Thursday, May 31, 2012

ASEAN Culture and Tourism Fair to Take Place Both in Seoul and at Yeosu Expo

Seoul, South Korea -- The ASEAN-Korea Centre is organizing the fourth annual 'ASEAN Culture and Tourism Fair 2012' in both Seoul and Yeosu from June 6-10 to further raise public awareness of diverse cultures and tourism resources of ASEAN in Korea. The exciting Cultural Fair will offer visitors a chance to experience a variety of cultural programs and performances – including diverse traditional dances, folk songs, and instrumental music showcased by more than 70 member cultural troupes invited from 10 ASEAN  (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Member States.

More news & articles about Yeosu Expo 2012 at this link.

This year, from Thailand's Baisri Sawan Dance to Malaysia's traditional musical instruments, the Fair will present a wide array of traditional arts performances. From June 9-10 (Sat-Sun) at D-Cube park in D-Cube City (Shindorim Subway Station, Seoul), visitors to the Fair will be able to taste and enjoy Southeast Asian food and drinks – including ASEAN coffee – at the ASEAN Kitchen. Additionally, National Tourism Organization (NTO) booths of 10 ASEAN Member States will be set up where visitors can receive useful information on tourism resources regarding each ASEAN country. Other cultural activities will be organized, including ASEAN flag face-painting for kids. And the tourism information and promotion materials regarding the ten ASEAN Member States will be distributed to the public.

In addition to the Fair's Main Event, special traditional cultural performances of ten ASEAN Member States will also be held at Yeosu Expo Hall, in conjunction with the International Exposition Yeosu Korea on June 6 (Wed). The ASEAN-Korea Centre hopes that the Fair will shed new light on the quintessential part of ASEAN's diverse cultures for the general public in Korea.

The ASEAN-Korea Centre is an intergovernmental organization aiming to increase trade volume, accelerate investment flow, invigorate tourism and enrich cultural exchanges between the ASEAN Member States and the ROK.


Korea Tourism Organization Offering Special Expo Packages Limited to First 500 Tourists

Seoul, South Korea -- In celebration of the Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea, the Korea Tourism Organization is offering a limited sale of travel packages to the Expo.

The Expo Package consists of a 50,000-won Korea Pass (prepaid travel card) with a 10,000-won transportation balance, a 3-day KR Pass (Korea Railroad (KORAIL) pass with unlimited train rides), and a guaranteed gift coupon for either an Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea admission ticket or souvenir.

More news & articles about Yeosu Expo 2012 at this link.

The Expo Packages, available to 500 foreign and overseas Korean nationals on a first-come, first-served basis, will go on sale for a discounted price from June 1st through August 5th at the designated KORAIL Tourist Centers.

2,500 Korean School Children Visit Romania Pavilion at Expo 2012

Yeosu, South Korea -- The Pavilion of Romania at the International Exposition Yeosu 2012 was visited on 24 May 2012, on the Open Day for Students, by about 2,500 Korean youngsters eager to learn more about Romania. They were impressed by the contemporary design and the innovative technologies of the Romanian pavilion.

More news & articles about Yeosu Expo 2012 at this link.

The President of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), Romania’s Commissioner for Expo Yeosu 2012, Ferdinand Nagy received a group of high school students from Jeonju, South Korea. The young South Koreans enjoyed specific dishes at the Romanian restaurant at the Pavilion.

The students got information about the beauty and uniqueness of the Danube Delta – the theme of the Romanian Pavilion – in the Korean language as well, from undergrads of Bucharest University’s Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literature, which provides support throughout the duration of the exposition.

The visitors were impressed by the cutting-edge technology featuring in the Romanian Pavilion. Using their own mobile phones and tablets, they accessed Augmented Reality information points, getting relevant info and images. Moreover, several Kinect applications helped familiarize the young visitors with the history, wildlife, and traditional customs and costumes of the Dobruja region.

Romania is present in South Korea at Expo 2012 Yeosu with a pavilion focusing on the uniqueness and ecological importance of the Danube Delta, in tune with the general theme of EXPO 2012 – “The Living Ocean and Coast: Diversity of Resources and Sustainable Activities.” The Pavilion is so designed as to showcase the uniqueness of the Danube Delta and its protected areas, generated by bio and ethnodiversity, in the context of sustainable development.

The architecture and design of the Pavilion at Yeosu are the work of Romanian architect Andrei Mihailescu and have been materialized by the Korean A&A Company Co. Ltd.

VIDEO: Art of Animation Resort Opening Ceremony, Walt Disney World

VIDEO: Aquatica Opening Ceremony, SeaWorld San Antonio

Koch Family Delays Opening of Bluegrass Boardwalk to 2014 To Allow Additional Time for Infrastructure Repairs

Natalie and Dan Koch speak with WHAS11 News' Melissa Swan earlier this month. Courtesy Bluegrass Boardwalk
Louisville, KY, USA (May 30, 2012) -- Bluegrass Boardwalk will not be opening in 2013.

Bluegrass Boardwalk, Inc. CEO Natalie Koch asked the Fair Board today to modify the proposed lease to reflect a 2014 opening for the 58-acre park at their next monthly meeting.

“When the park was closed in 2009, needed winter maintenance was not been performed on the rides,” says Koch. “For example, pumps for the water rides were not removed for off-season winterization and inspection. Plumbing and structural infrastructure are in need of extensive repair. Buildings are damaged from leaky roofs. Rides are missing parts. The list goes on and on. We believe 75 percent of the rides will require significant overhaul following in-depth inspection by certified ride experts.”

Koch reports meeting on site with ride manufacturers, who have agreed 11 months is not long enough to open a safe and viable park.

“We will begin work as soon as we have a signed lease,” says Koch. “Until then, the clock is ticking and the park and its rides continue to deteriorate.”

Once a signed lease is in place, Koch says ride experts will begin detailed inspection of all rides.

“Only then will it be determined which rides will be open in 2014,” says Koch. “We have not announced our ride line-up yet, but plan to do so in the fall.”

Walt Disney World's Newest Resort Opens Immersing Guests in World of Animation

Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA (May 31, 2012) /PRNewswire/ -- The big blue world of Nemo and friends comes to life just in time for the summer vacation season as Disney's Art of Animation Resort opens its doors today with Finding Nemo, the first phase of the new resort offering at Walt Disney World Resort.

Opening in phases, each of four distinctly designed wings celebrates rich storytelling, spirited characters, original sketches and playfulness with colorful icons and whimsical theming inspired by classic Disney and Disney Pixar films.

Family suite wings will showcase "Finding Nemo" opening today with 320 suites, "Cars" opening June 18with 480 suites, and "The Lion King" opening Aug. 10 with 320 suites. All the themed areas offer elaborate storytelling both inside and out, from each beloved film depicted. Standard guest rooms will make up "The Little Mermaid" wing, the final phase set to open Sept. 15 with 864 rooms.

The three-story, value-priced resort tells the story of the animation process in phases from pencil drawings to close ups. It will immediately transport guests into the worlds of favorite Disney characters and animated films beginning at check-in as pixilated patterns and wavy ribbons of bold colors decorate the resort's exterior. Pencil drawings of Ariel, Lightning McQueen, Nemo and Simba adorn the entryway, and a whimsical chandelier composed of 77 animation storyboards enhances the lively and modern Animation Hall lobby.

"Our goal was to make guests feel like they have been immersed in the artistry and enchantment of Walt Disney and Disney Pixar animated classics," said Walt Disney Imagineer Frank Paris.

Giant sketchbooks filled with favorite characters seem to come to life as they pave the way to each storyline revealed. Scenic settings, icons---including a brightly-colored coral landscape, a 35-foot-tall model of King Triton, a towering Mufasa and more---immerse guests into the playful world of animation. At the "Cars" wing, a freshly paved road will lead to the Cozy Cone Motel complete with a Cozy Cone pool and cone-shaped cabanas. It's a journey through an African landscape in "The Lion King" complete with an elephant graveyard play area that invites youngsters to seek hakuna matata time. Treasures from the human world fill Ariel's grotto in an under- the-sea kingdom in Little Mermaid courtyard.

From linens and carpeting to fixtures and furniture, all details of the guestrooms tie to the storyline. In "Finding Nemo," there's coral-shaped chairs and bubble ceiling lights; rusty metallic tiles in the bathroom make guests feel as though they are in the submarine. Zazu takes center stage on the headboards in "The Lion King," while Pumbaa and Timon decorate the shower curtain.

