Theme Park Central

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Archive for the month “November, 2010”

Dollywood Wins Applause Award


Dolly Parton said Tuesday that winning the 2010 Applause Award for her theme park, Dollywood, is like winning “the Oscar of the business.”

“I’m just honored and proud,” she said in a phone interview with The Associated Press. “I’m excited that this is our 25th anniversary for Dollywood, that we won it this year, and that I had a chance to be here.”

Parton accepted the award in person in Orlando at an amusement park trade show, IAAPA Attractions Expo 2010, hosted by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions.

The Applause Award has been given out every other year since 1980 to honor a park whose “management, operations and creative accomplishments have inspired the industry with their foresight, originality and sound business development,” according to a statement from Liseberg park in Gothenburg, Sweden. The Applause winner is decided by a board of governors chaired by Mats Wedin, Liseberg’s CEO. The board includes theme park professionals from around the world.

Parton said that although country music “has allowed so many of my dreams to come true, you don’t have to be a country music fan to come to the park. … There’s something for everyone.”

She said she would put the award in a museum at the park “to share it with the fans.”

Dollywood beat out Alton Towers of Great Britain and Phantasialand of Germany for the 2010 award. Previous U.S. winners include Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Nashville’s Opryland in Tennessee, Pennsylvania’s Hershey Park, Universal Studios Florida and Busch Gardens Williamsburg in Virginia.

Parton opened Dollywood in 1986 in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. Located next to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Dollywood is Tennessee’s No. 1 ticketed tourist attraction, with 2.5 million visitors in a typical season.

Busch Gardens Raises Full-Price Admission

Busch Gardens bumped up its full-price admission by $3 on Friday, kicking off the annual season of Florida theme park price increases and pushing the Tampa park over the $80 threshold for the first time. Including sales tax, the new daily admission is $83.45 for adults or kids older than 10, $72.75 for children 3 to 9.

“It’s in line with our usual annual price increase, but we also will continue to offer a variety of discounts and introduced a couple new ones,” said Jill Revelle, Busch Gardens spokeswoman.

Florida residents can buy a Fun Card for the price of a single day admission, which will be good for unlimited visits through Dec. 31, 2011, or 14 months for the price of 12. People who currently hold a Fun Card can renew at the 2010 price to extend it for another year. “That’s $8 less than the 2011 pass,” Revelle said. Busch also continued its EZPay plan which lets passholders make monthly payments as low as $9.16.

Busch Gardens continued to price itself slightly below the premium Orlando theme parks including its corporate sibling SeaWorld. SeaWorld also raised it prices Friday to $85.19 including tax, $74.54 for kids 3 to 9. That, however, remains $2 under the full price at Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando, which last raised their prices in August. SeaWorld attendance has yet to recover from the shadow cast by a Feb. 24 backstage incident in which a 6-ton orca whale from the park’s marquee attraction Believe killed one of its trainers.

With discounts, only about a third of all theme parks’ patrons typically pay full price.

Ferrari World Opens….Finally!

A week after delaying its Grand Opening, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi finally opened to the public today in the United Arab Emirates. Ferrari World is the world’s largest indoor theme park, themed to the Italian sports car make. The park includes the world’s fastest roller coaster, Formula Rossa, an Intamin launch coaster that blasts to a top speed of 149 miles per hour.

The ride, which takes you outside the park and into the surrounding Arabian desert, is so fast that you have to wear goggles while riding, to protect your eyes from the blowing sand and searing heat.

Alongside this mad-I mean, fast roller coaster, it also features advanced driving simulators, as well as driving and scenic simulators. Top attractions include the V12, a flume ride:

The G-Force tower, which catapults visitors to a height of 62 meters:

And the Pit Wall, where participants can make race-day judgment calls.

For die-hard racing fans, Ferrari World also includes the Paddock, which lets you be part of the Ferrari pit crew on a Grand Prix day, and a museum that follows the history of the car brand from its earliest days to its current F1.

For smaller racing fans, the park offers Junior GT, Junior Grand Prix and Junior Training Camp.

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