Archive for the Amusement Park Ride News Category

Amusement Ride Safety Considerations – The Manufacturer Manual

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011 | Permalink

by Joel Block | ezinearticles.com

It is the responsibility of every hirer, operator or attendant to familiarize themselves with the Ride Operation Manual before they undertake the operation of any amusement ride.

Ride Operation Manuals are the key to the safe operation of amusement rides and include daily checklists, logs, emergency instructions, lock-out procedures, hand signals, operator safety and other specific operating instructions. In addition, information regarding boarding and disembarking of passengers, checking of passenger restraint systems and ride operation are also included. It is extremely important that hirers, operators or attendants are completely familiar with all aspects of the ride that they are operating.

Just as airplane pilots are required to go through a pre-flight procedure, amusement ride hirers, operators or attendants have a specific Safety Checklist that they must complete and sign every day before admitting the public to the ride. Since this checklist is a legal document and can be used as evidence in case of a claim, it must be signed and dated properly in ink. The person who performed the action is the person whose signature should appear on the checklist. The shift supervisor will review and sign the checklist also. Any problems and concerns that arise during the pre-opening check completion must be corrected before the ride opens to the public.

Rocket-themed space train, available at pursuitzone.com.

In addition to the Safety Checklist, amusement ride hirers, operators or attendants should maintain a daily Log to keep a record of the ride’s operational history. It is especially important to keep a record of any unusual occurrences regarding the ride’s operation. When there is an unusual occurrence, the amusement ride hirers, operators or attendants should stop the ride using the emergency shut-down procedures and notify the relevant people and authorities. They should also make a notation of the stoppage and its cause in the Log.

The hirer, operator or attendant is in charge of all the controls that operate the ride. The ride’s Start, Stop and Emergency Stop buttons are all controlled by the hirer, operator or attendant. Some rides require the hirer, operator or attendant to constantly keep a foot or a hand on a special switch while the ride is operating in order to keep it running.

Important!! This control must never disabled for any reason.

Hirers, operators or attendants must remain at their posts until they are certain that the ride has come to a complete stop before boarding and/or disembarking passengers. It is essential to remind passengers that they must remain in place and strapped in until the ride stops completely.

When a ride requires the presence of more than one hirer, operator or attendant, one of them must constantly remain at the controls while the ride is in motion, and should never leave the controls without ascertaining that the ride has been reasonably secured against unauthorized operation. In case of an emergency, the hirer/operator/attendant will shut the ride down according to the emergency shutdown procedures.

Hirers, operators or attendants should never remove or attempt to remove sick or injured passengers from a ride that it still in motion. They should never leave the controls until the ride has come to a complete stop.

There are also important considerations to be taken into account when boarding and disembarking passengers:

  • Before boarding a ride, the passengers must adhere to the ride restrictions as posted and the hirers, operators or attendants must enforce all posted restrictions
  • It is necessary to ensure that certain types of rides are balanced when boarding passengers. Therefore, the hirers, operators or attendants must have the passengers fill up cars opposite each other. When in doubt, hirers, operators or attendants should check with their supervisor or the ride manual that this is the case for the ride they are operating.

It is important to ascertain that the passengers:

  • Remain seated until the ride stops completely
  • Keep their hands and feet inside the ride, especially while the ride is moving
  • Grasp hand holds and lap bars while the ride is in motion
  • Observe the No Smoking rules while on the ride, whether it is moving or not

It is important that the passengers completely understand the rules, and what is expected of them while they are on the ride. Therefore, if the ride is equipped with a loudspeaker, hirers, operators or attendants should use it to announce the rules periodically so that passengers will hear them and become familiar with them while they are waiting their turn to board the ride. If necessary, the hirers, operators or attendants should read from a prepared text to maintain the announcement’s clarity.

Obviously, this is not a comprehensive list of all amusement ride safety regulations. However, if hirers, operators or attendants and passengers all follow these rules and cooperate with each other, everyone will safely enjoy their time at the amusement park. Note these rules apply to both new and used amusement park rides.

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AMUSEMENT PARK RIDE: SAFETY, DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011 | Permalink

iaapa.org

Technological progress has continually transformed the way we live, work, and play for hundreds of years, particularly in the last half-century. These changes have affected every aspect of life, including the attractions industry and its amusement rides.

While the design and development of amusement rides has always required a mastery of physics, engineering, and mathematics, the introduction of computers, advanced materials, and certain design innovations has resulted in an increasingly rigorous, complex, and precise creative process. This process, together with the current regulatory system of state oversight and internal and external inspections, has produced an extraordinary safety record that demonstrates amusement rides are one of the safest forms of recreation available to the public.

Today’s ride designers are building upon the solid foundation laid by prior generations, as a considerable amount of both equipment and ideas is based on time-tested technological principles and breakthroughs. For years, rides have included fail-safe defaults, which ensure that, in the case of a power outage or other external event, vehicles come to rest in a safe position and remain there until passengers are evacuated according to a pre-arranged plan or the ride is re-started.

Additionally, rides have long been equipped with redundant safety mechanisms in critical areas, which provide a backup in case of failure of the primary system. Likewise, many ride aspects have historically been “over designed” so that they contain safety features and construction material over and above what is structurally necessary. More recent advances have allowed the industry to use this experience as a springboard to creating new rides and attractions.

Perhaps the most crucial of these advances is the computer and its far-reaching impact on ride design, manufacture, and operation. Designers employ modeling software to manipulate a large number of elements quickly and easily, thus optimizing a ride’s final layout and providing a complete analysis of its performance, structural integrity, and g-force parameters. In addition, computer-based manufacturing techniques have made the fabrication of various ride and attraction components even more technically precise. Computers have also played a key role in the continual improvement of ride operation, as park personnel use central control units and numerous high-tech sensors to constantly monitor all aspects of a ride. Consequently, mid-ride adjustments, activation of themed elements, and automatic system shutdowns occur faster and more accurately than ever before.

