Wednesday, July 28, 2010

New Model Aquatic Health Code Module Open for Review

If you attended IAAPA Attractions Expo 2009, you may remember hearing about the Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC). The MAHC is a project being spearheaded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that when completed, will serve as a model and guide for state and local agencies to use when updating or implementing regulations governing the design, shape, construction, operation, and maintenance of swimming pools and other treated recreational water venues. The MAHC is being developed by the aquatic industry leaders across the country. Several IAAPA members serve on the steering and technical committees, including IAAPA's current chairman, Chip Cleary.

The MAHC is being created in modules, which are released as they are available, instead of waiting for a final document to be prepared. This allows the committees a lot of flexibility in drafting and updating the MAHC as needed. A strawman outline was released in 2008 for those interested in seeing what topics the MAHC will address.

A draft of Module Six, which focuses on Policies and Management is now available. Waterpark members are encouraged to review the draft module and offer their comments using the CDC's comment form. Comments are due to the CDC by Sept. 30, 2010. If needed, IAAPA will submit a comment on behalf of the waterpark industry. To be included in this comment, please e-mail your comments by Sept. 20, 2010.

As new modules become available, the CDC will post them on its website. We're also monitoring the website and will alert waterpark members as modules come up for comment.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

It's Here! The new ADA rule is released.

In honor of the 20th anniversary of the signing of the orginial Americans with Disabilities Act, the U.S. Department of Justice released the final regulations revising the Americans with Disabilities Act. IAAPA members may remember IAAPA's involvement with these regulations throughout the rulemaking process.

On Friday, July 23, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder signed final regulations revising the Justice Department’s Americans with Disability Act regulations, including its ADA Standards for Accessible Design. In general, these final rules will take effect six months after the date on which they are published in the Federal Register (which hasn't happened yet), but compliance with the 2010 Standards for Accessible design is not required until 18 months after the date of publication.

DOJ has prepared fact sheets identifying the major changes in the rules. IAAPA members should look at the Title III highlights for a sense of what the new regulations include (quick review: Title I of the Act deals with employment practices; Title II is for government facilities; and Title III is for "public accommodations," which is what attractions facilities are). Members may also find it helpful to review the summary of the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design.

Here at IAAPA, we've begun reviewing the new rule and will have a summary for the attraction industry soon. Continue to check this blog and the IAAPA website for information. Also, be sure to attend our education session on the ADA at IAAPA Attractions Expo 2010 in Orlando. The session is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 16 at 3:30 p.m.

Monday, July 26, 2010

IAAPA Submits Comments on CPSIA Database

Last week IAAPA submitted a comment on the proposed rule on the Publicly Available Consumer Product Safety Information Database. The database was a controversial part of the Consumer Product Safety Information Act (CPSIA), that was enacted in late 2008 and made drastic changes to existing consumer protection law in the United States.

Once the database is active, consumers, government agencies, health care professionals, child service providers, and public safety officials will be able to file a report about harmful consumer product. Manufacturers and private labelers can register to be notified by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) if a report is filed about their products. A manufacturer will have 10 days to respond after being contacted by the CPSC, and then the report will be published on a website,

Because the database is mandated by law, the CPSC must establish it by March 2011. Like most of the CPSIA, the CPSC does not have a lot of regulatory flexibility, but through rulemakings such as this one, the industry has the chance to offer comments on the proposal.

Now that the comment period is over, the CPSC will consider all the comments it received and create a final rule on the database, which should be available sometime this fall or winter. Keep watching the blog, your e-mail, and our website for updates. And thank you to those IAAPA members who submitted comments on this important issue.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

GKTW Update: Coasting for Kids and Expo Car Auction Sneak Peek

A couple of Give Kids The World fundraising updates:

On July 29, all 11 Cedar Fair amusement parks will participate in a fundraiser allowing enthusiasts to marathon a coaster to raise money for GKTW. I wrote about this last year when it was just an event at Cedar Point. Now the fundraising is spreading across the entire continent (yep, some lucky fans will get to ride "Behemoth" at Canada's Wonderland all day long).

To become one of the riders, click here. If you'd like to donate to the cause without riding, you can add your contribution to CoasterBuzz Webmaster Jeff Putz's sponsorships by clicking here (CoasterBuzz helps organize and promote the event). For any other information about Coasting for Kids, click here.

This year GKTW will raffle off a four-door Honda Civic hybrid during IAAPA Attractions Expo 2010. The car (pictured) will be on display Nov. 16-19, at the GKTW booth on the trade show floor.

Raffle tickets will be: $25 for 1; $50 for 3; $100 for 7. The winner is responsible for tax, title, and registration fees. Tickets will ONLY be sold on the trade show floor.  

