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Regional Update – June 2016

Battle of Wits and Will at Sentosa Island Maze

Adventure Cove Waterpark is enticing thrill-seeking families with a new two-story, sixteen-feature obstacle course. The 1,800-square-foot Wet Maze is southeast Asia’s first attraction to combine water elements, a ropes obstacle course, and a maze. Maze explorers must navigate past sneaky water blasters, water sprays, and tipping water buckets before reaching the upper level ropes course, where their balance and stealth is put to the test. Adventure Cove Waterpark is part of Resorts World Sentosa and is located on Singapore’s Sentosa Island. U.S. companies Amaze’n Mazes and Aquatic Recreation Company (ARC), as well as Playwkz Culture Singapore and Singapore’s Outdoor Specialists, produced the maze.


Universal Studios Japan Celebrates 15 Years With a Roar

Universal Studios Japan is celebrating its 15th anniversary with 15 new attractions and events, starting with a new roller coaster, “The Flying Dinosaur.” Passengers hang face down in the clutches of an enormous Pteranodon as it turns 360 degrees in the air, drops nearly 38 meters, passes through an underground cave, and flies over a 1.1-kilometer track in Jurassic Park. Universal Studios Japan believes this is the highest and longest coaster of its kind. The theme for the year is “RE-BORN,” and park officials hope the anniversary campaign will leave guests feeling physically and mentally rejuvenated.


Flying Qatar Airways at KidZania Singapore

A life-size decommissioned Qatar Airways Boeing 737 juts out of the world’s newest KidZania, located on Sentosa Island in Singapore. Of more than 20 KidZanias worldwide, the Singapore franchise is the only one to showcase the full fuselage of an actual plane. KidZania Singapore’s Aviation Academy, where aspiring junior pilots can use state-of-the-art simulators, is located within the aircraft. This is the second time Qatar Airways has partnered with KidZania; it is also the “official airline industry partner” of KidZania Kuwait.


‘Flying Aces’ Takes Wing at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi (FWAD) has launched its new record-setting “Flying Aces” roller coaster for 2016. The 1,500-meter-long Intamin Wing Coaster features the tallest non-inverted loop (52 meters high) and the steepest and fastest cable lift incline (a 51-degree angle).

Designers took inspiration from WWII ace pilot Francesco Baracca, who flew a plane painted with a prancing horse that became the inspiration for the Ferrari logo. FWAD’s biplane-themed coaster offers a taste of the aerial acrobatics of the age. The ride also features an extensive queue to set the storytelling of the ride, with media created by Holovis.

The ride is the biggest since the park’s opening and “further cements its reputation,” said FWAD general manager Jesse Vargas. According to Mohamed Al Zaabi, CEO of Miral Asset Management: “Over 25 million visitors came to Yas Island last year. With this new ride, which forms a part of our larger expansion plans over 2016, we look forward to welcoming many more.”


German Zoo Applies Facial Recognition to Animal Enclosures

Zoo Leipzig in Leipzig, Germany, has unveiled a new, interactive ape-watching station, which uses facial recognition software developed by Fraunhofer. Visitors can use the system to pinpoint and request information about individual apes in the zoo’s “Pongoland” compound. The technology works with a swivel-mounted camera and the information is displayed on a screen in the viewing station. The project resulted from collaboration between Zoo Leipzig, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, and Fraunhofer, and was funded by Klaus Tschira Stiftung.


Colombian Zoo Welcomes Jaguars

Colombia’s Piscilago Zoo and bio reserve is giving its visitors even more to see: two new jaguars have joined the family. The jaguars join other species of Colombian cats at the park including pumas and ocelots (a dwarf leopard). This year, guests of the park—which is also home to a water park—may see the jaguars and participate in educational programming that explains how everyone can help protect these species and their at-risk habitats.


Mexican FEC Chain Celebrates 10 Years With New Location

This year, Circus Park Mexico is celebrating its 10th anniversary. To honor this milestone, the park is opening its 14th location at the Esfera Fashion Mall in Monterrey, Mexico. The new space includes video games, simulators, a playground area, and ­activities the entire family can enjoy.


‘Justice League’ Dark Ride Opens at Six Flags Mexico

Six Flags Mexico has enhanced its superhero repertoire with the opening of “Justice League: Battle for Metropolis.” The dark ride attraction takes visitors through an interactive game, the goal of which is to save their favorite super­heroes from villains. The attraction, produced by Sally Corporation, arms visitors with their own laser gun and features 3-D video graphics and real-time scoring.


Documentary Traces Legacy of Coaster Development

American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) has created and released a new documentary about one of the most historically influential ride companies in the attractions trade, Arrow Development. “The Legacy of Arrow Development” chronicles the history of the company, from its founding in Mountain View, California, shortly after World War II by Ed Morgan, Karl Bacon, Bill Hardiman, and Andy Anderson; to its collaboration with Walt Disney; through its numerous financial struggles and changes in ownership; and, finally, to its purchase by and absorption into S&S-Sansei Technologies in 2002.

The production mixes richly detailed history with videos and photos of the people, rides, and parks that punctuate Arrow’s past, like the legendary “Magnum XL200” roller coaster at Cedar Point. Some of the most intriguing and enjoyable moments in the film involve the company’s work with Walt Disney, who owned a third of Arrow, and Disneyland.

The documentary is punctuated with entertaining commentary from some of the principals of Arrow and their children. One involves a recording of the late Ed Morgan as he recalls that because Walt Disney suffered from aquaphobia, Morgan had to hold Disney’s hand as they traversed the walkway over the waterway of “it’s a small world” during testing before it opened at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York.

“Our membership is so proud of the documentary team,” says Tim Baldwin, ACE’s communications director. “Preservation and education are so vital to American Coaster Enthusiasts, and it’s invigorating to see one of our primary goals done in such an interesting and entertaining format. We’re thrilled at the awesome response. This is a product that will serve the industry for a long, long time.” The documentary is just over one hour long and can be seen on ACE’s YouTube channel at http://bit.ly/arrowdoc.


It’s No Joke— Six Flags Roller Coaster Topped Off

Below, the final piece of track for “The Joker” roller coaster is set into place 120 feet above the ground at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey. As the park’s 14th coaster, “The Joker” was set to open the weekend of May 28 at press time and lifts riders up a 12-story, 90-degree hill, then sends them careening through six head-over-heels flips as well as leaps and dives along a horizontal plane as they tumble from one level to the next. The wing seats are positioned outside the track, allowing passengers to experience the ride with no track below or above them.