2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 20162017 | 2018

Regional Updates - February 2017

Dazzling Light Display Sets World Record in Singapore

Universal Studios Singapore set a Guinness World Record for the largest lightbulb display in an indoor venue. “Universal Journey” took two months to complete and features 824,961 lightbulbs. With eight thematic zones, visitors are whisked away on an adventure through the universe, traversing wormholes and time-warp tunnels before arriving on Earth, where they can interact with characters like Charlie Chaplin, Betty Boop, and Marilyn Monroe. This is the second time in the past year the theme park set a Guinness World Record; last March, it set a record for the most people playing “Monopoly” at a single venue.


Iconic Chinese Coaster Outfitted with Virtual Reality

Thrillseekers visiting the Ocean Pearl Radio & TV Tower in Shanghai prepare for a virtual ride among the city’s top high rises. The roller coaster—located inside one of the iconic spheres of the tower some 95 meters above the ground—was retrofitted with VR gear by Shanghai Motion Magic Digital Entertainment and is the first virtual reality coaster in China. The project took three months to complete.

Hong Kong Disneyland Announces Major Expansion Plans

The Walt Disney Company and Hong Kong government are investing nearly HK$11 billion in a multi-year expansion that will see one new attraction or entertainment offering opening almost every year between 2018 and 2023. Highlights include a themed area based on the hit movie “Frozen” and new Marvel attractions, to go alongside the “Iron Man Experience,” which opened in January. Disney will also transform Sleeping Beauty Castle with two new shows. As part of the revamp, “Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters” will be completely reimagined as a battle between the evil Hydra and a group of Marvel superheroes. Disney estimates the expansion will increase its entertainment offerings 18 percent.


Record-Breaking Hypercoaster Rolling into Poland’s Energylandia

In 2018, Energylandia Park in Zator, Malopolskie, Poland, will roll out a new steel hypercoaster that will set multiple records for a European coaster, including marks for the highest lifthill coaster, the fastest lifthill coaster, and the longest drop. The Intamin ride will tower 259 feet and feature a 272-foot first drop at 85 degrees. Within the 64-acre park, the ride will extend to almost a mile in length, at 5,085 feet, and reach a speed of 89 mph.

The coaster will feature one of Intamin’s signature speedy cable lifthills. Riders will experience a 194-foot-tall airtime hill, a tunnel, a twist and dive, a high-speed overbanked turn, a floater airtime hill, a 121-foot panoramic wave turn, a water feature, and a 50-foot Stengel dive.

The yet-unamed coaster’s trains will seat 28 riders in seven rows of four across. 


Paisley Museum Set for Extensive $62 Million Refurbishment

The Paisley Museum in Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland, is set to embark on a £49 million refurbishment intended to turn the attraction into an “international-class visitor destination.” The renovation is key to the Renfrewshire Council’s plan to transform the future of the town of Paisley, including a bid for UK City of Culture in 2021.

The museum features a natural-history collection, textile collection, arts and ceramics collection, and an archaeology collection, while paying homage to the world-renowned paisley pattern. The refurbishment includes plans to expand the existing museum to include a reception area, café, retail shop, and weaving studio.

Funding will come from a variety of sources, including the Renfrewshire Council, the United Kingdom and Scottish governments, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), and a major fundraising campaign. Plans call for the museum to close to the public from 2018 until its reopening in 2022. The refurbishment is predicted to triple the current annual visitor count to 125,000, create 160 new jobs, and add £75 million to the local economy over the next 30 years.


Xcaret Celebrates Dia de los Muertos

For its 11th annual “Festival of Life and Death” to celebrate Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead, a holiday in Mexico declared a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO), the Riviera Maya’s Xcaret park hosted 51,000 visitors throughout the four-day affair. During the event, guests were treated to the special Hanal Pixtan (food for the souls) ritual, workshops, craft-making classes, visual arts exhibitions, theater, dance, and tours. 


Multiparque Unveils New Rides

This past fall, Colombia’s Multiparque celebrated its 35th anniversary. To mark the occasion, the park opened new attractions for its visitors: Cataplum, a world of extreme inflatables; the “Spinning Coaster,” a child-friendly roller coaster; the “Cloud,” a giant canvas where parents and children can jump and have fun; and “Twist and Shout,” a mechanical tower where you can feel the emptiness of free fall.


Major New Water Park Splashing into the Outer Banks

Construction has begun on a $46 million water park in the Outer Banks of North Carolina touted by its developer as “one of the most innovatively designed and uniquely located water parks in the world.” Named H2OBX after the abbreviation for the Outer Banks (OBX) and set to open for summer 2017, the park will cover 80 acres in the town of Powells Point, three miles north of the Wright Memorial Bridge and just minutes from Kitty Hawk, known as the birthplace of human flight.

H2OBX will have more than 30 water slides, pools, and other attractions and feature a few first-to-market slides and experiences. In addition to water slides of varying lengths, turns, drops, and intensities, the park will offer a FlowRider, an adventure river, two wave pools, and a 1,000-gallon dumping bucket. H2OBX is designed and themed to pay homage to the Outer Banks. The “Twin Tides” wave pool will deliver ocean-simulated current, tide, and waves, and a multi-level play structure will offer water slides and interactive water effects themed on the pirates that dominate the folklore of the Outer Banks.

H2OBX is expected to create more than 200 full-time and seasonal jobs when it opens. The park is co-owned by Ken Ellis, Arthur Berry III, Tim Gantz, and Jeff Malarney, and is being designed and built by Aquatic Development Group (ADG), of which Ellis is president and CEO.


Florida’s Old Town in the Midst of Significant Renovation

As Old Town in Kissimmee, Florida, begins celebrating its 30th anniversary, the attraction is undertaking a $20 million renovation. Old Town is modeled on a classic Florida town from the turn of the 20th century, where visitors can shop, dine, and experience amusement rides and entertainment amid historical architecture and unique storefronts.

The signature element of the renovation is a new 84-foot-tall Ferris wheel adorned with LED lights near the front of the property, which sits on U.S.-192 just minutes from the main entrance of Walt Disney World. The remodeling will also include a main entrance reminiscent of an old jukebox, and because Old Town has been the home of classic car shows on Friday and Saturday nights for more than 25 years, there will be a new car-themed bar. The facility’s main street is also getting a makeover, including the addition of water features.

Some of the property’s stores and restaurants are being renovated, including the popular Sweet Dreams ice cream parlor. The purchase of an adjacent lot will allow for the addition of 670 parking spaces. One icon that will definitely remain is the Old Town clock that stands in the center of the main drag. But it too will get a facelift by means of a sandblasting and LED lights.