AMUSEMENT TODAY: Guests hop onto Kennywood’s restored, revitalized Kangaroo

WEST MIFFLIN, Pa. — With much anticipation, Kennywood’s iconic Kangaroo ride has bounced back into the park for its official season opening over Memorial Day weekend. In its same park location and appearing much like the vintage ride it is, the beloved ride is refreshed, updated and ready for generations of families to hop aboard.

Its understated appearance and longevity is the very thing that has created its endearment to Kennywood guests. It was even the inspiration for the park’s mascot, Kenny Kangaroo.

“It’s simple but not too dull,” said Nick Paradise, director of corporate communications. “People really look forward to riding it year after year. You never get too old to ride the Kangaroo.”

But that understated appearance should not be taken for granted. It was with great work between Kennywood and Premier Rides, the company that took on the task to completely redo the ride, to keep that look. But underneath it all, it is state-of-the-art.    

“Our goal was to update Kangaroo, but, more importantly, ensure we preserved the long-standing history of this timeless ride,” said Jim Seay, president, Premier Rides. “By modernizing the Kangaroo, we can provide many more generations of Kennywood fans the opportunity to happily hop aboard for decades to come.” The Kangaroo debuted in the park in 1962. It was dubbed early on as a coaster even though it wasn’t ever officially considered one. But its creator, John Norman Bartlett, tagged it a “Flying Coaster” due to the single, sharp slope in its circular track that would move its cars up into the air.

Kennywood staff work tirelessly to get the revitalized Kangaroo ride ready for its official 2022 opening day. The Kangaroo flying coaster ride made its debut in 1962 (above) . For decades now, the ride has been enjoyed by generations of families and fans. COURTESY KENNYWOOD.

At the end of the 2020 season, Kennywood officials announced they were retiring four rides including the Kangaroo. Fans weren’t happy about that decision. But Paradise said park officials had left a door open.

“The pandemic led to plans changing a number of times throughout 2020 and 2021, when it came to adding and retiring rides at Kennywood,” Paradise said. “While the decision to retire Kangaroo after the 2020 season was made with the intent of being final, we left the door open for the possibility of bringing it back, based on cost of needed modernization enhancements and guest response.”

Based on the outcry from the Kangaroo fans, officials began looking at the cost of redoing the ride.

The ride had already been dismantled and the site where it had been located sat empty for the 2021 season. Officials reached out to Premier Rides for help. Seay said they received the ride dismantled and began going through it.

”They asked Premier to review the ride from top to bottom and to use the latest cutting edge analysis technologies and safety standards to both verify the condition of the ride and also to confirm the ride’s ability to continue running for the years to come,” Seay said.

According to Seay, Premier was brought onto the project as a result of other rehabs Premier Rides Service Department had performed on other attractions that were similar in scope, such as the Honker Dinger Derby at Sesame Place in Langhorne, Pennsylvania.

“The official decision was made last summer,” Paradise said. “While we do not disclose costs, I can say that we analyzed the projected return on investment for reviving the Kangaroo with its established guest affinity compared to bringing in a new attraction.”

The project turned out to be a nine-month team effort between Kennywood’s maintenance department and Premier’s engineers and shop craftsmen. The project was completed ahead of the initial schedule.

The Kangaroo was dubbed the Flying Coaster by its creator, John Norman Bartlett, due to the single, sharp slope in its circular track that would move its cars up into the air. Families have enjoyed the ride for generations. Premier Rides’ engineering produced an accurate CAD model of the ride, sharing it with the company’s social media followers (above right). COURTESTY KENNYWOOD

Unique to Kennywood, which is part of Palace Entertainment, Premier also was tasked to work with the highly respected German TÜV SÜD organization to get their input and recommendations for the ride. Premier engineering produced a very accurate Computer Aided Design (CAD) model of the ride that was based on extremely detailed measurements using the newest ultrasound techniques. 

Park officials not only shared the model with park fans, they also let them choose between two different coloring palettes as well as the overall theme. The winning choice, by a landslide, was to honor the ride’s history and keep the attraction “vintage.”

Kangaroo’s throwback styling will extend to the motif of each flying coaster car and a new LED lighting package. “The modeling guided the rehab efforts and, combined with an extensive upgrade to current state-of-the-art ride control system electronics, the Kangaroo will reopen with a near-new appearance and an impressive amount of new technology,” Seay said.       

