Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sources: Comcast to buy all of Universal Orlando

The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that sources have leaked information indicating Comcast will buy out Blackstone Group's stake in the Universal Studios Florida property. This would put NBC Universal in full control over the park in the same way that it owns the Hollywood park.

Follow the link for the full story.

Sources: Comcast to buy all of Universal Orlando

Sunday, May 29, 2011

New Kohl’s Wild Theater at the Milwaukee County Zoo Premiers May 28

Free theater performances throughout the summer promote conservation

MILWAUKEE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Kohl’s Department Stores is partnering with the Zoological Society of Milwaukee and the Milwaukee County Zoo to debut Kohl’s Wild Theater on Memorial Day weekend. Bees, butterflies, polar bears and orangutans will talk and sing through the magic of theater during three original, professionally staged plays at the new Kohl’s Wild Theater premiering on Saturday, May 28, at the Milwaukee County Zoo. As a live, interactive, family-friendly theater, Kohl’s Wild Theater promotes conservation through drama, puppetry, games and songs. The theater is made possible by a $1 million donation from Kohl’s through the Kohl’s Cares® cause merchandise program, which sells special merchandise, including plush toys and books, and donates 100 percent of the net profit to benefit children’s health and education initiatives nationwide.

“We are thrilled to partner with the Zoological Society of Milwaukee to bring this exciting new educational programming to the Milwaukee County Zoo,” said Julie Gardner, Kohl’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. “Kohl’s is committed to children’s education and to being an environmentally responsible retailer, and we are proud to support this family theater experience as a fun way to teach kids important lessons about conservation and wildlife.”

This summer at the Zoo, on the Kohl’s Wild Theater stage, 15-minute plays will rotate five shows a day, seven days a week. The performances feature different conservation messages and are free to zoogoers when they pay regular Zoo admission. Professional playwrights, actors, set and costume designers, musicians, and a puppet maker have created these theatrical performances. Audience members will share in the fun and become part of the action by singing songs and helping the onstage characters.

The Kohl’s Wild Theater performances run Saturday, May 28, through Monday, Sept. 5. In addition to the plays on stage, zoogoers will find impromptu skits at some animal exhibits and short performances on Zoo pathways.

“Theater can have such a powerful impact on people,” says Dave McLellan, theater coordinator for the Zoological Society. “The Kohl’s Wild Theater program is a fun and entertaining way to reach out to the community and show people easy ways they can contribute to our mission of conservation. We are thankful to partner with Kohl’s to bring a best-in-class program to zoogoers in Milwaukee.”

In addition to the theater performances and impromptu pathway plays at the Zoo, starting in October, the Kohl’s Wild Theater program also includes performances out in the community. The year-round community outreach program brings Kohl’s Wild Theater performers into the community to present 40- to 45-minute performances at various venues such as schools, libraries, community centers and major special events.

Since 2000, Kohl’s and the Kohl’s Cares program have combined to give approximately $38 million to support charitable initiatives in the metro-Milwaukee area. For more information on the Kohl’s Wild Theater program, visit www.wildtheater.org this spring. To purchase Kohl’s Cares® cause merchandise, visit any Kohl’s store or shop online at www.kohls.com.

About Zoological Society of Milwaukee
Established in 1910, the Zoological Society of Milwaukee (ZSM) is a private non-profit organization whose mission is to conserve wildlife and endangered species, educate people about the importance of wildlife and the environment, and support the Milwaukee County Zoo. The ZSM has 53,500 member households and gave more than $7.3 million in support to the Zoo in 2008-‘09. For information, visit www.zoosociety.org.

About Kohl’s Department Stores
Based in Menomonee Falls, Wis., Kohl’s (NYSE: KSS) is a family-focused, value-oriented specialty department store offering moderately priced, exclusive and national brand apparel, shoes, accessories, beauty and home products in an exciting shopping environment. With a commitment to environmental leadership, Kohl’s operates 1,097 stores in 49 states. In support of the communities it serves, Kohl’s has raised more than $180 million for children’s initiatives nationwide through its Kohl’s Cares® cause merchandise program, which operates under Kohl's Cares, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kohl's Department Stores, Inc.

Farfetch.com: Alexander McQueen Exhibit Breaks Viewing Records

An exhibit celebrating the life and work of late fashion designer Alexander McQueen has broken attendance records within its opening weeks at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, proving that Britain's love affair with luxury fashion continues, say farfetch.com

LONDON /PRNewswire/ -- The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art has at long last opened its doors to one of its most highly anticipated exhibitions celebrating the life and career of one of fashion's most important designers. Entitled "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty", the exhibition has exceeded expectations and broken attendance records in its first few weeks of opening and luxury fashion retailer
farfetch.com, which gives customers access to the best designer boutiques in one easy to shop website, says this shows that interest in McQueen's work, and luxury fashion in general, is increasing.

Paul Brine, spokesperson for farfetch.com, comments: "This exhibition pays homage to a truly outstanding designer who helped revolutionise the fashion world and was on the cutting edge up until his tragic, premature death in 2010. The public's unprecedented interest in the exhibition shows that our love of opulent fashion is on the rise and we can expect it to stay on an upward trend."

On the exhibition's opening day on May 4, over 5,500 people walked through the doors and guided tours had to be suspended until crowds thinned. Prior to this, the busiest day in the museum's history was in 2005 when 5,400 people arrived to see Vincent van Gogh: The Drawings. Approximately 200 items are featured in the exhibition, which spans the 19 years of McQueen's career. Signature designs such as the bumster trousers, the kimono jacket, and the Origami frock coat, as well as rarities from his graduate collection at Central St. Martins are on display in the Museum, as is work from the unfinished final collection of 2010.

Brine reiterates that McQueen has had a profound effect upon the fashion world that will reverberate for generations to come. He comments: "No other designer since Yves Saint Laurent has so embodied the ethos of designing fashion as art. McQueen was more than a designer, he was also an artist - we at farfetch.com believe in keeping his legacy alive, and continue to carry many selections from his label, such as his spectacular designer purses and one-of-a-kind dresses. Worn by celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Michelle Obama, McQueen's designs are among our most popular items."

The exhibit is open until July 31 - to learn more about the exhibit visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art's website which features the exhibition and additional information on these programs. Fashion lovers can purchase pieces from Alexander McQueen through farfetch.com. Items are sourced from fashion boutiques around the world and delivered directly to customer's homes.

About farfetch.com:
farfetch.com unites the world's best independent fashion boutiques, so that you can buy from the most interesting designer fashion brands globally in one easy-to-shop website. Our aim is to provide an exciting range of designers and labels, while maintaining the personality of unique, independent boutiques. This new concept means you can shop from boutiques in Paris, London, Como, Copenhagen, California and New York in just a few seconds, all from the comfort of your own home or office.

iPad App Developed for Kimbell Exhibition

FORT WORTH, Texas, -- Visitors to the upcoming Kimbell Art Museum exhibition Picasso and Braque: The Cubist Experiment, 1910–1912 will be able to use a specially created iPad application to delve more deeply into Cubism. "Advances in digital imaging and the convenience of an iPad provide new ways to look at and understand the processes, relationships, and stylistic developments of the revolutionary art form now known as Analytic Cubism," commented Eric M. Lee, director of the Kimbell Art Museum. "I'm thrilled that the Kimbell is able to provide this unique opportunity to Museum visitors."

