Thursday, December 30, 2010

Stampler Auctions to Liquidate Contents of 140,000 Square Foot Wannado City Indoor Theme Park at Absolute Public Auction

SUNRISE, Florida, USA -- Stampler Auctions announced the absolute public auction of the contents of Wannado City indoor theme park, according to Harry Stampler, president and auctioneer.

The absolute auction will be held at 12801 West Sunrise Boulevard, Sawgrass Mills, Anchor D, Sunrise, Fla., beginning at 10am (EST) on January 11, 2011. Bidders can bid live on-site and/or simultaneously on-line at Proxibid.com. Pre-registration and pre-approval are required in order to bid online. More information, including photographs and inventory, can be found at www.stamplerauctions.com.

Wannado City, a children's role-play theme park, opened in 2004 at a cost of approximately $40 million. It was designed as a city for kids to play in interactive environments as police officers, reporters and doctors along with dozens of other careers.

Stampler said, "This absolute auction is unique as this is the only Wannado City that has been developed. Wannado City has chosen Stampler Auctions to maximize the return via the auction method of marketing. Don't miss this opportunity."

Stampler Auctions will sell all non-real property to the highest bidders on auction day. Four restaurants, a kiddie amusement park, a radio station, an operating circus inside the big top and a Spirit Airlines DC-9 fuselage will all be sold.

Lighting, sound equipment, speakers, props, costumes, lamp posts and rock climbing walls are only some of the additional assets to be put under the hammer. Servers, laptops, desktops, and hundreds of technology items will also be sold.

Stampler Auctions will conduct a sit-down theatre style auction in the Wannado City "Broadway Theater". Inspection of the assets will be held on January 10, 2011 from 9am to 4pm and 8am to 10am on auction day.

Stampler Auctions is a full service auction firm and has conducted auctions in 26 states. Founded in 1960, South Florida has been their headquarters since 1985.

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Meyer Werft Delivers Disney Dream in Official Ceremony, Disney Cruise Line Takes the Helm of Newest Ship

Animators Palate, Disney Dream. Photo courtesy Disney Cruise Line.
BREMERHAVEN, GERMANY – Disney Cruise Line took possession of its newest ship – Disney Dream – on 9 December 2010 from the Meyer Werft shipyard in a traditional maritime ceremony aboard the ship in Bremerhaven, Germany. The Meyer Werft flag was lowered, while the Disney Cruise Line flag was raised, transferring ownership from the shipbuilder to Disney.

The milestone closes the book on the ship’s construction journey, which began nearly two years ago in Papenburg, Germany, and signals its readiness to welcome guests on its maiden voyage, set for Jan. 26, 2011, from Port Canaveral, Florida.

“The Disney Dream is an extraordinary ship, in part because of the collaboration of the superb shipbuilders at Meyer Werft and the innovative technology and storytelling that our Disney team has developed and implemented aboard,” said Karl Holz, president of Disney Cruise Line.  “I cannot wait for our guests to experience this newest addition to our fleet, a ship that will delight and surprise all ages.”

From a water coaster at sea called AquaDuck, and inside staterooms with virtual views, to Enchanted Art that immerses guests in stories, and fine dining at Remy, the Disney Dream will deliver family cruise experiences like no other.  The shipboard experience remains focused on the legacy and heritage of The Walt Disney Company’s most known assets – master storytelling, world-class entertainment and legendary guest service. 

“It gives me great pride to deliver the Disney Dream, which is the largest ship that Meyer Werft has ever built,” said Bernard Meyer, managing partner of Meyer Werft.  “Over the last few years, I have seen this ‘dream’ transform from the design phase to a magnificent reality, which guests will soon be able to enjoy for years to come.  To make this dream come true, it takes a special partnership.  The collaboration among Disney Cruise Line, Meyer Werft and its suppliers has been excellent and very creative.”

Meyer Werft and Disney first signed a contract to build two new ships in April of 2007.  Shortly thereafter, planning for the design of the ships began and construction started with the first steel cutting in Papenburg, Germany, on March 2, 2009.  Since the recent completion of the ship’s float out from the shipyard and conveyance along the River Ems, the test-and-adjust period has been in full swing, including sea trials and a brief dry dock in Hamburg, Germany.  The ship will remain in Bremerhaven for another week while additional crew members board, and supplies and provisions are loaded.  The Disney Dream departed on Dec. 19, for its transatlantic voyage to the U.S., with an expected arrival on Jan. 4, 2011.

Captain Tom Forberg will officially take the helm of the Disney Dream for Disney Cruise Line.  As part of the Disney Cruise Line ship construction team, Captain Forberg has been with the company for 15 years and was responsible for launching Disney’s first two ships, the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder.
                                                               
The Disney Dream is scheduled to sail three-, four- and five-night cruises to the Bahamas, from Port Canaveral.  Sister ship Disney Fantasy is currently in production at the Meyer Werft shipyard and is scheduled to set sail on its maiden voyage on April 7, 2012.  It will sail seven-night alternating eastern and western Caribbean itineraries, also from Port Canaveral.

Based in Celebration, Fla., the Disney Cruise Line experience is focused on providing a setting where families can reconnect, adults can recharge and kids can immerse themselves in worlds of fantasy only Disney can create.  Most recently, the company was recognized as the top cruise experience by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler magazine.  Disney Cruise Line was voted the No. 1 cruise experience in the magazine’s 2010 Readers’ Choice Awards in the mega-ship category.

Related story: FUNA delivers Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas cruise ship

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High-tech queueline reduction at Disney parks

"In recent years, according to Disney research, the average Magic Kingdom visitor has had time for only nine rides - out of more than 40 - because of lengthy waiting times and crowded walkways and restaurants. In the last few months, however, the operations center has managed to make enough nips and tucks to lift that average to 10."

Full story from St Louis Post-Dispatch/NYT

Related stories from InPark:

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New Museum Parking Surface Testing at MiaSci - Miami's new science museum in development

Image: MiaSci
MIAMI, USA -- Working with landscape architects ArquitectonicaGeo, MiaSci has installed two parking space mock-ups to test the materials and design planned for the joint parking garage under the new Miami Science Museum (MiaSci) and Miami Art Museum (MAM) at Museum Park (MiaSci and MAM will share the parking garage and adjoining plaza).

Unlike traditional pavement, which is impervious to rainwater, the new parking spots are made of gravel, which allows rainwater to pass through. This porous approach replenishes the groundwater supply, disperses pollutants and helps to reduce runoff that would otherwise have to be collected, stored and treated and would add to the load on the sewer system. The gravel is made from recycled granite and porcelain waste and is secured in place by a PVC grid made of 100% recycled plastic.

