IAAPA 2017 Round Up

ome thoughts from our team on IAAPA Expo 2017. We had a fantastic week and wanted to share a few memories.












Hulk Hogan pictures courtesy of IAAPA.

Site Controllers- The Pulse of the Flight Experience

Over 25 years ago when Skycoaster® was introduced to the attractions industry, it was a fresh new ride experience that had never before been seen or experienced.  Combining elements of Skydiving, Bungee Jumping, and Hang Gliding in one signature thrill ride, this iconic attraction took the industry by storm and had dozens of new installations in just the first several years of its existence ranging from standalone resort sites to fully established gated amusement parks.


Beyond the ride presence and experience itself was a new business model that had never before been attempted.  As an extreme thrill up-charge ride, many were skeptical that the $15-$40 per flyer price-point would not work or sustain itself (especially in gated parks where a guest pays prior to entering for use of all general admission rides and attractions).  25 years and 138 installations later, that skepticism is but a faint memory as these signature rides continue to thrill millions of guests every year.

Another new aspect that Skycoaster® introduced was its unique and comprehensive operator training programs which contribute greatly to the ride’s impeccable safety record.  In order to be certified in any position on the flight crew, one must complete eight (8) hours of training in that position.  Once a person has completed their training hours in each of the four positions on the crew, they are eligible to be tested for Site Controller Certification.  A Site Controller must pass a practical exam on the Flightline with a Skycoaster® Representative observing and then also pass a fifty (50) question written exam with material coming straight out the ride’s incredibly comprehensive manual.  The phrase “if it were easy everyone would be doing it” may have been created for this certification as those who pass are typically among the best of that park’s respective operations team.  Besides the knowledge gained and requirement that a Site Controller must be present at a Skycoaster® for any operations to take place is the added responsibility that Site Controllers are normally placed in charge of training future Site Controller Candidates.  It is very much a subculture within the already amazing subculture of working seasonally (or full time) at an amusement park.


Matt Clarke of Canada’s Wonderland in Vaughan, ON, stated, “Site Controller Certification is something that our team looks forward to each season.  It provides a goal and a challenge to our new and returning associates who are working towards their certification while strengthening and reassessing the knowledge of our existing Site Controllers.  When I first became a Site Controller as a seasonal associate back in 2010, the training and certification built my confidence and understanding of all of the safety practices at the Skycoaster.”  Roger Brookes of Kings Dominion in Doswell, VA added, “Xtreme SkyFlyer at Kings Dominion was one of the most fun and detailed trainings I experienced.  The level of detail and quality of training that must be attained truly does provide a great experience and an ability to feel very comfortable about performing the job safely.  It was one of the more rewarding experiences for me personally in my 17 years in the Amusement Park industry!”

So the next time you fly the friendly skies on a Skycoaster®, take note of the amazing Flight Crews that love operating the attraction so much.  They are very much the front line and pulse of the Skycoaster® Flight Experience.

-Mark Rosenzweig, Managing Director- Skycoaster & Financial Partnerships


A Monster Roars In Iowa

Space was the challenge Gerstlauer faced when designing a coaster for one of their most recent projects, the Monster at Adventureland Park. The plot of land housed their log flume, which had been at the park for decades. In that time it had become a park-goer favorite, but it had also proved to be extremely difficult when it came to getting new parts or having the ride serviced. Molly Vincent, the park’s Director of Advertising, said the following when the Monster was announced, “The Log Ride has been a park staple for decades — tens of thousands of photos, screams and splashdowns have been had on this ride, but all great things must eventually come to an end. We know that this was a fan (and personal!) favorite. The Log Ride is over 40 years old, and while still structurally sound, technology for rides has advanced by leaps and bounds in that time period. It is requiring an enormous amount of upkeep and maintenance that isn’t feasible long term.”

When the Gerstlauer team designed the new coaster for the site they had to work around a lot of issues, one of the most difficult being the plot of land allotted for the new scream maker. The majority of the area around the log flume was existing pathways and infrastructure, so there were only a few areas where this boundary could be breached.


“It was a challenge to work with the relatively compact area and the sky ride crossing it. But challenges are also fun and usually lead to interesting layouts. To be honest, sometimes I just have good ideas for layouts and this project worked out nicely. For coasters, when I start designing them, the track just ‘flows’ naturally and it is easy to design the layout,” said Gerstlauer engineer Andreas Simonis.

