---- THE LATEST GLOBAL BUZZ ----
(3/24/21) Japan - See the Country Farm Tokyo German Village (MORE...)
(3/22/21) Germany To Open Hologate World Later This Year (MORE...)
(3/15/21) New Aerial Photos Show Off Camelot Theme Park Demolition Status (MORE...)
(3/14/21) Sweden Sets New Rules For Theme Parks and Attractions To Reopen Soon (MORE...)
(3/14/21) Chinese Theme Park Opens New Polar Bear Hotel... with Polar Bears (MORE...)
(3/9/21) Doha Oasis in Qatar To Open Q2 2021 plus Cloud Coaster Install Pictures (MORE...)
Australia - (2/13/21) An interesting article from Insurance Business Australia reports that a small amusement attraction called Barra Fun Park has been forced to close their doors for the time being after 20 years of operation, simply because their insurer has refused to renew their public liability insurance policy. The owners of the park have attempted to get insurance coverage from many different insurance brokers, but none are currently willing to offer them the coverage they need to operate.
While the current website for the park only shows the note about being closed, an online search show an attraction on a small body of water covered by a series of inflatable islands with numerous climbing obstacles and sliding areas to enjoy.
According to the article many insurers either raised the price of their premiums to unaffordable levels or stopped selling coverage to many small businesses in reaction to the 2019 summer bush fires. Many small businesses now report that they have been denied coverage or forced to pay premiums that have often tripled in cost since then. Add on the financial difficulties from 2020’s COVID-19 shutdowns, and we may begin seeing more stories like this begin to appear across Australia.
(10/26/20) According to the local news a 25 year old woman is in critical condition after falling about 30m from a ride called Hangover at a carnival in Cairns (Australia). According to the article she was riding with a family member when she fell from the ride while it was upside-down at the top of the loop cycle. No reason has been given for how she fell out of the ride and the investigation is ongoing.
(6/6/20) Village Roadshow is pushing to reopen their Gold Coast theme parks earlier than planned if possible, but the current rules from the Queensland’s government are not viable. According to BlooLoop, the current rules say that amusement parks, zoos and arcades can reopen in “Stage 3” starting on July 10, but are limited to only 100 people at a time. Clearly that was not well thought out, as 100 people in an arcade is one thing, but spread out across the massive sprawl of a theme park or zoo is something else entirely. To combat this Village Roadshow has teamed up with Dreamworld’s owner, Ardent Leisure, to submit new COVID safety plans to the government that would allow for them to bring in a proper number of visitors and still be safe. These plans are said to currently be under review.
The Bahamas - (4/3/20) The Atlantis resort soon won't be the only waterpark attraction on Nassau in the Bahamas. The Baha Mar resort, located about a 20 minute drive west of the Atlantis resort is currently building a $300 million expansion to the resort that will include a new waterpark attraction along with other entertainment offerings and improvements to the beachfront resort.
According to a local news update, the waterpark expansion is still on track to open in 2021, despite the current issues around the globe from the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently the resort is closed due to government orders, and the shutdown does include a pause in the construction on the project. Currently the attractions in the Bahamas are hoping to reopen around May 15 or as soon as the their government says it is safe to do so.
Belgium - (10/24/20) Bad news for Belgium this week as the government has issued a sudden new closure order to all theme parks within the country. Note that the closure apparently applies just to theme parks, while zoos and other animal parks are allowed to remain open. So it looks like popular parks like Bobbejaanland, the Plopsa parks, Walibi Belgium, Bellewaerde and others are essentially done for the 2020 season unless things change.
In addition to closing theme parks due to a new surge in cases, Belgium has also banned fans from sporting events, reducing the number of people who can visit “cultural space” at one time, switching to remote learning for students and new strict night curfews, asking people to stay home from 10pm to 6am.
Bosnia-Herzegovina - (12/13/19) I don’t know much about this project yet, but I’m told plans have been drawn up and approved to build a theme park called ‘Magic Land’ in Bosnia / Herzegovina. Vekoma has already been tapped to build one of their coasters at the park, currently said to be a Bermuda Blitz model, one of which exists so far, the Lech Coaster at Legendia in Poland, which is said to be quite good. For now we don’t know much else, and not even a solid timeline, so for now we are just keeping our ears open for future developments to see if this park really gets built.
Canada - (6/20/20) According to the local news the small “Story Book Park” in Canada has opted to stay closed for the 2020 season. They simply felt that the park could not operate under the current COVID-19 safety requirements set in place.
(3/23/20) The world is losing yet another wooden coaster this year. According to this article Upper Clements Park in Nova Scotia has been sold for $600,000 to a company who will build a new $62 million boarding school on the site, with the park set to be demolished right away. The now closed amusement park was home to one coaster, the wooden “Roller Coaster”, designed by William Cobb, which opened back in 1989. The coaster was formerly named ‘Tree Topper” until 2008 when it was changed to the more simplistic, “Roller Coaster”.
Based on the video below, it doesn’t look like it was the smoothest ride in the world, but does look to have a very scenic layout that twisted and turned through the woods.
(7/29/19) FlyOver Canada will soon have a sibling as adventure travel company, Pursuit, has signed a deal to build a second FlyOver Canada flying theater attraction in Toronto, next to the famous CN Tower. While it will share the same name as the attraction in Vancouver, the ride film to be shown in the new Toronto location will be entirely brand new. According to the teaser video, we can expect it to open in 2022, with construction on the new building to house it to begin sometime in 2020.
