Friday, August 31, 2012

GSCA Announces Ottawa as Site of 2013 International Conference

Lake Anna, VA --- GSCA is pleased to announce that the 2013 International Conference and Trade Show will be held at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, on September 14-17, 2013. The Canadian Museum of Civilization IMAX Theatre has a convertible dome/flat screen, so flat-screen and dome presentations will be held in the same theater.

The dates and location for the 2013 Film Expo will be confirmed soon, and further details about both events will be posted at www.giantscreencinema.com as they become available.

Oceans of Fun Expands Waterpark, Merges with Worlds of Fun Theme Park

Kansas City, MO, USA (August 31, 2012) -- Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, Mo, the region’s premier entertainment attraction, celebrates its 40th anniversary by announcing the largest expansion of Oceans of Fun in the park’s history. The extensive project will be highlighted by the combination of both parks into a single admission ticket and the addition of six new slides.

Worlds of Fun will offer more value than ever in 2013 by combining both Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun to a one ticket admission. With both parks for the price of one in 2013, every guest will have access to 235-acres of rides, shows, and attractions, complete with a massive water park expansion.

The six new slides, which nearly double the park’s slide capacity, will be housed on a 65-foot-tall complex overlooking Surf City Wave Pool. At the peak stands three flat line loop slides, where guests climb into the Aqua-Launch, a chamber with a floor that suddenly drops out, sending riders on a high-speed near vertical drop and a series of loops and s-curves in a translucent flume. Known as a “constrictor”, the fourth slide features double tubes spiraling down an enclosed slide with four 360-degree tight turns. Two other enclosed tube slides feature high speed drops and banks.

Other new additions at Oceans of Fun include renovated slide complexes and pool areas, new retail locations, and guest amenities such as new cabanas and more lounge chairs. Construction at Oceans of Fun will begin this fall and will be documented on the park’s social media channels and official blog. G

"Our 40th anniversary season will be Worlds of Fun’s biggest yet," states Frank Wilburn, Vice President and General Manager at Worlds of Fun. “We look forward to expanding and improving what is already a world-class amusement park and waterpark."

In addition to nearly twice the slide capacity at Oceans of Fun, the parks will release additional improvements and events throughout the coming months to celebrate the park’s 40th anniversary. Visit worldsoffun.com for up to date information regarding these announcements.

Worlds of Fun is owned and operated by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, a publicly traded partnership that is listed for trading on The New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “FUN.” In addition to Worlds of Fun, Cedar Fair owns and operates ten other amusement parks, six water parks, one indoor water park resort, and five hotels. Cedar Fair also operates the Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park in Gilroy, Calif. under a management contract.

Magna-Tech Named Distributor for Konica Minolta Planetarium Products

Miami, FL -- Konica Minolta Planetarium CO., LTD. (KMP) is pleased to name Magna-Tech Electronic Company, Inc. as their North American and Russian distributor, effective September 1st, 2012.  Magna-Tech Electronic Company (MTE) is just one of several companies owned by International Cinema Equipment Company (ICEC) with partners and agents in over 18 countries. Please go to: http://www.iceco.com/Worldwide.htm for a complete list.

MTE is an Academy Award winner for Technical Achievement and has been part of the motion picture and giant screen industry since 1975.  They are among the largest suppliers of 2K and 4K Digital Cinema Projector Systems in the world. MTE has been supplying sound system components, as well as 2-D and 3-D cinema systems, to North American planetarium integrators for many years. As MTE President Steven Krams stated, “It is only a natural progression for us to be a distributor of quality Konica Minolta digital planetariums. Our company motto is: Give us four walls and we'll give you a theater. We look forward to adding: Give us four walls and we'll give you a planetarium. Every element required to make a planetarium from dome to sound to lighting to theater seating to show content can be provided turn-key by Magna-Tech Electronic Company.”

Hiroaki Ueda, KMP stated: “I am excited about this new distributorship and see a bright future for Konica Minolta Planetariums. Naming Magna-Tech Electronic Company as a distributor of our planetarium products means more competitive pricing and a greater selection of high-quality supporting products and services for planetariums in North America and Russia.”

For sales, service and product inquiries, please contact MTE’s corporate office:

MAGNA-TECH ELECTRONIC COMPANY 1998 NE 150th Street North
Miami, FL 33181 USA  Phone (305) 573-7339 | Fax (305) 573-8101
Customer Service Email: cs@myiceco.com.

NSCA and InfoComm End Partnership: NSCA to Retain Supportive Role

Cedar Rapids, IA -- Although the National Systems Contractors Association has allowed its five year contract with InfoComm to expire, NSCA will be present on both the show floor and in hosting the NSCA Education Foundation Industry Charity Concert featuring the Drunk Unkles in 2013.

In addition to its continued presence at the InfoComm show, NSCA will provide more frequent educational opportunities at smaller venues and events to capitalize on emerging markets, such as Mass Notification and Emergency Communication systems, keep its members apprised of policies and regulations, and build business and management skills that will help integrators grow and prosper.

GSCA Host Theater Installing New Screen and Projector

by Joe Kleiman, IPM Online News Editor

Sacramento, CA, USA (August 31, 2012) -- The Esquire IMAX Theatre, host to next month's Giant Screen Cinema Association International Conference, will close September 4 to add a new 24,000 watt digital sound system, 3D screen, and IMAX Digital projector.  The digital projection system will be placed on rails, allowing it to be alternate in front of a larger port window, already installed, with the existing IMAX GT projector.

When it opened in 1940, the Esquire Theatre featured the tallest cinema marquee west of the Mississippi.  The theater remained in operation through the 1980's, by which time it had become a grindhouse showing Hong Kong action films.  In 1999, it was reborn as an IMAX theater as part of a new office and retail development, and as a flagship to the revitalization of Sacramento's historic K Street Mall. The origital marquee was retained, with the doors, entrance tile, and poster cases either being restored or replicated.  Everything behind the facade is new construction.

The top two floors of the theater are a parking garage shared with the office building next door.  Because of the need to keep the marquee as the tallest part of the structure, a unique architectural approach was taken.  Instead of guests entering at the bottom of the auditorium and working their way up, as is common in stadium seating theaters, a three story pit was dug into the ground, with guests entering and exiting at the rear of the auditorium at ground level.  The parking structure precluded lowering the film projector into the theater via helicopter or crane, so a two story rotunda was created to haul it up to the second floor projection booth. The rotunda remains one of the theater's signature design features.

The Esquire IMAX Theatre opened in March 1999, showcasing the 200th IMAX projection system, and was featured in IAAPA's Funworld magazine.  The theater's opening won both a Bronze Ring award from IAAPA and the Silver Anvil Award from the Public Relations Society of America.  The Esquire IMAX Theatre, one of three theaters completely owned and operated by IMAX Corporation, will reopen to the public after the conclusion of the GSCA conference.

www.imax.com/sacramento

The Nest Halloween Attraction to Integrate Social Media and RFID Into Haunt

Phoenix, AZ, USA /PRWEB/ -- The business of fear is about to get personal this year as Arizona’s largest haunted attraction, The Nest, unveils plans for its 2012 Halloween season. The Nest is incorporating social media integration and RFID tracking into its blueprint, allowing thrill seekers to experience fear like never before.

“By integrating Facebook Connect we are taking the entire haunted house experience to a new level and redefining this industry,” said Steve Kopelman, producer of The Nest. “As guests walk through The Nest, they will see and hear their name, see their photos, receive messages and a few more terrifying surprises. We are truly creating their worst nightmare.”

Kopelman partnered with Brightline Interactive, a leader in creative and digital activations and with FISH Technology, known for creating interactive technology systems for experiential environments. Through integration of RFID tracking technology, the new sensor system at The Nest automatically follows guests through the haunt, personalizing the experience as they walk from room to room.