Park officials were pleased the ride could be situated in its original location in the park. Paradise said some nearby trees had to be removed to allow for a larger display and to light up the area to really highlight the attraction.

With its return, Kennywood officials said it is the last ride of its kind operating anywhere in the world.

“I think it is important to point out that Kennywood’s management deserves a lot of credit for making the decision to restore the ride as opposed to replacing it with a ride that didn’t have the same generational appeal as the Kangaroo,” Seay said. “Their investment means generations to come can still enjoy the legacy attraction which is very special.”

PARK WORLD: Ice Breaker Named 2022 Best New Theme Park Attraction

Ice Breaker, SeaWorld Orlando’s new launch coaster by Premier Rides was recognized as the Best New Theme Park Attraction of 2022 in the USA Today 10Best Reader’s Choice poll.

A panel of experts which include a combination of editors from USA TODAY, editors from, and relevant expert contributors pick the initial nominees, and then the top 10 winners are determined by popular vote.

Jim Seay, president of Premier Rides, said: “The Premier Rides Team is very honoured that the well-travelled and experienced USA Today judges selected SeaWorld Orlando’s Ice Breaker as a finalist in the Readers’ Choice Poll.” “The collaboration of the SeaWorld creative team and Premier’s team of ride engineers to come up with a one-of-a-kind coaster attraction that fit one of the most challenging sites was impressive. And it means so much to us that the public, the guests for whom we work so hard to entertain, voted and pushed Ice Breaker to the number one position. Thank you to the thousands who voted for Ice Breaker. We are very grateful.”

Seay added: “I also have to congratulate SeaWorld who captured four of the top five USA Today10Best positions which is a very impressive accomplishment and a testament to their commitment and strategy to provide outstanding attractions throughout their park system.” Already named by USA Today as one of the Most Anticipated Attractions in 2022, Ice Breaker has been a huge hit with guests of all ages with rave reviews on social media. In addition, the ride was highlighted in SeaWorld’s recent quarterly call where record earnings were announced.

Named after the icy Arctic summits, Ice Breaker features four airtime filled launches, both backwards and forwards, culminating in a reverse launch into the steepest beyond vertical drop in Florida – a 93 feet tall spike with 100-degree angle. The thrills continue as riders fly over a near vertical Top Hat maneuver into a series of twists, turns, and airtime hills.

Kyle Miller, park president of SeaWorld, said: “Ice Breaker is a one-of-a-kind thrill ride which complements our existing exhilarating ride portfolio perfectly.”

The ride queue offers an interactive educational experience, a reflection of SeaWorld’s partnership with Alaska SeaLife Centre—which specializes in rescue, rehabilitation, education and research—a perfect alignment with SeaWorld’s own conservation activities and educational mission. This partnership will help educate riders about the Arctic and its inhabitants and a percentage of proceeds of Ice Breaker merchandise goes to the conservation fund.

Tara L. Riemer, president and CEO of Alaska SeaLife Centre, added: “The Alaska SeaLife Center is excited to grow our partnership with SeaWorld. For many years, SeaWorld has been a stalwart supporter of the Center, and particularly our Wildlife Response program.” “We are grateful for SeaWorld’s contributions of funding and staff over the years to further our mission. This new collaboration will continue efforts to highlight Arctic rescue and conservation stories.”

AUSTRALIAN LEISURE MANAGEMENT: World’s Tallest Indoor Coaster Ride Opens in Qatar

Indoor experiential theme park, Quest – located inside the Doha Oasis, Qatar – has announced the completion and soft opening of Epiq, the World’s Tallest Indoor Coaster. Supplied by Premier Rides, Epiq is also the world’s first launch coaster with a fully integrated projection mapping tunnel to truly immerse riders into the story.  Epiq offers riders an unparalleled augmented reality and coaster experience, complete with special effects, audio/visual and show lighting, and nonstop thrills.

The much anticipated, highly-themed, special effects coaster will be the signature attraction of the indoor theme with the Doha Oasis team planning to have the Coaster’s height certified by Guinness World Records.

