Disney has announced it is reorganising the leadership of its theme parks. The management overhaul will see Josh D’Amaro lead Walt Disney World Resort and Rebecca Campbell head up Disneyland Resort.

Moving from the role of president of Disneyland Resort, which he has had since March 2018, Josh D’Amaro will take on the position of president of Walt Disney World Resort in November.

Rebecca Campbell will succeed D’Amaro as president of Disneyland Resort. Campbell has more than 20 years’ experience at Walt Disney Company.

Talking about the appointment and the move to California, Josh D’Amaro said: “I have been incredibly honoured to lead the Disneyland Resort, and humbled to work alongside our amazing cast members.

“From the moment I arrived in Orange County, I felt welcomed and proud to engage with this community.

“Over the past two years, we’ve worked hard to ensure that Disneyland is a great place for our guests to visit and for our cast to work.

“At the same, the Walt Disney World Resort is undergoing one of its most significant transformations in its history.

“My ties to the Cast of the Walt Disney World Resort and to the Central Florida community run deep, and I look forward to rejoining the team,” D’Amario continued.

Rebecca Campbell also shared her enthusiasm for her new position, saying: “As a lifelong fan of Disney parks, I am thrilled for the opportunity to lead the Disneyland Resort.

“I can’t wait to work closely with my fellow cast members to continue to deliver great experiences for our millions of guests, and to ensure that the Disneyland Resort remains a great place to work and is a leading community partner in Anaheim and Orange County.

“This is a period of incredible investment in the Disneyland Resort, and I am excited to help bring more of the world’s favourite stories from Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars to life for our guests,” said Campbell.

A further leadership change will see George Kalogridis taking on the role of president of Disney Segment Development and Enrichment. Kalogridis has led Walt Disney Resort since 2013.

Our experiences in China

As an increasing number of manufacturers and suppliers enter the parks and attractions market in China, InterPark talks to a number of companies about their experiences in working in the country and some of the projects the have been involved with

Vekoma – Charlotte van Etten, account manager sales and marketing

‘Every year millions of people across the globe are delighted and thrilled by the coasters and attractions of Vekoma Rides Manufacturing. China (and Asia in general) is a very important market for Vekoma, with the company having already opened numerous projects in Chinese theme parks with many more due over the next few years. Having production facilities and offices in China is therefore considered a great advantage for Vekoma.

In China, more and more investors are stepping into this market and you see a growing number of Chinese companies ranking in top the 10 of amusement parks. New parks are being built while existing parks continue to expand and we anticipate seeing more park openings in the next couple of years. It is noticeable that China parks select to buy high quality coasters and attractions from renowned manufacturers while in addition to the ride selection, parks now also focus on the total guest experience.

Peter van Bilsen, executive VP sales and marketing at Vekoma, discusses yet another project in China

A park investment requires a substantial investment so park owners will choose those attractions that have a long lifetime, while at the same time being innovative and attractive to the guests. China is implementing more and high value IP, which considerably enhances the total experience. The story line and an immersive experience are very popular trends in the Chinese market right now.

We have seen that Asian consumers like thrill rides. However, the large population in Asia is also very family oriented and therefore rides that the entire family can enjoy are very popular. To the Asian consumer it does not really matter whether it is a thrill or family coaster. They care more about their experience being fun. Park owners realise this and you can see they buy a mix of family and thrill coasters.

When buying and operating a coaster, new operators should not only consider the ride experience. Safety is the first priority, so good and easy maintenance is very important for the park operator.’

Alterface – Benoit Cornet, founder and CEO

‘Alterface in China is a now a long love story, with moments of intense devotion and moments of misunderstandings. We introduced our first interactive theatres some 13 years ago and since then have been quite active in the market. More recently, we decided to invest more to be close to our Chinese customers, both on a personal level and on the commercial side.

Alterface – Benoit Cornet, founder and CEO

In order to better understand how people think, you need to spend quite some time learning their way of thinking and it is fascinating. The common mistake most western companies are making, in my opinion, is that they consider China as an emerging market that will ultimately evolve to resemble the market in Europe or the US. I think this is not completely correct; the country evolves very fast but this evolution will lead to something else, intensely Chinese and not a copy of other cultures. So we need to project ourselves in what China wants to become and adapt our products and way of working to fit this evolution. A product has to be designed with the target population in mind and it is up to us to adjust, not the other way around.’

Simtec Systems – Andreas Stickel, director business development

‘The EXPO 2010 in Shanghai opened the door for Simtec to the Chinese market. The Shanghai Pavilion was one of the special highlights at the EXPO 2010. In a record time of less than four months Simtec Systems has developed, built, installed and programmed the motion platform for a new entertainment simulator based on a 6DOF motion base driving on a track with additional rotation of the open guest platform. Visitors experience, together with the simulator and by means of a movie, a journey through the story of Shanghai.

