Attractions industry news

31 Dec 2019

Attractions Review 2019: December

It has been another momentous year in the attractions industry, and Attractions Management has been there reporting the big news, good and bad, all the way. After yesterday's look at the events of November 2019, today we move on to December 2019, considering some of the biggest stories that made the headlines this month.

Disney's Star Wars attraction portfolio expanded with the opening of a new ride in Florida, and in Seattle there was approval for funding towards a new aquarium pavilion. In the UK, astronaut Tim Peake called for more government funding for science attractions.

Rise of the Resistance ride opens

In the last month of 2019, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance opened at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida.

Located in the Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge area of the park, Rise of the Resistance is a trackless dark ride and motion simulator, billed as one of the "most ambitious attractions ever created for a Disney Park". It features a heavily-themed, immersive queue line that brings riders face-to-face with Rey, BB8 and Kylo Ren before the ride has even begun.

After boarding an eight-seater vehicle, guests find themselves trapped on a First Order ship, at the centre of an epic battle between The Resistance and the First Order. To escape riders must travel through a series of elaborately designed sets, encountering druids, stormtroopers and Kylo Ren as they make their way through.

Seattle Aquarium funding

Construction of a new pavilion at the Seattle Aquarium moved closer, after the city council approved a US$34m (€30.7m, £25.8m) contribution towards the project.

The US$113m (€102m, £85.8m) 50,000sq ft (15,240sq m) Ocean Pavilion development will see a 325,000-gallon martini glass-shaped tank built to house sharks, stingrays, and schooling and reef fish from the South Pacific's Coral Triangle area.

The project will be part of a wider redevelopment of the Seattle waterfront that aims to triple the number of visitors to Seattle's downtown piers and increase attendance at the aquarium. With construction scheduled to start in 2021, Ocean Pavilion is expected to take two years to complete.

Astronaut Peake urges science funding

British astronaut Tim Peake has urged the UK government to invest more in science, education and research and development.

Since 1994, players of the UK National Lottery have raised more than £596m (€703m, $780m) for science-related projects, and speaking at an event celebrating the National Lottery's 25th birthday, Peake told the PA news agency that lottery funding enables children to visit science centres and museums for free, encouraging an interest in these subjects that could lead to them working in a scientific field.

"It's played a significant part in furthering science and education over the past 25 years and this can be seen in abundance through these attractions," said Peake. "I think slowly that the government is realising what our future is, whether it's around autonomous vehicles, whether it's around quantum computing, artificial intelligence, potential future energy sources such as nuclear fusion."

Check back with Attractions Management tomorrow for a look ahead to some of the top attractions set to open in 2020

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Shortlist revealed for National Railway Museum's Central Hall

Five proposals have been shortlisted for the design of the National Railway Museum's Central Hall in York, UK, which is scheduled to open in time for the museum’s 50th anniversary in 2025. [more...]

Eden Project announces £67m attraction for Northern Ireland

A new £67m (US$86.9m, €79.8m) cultural and environmental Eden Project tourist attraction is to be built along the banks of the River Foyle, near Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland, with organisers hoping it will help to bring social, economic and environmental regeneration to the city. [more...]

City council wrangles cause robust debate on Belfast Zoo's future

The future nature of Belfast Zoo is uncertain after a motion was tabled by a city councillor to phase out the display of caged animals and return the animals "to their natural habitats". However, the motion also envisaged transforming the zoo into a "world-class visitor attraction by 2025". [more...]

Niall McLaughlin Architects to design Somerset House auditorium and public space

Niall McLaughlin Architects have been chosen to design a new, multi-purpose auditorium and public space for London's Somerset House arts centre. [more...]

Smithsonian announces partnership with V&A East

The Smithsonian Institute has announced a new partnership with the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) that will see the curation of a new gallery at its V&A East campus. [more...]

Heritage Great Britain to invest £1.1m in Snowdon Mountain Railway

Heritage Great Britain (HGB) has announced plans to invest £1.1m (US$1,4m, €1.3m) in new hybrid diesel locomotives at its Snowdon Mountain Railway attraction in Snowdonia, Wales, in a bid to reduce its carbon footprint. [more...]

In brief:

UK's youth heritage programme wins new government funding @HeritageFundUK @DCMS #KickTheDust [more...]
World-first Duplo coaster coming to Legoland Windsor in March @LEGOLANDWindsor @mackridescom [more...]
London's Natural History Museum announces new strategy to tackle climate change after declaring 'planetary emergency' @NHM_London [more...]
Chessington plans rainforest addition @CWOA @AndersenPress @worldlandtrust [more...]
Welsh government to invest £60m in tourism @visitwales [more...]
3D printing could democratise heritage and help museums in repatriation debate [more...]
See you later alligator: plans announced for an alligator park on the Old Kent Road @AvantonL #oldkentroad #alligatorpark [more...]
Fantastic Beasts to go on display at the Natural History Museum @FantasticBeasts @NHM_London [more...]
Plans for the £337m ($438m, €394m) Museum of London (@MuseumofLondon), designed by Stanton Williams (@_SW_News), Asif Khan (@asif_can) and Julian Harrap Architects, have been submitted to the City of London Corporation. [more...]
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