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Park News


New 4K Harry Potter ride sharpens up


4K-HD ride film projecting at a rate of 120 frames-per- second. It replaces the earlier 3D film component of the ride


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to create further integration between the ride’s sets and its media. Originally projected at 60 frames-per-second, the new ride media now displays at twice the frame rate offering superior clarity and sharper images than previously shown. “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” is a multidimensional thrill ride located within Hogwarts


he Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey thrill ride at Universal Studios Hollywood’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter has added an enhanced


Castle. It features a robotics ride system, fused with filmed action sequences and immersive effects designed to take guests on a “once-in-a lifetime whirlwind adventure”. Spiraling and pivoting 360-degrees upon an elevated ride track, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ushers guests on a journey alongside Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley as they venture through some of the most memorable scenes from the movie, including a Quidditch match where they narrowly escape a dragon attack, as well as close encounters with Dementors and the Whomping Willow. The iconic and picturesque Hogwarts Castle sits at the heart of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter


Fitzgerald becomes Apex CEO


John Fitzgerald has been named as chief executive officer of Apex Parks Group. Fitzgerald is an amusement park industry veteran with more than 30 years’


experience. He most recently served as park president, VP, and general manager at Six Flags’ parks in New Jersey, including Great Adventure – the world’s largest theme park. He succeeds the late Al Weber. Beginning his new role immediately, he is based at company headquarters in Aliso Viejo, California.


“John is a proven leader with an impressive track record of success across our industry," said Tyler Zachem, chairman of Apex Parks Group, "most recently at one of Six Flags’ highest profile parks. He was the clear choice to lead our organisation, and we have every confidence that John and our talented team at Apex will continue to deliver the operational excellence and growth that were hallmarks of the company under Al Weber’s leadership.” Prior to joining Apex Parks Group, Fitzgerald was the park president of Six Flags Great Adventure &


Safari and Six Flags Hurricane Harbor in Jackson, New Jersey for more than six years. Before Six Flags, he was general manager and executive at several domestic and international theme parks. Most recently he served as a consultant to Apex on strategic initiatives. “Apex has a platform and a team that is dedicated to providing outstanding family entertainment," noted


Fitzgerald, "and I am thrilled to join the company. Al Weber was my very close friend and a mentor of mine in this industry, and I am honoured to carry on his legacy to continue to build Apex into the premier operator of family oriented amusement parks and entertainment centres.” In addition, Brenda Morris has been named CFO on a permanent basis after serving as interim CFO since November 2016.


Hopper joins PortAventura team


PortAventura World Parks and Resort has appointed Mark Hopper as sales director for UK and Ireland. Hopper previously worked for Sunhotels, Bedsonline, Getabed and Hayes & Jarvis. He joins as the firm opens its latest theme park, Ferrari Land, the only Ferrari themed park in Europe, with a


vertical accelerator ride that is the highest and fastest roller coaster in Europe. In his new role, Hopper will focus on continuing to grow visitor numbers with particular focus on the UK as a


key market for the resort. He commented: “I’ve been given an amazing opportunity to play a part in the growth of the already-


significant visitor numbers from the UK and Ireland. With over 30 years’ working for tour operators and bedbanks, I'm ready to take on this latest challenge and look forward to being part of PortAventura’s team at this exciting time for the brand.”


20 APRIL 2017


providing access to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Hogwarts Castle is a reproduction from the movie, housing narrow stone passageways and chambers that invites guests to walk in the famous footsteps of the film’s heroic character.


Tilt-a-Whirl… Pacific Park has added new spin on the classic Tilt-a- Whirl ride at the two-acre amusement park on Santa Monica Pier. The park has adapted the Tilt-A-Whirl ride concept for


its new Shark Frenzy design. With seven whirling cars on tilting platforms, guests sit in the jaws of different shark breeds including the Blue, Bull, Great White, Lemon, Mako, Sand Tiger and Tiger species. Riders are moved in a circular motion while whirling around and sent side- to-side in sudden, unpredictable movements. The seven cars are accentuated with eclectic beach trappings such as shark warning signs, shark-bitten surfboards, lifesaving buoys and beach warning flags. “We are proud to continue to introduce industry firsts


that began with the world’s first solar-powered Ferris wheel to the world’s first wind-powered midway game, and now the world’s first Shark themed Tilt-A-Whirl ride,” said Jeff Klocke, vice president and general manager. “The opening of Shark Frenzy is part of our ongoing commitment to our guests and the community to consistently deliver an authentic California experience.” The ride, from Larson International, offers seven


breaching shark cars that seat up to three adults or four children.


Just when you thought it was safe to go back on a


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