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sneak Peek: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter on the Cover of FUNWORLD's August Issue

The August 2010 issue of FUNWORLD is hot off the press and should be arriving in your mailboxes over the next few weeks. But I'm so pumped about this edition, I just can't wait to show it off!  So click here if you'd like to read it via our online digital edition.

As you can tell from the cover image above, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal's Islands of Adventure is the lead story this month, with the massive Hogwarts Castle gracing our cover. I spent a couple days last month poring over everything Potter IOA has to offer, and you can read all about Wizarding World in my eight-page feature.

August is our annual New Rides and Attractions issue, where we highlight as many of this year's new projects as possible—the section is nearly 50 pages long! In it you'll read about:
It's one of my favorite issues of the year, certainly, and I hope you enjoy it, too. Thanks for reading FUNWORLD, and please feel free to e-mail me with any comments about the magazine.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Universal Creative V.P. Talks Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Though the July issue of FUNWORLD just came out, I'm already getting excited for everyone to see the August issue, which features The Wizarding World of Harry Potter on the cover to headline our annual New Rides and Attractions issue.

I spent a couple days last month exploring all the new land at Universal's Islands of Adventure has to offer (which is quite a bit!). You'll have to wait a few more weeks to read my eight-page blowout story, but to whet your appetite here's a Q&A with Thierry Coup, vice president of creative development for Universal Creative, all about Harry Potter. 

How are you handling overall capacity for Wizarding World?
There is tremendous excitement for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which has resulted in a significant number of guests. To make sure that everyone has an enjoyable experience, we are pacing guests into the area, and inviting new guests inside as others leave.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is one of the most anticipated theme park experiences of our generation. Our goal is to make sure that every guest who wants to experience it is able to do so.

Can you talk at all about the technological breakthroughs you accomplished to create "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey"?
"Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey" is a revolutionary, 360-degree theme park experience and first combination of live-action, advanced robotic technology and innovative filmmaking—specially designed and developed for this brand-new adventure.

The attraction’s newly created ride system envelops guests in filmed action scenes and moves those scenes with them as they travel through the ride, allowing more time in the center of the adventure and with their favorite characters. This fusion of robotic technology and filmed scenes has never been achieved until now. In some cases, technology had to be invented to achieve the highest level of guest experience. The combination of pioneering, state-of-the-art technology, innovative filmmaking, and surprises around every corner make this attraction the embodiment of the Harry Potter book and film series—and the future of theme park entertainment.

Did you have any idea Butterbeer would be such a runaway hit? Everyone seems to want that wonderfully sweet stuff.  
We knew there were high expectations for Butterbeer, and we definitely wanted to make sure that we met them. We worked very closely with the filmmakers and J.K. Rowling to make sure that everything—the look, the taste—was just right. The response has been great! It’s absolutely wonderful to see guests walking around the park with Butterbeer mustaches.

What kinds of reactions are you seeing from guests upon entering Wizarding World?
It’s always very exciting and rewarding to see the reactions of guests as they enjoy The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Some guests jump up and down with excitement as they enter, others run around with huge smiles on their faces. Some explore the area in awe and make comments like, “I can’t believe I’m here,” or “This looks just like the movies.”

The retail outlets in Wizarding World are like attractions, too. What are some of the most popular merchandise items?
Because of the great anticipation for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, we knew guests would be eager to enjoy the merchandise we have in the land. Some of the most popular items are magic wands, Hogwarts house robes, Gryffindor apparel, Chocolate Frogs, and Pygmy Puffs.

What are one or two things in Wizarding World people might miss but you really love?
There are many details in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter for guests to explore. For example, while dining in the Three Broomsticks, guests can see shadows of house elves working upstairs. Also, in Zonko’s, there are Extendable Ears hanging from the roof, and if you listen closely, you can hear whispering. The window storefronts in Hogsmeade are also incredibly detailed—every window has a magical touch for guests to enjoy, like the screaming Howler in the Owl Post window and the flying snitch in the Spintwiches window. All of these details help create an immersive and authentic experience for our guests.

How key are these little touches to the overall depth of theming on display in the land?
Universal Orlando Resort is committed to delivering the highest level of detail and authenticity for our guests. Our team worked very closely with the filmmakers to make sure every detail within The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was authentic to the Harry Potter books and films—from the snow on the rooftops of Hogsmeade to merchandise available in the land. This level of detail and theming really helps to immerse guests into the adventures of Harry Potter.

What affect do you hope Wizarding World has on Universal Orlando?
Universal Orlando Resort is unlike any other destination—we bring pop culture’s most powerful and compelling characters and stories to life. Our guests are pulled into the heart of these stories, and they become a part of the most exhilarating entertainment experiences ever created. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter carries on this theme and provides our guests with another unparalleled entertainment experience.

For more on The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, be watching for the August issue of FUNWORLD.