Sunday, November 18, 2018

IAAPA Expo: Busch Gardens Tampa 'Takes the Tigris Cake' at the Show

© SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
Busch Gardens Tampa and Premier Rides are super excited over the development of Tigris, the theme park's new launched roller coaster.  Opening in 2019, Tigris will be Florida's tallest launch coaster, hitting a maximum height of around 15 stories above the park.

To help show just how excited Premier Rides is to be building Tigris at Busch Gardens Tampa, they baked a cake!  No really!  The photo above shows a model of the Tigris coaster train, but believe it or not it's made of cake.

Scott and Carol were there for the unveiling of the Tigris cake, which was presented by Andrew Schaffer, Director of Design and Engineering at the park, and Jim Seay of Premier Rides.

When complete, Tigris will feature three launches that will send the train roaring to the top of the ride at more than 60 miles per hour.  While at the top riders will slowly move through a heartline roll, totally inverting at 150 feet in the sky.  The rest of the course features steep dives and a non-inverting loop.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

IAAPA Expo: Luboo Looks to Make Lost Children a Thing of the Past

© Luboo
A new exhibitor at the recent IAAPA Expo, Luboo is planning to enter the North American market in late 2019 with a new technology that will allow parents to keep track of their kids while at amusement parks and other busy public spaces via a wristband and mobile app.

"Luboo is the first rental, wearable tracking wristband for parents and caregivers of young children at large events and venues (made by parents, for parents).  Luboo wants to alleviate anxiety in parents of young children by providing a low cost solution to find a wandering child at the press of a button in crowded, public spaces - empowering parents and caregivers and saving resources for the venue."

As a benefit to the property operator, the technology also gives "anonymous, aggregated real-time tracking data of the young visitors it tracks back to the venue so they can learn more about their young guests and their movements in order to better improve their services."

Scott and Carol were able to get some more inside information on Luboo and how it could benefit the theme park industry.  Watch above to find out more.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Zamperla Donates Wheelchair-Accessible Swing Ride to Give Kids the World

© Give Kids The World
Give Kids The World, an amazing nonprofit organization that gives cost-free trips to the Orlando area to critically ill children and their families, received an amazing donation from Zamperla Rides during the IAAPA show.

Seen above, Zamperla created and donated one of their popular Happy Swing rides, only this one is special.  The ride is able to accommodate one wheelchair along with other adult and kid riders, so an entire family can experience a ride at the same time.  The Happy Swing will soon be placed on Give Kids The World's magical 84 acre property where families stay during their visit.

Scott and Carol were at the ceremony where the Happy Swing was officially given to Give Kids The World.  The video features comments from both Pamela Landwirth, president & CEO, Give Kids The World and Alberto Zamperla, president & CEO, Zamperla and has more details about the ride and their partnership.

Zamperla has a long history of working with Give Kids The World, helping provide the village with several other attractions including JJ's Express train ride and Lori's Magical Flight, one of the company's Magic Bikes rides.

For more information, click here for Zamperla and here for Give Kids The World.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Kennywood Unveils New Steelers' Themed Vehicles for The Steel Curtain + New Animations

© Kennywood
Kennywood has revealed the new trains for The Steel Curtain, the park's massively twisted new-for-2019 steel roller coaster.  One of the most highly anticipated coasters opening in 2019, the S&S Worldwide designed ride will feature a North American record breaking 9 inversions!

Scott and Carol were able to get this footage of the trains being revealed to a huge crowd on the IAAPA trade show floor.  It quickly becomes apparent that the trains are totally decked out for a Steelers and football theme.

© Kennywood
Here is another view of the lead car of the trains.  They feature a very open design that will allow riders to see all the tricks and maneuvers that the ride's layout offers.  The front piece of the train features a football jersey theme, and the entire vehicle carries the ride's main color combination of black and gold.

© Kennywood
Looking closer at the seats you'll notice that the seat backs are themed to be footballs, complete with laces and all!  Also of great important are the lap-bar only restraints!  While this was known before, it is always nice to see visual confirmation that such a massive ride, standing 220 feet tall, will not have over-the-shoulder restrains.

