Ferrari World moves to seven-day ops
Ferrari World Abu Dhabi returned to the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) expo for the third year running this month, announcing plans to move to a seven-day operational model later this year.
The world's largest indoor and only Ferrari-branded themed park arrived at the expo to showcase to the regional and global travel industry the unique leisure offering it adds to the UAE's premiere leisure hotspot: Yas Island.
"There's been a growing demand for a continuous entertainment offering and the appeal of Yas Island as a leisure destination is now even higher," said Andy Keeling, park manager at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi.
"With its combination of two mega theme parks, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi, a wide range of excellent hotels, a world-class golf course, a racing circuit and a concert arena hosting world class musical events, Yas Island has really upped its entertainment portfolio.
"To meet this growing demand, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi - which normally closes on Mondays - will be open every day starting in the fourth quarter of 2013, making us a 365-day-a-year operation," Keeling said.
"We are sure that visitors, as well as representatives from the travel industry, will find this an even better proposition that takes our proven success story further."
Great Wolf unveils investment programme
US waterpark operator Great Wolf Resorts has unveiled a multi-million dollar investment to add new attractions and amenities to all 11 of its Great Wolf venues.
"We are focused on providing fun-filled experiences for the entire family in the water park and throughout the entire resort," said Tim Black, chief operating officer.
"This year our guests will find something new at each of our properties. Our goal is to create memorable vacations for guests of all ages and these brand-wide additions are great examples of how we do just that."
New amenities will include water slides, dining, shopping and interactive attractions. A white-water rafting attraction will be added to the resort in Traverse City, Michigan, as well as a bowling alley.
Vortex targets expansion in Mexico
Vortex Aquatic Structures International has announced the opening of a sales and customer service support office in Mexico.
Located in Villahermosa, Tabasco, Vortex is positioning itself for growth to support the municipal and commercial sectors in this key market.
"We see Mexico as a strategic market with terrific potential for many years to come," said Stephen Hamelin, president of Canada-based Vortex.
"We have already been active in Mexico for the last few years, and the additional team members will allow us to more effectively bring our Vortex aquatic solutions to our growing number of customers in the area."
As leader in the aquatic play industry and creator of the Splashpad and Poolplay concepts, Vortex integrates the principles of sustainable design into aquatic play structures.
Refurbishment planned for UK waterpark
One of the biggest tourist attractions in Stoke-on-Trent, UK, is hoping to bring in even more visitors under plans for a major extension.
WaterWorld owner Mo Chaudry has unveiled proposals to build a new snack bar and seating area around the outdoor pool.
The scheme will create 10 jobs and help pave the way for a new outdoor ride, proposed for a future expansion.
Expansion planned for Sea Life Melbourne
Merlin Entertainments plans to spend $8m on refurbishing the Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium in Australia.
The investment from Merlin, which acquired the aquarium as part of the takeover of Living and Leisure Australia Group, will be used to create 12 new discovery zones with "interactive animal encounters, iconic state-of-the-art displays and hundreds of new species".
New waterpark planned for Western Australia
A $70m waterpark featuring high-speed thrill rides and state-of-art water slides is to be built in the north-eastern suburbs of Perth, Australia.
In one of the most significant tourist attraction developments in Western Australia in decades, the park will sit on 4ha as part of The Maze Fun Park in Bullsbrook.
The $1.5m first stage - a three-storey-high waterslide playground with two tube slides, two flume slides, toddlers' slides, a 1,000-litre tipping bucket and a range of water cannons and interactive play features - is expected to be finished by December after getting planning approval from the City of Swan and a $250,000 grant from the Federal Government this year.
Sharjah amusement park opens in June
A themed amusement park in Sharjah, UAE, with water rides similar to Dubai's Wild Wadi is set to open in June.
"We are co-investing in the Al Mountazah project through a joint venture with an established UAE company," said Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, chief executive officer, Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq).
"Entertainment is very important if you want to be a touristic destination. This project is going to create a vibe for Sharjah... it will be more of a catalyst to attract families who want to enjoy good time in the emirate."
Universal unveils Harry Potter World expansion
Building on the global phenomenon that is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Orlando Resort and Warner Bros Entertainment have announced an expansion of historic proportion with the entirely new themed environment, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley.
Scheduled to open in 2014, the world's first centrally themed, multi-park experience expands The Wizarding World of Harry Potter across both Universal Orlando theme parks and allows Universal's creative team to bring an unparalleled vision to this unique project.
The new area will bring to life some of the experiences and places found in and around London in the Harry Potter books and films, offering brand new adventures for fans and theme park guests from around the world.
Diagon Alley and 'London' will be located within the Universal Studios Florida theme park, which is adjacent to Universal's Islands of Adventure theme park, where guests now experience Hogwarts and Hogsmeade.
Work on the new area is already underway. When complete, it will feature shops, a restaurant and an innovative, marquee attraction based on Gringotts bank - all directly inspired by the fiction and films.
"We are continuing the journey and adding an entirely new level of adventure," said Tom Williams, chairman of Universal Parks and Resorts. "And we are bringing the same drive, commitment, enthusiasm and innovation to this project as we did to the first."
Losses narrow for Euro Disney
Euro Disney has posted a fall in net losses for the first half of fiscal 2013 on lower debt interest payments.
The group, which operates Disneyland Paris, completed a refinancing agreement in September with its parent Walt Disney Entertainment Company and two of its French subsidiaries, for €1.332bn ($1.73bn) of debt.
Net loss attributable to the first half of 2013 was €89.1m ($115.7m), compared to €100.8m ($130.9m) a year earlier.
Revenues rose three per cent to €567.7m ($737.2m) after a four per cent increase in average spending per visitor.
Ribbon cut on Latin American water coaster
WhiteWater West of Canada has developed Latin America's first water coaster featuring linear induction motor (LIM) technology.
Located at Xocomil Waterpark in Guatemala, the AdrenaLIM Blaster features cutting-edge linear induction technology.
It was installed to celebrate IRTRA Xocomil's 50th Anniversary and boost the largest drop in the world.
Xocomil's newest addition is based on WhiteWater's award-winning Master Blaster water coaster and utilises LIM magnetic propulsion to blast riders up six hills with a large drop at the end.
It accommodates four passengers in inline inflatable boats and is unique in that riders can opt to wear bathing suits or street clothing, and stay relatively dry.
"The AdrenaLIM Blaster is a perfect example of WhiteWater's continuing evolution as the leading, most innovative waterpark and attractions supplier in the world", said WhiteWater CEO, Geoff Chutter.
"The ride in itself is thrilling and adding LIM technology takes it over the top. Plus, as both a 'wet' and 'dry' ride, the value to riders and parks is essentially doubled."