Incorporation of advanced materials has led to new ride developments as well. Coasters are still exploring the possibilities that were opened to them with the advent of tubular steel tracks and polyurethane wheels. The use of lightweight fiberglass and plastics has contributed to the improvement of various rides and attractions, including carousels, animatronics, and bumper cars. Several types of thrill rides, especially coasters, employ vibration-dampening material to provide structural enhancement.

Design innovations have also spurred ride advances. “Locking” coasters on the track via a three-wheeled device (top, side, & bottom) has produced a whole new world of twists, turns, and inversions. Modern catapult-type launch systems powered by pneumatics and linear electric motors have expanded the creative options available to many ride manufacturers. The integration of special effects, motion simulation, and/or theming within ride environments has resulted in a wider array of experiences.

Above all, this tradition of continual improvement has greatly enhanced ride safety, through the introduction of force reactive supports, headrests, comfort padding, seat dividers, ratcheted restraints, computer controls, and magnetic braking systems.

Both established ride features and more recent innovations have been incorporated into the ASTM International ride safety standards. For more than three decades, the industry has worked with the ASTM Committee F-24 on Amusement Rides and Devices in the development of these exacting voluntary standards. The committee is composed of members of the industry, representatives of the general public, and government entities such as the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Where applicable, biodynamic data is incorporated into the development process, thereby producing ride system guidelines which can safely accommodate the broadest segment of the population. The ASTM International standards undergo frequent review and revision to keep up with the latest technologies, and have been adopted by state and local jurisdictions throughout the country.

With their predecessors’ time-tested knowledge and the ASTM standards at their disposal, modern-day ride designers have employed this steady stream of advances to create new and unique attractions which are more thrilling yet safe in all respects. These thrills often derive from the use of dynamic forces that are commonly referenced to gravity and thus called g-forces (Gs). Ride manufacturers have collected and studied relevant data on g-forces for years, subsequently applying this biodynamic knowledge to the design and construction of rides to ensure a safe experience.

While technological gains have led to the development of bigger rides, overall g-force levels have generally not changed that much in the past two or three decades because riders’ tolerance levels haven’t changed – people are the same today as they were in 1970. Instead, the very technological and design improvements which have allowed for a more thrilling and faster ride have simultaneously helped produce an even safer ride in all aspects, including Gs.

A key point to remember regarding this issue is that equally important to the magnitude of g-forces is their rate of onset and their duration, as well as a multitude of other variables. When it comes to the higher-g sections of amusement rides, exposure lasts but a few seconds at most and often fractions of a second, so before a rider feels any adverse effect, the force is already past. In marked contrast, blackouts and other health matters associated with Gs require exposure to g-forces which are either greater in magnitude or of much longer duration than those achieved by today’s rides.

As the guardian of this special history, the industry remains committed to providing guests with new and safe experiences in a responsible and professional manner.

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AMUSEMENT RIDE OPERATOR TRAINING

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011 | Permalink

iaapa.org

When people visit amusement facilities, their primary focus is having fun. Guests expect that a facility will be safe and its personnel well-trained, but most do not realize the lengths to which facilities go in meeting and surpassing such expectations. Crucial to these efforts is the industry’s widespread use of formalized operational procedures and programs, including in the area of training.

Amusement facilities know that properly trained ride personnel are an important part of providing guests with a fun and safe visit. Employees are trained using procedures established by the facility working together with manufacturers and insurers, and in accordance with relevant public laws. Training products and guidelines from the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), other industry groups, and advisory bodies like ASTM International are also used. These processes are constantly documented, standardized, practiced, and upgraded.

Front-line personnel are screened for important characteristics, such as the polite but firm assertiveness needed to ensure that ride rules are being followed. This deliberate and sequential manner extends to staff development, as personnel are instructed as admission or loading attendants before training to be operators, and operators of simple rides are brought along step-by-step before graduating to more complex rides.

Training is on a continual basis and includes: operations, admissions, ride systems, accessibility for guests with disabilities, maintenance, and emergency procedures. In addition to “hands-on” instruction with more experienced staff, ride operators commonly receive training through case studies, structured drills, group discussions, and/or seminar presentations.

Additionally, facilities document and validate the training which takes place. Parks and attractions work with manufacturers and others to develop a range of manuals, checklists, and logbooks in establishing an operational program for each ride. Only after employees earn the required authorization through this training process are they then permitted to staff a ride.

To assist in this educational activity, IAAPA and other industry groups offer a variety of informative training manuals and videotapes and manufacturers sponsor a host of well-attended operations and safety workshops where the latest standards and techniques are shared and discussed.

Trained and qualified ride operators and attendants are only one element in a facility’s total safety program. Together with a ride’s own redundant safety and operational mechanisms that reduce the likelihood of staff error, various daily internal checks, and one or more outside inspections, front-line personnel help make amusement rides one of the safest forms of recreation available to the public. In addition, through “Guest Relations” offices, signage, and verbal directions, parks work to enlist their visitors as partners in enjoying rides safely and correctly.

Overall, the training of amusement ride employees draws on the resources of manufacturers, regulatory bodies, advisory groups like ASTM International, industry associations, emergency/rescue agencies, insurance companies, and the facilities themselves. The industry takes pride in its comprehensive training programs and its commitment to staffing parks and attractions with well-trained personnel who are dedicated to providing guests with a fun and safe visit every time out.

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ROLLER COASTER LOOPHOLE SURVIVES COMMITTEE DEBATE, MARKEY SECURES HEARING FOR ISSUE

Thursday, May 26th, 2011 | Permalink

markey.house.gov

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This afternoon, the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted against closing a dangerous safety loophole that places fixed-site amusement park rides outside the jurisdiction of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA) has introduced legislation every Congress since 1999 to restore CPSC’s authority over fixed-site rides and offered an amendment to that effect today during committee consideration of H.R. 4040, the Consumer Product Safety Modernization Act. Though his amendment failed by a vote of 10 in favor and 25 opposed, Rep. Markey secured a promise for the first-ever congressional hearing devoted to this subject.

“While I am disappointed by today’s vote, I am pleased that my colleagues have realized this issue warrants the attention of a congressional hearing. For too long, Congress has ignored the roller coaster loophole, preventing the CPSC from investigating accidents on thrill rides that hurtle children at speeds approaching 100 miles per hour.