The Doha Oasis offers a luxurious mixed-use development in Qatar that includes a 5-star hotel and residences, a prestigious French fashion department store, cutting-edge cinema, and Qatar’s first indoor theme park.

Quest theme park is a 32,000 square metre story-based concept with a three-dimensional timeline-the past, present, and future. Through the City of Imagination, Oryxville, and Gravity, guests can experience the recent cityscape, ancient Arabian past, and futuristic Space Age. Epic is aptly located in Gravity, a state-of-the-art bright and bold future, themed as a sci-fi spaceport.  Riders are fully immersed in the story and are thrilled to test drive a “revolutionary solar-driven vessel” endorsed by Spike, a fun loving, space-faring hedgehog who loves exploring the far corners of the galaxy in his sleek interstellar spaceship while showing off his zero-G expertise with his solar-powered jetpack.

Riders on Epiq Coaster

The exciting launch coaster features the world’s fastest reverse launch up an awe-inspiring, 60+ metre tall, twisted vertical spike, taking riders high above the park – all while maintaining the comfort of the air-conditioned indoor park. As riders drop back down, they are launched at a heart-racing speed as they enjoy their Epiq journey. During the soft opening, guests and employees alike have proclaimed Epiq to clearly be the signature attraction of the Doha Oasis experience.

Premier Rides is best known for its high-tech magnetic launch roller coasters.  The company is also a global supplier of traditional roller coasters, special effect dark rides and custom designed attractions.

Commenting on the opening of Epiq, Jim Seay, President of Premier Rides advised “we are extremely proud to have supplied this innovative and unique attraction to quest theme park at Doha Oasis.  We are honoured to be a part of Halul Real Estate Investment Company’s formula for success by delivering this one-of-a-kind, record-breaking coaster that is sure to be a must-see attraction. Guests will be impressed by the sophisticated state-of-the-art technologies applied to this augmented reality attraction.

“Epiq was technically one of the most complex rides to design due to the architectural considerations such as the massive supports for the 27,000 square meter overhead roof garden.  Our technical team worked hard to ensure that the attraction was a perfect integration of dark ride and ultimate thrill ride.”

The Quest theme park is currently open Tuesday to Sunday, 3pm to 10pm during the soft opening period. The Park has a pay-one-price policy for all guests to enjoy all rides, attractions, and entertainment programs. The Park offers time portal, a ‘Fast Pass’ ticket that allows you to skip long waiting lines by granting you fast access to select quest rides and attractions.

Quest is a 32,000 square metre indoor experiential theme park located within Doha Oasis Mixed-Use Development in Msheireb. Quest has more than 30 rides and attractions, featuring a mix of adrenaline-heavy thrill rides, media-controlled simulators, virtual reality experiences, and family-friendly attractions, all offering an experience unlike any other in Doha.

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ITPS LEISURE NEWS: Premier Rides Reaches 100% Vaccination Goal to Build Confidence, Comfort and Greater Service to Clients around the Globe

Premier Rides, a global supplier of high-tech ride attractions announced today that its entire organization is fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.  Additionally, all new positions will require successful candidates to verify full vaccination prior to starting employment.

At the onset of the pandemic when many businesses were forced to shutter, Premier Rides developed a strategy that safely allowed the company and its office to remain open for business and fully operational with a combination of in-person and short-term remote staff.  COVID-19 protocols were set in place for in person workers while IT quickly set the team up to work from home as needed. The shift was seamless as much of the technology and collaborative software was already in place.  Premier Rides was able to continue providing high level service by continuing to fabricate and ship product to clients around the world.

Premier Rides resumed the company-wide 100% in-person office environment by early June 2020 with COVID protocols in place including twice daily temperature checks, restricted access, installation of desk shield partitions, distancing of workstations, increased sanitization and hospital grade air filtration along with a strict mask policy. Team members became ambassadors of COVID Safety, sharing with the staff news reports and studies, the progress of the vaccine trials and the eventual availability of vaccines.

Jim Seay, President of Premier Rides commented, “Navigating our way through the pandemic was an unconventional way to celebrate Premier Rides 25th anniversary, but our ability to be nimble, to quickly pivot and ensure continued support to our valued clients demonstrates exactly the dedication we have to our clients and colleagues in our global industry. We made a very significant financial investment to make our office safe and with the fantastic staff support there were zero cases as a result of office operations. The natural next step was to become a fully vaccinated organization.”

