In this special edition of our Top 5 we honor 2013 by bringing you the top 13 stories from the past year, selected by editors Martin Palicki, Judith Rubin and Joe Kleiman. We present to you this year’s defining moments and ideas from the themed entertainment industry. Happy New Year from InPark!
In no particular order:
1) Kentucky’s Governor and his approach to theme parks
He supports the Ark Park, yet he’s allowed the infrastructure for Kentucky Kingdom to disintegrate to the point that the Koch family backed out of plans to reopen the Louisville park. The governor expects a decision on Kentucky Kingdom to be announced in the first few weeks of 2013.
2) Coca-Cola signs on Cedar Fair
Combined with a decade-long sponsorship extension with Six Flags, a new decade-long sponsorship with SeaWorld announced Dec. 2011, and existing sponsorships with Disney, Herschend, and Universal, Coca-Cola beverages are now the official drink of choice at all of North America’s top twenty theme parks (per the TEA/AECOM report).
3) Astana chosen as host for EXPO 2017
Kazakhstan becomes the first former Soviet nation, including Russia, and the second Muslim state to host a BIE-sanctioned World Expo or International Expo, beating out Liege, Belgium for the honors.
4) Gaylord becomes a REIT
The operation of hotels and attractions is handed over to Marriott, while Dollywood backs out of a Nashville waterpark joint venture.
5) The 3D Cinema market matures
The lines between themed attractions, mainstream cinema and at-home entertainment continue to blur, as witnessed by Marty Shindler.
6) The Asian gaming market continues to heat up
Although we don’t hear about it as often, Joe Kleiman reports on the Asian gaming engine that powers a lot of the mega-development happening in key Asian markets.
7) 4D comes of age
Museums evolve and adapt as they come to realize that 4D isn’t just for theme parks anymore.
8) SeaWorld’s grand expansion
2012 was a very big year for the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens parks. And there’s more to come.
9) Demand in design
Darrias Baker reflects on what it’s like to design parks and attractions in Asia.
11) China cinema
InPark’s Joe Kleiman looks at how giant screen cinema has evolved overseas.
12) Making Mammoth
Holiday World’s Splashin’ Safari waterpark opened a super-sized slide this year and InPark took a look behind the scenes to see how it all came together.
13) SimEx-Iwerks and the legacy of Iwerks Entertainment
Branded, media-based attractions in multiple formats? 3D cinema? The Asian market? Real-time group interaction in a ride vehicle? IPM’s Judith Rubin explores the history of this pioneering company that is still on the frontier.