China - (3/14/21) Want to stay in a hotel within feet of some fierce wild animals? The Harbin Polarland theme park in China may have you covered, as they opened their new Polar Bear Hotel on Friday which features 21 guest rooms, all of which offer non-stop viewing into anindoor Polar Bear habitat. The indoor space is only part of the overall Polar Bear habitat on site, which they say does include a large outdoor section as well as the temperature controlled indoor area. The estimated cost to stay in the Polar Bear Hotel is between $290 - $350 per night.
Unfortunately, based on the video clips I’ve seen, the environment is hardly well themed, especially if you had the chance to see other polar bear habitats elsewhere. It is rather sterile and free from any realistic decor, so animal rights groups have been quick to slam the new addition. Also based on the videos, guests staying at the hotel appear to have just as good of a view of the other guest rooms as they do of the bears below… so take that for what you will.
(2/16/21) We don’t know all the details yet, but a ride described as the “Flying Chairs” at an amusement park in Shaoyang in Hunan province suffered an accident that injured 16 people when part of the ride suddenly collapsed. Fortunately no one was reported as being killed in the accident.
(1/20/21) According to this article Hong Kong’s Keystone Group is planning to build a Hello Kitty theme park in Hainan, China. The project is estimated to cost $620 million and would open sometime in 2024 featuring rides and attractions based on the various Hello Kitty family of characters from Sanrio.
(12/20/20) A larger coaster construction update showcasing many park and coaster projects across Asia, with a heavy focus on the parks in China, has been posted to TheCoasterKings this week. This includes a look at Jinan Sunac Cultural Tourism City, Forest World, Window of the World Changsha, Hainan Ocean Paradise, Chinelong Marine Science Park, Hong Kong Disneyland, Universal and more.
(11/28/20) A collection of interesting construction reports on seven different theme park projects across China has been collected at The Coaster Kings this week. They take a look at the Dragon Valley park under construction and now looking to open in 2022, Fantasy Valley, Forest World, Visionland, Chongqing Sunac Land, Chimelong Ocean Kingdom / Chimelong Marine Science Park and Hong Kong Disneyland. There are many new coasters on the way at these parks, some of which are well under construction already.
(9/7/20) Something interesting happened to the Steam Racers coaster at Wuxi Sunac Land in China over the weekend. Steam Racers is actually a Mack Rides “Blue Fire” clone, and for whatever reason the launch system system did not fully launch the coaster. The result of the misfire launch was that the train shot out of the launch tunnel with just the right amount of force to climb to the top of the banked turn at the top of the hill… and perfectly come to a stop up there. You can see the train balanced perfectly at the top in the video tweet posted below and then watch the video below that one to see a POV of the event shot by a rider in the front row!
According to one news report the riders were stuck on the train like that for about an hour or so before it was brought back down and the riders were released. The park confirmed that no one was hurt from the incident. With launched coasters this is an occasional event, especially for outdoor coasters where gusts and wind and other unpredictable weather elements can play a part. Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point has been shot on video many times over the years experiencing roll-backs and even coming to a stop at the top just like this.
(6/21/20) According to this article, the House of Dancing Water show at the City of Dreams resort in Macau will suspend performances from June 18 through to January 2021. They will take this time to undergo a revamp of the show with the show’s creator, Franco Dragone, known for his early work with Circue du Soleil (O and Mystere) and his solo show work after parting ways, such as the La Reve show at Las Vegas’ Wynn casino.
House of Dancing Waters opened in 2010 and has been performed for over 6 million guests since then. According to the article one goal is to reduce the number of staff members required for the production, but also to strive to hire more “local workers” in the production rather than non-resident workers. Previously the show staff consisted of nearly 100 international performers working with about 200 production staff, technicians and divers. They insist that the reboot of the show was not prompted by the current COVID-19 pandemic but was part of a plan to reenergize the show and make it even “more exciting”.
The show’s creator has been the subject of a few other interesting news reports lately, including an investigation that seeks to prosecute him and others for ‘Fraud and Money Laundering’. Earlier this month it was also reported that Dragone was joining forces with Cirque du Soleil do-founder Guy Laliberte, in an attempt to buy back and save Cirque du Soleil from the current ownership.
(4/22/20) According to the Fantawild website, the chain had previously reopened 12 theme parks, and has just opened 7 more parks on April 18th. It also mentions that the “Fantawild Adventure” park in Jiayuguan is on track to reopen on April 25th. If you scroll down more you can see details about the operational changes in the park, including the expected wellness checks before guests can enter the parks, mandatory mask wearing, and a scattered loading system in place on the rides to mantain maximum distance between riders. In the picture show, instead of loading every other row on a roller coaster with two-across seating, they are instead loading one guest into every row, but loading only the left seat on the odd-numbered rows, and the right-seat on the event numbered rows. Unfortunately this method even separates guests who are visiting the park together.
(3/29/20) While various attractions have been slowly reopening in China, one in particular was ordered shut-down again. According to the Hollywood Reporter, after two weeks of a successful return to operations for movie theaters in some areas of China, the government quickly and without reason ordered all 600 closed again. The only speculation at this point is that the government may be concerned over the idea of creating a second-wave of infections after seeing their numbers drop.
This precautionary move may prove to be a good lesson to the rest of the world about what could happen if you rush to reopen things too soon, if their case numbers do start to rise again. Time will tell.