“The CPSC lacks the authority to require park operators to share information about an accident with operators of the same ride in other states. This makes no sense whatsoever,” said Rep. Markey.

While the amusement park industry has fought hard against closing this loophole, yesterday Rep. Markey released a letter from a former senior executive in the amusement park industry who expressed support for Rep. Markey’s efforts to close the loophole.

Jim Prager, a former industry senior executive and board member of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), the trade association of the amusement park ride industry, was closely involved in the successful efforts to exempt fixed-site amusement rides from CPSC jurisdiction in 1981 and again in 1984. In his letter he stated that:

“Insurance programs mandated by states or maintained by the operating amusement park companies are often touted as assuring ride safety but many of these programs have gaping holes rendering the programs essentially meaningless. Some state licensing or inspection programs were created to serve not the public, but the industry, providing an illusory aura of safety.”

“The cost-cutting of the last 25 years has reduced the industry capacity for safety,” Mr. Prager added. “I now believe that I was wrong 25 years ago and that the industry should be regulated.”

“As a former industry executive involved in the successful effort to exempt fixed-site rides from CPSC authority in 1981 and again in 1984, Mr. Prager’s comments should be a clarion call to raise awareness about the need to close this dangerous loophole now. Until now, the industry line has been that federal oversight is not needed, but as Mr. Prager observes, self-regulation and a patchwork of state regulations are not enough to prevent tragic accidents from occurring,” Rep. Markey said.

The nation’s leading safety agency, the CPSC, oversees the safety of carnival (“mobile”) rides, but is prohibited from overseeing the safety of park (“fixed-site”) rides. Rep. Markey is seeking to ensure that the CPSC has the authority to investigate accidents, develop and enforce plans to correct defects and act as a national clearinghouse for accident and defect data.

Rep. Markey’s efforts have been endorsed by Consumers Union, the Consumer Federation of America, the National SAFE KIDS Campaign, Saferparks.org, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group and Kids in Danger.

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Markey: Amusement Park Ride Safety Loophole Must Be Closed

Thursday, May 26th, 2011 | Permalink

markey.house.gov

WASHINGTON – Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA) today reiterated his call for Congress close a dangerous loophole in federal safety regulation of fixed-site theme park rides, as the Kentucky Department of Agriculture released the findings of its investigation into the June 2007 accident at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom in which Kaitlyn Lasitter’s feet were severed due to a malfunction while she was riding the “Superman Tower of Power.”

“When it comes to amusement park safety, parents are the ones taken for a ride when they assume all rides are subject to the same safety regulations. The unfortunate truth is that the federal government is actually prevented from taking action to keep fixed-site rides safe, leaving a gigantic ‘regulatory black hole’ for park visitors, raising the risk of more serious injuries and even deaths aboard the rides,” said Rep. Markey.

“Tragic accidents like the one suffered by Kaitlyn Lasitter at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom deserve investigation by the federal consumer safety agency which can develop action plans to ensure that when an accident happens, additional safety measures are implemented at similar rides across the country. Instead, right now the Consumer Product Safety Commission lacks even the authority to require park operators to share information about an accident with operators of the same ride in other states. This makes no sense whatsoever.”

An existing loophole in federal law specifically prohibits the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), our nation’s leading safety agency, from overseeing the safety of amusement park rides (so-called “fixed-site” rides). Last year, Rep. Markey reintroduced the National Amusement Park Ride Safety Act, H.R. 2320, legislation that would close this loophole.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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Park Games Equipment (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd Latest Launch: Accessible Play Series

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011 | Permalink

fig1&2: Overall ACP concept

Our overall “Accessible Play” Park Development Concept includes the main play structure (fig3) which provides a wide wheel-chair accessible ramp, interesting independent items which allow for team play (fig4-6), simple exercise equipments, a run-around-trail with meeting points, educational, play and music panels (fig7), and a play table (fig8) which children can bring along their favorite toys to play in!

fig3: Accessible Play Equipment

fig4: Touch & Go Flags

fig5: Football Maze

fig6: Maze Play

fig7: Braille, Play & Music Panels

fig8: Themed Play Table

With these new items, we hope to make the parks and enjoyable meeting place for everyone, and encourage healthy physical and mental growth among children.

From the Management and Staff of PGE, Best wishes.

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U.S. Parks and Attractions to Unveil Exciting New Experiences in Time for Summer

Friday, April 8th, 2011 | Permalink

iaapa.org

February 28, 2011 – Parks and attractions throughout the United States will debut multimillion-dollar rides and attractions to entertain all ages this summer. From innovative roller coasters, towering swing rides, and exhilarating waterslides to saltwater adventures, family-friendly exhibits, and spectacular shows, there is something for the entire family to enjoy.

“Amusement parks from the Carolinas to the California coast are preparing to open hundreds of millions of dollars of thrilling new attractions for families to enjoy,” said Susan Mosedale, executive vice president and interim chief operating officer of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA). “Ingenuity and excitement drive our industry and this year families will experience both in everything from entirely new parks to amazing new rides and waterslides.”

More than 300 million people visit U.S. amusement parks annually and contribute more than $57 billion to the nation’s economy. Each year IAAPA, the worldwide trade association for the attractions industry, provides a preview of what’s new at amusement parks, waterparks, and attractions in the United States. Here are some of the new attractions opening this summer:

Entirely New Destinations:

In June, Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville, Ore., opens Evergreen Wings & Waves Waterpark. Guests enjoy nearly 70,000 square feet of educational fun, including four waterslides, a wave pool, and a children’s museum dedicated to teaching students about the power of water. Visitors learn about the importance of water and its impact on society through dozens of interactive exhibits and learning experiences. www.evergreenmuseum.org
A rendering is available at www.iaapa.org/pressroom/WhatsNewImages2011.asp.

