incoming chair of IAAPA’s Board. Speaking about issues of sustainability and animal safety, he said, “The industry must become part of the solution.” Rosenberg announced that IAAPA now has a five-year plan to institute ideas such as being nimble and adapting swiftly to market changes. He also indicated that IAAPA will plan more networking events so members can meet and learn from each other.

Board leadership includes:

• IAAPA President and CEO – Hal McEvoy, IAAPA

• Chair – David Rosenberg, vice president, Monterey Bay Aquarium, United States

• First Vice Chair – Amanda Thompson OBE, managing director, Blackpool Pleasure Beach Ltd., and president, Stageworks Worldwide Productions, United Kingdom

• Second Vice Chair – Ken Whiting, president, Whiting’s Foods at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, United States

• Treasurer – Charles “Hank” Salemi, president, Six Flags Great America, United States

• Immediate Past Chair – Andreas Andersen, CEO and president, Liseberg Group, Sweden

New to the IAAPA Board:

• Facility and Life Directors:

– Ted Molter, chief marketing officer, San Diego Zoo Global, United States

– Anne Rashford, director of special exhibitions, Museum of Science and Industry, United States

– Ash Smart, deputy managing and financial director, Harbour Park, United Kingdom

• Past Chair Director:

– Robert “Bob” Rippy, president, Jungle Rapids/Wrightsville Farms Management Group, Inc., United States

• Manufacturer and Supplier Committee Chair / Director:

– Franceen Gonzales, EVP of business development, WhiteWater West Industries, United States

• Latin America Regional Advisory Committee Chair / Director:

– Luciana Periales, CEO, Neverland, Argentina

• Asia-Pacific Regional Advisory Committee Chair / Director:

– Luke Riley, senior VP of international development, Village Roadshow Theme Parks, Hong Kong, China

News from the IAAPA Orlando floor


New ride technologies and collaborative business ventures

by Rona Gindin

WhiteWater rebrands; will create parks with Cirque du Soleil

The biggest of several announcements from WhiteWater was its collaboration with Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group. WhiteWater, best known as a leading manufacturer of waterpark equipment, and entertainment innovator Cirque du Soleil, announced having teamed up to create themed waterparks around the world. The parks will carry the Cirque du Soleil brand, and the look will have Cirque’s signature dramatic, artistic feel during the day and after dark.

Concept art for the new Cirque du Soleil waterparks. Image courtesy of WhiteWater & Legacy Entertainment

WhiteWater recently rebranded the company, following three-plus years of focus on its next direction. Part of the rebrand is a new tagline: Be Boundless, and a new logo designed to represent infinite possibilities.

New Vantage technology from WhiteWater is designed to provide helpful data – real-time data for guests, and real-time and long-term data for management. Vantage can be applied to steer guests toward shorter lines, to enable staffers to load rafts efficiently because they know guests’ weights, and to provide detailed data that will help operators adapt their operations in the future. Vantage will first be installed at a Margaritaville resort with a waterpark in Florida that is currently under construction.

WhiteWater also announced licensing agreements. Going forward, the company will license foam rubber flooring called Life Floor, touted for being soft and slip-resistant, and facilitating a better play experience for children. “They can do somersaults on Life Floor,” said Chief Business Development Officer Paul Chutter. In addition, WhiteWater will license a rotating waterslide with Wiegand Maelzer, called the SlideWheel, that is designed to offer three riding experiences in one. “With intense G-forces, backwards sliding, oscillating movements, and plenty of airtime fun,” marketing materials say, SlideWheel will provide multiple sensations. A new attraction at Chimelong Waterpark in Guangzhou, China, featuring SlideWheel was just named to receive a TEA Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement. Separately, WhiteWater has signed a licensing agreement with HolodeckVR to create water rides that use virtual reality technology.

