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This Week's News

Surf City to make waves in 2016

A new 117,000sq.ft indoor adventure waterpark featuring the first deep-water surf machine in the US is on track for a 2016 opening.

Located in Ellensburg, Washington, Surf City is being developed by Lakeside Town Center.

Pegged as the largest waterpark west of the Mississippi River, the resort's infrastructure is now complete, and construction is on schedule to begin by early summer, Lakeside said.

"With an adjacent 215-room hotel, Surf City will specialise in water adventures appealing to tots, teens, college students and beyond," the developer stated.

"Having a modern, natural, tropical atmosphere, the different areas of the park will be themed as major surf destinations around the world."

"The centrepiece of the 84-degree, year-round park will be the first deep-water surf machine in the US.

"At the click of an iPad, this surf machine puts up perfect waves for beginners to professional surfers, boogie-boarders, body-surfers and kayakers alike."

Guests will also enjoy a large wave pool, four-person raft ride, tube slides, mat racer slide, aqua loop thrill ride, children's play structure, toddler pool, sport pool and two hot tubs.

Futuroscope ride wins award

Futuroscope's dark ride 'The Time Machine' received an accolade at the Themed Entertainment Association's 21st annual Thea Awards in California, US, earlier this month.

The ride at the French theme park, which features popular Ubisoft characters the Raving Rabbids, won a Thea award for Outstanding Achievement.

Together with several other Dutch organisations, such as sister companies Jora Entertainment and Jora Graphics, Jora Vision was involved in the design, engineering and construction of the dark ride.

"The Time Machine is a fantastic fun and surprising ride," said Jora Vision managing director and CEO, Jan Maarten de Raad.

"We are proud to have played a part in making a fantastic experience become reality once again."

Industry heads to Istanbul

The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) will host its Spring Forum in Istanbul on May 21-22, with delegates set to learn more about the fast-paced development of Turkey's attractions industry.

On May 21, visitors will participate in a backstage tour of Vialand, a large multi-entertainment complex that includes an amusement park, outdoor shopping experience, hotel and family entertainment facility.

The following day, delegates will visit the first Kidzania facility in Europe and experience a behind-the-scenes tour and lunch in the entertainment complex.

"Throughout the event, hear perspectives from some of the largest developers of attractions in Turkey, including Memhet Emec from Tema World, Tolga Alisoglu from Vialand and Viaport, and Gulnur Inkaya, general manager of Sea Life Istanbul," IAAPA said.

Click here for more information.

Rebranding for Six Flags coaster

Six Flags Magic Mountain in California is converting its flagship roller coaster, Goliath, into a ride based on forthcoming Monster Hunter 4 video game title from Capcom.

At the park, fans can visit special kiosks at the Cyber Cafe to play demos of the game. There will also be commemorative merchandise sold around the park to celebrate the event.

One car of the roller coaster will feature a design of Gore Magala, the black eclipse wyvern, from the cover of the video game.

New attraction for the Netherlands

A new 9,000sq.m indoor theme park, Yumble, has opened its doors in Roermond, the Netherlands.

By using new technology such as video mapping, augmented reality and 4D, children can enter Yumble's virtual world.

The park boasts 13 different attractions, including a 4D ride based on the Nickelodeon show, Mia and Me.

"Yumble combines the latest developments in the fields of technology and theme parks under one roof," the park's operator, Brand New Leisure, stated.

"Whereas in daily life, children move between playing in the real world and looking at a screen, Yumble allows you to dive into the world of the screen.

Dollywood prepares to party

Dollywood theme park in Tennessee, US, is planning the host a range of shows and music events as its celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.

The park's Festival of Nations is also celebrating a landmark anniversary in 2015, with the multicultural music and entertainment festival entering its 15th year.

Countries throughout the globe are represented Dollywood's cultural celebration through diverse entertainment showcases, exotic cuisine and authentic craftsmanship.

Returning to help Dollywood celebrate 30 years of entertainment, as well as the 15th annual Festival of Nations, is the visually stunning show, Rhythm of the Dance.

Showcasing traditional Irish dance and music with state-of-the-art technology, Rhythm of the Dance marries the contemporary and the ancient to present a thrilling and rich performance that highlights the journey of Irish Celts through history.

This year's Festival of Nations also brings an exciting new entertainment offering to the line-up.

Timber! from Quebec, Canada, co-headlines this year's entertainment roster and features incredible acrobatic feats inspired by the exploits of the first North American loggers and farmers.

The act will be joined by Los Pampas Gauchos, an Argentinean folk dance troupe; Mexican quartet, Mariachi Divas; Invaders Steel Orchestra; and Alash Ensemble, a a group of traditional Siberian singers.

