Coney Island (Luna Park) Development Discussion Thread

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Re: Coney Island Development Discussion Thread

Postby Airtime&Gravity » Fri Apr 23, 2010 2:38 pm

A news article that talks about the Zamperla company, the plans for the site, and what will be built in the future. Although, something tells me that the 4.5 million European park visitors statistic is slightly under the actual number. ;)


ALTAVILLA VICENTINA, ITALY — Alberto Zamperla sweeps through the cavernous workshop here where his amusement rides are made while workers measure and bang and solder enormous platforms, oddly shaped beams and assorted fiberglass vehicles.

Spring is a busy time for his company, and attractions are being prepared for the summer season that is about to open in theme parks around the world.

This year, however, one destination has Mr. Zamperla racing against the clock: Coney Island in New York City, where in a few weeks he will present a new amusement park featuring 22 rides, including the Tickler, a family-oriented roller coaster; the whirly Mega Disko; and Air Race, a heart-gulping aerobatic experience.

Coney Island is the largest investment yet in the 50-year history of Zamperla Group. Zamperla is the majority shareholder of Central Amusement International, or C.A.I., a New Jersey company that signed an agreement in February with the city of New York to build and manage the amusement area. C.A.I. has spent $15 million on the refurbishment of the park, about half of the $30 million it expects to invest.

“Ride manufacturers have been operating rides in parks or fairgrounds for many years,” said Andreas Veilstrup Andersen, executive director of the European office of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. “However, a project as big as Coney Island is very unusual.”

Time has been tight, with the park’s opening set for the end of May.

“We had a pretty good idea of what we could produce on time,” said Mr. Zamperla, the chief executive. “There’s a lot of pressure, because all eyes are on us. Things just can’t be good, they have to be perfect.”

Luigi De Vita, managing director of the company, added: “When we’re under pressure, we give the best of ourselves.”

Theme parks and amusement parks have a global lure, with about 758 million visitors worldwide in 2007, according to the latest study from PricewaterhouseCoopers on the outlook for entertainment and media. Worldwide revenue in 2007 was $24 billion, the study said.

Zamperla, according to industry experts, is ranked among the top five manufacturers of amusement park rides.

The Coney Island project will be called Luna Park, after the original playground that stood there until World War II. Drawings for the new main gate on Surf Avenue meticulously mimic the original design, albeit in a flashier revamp.

The park at Coney Island “had its glory but lacked an innovative spirit,” Mr. Zamperla said of a site that in recent decades had become a little down at heel. In February, C.A.I. won the bid on a 10-year lease to build and operate the park, which sits on a city-owned lot.

“Their specific proposal was a nice blend of honoring the history of Coney Island, while developing it as a modern 21st-century amusement park,” said Seth W. Pinsky, president of the New York City Economic Development Corp.

Zamperla was chosen because it had a sound track record in operating amusement parks, including the Victorian Gardens, a children’s amusement area in Central Park in New York. And it was known as the producer of “some of the most exciting rides in the world,” Mr. Pinksy said.

The Zamperla family has been building amusement park attractions at Altavilla Vicentina since the early 1960s.

Alberto’s grandfather, Umberto Zamperla, opened one of the first movie houses in Italy, then moved into carnival attractions. His father, Antonio Zamperla, worked in traveling shows before deciding to settle in this Veneto town to start inventing and manufacturing rides.

Alberto Zamperla, 58, the eldest of five children, took the show on the road, so to speak, and there are now factories or sales offices in several countries, including the United States, China, Russia and Dubai. His group sells to customers in more than 90 countries and now exports about 95 percent of its products.

There are about 185 employees in Italy, with an additional 270 around the world.

The nuts and bolts of the business — its administration as well as its main manufacturing activities — are at the headquarters near Vicenza, an industrial district that is the third-largest exporting center in Italy, according to the local chamber of commerce. The area produces goods including gold, textiles and furniture.

Carmine Tripodi, who teaches strategic and entrepreneurial management at Bocconi University in Milan, said Zamperla was representative of Veneto’s fertile manufacturing tradition only “up to a certain point,” as it had taken the leap into the international market. “That is not so common,” Mr. Tripodi said, “and one of the great challenges is the measure by which these businesses are able to be protagonists in other markets.”

A stroll though the headquarters at Altavilla Vicentina hints at the complexity of producing amusement park rides for the world’s major theme parks, including various Disney Parks (“In our business, it’s the best reference you can have,” Mr. Zamperla said), Six Flags theme parks and malls worldwide. Even the late Michael Jackson’s Neverland estate has Zamperla rides.