The Santa Barbara Museum of Art and the Kimbell have been working with MegaVision, a digital-imaging company based in California, to capture spectral images of select pieces in the exhibition. The quality of spectral imaging surpasses that of normal professional photography, and it allows options for ultraviolet and infrared, which can reveal features invisible to the human eye.

Affectionately titled iCubist, the app was designed specifically for the Picasso and Braque exhibition. It will showcase the spectral images along with three other original activities and will be made available exclusively to exhibition visitors, free of charge, on 40 preloaded iPads.

The iCubist activities allow users to:

  • View and study works with a level of detail and precision never before possible for museum audiences. Users will have the ability to manipulate a succession of digitized spectral images that show the artworks at different light frequencies (ultraviolet and infrared), revealing the most minute details. Such fascinating views of the paintings uncover important decisions made by the artists in developing their compositions. 

  • Deconstruct a Cubist composition and attempt to put it back together. By rebuilding these composite reproductions, visitors learn first-hand about the intellectual and creative processes employed by Picasso and Braque in their paintings. The physical act of moving visual elements emphasizes compositional choices made by the artists to create, for example, a sense of balance or movement. It also highlights recognizable elements and describes their significance.

  • Compare digital reproductions of paintings by the featured artists, Picasso and Braque, by clicking on markers that pop up to explain key aspects of their individual styles. This interactive activity will help visitors exercise connoisseurship to distinguish between the artists' hands, despite their close similarity during the Cubist years.
  • Explore the history of Cubism by means of an illustrated timeline that includes vintage photography of the artists and their friends and reproductions of key works of art.

The iCubist app was designed and produced by Reza Ali for the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and the Kimbell Art Museum. Picasso and Braque: The Cubist Experiment, 1910–1912 is on view at the Kimbell Art Museum from May 29 through August 21, 2011, and at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art from September 17, 2011, through January 8, 2012. It is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

Kimbell Art Museum promotional support is provided by American Airlines, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and NBC 5.

"Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives" Returns to the D23 Expo, Showcasing More Than 80 Years of Disney History

12,000-Square-Foot Exhibit Will Feature Imagery, Costumes, Props and More From Beloved Disney Movies, Television Shows and Characters
BURBANK, Calif. USA /PRNewswire/ -- D23: The Official Disney Fan Club and the Walt Disney Archives are proud to announce the return of the "Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives" exhibit to the D23 Expo. During the D23 Expo at the Anaheim Convention Center, August 19-21, 2011, the 12,000-square-foot exhibit, which has doubled in size since the 2009 Expo, will give fans unprecedented access and insight into more than eight decades of Disney history.

The expansive exhibit will showcase the crown jewels of the Walt Disney Archives Collection, many of which will be displayed publicly for the first time. The most memorable props, set pieces, photos, costumes and memorabilia from beloved Disney films such as the Pirates of the Caribbean films, Alice in Wonderland, National Treasure, Tron (1982), The Rocketeer, Pinocchio and Who Framed Roger Rabbit will allow fans to enjoy and explore their favorite movies and characters like never before. In addition, the show floor will feature one-of-a-kind pieces including a 23-foot model of The Black Pearl, used in both Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, the Dharma Initiative Volkswagen van from the ABC television series LOST, and Walt Disney's limousine.

"Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives," located on the second floor of the convention center, will feature numerous special exhibits including: an exhaustive collection of props, costumes and set pieces from ABC's groundbreaking series LOST; a Mickey Mouse exhibit featuring the original Mickey Mouse doll, Mousegetar, and a retrospective of memorabilia; a House of de Vil exhibit commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the animated film 101 Dalmatians, featuring a Fan Art Gallery as well as costumes and props from the live action film, which is celebrating its 15th Anniversary; and a tribute to Zorro, the first ever episodic television series, featuring the largest collection of costumes and vintage memorabilia ever exhibited.

"This is truly a one-of-a-kind display that showcases the enormous creativity and imagination of Walt Disney and the artists who have created unforgettable moments in entertainment history," said Steven Clark, head of D23. "From Mickey Mouse and Walt Disney to Pirates of the Caribbean and Wizards of Waverly Place, the 'Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives' will truly be something for Disney fans of all ages."

The D23 EXPO 2011 will also feature the Disney Legends Awards – a tradition that pays tribute to the talented men and women who have made indelible contributions to the Disney legacy; the return of the D23 Live Auction, boasting extraordinary rarities and specially designed items for Disney fans; the all-new Ultimate Disney Trivia Tournament Presented by Hasbro® TRIVIAL PURSUIT: Disney For All Edition, where Disney fans will match wits to win a cruise on the new Disney Fantasy cruise ship; plus amazing live events, special celebrity appearances, panels and presentations and unique experiences from every corner of Disney – from upcoming feature film and television sneak peeks to what's new and what's next from our theme parks around the world.

About D23 Expo 2011
The D23 Expo—The Ultimate Disney Fan Event—brings the entire world of Disney under one roof, providing attendees with unprecedented access to Disney films, television and theme parks as never before. Tickets for the D23 Expo 2011 fall into different pricing tiers, based on purchase date (visit www.D23Expo.com for details), and D23 Members can enjoy additional savings plus members-only benefits. Multiday money-saving tickets are also available for both D23 Members and the general public.

About D23
The name "D23" pays homage to the wonder and excitement that began in 1923 when Walt Disney opened his fledgling studio in Hollywood. D23 is the first official community for fans in Disney's 88-year history. D23 gives its members a greater connection to the entire world of Disney by placing them in the middle of the magic through its quarterly publication Disney twenty-three; a rich website at www.disney.com/D23; a collectibles line, The Walt Disney Archives Collection; and special events for D23 Members throughout the year, highlighted by the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California, August 19-21, 2011.

Fans can join D23 at www.Disney.com/D23, select shops at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort and www.DisneyStore.com/D23. To keep up with all the latest D23 news and events, follow us "DisneyD23" on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.

Animatronic Dinosaur Park Opens at Kings Island, Ohio

Dinosaurs Alive! at Kings Island features more than 60 life-sized dinosaurs

KINGS ISLAND, Ohio, /PRNewswire/ -- Visitors to Kings Island amusement park can step back in time to periods between 245 million and 65 million years ago in the world's largest animatronic dinosaur park. More than 60 life-sized dinosaurs are on display in Dinosaurs Alive! at Kings Island, including 56 animatronic models, in a spectacular outdoor Jurassic forest setting.

The multi-sensory and interactive dinosaur park brings inspiration, science and technology together at Kings Island where guests also hear the sounds and see the movements of 60-plus full-sized animatronic creations made to replicate nearly every feature of the dinosaurs. Each of the animatronic dinosaurs is hand-carved and covered with skin-like materials.

The six main scenes and nine thematic exhibits found along the more than 4,000-foot long path spread over 12.5 wooded acres tell a very compelling story for guests about what the dinosaurs ate, when and where they lived, how they protected themselves, and how they adapted to their prehistoric world.

Highlights of Dinosaurs Alive! include the vicious-looking Irritator and its cousins the Baryonyx and the Spinosaurus, the lizard-like Stegosaurus, the meat-eating Tyrannosaurus Rex, the three-horned Triceratops and the flying Pteranodon.

