Aardman Animations, the animation studio based in Bristol, has announced Sean Clarke will step into David Sproxton’s shoes as the company’s new managing director.

Clarke has been with Aardman for more than 20 years, working as head of the International Rights and Marketing department for more than ten years.

David Sproxton, who has been MD for Aardman Animations for 43 years commented o the new appointment:

“We were determined to find the best possible candidate for the role, which is critical for securing the studio’s future especially in its Employee Owned incarnation. I am delighted that Sean cut through a very strong competition to take my place.

“He has a deep understanding of the creative culture at Aardman – which will ensure continuity – in addition to a very strong, clear and exciting strategy to take the company forward, so it will certainly not be resting on its laurels.

“There are wonderful projects on the slate with new creative talent behind them and the future looks very bright. I am more than confident that with Sean leading the Executive Board the company will thrive,” Sproxton added.

Peter Lord, Aardman’s co-founder and creative director, shared his enthusiasm towards the new appointment.

“I’m absolutely delighted that Sean Clarke is going to continue his wonderful work at Aardman, following in the footsteps of Dave Sproxton, my long-term partner and co-founder. In a rich world of new opportunities, Sean takes the helm of a dynamic, creatively-led company in a very strong position,” said Lord.



A new multi-purpose entertainment project inspired by the world of aviation is planned to be built in Belgium.

The driving force behind the ambitious project is Jack Schoepen, son of Flemish singer, guitarist and entertainer, Bobbajaan Schoepen, who founded the Belgium-based theme park, Bobbejaanland.

After leaving Bobbejaanland when it was sold to Parques Reunidos over ten years ago, Jack Schoepen has been involved in a number of projects within a consultancy capacity.

The complex’s aviation theme stems from Jack Schoepen’s long-established love of planes.

Known as ‘Captain Jack’, the new site will be designed to accommodate all ages and is hailed as providing a “total aviation experience.”

A key feature of the complex will be Aero Park, an indoor entertainment centre. Air-traffic controllers, firemen, cabin crew, pilots and other individuals you see at an airport, will guide visitors through the theme park.

Aero park will be home to a number of rides and attractions, including a hot air balloon, a zeppelin, flight simulators and a control tower that guests can climb up.

Visitors can learn about the history of aviation through interactive displays tracking the industry’s history and evolution, whilst prodiving scientific and technical information.

Other potential features include indoor skydiving, a sky climb, sky tower, sky monorail, which links the entire site, a 1,000-lot carpark with room for 200 bike and the Bobbejaan Hall of Fame.

Two Boeing 747s could also be featured at the complex, one to be converted into the site’s hotel and the other to accommodate ‘Jumbobizz’ meeting rooms.

The project is to funded predominantly by the Schoepen family.



A hotel solely dedicated to esports is opening in the shopping district of Nipponbashi, in the Japanese city of Osaka.

The E-Zone Hotel, known in Japan as the e-ZONe Denno Kukan, is inspired by a ‘cyberspace’ theme and will comprise of gaming floors, special rooms and sleeping cabins with a total of 94 beds.

The seventh floor will be home to special bedrooms, which feature in-room gaming computers.

Resonant of a gaming café, the hotel hopes to attract both experienced gamers and novices to esports.

The building of the new esports hotel is already underway and the hotel is due to open in April 2020.

A special opening ceremony is expected to take place on the official opening day of the hotel.

Nipponbashi is one of the largest commercial districts in Osaka and is well known for selling electrical equipment for discounted prices and subsequently seems like an appropriate site for a hotel dedicated to esports.



Fantawild Oriental Heritage, the first large-scale theme park developed by Fantawild to be opened in Hubei, China, has officially opened its doors.

On its opening day, the high-tech theme park welcomed around 10,000 visitors.

The amusements site features 41 themed rides and attractions, and more than 200 landscape designs aimed at representing Chinese heritage and culture.

Some of the park’s key attractions include the Magic Gallery, Palace of Chu, which uses VR and live performance, Battle of Red Cliffs, Marvels of Chinese Culture, the Legend of Nüwa and Qu Yuan, an immersive holographic theatre, which combines holographic projection technology with live performance to relive the story of Qu Juan.

The new Fantawild theme park also has plenty to do for younger visitors, including a Tune Tour, Boonie Bears Theatre, and Pine Tree Rocket.

The park’s thrill rides include Galaxy Splash, the Legend of King Yu and the Grand Showman.

Within the Jingzhou theme park is also retail space, where visitors can purchase keepsakes centred on Chinese heritage, as well as merchandise for young Boonie Bear fans.



Tokyo Disneyland’s ‘New Fantasyland’ will open on April 15, 2020, Oriental Land Co (OLC) has announced.

The new immersive area will include the ‘Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast’ attraction, as well as the indoor ‘Fantasyland Forest Theatre.’

The ‘Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast’ attraction will feature a number of rides and attractions, including Gaston’s Fountain, the Beauty and the Beast Castle, Belle’s Village with shops and restaurants, and Maurice’s Cottage at the entrance.

Guests can follow the adventure of Belle and the Beast on a musical journey in vehicles that move to the film’s soundtrack.

Tokyo Disneyland’s Toontown and Tomorrowland are also being upgraded with new rides, including ‘Minnie’s Style Studio’ and ‘The Happy Ride with Baymax,’ where visitors ride with a personal healthcare companion.

Popcorn lovers will be at home, as a new space-themed popcorn shop is opening at Tomorrowland, known as ‘The Big Pop.’