The new Museum team is testing three different things with the parking space mock-ups: the durability of the materials, the color of gravel used and the method for striping between spaces.

MiaSci RFP page

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Monday, December 27, 2010

Top Five IPM News Stories for 2010

Dr Who image courtesy Sarner
Walt Disney, CV Wood, and Harrison Price. Image courtesy BRC Imagination Arts.
In descending order, these have been the 5 most-viewed items on the InPark Magazine News Blog in 2010.
IPM wishes you a happy and healthy New Year!

Information & Communications Pavilion, Shanghai Expo 2010. Image courtesy Electrosonic

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Europe’s first Ben 10 roller coaster coming to Drayton Manor Theme Park

Ben 10, the smash-hit cartoon hero, is set to make the award-winning Drayton Manor Theme Park, near Tamworth, Staffordshire, his new home.

In a move that will delight tens of thousands of youngsters, Europe’s first ever Ben 10 roller coaster ride will open at Drayton Manor for Easter 2011, following an exclusive deal between the park and Turner CN Enterprises, the brand’s licensor.

Ben 10 is a hugely popular children’s programme, broadcast on Cartoon Network, which follows the adventures of 10-year-old Ben Tennyson, who is able to turn into a variety of alien superheroes, each with unique powers, thanks to his mysterious Omnitrix watch.

The exciting new roller coaster will be part of an amazing Cartoon Network Street, which will include a fully branded restaurant and shop, selling Ben 10 merchandise and products relating to other shows on Cartoon Network.

Children and their parents will get to revel in the world of Ben 10 even before they get on the ride with queue entertainment. Full details of the ride will be unveiled closer to the launch.

Colin Bryan
, Managing Director of Drayton Manor Theme Park, said: “Drayton Manor has a reputation for firsts. We opened Europe’s first Thomas Land£ in 2008, and we have Europe’s first stand up rollercoaster (Shockwave), as well as the world’s first stand up tower drop ride (Apocalypse). “Drayton Manor first opened to the public in 1950. Over the past 61 years we have always invested in first class rides and attractions to ensure our visitors have the best possible day out. This is why I am confident that this new Ben 10 themed rollercoaster will be an amazing and popular addition to the park.”

Turner CN Enterprises’ UK Licensing Director Graham Saltmarsh said: “We’re thrilled to be launching a Ben 10 roller coaster ride in the UK, which quite literally is set to take the brand to new heights!  It’s very much in line with the action and excitement that fans associate with their hero and a fantastic profile-raising event, which enables us to create another touch point for Ben 10 fans to interact with their favourite character.”

Drayton Manor welcomes over 1.2 million visitors every year.

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Museum of Science, Boston, to Reopen Charles Hayden Planetarium

An artistic rendering from the Museum of Science's original astronomy show, Undiscovered Worlds: The Search Beyond Our Sun, which makes its world premiere Sunday, February 13, 2011, on the grand reopening of the Museum's newly transformed Charles Hayden Planetarium. Credit: Copyright Museum of Science, Boston.
Boston, MA -- The Museum of Science, Boston has announced that it will reopen the Charles Hayden Planetarium on Sunday, February 13, 2011. The Museum celebrates the 52-year history of New England's first major planetarium by unveiling an entirely new kind of cultural venue — the most technologically advanced digital theater in New England. Powered by superior full-dome video and audio systems and a new state-of-the-art Zeiss Starmaster projector, the renovated Planetarium will introduce a new generation of educational programming and arts and entertainment experiences. The yearlong $9 million renovation was funded through the Charles Hayden Foundation and private donations, with significant support from Suffolk Construction’s Red & Blue Foundation, the Honorable Nonnie S. Burnes and Richard M. Burnes Jr., the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, and the Highland Street Foundation.

Spearheaded by the Museum’s late founding director Brad Washburn, the Charles Hayden Planetarium opened in 1958. Since then, more than 11 million visitors have immersed themselves in the beauty and mystery of the cosmos under the starry dome. The theater has been home to daily multimedia explanations of astronomical phenomena, stunning displays of planets, stars, and constellations, and simulated journeys to galaxies far beyond our own. Now unmatched for its versatility, the Planetarium will use the latest in high definition, immersive video, and digital acoustic technology to transport viewers not only to distant times and places in the universe but also inside the blood stream or swimming next to dolphins in the ocean. Furthermore, the new seating design converts the Planetarium into a theater for live performances and other evening entertainment.

"Now, the Charles Hayden Planetarium is much more than a planetarium," said Paul Fontaine, Museum vice president of education. "It is a time machine that lets us jump thousands of years into the future or the past, a spaceship flying through the universe at unbelievable speeds, and the coolest venue in town for music and the performing arts. It's also a revolutionary teaching tool that will enable Museum educators to show the sky from any point on Earth and give presenters the flexibility to customize shows and take audiences anywhere they want to go in the known universe."

Aided by the capabilities of the newly transformed Planetarium, the Museum of Science strengthens its commitment to helping visitors understand and rethink their place in the universe in the midst of science and technology discoveries. As part of the Planetarium's grand opening, the Museum will premiere Undiscovered Worlds: The Search Beyond Our Sun, an original astronomy show that will explore a field that has exploded in recent years: the science of exoplanets – planets outside our solar system. With NASA's Kepler mission focused on finding Earth-size planets, we are closer than ever to answering a fundamental question: Are planets like Earth common or rare? In September, astronomers, supported by the National Science Foundation and NASA, announced what could be, if confirmed, the first potentially habitable exoplanet orbiting the red dwarf star Gliese 581. With input from physicist-novelist Alan Lightman and leading exoplanet researchers from MIT and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Undiscovered Worlds captures the excitement of the rapidly unfolding search for exoplanets and invites audiences to join the hunt.

The Museum is also creating Cosmic Light, a new long-term exhibit to complement the Charles Hayden Planetarium experience. Guided by the principle that almost everything we know about the universe comes from studying light, the exhibit helps Museum-goers discover how different wavelengths of light give us different information about the universe. Here visitors can touch a 30,000-year-old meteorite from outer space, view a gallery of large-scale color images that offer a spectacular window on the universe, and take a walking tour of the planets in our solar system—all while exploring how our planet and solar system relate to our galaxy and universe. The ViewSpace station provides updates from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, seasonal introductions to constellations, and news stories of astronomical importance. Cosmic Light is a free exhibit open to the public.