(3/15/20) Some Chinese attractions are now preparing to reopen! According to this article Shanghai Wild Animal Park and Jinjiang Amusement Park plan to reopen on Monday, but with restrictions in place to limit the number of visitors to the parks to about half of their normal capacity to prevent overcrowding. Also any indoor venues and attractions within the parks will remain closed for the time being. All guests will also have to pass through a temperature screening station, wear a mask during their time in the park and present a green healthy QR code to gain entry. Public areas in the parks are to be disinfected twice daily, and attractions are to be disinfected after each use.
Other area attractions planning to reopen on Monday include the Fuquanshan archeological site, Qushui Garden as well as Luxun Park in Hongkou District.
(3/3/20) Yet another Happy Valley theme park is being planned by China’s OCT Group. According to AmusementToday they have tapped Legacy Entertainment to design this 9th Happy Valley theme park which will be located in Zhengzhou and feature an entirely original design.
There are currently seven Happy Valley theme parks open in China with the eighth park slated to open in Nanjing later this year.
(11/6/19) According to BlooLoop, Puy du Fou is about to sign a contract with China to create a Puy du Fou attraction in China at the foot of the Great Wall that will feature a nighttime spectacular show, a themed restaurant, themed hotel and an ancient village setting. Currently they are still working on the concept design.
Denmark - (7/19/20) A little bit of a warning for anyone planning to visit a theme park in Denmark. While masks are required on the major rides (which is fine) it appears the government has added an odd little kink in the rules that is causing some fuss.
According to a policy put down by the Danish Agency for Patient Safety as of July 18, it is now a requirement that only “factory-made disposable” coverings may be used on the bigger high speed rides and that they are to be “only used once and thrown out after the end of the trip.” In other words… you need to show that you are putting a fresh disposable mask on as you board the coasters, and then throw them away after the ride. Even if you are jumping right back on for a second ride on the same coaster, the ride ops are to make sure you put on a fresh new mask.
According to a trip report I read this was indeed taking place yesterday at Djurs Sommerland, and you can read the official policy on their website. You can bring your own pack of disposable masks, or you can buy them in the park. While this is sure to cause some fuss at first, the park does mention that this current ruling allows for them to run their five big rides at full capacity. So plan accordingly if you are visiting one of the many theme parks in Denmark.
For example, if visiting Tivoli Gardens, the park notes that they are actually providing free disposable face masks for riders on their bigger rides to ensure that they are now able to run them at higher capacity.
Dominican Republic - (9/18/19) Falcon’s Creative Group has announced a new partnership with Katmandu Group to create a series of Katmandu branded attractions, starting with a “dynamic new entertainment venue in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.” The initial plans right now include two attractions from Falcon to be built within the Katmandu, Punta Cana project to open in late 2020.
The “signature” attraction will be something called “Quest for the Multiverse”, while sounds like it will be the premier of Falcon’s new “Suspended Theater”, used to provide an all new flying theater style experience that will be both family friendly, and yet thrilling. The other attraction is said to be a cutting-edge dark ride experience themed around “The Legend of Katmandu”. Other attractions within the development will include a 36-hole Expedition Golf course with highly themed holes that wind around a “mountainous Nepalese landscape”, along with future plans to add other interactive rides and theater-based attractions, as well as a “ninja playground” climbing and obstacle course. Of course it wouldn’t be a major attraction without a spattering of highly themed restaurant experiences and some special nighttime entertainment offerings added into the mix as well.
For reference, the Katmandu Group already has one themed attraction open in Mallorca, Spain where it is tied to a resort property. In addition to the planned expansion to the Dominican Republic, they are also working on another development for Tenerife, Spain.
France - (10/29/20) Bad news for Theme Parks and other attractions in France. According to news outlets the French government is going to impose a new nationwide lockdown due to rising COVID-19 cases. The new lockdown will begin this Friday, October 30th and will only allow essential businesses to remain open. As such Disneyland Paris and the rest of the nation’s theme parks that had opened will be forced to close down until at least December 1st.
Germany - (3/22/21) A massive new VR attraction is planned to come to Germany later this year and will be called Hologate World. The 1,200 square meter facility will include numerous VR attraction systems as well as XR Escape Rooms and an ESports Arena along with a bar, restaurant and various leisure areas to relax in with friends. On the Hologate tech side of things, the attraction will feature some never-before seen new attractions as well as their cutting edge ARENA and BLITZ systems.
Look for Hologate World to open this September in the FLAIR marketplace in Furth, Germany.
(10/29/20) The German government has announced a new lockdown in the country that will see restaurants, bars, theaters and theme parks shut down starting Nov. 2nd and stay closed for at least a month, with the Government to reassess the status of the COVID-19 spread every two weeks.
Hong Kong - (11/28/20) A massive new development worth HK$20 billion called 11 SKIES has been announced to be built at the Hong Kong International Airport. The massive 11 SKIES development is said to feature 800+ shops, 120+ dining locations along with several attractions that will all vie to the attention of the millions of travelers who pass through the airport each year.
Amongst the attractions planned so far will be a KidZania location, a Flying Theater, a SkyTrack indoor/outdoor go-kart attraction as well as several digital media and immersive experiences. 11 SKIES is planned to open in phases between 2022 and 2025.
