Thursday, September 14, 2017

The equipment of Splash City waterpark is on offer via Pickles Auctions

Pickles Auctions offers buyers an opportunity to purchase a whole waterpark full of equipment, under instructions from Australian pop-up waterpark, Splash City - including the tallest inflatable waterslide in the world (per a Guinness World Record).
  • EOI (Expressions of Interest) closes Sunday, October 1 at 5:00 pm local time. 
  • Items can be bought individually or as a package.
  • Visit to view listing, photographs and to find out how to participate in this EOI, run by Pickles. 
  • More information: Contact Tim Rogers at Pickles Auctions on 0423 756 184 or email
According to Pickles, this EOI includes an assortment of inflatable super slides including The Drop, Trippo Waterfall and Cliff slides, inflatable dino pool, portable ticketing booth, complete set of 8 trampolines, various sized tents, plus a massive, 68m obstacle course and accessories, inflatable 25 x 25m maze, and much more.

The set features The Drop! - tallest inflatable waterslide in the world, holding the 2016 Guinness World Record at 22.4m tall (7 stories high) - a breathtaking, daredevil dual super slide that cruises over a 100m long runway. The selection also includes The Waterfall, billed as the world’s tallest 4-lane inflatable slide. This thriller stands at 15.8m tall, with straight and curved slides.

Currently located in Perth WA, this inflatable waterpark comes with a diverse mix of wet and dry attractions. Pickles advises that it is already packaged in containers and is ready to be transported within the country or internationally, to the desired location. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Faster Than Light, new Spitz fulldome title, explores longstanding quest to develop spacecraft to reach the stars

Narrated by Sean Bean of “Lord of the Rings” fame, “Faster Than Light” asks: What will it take to reach a newly discovered planet circling our Sun’s nearest neighbor, Proxima Centauri?

Thomas Lucas,
director, "Faster Than Light"
“Faster than Light: the Dream of Interstellar Flight,” is a new, 25-minute documentary created for digital dome cinema (fulldome) exhibition in planetariums, museums and educational institutions. It is distributed by Spitz Creative Media, Mirage3D and Thomas Lucas Productions, Inc. and available for general release in all fulldome formats. The project was supported by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Film Office. 

Previews and additional information here:

Based on real science and engineering, “Faster Than Light” takes audiences on a thrilling journey into the future, aboard laser-driven space sails, antimatter engines, and even warp drive - right out of science fiction. “Who can say how far, and how fast, our technology will one day take us?” said director Thomas Lucas. 

Combining matter and anti-matter inside a spacecraft’s engine
would create a beam of almost pure energy that could propel
the craft to 50% the speed of light. Photo: Spitz Creative Media.

Jiří Dušek at Fulldome Festival Brno

Honored at Brno
In June 2017, “Faster Than Light” received industry acclaim and the Directors Award from the prestigious Fulldome Festival Brno (Czech Republic), where it was seen by some 125 planetarium professionals and competed against more than 40 productions from six different countries. The honor includes a one-year license at the host facility, where it will open in the fall. “I am proud that we are one of the first to present ‘Faster Than Light,’” said Jiří Dušek, Director of Brno Observatory and Planetarium and Program Director of Fulldome Festival Brno. He praised the show for “an attractive theme, beautiful animations, and fresh storyline.” Said Dušek, “On the wings of the imagination but still within the limits of scientific correctness, you can set out on a journey across the entire universe. I have no doubt that ‘Faster than Light’ will be an incredible experience for our visitors.”

“Faster Than Light” has also been licensed by the Eugenides Foundation (Athens). “We have worked with Spitz before and been very happy with their visual capabilities,” said Dionysious P. Simopoulos, Director Emeritus, Eugenides Planetarium. “We committed to lease “Faster Than Light” immediately after they announced the title and subject matter, knowing it would work for us.” A number of other planetariums throughout the U.S. will be opening the show this summer and fall.

The story behind the story
Three years in the making, “Faster Than Light” was produced by Robin Sip (Mirage 3D), Mike Bruno (Spitz Creative Media) and Thomas Lucas (Thomas Lucas Productions). Brad Thompson (Spitz) and Leon Verschoor (Mirage3D) directed the visual production.

