Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Microsoft Recreates Game World in Lichtenstein for Halo 4 Launch

Balzers, Liechtenstein (October 31, 2012) -- Master Chief stands guard at the Balzers Castle during the HALO 4 launch by Xbox 360 on October 30, 2012 in Balzers, Liechtenstein. Xbox 360 became the only brand to ever transform the Principality of Liechtenstein by taking over iconic landmarks, including a 13th century castle to create a real-life 'Halo' universe within the heart of Europe. Halo 4 on the Xbox will be launched November 6 2012.

Lee Styles Joins Electrosonic as Business Development Manager for EMEA

London, UK (October 30, 2012) -- Electrosonic, an international audio-visual systems integration and service solutions company, has announced the appointment of Lee Styles as Business Development Manager for Corporate Solutions for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

Styles will be responsible for developing Electrosonic’s customer base and building new client relationships across the corporate market.

Lee’s appointment is an important step in the growth of Electrosonic’s Corporate Solutions business within the EMEA region. His role will involve developing new relationships with professionals across the corporate market, which includes finance, education, accounting, medical, government and oil and gas.

“Lee’s skills, knowledge and capabilities will be a great addition to our Corporate team,” commented Paul Brown, General Manager, Corporate Solutions, EMEA. “He is experienced at developing strong business relationships which will ensure our clients remain at the forefront of technological developments.”

Lee is an experienced business development manager who has a wealth of audio-visual, video conferencing, managed services and unified communications experience. Prior to joining Electrosonic, Lee was a Collaboration Specialist for Logicalis where he was responsible for driving unified communications and video conferencing sales through new business and existing accounts. Prior to this, he spent seven years working for Videocall as their Major Account Manager which saw them become sole European provider of unified communications, audio-visual and video conferencing for a major high street retailer.

Electrosonic's Corporate Solutions business provides a complete set of audio-visual and video conferencing services including technical advice, systems integration and on-site and remote managed services. Custom solutions are provided for meeting and board rooms, auditoria, distance learning, medical simulation and voice evacuation. Corporate clients include small and medium sized businesses, as well as large multi-national corporations.

Speaking about his appointment, Lee said “I am delighted to have joined the Electrosonic team. I am looking forward to working for such a well-respected company which has a reputation for continuous innovation and development.”

Colin Lemmings, Vice President Corporate Solutions concluded “Lee has the drive, aptitude and experience to develop new business relationships across the corporate market. I am looking forward to working with him to drive our business forward.”

Learn more about Electrosonic. Visit http://www.electrosonic.com

About Electrosonic
Electrosonic is an international audio-visual company that creates tailored, state-of-the-art solutions for a wide range of markets including theme parks, museums, video conferencing and control rooms. Since its founding in 1964, Electrosonic has built a strong reputation for working on complex projects, both large and small, and has developed lasting partnerships with customers and suppliers. Beyond complete integrated systems, Electrosonic provides a comprehensive scope of services including technical design, projector lamp sales, maintenance and operational support.

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Happy Halloween from InPark News.

LEGOLAND Florida Accepting Applications for Model Master Builder

Winter Haven, FL, USA (Oct. 31, 2012) /PRNewswire/ -- LEGOLAND® Florida announced it is seeking qualified applicants for a new, in-house Master Model Builder to join its team. Essential job responsibilities include envisioning, designing and building unique LEGO® creations.

"Master Model Builders are royalty here at the park," said General Manager Adrian Jones. "They enjoy celebrity status and when they're not being interviewed by reporters and paparazzi, they spend eight hours a day playing in the model shop. Who in their right mind wouldn't want this job?"

Would-be builders must first submit a short video clip of themselves and a home-made LEGO® creation. Candidates will be culled through Facebook voting, then invited to the park December 1 and 2 to participate in a series of skills tests. Details on the video submission and the search are available at http://Florida.LEGOLAND.com/MMB.

"In all seriousness, this is the most important job at the park," said Jones. "Our builders typically have a life-long love of LEGO, are wildly imaginative, extraordinarily detailed and focused and just love what they do. If you have a passion for play, we encourage you to apply."

The new Master Model Builder will be expected to report for duty January 1 and will join two other builders and a team of animators and technicians to build and maintain the signature LEGO models featured throughout the 150-acre family theme park.

The park features more than 50 rides, shows and attractions designed for families with children ages 2 to 12. LEGOLAND Florida is located 45 minutes between Orlando and Tampa.

For the most current information, log on to www.LEGOLAND.com .

LEGOLAND® Florida is a 150-acre interactive theme park dedicated to families with children between the ages of 2 and 12. With more than 50 rides, shows and attractions and the all-new water park, LEGOLAND is geared towards family fun! There are currently four other LEGOLAND Parks in the world – LEGOLAND California in Carlsbad, LEGOLAND Billund in Denmark, LEGOLAND Deutschland near Gunzburg, Germany and LEGOLAND Windsor outside of London and just opened LEGOLAND Malaysia —the sixth LEGOLAND Park and first in Asia. The LEGOLAND theme parks are a part of Merlin Entertainments Group, the second largest attractions operator in the world.

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 more than 90 attractions, seven hotels/two holiday villages in 21 countries 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 20,000 employees. Merlin currently has seventeen attractions in the USA including the stunning LEGOLAND Florida theme park with its new Water Park; LEGOLAND California theme park with its exciting Water Park, and SEA LIFE Carlsbad Aquarium (LEGOLAND California Hotel is opening in summer 2013); Madame Tussauds attractions in New York, Washington, D.C., Las Vegas, Nevada and Hollywood, California; LEGOLAND Discovery Centers in Chicago, Illinois; Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas; Kansas City, Missouri; and Atlanta, Georgia; and SEA LIFE aquariums in Phoenix, Arizona; Kansas City, Missouri; Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas; the Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota underlining the company's position as the world's biggest global aquarium operator.

Endeavour Pavilion Opens to Public at California Science Center

Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek) and June Lockhart (Lost in Space) pose with Endeavour.
Courtesy California Science Center.
Los Angeles, CA, USA (Oct. 31, 2012) /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A Grand Opening Ceremony inaugurated the Space Shuttle Endeavour Exhibition yesterday morning with remarks from Governor Jerry Brown, DirectorDavid McBride, NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, California Science Center President Jeffrey N. Rudolph, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts. Also present to witness the event, which took place in the Samuel Oschin Pavilion, was Philanthropist Lynda Oschin, widow of Samuel Oschin and Chair of the Board and Secretary of the Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Oschin Family Foundation and astronauts James M. Kelly, R. Shane Kimbrough, Leland D. Melvin (Administrator),Barbara R. Morgan (retired) and Garrett E. Reisman (retired).

Bill Nye the Science Guy served as Master of Ceremonies of the event which included business, community and philanthropic leaders as well as more than 500 Science Center School students. A highlight of the event was a performance of "Men in Black" choreographed by the legendary Debbie Allen and performed by the Debbie Allen Dance Academy and solos sung by Grammy Award-winning James Ingram and America's Got Talent finalist Sebastien De La Cruz.

"We are delighted that the California Science Center will use Endeavour to inspire a new generation of scientists and explorers and we thank you for helping tell the story of NASA's historic past as we begin to write the stories of the future today," said David McBride, Director of NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center. "The next chapter in space exploration begins now, and we're standing on the shoulders of the men and women of the shuttle program to reach farther into the solar system."

California Science Center President Jeffrey Rudolph said, "I want to thank the people of California and theLos Angeles region for so enthusiastically welcoming Endeavour home. Today marks the beginning of Endeavour's new mission to inspire the next generation of scientists and explorers."

Mayor Villaraigosa added, "Having Endeavour at the California Science Center will serve to motivate millions of young people to dream about possibilities and will attract people from around the world to our great city. The Endeavour, as a historical treasure, will be a brilliant centerpiece for Los Angeles and will assist in our city's economic revitalization."

Rudolph also reminded participants that their contributions are still welcome for EndeavourLA, a comprehensive fundraising campaign to raise $100 million, to create the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, and support ongoing programs and operations. Members of the public can donate by visiting www.BringEndeavourHome.org. In addition to making a general donation to support EndeavourLA, the public can sponsor a thermal protection system tile and be associated with Endeavour forever. Sponsorship levels begin at $1,000.

The new Samuel Oschin Pavilion is now open to the public. Space Shuttle Endeavour Exhibition viewing times are 10 am, with the last entry at 3:45 pm. Although it is free admission, timed tickets are recommended for a small fee of $3 for non-members and $2 for members who reserve online at www.californiasciencecenter.org.

