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Park News

See you later Walygator!

The French amusement park Walygator is not closing down, according to its

owners. Addressing its “esteemed visitors,” a statement on the park’s website reads as follows: “Contrary to rumours, Waly

confirm that the park will be

OPEN until November 1, 2012 (as per the opening calendar). It will reopen in April 2013 for a new season full of novelties.”

In its relatively short life, the park in the northeast

Lorraine region has had a number of different owners and identities. Founded in 1989 as a Smurf- themed attraction called Big Bang Schtroumpf, it was rebranded two years later as Walibi Schtroumpf when it became part of the Walibi group. Acquired by Premier Parks/Six Flags in 1998, its name was changed to Walibi Lorraine five years later. Six Flags sold the park together with the rest of its European portfolio to Palamon Capital Partners/Star Parks in 2004. Claude and Didier Le Douarain then bought

Al Weber retires

Alexander Weber Jnr, chief operating officer of Six Flags Entertainment, was due to retire on September 30 after four decades in the industry. During his career, he has also served as president and chief executive officer for both Palace Entertainment and Paramount Parks. Immediately prior to joining Six Flags, he was chief executive of Kings Leisure Partners, a consultancy serving the leisure segment. Happy retirement Al!

the park in 2006 when Star Parks sold the rest of its Walibi properties to Compagnie des Alpes. Its name was then changed to Walygator and an alligator mascot introduced. In 2010 the Le Douarain brothers took the bold step of adding a B&M inverted coaster acquired from defunct Japanese park Expoland. Earlier this season, however, they complained of tough trading conditions due to the weather. Let’s hope a sunny future now lies ahead. New US wheels

Permission has been granted for a 450ft (137m) observation wheel on International Drive in Orlando. Developer Unicorp National Developments has finally won county commissioner approval by scrapping plans to erect advertising on the side of the attraction. Merlin Entertainments, which will operate the ride in a joint venture Unicorp, also wants to open a Madame Tussauds wax museum and Sea Life aquarium on the same site (ex-Mercado). Unicorp plans to break ground immediately and expects the wheel, which is being supplied by Intamin subsidiary IntaRide, will be completed within 24 months. At the time of writing, mayoral support was about to be granted for a 625ft observation wheel in New York City. The attraction is forecast to cost around $230 milllion and carry an estaimated 4.5 million passengers – although some observers have doubts over the viability of the proposed location at Staten Island. The USA has been relative latecomer to to

“Ferris Wheel Rennaisance” – ironic given the fact George WG Ferris’ original ride opened in Chicago back in 1893. With the rides above, and the planned constructions in Las Vegas, the country is surely making up for lost time.

The Fairground Calendar

Brighten up your office wall in 2013 with this attractive new calendar from the Fairground Association of Great Britain (FAGB). Featuring over 40 colourful scenes from the

seventies drawn from the vaults of the National Fairground Archive, it comes complete with a design and layout evocative of fairground art from the period.

Each month features one key image, complemented by two or three smaller photographs. “Platform rides” such as Waltzers and Speedways feature prominently alongside the Twist, Hurricane Jets and “novelty rides” of the day such as the Orbiter. There are general views of events including the 1978 Birmingham NEC winter fair (January), the 1971 Stratford- upon-Avon Edwardian Steam Fair (July), Nottingham Goose Fair (October) and Loughborough Fair (November). Close-ups of various décor, ride details and showmen’s transport add to the variety of images and provide a real flavour of the 1970s fun fair. Anyone with a love of the amusement

industry, and who is not afraid of the bright lights or unashamedly brash beauty of the British fairground, will enjoy using or simply just looking at this quality calendar. Measuring 245 x 325mm, it is available for £7 including postage to those living in the UK, £10 for the rest of Europe and £12 rest of the world. Details of how to order are on the FAGB website.



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