Kids of all ages can make a splash at the "Big Blue" pool, the largest resort swimming pool at Walt Disney World Resort measuring 11,859 square feet. Guests will feel like they are swimming with Dory and Nemo as underwater speakers periodically pipe in music and messages from film characters. Guests will enter scenes from the animated world and can explore the colorful reef and East Australian Current with a giant-sized Mr. Ray whose wings span 27 feet, pose for a picture with Crush or frolic with Squirt in the Righteous Reef, a children's play area. And the character sketches become three dimensional with some 2,500 sculpted figures decorating the resort's exterior and interior.

The Pixel Play Arcade, Drop Off pool bar, and Ink and Paint gift shop round out the offerings. Kids will enjoy the daily character artist in the "Finding Nemo" lobby, and nighttime movies poolside. There are two additional pools under way in the "Cars" and "The Lion King" wings as well.

Dining options include a poolside snack bar, pizza delivery and Landscape of Flavors food court. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the food court features items such as fresh smoothies, hand-scooped gelato and Mongolian barbecue. Original backgrounds from featured films decorate the walls in the dining area, adding to the attention to detail and sense of immersion.

The whimsical property, situated adjacent to Disney's Pop Century Resort, will open in phases with rates from $248 per night. The 1,120 family suites include two bathrooms, a kitchenette and three separate sleeping areas that can sleep up to six. The 864 standard rooms sleep up to four, with rates as low as$94.

"Disney's Art of Animation Resort is part of our continued investment in Central Florida and helps keep our region squarely on the map as the world's premiere family vacation destination," said Meg Crofton, president of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Operations, US and France. "As more and more families travel and make memories together, they also want to stay together, which has created demand for family suites."

Those staying at Disney's Art of Animation Resort are treated to complimentary transportation, Extra Magic Hours and other benefits available to a Disney Resort hotel guest.

For reservations, guests can call 407/W-DISNEY (934-7639) or contact their travel agent.

Marriott New Management At Gaylord Hotels

Bethesda, MD, USA (May 31, 2012) /PRNewswire/ -- Marriott International, Inc. announced today that it has entered into an agreement with Gaylord Entertainment Company to acquire the Gaylord brand and hotel management company for $210 million. The transaction is conditioned on Gaylord Entertainment's shareholders approving the company's conversion into a real estate investment trust. If approved, Gaylord will continue to own the existing Gaylord hotels and Marriott will assume management of these properties under long-term agreements. The transaction will add 4 hotels and approximately 7,800 rooms to Marriott's portfolio.

Gaylord Hotels include Gaylord Opryland® in Nashville, Tennessee; Gaylord Palms® in Kissimmee, Florida near Orlando; Gaylord Texan® on Lake Grapevine near Dallas, Texas, and Gaylord National® on the Potomac in National Harbor, Maryland, near Washington, D.C. Gaylord Hotels are uniquely positioned in the group and family leisure segments with approximately 2 million square feet of meeting and event space. They offer multiple opportunities for recreation, shopping, and dining, as well as entertainment, such as the partnership with DreamWorks™.

Arne Sorenson, Marriott International president and chief executive officer, said, "We are excited to add Gaylord Hotels to our brand portfolio and are thrilled Gaylord Entertainment selected us to manage their properties. We have long been impressed with the hotels Gaylord has created, as well as their skill in hosting major meetings and events and attracting the family leisure market. This is a tremendous opportunity to advance growth and opportunity for both Marriott International and the Gaylord hotel brand.

"Gaylord properties will benefit from Marriott's economies of scale, including lower costs for central reservations, procurement and other services, plus strong sales, revenue management, marketing and distribution systems, while Marriott will be able to capture even a greater share of the major event market. Gaylord's "everything-in-one-place" properties are very attractive to group meeting planners. As a new REIT owner, Gaylord Entertainment should benefit from improved hotel profitability associated with Marriott's ability to generate substantial cost savings and incremental demand."

Robert McCarthy, Marriott International chief operations officer, said, "Both Marriott and Gaylord have well-defined cultures that revolve around putting people first and we expect Gaylord's 'STARs' and Marriott associates will find significant opportunities for career growth in this combination. Gaylord customers will continue to enjoy the outstanding service for which that brand is known."

"We chose Marriott – a brand that is a recognized leader in the hospitality industry - due to their focus on providing the highest quality experience for both group and leisure customers," said Colin V. Reed, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Gaylord Entertainment Company. "According to a recent survey conducted on behalf of Gaylord in February of over 400 high-quality meeting planners, Gaylord ranked first in all under one-roof offerings and amenities and Marriott ranked as the number one preferred group destination provider overall due to its service standards and wide distribution."

Upon completion of the transaction, Marriott will operate the hotels under management agreements with an initial term of 35 years. Marriott International expects to earn an incentive fee in its first full year of management, based on improvement in Gaylord Hotels' profitability, and further expects the transaction to be accretive to Marriott's earnings per share by approximately 2 cents in 2013.

The agreement is subject to the previously mentioned Gaylord Entertainment shareholder approval, which is expected in August, as well as lender consent to amendments to Gaylord's credit facility and other customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. The transaction is expected to close by October.

About Marriott International, Inc.
Marriott International, Inc. (NYSE: MAR) is a leading lodging company based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA with more than 3,700 properties in 73 countries and territories and reported revenues of over $12 billion in fiscal year 2011. The company operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts under 17 brands, including Marriott Hotels & Resorts, The Ritz-Carlton, JW Marriott, Bulgari, EDITION, Renaissance, Autograph Collection, AC Hotels by Marriott, Courtyard, Fairfield Inn & Suites, SpringHill Suites, Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites,Marriott Executive Apartments, Marriott Vacation Club, Grand Residences by Marriott, and The Ritz-Carlton Destination Club. There are approximately 300,000 employees at headquarters, managed and franchised properties. Marriott is consistently recognized as a top employer and for its superior business operations, which it conducts based on five core values: put people first, pursue excellence, embrace change, act with integrity, and serve our world. For more information or reservations, please visit our website at www.marriott.com, and for the latest company news, visit www.marriottnewscenter.com.

About Gaylord Entertainment
Gaylord Entertainment (NYSE: GET), a leading hospitality and entertainment company based in Nashville, Tenn., owns and operates Gaylord Hotels (www.gaylordhotels.com), its network of upscale, meetings-focused resorts, and the Grand Ole Opry (www.opry.com), the weekly showcase of country music's finest performers for more than 80 consecutive years. The Company's entertainment brands and properties include the Radisson Hotel Opryland, Ryman Auditorium, General Jackson Showboat, Gaylord Springs Golf Links, Wildhorse Saloon, and WSM-AM. For more information about the Company, visit www.GaylordEntertainment.com.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tut Makes Final North American Stop in Seattle

Photo credit: National Geographic/Erik S. Lesser
Seattle, WA, USA /BUSINESS WIRE/ -- The highly anticipated exhibition Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs has opened at Pacific Science Center for the final showing in North America. More than 30 years after the first King Tut exhibition captivated Seattle, the magic and mystery of the boy king returns to the Pacific Northwest with an almost entirely new selection of treasures and more than twice the number of artifacts.

Upon discovery of the tomb, British archaeologist Howard Carter said, “Everywhere, the glint of gold.” Carter’s words have never rung truer than now to describe the arrival of the grandest exhibition in the world. The community’s early response to the opening of the exhibition has been unparalleled with over 90,000 tickets sold and field trips for school groups booked until the fall.

The exhibition features more than 100 artifacts from the tomb of King Tut and sites representing some of the most important rulers throughout 2,000 years of ancient Egyptian history. Most of these artifacts have never been on display in the United States before this exhibition.

“This is an exciting time for not only Pacific Science Center, but for our state and region,” said Bryce Seidl, president and CEO for Pacific Science Center. “We have the great pleasure to be hosting the final showing in North America of the most special exhibition in the world. We are so excited to be able to bring the King Tut exhibit to our region as part of our 50thyear of community focused programs and events that showcase science, technology, history, culture and the imaginative spirit we cherish here in the Northwest.”