The Premier team met together and discussed the importance of being a fully vaccinated team in order to continue to have a safe working environment with fewer of the in-place restrictions and protocols. Additionally, the Premier work environment is highly collaborative from a client standpoint and the team wanted clients to be comfortable whether visiting Premier facilities or having members of the Premier team working at their parks during new ride installations or while performing service.

Sara Seay, Director of Sales and Marketing added, “I am proud of our team, how they came together during such a difficult time, and I am impressed by their dedication to our clients. Knowing that the vaccine would allow for us to more easily work together and travel to support the projects, everyone at Premier set forth to get vaccinated.” Seay continued, “The moment an age group was announced to become available, they worked together to find and obtain appointments for each other. There was no question about if they would get it, only a matter of how soon they could get it.”

Premier Rides made it easy for the team to get vaccinated by accommodating schedules to make the appointments and by supporting each team member individually in the case of any side effects. Premier also rewarded each employee as a way of thanking them for stepping up to become vaccinated.

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”It’s appropriate to vaccinate, vaccinations save lives, yours and mine, family and friends”. I ask you, if you were in a boat in the sea and it was taking on water and someone offered you a LIFE JACKET….. Wouldn’t you take it ?!?

Take the vaccine like the Premier team, it is the right thing to do.”

                     —Dennis Speigel, Founder & CEO of International Theme Park Services (ITPS)

AMUSEMENT TODAY: Women of Influence, Sara Seay

 Women of Influence logo

Sara Seay, ICAE

Director of Sales & Marketing
Premier Rides
Baltimore, Maryland

A view from the top …

Sara Seay is the director of marketing and sales for Premier Rides, Inc., headquar­tered in Baltimore, Maryland.  Premier, founded in 1995, is a designer and supplier of cutting-edge attractions.

Seay has been with Premier for 16 years. She began her career in the amusement industry when she was 14 years old at Lagoon Park, Farmington, Utah.


Accomplishments and affiliations…


Many paths led Seay to her home

Sara Seay has walked down many different paths. Some she chose. Some were chosen for her. Some were good, and some not so good.  But each and every pathway taught her lessons of life and family and career.

“I feel they all brought me to where I am today,” Seay said.

Seay was born In Centerville, Utah, along with her brother who is 11 months older than she. Besides the town of her birth, she also lived in several other Utah cities, Bountiful, Salt Lake City and Farmington.

To say Seay was an overachiever is not a stretch. She studied hard. She made good grades. She graduated from high school early. She took college-level math and biology courses. She received college scholarships to the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, and Utah State University, Logan.

Lagoon Certificate

She also, at the age of 14 years, started working at Lagoon, a family owned and operated amusement park in Farmington. She was working part time then. She couldn’t have guessed, at that time, she would start full-time employment there in three years, the beginning of a 10-year stint.

She had made plans for herself. She wanted to attend Utah State and wanted to major in mechanical engineering. She was on that track and felt positive about her decisions.

But at the age of 15 years, an event occurred which turned her world upside down. On a trip to Salt Lake City from Bountiful, her mother, brother and cousin were in a horrific car accident. This accident would forever change her life, her brother’s life and especially her mother’s life.

All three sustained significant injuries with her mother’s most damaging injury taking several weeks to show up. She ended up with an injury to her brain and lapsed into a coma. She awoke, but would never live at home again.

“She had to learn to speak again,” Seay said. “She lost most of her hearing. Her mobility wasn’t good. My world changed tremendously in an instant. Our roles reversed. I became my mom’s support. It changed everything.”

For one thing, Seay spent much of her spare time at the nursing home with her mom. She became her advocate and, as she could, she would take her mom out on special occasions.

It wasn’t always easy.

“I noticed how people would talk over mom to me because of her impaired speech,” Seay said. “I think that was why helping people with disabilities during my time at Lagoon was so important.

“Those experiences continue to motivate me to really listen to and work to communicate directly with clients around the globe, particularly when English is a second language and accents are thick.”

The accident also altered her decision for college. Instead of going to Utah State, she decided to stay close to home and attend the University of Utah.