WHAT'S NEW
The physical transformation includes the installation of new and more powerful technologies, as well as enhanced visitor amenities:
  •     The Planetarium's centerpiece is its state-of-the-art Zeiss Starmaster, one of only two in the United States, and the only one on the East Coast. This custom-built optics system recreates a stunningly realistic night sky, its fiber optics enhancing the size and infinitely adjustable brightness of up to 9,100 stars. For the first time, a new scintillation device generates star flickering as natural as the real thing. In another first, the Starmaster can go forward and back 10,000 years in seconds via computer-controlled independent planet projectors. Unlike the old two-ton Zeiss Mark VI, the new rotating star simulator is elegantly compact, standing eight and a half feet tall, its lens-covered starball 30 inches in diameter.
  •     The Sky-Skan Definiti System powered by DigitalSky 2 software and Sony SXRD 4K Digital Video Projectors (4K is pixel resolution) and an extensive sky database enable creation of spectacular original programming. The new projection and animation technology not only can simulate space travel, but also could explore global climate change. In addition, using an online databank, Planetarium staff can import and display proteins including DNA strands, while an earth and climate database could show the jet stream or volcanic activity.
  •     Planetaria traditionally simulate the 3-dimensional sky from any location on Earth in the past or future, accurately reproducing apparent motions and cycles of the sky in time-lapse fashion. But the new DigitalSky 2 software enables Planetarium visitors to peer back at Earth as only astronauts have, then fly out of the Milky Way past other galaxies, immersed in views of anywhere in the known universe modeled on the latest scientific data from satellites and observatories. The Planetarium can also show visually difficult concepts like phases of the moon and how eclipses work as viewed from space.
  •     Museum educators, poised at the 10-foot-wide control console -- banks of knobs and faders, keyboards and monitors at their fingertips -- orchestrate the entire experience, using the DigitalSky 2 software, making the Starmaster turn and spin, and adjusting lights, audio, and spotlights.
  •     With powerful new full-dome video and audio systems, concentric seating for 209 people, and 40 removable seats, the theater offers a transformative venue for musical performances, live theater, and other evening entertainment, as well as audience interactivity and intimacy.
  •     Enhanced visitor amenities include advanced climate control and custom seats angled to give visitors the sensation of takeoff with optimal views and comfort.
The Museum of Science celebrates the public opening of the newly transformed Charles Hayden Planetarium Sunday, February 13, 2011.

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Wallace & Gromit could come to Blackpool Pleasure Beach

LONDON (AFP) – Filmmaker Nick Park says he is in talks on the possible development of a theme park ride based around his cheese-loving Wallace and Gromit characters.



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Holiday Surprise: Hero's Welcome Awaits Chilean Miners, Rescuers and Their Families at Walt Disney World Resort

BURBANK, Calif., USA -- A New Year will mean new memories for the Chilean miners whose saga transfixed the world, as they are treated to a hero's welcome and family vacations of a lifetime at Walt Disney World Resort next month.

During their complimentary six-night Disney vacation, Jan. 27-Feb. 2, 2011, the miners, their rescuers and immediate families will meet Disney characters, visit all four Walt Disney World theme parks and serve as honorary Grand Marshals of the Main Street, U.S.A. parade in Magic Kingdom.

Trapped 2,300 feet inside the earth for 69 days in a collapsed Chilean mine, the men were pulled from the darkness in a miracle rescue.  In one of the year's most touching stories, their unbending faith and endurance sustained them throughout the ordeal.

"The amazing story of these miners captured the attention of the world for demonstrating the true power and resilience of the human spirit," said Disney President and CEO Bob Iger.  "We are proud to welcome these courageous men and their families to the Walt Disney World Resort."

The group will arrive to a welcome dinner with characters, dancing and Chilean cuisine prepared by Disney chefs.  During their vacation, they also will be treated to a $500 gift card per family, a group photo in front of Cinderella Castle and personal photo albums of their visit.

ABOUT WALT DISNEY PARKS AND RESORTS
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts are where families experience and enjoy the magic of Disney's beloved characters and where dreams come true.  More than 50 years ago, Walt Disney created a new kind of entertainment families could experience together, immersed in detailed atmospheres and vibrant storytelling.  His vision now includes a collection of five of the world's leading family vacation destinations - Disneyland Resort, Anaheim, Calif.; Walt Disney World Resort, Lake Buena Vista, Fla.; Tokyo Disney Resort, Urayasu, Chiba, Japan; Disneyland Resort Paris, Marne-la-Vallee, France; and Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, located on Lantau Island.  In addition, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts includes the world-class Disney Cruise Line; Disney Vacation Club, with more than 450,000 members; Adventures by Disney, a guided group vacation experience to some of the world's most popular destinations; and Walt Disney Imagineering, which creates and designs all Disney parks, resorts and attractions.

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

USC Raises the Bar on Use of Revolutionary Virtual Technology to Address the Mental Health Needs of Veterans

Video Game-Inspired Virtual Iraq and Patient Avatar to be Demonstrated Live at Consumer Electronics Show

LOS ANGELES -- Real-life application of revolutionary virtual technology to train and teach in the classroom will be the focus of the University of Southern California's display and presentations at the Consumers Electronics Show (CES) Jan. 6-10 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
The USC Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT), in partnership with the USC School of Social Work, will be demonstrating its Virtual Patient Avatar and its video-game inspired Virtual Iraq technologies, created by ICT and currently being used by the USC School of Social Work to train and prepare social workers to help address the mental health needs of soldiers returning from war.

"Using virtual technology to train students was not something even on the radar 10 years ago," said Paul Maiden, vice dean of the USC School of Social Work. "With so many soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other problems, we are implementing this technology in the classroom to realistically and more practically train thousands of students on how to treat veterans with these types of mental health needs."

Entering beta testing in School of Social Work classrooms this year, the program is the first application of virtual reality in a social work setting.

"ICT's virtual reality technology allows humans to interact with computers and extremely complex data in a more natural fashion," said Dr. Skip Rizzo, ICT's associate director for medical virtual reality. "Through our research and development, we've been able to take technologies once considered expensive toys and functionally apply them to address real-world problems and situations."

ICT and the USC School of Social Work will be presenting the Virtual Iraq and Virtual Patient technologies at the High Tech U Panel, Thursday, Jan. 6, 12:45 p.m.2 p.m. in room N253 of the North Hall, as well as the Living in Digital Times Press Conference at 2 p.m. -2:15 p.m. in room S227 of the South Hall, Upper Level that same day.  From Jan. 6 until the show's closing, attendees at the show will be able to personally experience and test the technologies at the Higher Ed Tech Pavillion located in the North Hall, Grand Lobby, Lower Meeting Room at booth number 3206. Click here to view an interactive map.