On average, the company spends about €1 million, or $1.33 million, a year designing new products. Attractions are designed using complicated computer algorithms and mathematical models and then built and tested here. Zamperla has dozens of patents on items like merry-go-round decorations and roller coaster seats.

“This is where ideas are born,” Mr. Zamperla beamed as he looked at the Moto Coaster, a ride being prepared for a dinosaur theme park in Changzhou, China. Each ride requires about a year from design to delivery, he said, and can cost anywhere from €20,000 to €6 million. The Moto Coaster sells for €3.5 million and will be one of the new attractions at Coney Island next year.

Safety, and compliance with international standards, is an obvious priority. Accidents are rare, but they do happen, and Zamperla has not been spared. “You build as safely as you possibly can — the laws regulating amusement rides are more severe than for automobiles,” Mr. Zamperla said.

The global economic turmoil has been felt in the amusement ride industry, though in 2009 the effects were felt less in Europe than in other parts of the world, said Mr. Andersen, of the amusement park association. Last year, about 4.5 million people visited amusement parks in Europe.

“There’s money to spend on investments,” Mr. Andersen said, which makes him optimistic about the industry’s future. “It’s a resilient business that has proven it can reinvent itself over the last 80 and 90 years, and I am confident it will continue to do so,” he said.

Demand is growing in new markets, too, especially in the Middle and Far East. Zamperla has a factory and sales offices in Suzhou, China, to serve the fast-growing Chinese market. “We’re not going to make the mistake of underestimating the Chinese,” he said.

The factory in China produces about €4 million worth of rides for the Chinese market. He exports about the same amount from Italy to China and hopes to reach €20 million in sales in two years.

And in well-established markets like the United States, long-term success in the amusement ride industry depends on novelty, Mr. Andersen said.

This year, for example, Coney Island will see the debut of Air Race, an airborne experience that the company describes as “the ultimate thrill ride,” alongside more placid family fare. Next year, new rides are expected in the Scream Zone, an addition to the park that will feature several Zamperla roller coasters intended mostly for teenagers.

“In the end, all we want to do is build rides that people will enjoy,” Mr. Zamperla said. And Coney Island, he said, “will be the perfect showcase” for the company.


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Re: Coney Island Development Discussion Thread

Postby kidcoaster 2 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 11:25 am

In the link is a video over view of what the park will look like while the rides are in full swing and at the end you see a glimpse of a Volare flying coaster.

It's now a drab construction site dotted with piles of dirt - but by Memorial Day weekend, a gleaming new amusement park will rise in Coney Island where Astroland once stood.

"We're working three shifts, around the clock, 2-4/7," said Valerio Ferrari, president of Central Amusement International and Zamperla USA, the companies responsible for building the new Luna Park.

Visitors will find 19 new rides, with highlights that include a spinning roller coaster dubbed the Tickler, an airplane ride that will have thrill-seekers "doing corkscrews in jets," a giant swinging pendulum and a log flume with a steep, watery plunge.

There'll be teacups, swings, hot air balloon rides and the Disc-O, which spins passengers up and down a 60-foot rail. Look for a smaller coaster, a flume ride for kids and the Beach Shack, a surfboard ride where the brave are buffeted by simulated winds.

"There will be more edgy rides, and we're going to bring in new rides every year," Ferrari said.

It's been modeled after the original Luna Park, the legendary lunar-themed Coney Island mecca that opened in 1903 and closed because of fire in 1944 - with some thrilling modern twists.

Since his companies were tapped by Mayor Bloomberg in February to open a park on land the city bought from developer Joe Sitt, Ferrari has been reading up on Brooklyn history and devoured Charles Denson's book "Coney Island: Lost and Found."

"One thing that struck me is that even though we have all the technology that we have these days, they had back a hundred years ago amazing rides," he said.

Ferrari said he's never heard of an amusement park being built from scratch so quickly, but he's confident it will be ready in time for the May 29 opening.

Workers are finishing up the painstaking electric, plumbing and foundation work. The rides have been tested at Zamperla's factory in Vicenza, Italy, and are starting to arrive in pieces at the site, where special crews will soon start putting them together.

"We're going to have ...sword swallowers, fire-eaters, some music," Ferrari said. There will also be games, an outdoor restaurant and five food stands.

Boardwalk favorites like Ruby's and the Lola Staar boutique, which got leases from the city before Central Amusement International took over, will be back this summer, too - even though their long-term fate is unclear.

For Ferrari, 46, who started as a mechanical engineer at Zamperla in Italy 20 years ago, building the Coney Island park is the chance of a lifetime.

"I answered an ad in a newspaper, which I carry with me all the time, believe it or not," he said, showing off the yellowed help-wanted ad he spotted while living in Vicenza.

His girlfriend at the time agreed to accompany him to the United States if he'd marry her.