Li-Fly by Holovis offers a new style of flying theater

Experiential design company Holovis was showing a visualization of its new flying theater technology LiFly, which allows seats to be inverted and rotated a full 360 degrees while surrounded by media and effects and experiencing five degrees of motion. Holovis’ Extended Experience real-time media technology can be integrated as well, enabling guests to customize their own experiences, according to creative director Peter Cliff, who suggested that waterpark operators could use Li-Fly to create unique new experiences for guests. Li-Fly is scalable and can accommodate up to 100 under a dome screen. “You can have one unit or 20,” said Cliff. Li-Fly is designed in standard and hexapod versions. A prototype will debut in June at the IAAPA Asian Attractions Expo in Hong Kong.

Dynamic Attractions gears up for racing mode
Dual Power Coaster with track hidden below the themed surface. Courtesy Dynamic Attractions

Dynamic Attractions has introduced the Dual Power Coaster, billed as a “high-octane, immersive, robotic dark ride” roller coaster that has drag racing elements. The debut was announced by company president Hao Wong at the 2018 IAAPA Attractions Expo. The Dual Power Coaster is notable for its racing moves including spin-outs. “The cart itself is powered and moves, creating racing sensations never possible before on a roller coaster,” said Wong. The ride will debut at a Malaysian attraction in the spring of 2019.

Elements include four degrees of freedom, through which vehicles can go up and down, side to side and even
pitch forward and change heading, all imitating race cars. Likewise, the vehicles’ dual propulsion element enables cars to surge ahead quickly periodically. Augmented reality can be added to enhance the experience. In other news, at the same November 13 press conference, Dynamic Attractions announced a strategic alliance with Chance Rides, which will support Dynamic with manufacturing. Chance Rides will build ride elements at its Wichita, Kansas, facility, allowing Dynamic to fill orders more quickly than before.

Sansei’s transforming robot ride
Photo by Rona Gindin

Sansei Technologies and subsidiary S&S Worldwide introduced the J-Deite Ride. It’s a two-passenger car that can go as fast as 60 kilometers per hour, then turns into a robot that can walk and pivot. The J-Deite, which weighs 1.7 tons, debuted at the 2018 IAAPA Attractions Expo in Orlando on November 13.

Guests can sit in the cockpit of the J-Deite as it extends into a 4-meter-high, bipedal robot. Likewise, employees can be in the cockpit and greet guests in the park. Other possible uses being promoted for the J-Deite include go-kart, parade vehicle, dark ride vehicle and event centerpiece. It is powered by lithium batteries and can be operated by the driver, or remotely. The J-Deite was created in conjunction with Asratec Corp., which makes robotic software, and Brave Robotics. Sansei is based in Osaka, Japan. S&S Worldwide Inc., is in Logan, Utah.

Madame Tussauds interactive Aquaman
Aquaman interactive figure. Photo courtesy of Madame Tussauds

An ultra-realistic Aquaman, based on the character played by actor Jason Momoa, will join the superhero lineups at the Madame Tussauds wax attractions in Orlando, Florida, and Sydney, Australia, in December 2018. The figure, larger than life, will precede the December 21 opening of the Aquaman movie (Warner Bros.). Unveiled at a press conference during the 2018 IAAPA Attractions Expo, Aquaman will reside within the attractions’ Justice League: A Call for Heroes section. His costume is an exact replica of the one in the movie, made by the same team.

The Aquaman figure is interactive. Guests who tug the character’s trident will experience audio, scent and additional features indicating a storm at sea meant to destroy evil, including a swirl of rising water and music. Daniels Wood Land provided theming fabrication while Holovis contributed technology features.

New Saudi entertainment venture
Amr A. Banaja (L) CEO General Entertainment Authority, Saudi Arabia and Bill Ernest CEO of Saudi Entertainment Ventures (SEVEN). Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images for SEVEN, SA

Former Disney executive Bill Ernest will head up a massive project to build attractions around the country of Saudi Arabia, the nation announced on November 14 at the 2018 IAAPA Attractions Expo. Ernest spent 25 years with The Walt Disney Company, several in Asia, most recently as President and Managing Director of Asia for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

In his new role, Ernest will be Chief Executive Officer of SEVEN, the fully owned Saudi public investment fund also called Saudi Entertainment Ventures Company. SEVEN is a collaboration involving four government entities. It seeks partnerships with private sector enterprises. Established in December 2017, SEVEN has ambitious plans to open family-oriented entertainment clusters in large and secondary Saudi cities. It has already begun the process of bringing movie theaters to Saudi Arabia. It currently has licenses with four cinema companies and seeks to establish up to 16 more such relationships.