And that accident could well have been the catalyst for her to change her college major from mechanical engineering to hospitality management. “I was sitting in class one day and I looked around me and thought, you know, this isn’t what I really want to do,” Seay said. “I was way too social.

“I felt I always had to work twice as hard to prove my worth,” she said. “I was the youngest in the class. I was a woman in a male-dominated field of study. At that moment, I chose another path. Still today, I face the challenge of being a woman in a man’s environment. With time I’ve learned to navigate it, to know my own worth and to find pathways to success.”

Seay was already working full time at Lagoon. She threw herself into her work. She grew into her job eventually holding the titles of manager of guest services as well as being a park director.

Sara Seay at Lagoon

She loved her job. She loved her team. She learned from her general manager, who was at the time Clark Robinson. Robinson later left Lagoon to become president of IAAPA.

She also was good at her job. Part of that job included handling complaints. Her colleagues told her they had never seen anyone who could say “no” to someone and be thanked for it.

But, handling complaints for 10 years began to take a toll on her outlook. She applied for another position at the park that was set to come open. She got it, but, at the last moment, the person vacating the position had a change of mind and decided to stay.

“I was so excited about being able to move to another position,” she said.

Mentally, she was already in that other position. It was hard for her to go back. She decided to leave Lagoon, taking a job at Utah’s Hogle Zoo.

But, as so many people need to do to at some point in time, she took that leap of faith, which ended up propelling her to the east coast where she visited the offices of IAAPA in Arlington, Virginia.

She also visited her former general manager Robinson. She was looking for employment. Robinson pointed her to Premier Rides, which turned out to be another turning point in her life.

She found that she settled well into marketing at Premier. She also found her future husband, Jim Seay.

And, now, 16 years later with more than 25 years in the industry, she knows her home.

“I have made some wonderful friends all around the globe,” Seay said. “They are my family. I am grateful to travel all over the world to develop relationships, to meet with clients and visit their facilities and, of course, to sell Premier Rides attractions.”

–Pam Sherborne

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ITPS LEISURE NEWS: Premier Rides’ Rapid Response Service Team Provides Reopening Support to The Park at Owa Following Hurricane Sally

The Premier Rides Rapid Response Service Team performs inspections on the rides at
The Park at OWA immediately following Hurricane Sally.


Premier Rides, best known for the design and supply of cutting-edge attractions, dispatched their Rapid Response Service Team to provide reopening support to the Park at OWA located in Foley, Alabama following Hurricane Sally.

The area between Mobile, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida, took the brunt of the category 2 storm with widespread wind damage, storm surge flooding, and over 20 inches (510 mm) of rainfall. Several tornadoes also occurred as well. The Park at OWA contacted Premier Rides after Sally, the first hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. state of Alabama since Ivan in 2004, and a storm with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph (165 km/h), had finally traveled beyond the park.

Steve Honeycutt, General Manager of the Park at OWA commented. “I appreciate Premier Rides jumping in to help us out during a very difficult situation, and the promptness in which they responded is nothing short of impressive.”

The Premier Service Rapid Response team traveled to the park to perform inspections of all 22 rides and attractions at the park to identity damage sustained from the hurricane, to work with the maintenance team to perform simple repairs and to determine any other necessary repairs to be completed prior to the park’s reopening.

Jim Seay, president of Premier Rides, commented, “Steve Honeycutt is one of the most passionate leaders in the industry so when he calls you jump. Premier has supported Steve with other technical challenges in the past and we appreciate he turned to us again. It is impressive how quickly the team at the Park at OWA reacted following Hurricane Sally. They worked very hard and not only had their hands full taking care of their own facilities, but the park’s parking lot became ground zero for the regional recovery effort with over 1,400 linesmen from all over the Southwest setting up fully operational living quarters. I am honored that Steve called on us again. We are humbled that our reputation for quality and service prompted the call to action.”

The Park at OWA reopened to the public just sixteen days after Hurricane Sally passed. Locals were welcomed to the park for free to in recognition of the difficult recovery and as a way of providing a welcome break from the countless hours everyone had been spending on cleanup efforts.

Seay added, “In these challenging times, Premier Rides recognizes that the ability to pivot and to support our valued clients in different ways is an important facet of our business.  We are pleased to be able to support clients like the Park at OWA.”

