Launch - Regional Updates - April 2018


Transformers Storm Chongqing

“Transformers Autobot Alliance,” an interactive attraction, recently opened its doors in an upscale shopping center in Chongqing, China. The 2,500-square-meter attraction uses virtual and augmented reality technologies to produce interactive games and displays that showcase the Autobots’ history, biology, and struggles with Decepticons. The exhibition is the brainchild of Singapore-listed Cityneon Holdings Ltd., a company that made its start selling neon lights, but which now owns the rights to three major intellectual properties, including “Marvel’s The Avengers” and “Jurassic World.” “Transformers Autobot Alliance” will tour China for two years, potentially with stops in Beijing and Shanghai.


Set Sail with Cartoon Network

Get ready for the world’s first immersive toon vacation at sea. With Jake the Dog from “Adventure Time” spanning the ship’s facade, Cartoon Network Wave will make its maiden voyage from its home port of Singapore near the end of this year. The 11-deck cruise ship —which features 800 themed cabins and suites, a rope adventure park, gravity-defying circus acts, Cartoon Network play areas for young children, along with pubs and restaurants for adults—is the product of a partnership between Turner Asia Pacific and Oceanic Group.



Junior Docents Lead Gallery Tours at Hong Kong’s K11 Art Museum

The average age of docents at Hong Kong’s K11 contemporary art museum may surprise visitors. Its junior art docent program is open to children ages 4-12, and after completing the training—which can be done in English, Cantonese, or Mandarin—candidates lead half-hour art tours past large-scale paintings and drawings that reflect societal issues.

Each young docent must pass an assessment before becoming an official K11 Junior Docent, where sometimes they are invited to meet the museum’s artists.

Founded in 2008, K11 is a self-described “art playground” where people “appreciate art during their shopping and leisure time.” Launched in Hong Kong, K11 expanded to Shanghai four years ago and has more than a dozen new art malls slated to open across China, including one in Guangzhou. 


DIVA Diamond Museum Aims to Sparkle

DIVA, a new museum dedicated to diamonds, silverware, and jewelry, will open in Antwerp, Belgium, on May 7, 2018. Antwerp is known as the “diamond capital of the world,” and the new attraction is located in the heart of the city. 

DIVA brings together Antwerp’s Silver Museum and Diamond Museum with dazzling new displays spanning 500 years of diamond history. “We want to attract 200,000 visitors a year,” says DIVA spokesperson Lieselot Jonckheere. 

DIVA aims to take visitors on “an emotional, interactive journey.” Together with director and screenwriter Frank Van Laecke, the team created a butler, Jérome, who invites guests into DIVA’s historic house (via audio guide). There, they can peek inside the rooms where DIVA’s most precious treasures are kept. 

Guests will learn about Antwerp’s illustrious past and diamond collectors, and discover an atelier (workshop), offering insights into silversmithing and jewelry making. A multimedia globe highlights the world of international diamond trading, and “The Vault” will explore the darker side of diamonds and precious metals. DIVA is populated with personal stories, too. 

The team bringing the story to life includes interior designer Gert Voorjans, set designer Carla Jansen-Höfelt, art director Louise Mertens, Bruns B.V., Belgium-based multimedia specialists CREATE, filmmaker Mario de Munck, and Centre Screen.



Movie Park Germany Trusts in Excalibur Magic

Movie Park Germany in Bottrop has a treat in store for wannabe knights this season. One of the park’s original attractions, the “Mystery River” rapids ride (Intamin), reopens with a new theme and a new name: “Excalibur – Secrets of the Dark Forest.” The rethemed water ride will bring guests face to face with King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, the legendary sword Excalibur, and fearsome creatures.

“This ride is one of the oldest and most popular at our park,” says managing director Thorsten Backhaus. “We want to do justice to this gem and give it a dignified, fresh upgrade.”

Guests will embark on a perilous journey through enchanted forests and caves to retrieve the stolen Excalibur and restore it to King Arthur. “Each section of the ride is getting a new theme, but the ride’s characteristics will naturally remain the same,” explains Backhaus. 

The renewal is part of the park’s efforts to further raise quality. Having launched the spectacular new “Star Trek: Operation Enterprise” coaster last year, Movie Park is turning its attention to refreshing familiar favorites this year.
“Little by little we are dedicating efforts to older rides,” says Backhaus.
He believes that the classic tale of King Arthur and Excalibur, which has inspired countless screen adaptations, will “reach and inspire all generations.”

Companies involved with the project include IMA­score and IMAmedia (music and media content), Leisure Expert Group (creative concept and design), and Tema Design by MK Illumination (thematic transformation).


Argentina’s Playland Park Opens Its 35th Location

Playland Park—a family entertainment center (FEC) company with facilities in Argentina, Chile, and Colombia—recently opened its 35th location in the Palmares Open Mall in Mendoza, Argentina. The new 1,000-square-meter location includes bumper cars, virtual reality games, a “soft zone” where the youngest of children can play safely, a driving school designed to teach children about road safety in a fun environment, and a princess hall with costumes and a beauty salon, where make-believe becomes reality, even if for a few minutes. Playland Park hosts birthday parties themed to princesses, pirates, and rock stars. 


Museo de Los Niños Hosts Shows in New Amphitheater

The Children’s Museum (Museo de Los Niños) in San Jose, Costa Rica, is now hosting musical and theatrical shows in a new venue, the Natural Amphitheater of the Children’s Museum. The event space can hold more than 4,000 visitors and opened in February after an inauguration featuring a symphonic concert by Costa Rican group Malpaís and 35 musicians. The project, which was led by the Costa Rican Center for Science and Culture, provides a unique venue for productions—with more than 5,000 square meters of greenery included. This intersection of nature and art leverages the natural landscape and topography to provide an environmentally friendly entertainment area.


Zip Around the Grand Canyon

For anyone wanting a unique view of the Grand Canyon, an intense new zip line experience gives thrillseekers a way to see part of the canyon up close, yet do so in just a few minutes. For those who don’t have the time or physical stamina to spend hours hiking the canyon, “The Zip Line at Grand Canyon West” may be for them. The attraction sends riders soaring 1,000 feet above the landscape at almost 50 mph.

The Hualapai Tribe of Native Americans owns and operates the attraction, which features two zip lines carrying up to four riders each. One line measures around 1,100 feet in length, while the other is steeper and stretches 2,100 feet. The Hualapai Tribe also operates the canyon’s glass-decked “Skywalk at Eagle Point,” about a mile from the zip line, as well as canyon helicopter tours and river sightseeing excursions.


‘Mountain Monster’ Triple Thrill Ride Coming to Pigeon Forge

A new thrill ride attraction will embrace the scenic charm of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Named “Mountain Monster,” its three rides will launch from a single tower standing 200 feet tall overlooking the Smoky Mountains and be part of The Tower Shops at Mountain Mile, a multipurpose family entertainment and retail development. 

“Mountain Monster” will be designed, built, and operated by Stan Checketts, founder of the S&S rides company in Logan, Utah, and inventor of several high-thrill amusement rides. Since 2010, he has owned and operated Soaring Eagle Inc., which designs and builds large zip lines and other thrill rides. 

The first “Mountain Monster” will feature a seat cart attached to a zip line. When the cart releases, riders experience a free-fall drop that transitions into a zip line ride. The second is a drop-tower experience where guests ride without the restriction of shoulder harnesses. The final attraction looks like a sling-shot ride where guests launch toward the sky, but features riders sitting back-to-back on open saddle seats not surrounded by a steel frame. “Mountain Monster” is slated to open in spring.