News Flashes from Tourist Attractions & Parks Magazine

Extreme Engineering to Operate Zipline During Spring Break at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk   

Extreme Engineering will be operating the award-winning and thrilling mobile Fly WireTM Zipline during Spring Break at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, March 23 through April 7, 2013.

The company is a large supplier of climbing walls, ziplines, Extreme AirsTM and adventure products. The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, located in Santa Cruz, Calif., has been operating since 1907 and is recognized as a premier seaside park.  “Spring break at Santa Cruz will bring over 100,000 visitors.  The zipline will provide an amazing view of the boardwalk and pier!” said Philip Wilson, the company’s director of marketing.

“Our Fly WireTM Zipline system really outshines other ziplines.  It provides the maximum amount of thrills and quick cycles for entertainment environments. No one can come even close on the safety, speed and cycle times of the Fly WireTM,” said Matt Rehnstrom, sales account manager with Extreme Engineering.

The Fly Wire’sTM award-winning technology, the DecelinatorTM will not just provide a fun ride but a safe experience at all times.  The DecelinatorTM, included with every Fly WireTM Zipline, is a proprietary device that slows zipliners at the end of a zipline ride while keeping them safely off of the ground.  “No other zipline in the world offers these safety features,” Wilson said.

“The Fly WireTM Zipline, unlike any other zipline product, uses many of our patented safety features, such as our “DecelinatorTM” and Auto-ZipTM technology” said Rehnstrom “Best of all this product has been a huge success to our customers, generating serious revenue and providing a fast and safe zipline solution to the industry.”  Extreme Engineering built the very first portable zipline for the amusement industry 10 years ago.  “Two amazing companies, one amazing event is going to provide incredible results!  We can’t wait to get a zipline on the beach,” said Wilson.  “This is one engineered amusement ride,” Rehnstrom said.

Here is a current photo of the construction at Fun Spot America in Orlando, Fla. In the foreground is White Lightning, the park’s wood roller coaster being built by GCI. Freedom Flyer is the name of the steel suspension coaster being built by Chance-Vekoma. Unnamed is the 250-foot, arched SkyCoaster. The attraction’s grand re-opening is Saturday, June 8, 2013.

Here is a current photo of the construction at Fun Spot America in Orlando, Fla. In the foreground is White Lightning, the park’s wood roller coaster being built by GCI. Freedom Flyer is the name of the steel suspension coaster being built by Chance-Vekoma. Unnamed is the 250-foot, arched SkyCoaster. The attraction’s grand re-opening is Saturday, June 8, 2013.

Phase Two Underway at Fort Ticonderoga: Educators, Curators and Planners Imagine the Future of America’s FortTM

Phase two of Fort Ticonderoga’s three-phase master plan is underway as America’s FortTM begins to develop new, innovative and exciting guest experiences.


Phase two, the product development phase, kicked off in mid-February as the Fort’s leaders of interpretation, collections, education, management and board met with PGAV Destinations, the firm developing the destination’s 10-year-master plan, to begin designing new and bold offerings.

“Product development is the most exciting part of a destination’s master plan,” said PGAV Destinations VP and Project Lead Tom Owen. “It’s where we collaborate creatively with their team to push the envelope in all areas of their operation, to stretch everyone’s thinking and generate ideas that will shape the future of Fort Ticonderoga.”

The team will spend the spring and summer investigating new ideas that would impact all aspects of the guest experience – including interpretation, exhibits,  events, retail, dining, guest flow and more. PGAV and the Fort hope to begin testing these concepts with the public starting in late summer 2013.

Initially, the team is concentrating on developing major themes and drawing from the Fort’s unique assets, which include 2,000 acres of pristine Adirondack landscape overlooking Lake Champlain and the Green Mountains of Vermont. One of the early planning sessions highlighted the importance of integrating all of the Fort’s properties into a unique destination experience that utilizes trails, water and other modes of transportation. Early planning also emphasized further development of the “learning campus” concept that includes physical, off-site and virtual initiatives.


“The goal of this phase is to envision new features that will simply create an exemplary experience for all of our guests for decades to come,” said Beth Hill, president and CEO at Fort Ticonderoga. “By constantly innovating and improving what our visitors and long-time supporters engage in at Fort Ticonderoga, we can generate higher attendance and income, thereby fueling more investment and improvement as well as best serving our educational mission.”