The difficult balance Andreas and the design team had to face was making the ride fit and making a GOOD ride fit. The new coaster utilized Gerstlauer’s famous vertical lift and beyond-vertical drop, but also had to offer a nice balance of elements. In addition to real estate being a problem the coaster had to work around the existing sky ride. This was no easy feat as the sky ride cut right through the middle of the ride area. The Gerstlauer team managed to work around it and ended up crossing over and under the sky ride in eight different locations! This certainly added a new level of excitement for those who were used the sky ride to get from one side of the park to another.

The ride’s signature element ended up being the Negative-G Stall Loop, an eye-catching inversion that Gerstlauer debuted in 2015 on Power Park’s “Junker” roller coaster. It features a rise into a hill, a sharp, twisting dive to the right and traditional vertical loop essentially stretched out to offer additional “hang time” in the inversion. The extended negative is the closest that many riders will get to experiencing what it feels like in the cockpit of a fighter jet.

The ride features a total of 5 inversions after the initial 133-foot first drop. The final three come in rapid succession. An airtime hill takes riders up and over the sky ride, the vehicle dives into an Immelmann, flips right side up going under the sky ride, offers significant hang time in the Dive Loop and then speeds up and over the sky ride into a corkscrew for the ride’s finale.


In addition to being difficult to design the coaster was not easy to install. Franz Maier, Gerstlauer’s technical expert in the field, worked with Adena Corporation, who erected the ride, to make the ride erection work. Each part of the sequencing had to be planned so that they could still get the crane in and out of the ride area because erecting some areas before others had the potential to box in the crane or other parts of the ride. It took a lot of team work, but the plan worked to ensure that the erection process went as smoothly as possible.

While some of Adventureland’s attendees may still miss the log ride, it seems that a great number of them have forgotten that it got caught in the grips of the Monster. The coaster opened on June 4, 2016 to guests who were camping out in the parking lot in order to take some of the first rides. The rapid fire combination of 5 inversions and a 101-degree first drop has park-goers and roller coaster fantastic thrilled with the experience.

The Monster is Adventureland’s largest investment in the history of the park and was truly a collaboration between the park, Gerstlauer, and the Adena Corporation. We hope you can go for a ride during your next visit to the Midwest!

-Adam Sandy, Chief Business Development Officer

A New Place for Fun on Staten Island

Since opening last month for the 2017 season, Staten Island FunPark (SI FunPark) has quickly become a favored local (and destination) hot spot for Go Karts, Mini Golf, and Batting Cages and fun! The park is the seventh operation in Ride Entertainment’s Operations Division.

Formerly known as Staten Island Go Karts, SI FunPark is underway on property improvements and attraction upgrades, reshaping the park into what will soon become an impressive landscape of greatly improved infrastructure and an improved snack bar, the 19th Hole, featuring a fuller menu of fun snacks and beverages.

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Some examples of recent property improvements and attraction upgrades  include: new motors and traffic islands for Go Karts; new balls and netting cables for Batting Cages; repaired putting greens for Mini Golf; some landscaping upgrades with new plants with beautiful foliage, and new fountain finish; and, an exclusive, tented party area where guests can celebrate birthdays and other special events.

SI FunPark is just getting started with its goal of bringing more family friendly entertainment to the communities of Staten Island that will  grow the demographic into a park where guests of all ages and all sizes can play better with  exciting new attractions.

Continue to follow us @sifunpark or subscribe to our blog to receive park updates, including special offers!

-Eli Parawan- Director of Sales, Operations Division

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Job Opportunity: Sales Associate

Ride Entertainment is one of the amusement industry’s most diverse and fastest-growing companies.  Combining the disciplines of Sales, Operations, Financial Partnerships, and Installations; we work in every segment of the attractions industry.  We are a boutique firm that is large enough to have a worldwide presence, but small enough to be nimble and take on new areas of growth. Ride Entertainment has been involved with nearly half-a-billion dollars worth of sales throughout its existence. We take pride in being one of the attraction industry’s best sales groups.