India - (2/13/21) According to this report, business at amusement parks in India like Wonderla and Imagicaa is on the rise as guests seem intent to flock back to the amusement parks for rides as well as an increase in multi-day bookings as they see an increase in linked resort-stays. Despite the threat of COVID-19, groups are seeking out the theme park resorts as the location for mini-vacation trips rather than just a day-trip.
Indonesia - (3/26/20) Take a look at the video below to see the new Jurassic Island attraction in action, the first Immersive Superflume attraction from SIMWORX. The attraction reopened not too long ago as part of the new Trans Studios Cibubur indoor theme park in Indonesia. You’ve never quite seen a flume ride like this before, so check it out!
(3/15/20) A POV video of an Intamin launched coaster that opened at the end of 2019 in Indonesia has been posted to YouTube, rigged with some extra lights on the train so you can see the ride better. The ride is Kereta Misteri (Mystery Train) and it is located in the Dunia Fantasi park and features a bit of a slow-moving dark ride to start things off before the more high speed coaster ride begins.
Japan - (3/24/21) It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from our pal Yukendoit in Japan, but he is back and went on a new adventure to visit “Country Farm Tokyo German Village”, a unique attraction just outside Tokyo.
(1/31/21) A new roller coaster is on the way to Japan for 2021 at the Shimizu Marina Circus outside of the S-Pulse Dream Plaza shopping center. Based on the artwork this appears to be a small figure-eight coaster layout, not unlike the SBF-VISA style of family spinning coasters. At this time no details are available as to the maker and exact style of coaster this will be.
(10/31/20) Yukendoit is back with a new video report from a new attraction that opened in Japan this year called Small Worlds. This isn’t a full size theme park… it’s actually the opposite, a world all about miniature things, featuring an assortment of miniature displays. The mini displays include a Saturn 5 rocket, the Osaka airport (where the planes take off and land), and even fictional stuff like a future moon base, some fun anime references to Sailor Moon and Evangelion. The assorted displays are pretty neat to see and feature tons of animated features as well. The attraction is located very close to where a section of the Tokyo Olympics will take place, so I imagine it will get more popular next year when the games start.
(10/10/20) Just as seen in concept art a couple of years ago, a massive 75 foot tall Godzilla head themed attraction has now opened on Aqaji Island in Japan, off the coast of Kobe that has ziplines that race towards towards Godzilla and into his open mouth. You can catch a POV video of it below.
(10/6/20) While Japan has put a stop to allowing international guests to visit the country in 2020 to stop the spread of COVID-19, the plan is to begin allowing some travelers into the country “on a trial basis” starting in April 2021. Everything is very fluid and can and will change depending on the current state of the virus around the world, and will come with an assortment of restrictions, but with the Olympic Games set to begin on July 23, 2021, Japan is hoping for the best.
(10/4/20) Get ready Japanese theme park fans, because apparently a Gundam Factory themed attraction will open this December in Yokohama. Outside of the attraction a 60 foot tall animated Gundam will welcome guests to the attraction, which you can see testing in the video clips below. I’m not sure what else will be featured in the attraction other than the usual dining and shopping experiences that are sure to offer some great Gundam themed items you will find nowhere else. Follow the link to visit the official Gundam Factory website.
(9/11/20) Are you ready to experience… a haunted TOILET?
Apparently the Lagunasia theme park in Japan will now be home to the world’s first haunted toilet attraction as part of the park’s “Corona Horror Fest 2020” event. Guests enter, one at a time, and experience the attraction which is actually based on a Japanese urban-legend where the spirit of a young girl, Hanako-san, haunts the bathrooms in Japanese schools.
Other attractions at the park this year include the “Scream Coffin”, where guests will be put inside a Japanese style coffin featuring a viewing window… but instead of the family viewing the deceased, you will use the window from the inside to look out as spirits and demons haunt you. The horror themed festival will take place at the theme park from October 3 through to December 6, 2020.
(8/19/20) BlooLoop has confirmed that the new Harry Potter themed attraction coming to Tokyo will indeed be “Warner Bros Studio Tour Tokyo - The Making of Harry Potter”. Look for the new attraction to open in the first half of 2023 on the site of the former Toshimaen theme park. Follow the link to see more details about what you can expect to find inside this new attraction and how it will differ from the London original.
(7/23/20) According to a report from BlooLoop, a new major theme park is being planned for Yokohama, Japan that will have involvement from a major Hollywood studio. The early reports say it will be close in size to Tokyo Disneyland, located on a 242 hectare site formerly used by the US military before being returned to Japanese government control in 2014.
(6/13/20) According to this news report Tokyo’s Joypolis amusement park has opened once again after being closed for the past three months.
(5/30/20) An odd new policy going into effect at Japanese theme parks caught the attention of the world’s news agencies this week. As the various “state of emergency” orders are being lifted across Japan, new guidelines were issued for ongoing safety measures, one of which was asking riders to no longer scream and shout on roller coasters and other thrill rides.
Of course the reason is to prevent possible droplets of infected slobber from flying out your pie-hole and splashing across your fellow riders, so this makes sense in a way. It just isn’t a very practical thing. While coaster enthusiasts like myself enjoy yelling and screaming along the way, I could easily maintain composure and keep my gob shut during a ride if asked to do so. On the other side of the coin however, there are those out there who just can’t help it as they find themselves frightened beyond all care and reason during thrill rides as they scream in terror.