Four of the dinosaurs have interactive consoles which allow guests to guide dinosaur movement so they can see how scientists believe each dinosaur moved its arms, tail, mouth and eyes. There is also an excavation site replica, a kids' paleontological dig site where visitors can uncover prehistoric fossils, and a 1,500 square-foot dinosaur-themed gift shop.

"Dinosaurs Alive! is a long-term investment and reflects our commitment to providing our guests with world-class thrills, fun and family entertainment," Kings Island vice president and general manager Greg Scheid said. "The sights, sounds and movements of the life-like dinosaurs will excite and educate guests of all ages."

The dinosaurs, which are scientifically accurate based on the latest paleontological knowledge, were created by the Canada-based company Dinosaurs Unearthed.

Dinosaurs Alive! at Kings Island is open daily through August 28 from 10:00 a.m. until dusk. Opening and closing times vary in the fall. The dinosaur park is not included with general park admission or season pass. A separate admission ticket of just $5.00 is required for this attraction.

Guests visiting Kings Island can purchase Dinosaurs Alive! admission tickets at the park or in advance online at www.visitkingsisland.com.

Dare Devil Dive Opens At Six Flags Over Georgia

Daring New Coaster Features Beyond Vertical Drop

AUSTELL, GA., /PRNewswire/ — Six Flags Over Georgia’s 11th roller coaster, the highly anticipated DARE DEVIL DIVE, is now open for thrills! The innovative new coaster sends riders over a 10-story vertical lift at a spine-tingling 95 degrees: beyond vertical!

Media, roller coaster enthusiasts and professional test pilots from Lockheed Martin Aeronautics were on hand for the launch of the park’s latest thrill offering. DARE DEVIL DIVE boasts three inversions, zero-gravity hills and high-speed turns. Riders travel in the world’s first “v-shape” trains fitted with lap bar restraints and stadium seating, paying homage to World War II-era stunt planes and the daring pilots that thrilled onlookers with their incredible aerial acrobatics. The ride soars at a blistering 52 miles per hour as it makes its way through 2,090 feet of twisted steel track.

“We have taken thrills to the next level,” said Melinda Ashcraft, Park President. “DARE DEVIL DIVE is that must-ride attraction of the year, providing an incredible experience for everyone who dares to ride.”

Six Flags Over Georgia welcomed professional test pilots from Lockheed Martin Aeronautics to experience the new coaster. Bret Luedke, chief test pilot for Lockheed Martin’s F-22 program, was one of the first to sign up. “Dare Devil Dive is as exciting as flying a modern day fighter jet,” said Luedke. “From the first drop to the barrel rolls and dives, it’s a fantastic ride.”

DARE DEVIL DIVE officially opened to the public on Saturday, May 28.

The park is open daily through August 7 and resumes weekend operations through October 30. Operating hours vary by day. For more information about Six Flags Over Georgia, visit www.sixflags.com/overgeorgia. # # #

About Six Flags Entertainment Corporation
Six Flags Entertainment Corporation is the world’s largest regional theme park company with 2010 revenue of nearly $1.0 billion and 19 parks across the United States, Mexico and Canada. Six Flags Over Texas, the company’s flagship location, is celebrating its 50th anniversary season in 2011.

About Lockheed Martin

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 126,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s 2010 sales from continuing operations were $45.8 billion.

Zhonghong Real Estate signs Thinkwell to Design Monkey Kingdom Theme Park for Beijing

Beijing, China – Monkey King Co. Ltd, a subsidiary of the real estate, financial and cultural industry investment enterprise Zhonghong Real Estate has appointed Thinkwell Group as the design firm for the highly immersive Monkey Kingdom theme park slated to open in 2014. The USA based design firm has been collaborating with Zhonghong on the strategy, concept, master plan and attraction development for the park since mid 2010.
With a total investment of 10billion RMB ($1.53billion USD) and the Monkey Kingdom theme park at its core, the project will include conference centers, hotels, exhibition halls, retail, residential and culturally significant entertainment, making this property the ultimate convergence of business, culture, relaxation and tourism opportunities. The overall project covers a total area of about 4500 mu with ample land for additional mixed-use development. The site is located about 55 km from downtown Beijing at the west area of Honglou Lake tourist area in Honglouzhen village of Huairou District.
“By integrating our traditional culture with modern theme park technology, this project will provide Beijing with a Disney quality park that tells the stories important to China.” Says Chairman Wang of Zhonghong Group “Thinkwell will provide the theme park expertise while our team insures the traditional culture of China is properly represented making this a perfect partnership.”
Based in Burbank California, home to most of the major motion picture studios in the United States, Thinkwell is an award-winning leader in the creation of immersive experience-based projects for theme parks, museums, retail and resort destinations worldwide. Over the next three years, Thinkwell’s responsibilities will include design and creative management of every aspect of the Monkey Kingdom theme park development.
“Chairman Wang is a true visionary leader, the support from the Beijing government and Huairou government for this world-class project is a testament to that,” stated Thinkwell’s Chairman Mr. Clifford Warner. “The Honglou Lake site is the perfect location for this project.”
Said Mrs. Kelly Ryner, Thinkwell’s Senior Vice President of Global Business Development: “Zhonghong Real Estate is committed to building a new franchise around the legendary Monkey King stories and we’ve recently introduced them to a major motion picture company in Los Angeles, California to potentially produce the film.”

About Zhonghong Group:

Zhonghong Zhuoye Group Co., Ltd. (abbr. Zhonghong Group) focuses on industrial project investment and management with its headquarters in Beijing. In accordance with its enterprise spirit of “pioneering, innovating and forging ahead”, the group invests in four large fields: real estate, finance, the mining industry, and the culture industry, to achieve value through innovation and strive for excellence through competitive products.
With total assets about 20 billion RMB, Zhonghong Group is a powerful company and has great potential for future development.

Founded in 2001, Zhonghong Real Estate's future developing orientation will focus on the resort industry, cultural creativity industry, conference relaxation industry and commercial comprehensive property, devoting itself to the development of incorporated and hybrid relaxation estate products such as tourism & resort, business conferences and exhibitions, leisure and recreation, high-end commerce etc. so as to promote urban function and image, as well as conform and drive the mission of reforming economic structure.

Zhonghong Real Estate became a listed company (stock code: 000979) at Shenzhen Stock Exchange with the name of Koyo (Group) Co., Ltd. at the beginning of the year 2010 with Zhonghong Real Estate for short. At present, the current market value is RMB 10 billion; the total asset was RMB 6 billion; the annual revenue is RMB 4 billion.

About Thinkwell Group

Thinkwell, celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, is a full-service experiential design and development firm that collaborates with its clients to envision, strategize and create immersive, one-of-a-kind guest experiences. Thinkwell develops and produces attractions, master plans, brand experiences, exhibits, live shows, environments, multimedia and digital integration. The company has become a leader in experiential design by bringing a unique holistic approach to every creative engagement, delivering extraordinary results to notable clients over the years, including Fortune 500 companies, studios, museums, theme parks and destination resorts.