Sim Leisure Group, theme park developers based in Penang, Malaysia, is to open an indoor theme park at the Paradigm Mall in Petaling Jaya.

Construction of the 35,000 square foot amusement centre has already begun. The venue will operate as a tenant in the mall for up to 12 years.

The park will comprise of an Escape ChallengeS, an indoor version of Escape, aimed at attracting youth guests and young families.

Sim Choo Kheng, Sim Leisure’s CEO, commented on the new attraction.

“For years, we have been approached by developers and mall operators to develop an indoor version of Escape.

“Paradigm Mall Petaling Jaya is a strong community partner and perfectly highlights the unique traits of a family mall.

“We are very proud of this partnership given the affinity for play parks by parents and children. Installing the play area in the mall is a natural fit given that no other malls in Klang Valley have recreations centres of this genre,” Sim Choo Kheng added.

Paradigm Mall is a six-storey centre that covers a huge 700,000 square feet of retail space. The mall is situated in the heart of Petaling Jaya, a major city in Malaysia, which was originally developed as a satellite town for Kuala Lumpur.

The new indoor theme park is due to open at the end of November 2019.



A ‘first-of-its-kind’ waterpark is due to open in Oman on the Arabian Peninsula in 2020. The park is being developed by the Polin Group, a market leader in the design, manufacture and installation of waterparks, waterslides and water play attractions.

The waterpark will stretch across 42,000 square metres and comprise of 22 waterslides and games for all ages, including the Polin Group’s iconic, multiple award-winning waterslide, the King Cobra.

There will also be a Surf stream, Trail Coaster, Navigator, Rocket Freefall, Speed Slides, Flying Boats and a Lazy River, amongst other attractions.

The Oman waterpark will be Polin Group’s first project in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Following successful installations of waterparks worldwide, including Croatia, Turkey and France, the Polin Group is collaborating with the real estate company the BBH Group.

Dr Khalid Al Matani, Chairman of the BBH Group, said the building of the waterpark could be completed within seven to 12 months.

“We are extremely proud to come up with this project and have Polin Group build this waterpark, which is going to be yet another attraction for the people as well as tourists visiting the Sultanate.

“This is the first time the Polin Group is coming to the GCC and they intend to make this waterpark project in Muscat a showroom for the rest of the countries in the region,” added the BBH Group’s chairman.



Legoland Florida Resort has announced the grand opening of its highly awaited Pirate Island Hotel will take place on April 17, 2020.

Legoland Florida made the announcement about its new hotel on ‘International Talk Like a Pirate Day 2019’ on September 19.

Pirate Island Hotel will be the first Lego pirate-themed hotel in North America. The hotel is located just yards from the Legoland theme park.

Pirate Island Hotel will be Legoland Florida’s third accommodation. The hotel will comprise of 150 Lego-inspired rooms, which include in-room Lego treasure hunts and exclusive character experiences.

Each bedroom will feature separate sleeping areas for children and adults. The kid’s area comprises of a bunk bed, Lego play areas and TV to watch Lego movies.

The hotel will also be home to a heated swimming pool with a decking area with soft Lego bricks for youngsters to have fun with.

Dining at the five-storey hotel is to take place at the pirate-themed Shipwreck Restaurant. There will also be a Smuggler’s Bar for adults and an evening entertainment programme in the Lego play areas for children.

Directly outside the hotel is the wreckage of the pirate ship, providing the perfect spot for photo opportunities.



Universal Beijing Resort will officially open in 2021. The new Universal Studios theme park was due to open in 2020 but has been put back until the following year.

The first phase of the theme park will feature Universal CityWalk, a retail, entertainment and dining complex, as well as Universal Studios.

The building of the first phase of the development is said to be in its final stages.

Plans are in motion for a further two theme parks to be built at the resort in the future. The site will also be home to the world’s first Universal Studios-themed hotel.

Universal Beijing Resort is located in the eastern suburb of the Tongzhou district of Beijing and will be the biggest Universal Studios theme park in the world.

Feature rides and attractions at the park will be based on well-known characters and stories, including the Minions, Transformers, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, Waterworld, and Kung Fu Panda.

The subway line that will link the resort with Beijing Universal City Avenue will be completed during the final quarter of 2019.

In an announcement about the opening of Universal Beijing Resort, the company said:

“You thought the wait is forever, but actually, it will be 2021.

“This is a gift in advance for the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Please expect the grand opening of the Universal Beijing Resort in 2021.”



Zamperla, a leading Italian designer and manufacturer of theme park rides and attractions, has revealed details about the new indoor amusement park it is building at FICO Eataly World in Bolgona.

The new site is known as Luna Farm, in reference to the traditional name for theme parks in Italian, travelling carnivals, as well as the iconic Luna Park in New York’s Coney Island, which has been operated by Zamperla since 2010.

The 11-million-euro project involves the construction of a 6,500 square meter park, which features 15 rides and attractions, all developed by Zamperla.

These attractions include a panoramic mill wheel, a suspended monorail with chicken gondolas and bull-themed bumper cars, with interactive projections.

A division of Zamperla, Z+, is to debut several interactive reality and augmented experiences at the new amusement park.

Tiziana Primori, CEO of Eataly World, commented on the opening of Luna Farm.

“Luna Farm completes the family experience at FICO. Eataly World is a unique location where you can learn by having fun, and you get to know food from the field to the fork.

“The farm created by Zamperla offers an extraordinary space of games and fantasy,” said Primori.

Luna Farm is due to open before the end of 2019.