Compared to projects in other areas, our experience is that Chinese customers are willing to take risks to order prototype systems if these systems are unique and if you are able to convince them of the technical capabilities of your company and provide solutions. This was also the success of the motion simulator of the Shanghai Pavilion in 2010 and our HEXaFLITE® flying theatres all over China which at the end has been the foundation for the growth of Simtec in recent years. The company developed from a 15 people organisation in 2010 to nearly 100 employees in Germany and China in 2019.

We have learned a lot about cultural conditions and different operational methods, i.e. milestone orientated working. This was one of our first challenges which we mastered well. Simtec is glad to have started the “adventure in China” in 2010 and we are looking forward to the coming years.’

Lagotronics Projects – Carlo Görtjes, president

‘Lagotronics Projects has realised many projects in China; for example the GameChanger at Shimao’s Skyscrapers City, the Moon Bunny Rescue dark ride at EonTime World and some media dark rides for Wanda. I have done a lot of business in China over the years and got to know the people very well. One of the most important things is trust. In China, people will always want to help you, as long as you don’t betray their trust. They work extremely hard and don’t mind to work overtime in the evenings or during the weekends. This is why they can deliver huge projects in a short period of time, for example the high-speed rail network.

Doing business in China often takes more time than in Europe. We were not used to this long-term contract settlement in the past. Now we know that it’s part of the deal and things will work out well in the end. Chinese people are very friendly and helpful. Furthermore, China is a land full of traditions. These traditions need to be respected at all times. You can’t learn them in short period of time; it takes years to understand.


Over the years, Lagotronics Projects has become very familiar with this beautiful country. Last year we opened our own office in Shanghai. This works very well and makes it even easier and more pleasant to do business there. We’re closer to the Chinese market and are proud to say we have plenty of projects on the way in China.’

Martin & Vleminckx – Chuck Bingham, senior vice-president of marketing and sales

‘The past 10 years have been an exciting journey for Martin & Vleminckx. In 2009, the company delivered the very first wooden roller coaster to China. Over the years, Martin & Vleminckx has delivered a total of 11 wooden roller coasters. We are thrilled to say that the coming years also look very promising.

Some of our most recent projects, the Jungle Trailblazer Ningbo and Jungle Trailblazer Jinan, which offer the new 360 degree barrel roll and the mega high five element for OCT Wuhan, have all been highly acclaimed and serve as a testament to our design process.


Martin & Vleminckx coasters undergo a thorough design process by our engineering partners. In addition to a rigorous design review process from the Chinese Special Equipment Inspection and Research Institute the end result always provides an experience unlike steel coasters.  

With a China-based group of technicians that are readily available, Martin & Vleminckx offers after sales services, maintenance and training to ensure that our customers operate their roller coaster equipment in a safe and efficient manner. 

Our experience working on projects in China has been extremely rewarding. In 2017, Martin & Vleminckx set up two wholly-owned subsidiaries in Shenzhen and Wuhan. The mission of the two new China companies is to build and maintain long-term business partnerships with Chinese customers, provide the highest quality spare parts and offer quick and excellent after-sale services, including maintenance and consulting services.’

Concept 1900 – Baixuan Wang, business manager

‘2019 marks the third year since Concept 1900 officially entered China. Our company has always been surprised by the potential of this promising land. The same feelings always come to me as I travel a lot between China and France. In addition, Chinese customers are no less complex than the stock market and a full comprehension would be the key. Here I stand in the perspective of ‘Wai Guo Ren’ and share some feelings after having contact with Chinese customers. Here are a few key words:

Hospitality: At an exhibition, whether or not there is any purchase intention, they come forward to have a talk. Sometimes they invite me to their company, to have dinner together and I needn’t call any taxi from the airport; they even book the hotel for me! And I think ‘I can do this myself’ but I go with it in order not to break the harmony.

Collectivism: Chinese customers will always come in a group to an exhibition. If there are more than three people wearing uniforms, we should pay extreme attention to them. They are prospective customers. Generally we’ll have the manager of products, purchase or operation for the site and even vice-presidents will be present. At this time, all sorts of questions will be asked. However, the man to the side who is quietly listening will be the real decision maker. And I can only judge if it is a positive discussion from his expression during his conversation with his assistant.

Taste exclusive: In order to seize the hearts of consumers, many clients want to customise our carousel in a creative way. Our carousel is actually a pure European vintage style, with a lively, bright colour as the keynote. However, in China, you need to nationalise it. They will push hard a mixed plan to confirm their theme, or choose boldly the pure red as the colour of the canopy instead of two-colour stripes. Red is their favourite colour that fits almost everything and everywhere!’