The demonstrations will highlight:

Virtual Iraq – This virtual, immersive environment recreates the war zone where trauma was experienced, allowing patients to work through their fears. Developed by ICT's Rizzo, this simulated environment is currently being used by the USC School of Social Work to train students on treating patients with PTSD and other disorders. Virtual Iraq, which was adapted from the Full Spectrum


Warrior video game, allows guests to experience the simulation first-hand using its virtual reality goggles, gun-shaped joystick, scent machines and vibrating platform.  Click here to view an excerpt  http://tinyurl.com/25qxfvo





Virtual Patient Avatar - The virtual patient is an avatar-based simulation program designed to replicate the experiences of veterans exposed to combat stress and to help prepare students to interact with real clients.  Through conversations with digital avatars, created using ICT's virtual human technology, students hone their clinical and interviewing skills to prepare them for future interactions with soldiers returning from war.  A collaboration between the USC School of Social Work's Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families and ICT, the virtual patient avatar program is supported by a $3.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense.  CES attendees will be able to interview and interact with virtual patient Lieutenant Rocco, just as social work students will do as part of their training at USC.  Click to view an interview excerpt with a virtual patient at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91zdrNL-HDU.


The virtual patient avatar is also expected to be made available in the future to USC School of Social Work graduate students via its Virtual Academic Center, a web-based master's degree program launched in October 2010 that uses a highly advanced web-based platform to conduct live, virtual classes between faculty and students.  




About the USC School of Social Work
The University of Southern California's School of Social Work (www.usc.edu/socialwork) ranks among the nation's top 10 social work graduate programs (U.S. News & World Report), with the oldest social work master's and Ph.D. programs in the West. A recognized leader in academic innovation, experiential learning, online education and translational research, the school prepares students for leadership roles in public and private organizations that serve individuals, families and communities in need. This is the only program in the nation offering a military social work curriculum track to prepare social workers to meet the needs of veterans and their families, supported by more than $14 million in appropriations from the U.S. Department of Defense. The school is also a campus exemplar for its research efforts, with funding exceeding $35 million. Our own research institute, the Hamovitch Center for Science in the Human Services, was the first endowed center for interdisciplinary social work research and remains a pioneer in translational science – the acceleration of research findings into practice settings.

About the USC Institute for Creative Technologies
At the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies (ict.usc.edu), high-tech tools and classic storytelling come together to pioneer new ways to teach and to train.

Historically, simulations focus on drills and mechanics. What sets ICT apart is a focus on human interactions and emotions—areas that are recognized as increasingly important in developing critical thinking and decision-making skills. ICT is a world leader in developing virtual humans who think and behave like real people and in creating immersive environments to experientially transport participants to other places. ICT technologies include virtual reality applications for mental health treatment and training, videogames for U.S. soldiers to hone negotiation and cultural awareness skills and virtual human museum guides who teach science concepts to young people.


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Six Flags Names Richard Roedel to its Board of Directors

DALLAS, USA -- Six Flags Entertainment Corporation (NYSE: SIX) announced that Richard Roedel has been elected to the Board of Directors for the company effective immediately. Mr. Roedel has previously served as the Chairman and CEO of BDO Seidman LLP and currently serves on the boards of several public companies including Brightpoint, Inc., IHS, Inc., Lorillard, Inc., Luna Innovations Incorporated and Sealy Corporation.

About Six Flags Entertainment Corporation
Six Flags Entertainment Corporation is a leading operator of regional theme parks with 19 parks across the United States, Mexico and Canada. Six Flags Over Texas, the company's flagship location, was founded in 1961 and will mark its 50th anniversary season in 2011.


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Monday, December 20, 2010

Technomedia Solutions Selected to Deliver 'Fun and Good Times' A/V Experiences at Margaritaville Resorts and Restaurants

ORLANDO, Fla., USA -- Technomedia Solutions announced today that it has been selected by Margaritaville Holdings LLC as lead audio visual design and integration partner to assist in designing and delivering the most technologically advanced A/V systems available for the Margaritaville resort and restaurant properties.  Following on the heals of great success with its existing properties, Margaritaville Holdings is developing plans to expand aggressively with a number of new locations over the next several years.

"Knowing how committed Margaritaville Holdings has always been to delivering such a great tropical ambiance for its guests, it was a particular honor that they entrusted us with their A/V solutions which are such a huge part of the customer experience," said John Miceli, Technomedia's president.

Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville destinations and products are for "Parrot Heads" or anyone who wants to have a good time in a tropical atmosphere.  Whether you want to catch your favorite team's game, listen to great music, socialize with friends, dance, or have some fun with an interactive display, there is something for everyone at Margaritaville resorts and restaurants. From tiki bars and kids' play areas, to themed areas such as the world famous Volcano Bar and The Porch of Indecision, Margaritaville properties are always a place where guests can escape and create great memories.

Technomedia Solutions LLC is a leading provider of creative advanced audio-visual technology design and integration services to a variety of industries including: the theme park, museum, restaurant, retail, corporate, military, theatrical and educational markets.


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Great Park Board Moves Forward on Cultural Terrace

IRVINE, Calif. USA  -- The Orange County Great Park Board has acted to advance the second major phase of Park development. The Board approved the findings of two feasibility studies to refine the Cultural District portion of the Park's Master Plan, including an outdoor Amphitheater at the Great Park.

Feasibility studies are conducted as part of the implementation process of the Great Park Master Plan, an award-winning comprehensive park design that forms the vision for each phase of Park development. The studies result in recommendations for developing amenities, programs, land use, design and possible business models for various components of the Master Plan.

"The Board approved a Master Plan for the entire 1,347 acres, and that is what allows us to prepare for the next phase of development as we continue to construct the first phase," said Larry Agran, Chair of the Orange County Great Park Board. "With the Sports Park under construction, the Great Park Farm bearing fruit and construction about to begin on the Palm Court, having a plan in place allows us to continue to look forward to the next phases."

The Cultural District plan recommended in the study refines the vision elements of the Master Plan while incorporating advanced concepts such as the adaptive reuse of two large aircraft hangars and existing concrete runways for the 200-acre Cultural Terrace site. Under the plan, the hangars, which are more than 200,000 square feet each, would be renovated to provide space for a variety of civic and cultural activities, including the Museum of Heritage and Aviation, the Arts + Cultural Center, the Multi-Cultural Center, and office space for community non-profit organizations.

Additional proposed freestanding buildings would house a library, life sciences museum and the Multi-Cultural Center. The lake envisioned in the Master Plan is proposed to take shape as a series of water bodies that can be used for recreation while providing a visual separation between the open park space and the Amphitheater.

"What is most impressive about the Cultural Terrace plan is that it signals a very healthy transition in the planning and construction of the Great Park," said Marian Bergeson, chair of the Foundation for the Great Park and former state senator. "As the park moves from its initial master design into the implementation of phased developments, park leaders are adapting well to rapidly changing conditions."

