Park News - (1/24/18) Ummm..wow... just... umm... well, I'll just say it. Dreamworld has reopened their Rocky Hollow Log Ride with what I think has to be the ugliest tacked-on knee-jerk modification that I've ever seen.
I think I missed this bit of news last year as the park was still recovering from the deadly accident on Thunder River Rapids that took place in October 2016, but in April 2017 a 19-year old boy somehow "fell out" of the 35-year old classic log ride attraction. Laying unconscious in the water, he was then "run over" by two other passing logs before being rescued. He suffered severe injuries but survived... but from the sound of things he fell out because he stood up on the ride.
This brings us to today's new modification... where the park has now attached a big ugly metal framework cage around the sides and top of the logs, complete with a solid acrylic ceiling piece to prevent anyone from being able to stand-up ever again. Based on some other images, that top roof section can slide to one side of the cage to allow for easier loading and unloading, but man... it is UGLY. Follow the link to check it out for yourself.
(7/15/17) According to the local news, Ardent Leisure, owner of Dreamworld, got a nice little financial shot in the arm this week when Sun Hung Kai & Co., the financial-investment arm of Malaysian billionaire (Seng Huang Lee), acquired a 5.3% ownership stake in Ardent for $44.6 million. The article goes on to mention that Lee is also the Chairman of his family's flagship group, Mulpha, which focuses on investments into "infrastructure, hospitality and real estate", where they are also Malaysia's largest real-estate investor and developer in Australia. It is also interesting to note that Mulpha's head of operations in Australia is one Greg Shaw, who was a former head of Ardent.
(5/30/17) According to this news report the owners of the Dreamworld theme park in Australia announced that they are looking into options to expand the park, including the addition of a resort hotel as well as an on-site retail and dining district, similar to what you would find at a Disney or Universal theme park resort. Currently the park, owned by Ardent Leisure, takes up 35 hectares of a 60 hectare site owned by Ardent, so they have lots of room to expand.
Following the accidental deaths of four guests on the park’s river rapids ride back in October, Dreamworld is expected to post a financial loss for the year. Amid rumors and speculation that Ardent may have been looking to just sell off the park and be done with it, the news that they want to improve the site and expand does seem like they are setting their new course for future development and ownership of the property.
2018 - Flying Theater - Confirmed - (12/27/17) Dreamworld has announced that for the 2018 season the park will open Australia's first flying theater attraction. The ride hardware will be an Australian themed i-Ride Flying Theater experience from Brogent. The i-Ride flying theatre will be a 40-seat ride simulator, suspending riders in 10-seat gondolas over a hemispherical screen while they heave, sway, surge and roll as they are taken on an immersive journey of the Australian landscape and experience in-theater special effects like wind, light, mist and even scents.
Flying Theaters have been proven to be big draws for parks as of late, and are especially appealing to family groups as they can be enjoyed by almost anyone and lack the restrictions of a major thrill ride. This should go a long way to getting the park's attendance numbers back on track. The new Flying Theater will be located inside the park's former IMAX Theater building near the entrance to the park and will open in late 2018.