Thinkwell’s range of work includes master planning for Warner Bros., Universal, MGM and Paramount as well as attractions such as Sesame Street Presents: The Body, Universal 360 – A Cinesphere Spectacular; the Show at the Pier Shops at Caesar’s Atlantic City; and the Snow Play Zone at Ski Dubai. Thinkwell is based in Burbank, California.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Cheetah Hunt Opens Today (May 27, 2011) at Busch Gardens Tampa

Cheetah Hunt Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is an innovative new coaster ride that celebrates the spirit of the cheetah. It opened May 27 and InPark Magazine was there. Martin Palicki, IPM editor and publisher, reports:

ONE barometer I frequently use to gauge an attraction’s success is by asking myself if I want to immediately ride again. Too simple of a ride and it’s not worth the effort, too complex and it may be more than my aging body can handle. In the case of Busch Gardens’ newest roller coaster - Cheetah Hunt - the answer is a resounding “Yes, may I please ride again?”

The park seems to have taken a page from Sea World’s Manta installation in creating a successful link between educational animal habitat and thrilling high-speed ride. The heart of the attraction takes over the old Clydesdale’s stomping grounds, and in fact the area is so well re-designed it was hard to figure out where I was at in the park, until I finally saw the edge of the old Sky Ride and Monorail building, which has now been repurposed as the loading station for Cheetah Hunt. (review continues below)

More Cheetah Hunt coverage from IPM Digital Edition:

The large station allows two trains to be loaded at once – five trains can be operated at once, each holding 16 guests, for an hourly throughput of 1,730. Trains slowly glide out of the station until they almost immediately hit the first LSM launch, a (relatively) slow shot out and around, which takes the train to the second and main launch. Rocketing to speeds as high as 60 mph (“zero to Cheetah”, as the park’s marketing describes it) the trains ascend a near vertical climb up the ride’s main tree-like tower (a bit of a misnomer, as cheetahs are not able to climb trees) for a short figure eight spin before dropping down into the main ride course.

At this point the coaster turns into a sort of out-n-back ride, cresting hills, twisting and turning. After a quick heartline inversion, the trains dive down into a canyon (formerly used for the back half of the technically-unreliable Rhino Rally attraction), darting quickly at ground level to avoid waterfalls and canyon walls. It’s surprisingly quick, and the low, tight quarters made it my favorite part of the ride.

One more launch awaits to send the train back over the final hill and through the last twists and turns into the station. And that’s when you start to realize you want to ride again.

ATTRACTION VERDICT:It is remarkably smooth and well-paced. The more extreme elements are buffered by just enough recovery time and open up the ride to a wide variety of park guests. Additionally, the restraints feel secure, and are comfortable too.
The ride sells itself. The main tower is visible as soon as you pull up to the park and the amount of terrain the ride covers guarantees you see the ride zooming by anytime you are remotely near the North side of the park. 
It’s more than a coaster. The designers cleverly created a ride that (at least on a rough, symbolic level) makes riders feel like they are a cheetah, teasing the track through tunnels, leaping over the park’s SkyRide and twisting quickly as one imagines the animal might chase its prey. The animal habitat also rounds out the whole experience, providing a light educational element, and giving guests an opportunity to get up close to the namesake creatures.

Cheetah Hunt opens today (May 27, 2011) at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida (www.buschgardens.com)

Thursday, May 26, 2011



media preview at cheetah hunt

Milan Expo 2015 announces logo design and commitments from 30 international participants

Milan, Italy -- Expo 2015 has chosen its official logo - a design by Andrea Puppa, selected via competition and online voting. More than 7,000 votes were cast over a 24-day period.

Information on competitive tenders can be found here (in Italian).

The theme of the expo is "Feeding the Planet: Energy for Life." It is scheduled to run from 1 May to 31 October 2015. The 1.7 million square meter site of Expo 2015 is situated northwest of Milan and includes part of the cities of Pero and Rho. The master plan concept for the site was drafted by a group of five architects: Stefano Boeri, Richard Burdett, Jacques Herzog, Joan Busquets and William Mc Donough.

Post-use plans for the site after closing day include the establishment of The Centre for Sustainable Development, and a large park.

30 international participants have now signed on to exhibit at the expo. The President of the Republic of Senegal, Abdoulaye Wade, one of the most important historical African leaders, has sent an official letter announcing his country’s participation in Expo 2015 to Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

With the addition of Senegal, Expo 2015 has come closer to its objective of 50 participants by the end of the year. The Universal Exposition of Milan confirms its strong power of attraction, boasting the all-time record for the number of affirmative responses in the first months after the delivery of the official letter of invitation.

In addition to the United Nations, the countries that have already responded to the invitation from the Italian Government are: Switzerland, Montenegro, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Romania, San Marino, Egypt, Peru, Russia, Uruguay, Togo, Germany, Guatemala, Cambodia, Honduras, Mauritania, Slovenia, Principality of Monaco, Uzbekistan, Spain, Albania, Israel, Kuwait, Colombia, Armenia, Syria, Iran, Gabon and Senegal.

Electronic Art Touch-Screen Display Allows Library Visitors to Interact with a Piece of Cincinnati History

1848 Fontanyne & Porter Daguerreotype—view of eastern edge of modern downtown
Electronic Art provides Interactive display for Cincinnati Public Library’s Riverfront Panorama of 1848

CINCINNATI--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Electronic Art (www.ElectronicArt.com), a Cincinnati interactive agency specializing in touch-screen kiosks, digital signage, and integrated websites, announces their contribution to a new exhibit at the Cincinnati Library. Electronic Art has integrated two large-scale digital touch-screen displays into the Cincinnati Library’s much-anticipated exhibit showcasing the restored Cincinnati Riverfront Panorama of 1848 daguerreotype.

The daguerreotype consists of eight slides covering two miles of Cincinnati’s riverfront in 1848. Charles Fontayne and William Porter took the photographs on a rooftop in Newport, Kentucky, across the Ohio River from Cincinnati. The daguerreotype, invented in 1839 as the first practical method of photography, captured images with a very high resolution.

Electronic Art installed two 52-inch flat-panel interactive touch-screens that will allow library visitors to view the images in high definition, and zoom in, much like on an iPad, to see the detail and clarity of the photographs. Visitors will also be able to touch certain areas on the screen to learn more about the photo, view life in mid-nineteenth century Cincinnati, and gain more insight into the city’s then developing neighborhoods.

“The Library has had this daguerreotype for a long period of time, and we knew we had to showcase it. The question was, how do we display it in a way that both protects it and also enables people to appreciate the historic value and relevance of this remarkable piece of Cincinnati history?” said Jason Buydos, Cincinnati Library Assistant Director of Support Services & Project Manager for the daguerreotype display. “That’s where Electronic Art came in. Together we came up with a flat touch-screen display that would allow visitors to tap on the screen to zoom in for a closer look and more information. I am very happy with the result.”

Electronic Art also contracted with Harlan Graphic Arts Services, who helped build the enclosure.

“We enjoyed the challenge of using a multi-touch interface on a grand scale to enable guests to interact with the art,” said Tim Burke, President of Electronic Art. “Our staff faced many challenges, such as working with large file sizes. We had to implement high-end machines with 12GB of memory, and determine a technique to allow the best interaction with the high-resolution images. A database enables staff to add points of interest in an overlay layer within the Adobe Flash-based application, which brings a rich educational component.”