The Producers Group – Edward Marks, founder and co-CEO

‘As specialists serving clients in the international themed entertainment market, The Producers Group (TPG) has extended its successful track record building creative relationships and vital communication tools to fulfill unique client needs in China.

The communication and cultural differences between us and our partners certainly increased the challenge of forging these valuable relationships, but TPG developed valuable new tool sets and procedures to increase understanding and productivity.

TPG forged these tools out of necessity when we were engaged to simultaneously create and produce three live shows debuting at one client’s Chinese theme park. Clarity of production scope with our partner was of upmost importance from the kick-off to ensure we both began work on these shows with the same goals in mind.

To that end, TPG’s team and our specialist consultant ensured that design and production choices created culturally relevant results for Chinese audiences. Within parallel production phases, our consultant facilitated TPG’s presentation of key project milestones at face-to-face meetings that ensured a meaningful dialogue with our client.

Establishing this customized communication pipeline also helped TPG overcome the challenge of sustaining long-term momentum across three simultaneous projects. Efficiency in face-to-face and long-distance communication grew steadily as partners adapted to and expanded upon this mutually beneficial feedback exchange.

TPG incorporated many time-saving tools, including use of storyboard animatics with dual-language audio tracks to demonstrate each show’s intent to the client quickly and in context without ambiguity. A crucial, continuous dialogue of ideas was established. These and other tools enabled immediate, detailed client feedback that influenced design, staging and pacing of all three live shows while emphasising their unique themes.’

Doppelmayr/Garaventa Group – Sissi Wu, marketing manager

‘Vietnam is home to an amazing density of ropeways with Guinness World Records. The Doppelmayr Group co-operated with the Sun Group to build those impressive installations.

The Doppelmayr ropeway tour group in Vietnam

In order to present Doppelmayr’s quality and innovation, its participation in this increasingly dynamic ropeway market and state-of-the-art ropeway products to Chinese customers, Doppelmayr China invited a number of leaders from well-known scenic spots and snow resorts and ropeway experts to Vietnam for a week-long ropeway tour through Vietnam. Doppelmayr now has 122 ropeways in China. In June 2018, members of the delegation personally experienced the world-famous 3S ropeway Hon Thom, the Fansipan Legend 3S ropeway climbing the highest peak in Vietnam, the reversible aerial tramway Ha Long Queen Cable Car, the longest mono-cable gondola lift Bana Big Ropeway and two D-Line installations in the scenic Bana Hills. They conducted in-depth discussions and exchanged operational experiences with the owners and operators.

And seeing is believing! Many representatives have expressed their intention to co-operate with Doppelmayr in the future and we look forward to introducing Doppelmayr equipment to China!’

Kraftwerk Living Technologies – Kevin Murphy, director of sales and marketing

‘Known for its porcelain craftsmanship from the Tang Dynasty, the Tonguan Kiln International Cultural and Tourism Centre portrays the 1,200-year heritage of Changsha city in Hunan Province on a total area of 1.1 million sq.m, featuring eight museums, five performing centres, three luxury hotels and 18 cultural attractions. Celebrating the region’s craftsmanship, the cultural centre creatively brings its history and stories about this ancient past to life – with state-of-the-art media-based experiences.

Members of the Kraftwerk team exploring during one of their visits to China

Back in 2016, Austrian audio visual system integrator Kraftwerk Living Technologies received the order for the largest contract in its 26-year company history. Now, roughly 30 months later, both attractions – Beautiful Hunan, a 72-seater flying theatre attraction and the 800-seater Magic Glaze 5D theatre – are completed. Whilst the flying theater, for which Kraftwerk LT provided the screen and high-end AV system on behalf of CAVU Designwerks, has been open since October 2018, (featuring a stunning flight over Hunan region) the first park guests entered the theatre during a soft opening at the end of March 2019 to experience the highly immersive 5D experience.

To better serve the Chinese market, Kraftwerk Living Technologies has invested in setting up a new company in Shanghai as part of the group, with the backing and experience of Global Kraftwerk LT behind it.’

ProSlide Technology – Steve Avery, manager of customer success

‘The China waterpark market is growing rapidly, with many projecting it will lead the world by 2025. During my time at ProSlide, I’ve had the great pleasure to travel throughout China spending quality time with our regional clients.

The ProSlide team with the Adventure Island Water World team in Lishui

Recently, our ProSlide team landed in Wenzhou and headed north west through scenic countryside along the Ou River to Lishui, home of the exciting Adventure Island Water World. This magnificent waterpark hosts some of ProSlide’s most iconic attractions, including a massive TORNADO® 60, a giant BehemothBOWL® 60 and a thrilling TornadoWAVE® 45, among others.