Live Nation, the concert operator of the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine, partnered with the Great Park Corporation in the Amphitheater feasibility study to create a conceptual design for the concert and event space.

The plan calls for the Amphitheater to feature a structural steel framed building, and a suggested iconic wing-like element is designed with a translucent material so the structure will be visible when lit at night. The stage house is designed as a steel structure, enclosed on three sides, and set adjacent to the artists' compound of dressing rooms, offices and show production areas.

Existing runways adjacent to the Amphitheater will provide parking for 4,000 cars, which is another adaptive reuse element recommended in the feasibility study.

CEO Mike Ellzey was directed by the Board to prepare a budget and schedule for work necessary to revise the Great Park Master Plan to include the elements contained in the studies.

"These studies help evolve and define our Master Plan," said Ellzey. "As we move closer to developing this key component of the Master Plan, we are better informed on how to efficiently and economically implement the vision of the Great Park."

About the Great Park
The Orange County Great Park, with its 1,347-acre master plan, is the focal point of the redevelopment of the publicly-owned portion of the 4,700-acre former Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro. The Great Park is currently developed to 27.5 acres and includes an iconic tethered helium balloon that rises 400 feet in the air, providing an aerial view of Park development. A $70 million development plan to expand the Park to more than 200 acres is currently underway. The plan will build out a core section of the Park for the most immediate and wide-ranging public benefit, including the initial components of the sports park, a 114-acre agricultural area, and an art and culture exhibition space.


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Convention Center Authority Approves Omni, Hall of Fame Deal

Nashville Music City Center
NASHVILLE, Tenn. USA -- The Convention Center Authority of Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County has approved a development plan authorizing Omni Hotels & Resorts to execute the expansion of the Country Music Hall of Fame and integration of the museum into the planned headquarters hotel for the Music City Center.

The agreement engages Omni as contractor to build the shell of the Hall of Fame expansion as part of the overall hotel construction, while Hall of Fame officials will be responsible for the build out and fixtures of the additional space.  The two buildings will be fully connected, so hotel guests will have a fluid experience between the two entities.

"The Omni Nashville Hotel will be unlike any convention headquarters hotel in the country," Nashville Mayor Karl Dean said. "The hotel will reflect our city's unique identity as Music City, and the connection to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum will provide hotel guests and convention goers with an experience that only Nashville can offer.  The Music City Center by itself will provide a tremendous boost to our tourism industry and downtown.  The addition of the hotel and the Hall of Fame will completely energize Fifth Avenue, and we are excited about the growth South of Broadway that is sure to follow."

Through the terms of the agreement, Omni is paying for the cost of construction but will use economic development incentives including Tax Increment Financing ("TIF") to cover infrastructure costs including land, site development, parking, and LEED certification.  The TIF funds will be provided by MDHA, as the property is in an area eligible for such redevelopment funds.

"We are thrilled to be creating a seamless environment between the hotel and the Country Music Hall of Fame," said Mike Deitemeyer, president of Omni Hotels & Resort.  "It will create a one-of-a-kind, authentic Music City experience to further propel Nashville as a leading destination for conventions and drive increased visits to the area."

Costs of the expansion and integration plan and TIF funds provided for such are estimated to be $34 million.  As part of the public/private partnership, the Convention Center Authority will own the expanded portion of the Hall of Fame, which will have a 60-year lease on the property at an average annual fee of $500,000.  The Hall of Fame will have the right to buy the expansion area upon expiration of the lease.

"Each year, we provide thousands of visitors an authentic Nashville experience that is both entertaining and educational," said Museum Board Chair Steve Turner. "This unique public-private partnership allows us to build on our success and secure our future.  The integration of the Music City Center, the Omni Nashville Hotel and our Museum will result in a campus greater than the sum of its parts."

In August, Mayor Karl Dean announced Omni would build an 800-room hotel at the corner of 5th Avenue and Korean Veterans Boulevard to serve as the headquarters hotel for the Music City Center.  The $250 million hotel will also feature 80,000 square feet of meeting and event space to support overflow from the new convention center.

Omni officials have committed to 20 percent diversity business participation and to spend at least 20 percent of the project's construction costs with local businesses.
The Music City Center, Omni Nashville Hotel, and the Country Music Hall of Fame expansion are all scheduled to open within months of each other in 2013.

About the Music City Center
The Music City Center, Nashville's new convention center will feature 1.2 million square feet total, a 350,000 square foot exhibit hall, a 57,000 square foot ballroom, and parking for 1,800 cars, while achieving LEED Silver certification. It is designed to be a gathering spot for residents and the hundreds of thousands of visitors seeing Nashville for the first time, just steps from the Ryman Auditorium and the Broadway honky tonks, the musical venues that have launched thousands of careers and help generate the city's nickname. The Metropolitan Council of Nashville and Davidson County voted to approve the construction project in January 2010. Now under construction on a 19-acre site in downtown, the Music City Center is slated to open in 2013.

About Omni Hotels & Resorts
Omni Hotels & Resorts creates genuine, authentic guest experiences that take guests on "A Total Departure" to 47 distinct luxury hotels and resorts in leading business gateways and leisure destinations across North America.  From exceptional golf and spa retreats to dynamic business settings, each Omni showcases the local flavor of the destination while featuring four-diamond services, signature restaurants, Wi-Fi connectivity and unique wellness options.  Known for its award-winning, personalized service, Omni leaves a lasting impression with every customer interaction, with a heightened level of recognition and rewards delivered through its Select Guest loyalty program and the company's "Power of One" associate empowerment program.  The brand is frequently recognized by top consumer research organizations such as J.D. Power and Associates, which ranked Omni as "Highest in Guest Satisfaction Among Upscale Hotel Chains" in its 2010 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study(SM).

Top Five IPM News Stories for 2010
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New BRC-Designed Exhibit at Louisiana's Old State Capitol Recognized for Excellence

BURBANK, Calif. USA -- BRC Imagination Arts, an international leader in the design and production of cultural attractions, announced that its reinvention of the political history exhibit at Louisiana's Old State Capitol has been honored with a 2010 Award of Excellence from the Southeastern Museums Conference (SEMC). "The Legacy of Huey Long" and "Governors' Portrait Gallery" are a part of the exhibit that has been recognized for outstanding achievement.

In July 2010, the Old State Capitol unveiled a new visitor experience with a number of dynamic galleries and revived public spaces, as well as a full-immersion theater presentation designed, created and produced by BRC. BRC specializes in working with museums and cultural institutions to transform educational content into engaging and meaningful visitor experiences.