Premier Service, a division of Premier Rides, offers the largest after-market service division in the attractions industry, providing spare parts and service to all manufacturers’ rides, not just those supplied by Premier.


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IAAPA SHOW DAILY: From the Floor: Premier Rides

By Michael Switow 

Imagine being seated at the end of a large four-passenger robot arm, which has four degrees of freedom. That robotic arm is not free-standing, though. It’s attached to a giant roller coaster vehicle, approximately 4.5 meters long and 4 meters tall, and is propelled by advanced magnetic drive systems through an intense multi-media environment.

Sound out of this world?

Opening soon at Guangzhou Sunac Land, and produced in collaboration with the Dalian Wanda Group and Sunac China Holdings, “The Ghouls” is just the latest special-effects coaster from Premier Rides.

“It’s one of the most amazing coaster attractions we’ve built,” said Premier Rides President Jim Seay, who has built a reputation for designing cutting-edge attractions.

“What we really enjoy about working in Asia is that there’s always big thinking and intense blue sky thought processes, especially in China, where the clients want to be on the truly leading-edge of the industry,” says Seay.

Premier Rides meanwhile is “all-in” for the first IAAPA Virtual Expo: Asia; it’s an inaugural sponsor and the first company to register to be a virtual exhibitor. Premier Rides’ virtual booth features videos of its attractions, downloadable literature in English and Chinese and online staff to answer visitor questions.

“We will have the opportunity to meet with all the clients we would have met with in Macao to talk about their needs, business strategies going forward, and their capital plans for the next few years,” says Seay. “We strongly believe you need an impactful response to difficult times in our industry, and the virtual trade show is that response. Premier Rides is very grateful to IAAPA. The trade show in Macao would have occurred just a few weeks ago, and IAAPA has already established a high-tech alternative. Some organizations would have taken years to set this up, but IAAPA has done it in weeks.”

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AUSTRALIAN LEISURE MANAGEMENT: Premier Rides Awarded Its Largest Service Contract

A Finite Element Analysis (FEA) study performed on a bogie, part of the technical approach
to Premier Rides’ service project.



The Premier Service division of Premier Rides has announced that it has received its largest ever service contract and will be producing a new fleet of trains in addition to providing other technology upgrades for a non-Premier Rides existing attraction.

Despite the world’s current events, the project goal is to have the trains available for the 2021 season.  Additionally, the upgrade is aimed at providing a ride experience that will motivate riders to desire to ride multiple times.  And after the pandemic, this major upgrade is seen as a powerful way to bring back old fans and create new ones.

The location of the project will be announced at the appropriate time by the client.  The trains will incorporate advanced technology elements used on the Sky Rocket series of attractions that have been extremely popular with guests due to the ability to combine enhanced rider comfort features with high thrill elements and high speed.  Additionally, the trains will incorporate some new precision-machined lightweight technologies as part of the adaptation to the existing ride’s track design.

Premier Rides President, Jim Seay advised “we are honoured to be able to provide a fantastic technical upgrade to a truly iconic roller coaster.  Fans will be excited when the location of the effort is announced. The Sky Rocket attractions continue to be recognised for their advanced technology and superior rider comfort, and the Premier team is certain that the addition of these newest generation of trains will take this coaster’s ride experience to the next level.”

Seay adds “there are always unique challenges in layering advanced technology equipment onto an existing attraction.  All through the design and integration phases, our technical team has worked closely with the client’s talented maintenance team who are passionate about keeping their equipment operating at the highest level and raising the guest experience.  This new fleet of trains will help them do just that.”

There are key and unique challenges due to the global pandemic including health and safety as well as travel restrictions.  The Premier Team has found solutions to remain efficient and timely, to think outside of the box, and to utilise technologies to achieve project milestones such as gaining regulatory approvals using a virtual environment.

Seay notes “Premier had already pivoted quickly at the beginning of the pandemic and came up with a portfolio of technology approaches to keep our projects moving despite onerous worldwide restrictions to travel.  Our efforts to be heavily virtual in all aspects of service will be a large factor in this project’s success.”