We walked through Adventure Island Water World examining and verifying each ride complex powered by high-performance ProSlide innovation to ensure that they were operating at peak performance. After being in service for nearly seven years, we were pleased to find that all of them were in great condition, a testament to Adventure Island’s meticulous maintenance and our ultra-durable attractions.

Throughout our stay, the Adventure Island maintenance team were actively performing their annual top-to-bottom maintenance on all of their ProSlide attractions before the winter. Together, we discussed the ProSlide rides in great detail, finding optimal solutions and follow-up actions for each specific attraction.



Waterplay, providers of aquatic play solutions, has announced the release of three new products centred on delivering an experience.

The products are part of Waterplay’s Water Weavers series and feature a simple design while providing a collaborative play experience.

The multi-user products are designed to stimulate the mind and encourage spatial movement and awareness through weaving water effects and interactivity.

Water Weavers’ lead designer, Markus Ehring, who is the founder Public Poetry, a German design company, spoke of the new product range. “Water Weavers are a unique product that focuses on the energy the water brings to the play space,” said Ehring.

“The design is minimal, but the play value and water display are exceptional, making for a very fun product that will be a nice addition to any space,” Water Weavers’ lead designer added.

The new products can work individually or as a group. They also work with other Waterplay products.



Luna Farm, the first farm-themed amusement park in Italy, is due to open in Bologna before the end of the year.

The project is being ran by Zamperla group, which already manages two New York attraction icons, Luna Park in Coney Island and Victorian Gardens in Central Park.

Luna Farm is based on the concept created for FICO Eataly World. The site will offer families a fun experience immersed within a farm setting.

Visitors will be able to enjoy a total of 15 themed attractions, including a suspended monorail where guests can board a chicken, a panoramic mill wheel, and a bull-paddock themed bumper car with interactive projections.

Design specialists Team Park Project created the new indoor theme park, where guests will be able to experience the worldwide debut of augmented and interactive reality solutions for amusement rides developed by Z+, a division of the Zamperla group.

There is also a focus on inclusivity and accessibility at the park, areas that Zamperla group has been focusing on for years, developing attractions that are accessible to people with special needs.

Luna Farm occupies an indoor surface of approx. 6,500sq.m and is an 11 million euro investment.

Alberto Zamperla, president of the Zamperla group, commented on the opening of Luna Farm: “We are proud of this partnership with FICO Eataly World because we share the same mission, i.e. promoting the Italian excellence in the world.

“The nature of this cutting-edge project has led us to take it seriously and invest in this collaboration accordingly. Luna Farm arrives at the second year of FICO as a natural evolution of a project that anticipates future trends: FICO offers innovative answers to the changing needs of consumers, where entertainment plays a key role,” said Zamperla.

Oscar Farinetti, founder of Eataly, stated: “When we thought of FICO, we had in mind a huge playful place for children and their families.

“Luna Farm is the natural evolution of our original project. A place appealing to children with attractions and amusement facilities which reconnect us with our roots and traditions.

“Our cooperation with Zamperla, an Italian excellence in the amusement industry worldwide, underlines once more FICO’s attention to promoting an inclusive and accessible tourism,” Farinetti added.



IAAPA, the world’s largest association for the attractions industry, has officially opened its new 22,000 sq.ft. global headquarters in Orlando, Florida.

Located on seven acres, the custom-built headquarters has been designed to support IAAPA members across the globe. The site is home to meeting rooms, event space and workstations. An outdoor kitchen and spacious patio cater for al fresco dining and socialising, while overlooking the natural landscape.

The exterior of the building boasts a unique wave pattern, designed to reflect the dynamism of the attractions sector. Internally, the building features dramatic artistic elements, including a vibrant mural and ceilings positioned at varying heights.

David Rosenberg, 2019 chairman of the IAAPA Board of Directors and vice president of Monterey Bay Aquarium, commented on the new headquarters: “We are thrilled to begin this next chapter of IAAPA’s history with the completion of this beautiful new building,”

“Orlando is the heart of the attractions industry, and the perfect location for IAAPA. The headquarters will serve as the place for industry professionals to come together, to work, and to collaborate.  It is also perfectly positioned to support the association’s global operations,” Rosenberg continued.

Hal McEvoy, president and CEO, IAAPA, said: “We are incredibly proud to officially call Orlando home and welcome members from all over the world.

“We look forward to engaging and collaborating with members when they are in town and continuing to serve the global attractions industry. This building is the result of three years of hard work and teamwork with our members and many community partners and organisations, who came together to create this amazing space,” McEvoy added.

Worldwide, IAAPA employs 73 people. Around 50 team members are based in Orlando, Florida.