Dollywood celebrates 30th anniversary
Dollywood, the Tennessee theme park owned by entertainer Dolly Parton and Herschend Family Entertainment, celebrates its 30th anniversary season in 2015, with a range of new projects being planned.
The centrepiece of the park's plan features a $5.5m overhaul of the arrival area, where guests will find larger and more easily navigable parking facilities, along with new trams to transport them to the front gate.
Dollywood will also host the Festival of Nations cultural event in spring, and several music events.
"When we opened Dollywood in 1986, I was just hoping we would have people come through the gate that first day," Parton said. "At the time, even I couldn't dream of how much folks would love visiting my Dollywood."
The theme park is currently hosting the Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival, which features four million holiday lights and nightly performances.
BBC partners with Paramount
Developers of the new London Paramount Entertainment Resort in North Kent, UK, have signed a development agreement with the commercial arm of the BBC to feature the broadcaster's intellectual property at the resort.
The landmark agreement follows a similar partnership between the park and Hollywood studio, Paramount Pictures, which will allow the resort to access over 3,000 films including iconic movies such as Mission: Impossible, Star Trek, The Godfather and The Italian Job.
"The partnership agreement would mean that some of the best loved and celebrated programmes and characters to appear on British TV and radio in recent decades could be brought to life at a new world-class entertainment destination," a spokesperson for the resort said.
Paramount Entertainment Resort is planned to open in 2020.
IAAPA raises $120,000
The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) and attractions industry professionals raised more than $120,000 for Give Kids the World (GKTW) Village in Kissimmee, Florida, during IAAPA Attractions Expo 2014.
GKTW is a non-profit resort that provides cost-free vacations for children from around the world with life-threatening illnesses and their families.
The money was raised by IAAPA through private donations and a range of fundraising events, including the 12th Annual IAAPA International Charity Golf Tournament, 5th Annual Motorcycle Ride, 5K Fun Run and 1K Walk, and Chance-to-Win Raffle.
"We greatly appreciate our longstanding partnership with IAAPA and its members, and we are so thankful for the continued support," said Pamela Landwirth, president of GKTW.
Disney gets Frozen for January
Fans of 'Frozen' will be able to get their fix at Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure Park this January, as the theme parks add new themed experiences based around the hit 2013 movie.
On January 7, California Adventure will transform its Hollywood Land Theatre into Arendelle's Crown Jewel Theatre, which will host a regular 'Frozen' musical event.
The park will also add a snow play area, Olaf's Snow Fest, and musical performances by the Frockling Fjords and the Tubadors.
In addition, visitors will be able to meet the 'Frozen' sisters, Anna and Elsa, and Disney animators will also be on-hand to teach guests how to draw characters from the movie.
Chance Zipper makes a return
The famous Zipper from Chance Rides is back with modern updates.
A promotional video from the Kansas-based manufacturer highlights the updated LED lighting package on this carnival-style thrill ride.
The new Zipper also includes a segmented cable system that dramatically decreases maintenance time and wheel wear.
An order for the ride has already been placed by Skinners' Amusements of Illinois, Chance Rides said.
Soft opening for Hello Kitty Park
In time for the celebrated cartoon character's 40th birthday, Hello Kitty Park has opened its doors for a special inauguration ceremony in China.
Japanese company Sanrio, which created Hello Kitty in 1974, has joined with California-based entertainment design firm Hettema Group to bring the $215m park to life.
The sprawling park is divided into six zones, each of which features over 10 visitor attractions, including rides and shows. Five of the zones will be 'hosted' by a famous Sanrio character.
Located in Zhejiang Province, west of Shanghai, Hello Kitty Park is scheduled to open to the public on New Year's Day.
The China venue is the third Hello Kitty theme park in the world. The two others, Puroland and Harmonyland, are both in Japan and attract millions of people each year.
Nickelodeon Suites installs laser maze
Nickelodeon Suites Resort in Orlando, Florida, has launched an all-new laser maze experience, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Laser Lockdown.
The first-of-its-kind experience for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle brand was created exclusively with attraction powerhouse SimEx-Iwerks Entertainment and Nickelodeon.
This new offering expands on the typical laser maze model by combining state-of-the-art technology with the highly recognisable Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Laser Lockdown delivers an action-packed adventure, featuring high-visibility lasers and UV lighting, as well as key graphic components, character dialogue and themed music to fully immerse guests into the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle universe.
The attraction also incorporates a few surprise special effects that further enhances the storyline and overall experience for guests.
"The Nickelodeon Suites Resort is excited to be the first to showcase the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Laser Lockdown laser maze, which will be a tremendous draw for our hotel," said Louis Robbins, managing director of Nickelodeon Suites Resort.
Ripley's London partners with MM
International photographic solutions company, Magic Memories, has been awarded a new partnership contract with the London flagship visitor attraction of Ripley's Believe It or Not!
Shaun Moroney, Magic Memories' European sales director, worked closely with the team at Ripley's Believe It or Not! London, to design and deliver a product that would enhance the guests' experience.
The use of high quality creative Chroma key photography, which is bundled with the Magic Memories hosted engagement model, enabled the guests to be fully integrated into the new experience.
The final result is a product customised to each guest that encompasses their own experience and the unique world of Ripley's Believe It or Not! London.
Vortex introduces Watermark
Vortex Aquatic Structures, a manufacturer and world leader in aquatic play landscapes and entertainment solutions, has introduced Watermark, a cutting-edge architectural installation that creates patterns and words by synchronising lights and manipulating the flow of water.
Designed for urban spaces, shopping centres, airports, exhibition centres, amusement parks and hotels, Watermark features 25 valves per 3.3ft unit, which generates clear words, logos, and patterns that create unique sequences with tailored messages.
An interactive solution, Watermark designs can easily be updated via a secure app, making it ideal for advertising, welcoming guests, and showcasing promotions.
Watermark can be installed indoors and outdoors in customised seamless configurations, and is designed to integrate into existing structures.
The product's minimal water usage and power requirements means it can run around the clock, even after operating hours, which can be important in high traffic areas.
IAAPI Expo space selling out
The Indian Association of Amusement Parks and Industries (IAAPI) has announced that just 25 exhibit spaces remain for the 2015 edition of the IAAPI Amusements Expo.
The 15th annual edition of India's premier trade show for the amusement and leisure industry takes place at the Bombay Exhibition Centre in Mumbai on February 11-13.
Click here for more information.