We are looking for a new Sales Associate.  This entry-level position at the company entails the following:

Job Responsibilities

  • Ride Sales (beginning with sales assistance, transitioning to stand-alone position)
  • Work with U.S.-based amusement parks selling the Ride Entertainment portfolio (sales products and installation services)
  • Create Sales Presentations and Proposals
  • Run Sales E-Blast and Other Client Interaction
  • Trade show preparation

Minimum Qualifications

  • Proficient in Microsoft Office
  • Able to take direction and act as a self-starter
  • Bachelor’s degree (those without a degree but work experience can apply)

Preferred Qualifications

  • Speaks a language in addition to English
  • One year-plus working experience in the amusement industry
  • Working ability in the Adobe Suite

Job Details

  • $45,000 per-year plus sales commissions
  • Health Care
  • Travel around 6 weeks per-year (this will grow over time)
  • It is critical that the applicant is comfortable working and traveling alone. Working in a position like this is extremely different than working in a traditional theme park environment with team members.

The job will be based in our downtown office in Baltimore’s World Trade Center, located near the Inner Harbor. Team members live all around the area, the applicant could live in Baltimore, Washington D.C., Annapolis or the surrounding areas. Send a CV and more to Info@RideEntertainment.com (Subject Line: Sales Associate), or a hard copy to: Sales Associate Position, Ride Entertainment, Suite 2412, 401 E Pratt St, Baltimore, MD  21202.  While we thank you in advance for your interest and application, please be advised that we will only be responding to candidates selected for further consideration.



Operations Division, Position Available: Group Sales Representative

 NY Carousel EntertainmentBrooklyn, NY
Full-time, Commission
fantasy-forest-flushing-meadows-carousel-queens-new-york-ride-entertainment-amusement-parkAs a Group Sales Representative with NY Carousel your role will be to successfully connect with the surrounding communities, businesses and organizations to drive group sales and to help inspire our operations team to operate by our core values while having FUN! At NY Carousel we encourage all team members to Have FUN! In fact it’s one of our core values along with work with integrity , exceed guest expectations , and embrace teamwork .
The Group Sales Representative performs the entire range of direct selling duties and processes including initiating, developing, and managing new group sales, encouraging repeat group sales, special events, and birthday party business.


  • Drive sales through proactive business development in the community and to area businesses and organizations;
  • Book Corporate, School Groups, Camps, Birthday, and other special events (will require external site visits, cold calling, and appointment meetings)
  • Work in tandem with Operations Team to ensure flawless execution for ALL events
  • Achieve budgeted sales targets and revenue targets throughout the financial year
  • Develop complete and thorough sales plans and send timely status reports
  • Create and maintain a customer database
  • Ensuring all sales events are properly planned and executed
  • Manage the complete process for group reservations from booking within our system, communicate to appropriate site manager reservation details, and confirming all reservations with customers
  • Ensure customer evaluations/surveys are performed following each group event and present results to management
  • Develop relationships with external contractors to offer sales add-ons such as catering, music, and photography
  • Meet and greet groups upon arrival to enhance the relationship
  • Work directly with Marketing Team for group sales marketing initiatives and sales collateral
  • Other duties as assigned

Successful Characteristics:

  • Experience in group sales
  • Agility and time-management skills
  • Strong work ethic and attention to detail
  • Sense of fun
  • Friendly, outgoing personality and ability to address guest and client concerns
  • Willingness to work in a high performance team environment
  • Articulate, speaks and modulates clearly
  • Prior use of CRM tools
  • Ability to speak conversational Spanish is a plus

The Must Haves:

  • 18 years old or older with a valid driver’s license
  • Willing to travel for sales calls and corporate training opportunities
  • Willing to work a flexible schedule, including evenings, weekends, and holidays
  • Able to meet the physical demands of the job, with or without reasonable accommodations, including walking long distances, standing for long periods of time, etc.
  • Able to successfully complete pre-employment background and drug screenings
  • Knowledgeable in Microsoft Suite
  • Excellent Phone Etiquette
  • Excellent Communication skills
  • Knowledge of sales philosophies and practices
  • Associate’s degree/Equivalent or higher

Base salary plus commission fees based on sales achievements, benefits package, and paid vacation time.

Job Type: Full-time

Required education:

  • Associate

Required experience:

  • Sales: 1 year

Position Available: Installation Division

installations-six-flags-new-england-starflyer-funtime-skyscreamer-ride-entertainment-agawam-massachussetsRide Entertainment is one of the amusement industry’s most diverse and fastest-growing companies.  Combining the disciplines of Sales, Operations, Financial Partnerships, Installations, and Ride Manufacturing, the company works in every segment of the entertainment industry.  We are a boutique firm that is large enough to have a worldwide presence, but small enough to be nimble and take on new areas of growth.