Come face-to-face with the largest image of King Tut ever unearthed – a 10-foot-statue of the pharaoh found at the remains of the funerary temple of two of his high officials. See authentic objects from King Tut’s tomb including jewelry, furniture and statuary, as well as the boy king’s golden sandals – created specifically for the afterlife and found covering his feet when his mummified remains were discovered by Carter. An extraordinary gold death mask that covered the head and chest of the mummy of King Psusennes I will also be showcased along with artifacts belonging to some of ancient Egypt’s most powerful rulers, such as Khufu, whose face adorns the Great Sphinx and who built one of the Great Pyramids, the only remaining structures of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

New scientific discoveries continue to provide insight into King Tut’s legendary life and death. The exhibition features a 3D replica of King Tut’s mummy, (the actual mummy has never left the Valley of the Kings in Egypt), as well as the first CT scans of the young king’s mummy obtained as part of a landmark Egyptian research and conservation project, partially funded by the National Geographic Society. The majority of proceeds from the tour support the preservation and conservation of antiquities and monuments in Egypt, including construction of the new Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza.

As part of the total experience, and in addition to an audio guide narrated by award-winning actor Harrison Ford ($6), Pacific Science Center will feature two IMAX® films: Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs, and Mysteries of Egypt. Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs takes audiences on a journey to the royal tombs of Egypt, exploring the history of ancient Egyptian society as told through the mummies of the past. A National Geographic film, Mysteries of Egypt, transports audiences to a distant time and place where the Nile River Valley cuts an emerald swath through the desert sands. Both films are free for members.

As the Science Center approaches its 50th anniversary on October 22, 2012, the institution is as committed as ever to serving the community and being an engine for creative and critical thinking for the Pacific Northwest. Bringing diverse programming and exhibits from around the world to the community is at the heart of Pacific Science Center's mission. As part of that effort, the Science Center is proud to bring King Tut back to Seattle.


EXHIBITION ORGANIZERS AND PARTNERS
Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs is organized by National Geographic and Arts & Exhibitions International, with cooperation from the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities. Northern Trust is a proud cultural partner. American Airlines is the official airline of the exhibition. The exhibition in Seattle is sponsored by Seattle's Convention & Visitors Bureau.


ABOUT PACIFIC SCIENCE CENTER
Located under the arches near the Space Needle, Pacific Science Center serves approximately one million guests on site and more than 300,000 students, teachers and families throughout Washington state each year. Pacific Science Center began as the United States Science Pavilion during the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. Millions came to explore the wonders of science during the World's Fair and upon closing ceremonies, the Science Pavilion was given new life as the private not-for-profit Pacific Science Center, becoming the first U.S. museum founded as a science and technology center. On July 22, 2010 Pacific Science Center was declared a City of Seattle Landmark. Pacific Science Center is committed to providing accessibility for all guests. For detailed information about our facility and services, please visit pacificsciencecenter.org.

Exceptional 3D Installs Autostereoscopic Displays at Newest Atlantic City Casino

Simulated image. Courtesy Exceptional 3D
New York, NY, USA /PRWEB/ -- Exceptional 3D has announced the implementation of their patented auto-stereoscopic 3D technology at Revel, a 6.3 million square foot beachfront destination in Atlantic City, building on an experience designed to inspire and entertain its guests. The relationship was cultivated through Exceptional 3D reseller TDN Money Systems, a Pennsylvania Gaming and Banking Distribution Corporation. The glasses-free 3D displays are a noticeable feature within the $2.4 billion properties 130,000 square foot gaming floor and pay compliment to the latest slot machine games from Bally Technologies.

“This is a very gratifying achievement as someone with first-hand professional marketing experience in Atlantic City’s luxury entertainment and casino industry,” said Eric Angello, CMO for Exceptional 3D. “Atmosphere, sensory indulgence, aesthetic swagger and natural activity contribute to the energy you feel at Revel,” continued Mr. Angello, “and our 3D technology is a perfect fit for the prevailing first-class environment.” Mr. Angello finished in saying, “we’ve always considered no-glasses 3D to be a logical fit because of its unique distinction from typical 2D signage and proven ability to increase customer awareness of events, promotions and experiential programming. This is a true benchmark for any glasses-free 3D customer experience in casino gaming, nightlife and entertainment.”

Revel embraces its natural surrounding from ocean to the beach and Boardwalk; the no-glasses 3D displays are an advocate of that archetype. The setting that the 3D technology was appointed to serves the surrounding area perfectly. According to Exceptional 3D, "The 3D content literally reaches out and invites guests into an aesthetically intriguing environment where the 3D displays have taken on a very cohesive form to match the overall look and feel."

“Exceptional 3D’s technology was something I considered to be a perfect fit for Revel’s lifestyle and gaming experience,” said a Revel Senior VP spokesperson. “We have many offerings for the guests that come to Revel,” continued the Senior VP spokesperson, “we were very excited at the opportunity to enhance the guest experience with glasses-free 3D while preserving the visual authenticity.” The Revel Senior VP spokesperson finished in saying, ”Exceptional 3D displays bring a real ‘WOW’ factor which would be overlooked with typical 2D signage and that is something we were very excited to incorporate into the gaming experience.”

This feat follows Exceptional 3D’s recent praise for being named "Best-In-Show" at DSE 2012 for "Best 3D Digital Signage Product."

ABOUT TDN MONEY SYSTEMS
TDN Money Systems, Inc is engaged in the development and distribution of gaming products to the casino and slot manufacturing industries. TDN commenced business in 1978 and has developed award winning systems and products for casinos throughout North America. TDN was recently awarded one of the Top 20 Most Innovative Gaming Technology Products Awards for 2011 by Casino Journal and our product called MIMO (Money in Money out) cash recycler will be profiled in the June issue of Casino Journal. “This is truly a great honor for our company and represents the second such award for TDN within the last ten years from the Casino Journal and puts us in the great Pantheon of companies that the Casino Journal has honored” we are ecstatic said Ed Hannon, Partner and VP of Business Development of TDN Money Systems.


ABOUT REVEL
Revel Atlantic City is a 6.2 million square foot beachfront entertainment resort on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City. Located just north of the Showboat Hotel and Casino, Revel is being built on a 20-acre site with 1,000 feet of Boardwalk frontage on what is arguably the most desirable beachfront location in Atlantic City. Revel is the product of a collaborative effort by an outstanding team of architects, designers, and entertainment consultants whose focus was to create a beachfront resort that would have strong appeal and attraction for the untapped market of over 40 million adults within a six hour drive of its location.


ABOUT EXCEPTIONAL 3D
Headquartered in New York, Exceptional 3D (http://www.exceptional3d.com) designs, produces and delivers a patented, leading-edge 3D auto-stereoscopic (no glasses needed) visual display technology. The company specializes in providing high quality auto-stereoscopic 3D displays, software and 3D content to resellers, system integrators, trendsetters and network operators for widespread adaptation at cost effective prices. Exceptional 3D hardware and software solutions are a ‘future-proof’ technology that enables flat-panel displays to show high-definition 3D content without the need for any eyewear or 3D glasses, while still being capable of supporting playback of standard 2D content. The company is ‘keeping it simple’ through first-in-class customer service and continual focus on delivering the best 3D experience for industries such as automotive, casino gaming, retail, cinemas, hospitality and a wide variety of additional vertical markets.

Two New Launch Capsule Slides Open at Wilderness Territory in the Dells

Wisconsin Dells, WI, USA /PRWEB/ -- The Lunar Loop and Cosmic Drop EXTREME “stomach dropping” adventures are now open at the Wilderness Territory, America’s Largest Waterpark Resort located in Wisconsin Dells.

According to Joe Eck, general manager for the Wilderness Hotel & Golf Resort, “These unbelievably cool slides are taking the Wilderness Territory’s waterparks to new extremes, and are definitely not meant for the faint-hearted.”

Both rides begin when a guest steps into a launch capsule. Facing forward with their arms crossed and everyone watching, the guest then waits for a countdown to begin. After hearing, three-two-one a trap door located in each of the floors swings open and leads to incredible five-story drops below.

The Lunar Loop propels daring guests at speeds of nearly 40 mph into a nearly vertical spiral over the Lost World Adventure River while the Cosmic Drop is a straight five-story plunge that feels like a heart-pounding free fall.

