Thursday, 24 Apr, 2014

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This Week's News

Las Vegas waterpark to open in summer

Construction issues may have delayed the opening of Las Vegas' newest waterpark, but when Cowabunga Bay opens early this summer, guests will get to experience a ride never before offered anywhere else in the world.

Among its many attractions will be the world's first Surf Safari waterslide from Polin Waterparks and Pool Systems.

Branded as Wild Surf, Polin designed and created the attraction exclusively for Cowabunga Bay.

The giant slide features a four-person raft that begins with a long trip through the dark followed by a 55ft drop into the world's largest man-made parabolic 'wave'.

"It offers a creative twist to a ride that already offers lots of great heart-pounding excitement," said Shane Huish, general manager of Cowabunga Bay.
"It presents an added thrill to guests waiting in line at the top of the slide tower. From their vantage point, they get a bird's-eye view of what's in store as they look down into the funnel and see the riders zipping around inside."

Spring opening for Arthur attraction

Arthur - In the Minimoys Kingdom, a new themed attraction at Europa-Park in Germany, is expected to open in the late spring.

The park is collaborating with French film giant Luc Besson to create the $27.6m attraction, which is based on the successful movie trilogy, Arthur and the Invisibles.

Built by Mack Rides, the park's in-house manufacturer in Waldkirch, Germany, the ride replicating the original film set of Arthur and the Invisibles, in what the park says is the most intricate indoor attraction in its history.

New 4D ride for Wonderland

Canada's Wonderland has revealed details of Wonder Mountain's Guardian, a new 4D interactive dark ride set to open to the public in May 2014.

Wonder Mountain's Guardian climbs up Wonder Mountain before plunging through five different layers of the mountain's core with riders encountering mythical creatures along the way.

The 1,000ft of coaster track transports riders on a quest through a forest, an underground lake and Draconian City before a final showdown in the lair of the dragon.

Norm Pirtovshek, general manager of Canada's Wonderland, said: "We felt the timing was right to enter the massive caverns of Wonder Mountain and provide our guests with a new dimension of thrills."

Triotech, a leading manufacturer of multi-sensory attractions for the amusement industry, has used ground breaking technology including 3D effects overlaid with 4D elements, real time graphics and the fastest most accurate targeting system combine to create this ultra-immersive interactive experience.

Dubai resort secures loan

Dubai-based entertainment venue IMG Theme Park has secured a $327m loan, as the company prepares for an increase in the influx of tourists into the emirate.

The proceeds will go towards refinancing an existing corporate facility and to provide expansion for a Worlds of Adventure theme park, a $1bn project that is expected to become the biggest indoor entertainment centre in the world, according to the firm.

The investment comes at a time when the number of tourists visiting the UAE is expected to increase from 10 million to 20 million in five years' time.

Operator sought for UK park

Plans are moving ahead to create a world-class leisure attraction at the site of the iconic Dreamland amusement park in Kent, UK.

According to local press, the local government is currently looking to secure an operator to run the park.

Thanet District Council, which owns the entire site, has put together a funding package to start work on the project, though it has yet to find an operating company with the necessary technical expertise to run the park, reports indicate.

To solve that issue, the council cabinet will discuss plans for an open procurement process to identify a suitable candidate, when it meets on May 1.

Orlando sets all-new attendance record

Orlando welcomed 59 million visitors in 2013, setting an all-time US leisure destination record.

The news was announced by Visit Orlando president and CEO George Aguel earlier this week.

The record-breaking figure, which represents a three per cent increase over the previous milestone in 2012, acts as a clear indication that the Florida city remains the key leisure destination for both US residents and foreign tourists.

"We are so pleased to announce this incredibly exciting news," Aguel said. "Thanks to the strong global marketing and sales efforts of our team at Visit Orlando and the leadership of our tourism members and community leaders who share a common vision for our destination, Orlando continues to lead the nation as its most visited destination."

Orlando is currently experiencing one of the most significant expansion periods in the destination's history.

Universal Orlando Resort will open the world's first centrally themed, multi-park experience this summer by expanding The Wizarding World of Harry Potter across both of its theme parks.

