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From the Floor - August 2016

Record-Setting Cylindrical Aquariums from ICM (International Concept Management)

Picture a cylindrical aquarium, eight stories high, filled with a million liters of water and more than 5,000 fish, with an elevator rising through the center, and you have International Concept Management’s latest record-breaking product, which is being unveiled in a shopping mall in Moscow.

Visitors enter at the base of the 25 meter tall attraction, take a lift almost to the top, then exit through an acrylic tunnel surrounded by water and fish. With this project, ICM breaks its own Guinness world record. The latest aquarium is 10 meters higher than the last one.

“The cylinder aquarium is something that’s become a really hot trend in the aquarium industry,” said ICM’s director of business development, Dylan Wiman, who notes that these engineering feats quickly become iconic features wherever they are located. “There’s no one else in the world that has been able to pull off anything like this.”


Triotech’s Maestro Motion Detection Technology to Open in Malaysia

Step into the cart, put on your 3-D glasses, hold your hand a few inches above a motion detector, and then move it rapidly or perhaps at an angle. With Triotech’s Maestro hand gesture technology, you’ve been transformed into a ninja, throwing virtual projectiles at bad guys on the screen ahead.

Using motion capture technology, Maestro adds interactivity to dark rides without using a gun or weapon-like device. “This allows you to tell a story in a way that’s more family-friendly and fits the story you’re trying to tell,” explained Triotech’s vice president of marketing, Christian Martin. “The tricky thing about Maestro is that you’re in a ride, moving around in a vehicle, and you have giant oversized screens showing content in 3-D that’s all in real time. And whatever you’re doing as an individual player—and this other player and this other player—affects what’s going on in the story that you’re seeing on screen.”

Maestro with will make its Asian debut at Legoland Malaysia in November.


ProSlide Adapts for Large Crowds in Asian Markets

To help keep queues in check as attendance surges at Asia’s water parks, ProSlide is promoting mega-rides and outfitting older slides to handle more people.

“Parks are asking for rides that can do like 1,000 riders per hour, so they can deal with the huge capacity,” said ProSlide’s director of global marketing, Greg Owens.

ProSlide will soon sell new versions of the hybrid RocketBLAST/FlyingSaucer with four-person rafts, and has started configuring the TornadoWave to use a six-person raft, increasing the hourly capacity of each ride by 33-50 percent.

Half a dozen Asian water parks had more than a million visitors last year, according to the TEA/AECOM Theme Index and Museum Index, while Chimelong, the world’s busiest water park, set a new record with 2.3 million visitors.


New Projects from China JingYe Engineering (MCC)

Given the explosive growth of the Asian attractions industry, it shouldn’t be a surprise that contractors and design firms occupied a substantial number of booths at AAE 2016. Among the most prominent was China JingYe Engineering, the only Chinese company to work as a general contractor for both Disney and Universal Studios.

Now that Shanghai Disneyland has opened, the state-owned enterprise has turned its attention to projects that draw more on traditional Asian culture. It’s currently building and theming five major attractions in China—Huai’an Journey to the West (in Jiangsu province), Jin Niu Hu (Nanjing), Changsha Haichang (Hunan), Shishi Shimao (Fujian), and the Shanghai Haichang Polar Ocean Park—and was just named lead contractor for a high-profile project two hours south of Jakarta, Indonesia. Not bad for a company that only entered the theme park sector in 2008.


WhiteWater Showcases Aqua Play Structure

WhiteWater’s next-generation aqua-play structure, the APX, places a new focus on safety by making it easier for parents and lifeguards to watch the children.

“If you look at the bottom level of the structure, you see that you can see right through it,” explained David Bogdonov, WhiteWater West Industries’ senior vice president for business development in China. “The old style structures didn’t have that kind of visibility. That’s important, because these structures are geared toward 5- to 12-year-olds. Here, if Mom or Dad are in the pool, they can see their kid all over the place.”

The multi-tiered APX is “designed to provide open areas for multi-directional exploration” and uses technology to increase the level of interactivity, particularly water elements the manufacturer said “will surprise guests from above, below, and afar … and sometimes much closer.”


Zamperla Thunderbolt Makes Asian Debut

Asia will be home to the first Thunder-bolt outside of Zamperla’s own park in New York’s Coney Island when the company installs the coaster in Haichang’s Dalian Discoveryland in December.

The nine-seat coaster—which features five inversions including a jaw-dropping 35-meter vertical drop—makes use of magnetic brakes in a new controlled rollback system designed for an “effortless evacuation.” In the event of an emergency while going uphill, the car doesn’t stop on the lift; it slowly goes back to the station. “So you don’t need to evacuate,” Antonio Zamperla, the company’s chief operating officer, explained, “You don’t need bring people out from the lift.”

The coaster, which is just 15 meters wide, also has patent-pending safety technology. There are sensors in the lap bars that permit the restraint to monitor itself and secure the closure, based on the rider’s body type.