Eck adds, “The intensity of these rides is beyond extreme. Guests accelerate from zero to 2.5 g in less than two seconds on the Lunar Loop and both rides last under 7 seconds!”

The slides are located on the same tower as the Halley’s Comet Racers in the Lost World Waterpark at Glacier Canyon Lodge. Like all Wilderness Territory waterpark amenities, they are reserved exclusively for resort guests.

The slides are not the only new thing at the Wilderness. In January, the resort unveiled the indoor Northern Lights Sky Ropes Course. It allows adventure enthusiasts to take fun to a whole new level at our resort as they climb through 42 challenges in varying degrees of difficulty all while being harnessed in 30 feet above the Northern Lights Mega Arcade at the Wilderness Resort.

The Wilderness Territory consists of over 600 wooded acres in Wisconsin Dells and is home to Wilderness Hotel & Golf Resort, which features 444 guest rooms, 40 vacation villas, 76 Frontier Condominiums and 35 cabins. It is also home to Wilderness on the Lake which features 108 luxurious two and three bedroom condominium units overlooking Lake Delton; and Glacier Canyon Lodge, which features 460 upscale condominium units.

Combined, these three properties offer four indoor and four outdoor waterparks that total nearly 500,000 square feet – that’s over 12 football fields of extreme water fun! The Territory is also home to Wild Rock Golf Club; The Woods 9-Hole Family Course; Dodge ‘Em City; Timberland Play Park, a 35,000 square-foot, four story adventure with ball blasters, slides and crawl spaces; the OK Corral Lazer Tag Arena; The Wild Abyss and Wild Buccaneer indoor 3-D black light mini golf courses; Bumper Boats; Tombstone Town Haunted Hotel and Mineshaft Mirror Maze; Go-Karts and Kiddy-Karts; Wisconsin’s first canopy zip line tour; and outdoor Jurassic mini golf.

Many dining options are available at the Wilderness Territory, including: The Wild Canyon Café, a family-style restaurant; Field’s at the Wilderness - Premier Steak House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright protégé James Dresser; Sarento’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria; Monk’s Bar & Grill; Thirsty Buffalo Saloon; Survivors Bar and Grill; and a wide variety of grab and go options at various waterparks and in coffee shops.

The Wilderness Territory is easily accessible from Interstate 90 and 94, and located just minutes from popular attractions such as Dells Boat Tours, the Original Wisconsin Ducks, Tommy Bartlett Show, Ho-Chunk Casino and Tanger Outlet Mall. For more information on the resort or for reservations, visit their Web site athttp://www.wildernessresort.com 

TEA and AECOM publish global theme park attendance numbers for 2011


TEA/AECOM's annual study of global theme park attendance is a free resource for park operators, land developers & the travel industry. Top worldwide theme parks, amusement parks, water parks, and theme park group operators are named and industry trends are identified. This year: Two top American operators beat recession odds; Asia captures 1/3 of the global market.

The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) and AECOM have published the TEA/AECOM 2011 Theme Index: Global Attractions Attendance Report. This definitive, calendar-year study of attendance at major theme parks, amusement parks and water parks is an established, annual resource provided free of charge and widely used by land developers, creative professionals, the travel industry, the business community, the media and theme park fans. The Theme Index is the collaboration of TEA, international non-profit for the visitor attractions industry, and the Economics practice at AECOM, global provider of technical and management support services.

The full report is published online on the TEA website and the AECOM website.

The 2011 figures point to economic recovery and increased globalization of the themed entertainment industry. Asia's Top 20 parks for the first time surpassed 100 million attendance; Asia now represents 1/3 of the global visitor attractions market and could in time surpass the US. The quality of the guest experience at Asian attractions is also rising fast. In North America, Universal Studios Orlando and SeaWorld San Diego were attendance standouts, and Orlando tourism has rebounded. In Europe, hospitality packages and holiday specials helped theme parks maintain patronage and profitability.

TEA president Rick Rothschild
In the 20 years since TEA was founded, the international attractions industry which it serves has had its ups and downs - but overall it has grown and our members have grown with it," says TEA president Rick Rothschild. "The landscape is more international; attractions and audiences are more diverse; and a new generation of creative storytellers and technical specialists is emerging alongside the veterans. The TEA/AECOM Global Attractions Attendance Report is one of the critical resources our association provides to help the industry thrive - an annual snapshot to mark important trends, to facilitate networking and the exchange of information, to celebrate excellence and to foster business."

Quotes from the economics experts at AECOM:

IN THE AMERICAS, BOLD REINVESTMENT PRODUCES DRAMATIC GROWTH
John Robinett, Senior Vice President - Economics, AECOM
"Outstanding performers Universal Orlando and SeaWorld San Diego are a lesson on how to apply reinvestment to beat the business cycle. Overall, without Harry Potter, North America grew at 2.9% in 2011; subtract Harry Potter and it grew at 1.6%. Operators should take this to heart and apply their imaginations."

Brian Sands, AICP, Vice President - Economics + Planning, AECOM
"SeaWorld San Diego opened the new One World One Ocean show with Shamu and Baby Shamu, as well as Turtle Reef, and experienced double-digit (13%) attendance growth.

"For top parks in Latin America, estimated total attendance grew modestly by 0.7 % to 13.4 million in 2011. Leading the pack were Parque Mundo Aventura and El Salitre Magico in Bogota, Colombia."

ASIA PASSES THE 100 MILLION MARK, WITH ROOM TO GROW
Chris Yoshii, Global Director, Asia, AECOM
"In Asia, the future outlook remains very positive with strong growth in the middle class, urban populations looking for family outings and tourists eager for new experiences. Theme parks experienced very strong growth in 2011, with the Top 20 surpassing 100 million attendance, representing an overall increase of 9.4 percent - despite the disruptions of the Tohoku Earthquake in Japan.

"Significant capital improvements were strongly rewarded by the market: Ocean Park and Disney in Hong Kong (up 29% and 13% respectively), Lotte World in Seoul (up 37%), Nagashima Spa Land in Japan (up 30%) and Dinosaur Park Changzhou, which saw the greatest growth at 52%... Southeast Asia is quietly growing a substantial attractions industry, particularly water parks. Universal Studios Singapore had a strong opening year, with room to grow."

John Robinett
"With 105.1 million (to North America's 127 million) Asia represents about one-third of global theme park attendance. The gap will close substantially when Shanghai Disney opens. By adding 5-10 more theme parks, Asia will probably catch up to North America and then surpass it."

EUROPE HOLDS ITS OWN
David Camp, Vice President - Europe/Africa/Middle East, AECOM
"This year in Europe almost all of the Top 10 parks grew in attendance, including Disney (up 4.7%), Efteling (up 3.1%), Tivoli (up 7.2%) and PortAventura (up 15.5%)... The majority of the Top 20 parks in Europe now have hotels, busy with guests who often visit the park on 2 days for each overnight stay. It's become an important business driver."

KEY FIGURES:
TEA/AECOM 2011 Theme Index:
Global Attractions Attendance Report

  • 198.1 million: Total attendance for Top 25 worldwide parks, +4.8 % from 2010
  • 127 million: Total visits to Top 20 theme parks in North America, +2.9 % from 2010
  • 105.1 million: Total visits to Top 20 Asian theme parks, +9.4 % from 2010
  • 57.8 million: Attendance for Top 20 European theme parks, +2.8 % from 2010
  • 24.4 million: Top 20 worldwide water parks attendance in 2011, +9.4 % from 2010
  • 13.4 million: Total visits to Top 10 Latin American theme parks, +0.7 % from 2010
  • 12.1 million: Total visits to Top 10 Asian water parks, +22.3% from 2010

Top 5 theme parks worldwide, ranked by attendance: Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World (Orlando), Disneyland (Anaheim), Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo Disney Sea, Disneyland Park at Disneyland Paris (full Top 10 with numbers are in the complete report)

Top 5 theme park groups worldwide, ranked by attendance: Walt Disney Attractions, Merlin Entertainments Group, Universal Studios Recreation Group, Parques Reunidos, Six Flags (full Top 10 with numbers are in the complete report).

For additional figures and analysis of global theme park attendance, previous editions are available in the TEA Publications Archive.