Funtown Splashtown USA Chooses Gateway Ticketing Systems as Ticketing and Access Control Provider

Gateway Ticketing Systems has announced its selection by Funtown Splashtown USA as the venue’s new ticketing and access control provider. Maine’s largest family-themed water and amusement park, Funtown Splashtown USA’s 500,000 annual visitors will enjoy an enhanced visitor experience this season with the implementation of Gateway’s flagship point of sale and admission control solution, Galaxy. Visitors will also be able to print both regular and corporate discount passes using Gateway’s eGalaxy Web Store.

The improved guest purchasing experience is essential to the venue’s decision to go with Galaxy, according to Funtown Splashtown USA Marketing Manager, Ed Hodgdon: “In the past we have used largely manual ticketing and access control solutions, but we have seen a marked increase in the requests from customers for more electronic means of ticket purchasing. For example, our corporate customers want to be able to go online, enter a discount code and batch order tickets. Galaxy will enable us to do this, and more!” Gateway’s reputation within the industry and breadth of software solutions was also key for Funtown Splashtown. Again Hodgdon: “In the park’s efforts to find the best solution to meet our growing needs, it was clear that Gateway was the most-flexible solution to handle our current needs for the online store, admissions and season passes, and also provide room for growth by integrating retail, food and beverage in the future.”

Gateway Ticketing Systems Business Solution Architect, Steve Bell, is excited to see Gateway partner with Funtown Splashtown USA: “With a culture of being both family run and having a family focus, there is a definitive synergy to our organizations. Funtown Splashtown USA was eager to streamline their operations with an advanced automated solution that would help them provide better service to their guests and corporate customers. We are honored to be a critical part of their vision to be the best facility they can for their guests.”

Gateway Ticketing Systems and its employees are thrilled to welcome Funtown Splashtown USA to the Gateway family and look forward to a long and successful relationship.

Legoland® Florida Announces Major Park Expansion Opening Summer 2013 – The World of  Chima Presented by Cartoon Network

Immersive new interactive water ride being built simultaneously with roll out of  major new product line and national television series

LEGOLAND® Florida has announced another major park expansion for summer 2013 that will add to the park’s already exciting line up of more than 50 rides, shows and attractions designed specifically for families with children ages 2 to 12. Based on the new product line, LEGO® Legends of ChimaTM, LEGOLAND Florida will bring this fantastical world to life with The World of Chima presented by Cartoon Network. Families will embark on a journey in search of a mystical energy source through a highly-interactive water ride experience, the Quest for CHI. Guests can also try their hand at an action-packed SpeedorzTM Arena, meet the beloved Chima characters and be transported to the Land of Chima with a new 4D movie, which are all part of the family-friendly Chima experience.

This expansion will be one of the centerpieces of the new LEGO Chima brand, which already includes a major LEGO product line, a stunningly animated television series to air on Cartoon Network and multiple interactive video games and apps. LEGOLAND Florida is the only place in the world that LEGO fans can go to unleash the power and be fully immersed in The World of Chima, providing an experience like no other.

“This is the first time a theme park has invested in a major expansion concurrently with the rollout of a new brand and product line, and it was an easy decision based on how well LEGO Legends of Chima has been received by children and those who are young at heart around the world,” said LEGOLAND Florida General Manager Adrian Jones. “This is also a reflection of the overall success of the park, which has already enabled us to open a new waterpark and build multiple new attractions during the past 18 months.”

LEGO Legends of Chima is the highest tested new LEGO theme in the last 12 years, and LEGO fans across the nation and around the world are embracing this new storyline of powerful tribes of animal warriors entwined in a struggle between good and evil in a mystical land.

“This is a great opportunity to continue the successful relationship that Cartoon Network has had with LEGO Group,” said Cartoon Network Chief Marketing Officer Brenda Piper. “We are always looking to expand the Cartoon Network brand to reach children outside the world of television and what better way to do that than by bringing the Legends of Chima to life at a theme park.”

Special Tourist Attractions & Parks Magazine Newsletter Feature

Top Tips for Working with Insurance Companies

It goes without saying that insurance is a must-have for every leisure entertainment facility, no matter its size, scope of attractions and annual visitor count. And for owners and managers of these entities, knowing how to work with an insurance company is as important as selecting the right policy.

