Friday, February 26, 2010

Six Flags Great America Announces MagiQuest in 2010

The first live-action, interactive game of its kind comes to Six Flags Great America

Gurnee, Ill. - Pixies, Powers and a Princess! New in 2010, Six Flags Great America announces MagiQuest, a live-action interactive game developed to bring families together and move children from the couch to physical play. Players immerse into an 8,000 square foot fantasyland powered by a “magical” wand. The wireless remote technology unlocks more than 80 special effects allowing the player to navigate the levels of the game. Each player, called a Magi, gathers coins, powers and befriends pixies in their quest to defeat the Dragon and save the Princess.

Co-inventor Denise Weston, a mother and trained psychologist, sought to create a game that would stimulate the mind of children and promote teamwork, strategic thinking and family bonding in a fun yet educational platform.

“MagiQuest is a perfect way to combine physical play and computer play while kids or the entire family work together to solve problems and make great memories,” said Denise Weston, co-founder and Director of Imagination at MagiQuest. “The beauty of MagiQuest is that kids are engaged, challenged, learning and most importantly having fun.”

MagiQuest opens this spring in the County Fair area at Six Flags Great America. Also new in 2010, the Little Dipper, a historic wooden roller coaster formerly of Kiddieland Amusement and Glow in the Park Parade, a new nighttime illuminated parade with Cirque Du Soleil-style music and more than 60 performers.

“We are thrilled to be adding MagiQuest to our lineup of new additions to the park for the 2010 season,” said Six Flags Great America Park President Hank Salemi. “We are the first theme park to launch an interactive educational family attraction of this type and are confident our guests will enjoy this new attraction the whole family can experience together.”

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Themed Entertainment Association Hosts Thea Awards Gala and Annual Industry Summit March 4-6, 2010 in Universal City, CA

Universal City, Calif. USA, 17 Feb 2010 – “At TEA's Thea Awards Gala and industry Summit, we celebrate the best recent examples of Experience Design – the creation of compelling places and guest experiences for leisure, entertainment, and education – and we look at where our industry is headed,” says TEA (Themed Entertainment Association) president Steven J Thorburn, PE, LEED AP of Thorburn Associates. “Museums are significant this year - many have seen record breaking attendance. Technology in the service of storytelling is huge, whether it’s 4D theater, sound and lighting, interactive displays, or special effects. Integrating technology, in a way that fulfills the creative vision while simplifying operations, is a critical art in itself. Asia has emerged as an entertainment industry leader and a market that will continue to grow. If you want to be part of the economic recovery for our industry, the Thea Awards Gala and TEA Summit are key information and networking events.”

The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) is the international non-profit association representing the world's leading creators, developers, designers and producers of compelling places and experiences.

TEA website:
Tickets for both events:

16th Annual Thea Awards Gala, Sat. March 6
The Globe Theatre, Universal Studios Hollywood

The 16th Annual Thea Awards Gala, sponsored by Garner Holt Productions, Inc. and Economics at AECOM, will be held at The Globe Theatre, Universal Studios Hollywood. The Gala is a prestigious, black-tie dinner event that is open to the public. Truly international in their recognition of outstanding productions, the Thea Awards focus attention on excellence and innovation in the creation of great guest experiences within the visitor attractions industry. Since their creation in 1994, the Thea Awards have become internationally recognized as a symbol of excellence.

“The Thea Awards shine a light on the process and talent responsible for creating excellence in our industry: Visionary developers or forward-thinking museum curators, outrageous creative directors or hyper-organized project managers, gifted artists or skilled technicians, says TEA Executive Director Gene Jeffers. “We pay tribute to the creative vision and sheer effort that take a wild musing and turn it into a reality.”

Recipients - 16th Annual Thea Awards

Thea Lifetime Achievement Award: Mark Fuller, WET
Thea Classic Award: Coal Mine, MSI Chicago

Thea Awards for Outstanding Achievement (AOA)
Toy Story Midway Mania, Disney’s California Adventure and Walt Disney World (Attraction)
Dragon’s Treasure at City of Dreams, Macau (Attraction)
Disaster! Universal Studios Orlando (Attraction Rehab)
The Museum at Bethel Woods, New York USA (Museum)
Please Touch Museum, Philadelphia USA (Museum)
America I Am: The African American Imprint (Traveling Exhibition)
Skyscraper! Liberty Science Center, Jersey City USA (Science Center Exhibit)
McNeil Avian Center, Philadelphia Zoo (Zoo Exhibit on a Limited Budget)
Tea Show at OCT East Resort, Shenzhen, China (Live Show)
Heineken Experience, Amsterdam (Brand Experience)


Photos: Mark Fuller works on fountains for EPCOT. The Coal Mine Exhibit as it looked in 1933.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Disney Unveils World's Largest Canned Food Sculpture

At today's press event at the Walt Disney World Resort, Extreme Home Makeover Star Ty Pennington helped unveil the world's largest (Guinness Certified!) canned food sculpture...a creative tabletop with familiar Disney characters peering out above. The sculpture is designed to help celebrate Disney's promotion: Give A Day, Get a Disney Day, which rewards volunteers who donate a day of their time to a worthy cause with a free ticket to a Disney park. The promotion has already been a success, with a little over half of the 1 million tickets already given away.

Although Disney officials are not sure what will happen with the promotion once the 1 million mark is reached, it is likely to continue on in some form.

