Launch - Regional Updates - November 2018



Making a New Splash in South Korea

With 19 attractions, including a variety of pools, a spa, a private cabana area, an outdoor wave pool, and water slides, the water park at Jeju Shinhwa World is one of the largest on the island and the latest addition to the resort in South Korea’s far south. Spread out over nearly 18,000 square meters, this year-round attraction features two ProSlide attractions new to the Asian market.

The “Super Clipper Coil” is a 250-meter-long RocketBlast water coaster with ProSide’s FlyingSaucer 30 features that boast speed, acceleration, and curves. On the “Giant Double Lift” featuring two TornadoWaves, four-person rafts drop from a height of more than 21 meters into a 385-degree turn.

Shinhwa Water Park, which can welcome up to 3,400 visitors, is part of a resort that includes a theme park, casino, hotels, convention center, restaurants, duty-free shopping, and Korean pop-inspired cafe. The new Lionsgate Movie World is set to open at the resort in 2020.




Superheroes to the Rescue!

DC superheroes and supervillains took center stage at Warner Bros. Movie World during the winter holidays on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. Each evening during the “Parade of Heroes Light Show,” Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman stood up to some of the DC Universe’s most iconic villains, including The Riddler, The Penguin, Scarecrow, and The Joker. In addition, Village Roadshow, the resort’s owner, also opened Australia’s first Topgolf entertainment complex. During the 2017-2018 financial year, the company posted a profit. Chief Executive Graham Burke told the Australian media the theme park business is “back to normal,” following some challenging years.


Moment Factory

‘Rainforest Lumina’ Lights Up Singapore Zoo

To celebrate its 45th anniversary, the Singapore Zoo launched an immersive, multisensory journey into its lush rainforest. “Rainforest Lumina,” developed in partnership with multimedia entertainment studio Moment Factory, is a one-kilometer night walk that uses projection mapping, lights, interactive elements, and a soundscape to create a unique immersive attraction.

“We observed that walking through the zoo’s rainforest setting at night awakens all your senses,” says Mike Barclay, group CEO of Mandai Park Holdings , the zoo’s parent company. “We wanted to find an innovative way to allow all our guests to also enjoy this exciting experience.”

Across 11 zones, “Rainforest Lumina” highlights the ways in which humans, animals, and nature are interconnected. Visitors are invited to play, and even sing, like an animal, while “Rainforest Lumina’s” Creature Crew shares the overarching theme and message: “We are One.”



Promoting Fitness on Thrill Rides

Malaysia’s Sunway Lagoon has come up with a novel way to promote its water park: lose weight and stay fit by riding extreme slides.

A recent Sunway Lagoon advertisement cited a U.K. study that demonstrates parkgoers use an average of 700 calories. Sunway Lagoon notes this is equal to about 2.5 servings of a traditional Malay lunch of nasi lemak (coconut rice, usually served with a piece of fried chicken, peanuts, spicy chili paste, and an egg).

“Dieters and fitness buffs, have a new weapon to fight flab—the extreme way! Scientists in [the] U.K. have discovered that going on thrilling rides does wonders to burn off unwanted fat,” the ad exclaims, pointing to rides like “Monsoon 360.” “Sunway Lagoon provides exhilarating rides that thrill junkies should not miss. Lose a ton of calories while holding on tight, and take on the biggest splashes of your life.”

The British study measured participants’ heart rates, respiration, and muscle responses. Riders’ muscles tense up similar to “when you are doing a full-body workout in the gym,” while adrenaline surges help tone muscles.



The Sky’s the Limit at the Royal Air Force Museum

 Activities like trying on uniforms and testing skills on a Gnat flight simulator await visitors inside the transformed Royal Air Force (RAF) Museum in Colindale, northwest London, United Kingdom. The £26 million redevelopment brings the RAF’s 100-year story to life with three immersive galleries, featuring more than 500 previously unseen artifacts. Guests can handle several of the original objects and digitally design and fly their own aircraft. Highlights in the hangars include Prince William’s Sea King helicopter and a Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter.

The visitor center also includes a café and shop, while a 1930s RAF building at the historic aviation site now houses a restaurant. A new outdoor space has already hosted open-air events.  

“Our new exhibitions not only explore the RAF’s extraordinary history and people, but also give visitors the opportunity to look ahead into the cutting-edge future of the service,” says RAF Museum CEO Maggie Appleton.