The 150-acre Legoland Florida theme park opens this fall in Winter Haven, Fla., and features more than 50 rides, Lego models, and other family-oriented; interactive elements. Visitors choose from 10 different lands, including Fun Town, Miniland USA, Land of Adventure, Lego City, Imagination Zone, and Duplo Village. The park is located on the site of Cypress Gardens, Florida’s first theme park. www.LEGOLANDFloridaResort.com

In July, Sea Life Aquarium opens in Grapevine, Texas, features Texas marine life as well as aquatic creatures from around the world. The 45,000-square-foot, two-story facility includes an auditorium with a glass floor and a 360-degree glass tunnel surrounded by sharks and other sea life.
Action-Packed Rides and Attractions Fill Amusement Parks:

Alabama Adventure in Bessemer, Ala., adds “BuzzSaw Falls.” Riders plunge down a five-story chute in a flume creating a spectacular splash that sends walls of water shooting in the air soaking both riders and onlookers. www.alabamaadventure.com

Bay Beach Amusement Park in Green Bay, Wis., adds the 2,500-foot-long roller coaster “Zippin Pippin.” The 90-second ride takes guests over several hills with drops as high as 70 feet at speeds up to 40 miles per hour. http://baybeach.org

“Cheetah Hunt,” a launch-style roller coaster, opens at Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay, Fla. The coaster propels riders from 0 to 60 mph in a matter of seconds three different times during the ride. Riders dive 130 feet into a subterranean trench, fly above a simulated Serengeti plain and speed through an artificial canyon. In addition, a new habitat area, “Cheetah Run,” allows guests to view cheetahs through oversized windows, watch daily cheetah sprints, and use interactive touchscreens to learn about the amazing animal. www.buschgardens.com/bgt/default.aspx

Canobie Lake Park in Salem, N.H., launches the compact Euro-Fighter roller coaster “Untamed.” Grizzly-bear-themed cars take riders up a 75-foot incline to a beyond-verticle drop curving in at 97 degrees before experiencing a compact series of banked curves, loops, twists, turns, and zero-gravity rolls. www.canobie.com
A rendering is available at www.iaapa.org/pressroom/WhatsNewImages2011.asp.

Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, unveils “Windseeker.” Riders spin nearly 30 stories above the Lake Erie shoreline in two-person swings that allow riders’ feet to dangle. They rotate slowly in a circular motion as the swings ascend the tower. At the top, the swings spin at speeds between 25-30 mph, flaring out almost 45 degrees from the tower. www.cedarpoint.com

Discovery Cove in Orlando debuts a new saltwater environment, “Grand Reef.” The 2.5-acre reef has white-sand beaches, underwater grottoes, and a palm tree-lined island. Guests, outfitted in a wetsuit and breathing apparatus, take a “SeaVenture” underwater walking tour along a path 10 feet below the surface through schools of tropical fish and past a million-gallon aquarium with 125 species of fish, rays, and sharks. www.discoverycove.com

Disney California Adventure in Anaheim, Calif., debuts, “The Little Mermaid ‒ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure” as part of a multiyear billion-dollar expansion of the park. The family-friendly dark ride features characters from the popular movie and guests travel in vehicles shaped like clam shells on a simulated underwater journey. http://disneyland.disney.go.com/disneys-california-adventure/

“Barnstormer” opens at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. The swing ride has two pendulum arms that seat 16 passengers each. The swing takes riders progressively higher reaching a peak of 81 feet in the air. The 60-second ride travels 45 mph and has a 230-degree rotation. A barnyard-themed play area and pig pen water play area surround the ride. www.dollywood.com
Images are available at www.dollywood.com/pressroom.html.
B-roll is available from the park upon request.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., debuts “Disney Junior – Live on Stage!” Popular characters come to life with captivating puppets, bright visuals, whimsical scenery, and catchy songs. Preschoolers join the gang from Disney Junior shows like “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse,” “Handy Manny,” and “Little Einsteins” to dance, sing, and play. Older kids can join mom and dad on the remodeled “Star Tours” attraction that features new interstellar routes in the Star Wars galaxy and 3-D destinations. http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/hollywood-studios/
Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari in Santa Claus, Ind., introduces “Rudolph’s Round-Up.” This one-of-a-kind family-friendly ride allows older siblings and parents to ride along with smaller children, who can control how high their sleigh will rise as Rudolph takes flight. After dark, the ride lights up, including Rudolph’s red nose.www.HolidayWorld.com

Kings Island in Mason, Ohio, adds “WindSeeker.” As many as 64 riders in two-person gondolas slowly rotate as they ascend 301 feet in the air. At the top, the swings flare out at a 45-degree angle and spin, reaching speeds up to 30 mph. www.visitkingsisland.com

Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, Calif., opens “WindSeeker,” which features 32 two-person gondolas that climb a 301-foot tower. Once at the top, the ride spreads its arms and swings riders for 60 seconds at a 45 degree angle and 8 rotations per minute. www.knotts.com

Lake Compounce in Bristol, Conn., delivers “Rev-O-Lution.” Riders sit in motorcycle-like seats that face outward as they spin, twist, and rock back and forth a long a track. www.lakecompounce.com.
A rendering is available at www.iaapa.org/pressroom/WhatsNewImages2011.asp.
Images available from the park upon request.

Lagoon Park in Farmington, Utah, unveils its ninth roller coaster, “Bombora.” This family-friendly ride allows parents to enjoy the coaster with their children. www.lagoonpark.com/attractions/rides