ABOUT THE REPORT
The 2011 TEA/AECOM Global Attractions Attendance Report identifies the top commercial theme parks and waterparks around the world and reflects their performance for the calendar year. Global attendance data are broken down by geographic region, by chain and by type of venue. The report is a valuable business reference and resource for the visitor attractions industry, developers and the media, and widely read among the community of theme park fans. It is available free of charge from TEA and AECOM.

AECOM obtains the figures used to create the TEA/AECOM Theme Index through statistics furnished directly by theme park operators, financial reports, the investment banking community, local tourism organizations and other sources. The global market is studied as a whole, and its main regions are also studied separately: The Americas, Europe and Asia. There is also a table of the top water parks in the world and in the United States and Asia, and of the top international group operators.

ABOUT TEA
The TEA (Themed Entertainment Association) is an international nonprofit alliance founded in 1991 and based in Burbank, Calif. TEA represents some 7,000 creative specialists, from architects to designers, technical specialists to master planners, scenic fabricators to artists, and builders to feasibility analysts working in more than 780 firms in 40 different countries. TEA presents the annual Thea Awards and the TEA Summit and hosts the annual SATE conferences (Story, Architecture, Technology, Experience) in both Orlando and Europe. TEA produces a variety of print and electronic publications, including the annual TEA/AECOM Theme Index, TEA Project Development Guidelines and TEA Annual & Directory. Visit TEA on the web at http://www.teaconnect.org.

ABOUT AECOM
AECOM is a global provider of professional technical and management support services to a broad range of markets, including transportation, facilities, environmental, energy, water and government. With approximately 45,000 employees around the world, AECOM is a leader in all of the key markets that it serves. AECOM provides a blend of global reach, local knowledge, innovation and technical excellence in delivering solutions that create, enhance and sustain the world's built, natural, and social environments. A Fortune 500 company, AECOM serves clients in more than 130 countries and had revenue of $8.2 billion during the 12 months ended March 31, 2012. More information on AECOM and its services can be found at http://www.aecom.com.

Busch Gardens Summer Nights Brings New Entertainment to Tampa Park

Tampa, FL, USA -- Busch Gardens’ Summer Nights amps up the excitement year after year, and 2012 promises to offer even more after-dark entertainment and fun for the whole family with a new Latin-infused show at the Desert Grill and—for the first time ever—an amazing fireworks finale every night of the event.

From June 9 through Aug. 12, guests will experience extended park hours, special entertainment, high-energy DJs, and the thrill of riding world-class coasters in the dark, including Busch Gardens’ new triple-launch coaster, Cheetah Hunt.

The award-winning Kinetix show returns to Summer Nights with nightly performances of its rock-fueled blast of music and acrobatics. Kinetix’s energizing performances include live musicians, singers, dancers and artists from around the world. Their thrilling performance – along with modern music and pyrotechnic effects – will pump up the crowd every night in Gwazi Park at 9 p.m. Gates open at 8 p.m., so arrive early to ensure a good spot and enjoy the Party Starters’ pre-show interactive games and dancing.

NEW Fireworks Light Up the Sky Every Night
Celebrate the perfect end to the evening with an amazing fireworks finale. Busch Gardens lights up the sky every night of the event with an incredible aerial display set to popular music. The best views are in Gwazi Park, right after the nightly Kinetix show, but the fireworks are visible from all over the park.

NEW “Let’s Get Loud” Takes the Stage in the Desert Grill
Singers, dancers and musicians heat up Summer Nights with popular contemporary music and dance, incorporating the Latin flair of Miami’s South Beach. “Let’s Get Loud,” a Miami Dance Party, opens June 9 and will feature music and dance infused with Hispanic heat from well-known artists like Gloria Estefan, Enrique Iglesias and Ricky Martin.

On Fridays and Saturdays, the Party Starters will host dance challenges all day throughout the park and pick the most outgoing guests to compete in the Dance-Off competition that evening. The Dance-Off will be a three-round competition starting at 7 p.m. in the Desert Grill. The audience picks the winner with “the best moves” by applause, and first prize is four tickets to come back to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.

Don’t forget that Busch Gardens is the place to be this summer ­– both day AND night – with brand-new attractions that offer exciting entertainment for everyone. Busch Gardens just opened its biggest ice show ever, Iceploration, bringing to life an all-new adventure filled with world-class skaters, original costumes, amazing aerial performances, master puppetry and live animal stars. The park’s new Animal Care Center welcomes guests to closely observe and even take part in the animal care experience in this new state-of-the-art facility. And the park’s newest mega-attraction and Florida’s first triple-launch coaster, Cheetah Hunt, launches riders from 0 to 60 in a matter of seconds. If going from zero to cheetah is not your speed, guests can watch as Busch Gardens’ cheetahs sprint several times a day in Cheetah Run.

Park hours for Summer Nights are extended until 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and until 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Summer Nights is included with a day’s paid admission or any annual pass. For more information on Summer Nights and Busch Gardens, visit BuschGardens.com

Alton Towers Brings in Contortionists to Help Staff Overcome Claustrophobia

Alton, UK (May 30, 2012) -- In an attempt to help staff suffering with claustrophobia from working in the suffocating conditions of Nemesis Sub-Terra, Alton Towers Resort bosses have gone to bizarre lengths by introducing a series of claustrophobia workshops.

Led by one of the UK's most popular contortionists, Pixie Le Knot, the classes will train staff to become comfortable working deep underground, in the confined spaces within Nemesis Sub-Terra.

Since the attraction opened a few months ago, a large proportion of staff have admitted to having suffered with claustrophobia from working in airless catacombs, endless tunnels and dark, cramped cages.

Deep underground in the belly of the attraction, Pixie and her team today began the class by demonstrating their skills in dealing with intensely small spaces. As the contortionists crammed themselves in to a perspex box, workers looked astonished at the body-shocking spectacle whilst Pixie explained how they handle such tight and often uncomfortable conditions.

Resort bosses are confident that their unique, if not slightly unusual, approach to staff training will pay off. Katherine Duckworth from Alton Towers Resort commented, “Nemesis Sub-Terra is set to push you to your limits. While our guests experience around four minutes of the intensity underground, our employees spend eight hours in the claustrophobic confines of this attraction. We’ve given our staff an unusual training session today and hope that Pixie will help them overcome their fears of the small spaces in the attraction.”

Visit www.altontowers.com for more information.

MERLIN ENTERTAINMENTS is the leading name in location-based, family entertainment, and has seen the most successful and dynamic growth of any company in the sector over the last five years. Europe’s Number 1 and the world’s second-largest visitor attraction operator, Merlin now operates 89 attractions, seven hotels/two holiday villages in 19 countries and across four continents. The company aims to deliver memorable and rewarding experiences to its 46 million visitors worldwide, through its iconic global and local brands, and the commitment and passion of its managers and more than 17,000 employees. Among Merlin’s attractions are - SEA LIFE, Madame Tussauds, LEGOLAND, The EDF Energy London Eye, Dungeons, Gardaland, LEGOLAND Discovery Centres, Alton Towers Resort, Warwick Castle, THORPE PARK, Chessington World of Adventures Resort, Blackpool Tower, Heide Park, Sydney Aquarium, WILD LIFE Sydney, Sydney Tower Eye and SKYWALK, Siam Ocean World and Busan Aquarium. All brands which are distinctive, challenging and innovative – and which have great potential for growth in the future. Visit www.merlinentertainments.biz for more information.

Registration, Hotel, and Theme Park Tour Info for SATE 2012

Burbank, CA, USA (May 30, 2012) --  SATE is the annual Experience Design conference hosted by the Themed Entertainment Association. SATE 2012 will take place 19-21 September at Disneyland Paris.

SATE 2012 Registration is now live at the TEA Box Office.

Hotel Link (English) : http://www.disneylandparis-business.com/en/login/POA/
Login: tea
Password: disney57663
  • Disneyland Paris has provided a special discounted room rate of 143 Euros per night for SATE conference attendees. 
  • The cutoff date for this rate is August 28th, 2012. After that date reservations will be granted upon availability only 
  • Payment is due when booked online by credit card. 
  • Should you need any further information on SATE online reservations, the Disneyland Paris Business Solutions Reservation team is available at 33 - (0)1 60 45 73 99 
  • More information about the hotel at this link.
TEA is in the process of organizing a special group visit to Puy du Fou and Futuroscope immediately following SATE 2012. This optional trip, 21-23 September, would be open to conference attendees and require separate registration.