About the California Science Center
The California Science Center is a dynamic destination where families, adults and children can explore the wonders of science through interactive exhibits, live demonstrations, innovative programs and awe-inspiring films. Its mission is as follows:" We aspire to stimulate curiosity and inspire science learning in everyone by creating fun, memorable experiences, because we value science as an indispensable tool for understanding our world, accessibility and inclusiveness, and enriching people's lives."

The California Science Center and IMAX Theater are located in historic Exposition Park just west of the Harbor (110) Freeway at 700 Exposition Park Drive. The Science Center is open daily from 10:00 a.m.– 5:00 pm. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Disney Acquires Lucasfilm and Subsidiaries for $4 Billion

Disney CEO Bob Iger and Lucasfilm co-CEO George Lucas.  Copyright Disney
Burbank, CA and San Francisco, CA (October 30, 2012) – Continuing its strategy of delivering exceptional creative content to audiences around the world, The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm Ltd. in a stock and cash transaction. Lucasfilm is 100% owned by Lucasfilm Chairman and Founder, George Lucas.

Under the terms of the agreement and based on the closing price of Disney stock on October 26, 2012, the transaction value is $4.05 billion, with Disney paying approximately half of the consideration in cash and issuing approximately 40 million shares at closing. The final consideration will be subject to customary post-closing balance sheet adjustments.

"Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas," said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company. "This transaction combines a world-class portfolio of content including Star Wars, one of the greatest family entertainment franchises of all time, with Disney's unique and unparalleled creativity across multiple platforms, businesses, and markets to generate sustained growth and drive significant long-term value."

"For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next," said George Lucas, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lucasfilm. "It's now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I've always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime. I'm confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come. Disney's reach and experience give Lucasfilm the opportunity to blaze new trails in film, television, interactive media, theme parks, live entertainment, and consumer products."

Under the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of Lucasfilm, a leader in entertainment, innovation and technology, including its massively popular and "evergreen" Star Warsfranchise and its operating businesses in live action film production, consumer products, animation, visual effects, and audio post production. Disney will also acquire the substantial portfolio of cutting-edge entertainment technologies that have kept audiences enthralled for many years. Lucasfilm, headquartered in San Francisco, operates under the names Lucasfilm Ltd., LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic, and Skywalker Sound, and the present intent is for Lucasfilm employees to remain in their current locations.

Kathleen Kennedy, current Co-Chairman of Lucasfilm, will become President of Lucasfilm, reporting to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn. Additionally she will serve as the brand manager for Star Wars, working directly with Disney's global lines of business to build, further integrate, and maximize the value of this global franchise. Ms. Kennedy will serve as executive producer on new Star Wars feature films, with George Lucas serving as creative consultant. Star Wars Episode 7 is targeted for release in 2015, with more feature films expected to continue the Star Wars saga and grow the franchise well into the future.

The acquisition combines two highly compatible family entertainment brands, and strengthens the long-standing beneficial relationship between them that already includes successful integration of Star Wars content into Disney theme parks in Anaheim, Orlando, Paris and Tokyo.

Driven by a tremendously talented creative team, Lucasfilm's legendary Star Wars franchise has flourished for more than 35 years, and offers a virtually limitless universe of characters and stories to drive continued feature film releases and franchise growth over the long term. Star Wars resonates with consumers around the world and creates extensive opportunities for Disney to deliver the content across its diverse portfolio of businesses including movies, television, consumer products, games and theme parks.Star Wars feature films have earned a total of $4.4 billion in global box to date, and continued global demand has made Star Wars one of the world's top product brands, and Lucasfilm a leading product licensor in the United States in 2011. The franchise provides a sustainable source of high quality, branded content with global appeal and is well suited for new business models including digital platforms, putting the acquisition in strong alignment with Disney's strategic priorities for continued long-term growth.

The Lucasfilm acquisition follows Disney's very successful acquisitions of Pixar and Marvel, which demonstrated the company's unique ability to fully develop and expand the financial potential of high quality creative content with compelling characters and storytelling through the application of innovative technology and multiplatform distribution on a truly global basis to create maximum value. Adding Lucasfilm to Disney's portfolio of world class brands significantly enhances the company's ability to serve consumers with a broad variety of the world's highest-quality content and to create additional long-term value for our shareholders.

The Boards of Directors of Disney and Lucasfilm have approved the transaction, which is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, certain non-United States merger control regulations, and other customary closing conditions. The agreement has been approved by the sole shareholder of Lucasfilm.

About The Walt Disney CompanyThe Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international family entertainment and media enterprise with five business segments: media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment, interactive media, and consumer products. Disney is a Dow 30 company with revenues of over $40 billion in its Fiscal Year 2011.

About Lucasfilm Ltd.
Founded by George Lucas in 1971, Lucasfilm is a privately held, fully-integrated entertainment company. In addition to its motion-picture and television production operations, the company's global activities include Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound, serving the digital needs of the entertainment industry for visual-effects and audio post-production; LucasArts, a leading developer and publisher of interactive entertainment software worldwide; Lucas Licensing, which manages the global merchandising activities for Lucasfilm's entertainment properties; Lucasfilm Animation; and Lucas Online creates Internet-based content for Lucasfilm's entertainment properties and businesses. Additionally, Lucasfilm Singapore, produces digital animated content for film and television, as well as visual effects for feature films and multi-platform games. Lucasfilm Ltd. is headquartered in San Francisco, California.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Cedar Fair Newest Chain to Embrace Coke Products

Sandusky, OH, USA -- Cedar Fair Entertainment Company (NYSE: FUN), a leader in regional amusement parks, water parks and active entertainment, and The Coca-Cola Company have announced a 10-year agreement, making Coca-Cola Cedar Fair's "Official Refreshment Beverage" of its parks beginning January 2013.

The new agreement includes product offerings and fully-integrated marketing and sponsorship opportunities designed to maximize marketing collaboration and activation. Coca-Cola beverages will be made available to park guests throughout Cedar Fair's regionally dispersed network, which encompasses 11 amusement parks, 6 waterparks and 5 hotels, including Cedar Point, which has been voted the "Best Amusement Park in the World" for 15 consecutive years. Guests will have the opportunity to purchase the beverages at a broad array of venues throughout the parks, including restaurants, mobile carts and vending areas. Products will include Coca-Cola®, Diet Coke®, Sprite®, Coca-Cola Zero™, PowerAde® and Dasani® bottled water, along with energy drinks, teas and juices.

"We are thrilled to be partnering exclusively with The Coca-Cola Company," said Bob Wagner, Cedar Fair's corporate vice president of strategic alliances. "We look forward to developing a comprehensive alliance which enables park guests to create memorable moments with their family and friends while enjoying Coca-Cola's iconic brands. We welcome the opportunity to take our relationship with The Coca-Cola Company to the next level through new marketing initiatives and products which will be debuted next year."

Through the agreement, Cedar Fair and Coca-Cola will co-develop and introduce comprehensive marketing initiatives which will capture the attention of guests through a broad range of mediums, including property specific programs and campaigns tailored specifically to regional preferences. In addition, Cedar Fair and Coca-Cola will launch a fully integrated joint campaign, targeting broader audiences through social media, TV, radio, internet and cinemas.

"We are excited by the opportunity to expand our relationship with Cedar Fair and refresh guests with our broad array of brands," said Stefanie Miller, group vice president of strategic partnership marketing, Coca-Cola Refreshments. "We look forward to leveraging our brands, programs and resources to enhance the guest's experience when they Open Happiness with a Coca-Cola during their next visit."

About Cedar Fair 
Cedar Fair is a publicly traded partnership headquartered in Sandusky, Ohio, and one of the largest regional amusement-resort operators in the world. The Company owns and operates 11 amusement parks, six outdoor water parks, one indoor water park and five hotels. Its parks are located in Ohio, California, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Missouri, Michigan, and Toronto, Ontario. Cedar Fair also operates the Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park in California under a management contract. Cedar Fair's flagship park, Cedar Point, has been consistently voted the "Best Amusement Park in the World" in a prestigious annual poll conducted by Amusement Today newspaper.

Dataton Projects the Horrors at Muncaster Castle

Courtesy Muncaster Castle
Link√∂ping, Sweden -- Muncaster Castle, situated on the Cumbrian coast on the edge of the Lake District, has a well-earned reputation as one of the most haunted buildings in the UK. Not surprisingly, Halloween Week is the busiest time of year for the Castle, which for the last eight years has used Dataton WATCHOUT™ production and presentation software to drive its exterior illuminations.

This year the Castle is gearing up for its busiest Halloween ever, and has upgraded to version 5 of WATCHOUT to ensure that the multimedia experience it offers is as compelling – and as scary – as it has ever been.

Peter Frost-Pennington, managing director of Muncaster Castle, takes up the story:“We haven’t invented any stories to entertain our audience. People from all over the world come to stay in our haunted bedroom for charity, and scientific work to detect paranormal activity is ongoing at the Castle.