Legoland California in Carlsbad, Calif., adds “Star Wars Miniland.” Guests retrace the major events of the Star Wars saga, through scenes made of 1.5 million Lego bricks. Guests can also pose with life-size Lego models of Chewbacca, and Darth Vader. Interactive buttons allow children to start animations throughout the scenes. www.legoland.com
Morey’s Surfside Pier in North Wildwood, N.J. unveils “it.” This spinning swing ride takes guests to heights of 65 feet above the ground. www.MoreysPiers.com
Pirates Voyage replaces Dixie Stampede in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The 300,000-square-foot arena includes a 750,000-gallon, 15-foot-deep indoor lagoon, three pirate ships, interactive show elements, and a 35,000-gallon outside animal habitat. The Pirates Lair and Crow’s Nest provide interactive experiences for guests before they move into the main arena. Guests enjoy a five-course feast as the pirates battle one another in a show that consists of more than two dozen aerialists, divers, dancers, and singers. www.piratesvoyage.com
“The Wooden Warrior,” a 1,200-foot-long wooden roller coaster, debuts at Quassy Amusement Park in Middlebury, Conn. The three-car train reaches a top speed of 35 mph and takes riders down a 40-foot drop and through an enclosed L-shaped turn-around tunnel. www.quassy.com
“Turtle Reef” opens at SeaWorld San Diego in California. The nearly 300,000-gallon aquarium features an underwater viewing window and allows guests to get an up-close look at more than 60 threatened or endangered sea turtles. “Turtlelink,” a touchscreen map that teaches guests about sea turtle tracking, rescue efforts, and conservation. Just outside the aquarium is “Riptide Rescue,” which takes up to 24 guests in 12 gondola-style, open-top designed airboats on a rescue mission as the vehicle swings around a central arm. Also new this year is a new sketch-based comedy show starring two sea lions, “Sea Lions Live.” www.seaworld.com/sdpressroom
An image and rendering is available at www.iaapa.org/pressroom/WhatsNewImages2011.asp.
B-roll is available from the park upon request.
Silver Dollar City adds “Half Dollar Holler” in Branson, Mo. This super-sized play area for kids up to age 7 has treetop fun houses, climbing nets, box crawls, slides, mini-wave swings, and truckloads of sand for play. At the center is the updated hand-carved carousel featuring woodland creatures. www.silverdollarcity.com

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, Calif., unveils a 150-foot tower ride, “SkyScreamer.” Riders spin in a 98-foot circle at a top speed of 43 mph. The entire park is visible from the top of the ride and at night “SkyScreamer” will be lit from top to bottom. www.sixflags.com/discoverykingdom
An image is available at www.iaapa.org/pressroom/WhatsNewImages2011.asp

Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, N.J., launches “Green Lantern,” a stand-up roller coaster. The two-minute, thirty-second ride begins with a 45-degree vertical drop before rocketing riders through five inversions, including a 121-foot-tall loop, a 103-foot dive loop, a 72-foot inclined loop, and twisted double corkscrews. “Green Lantern” stands 15 stories high is made of over three quarters of a mile of twisting green steel. www.sixflags.com/greatAdventure/index.aspx
Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, Calif., adds three roller coasters, bringing its total to 18. The new rides at Magic Mountain include: “Green Lantern,” a vertical-track, spinning coaster featuring three 360-degree head-over-heel spins; “Escape from Krypton,” which sends riders backward up a tower for 7 seconds at 100 mph; and a yet-to-be-named children’s coaster that is 679 feet long, with a 28-foot lift hill, and reaches speeds up to 21 mph. www.sixflags.com/magicMountain/index.aspx
Six Flags New England near Springfield, Mass., adds the steel roller coaster “Gotham City: Gauntlet Escape from Arkham Asylum,” bringing its coaster count to 10. Riders board the four-person cars and climb five stories; once at the top they are sent through a maze of 17 hairpin turns, winding twists and turns, and unexpected dips. www.sixflags.com/newEngland/index.aspx
“Dare Devil Ride” opens at Six Flags Over Georgia in Austell, Ga. The roller coaster features a vertical chain lift that pulls riders up 10 stories and a beyond-vertical drop where the coaster angles inward as it comes down at 52 mph. Riders careen through a combination of diving loops while executing three inversions before catching air on a zero-gravity hill, and swooping across a vertical U-turn stretched high above the ground. www.sixflags.com/overGeorgia/index.aspx

Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington, Texas, marks its 50th anniversary by bringing back a faster and steeper “Texas Giant.” The classic wooden coaster gets a $10 million makeover with a new track that allows for a steeper first drop, more severely banked turns, and faster speeds. Three new “Giant” trains resemble the DeVille, complete with their unique shape, metallic colors (aqua, black, and red), grilles, headlights, and tail lights. Throw in new tunnels, and “Texas Giant” looks and feels like a whole new ride. www.sixflags.com/overTexas/index.aspx

Six Flags St. Louis in Missouri introduces “SkyScreamer,” which towers 236 feet above the ground. Guests sit two across in an open-air swing as they climb to the top of the tower; at full swing they soar in a 98-foot circle at 43 mph. www.sixflags.com/stLouis/index.aspx

Valleyfair in Shakopee, Minn., introduces “Planet Snoopy!” Featuring 20 rides and attractions, this Peanuts-themed area provides fun for the whole family! For more information, please visit www.valleyfair.com.

Waldameer in Erie, Pa., expands and opens the North End where families enjoy “Flying Swings;” a flying carousel, “Wendy’s Tea Party;” a spinning tea cup ride, and the “SS Wally;” a rocking tug boat. Beautiful gardens, welcoming benches, an eight-foot tall water fountain and a twenty-foot arch provide a relaxing, carefree atmosphere. The Waldameer train features a new engine as well as wheelchair accessible coaches. www.waldameer.com
Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, Mo., unveils a restored carousel, a catering pavilion, and “Planet Snoopy.” Planet Snoopy is home to more than 20 rides, shows, and attractions, including a new balloontower ride, car and truck rides for children, and a spinning tugboat adventure for the family. www.worldsoffun.com
Invigorating and Relaxing Water Attractions:

Beech Bend Park in Bowling Green, Ky., adds “Tiki Island.” Visitors enjoy the four-story, interactive water tower which features seven slides and a giant tipping bucket. www.beechbend.com
Hurricane Harbor at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Ill., expands its waterpark with Riptide Bay that features a double-sided surf simulator, a Caribbean-inspired activity pool, additional waterslides, and luxury cabanas. www.sixflags.com/greatAmerica/index.aspx

“Splash Zoo,” opens inside Legoland Water Park in Carlsbad, Calif. The zoo-themed area features giant Duplo Zoo animals, including a lion, a giraffe, and a zebra. Children ages 1 to 3 will enjoy the interactive spray pads, fountains, and a teeter totter. http://california.legoland.com
Raging Waters San Jose in California debuts “Bombs Away.” Riders step into an enclosed capsule five stories above Raging Waters. A trap door opens, plummeting a single rider straight down 200 feet toward the ground for several seconds of free-falling thrills through an enclosed 360-degree looping flume. The translucent sections of track allow guests to watch their friends and family careen through the thrilling waterslide. www.rwsplash.com