The entertainment clusters, which will each be similar yet reflect local flavors, might include theme parks, water parks, scuba diving, zoos and live entertainment in addition to foodservice and retail outlets. SEVEN also plans to build family entertainment centers near malls.

Citing reasons for building these entertainment clusters, Ernest and Abdullah Al-Dawood, chairman of SEVEN, cite that nearly 60 percent of the country’s 32 million residents are under age 30 and have expendable income. In the last few years, they indicated, a large percentage of Saudis traveled to neighboring countries and Florida, particularly Orlando, for leisure purposes, spending $6 billion a year. The goal is to keep some of those leisure dollars in the country. Likewise, the new facilities will precipitate new jobs and job-training efforts. SEVEN would like to lure visitors from other countries as well as locals. For major events such as the Ad Diriyah E-Prix race, Saudi Arabia will issue temporary visas along with tickets.

DNP Polishes up Its photos
An array of DNP specialty photo prints. Photo by Rona Gindin

Shiny photos with intriguing finishes are the newest offering that DNP Photo Imaging provides to attractions looking to keep their photo-printing offerings robust. Billed as Luxury Media, the line provides a metallic paper, which makes photographs look almost three-dimensional, and a Silver Pearl finish, which softens images. “We want attractions to be able to sell something really fun,” said Director of Sales Cliff Reeves. The photographs also can be printed with custom words at the bottom. “It’s like Instagram on paper.”

Noting that the print photography business is in less demand at attractions since guests take multiple photographs with their own cameras and phones, Reeves encouraged attractions operators to try new tactics using these new Luxury Media papers, which are an option guests cannot get at home. “We expect attractions operators to use their creativity to create something people will really like,” he said, noting that the shiny papers “don’t cost much more” than traditional papers. The Luxury Media line is available in the United States and Europe. Another new product, called Partial Matte, can have a logo or image within the laminate coating, so it shows as a subtle watermark on the printed picture. •


Oceaneering’s trackless vehicles become self-driving as well

Groundbreaking coasters, innovative technologies, IP licensing

by Joe Kleiman

SeaWorld integrates conservation education with new rides

Our IAAPA press circuit began with a press conference hosted by John Reilly, Interim CEO of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. He emphasized the company’s dedication to conservation, noting that SeaWorld San Diego had won multiple awards for its efforts in recycling and waste reduction. Reilly then pointed out that three new SeaWorld and Busch Gardens attractions opening in 2019 would be tied in with conservation efforts.

At Busch Gardens Tampa, the Tigris triple-launch coaster from Premier Rides will feature inspiring videos about tigers in the wild and the role the SeaWorld-Busch Gardens Conservation fund plays in saving them in the wild. SeaWorld San Antonio will feature a new area, “Turtle Reef.” In addition to two new flat rides, the area will feature a 126-thousand-gallon environment for sea turtles, operated in conjunction with the University of Texas. Skyline Attractions‘ Tidal Twister at SeaWorld San Diego, a double loop dueling coaster on its side, will be the center of a reimagined aquarium area that will showcase the work of SeaWorld’s Rising Tide partnership for ocean conservation.

Tidal Twister. Courtesy SeaWorld Parks Entertainment

SeaWorld is offering new rides and attractions at each of its parks in 2019, including the Aquatica waterpark brand, which turns 10 years old. Sesame Street, for which SeaWorld has the exclusive US theme park license, turns 40 in 2019 and the company is celebrating in a big way. Sesame Street characters Abby and Elmo joined Reilly on stage to discuss the new Sesame Street land coming to SeaWorld Orlando, which will be a full-scale experience of the beloved television series.

