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Park Bloggin’ by Baz Slatter

Why in-park photography will never die

Following last month’s observations by Phil Hettama on secondary spend (“The detail of retail”), Baz Slatter discusses the changing face of a popular in-park revenue opportunity

parks must look to implement the latest image capture solutions in order to stay ahead of these needs. The integration of Intellectual Property (IP) and green screen technology are


transforming photography by immersing guests with their favourite brands or characters. One of our recent surveys at Picsolve suggests that 55% of guests would be more likely to visit a theme park if it was dedicated to a recognisable character. From Postman Pat to

IP based photo opps can immserse park guests with their favourite brands and characters

Peppa Pig, park visitors can spend time with their favourite TV characters or, coming soon to Parks and Resorts Dubai, film properties such as The Hunger Games. Interactive experiences allow attraction operators to unique image capture opportunities.

Photography now also extends beyond the ride or attraction itself, engaging guests with a pre-ride photo opp. This is particularly important as we look at future technology integrations such as virtual reality, which can provide a challenge for ride photography in the traditional sense. In the digital era, park visitors also want to replicate their everyday lives with

photos that can be shared online immediately, with the expectation to be connected anytime and anywhere they are in the venue. The power of these posts is incremental to parks, with each social media interaction extending to an average of seven of their online contacts. By doing so, guests become brand ambassadors who will promote attractions across social media when they enjoy their experience. As such it has never been more important for the leisure and attractions industry to meet the guest demand for digital photo solutions. Picsolve was the first to photo company to make the move into the digital realm

with an online platform that allows users to view, download and share attraction photography. Investing in these types of digital technologies that allow guests to share content on social media is a key marketing tool for the parks themselves, emphasising how the power of word of mouth mustn’t be underestimated. So with the guest thirst for images as strong as ever, and the increased integration of IPs and new technologies fuelling this further, photography is certainly not dead. Parks are being challenged to create more engaging and immersive experiences for visitors, encouraging them to share their moments on social media and with friends. Photography is certainly thriving and by investing in the latest digital photography equipment to align with guest demands, parks can make huge profits.

Baz Slatter is global dusiness development director of image capture specialist Picsolve (


here’s still a strong appetite for photography in theme parks and attractions but guest demands have changed. People now want their images to be instantly accessible and as unique as possible. With technology evolving,


After a five-month search for a new chief executive, Ocean Park has appointed from within and chosen former deputy CEO and chief finance officer Matthias Li Sing-chung to succeed Tom Mehrmann as leader of the famous Hong Kong park as from July. As well as plans to add a waterpark and hotel, the government-owned facility in Aberdeen Harbour is looking at ways to expand its night-time offerings in response to a recent decline in visitor number after years of growth under Mehrmann.

Timbalaya, the new story-led children’s play brand, has appointed Forrec co-founder Steve Rhys to its board. Since being launched at IAAPA by Rosalind Johnson, Sylvia Matiko, Nick Farmer and Simon Egan, Timbalaya has attracted interest from across the globe and a number of mid-sized attractions look set to be realised. Rhys is expected to bring to bring hands-on experience coupled and a keen understanding of what’s needed to make a successful project work having been involved with projects in 20 countries.

After opening 10 new attractions last season, Tayto Park in Ireland is keeping the momentum going this season with a raft of new rides from Zamperla. Already open are a Merry Go Round, Mini Ferris Wheel and Rocking Tug. An Endeavour (Enterprise-style ride) and another thrill ride are planned this month and in June. Guests can also enjoy the Irish debut of Angry Birds 4D in the park’s 5D theatre by Simworx. Located north of Dublin, close to the city’s airport, Tayto Park saw attendance rocket from 450,000 to 750,000 last season as a result of new rides and attractions including one of the biggest wooden rollercoasters in Europe.

For the second year in a row, WhiteWater has been the recipient of the Canada’s Best Managed Companies award. “We reinvented our hiring process over the last few years with the goal to hire for attitude, character and values instead of solely for hard skills,” notes the company’s director of HR, Coleen Hunter.

Toro Verde Adventure Park, Orocovis, Puerto Rico, has been recognised by Guinness World Records as having the world’s longest zipline. The artefact, called “The Monster,” measures approximately 7,590 feet (2,313 m) long by 1,200 feet (366 m) tall.

Diggerland USA, the New Jersey theme park known for letting children operate real construction machinery is now offering super-sized heavy equipment for adults. The newest addition to park, Diggerland XL allows visitors over 18 to select from a combination of three different machines, a full-sized wheel loader, excavator or bulldozer as part of either a 90-minute or 3-hour package. Both packages include 30 minutes of one-on-one instruction from a heavy machinery foreman prior to “playing” on the machines.

California park personality passes away

Terry Ellis Van Gorder passed away on March 2. As well as managing two of the Los Angles area’s most famous amusement parks, he also helped realise a number of Snoopy-themed attractions, and in the process paved the way for today’s many IP- led theme park experiences. Terry was born August 19,1933, in Palo Alto, California.

Growing up on the Stanford University golf course, where his father was the course superintendent, he was later inspired to design and build golf courses. From 1971 to 1979, Terry served as president and CEO of Magic Mountain amusement park (now Six Flags Magic Mountain) and from 1981 to 1998 he served as president and CEO of Knott's Berry Farm. During this time he conceptualised and built Knott's Camp Snoopy, Kingdom of the Dinosaurs, Wild Water Wilderness/Bigfoot Rapids, Indian Trails, Mystery Lodge and various themed rollercoaster attractions. Under his direction, Knott's won the prestigious Applause Award,. Terry was also instrumental in the conception, planning and development of Knott's Camp Snoopy (now Nickelodeon Universe) within the Mall of America in Minnesota. He is survived by his wife Elaine Roberts, former wife Priscilla Lowe, son Eric, daughter Catherine and son-in-law, Ed Faciana, two grandchildren, Floriana and Guitano, and two great- grandchildren, Declan and Sienna.

Terry Van Gorder APRIL 2016

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