Quoth the Raven: ‘Rubbish Nevermore’

French theme park Puy du Fou, known in Europe for its originality, deployed a unique group of garbage collectors this season. The park in Les Epesses, France, has successfully encouraged six rooks—raven-like birds—to pick up and dispose of litter. 

One of Puy du Fou’s falconers, Christophe Gaborit, first spotted the birds’ potential. Corvids (the family of birds including crows, jays, and nutcrackers) are highly intelligent, and as Gaborit realized, they love to play with discarded paper. He created a game to reward the birds for gathering litter, such as spent cigarettes. When the rooks deposit trash into a small box, they receive a food treat in return. It took one to three months for several of the rooks to learn the game. 

“The purpose is not to clean the park, but to educate people to look after the future of our planet,” says Nicolas de Villiers, president of Puy du Fou. “People love watching the rooks play the game.”



French Theme Park Saddles Up With ‘Pioneer’ Spirit 

Cowpokes are in for a treat at the OK Corral theme park in Cuges-les-Pins, France, with this year’s launch of the “Pioneer” roller coaster. The ride is the “first horse and wagon roller coaster in the world,” boasts owner Mathijs Bembom.  

“Pioneer” offers two different ride experiences, depending if guests ride the horses or sit in the chuckwagons. The Wild West-themed roller coaster has two 12-seat trains. Each train consists of six horses (seating six riders), which pull a six-seat chuckwagon at speeds of up to 65 kph along the 500-meter circuit. 

“It wasn’t easy to find a roller coaster construction company to build it, but Zierer from Germany took up the challenge,” says Bembom. Four years in the making, “Pioneer” swoops around the park’s terrain and features a specially designed seat-restraint system. 

Bembom, who runs OK Corral with his wife and two sons, is the son of the late J. Henk Bemboom, who was inducted into the IAAPA Hall of Fame in 2001. Mathijs Bembom says he is “growing the park with the same values as my parents did in their time.”



Millionth Visitor Jumps into Plopsaqua De Panne

Belgian water park Plopsaqua De Panne welcomed its millionth visitor this summer. The accomplishment is a new milestone for Plopsa Group’s first water park since opening in 2015. ­Studio 100 founder Gert Verhulst was on hand to greet the lucky guest, as 8-year-old Margot Verschelde and her family received goodies, including an annual park pass. Plopsa Group is part of Studio 100, and the indoor water park features its popular children’s brands including “Samson and Gert” and “Vic the Viking.”

Plopsaqua De Panne’s “concept is particularly good,” says Plopsa Group CEO Steve Van den Kerkhof. “In addition, we always try to unpack new initiatives, such as nighttime bathing on Fridays, keeping the park open for a refreshing swim until 1 a.m.” 


latinamericaMUSEO DE LOS NIÑOS

Museo de los Niños Introduces Educational Escape Room

Combining childhood learning and skill-building with fun, Costa Rica’s Museo de Los Niños (Children’s Museum) recently opened its newest interactive exhibit, the “Castle of Dreams.” Focused on preventing drug use in children and adolescents, the exhibit features a 65-square-meter space built in the style of an escape room. Visitors work together to solve the ­mysterious disappearance of scientist Benjamín Fotón by using clues provided within the space. Throughout the process, participants work to figure out challenges that teach them about the dangers of drug use and ultimately allow them to solve the exhibit’s mystery.



Grupo Experiencias Xcaret to Open Xavage Adventure Park in Cancun

This winter, Mexico’s Grupo Experiencias Xcaret will open its newest adventure park: Xavage. The Cancun, Mexico, park will provide visitors with the opportunity to test their limits through six thrilling and challenging activities: “Barracuda,” a whitewater rapids adventure; “Puma,” an all-terrain vehicle obstacle course in which guests take the wheel; “Dragonfly,” a jet boat ride piloted by a captain; “Hawk” zipine; “Howler Monkey” ropes course; and “Crocodile,” a kayak adventure. Xavage will be able to welcome 3,000 visitors daily, and it is the group’s seventh park after Xcaret, Xel-Há, Xplor, Xplor Fuego, Xoximilco, and Xenses. 




Dolphin Discovery Dives into Sustainability

In recognition of its sustainability efforts, Dolphin Discovery was selected as one of 18 organizations around Mexico to be a part of My World Mexico 2018, a group working to promote actions—from economic to environmental—that help comply with the United Nations’ “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” The Dolphin Discovery organization and staff are actively working to promote the agenda, which is made up of 17 Sustainable Development Goals, through on-the-ground seminars and education programs. 