Schlitterbahn Kansas City Waterpark in Kansas, adds six attractions, nearly doubling the physical size of the park. The additions include a surf ride, “Boogie Bahn”; two head-first mat slides, “Comal Express” and “Loopy Luge”; and a fully enclosed tube slide, “Der Bahn.” Guests can also ride “Blitz Falls,” a whitewater rapids tube chute, or “Rapids River,” a series of rushing rapids on the park’s longest river attraction. www.schlitterbahn.com/kc

SoakZone in Ligonier, Pa., unveils “Wowabunga Family Wavepool.” The 280,600-gallon wave pool features a zero-depth entry and reaches six feet at its deepest point. The pool experience includes waves for older guests to ride with intermittent periods of calm for kids play. Guests can also enjoy the beach-like surroundings, relax on the chaise lounges, or escape the sun in new cabanas. www.idlewild.com

SplashDown Beach Waterpark in Fishkill, N.Y. adds “Splash Works.” The Bob the Builder-themed 1,600-square-foot spray and play area is designed for children ages 1 to 5. It contains more than 50 interactive features, including two slides, tipping buckets, dancing water, and a tool shed play area. Bob the Builder also greets guests daily at the park. www.splashdownbeach.com

Story Land in Glen, N.H., debuts the family-friendly ride “Splash Battle Egypt.” Riders move continuously through a 300-foot long waterway in Egyptian-themed boats as they use cannons to blast water at other vessels. Shoreline guests can also exchange blasts with the riders from water cannons along the attraction’s perimeter. www.storylandnh.com

White Water in Branson, Mo., offers more than 12 acres of a tropical-themed river adventure at “Aloha River” at Hula Hula Bay. Guests float in tubes along more than 800 feet in 300,000 gallons of water, Aloha River at Hula Hula Bay is White Water’s longest ride. The area offers new seating options, plenty of shade, and more cabanas to enjoy. www.bransonwhitewater.com
WildWater Adventure Waterpark at Adventure Amusement Park in Muskegon, Mich., introduces a giant interactive water play attraction, “Beach Party.” It features a giant geyser, that blasts water more than 90 feet in the air. Guests enjoy more than 150 play features, including eight water slides, water jets, water curtains, pipe falls, and water wheels, they can drench one another with fire hose jets and interactive water guns. www.miadventure.com
A rendering is available at www.iaapa.org/pressroom/WhatsNewImages2011.asp.
Zoos and Aquariums Entertain and Teach:

Visitors to Air Zoo in Kalamazoo, Mich., enjoy a nine-hole disc golf course, which features nine par-three holes. Later this spring an additional nine holes will make it an 18-hole course. www.airzoo.org
“Dinosauria” opens at the Detroit Zoo in Detroit, Mich., and features 30 life-like animatronic dinosaurs. Visitors enter “Zoorassic Park” and wind along a three-acre “DinoTrail,” which recreates prehistoric life. Kids can experience what it’s like to be a paleontologist at a dino dig site or fossil sifting station. www.detroitzoo.org
An image is available at www.iaapa.org/pressroom/WhatsNewImages2011.asp.
Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Ga., debuts “AT&T Dolphin Tales,” an 84,000-square-foot, two-story indoor expansion that includes interactive displays about conservation efforts, a viewing window, and auditorium. Visitors first encounter the dolphins through the 25-foot-long underwater viewing window on their way to the 1,800-seat state-of-the-art theater. In “AT&T Dolphin Tales” actors and dolphins take guests on an interactive journey across the oceans and create a greater understanding of dolphins. www.georgiaaquarium.org
The Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, Calif., transforms how guests view the oceans with “The Open Sea.” In this new gallery, guests experience new species such as tufted puffins, sandbar sharks, and black sea who nettles along with aquarium favorites such as tunas, stingrays, sea turtles, and the occasional great white shark. www.montereybayaquarium.org
Images are available at www.iaapa.org/pressroom/WhatsNewImages2011.asp.

Newport Aquarium in Newport, Ky., overhauls the “Kroger Kingdom of Penguins” exhibit. Guests enjoy new seating, expanded gallery space, new interactive elements, and a live show, while the penguins experience an improved habitat. www.newportaquarium.com

Sea Life Aquarium in Carlsbad, Calif., opens “Octopus Garden,” an interactive exhibit that introduces families to the amazing world of cephalopods. From octopus to cuttlefish and nautilus, these distinctive creatures amaze guests with their almost supernatural abilities, including camouflage, ink clouds, and jet propulsion. www.visitsealife.com/California
Other Attractions to Enjoy:

The Coney Island History Project opens two exhibition centers at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park in Coney Island, N.Y. Visitors view historic artifacts, photographs, maps, and films from Coney Island’s unique past. The steeplechase horse from the legendary ride that gave Steeplechase Park its name is among the treasures on display. In addition, guests enjoy a series of tours and special events. www.wonderwheel.com
“Encore!” and “Funny Fiddles” debut at Showboat Branson Belle in Branson, Mo. Janice Martin, the world’s only violin-playing aerialist, brings her high-flying skills to the stage for “Encore!” “Funny Fiddlers” features comedian and musician Chris Pendleton. www.showboatbransonbelle.com
The “SkyWheel” opens in Myrtle Beach, S.C. offering views of the Grand Strand beaches. Taller than the standard Ferris wheel, “SkyWheel” stands 175 feet tall with 42 glass-enclosed, temperature-controlled gondolas that hold six to eight people.
The Track Family Fun Park in Branson, Mo., celebrates 30 years with the addition of a 1,200-foot-long go-kart track, “Heavy Metal High Rise.” The state-of-the-art steel and concrete structure is more weather-friendly and offers a completely different experience than its wooden counterpart. Drivers spiral up four stories before zooming down a three-tiered slope. Guests can also enjoy a new road course-style track with tighter and higher-banked curves. www.bransontracks.com
About IAAPA
International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) is the premier trade association for the attractions industry worldwide. Founded more than 90 years ago, IAAPA is the largest international trade association for permanently situated amusement facilities and attractions and is dedicated to the preservation and prosperity of the amusement industry.IAAPA represents more than 4,000 attraction, supplier, and individual members from more than 90 countries. The association’s global headquarters is in Alexandria, Virginia, United States. The association maintains regional offices in Brussels, Mexico City, and Hong Kong. IAAPA is online at www.IAAPA.org.