More Information About the Daguerreotype

Conservators at the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, New York, cleaned and stabilized the photos, digitized the images, and remounted them in their original antique frame. Along with being the first and most well-known daguerreotype to depict an American city, this photo is also one of the most famous in the history of the medium. It was displayed in the Crystal Palace at the first World’s Fair in London, and is widely considered to be the “Mona Lisa” of daguerreotypes. It contains the first photographic images of steamboats, a railroad station, and one of the country’s earliest astronomical observatories.

The Cincinnati Riverfront Panorama of 1848 is now on permanent display in the Joseph S. Stern, Jr. Cincinnati Room at the Library. For more information, visit www.cincinnatilibrary.org.

About Electronic Art
Electronic Art is a Cincinnati-based interactive agency specializing in computer kiosks and digital signage, as well as many related online interactive services. Originally founded in 1998, Electronic Art began primarily as a Web studio, offering high-end custom programming, ecommerce, and design. Today, Electronic Art provides custom solutions for many industries via kiosks, digital signage, and website development.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cedar Fair to Nominate Gina France for Board of Directors

  • France would bring additional financial acumen and extensive strategic planning experience to the Company's strong and independent Board; would become the fourth new independent director to the Cedar Fair Board since 2008
  • Richard Ferreira to retire from the Board; David Paradeau and Darrel Anderson agree to not stand for re-election as Company reduces Board to seven directors
SANDUSKY, Ohio, USA -- May 25, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Cedar Fair Entertainment Company (NYSE: FUN) today announced that the Board of Directors will nominate Gina D. France for a three-year directorship term at the 2011 Annual Meeting of Unitholders to be held on July 7, 2011. France, 52, if elected, would succeed Richard Ferreira, 70, who has notified the Board that he intends to retire as a director at the end of his term, after serving in this capacity for the past 14 years.

France, who would be the fourth new independent director added to the Cedar Fair Board since 2008, would bring more than 30 years of strategic planning, investment banking and corporate finance experience to the position. She currently is President and CEO of France Strategic Partners LLC, an advisory firm that provides strategic planning, special project consulting and transaction advisory services to a wide range of public corporations and private organizations. Prior to founding France Strategic Partners, she was a partner with Ernst & Young LLP and led the firm's Center for Strategic Transactions® (CST) in Cleveland, where she advised more than 200 chief executive officers and their top management teams on a broad spectrum of strategic initiatives and financial transactions. She also previously served as a managing director of the firm's Corporate Finance group, where she specialized in advising senior management teams on capital transactions and mergers and acquisitions.

France came to Ernst & Young after a 14-year career in investment banking, primarily with the firm of Lehman Brothers, where she worked out of both the New York and San Francisco offices and was a senior vice president of the firm. During her tenure at Lehman Brothers, she executed more than $5 billion in financings and served as the lead banker for several landmark transactions that were nominated for the Institutional Investor's "Deal of the Year" award. Prior to Lehman Brothers, she was the International Cash Manager of Marathon Oil Company, then a Fortune "30" company, where she was responsible for funding 26 international subsidiaries.

"After a careful and thorough review of a wide range of potential candidates, we are pleased to have the opportunity to further strengthen our Board with the addition of Gina France," said C. Thomas ("Tom") Harvie, independent chairman of the Board. "Gina is a gifted and seasoned business strategist with an excellent understanding of how to effectively maximize value for investors over the long term. We believe she will add substantial independent perspective to Cedar Fair as the Company progresses with its strategic growth plans."

France graduated Summa Cum Laude with an MBA in Finance from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, where she was an Austin Scholar. She also holds a Bachelor of Science with Highest Distinction in Finance from Indiana University. France currently serves on the boards of several companies, including FirstMerit Corporation, a $14.1 billion bank holding company, where she is chair of the Governance and Nominating Committee, serves as an SEC-designated financial expert on the Audit Committee, and is a member of its Cleveland Advisory Board; and Dawn Food Products, Inc., one of the world's largest manufacturers and distributors of bakery products, where she serves on the Audit and Compensation Committees. Her non-profit activities have included serving as, among other things, a member of the Business Advisory Council for Baldwin Wallace College; a founding Board member and Treasurer of In Counsel with Women; and a Trustee and Treasurer of DanceCleveland.

The Company also announced that David Paradeau, 68, and Darrel Anderson, 66, at the request of the Nominating Committee have agreed to not stand for re-election to the Board at the upcoming Annual Meeting in order to reduce the Board to seven directors, as stipulated in a previously announced agreement between Cedar Fair and Q Funding III L.P. and Q4 Funding L.P. (together with Geoffrey Raynor, "Q Investments"), which together beneficially own 10,021,418 units, or approximately 18.1% of the outstanding units of Cedar Fair. The Company had expanded the Board to nine directors in June 2010 to accommodate the addition of two directors suggested at that time by Q Investments.

"On behalf of the Board and the management team, I would like to thank Dick, David and Darrel for their dedicated service and commitment to Cedar Fair over the years," said Harvie. "Their insight and experience were invaluable as the Company's revenues and profitability have grown significantly during their terms as directors of Cedar Fair."

About Cedar Fair
Cedar Fair is a publicly traded partnership headquartered in Sandusky, Ohio, and one of the largest regional amusement-resort operators in the world. The Company owns and operates 11 amusement parks, six outdoor water parks, one indoor water park and five hotels. Amusement parks in the Company's northern region include two in Ohio: Cedar Point, consistently voted "Best Amusement Park in the World" in Amusement Today polls, and Kings Island; as well as Canada's Wonderland, near Toronto; Dorney Park, PA; Valleyfair, MN; and Michigan's Adventure, MI. In the southern region are Kings Dominion, VA; Carowinds, NC; and Worlds of Fun, MO. Western parks in California include: Knott's Berry Farm; California's Great America; and Gilroy Gardens, which is managed under contract.


VALLEJO, CA., May 25, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Travis Air Force Base squadron members took to the sky at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom as the first “flyers” to experience the park’s newest thrill ride, SkyScreamer. SkyScreamer, which opens to the public on Friday, May 27, is the latest sensation in tower rides, and takes the concept of spinning round and round to a new level of thrills. The lofty attraction joins the park’s unique array of rides, shows and interactive animal experiences.

At 150-feet high, SkyScreamer is the equivalent in height to the park’s tallest roller coaster, Medusa, and will give passengers a bird’s eye view of the entire park. With a capacity of 32 guests sitting two across in open air swings, the “star points” upon which the swings are attached, spin while climbing to the top of the tower, as riders orbit around. At full swing, guests revolve in a 98-foot circle at speeds of 43 mph for 2½ minutes. Once the sun sets, SkyScreamer will be lit from top to bottom, creating a stunning focal point.

“There is nothing like it in Northern California,” said Dale Kaetzel, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom Park President. “The sense of soaring so high is both exhilarating and nail-biting, and it’s that anticipation before the ride starts that gets the heart pumping.”

SkyScreamer, which is topped with an iconic globe surrounded by the words Six Flags on two sides, was manufactured by Funtime of Austria, a world leader in unique and exciting rides. The colorful tower and globe offers a new look to the overall park skyline.