Robin Sip of Mirage 3D and Brad Thompson of Spitz
at Fulldome Festival Brno
“We chose the grand story of interstellar flight because it’s richly thematic and the human quest resonates with people,” said Lucas. “Scientists are discovering that the galaxy is filled with planets. Telescopes are coming online that are going to be able to look at some of these worlds and determine whether there are atmospheres and possible signs of life.”

The grandness of the themes explored by “Faster Than Light” resonated with audiences in extensive pre-release testing at the Houston Museum of Natural Science’s Burke Baker planetarium (Digistar True8K™system), and the Planetarium at the State Museum of Pennsylvania (Spitz ScidomeXD) in Harrisburg.

The test audiences included members of the general public as well as school groups and their teachers, and museum staff. According to Harrisburg Planetarium director Linda Powell, “Students focused on the beautiful animations of the spacecraft and propulsion systems. Adults were intrigued to find that their childhood science fiction is becoming science reality, specifically when it came to antimatter engines. Teachers were excited to think about the different ways they can connect the show to curriculum. I’m looking forward to screening the final product to Museum visitors in the near future.”

Mike Bruno,
Spitz Creative Media
“‘Faster Than Light’” offers a compelling and credible story for our time with broad audience appeal, speaking to a wide range of ages, interests and educational topics,” said Mike Bruno of Spitz Creative Media. “We think our planetarium clients will find it an enduring and versatile title for public and educational programming. We’re very proud of what the team has accomplished and pleased to add ‘Faster Than Light’ to the Spitz fulldome library.”

“Faster Than Light” is distributed by Spitz Creative Media, Mirage3D and Evans & Sutherland. 


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Main Street Design helps Zoo Miami tell the Florida Everglades story with new $33M zone

“This is museum-quality, interpretive content within a fun, themed environment,” said Michael Mercadante, President of Main Street Design. “As museums and zoos embrace themed entertainment, we are able to leverage our experience in all these markets for our clients.”

Michael Mercadante,
Main Street Design
Main Street Design provided interpretive planning and design throughout the 4.5-acre, $33 million Florida: Mission Everglades zone that opened in December 2016 at Zoo Miami.

Florida: Mission Everglades features multiple touchstone experiences and up-close access to native plants and animals, including:
  • Lostman’s River Boat Ride: Guests float through Everglades habitats
  • Panther Tracking Experience: Utilizing GPS tracking and “gamification” technology 
  • River Otter and Crocodile Play Zones: Clear acrylic tunnels let guests crawl alongside real crocodiles and slide through an otter sanctuary
  • Thunderstorm Wet Play Area: Features a simulated thunderstorm 
Click for full story, image library and contact information.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


Executives will be in Orlando for meetings 
during the IAAPA Attractions Expo

Peanuts Worldwide - licensor of the Peanuts brand based on the beloved comic strip created by Charles Schulz – has retained Bay Laurel Advisors to strategically plan and execute the expansion of the Peanuts IP (intellectual property) for the creation of high-quality, guest experiences for multi-generational, visitor attractions in theme parks, family entertainment centers and other location based entertainment venues. Peanuts is well-established as a powerful IP with proven international appeal, and seen as a top brand for Millennials. The Peanuts family has enjoyed tremendous popularity at the Cedar Fair Theme Parks and Universal Studios Japan. Through broader exposure in themed entertainment markets, Peanuts Worldwide will reach more consumers around the world with engaging new guest experiences.

Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Woodstock, Lucy, Schroeder and other familiar Peanuts characters and themes have been readily adapted over the decades in movies, stage shows, social media, merchandise, product endorsements, animated cartoons, games and e-books. In 2015 Peanuts celebrated its 50th anniversary of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and The Peanuts Movie (2015) brought in $250 M in worldwide box office. Short form programming airs daily on Boomerang, as well as Cartoon Network.

