Episode 21: Three leading manufacturers provide collective insight with a unique glimpse on the future of the rides and attractions business.

Guests:
Sascha Czibulka
Executive Vice President and Managing Director
INTAMIN RIDES

Kelven Tan
Vice President, Business Development Asia
DYNAMIC ATTRACTIONS

Valerio Ferrari
Chief Sales Officer
ANTONIO ZAMPERLA AMUSEMENT GROUP

Dennis Speigel welcomes three distinguished representatives from the attractions industry’s manufacturer and supplier sector to the ITPS I’M4FUN podcast. These are: Sascha Czibulka, Executive VP and Managing Director with Intamin Rides, Kelven Tan, VP of Business Development Asia with Dynamic Attractions, and Valerio Ferrari, Chief Sales Officer with Antonio Zamperla Amusement Group. These industry leaders discuss not only the overall impact that the pandemic has had on the vendor side, but also give us an important update of where the industry is heading in the near future based on their recent experience. Where are the global hot spots? What is the true importance of trade shows? Has the ordering pipeline been totally replenished? These questions, and many more, are answered during the podcast. 

Questions After the Podcast

Several questions were posed during the live podcast that were not able to be answered due to time. Below are these questions and answers as received.

Answers from Sascha Czibulka of Intamin Rides

Based on your experience, what areas of our industry have been most affected by the pandemic and what geographical areas do you feel were hardest hit based on what you’ve seen or heard?

I cannot think of any area or sector of our industry that have not been affected. The effects were worldwide quite similar and there was no region or sector exempted. The impact went in line with the infection numbers. Pure indoor facilities were probably hit the hardest. There was however one country, namely Sweden, where the parks were not allowed to open throughout the entire year 2020 and were out of operation for over 500 days. And the irony is that it was the larger parks in Sweden, which actually were the first ones to having prepared a rather detailed reopening plan how to cope with the virus and provide a controlled and safe environment in the parks. And this white paper was the basis for many parks to share with their governments to demonstrate safe operations and helped them reopening.

Are classic rides – Carousels, bumper cars, wave swingers, etc. still as popular as they were at one time? Since these basic rides do not change much, how do your teams innovate to put a spin on them so that they feel “new”?

As we have a few “classics” in our lineup, I’d say to your first question: yes, that’s why they are classic. As far as the spin is concerned, it is the application of new technologies (sometimes only the drive), which allow for even further improved motions, but at the same time does not negatively impact the original and classic character of the ride. And obviously you can also do a lot in respect to theming to give them a “new” feel.

Where do new ideas and new concepts for rides come from? And, what are the challenges of bringing a new ride or attraction development to the marketplace?

New ideas and concepts are either borne inhouse or as a combined effort when a client approaches us with an idea. The biggest challenge nowadays is that clients are looking for new ideas and concepts but at the same time they request reliability from day one. In other words, when we introduce a new concept, we often hear “Fantastic new idea! Where can we try it out?”. Operators are hardly willing to participate in the prototype risk, which nowadays lays basically with the manufacturer only. Developing a new ride is nowadays a very costly exercise.

What about safety aspects of developing rides and attractions? What regulations must be followed and how do they vary by region?

Safety is number one priority. It ever since has been Intamin’s philosophy to develop rides based on the highest safety standards available and at the same time in collaboration with TUV. Besides always following and considering the local standards (e.g. in Australia, in the UK, etc.) our rides are generally based on the European EN 13 814 standard, whereas in the US the applicable ASTM standards and in China the respective GB standards are certainly followed. All mentioned standards guarantee safety to the highest possible extent if followed, but they vary. It would however be great and to the benefit of both operator and manufacturer, if there would be one standard applicable worldwide.

What do you think the coaster of the future will look like? What are operators and customers looking for not only in coasters, but in “hot ticket rides” in general?

The development of coasters, like of other “hot ticket rides”, is very often driven by new technologies coming from other sectors or industries. I would be surprised if we would not see the usage of very light but extremely solid materials in a coaster in the future. What will always remain is the desire for a ride experience which is exciting and thrilling but at the same time smooth and especially huge fun. Nowadays we see that for instance a coaster is part of the attraction and the overall experience, eventually still the main act but not the only act as it used to be.

There has been a lot of talk from operators and designers about technologies and processes that emerged during the pandemic which are likely to remain. Are there any from the M&S standpoint you can share? And, what can we expect for the future in terms of new technologies?

The digitalization has certainly advanced at a higher than expected speed during the last 18 months. Besides all the online meetings, which can bring a number of people together without creating huge expenses, we also saw a few other examples. One for instance is the remote commissioning of a ride. I wouldn’t be surprised if we will continue to see this also in the future. As far as new technologies are concerned, please understand that I cannot share what we are currently working on.

What do you feel has been the biggest change in the rides and attractions industry since you’ve been a part of it? What has made the most impact?

Two things come instantly to my mind. First, the magnetic braking technology and also the linear motor technology, both technologies Intamin was essentially involved to say the least. Second, I think theming and story telling changed the landscape. A few decades ago, an operator opened a new attraction, which consisted first and foremost of the ride itself, eventually with some illumination added. Today, the ride is integrated in a story and part of a – in some cases heavily – themed environment. The ride system is still the core, but the importance is not as high as it used to be when it comes to the overall attraction and experience.

Answers from Valerio Ferrari, Antonio Zamperla Amusement Group


Based on your experience, what areas of our industry have been most affected by the pandemic and what geographical areas do you feel were hardest hit based on what you’ve seen or heard?

Based on what we see all the regions got hit pretty good but for sure the US are the one recovering the fastest.

Are classic rides – Carousels, bumper cars, wave swingers, etc. still as popular as they were at one time? Since these basic rides do not change much, how do your teams innovate to put a spin on them so that they feel “new”?

A classic ride remain a classic ride and every new park will always have them. We are developing new concepts all the time and try to apply the latest technology available in the market to our industry to enhance parks goers experience.

Where do new ideas and new concepts for rides come from? And, what are the challenges of bringing a new ride or attraction development to the marketplace?

New idea come from all different source internal to the company and external and the most difficult part is to find the best balance between price, capacity, safety and innovation.

What about safety aspects of developing rides and attractions? What regulations must be followed and how do they vary by region?

Safety is the most important part in developing new attractions and the industry standard are the reference we use.

Feasibility Analysis - Design / Masterplanning - Pre-Opening Operations Planning - Management

International Theme Park Services, Inc.
International Theme Park Services, Inc.

Contact ITPS

International Theme Park Services, Inc. 
2195 Victory Parkway
Cincinnati, Ohio 45206
United States of America
Phone: 513-381-6131

http://www.interthemepark.com
itps@interthemepark.com