“Back in 2003 we decided to put in an exterior lighting scheme to enhance the air of mystery surrounding the venue. The towers of the Castle are an interesting backdrop. We started projecting a few images of skulls and ghosts created in Powerpoint and run by Windows Media Player. But we always knew we could do more. We’d seen the projections that were done as part of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee using WATCHOUT, and we wanted that too.

“So in 2005 we invested in WATCHOUT. We met with Steve Selwyn from WATCHOUT Premium Partner Mirage Associates and he demonstrated what could be done using images from multiple computer sources. The result was a transformation. Suddenly we could have skeletons walking across the front of the Castle! The service and support from Mirage Associates over the years has been truly appreciated.”

In 2008, Muncaster Castle upgraded to version 4 of WATCHOUT and began working video into its shows, as well as still images and animated GIFs. This year the Castle upgraded again, to the latest version 5,and this has increased the projection system’s versatility even further.

Throughout the process, Mirage Associates has supported Muncaster Castle, advising on content and system setup.

“The projectors are in custom-made, weather-proof housings, and there is one computer for each tower of the Castle,” explains Selwyn. “Each show is on a 20-minute loop, synchronised with audio and lighting, and is shown to an audience of between 200 and 600 people each evening. It is a huge enhancement to the Castle’s visitor experience – especially in Halloween Week and also at Christmas, too.”

Fredrik Svahnberg, marketing director, Dataton, comments: “WATCHOUT is the perfect storytelling tool for a visitor attraction such as Muncaster Castle. Not only is it very easy to use for the end customer but, as this project proves, italso grows as that customer’s needs change. We look forward to seeing more ghosts, ghouls and other terrifying moving images on the walls of Muncaster Castle for years to come!”

For further information about this and other leading products visit www.dataton.com

About Dataton
Renowned Swedish show control developer and manufacturer, Dataton has been established on the international market since the 1980s. The company's flagship products include the award-winning Dataton WATCHOUT™ multi-display production and presentation system as well as the intuitive Dataton PICKUP™ audio guide. WATCHOUT version 5 is a multi-display, timeline-based software system that comprises stereoscopic playback and 3D effects, and a strong array of groundbreaking features, including live interaction and dynamic media streaming.

Dates Announced for SIGGRAPH Asia's Return to Hong Kong in 2013

Singapore -- The 6th ACM SIGGRAPH Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques will be held in Hong Kong at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from 19 to 22 November 2013. SIGGRAPH Asia 2013 will be chaired by Professor Wenping Wang from The University of Hong Kong. Professor Wang is associate editor of the journals, Computer Aided Geometric Design (CAGD) and IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (TVCG). He has also chaired several international conferences such as Pacific Graphics 2003, ACM Symposium on Physical and Solid Modeling 2006 (SPM 2006), and IEEE International Conference on Shape Modeling (SMI 2009).

The 2013 event expects to draw conference attendees, exhibition visitors, and exhibitors from over 50 countries worldwide. It also aims to surpass the most successful edition of the conference and exhibition in 2011. SIGGRAPH Asia will continue its tradition of being the premier platform for the advancement of graphics, animation, art, and technology. Apart from maintaining its strong standing amongst the academic research community, SIGGRAPH Asia 2013 will also strengthen its foothold within related industries by adding more industry-relevant content such as Master Classes and Production Talks and Panels. 

The Call for Submissions for the conference programs will start in March 2013. Exhibition and sponsorship bookings will begin in December 2012. Contact us early to find out more or visit the SIGGRAPH Asia 2013 booth at SIGGRAPH Asia 2012 in Singapore from 28 November to 1 December.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Lake Winnie Adding Waterpark in 2013

Chatanooga, TN, USA (October 24, 2012) -- Lake Winnie has posted the following on its facebook page:

We're adding a 5-acre waterpark for the Summer of 2013! We're giving our guests more ways to have fun and even more reasons to come back with this multi-million dollar expansion that will include: a lazy river, a wave lagoon, flume body slides, enclosed tube slides, lily pad crossing and a splash park for toddlers! We'll be posting additional information in the days & weeks to come, but get ready to get WET at Lake Winnie beginning the Summer of 2013!

Giant Screen Theater at Cradle of Aviation Museum Becomes Digital Planetarium With Equipment From Global Immersion

Sussex, UK (October 24, 2012) -- The Cradle of Aviation Museum, New York, USA, has added digital planetarium functionality to its ten-year old dome theater with the installation of a high performance Fidelity™ fulldome system from international planetarium provider, Global Immersion. The 330-seat planetarium, named the JetBlue Sky Theater, opened on World Astronomy Day, October 6th. The launch event was attended by one of America's original seven astronauts, M. Scott Carpenter.

Since 1980, the Museum in East Garden City, New York, has stood as an integral public attraction, serving the local community and beyond with what has grown to be a collection of more than seventy-five air and space craft.

Located on land renowned for many historic flights, the museum supports educational outreach programs and collaborates with regional schools to stimulate and support interest in Science, Engineering, Technology, and Math subjects (STEM).

The museum’s dome theater has housed the Leroy R. And Rose W. Grumman Giant Screen dome theater since its build in 2002. Now, the dome has been upgraded as a dual-purpose theater with the addition of a state-of-the-art digital planetarium system.

Named after its sponsors, the new JetBlue Sky Theater offers extensive functionality and a means to virtually transport visitors to any destination in the Cosmos.

Andrew Parton, Executive Director at the Cradle of Aviation Museum, commented; “The addition of digital planetarium functionality to our dome theater has been an important step in the museum’s development. Global Immersion has been a very supportive partner throughout the project and has provided us with a new way to support STEM education. Their expertise has helped us create an entirely new venue for learning and discovery, strengthening our ties with local schools.”

Operations Manager for the Americas at Global Immersion, Matt Fox, explained; “Working with the Cradle of Aviation Museum, we created a versatile and cost-effective solution that would deliver performance and stability in line with their educational goals. Most importantly, the new planetarium system houses a range of features which really position the dome as a multi-purpose theater and gives the team an interactive STEM teaching environment.”

The 75-feet/22.9-meter theater will use its new Fidelity Bright™ digital planetarium as a visualization environment for STEM subjects. The system, supplied with six channels of digital projection, a custom show package, Uniview real-time astronomy and data visualization platform, and a powerful planetarium server cluster, is designed to enable the import and presentation of a wide range of both pre-rendered and real-time media.

Fox continues; “Planetariums are extraordinary places that take audiences of all ages on a journey of learning discovery. Astronomy and space science continue to be popular taught themes in these theaters, and it is encouraging to be working with more and more clients like Cradle of Aviation who are enhancing their theater spaces with exciting new functionality and educating in areas beyond astronomy.”

For further information about Global Immersion and the Global Immersion range of leading immersive theater solutions please visit www.globalimmersion.com

About Global Immersion
Global Immersion is an international designer and supplier of high performance digital immersive theater. The award-winning team, with offices in the UK and USA, specializes in the innovation of world-class digital Giant Screen Cinema, 3D, 4D and planetarium environments. Renowned for delivering some of the world’s greatest digital theaters, the company develops and integrates leading-edge technologies exclusively for application, and has worked with some of the finest museums, science centers, digital theaters, theme parks and visitor attractions.

Born from a management buyout in 2007, Global Immersion’s extensive expertise includes planning, design, development, engineering, media & production, integration and through- life support for digital experiences that are built for the future.


Lisa Gayle Welch Joins Hettema Group as Director of Marketing and Business Development

Pasadena, CA, USA -- The Hettema Group is pleased to announce Lisa Gayle Welch has joined the creative design team as Director of Marketing and Business Development. With an award-winning staff of veteran designers, architects and creative artists, The Hettema Group creates stellar immersive experiences fueled by the power of storytelling. Recent projects include showcase attractions for theme parks, major museums, visitor centers, world expos and resort destinations.

“We’re delighted Lisa has joined our team as we celebrate our 10th anniversary,” said Phil Hettema, President and Creative Executive, The Hettema Group. “She has an impressive track record in the industry, and will be a tour de force ensuring the continued growth of our company, strengthening client relations and overseeing strategic marketing efforts.”

Previously, Welch served as a producer for Walt Disney Imagineering R&D, where she was responsible for producing new in-park role playing experiences and online/mobile projects for Walt Disney World. As director of marketing for Hyper Entertainment, in both London and Los Angeles offices, Welch created and implemented sponsorship strategies, marketing and business development for a variety of international projects including Capitol Records, FerrariWorld Abu Dhabi, Abbey Road Studios, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and more. Welch also held management positions with Vertex Productions, Sony Corporation of America, and Iwerks Entertainment.