“Peanuts Worldwide is strategically looking to expand its location based entertainment presence for the Peanuts brand to other territories around the globe beyond what already successfully exists in the U.S. and Japan.  Partnering with a category expert like Bay Laurel sets us on a clear path to achieve this goal,” said Rosalind Nowicki, Executive Vice President Peanuts Worldwide and Iconix Entertainment.

George Wade, President,
Bay Laurel Advisors
“Peanuts is a refreshing alternative to action/thrill-oriented IPs. There are very few brands that reach the family demographic with such complete delight and humor.  Peanuts is an enduring, highly respected brand that we are proud to represent, and we look forward to introducing it to designers, producers and developers.” said George Wade, President and Founder of Bay Laurel Advisors. “This brand has incredible worldwide appeal.”

Peanuts remains an icon in the public consciousness, with beloved characters and seasonality, tied into universal interests and values. 

Peanuts Worldwide and Bay Laurel Advisors will attend the 2016 IAAPA Attractions Expo, the largest international trade show in the world for the amusement park and attractions industry, to meet with potential partners.

About Peanuts Worldwide:
The PEANUTS characters and related intellectual property are owned by Peanuts Worldwide LLC, a joint venture owned by Iconix Brand Group, Inc. and by members of the Charles M. Schulz family. Iconix Brand Group, Inc. owns, licenses and markets a growing portfolio of consumer brands including: CANDIE'S (R), BONGO (R), JOE BOXER (R), RAMPAGE (R), MUDD (R), MOSSIMO (R), LONDON FOG (R), OCEAN PACIFIC (R), DANSKIN (R), ROCAWEAR (R), CANNON (R), ROYAL VELVET (R), FIELDCREST (R), CHARISMA (R), STARTER (R), WAVERLY (R), ZOO YORK (R), SHARPER IMAGE (R), UMBRO (R), LEE COOPER (R), ECKO UNLTD. (R), MARC ECKO (R), ARTFUL DODGER and STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE (R). In addition, Iconix owns interests in the MATERIAL GIRL (R), PEANUTS (R), ED HARDY (R), TRUTH OR DARE (R), MODERN AMUSEMENT (R), BUFFALO (R), NICK GRAHAM (R) and PONY (R) brands. The Company licenses its brands to a network of leading retailers and manufacturers that touch every major segment of retail distribution from the luxury market to the mass market in both the U.S. and worldwide. Through its in-house business development, merchandising, advertising and public relations departments, Iconix manages its brands to drive greater consumer awareness and equity.

About Bay Laurel Advisors:
Bay Laurel Advisors is a leading consultant to developers and IP holders in the world of Location Based Entertainment. Located in Los Angeles California, Bay Laurel is led by its founder and President, George Wade, an executive with decades of experience representing as well as advising major entertainment brands including MGM Studios, Paramount Studios. and Cartoon Network. Most recently, Bay Laurel helped translate another iconic family brand into a blockbuster destination developing and delivering The Crayola Experience destinations in Easton PA, Orlando, FL and Minneapolis MN.

·         Media relations                 Judith Rubin For Bay Laurel Advisors
(314) 853-5210
·         Project Initiatives             Lisa Welch

(818) 606-7478

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

BIG & Digital title 'Space Next' lands at Seattle Museum of Flight - director Luke Ployhar attends premiere

The Museum of Flight, a Smithsonian affiliate, dedicated its entire June 18 film schedule to premiere 'Space Next' in 4K stereoscopic 3D CGI, and the opening was timed to coincide with the NewSpace conference of entrepreneurs, scientists, engineers and policy leaders, held by the Space Frontier Foundation. At the premiere, 'Space Next' director Luke Ployhar – a Hollywood-trained filmmaker and effects artist whose credits include 'Minority Report' - will introduce the film.
“We are thrilled that 'Space Next' will be available to NewSpace 2016 conference delegates - because the movie’s message is that space research, industry and exploration are alive and well in the 21st Century global community,” said Ployhar, who founded Afterglow Studios in Minneapolis.
Museum of Flight CEO Doug King said, “'Space Next' fits the Museum’s commitment to be the foremost educational air and space museum in the world.”
Luke Ployhar
“These deep space missions, robotics, satellites, space tourism, life changing science breakthroughs and data visualization may seem like science fiction, but are part of modern-day reality,” said Tina Ratterman of BIG & Digital, Las Vegas-based distributor of 'Space Next.' “'Space Next' was designed to engage and inform the public and serve STEAM education with a realistic picture of our present and future in space.”
Cutting edge digital cinema 
'Space Next' is a movie on the frontiers of cinema as well as space. It was produced in realistic, digital animation to screen on the world’s IMAX® and Giant Screen Theaters and most advanced cinema systems - ultra-high resolution and custom immersive theaters most often found in science museums and state-of-the-art planetariums. It was formatted to accommodate multiple digital platforms in 2D, 3D, flat-screen and Fulldome, and resolutions up to 8K. (In comparison, high-end commercial cinema has not yet surpassed 4K resolution.)