“This is a big deal," added Kopelman. "It's the greatest innovation in the history of the entertainment and amusement parks utilizing social media, RFID and digital experiences. The Nest is the first in the world to debut this level of technology integration and as we raise the bar for the entire industry, we once again set ourselves apart from the rest.”

Now in its sixth year in Phoenix, Arizona, The Nest is over 50,000 square feet, nestled behind the façade of Rawhide’s busy Main Street. With nearly $1 million in animatronics, and special effects it is no surprise that ABC News and Good Morning America named it the “Spookiest Place in America” and broadcasted live from the Nest during its morning Halloween show. Additionally, the Nest has been named the scariest haunted attraction in the country by MSN and scariest haunted attraction in the west by MTV. “Every year we improve the haunt and bring it to the next level,” added Kopelman. “This year however, we simply redefined the experience.”

The Nest will open on September 28th, 2012. Visitors will have to make their way through a horrifying maze of connecting sections, featuring Bleak – a terrifying, dark labyrinth that defines claustrophobia followed by Mirror Maze, Turmoil 3D – a three dimensional experience, and culminating with a walk through the horrific rooms of The Nest – where Jacob Kell, the serial killer upon whom the attraction is based, will wait with personalized greetings.

For exact dates and hours of operation, and additional information about The Nest please visit http://www.frightened.com.

About The Nest Haunted House:
Now in its sixth year in Phoenix, Arizona, The Nest the state’s largest haunted attraction with more than 50,000 square feet of terror. The Nest located at Rawhide, behind the façade of Rawhide’s busy Main Street. With nearly $1 million in animatronics and special effects The Nest was named the “Spookiest Place in America” by ABC News and Good Morning America which broadcasted live from the Nest during its morning Halloween show. Additionally, the Nest has been named the scariest haunted attraction in the country by MSN and scariest haunted attraction in the west by MTV. The Nest was also ranked among America’s Best Haunts, an annual ranking of top haunted attractions in the USA. For detailed schedule and further information please visit: http://www.frightened.com

About FISH:
FISH is a leader in technology integration for interactive experiences. FISH has created the world’s most interactive measurement systems for all types of experiential brand activations. The company’s Immersive Media applications are used by numerous recognizable brands, including the US Army, US Air Force, Microsoft, Toyota, Smirnoff, and Ford.

The interactive RFID systems created by FISH engage consumers by allowing them to simply and easily collect content, enter contests, earn digital prizes, and share their experiences. FISH systems are fully integrated with Social media – providing the ability to take photos, videos, and post status and “Likes” to Social Media platforms in real time. FISH custom design system drives enhanced visitor experiences while simultaneously creating unprecedented behavioral measurement for entertainment brands including theme parks, hotels, and other family entertainment venues. For more information visit http://www.fishtechnology.com

About Brightline Interactive:
Brightline is a digital experiential agency that delivers creative solutions for Experiential, Mobile & Web Environments. Brightline’s unique blend of creative services includes high-end programming, media production, and event integration. Brightline works with leading brands such as Infiniti, Sports Illustrated, US Army, ConocoPhillips, IBM, NISSAN and 5-hour ENERGY and others at well known events like the Super Bowl, NCAA Final Four, PGA, NFL and NASCAR. For more information visit http://www.brightlineinteractive.com

Disney Announces New Water Play and Dining Options at Aulani Resort

Copyright Disney
Ko Olina, HI, USA -- A themed family pool, a new kids' splash zone and two new quick-service dining locations will be among the highlights of an enhancement project getting underway in September at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina. Further details of the expansion were announced to celebrate the first anniversary of the opening of Aulani.

Since it opened in August 2011, Aulani has been extremely well received by guests. Among the most popular features of the resort is the Waikolohe Valley. Waikolohe means mischievous water and the valley is home to the recreation and water play areas leading out to the Aulani beachfront. The new pool, splash zone and additional deck space will extend the sun and water fun literally to the very edge of the resort property, with the pool's "infinity edge" overlooking the adjoining lagoon.

The architecture of Aulani reflects the symbolic harmony of masculine and feminine energy, and the new pool area, on the masculine side of the resort, continues this theme with a design inspired by the demigod Maui. According to Hawaiian legend, Maui brought the islands to the surface with his great fishhook, and aspects of the legend will be reflected in the design of the new family pool and kids' splash zone, incorporating coral and lava, sea and earth, in the surrounding rockwork.

A highlight of the family pool will be a misty grotto from which relaxing swimmers may view the sunset. After dark, a magical starscape of glimmering lights will appear on the grotto ceiling and the floor of the pool.

The nearby kids' splash zone will be designed to resemble tidal pools with some playful surprises for youngsters, including rainbow water jets, images of tidal pool creatures on the pool floors, and hidden Menehune, the legendary little people of the islands, who may be spotted through chinks in the rocks. Additional deck space, chairs, chaises and cabanas will surround these new water features.

Also coming to Aulani will be two new food service locations. One of these, located adjacent to the new water play area and the existing Wailana Pool, will serve continental breakfast and offer a lunch and dinner menu with a selection of sandwiches, salads and snacks that can be enjoyed in the adjoining outdoor patio which provides a beautiful ocean view. A second quick-service eatery will be located beachside, offering grab-and-go snacks and easy access for beachgoers.

Work on these enhancements will begin in September and conclude in mid-2013, coinciding with the final build-out of resort. Along with the water play and dining additions, the expansion will provide a new, larger lawn location for events, weddings and the guest favorite nighttime Starlit Hui show. There will also be additional merchandise space - to provide guests with a greater variety of Aulani products, apparel and memories - and a protective awning over the patio of Makahiki restaurant, home of "Aunty's Breakfast Celebration" featuring breakfast with Disney characters.

About Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa
Aulani opened in August of 2011 and sits on 21 acres of beautiful oceanfront in Ko Olina, adjacent to a nine-acre, crystal-blue lagoon and white-sand beach. Ko Olina is 17 miles from Honolulu International Airport and approximately 30 minutes from Waikiki.

Uniquely designed for families and inspired by the wonders and traditions of Hawaii, Aulani is a family paradise with a touch of magic. Aulani offers kids, adults and families Hawaiian vacation experiences with a special magic that only Disney can create. Delightful rooms and spacious Disney Vacation Club villas, a perfect location on a beautiful beachfront lagoon, and renowned Disney service and enchanting entertainment let dreamers of every age savor their time together on Hawaii as never before.

For Aulani reservations, guests may visit www.disneyaulani.com

Cirque Dreams Joins Forces With Discovery Kingdom to Create "Splashtastic" in 2013

Vallejo, CA, USA (Aug. 30, 2012) /PRNewswire/ -- Six Flags Discovery Kingdom today announced its partnership with theatrical visionary Neil Goldberg and his acclaimed Cirque Dreams entertainment brand to present an extraordinary, new cutting edge dolphin show featuring Cirque Dreams in spring 2013 – "Cirque Dreams Splashtastic – the Most Amazing Show Above H20."

This new aquatic production features the park's popular marine mammals along with the internationally renowned company of acrobats, aerialists and other unique Cirque Dreams acts that will amaze in the air, over water and throughout the Dolphin Harbor Theater.

"We are excited to bring the unique magic of Cirque Dreams to our guests," said Dale Kaetzel, park president. "This mesmerizing new water spectacle is a great complement to our existing line-up of rides, shows and animal attractions making us Northern California's best entertainment destination."

"It is our goal to create a visually exciting experience of unparalleled Cirque Dreams showmanship," said Cirque Dreams founder and Broadway Director Neil Goldberg. "Cirque Dreams Splashtastic will be one of those unique and memorable entertainment attractions that will captivate audiences of all ages."

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom is home to seven roller coasters, three children's themed areas along with a host of spinning, flying and family favorite rides and attractions. Cirque Dreams Splashtastic joins a lineup of wildlife shows and animal attractions that include the Pinnipeds of the Caribbeansea lion show, Odin's Temple of the Tiger, Birds of the World, Elephant Encounter, and Walrus Experience educational demonstration shows.

