Monday, June 18, 2012

LEGOLAND Parks Headed to Malaysia and Japan; LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Opens in Tokyo

Grand Opening, Tokyo LEGOLAND Discovery Centre
Johor, Malaysia and Nagoya and Tokyo, Japan (June 18, 2012) -- To the delight of families everywhere, LEGOLAND® Malaysia has revealed its official opening date: Saturday, September 15, 2012. This news will bring Merlin Entertainments Group one step closer to opening its first LEGOLAND park in Asia.

Inspired by Asia’s growing love affair with all things LEGO®, the new 76-acre theme park will cater to kids from 2 to 12 with more than 40 rides and attractions – from roller coasters to race cars as well as family-focused interactive shows. Siegfried Boerst, General Manager of LEGOLAND Malaysia, disclosed the date at a briefing and site tour held April 25 in Nusajaya. “Our official opening date has been something we’ve had a lot of enquiries from the public on since the park broke ground in December 2009. I’m pleased to announce that due to the hard work of all of our contractors we will now be opening LEGOLAND Malaysia ahead of schedule by a number of months. We hope that with today’s news families and tour operators will begin planning their trips to visit us and we look forward to giving you an experience like no other in Asia. Rather appropriately we will be opening the day before Malaysia Day which happens to be a long weekend!”

The park is now more than 75% finished with most of the rides and infrastructure already installed. The contractors have been working on the theming of the park and this month they will begin the installation of 50 million LEGO bricks and models into the park.

In November, 2011, Merlin Entertainments Group Ltd (‘Merlin’) and GCDS Corporation announced the selection of Nagoya as the preferred location for LEGOLAND Japan and are continuing with formal negotiations with the City. Pending the terms and conditions necessary for them to develop, construct and operate LEGOLAND Japan within Nagoya city limits, the family theme park could open as early as 2015.

Merlin Entertainments Group, the second largest visitor attraction group in the world, and GCDS Corporation, a venture company with exclusive territorial rights obtained from Merlin Entertainments Group Ltd, have been evaluating and discussing several sites in Japan. Based on the results of these discussions, Merlin and GCDS today have confirmed to Mayor Kawamura and other officials of the City of Nagoya, a desire to continue conducting further and more detailed studies including due diligence, consents and final contract terms.

LEGOLAND® is a full day theme park experience dedicated to families with children between the ages of 2 and 12 and features interactive rides, shows and attractions based on the LEGO® toy brand.

Merlin and GCDS are excited by the opportunities this project will create, particularly its potential to contribute in a meaningful way to the vitality and prosperity of the community and economy of Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture and Japan. “We sincerely believe LEGOLAND Japan would make Nagoya an important tourist destination for both domestic and international markets,” said Mr. Frank Stanek, the designated Chairman of the Japanese entity that would develop LEGOLAND Japan. He added that he was convinced this would be Nagoya’s answer to Tokyo’s Disneyland and Osaka’s Universal Studios - both being very successful theme parks that he actively developed in senior leadership roles during his previous corporate career.

John Ussher, Merlin Entertainments’ General Manager of LEGOLAND Development said: “We are very pleased to be working with GCDS and to have reached this agreement in Japan, which illustrates the strength of the LEGOLAND brand and of Merlin’s business model across the globe. The Asia Pacific region provides a great opportunity for Merlin’s continued development across our brands, particularly LEGOLAND. This site, it’s potential as a catalyst to build a major tourist and leisure destination in Nagoya and Japan, and the support of the City of Nagoya, all played a key role in our decision to take this project to the next stage.”

Merlin’s newest attraction concept, the permanent Tokyo LEGOLAND Discovery Centre opened on Friday, June 15, 2012 and offers a fun, highly interactive and educational two to three-hour indoor experience ideal for families with children 3-10 years old. Based on the ever popular LEGO brick, LEGOLAND Discovery Centres provide a unique range of interactive play areas including a 4D cinema; master classes from the LEGO Master Model Builder; LEGO rides; special party rooms for birthdays and other celebrations; as well as the popular MINILAND exhibit designed to reflect the iconic buildings in each individual attraction’s location – and Merlin researchers have developed models which depict the best known parts of the Tokyo Skyline. The Tokyo LEGOLAND Discovery Centre occupies a 4000 sqm site on the 6th and 7th floors of Decks Tokyo Beach Mall. Another Merlin property, Madame Toussads, will open adjacent to the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre in 2013.