Both Puy du Fou and Futuroscope were honored with Thea Awards this year.

 If you are interested in joining this excursion, please send an email to TEA Event Producer Kathy Oliver (kathy@teaconnect.org). This will assist TEA in estimating numbers in order to finalize arrangements for transportation, hotels and pricing.

New Gallery Dedicated to Frank Lloyd Wright Opening at SC Johnson Headquarters

Racine, WI, USA (May 30, 2012) /PRNewswire/ -- Beginning June 2, architecture fans can explore Frank Lloyd Wright's transformative Prairie-Style designs at a new, free gallery opening on SC Johnson's historic Wright-designed campus. The SC Johnson Gallery: At Home with Frank Lloyd Wright showcases a rotating selection of Wright's designs and artifacts and explores the legendary architect's influence on families and the American home.

"SC Johnson's history with Frank Lloyd Wright spans many decades, and his impact on our headquarters campus is enduring. But Wright's influence goes beyond that, to the home," said Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO of SC Johnson. "My family has a long appreciation for Wright's vision, and we are thrilled to open this exhibit here in Racine – another unique attraction for people to experience when they visit."

The Gallery is housed in SC Johnson's Foster + Partners-designed Fortaleza Hall, also home to the Frank Lloyd Wright Research Library which features a collection of more than 800 items. The Gallery is co-curated by Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer, Archives Director at Taliesin West, Ariz., and Brady Roberts, Chief Curator of the Milwaukee Art Museum.

"We carefully selected items – including many never exhibited before – to bring Wright's Prairie-Style designs to life," said Pfeiffer, who worked with Wright before the architect died in 1959 and has been the driving force of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives since then. "Not only was Wright influenced by natural landscapes to design homes that organically fit into its surroundings, but he also believed that each home's furnishings were an integral part of its design, which is evident in the artifacts you'll see inThe Gallery."

During the early 20th century, Wright developed a philosophical foundation for his work based on how people connect with nature. This notion shaped his highly influential Prairie-Style homes from 1899-1909, which established his reputation as a world-famous architect. Simultaneously, Wright and several other architects from the Midwest came to be known collectively as "The Prairie School." This group preferred an architecture style that stressed horizontality in houses – the line of the prairie – and evolved into a style in which rooms opened unto each other and extended the spatial enclosure into the site.

The Prairie-Style exhibit is the first in an annual series of exhibits at The Gallery, done in collaboration with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. Rather than simply reflecting one period of Wright's work, the collection will continue to explore Wright's influence on the home throughout his career – from Wright's earliest exploration of the natural house in the late 1800s through his American System-Built pre-cut housing venture of 1917 to his reinvention of the American home in 1940. The collection will also feature artifacts from the mid-1950s, when his work reached legendary scale.

The SC Johnson Gallery is the result of a July 2011 agreement between SC Johnson and the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation for a long-term loan of a collection of Wright artifacts. The agreement was the newest chapter in a relationship that started more than 70 years ago.

In 1935, H.F. Johnson, Jr., third generation company leader, returned from his historic trip to Fortaleza, Brazil, invigorated and energetic. At that time, designs were in development for the company's Administration Building. With his renewed outlook, Johnson sought out Frank Lloyd Wright for new designs with a more modern approach. Last year marked the 75th anniversary of the meeting between Johnson and Wright, which resulted in the commission of the SC Johnson Administration Building. Eight years later, Wright also designed the Research Tower. Thousands of tourists and architecture enthusiasts visit SC Johnson's global headquarters each year to see Wright's renowned designs.

To celebrate The Gallery opening, SC Johnson has expanded hours for visitors. Three tour programs which run from 1 hour to 3.5 hours are offered. Tours are on Fridays and Saturdays and are all free of charge. They include:

  • The Legacies Tour (3.5 hours) – SC Johnson's headquarters is home to remarkable legacies by inspired leaders. In this in-depth, 3.5-hour tour, explore the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Administration Building as well as the award-winning Foster + Partners-designed Fortaleza Hall with the Spirit of Carnauba airplane soaring at its heart. See Sam Johnson's acclaimed film Carnauba: A Son's Memoir, with its enduring family message, and enjoy the Academy Award-winning documentary To Be Alive! This tour also includes The SC Johnson Gallery: At Home with Frank Lloyd Wright.
  • The Landmarks Tour (2 hours) – Designed in 1936, the Administration Building was the first project that Frank Lloyd Wright designed for SC Johnson. Renowned for its unique dendriform columns, open concept half-acre of workspace, circular "bird cage" elevators and 43 miles of glass tubing, this landmark is celebrated as one of the top 25 buildings of the 20th century. In this 2-hour tour, explore the Administration Building and visit the award-winning Foster + Partners-designed Fortaleza Hall. Then, enjoy The SC Johnson Gallery: At Home with Frank Lloyd Wright.
  • The Gallery Tour (1 hour) – The 1-hour Gallery Tour is designed for those who want to focus on the new SC Johnson Gallery and its debut exhibit.

The Lily Pad, a unique gift shop featuring exclusive SC Johnson memorabilia and Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired items, is open in conjunction with all tours.

For more information on tours of the SC Johnson campus, please call (262) 260-2154, email Tours@scj.com, or use the online scheduling tool at www.scjohnson.com/visi

SC Johnson is a family-owned and managed business dedicated to innovative, high-quality products, excellence in the workplace and a long-term commitment to the environment and the communities in which it operates. Based in the USA, the company is one of the world's leading manufacturers of household cleaning products and products for home storage, air care, pest control and shoe care. It markets such well-known brands as GLADE®, KIWI®, OFF!®, PLEDGE®, RAID®, SCRUBBING BUBBLES®, SHOUT®, WINDEX® and ZIPLOC® in the U.S. and beyond, with brands marketed outside the U.S. including AUTAN®, TANA®, BAMA®, BAYGON®, BRISE®, KABIKILLER®, KLEAR®, MR. MUSCLE®, and RIDSECT®. The 126-year-old company, that generates $9 billion in sales, employs nearly 13,000 people globally and sells products in virtually every country around the world.www.scjohnson.com

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Nearly Mile Long Elevated Walkway Opens Above Nature's Top Predators

Keenesburg, CO, USA (May 29, 2012) /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Take a walk on the wild side as you stroll over 290 Lions, Tigers, Bears, Wolves and other Large Carnivores on one of the longest and most unique elevated pedestrian walkways in the world. The Wild Animal Sanctuary (TWAS), located 30 miles northeast of Denver, recently completed construction on its monumental "Mile Into The Wild" Walkway.

The walkway stretches more than 4,800 feet in length and traverses over 21 of the non-profit facility's large acreage habitats. While the new structure provides unparalleled access to hundreds of rescued animals, the magnitude of the construction was nothing less than extraordinary as well.

The amount of materials and labor required by the project were astronomical. The educational expansion was built with more than 100 sections of bridging in multiple phases. Close to one million pounds of steel, and nearly a half million pounds of concrete were needed to complete the walkway that ranges in height from 18 to 42 feet. The strength of the walkway is nearly indestructible as it is capable of holding over 2 million tons; comparatively, the weight of more than 1,000 Elephants could easily walk on it at one time. The walkway is also so long that it can comfortably fit 4,000 people on it with everyone having lots of personal space. More than 3,000 gallons of paint were used which is enough to paint 200 average sized homes.

Along with 2,000 pounds of welds and over a quarter million pounds of lumber, the completion of the expansion is a spectacular feat in itself. The Executive Director of the Sanctuary, Pat Craig, designed, engineered and built the entire walkway with a very small team of people. The small team defied all odds as it only took less than a year to complete the entire project. When asked about the significance of the walkway, Craig said, "we have worked tirelessly on this project for several months, as it is one of the biggest and most important projects the Sanctuary has ever completed. It not only increases our educational scope, it also gives visitors stunning views of Large Carnivores that cannot be experienced anywhere else in the United States. This record breaking walkway would not have been possible without the generosity of all of our wonderful supporters, so we are forever grateful for their help in completing this project."

The non-profit organization implemented a "Mile Into The Wild" funding campaign several years ago to help off-set the enormous costs of the educational project. People can continue to help fund the project by purchasing customized bronze plaques that are mounted on the walkway to commemorate their support. More information on the campaign can be found by going to their web site atwww.wildanimalsanctuary.org.