“This is an exciting time to be joining The Hettema Group. The creative design team has an amazing story to share,” said Welch. “The Hettema Group brings magic, a sense of wonder and the ‘wow factor’ to every project.” Welch received a B.A. degree in Theater Arts from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

For more information: www.thehettemagroup.com.

About The Hettema Group:
The Hettema Group is renowned for creative design, production and architecture for the world of experiential entertainment. Celebrating ten years of creating award-winning immersive experiences fueled by storytelling, the design team has an established track record worldwide. Caesars Entertainment Corp. recently selected The Hettema Group to design the world’s largest observation wheel, destined to become an iconic international landmark in Las Vegas. Led by industry veteran Phil Hettema, the firm spearheaded creative design and production of the USA Pavilion experience for the World Expo 2012 in Yeosu, South Korea. Acclaimed projects also include the immersive 4-D, multi-media experience, “Beyond All Boundaries” for the National World War II Museum, narrated by Executive Producer Tom Hanks. The Hettema Group was selected as designer and project manager for The Malaysia Truly Asia Center [MTAC], in Kuala Lumpur; and created the master plan for the Sanrio-owned Hello Kitty Park in Anji, China, set to open in 2014. 

Electrosonic Expands Online Projector Lamp Store

London, UK -- Electrosonic’s projector lamp website www.ElectrosonicLamps.com, which was launched last year as an efficient, hassle-free way to buy projector lamps, can now service customers in the UK and throughout Europe. In addition to US dollars, the website now supports the Euro, the British Pound Sterling and the Swedish Krona.

Visitors to the website can browse the largest and most comprehensive inventory of original equipment manufacturer lamps (OEM). Also available are high quality OEM equivalent lamps for xenon and UHP projectors at savings of up to 50%. The “Sapphire” xenon projector lamps are made in Japan and designed to meet or exceed OEM quality and specifications. The “Diamond” UHP lamps utilize OEM bulbs and offer a 120 day warranty.

Electrosonic’s volume buying power and knowledge of the lamp businesses allows the company to procure lamps through many different channels, ensuring the best prices are passed on to its customers. Volume buyers can achieve special account status, which is reflected in the pricing they see online. Special discounts are also available for education, government, entertainment and corporate buyers who join Electrosonic’s buying group for their sector.

Electrosonic’s lamp customers receive a 30-day satisfaction guarantee and an enhanced 90-day warranty on their lamp purchases. For complete peace of mind, Electrosonic offers its exclusive Lamp Replacement Program. The program eliminates the hassle of procuring, storing and purchasing projector lamps. The program is fully customizable and offers installation and calibration services, and guaranteed availability.

“The new lamp website offers our clients a quick, efficient and cost-effective way to source new projector lamps for their business,” commented Sarah Joyce, Electrosonic’s VP EMEA. “This new service expands upon our existing portfolio of service solutions across the EMEA region, providing our clients with a comprehensive audio-visual service”.

Electrosonic’s lamp sales and technical support team is based out of London, UK, Stockholm, Sweden, and Minneapolis, USA. Electrosonic also has a large network of audio-visual service support staff throughout the US and Europe. They are available to provide local support and can also provide projector calibration and lamp installation services.

Beyond projector lamp sales, ElectrosonicLamps.com provides information on a wide range of Electrosonic service solutions, including priority maintenance and support, and on-site staffing.

Electrosonic’s lamp customers can ship their used lamps to Electrosonic for free lamp recycling and disposal. Lamps containing hazardous waste are recycled through a certified waste management company.

As customers in the UK and Europe will quickly discover, ElectrosonicLamps.com is the go-to destination for competitive pricing, quality customer service and the best inventory of OEM lamps.

Learn more about Electrosonic. Visit http://www.electrosonic.com

About Electrosonic
Electrosonic is an international audio-visual company that creates tailored, state-of-the-art solutions for a wide range of markets including theme parks, museums, video conferencing and control rooms. Since its founding in 1964, Electrosonic has built a strong reputation for working on complex projects, both large and small, and has developed lasting partnerships with customers and suppliers. Beyond complete integrated systems, Electrosonic provides a comprehensive scope of services including technical design, projector lamp sales, maintenance and operational support.

Pronto Software to Provide Complete Retail Solution for All Herschend Entertainment Parks

New York, NY, USA -- Enterprise resource planning (ERP) and business intelligence (BI) software provider, Pronto Software, announced today the signing of a new customer contract with Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation (HFE), the largest family-owned theme park company in the United States.

The multi-million dollar deal will see Pronto Software’s Pronto Xi ERP and BI software tool-set replace HFE’s legacy merchandise retail and inventory systems across HFE’s portfolio of entertainment, tourism and hospitality properties, including Silver Dollar City in Missouri and Dollywood in Tennessee.

The fully integrated solution includes financial, distribution, manufacturing, point-of-sale and warehouse management tools with built in business intelligence from IBM Cognos. The solution will help HFE control costs, improve operating efficiencies and profitability, while offering flexibility across multiple sites, staff teams and locations.

The implementation begins immediately and will be carried out through a series of rollouts over the next two years. On completion, HFE will become Pronto’s largest installed client in North America.

According to Andrew Wexler, chief financial officer at HFE, HFE selected Pronto Software based on the breadth and depth of services and solutions the team offered.

“We chose to work with Pronto after a very positive experience exploring how their technology and service offering would integrate with our varied systems. Pronto came to us with an approach that offered an all-encompassing set of solutions to meet our requirements,” Mr. Wexler said.

Pronto Software’s approach to engagement played an important part in setting it apart from other vendors.

“The Pronto team took the time to really listen and learn about our business, talk to our staff and build a detailed understanding of our operations and unique requirements from the very beginning. Their consultative approach specifically demonstrated how Pronto’s software could deliver improved business outcomes from our operations,” Mr. Wexler added.

“From the very early stages in our discussions with HFE, we came with an approach to improve operations, processes and help the business’ bottom line. The Pronto Software model of engagement involves consulting and listening to customer needs to discover how our technology can be tailored to resolve their business challenges,” Terry Leister, vice president for Pronto Software in North America, said.

Leister also said customizing Pronto Software’s modular solutions to suit HFE’s specific needs will form an important part of the implementation.

Pronto Software’s flagship solution, Pronto Xi, offers a range of modular solutions to users and includes direct integration with IBM’s Cognos BI tool-set. It will also be used to centralize a range of point-of-sale retail operations at HFE to allow for more efficient reporting, systems management and forecasting.

About Pronto Software:
Pronto Software is an award winning global software developer of next generation Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software that integrates with advanced Business Intelligence (BI) solutions. With in-built intelligence, flexibility and an easy-to-use interface, its flagship product, Pronto Xi enables users to discover rich business insights.

Pronto Software prides itself on actively listening to customers andadapting its services to meet their needs to reveal the best solution. pronto.net

About Herschend Family Entertainment:
Herschend Family Entertainment (HFE) is the largest family-owned theme park corporation in the U.S. The company creates, develops and operates entertainment, tourism and hospitality properties spanning 26 locations in ten states. HFE is committed to “creating memories worth repeating” by producing wholesome, immersive family entertainment experiences.

Rubicon Group Holdings to Transform Museum Exhibit from AMNH into Themed Attraction at Red Sea Astrarium

Copyright AMNH/D. Finnin
Los Angeles, CA, USA -- Rubicon Group Holding (RGH), designer and project manager for The Red Sea Astrarium (TRSA), has signed a licensing agreement with the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) for intellectual property rights to AMNH’s famed exhibition, “Traveling the Silk Road: Ancient Pathway to the Modern World;” it was announced today by RGH CEO Randa Ayoubi.

The new agreement grants RGH rights to use “Traveling the Silk Road” as the foundation for the design of a new interactive experience to be featured at the Astrarium, the US $1.5 billion leisure-resort now in development for Aqaba, Jordan.

“Traveling the Silk Road” explores the most celebrated trade route in human history through evocative sights, sounds and artifacts as well as intriguing interactive features, as it transports visitors to four ancient cities: Xi’an, Turfan, Samarkand and Baghdad. RGH will expand and enhance the exhibition at TRSA, adding an additional city to the mix and updating the interactive elements with new technology and media. The Silk Road exhibition will be layered throughout the Hijazi Gardens at the Astrarium, a sprawling botanical garden recreating the environments found at various points along history’s most important trade route.

“Everyone knows the Silk Road as an important trade route, but it was more than just a means of moving goods from one place to another, it was a vital conduit for the transfer of knowledge and ideas,” explained Lenny Larsen, Business Development Director of Themed Entertainment for RGH. “The Astrarium’s attractions focus on inspiration, innovation, and human achievement, so exploring the Silk Road, as a means of connecting cultures and ideas, is a natural fit for this unique experience.”