About Cirque Dreams:
Since 1993, Cirque Dreams shows have garnered critical acclaim from USA Today, Associated Press,The New York Times, CNN, Today Show, Fox & Friends and more. Cirque Dreams shows have toured the world, appeared on Broadway, Cruise Lines, Casinos, major events and theme parks including Six Flags Fiesta Texas. Cirque Dreams global entertainment brand of most recent popular shows include Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy, Cirque Dreams Illumination, Cirque Dreams & Dinner onboard Norwegian Epic and Breakaway, Cirque Dreams Rocks, CIRQUE DREAMS BROADWAY and Cirque Dreams Holidaze,now in its 4th consecutive touring season and success from The Kennedy Center. Neil Goldberg has been declared "One of today's leading theatrical impresarios" by the LA Times and "uniquely ingenious" by theNew York Daily News. For more information, visit www.cirqueproductions.com.

About Six Flags Entertainment Corporation:
Six Flags Entertainment Corporation is the world's largest regional theme park company with over $1.0 billion in 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 www.sixflags.com.

Record Breaking Wooden Coaster Reborn as Steel-Wood Hybrid at Fiesta Texas

San Antonio, TX, USA (Aug. 30, 2012) /PRNewswire/ -- Six Flags Fiesta Texas announces plans to unveil its newest addition and structural landmark as the highly anticipated hybrid coaster Iron Rattler will make its debut next spring at Six Flags Fiesta Texas.

The Iron Rattler will be a unique technological marvel combining a classic wooden support structure with modern track and rails crafted of steel, allowing for unprecedented smooth and swift over-banked turns and inversions never before experienced on either a traditional steel or wooden coaster. Utilizing state-of-the-art Iron Horse Track™©® the innovative Iron Rattler will provide four over-banked turns, the most of any hybrid coaster today, and will be the first to deliver an inverted barrel roll for a unique adventure in and around the surrounding 100-ft. quarry wall setting. The New Texas Giant at Six Flags Over Texas was the first-ever hybrid coaster of its kind, and it was voted the "Best New Ride" in 2011.

With its unique construction, the Iron Rattler will have:

  • A drop of 171 feet with a drop angle of 81 degrees.
  • A top speed of 70 mph.
  • Four over-banked turns—more than any other hybrid coaster, and the first of its kind to feature a completely inverted barrel roll.
"Six Flags has innovation as part of our DNA and the Iron Rattler will take extreme innovation to a new level with a taller drop, faster speed and steeper banks. This cutting-edge coaster truly marries the best of both classic and modern coaster designs to deliver heart-pounding thrills," said park president Martin Bozer.
The track will be constructed by Rocky Mountain Construction Group, who helped design the New Texas Giant at Six Flags Over Texas. Tim Baldwin, Editor, Rollercoaster! Magazine stated, "The Rattler's transformation is expected to be nothing short of spectacular. This innovation is so new in the amusement industry; it has only been done once before. The results were tremendous, and Fiesta Texas' project should be equally amazing."

The original Rattler wooden coaster was Six Flags Fiesta Texas' only major coaster when the park opened in 1992 and offered its farewell run on August 5, 2012. Construction on the Iron Rattler is already underway and will take approximately eight months to complete.

About Six Flags Entertainment Corporation
Six Flags Entertainment Corporation is the world's largest regional theme park company with over $1.0 billion in 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 www.sixflags.com.

World's Tallest Swing Ride and Holographic Slides Highlight 2013 Additions to Six Flags Over Texas and Hurricane Harbor

Arlington, TX, USA (Aug. 30, 2012) /PRNewswire/ -- Six Flags Over Texas, "The Thrill Capital of Texas," today unveiled plans that will solidify its reputation as the state's premier location for record-breaking attractions. The Texas SkyScreamer will make its debut in 2013 and make history as the world's tallest swing ride.

The Texas SkyScreamer will tower 400 feet above the ground and take its place as the park's newest icon. Twenty-four guests will board the ride and sit two across in open-air swings as they climb to the top of the tower while spinning round and round. At full swing, guests will soar in a 124-foot circle at speeds of 35 mph with the rest of earth below. By day, riders will enjoy a breathtaking bird's eye view that will span across North Texas. By night, the Texas SkyScreamer's bright lights will beckon guests from near and far.

"We take great pride in offering the best, the biggest and the most innovative attractions for our guests," said Steve Martindale, Six Flags Over Texas and Hurricane Harbor park president. "This ride experience will be unlike any other tower swing ride ever built. If you want to Go Big, then ride the Texas SkyScreamer next spring."

Six Flags Hurricane Harbor is celebrating its 30th Anniversary in 2013 season by unveiling technology that will create an entirely new experience for one of the park's most popular rides. The Black Hole water slide will be transformed into a 4-D full sensory thrill ride featuring holographic projections and sound effects. The Black Hole of Doom 4-D will delight guests with virtual imagery as they twist and turn through one of two 500-foot tentacle tubes.

"The Black Hole has been a long time favorite at Hurricane Harbor and no doubt the new enhancements will maintain that status for many years to come," said Martindale. "Black Hole of Doom 4-D will be a great addition to the already diverse and exciting ride line up at the water park."

About Six Flags Entertainment Corporation
Six Flags Entertainment Corporation is the world's largest regional theme park company with over $1.0 billion in 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 www.sixflags.com .

Six Flags St Louis Adding Boomerang Coaster in 2013

Eureka, MO, USA (Aug. 30, 2012) /PRNewswire/ -- Six Flags St. Louis today announced plans to add a new steel coaster, Boomerang, to the park's already extensive line-up of thrills. In 2013,Boomerang will become the park's ninth coaster, bringing a new experience to guests with its unique combination of thrill elements. Six Flags St. Louis is currently home to more roller coasters than any other theme park in Missouri.

Boomerang combines a mix of twists, turns and loops unlike any other coaster experience at the park. The 28-passenger trains are pulled up 125 feet backward to the top of the first lift hill and then released to shoot out through the 1,650 feet of track at up to 50 mph. Guests will sail through a half loop, then into a right half cork screw, a left half cork screw and finally another half loop. And just when guests think they are done, the trains fly through a full loop before climbing a second lift hill. Staying true to its name, Boomerang takes guests full circle to where they began sweeping through the spirals, loops, twists and turns again.

"Six Flags St. Louis has been Missouri's Coaster Capital for many years," said Dave Roemer, Six Flags St. Louis park president. "In 2013 Boomerang will not only strengthen that position and our thrilling coaster line-up, but give our guests more twists and turns to scream about!"

Boomerang is scheduled to open spring 2013 in the Illinois section of the park.

About Six Flags Entertainment Corporation
Six Flags Entertainment Corporation is the world's largest regional theme park company with over $1.0 billion in 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 www.sixflags.com.

Six Flags Great Adventure Merges With Wild Safari Creating New Attraction Inside World's Largest Theme Park

Jackson, NJ, USA (Aug. 30, 2012) /PRNewswire/ -- In 2013, New Jersey's Six Flags Great Adventure entertainment complex will undergo its most dramatic transformation in 13 years as the 160-acre theme park and 350-acre Wild Safari animal park unite as one property to become the world's largest theme park. The mega-park, featuring 13 roller coasters including three of the world's top rated, three children's areas, a wide array of family rides, games, shopping and entertainment, will introduce the new, one-of-a-kind, themed attraction ─Safari Off Road Adventure. At Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, water-thrill seekers will challenge a massive, new slide complex ─ Big Wave Racer.

Boasting 1,200 animals from six continents, Safari Off Road Adventure will take explorers on a unique up-close animal experience. Guests will enter the fictional world of the Wilds Family, who have traveled the globe to bring the most interesting and exotic creatures to their home in Jackson, New Jersey. Once through the rustic loading station filled with artifacts from the Wilds' global journeys, guests will load a rugged, open-air, Safari vehicle to begin their unique adventure.

