Ride Entertainment Grows Team

Ride Entertainment is pleased to announce personnel hires in each of their business sectors throughout 2017.

“It has been a very exciting time for us,” said Ed Hiller, Ride Entertainment CEO. “Our strength has always been in the way we are the only company to serve every facet of the industry. We are thrilled that success has allowed us to bring on experienced team members who will help further grow Ride Entertainment,” he noted.

The new team members include:

  • Lance Beatty- Operations Manager: Skycoaster® & Financial Partnerships
  • Manny Gonzalez- Managing Partner: TZ Entertainment
  • Jon Meeker- Sales Manager: Sales Division
  • Amanda Mercado- Technical Manager: Installation Division
  • Eli Parawan- Marketing & Sales Director: Operations Division

lance-beatty-ride-entertainmentIn early 2017, Lance Beatty joined the team to work with the company’s Financial Partnerships Division and Skycoaster. Lance worked at a bank in Portland, Maine for 10 years and, as such, joined the team with strong customer relations and financial backgrounds. His focus for our team is Skycoaster site certifications and working hand-in-hand with the company’s revenue share partners such as amusement parks.

eli-parawan-ride-entertainmentEli Parawan is the Marketing and Sales Director for Ride Entertainment’s Operations Division. She comes to the company previously holding key roles in small business development, primarily creating and implementing strategic initiatives in various forms of audience expansion and lead generation. From non-profit work, sales, marketing, event production, and conceptual design to execution, she has worked in spheres that align her professional skill-set with her personal interests.

“My time with Ride Entertainment has been pleasantly dynamic and demanding. I get to work with a group of highly-talented people and represent a company that inspires us to work with excellence,” she said.

Jon-Meeker-ride-entertainmentJon Meeker began his career working in Finance beginning with Washington Mutual in 2003. In 2008 Jon joined the theme park industry with a position on the attractions operations team with the Walt Disney Company at The Disneyland Resort.  Over the more than 6 years with the Walt Disney Company Meeker worked with Attractions Operations Team, Youth Education Series, Disney University, and Guest Relations teams.  Spending the majority of his time as facilitator with the Disney University and a team leader and VIP tour guide with Guest Relations.

Meeker left Disney in 2014 to spend time training and developing business consultants with the Small Business Growth Alliance before joining Ride Entertainment in May of 2017.   Of the new position Meeker said, “I am thrilled to be reentering the Amusement Industry with Ride Entertainment.   Amusement parks have been a passion of mine since visiting Knott’s Berry Farm as a child with my family and I am thrilled to be working with such an incredible team.”

Manny-Gonzalez-ride-entertainmentOver the summer, Manny Gonzalez joined as Managing Director of TZ Entertainment, Ride Entertainment’s key revenue share investing arm for new projects at zoos, aquariums and amusement parks. He has a long history within the attractions industry, notably being Park President at Six Flags Mexico as it underwent over twenty million dollars of investment. In addition, his experience in development includes the expansion of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium into a 580-acre regional entertainment complex with a water park, theme park, golf course- a $180 million project that attracts over 2 million visitors per year.

Gonzalez serves on the board of Donald Woods Winnicott School in Mexico, and RX Entertainment, and has served as a board member for Scrum Alliance, Hawaiian Falls Water Parks, , the Dublin Convention and Visitors Bureau, The National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA), The Hispanic Association of Corporate Responsibility (HACR), and the United Methodist Children’s Home, Park Street S.A. de C.V.

amanda-mercado-ride-entertainmentAmanda Mercado is the company’s most recent hire. She has experience working for both ride manufacturers, such as S&S, as well as Six Flags parks. Mercado is working in the company’s Installation Division and will be erecting rides as well as working on attraction rehabs and inspections. She is currently on site at Knott’s Berry Farm where the company is erecting the park’s newest Gerstlauer coaster, Hangtime.

Mercado found her passion for the amusement industry when she first started as a ride operator at 18 years old.  After holding several different positions in operations, she moved into the maintenance side of park operations. She said that she has a true interest in troubleshooting, maintaining, working on, and riding all amusement rides. “I’m excited for the opportunity to work with a group that has such diverse experience in the industry,” she noted. Mercado graduated from Springfield College with a degree in Business Management.

Hiller is thrilled with the wide range of people that have joined Ride Entertainment. “Our team should reflect our customer base, and we are working to ensure that it is comprised of people from many different racial backgrounds, men and women, and the LGBTQ community. Ride Entertainment’s strength is from the diversity of opinions that we have cultivated in our family,” said Hiller.