"I said, 'I'll marry you if I get the job,' and I've been married ever since," he said.

"For us in the amusement industry, everything started in Coney Island. So to be part of the renaissance of Coney Island unique," he said.

"It's like playing soccer in the World Cup."

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Re: Coney Island Development Discussion Thread

Postby coastered » Mon Apr 26, 2010 10:03 pm

A new animated video from Luna Park including the 2011 expension, some big steel coasters in the back.
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Re: Coney Island Development Discussion Thread

Postby CardCraze » Tue Apr 27, 2010 4:29 am

To be honest I am not seeing how they plan to have all this up and running in what is it now, thirty one days?

I mean honestly, if they can do it, I would love to visit this park sometime this summer. But with thirty-one days until opening day, all they have is a large patch of dirt, and some pipe instillations.
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Re: Coney Island Development Discussion Thread

Postby coasterjohnh » Tue Apr 27, 2010 4:52 am

They should of called it Zamperla Land

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Re: Coney Island Development Discussion Thread

Postby kidcoaster 2 » Tue Apr 27, 2010 10:57 am

Here is the full animated video, all I can say is that this place looks amazing! (Lets hope the final product is the same)

Last edited by kidcoaster 2 on Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:06 am.

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Re: Coney Island Development Discussion Thread

Postby Shavethewhales » Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:00 am

^I think some of those coaster renderings are going to be as accurate as Kennywood's Sky Rocket renderings were. Looks like Zamperla is going to do more than just out of the box layouts though.

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Re: Coney Island Development Discussion Thread

Postby Speeddeamon128 » Wed Apr 28, 2010 6:44 pm

This place looks like a lot of fun. Hopefully I'll be able check this place out before I go to a Yankees game in June.
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Re: Coney Island Development Discussion Thread

Postby jedimaster1227 » Tue May 04, 2010 9:15 pm

Miss the Wild River ride at the soon-to-be shuttered Fun Forest? You can ride it again next time you're in New York. Seattle's hometown water flume has found a new home on the legendary Coney Island. You could say we should be flattered. Seattle's old classic will be the only used ride at Luna Park, a permanent carnival of 19 rides set to open May 29.

"We're big fans" of the ride, said Ramon Rosario, director of sales for ride manufacturing at Zamperla USA, which is building the $24 million Luna Park. "All of us like Seattle very much here."

In 2007, Seattle decided to shut down the Fun Forest after years of declining interest and revenue in the more than 40-year-old park. Its kiddie rides and indoor arcade are expected to stay open through Labor Day. Its big rides -- including Wild River -- closed down last year. Zamperla purchased the water flume from Fun Forest in January. One of about a half-dozen Reverchon-brand flumes still operating in the country, it's sturdy and uniquely portable, Rosario said. "We felt it was a good opportunity for us to pick something up that would meet our needs," Rosario said. "It's something that's becoming a trend in our industry -- taking something that's a an favorite and reconditioning it."

The ride got a 6-week scrub down in a factory in Colorado. Now it's arriving, in pieces, at Luna Park's Coney Island site. Its "liner" -- a large sheet that lines the inside of the "splash" pool at the end of the ride -- came in about five minutes before I called him, Rosario said.

When the flume is assembled and ready to go (Luna Park crews have apparently been working nonstop for weeks), the flume will have a different light pattern than it had when it sat in front of the Experience Music Project at Seattle Center. But it may just keep its identity.

"I can't guarantee it, but we may keep the name Wild River," Rosario said.

P.S. -- Thanks to Tricia of Coney Island blog Amusing the Zillion for breaking the news and sharing the tip!

"We're thrilled that Fun Forest's Wild River has found a new home in Coney Island. Seattleites visiting New York City this summer are especially welcome to come to the new Luna Park and cool off on their flume!" Tricia wrote.

Seattle's Luna Park

Seattle once had its own "Luna Park" at Alki Beach. Complete with rides and amusements, it closed in 1913 after only five years in operation. But no, Zamperla didn't steal a Seattle idea. "Luna Park" was the name of one of the original Coney Island parks and inspired namesakes all over the world. The new Luna Park is its reinvention. Read more about Seattle's version in our 2008 Alki retrospective.
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Re: Coney Island Development Discussion Thread

Postby Jew » Tue May 04, 2010 9:44 pm

CardCraze wrote:To be honest I am not seeing how they plan to have all this up and running in what is it now, thirty one days?

I mean honestly, if they can do it, I would love to visit this park sometime this summer. But with thirty-one days until opening day, all they have is a large patch of dirt, and some pipe instillations.

The rides are most likely the trailer versions---meaning they are designed to be put up (and taken down) very quickly.


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