(3/29/20) While we’ve been hearing reports that select attractions in Japan have been slowly reopening over the past week, a small rise of new infections in Tokyo has prompted that city to urge its citizens to stay home this weekend, and ask for the local attractions to possibly close again, along with shutting down popular public parks. In an urban area that contains more than 30 million people, it seems clear they are wary of becoming another “New York” if they let things get out of control.
According to this article many local department stores, movie theaters and the Toshimaen amusement park that we previously listed as open, are closed once again this weekend.
(2/19/20) MGM Resorts is now the last bidder standing to build a casino as part of a proposed “integrated resort” in Osaka, Japan. The move comes after the other two big players (Genting Singapore and Galaxy Ent.) opted out of the Osaka area in favor of focusing their efforts elsewhere in Japan, such as Yokohama. There is still a lot of competition for the Yokohama site, including several other well known US casino giants like Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands.
Japan itself is still deciding if they want to pursue gambling in the country, and has said they will start off with only three gaming licenses for the entire country as a trial.
(2/5/20) BlooLoop reports that Warner Bros Entertainment is teaming up with Seibu Holdings to build a Harry Potter themed attraction in Tokyo by Spring 2023. The attraction is planned to go up on part of the site of the current Toshimaen amusement park which Seibu Holdings is planning on closing in phases starting later this year. The plans are finalized yet, but a commitment is expected later this year to the project.
According to the article the expectation is that the new attraction may be similar in nature to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in London, which makes sense as Universal Studios Japan already has a very popular Wizarding World of Harry Potter land in their Osaka theme park.
Malaysia - (1/30/20) According to this article the Movie Animation Park Studios (MAPS) theme park in Malaysia closed on January 28th, and will remain closed until further notice. The closure does not seem to have anything to do with the possible spread of the Coronavirus, but instead seems to be financial in nature.
Mexico - (12/8/20) According to various reports the Montana Rusa wooden coaster at La Feria Chapultecpec Magico in Mexico is not expected to reopen whenever the park reopens. The coaster first opened back in 1964 and is one of only a handful of “mobius” coasters, where the two tracks are actually just one long continuous track, so trains that depart on the left side will return to the station on the right side.
(2/24/20) According to a reader, I’m told that Selva Magica mentioned on their social media that the park had closed two of their coasters and would not be reopening them: Tornado and Catarina. While the later is a small Zierer made family coaster, Tornado is actually a Schwarzkopf Jet Star model that started out as the Glissade at Busch Gardens Williamsburg back in 1975.
(1/15/20) According to this article six companies are now in the running to the new operator for the “La Feria de Chapultepec” amusement park in Mexico after the former operator was dismissed following a deadly coaster accident last year. One of the six company names you should recognize: Cabi Entertainment SAPI DE CV, Sofmar Fun SA DE CV, Negrete Garza SC., Six Flags Mexico SA DE CV, Quantum Servicio SA DE CV and Mota-Engil Mexico SAPI DE CV.
So yes… Six Flags is looking to take over the operations of “La Feria de Chapultepec” through their Six Flags Mexico park branch, and while I don’t know who the other companies are off-hand, I’m guessing that Six Flags would likely be the one with the most relevant experience. Each company will put together a proposal as to how they would like to run the park, including any changes or upgrades they would like to make, or the addition of new themes or IP to the park. These proposals should be submitted by March 18 so a winning project can be selected and announced by April 20, 2020.
The Netherlands - (12/31/20) Lagotronics Projects has sent us details about their latest project, an update to the “Stalen Monsters” (Steel Monsters) dark ride at the Railway Museum in Utrecht, The Netherlands. The dark ride is described as “An adventure ride on real rails in a cart through the dark”. “Discover the secret of a very special attic. Take a blood-curdling trip in the dark under, between and above steel monsters as they hiss, whistle and clang. Hold on tight, here we go!”
The original Stalen Monsters dark ride was introduced to The Railway Museum 15 years ago and was in need of a major upgrade. Lagotronics was tasked with not only bringing the ride up to date, but also asked to “renew and optimize the total experience of the dark ride.” In the end the entire show control, audio control and lighting systems were replaced and modernized.
(11/4/20) According to this article the Netherlands’ government is considering closing theme parks and zoos for at least two weeks to try and curb the rising spread of COVID-19. Libraries, Theaters and Museums are also expected to be shut down as well.
(6/16/20) According to this report Amsterdam is planning on building some kind of ‘Willy Wonka style’ chocolate factory attraction that will include a roller coaster. The attraction is coming from a popular chocolate maker in Amsterdam, Tony’s Chocolonely, and will be called “Tony’s Chocolonely Chocolate Circus”. They hope to open the new attraction by 2024 at a cost of around €100 million.
Poland - (1/16/20) Wiegand.waterrides is celebrating the first SlideWheel in Europe with the opening of Aquaspinner at Aquapark Reda in Poland this week. It is worth mentioning that the first SlideWheel opened at Chimelong Water Park in Guangzhou, China back in 2018. As then, I find myself fascinated to see these SlideWheels in action, as rafts full of riders work their way forwards and back through the tangled mess of tube as it spins like a ferris wheel. Watch the video below to see the new Aquaspinner in action.
Qatar - (3/9/21) According to a press release from Extreme Engineering, they have finished the installation of their Cloud Coaster at the Doha Oasis park in Qatar called Fly with Flap. According to the release, Doha Oasis is planning on being ready to open sometime in Q2 2021. The indoor park has been under construction for quite some time and will also include Dragonfire, an indoor Premier Rides launched coaster with two inversions and a twisting vertical spike track that the train launches into backwards.