SkySled™ Takes Flight

Skycoaster is proud to introduce the SkySled harness to the industry. IAAPA Expo attendees will be able to see the new harness at the Ride Entertainment booth (5820) and find out how thrill seekers can experience a Skycoaster® in an entirely new way!

Since its inception Skycoaster® has proven to be not only the most successful extreme thrill ride in the world but also an iconic brand in the attractions industry. It delivers an exhilarating ride experience coupled with an impeccable safety record.

For over 25 years, flyers have soared in custom-designed Flight Suits as they lay flat and flew.  The new SkySled places riders in a seated position for a completely new experience.  Riders are now winched to the top of the launch tower with the ability to take in the amazing view around them.

Upon hearing the familiar “3-2-1, Fly!”, the ripcord is pulled and the SkySled treats flyers to an exhilarating experience similar to jumping off a cliff or base jumping. The new visuals coupled with the amazing freefall and swing experience offer a completely new thrill on an established attraction.

“We researched different ways to deliver a new rider experience with our iconic attraction and feel the SkySled accomplished this. It offers a visual and sensation combination that is both incredibly thrilling while also complementing our existing prone flight experience perfectly, stated Mark Rosenzweig, Skycoaster’s Managing Director.  “The new experience will serve both as a means for existing fans of the attraction to fly in a completely new way, while also offering our clients a plethora of combination pricing package opportunities to offer their guests so that they may experience both flight experiences.”

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Ride Entertainment has owned Skycoaster for over a decade and continues to grow the brand worldwide. “We are proud to have Skycoaster as part of our family,” said Ed Hiller, CEO of Ride Entertainment. “It is a thrill ride with one of the attractions industry’s best safety records and offers the best return on investment you can find. That is a powerful combination and we are excited to offer new experiences on a fantastic ride,” he continued.

 

The new harness will be available for new and all existing Skycoaster® sites in early 2018 and will be compatible with all existing Skycoaster® equipment.

Two World-Record Roller Coasters Coming to Nickelodeon Universe At American Dream

East Rutherford, NJ (November 2, 2017) The indoor Nickelodeon Universe theme park at American Dream will feature two record-breaking roller coasters by Gerstlauer.  They consist of an intertwined Launched Euro-Fighter with a beyond-vertical drop and a Spinning Coaster whose cars rotate on a vertical axis as they move along the track.

“Featuring the best in family and adult entertainment, Nickelodeon Universe at American Dream has been designed to appeal to customers of all ages.  By working with the best partners in the business, our park experience will be highly themed and offer one of a kind rides by Gerstlauer,” Don Ghermezian, President Triple Five.

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The Euro-Fighter boasts the world record for the steepest roller coaster drop, while the Spinning Coaster will hold the titles of the world’s tallest and longest free spinning roller coaster. The two roller coasters will be intertwined, which means the combined 14 vehicles will run in and around each other. The kinetic energy in the space will be amazing and feature non-stop action.

“These two coasters, appealing to thrill seekers, will break three world-records combined!”  Gerstlauer has far exceeded our expectations with these new to market coasters and we’re excited to have them on this journey with us,” commented Gary Hanson, a management consultant at Triple Five.

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“We have worked on many projects, but this will be unlike anything we have ever designed. Visitors to Nickelodeon Universe at American Dream are in for a great ride,” said Siegfried Gerstlauer, Managing Director of Gerstlauer Amusement Rides.

Visitors from around the world will see a large scale model of the roller coasters in the Gerstlauer booth (4847) at the IAAPA Expo in Orlando, Florida from November 14-17. In addition, they can learn more about the experience at the booth of Gerstlauer’s sales partner, Ride Entertainment (5820).

“It has really been an honor for us to go on this journey with Triple Five,” said Adam Sandy, Chief Business Development Officer with Ride Entertainment. “In many ways the Spinning Coaster at their Mall of America property kicked off Gerstlauer’s growth in North America, and they have subsequently put three additional rides in their Minnesota and Edmonton properties. The two new rides at American Dream will take Gerstlauer’s thrills to the next level,” he said.

 

The Skywarp Lands!

Vallejo, CA, USA (August 31, 2017): “Skywarp, one of the amusement industry’s most anticipated new attractions, has its first home Six Flags Entertainment Corporation announced today that the first Skywarp will be landing at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, CA for the 2018 season.

This exciting experience offers 32 passengers a unique journey as they board the competing ride vehicles. The train rocks back and forth, building up to full speed before completing several thrilling forward and reverse rotations through the twin Immelmann inversions. The two trains duel one another and riders see the fear and fun in the faces of other riders.