Meanwhile, overseas….

Spain’s PortAventura World is expanding its own Sesame Street themed land, SésamoAventura, with the first Sesame Street themed dark ride in Europe. The interactive ride has been designed in conjunction with Sesame Workshop and Sally Corporation and is scheduled for a 2019 opening. The 14,000 square foot building is already under construction and, according to PortAventura General Manager Fernando Aldecoa, is part of a new collaborative partnership between the resort and Sesame Workshop, with future projects that will further extend the brand’s presence at PortAventura.

Spin and fly
A Lego model of the new themed world at LEGOLAND Florida Resort. Photo by Joe Kleiman

While Sesame Street makes its home in Central Florida at SeaWorld Orlando, elsewhere in Central Florida, “The LEGO Movie” is getting its own themed world at LEGOLAND Florida Resort. LEGOLAND officials unveiled a LEGO model of the land, which rotated to reveal Brogent’s new m-ride flying theater design, made out of LEGOs, of course. The new system will be used in the “LEGO Movie Masters of Flight” attraction. With the m-ride system, passengers board their gondolas, which are then rotated 180 degrees to suspend them above the screen, creating a new way to reveal the action. LEGOLAND also announced plans for another themed hotel.

Premier Rides says, “Let them eat cake!”
Tigris car in cake form. Photo by Joe Kleiman

Ride car unveilings have become big events at IAAPA Expos, and Premier Rides and SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment took a unique approach with the unveiling of a Tigris train – in the form of a cake.

At the Premier booth, we spoke with company President, Jim Seay, about the latest developments with ASTM f24, the attractions industry safety committee that he chairs. “Growth has been spectacular,” he said. “We now have over 1,000 global members. As new technologies and new products enter the marketplace, we’re creating new subcommittees and task groups to deal with them.” As an example, Seay brought up the popular jetpacks that propel riders in the air on a plume of water. “This was a completely new product for the industry, so we had to create a new task force with experts related to the product in order to establish safety guidelines.”

Concept art for Polin’s clear fiberglass waterslide Photo courtesy of Polin
Polin goes clear

Two key attractions stood out this year at the Polin booth. One was Stardust, which integrates the slide structure into a story about a crashed spaceship buried for millennia. After watching a pre-show video, riders then slide through the fuselage of the ship. Polin marketing materials describe it as “storytelling in waterslides.”

Polin has also developed clear fiberglass for waterpark applications, a technology breakthrough making it possible to build transparent waterslides. A transparent waterslide may seem like a simple thing, but it is in fact a considerable achievement to combine transparency with the qualities needed to withstand the wear and tear of a waterpark environment. Even brackets for the slide components are made of this material, allowing for full transparency throughout the experience. We’ll be seeing you!



Jim Doiron (Weber Group), Denise Chapman Weston (Creative Kingdoms), Brian Morrow (Bmorrow Productions). Photo by Joe Kleiman
Making an Impact

In a new joint venture, Denise Chapman Weston, a “playologist” probably best known for the MagiQuest technology that was honored some years ago with a TEA Thea Award, is joining forces with Brian Morrow of Bmorrow Productions and Weber Group to create Impact! Attractions. The company is positioned to develop sustainable attractions utilizing “solar, wind, hydro & play power to reach a goal of net zero energy impact.” Impact envisions its interactive play areas as ideal for theme parks, municipal parks, or even on or inside buildings. According to Weston, the company is close to finalizing its first locations.

Technology for storytelling
Rabbids Team Battle. Courtesy Triotech

Tritotech continues its partnership with Ubisoft with the introduction of Rabbids Team Battle. Divided into two sides in a theater, two teams compete against each other to defeat the ever-wily Rabbids. According to Ernest Yale, Triotech CEO, the theaters can hold 40-100 people, with an hourly throughput of 900. The theater uses a 270 degree projection system and is targeted for regional theme parks and standalone attractions.