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Empire Industries Announces $9 Million Contract for Amusement Park Ride upgrade

Friday, April 8th, 2011 | Permalink

empind.com

WINNIPEG, March 17, 2011 – Empire Industries Ltd. (TSX-V: EIL) today announced that its Dynamic Structures business unit has been awarded a contract valued at approximately $9 million for the upgrade of track subsystems of a ride at a major North American amusement park. The contract, which includes design, engineering, fabrication, and assembly phases, will be executed through 2011 and 2012.

“Dynamic Structures is a world leader in this sort of work.” said David Halliday, President of the Dynamic Structures business unit. “It requires very specialized engineering expertise and high tolerance fabrication. There are very few companies in the world who can meet the strict quality control requirements that this work demands.”

Guy Nelson, Chief Executive Officer of Empire Industries, added “We are gratified to see that our commitment to this market is paying off. With this contract in hand, a healthy backlog, and a very strong bid book in the pipeline, we are optimistic that we are seeing the beginning of rapid growth in this highly specialized, global export market that Dynamic Structures is a leader in.”

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3D/4D Theatre : theHouse, the first-ever 5D interactive haunted house, has opened its doors in Branson, Missouri

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010 | Permalink

Source:  blooloop.com

Situated in Branson, Missouri (the ‘Show-Me State’), the Castle of Chaos has opened its doors in a new building next to the Hollywood Wax Museum on the ‘Strip’. For 50 years, Branson has been a major tourist and cultural city in the center of the U.S. with more than 100 shows and attractions that pull in over six million visitors each year.

“The attraction developed by Alterface is notable for its novelty and for being so ambitious,” says Kuvera Attractions Partner Tej Sundher. “The merging of an interactive game in a haunted house, with genuine video film and 3D images, special effects, animatronics and the rotating platform is a unique achievement. All our visitors are highly impressed. The opinions we gathered from the first visitors in an exit satisfaction survey make it clear. They love it!”

An experience full of emotions

Immersed in the story of Carli Winepeg, who mysteriously disappeared with her whole team in a medieval castle during shooting of a horror movie in the 1920s in Belgium, the players face surprise after surprise. It all starts in the room’s entrance, which is completely decorated, dimly lit and misty. Once in their themed seats, the players are welcomed by the voice of Stan Kablowski – who shipped the castle to the U.S. The eccentric old billionaire, who is obsessed with Carli, has a mission for them. Discover the origin of the strange things happening there and make them stop! But the mistress of the house quickly takes control of the situation, throwing the intrepid players into a furious battle for control of the castle.

In total darkness, the impressive rotating platform leads visitors from one screen to another. The 3D images, all in high definition and back-projected, create the illusion that new rooms are opening in front of the players and that the zombies and other creatures are about to enter the room. Some actually do: flies buzz around the room, a dog leaps through a door, bats emerge from the ceiling, a body bound in chains writhes around on a wall, statues start to mutate, and so on.

The seats themselves are packed with effects. They vibrate, bend, and tickle people’s heels and necks. Out of the walls and ceiling come lightning, rain and wind from the storm that is rumbling outside. Foul smells are released when the frightful face of Carli appears in the dark, some three meters (nine feet) high. In the final scene, the cursed actress chases the intruders away by destroying the castle!

An interactive game

Armed with a revolver, visitors take part in the story and can see the impacts of their shots on screen. Insects crawling on the ground explode, candle flames flicker, parts of the decor wobble, and ghosts are freed from the urns that have held them prisoner. Each target hit scores points for the players. When the adventure is over, everyone can see their own score displayed next to their photo! The highest scorers are highlighted in 3D. But this is not the only time players can see themselves on screen. During the show, zombies take photos of the room and these appear enlarged on screen. At that very moment, a trail of blood covers the screen and water is squirted on the players… Emotions run high, for sure! And there are other emotions to be experienced, which are just as impressive.

A new kind of attraction

“The market for haunted houses is huge in the United States and not only over the Halloween period. Thousands of attractions are based on this theme,” says Benoît Cornet, CEO of Alterface. “With theHouse, Alterface sets a new standard in this sector by introducing its recognized and proven interactive technology. In a single room with just limited floor space, it’s now possible to create a whole world of games and thrills for theme parks and entertainment centers.”

Based on the same content, theHouse is also available as a Drak Ride, cart-based or even as a pedestrian walk through Dark Ride thanks to Alterface’s exclusive lightweight and compact Wireless technology.

Key features:

– Surface area of less than 200 square meters (2,150 sq.ft);
– Up to 300 players/hour;
– High-definition 3D images back-projected;
– 10 special effects in the room and on the seats;
– 11 loudspeakers and 9 amplifiers, to create a genuine three-dimensional soundtrack too;
– Music composed by a pianist, to accompany the projection of silent films shown at the famous Cinematek in Brussels;
– The very latest Projectiondesign projectors;
– A platform with a circumference of 8 meters (26 ft), turned by 10 motors, weighing 8 tons (17,637 lb) and able to move at up to 15 revolutions/minute.
– An official site is now online: http://castleofchaosbranson.com
– The video on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhKTSgrwo-A
– Film shoot that involved top professionals in the sector from Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands, assembled in a real medieval castle in Thy-le-Château in Belgium

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Scare Attractions: Halloween Goes Global

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010 | Permalink

Trick or Treating is as American as apple pie but the origins of Halloween lie in the Pagan festival of Samhain, the Celtic New Year *. In ancient Ireland Samhain was celebrated with tribal assemblies, meetings, games, feasting and brawling. The death of the old year and rebirth of the new was a time when the veils between the worlds were thought to be thin, the lack of clarity between the worlds allowing the supernatural to spill over into the everyday. Christian tradition absorbed this old Pagan celebration and renamed it Hallows Eve, being the day before All Saints (Hallows) Day, and it was subsequently taken to the US by Irish immigrants. Halloween has since developed into a multi-million dollar industry, there are over 1200 commercial scare attractions in the US, but the rest of the world has been slow to join the party. Blooloop takes a look at the way scare attractions are going global in the UK and Asia.