About Merlin Entertainments:
The leading name in location-based, family entertainment, Merlin Entertainments has seen the most successful and dynamic growth of any company in the sector over the last five years. Europe’s number one and the world’s second-largest visitor attraction operator, Merlin operates 78 attractions, six hotels/two holiday villages in 17 countries and across four continents. The company aims to deliver memorable and rewarding experiences to its 44 million visitors worldwide through its iconic global and local brands and the commitment and passion of its managers and more than 16,000 employees.

Merlin Entertainment operates the following attractions: SEA LIFE, Madame Tussauds, LEGOLAND, The EDF Energy London Eye, Dungeons, Gardaland, LEGOLAND Discovery Centres, Alton Towers Resort, Warwick Castle, Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures Resort, Blackpool Tower, Heide Park, Earth Explorer, Sydney Aquarium, WILD LIFE Sydney, Sydney Tower Eye and SKYWALK, Kelly Tarlton’s Antarctic Encounter Underwater World, Oceanworld Manly and Hamilton Island Wildlife Park. All brands are distinctive, challenging and innovative and have great potential for growth in the future. Visitwww.merlinentertainments.biz for more information.

About Iskandar Investment Bhd (IIB)
Iskandar Investment Berhad (IIB) is a strategic developer of catalytic projects, working closely with the authorities, other developers and investment partners in the region to achieve Iskandar Malaysia’s vision of becoming a sustainable metropolis of international standing. It is the commercial arm of the Government that has been formed to spearhead the development and transformation of Iskandar Malaysia by conceptualising and developing catalytic projects that generate significant multiplier effects. These projects act as accelerators in the development of a new connected urban ecosystem designed for the 21st century.

IIB aspires to create a world-class connected liveable community in the heart of Southeast Asia that will lead the change for future generations to come.

IIB oversees the development of approximately 36 sq km (8,889.21 acres), or approximately two per cent, of land in Iskandar Malaysia. These landbanks are strategically located in close proximity to Singapore as well as Johor’s logistics hubs, namely the Senai Airport and the international ports of Tanjung Langsat, Pasir Gudang and Tanjung Pelepas, to ensure accessibility to and from all parts of the world.

Aligned with Malaysia’s aim to become a high-income nation, IIB drives investments across clusters in high-value service sectors to support the development of Iskandar Malaysia focusing on education, leisure and tourism, healthcare and wellness, and the creative industry.

For more information on IIB, please visit www.iskandarinvestment.com

About GCDS Corporation:
GCDS Corporation is a special purpose venture company organized under the laws of the British Virgin Islands. Through a Collaborative Agreement signed with Merlin Entertainments, the company has the exclusive rights to jointly evaluate and develop a LEGOLAND theme park in the territory of Japan with Merlin.



About DECKS Mall
DECKS Tokyo Beach is located on the waterfront ‘Odaiba’, about 6km from the centre of Tokyo. DECKS, a ‘city-resort style mall’ is a fine mixture of retail, restaurants, and amusement attractions. It opened in July, 1996 reaching its 15th anniversary this year. As one of the landmarks of Tokyo’s bay area, in the daytime you can enjoy the nature that surrounds Tokyo Bay, at night you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo’s night view. In Tokyo, one of the largest tourist spots in Japan, DECKS located in a city-resort space with green and blue, has the following things to offer -approximately 150 shops and restaurants that interpret an urban-resort feeling, ‘Tokyo Joypolis’ the largest indoor amusement park in Japan, ‘Daiba Icchome Shotengai’ a recreation of shopping streets from the Showa-era, and the ‘Odaiba Takoyaki Museum’ a takoyaki food court which consists of popular takoyaki eateries from Osaka. Such qualities make DECKS a highly unique and complex amusement centre like no other in Tokyo. Visit http://www.odaiba-decks.com/ 
for further information.

About LEGOLAND:
LEGOLAND theme parks are dedicated to families with children between the ages of 2 to 12 and are based on the popular LEGO toy brand. LEGOLAND Parks feature hands-on interactive activities where the whole family can have fun together. There are currently five LEGOLAND Parks - the first LEGOLAND was built in Denmark in 1968, followed by LEGOLAND Windsor in the U.K., LEGOLAND California in the U.S., LEGOLAND Deutschland in Germany and the most recent, LEGOLAND Florida which was opened in October this year. The sixth, LEGOLAND Malaysia in Iskandar, is now under construction and it is due to open in 2015. A number of other development sites are also under consideration around the world.