Dollywood's Festival of Nations started on March 21 and continues until April 20.

Sacoa completes US installations

The first three months of 2015 have been busy for Sacoa, with several installations of the company's flagship PlayCard system going on simultaneously across the US.

Early in January, Sacoa deployed its PlayCard system in two Florida locations, AMF Davie Lanes and AMF Pembroke Pines Lanes, which offer traditional bowling lanes, sports bar areas, pool tables and family-friendly arcade games.

During the same month, Entertainment Properties Group, which operates iTZ Pizza locations in the Southwest, opened its first Pinstack location in West Plano, Texas.

The company is utilising Sacoa's PlayCard System to manage attractions and redemption throughout the 50,000sq.ft flagship dining and entertainment complex, which features 150 games, laser tag, bumper cars, rock climbing and a high ropes course.

Also in January, Sacoa's ColorShot readers were installed in Ghostly Manor Thrill Centre in Sandusky, Ohio.

In February, the Essex Family Fun and Entertainment Centre in Vermont followed suit by installing Sacoa's EZ System and ColorShot readers to manager the operation of its 18-hole mini golf, driving range and batting cages.

California theme park plan tabled

Officials in California's Coachella Valley are looking to bolster the region's tourism industry through the development of a new theme park.

According to local press, plans for the park - tentatively named 'Return to Aztlan' - include a 200ft pyramid, 10,000-person concert plaza, 12-screen movie theatre, rides, a river walk, a hotel, restaurants and retail options.

"We are hopeful that this project comes to fruition, just because of the economic impact it would have, including the hiring of local individuals," Coachella Mayor Pro Tem Manuel Pérez told local daily, The Desert Sun.

The theme park is proposed for a site along the highway, on Vista Del Norte, near Fantasy Springs Resort Casino and Spotlight 29 Casino.

S&S pulls focus on US

After enjoying strong success in China's burgeoning attractions market, S&S Worldwide has shifted its attention back to the US with an expanded R&D programme.

With more than 400 roller coasters, thrill rides and family amusement rides in over 30 countries, S&S is an international leader in the creation, innovation, design, engineering and manufacture of amusement rides and roller coasters.

According to Timothy Timco, vice president of sales, marketing and business development for Utah-based S&S, the company has been enjoying success in Asia - and particularly China - as operators realise the benefits of the company's innovative solutions.

The group, however, has always remained focused on the more mature markets of the US and Europe - and this focus is set to continue in 2015.

"Last year we put an initiative together to boost our presence in the US and Europe, whilst maintaining our presence in China," Timco said. "We are very well balanced now in terms of our marketing and sales efforts, and I believe we are in a stronger position now than we have been in many, many years."

S&S is renowned for its large-scale thrill rides, such as the 4th Dimension Coaster, but the company continues to bolster its portfolio in an effort to satisfy smaller operators.

"We recently added a Junior Coaster and FEC Coaster, which are both smaller footprint coasters," Timco said. "We want to ensure our product range covers all sizes. We have put together a new product development team, and this is all starting to make a positive difference in our business.

"We introduced the 4D Free Spin Coaster at the IAAPA Attractions Expo last year," he added. "The ride has become a tremendous hit for S&S, with the first one opening this year at Six Flags Fiesta Texas. It's the little brother of our 4th Dimension Coaster, and utilises the same technology."

Discussing current trends in the industry, Timco stated: "For many years, it was all about the fastest and tallest coaster. Now everyone is looking at unique elements. Operators are looking for creativity from all manufacturers. They want something that will separate their coaster or ride from the competition. This is a big challenge, but one that the S&S team embraces.

"I've been in the amusement industry for 30 years, and I have never seen the US amusements industry in a better place," Timco said.

"It's true that 2009 and 2010 were very difficult - not only for operators, but manufacturers as well. But, as with any business in any market, there are always ebbs and flows. Right now we are on a high note, and everyone should be taking advantage of this."

TiLEzone takes place next week

The 10th edition of the TiLEzone London seminar takes place at the London Transport Museum on Wednesday, March 25.

This year's event features speakers from a wide range of leisure sectors, including Duncan Campbell, new business strategy director for Merlin Entertainments; Tom Rockwell, director of exhibitons and programmes at the Exploratorium, San Francisco; TripAdvisor's Fernando Oliveira; Ben Sweet, general manager of Madame Tussauds in London; and Fredrik Eriksson of Sweden's National Museum.

Last-minute registration for TiLEzone 2015 is still available.