At Alterface, CEO Benoit Cornet demonstrated the NOMAD wireless pointing and shooting system. In the demonstration, Cornet used a wand to show how the pointer could be used as both a targeting device and to control an environment. He foresees the device as having impact throughout a park rather than just a single attraction, with a chip inside keeping track of tasks attempted each visit.

Inside out

Alcorn McBride continues to expand its offerings for parade floats and dark ride vehicles, now offering full interface between internal and external audio units. Two new products showcased this year are the next generation of the V16 show control series, the V16X, which can operated on two or more isolated networks and synchs with RidePlayer through the same operating system, and RideAmp, a 4-channel 350W on-ride amplifier designed to accompany the RidePlayer on-board audio player.

Licensing is the future

Feld Entertainment is bringing back Ringling Brothers – but not as a circus. The company is looking at its portfolio of brands, primarily Monster Jam, which holds 350 live monster truck events each year, and Ringling Brothers, for licensing opportunities in the LBE and theme park markets. According to Julitte Feld-Grossman, one of the third generation of the Feld family to run the company, “We’re talking with partners about bringing back the Ringling brand in a reimagined way that makes it current.” Feld is also collaborating with Universal Pictures, having recently opened a “DreamWorks Trolls” attraction near Times Square, and the two are preparing a “Jurassic World” attraction as well.

At Apple Industries, best known for its Face Place photo booths, the big attraction is the Marvel Adventure
Lab, which digitizes patrons into a Marvel comic book. The company has licensed the full portfolio of Marvel characters, with Iron Man’s AI companion Jarvis acting as guide through the experience. Other Face Place units integrated licensed characters from Universal, Warner Bros., and Sony.

Apple has also introduced Print Bundii, a digital photo printer tied in with a smartphone app that allows photos to be directly printed from the phone. IAAPA Attractions Expo marked the introduction of this product to the attractions market. •

Award news

APPLAUSE AWARD – Xcaret by Mexico was named for the Liseberg Applause Award, recognizing its “world-class experiences based on native culture and natural attractions, with sustainable operations and a strong commitment to the local community,” to quote Andreas Andersen, who chairs the Applause Award Board of Governors. Xcaret beat out two other semifinalists, Universal Studios Japan and PortAventura World in Spain. The award is given every other year.

HALL OF FAME – IAAPA named 11 recipients of its annual Hall of Fame honor. Family members of several stepped up to accept the honor on behalf of their late relatives. Recognized were:

• Edward Joy Morris, Morris Chute Company, United States (1860-1929)

• Irving Rosenthal, Coney Island, Palisades Amusement Park, United States (1895-1973)

• Alfred R. Hodge, National Association of Amusement Parks / IAAPA, United States (1881-1946)

• Levitt Luzern Custer, Custer Specialty Co., United States (1888-1962)

• Dr. Harry Wegeforth, Zoological Society of San Diego, United States (1882-1941)

• Frank Hrubetz and Lee Eyerly, Eyerly Aircraft Company, United States, (1906-1987) and (1892-1963)

• Phil Dexter, Big Surf Waterpark, United States (1927-2014)

• Marcelo Periales, Neverland, Argentina (1955-2013)

• Gary Story, Premier Parks / Six Flags Entertainment, United States (1955-2013)

• Alexander “Al” Weber, Jr., Paramount Parks, Palace Entertainment, Six Flags Entertainment, Apex Parks Group, United States (1952-2016)

BRASS RING – Recognizing excellence in specific areas, IAAPA named a few dozen winners of its Brass Ring Award. Recipients include the following; visit for details.

• Top Family Entertainment Center (FEC) of the World – Jake’s Unlimited; Mesa, Arizona, United States

• Best Atmosphere/Street Show Performance/Act – “Sesame Street Party Parade,” SeaWorld San Diego, San Diego, California, United States

• Most Creative Halloween Haunt, Show, or Experience – “Hell’s Grand Finale,” Ocean Park Corporation, Hong Kong, China

• Most Creative Multimedia Spectacular – “Celebrate! Tokyo Disneyland,” Disney Parks Live Entertainment, Tokyo, Japan


“Are you guys crazy?”