The coaster vehicles have stadium seating so everyone has a great view.

The ride should open to the public early next year.


CAVU Designwerks Previews Theater, Announces Alliance with Falcon’s, Kraftwerk

A ride manufacturer, media producer, and audio-visual systems integrator are teaming up to promote an innovative, large-format, motion-based dome theater that can display immersive 360-degree, 3-D content. CAVU Designwerks, Falcon’s Treehouse, and Kraftwerk Living Technologies announced their strategic alliance from the trade show floor of AAE 2016.

CircuMotion, which the producers described as a “theater in the round within a virtual world,” has four degrees of freedom: pitch, roll, heave, and yaw. It can seat 134 guests per show and “delivers a broad range of synchronicity between motion and media content.”

“The motion-based platform is what really sets CircuMotion apart,” said Robert Salmeron, a marketing manager with Falcon’s Treehouse. “You’re sitting in a seat, and you’re experiencing things in all different directions. It may not be the same experience every single time you ride the attraction.”

CircuMotion will debut in Dubai this year at IMG Worlds of Adventure.


Unlimited Attraction from Dynamic Attractions Provides Turnkey Services

Seeing a need in Asia for companies that can provide comprehensive solutions for sophisticated rides, Dynamic Attractions is upping its game and now offering the services of its Unlimited Attractions team. Historically, the company has focused on ride systems; now, it’s able to provide everything from concept design through to the finished product.

“Asian clients are looking for something that is more comprehensive in its coordination and design. We can bring all of those elements together, so that on opening day, everything works and it delivers the creative intent,” said Dynamic Attractions’ creative vice president, George Walker, who added that the new service ensures “it doesn’t become a mess in the field, where everybody hides behind their contracts.”

“It’s really really exciting because this is an opportunity for clients that don’t have all of the depth and resources of a company like Disney or Universal,” he added.

Dynamic Attractions has already secured at least five contracts in China for its new service. It also opened a 40,000-square-foot research and development facility in Orlando that has mock-up and testing capabilities, including a robotic arm and three-quarter flying theater, to help compress on-site project time.


Miss King’s Space King A Hit for FECs

One of the more colorful interactive games at AAE 2016, the two-meter-high Space King is the latest product by Miss King’s Amusement out of Guangzhou, China. While sitting in the belly of the beast, players use the right joystick to drive the robot and the left to swivel its torso. Both hands can fire lasers. You’ll know you’ve been hit by a competitor when your seat vibrates. The $12,000 Space King has proved to be a hit with theme parks and family entertainment centers (FECs) in Dubai, Japan, South Korea, and Indonesia, with orders from other countries pending.



During a walk through the massive halls of the Shanghai New International Expo Centre, it didn’t take long to identify the biggest trend of the year: virtual reality.

Attendees were lining up to don VR headsets, made by Samsung and others, that have been specially integrated for FEC gaming and theme-park rides.

“Virtual reality has come on very quickly in the last couple of years because of the breakthroughs in technology that allow the synchronization of what you’re seeing through the glasses and what’s happening on the ride,” explained Paul Noland, IAAPA president and CEO.

Here’s a look at three innovative offerings:

Take a ride on DOF Robotics’ Hurricane—which was originally designed for use in dome theatres and with flat/curved screens but now offers synchronized virtual reality—and you are soaring through tunnels and swerving to avoid approaching trains. The Hurricane, which has so far been installed in three locations in Istanbul, has six degrees of freedom and spins 360 degrees, which means guests really feel like they’re diving head-first in a virtual land.

With the X-Rider, produced by South Korea’s Simuline, you don’t have to actually climb into a roller coaster to feel like you’re on one. You hear the click of the coaster as you go up and the sounds of the cart accelerating on the way down, while 360 degrees of media ensure you not only see the track in front of you, but also trees and a Ferris wheel in the distance. As the virtual ride pulls into the station, there are even people lining up waiting to get on. The virtual reality X-Rider will likely be priced between US$120,000-200,000 for four- and eight-seat versions.

Waiting in long queues may never be the same, with Holovis’ Extended Experiences. Download an app, point your phone at a sign, and next thing you know, there appear to be zombies coming out of the wall. Friends can even take photos of each other with the virtual creatures. The app can be used for in-park gaming or to transform menus, attraction structures, tickets, and brochures. Holovis also offers an “experiential design suite” called RideView to facilitate the virtual development of attractions in real time.

Holovis may have a ready partner in the Dubai-based animals attraction consultancy, Zoocenarium. “Static signage is a little bit old school,” said Peta Wittig, the company’s executive director, who was keen to explore augmented reality at AAE 2016 and “how you can use a person’s mobile phone to get them to interact, not only with the signage, but the animals and get the education to that next level.”

“You can see where virtual reality has come from in a few years alone. Give it five years , and it’s going to be crazy,” said Marc Brown, manager of Australia’s Downunderland Amusements, who noted that not only is the technology becoming better, it’s increasingly more affordable, as well.