Premier Service has had a very long history of being the leader in aftermarket service.  The majority of the division’s work is focused on non-Premier Rides attractions.  The work product includes ride rehabilitation and safety modifications, legacy ride upgrades, magnetic brake upgrades, engineering support, audits, ride evaluation, ride relocation, maintenance training, track rail replacement, replacement vehicles, queue gate systems, chain and sprocket replacement and spare parts supply.

Premier Service has a Premier Rapid Response Team, which utilises the latest technologies to communicate with and to support parks around the globe during rehab efforts, reopening procedures or to address specific technical projects.

Seay continues “we are honoured by the trust placed in us by the client’s management and look forward to a long-term cooperative effort.”


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A Message to Our Valued Customers Regarding IAAPA Expo 2020

To our Valued Customers,

The IAAPA Expo in Orlando is the most important annual gathering of amusement industry professionals and enthusiasts and is truly the epicenter of attractions innovation and business.  In 2019, a record-setting 42,000 attendees including CEOs, global leaders, visionary designers, sales people, and technical experts gathered to conduct business, educate, and network at the industry’s gold standard conference and trade show.  The 2019 show was a confirmation of the strength of the attractions industry which this past year set all-time records globally for attendance.  Business had never been better.

2020 will not be the same.  The companies listed below represent well over 100 years of continuous exhibiting at the IAAPA Expo.  We are competitors, yet we work together closely to ensure amusement ride safety.  We put our heart and soul into this industry with the like goal of creating lifetime memories for millions of people around the globe.  And we all look forward to the opportunity each year to gather in Orlando and to be with colleagues and friends from nearly every country in the globe.  There are no better words to describe the show environment than “one big family”.  With that in mind, we are deeply saddened to share the news with you that we will not be exhibiting at the 2020 IAAPA Expo.  We know this news will come as a great disappointment to many of you, and we have made this hard decision with great angst and with significant consideration of several factors.

First, the industry is hurting on all levels.  Even with a global effort lead by IAAPA to establish very safe facility operations, our guests have not come back to the parks in the numbers for which we had all hoped.  As suppliers to the industry, we know that successful business for us requires successful business for our valued clients.  We get it.  We understand there is a right time to sell and this is not the right time.  Parks and attractions need to focus all their attention on keeping their facilities healthy and well-maintained so they can open strong in 2021.  We are here to help you in any way possible, whether it be service or technical support and we will be here when the time is right to talk about new innovative attractions.

Additionally, and understandably, the ability to travel from both a global and a domestic standpoint has been so greatly diminished to the point it is impractical.  Each day the news brings additional quarantines and restrictions.  Flying from around the globe to Florida is almost impossible, and even in the US with its myriad of quarantine rules it would presently require 28 days of quarantine to visit the show from New York.  Again, impractical.

And finally, and most importantly, we need to prioritize the health of our employees who have dedicated themselves to making our companies successful and who are what make visiting our booths so great and so welcoming.  We understand all the precautions that are being taken for the IAAPA Expo, and we are grateful for that significant effort.  There is indeed hope for the near future with rapid global achievements in the medical field.  But for this show, with just over three months to go, the clock has run out.

We have each reached out to our valued clients around the globe and also here in the United States.  The message has been the same.  For all the reasons above, “we can’t come” is what we are being told.  We understand and respect the situation and for the same reasons we will not be at the show either.  We will dearly miss you.

The show is a major investment and we have already spent significantly on the show; funds that can never be recovered.  We will use the savings from not exhibiting to maintain our company’s operations in order to be ready when you are.  In addition, our industry is known for giving and we are all making some generous donations with part of our savings.

We will be giving to:

We encourage everyone who reads this to also consider contributing to one of more of these organizations, even if the amount is small.

We work in an industry that is extremely resilient.  Through wars, through recessions, and yes, even through pandemics, our industry has survived.  People have a basic need to smile, to have fun.  And in tough times, amusement parks are a place where families can enjoy themselves.

The show must go on and will go on!  Just not this year.

We will see you again in 2021.  And yes, we will once again smile.

Thank you for your understanding.

Logos: Chance Rides, Great Coasters, Larson International, INC, Premier Rides

INPARK MAGAZINE: Sara Seay awarded Paragon Award for excellence in marketing by New England Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions

Jul 10, 2020 |    

Sara Seay, