Saturday, January 9, 2010

Weekly Rewind 1.9.10

Spiderman, meet Mickey Mouse. Marvel Entertainment stockholders bid adieu to 2009 by approving the proposed merger between the comic book giant and the Walt Disney Company. As of December 31, Marvel is now officially property of the Mouse.

In other Disney news, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts has reported that an estimated 1.2 million people took advantage of its "Free on Your Birthday" promotion in 2009, although approximately 4 million people had initially registered for it. For 2010, the company has replaced this offer with the more philanthropic "Give a Day, Get a Day" campaign.

If you've visited Hersheypark or attended Cedar Point's annual HalloWeekends event in recent years, perhaps you've had the pleasure of seeing entertainer Chris Linn in action. If you liked what you saw, help support Chris by voting for him in Event Solution Magazine's 2010 Spotlight Awards. He was chosen as a finalist for the "ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR - SOLO ACT" category out of a pool of 500 nominees. Votes will be accepted through January 31, 2010. Congratulations Chris, and good luck in the finals!

We may be in the dead of winter here in the northeastern U.S., but springtime is already in the air for our parks. Hersheypark has announced that they will be expanding their Springtime in the Park event to two weekends this year: April 2-4 and April 10-11. (Note that the park will not be open to the public on April 9). For more details, visit the event web site. If you just can't wait until April to experience Hershey again, you're in luck because you can now take a virtual tour of the park via Google Maps Street View!

It's been a long, lean past five years for Rainbow's End theme park. But at long last, they have welcomed a new ride. Back in December, the park unveiled a Disk'O dubbed "Invader", the first ride of its kind in the southern hemisphere. Check out this thread on Theme Park Review for a closer look at the new ride as well as all the other great rides at "New Zealand's Premier Theme Park".

The backlash against Cedar Fair's proposed deal with Apollo Global Management continues to grow, with at least seven lawsuits now filed against the company. CEO Dick Kinzel probably isn't sweating it, though. The Sandusky Register reports that Kinzel would receive a $20 million "golden parachute" should he lose his job after the takeover.

Freestyle Music Park's financial woes also seem to be getting worse instead of better, as the park's former owners have now filed a motion seeking payment for approximately $570,000 in unpaid debts. FPI MB Entertainment claims that it's good for the money, but simply does not have it right now and may not be able to get it until the park reopens. Yikes.

Six Flags, on the other hand, is finally starting to see a light at the end of the financial tunnel. In a regulatory filing this week, the company stated that it will bring its proposed reorganization plan, which is led by investment firm Avenue Capital Management, before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in March. If the plan is approved, Six Flags could exit bankruptcy by the end of that month.

Details on the partial rebirth of Miracle Strip Amusement Park are starting to emerge. In fact, "Miracle Strip @ Pier Park" now has its own Facebook page! Teddy Meeks, the man leading the charge, confirmed to the local news that he is in the process of relocating four additional rides that stood on the park's original site in Panama City Beach. They are scheduled to open in March 2010, and judging from the photos on the park's Facebook page, work is well underway.

St. Joseph, Michigan is also enjoying a partial rebirth of a former park. A public-private partnership seeking to pay tribute to Silver Beach Amusement Park, which operated from 1891-1971, rang in the New Year with the grand opening of a ballroom, children's museum expansion, and brand new hand-carved carousel. The town will also welcome a children's water play fountain and a boardwalk this summer.

On a more somber note, the man who was responsible for many of the design elements behind Valleyfair (and even some of the park's ride names) has passed away. Bob Williams died on Christmas Eve at the age of 77. If you'd like to learn more about this great creative spirit, check out the wonderful biographical story that was published in the Star Tribune.

And finally, remember that crazy SkyJump attraction I mentioned a few Weekly Rewinds ago? Well gird your loins, because it's coming. The Stratosphere Las Vegas Hotel & Casino has officially announced that the world's highest SkyJump--checking in at a staggering 855 feet--will join their cast of heart-pounding rides in April 2010.