The exhibition serves as the foundation for a new interactive, augmented reality game in which park guests take on the roles of merchants, citizens, and explorers traveling the Silk Road. The game will send players on quests through the Hijazi Gardens to engage with the exhibit content, other guests and park staff … exploring the gardens, trading virtual goods, and learning about other cultures along the way through the use of personal mobile devices and other, in-park technology. For example, one player could take the role of an English Nobleman who needs 10 peppercorns as a dowry for the girl he wants to marry. To get the peppercorns, he needs to trade English goods for Chinese silk which will subsequently be traded for Indian Spices.

“This important blending of the entertainment world and the museum world will result in an incredible new approach to engaging our visitors with history,” said Ayoubi. “In the beginning, RGH started with a vision for making education fun and interactive. With the Silk Road adventure at the Astrarium, we’re blurring the lines between the real world, the virtual world, and history, which will serve to usher in a new way of engaging audiences with museum content.”

www.rubiconholding.com

About The Red Sea Astrarium
Built upon the foundations of creativity, integrity and wisdom, The Red Sea Astrarium (TRSA) is a celebration of collaboration and innovation transcending cultures, geography, and even time. The 184-acre Astrarium features four luxury hotels, lush botanical gardens and an impressive collection of entertainment, dining and retail offerings that will soon elevate Jordan to a prominent place among the world’s leading leisure destinations. The project also serves as a catalyst for advancing regional technology and utility infrastructures with clean energy and state-of-the-art water and waste management.

Overlooking the Gulf of Aqaba, the Astrarium is home to a spectacular array of attractions and entertainment experiences, all of which seek to engage and inspire guests to explore their world, discover new ideas, and dream big dreams. While most attractions focus on cultural or historical themes, the Astrarium is also home to a signature Star Trek experience, created in collaboration with Paramount Parks & Recreation and CBS Consumer Products.


About RGH
RGH (Rubicon Group Holding) is a diversified entertainment company devoted to the creation of incomparable entertainment experiences and interactive educational content across all media channels.

RGH has a team of 400 employees in four locations: Amman (Jordan), Los Angeles (United States), Manila (Philippines) and Dubai (United Arab Emirates). Together, RGH’s world class team collaborates to provide a unique perspective into the realization of compelling digital content and immersive entertainment.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Holiday World Announces 2013 Additions to Splashin' Safari Including Rethemed Pilgrim's Plunge

Santa Claus, IN, USA (October 23, 2012) -- Following one of the hottest summers on record, Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari are creating more ways for families to stay cool in 2013.

That’s according to park president Dan Koch, who says the investment of $6.5 million provides everything from a new water-slide complex to misters throughout both parks.

“We’re adding four new in-the-dark water slides in a complex called RhinoBlaster,” says Koch. “The longest slide is 350 feet and includes a half-pipe element - similar to our Zinga water ride – for a really cool back-and-forth skate-boarding effect.”

Splashin’ Safari will gain a second ride, as the Pilgrims Plunge shoot-the-chute ride becomes part of the water park and is renamed Giraffica.

“We’re not moving the ride, just the park boundary,” says Koch. “Splashin’ Safari’s entrance will also be expanded and we’re adding a new style of lockers. This is part of our ongoing effort to improve our guests’ experience here at the park.” Splashin’ Safari is ranked as the nation’s #1 water park by TripAdvisor.com, the world’s largest travel website.

In Holiday World, a classic teacup ride – Kitty’s Tea Party – will be added to Holidog’s FunTown, plus a larger high-dive pool, stage and seating area will replace the current theater.

Additional projects for 2013 include:

• Expansion of Happy Halloween Weekends to include six weekends
• After-dark light show for summer nights
• 20 additional cabanas
• Misters and fans throughout both parks
• More shade structures and seating

For more information, visit HolidayWorld.com.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Ed Hart's Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Company Releases RFP Submission

Louisville, KY, USA (October 22, 2012) -- Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Company (KKRC) on Friday issued its response to the state’s Request for Proposals to reopen and operate Kentucky Kingdom. KKRC is a partnership consisting of Louisville investors Ed Hart, Ed Glasscock, Bruce Lunsford, and the Al J. Schneider Company (represented by its President, Mary Moseley).

Commenting on KKRC’s proposal, Ed Hart remarked, “In addition to responding to the specific questions the state posed in the RFP, we included a detailed business, marketing, and financing plan, as well as an executive summary of that plan, so the state would have the most thorough explanation possible of our vision for Kentucky Kingdom. We are making all of this information available to the public and we encourage any other bidders to make their proposals public as well. After all, Kentucky Kingdom is owned by the taxpayers of Kentucky and they have a right to know what’s going on. As noted in a number of news reports, many people are concerned that the state’s decision-making process for Kentucky Kingdom has been less than transparent.”

The highlights of KKRC’s proposal are as follows:
  • KKRC is making a $120-million commitment to restore Kentucky Kingdom as a full-fledged regional theme park ($50 million in start-up funding and $70 million over the term of the lease with the state). 
  • A reopened Kentucky Kingdom will yield $521 million in net new economic benefits for the Commonwealth of Kentucky and $35 million in net new fiscal benefits for Metro Louisville over a 30-year period.
  • Including the jobs it will stimulate in the hospitality industry and construction trades, Kentucky Kingdom will produce, on average, 2,150 full-time equivalent jobs annually. The park itself will directly produce 60 full-time jobs and, in addition, will employ more than 700 people in seasonal positions each year.
  • KKRC will restore 37 theme park rides and water attractions at Kentucky Kingdom. In addition, it will return the park’s more than 100 buildings to first-class condition.
  • KKRC will add four new theme park rides, including a spectacular new $15-million roller coaster, the first coaster to be introduced at Kentucky Kingdom in over a decade.
  • KKRC will double the size of Kentucky Kingdom’s water park by adding three new towers with multiple body, tube, and raft slides and a new 30,000-square-foot water attraction.
  • KKRC will also focus on beautifying the landscaping at Kentucky Kingdom, treating it as yet another important attraction for the park’s guests.
  • KKRC will offer affordable pricing, especially for season passes and the food at the park.
Hart added, “Our intent is to return Kentucky Kingdom to its previous position as the region’s top ride park, situated on beautifully landscaped grounds. Only Kings Island will have significantly more rides – about 30% more. But since Kings Island’s attendance is three times greater than Kentucky Kingdom’s, their guests often wait in long lines for the rides. Our guests won’t have those long waits. That translates to greater guest satisfaction – and that’s what builds attendance.”

When asked about Governor Beshear’s indications that Kentucky Kingdom should perhaps be demolished to make way for a better use, Bruce Lunsford said, “The Governor wants to permit casino gambling in Kentucky so the state doesn’t lose revenue to Indiana, Ohio, and Tennessee. I think the same thought process should apply to theme parks. We don’t have casino gambling right now, but we do have a great theme park. We don’t want to demolish a valuable state asset and thereby surrender even more revenue to those other states.”

Since he has been involved for almost three years in an effort to reopen Kentucky Kingdom, Ed Hart was asked whether he is getting frustrated with the process. Hart responded, “I am concerned that the Fair Board and state economic development and tourism officials have not shown more urgency about reopening Kentucky Kingdom, especially since they have repeatedly declared to the media that it is their number one priority.”

Hart added, “Including our response to the RFP, we have submitted a total of four proposals to the state. The first two were submitted prior to September 30, 2011, when the Fair Board, chaired by Ron Carmicle, abruptly ended the discussions with my company. At Governor Beshear’s request, we gave a third proposal to Mary Lassiter, Secretary of the Executive Cabinet and State Budget Director, on August 7, 2012. Shortly thereafter, the Governor instructed the Fair Board to seek other bidders, but encouraged me and my partners to submit our proposal as well. It has been somewhat frustrating.”

Mary Moseley added, “Kentucky Kingdom is essential to Louisville’s hospitality industry. Many hotels and motels rely on business generated by the theme park. To lose the park or see it reduced to a smaller operation that would not encourage overnight stays would really be a missed opportunity for Louisville. How is it that the nation’s 16th largest metropolitan market is content to let its theme park sit idle?”

Ed Glasscock summed up KKRC’s position, saying “We feel the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Louisville delegation to the state legislature, and other local and state officials should be more active in supporting efforts to reopen Kentucky Kingdom, especially since re-opening the park is in the best interests of our state and our local community. Our proposal provides both substantial start-up capital and a program of continued annual reinvestment, which will ensure the park’s success. We have a seasoned local operator in Ed Hart, who has a proven track record. And last but not least, my partners and I, being Louisville residents, will be responsive to the community.”