Jeff Pike, founding partner of Skyline Attractions, said that everyone at the company is thrilled to be working with Six Flags once more. “Six Flags continues to look for innovation in the theme park industry and we are very happy those chose Skywarp for as part of their 2018 plans. They are a great partner and always are pushing the thrill ride envelope. We feel that this ride will be a great addition to the collection of thrills found at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.”

You can see the park’s awesome theme by clicking here and visiting the Six Flags Discovery Kingdom website to see what a unique experience Skywarp will be. Also, stop by and learn more about the ride breaking the thrill-cost barrier at booth 5808 at the 2017 IAAPA Attractions Expo this November.

Ride Stats.

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Casino Pier Opens Hydrus

Seaside Heights, NJ, USA (June, 2017): Crowds gathered in early summer to celebrate the opening of the Hydrus roller coaster at Casino Pier. The ride, a Gerstlauer Euro-Fighter, was one of the centerpieces of a multi-million dollar rebuilding effort on the part of the family that owns the pier.

Maria Mastoris, Marketing Manager at Casino Pier, said, “Since Superstorm Sandy, our rebuilding plans were all geared towards fortifying the infrastructure to protect against any potential future loss. We [now] have a great roller coaster to replace the JetStar and a new Ferris wheel on our expanded pier that will bring a lot of excitement to the property and springboard us into more new and exciting things in the future.”

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was on-hand during the opening ceremonies and celebrated the coaster as a symbol of the state’s recovery from the storm. He noted, “In the same way that the Jet Star was the iconic symbol of what happened here during superstorm Sandy, the Hydrus is now going to be forever the iconic symbol of the comeback of the Jersey Shore from Hurricane Sandy.”

The roller coaster, which features green track and blue columns, sports an exciting start with a chain lift that goes straight up into the sky. Once the ride crests the top of the hill the car heads towards the ground as it speeds down a 97-degree first drop. Riders then head through three inversions before the coaster returns to the station.

Siegfried Gerstlauer, Managing Director of Gerstlauer Amusement Rides, said, “We were extremely honored that Casino Pier chose Gerstlauer to provide their new coaster. Obviously with everything the park has been through the resilience of the owners is impressive. We think the project turned out fantastic and the vertical lift and beyond-vertical drop has created a new icon along the Jersey Shore.”

Since opening the ride has been prominently featured in national news coverage. Hydrus was featured in a segment on NBC News, listed as one of the 6 best new coasters on ABC News, and received significant regional coverage in The New York Times, USA Today, and the Washington Post, among others. Casino Pier was also recently chosen as the Top Jersey Shore Attraction in New Jersey Monthly magazine.

Adam Sandy, Chief Business Development Officer at Ride Entertainment, said that the experience was a great one for all involved. “We were fortunate to begin speaking with Casino Pier very early in the rebuilding process. Because the coaster was being built on a pier the park had some very specific requirements on size and weight distribution. We were thrilled with the resulting ride and working with Casino Pier was a great partnership, it was our second project with them in 24 months.” Ride Entertainment both sold the attraction for Gerstlauer and installed the coaster for Casino Pier.

Mastoris said that Gerstlauer was great to work with. “After looking at several different companies, it was decided that this coaster gave us everything we needed – thrills, excitement, a coaster that families can ride with a good rider height, good capacity, and fit in the footprint we had planned for it.  All we hear from is how much fun the coaster is, and how smooth and quiet it is! That makes everything from rebuilding from Superstorm Sandy to today feel worth it. When we finally opened Hydrus, it was a very big moment. We can now say we are fully back and can close the books on the ‘Superstorm era,’” she said.

Hydrus sports the newest Euro-Fighter vehicles, which Gerstlauer has been working on for some time. Siegfried Gerstlauer said, “This Euro-Fighter represents the culmination of evolution for this vehicle design. We have been improving it for several years and it offers a more comfortable and open rider experience.”

Bret Ulozas, a noted Seaside Heights amusements historian and the New Jersey representative for the American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE), said, “From a historical perspective it is an iconic roller coaster for future generations. From the coaster enthusiast point of view, it is smooth and well-paced, everyone wants to ride it again and again.”

Casino Pier (https://casinopiernj.com) is open daily. Stop by and enjoy the thrills of Hydrus this summer in Seaside Heights, New Jersey.

Ride Stats.