"The rich political history and tradition in Louisiana are immensely fascinating. The drama, turmoil, resilience and triumphs of its larger-than-life political figures present a wonderful story-telling opportunity in which visitors can emotionally connect to their history and heritage," said Carmel Lewis, Vice President of Cultural Experiences for BRC Imagination Arts.  "BRC's approach, a thoughtful blend of scholarship and showmanship, lent itself well to the goals of the Old State Capitol."

"The Legacy of Huey Long" gallery plunges visitors into the controversial political legacy of the notorious politician.  Visitors experience first hand the power of Long's oratory skills at a lively political rally, and examine real evidence as they investigate the details of his assassination. The stunning second floor level of the capitol rotunda is home to "The Governors' Portrait Gallery."  This gallery features the portrait of every governor of Louisiana, each of their stories activated through interactive kiosks.

"We had a number of goals for updating the visitor experience at the Old State Capitol, and BRC was key in helping us craft and achieve our vision," said Mary Durusau, Director of Louisiana's Old State Capitol.  "We are thrilled to have our new political history exhibit recognized with an Award of Excellence from the SEMC."

BRC Imagination Arts is world renowned for the design, creation, and production of innovative and world-class museums, immersive branded attractions, visitor centers and world expo pavilions. The company's cultural experiences portfolio includes a diverse range of organizations, including the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, the Empire State Building, Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry, the Museum of Liverpool, Arizona Science Center, NASA, and the Texas State History Museum, among many others.

Since its founding in 1981, BRC has been honored with over 275 international awards for creative excellence including two Academy Award nominations and 17 THEA Awards for Outstanding Achievement for its museum exhibits and visitor attractions.  BRC has offices in California, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom and China and is currently engaged in projects in the United States, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

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Madame Tussauds Washington D.C. Announces Its $2 Million-Plus U.S. Presidents Gallery Featuring Wax Figures of All 44 U.S. Presidents to Open on February 17, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC -- The ultimate three-dimensional tribute to America and its commanders-in-chief is one step closer to being a reality for the Washington D.C. area, as Madame Tussauds Washington D.C. today announced that its new $2 million-plus U.S. Presidents Gallery—which will house wax figures of all 44 U.S. presidents—opens its doors to the public on Thursday, February 17—just in time for Presidents Day.  The launch of the Gallery will make Madame Tussauds D.C. the only place in the world where people can see and interact with all 44 U.S. presidents.

"We are looking forward to providing the public with the unique opportunity to experience all of the U.S. presidents in a way unlike ever before," said Dan Rogoski, General Manager of Madame Tussauds Washington D.C.  "As the only place in the world where people will be able to meet and interact with all 44 U.S. presidents, history buffs, students and the general public alike will enjoy a truly unique and enriching educational experience at the Gallery."

Since the Gallery was announced last February, Madame Tussauds studio artists have been working tirelessly to create entirely new wax figures of 28 U.S. presidents.  In anticipation of the opening of the Presidents Gallery, figures of presidents have been popping up across the country.  Throughout the year, figure sightings have included: President Gerald Ford at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum for the 97th anniversary of his birthday; founding fathers George Washington and Thomas Jefferson at the Independence Visitor Center in Philadelphia over the July 4th holiday; and most recently, Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, which took a road trip to Mount Rushmore in honor of the 69th anniversary of the monument's completion.

A tremendous undertaking, each figure takes about three to four months to complete and requires an extensive amount of work.  In order to make the figures as lifelike as possible, Madame Tussauds artists have to study hundreds of photographs, and when available, hours of video footage.  Of course in some cases, the artists did not have the luxury of photographs or videos, and needed to rely on historical accounts, even paintings.

The U.S. Presidents Gallery will serve as a rich educational resource and include a curriculum focused on the history of the U.S. presidents.  The new curriculum will fully complement the attraction's existing and free comprehensive Educational Curriculum Guide, which was developed in accordance with the U.S. Department of National Social Studies Standards and National Council for the Social Civil Rights Movement Studies Standards.  The guide was designed to empower educators with the tools they need to deliver exciting lessons in areas such as history, political science, social studies and media – before and after visiting the attraction.

About Madame Tussauds Washington D.C.
Madame Tussauds Washington D.C. is a fully interactive, full-sensory experience, where visitors are able to touch, see and hear major historical events and celebrities in a way unlike any other Washington D.C. attraction.  Recent additions to the attraction include music superstar Rihanna; actress, singer and teen sensation Selena Gomez; music megastars and teen sensation, the Jonas Brothers; superstars Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, Penelope Cruz and Tyra Banks; as well as President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.  Madame Tussauds is located on the corner of F and 10th Streets, NW, within walking distance of the National Mall and the White House.

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Friday, December 17, 2010

UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT ONLINE STORE FEATURES WIDE SELECTION OF THEME PARK MERCHANDISE

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Nickelodeon, Jurassic Park and Other Popular Brand Items Now Available Online
Fans can purchase their favorite Universal Orlando Resort merchandise online at UniversalOrlando.com. The new online store features items from both Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure.

From SpongeBob SquarePants t-shirts to Betty Boop tote bags, the new online store features hundreds of items themed with popular Universal Orlando characters and attractions, such as E.T. and Jurassic Park. Available items include, SpongeBob SquarePants plush backpacks and Jurassic Park dinosaur molded mugs. Guests can also purchase an exciting array of items from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, all inspired by the Harry Potter books and films, including Hogwarts robes, Ollivanders wands and Hedwig and Pygmy Puff Plush toys.

Guests can view the entire selection of merchandise available for purchase online now at www.UniversalOrlando.com/universalmerchandise. Additional items will be added to the selection in the coming months. All items are subject to availability. Most major credit cards are accepted, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover.

HARRY POTTER, characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.  Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR.
(s10)

© 2010 Viacom International Inc. All Rights Reserved. Nickelodeon, SpongeBob SquarePants and all related titles, logos and characters are trademarks of Viacom International Inc. SpongeBob SquarePants created by Stephen Hillenberg. Jurassic Park, Camp Jurassic, Jurassic Park Discovery Center, Jurassic Park River Adventure ® Universal Studios/Amblin. Betty Boop © 2010 King Features Syndicate, Inc./Fleischer Studios, Inc. TM The Hearst Corporation.