Rides, slides, parks & visuals

by Martin Palicki

Christie: The very near future

Christie has a well-established line of projector and systems products, but for this year’s IAAPA Expo, the opted to pull back the curtain on the products and technologies coming to market in the next year, or what Christie’s Marketing Programs Manager for Entertainment, Virginia Dwyer, called “a glimpse into the very near future.”

The Christie Automatic Content Generator (working title) is a system designed to simplify creating projection mapping installations. The program starts with a base animation and the customer can select or add their own images for the system to generate a fully rendered projection mapping animation sequence. The typical customer might be a museum or office building looking to create a mapping for a lobby wall or other space that isn’t looking for a storytelling component, but rather a selection of intriguing and changing images.

The Multi Point of View system (also a working title) combines a high-frame-rate projector with high-speed, shuttering glasses to allow four individuals to simultaneously view four different streams. The 240 fps (frames per second) projector cycles through each of the four films one frame at a time. The glasses shutter out most of the frames so each viewer only sees 60 fps, or one out of every four frames. In this way, the four separate content streams can be viewed simultaneously, depending on which frames are permitted through the glasses. One likely application, and the one Christie had set up as a demo, is in gaming. During the Expo, guests could try their hand at a driving game, racing against three other cars, but each player seeing the perspective of their own car. Another use could be for providing film captions in different languages.

Designed for challenging install locations, the Mirage SST projector is a 30k lumen projector with a separate head and light source. Weighing a relatively light 110 lbs, the head can be mounted and connected to the light source box (339 lbs) via a fiber cable up to 10 meters in length. The Mirage SST is an RGB laser projector and the light source requires a fair amount of cooling. The separated set-up allows the cooling to happen in a space separate from the projection area. “It’s a system designed for flexibility,” explained Dwyer. “Plus lenses from our Boxer line are interchangeable with the Mirage.” It is also compatible with Christie’s Mystique and Guardian auto-calibration systems, making the Mirage ideal for giant screen and dome applications. The Mirage SST is set to debut in the first quarter of 2019.

Saucers and racers and coasters:

ProSlide Ray Smegal, Vice President Product Development for ProSlide, identified three themes to look for in the coming year of ProSlide installations:

1. Flying Saucers: “This is a paradigm shift,” said Smegal. “It’s the new way to make turns on a waterslide.” The curving segment of slide mimics the path of a slalom ski turn, with a wide, relatively flat saucer area on one side drawing riders’ attentions away from the path in front of them. The result is a turning drop that surprises the rider and provides an unexpected thrill.

2. Rally Racers: This mat or tube slide reinvents the concept of a racing slide by inserting “rallying points” along the enclosed path – sections where sliders can see others racing against them. “A little bit of competition in the waterpark makes attractions even more fun for guests,” said Smegal.

3. Water Coasters: “Everybody loves coasters,” said Smegal, “and we have a wide variety to choose from.” The newest models are dueling coasters, which add an element of competition and surprises riders by having the rafts meet on different sides of each other along the course.

All of ProSlide’s products are based on the concept that the ride experience is central to the design process. “The quality of the experience really matters and developing rides around that is what makes them successful,” said Smegal.

A fresh take from Legacy

During the Expo, Legacy Entertainment released news about two new parks they are designing, the Trans Studio parks in Bali and near Jakarta. President and CCO at Legacy, Taylor Jeffs, filled InPark in on some of the details.

“We had to figure out how we could develop a fresh and exciting take on a studio park,” explained Jeffs. “So we created a park that was designed for the camera.” The camera he’s referring to, of course, if the one in nearly every guest’s pocket. Dubbed a social media theme park, over 20 experiences will allow guests to have fun while capturing the perfect sharable photo.