Chance Rides to Manufacture 250 ft Tall Bussink Observation Wheel

Wichita, KS, USA -- Chance Rides has signed a long term license agreement with Bussink Design GmbH for the exclusive rights to manufacture and sell the R80XL Giant Observation Wheel in North America. Chance Rides will market the R80XL under an affiliate company, Chance American Wheels.

The R80XL Giant Observation Wheel is a non-stop revolving wheel that stands over 250 ft (78m) tall and is the highest wheel built to date in North America since the original Ferris Wheel built in 1893 for the Chicago Worlds Fair. It has 54 eight passenger or 27 sixteen passenger climate controlled cabins. Cabins are available in many different configurations including standing, seated back to back or facing and there is even an option for lush VIP cabins. The cabins allow for full 360 degree view of the surrounding area making the R80XL Giant Observation Wheel the perfect stand-alone tourist attraction in any qualified location. The first R80XL is currently in final assembly in Munich, Germany and will be delivered in the beginning of next year.

Chance American Wheels will promote the R80XL Giant Wheel and have on display a full-sized R80XL cabin at the IAAPA Attractions Expo, November 13 – 16th in Orlando, FL, located in booth #4824.

Chance American Wheels is an affiliate company of Chance Rides, Inc., a family owned business located in Wichita, Kan. For more information visit chancerides.com.

Seattle's Pacific Science Center Turns 50

Seattle, WA, USA (October 22, 2012) -- Today, the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, Washington, celebrates turns 50. Designed and built by the United States Government as the United States Science Exhibit, part of the Seattle World's Fair, Pacific Science Center first opened its doors as a private not- for-profit on October 22, 1962, the day after the Fair closed.

The United States Science Exhibit began with Ray and Charles Eames's 10-minute short film The House of Science, followed by an exhibit on the development of science, ranging from mathematics and astronomy to atomic science and genetics. The Spacearium held up to 750 people at a time for a simulated voyage first through the Solar System and then through the Milky Way Galaxy and beyond. Further exhibits presented the scientific method and the "horizons of science." This last looked at "Science and the individual," "Control of man's physical surroundings," "Science and the problem of world population," and "Man's concept of his place in an increasingly technological world."

The theater space that housed The House of Science is now the science center's Eames IMAX Theater.

Friday, October 19, 2012

TEA Member CNA SOPHIS Provides Expertise to Home Design Industry With New Co-Venture

Jamestown, NC, USA -- Home furnishings industry veterans Jason and Jeff Harris have teamed up with Lance Hanish and Klaus Paulsen of CNA SOPHIS, and Nancy Glass of Nancy Glass Productions to introduce The Design Network, a revolutionary concept for creating an All Screens Network Multiverse that will provide entertainment, instruction, and awareness of quality video content showcasing design for the home.

The Design Network will align the best designers, architects, furniture purveyors, video producers and home enthusiasts to offer inspirational, instructional and entertaining videos formatted to the highest quality standards. By offering on-demand content in a new, relevant and fresh way, and reaching “her” through a multitude of screens, anywhere she is, at any time and in any place, the Design Network will offer the home furnishings industry an opportunity to become a dynamic leader in entertainment and technology.

“This is an exciting time for the home furnishings industry to speak directly to ‘her.’ I have always believed in the power of video as the ultimate way to inspire and share. It brings movement, depth and life to the home,” says Design Network Founder, Jason Harris. “By providing women a continuum of video personalized to their interests, styles and preferences, we will give ‘her’ options to explore featured home furnishings products, to engage and to learn more.”

The Design Network’s target launch date is January, 2013 at thedesignnetwork.com.

AMPAS Reveals Piano and Pali's Design For Motion Picture Museum

Artwork courtesy Renzo Piano Building Workshop
Beverly Hills, CA, USA -- The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that it has reached its initial goal of $100 million toward a $250 million capital campaign to fund the upcoming Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Concurrently, the Academy unveiled its vision for the first major U.S. museum dedicated exclusively to the history and ongoing development of motion pictures. Designed by award-winning architects Renzo Piano and Zoltan Pali, the non-profit museum which will be located in the historic May Company Wilshire building in Los Angeles, is slated to open in 2016.

"The Academy Museum will be a landmark that both our industry and our city can be immensely proud of," said Academy CEO Dawn Hudson. “I appreciate the unwavering support of our board, our members, and especially our campaign chairs, all of whom have led us through this crucial stage."

Launched in early 2012 by Campaign Chair Bob Iger and Co-Chairs Annette Bening and Tom Hanks, the campaign has raised $100 million through private donations towards a $250 million goal. “The early response to our fundraising campaign has been outstanding and is incredibly encouraging,” said Iger. “We are so grateful to the founding supporters of the campaign, who share our vision and passion for creating the Academy Museum.”

Located on the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) campus, the nearly 300,000 square-foot Academy Museum will revitalize the historic building, which has been vacant or underutilized for nearly 20 years, and weave it back into the fabric of the city.

The design fully restores the Wilshire and Fairfax street-front facades of the 1938 Streamline Moderne building, and includes a spherical glass addition at the back of the original building. Designed to represent the marriage of art and technology, the addition will house a state-of-the-art theater which replaces an extension made to the structure in 1946.

“The design for the museum will finally enable this wonderful building to be animated and contribute to the city after sitting empty for so long,” said Piano, the Pritzker Prize winning architect. “I am very inspired by the Academy’s name and mission, the idea of the arts and sciences working together to create films. Our design will preserve the May Company building’s historic public profile while simultaneously signaling that the building is taking on a new life that celebrates both the industry and art form that this city created and gave to the world.”

"A major movie museum in the heart of this city has been a long-held dream of the Academy," said Academy President Hawk Koch, "Thanks to the latest technological developments we can take the visiting public through time, back into our history and forward toward our future."

Through immersive exhibitions and galleries, special screening rooms, and an interactive education center with demonstration labs, the museum will draw from the Academy's extensive collections and archives, which include more than 140,000 films, 10 million photographs, 42,000 original film posters, 10,000 production drawings, costumes, props and movie-making equipment, as well as behind-the-scenes personal accounts from artists and innovators – the Academy’s membership – working in the motion picture industry.

“Hollywood has played an unparalleled role in bringing American art, culture and creativity to people around the world,” said Antonio Villaraigosa, mayor of Los Angeles. “The Academy Museum will be a remarkable resource for L.A. that will both celebrate the industry that has defined our city and provide an essential resource that reinforces our position as leader and innovator.”

The $100 million raised includes significant commitments from:
  • Campaign Chairs and their families: Annette Bening and Warren Beatty, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, and Bob Iger and Willow Bay
  • Academy Governors, Past Presidents and their families, including: Bill Condon and Jack Morrissey, Richard and Bonnie Cook, Rob and Shari Friedman, Sid and Nancy Ganis, Jim and Ann Gianopulos, Gale Anne Hurd, Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall, Hawk and Molly Koch, John and Nancy Lasseter, Walter Mirisch and Lawrence Mirisch, Bob and Kay Rehme, and Tom and Madeleine Sherak
  • Corporate partners, including Dolby Laboratories, Panavision, Technicolor, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Entertainment Partners/Central Casting, Girard-Perregaux Watches, and The New York Times
  • Film studios and entertainment conglomerates, including The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros. Entertainment, and Lionsgate
  • Individuals and foundations, including Cecilia DeMille Presley, Lucasfilm Foundation, Shirley Temple Black and Family, Ken and Carol Schultz, The Mary Pickford Foundation, Alan and Cindy Horn, Frank and Fay Mancuso, Bob and Eva Shaye, The Four Friends Foundation, the Film Music Foundation, and Jerry and Linda Bruckheimer
  • Industry guilds, including the Directors Guild of America, Producers Guild of America, SAG-AFTRA, and the Writers Guild of America, West.
The Academy will also provide an endowment to support the Museum’s long-term programming.

“The Academy Museum will have a profound impact on the cultural landscape of Los Angeles. The decision to locate this museum in a historic building on LACMA's campus will bring incredible benefits to both institutions and their visitors. It is a whole that is bigger than the sum of its parts,” said Zev Yaroslavsky, chairman of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

Follow the Academy at www.oscars.org

ABOUT THE ACADEMY
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is the world’s preeminent movie-related organization, with a membership of more than 6,000 of the most accomplished men and women working in cinema. In addition to the annual Academy Awards—in which the members vote to select the nominees and winners­—the Academy presents a diverse year-round slate of public programs, exhibitions and events; provides financial support to a wide range of other movie-related organizations and endeavors; acts as a neutral advocate in the advancement of motion picture technology; and, through its Margaret Herrick Library and Academy Film Archive, collects, preserves, restores and provides access to movies and items related to their history. Through these and other activities the Academy serves students, historians, the entertainment industry and people everywhere who love movies.