New construction pictures from Doha Oasis showing off the new Fly with Flap coaster can be found at ThemeparX this week as well, so do check those out and be sure to keep scrolling down to get a look at other areas and rides installed inside this unique new attraction. Other major attractions at this park will be Wings of Destiny (said to be Dynamic Attraction’s first 3D flying theater), Oryx Express (A Vekoma Junior Coaster), an enclosed drop tower ride and much more. From what I’ve seen of the photos, it looks like theming inside the attraction will also be very top notch looking and unique.
(12/28/20) A new water and adventure park is nearly ready to open, this time in Qatar. The park is named Desert Falls Water & Adventure Park and will be part of the Hilton Salwa Beach Resort & Villas in Qatar. I don’t see much information on the official website yet, but according to this article the new park will open for special previews starting on December 30. Based on the description, it appears to mostly have typical waterpark style slides and attractions, but they do also mention an upcharge laser tag arena as well for the previews.
Future attractions expected to open later include go-karting, a themed rock climbing attraction said to combine the adventure of rock climbing with ‘water activities’ and the Oasis Marine World Diving Experience that will offer themed snorkeling and scuba diving adventures.
(2/24/20) It has been quite some time since we’ve seen anything new about the Doha Oasis park in Qatar, but we finally get a look at the progress taking place INSIDE the actual indoor park space as themed structures and buildings are being finished up along the pathways. The latest update also includes a look at a park layout map and even a look at the Premier Rides launched coaster.
(1/17/19) Some new pictures of the Doha Oasis park in Qatar can be found at ThemeparX as they prepare to finish things up and hopefully open sometime in 2019. The park has even posted an animated teaser video that appears to show off how the park’s secret Dragonfire coaster will work, backing up out of the station up into that large spike track before dropping down through the station again and into the main spaghetti-bowl of twisted-trackwork that makes up the majority of the ride experience. No word on if there will be effects in there, or if riders will take it on in complete darkness.
(6/16/18) In development and construction for a long time, a layout drawing for the Dragonfire coaster from Premier Rides going into Qatar's Adventure Island indoor / underground theme park were posted to Facebook (See below). From the look of things the coaster will enter onto launch track section and after a quick track switch, it will be launched backwards at high speed up into a vertical twisted spike track, which is apparently enclosed within a visible glass enclosed spire that shoots up from the ground above the park. There are actually two such spires over the park, so I'm not sure what will be inside the other one, unless it is perhaps a drop tower ride of some kind.
A great shot of the park down below showing off the tangled mess of red coaster track for Dragonfire can also be found at ThemeparX.
(11/11/17) An interesting attraction concept has been slowly... very slowly... under construction in Doha, Qatar that has been going by the name Adventure Island I believe for some time. I think I first heard about it back around 2014 or so, then I heard it appeared that construction had kind of begun in 2016. Jump ahead to the present day and new photos of the site have appeared on ThemeparX showing that things have progressed quite far on the project... though there is still a long way to go on it.
As you can guess by the location, this will be a sort of mini indoor and underground theme park experience, but one that is supposed to topped out with a large Premier Rides launched shuttle coaster called Dragonfire that will include a large spike(s) section of track enclosed in a giant glass air-conditioned tower structure. While we can't see any sign of the coaster track, you can clearly see a pair of towers on site that match up to what was described so long ago.
From what I'm told the Adventure Island park is mostly going to be in an underground enclosed environment in the center of that circle of buildings. I'm not sure if the name still holds, but the surrounding building complex was to be called the "Doha Oasis" and even "The Eclipse" at one point, and would be a mixed-use complex containing retail, a hotel and some residential units. Last word was that they were pushing to complete it by 2018, but looks like there is still a lot of work left to do to make that timeline.
Saudi Arabia - (7/9/20) BlooLoop has posted an update regarding the Quddiya project in Saudi Arabia that will be home to the continent's first Six Flags theme park. They discuss the planned construction project during the age of the Coronavirus, sustainability for the project and more amid the local climate and how it ties into “Saudia Arabia’s Vision 2023” plan.
(11/7/19) Triple Five is now working with Saudi Arabia through their American Dream subsidiary to develop “the world’s largest mixed-use entertainment and shopping center in Riyadh”. The project comes with an estimated price-tag of $5 billion that will feature theme parks, water parks and other entertainment and sports related activities as well as dining, retail and hospitality opportunities.
(8/13/19) According to Building Design + Construction the Qiddiya project that has started in Saudi Arabia is much more than the proposed Six Flags Qiddiya theme park. They refer to this as a “Giga-Project” that is expected to become the local “Capitial of Entertainment, Sports, and the Arts” for the region.
The overall Qiddiya resort plan will feature four gates attractions to be built around a central retail/dining/entertainment hub that will also feature hotels. This “Resort Core” area will feature large performance venue as well as skating and even skiing facilities.
There will also be an “Eco Core” area that will feature attractions themed to nature and wildlife, including a golf course, horse riding and a resort / spa.
Motion Core is all about experiences that a driven ‘by the science and technology of people in motion.”
There will be a “Speed Park” area, themed around motorsports, including a race track, drivers club a “Race” themed resort and more.