About The Wild Animal Sanctuary:
Rocky Mountain Wildlife Conservation Center, Inc., DBA The Wild Animal Sanctuary is a 720 acre refuge for large carnivores that have been confiscated from illegal or abusive situations. The Sanctuary is located 30 miles northeast of Denver, Colorado near the town of Keenesburg. The non-profit organization currently cares for more than 290 Lions, Tigers, Bears, Wolves and other large carnivores and provides lifelong care for its rescued animals. The Sanctuary is the oldest and largest carnivore sanctuary in existence, having been in operation since 1980. The facility is distinctive among others in that it provides large acreage natural habitats for its rescued animals to live in and roam freely. The Sanctuary is open daily to the public for educational purposes and features a "Mile Into The Wild" Walkway that visitors utilize to see the animals in natural habitats.

VIDEO: Transformers the Ride 3D Opening Ceremony, Universal Studios Hollywood

VIDEO: LEGOLAND Water Park Opening Ceremony, LEGOLAND Florida

VIDEO: Verbolten Opening Ceremony, Busch Gardens Williamsburg

VIDEO: Manta Opening Ceremony, SeaWorld San Diego

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Manta Spreads its Watery Wings at SeaWorld San Diego

San Diego, CA, USA (May 26, 2012) -- The wait for Manta is over! After 18 months of construction and years of planning, SeaWorld guests are officially Riding the Ray and Feeling the Rush on San Diego’s first double-launch, multi-media roller coaster, Manta!

A festive grand opening ceremony hosted by SeaWorld Park President John Reilly and attended by San Diego City Council President Tony Young and San Diego City Council Member Lori Zapf preceded the first official Manta launch. Following a dramatic performance and drum roll by ensemble group TAIKOPROJECT and a “kelp ribbon” cutting, the first riders on Manta were students from the Elementary Institute of Science — a science enrichment program dedicated to nurturing the intellectual curiosity of San Diego's young people by providing hands-on experiences to stimulate an ongoing appreciation and understanding science, technology and the environment. As part of the grand opening, SeaWorld made a $10,000 donation to the nonprofit program and invited 20 students to be the first riders on opening day.

With Manta, SeaWorld has combined the thrill of an amazing double-launch roller coaster with an incredible, hands-on animal experience. The coaster features multiple twists and turns, an exciting 54-foot drop and a launch station with a 270-degree enveloping screen. Plus, riders and non-riders alike may enjoy dozens of rays, which can be seen in a 100,000-gallon aquarium through eight acrylic viewing windows, and, they can even reach in and touch and feed rays in a shallow pool.

Manta is located just north of Dolphin Point. SeaWorld worked with German ride design company MACK, which also engineered the marine-life park’s popular ride, Journey To Atlantis.

Friday, May 25, 2012

USA Pavilion at Yeosu Expo 2012 Welcomes 100,000th Visitor

Jung family at USA Pavilion
Yeosu, South Korea (May 25, 2012) -- The USA Pavilion at Expo 2012 in Yeosu, Korea has received more than 100,000 visitors since opening on May 12. Large crowds arrive daily to experience the USA Pavilion’s themes of Diversity, Wonder and Solutions and interact with its 40 Korean-speaking Student Ambassadors.

The USA Pavilion’s 100,000th visitors were the Jung family from Ulsan, Korea. Mr. Jung Byeong Chun, Ms. Nam Geum Na and their sons Jung Gi Du and Jung Ji Hoon drove to the Expo and their first visit of the day was the USA Pavilion. They were greeted and escorted through the Pavilion experience by USA Pavilion Student Ambassadors.

“We are very pleased that the USA Pavilion’s themes and multi-dimensional attractions are resonating with so many visitors from Korea and around the world,” said Andrew Snowhite, Chief Executive Officer, USA Pavilion 2012. “Our goal is to engage and inspire hundreds of thousands more people this summer to take action for a brighter future.”

USA Pavilion 2012 is a public-private partnership and the U.S. Department of State has partnered with explorer, environmentalist and social entrepreneur Philippe Cousteau Jr., to design, build and operate the USA Pavilion. It is funded exclusively through private donations. Corporate sponsors include: Chevron; Citi; Boeing; Hyundai Motor Company; Kia Motors America; Coca-Cola; Lockheed Martin; Samsung Electronics America, Inc.; Corning Incorporated; General Electric; and Becton Dickinson.

For more information about the USA Pavilion, please go to http://www.pavilion2012.org/.

Newlyweds Soar at Fiesta Texas

San Antonio, TX, USA (May 25, 2012) /PRNewswire/ -- Brides and grooms soared into their future together on the all-new SkyScreamer at Six Flags Fiesta Texas. The park hosted a special high flying wedding ceremony to celebrate the tower ride's grand opening. Festivities included live entertainment, photos, and a special wedding reception for the couples and their wedding guests. SkyScreamer will open to park guests Sunday, May 27.

Towering 200 feet above the ground, SkyScreamer will surpass the height of the park's quarry walls. Thirty-two guests will board the ride and sit two across in open air swings as they are raised to the top of the SkyScreamer tower while spinning round and round. At full swing, guests will soar in a 98-ft. circle at speeds of 40 mph with the rest of the park far below their dangling feet. By day, guests will have an aerial view for miles past the cliff walls and provide exciting views of downtown San Antonio.

"SkyScreamer will provide a breathtaking, panoramic view towering above our unique park setting. From the vantage point of these thrilling, open-air swings, guests will have an unusual birds' eye perspective of the San Antonio skyline as they soar to new heights," said park president Martin Bozer.

In addition to boasting a full lineup of thrilling rides, Six Flags Fiesta Texas is America's favorite show park. Take a trip back to when Rock-and-Roll was young, saddle shoes were the rage and poodle skirts were in fashion during Rockin' at Rockville High -- 20th Anniversary. Set in the Rockville High Theatre, this nostalgic '50s era show tells the story of teenage love, school spirit and dreams from a simpler time. Inspired by the original '92 production this show features classic music of the time.

Country Chart Toppers showcases the diverse sounds and styles of country music. Set in Sundance Theatre, this show features current favorites destined to be tomorrow's classics, including "Sparks Fly" and "Don't You Wanna Stay." Beginning June 9, join our performers and live band for Grassroots Country,which pays tribute to some favorite Bluegrass and Country classics in Sundance Theatre.

White Water Bay water park is now open weekends and will begin daily operation June 2. White Water Bay is FREE with park admission! For extreme water thrills, Big Bender delivers plunging dips, dark twisting tunnels, and energizing waterfalls, watch out for that 50-foot drop! The excitement continues in Lone Star Lagoon, a Texas shaped wave pool and for the little ones, there's a special area designed just for them!

The bright lights of Broadway also return June 2, with Ovation! Set in the Zaragoza Theatre, this exciting new production incorporates video projection, special effects, unique lighting and elaborate costumes to create an electric, high-energy event. Ovation features approximately 20 performers, many from other award-winning park shows, and a nine-piece band highlighting Broadway classics and recent Broadway hits.

Go Fireworks! Go Six Flags Fiesta Texas! Experience a salute to Texas unlike any other as with the Lone Star Nights Laser and Fireworks Celebration. With remarkable pyrotechnics and special effects, there's no better way to end your night than with a bang! Broadcast on a football field-sized section of the park's quarry walls, the production includes enhanced video projection, new lasers, audio, custom pyrotechnics and special effects. The celebratory storyline is a salute to the Lone Star State of today, highlighting the various cultures, places and people that make Texas unique. Lone Star Nights Laser and Fireworks Celebration will be featured Saturdays and Sundays and nightly summer operation beginning June 9.

About Six Flags Entertainment Corporation
Six Flags Entertainment Corporation is the world's largest regional theme park company with $1.0 billionin revenue and 19 parks across the United States, Mexico and Canada. For more than 50 years, Six Flags has entertained millions of families with world-class coasters, themed rides, thrilling water parks and unique attractions including up-close animal encounters, Fright Fest and Holiday in the Park. For more information visit sixflags.com .