For more information, visit

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Rebuilding the Future

~ Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve deploys CENTAMAN for Park Entry, Ticketing and Admissions Management, Annual Pass management, Retail and Cafe Operations ~

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve was devastated during the 2003 bushfires. Since then, the ACT Government has invested in Tidbinbilla by rebuilding and improving visitor facilities within the reserve. This includes new experiences such as the Sanctuary at Tidbinbilla and the Nature Discovery Playground. Walking tracks, heritage precincts and recreation facilities have all been rebuilt.

The natural vegetation has recovered and the koalas, kangaroos, emus and other wildlife are back.

To support this recovery at Tidbinbilla, from 1st July 2009 a new venue management system from CENTAMAN will be in operation. The system integrates the key aspects of the Park’s operations including day passes, annual passes, retail operations and inventory control as well as management of entry to the park for vehicles.

The entire project was completed in less than 6 weeks including installation of new POS equipment, car park boom gates, database configuration, inventory control, staff training and design and production of new tickets and annual passes.

Mark Iles, CEO of CENTAMAN Systems, said: “Our fully integrated venue management system will enable Tidbinbilla to provide visitors with a state of the art experience on-site including self entry for annual pass holders and integrated ticketing and retail operations.”

Jean-Pierre Issaverdis, Manager of Marketing and Business for Tidbinbilla, said: “The team at CENTAMAN have provided a world class solution within a very tight timeline. The solution is proving extremely effective at helping us to improve our services to visitors and has been very easy to use. The project team did an excellent job configuring the system to meet our needs and ensuring staff were ready and trained from day 1 to use the system”.


For more information on CENTAMAN Systems visit

For more information on Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve visit

WhiteWater pioneers translucent waterslide technology

WhiteWater West Industries Ltd., the global leader in waterpark design, engineering and manufacturing, today announced the expansion of its line of patent-pending SilkTek™ translucent fiberglass components found on its AquaTube and Poolsider waterslides. WhiteWater is the only global manufacturer to offer its customers this exclusive technology, which combines the unique benefits of enhanced visual impact and a more entertaining spectator experience.

Available in an array of colors, the translucent components elevate the visual appeal of waterslides, while maintaining the highest level of safety or durability. “Before translucent technology, enclosed waterslides were dark, almost industrial looking” says WhiteWater West CEO Geoff Chutter. “See-through fiberglass lets in more light and creates beautiful prismatic effects, while also putting on a great show for both people waiting in line and spectators. Watching someone sliding through the AquaLoop™ – the world’s first looping water slide – builds tremendous anticipation and excitement.”

The see-through fiberglass technology is the result of more than 10 years of in-house research and development. WhiteWater’s expertise in close-molded LRTM (Light Resin Transfer Molding) manufacturing is unsurpassed in the industry, and is the key differentiator in the SilkTek technology. Unlike traditional fiberglass molding, LRTM is a precision engineered process. It allows for greater control over laying the fiberglass and injecting the resin, offering a better strength-to-thickness ratio, a smooth finish on both sides, and greater transparency in the finished product. “This process is extremely complicated, with a significant learning curve. We’ve invested hundreds of thousands of dollars with the goal of developing a truly unique product for our customers, one that adds a whole new level of value and entertainment creating the ultimate waterslide,” adds Chutter.

WhiteWater’s translucent fiberglass is now available in blue, red, green, dark green, orange and yellow.

Thorburn Associates and Gallegos Lighting announce a new strategic partnership

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. USA, 02 Feb 2010 - Thorburn Associates (TA) and Gallegos Lighting (GL) announced joining forces to offer an expanded range of specialty architectural design services. Both companies bring considerable experience and resources to the alliance. Thorburn Associates is a leading provider of acoustical design, audiovisual design and technical systems design, founded by Lisa Thorburn and Steve Thorburn in 1992. Gallegos Lighting is a top design/production firm established by Pat Gallegos in 1983. The Thorburn/Gallegos partnership will serve architects and developers creating facilities, compelling places and experiences for a variety of markets including education, health care, leisure and entertainment, museums, worship, government, restaurants, retail, and high-end residential.

"We welcome Pat Gallegos and the Gallegos Lighting team to Thorburn Associates," says Steve Thorburn, founder and principal of TA. "Having an accomplished, reputable and versatile lighting designer on our team complements our existing line of services and the needs of our clients. Thorburn Associates has been looking for some time to expand its services in this direction. Pat's firm is an ideal fit, bringing some 30 years of experience, ability, industry connections and a strong work ethic."

Pat Gallegos, founder and principal at Gallegos Lighting, states, "I am very pleased to partner with a company of the caliber of Thorburn Associates. There is real synergy between us and our range of disciplines. My new partners understand the value of top level design, and they appreciate the unique technical and aesthetic intricacies of working with a project director to create a space using the amorphous qualities of light. What it boils down to is both firms are passionate about doing quality designs and helping our clients create successful projects."

Pat Gallegos and Steve Thorburn are both active in the leadership of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). Gallegos is a past president of TEA, and Thorburn is sitting president.

Gallegos Lighting clients have included: Walt Disney Imagineering, Busch Entertainment, Legoland, Universal Studios, Caesars Palace, Foxwoods Casino, Penn National/Argosy Resorts, MGM Grand Las Vegas, Gaylord Hotels, Peabody Hotel, Amgen, and Intel.

Thorburn Associates and Gallegos Lighting will operate from existing offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Raleigh Durham, NC while also expanding to Orlando and Santa Fe.