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CEDAR FAIR BOARD OF DIRECTORS URGES UNITHOLDERS TO VOTE AGAINST PROPOSALS AT SPECIAL MEETING




·        Criticizes proposals as disruptive to strategic progress and succession planning, and focusing solely on short-term returns
·        Reaffirms commitment to growing cash distributions to unitholders
SANDUSKY, OHIO, USA – The Board of Directors of Cedar Fair Entertainment Company (NYSE: FUN), a leader in regional amusement parks, water parks and active entertainment, sent a letter on Dec 13 to all unitholders stating its reasons for opposing the proposals submitted by Q Funding III, L.P. and Q4 Funding, L.P. (“Q Investments”), one of the Company’s largest unitholders, to be considered at a Special Meeting of Unitholders on January 11, 2011.
The Board believes the proposed amendments to the Company’s Partnership Agreement would not be in the best interests of unitholders because they would severely limit the options available to the Board in pursuit of its strategy to maximize long-term value. In addition, they would greatly disrupt the Company’s deliberate and ongoing succession planning process that is well under way and is expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter of 2011.
 Photo of the Peanuts gang courtesy Cedar Fair. 

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Q Investments Sends Letter to Cedar Fair Unitholders Urging Them to Support Changes that Enhance Corporate Governance and Dividend Distributions

Largest Cedar Fair Unitholder Believes Separating Chairman and CEO Roles, Providing Meaningful Distribution are Critical to Reversing Underperformance

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Q Investments, which owns approximately 18 percent of Cedar Fair, L.P.'s units, sent a letter to the Company's unitholders today urging them to support two measures it believes will serve as meaningful steps toward reversing the Company's prolonged financial and market underperformance.

The letter calls on Cedar Fair's unitholders to vote FOR two proposals at the Company's upcoming Special Meeting of Unitholders on January 11, 2011.  The first proposal would separate the roles of Chairman and CEO, and the second would reinstate what it terms a "meaningful" distribution to unitholders.  Q Investments made the following points in support of both proposals:
  • Cedar Fair's stock price has underperformed both the broader market and, recently, Six Flags during Richard Kinzel's seven-year tenure as Chairman and CEO.
  • Mr. Kinzel openly professes to not being "a finance person."  Q Funding believes installing an independent Chairman with financial expertise would help Cedar Fair avoid repeating its recent mistakes and benefit unitholders over the long term.
  • It also would infuse some much-needed new thinking into a Board whose members on average have served for more than a decade and who have overseen the Company's underperformance in recent years.
  • In today's environment, this is simply good corporate governance.
  • As stated in the letter, the Company's Unit price falls when distributions are reduced.  Q Funding believes the Company can easily afford to pay a $1.00 per Unit distribution to unitholders, leaving it with about $50 million of annual free cash flow to pay down debt in a normalized environment.
[Cedar Fair's board of directors responded by sending a letter to unitholders urging them to reject the proposals from Q Funding.]
    Full text of letter from Q Funding can be found here. 

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    Kidville Announces Ten Year Development Deal to Open 100 Locations in India with Kwakids Learning Private Limited

    NEW YORK -- Kidville (OTC: KVIL) - named 'best of' by New York Magazine and given a five star "extraordinary" customer rating in The Lila Guide: New Parent Survival Guide- has announced it has entered into a 10 year development deal to open 100 locations in India with Kwakids Learning Private Limited. The first Indian Kidville location will open in Mumbai this spring.

    Kidville offers a wide range of developmental classes including Little Maestros, Run Wiggle Paint & Giggle, My Big Messy Art Class, Big Muscles for Little Babies, Kidville Gymnasts, Kidville Sports and Kidville University (Kidville's Pre-School Alternative Program). This location will also feature an indoor playground, retail boutique, salon, and 16 different birthday party themes.

    Kwakids Learning Private Limited will be led by Rosenyn Kapur and Mallika Timblo of the GMS Group and Timblo Group respectively. Both companies are well established names in the region with interests in automobiles, power, mining, shipping, logistics and information technology.

    Kidville CEO Andy Stenzler says, "We are very excited to be increasing our international presence with our expansion into India. Mallika and Rosenyn's diverse backgrounds, combined with the vast resources of the GMS Group and Timblo Group, make Kwakids the perfect partner to shepherd the Kidville brand in India."
    Says Rosenyn Kapur, "We are extremely pleased to be bringing Kidville to India. By combining our extensive knowledge of the Indian marketplace, our deep passion to serve families with young children and Kidville's world class concept, we intend to become the dominant brand in the region."

    About Kidville
    Named 'Best of' by New York Magazine and given a five star "extraordinary" customer rating in The Lila Guide: New Parent Survival Guide, Kidville operates large, upscale facilities, catering to young children and their families. In addition to offering a wide range of developmental classes for newborns through six year olds, including Little Maestros, Run Wiggle Paint & Giggle, My Big Messy Art Class, Big Muscles for Little Babies, Kidville Gymnasts, Kidville Sports, Camp Kidville and Kidville University (Kidville's Pre-School Alternative Program), Kidville also features an indoor playspace, birthday parties for children up to age nine, and at select locations, a retail Boutique and the Kidville Salon.

    Kidville Founders include COSI co-founder Andy Stenzler, London Misher Public Relations President, Shari Misher Stenzler, tennis stars Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf, philanthropist Laurie Tisch, Emanuel and Liz Stern (HartzMountain Realty/Tribeca and SOHO Grand Hotels), Richard Chapman and Gordon Hamm (GMC Parking Chain) and Kidville President Rammy Harwood. Additionally, Dr. Phillip Frost, Chairman of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., is a strategic equity partner in Kidville. Kidville Inc, also owns JW Tumbles. The combined entity operates locations across the globe including New York, California, and Dubai.

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    New Master Plan for NASA's Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

    KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. -- Design work has begun on a new master plan to transform NASA's Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex into a place where explorers of all ages can tour America's spaceport to engage with the people and machines that shape the future of our world. PGAV Destinations, a global leader in the planning and design of cultural and entertainment destinations, was selected by Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts at KSC, Inc., operators of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, to design the ten-year master plan.

    The new master plan will create excitement for guests as they discover the connection between NASA and their everyday lives. Immersive thematic zones will connect with guests of all ages in a personal way, integrating interactivity through exhibits and live presentations by astronauts and workers, while incorporating the unique role that Kennedy Space Center plays in human spaceflight and space exploration. Touring Kennedy Space Center will evolve into an expedition of a working space place, honoring the storied past of the human spaceflight program while embracing the future and celebrating the spirit of human determination.

    The marquee element of the master plan for America's spaceport is a $100 million exhibit displaying a flown space shuttle orbiter. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex has requested to be selected by NASA to display one of the three remaining orbiters. Initial design concepts for the 64,000 square-foot orbiter home include viewing the space shuttle in flight, showing how the spacecraft worked in space and providing a unique vantage point for guests looking at this remarkable vehicle up-close. Complementing the orbiter display will be interactive features reflecting major accomplishments of the Space Shuttle Program including the Hubble Space Telescope and construction of the International Space Station.