Skilled, informed drivers will drive guests off-road and up close to the animals as they splash through ponds, climb hills, cross bridges and venture over rugged terrain.

"Never before have guests been able to experience a journey so close to that of a true African safari here in the U.S.," said John Fitzgerald, park president. "By combining the world's most exotic animals with Six Flags' signature entertainment, the Safari Off Road Adventure will be the most incredible animal adventure anywhere. Where else can you ride a wave, go on safari, and soar on world-record breaking coasters?"

When the Wild Safari closes its gates for the 2012 season this fall, it will undergo a massive renovation this winter that includes a redesign of various simulated natural habitats and the creation of Camp Aventura.

Camp Aventura will be the main stop along the off-road excursion. Guests will see up-close some of the Wilds family's favorite animals, and even hand-feed or pet them. Here, they can choose to fly through the air high above the animals on a new zip line for an additional fee.

Safari Off Road Adventure is included with general theme park admission and season passes in 2013, and will be accessible via the Frontier Adventures section of the theme park. Through September 30, 2012, guests will be able to drive their own vehicles through the Wild Safari for the very last time in the park's 38-year history.

"This is a monumental change for the Wild Safari and our guests," said Dr. Bill Rives, safari director and chief veterinarian. "For nearly 40 years, people have dreamed of more up-close animal experiences with fewer boundaries, and now we can truly deliver a VIP experience to each and every one of our guests─and it's included in their theme park admission."

Safari Off Road Adventure is slated for a Memorial Day weekend debut in 2013.

Big Wave Racer Will Hit Six Flags Hurricane Harbor in 2013

On the heels of the new King Cobra water slide addition, Six Flags Hurricane Harbor will unveil another massive slide complex in 2013. Big Wave Racer will send riders barreling head-first down multiple lanes on an aero-dynamically-designed water toboggan. After climbing four stories, they will rocket down several steep drops stretching 1,800 feet before crossing the finish line.

Big Wave Racer is slated for a summer 2013 opening and will be the eighth slide complex at Hurricane Harbor, pushing the number of thrill slides to more than 25. The 45-acre park also features a million-gallon wave pool, a half-mile lazy river and a large children's water playground.

About Six Flags Entertainment Corporation
Six Flags Entertainment Corporation is the world's largest regional theme park company with over $1.0 billion in 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 www.sixflags.com

Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Invites Guests to "Drop In" in 2013 with Bonzai Pipelines

Agwam, MA, USA (Aug. 30, 2012) /PRNewswire/ -- Six Flags New England and Hurricane Harbor today announced plans to add Bonzai Pipelines, a 65-foot tall waterslide complex featuring six drop hatch slides. Bonzai Pipelines joins New England's largest water park's existing line-up of 27 slides, pools and attractions. Six Flags New England is home to one of the top-ranked steel coaster on the planet, Bizarro, and boasts more coasters than all other theme parks in New England, combined.

Bonzai Pipelines features six looping slides set atop a 65-foot tower. After reaching the top of the 6-story structure, guests will step into the state-of-the-art 'DrenalineDrop' launching capsule where the floor drops out beneath them, sending them free-falling down the slide, twisting and turning before landing in a refreshing splash runout. Riders will surf the 257-foot slide at up to 40 miles per hour. Bonzai Pipeline's unique clear launching tubes allow spectators to be a part of the adrenaline-pumping action.

"Hurricane Harbor is the premier water park in New England and is a favorite among our guests," saidJohn Winkler, Six Flags New England park president. "The addition of Bonzai Pipelines to our incredible portfolio of water attractions solidifies our commitment to delivering world-class thrills in our water park as well as our theme park."

Bonzai Pipelines is scheduled to open spring 2013 and the new tower complex will be a "must ride" for thrill seekers of all ages. Six Flags Hurricane Harbor is free with theme park admission.

About Six Flags Entertainment Corporation:
Six Flags Entertainment Corporation is the world's largest regional theme park company with over $1.0 billion in 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 www.sixflags.com .

Screamin' Eagles Soar Into Six Flags Great Escape in 2013

Lake George, NY, USA (Aug. 30, 2012) /PRNewswire/ -- Six Flags Great Escape announced today a fun new addition for the 2013 season. The theme park will add Screamin' Eagles high flying family ride promising thrills for guests of all ages.

Set to debut in Spring 2013, Screamin' Eagles is an interactive flying ride allowing guests to pilot their own flight, with no two trips the same. Open-air vehicles and high-speed rotations allow guests to control their own experience as they soar to new heights with this re-introduction of a classic.

Guests will board the flying vehicles adorned with eagles and wild flames and the ride will begin to rotate, fanning out over a large area. Each vehicle has a stationary rear wing and a moveable front wing which allow guests to dip, dive and plunge at speeds of up to 40mph. Screamin' Eagles will be located in the Fest Area by Alice in Wonderland, giving riders a bird's eye view of the historic River D.

"Staying true to our promise to deliver something new every year—we will keep our loyal families and thrill seekers excited about coming back for another Great Escape season," said Don McCoy, park president Six Flags Great Escape. "Screamin' Eagles will add a new element to the region's best theme park."

Screamin' Eagles is the first of many upcoming changes for the 2013 season.

Also in 2013, the Six Flags Great Escape Lodge and Indoor Water Park will introduce an exciting new addition. More information is coming this fall.

About Six Flags Entertainment Corporation:
Six Flags Entertainment Corporation is the world's largest regional theme park company with over $1.0 billion in 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 www.sixflags.com .

VIDEO: Opening Ceremony, London 2012 Paralympic Games

Courtesy London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games
London, UK -- Designed by Artistic Directors Jenny Sealey and Bradley Hemmings, the Opening Ceremony took place inside the Olympic Stadium on Wed, August 29.  62,000 fans filled the stadiums seats, enjoying the festivities.  Kickstarted by astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, and officiated by Queen Elizabeth, the Ceremony featured a cast of over 3,000 volunteers, many disabled.



The Paralympic Games plays host to over 4,200 athletes with various disabilities. More than 2.4 million tickets have been sold to the numerous athletic events over its ten day span. The Opening Ceremony, which was not broadcast in the United States, is presented here in its entirety.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Six Flags Magic Mountain Offers Two Ways to Ride World's Largest Loop in 2013

Valencia, CA, USA (Aug. 30, 2012) /PRNewswire/ -- Six Flags Magic Mountain today announced another world-record addition to their coaster collection with FULL THROTTLE, the world's tallest and fastest looping coaster slated for the Valencia theme park in 2013. Unlike traditional coasters, this unique, one-of-a-kind triple launch coaster will have riders facing a never-been-done-before launch up and over a "Top Hat" that traces the outside of a world-record loop, towering 160 feet — plus a zero to 70 miles-per-hour acceleration on two forward launches and one backward launch into and out of a special effects tunnel. FULL THROTTLE will be located near the front of the park in a newly themed five-acre section where guests will experience high-energy thrills through fast-paced imagery, sound and lights. With this addition, Six Flags Magic Mountain, the "Thrill Capital of the World," firmly holds the coveted "Coaster Capital of the World" crown — with a total of 18 roller coasters — more than any other theme park on the planet.

"Six Flags is known world-wide as the industry leader in next generation thrills. And, bar none, Six Flags Magic Mountain leads the pack, offering the biggest and the best ... always," said Bonnie Rabjohn, Six Flags Magic Mountain park president. "As we mark our 42nd anniversary of operation, we're ready to takeSouthern California by storm, yet again, with the most comprehensive collection of thrilling roller coasters anywhere in the world."