From May 27 through June 26, 2011, guests can literally earn their wings by braving SkyScreamer 10 times during this time period by participating in the SkyScreamer Frequent Flyer Program. On their first ride, guests receive a punch card that serves as their frequent flyer card. The card is punched by a ride operator on each subsequent ride until guests hit their tenth ride to receive a special commemorative pewter SkyScreamer wing pins.

Starting Memorial Day weekend, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom is open daily through August 21, then on weekends and select dates through January 1, 2011, including Fright Fest Presented by Snickers®, its annual month-long Halloween event and Holiday in the Park starting November 27 through the end of the 2011 season. For more information or to purchase a Season Pass online, visit www.sixflags.com/discoverykingdom

About Six Flags Entertainment Corporation
Six Flags Entertainment Corporation is the world’s largest regional theme park company with 2010 revenue of nearly $1.0 billion and 19 parks across the United States, Mexico and Canada. Six Flags Over Texas, the company’s flagship location, is celebrating its 50th anniversary season in 2011.

Bluebeam® Software Wins AIA Expo Best in Show Booth Award

(PRNewsFoto/Bluebeam Software)
Digital PDF Solution Recognized for Creative Design and Helpful Demonstration of its Paperless Workflow Capabilities

PASADENA, Calif., May 25, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Bluebeam Software, the maker of innovative PDF solutions for paperless workflows, announced its selection as Best in Show winner of the AIA Expo 2011 Best Booth Awards for the creative display and demo of its digital platform, Bluebeam PDF Revu ®.

The American Institute of Architects 2011 National Convention and Design Exposition, held May 12-14 in New Orleans, featured 800 exhibitors demonstrating the latest innovations that help architects work smarter. The Expo named 5 finalists for its Best Booth Awards, narrowed down from 45 entrants. Bluebeam was awarded top honors.

Bluebeam won Best in Show based on the creativity and clarity of its exhibit presentation, its sustainability and forward thinking, unique product presentation, and the positive interaction of its staff with booth visitors, which included a "secret panel" of architects who served as judges.

"The Best Booth Awards judges are among the country's leading architects and designers. To have them recognize Bluebeam for our exhibit design is a huge honor," said Stephani Haynes, Director of Worldwide Marketing for Bluebeam. "We strive to demonstrate, in a friendly and helpful way, how our software can help solve workflow problems. Knowing that our design as well as our approach were so well received from the judges is very exciting."

Bluebeam PDF Revu gives architects a powerful, sustainable way to communicate with project teams digitally and paperlessly, significantly reducing unnecessary paper and ink usage and costs while increasing collaboration. The company demonstrated this at the AIA Expo in a 20x30 booth modeled after the "Station 32" command center of the superhero of its software, Mighty Bluebeam, who uses Revu to digitize project workflows to bits and bytes.

Inside the booth, Bluebeam had four main demo stations and other displays that illustrated the many possibilities for its digital PDF solution. The cutting edge exhibit included Wacom pen input monitors, Motion Tablet PC's, and interactive SMARTBoards, demonstrating some of the ways Revu can digitize project workflows on the road, at job sites and in the office.

About Bluebeam Software
Not your typical software company, Bluebeam Software makes smart, simple solutions for paperless workflows based on the PDF format. Founded in 2002 in Pasadena, California to support CAD-to-PDF creation for the aerospace industry, Bluebeam's award-winning PDF creation, markup and editing solutions are used today by the world's top architectural, engineering and construction firms, as well as government agencies, accountants and even attorneys, as an intuitive, easy-to-use, PDF-based solution for dramatically improved workflow and more sustainable, paperless operations. For more information, visit www.bluebeam.com .

Adler Planetarium Chooses Global Immersion for 8K True Black Digital Dome Theater

West Sussex, UK – 25 May 2011 – International immersive experience designer and integrator, Global Immersion, has completed the technology integration for the Grainger Sky Theater at the Adler Planetarium, Chicago, USA. Global Immersion’s premium immersive solution, Fidelity Black 8K™, has been fully integrated into the theater – claimed by Global Immersion to be the highest resolution digital dome theater in the world. It will open to the public in July 2011. 

The Adler Planetarium was founded in 1930 as America’s first planetarium. After closing for renovations in September 2010, the 80-year old Historic Sky Theater – now named the Grainger Sky Theater - has undergone a complete transformation and will serve as the centerpiece of the Adler Planetarium’s new Deep Space Adventure.

Global Immersion was contracted by the Adler Planetarium in April 2010 to design and integrate an ultra high performance, contrast and resolution immersive experience unlike any other in the world, integrating its proprietary Fidelity Black 8K™ digital theater solution into the newly installed 71-ft/21.6 meter diameter dome featuring a twenty-channel hyper-array of Zorro® projectors from Rockwell Collins. 

More related items: 

    Unrivaled Display Performance

    The twenty projector configuration has produced an overall display resolution in excess of 8.3K. The resulting immersive experience is a completely black environment and incredible projected detail and color produced by high levels of contrast.

    Powered by Global Immersion’s Fidelity Play™ comprising forty-six Media Servers™, the Grainger Sky Theater is primed for both real-time and playback media and is capable of running at both 30 and 60 frames per second (fps) at 8K resolution. The Uniview™ real-time data and astronomy visualization platform from SCISS will be used for astronomy presentations.

    “The system in the Grainger Sky Theater surpasses anything we have done before in terms of display performance,” says Andrew Zadarnowski, Senior Project Manager at Global Immersion and Project Manager for the Grainger Sky Theater renovation. “The resolution and contrast of this display will completely immerse visitors in what will seem to be the real thing – audiences can be closer to touching the stars and galaxies in our Universe than they can anywhere else on the planet.”

    Zadarnowski continues, “The entire system is incredibly robust and flexible – as the digital media age is quickly transitioning to higher native frame rates and resolutions, the playback server systems are ready for the next level of digital cinema.”

    “The completely transformed Grainger Sky Theater is taking the immersive dome experience to a whole new level,” said Doug Roberts, PhD, Adler Associate Vice President for Digital Technology and Project Director for the Grainger Sky Theater. “Global Immersion and the Adler have collaborated since the beginning of the project to create a one-of-a-kind experience for visitors. Using twenty separate projectors – powered by forty-six computers – to create one seamless image is unprecedented.”

    Global Immersion also integrated a turnkey 15.2 audio solution and a fully integrated control system including programmed touch-screen interfaces and a state-of-the-art custom operator console.

    The Grainger Sky Theater will be opening to the public as part of the new Deep Space Adventure on July 8th, 2011 and will be showing a new fulldome production from the Adler Planetarium.

    About the Adler

    The Adler Planetarium - America’s First Planetarium - was founded in 1930 by Chicago business leader Max Adler. A recognized leader in public learning, the Adler inspires young people - particularly women and minorities - to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math. Scientists, historians and educators at the museum inspire the next generation of explorers. Learn more at www.adlerplanetarium.org.

    About Global Immersion

    Global Immersion is an award-winning organization, dedicated to the unique and innovative medium of immersive theater and specializing in the design and integration of world-class planetarium, giant screen, 3D and 4D environments.