Six Flags Mexico and Hurricane Harbor Oaxtepec to Add New Attractions in 2019

In an effort to add more attractions that appeal to its youngest visitors, Six Flags Mexico in Mexico City is partnering with Warner Bros. Consumer Products to create two new themed children’s areas for the 2019 season: a DC Super Friends space and Bugs Bunny Boomtown. The new sections will feature 14 games and attractions with six completely new ones, from larger-than-life jungle gyms to high-flying swing rides and a Superman-themed roller coaster.

In 2019, Hurricane Harbor Oaxtepec will introduce “King Cobra,” made up of two adjacent water slides that follow a twisting and turning path. At the end, tube riders drop down more than seven meters at an angle of 50 degrees and travel up a hill into the jaws of the cobra before sliding back down.


northamericaTWO BIT CIRCUS

Enter the ‘Micro Amusement Park’ 

From social media to social play space, September marked the grand opening of Two Bit Circus, a “micro amusement park” in Los Angeles, California. At 38,000 square feet, the venue bills itself as a new type of space that brings guests of all ages together to play, elbow-to-elbow, in an ever-changing landscape. Immersive entertainment experiences include multi­person virtual reality, narrative-based escape/story rooms, an interactive theater, indie arcades, molecular mixology, and a robot bartender. Two Bit Circus describes itself as a “band of mad scientists, roboticists, visual artists, and storytellers ... blurring the line between physical and digital playgrounds to create a new world of social amusement.”



Vegas’ Largest Video Screen to Glow Brighter

The Fremont Street Experience announced the “Viva Vision” canopy, promoted as the world’s largest video screen, will undergo a $32 million renovation starting in February 2019. The upgrade of the screen suspended 90 feet above Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada, will make the screen seven times brighter and provide a fourfold increase in resolution. 

The rejuvenation of the screen stretching 1,500 feet long and 90 feet wide will include digital content and interactive elements. In the future, smartphone users can access a mobile app that will allow them to write personal messages to be scrolled on the screen, along with voting for videos and songs. The renovation is expected to be completed for a Dec. 31, 2019, New Year’s Eve debut. The project is a partnership of the City of Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.



Walking Among the Clouds

An expansive pedestrian bridge opened at Whistler Blackcomb ski resort in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. Named the “Cloudraker Skybridge,” the 427-foot-long bridge dangles 6,562 feet above the valley floor of Whistler Mountain, stretching between Whistler’s Peak and the West Ridge. Billed as the highest bridge in North America, the suspension bridge is made up of 101 steel modules, weighing around 500 pounds each, supported by four cables tensioned to 80,000 pounds. Although “Cloudraker Skybridge” is open year-round, crossing the bridge is reserved for guests who purchase a season skiing pass to Whistler Blackcomb or the combo “Peak 2 Peak 360” ticket.



Simpsons Kwik-E-Mart Jumps Off the TV

Getting a Squishee is now a reality. Broadway at the Beach—an entertainment, dining, and shopping destination in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina—recreated Kwik-E-Mart, the fabled convenience store from the animated television series, “The ­Simpsons.” The highly themed store sells many “Simpsons”-inspired items like Heat-Lamp Hot Dogs and Lard Lad Donuts, both of which can be washed down with a Buzz Cola or one of the famed Squishee-flavored drinks from the TV show. A second attraction next door, The Aztec Theater, will open as a ticketed experience in late 2018. The two attractions come to life through a partnership of FoxNext Destinations, SimEx-Iwerks Entertainment, and Gracie Films.



Universal Orlando Resort Unveils Latest Hotel

Standing sleek and modern near Universal’s Volcano Bay Water Theme Park, Universal Orlando Resort recently opened Universal’s Aventura Hotel, a towering glass structure. The 600-room hotel offers contemporary guest room styling with floor-to-ceiling windows. Accommodation highlights include in-room tablets that offer guests a range of functions, from ordering pizza to controlling the TV and room temperature. Upstairs, the rooftop Bar 17 Bistro is a new dining location overlooking Universal’s theme parks. Aventura Hotel also offers a virtual reality game room. It’s Universal’s sixth property offered in partnership with Loews Hotels & Co. Packages start at $116 per night for a four-night stay.