To begin their journey through the park's distinct mountainous terrain, riders are loaded onto sleek black and silver trains, sitting two abreast, and are suddenly accelerated from zero to 70 miles-per-hour in the first of three launches, experiencing their first inversion and thrill of navigating a world-record 160-foot tall loop. Riders then enter into a high-banked curve to the right and then to the left as they approach the second inversion — a Dive Loop that drops them rapidly into a special-effects tunnel. While in the tunnel, the train is dramatically decelerated and stopped, only to be suddenly launched backward up to the high point of the Dive Loop. After a momentary pause, the train drops and is magnetically launched a third time, racing out of the tunnel and through a high G-turn to the left. Riders then race up and over a "Top Hat" that traces the outside of the World Record loop, where riders will experience significant air time and a breath-taking view of the park before dropping back down, rapidly decelerating and taking the final 180-degree turn to the left and returning to the station where riders can catch their breath.

FULL THROTTLE joins the rest of the park's coaster collection, including Tatsu — the tallest, fastest and longest flying coaster in the world, X2 — the world's first and only 5th dimensional coaster, Apocalypse — the next generation of wooden coasters and Goliath — the "giant among giants" mega coaster.

For more information on FULL THROTTLE, including a video, visit www.sixflags.com/magicmountain.

About Six Flags Entertainment Corporation
Six Flags Entertainment Corporation is the world's largest regional theme park company with over $1.0 billion in 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 www.sixflags.com .

Six Flags Atlanta Properties Announce 2013 Additions

Austell, GA, USA (Aug. 30, 2012) /PRNewswire/ -- Six Flags Atlanta Properties today announced two new thrill rides that will debut at Six Flags Over Georgia and Six Flags White Water in 2013.

SkyScreamer, an extreme swing ride, will spin guests in a 98-foot circle at speeds of 40 miles per hour atop a 24-story tower. Thirty-two guests board the ride and sit two across in open-air swings as they climb to the top of the tower while spinning round and round, high above the ground below. SkyScreamer will be the tallest attraction in the park's 45-year history, 4-stories taller than the park's mega coaster, Goliath.

At Six Flags White Water, Typhoon Twister will make landfall next summer as it sends riders barreling down an enclosed five-story drop before shooting out into a 67-foot bowl. Riders in four-passenger tubes will experience several revolutions against the wall of the bowl, spin down into the corkscrew drop chute and splash into the pool below. Typhoon Twister will be the first of its kind in the state.

"We are beyond excited to debut these new thrilling attractions at our parks next year," said Melinda Ashcraft, park president, Six Flags Atlanta Properties. "SkyScreamer will take thrills to new heights at Six Flags Over Georgia and Typhoon Twister is sure to make a splash at Six Flags White Water. The 2013 season will be another exciting year for our parks as we continue to provide innovative rides, shows and attractions for our guests."

Both attractions are set to debut in late Spring, 2013.

For more information about Six Flags Over Georgia and SkyScreamer, visit sixflags.com/overgeorgia

About Six Flags Entertainment Corporation
Six Flags Entertainment Corporation is the world's largest regional theme park company with over $1.0 billion in 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 www.sixflags.com .

Six Flags Great America to End day with "igNIGHT Grand Finale" in 2013

Gurnee, IL, USA (Aug. 30, 2012) /PRNewswire/ -- Six Flags Great America today announced plans to add the most technologically advanced show in the park's 37- year history. This nighttime production features singing, dancing, pyrotechnics, video and laser elements that burst with energy and imagery.

igNIGHT, will serve as a finale to a day at Six Flags Great America by taking Guests on a journey to a never-before-seen world with vibrant, state-of-the-art lighting and sound. By utilizing pyrotechnics, video technology, laser lighting, immersive sensory effects and guest interaction, spectators will feel as if they have stepped into a multimedia universe with a spectacular finish.

"Our guests have been enjoying immersive nighttime experiences for years. igNIGHT — Grand Finale is going to blow away their expectations," said park president Hank Salemi.

igNIGHT — Grand Finale will take place in Hometown Square, which will be renovated to enhance the guest experience and is planned to open summer 2013. Guests to Six Flags Great America can also experience X Flight, an impressive new wing coaster which opened in May 2012 to rave reviews. .

Six Flags Great America and Hurricane Harbor are two great parks that you can experience for one low price. Located between Chicago and Milwaukee, Six Flags Great America offers endless adventures for the entire family with 14 heart-pounding roller coasters, a FREE 20-acre water park, spectacular shows, a nighttime firework extravaganza and three children's areas. Get ready to take flight! Six Flags Great America welcomed X Flight, a ground-breaking wing coaster with no track above or below, in spring 2012. Learn more about X Flight at sixflags.com.

Six Flags Entertainment Corporation is the world's largest regional theme park company with over $1.0 billion in 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 www.sixflags.com .

Six Flags 2013 New Attraction Announcement

Grand Prairie, TX, USA (Aug. 30, 2012) /PRNewswire/ -- Six Flags Entertainment Corporation, the world's largest regional theme park company, today announced that it will introduce another exciting array of thrill and family rides, spectacular stage shows, and extreme water slides in 2013 across its 19 North American parks, including the transformation of Six Flags Great Adventure and Wild Safari inNew Jersey into one property, creating the largest regional theme park in the world.

"Innovation is part of our DNA," said Jim Reid-Anderson, chairman, president and chief executive officer. "On the heels of a tremendously well-received lineup of rides and attractions in 2012, we are taking our creativity to an even higher level by delivering an unprecedented season of jaw-dropping experiences that only Six Flags can deliver."