    With over thirteen years experience in the world of fulldome displays and scientific data visualization, Global Immersion combines a wide range of proven technologies to create enthralling and exciting immersive theater. As a full-service team, they pull together consultancy, design, technology, engineering, system integration, content and creativity – for world-class experiences that are built for the future. www.globalimmersion.com


    Alcorn McBride Rises to the Challenge at Top of the Rock Experience at Rockefeller Center

    Note: This news item previously appeared here and in the IPM Top 5 weekly email with a different photo that was captioned as depicting the Top of the Rock Beamwalk, but was later discovered to depict an interactive from the traveling Risk exhibition produced by Hands On! Inc. for the Fort Museum of Science and History and SMEC. That previous photo should be credited as follows: ©Exhibition design by Hands On! Inc. Photograph by Frank Baptie. IPM regrets the mixup.

    Orlando (May 25, 2011) – Alcorn McBride equipment plays a starring role in Rockefeller Center’s renovated Top of the Rock experience, a tour that ultimately leads to the skyscraper’s incomparable Observation Deck towering 70 stories above Manhattan. AV integrator Technomedia Solutions, LCC, which is headquartered in Orlando but whose New York offices are in Rockefeller Plaza, selected Alcorn McBride Digital Binloop HD systems to deliver robust HD visuals during the Beam Walk, Triple HD Theater presentation and Summit Shuttle elevator ride.

    Visitors start the Top of the Rock tour by ascending a winding staircase from the building’s lobby to a mezzanine. There, they can sit on a metal beam and recreate their own version of the iconic 1932 photograph, “Lunch Atop a Skyscraper.” The photo, reproduced giant-size in the lobby, depicts metalworkers digging into their lunchboxes on a beam suspended high above the city during Rockefeller Center’s construction.

    Visitors look through a glass panel beneath the beam to see footage showing what would have been happening below workers perched on the beam on that summer’s day when the photo was taken.

    “We needed to update the projection system which we originally installed,” says Technomedia owner John Miceli. “We had six projectors, edge-blended and mapped in a very tight space that played off six synchronized servers. We couldn’t find projectors to replace them so we rethought the entire process.”

    Technomedia opted for the Alcorn McBride Digital Binloop HD multi-track video player with 6 synchronized channels. The Digital Binloop HD video player provides up to 8 channels of HD video in a compact, economical and highly-reliable package designed for continuous use with no maintenance.

    “We thought we’d need to reshoot the Beam Walk video, but when we used the existing files in the Alcorn player the results were outstanding. The same material on the new player showed an amazing difference in quality – it just goes to show the difference in the quality of the Alcorn product.

    “Now, when people sitting on the beam look below them through the glass and onto the projection surface they see everything in scale and in great resolution. The Digital Binloop HD player works great and is very solid; the client is very happy with it and the attraction has bee nominated for a national award of technological excellence.”

    Alcorn McBride’s products also served as the playback system for the Triple HD Theater where a trio of HD projection screens display four-minute movies about John D. Rockefeller and his vision for Rockefeller Center, the history of NBC Studio and what it’s like to be one of the celebrated Rockettes.

    Next, visitors take the Summit Shuttle elevator to the Top of the Rock and its Observation Deck. During the just-under-one-minute trip. blue lights illuminate each passing floor and historic images flash rapidly onto the elevator ceiling, an effect that gives the impression that the elevator is being hurtled through time.

    Technomedia replaced old hard drive units with an Alcorn Digital Binloop HD system for the projection show in the elevator. “When the ceiling of the elevator goes clear we project onto the membrane famous moments, including scenes from ‘Saturday Night Live,’” explains Miceli. “Four edge-blended projectors project down from above the elevator; when visitors arrive at the top the show ends and the door opens.”

    Joni McElwee Snyder is Vice President/CFO of Technomedia Solutions, LLC. Tommy Bridges is Sales Manager for Alcorn McBride, Inc.

    About Alcorn McBride:

    Founded in 1986, Alcorn McBride is the leading manufacturer of show control, audio and video equipment for the themed entertainment industry, and a rapidly growing provider of audio and video systems for retail environments and transportation applications. Staffed by some of the industry’s best engineers and backed by outstanding customer support, the company has demonstrated great agility in bringing new designs to market. A hallmark of Alcorn McBride products is their durable, zero maintenance design. The company’s products provide consistent, reliable operation for audio and video playback applications worldwide. For more information, visit www.alcorn.com.

    Dataton launches version 5 of WATCHOUT

    Advanced feature-set to provide unprecedented power, interactivity and control 

    Dataton will exhibit at booth 3063 at InfoComm 2011, 15-17 June, Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Florida, USA

    Link√∂ping, Sweden -- Swedish presentation control manufacturer, Dataton will effect the international launch of version 5 of Dataton WATCHOUT™ software at the 2011 InfoComm Show in Orlando. Version 5 of the multi-display presentation software will have the most advanced and comprehensive feature-set that the industry has ever seen.

    “At InfoComm we'll be showing why version 5 is the biggest leap forward in the history of WATCHOUT,” says
    Fredrik Svahnberg, International Marketing and Communications Manager at Dataton AB. “Version 5 significantly expands the product's application areas. We have paid close attention to our customer base and their specific requirements, and used them as a starting point for a new version that offers so much more in terms of power, interactivity and creativity. You could say that version 5 adds extra dimensions to WATCHOUT, including a new visual dimension with 3D, and a new control dimension with enhanced live interaction.”

    At InfoComm, Dataton will be running daily demos to showcase these exciting new features and the other new capabilities in WATCHOUT version 5.

    About Dataton

    Renowned Swedish show control developer and manufacturer, Dataton has firmly established themselves on the international market since the 1980s. The company's flagship products include the award-winning Dataton WATCHOUT™ multi-display production and presentation system as well as the intuitive Dataton PICKUP™ audio guide. Dataton is represented in most countries and Dataton products are in use every day in commercial and cultural installations worldwide. For further information visit

    Tuesday, May 24, 2011

    Rainbow Magicland theme park opens in Rome, Italy May 26

    Rainbow MagicLand is set to open to the public on May 26, 2011.

    This family oriented park is located in Valmontone, Italy, near Rome.

    Orlando Draws Record Breaking 51.455 Million Visitors in 2010

    2010 VISITATION NUMBERS Sources: D.K. Shifflet & Associates; Office of Travel & Tourism Industries, U.S. Commerce Dept. Domestic visitation numbers are provided by D.K. Shifflet & Associates Ltd., a travel research firm, specializing in consumer-based travel data. DKS&A’s DIRECTIONS® Travel Intelligence SystemSM collects detailed monthly travel data on more than 150,000 trips annually collected from a sample of US households. Overseas travel numbers are provided by the United States Department of Commerce’s Office of Travel & Tourism Industries through in flight surveys and analysis of customs paperwork provided by travelers.
    Orlando, Florida USA Becomes 1st U.S. Destination to Top 50 Million Visitors - Double-Digit Visitation Increase over 2009

    ORLANDO, Fla. & SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In simultaneous bi-coastal events, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs along with City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer in Orlando, Fla. and Visit Orlando President and CEO Gary Sain in San Francisco today announced Orlando drew a record-breaking 51.455 million visitors in 2010, up 10.5% from 46.6 million in 2009. Domestic visitation accounted for 47.78 million visitors, a 10.3% increase over 2009; and international travel totaled 3.675 million, an increase of 12.6% from 2009.

    With this record, Orlando is the first destination in the country to welcome more than 50 million visitors and remains the most visited destination in the U.S.

