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Regional Updates - January 2017

Sun Group and ITEC Break Ground on New Attraction in Hanoi

Vietnam’s Sun Group, one of the country’s largest luxury real estate companies, has broken ground on a new $227 million, 250-acre attraction in Hanoi. The Kim Quy (Golden Turtle) Amusement Park is being designed by Orlando-based ITEC Entertainment, and will feature augmented and virtual reality experiences, a large Ferris wheel, hot-air balloons, and a cultural village for working artisans and craftsmen. The park is slated to open in early 2018; Hanoi officials say they plan to build 25 new parks by 2020.


Minions Run Rampant at Universal Studios Japan

Universal Studios Japan is set to open the world’s largest Minion-themed area early this year. The highlight of Minion Park is the 3-D ride “Despicable Me Minion Mayhem,” which features a 20-meter NanoSeam dome screen and state-of-the-art high-definition laser projection system. Minion Park will also feature a toy store, sweets factory, and other themed facilities. Minions are hugely popular in Japan. The 2015 film was the most popular Hollywood animated film in the country. Park officials note that even before the opening of Minion Park, one in three guests have purchased Minion-related goods.


Stockholm Dark Ride Embraces Viking Lore

In early 2017, a new dark ride attraction in Djurgården, Stockholm, Sweden, will take guests on an adventure through the mythical landscapes the Vikings called home centuries ago. Named “Vikingaliv,” the experience features a daring voyage where guests encounter dramatic scenes from Viking history, offering large-scale dioramas and picturesque landscapes featuring detailed human figures. The “Vikingaliv” story is told by Ragnfrid, an elderly woman who describes the most intense moments in the lives of her family.

“Vikingaliv” is being created by P&P Projects, which is responsible for the engineering, production, and installation of all the show sets. ETF Ride Systems is handling the ride technology, utilizing the ETF Multi Mover. To ensure historical accuracy, the story, artistic expression, and scenography are being created in collaboration with renowned Swedish professor of history Dick Harrison.


World’s Tallest Lego Structure Rises in Dubai

Late last year, Legoland Dubai unveiled the world’s tallest Lego building structure in advance of the park’s official opening. Standing 56 feet tall, the model is a replica of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the tallest building in the world. Legoland Dubai says this replica is a record-setter for a model of a building. The park welcomed celebrity special guest Mohammed bin Ahmed Jaber Al Harbi to help officially reveal the model. The 5-year-old Emirati youth added a finishing touch to the structure by affixing a tiny replica of himself to the model and then turned on the first of its LED lights.

The Burj Khalifa model, located in the park’s Miniland, took more than 5,000 hours to design and build using 439,000 Lego bricks. Visitors will be able to see the one-ton replica up close, enjoy an LED light show, and see a recreation of the building’s famous fountain show.


Costa Rica’s Children’s Museum Updates Telecom Room

Costa Rica’s Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (Costa Rican Electricity Institute) and the Aid to Help Foundation (FAPA) formally joined together to update the 20-year-old Electricity and Telecommunications Room at Costa Rica’s Children’s Museum. The organizations will develop, maintain, and operate the new interactive space, which focuses on teaching children about electricity generation, energy, magnetism, and electro­magnetism, as well as the history, evolution, and trends in ­telecommunications.


Dolphin Discovery Helps Children with Life-Threatening Illnesses

Mexico’s Dolphin Discovery recently made the wishes of seven terminally ill children come true as part of its partnership with the Palace Foundation (Fundación Palace). The children, based in Mexico, and their parents had the opportunity to both swim with the dolphins and learn about their care up close.

http://fundacionpalace.org, www.dolphindiscovery.com

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Makes $12 Million in Improvements

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in Santa Cruz, California, has embarked on a $12 million improvement project that will include a new main entrance to the park and a revamp for a large section of the boardwalk. The park says the new entrance will include a plaza, state-of-the-art ticketing ­windows, and a refreshed look for games, concessions, and attractions in the adjacent area. Two of the Boardwalk’s most popular attractions, “Fright Walk” and “Lazer Maze,” will receive complete interior ­makeovers, with the former taking advantage of a new basement/dungeon space.

The park has planned the makeover for 10 years, but stresses the improvements will be made while maintaining the Boardwalk’s nostalgic and historic look and feel. More announcements about the project, which will finish by summer 2017, will be made in the coming months.


For One Weekend, Morey’s Piers Went to the Dogs

For three days last fall, it was dog-day mornings, afternoons, and evenings at Morey’s Piers in Wildwood, New Jersey, as guests and their canine companions frolicked in numerous dog-related activities and contests. Festivities started with “Putts for Mutts” on the Starlux mini-golf course. During “Doggie Dash,” pooches set the pace for 5K and one-mile races that started at a 25-foot-tall fire hydrant. The weekend built to the “Gone to the Dogs” puppy pool party at Raging Waters Water Park, where dogs could play in the fountain pool, float along the river adventure, or fetch balls in the activity pool. The weekend’s complimentary giveaways included t-shirts, doggie bandanas, “Putts for Mutts” golf balls, and food and beverage.

The events raised $9,000 for Team Foster, a nonprofit organization that pairs service dogs with veterans suffering from combat-related disabilities; the Wildwood Police K9 Unit; the New Jersey SPCA; and the Cape May County Animal Shelter.