Among the 2013 highlights:
  • In New Jersey, the Six Flags Great Adventure complex will undergo its most dramatic transformation in 13 years as the theme and safari parks combine into one property to become the world's largest theme park. The mega-park will introduce a new, one-of-a-kind themed attraction—Safari Off Road Adventure—that transports guests from the theme park on a safari that features 1,200 animals from six continents. Safari Off Road Adventure will entertain guests on rugged, up-close animal encounters as they view, pet or hand feed these majestic animals—or fly high above them on a zip line. In addition, the Hurricane Harbor water park in New Jersey will unveilBig Wave Racer, a massive slide complex that sends riders barreling; head first, down multiple lanes that stretch 1,800 feet on an aerodynamically-designed water toboggan. Only at Six Flags Great Adventure can you ride a wave, go on safari and soar on world-record breaking coasters.
  • For guests who choose to "live life to its fullest", Six Flags Magic Mountain, the undisputed Thrill Capital of the World with more coasters than anywhere else on the planet, is adding yet another record-breaking ride to its unrivaled lineup of world class coasters—Full Throttle, the world's tallest, fastest looping roller coaster. Full Throttle will deliver a "you only live once" adventure as riders accelerate from zero to more than 70 miles per hour on two forward launches, and an unprecedented third backward launch. Riders will experience a record 160-foot loop, plus a never-been-done-before launch up and over a "Top Hat" that traces the outside of the world record loop.
  • Six Flags Discovery Kingdom—the only combined wildlife, marine life and wild rides theme park in the U.S. will present Cirque Dreams Splashtastic . This new aquatic adventure will combine aerialists and acrobats with the power and grace of bottlenose dolphins in a phenomenal new show that is certain to delight audiences of all ages.
  • Six Flags Over Texas is unveiling a new record-breaking icon—the Texas SkyScreamer. Soaring at an unprecedented 400 feet, Texas SkyScreamer will be the tallest swing ride in the world, and transform the park's skyline as guests circle high above North Texas.
  • Hurricane Harbor in Arlington, Texas is stepping up the thrill factor for its 30th anniversary season by adding new video technology on one of its most popular water slides. Black Hole of Doom 4-Dwill take guests on a virtual journey with the addition of themed holographic imagery and mind- blowing sound effects.
  • One of only two hybrid roller coasters of its kind in the world, Iron Rattler makes its debut at Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio. Utilizing state-of-the-art Iron Horse Track ™© ® the innovative Iron Rattler will provide four over-banked turns, the most of any hybrid coaster today, and be the first-of-its-kind to deliver a complete barrel-roll inversion. The New Texas Giant at Six Flags Over Texas was the first-ever hybrid coaster, and it was voted the "Best New Ride" in 2011.
  • Six Flags Great America near Chicago welcomes igNIGHT — Grand Finale, the most technologically advanced show in the park's history, uniquely integrating state-of-the-art lighting, sound, singing, dancing, and fireworks for the ultimate finale.
  • Both Hurricane Harbor water parks at Six Flags New England and Six Flags America will introduce new thrills with revolutionary new water attractions. Bonzai Pipelines will accommodate six riders simultaneously as they twist through individual tubes. Guests will feel the rush as they step into the state-of-the-art "Drenaline Drop" launching capsules before free-falling more than 200 feet through twisting and turning slides.
  • Six Flags Over Georgia will introduce the park's tallest attraction in its 45-year history—SkyScreamer, a tower swing ride that spins guests in open-air swings up to 40 miles per hour atop a 24-story tower.
  • Six Flags White Water, Atlanta's premier water park, is introducing Typhoon Twister, a giant thrill slide that sends riders barreling down a five-story drop before shooting them out into a 67-foot bowl. Typhoon Twister will be the first of its kind if in the state of Georgia.
  • Flying into The Great Escape in upstate New York is Screamin' Eagles, an interactive flying ride providing thrills for riders of all ages. Open-air vehicles and high-speed rotations allow guests to control their own experience as they soar to new heights with this re-introduction of a classic. Screamin' Eagles is the first of many upcoming changes for the 2013 season.
  • Six Flags St. Louis is turning things upside down with the addition of Boomerang. The 28-passenger trains pulls guests up 125 feet, backward, to the top of the first lift hill and then shoots them through 1,650 feet of track including twists, turns and inversions at 50 miles per hour. Just when guests think they are done, the trains fly through a full loop before climbing a second lift hill and sweeping them through all the spirals, loops and turns again.
  • La Ronde, located on a beautiful island near downtown Montreal will welcome Aqua Twist, a new interactive family ride designed to engage passengers and bystanders in a fun and entertaining water battle.
  • For the first time ever, the thrilling Fright Fest event enjoyed by guests at all other Six Flags parks is making its debut at Six Flags Mexico in October. Festival del Terror will deliver "Thrills by Day and Fright by Night" with special Halloween activities for kids and five haunted mazes.
Also in 2013, the Six Flags Great Escape Lodge and Indoor Water Park will introduce an exciting addition sure to take kids on a trip they will never forget. Stay tuned for more information coming this fall.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

California's Great America Announces Gold Striker Wooden Coaster for 2013

Santa Clara, CA, USA (August 29, 2012) -- California’s Great America will open the tallest and fastest wooden roller coaster in Northern California in the spring of 2013.

High-speed twists, turns, drops, station fly-by and the Old West are the top features of Gold Striker, currently under construction at this Northern California’s thrill park and family destination. The ride will stand 108 feet at its highest point with a first drop of 103 feet at a 50-degree angle. Riders will careen along 3,197 feet of track at speeds up to 54 miles per hour. The ride experience on Gold Striker will last more than two heart-pounding minutes.

“Gold Striker reflects our commitment to providing our guests with the best thrills and entertainment value in the region,” California’s Great America Vice-President and General Manager Raul Rehnborg said. “This ride was uniquely designed by melding together the highest performing and most exciting features of the very best wooden roller coasters in the world. Everyone who enjoys the thrills of riding a roller coaster will want to experience Gold Striker.”

The name of the ride was chosen to recognize the pioneering and adventurous spirit of the California gold-seekers who rushed the area in 1849.

Gold Striker will be located in the Celebration Plaza area of California’s Great America and will be the park’s eighth roller coaster. The ride will wrap around the park’s Star Tower attraction.

Gold Striker is custom designed and built for the topography of California’s Great America by Great Coasters International, Inc. (GCI) of Sunbury, Pennsylvania. Two trains will accommodate 24 passengers each (four riders per car and six cars per train) with a capacity of 850 riders per hour. Guests must be at least 48 inches tall to ride.

Those who cannot wait until spring may take a virtual ride on Gold Striker at cagreatamerica.com. Visitors of cagreatamerica.com may also access exclusive Gold Striker updates and features, including virtual ride renderings, ride statistics, construction photos and a live construction Web cam.

California’s Great America is owned and operated by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, a publicly traded partnership that is listed for trading on The New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “FUN.” In addition to California’s Great America, Cedar Fair owns and operates ten other amusement parks, six water parks, one indoor water park resort and five hotels, including Knotts Berry Farm in Buena Park, Calif. Cedar Fair also operates the Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park in Gilroy, Calif. under a management contract.

Savannah College of Art and Design to Offer Themed Entertainment Design Program


Savannah, GA, USA -- Due to growth in student enrollment and programming, the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) School of Film, Digital Media and Performing Arts will separate into two schools – the School of Digital Media and The School of Entertainment Arts. Beginning in September, SCAD’s School of Entertainment Arts will offer a unique themed entertainment design program at the university’s Savannah location.

Themed entertainment design will tap the versatility of SCAD students while enabling them to develop the diverse skill set utilized by the multi-billion dollar themed entertainment industry. The M.F.A. in themed entertainment design will prepare students to become industry professionals who design the unforgettable experiences of entertainment parks, zoos, resorts, hotels, restaurants and museums. The degree program will encompass fields ranging from interior design and animation to exhibit and production design.

The esteemed faculty members leading the themed entertainment design program have vast industry knowledge and experience, having designed experiences for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts in Orlando, Fla., Hong Kong, Paris and Tokyo, as well as Universal Parks and Resorts in Orlando, California and abroad. Professors include long-term veterans of Walt Disney Imagineering, a recipient of lifetime achievement honors from The United States Institute for Theatre Technology, and a current board member of the Themed Entertainment Association.

“The relevance and quality of SCAD’s themed entertainment design program will prepare graduate students to lead the industry as creative thinkers, storytellers, designers and producers,” said Peter Weishar, SCAD Dean of Entertainment Arts. “With more than 30 theme parks being planned in China alone, the national and international demand for individuals who are highly trained in the disciplines of themed entertainment design will only continue to grow.”

In addition to the graduate degree, the Savannah College of Art and Design will offer a minor in themed entertainment design.

Led by Weishar, the former dean of the School of Film, Digital Media and Performing Arts, the School of Entertainment Arts will also oversee dramatic writing, film and television, performing arts, production design, sound design and equestrian studies.

Tina O’Hailey, the former associate dean for the School of Film, Digital Media and Performing Arts, will serve as dean for the School of Digital Media. This school will house the departments of animation, interactive design and game development, motion media design, television producing and visual effects.

Given their complementary nature, the new schools will continue to collaborate in order to expose students to a variety of disciplines.

The Savannah College of Art and Design is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution conferring bachelor’s and master’s degrees at distinctive locations and online to prepare talented students for professional careers. SCAD offers degrees in more than 40 majors. Visit http://www.scad.edu/themed-entertainment-design/.

UK's First Angry Birds Activity Park Now Open

Rampton, UK (August 29, 2012) -- A theme park in Nottinghamshire has been confirmed as the location of the UK’s first Angry Birds Activity Park.

Sundown Adventureland, a theme park exclusively designed for the under 10s near Retford, placed a £250,000 order with Kettering-based Lappset Group, a designer and manufacturer of playground equipment, which is bringing the Angry Birds parks to the UK.

The new attraction opens today.

Paul Tomlinson, Park Manager at Sundown Adventureland, said: “We were very keen to have an Angry Birds Activity Park at Sundown as the brand is so well known throughout the world. It’s currently one of the most downloaded games and appeals to all ages – something that was very important for us as although the park is designed for under 10s, we are keen to welcome families.