About Renzo Piano Building Workshop
The Renzo Piano Building Workshop is an interactive partnership that originated with the creative insight of Genoa-born architect Renzo Piano. Established in 1981, the Workshop has a team of 150 architects at offices in Genoa, Paris and New York. Our work strives for unusual and bold solutions, achieved through inventive use of technology, while emphasizing a respect for local cultural themes and a reliance on traditional materials and craftsmanship. RPBW aims to blend these diverse and occasionally dissonant themes in a search for a new architectural voice—one that pays homage to the urbanity and humanity of space and form—within a broader context that seeks elegance and balance yet rejects the conventional constraints of formalism and traditional boundaries between disciplines.

Current projects include the Fogg Museum expansion at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA; the new Whitney Museum of American Art and Columbia University’s Manhattanville Campus in New York, NY; the Stavros Niarchos Cultural Center in Athens, Greece; and the Kimbell Art Museum expansion in Fort Worth, TX. Past projects include the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, France; the Beyeler Foundation Museum in Basel, Switzerland; the Menil Collection in Houston, TX; the New York Times Building in New York, NY; the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, CA; the High Museum of Art expansion in Atlanta, GA; the Chicago Art Institute expansion Chicago, IL; and the Broad Contemporary Art Museum, LACMA expansion in Los Angeles, CA.

About Studio Pali Fekete
Zoltan E. Pali founded Studio Pali Fekete architects (SPF:a) with partner Judit M. Fekete LEED AP in 1988 with the mission of generating architecture that fuses forces of site, program, budget, nature, and culture. Although they have become proficient in working with historically designated buildings, their approach is decidedly modern, having both been mentored by the LA modernist and original LA12 designee, Jerrold E. Lomax, FAIA, an associate of Craig Ellwood. Notable projects have included restoration work on the Hollywood Pantages Theatre, the Greek Theatre and Gibson Amphitheatre, and Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, which have resulted in numerous accolades, including the Preservation Award from the Los Angeles Conservancy.

The firm was executive architect on a $300 million renovation and expansion project at Getty Villa Museum in Malibu that included the new Getty Conservation Institute, the Fleischmann Amphitheatre, the Villa Auditorium and restoration of the original Villa Museum and Getty Ranch House. Most recently, they worked with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on LACMA West, a 300,000-square foot adaptive reuse of a historic department store into museum galleries, offices, media libraries and other flexible program space. In 2005, Pali was inducted as one of the youngest members of the AIA’s College of Fellows.

Texas State Fair Icon "Big Tex" Erupts in Flames

Photo credit: LM Otero/AP Source
Dallas, TX, USA (October 19, 2012) -- Greg Janda of NBC 5 Dallas-Ft Worth reports on this morning's fire which destroyed the Texas icon:

"Stunned attendees at the State Fair of Texas witnessed the iconic Big Tex go up in flames Friday morning.

"Some fabric that made up the towering structure's hand and sleeves could still be seen as firefighters gathered around the scorched area.

"Big Tex's 75-gallon hat, 50-pound belt buckle and slow drawl -- "Howdy, folks!" -- have been greeting fair visitors since 1952. This year's fair, which closes Sunday, had been celebrating Big Tex's 60th birthday.
'It's a great loss for us because of its icon stature,' fair spokeswoman Sue Gooding said.

"Gooding said she didn't know the cause of the fire but did note electrical controls move Big Tex's mouth and head. Gooding noted that no one was injured in the fire and added that she expects him to be back for next year's state fair.

"'He'll be back, bigger and better than ever,' she said."

FULL STORY HERE

Chance and Vekoma End Partnership

Witchita, KS, USA and Vlodrop, The Netherlands -- Since 2006 Chance and Vekoma have worked together in North America and successfully delivered three Vekoma family coasters under license in the U.S. market. Another Suspended Family Coaster is currently under construction for Fun Spot Action Park in Orlando, FL that will open spring 2013.

All of these joint U.S. projects were successfully delivered for the clients.

Despite the good cooperation during the past years, effective October 2012, Chance and Vekoma have decided to separately approach the US-market. Our companies have valued the relationship and will work together to ensure a smooth transition on the existing projects. Chance Rides will continue to provide spare parts and technical service for all the rides built under the license agreement.

Both companies are very positive about the future and look forward to meeting you at the upcoming IAAPA Attractions Expo in Orlando, FL.

Chance Rides, Inc.. For more information about Chance Rides products, visit chancerides.com

For more information about Vekoma Rides Manufacturing, visit www.vekoma.com

Village Roadshow to Design and Operate Theme Park on China's Hainan Island


South Yarra, Australia -- Village Roadshow Limited (VRL) announces that a wholly owned subsidiary has entered into agreements with a wholly owned subsidiary of Guangzhou R&F Properties Co. Ltd. (R&F), a company listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, for the establishment of Hainan R&F Ocean Paradise.  This will be a destination theme park on Hainan Island, China focusing on marine animal attractions, with a similar format to VRL’s successful Sea World on Australia's Gold Coast.

The site will also include a world class water park like VRL’s Wet 'n' Wild on the Gold Coast and Sydney Wet 'n' Wild, which is currently under construction.

The agreements utilise Village Roadshow's expertise in design, development, construction management and operations management. The first agreement covers Village Roadshow's involvement in the design and development of the project, and positions Village Roadshow as the lead consultant in a team that will draw on specialist expertise from around the world. The second agreement appoints Village Roadshow as the exclusive operator of both Hainan R&F Ocean Paradise and Hainan Wet 'n' Wild for a period of up to 20 years.

These agreements are the result of intensive work and investigations by the Village Roadshow Theme Parks group over more than two years.

VRL Executive Chairman Robert Kirby said "Our key involvement in every aspect of this project represents significant reward and recognition of our Village Roadshow Theme Parks branding and world class capabilities.  We look forward to working closely with R&F, who are one of China's leading property developers, to deliver a world class destination theme park to the people of Hainan Island, its many tourists and of course all of China."

Guangzhou R&F Properties Co. Ltd. Chairman, Li Sze Lim, commented that "We have searched the world to find the best partner to work with to deliver on our commitment to establish an international standard theme park for the people of Hainan and China.  We believe we have found this in Village Roadshow.  Their demonstrated capabilities in theme parks, combined with their commitment to this project and to China, gives us every confidence that together we will deliver a truly wonderful theme park experience to the millions of tourists and residents of Hainan Island."

The total project cost of Hainan R&F Ocean Paradise will be around RMB 3.5 billion (approximately A$550 million) and is scheduled to open in 2015. VRL will not have any ownership interest in the Park.  The financial impact on VRL during the development phase is not expected to be material.  The level of management fees and performance based incentive fees once the Park is operating is anticipated to be significant.

VRL is Australia's largest theme park operator with Sea World, Warner Bros. Movie World, Wet'n'Wild Water World, Paradise Country, Australian Outback Spectacular, Village Roadshow Studios and Sea World Resort in its Gold Coast portfolio.

Disney Parks to Present 52 Unique Events in 52 Weeks

Copyright Disney
New York, NY, USA -- Guests will find an extra sprinkle of pixie dust each week when they visit Walt Disney World and Disneyland resorts next year, Disney officials announced on October 17.

While 2013 is already a momentous year for Disney Parks – with New Fantasyland as the largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history at Walt Disney World Resort and the first full year of a reimagined Disney California Adventure at Disneyland Resort – Disney today unveiled Limited Time Magic: 52 weeks of magical experiences big and small that appear, then disappear as the next special surprise debuts.

Guests can experience an Independence Day celebration – only it lasts an entire week….Main Street mainstays the Dapper Dans rocking out with boy band hits in barbershop style….a Friday the 13th dance party with Disney villains that lasts to the 13th hour….a Valentine’s Day in 2013 that becomes Valentine’s Week with Disney castles blushing pink, surprise meet-and-greets with Disney princes and princesses, and candlelit dinners for couples in love.

These and many more special experiences to surprise and delight Disney Parks guests will roll out each week in 2013. Unique, magical, memory-filled – and each for a limited time only.

Disney officials noted that Limited Time Magic was inspired by the reality that many of life’s most cherished memories are made during those special, but fleeting moments when families spend time together with shared experiences.

As part of today’s announcement, Disney Parks illustrated the whimsical and short-lived nature of Limited Time Magic by unveiling a glistening, three-story fairytale castle in the heart of Times Square. Made of 45,000 pounds of ice, the castle was available only for a limited time, thanks to Mother Nature and warming autumn temperatures.

