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This Week's News

Tokyo Disney attendance drops

Tokyo Disney Resort has announced that the total combined attendance at Tokyo Disneyland Park and Tokyo DisneySea Park during the first half of this fiscal year (April 1 to September 30, 2014) amounted to a figure of 15,099,000 persons, representing a decrease of 260,000 persons, or 98.3 per cent of the attendance figure for the same period last year.

The park's operator, Oriental Land Company (OLC), was quick to point out that this attendance drop was expected following last year's record figure. The group also noted that the latest first-half figures are the second highest in the group's history in Tokyo.

During the first half of this fiscal year, the new Tokyo Disneyland night-time entertainment, Once Upon a Time, presented from May 29, attracted guests to the parks," OLC stated.

"In addition, the Tokyo Disneyland attraction, Jungle Cruise, which re-opened on September 8 in a new version titled Jungle Cruise: Wildlife Expeditions, as well as special events filled with seasonal elements held at the two Parks, also proved to be highly popular."

OLC added: "As this year follows immediately after the record high attendance during the Tokyo Disney Resort 30th Anniversary, a decline in turnout was expected in the initial forecast for this fiscal year."

Vingroup opens second Vinpearl Land

Vietnamese operator Vingroup has opened its second Vinpearl Land amusement park in the country.

The new park opened on November 1 on Phu Quoc Island in the Gulf of Thailand, alongside the group's new 750-room Vinpearl Resort Phu Quoc, a signature Vincharm Spa and a 27-hole Vinpearl Golf Club.

Vinpearl Land Phu Quoc sits on a 170,000sq.m site in Bai Dai on Phu Quoc Island, which is a 45-minute flight from Ho Chi Minh City and is easily accessible from Thailand.

Features include a waterpark; 5D Cinema; Fairy Castle; Under Water World, complete with an aquarium home to more than 600 species of marine life; and outdoor and indoor games zones, featuring rides such as Condor, Disk-O-Coaster, Windmills and Flying UFO.

More 'traditional' attractions include a carousel swing and a large Ferris Wheel ride, while options for younger visitors include a children's roller coaster, kid's pool, bumper cars and a mini Ferris wheel.

Dining options can be found in the Food Village and Yummy Land, with retail therapy offered at Shopping Street. Live performances range from dolphin and mermaids shows in Dolphin Lagoon to the Musical Water Fountain show and Vinpearl Land Carnival show.

Further attractions can be found on Phu Quoc itself, with its stunning National Park and excellent beaches and diving.

As Vingroup's chief executive officer, Duong Thi Mai Hoa, explained, Vingroup's roll out of the Vinpearl Land concept goes hand in hand with its development of luxurious Vinpearl Resorts, Vincharm Spas and Vinpearl Golf Clubs and Phu Quoc park is just the latest in a line of planned openings.

"Not only does Vingroup aim to be the pioneer and the leader in Vietnam's entertainment industry we aim to put the country firmly on the map as one of the amusement park capitals of Asia," she said.

"To this end we are looking to develop further attractions around the country in the coming years, including some more amusement parks in different parts of the country, backed by more of our smaller family entertainment centre attractions around the country."

Dutch court rules in favour of KMG

A Dutch court has ruled in favour of manufacturer KMG Europe in a high-profile copyright case.

According to KMG's Peter Theunisz, a Dutch showman was operating a copy of the company's Freak Out ride that was manufactured by a Czech company.

Similar copied rides are being manufactured by other factories in Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Asia, Theunisz said.

On October 2, the Dutch court confirmed that Freak Out carnival ride is protected by copyright law, and that the illegitimate Czech ride used the same effects, model, colours and decorations.

"According to the judge, the manufacturer and owner have not investigated possible solutions to build a similar ride that doesn't infringe our copyright, nor have they attempted to make this ride look distinctively different than the KMG Freak Out," said Theunisz.

Following the ruling, the showman is no longer allowed to operate this copied machine in the Netherlands. He faces a fine of €20,000 ($25,200) for each day the ride is in operation.

The operator was also told to pay all trial expenses.

River Safari hosts Halloween event

On October 17, River Safari in Singapore hosted its first Halloween event, Safari Boo.

The event saw close to 200 special guests - including 60 preschoolers - enjoy a closed-door trip to the wildlife reserve.

They were treated to a special animal presentation on creepy crawlies, up-close animal encounters and an after-dark experience.

Safari Boo continues on selected dates throughout the rest of October, and ends on November 2.

Children aged 12 years and below enjoy free admission from 6pm and are encouraged to dress up for a Halloween costume contest.

Sandy joins NRCMA board

Adam Sandy, long-time industry insider, ride enthusiast and historian, has joined the National Roller Coaster Museum and Archives (NRCMA) board of directors for a three-year term.

"We were strategically looking for someone who knows all of the current ride manufacturers and the history of the industry," Gary Slade, NRCMA chairman said.

"Adam has an inventory of roller coasters and midway rides in his head that rivals any historical book. His passion for the industry will help the NRCMA achieve our next goals."

Sandy has been a part of the Ride Entertainment Group since 2004. He oversees all of the company's sales and revenue share initiatives, and contracts for REG's ride installation and retrofit team.

In addition, he runs the marketing and social media programs for the company as a whole and the individual properties under the Ride Operations Group banner.

Sandy replaces foundational board member and historian, B. Derek Shaw.

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.