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.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Bowcraft Amusement Park Appears to Have Closed for Good

It looks like it took a couple years longer than expected, but it seems that Bowcraft Amusement Park, located in Scotch Plains, New Jersey, has closed for good to be redeveloped into housing.

Back in 2016 the plan popped up to build 190 apartments and 10 town homes on the land that the amusement park occupies, but there hadn't been much development since then.  It seems that the plan was in place even further back, since Bowcraft was trying to sell their signature roller coaster as far back as 2009.

© Rides 4U
Currently, Rides 4U, a well known used ride company, is shopping the park's entire inventory as up for purchase.  There was also a recent vote by the Scotch Plains government to allow the amusement park's site to be redeveloped, though this article says that there is more planning to be done before things are final.  Plus, the park's website and Facebook page have been deleted.  It certainly seems as though with all these things combined, the park is done for good.

Bowcraft's largest ride is a Zierer roller coaster that opened in 2006, named Crossbow.  The family ride is now available for $499k, way down from the $1.7m they started at back in 2009.  Other listed rides include a Musik Express, Scrambler, Galleon, Frog Hopper, Tilt-a-Whirl and more.  Certainly a nice collection for parks looking for some gently used rides.

I'm not sure what the cost would be to relocate a ride like Crossbow, but for only $500k it seems like a good deal.  Perhaps we will see the ride show up at another park in the future.

© Google Maps

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Heard On... Cedar Fair's 3rd Quarter 2018 Conference Call

Better late than never, let's take a look at Cedar Fair's 3rd Quarter 2018 earnings details and conference call.  Under the headline of posting record 3rd quarter revenues, the company released earnings that showed improvements from where they stood at the end of the 2nd quarter.  The market didn't necessarily love the results, however, so let's dig in and see what was noteworthy.

• For the 3rd quarter revenues were up to $664 million, up 2% over the prior year.  Out of park revenues increased $5 million or 8% and in park spending was up 2% to $49.47.  Attendance was down less than 1%, or 57,000 visits to 12.4 million.  In the end, EBITDA was up 1% or $4 million, to $338 million.  The company has also increased the annual dividend by 4%.

•  Looking at year-to-date results through the end of October, when most of the chain's parks are closed for the season, revenues were up $9 million or 1%.  The in-park per capita spending stayed up 1%, out of park revenues were up 5% or $6 million and attendance was down 1%, or 185,000 visits.

© Cedar Fair
•  With continued success from Winterfest, the company hopes to post record attendance, making up the 1% they were down at the end of October.  This year will be the first season for Kings Dominion's event, joining four existing parks.  The company has already seen their test park, California's Great America, grow each year since the event started.

•  Cedar Fair has been trying to mitigate bad weather (they noted this year has had plenty of it) by working with groups to reschedule events.  Kings Dominion, for instance, rescheduled two park buy outs when Hurricane Florence closed the park for an entire weekend.  They also saw pent up demand from especially bad weather in July which led to some increases in August and September.

•  Focusing on costs has helped lead to the quarter's results.  The parks have hit higher "net promoter score" ratings while keeping costs below budget during the bad weather periods.  Cedar Fair is currently working on a new workforce management system to more efficiently utilize labor during the year.  That will first roll out at Knott's Berry Farm and California's Great America.

•  Season pass sales continue to be up for Cedar Fair.  At the end of the 3r quarter deferred revenue was up 20% from last year, to $102 million - every park is ahead in season pass sales versus last year.  In the past 5 years the percentage of overall company visits by pass holders has gone up from one third to over one half currently.

© Cedar Fair
•  The 2019 capital plan seems nearly fully announced at this point, with the star attractions being roller coasters at Carowinds and Canada's Wonderland.  Other additions include "more immersive, multi-week special events, including nighttime spectacular celebrations in the first-half of the year."  I have not seen details of that type of event released yet for any park, should be interesting to hear more.  Winterfest will also open in 2019 at Canada's Wonderland.

•  Cedar Fair still has 1,400 developable acres of land adjacent to its parks.  It is still working to develop more of that, with three projects opening in 2019/2020: the indoor sports center near Cedar Point, and hotels adjacent to Carowinds and Canada's Wonderland.

•  This is the first year some parks (only a handful) are offering a 12 months payment period for season passes.  The response is significant, and they're looking at it closely as the passes potentially move to a membership plan like Six Flags does.