And finally there will be the Six Flags Qiddiya theme park, which is slated to open in 2022 and part of the Phase 1 roll-out of the Qiddiya resort project. Following this they also are planning to add a waterpark resort project as well in the future, but no word on if this will be Six Flags branded or not.
Follow the link to read the article breakdown of the entire resort project, as well as get a sneak peek at some of the resort concept art.
Spain - (10/10/20) A new Dinosaur themed attraction park is now set to open in Spain in 2021. According to a post by AttractionsMagazine the new attraction will be built in Malaga and seems to have one of the longest attraction names I’ve ever seen, “Rincón de la Victoria Dinosaur and Zip Line Theme Park”. Yep, that’s certainly a mouthful!
According to the description it will feature 35 dinosaur figures, with over half to be built to life-sized scale, and 16 of them will be animated. The 68,000 sqm park will eventually feature a zipline and hiking trail as well as science displays and exhibits. Only Phase 1 with the dinosaurs will be ready by 2021 with the zipline phase not expected to be open until at least 2024.
South Korea - (11/6/19) According to a new article the Paramount theme park in Korea is still in development as part of the Inspire IR complex. They claim that attention to the storytelling being done in the park will set it apart from the competition. The first phase of Insprie IR is set to open in 2022 and will feature a five-star hotel, arena, convention center and casino. The Paramount Korea theme park is expected to follow this and be ready to open in 2025 and be followed by other new attractions, developments and evn a waterpark by 2031.
They promise new attractions will be in the park themed to popular Paramount properties: Mission Impossible, The Italian Job, Tomb Raider, Star Trek along with a Korean themed K-Pop themed area that will feature a “water roller-coaster” with on-board audio to be called Idol.
Sweden - (3/14/21) A reader sent in some great updates regarding the theme parks in Sweden. According to the report Swedish theme parks, amusement parks and zoos will now be allowed to open for the 2021 season starting April 11 if the current COVID infection predictions hold true. This is very welcome news to the theme parks, especially Skara Sommarland and Liseberg, who were both forced to remain closed for all of 2020. Attendance will be limited however, and we’ve been told that the current guideline isn’t based on capacity but rather on the size of the property, with the current proposal is set to limiting it to just one person for every 20 square meters.
The really odd thing about this limit however is that the same rule set is allowing for museums to have one guest for every 10 square meters of space, but with a max limit of 500 guests at a time, no matter the size. Considering museums are indoor and amusement parks are outdoor, this sounds a bit backwards, so there there is some pushback from the amusement parks over this limitation. Where theme parks get the better deal over museums however is that they have no hard guest limit like the museums do, they are only limited by their size and the 20 square-meter space per guest limit.
Currently Liseberg has not set an opening date but is expected to be looking at an early May date. Grona Lund is planning on April 24, Skara Sommarland on June 5, Furuvik on May 13 and Kolmarden, classified as a zoo, falls under different rules and will reopen April 2.
(6/23/20) Despite the protest to the current situation in Sweden from the nation’s theme parks, the Swedish Minister of Home Affairs announced this week that theme parks will NOT be given an exception to the 50 person maximum capacity rule. He also confirmed that this rule will be in effect throughout the entire summer, effectively shutting down the nation’s entire theme park industry in one fell swoop, as no park can operate successfully with that kind of limitation.
According to the CEO of Parks and Resorts, who owns Grona Lund, Komarden, Furuvik and Skara Sommerland the entire situation is “totally surreal”. “Why should some be given restrictions easing and others not? Why is it okay to sit in a crowded airplane or at the beach, or travel around the country, but not to go into a restricted and health adapted park activity”.
Regular readers will notice the mention of Kolmarden and recall that Kolmarden actually opened long ago. Curious about how this is allowed I made inquiries from a reader familiar with the local laws and the answer is actually a bit surprising. Kolmarden and Furevik (also open) are technically “zoos” and not amusement parks, though they may have rides. Zoos in Sweden are considered the same as public park spaces and beaches, so they are allowed to be open.
The other difference is that amusement parks in Sweden must apply for a “Tivoli permit”, which falls under the current Public Order Act, which is what is restricting attendance limits to no more than 50 people. Kolmarden, as a zoo, does not require a Tivoli Permit except in areas of the park where they have rides. So the answer for Kolmarden is simply to restrict access into the area around Wildfire, their big RMC wooden coaster, to no more than 50 people at a time. As riders leave, new riders are allowed to enter the zone.
I’m told that the CEOs of all the area attractions are quite furious over how this is being handled.
(6/21/20) Sweden’s collective theme parks and attractions are protesting the current government policy that prevents them from having more than 50 guests at a time in the parks, effectively keeping them closed for the summer. Representatives from the biggest parks (Liseberg, Grona Lund, Skara Sommerland, etc…) have joined together to post an article of opposition to the current policy, pointing out how Kolmarden has been able to reopen without permission.
Switzerland - (9/15/20) If you happen to be in Switzerland anytime soon, world famous chocolate company, Lindt, is opening a chocolate museum attraction in Kilchberg called Lindt’s Home of Chocolate. One of the big visual draws will be the world’s highest free-standing chocolate fountain that will hold 1,000 letters of melted chocolate flowing down into a giant Lindt chocolate ball.
Taiwan - (4/13/20) The Taiwan government is now setting rules to restrict attendance at their most popular theme parks to only allow for about 50% of normal capacity on any given day to prevent overcrowding issues. To enforce this they are only going to allow for half of the attraction’s parking spaces to be used, and when they are full, no one else gets in until people leave.
