Tuesday, 02 Sep, 2014

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This Week's News

New waterpark for Kansas City

Worlds of Fun will provide another splash to its Oceans of Fun waterpark in Kansas City, Missouri, with the addition of Splash Island.

The 4200-sq.ft interactive water attraction will open in spring 2015.

"It's exciting to add an attraction for a third straight season," said Worlds of Fun vice-president and general manager Frank Wilburn.

"We've seen many successes combining Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun into one park for one price, and with our guests looking for more activities that could be shared by the whole family we've addressed those desires in a major way.

"The swan paddle boats will provide our guests with another layer of unique experience and continue to add value to the overall guest experience at Worlds of Fun," Wilburn said.

Worlds of Fun is owned and operated by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company.

Mumbai theme park plans approved

Plans for a 20,500sq.m theme park in Mumbai have been approved by the Indian government.

Majhe Jag - which translates as 'My World' - will be built in the Bhandupeshwar Kund district of the Indian metropolis, with the first phase costing $500,000 and a total development price of $1.5m.

The park will feature a variety of rides, a mini train and an amphitheatre.

Funding for the project has come from the Mumbai Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA).

Saturn develops new UK attraction

The Wookey Hole caves in Somerset, UK, has launched a two-in-one attraction, The Witches Laboratory and The Lost World 4D Experience, and already thousands of visitors have given it a big thumbs-up.

The renowned caves attraction appointed Saturn Imagineering to bring its 'Witch of Wookey' legend into the 21st Century with state-of-the-art effects.

The show culminates with an exciting multi-dimensional theatre experience.

Drayton embraces 'ice bucket challenge'

Drayton Manor Theme Park in Staffordshire, UK, has taken the ice bucket challenge to soaring new heights - a 53m height to be exact, as staff members experienced the icy chills from the top of its Apocalypse ride, making it the highest suspended attempt at the freezing feat in the UK.

David Bromilow, general manager of park operations; Mark Tierney, general manager of catering; John Cooper, guest services manager; and Ian Smith, ticketing manager, all braced themselves for the simultaneous icy dousing and plunging free fall drop of the thrill ride.

Over recent weeks, thousands of people around the world have taken the ice bucket challenge - which involves dumping a bucket of ice water over their head - in an effort to promote awareness of the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and encourage donations to research.

Drayton Manor said it has also made a donation to the Motor Neurone Disease Association as part of the challenge.

Five aerospace parks for China

The state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) is planning to invest $19.5bn in developing five aerospace theme parks across the country.

The parks will be developed under the 'Big World of Aerospace' brand name, with the first such venue expected to open in Yanliang, Shaanxi Province, in 2017.

Each interactive park will include a combination of space exhibitions, entertainment, tourism aspects, leisure and learning facilities.

Universal linked to casino deal

As Japan moves closer to signing new legislation that permits the development of casino resorts in the country, Universal Studios Japan (USJ) is seeking partnerships with foreign casino operators.

The operator of Osaka's 13-year-old Universal Studios Japan is understood to be talks with MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment Corporation and Genting for a possible partnership to run a casino resort in what remains one of the world's largest untapped gaming markets.

"We have operational capacity, experience know-how, and I don't think we would be stretched to participate in more than one [casino]," chief executive officer Glenn Gumpel said.

Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party is seeking to pass a law to legalise casinos during the Diet session starting this autumn, as part of plans to boost tourism ahead of the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

Universal's intentions mark an interesting division between the group and rival operator, The Walt Disney Company.

In December 2013, Disney, the world's largest media enterprise, announced it was bringing an end to licensing deals in the slot machines, online gaming and lottery tickets sectors.

The group said it would phase out its Star Wars and Marvel slot machines in the US, in line with its family-friendly policies.

Discovery Centre planned for Osaka

Merlin Entertainments and the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan have unveiled plans to open a Legoland Discovery Centre (LDC) in Tempozan Market Place Mall in Osaka, Japan.

Legoland Discovery Centre Osaka will be Merlin's third attraction to open in Japan, and reflects the success of the company's existing LDC attraction in Tokyo, where Merlin also has a Madame Tussauds global celebrity wax attraction.

Merlin previously announced plans to build a major Legoland theme park resort in Nagoya, scheduled to open in 2017.

Commenting on the new development, Glenn Earlam, managing director of Merlin's Midway Attractions operating group, said: "The Legoland Discovery Centre concept has been a huge success across the globe - particularly as part of a family day out which may also include shopping and eating out together.

"Given the popularity of the LDC in Tokyo, which opened last year, we are confident people will also love the attraction in Osaka."

Zamperla hosts training course

Italian rides manufacturer Zamperla will hold its second maintenance, education and training course in Vicenze, near the company's European factory, on October 13-18.

"Without doubt, maintenance is an unavoidable cost but it is a very necessary one if your plant or machinery is to perform safely and efficiently," said marketing manager, Marco Mazzucchi.

"There are, however, ways of turning maintenance costs into an investment while at the same time bringing clear economical advantages to owners."

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Surf's up in Queensland

A new A$90m ($84m) waterpark with surf facilities is being developed on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia.

The as-yet-unnamed waterpark will include a wave pool, waterslides, canoeing experience, 120-room hotel and restaurants.
Specialist consultancy Waterplay - which has previously worked on projects including Sunway Lagoon in Malaysia and Wadi Adventure Park in the UAE - has applied for planning permission on the 59-acre site, close to popular attractions including Australia Zoo.

The proposed development will be built over two construction periods, with a water and surf pool being built first.

The waterpark is set to open in 2016.

'Hunger Games' theme park planned

Lions Gate Entertainment, the Canadian-American media group, is planning to open a theme park dedicated to The Hunger Games, its blockbuster film franchise.

Group CEO Jon Feltheimer confirmed the studio's decision to bring Suzanne Collins' novel-turned-film franchise to life last week.

"We're deep in conversations with prospective partners on four continents to explore theme park attractions and other location-based entertainment opportunities," Feltheimer told analysts.

The news of the Hunger Games theme park follows Universal Studios' successful foray into branded entertainment in the form of Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando.

Last week it was announced that Disney was considering taking similar action through the development of a Star Wars-branded attraction.