For starters, experts advise that operators establish one point of contact with an individual at the insurance company’s end. While this may not be easy for larger facilities, it does simplify matters considerably, said Matt Stein, administrator of the Family Entertainment Center Safety Association Insurance Program at Sterling & Sterling. Just as significantly, every telephone conversation with the insurer should be followed up by a letter reiterating exactly what was discussed, to prevent or minimize subsequent disputes pertaining to everything from additions and adjustments to policies, to specific claims. Again to minimize confusion and head off problems at the pass, it behooves the insured to have claim numbers ready at the outset of each telephone call to the insurance company, and to include it in every letter.

Whether there is a single point of contact, or multiple points of contact, with insurance providers, maintaining open lines communication of between insured parties and insurance companies is also key. For example, Stein noted that if an owner or operator is planning to add a new ride or attraction or, even more importantly, an entirely different component to the facility, the insurance company should know about it so that it has plenty of time to work on the required coverage. One operator learned about the importance of doing this when he neglected to let his insurance company know that he had decided to add several thrill rides to his small amusement park, which until that time had featured only rides geared towards younger children. The insurance company was able to arrange coverage in time, but barely.

Most insurance companies also prefer that policy-holders remain open regarding the manner in which they operate, as well as about any safety questions and potential risks they have noticed, observed Drew Tewksbury, vice president and program manager, Allegiant Programs Group and Amusement Insurance Resources. “Don’t just call when there’s a claim,” he said.

Tiffany Littrell and Kim Moore, owners of Bounce Around Play World in Cleveland, Tenn., follow such advice. They noted that in most cases, when they point out what they perceive to be  problems, they are rewarded not with a negative reaction, but with positive steps for rectifying the situations at hand.

Jim Oremus, owner of four South Carolina-based Monkey Joe’s franchises that operate under the umbrella of Let’s Play Entertainment, LLC in North Augusta, S.C., follows much the same practice. As a result, he stated, his insurance company, “is making sure we’re doing everything correctly and is much more interested” in the operation than its previous insurance company, as well as more responsive when he does make a claim call. He added that although he also gets a good rate from his current insurance company, to which he switched not long ago, “dollars-and-cents” matter less than the personal relationship.

Stein emphasized that owners and operators should not be shy about letting insurance companies know if they believe the firms are neglecting to ask them questions they should be asking, whether it is about safety practices and features “or something else.” Don’t, he cautioned, “just pay the premiums and put the policy in a drawer.”

On the flip side, soliciting and listening to insurance company representatives’ explanations of, advice about policy inclusions and the like, rather than coming to the table convinced that, as one expert said, “you have all the answers,” makes a lot of sense.

When it comes to insurance, you can’t be too thorough with who is providing you with coverage. After talking with Larry Cossio for nearly four hours, I knew that is who I wanted to insure Paintball Central. I learned more in one sitting with Larry than in years of fighting through policies and waiting on responses to a question from other insurers. I would recommend CIA insurance to anyone in the paintball business, he certainly knows insurance!

– Rob Staudinger, Paintball Central

Rob Staudinger, president and owner of five Paintball Central facilities in the Charlotte/Greensboro/Spartanburg. S.C. area, claimed that he learned “more” about the type of insurance and coverage his operation required in one afternoon sitting” with a representative from the insurance company than he ever had through any other kind of research he had ever conducted himself.

Bill Velin, senior vice president, Wells Fargo Insurance Services, said many operators make the mistake of purchasing less coverage than is truly necessary, based on misconceptions about the relationship between policy limits and insurance premiums. Such misconceptions, he asserted, could easily be cleared up were these individuals to sit down with the insurance company instead. “I have handled many situations where an owner or operator thinks there is a huge difference between a $100,000 policy limit and a $1 million policy limit,” he explained. “They’ll assume” that the latter is “1000 percent higher than” the former, “when in reality, it’s maybe 25 percent. Then they kick themselves later for not paying what can seem, compared with the payout from their own pocket after an incident, like a very small price. The cheapest coverage is not always the cheapest coverage in the end”—but operators need to “trust us on that.”

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