© Kennywood
And while we're on the topic, Kennywood has shared another recent view of the coaster's support structure going up.

Additionally, as part of the train reveal at the IAAPA expo, Kennywood has published several new animations of The Steel Curtain.  Here is a brand new teaser video:

They also created a new point-of-view ride video, which looks slightly more accurate (check out all the support head choppers!) than the original that was released.  This ride is going to be a blast!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Explore a Trip Down the Calico River Rapids at Knott's Berry Farm in 2019

© Knott's Berry Farm
Today Knott's Berry Farm revealed that in 2019 they will totally renovate Bigfoot Rapids into the all-new Calico River Rapids attraction.  As previously rumored, the theme park will totally renovate the attraction, which first opened in 1987, giving it "new animatronics, themed show scenes, a new story overlay and plenty of dynamic water effects."

The expedition into uncharted territory will thrill riders with a backstory that better links the attraction to the nearby Ghost Town section.

© Knott's Berry Farm
According to Knott's, "Calico River Rapids will take voyagers on a search for new land through the outskirts of Calico, the richly themed area in Knott’s esteemed Ghost Town.  Guests will journey through the authentic setting with the help of legendary frontiersmen who have plotted the path for settlers to explore.  Rafters will encounter a variety of wild surprises along the way such as roaring rapids, indigenous wildlife, and peculiar homesteaders."  Each raft, holding six riders each, will encounter rushing waters, unexpected twists and turns, and rapid currents as they sail down the mysterious river.
© Knott's Berry Farm
The park has already had great success with refreshing theming on some of its classic attractions, including both the Calico Mine Ride and the Timber Mountain Log Ride.  Fans of the park have praised them for spending significant capital on these beloved rides, and the makeover to Bigfoot Rapids appears as though it will continue that tradition.

As seen in the concept art that Knott's has released, the ride will even have interactive features for non-riders as well.  It appears that bystanders will be able to set off some water explosions as the rafts pass by using some TNT explosives!

© Knott's Berry Farm
Another promising sign for the Calico River Rapids is the involvement of Garner Holt Productions, Inc., which will create the attraction's new animatronics and special effects.  The company helped with the park's prior ride renovations, and we all saw how wonderful those attractions turned out!

And for those wondering, this last piece of concept art appears to confirm that despite the retheme, Bigfoot won't be leaving the ride for good, as this scene depicts the legendary beast hiding inside the ride's tunnels.  I can't wait to see how the ride turns out!

Scott & Carol Present IAAPA 2018 - The Al Weber Foundation

IAAPA 2018

The IAAPA Foundation impacts the success of the attractions industry by developing a stronger workforce and building the next generation of industry leaders.This mission cannot complete our mission alone. It takes a village, and in that spirit, we ask for your help in achieving our goal to change the lives of young people.

The IAAPA Foundation’s mission is to inspire life-changing careers in the global attractions industry by cultivating tomorrow’s leaders,” said IAAPA Foundation Chair Jane Cooper during a press conference at IAAPA Attractions Expo. “This is something all of our members can embrace.”

The IAAPA Foundation, formed in 2010, is supported by IAAPA members. This year, the foundation announced partnerships with JA Worldwide and the University of Central Florida Rosen College of Hospitality Management to help nurture and develop young, talented students with interest in joining the attractions industry.

The Rosen College students receiving the new $7,000 scholarships are in the school’s Attractions Management Track; they are: Bridget Frost, Matthew Temmer, and Ashley Kaczor. In addition, the foundation will connect industry executives with Rosen classrooms while also bringing Rosen professors out into the industry to help facilitate enhanced learning opportunities for both sides.

Your financial support brings us closer to our goal and allows us to expand our programs. Donate by check use this form, or go to

Al Weber, Jr. PhD was the founder, president, and CEO of Apex Parks Group, a member of the IAAPA Board of Directors, and a passionate supporter of education. The Al Weber Memorial Fund was established in his honor and all donations are used solely for educational purposes.

Your financial support brings IAAPA closer to their goal and allows them to expand their programs.