Manufacturer: Gerstlauer Amusement Rides (Germany)

Model: Euro-Fighter 320

Height: 72 feet (22 meter)

Track Length: 1,049 feet (320 meter)

Number of Vehicles: 2

Elements:

  • Vertical Lift
  • 97-Degree Beyond-Vertical Drop
  • 3 Inversions: Vertical Loop, Cutback and Heartline Roll

The Skywarp Cometh!

Orlando, FL, USA (July 1, 2017) – Skyline Attractions has altered the landscape of thrill rides with its latest scream maker- Skywarp. Skyline is excited to announce the sale of their first of many Skywarps, which will make its public debut in the summer of 2018. This exciting experience offers 32 passengers a unique journey as they board the competing ride vehicles. The train begins rocking back and forth, building up to full speed before completing several thrilling forward and reverse rotations through the twin Immelmann inversions.

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The unique concept was first shown to the world at the 2016 IAAPA Attractions Expo in Orlando, Florida. This annual event is the world’s largest showcase rides and the Skywarp was one of the most unique concepts displayed. This innovative attraction combines the speed, inversions, and capacity of a big coaster with a fraction of the necessary investment needed.  The clever design of Skywarp allows it to deliver the thrills a modern rider expects, with the reliability, ease of maintenance and ultra-compact footprint that fits in nearly any park.

“Skywarp has everything that operators of all sizes desire: Big impact, big thrills, big visibility, and big capacity with a small footprint and a small price,” said Evan Souliere, founding partner of Skyline Attractions.

The small 120 foot by 30 foot footprint allows for the placement of the attraction in nearly any location, and topping out at 62 feet in height it can even fit in many indoor locations.

“The flexibility of Skywarp, combined with the excitement it delivers to guests, makes it a great addition to any park.  We are thrilled to be placing the first of what we believe will be many Skywarp attractions,” commented Chris Gray, Vice President at Skyline Attractions. “Stop by and see us at booth 5808 at the 2017 IAAPA Attractions Expo as we unveil where the first Skywarp will be taking guests on a wild ride.”

Ride Entertainment is the sales partner for Skyline Attractions.

Ride Stats.

  • Height: 62 feet (19 meters)
  • Footprint: 120 feet X 30 feet (37m X 9m)
  • Track Length: 360 feet (110 m)
  • Instant Capacity: 32
  • Hourly Capacity: 800 pph

SkyTrans Manufacturing, LLC Partners With Ride Entertainment

Singapore at the IAAPA Asian Attractions Expo (June, 2017) – SkyTrans Manufacturing, a leading supplier in aerial tramways, has chosen Ride Entertainment as their sales partner.  The companskytrans-cover-photo-ride-entertainment-hersheypark-hershey-pennsylvaniay specializes in aerial ropeway design, manufacturing, and service.

“We are pleased to announce that SkyTrans has formed an exclusive partnership with Ride Entertainment for the sale of our product line of Aerial Ropeways (Chairlifts & Gondolas) to the Amusement Industry throughout the world, which includes Amusement Parks, Large FEC’s, Waterparks and Zoo’s. We selected Ride Entertainment because of their stellar reputation in the industry and their ability to provide all of the services to back up our products such as financing and installation. We look forward to working with them for the future,” said Jerry Pendleton, President of SkyTrans Mfg., LLC.

SkyTrans products can be found in popular amusement parks like the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Hersheypark and Knoebels. In addition, their product is a favorite among zoos, with world-class facilities like the Henry Doorly Zoo and Zoologico Guadalahara choosing the SkyTrans skyrides for their facilities.

“Ride Entertaiment is thrilled to partner with SkyTrans,” said Adam Sandy, Ride Entertainment’s Chief Business Development Officer.  “SkyTrans offers a unique product that is accessible to parks of all sizes that is sure to thrill and delight guests around the world. Our partnership allows for both sales of the ride and in certain cases revenue share financial partnerships, which means our customers have a myriad of options,” he said.

Visit the Skytrans and Sky Ride pages on the site to learn more.

Interactive System Upgrade at Lake Compounce Increases Guest Enjoyment and Uptime

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The family dark ride “Ghost Hunt” at Lake Compounce was upgraded to provide a better interactive experience for both visitors and the park management team while keeping the story alive. Lagotronics Projects provided a new interactive system for the ride.

Lake Compounce in Bristol (Connecticut, USA) is the oldest, continuously-operating amusement park in North America. The park has invested in rides and attractions during the recent years, and today it’s more beautiful than ever.