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Michael Pharr joins Rethink as COO

BURBANK, Calif. – November 10, 2015 – Rethink Leisure & Entertainment announced that Michael Pharr has joined the organization as Chief Operating Officer, a new position at Rethink. Previously, Pharr was the Director of ACM Services at The Nassal Company in Orlando, Florida. He will report to Scott Ault, President & CEO of Rethink.

“Michael has worked in themed entertainment management for over 30 years,” said Scott Ault. “In previous roles, he has worked on some of the most demanding international projects imaginable, and he will invoke that expertise here at Rethink for our clients. With his expertise in operations and years of practical boots-on-the-ground experience, Michael will be a strong guiding force on all of our many projects.”

Michael arrives at a critical time in Rethink’s history, as the company is currently in development on multiple international theme parks and attractions. Effective immediately, he will assume responsibility for the daily operations of the company, including internal project cost and budget management, and scheduling. Mike will be working closely with the Chief Creative Officer, the Executive Show Producer and the President across every aspect of the production process.

Prior to joining Rethink, Michael Pharr led the estimating team at McGillivray Consulting (now a Nassal Company), where he helped cement their reputation for accurate and reliable cost plans. While with MCG, Michael worked on themed entertainment projects around the globe. His worldwide reputation for solid cost planning also extends to the realm of zoo and aquariums.

Michael Pharr
As Estimating Project Manager for Walt Disney Resorts Integrated Facility Plan, Pharr designed and implemented a process to estimate approximately 3,500 individual jobs at twelve resort properties. As a Project Manager, Michael led a team of internal specialists and external consultants / vendors in the re-branding of Hard Rock Park in Myrtle Beach. This task was completed in 90 days. More recently, he was the Team Leader for a Rethink task force to open the ComicCave themed retail store in Dubai.

Prior to service at MCG, Michael worked for Universal Islands of Adventure, where he served as the Land Estimator for Toon Lagoon. Mike began his themed entertainment career at Walt Disney World working in operations, retail, the tooling warehouse and Central Shops before moving to Buena Vista Construction Company and Facility Asset Management.

A select list of notable projects is below:
  • Paramount Parks - China, Korea, Japan, Europe
  • Meraasland Dubai
  • LEGOLAND Theme Park - California, Germany, Florida, Japan 
  • Hard Rock Theme Park & Hotel, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  • Universal Studios - Orlando, Japan, Germany, Malaysa, Italy
  • Universal Islands of Adventure
  • Fox Studios - Australia, Dubai
  • Jungala, Busch Gardens Tampa
  • SeaWorld Orlando
  • Discovery Cove Orlando
  • Tree of Life, Disney’s Animal Kingdom

About Rethink
Rethink Leisure & Entertainment is a design agency specializing in themed entertainment, including theme parks, resorts, water parks, exhibits and attractions. Based in Burbank, California in a 12,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art facility, Rethink is a place where storytellers, artists, architects and engineers come together to innovate under one roof. Founded in 2013, Rethink has assembled a world-class team, including employees with experience from Walt Disney Imagineering, Universal Creative, Busch Gardens, Paramount Studios, NFL, MLB, Cedar Fair, and 20th Century Fox. Visit

The Rethink team will be at the IAAPA Attractions Expo in Orlando. To set up a business meeting or press interview, telephone +1 818 276 9600.