“We know that ideas don’t always have to be big, but they have to be good,” said Jeffs. For example, plans call to take a standard Zamperla Ferris wheel and create a huge puppet that is “cranking” the wheel. “It’s a fun ride, but it’s also a photo op.”

“In an age where everything needs to be sticky,” said Jeffs, “this is how we get our park to stand out.” •

Themed Entertainment Association news

by Judith Rubin

As has been the case for many years, the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) booth was a bustling town square within the High-Tech section of the IAAPA Expo trade show floor. The international nonprofit membership association, founded in 1990 and headquartered in Burbank, CA, serves the attractions supplier community – “creators of compelling places and experiences.” TEA makes the most of the setting and international industry crowd to host its busy international mixer and hold its annual leadership transitions and Members Meeting in conjunction with the Expo, and to announce the new slate of TEA Thea Awards recipients.

New TEA International Board President Michael Mercadante of Main Street Design (who would be officially installed in his new position the next day at the TEA Members Meeting) announced the 25th annual TEA Thea Awards at the TEA booth on Nov 13. The list of recipients includes Mark Woodbury of Universal Creative, who will receive lifetime honors, Dollywood (Thea Classic), Intel Corp.’s Shooting Star Drone System (Outstanding Technical Innovation) and 14 others. Several recipients had representation on hand for the announcement, such as Princess Cruises (for “Fantastic Journey”), Universal Studios Japan (for Universal Spectacle Night Parade – The Best of Hollywood), Chimelong Group (for SlideWheel at Chimelong Waterpark) and LEGO (for LEGO® House).

Lifetime achievement honoree Mark Woodbury with TEA COO Jennie Nevin at the Thea announcement event during IAAPA Expo

Mark Woodbury was present, with a large group of colleagues from Universal (Universal’s Volcano Bay was also named for a Thea Award). Numerous supplier companies that had worked on awarded projects were also present in force, including Sally Corp. (for JUSTICE LEAGUE™: Battle for Metropolis at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, CA) and Alterface (for “Bazyliszek,” Park Legendia, Poland).

TEA announces the Thea Award recipients in November, but the formal celebration and showcase take place the following year, and the annual TEA Summit and Thea Case Studies, followed by the 25th annual TEA Thea Awards Gala presented by Chimelong, will be held in Anaheim at Disneyland Resort April 11-13, with tickets going on sale by the end of 2018.

The TEA International Mixer was held at Hard Rock Live, Universal CityWalk, on the evening of Nov 13 and at the TEA Members Meeting on Nov 14, COO Jennie Nevin reported that the mixer had filled the house with some 2,000 attendees. Nevin also reported that TEA membership continues to grow at a steady rate, with increases over the past year taking place in all four international Divisions. The association is now more than 1,700 member companies strong, representing 52 countries. Michael Mercadante, who served as Treasurer for several years before accepting the presidential post, reported the association to be in excellent fiscal shape.

Shannon Martin of Color Reflections stepped up as TEA Western North America Division Board President, succeeding Tricia Rodriguez of Mad Systems; other Division heads stayed in place: Matt Barton of 7thSense Design (EME Division), Thomas Megna of Megna Entertainment (Asia Pacific) and Melissa Ruminot of Nassal (Eastern North America). • • •


Michael Mercadante: Giving back


Joe Kleiman
Joe Kleiman
Raised in San Diego on theme parks, zoos, and IMAX films, InPark's Senior Correspondent Joe Kleiman would expand his childhood loves into two decades as a projectionist and theater director within the giant screen industry. In addition to his work in commercial and museum operations, Joe has volunteered his time to animal husbandry at leading facilities in California and Texas and has played a leading management role for a number of performing arts companies. Joe previously served as News Editor and has remained a contributing author to InPark Magazine since 2011. HIs writing has also appeared in Sound & Communications, LF Examiner, Jim Hill Media, The Planetarian, Behind the Thrills, and MiceChat His blog, takes an unconventional look at the attractions industry. Follow on twitter @ThemesRenewed Joe lives in Sacramento, California with his wife, dog, and a ghost.

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