The dark ride Ghost Hunt, situated in a haunted house, is an entertaining experience for the entire family! In 2016 Lake Compounce got in touch with Adam Sandy from Ride Entertainment to discuss the possibilities of an upgrade. The interactive system in the ride had become outdated and required a lot of maintenance. It required a whole new, contemporary interactive system but the ride’s theme and story was not altered. In addition, they were looking for a reliable partner that could provide long-term support. That’s why Lagotronics Projects was introduced into the project.

“Since our first meeting with Lagotronics Projects on the Ghost Hunt project, we knew that we were working with a ‘first class’ company and that the guns and targeting system on the ride would be a huge hit with our guests.  The quality, craftsmanship and dedication from Lagotronics Projects was of the highest standard and we are sure our guests will notice right away,” said Jerry Brick, the park’s general manager.

The new shooters use LED’s and feature no mechanical wear parts. Combined with new speakers and personal scoring displays in the vehicles the ride is up to date again. The interactive devices also offer increased accuracy, a larger shooting range and audio feedback when fired in order to increase the enjoyment of those brave enough to collect ghouls for points. Furthermore, all targets and IR sensors on the ride were replaced and the system was incorporated in the scenery. At the end of the ride, a new large scoreboard was installed, which shows the individual visitor scores, the high score of the day, week, month or the best of the season. Last but not least the Ghosts Hunt’s showcontrol system was replaced in order to bring maintenance to an absolute minimum. This offers great possibilities for the park team because they can change the ride’s scoring difficulty and target interactions based upon guest feedback. The software is able to trigger numerous events when a target is hit and can be changed very easy, enabling Lake Compounce to connect with their guests in Social Media, respond to their comments, and interact with the fans.

“The technology allows us to utilize software that offers parks interactivity which wasn’t available ten years ago,” said Mark Beumers, CEO of Lagotronics Projects. “Our systems not only offer reliability for park owners, but the storytelling technology that we provide is different than other companies. With our ability to change scoring difficulty, output results to social media and integrate our technology into existing attractions we feel that Lagotronics Projects is offering a guest experience unlike anyone else in the attractions industry.”

In short: the new equipment tremendously increases uptime and guest (and park) enjoyment of the existing attraction and storyline!

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Dollywood Opens Drop Line

Pigeon Forge, TN, USA (May, 2017) – Dollywood has dubbed 2017 the “year of the family”. The park’s goal was to appeal to every type of rider through different attractions. For the thrill seeker in each family their addition was a 200-foot Skyfall drop ride from Funtime of Austria.

The ride experience offers two distinct segments, sightseeing and thrill. After they board the 24 passengers are secured via a lap bar restraint. The lifting rig pulls the ring of seats skyward and the seats rotate around the tower twice. As riders go higher they receive an unparalleled view of the Smoky Mountains. The tower peaks above the valley so that guests get a sweeping view of Dollywood and the tree-covered region and it is a vista unlike anywhere else in Tennessee.

“Drop Line is the perfect new attraction for Dollywood,” said the park’s General Manager Gene Scherrer. “We have a number of unique rides, but this one is unlike anything else here. Our guests will have a chance to enjoy the beautiful Smoky Mountain scenery as they rise up the tower, but once they get to the top, the anticipation of the drop will certainly create memories they’ll remember for quite some time,” he added with a laugh.

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The tower is set in the Timber Canyon area of the park and has become a new icon for the property. The first challenge Funtime overcame was re-purposing the existing foundation. The ride stands where the former Timber Tower attraction ran, and that ride required large amounts of concrete. Funtime engineered a custom embed and bottom tower section that extended about 15 feet below grade and tied into Dollywood’s existing foundation. By allowing the park to re-use the existing foundation Funtime saved Dollywood a significant amount of money in the process.

The final ride experience has been a hit for the park and offers park-goers a new way to enjoy the world-famous theme park.  “We were thrilled that Dollywood chose to work with Funtime,” said Hannes Lackner, Funtime’s company’s General Manager. “To have our first U.S. Skyfall drop ride in such a beautiful park is special for us,” he noted.

“Dollywood has been a great showcase for Ride Entertainment and its partners,” said Adam Sandy, Chief Business Development Officer for Ride Entertainment. “We have been working with Herschend Family Entertainment for over a decade and they continue to amaze us with the creative theming concepts they come up with for our hardware.”

The ride was also installed by Ride Entertainment’s Installation Division. You can ride Drop Line at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, which is open every day.

Snap Stats.

Tower Height 200 feet (61 meters)

Instant Capacity: 24

Hourly Capacity: 600 pph

Theme: Drop Line, a 200-foot tall free fall over the wooded rustic landscape.