TEA and AECOM to release TEA/AECOM 2011 Theme Index: Global Attractions Attendance Report

Magic Kingdom, world's most attended theme park according to new TEA/AECOM report. Photo copyright Disney
Burbank, California USA, 25 May 2012 – The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) and AECOM have released a preview of the TEA/AECOM 2011 Theme Index: Global Attractions Attendance Report. The full report will be published within a few days. This definitive, calendar-year study of attendance at major theme parks, amusement parks and water parks is an established, annual resource provided free of charge and widely used by land developers, creative professionals, the travel industry, the business community, the media and theme park fans. The Theme Index is the collaboration of TEA, international non-profit for the visitor attractions industry, and the Economics practice at AECOM, global provider of technical and management support services. It is distributed online and in print. The full report will be available online at http://www.TEAConnect.org/pdf/2011Report.pdf  and http://www.aecom.com/economics.


The 2011 figures point to economic recovery and to increased globalization of the themed entertainment industry. Having for the first time crossed the 100 million mark in attendance, Asia now represents 1/3 of the global visitor attractions market and could in time surpass the US. The quality of the guest experience at Asian attractions is also rising fast. In North America, Universal Studios Orlando and SeaWorld San Diego were standouts in attendance growth, and Orlando tourism has rebounded. In Europe, hospitality packages and holiday specials have helped theme parks maintain patronage and profitability.

“In the 20 years since TEA was founded, the international attractions industry which it serves has had its ups and downs - but overall it has grown and our members have grown with it," says TEA president Rick Rothschild. "The landscape is more international; attractions and audiences are more diverse; and a new generation of creative storytellers and technical specialists is emerging alongside the veterans. The TEA/AECOM Global Attractions Attendance Report is one of the critical resources our association provides to help the industry thrive - an annual snapshot to mark important  trends, to facilitate networking and the exchange of information, to celebrate excellence and to foster business."

The preview of the report, below, includes quotes from the economics experts at AECOM, and key figures.


Quotes from the economics experts at AECOM

In the Americas, bold reinvestment produces dramatic growth

John Robinett, Senior Vice President - Economics
"A pair of outstanding performers - Universal Orlando and SeaWorld San Diego - are a lesson to all operators on how to apply reinvestment to beat the business cycle. Overall, without Harry Potter, North America grew at North America grew at 2.9% in 2011; subtract Harry Potter, and it grew at 1.6%. It takes guts to invest in the teeth of a recession, and it's these bold management moves that have led to the success of our leaders this year. As full economic recovery in North America and Europe is going to take a while, operators should take this to heart and apply their imaginations."

Brian Sands, AICP, Vice President - Economics + Planning
"The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, with its remarkable (dare I say “magical”?) increase of 1.725 million attendees accounted for about half of the total estimated increase in attendance at the Top 20. From the West Coast comes another impressive example: SeaWorld San Diego, which in 2011 opened the new One World One Ocean show with Shamu and Baby Shamu, as well as Turtle Reef, a multi-faceted attraction, and also experienced double-digit (13%) attendance growth.

"For top parks in Latin America, estimated total attendance grew modestly by 0.7 % to 13.4 million in 2011. Leading the pack in terms of growth were Parque Mundo Aventura and El Salitre Magico in Bogota, Colombia. Both parks made substantial additions to their attractions."

Asia passes the 100 million mark

Chris Yoshii, Global Director, Asia
"The various parks that did significant capital improvements were strongly rewarded by the market. They include Ocean Park and Disney in Hong Kong (up 36% and 13% respectively), Lotte World in Seoul (up 37%), Nagashima Spa Land in Japan (up 30%) and Dinosaur Park Changzhou, which saw the greatest growth at 52%... The Asia market loves shows and live entertainment and there is a growing market for high end shows and show elements, multimedia spectaculars, night shows, lake shows that are well choreographed, with Cirque du Soleil type acrobatics... Southeast Asia is quietly growing a substantial attractions industry - particularly waterparks which require a smaller footprint and capital investment... In Asia overall, we are still a good way from the saturation point."

John Robinett
"With 105.1 million (to North America's 127 million) Asia represents about one-third of global theme park attendance. The gap will close substantially when Shanghai Disney opens - and we already know of several other major Asian theme parks planned or under construction. By adding 5-10 more theme parks, Asia will probably catch up to North America and then surpass it."

Europe holds its own

David Camp, Vice President - Europe/Africa/Middle East
"For the previous 3-4 years, the recession has been reasonably good to theme parks round Europe; attendance has grown and for the most part revenues too, with the more tourist-oriented parks showing more volatility and local parks holding up well. But this year, almost all of the top 10 parks have grown in attendance, including Disney (up 4.7%), Efteling (up 3.1%), Tivoli (up 7.2%) and PortAventura (up 15.5%)... People are becoming ever more budget-conscious but are still taking short breaks and days out... The majority of the top 20 parks in Europe have hotel accommodation now and these hotels are busy with guests who often visit the park on two days for each overnight stay. It's become an important business driver."


Key Figures from
TEA/AECOM 2011 Theme Index:
Global Attractions Attendance Report

·         198.1 million: Total attendance for top 25 worldwide parks, +4.8 % difference to 2010
·         127 million: Total visits to top 20 theme parks in North America, +2.9 % difference to 2010
·         105.1 million: Total visits to the top 20 Asian theme parks, +9.4 % difference to 2010
·         57.8 million: Attendance for the top 20 European theme parks, +2.8 % difference to 2010
·         24.4 million: Top 20 worldwide waterparks attendance in 2011, +9.4 % difference to 2010
·         13.4 million: Total visits to top 10 Latin American theme parks, +0.7 % difference to 2010
·         12.1 million: Total visits to top 10 Asian water parks, +22.3% difference to 2010
·         Top 5 theme parks worldwide, ranked by attendance: Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World (Orlando), Disneyland (Anaheim), Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo Disney Sea, Disneyland Park at Disneyland Paris (full Top 10 with numbers will be published in the complete report)
·         Top 5 theme park groups worldwide, ranked by attendance: Walt Disney Attractions, Merlin Entertainments Group, Universal Studios Recreation Group, Parques Reunidos, Six Flags (full Top 10 with numbers will be published in the complete report).
The full TEA/AECOM 2011 Theme Index will shortly be published online at http://www.aecom.com/economics or http://www.TEAConnect.org/pdf/2011Report.pdf.

Previous editions:

About the TEA/AECOM 2011 Theme Index:
Global Attractions Attendance Report
The 2011 TEA/AECOM Global Attractions Attendance Report - previewed here, and to be published in full within a few days - identifies the top commercial theme parks and waterparks around the world and reflects their performance for the calendar year. Global attendance data are broken down by geographic region, by chain and by type of venue. The report is a valuable business reference and resource for the visitor attractions industry, developers and the media, and widely read among the community of theme park fans. It is available free of charge from TEA and AECOM.

AECOM obtains the figures used to create the TEA/AECOM Theme Index through statistics furnished directly by theme park operators, financial reports, the investment banking community, local tourism organizations and other sources. The global market is studied as a whole, and its main regions are also studied separately: The Americas, Europe and Asia. There is also a table of the top waterparks in the world and in the United States and Asia, and of the top international group operators.

About TEA
The TEA (Themed Entertainment Association) is an international nonprofit alliance founded in 1991 and based in Burbank, Calif. TEA represents some 7,000 creative specialists, from architects to designers, technical specialists to master planners, scenic fabricators to artists, and builders to feasibility analysts working in more than 780 firms in 40 different countries. TEA presents the annual Thea Awards and the TEA Summit and hosts the annual SATE conferences (Story, Architecture, Technology, Experience) in both Orlando and Europe. TEA  produces a variety of print and electronic publications, including the annual TEA/AECOM Theme Index, TEA Project Development Guidelines and TEA Annual & Directory. Visit TEA: on the web at www.TEAconnect.org; on LinkedIn and on Facebook.

About AECOM
AECOM is a global provider of professional technical and management support services to a broad range of markets, including transportation, facilities, environmental, energy, water and government. With approximately 45,000 employees around the world, AECOM is a leader in all of the key markets that it serves. AECOM provides a blend of global reach, local knowledge, innovation and technical excellence in delivering solutions that create, enhance and sustain the world's built, natural, and social environments. A Fortune 500 company, AECOM serves clients in more than 130 countries and had revenue of $8.2 billion during the 12 months ended March 31, 2012. More information on AECOM and its services can be found at www.aecom.com.