    "We would be honored to showcase one of the space shuttle orbiters so we have begun designing a dynamic, interactive exhibit to tell the space shuttle story from our own unique perspective," said Bill Moore, Chief Operating Officer of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. "Kennedy Space Center is home to the space shuttle; all of the 132 missions have launched from here."

    The master plan is funded through revenue generated by visitor admission, food and retail sales at no tax payer expense. It will showcase up to ten themed areas, plus new and enhanced visitor amenities, bringing authentic and exciting NASA programs to life.

    Delaware North Companies has operated Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and worked closely with NASA to tell the story of space exploration to millions of guests from around the world since 1995. In February 2010, NASA/Kennedy Space Center awarded Delaware North Companies the contract to continue operating Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

    About Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
    Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is located just east of Orlando and is the gateway to a working space center and one of Florida's most popular destinations. It's a 70-acre arena of inspirational, educational and entertaining experiences.  More than 1.5 million visitors annually tour Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

    About Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts
    Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts is a subsidiary of Delaware North Companies, a leading hospitality provider with significant experience in hotel, retail, food service, recreation and transportation operations. The company's portfolio includes historic properties in North America, such as Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex; Yosemite, Sequoia, Yellowstone and Grand Canyon national parks; Tenaya Lodge and Apple Tree Inn; Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa; Niagara Falls State Park; The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake; Gideon Putnam Resort; and a newly acquired hotel in West Yellowstone.

    About PGAV Destinations
    PGAV Destinations is a global leader in the planning and design of unique destinations. The firm uniquely combines award-winning storytelling and creativity with business strategy to create some of the world's most important cultural, natural, and entertainment destinations.  PGAV's staff develops growth-oriented master plans and translates these plans into innovative new destination products.  Now in its fifth decade, the firm has authored hundreds of highly successful projects in places such as SeaWorld, the Grand Canyon, Biltmore Estate, Niagara Falls, Busch Gardens, the Georgia Aquarium, Kennedy Space Center, and the Hoover Dam.


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    PGAV Destinations 2010 Year-in-Review

    (St. Louis, MO – PGAV Destinations, a global leader in destination planning and design, released its 2010 year in review, which highlights the firm’s performance throughout the preceding twelve months.
    This year, the firm again bucked industry trends by showing increased growth and diversification with six major project openings at destinations including the Biltmore Estate, the Georgia Aquarium, and SeaWorld San Diego. During 2010, PGAV worked on dozens of projects in twelve US states and five countries.
    The company's key markets include Zoos and Aquariums, Cultural Destinations, and Entertainment Attractions. “Balanced strength in all of these destination market sectors, plus a significant increase in international projects has kept our billing volume very strong, even in a tough economy,” according to Jim Moorkamp, Principal, PGAV Destinations.
    During 2010, PGAV also announced its involvement at several projects that will open in 2011 at places including Discovery Cove, Busch Gardens Tampa, The Louisville Zoo, and The Saint Louis Science Center. “We are also very busy on planning and design work for several projects that will open in 2012 and 2013,” according to Mike Konzen, Principal, PGAV Destinations.
    Selected projects:
    · Great Bear Wilderness at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, Illinois. $27.3 million exhibit.
    · Cold Water Quest at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia.
    · Polar Bear Passage at the Kansas City Zoo in Kansas City, Missouri. $10 million project.
    · Sea Lion Habitat at Glacier Run at the Louisville Zoo. First phase of a $24 million project.
    · Design on Georgia Aquarium’s Dolphin Expansion, which opens in early 2011. This $110 million project won top honors as the “Best Overall Project of 2010” by Southeast Construction Magazine.
    · The Saint Louis Zoo announced the PGAV-designed Sea Island Sound project. This innovative exhibit features the popular sea lions and an underwater viewing tube.
    · Selected to develop Columbus Zoo Master Plan.
    · Antler Hill Village opened in April at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. $18.6 million project.
    · Selected to develop a ten-year Master Plan for Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
    · Saint Louis Science Center commenced construction on the PGAV-design Exhibit Hall Expansion. This $9.5 million project will add 13,000 square feet of changing exhibit space.
    · Terracotta Warriors Museum Expansion in Xi’an, China. UNESCO World Heritage site.
    · Destination Master Plan for St. Johns County, Florida.
    · Lead project planner and designer for Ocean Kingdom in Zhuhai, China. Part of a 20 billion RMB (US $3 billion) development undertaken by Chimelong, and will open in 2013.
    · Blue Horizons opened at SeaWorld, San Diego. PGAV served as architect for this state-of-the-art show that includes bottlenose dolphins and an array of exotic birds.
    · Busch Gardens Tampa announced the 2011 opening of Cheetah Hunt, an innovative new coaster that celebrates the spirit of the cheetah.
    · Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida announced the 2011 opening of The Grand Reef. This project is the first major expansion of this PGAV-design park, and includes SeaVenture, an innovative underwater walking tour.

    Photo: SeaWorld

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    Monday, December 13, 2010

    EDG DESIGNS NEW TOPPER FOR GOVERNOR’S TREE

    There will be a new twinkle to the holidays when Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue lights this year’s Christmas Tree at the Governor’s mansion. Topping the tree will be a new star, created and donated by Atlanta-based EDG (Entertainment Design Group).

    “We had the opportunity to use EDG’s holiday décor for previous tours at the Governor’s Mansion,” said mansion spokesperson Michelle Parks. “We are delighted to use their talents again this holiday season.”

    “Our goal was to capture the spirit of the Christmas. I am an old soul, and love the warmth and comfort the holiday season offers,” said Steven L. Guy, President and CEO of EDG. “When we learned about the need for a new star, we saw an opportunity to take our national experience in holiday décor design and bring it home in creating a symbol atop Georgia’s tree. Sharing and caring is what the season is all about.”

    The tree topper was ordered to replace the previous occupant, which – according to officials at the Georgia Building Authority – had simply “worn out.” The new star was created using recycled materials, including aluminum and acrylics.

    “Using renewable material whenever possible is simply part of EDG’s operating doctrine,” added Guy. “Our designer, Rick Clark, excels at utilizing recyclable materials and transforming them into works of art. The new star’s shine will seem even brighter, thanks to energy-saving LED lamps, recycled aluminum and composites.”

    This year’s Christmas tree is a 42-foot Cedar donated by a family from Covington, Ga. Following tradition, the tree will be decorated in an array of crystal white lights. The Georgia Building Authority, in charge of the decorating process, begins its work on Nov. 29th and will have the tree ready for its official debut on Dec. 5th.

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