“Angry Birds characters are instantly recognisable and we can’t wait to see them brought to life in the themed play area. Rovio’s Angry Birds theme, coupled with Lappset, one of the world leaders in play equipment, is a powerful combination that fits all our needs.”

The Angry Birds Activity Park at Sundown Adventureland includes several large play units, a mixture of themed swings and roundabouts and a giant dummy catapult to replicate the Angry Birds world. The owners of the park are also looking at Angry Birds themed rides.

Angry Birds Activity Parks are designed to create active meeting places for the whole family, including activity areas for children and adults. In the parks, visitors are encouraged to participate in an active way while experiencing the exciting Angry Birds world.

Lappset teamed up with Rovio Entertainment Ltd, the creator of the popular Angry Birds game, to launch the parks in March but Sundown Adventureland will be home to the first in the UK.

Chris Jones, Managing Director of Lappset in the UK, said: “We are thrilled that we now know where the first park will be. There has been an awful lot of interest since the launch but it will be very exciting to actually see a completed park. My team is working hard on the plans to get it opened as soon as possible.”

Angry Birds Activity Parks, which bring together the digital and the physical world, can include animal spring riders, swings, sandpits and a range of climbing towers with slides, and an Angry Birds arcade game that can be played outdoors in the park.

For more information, visit www.lappset.co.uk

About Lappset Group Ltd.
Lappset Group Ltd. is one of the leading manufacturers of playground equipment worldwide. Our products bring joy to millions of children and adults in more than 50 countries. In addition to the Angry Birds Activity Parks range, the company’s product portfolio includes parkour solutions for teens, outdoor fitness equipment for adults and solutions for seniors that support active ageing.

InfoComm Announces Show Dates and Locations Through 2019

Fairfax VA, USA -- InfoComm International®, the trade association representing the commercial audiovisual and information communications industry, has announced its future rotation plans for its annual InfoComm exposition and conference.

InfoComm 2013 will be held at Orlando's Orange County Convention Center's West Building, June 12 to 14. InfoComm 2014 will be held at Las Vegas Convention Center's North and Central Halls, June 18 to 20. The show will rotate between the two cities in the same halls in mid-June thereafter through 2019. InfoComm has signed lease agreements with both facilities.

"InfoComm exhibitors and attendees have been well accommodated in both Orlando and Las Vegas, and we are pleased to continue our rotation between these great convention cities," said Jason McGraw, CTS, CAE, Senior Vice President, Expositions, InfoComm International. "Our show has experienced phenomenal growth over the past several years based in large part to the well-run convention centers, large hotel selection and premium entertainment options offered by both of these destinations."

A schedule of future dates appears below:

2013 – Show 6/12-6/14, Conference 6/8-6/14, Orlando
2014 – Show 6/18-6/20, Conference 6/14-6/20, Las Vegas
2015 – Show 6/17-6/19, Conference 6/13-6/19, Orlando
2016 – Show 6/8-6/10, Conference 6/4-6/10, Las Vegas
2017 – Show 6/14-6/16, Conference 6/10-6/16, Orlando
2018 – Show 6/6-6/8, Conference 6/2-6/8, Las Vegas
2019 – Show 6/12-6/14, Conference 6/8-6/14, Orlando

www.infocomm.org

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

AAM Changes Name, Updates Web Site

Washington, DC (August 28, 2012) -- The AAM has changed its website to a more accessible format, at www.aam-us.org.  The newly revised site features a revised job board, and additional resources such as monthly updates on museum accreditation.  In addition to the new website and a new logo, the AAM has changed its name from American Assocation of Museums to American Alliance of Museums.  An official announcement on the change is scheduled for Sept. 5.

Tokyo Disneyland Opens Interactive Attraction Themed to Goofy

Photos copyright Disney
Urayusa, Japan - Goofy's Paint 'n' Play House opened August 24 as the newest Toontown attraction at Tokyo Disneyland.

Groups of guests work together to colorfully paint a room in Goofy’s house using special paint applicators, called Toontone Splat Masters.  These tools are easy to use: guests simply aim at the wall or furniture they want to color and activate the applicators.
The attraction features beach, jungle and other remodeling themes, as well as various types of Toontone Splat Masters, so guests can enjoy a different experience each time they visit.

Accesso SHOPLAND 4.0 Powering eCommerce for Palace Entertainment

Lake Mary, FL, USA -- accesso, the leading provider of eCommerce and mobile ticketing solutions for theme parks and entertainment venues in the U.S., has recently completed the rollout of their revolutionary SHOPLAND 4.0 online ticketing and eCommerce platform across 16 of Palace Entertainment’s largest amusement parks and water parks.

“We were attracted to Accesso’s revenue-focused expertise, industry reputation and fully-hosted service model,” said Fernando Eiroa, Palace Entertainment’s President & CEO. “With the SHOPLAND platform in place, we have an upgraded eCommerce experience for our valued customers, while presenting new opportunities for us to drive top line revenue growth.”

accesso’s eCommerce technology optimizes revenue through a highly-flexible, user-friendly design which seamlessly incorporates a wide range of dynamic revenue features including product up-sells and cross-sells as well as flexibility to support a range of unique promotional concepts. accesso leverages an agile programming methodology supported by a fully U.S. based development staff which allows for frequent, ongoing software updates to ensure the solutions include the most advanced features available and to quickly deploy client-requested enhancements.

“Developing a customizable eCommerce solution is an expensive proposition for most organizations,” said Steve Brown, accesso CEO. “Accesso’s breakthrough software and approach to managing high-volume online sales operations, allows organizations like Palace Entertainment to meet rapidly growing consumer demand for online sales through a world-class, highly secure, buying experience for their guests.”

About accesso
accesso delivers powerful ticketing and commerce solutions that help customers increase sales without adding expensive infrastructure costs. accesso products and services support top attractions across North America from theme parks and water parks to concerts, live events and sporting events.

accesso’s proprietary solutions are noted for a streamlined, easy-to-use design with seamlessly integrated revenue driving features. All accesso solutions are fully supported 24/7 to ensure continual focus on client service levels and sales results.

About Palace Entertainment
Palace Entertainment is one of the leading leisure park operators in the United States, with 40 parks located across 11 states. Palace Entertainment’s parks provide a wide range of family oriented attractions to visitors of all ages, such as roller coasters, Ferris wheels, live shows, thrill rides, wave pools, water slides, animal shows, miniature golf courses, go-karts and arcade games. Palace Entertainment serves over 13 million visitors annually.

Audubon Nature Institute Closed in Anticipation of Potential Hurricane Isaac

New Orleans, LA, USA (August 28, 2012) -- Audubon Nature Institute personnel are preparing for inclement weather associated with Tropical Storm Isaac.  Therefore, Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, Entergy IMAX® Theatre and Audubon Park Golf Course will be closed on Tuesday, August 28 and Wednesday, August 29, 2012.

Audubon attractions are scheduled to reopen on Thursday, August 30 at 10:00 am conditions permitting.

For more information, visit www.AudubonInstitute.org, follow on Twitter @AudubonZoo and on Facebook at www.facebook/AudubonZoo

Monday, August 27, 2012

Int'l Dark Sky Assn. & Loch Ness Prodns. present "Losing the Dark" fulldome video at gathering of astronomy community in Beijing

"Losing the Dark" is tentatively scheduled for distribution to the international fulldome and planetarium theater community in autumn, 2012. 

 Attendees of the International Astronomical Union Congress in Beijing are being treated to a special "sneak preview" of a fulldome video on light pollution called "Losing the Dark". The five and a half minute public service announcement showing at the Beijing Planetarum on August 29th, 2012 is a joint collaboration between the International Dark-Sky Association and Loch Ness Productions, a U.S.-based fulldome video production company. Science and technical advisor for the production is Dr. Connie Walker, National Optical Astronomy Observatory’s Senior Science Education Specialist and chair of the IDA Education Committee.