SeaWorld Orlando recently opened Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin - the biggest expansion in its company's history, while Walt Disney World Resort will complete a multi-year project that is doubling the size of Fantasyland when it debuts the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train coaster this summer.

To help the travel trade understand how to benefit from the exciting news coming out of the destination, tourist board Visit Orlando has launched an enhanced Orlando Travel Academy.

Travel agents around the globe can use this online tool to help boost their knowledge of Orlando and augment their ability to support their clients' travel planning efforts.

New waterpark for UK venue

Plans have been announced for a £26m ($43m) indoor waterpark and sports village at the National Bowl entertainment venue in Milton Keynes, UK.

It is the first major scheme at the concert venue since it was built in 1973.

The bowl is an open-air amphitheatre that has previously attracted artists like Bon Jovi, Eminem, Oasis and Robbie Williams.

Milton Keynes Development Partnership (MKDP) chair John Duggan said it would become a "major tourist attraction".

The investment company has presented a plan to create the "UK's largest" indoor waterpark.

Natalia Bakhlina joins LDP

Leisure Development Partners (LDP) has announced that Natalia Bakhlina is joining LDP as partner.

According to the UK-based leisure consultancy, Bakhlina brings an "incredible depth" of real estate economics experience with her, with emphasis on entertainment destinations, as well as complex mixed-use developments.

Beginning her career as an analyst at Knight Frank in Moscow, she joined Economics Research Associates (ERA) in London in 2006, later acquired by AECOM.

As an associate director at AECOM Economics, Bakhlina completed a wide range of leisure and attraction assignments including feasibility studies and economic impact analyses for theme parks, waterparks, cable cars, viewing towers and platforms, entertainment destinations, zoos and family entertainment centres.

She has also worked on a number of due diligence projects and reviews of operational performance of large-scale attractions and attraction groups. Her most recent work includes projects in Spain, Czech Republic, Russia and South Africa.

LDP founding partner Yael Coifman commented: "The addition of Natalia's expertise and experience to the LDP team will add yet more strength to our global offer. We are thrilled to have her join us."

Quassy Zoo to open in May

Quassy Amusement and Waterpark will cut the ribbon on an expanded children's play area on May 3.

Located adjacent to the Yo-Yo Super Swing ride at the Connecticut park, Quassy Zoo will provide an opportunity for children to enjoy a number of animal-themed fibreglass creations.

"We've incorporated a number of new animals to help round out the theme in this area of the park," said Quassy owner, George Frantzis.

"Families enjoy relaxing under the shade trees there and taking pictures of their children with the animals. This will broaden the opportunity presented in our small 'zoo'."

The new animals were created by Enchanted Castle Studios of Natural Bridge, Virginia.

Merlin plans second Turkish attraction

Following the acquisition of Istanbul's popular Turkuazoo Aquarium last September, global visitor attractions operator Merlin Entertainments has reached an agreement to build and open a Legoland Discovery Centre in the Turkish capital.

The attraction is scheduled to open in late spring 2015, and will be the first-ever Legoland Discovery Centre in this part of Europe.

Based on the ever-popular Lego brick, a Legoland Discovery Centre is the ultimate Lego indoor playground, offering a fun, highly interactive and educational two to three-hour indoor experience for families with children aged between three and 10.

The Istanbul Legoland Discovery Centre will include Lego rides, a 4D cinema and an insight into how Lego bricks are made.

The venue will also feature a range of themed play areas, a Legoland Mini exhibit and special party rooms for birthdays and other celebrations

Commenting on the new facility, Glenn Earlam, managing director of Merlin Entertainments' midway attractions operating group, said: "When we acquired Turkuazoo last year we said that we had identified Istanbul as an exciting, vibrant and populous city in which we were looking to build a cluster of our attractions - and this is the first step.

"We have also already begun our programme of very positive changes in the aquarium, which will continue through the summer; and our experience of working with the great team in Turkuazoo has convinced us even more of the potential in Istanbul for quality attractions such as ours."