Launch - Regional Updates - July 2018


Sansei Technologies Acquires Vekoma Rides

VEKOMA RIDESJapan’s Sansei Technologies acquired Dutch ride manufacturer Vekoma Rides. Sansei plans to keep the Vekoma brand and, as part of the deal, will operate it as an independent company, retaining the same management team and Vekoma’s 300 employees.

“In Sansei, we have found a reputable partner, with equivalent standards and values, who can offer continuity to the company and bring us even further,” said Kees van Biert, chairman of Vekoma’s supervisory board. 

With the 100 percent acquisition by Sansei, van Biert believes Vekoma can expand into Japan, Southeast Asia, and North America, while maintaining headquarters in Vlodrop, Netherlands. The Vekoma purchase also increases Sansei’s geographic reach as a ride producer and provider of live entertainment equipment for theaters. The purchase price was not disclosed.


A Call for Heroes at Madame Tussauds

Merlin Entertainments says “justice is served” at Madame Tussauds in Sydney, Australia, where visitors now star alongside their favorite DC Entertainment heroes—Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Henry Cavill as Superman, Ben Affleck as Batman, and Ezra Miller as The Flash—in a fight against Lex Luthor’s evil corporation, LexCorp. In the process, visitors summon Batman with the Bat-Signal, help Superman lift a real helicopter back into the sky, and run alongside The Flash amid a crack of electricity. The exhibit, which also debuted this summer at Madame Tussauds Orlando, is selfie-friendly for photographs and part of a move by Madame Tussauds to place visitors at the center of their favorite stories.


A ‘Frozen’ Touch for Japan’s ‘Small World’

For the first time since the park opened in 1983, Tokyo Disneyland has revamped the classic attraction “it’s a small world,” updating the characters and music to resonate better with today’s families. Elsa, Anna, and Olaf from the Disney film “Frozen” join the cast, together with characters from “Aladdin,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “Cinderella,” “Mulan,” “Peter Pan,” “Tangled,” “The Lion King,” and more. Tokyo Disney Resort will celebrate its 35th anniversary through March 2019.



‘San Andreas’ Shakes Up Gardaland’s 2018 Season

Gardaland delivers an earth-shaking experience this season, as it debuts a new 4-D version of the 2015 American disaster film “San Andreas,” starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The immersive, multisensory adventure is the latest offering in the Italian theme park resort’s “Time Voyagers” 4-D cinema. 

Guests will join Johnson’s heroic chopper pilot character, Raymond Gaines, on a desperate race to save his estranged family, as the San Andreas fault in California rips apart America’s West Coast. Viewers swoop past crumbling skyscrapers as the earthquake also sets off a tsunami. Motion simulation technology, 3-D glasses, and special effects—including wind, mist, and lighting—enhance the realism. Gardaland combined forces with SimEx-Iwerks and Warner Bros. Consumer Products to present a 15-minute-long, 4-D version of the film. A new projection system from Cinemeccanica completes the theater experience.

FAIRYTALE FARMGuests Make Fountains Dance at Fairytale Farm

New visitor-activated “Dancing Fountains” are adding to the fun at Fairytale Farm near Chipping Norton, United Kingdom. 

“Visitors decide when they want to watch the show—it is truly an on-demand experience,” says owner Nick Laister. His son, Guy, designed and built the new permanent fountains for the Enchanted Walk area at Fairytale Farm, a sensory and learning park for families. “This is a big investment and has taken us over a year to build,” explains Nick Laister. “There are a small number of dancing fountain attractions in the U.K., which commonly provide a show at regular intervals. We believe ours is the first that is actually controlled by the visitor. People just press the button and can enjoy it as many times as they like! Initial visitor feedback is fantastic.”

The installation features 12 jets, creating a display choreographed to music that lasts around a minute. It can be viewed an unlimited number of times during the day. The Laisters are planning to add additional music, allowing the fountains to dance to visitors’ chosen tunes. The fountains will also form part of the Farm’s “Illuminated Evenings” display in October. Other new attractions for 2018 include the “Wilderness Walk,” featuring a range of plants and wildlife habitats like bird feeding stations and a giant vegetable patch, where visitors grab a spade and get digging.


BETO CARRERO WORLDBeto Carrero World Celebrates ‘Day of Happiness’

Brazil’s Beto Carrero World recently celebrated the 11th annual “Day of Happiness” in partnership with SINDEPAT (the National Union of Parks and Tourist Attractions) and ADIBRA (Association of Amusement Park Companies of Brazil). The annual “holiday,” celebrated at attractions throughout Brazil, is an effort to provide free access to parks for underprivileged children 6 to 12 years old from public schools and philanthropic organizations in the area. This year, more than 7,000 children from 14 nonprofit organizations and 17 schools in the area spent the day at Beto Carrero World, where they enjoyed rides, treats, and live shows.


Fundación Temaikèn Rehabilitates Birds

As part of its animal conservation efforts—including reintroducing wildlife into its natural habitat—Argentina’s Fundación Temaikèn recently helped rehabilitate seven birds and reintroduced them back to the wild of the country’s delta. Each year, the organization’s Center for Rehabilitation of Temaikèn Species (CRET) takes in rescue animals affected by environmental problems and illegal trafficking to rehabilitate for re-release to their habitats. CRET spans 18 hectares and is organized into 19 sectors with 280 specially designed environments. Over the past 10 years, more than 3,000 animals have been nursed back to health and reintroduced to the wild.


Things Get Stranger at ‘Halloween Horror Nights’

RESORTS WORLD SENTOSAFor the first time, Universal Orlando Resort, Universal Studios Hollywood, and Universal Studios Singapore will bring the wildly popular “Stranger Things” television series to life at the 2018 “Halloween Horror Nights” event at all three parks. Guests will get to experience the show’s parallel universe, referred to as the Upside Down in the series, which terrorizes the town of Hawkins, Indiana, and also be stalked by the chittering and predatory Demogorgon as they encounter scenes, characters, and environments from the series. 

Universal is working collaboratively with Netflix and the creators and executive producer of the series—Matt Duffer, Ross Duffer, and Shawn Levy—in crafting mazes at the three parks. Universal said the mazes will be authentic representations of “Stranger Things” and transport guests into recreated scenes and storylines. 

From the Hawkins National Laboratory under the U.S. Department of Energy, to the Byers home embellished with an erratic display of flashing Christmas lights, to the Upside Down woods discharging floating orb-like spores, Universal promised the mazes will offer surprising twists and turns around every corner. “Halloween Horror Nights” begins Friday, Sept. 14 in Orlando and Hollywood and Friday, Sept. 28 in Singapore.


Maryland Zoo Batting 1.000 with African Penguins

For the first time in the history of any North American zoo or aquarium, the 1,000th African penguin chick was recently hatched at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. The zoo hatched its first chick in 1969, and this latest hatchling is being parent-reared behind the scenes in the Penguin Coast Conservation Center. This chick is not only the 1,000th to hatch but is also the 94th in the zoo’s Penguin Coast colony. Many penguins bred at the zoo have helped establish new colonies at zoos and aquariums around the world, being moved to 35 U.S. states and six countries, including Canada, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Hungary, and South Africa.