Horror in Taiwan

The growth of the middle classes in Asia is expected to fuel a boom in demand for world class attractions: Asia is forecast to comprise 43% of worldwide consumption by 2030. Little wonder that scare attractions are set to be big business in Asia. The new $3,000,000 “Horrorwood Haunted Theater” opened at Janfusun Fancy World, Taiwan, this June. Produced by Mirage Entertainment, the attraction has been designed to resemble an abandoned theatre and draws inspiration from both American and Asian horror movies. (See Themed Entertainment: Horrorwood Scares ‘em Silly at Janfusun with Mirage Entertainment. )

Brad Billington, C.E.O./Co-Founder Mirage Entertainment, Inc. describes the creative process for the attraction: “From the start, we wanted this haunted house to be a truly world class one and not just Asian copy of the US attraction. The client listened to us and supported the idea of a world class multimedia haunted house but also adding the Asian elements.” Technical elements include “multimedia and the latest technology available such as RFID facial capture and projection system, mechanical and pneumatic effects synchronized with the pre-recorded video and audio presentation, 4D simulation theater chairs, etc.”

Although this is a new experience for the park, visitor reaction’s have been positive, says Billington, “The audience loved the new experience and the park had their best summer attendance in 20 years. The Haunted House opened from 10 a.m. to midnight in the summer and every day around 5,000 visitors came“.

Mirage found project managing in Taiwan a positive experience: “ Taiwan as a whole is very much global region. American installers have very few problems working effectively and efficiently with the local partners. In our case, we also hired Hong Kong installers working on the set pieces so people speaking with 3 different languages are working within the same space and with respect to each other and in good spirit. The whole project was completed smoothly within 2 and half month from the contract signing to the grand opening”.

Billington sees huge potential for scare attractions in the region: “Asia is definitely the place to go for new attractions and specially for Haunted Attractions. In comparison with other permanent attractions such as rides, Haunted Houses cost much less but can generate same amount of attention and revenue. Mirage has done quite a few Haunted attraction in the theme parks in Asian and we are aiming to produce even larger scale and even mobile Haunted attractions in the near future”.

UK Frights

With the success of Harry Potter and the Twilight books and films, as well as the reality show Most Haunted, there has been a huge surge in interest in the supernatural and spooky in the UK across all age groups. Walmart’s acquisition of Asda has brought their Halloween range of goods into UK supermarkets and now trick or treating is widespread across the UK. Asda’s sales of pumpkins have rocketed from 20,000 in 2004 to 1 million in 2008 and Halloween now represents the largest commercial holiday spend outside Christmas in the UK with 90% of households participating.

Jason Karl and Paul Howse, co founders of AtmosFEAR! (see www.atmosfearuk.com), specialists in location based scare entertainment production, come from a theatre and TV background. Howse, the Technical Producer, provides a wealth of technical experience and Karl, probably best known for his work in presenting TV ghost hunt, Most Haunted, is Creative Producer. Having worked together in the US and seen the enormous potential for scare attractions, Paul and Jason decided to bring the genre back to the UK before someone else beat them to it. Since then they have sown the seeds of a potential scare empire.

AtmosFEAR! is celebrating its 10th year and offers a full range of services for scare attractions, from consultancy to delivery of a complete scare attraction including branding, marketing, websites and video. Over the last decade they have produced scare entertainment solutions for a variety of clients including Walt Disney Pictures and Merlin Entertainments. AtmosFEAR! also featured in business guru Duncan Bannatyne’s tourist attraction TV makeover show Duncan Bannatyne’s Seaside Rescue in which the task was to re-imagineer a tired and failing seaside waxworks museum in Cornwall into a brand new interactive tourist attraction which would appeal to a new audience while staying true to its core theme of Cornish myths and legends. Buccaneer Bay and sister attraction The Sunken Village of the DAMNED use the location’s history together with a strong plot line and a team of actors to create a complementary pair of attractions to cater to all age groups.

In 2008 AtmosFEAR! became a scare attraction operator. Attendance figures at Scare Kingdom Scream Park in the North West of England have grown spectacularly: in 2009 visitors were 400% up on 2008, and by mid October 2010 attendance was 250% up on the previous year.

However, Karl is not content with consulting, producing and operating, and has set up a magazine (Scareworld Magazine), a record label (Sinister Symphonies) and even a TV station (Scare-E TV) to stretch the boundaries of the UK market. In addition he is looking to create scare experiences for Christmas and Easter in order to extend the scaring season.

What makes a great scare attraction for the UK market? Karl has some definite ideas: “US attractions tend to present unconnected scenes rather than a narrative, and make extensive use of animatronics”. Most UK theme parks now have a Halloween themed event but there are pitfalls in trying to copy a US formula. “UK visitors have an expectation of a story with a narrative that has a beginning, middle and end,” says Karl, “something that is beyond being just scary; cohesive storytelling that can be dissected”.

AtmosFEAR! try to immerse the visitor on every level in an interactive theatrical experience. Every sense is specifically targeted by using lighting, textures, scents and sounds to create the environment, overlaid with a carefully crafted narrative and great attention to the actors verbal delivery. The overall effect is to make the visitor feel like they are in a film.

There is no magic formula for scaring says Karl. AtmosFEAR! employ a psychologist to review their scare plans to make sure that they have included enough different styles of fright to catch everyone. Karl believes that keeping the same tone in the experience, or repeating the same kind of scare dulls the effect and therefore it is more effective to keep the narrative varied: “we also include humour and try to make the experience like an emotional rollercoaster”.

So what does a seasoned veteran of the scare industry find frightening? Karl doesn’t miss a beat: “spiders”.

*Source: Jane Alexander – author of The Mind Body Spirit Miscellany (Duncan Baird)

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