According to producer Carolyn Collins Petersen, CEO of Loch Ness Productions, the presentation is a public service announcement that brings the important facts about light pollution to a wide audience.


Copyright 2012, Dome 3D
Copyright 2012 Loch Ness Productions

"Our team designed the show to emphasize some of the most important problems and effects of light pollution," she said. "Light pollution is ubiquitous, it affects our ability to see the night sky. In addition, it turns out that light pollution has effects on human health, and we've known for a long time that it affects plant and animal life. On top of all that, it costs us money and wastes scarce fuel resources."

The show presents these problems, but also suggests ways for individuals and communities to work together to combat light pollution. "We wanted to keep it very easy for people to help solve the problem," said Petersen. "So, we suggest that they turn off unneeded lights and use shielded lights -- full cutoff-lighting fixtures."

Scott Kardel, Managing Director at IDA, said: "We hope that families, school groups, and everyone coming to their local planetarium will see ‘Losing the Dark’ and realize that it is not too late to save the stars. They can help to restore the night sky outside of the dome to its full glory.” 

 
Production of "Losing the Dark" is being made possible by a seed grant from the International Planetarium Society, and through on-going donations to the International Dark-Sky Association. "We're raising funds to bring this show to planetariums around the world," said Kardel. "In addition, if sufficient funding is raised, we'll be working with Loch Ness Productions to translate the show into many languages and to create a ‘flat screen’ HD version for use in classrooms and by educational outreach professionals who want to bring the message of dark skies to their classrooms, science centers and communities.”

IDA is the only non-profit working to address light pollution around the world. Among its efforts, the organization provides information brochures, workshops, a model lighting ordinance, manages a night sky conservation program, and awards the distinguished IDA Fixture Seal of Approval to applicants with lighting fixtures that are dark-sky friendly.

NEW ARTWORK: Entrance Marquee, TestTrack Presented by Chevrolet, EPCOT

Copyright Disney

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Announces Northern Calfiornia's Only Spinning Coaster

Santa Cruz, CA, USA (August 27, 2012) -- The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk unveiled plans for a new $5.5M ride during a presentation for employees and media at the Boardwalk today.

A new spinning roller coaster, named Undertow, will join the Boardwalk’s scream-worthy lineup of rides next summer. Manufactured by German coaster specialist Maurer Sohne, Undertow will be the only spinning coaster in Northern California.

“A spinning coaster is a very unique ride experience, we know our visitors are going to love it,” said Boardwalk community relations director Kris Reyes. “Every ride on Undertow is different, you can definitely expect the unexpected.”

Unlike most roller coasters, which carry an entire trainload of riders, Undertow uses individual cars each holding 4 riders, with each pair of riders facing opposite directions. The ride experience changes every time, depending on the weight and position of riders in the car.

Scheduled to open Summer 2013, Undertow will take over the location currently occupied by the Hurricane roller coaster. The Hurricane’s last day of operation is September 3; the ride has been sold to Western Playland Amusement Park in New Mexico.

The Boardwalk’s last major ride to open was the Haunted Castle, which opened in 2010.

For more information about Undertow, the Boardwalk’s new spinning roller coaster, visit http://www.beachboardwalk.com/undertow

About the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
The historic Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk features both modern and classic thrill rides, restaurants, miniature golf, video game arcades, and family bowling located on a mile of sandy beach. Named the world’s Best Seaside Amusement Park by industry experts, the Boardwalk is home to 2 National Historic Landmarks.

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is located at 400 Beach Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
www.beachboardwalk.com

Electrosonic Plants Interactive Technology at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

London, UK -- With the opening of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s (BBG) new Visitor Center and gateway, visitors can now orient themselves to the garden, learn about its current blooms and plantings, and browse the event schedule via a series of interactives supported by Electrosonic for exhibit fabricator Hadley Exhibits.

Founded in 1910, BBG is an independent, non-profit institution committed to education, science and horticultural display. BBG has served communities in New York City and around the world through its extraordinary gardens and living collections, and by pioneering educational and community programs. Situated on 52 acres in the heart of Brooklyn and originally laid out by the Olmstead Brothers landscape design firm, BBG is home to more than 12,000 types of plants and hosts more than 725,000 visitors annually.

The unique design of the new Visitor Center – a grass and tree-covered berm tucked into the natural setting – seamlessly melds architecture and landscape. The energy-efficient structure from the firm of Weiss/Manfredi features a glass wall, which stretches from the entryway to enclose the pavilion and house exhibition space where visitors access an array of interactive exhibits to get a feel for how to visit the BBG. Thinc Design was the exhibition designer for the new space.

Electrosonic faced numerous challenges in the Visitor Center. Working on a very tight schedule, the project required extensive coordination with Hadley Exhibits to ensure that all equipment fit smoothly and tightly inside wall-mounted and table-style interactives. Since the exhibits were designed to feature content that’s easily modified and updated, the AV components were selected to be flexible and easily maintained by BBG staff. For proper viewing of the content, Electrosonic also specified monitors offering optimum performance in the bright ambient light emitted by the new structure’s glass wall.

“The interior space is actually a window onto the gardens, so there’s a lot of ambient light streaming in and a lot of glare,” says Electrosonic account manager Bryan Abelowitz. “We revised our monitor selection to Samsung DX series high-brightness monitors, which have sensors that automatically adjust to light levels.”

Visitors are welcomed by a three-screen interactive garden map depicting a graphical aerial layout of BBG, which will help them plan their visit. Electrosonic provided three ultra-narrow mullion Samsung UD55A displays to create one continuous map image. On a shelf beneath the wall-mounted map, a Dell interactive PC offering Links & Information resides alongside colorful printed info panels.

Adjacent to the map is a portrait-mode 46-inch Samsung LCD monitor displaying Today’s Events, an ever-changing roster of BBG happenings. A graphical Bloom Calendar is mounted perpendicular to the events schedule with another Dell interactive PC on the shelf below.

Two similarly-configured exhibits, one explaining BBG’s mission statement and the other tailored to update the frequent visitor, feature angled 40-inch Samsung LCD displays fed by Adtec signEdje HD MPEG media players triggered by motion sensors as visitors approach.

A portrait-mode 27-inch Samsung LED display with mount, which appears to float against the glass wall, features a video of BBG employees challenging visitors to a plant identification quiz. The display is fed by another Adtec signEdje HD MPEG player.

The most innovative interactives in the space are three peek-a-boo tables detailing different areas of the garden and how visitors can explore by using their senses. Hinged, three-dimensional photos of trees, plants and birds can be lifted by small knobs to reveal 6-inch LCD screens; short films about the image in the photograph begin to play when the hatches are lifted.

“Small, solid-state Technovision MPEG players in the tables are triggered by a magnetic switch built into the hinge,” says Abelowitz. Additional push buttons on the tables enable visitors to hear the sounds of the garden and sniff the fragrances of the blooms.

Electrosonic also provided a custom AMX control system to streamline operations and allow non-professionals to maintain efficient control of the system. BBG purchased a small back up roster of equipment, which Abelowitz calls “a very smart thing to do,” as the Visitor Center’s interactives experience daily wear and tear.

The control room is housed in the basement under the exhibit area. Two equipment racks are outfitted with source, control and monitoring equipment; centralized control allows for remote monitoring. Electrosonic furnished systems training for BBG staff and will be providing onsite maintenance and technical support for the first year of the Visitor Center’s operation.

“Electrosonic was wonderful -- very attentive, very knowledgeable and willing to help. Everyone was great,” commented Sonal Bhatt, director of interpretation and exhibitions at Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

Richard Lewis Media Group designed the interactive content for the Visitor Center.

At Electrosonic, Ellen Simich was the project manager and Ed O’Connor project engineer.