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Park News
Legoland Malaysia
Merlin announces new projects in Asia and the US
Merlin Entertainments has revealed plans for its first Legoland park in “We are very excited by both these developments, which underline our
Asia. The new attraction is scheduled to open in the upcoming Malaysian continued confidence in what is undoubtedly a tough market,” says Merlin
city of Nusajaya by 2013. Entertainments CEO Nick Varney. “Our strong belief is that while not
As part of an agreement signed with Iskandar Investment Berhad (IIB), recession proof, quality branded attractions such as ours are recession
Merlin will design and operate the park and become a 20% shareholder, resilient. People will choose to get away from the ‘gloom’, and have fun
whilst a consortium led by IIB will own the balance. The RM750 million with family and friends. However, they will choose destinations which offer
($210m/Euro.186154m) joint venture will become part of Medini Iskandar real value for money, and which they know will not disappoint.”
Malaysia ("Medini"), a 2,300-acre international mixed-use development Merlin now has six attractions in the USA, including Legoland California
including retail, offices, hotels, serviced apartments and residential units. and the neighbouring Sea Life aquarium, Legoland Discovery Centre near
“We love the location of Iskandar Malaysia, and Merlin is delighted by Chicago, and Madame Tussauds in New York, Las Vegas and Washington
this partnership with IIB,” reports John Jakobsen, managing director for DC. Soon it will add to the list with a Legoland Discovery Centre and the
Legoland Parks. “Legoland Malaysia will build upon the success of our Pepsi Globe observation wheel at the Xanadu complex in New Jersey and
other Legoland parks in Europe and North America, and we have no a new Madame Tussauds in Hollywood.
doubt that once open it will become the ultimate destination in the region
for families with young children.”
Earlier in the year, Merlin also announced plans for a Legoland
Six Flags over Qatar
attraction at Dubailand, initially estimates suggesting it would be ready by
2010. More recently the group confirmed it has acquired the Underwater
A Six Flags branded attraction is due to open in Qatar by 2012 following the
Adventures aquarium in Minnesota, USA, from The Minnesota Aquarium
signing of a deal between the US park group and Oryx Holdings.
LLC. Located inside the iconic Mall of America, the aquarium currently
A combination of theme park and waterpark, it will be located on the ground
welcomes more than 600,000 visitors a year.
floor of Qatar Entertainment City (QEC) a mixed-use development in the city of
“Retail linked projects” are reported to be of particular interest to the
Lusail. Under the binding agreement, Six Flags will provide concept development
Merlin for the future, and this a key factor in choosing to go ahead with
and planning services to Oryx Holdings for the creation of a 50,000 square
this particular acquisition.
metre attraction. Once this initial phase is finalised, the two parties will
collaborate on the detailed design, development, construction and management
Manta takes shape
of the branded location.
“Six Flags brings 47 years of theme park industry experience and a world
renowned entertainment brand to QEC,” announced Oryx Holdings vice-
Manta, a flying rollercoaster from Bolliger & Mabillard, is rising at SeaWorld chairman and managing director Assam Shaikh at a signing ceremony in
Orlando in Florida. Park visitors can already see the construction cranes and the December. “The partnership will help further establish and push Qatar’s
main lift hill, and even trace the path of Manta on a diagram posted at the initiatives for family tourism, attracting investments as well as keeping in line with
construction site. its growing economy. For the implementation, Qatari resources will be sought in
When complete, riders will fly face-down in a horizontal position underneath all elements of the project as and when available.”
the belly of a coaster train shaped as a giant manta. With a wing span of 12ft, Six Flags has already announced plans to open a park as part of Dubailand,
the train will climb 140ft in the air before soaring over the landscape below, and is also believed to be exploring opportunities in China.
including a section over water. Guests will glide, swoop and dive to 56 mph,
through four inversions on 3,35ft of track.
The idea is that guests will feel as if they are a ray, taking flight effortlessly
Playland goes P-O-P!
from sky to sea.The four-acre attraction is to be located inside the main
entrance to SeaWorld, becoming a new icon for the park.
Playland Park in Rye, New York, has decided to drop ride tickets in favour of a
new pay-one-price admission structure for 2009. The only amusement park in
America owned by a county government, Playland was until now funded in part
by tax dollars, but “Westchester (County) property taxpayers will no longer
subsidise the amusement park,” declares county executive Andy Spano.
There will now be an entrance fee of $25 for Westchester residents and $30
for non-residents, allowing unlimited use of the rides all day. A further reduction
will be offered to both residents and non-residents who come at twilight. The fee
for residents also includes miniature golf and entrance to the beach. Non-riders
wanting to walk, watch the park’s entertainment or to chaperone others will pay
an entrance fee of $3 for residents and $5 for non-residents.
In 2005, a card system was implemented in place of tickets so that revenues
could be better monitored. In 2007 and 2008, the county changed its financial
relationships with owners of the rides, buying rather than leasing some of the
attractions to generate more revenue to the county.
Dating back to 1923, Playland boasts National Historic Landmark status. The
facility will remain under the control of the county’s Department of Parks,
Recreation and Conservation. “We are not privatising the park," insists Spano.
"We are saving tax dollars as we continue to make sure Playland is affordable
and family-friendly.”
8 JANUARY 2009
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