We are looking for a new Associate in our Installation Division (http://www.rideentertainment.com/installations/home/) .  This position entails the following:

Job Responsibilities

  • Pricing installation division projects
  • Performing installation field work
  • Tracking payments and expenses, invoicing contractors and customers


  • 5 or more years in the attractions industry is preferred
  • Proficient in Word and Excel
  • General knowledge of a wide range of amusement rides, especially the electrical and mechanical systems


  • There is a potential for a significant amount of travel
  • Laptop and phone will be provided
  • Salary: To Be Discussed

Why Work at Ride Entertainment?

We have a passion for the amusement industry and hope you do to.  We want to add long-term team member that we can teach and grow, and we hope you bring a great set of tools so that we can learn from you.

The job will be based in Stevensville, Maryland.  Impress us- send a CV and more to Info@RideEntertainment.com (Subject Line: Installation Associate Position -Installations), or a hard copy to: Installation Associate Position- Installations, Ride Entertainment Group, 114 Log Canoe Circle, Stevensville, MD 21666, USA.  While we thank you in advance for your interest and application, please be advised that we will only be responding to candidates selected for further consideration.


Spain It Is: A Visit to EAS


Tibidabo is beautiful at night.

Barcelona. Food, drinks and fun- the call of Spain was too much for us to resist as we packed our bags and headed to Europe’s sun-soaked coasts. Arriving on Sunday we enjoyed visiting Tibidabo, a historic municipally-run park set high in the hillside of Barcelona. It was quite a trek to get there, we had to take three different subway lines, an electric streetcar and a funicular. However the wait was worth it as the park offered some amazing views of the city. The property’s two star attractions- Avio, a unique twist on the classic airplane swing, and the 50-meter tall Sky Walk, which is most like a Gravity Works Skyscraper, but with a riveted structure and vehicles meant for enjoying the view- not flipping upside down.

Sunday night I headed out to Port Aventura where I enjoyed dinner with the IAAPA Board of Directors and got to experience a few of the park’s attractions. The next morning I met with the great team of the IAAPA Hall of Fame Committee. Want to know who won? Be sure to attend the opening ceremonies at the IAAPA Conference in November!

The show was a good one this year as we got to share the Skywarp from Skyline Attractions (more details to come soon!) in our booth and enjoy spending time with our other partners, Lagotronics Projects, Gerstlauer Amusement Rides, Funtime and Valtiner & Partner.


Tibidabo rolled out the red carpet for us.

Tuesday night Tibidabo put on an amazing celebration for us. There have been some fantastic IAAPA events, but this was beyond anything we have seen. Food from across Spain, fantastic wine, and a beautiful park situated high above the Barcelona and the Spanish coast. We enjoyed some rides on their attractions like the very fun Vekoma Family Coaster Muntanya Rusa. Mark put it best when he said that this coaster, which uses the park’s topography quite well, is a new take on the classic Lisebergbahn at Liseberg.

After the show ended we visited our friends at Port Aventura. This unique park feels like a combination of a U.S. and European theme park. This makes sense as Busch Entertainment and Universal Studios have had various ownership stakes and design influences over the years. The park does theming very well. Like most theme parks not in the U.S. it has a U.S.A. western area, complete with singing cowgirls in chaps and very well done old west theming. There are also Chinese, Indian, Polynesian, Italian and Indian areas in the park, with a children’s section anchored by Sesame Street.


Shambhala is a fun B&M hyper coaster.


This Arrow flume is a great family ride at the park.






Mark really seemed to enjoy the unique layout of Stampida, the CCI wooden coaster from 1997 that now sports trains from Kumak Engineering. I think my favorite ride at the park was actually the triple-drop Arrow log flume, which dates from the park’s opening. This was one of, if not the last, major flumes that Arrow installed. The other coasters included Shambhala, a B&M hyper with a very good first half, Dragon Kahn (Kumba plus a loop), a three-lift Arrow mine train, a Vekoma Roller Skater, Tomahawk, a CCI Junior Coaster with GCI trains and Furious Baco (an Intamin hydraulic launch wing coaster…no comment). Another stand-out was the Intamin Freefall named Hurakon Condor, which featured three sides sporting traditional sit-down seats and two that had stand-up (but no tilt) options. The stand-up seats were definitely a rush and made this tower, which stands approximately 250 feet, a favorite of ours. All-in-all Port Aventura is one of the most well-rounded parks in Europe that takes geographic theming to another level, Mark noted that most of the areas were themed with vegetation native to the theme.