Here’s a sampling of Limited Time Magic in store for guests in 2013 — for a limited time only:
  • True Love: Celebrate romance and enchantment throughout Valentine’s Week with special moments and entertainment geared to lovebirds. Guests can celebrate their Valentine as Magic Kingdom and Disneyland turn up the romance, complete with their iconic castles bathed in hues of red and pink. Disney Princes join their Princesses to meet park guests in special settings, prix fixe menus turn up at select restaurants and Valentine collectibles will be offered for the week.
  • Independence Week: It’s red, white and blue as Disney Parks salutes America with a 4th of July Fireworks Party — for an entire week, with patriotic lighting bathing the Disney castles on both coasts. Mickey Mouse appears in his patriotic finest and guests will find special USA shirts, Ear Hats and other limited-edition souvenirs.
  • During “Long Lost Friends Week,” lesser-known Disney characters will move from the shadows to the spotlight with meet-and-greets on both coasts. Photo opps with characters that could include Flik, Clarabelle Cow, Remy, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum will surprise and delight guests. And Disney guests will even have the chance to vote online for which characters they want to see.
  • Pirate Week: Why talk like a pirate one day when you could celebrate these scalawags all week long? The adventures of Jack Sparrow come to life like never before during a bicoastal buccaneer bash in which Disneyland and Walt Disney World become pirate-palooza: pirate bands, pirate meet-and-greets and more.
  • Dapper Dans Sing Boy Bands: Dapper Dans, the iconic quartet from Main Street, U.S.A., will add a special finale to their show, claiming the title of the “Original Boy Band” and delivering a medley of hits from One Direction, *NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys.
  • Unleash the Villains: A Friday the 13th in 2013 is a special day, so Disneyland and Disney Hollywood Studios are staying open until the 13th Hour (1 a.m.). Maleficent, Capt. Hook, Jafar and other Disney villains host a dance party, complete with limited-edition collectibles and nighttime mischief on Sept. 13.
  • Golden Horseshoe Revue: The fabled Frontierland show returns to Disneyland for one month only, bringing back the corny jokes and enduring songs that were often enjoyed by Walt Disney himself.
Disney dream makers are crafting more surprises and magical offers that will be rolled out weekly during the magical year. The experience of the week will be announced in a variety of ways including in-park, Disneyworld.com, Disneyland.com, Facebook, Twitter, the Disney Parks Blog – adding to the element of surprise.

For more information about Limited Time Magic, guests should visit www.disneyparks.com.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Goddard Group to Showcase Current Projects at IAAPA 2012

Magic World Russia.  Courtesy MIG 2000.
Hollywood, CA, USA (October 17, 2012) -- In conjunction with IAAPA 2012, the Hollywood, CA.- based Goddard Group, (currently celebrating its 10th Anniversary Year,) and its Founder/Chairman/CEO Gary Goddard, have announced the slate of new projects in which the company is currently actively engaged. The Goddard Group will be exhibiting during IAAPA 2012 in Orlando, FL, at Booth # 1347. Mr. Goddard made these announcements:

SOON TO BE ANNOUNCED PROJECT IN MACAU, CHINA
Following on the heels of the immensely successful GALAXY MACAU, which opened in Macau, China, in May of 2011, The Goddard Group has been engaged for the last year in creating and developing the concept and design for another, upcoming, mega-casino in Macau, this one for a major Macau-based gaming entertainment company. While no details can yet be provided at this point, the project promises to become the next major new iconic destination resort in Macau.

SHENFU NEW TOWN’S “RING OF HARMONY”
Goddard’s work has also been the subject of public acclaim elsewhere in China during October, when “Shenfu New Town,” an entirely new, 22 square kilometer city in China (with 2 square kilometers located in the heart of the city) planned and designed by Goddard and his team, previewed its new themed monument, the “Ring of Harmony”. This new global icon was created as a fitting symbol for this new city, representing the harmony between man and nature, between family life and working life, and between suburbia and urban life.

“The Ring of Harmony,” over five hundred feet high, stands at the edge of a central lake located at the heart of the new town, and provides an inspirational symbol which can be seen from every part of the city. Reflected in the lake, the “Ring of Harmony” image creates a perfect figure “8,” a symbol of good fortune throughout China and most of Asia.

“JUMPING FISH” OPENS AT LOTTE WORLD
Early October saw the opening of the first attraction in a multi-project deal between South Korean theme park Lotte World and Goddard Group. The children's ride, named “Jumping Fish,” combines a Zamperla Flying Tigers ride system with a lavishly detailed undersea environment, to create one of the most uniquely-themed flat rides in the world. This combined effort between the Lotte World team and Goddard Group’s designers has resulted in a highly original and popular children’s ride and is already a signature experience for small children and their parents.

BROADWAY 4D
The Goddard Group is currently in development on an upcoming musical attraction dubbed "Broadway 4D," which will debut in New York City in the early Spring of 2014. Landlord New 42nd Street has signed a long-term lease with  Broadway 4D Theatres, formed by a group of entertainment industry veterans that will take over the site at 217 W. 42nd Street in Manhattan.

At the core of Broadway 4D is its creator Gary Goddard, Tony Award winning Broadway producer and the pioneering creator of what is now known as “4D Attractions” – shows that place people in an immersive world of 3D film and synchronous “in theatre effects” creating a truly unique theatrical experience – Goddard is heading up a team of highly skilled talents to bring this new production to life. Joining Mr. Goddard as partners in the project are Beverly Hills entertainment lawyer Robert Kory (owner of KR Capital and manager of singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen;) and two Hollywood mainstays as executive producers – producer/director Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, Superman Returns) and former CBS and Sony top executive Jeff Sagansky, who most recently backed The Smurf Movie, and Adventures of Tintin and other projects as a film financier. Working with Goddard in the development and production of the show will be Forbes Candlish, who serves as the head of the live entertainment division at GGE. 

BROADWAY 4D is slated to launch at the Times Square Theatre by Spring of 2014. Songs from musicals by the likes of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim, Andrew Lloyd Webber and many other composers will be performed by an array of the greatest stars of the musical theatre in a show unlike any other.
MAGIC WORLD RUSSIA
In its continuing role as the lead design company for “Magic World Russia,” slated to be built outside Moscow, the Goddard Group, building upon the approved conceptual design, has now moved into the Master Plan process, expanding from its role during the initial park concept phase. Over the past several years Goddard has been working in close collaboration with Moschanko Investment Group 2000 (MIG 2000), a partner of the Russian Corporation, Central Family Park Magic World. MIG 2000 has assembled a team of industry leading professionals who will be providing the requisite operating, technical and logistic support for “Magic World Russia.”

As currently planned, “Magic World Russia” will encompass several different theme parks. At the center of it all will be “Park Russia,” the site’s flagship theme park, which will celebrate the past, present and future of Russia. Included within “Park Russia” will be a number of themed “Zones.” The connective tissue of “Park Russia” that will thematically tie all of its various “Zones” together will be the incorporation of famous iconic Russian architecture, as well as fantasy-like iconic geographic areas that make up modern Russia. 

For further information please see: www.garygoddard.com

ABOUT THE GODDARD GROUP:
Currently celebrating its 10th Anniversary Year, The Goddard Group and Gary Goddard are among the most sought after designers of mega resort and themed entertainment projects in the world. If you’ve ever been to New York’s Times Square, Las Vegas, Macau, Tokyo, Sydney, Cape Town, Jakarta, Hollywood, Shanghai or the Philippines, chances are you’ve personally experienced one of the themed entertainment attractions, hotels, resorts, aquariums, retail outlets or visitor centers designed and produced by Gary Goddard and The Goddard Group.

Specializing in concept, master planning, design, project management and media production services, The Goddard Group provides turn-key services for entertainment-based projects of every size and scope in America and throughout the world.

With a reputation for excellence, Gary Goddard and his team are true leaders in the architectural design and leisure industry, continually creating many of the World’s Greatest Attractions. Recent design projects by the Goddard Group include The Galaxy Macau Integrated Resort in Macau, Hershey’s Chocolate World in Times Square, the Georgia Aquarium, and, most recently, the urban planning for Shenfu New Town’s City Center, two square kilometers of retail, entertainment, mixed use and residential areas, all anchored with “The Ring of Harmony”, the iconic symbol of the city that stands at over five hundred feet.

Historically, Goddard has been responsible for a wide array of internationally recognized theme park, resort & casino destinations, and major attractions having led the teams that created “Universal’s Islands of Adventure”, “Terminator 2/3D”, “The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man”, “The Forum Shops” at Caesars Palace/Las Vegas, “Caesars Magical Empire” and the long-term ten-year Master Plan for Caesars Palace itself, as well as creating the original concepts for Sheldon Adelson’s “Venetian” in Las Vegas, for Sol Kerzner’s “Atlantis” in the Bahamas,” and the Concept and Master Plan for the “Montelago Resort at Lake

Goddard and his firm have grown to become one of the most successful and most respected independent entertainment design firms working in the industry today. They are known for, and continue to be dedicated to, “Creating the Greatest Attractions in the World.”