Judith Rubin Public Relations,

Special format producer Charlotte Huggins helms new VR company AXYZ Studios to bring virtual reality (VR) content to theme parks

Charlotte Huggins, AXYZ Studios
(High resolution files available on request)
Los Angeles, USA, November 10, 2015 – Charlotte Huggins, Ryan Miziker, Sean Chung and Raj Deshpande will attend the IAAPA Attractions Expo in Orlando with their new company, AXYZ Studios (pronounced “axis”), producers of scalable, virtual reality (VR) experiences tailored for theme parks and visitor attractions.

Click here to see this release on PRWeb.

Huggins is well known in the themed entertainment space as a pioneering special venue producer of 3D content for theme parks, giant screen theaters in museums and science centers, and world expo pavilions. Some prominent work includes serving as VFX Producer on “Honey, I Shrunk the Audience” for Disney, and as Producer on “3D Mania” and “Thrill Ride” for nWave Pictures. In the feature film world, her Producer credits include “Journey to the Center of the Earth” and “Journey to the Mysterious Island” (New Line/Warner Bros.) and “Metallica Through the Never” (Blackened/Picturehouse).

Current VR development is predominately tied to in-home use for social media and real-time gaming. However, “We're not going to do either of those,” says Huggins. “We're producing cinematic experiences for fun, thrills and immersive entertainment: pre-rendered, 360° shows 4-18 minutes long, for out-of-home venues”.

In order to further improve the quality of their cinematic VR experiences, AXYZ is currently developing a custom 360 camera system which will be more portable and easier to use for location based live-action photography, and will also help simplify the post production process.

AXYZ Studios is active within the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) and a sponsor of TEA's booth at the IAAPA Attractions Expo.

Charlotte Huggins, Sean Chung and Ryan Miziker of AXYZ Studios
(High resolution file available on request)
The AXYZ Studios team has embraced the challenge of innovating for out-of-home experiences in the new VR platform and already completed a library of five shows. Titles include "In the Tank" (in partnership with the Tennessee Aquarium), "Live from Compass Studios” (recording with Keb’ Mo and Alison Brown in Nashville in partnership with Compass), and "Flying over Los Angeles" (with Group 3 Aviation). They are working with top directors distinguished in special format cinema, including Bob Talbot (“Ocean Men: Extreme Dive”), Sean Casey (“Stormchasers”), and Sean Phillips (“Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure” for National Geographic Cinema Ventures).

“Today's VR technology has the speed, precision, detail, accuracy and robustness needed to deliver a quality guest experience in the demanding, 24/7 theme park environment,” says Chung. “And with players such as Google, Facebook and Sony Playstation investing billions of dollars, VR will only get better and more versatile.”

Applications of VR as seen by the AXYZ team include:

  • Dark rides and 4D theaters: VR will be used to refresh existing rides or be integrated into new attractions. The classic pre-show/main show/post-show format can apply. The VR world that guests experience through their headsets will be complemented by the physical ride environment and by in-theater effects. One difference to seeing the content in VR instead of on a theater screen, Chung points out, will be “that everyone has the best seat in the house.” 
  • Roller coasters and hard rides: Integrating VR with a new or existing thrill ride is already being tested. “With Hollywood style cinematic visuals, AXYZ will increase the emotional and physical impact of the experience,” says Huggins. 
  • Scalable, motion-based experiences: “Footprint doesn't matter,” says Chung. “No matter how small the actual physical space, AXYZ will deliver a giant, immersive VR experience.” 
Sister company to AXYZ Studios is Pulseworks, a leading manufacturer of motion ride systems and digital content for media-based attractions. The two companies share technology and resources, and Deshpande is a principal of both. “This is absolutely the time and the team for producing VR to deliver the next generation of media-based guest experiences,” he says. We're very enthusiastic about this venture.”

For more information, or to set up a business meeting or media interview with AXYZ Studios at the IAAPA Attractions Expo in Orlando, contact Vacheh Shahmoradian,, +1-310-980-4020.

Judith Rubin Public Relations, +1-314-853-5210,