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June 3, 2013 No Comments

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All the Latest Disney News

A Fall 2013 opening is slated for Princess Fairytale Hall as New Fantasyland, largest expansion project in the history of Magic Kingdom, continues. Princess Fairytale Hall will be the new home for Disney princesses to meet their loyal subjects in the Magic Kingdom. The castle-like entrance will feature walls of stone and stained glass windows opening up into a large gallery – an airy space with a high ceiling – where portraits of the Disney princesses adorn the walls. When it’s time for their royal audience, guests will proceed to one of four elegantly finished chambers to meet their favorite Disney princess. Each chamber accommodates up to two Disney princesses. The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train will join the New Fantasyland lineup of fun in 2014.

Christian Music Legends Steven Curtis Chapman, Michael W. Smith Co-star at 31st Night of Joy

Two legends of Contemporary Christian music – Steven Curtis Chapman and Michael W. Smith – will team up during the 31st Night of Joy at Walt Disney World Resort, September 6-7, 2013.

The pair, who have played stages individually at Magic Kingdom Park in past events will play together at the 2013 event for the first time. 2013 marks the 31st year for Disney’s Night of Joy.

Conservation Awareness Days at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Guests this fall can participate in special activities themed to special critters – and learn how Disney cares for them, how Disney supports their conservation in the wild through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund and cast conservation programs, and what guests can do to support conservation efforts. The special days are:

  • Vultures – Sept. 5
  • Elephants – Sept. 26
  • Bats – Oct. 31 (Halloween)
  • Rhinos – Nov. 12

Disney’s First Cruise Ship Offers Guests Brand-New Experiences and Re-Imagined Spaces

There ‘s an extra dose of magic aboard Disney Magic when the Disney Cruise Line vessel re-launches in October with new spaces, re-imagined areas and exciting additions. Additions include a three-story water thrill ride and a space to stimulate the “Senses.”

Festival of the Masters Nov. 8-10 Brings Artful Fun to Downtown Disney

Downtown Disney will host the 38th Festival of the Masters Nov. 8-10. This fine arts festival features more than 150 artists showcasing their unique works in painting, sculpture, photography and other categories. This outdoor event also will offer live entertainment, hands-on activities for kids and unique food offerings.

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Special Tourist Attractions & Parks eNewsletter Feature

Strategies to Offer the Best Attractions, Bowling and Games

Owners and operators of leisure entertainment facilities need to think a bit outside the box when striving to feature the “best” attractions, bowling and games.

In attractions, especially, “best” can often be equated with “newest,” pointed out Brian McClintic, vice president, MaxFlight Corp. McClintic said some operators make the mistake of resting on their laurels, rather than closely tracking the latest introductions by reading industry publications and attending trade shows such as IAAPA. Many also neglect to look at what competitors are doing in terms of adding attractions.

“If the competition has an attraction that is definitely a hit, it’s wise to seriously consider bringing one in if it is doable from the standpoint of budget and facility size,” McClintic asserted. “This way, you at least establish parity with the other facility and can then try to ‘one-up’ it in another area, such as foodservice.” MaxFlight’s FS3000 flight simulators now feature high-definition, 3D visuals.

McClintic added that when an attraction is new, guests have a greater tendency to provide free advertising for the operation in which it has been implemented. “People will take iPhone videos of themselves and their friends enjoying the attraction, and post them on social media along with a comment about the ‘cool new ride’ or whatever,” he explained.

Dutch Magrath, president of Amusement Products Co., corroborated McClintic’s comments, noting that in guests’ minds, “newest” and “best” can mean a different twist on a staple attraction. For two of his Sports Connection family entertainment centers in Charlotte, N.C., Owner Allan Haseley chose to introduce the company’s Spin Zone bumper cars because they can be spun around in addition to moving forward and backward.  Several Boomers! locations, including those in Irvine and Upland, Calif., now feature “high-octane” go-karts that careen around the track at a far faster speed than older models.

As for bowling, “best” depends on the type of facility and its clientele, according to U.S. Bowling Corp. For example, just as many traditional bowling alleys are introducing “cosmic bowling” and “rock-and-bowl” to attract the teenage and young adult crowd, a significant number of family entertainment centers are adding mini-bowling systems such as Rollerball, available from U.S. Bowling, and Highway 66, from QubicaAMF. Laser Tag of Metairie, in Metairie, La., touts a Rollerball system, which management believes is a better fit for a family entertainment center than traditional lanes, and one of Sports Connection’s locations in Charlotte has debuted Highway 66.

For facilities that want to cater to a sophisticated corporate crowd, special bowling areas fall under the “best” umbrella. Kings Bowl Orlando in Orlando, Fla., a U.S. Bowling customer that promotes itself as a retro-style bowling alley, full-service lounge and restaurant, has 22 10-pin lanes, but also touts the private King Pin Room, which has four lanes. At Berks Lanes in Sinking Spring, Pa., eight of 48 lanes were recently converted to a private bowling area using U.S. Bowling’s video masking units.

Meanwhile, when it comes to games, offering the “best” necessitates periodically assessing the lineup to weed out poor performers and replacing these duds with new options. Tom Walsh, Jr., owner of Uncle Sam Lanes and Green Island Lanes in Green Island, N.Y., follows such a procedure once very few months, as does Paul Nocek, owner of Lucky Lanes in Freedonia, N.Y.

Both Walsh and Nocek have found that it pays for to keep a close watch on overall patterns in game usage. Walsh said he learned this the hard way, when he noticed that video games were losing steam while redemption game play was on the upswing, but did not swap out the former for the latter fast enough to prevent a loss of revenues. Redemption games are still king, the operators noted. “Kids have all sorts of video games at home, and arcade video games really can’t compete with those,” Nocek stated. Redemption games are currently the ticket.

In attempting to find the “best” games for any leisure entertainment facility, it also behooves operators to solicit feedback from customers and heed their demands. At Sunset Recreation in Albany, N.Y., Owner George Hoffman discovered through this approach that a shooting game that appeared to be popular among patrons of other leisure entertainment facilities was not winning any points with his clientele. “Parents thought it was too violent, and they did not like their children to play it,” he said. The game was subsequently replaced with an option deemed far more suited to the large population of families with younger children who frequent the facility regularly.

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