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This Week's News

Disney's Greg Hale joins IAAPA board

The board of directors of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) has earmarked industry veteran Greg Hale as future chairman.

Hale, vice president and chief safety officer for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts worldwide, will be IAAPA's second vice chairman in 2015 and first vice chairman in 2016, before leading the association as chairman of the board in 2017.

"Greg Hale is passionate about the global attractions industry and about IAAPA," said Bob Rippy, chairman of the IAAPA governance committee that is responsible for nominating the second vice chairman to the board of directors.

"His industry knowledge combined with his proven track record of leadership on safety-related issues and other complex industry matters make him an ideal second vice chairman for IAAPA."

A 26-year veteran of the Walt Disney Company, Hale joined Walt Disney World in 1988 as manager of electrical and electronics engineering, ride and show engineering in 1989. He was named director of facilities and attractions regulatory compliance in 1995 and promoted to vice president of design, engineering and regulatory compliance in 1999.

In 2002, he was promoted to vice president and chief safety officer for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, and leads a global team of ride design, operations and maintenance professionals that keep Disney on the leading edge of theme park safety, accessibility for guests with disabilities and technology advancements.

Hale holds 63 patents around the world that have contributed to numerous innovations and inventions in the amusement industry.

Aquamagica opens in India

Adlabs Aquamagica Waterpark, an all-weather entertainment destination, has opened in Khalapur, 90km from Mumbai, India.

The park features 14 water slides and is aiming to "become a hangout for young party-goers", according to Adlabs CEO, Kapil Bagla.

All rides across the 138 acre site have been supplied by international waterpark manufacturers including Whitewater West and Polin.

A four-star hotel is set to open at the site by the end of the year.

Universal planning $3.3bn China park

Universal Studios has confirmed plans to open a $3.3bn theme park in China.

The park, to be located in Beijing, will be designed in-part by film director Steven Spielberg, and is being developed in partnership with local state firm Beijing Tourism Group.

Authorities in both Beijing and Shanghai entered advanced negotiations with the company, with those deals progressing as far as setting up preparatory groups and reserving sites for the project.

The Shanghai negotiations fell through in 2012 when the local company coordinating the project listed itself for sale on the stock market.

InterPark at EAS

The InterPark team visited our colleagues from around the world at this year's Euro Attractions Show (EAS).

Click here to view the image gallery.

Christmas theme park for China

A new Christmas-themed attraction is being developed in the Chinese city of Chengdu, reports indicate.

According to Travel Daily Media, SantaPark, which operates what is marketed as the "official home of Santa Claus" in Lapland, has teamed up with Finnish attraction specialist Lappset Group and a local Chinese developer to create a Christmas-themed attraction in the capital of Sichuan province.

According to the terms of the agreement, the new Chinese SantaPark will be a 10,000sq.m indoor attraction based on the original SantaPark in northern Finland. It is expected to open June 2016 as part of Floraland Chengdu theme park.

Iger to remain at Disney helm

The Walt Disney Company's board of directors has extended Robert Iger's contract as chairman and chief executive officer through June 30, 2018.

"Bob Iger is the architect of Disney's current success, with a proven history of delivering record financial results for the company quarter after quarter and year after year," said Orin Smith, independent lead director of the Disney board.

"Under his tenure, Disney has reached unprecedented creative and financial heights, driving the stock price to record levels and creating extraordinary value for shareholders."

Smith added: "He has transformed Disney's culture and empowered its businesses to effectively capitalise on evolving markets and new technologies, making Disney a company that doesn't merely embrace change, but leads it."

Since Iger, 63, became CEO, The Walt Disney Company has repeatedly been recognised as one of the most reputable companies in both the US and the world by several leading business publications.

"I've had the privilege of being the CEO of this great company for nine years and am thrilled to have the opportunity to continue through June 2018," Iger said.

"I'm very excited about what lies ahead, including the release of our Star Wars films and the launch of Shanghai Disneyland, and I'm honoured to continue working with our talented management team and the 175,000 dedicated people who make this company what it is today."

NWave unveils new 4D attraction

NWave Pictures Distribution will premiere its newest 4D/3D attraction film, Knights Quest 4D, at the IAAPA Attractions Expo in Orlando next month.

Knights Quest is a family-friendly film, produced with 4D effects in mind, fully immersing the viewer in the battle sequences. The story has a light-hearted and comedic tone that will appeal to all audiences, NWave said.

Distributed exclusively by NWave, the 12-minute experience is available in 4D and 3D to theme parks and attraction exhibitors worldwide.

Directed by James Rodgers and produced by British animation studio Red Star 3D, the film features two medieval knights, each on a quest to be the hero who frees a princess from captivity.

The film's trailer can be seen on NWave's YouTube channel.

"After premiering two very successful ride simulation films produced by Red Star 3D earlier this year, Dino Safari and Glacier Race, we are thrilled to launch this latest action-packed adventure," said Eric Dillens, chairman of NWave Studios.

"With stunning visuals and a great sense of humour, 'Knights Quest 4D' transports us to the Middle Ages featuring brave knights, a captive princess, a castle fortress and a fantasy villain."

Registration open for AIMS seminar

Registration for AIMS International's 43rd Annual Safety Seminar, which takes place at the Doubletree by Hilton in Orlando, Florida, on January 11-16, is now open.

The seminar will offer classroom and hands-on safety training along with invaluable networking opportunities for ride inspectors, maintenance, operations and aquatic personnel in the amusement industry.

With more than 300 delegates expected, the seminar is renowned for its diverse curriculum and the quality of its expert instructors who are today's leading industry professionals.
Click here for more information.

Gateway appoints operations manager

Gateway Ticketing Systems UK, the company behind the ticketing for many of the UK's leading visitor attractions, has brought in Dominic Stern, ex-Warner Bros and Merlin associate, as operations manager.

Stern joins Gateway as part on an ongoing commitment to customer service for existing clients, whilst maintaining the steady growth patterns of the last two years of business.

His role will also include the delivery, implementation and support processes for new Gateway Ticketing Systems UK customers and sites.

"I'm joining the Gateway team at an exciting time for driving growth in the ticketing systems arena in the UK," he said. "The first years of business have been extremely successful and I intend to further consolidate this through my existing knowledge of the ticketing market."

New Zoo Miami exhibit unveiled

WhiteWater Attractions unveiled a brand new project at the 2014 AZA Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida, along with Eric Stephens, Zoo Miami director, and representatives from PCL Construction, the main contractor for the latest expansion.

"We are very excited to begin construction of our new front entry and Florida: Mission Everglades as I know that it will be a beautiful addition to the zoo and well worth the wait," Stephens said.

The new exhibit, Florida: Mission Everglades, includes a water transportation system that will feature a custom themed eight-passenger vehicle designed to look like an everglades air boat.

The exhibit will incorporate special effects to best replicate the environment of the everglades, providing fun for the whole family with accessibility to even the youngest children.

The custom designed Water Transportation System ride path has been developed to weave through the exhibit complex, immersing guests in an experience that can only be beat by a visit to the actual Florida Everglades.

Visitors should expect to have an entirely new experience upon entry of Zoo Miami coming in the summer of 2016.