    “Despite the challenging economic times, the Orlando tourism and meetings community continued to invest in new hotels and attractions. Visit Orlando launched aggressive global marketing campaigns showcasing that Orlando offers visitors something they can’t get anywhere else - world famous attractions, value for their money and an experience they will never forget,” said Gary Sain, President & CEO, Visit Orlando, speaking to an audience of worldwide media at the annual International Pow Wow conference organized by the U.S. Travel Association. “The fact that Orlando bounced back in 2010 with the most visitation in not only Orlando’s history, but the most of any U.S. destination, shows our aggressive leisure and meetings strategies worked and our message resonated with travelers.”

    “The tremendous efforts of our tourism industry were instrumental in helping our community weather the recent economic challenges. This is a positive sign for our region and our residents; as travel and tourism goes so does Orlando’s economy,” said Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs. “The tourism industry supports approximately 400,000 jobs for Orlando residents, which generates $13.6 billion in wages. This news is a win win for our residents and our community.”

    “Travel and Tourism is our number one economic engine by far. It also gives back to our community through support of the arts, education and community organizations,” said City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “These numbers are tremendous. For our region to continue its recovery, we need for our Travel and Tourism economy to lead the way. Today’s announcement is wonderful news and I am so proud of our Travel and Tourism partners for their success.”

    Additional visitation information includes:

    • Visitation from Canada, Orlando’s top international feeder market, was up 11% to 960,000 travelers in 2010 compared to 865,000 in 2009.
    • Total domestic overnight visitation was up 10.7% to 30.5 million
    • Overnight convention-group meeting visitation was 3.24 million, up 1.4% in 2010.
    • Hotel room occupancy was up 6.3% in 2010.
    To attract visitors throughout 2010, Visit Orlando initiated new marketing campaigns in its top feeder markets - the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Brazil - reinforcing the tagline, “Orlando Makes Me Smile.” A new meetings and conventions marketing effort touted Orlando as the destination “Where Inspiration Meets.” Visit Orlando also showcased the destination’s offerings to thousands of tour operators and travel professionals at numerous key travel industry trade shows throughout North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia and was instrumental in driving additional air service to Orlando from domestic and Central and Latin America carriers.

    About Visit Orlando
    Visit Orlando is the branding, sales and marketing organization responsible for positioning Orlando as the destination of choice for leisure and meetings business for the economic benefit of the community.

    EXHIBITOR Research Shows Virtual Events Unlikely to Soon Replace Face-to-Face

    Marketers Not Adopting Virtual Alternatives to Live Events as Rapidly as Previously Expected

    ROCHESTER, Minnesota, USA /PRNewswire/ --
    EXHIBITOR Media Group, the leader in trade show and corporate event marketing education, today announced the results of EXHIBITOR magazine's 2011 Virtual Events Survey, revealing that marketers are not adopting virtual alternatives to live events as rapidly as previously expected.

    Results of the survey, sponsored by Lynch Exhibits Inc., Impact Unlimited Inc., and Altus Inc., indicate that virtual events are unlikely to replace face-to-face marketing any time soon. Key findings show that more than 70 percent of respondents are not currently allocating a single cent of their marketing budgets to virtual events.

    "For the time being, it appears face-to-face is safe and sound," commented Travis Stanton, editor, EXHIBITOR magazine. "But as more marketers become increasingly familiar with virtual alternatives, and as virtual-event firms become more adept at selling their benefits, their impact on our industry will undoubtedly increase."

    The survey uncovered these additional findings:
    • Less than 40 percent of companies surveyed have ever participated in a virtual event, the majority of which participated as an attendee only, rather than as an exhibitor, sponsor, or organizer.
    • Among marketers who have already dipped their toes in the virtual waters, only 28 percent claim those virtual efforts "met" or "exceeded" their expectations.
    • Nearly half of respondents who have used virtual events reported that virtual events helped them increase their brand awareness, and 36 percent reported that their virtual events attracted attendees who did not attend live trade shows and events at which they participated, effectively extending the reach of their marketing campaigns.
    • 68 percent of respondents who have participated in virtual events say they'd rather host a live event, most notably because they "miss the energy and networking of a live event" or because "attendees seemed less engaged during virtual events."
    • Less than 30 percent of marketers claim they personally understand how to execute virtual events.
    • When asked about their personal prognosis for virtual events in the context of exhibit and event marketing, 59 percent say virtual events offer only moderate potential.
    Comprehensive results of the 2011 Virtual Events Survey will be published in the June issue of EXHIBITOR magazine.

    About EXHIBITOR Media Group
    Leading in trade show and corporate event marketing education, EXHIBITOR Media Group publishes EXHIBITOR magazine, a monthly publication featuring best practices in trade show marketing. EXHIBITOR's Learning Events include EXHIBITOR2011, the industry's top-rated conference and exhibition for trade show and corporate event marketing.

    Control Chief Corporation Celebrates its 40th Anniversary

    Control Chief Corporation is announcing the year-long celebration of its 40th anniversary leading up to a company open house and dedication ceremony in June.

    Control Chief Corporation began operations in 1971 with 8 people and in management's words, "a will to succeed". Today that will is stronger than ever with a core focus on its Customer Connected philosophy.

    "This philosophy reflects our passion for building strong and trusted relationships. Providing a high level of service demonstrates we understand what is important to our customers. This understanding involves integrity, attention to detail and pride in ownership. Our focus is being connected and caring about the most critical component of our success "our customer". Douglas Bell, CEO

    Uniquely positioned in the marketplace and nearly 50 employees strong, Control Chief proudly displays itsMade-in-America symbol on products that are researched, designed, produced and sold from its headquarters in Northwestern Pennsylvania.

    As a recognized leader in wireless solutions, Control Chief Corporation continues to mature and develop new technology for improving on the job performance. Safety, flexibility and efficiency are the core principles that encompass all Control Chief products. "For 40 years our system features have ranged from simple off-the-shelf solutions to custom engineered designs. This myriad of markets includes: steel, mining, aggregate, aircraft assembly, shipbuilding, grain handling and nuclear facilities to name a few." says Brian Landries, V.P. of Sales & Marketing.

    The company will be celebrating its 40th anniversary throughout 2011 with special events planned for the staff, industry and sales channel partners. To send Control Chief best wishes on this momentous milestone in the company's history, please "like" Control Chief and post your comment on Facebook at
    www.facebook.com/controlchiefc orp

    In conjunction with the 40th anniversary and as a testament to durability and rugged engineering design, Control Chief is proud to sponsor an "Oldest System in Operation" contest. The company is asking its customers that have had decades of success with their products to submit the serial number of their oldest working system. These submissions will be eligible for inspection and a possible prize of up to $5,000 in Control Chief bucks. The contest ends May 31, 2011. The contest winner will be announced at the 40thanniversary celebration to be held at the corporate headquarters on June 24, 2011. To enter a system in the contest you may contact Control Chief via email:
    sales@controlchief.com or call 800.233.3016.

    About Control Chief Corporation

    Control Chief Corporation is an industry leader in the design, manufacture and service of specialized radio and infrared remote control systems. For the past 4 decades Control Chief has provided their customers in North America and internationally with highly reliable control systems for the locomotive and material handling industries. For more information about Control Chief Corporation, visit www.controlchief.com