UAE - (6/18/20) According to BlooLoop the Al Qana complex in Abu Dhabi is on track to be finished by the end of 2020. The “National Aqurarium” project that is part of Al Qana is already said to be 90% finished at this point. The list of other attractions to be included at the waterfront complex will include VR Gaming, an outdoor skate park and numerous new dining locations.
UK - (3/15/21) The demolition of the former Camelot Theme Park in the UK continues and this week Theme Park Portal has posted some new aerial shots of the park as seen by a drone.
(2/24/21) At last the theme parks and attractions in England have been given some new guidelines as to when they can reopen for the 2021 season. These new guidelines are being set in relations to certain other conditions being met regarding vaccinations, declining inflection rates and so on, but starting April 12th, 2021 outdoor attraction should be able to reopen. Indoor attractions will have to wait a while longer, with an expected opening date of May 17, 2021.
While the major theme parks will be able to reopen April 12th, any park with their own hotel will not be able to open their hotels until the May 17th date.
(1/24/21) According to this article, plans for a new £300 million theme park project in the Blackpool area are starting to shape up. The unknown 17 acre attraction would feature an indoor theme park attraction themed around various “unsolved mysteries” involving aliens and pyramids, ancient cave paintings, the monliths of Easter Island, and some of the theories presented in the works of author Erich von Däniken. The project would also include a retail and dining center, an indoor adventure sports center as well as a resort hotel and events facility.
(12/10/20) While the Camelot theme park in the UK has been closed since late 2012, many sections of the park have remained standing over the years that followed. This all changed this week as Theme Park Portal reports that full scale demolition of the remaining sections of Camelot have now begun. Apparently the site was purchased by a home builder who is now preparing the site for future redevelopment, through an exact plan has yet been been approved.
(12/1/20) Our friends at BlooLoop have confirmed that a new attraction called Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein will open in Bath in Spring 2021. According to the post, this will actually be the world’s first attraction devoted to Mary Shelley and her famous novel, Frankenstein. The attraction will actually feature the story of Mary Shelly herself and the life events that shaped the author to create the famous novel. You can visit the official website to sign up for more information about when it will open and how to visit.
(9/21/20) The world famous Pinewood Studios in the UK has announced a £450m expansion plan that will include a new “Pinewood Studio Experience” attraction. The details are slim at this moment, but I can only imagine that they hope to offer a quality attraction experience along similar lines to the popular “Warner Bros. Studios Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter” attraction.
(7/31/20) BlooLoop talks with the creators of the new Judge Dredd Uprising attraction coming to London in 2021 about the creation of the attraction, and their own experience in developing other live action and immersive attractions leading up to Dredd.
(7/20/20) A great collection of UK Haunt news has been posted to ScareTourUK. According to the site the Edinburgh and York Dungeon attractions reopened on Saturday, Alton Towers opened their own in-park Dungeon attraction as well. On the disappointing side, they also report that Warwick Castle and Chessington have removed their previously planned Halloween events from their schedules.
(7/19/20) According to this news report Gulliver’s Kingdom reopened to guests on Saturday. Tickets must be purchased in advance, temperature checks are required upon arrival and all guests over the age of three must wear face coverings on rides.
(7/3/20) I was a bit surprised to see this, but a new Judge Dredd themed attraction is coming to London in 2021 from the creators of The Crystal Maze. The new attraction is called “Judge Dredd Uprising: The Live Experience!” where guests will experience the chaos and action of Brit-Cit 2143. The description on the website claims it will be a two hour experience that sounds like it will mix the adventure of navigating a highly themed environment, an escape room style experience to get out of the Iso-Block, and a laser tag battle in the Cursed Earth before experiencing ‘the grand finale in the New Old Bailey”.
Check out the teaser video and some concept artwork of the experience layout in the tweets below.
(6/23/20) Good news for the UK’s theme parks as Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Tuesday that tourist attractions, such as theme parks, will be allowed to reopen on July 4, 2020. However, water parks are not included in this new ruling and for the time being must remain closed along with nightclubs, indoor gyms and more. There also seems to be a “relaxing” on the rules for social distancing as well, allowing for the distance to be cut from 2 meters to just 1 meter as long as face masks or other personal protective equipment are in use.
(6/21/20) According to this news article there are now some serious efforts under way to save Wicksteed Park, which was reported as having gone into administration earlier this week. With fundraising and some much needed support by fans the park hopes that they could try to survive long enough to reopen next spring. There is a way to go between now and then however, so we wish them the best of luck in saving the park.
(6/18/20) The BBC reports that Wicksteed Park, a small UK theme park that is said to be one the oldest as well, has gone into “administration”. As I understand it, when a company goes into administration, this is similar as a corporate bankruptcy filing, putting the company in a semi-protected status that allows them to keep operating while trying to restructure their financial issues.
(3/30/20) While I’m not sure when the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in London will reopen, they did announce just before all the attractions began to shut down that they were adding a new addition to the Harry Potter themed portion of the tour. This new addition would bring a “Slytherin common room” to the tour for the first time. At the time of the announcement the plan was to add the Slytherin room to the tour just for a limited time, from April 3 to Sept. 6, 2020.
I’m not sure if this timeline will be revised once the attraction reopens or not, but if you are a fan of all things Harry Potter, then you’ll want to make your way there when it is ready to open.