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Park News
Surfer’s Paradise
Virtual visits are now
available to all 10 SeaWorld
31st Believe It or Not! opens
Parks & Entertainment
Down Under
locations in the United States
via the Street View function
Ripley’s Believe It or Not! in
on Google Maps.
Surfers Paradise, Australia, is the
At Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay in Florida, nearly every inch of the park
newest and the most interactive
and neighbouring waterpark were mapped using one of Google’s camera-
exhibition of the strange and
equipped bicycles. The images gathered were blended together by Google to
weird, according to its creators.
create interactive and completely moveable 360-degree scenes.
Nearly 600 items are featured
across two floors, including
“We’re thrilled to be among the first theme parks in the world to get the
genuine shrunken heads, the
Google Street View treatment,” says SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment’s Joe
world’s smallest production
Couceiro. “Now, no matter where you are, you can enjoy an online experience
automobile and an eclectic
of our parks including seeing their scope and diversity while planning your
selection of freak animals. The
9,000 sq ft museum takes
Google Maps began including Street View images in 2007. More than a
advantage of the latest technology
dozen countries and over one hundred cities now can be seen online. Other
to tell Ripley’s story as it has never
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment properties featured include SeaWorld in
been told before, throughout 15 Orlando, San Antonio and San Diego, Discovery Cove and Aquatica in
galleries of exhibits. New exhibits at the “Odditorium” include a model of New Orlando, Busch Gardens and Water Country USA in Williamsburg, Virginia,
Zealand’s Christchurch Cathedral made from 500,000 wooden matchsticks, da and Sesame Place in Langhorne, Pennsylvania.
Vinci’s Last Supper made out of burnt toast, an autographed fedora of Michael
Jackson and locks of Abraham Lincoln’s hair.
The museum replaces the original Surfers Paradise Believe It or Not!, which opened
in 1988 and closed in late 2007 when the building in which it was located was torn
Madame Tussauds Vienna
down. The new attraction, located just 100ft away on the ground floor of the new 77-
story tall Soul Building, has been developed by Juniper Development Group.
Merlin Entertainment will open its 11th Madame Tussauds attraction in early
“We are excited about our return to Surfers Paradise,” says Jim Pattison Jnr,
2011. The new outlet will feature as part of the Riesenradplatz entrance plaza
president of Ripley Entertainment. “We’ve taken technology to a new level at
in Vienna’s famous Prater park.
Ripley’s with this museum. There are interactive elements everywhere you look
Representing a £10 million investment (€11.5m/$15.5m), Madame
– on the ceilings, on the floor, on the wall.”
Tussauds Vienna will reflect the rich culture of Austria’s capital city. A team from
Merlin is already working with Prater Services, the public body responsible for
*Ripley Entertainment recently took back control of two its most successful Believe It
the park, to ensure that the attraction plays an integral role in encouraging
or Not! outlets in the United States. The Odditoriums in Orlando, Florida, and
visitors to the city. Currently the Prater attracts around 3 million visitors a year.
Branson, Missouri, were previously operated on a franchise basis. Gary Daily, who
Madame Tussauds Vienna will feature around 70 authentic wax figures
has been with both locations for more than 10 years, will continue to oversee day-to
including Austrian luminaries past and present such as Freud, Einstein, Mozart,
day operations.
Hayden, Strauss, Schwarzenegger and the pop singer Falco. International stars
Both attractions are built in Ripley’s patented “disaster architecture” style with the
will include Barack Obama and Brad Pitt.
Orlando building appearing to be sliding into a sink hole while the Branson building
Every figure at Madame Tussauds Vienna is expected to take its gifted
appears to being broken apart by a colossal earthquake.
sculptors a minimum of three months to complete. As has become the norm at
According to Ripley president Jim Pattison Jnr, acquiring the Orlando Odditorium
Madame Tussauds, there will be no bars, ropes or barriers around the figures,
is especially gratifying because it gives the company an opportunity to build a strong
as guests are encouraged to stand and interact beside them.
flagship attraction only a few miles from corporate headquarters.
“We will be working closely with both Prater Services and our new landlords,
Calafati GmbH, to create a stunning attraction which we believe will be a
“must-do” for everyone visiting Vienna,” says Glenn Earlam, Merlin
Entertainments’ managing director of “midway” attractions.
Ho Ho H20
Madame Tussauds attractions are already operating in London, New York,
Santa’s Village, Jefferson, New Hampshire is adding a new water feature for
Hollywood, Berlin, Amsterdam, Washington DC, Las Vegas, Shanghai and
2010 season. Ho Ho H2O will feature a shallow wading pool, lots of
Hong Kong, with Bangkok due to open in September.
climbing, sliding and water cannons. WhiteWater West Industries is the
manufacturer of the 6,400 sq ft
Disney does
The park is also doing a
major restoration of its urban
Jinglebell Jamboree show
A new store has opened at
which has not operated
Downtown Disney in California. At D
the last four seasons, and
Street, Disney products meets urban
adding a new food
pop culture with cutting-edge
venue, The Polar
clothing, accessories and novelty
items such as Vinylmation figures and
MARCH 2010
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