This park was a fantastic foil to Tibidabo and made for a great way to close the week. I wrote this from 30,000 feet as we left Barcelona this morning, so I am going to take a nap so I can enjoy some quiet before getting home to my daughters (and yes, I did buy them something).



The Arrow mine train at the park featured 3 lift hills


Hanging out at Port Aventura.

Gotta Get Myself Connected

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Top Thrill Dragster, a marquee coaster at Cedar Point.

Connectivity. It is a buzzword so overused that it now is probably as useless on some levels as corporate terms like synergy. The flip side of that is because it is no longer a novelty that we live in a connected manner, it is an expectation. A staple of good airports is now considered to be wife access and power plugs, the ones where you have to sit on filthy carpet propping up a loose cord as it falls out of a wall outlet are just considered embarrassing.

So, when I hear about amusement parks stepping up their game and recognizing that the level of expectations have changed I get excited. One of the best tech applications I have seen in 2016 is Cedar Point’s addition of Wi-Fi on the property and a great app for the park. I recently spoke with Tony Clark, the Director of Communications at Cedar Point. He told me that from their perspective things have definitely changed and while there was no specific tipping point, the Cedar Fair team recognized that there has been a shift in the way people enjoy their park. “As we’d walk through the park and see our guests on their mobile devices, it really told us something. Everywhere we looked, guests were taking selfies, posting on social media, playing games or using our mobile app in the park. I think this has been an ongoing evaluation process over the past few years, but we felt now was the time to jump on it. And with the new technology comes opportunity – how do we use it to not only make the guest experience better, but to also grow the business,” he noted.


The new app ties you into the wait times at each major attraction at the park.

So now guests not only visit the Point, they use their phone as a way to enhance the business. Obviously sharing coaster pics and videos across social media platforms is essentially free advertising for Cedar Point. The park added 200 access points over 364 acres so the goal is that everyone on property can easily get online. Overall the addition was a process that took around two months. In 2015 the chain used Kings Island in Cincinnati as the “test park” for both the Wi-Fi and the app, which Cedar Point rolled out this year. Tony said that the app release coincided with the premier of Valravn, the company’s new-for-2016 B&M dive coaster. “It include new features like ride wait times, embedded Season Pass ability so you can simply use your phone at our entrances, in-app purchases, the new FunPix photo program and more,” he told me.

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The Corkscrew is a classic Arrow coaster along the midway.

Like sporting events and other activities that require a full-day commitment for families, amusement parks need to continue to create ways to enhance guests’ stay while on property. The process that Cedar Fair has taken at Cedar Point and other properties is certainly a huge step in the right direction. Be sure to check out the park’s app and wifi next time you visit and use them to get into line on two thrilling Ride Entertainment attractions- the Skycoaster® and Slingshot.


Part Steel Coaster, Part Virtual Reality: All Thrills

This spring it was exciting to see Dare Devil Dive, a Gerstlauer project we were involved in during the 2011 season, transformed into a new experience. With the addition of a personalized VR system for each rider the coaster was updated and rebranded The New Revolution.

3SFOG_TheNewRevolution_KeyArtFinalI spoke with Gene Petriello, Communications Manager at Six Flags over Georgia about the ride’s transformation. He said, “It was a very unique project for us and we were excited to create the first VR Coaster in North America. We tested the demo during the IAAPA Convention in November and felt that the technology would be great to roll out across the Six Flags chain. Six Flags over Georgia was chosen to open the first of these VR experiences.”

The technology comes from VR Coasters, a sister company to MACK Rides. It uses a Samsung Galaxy with an Oculus headset and each train has a box that monitors the vehicle’s location along the track so that the system always knows where the vehicle is and keeps the VR video in sync with the coaster’s location. This is important because the guests sees actions in the video that mimic the experience they feel from the physics of the ride. For instance, as Dare Devil Dive speeds down the first drop riders see their plane flying down the side of a skyscraper.

SFOG_DareDevilDive (2)Gene said that the guest response was phenomenal. “People love it because the technology is original and new. We have found that 8 or 9 guests out of 10 want to try it,” he noted.

This summer Six Flags rolled out VR experiences at nearly every property. From Larson Giant Loops to Intamin Hyper Coasters where you can fly with Superman, this theme park chain has dipped their toes into what will become even more immersive technology. Want to go for a spin? Check out the coaster at Six Flags over Georgia and Six Flags parks nationwide: www.SixFlags.com .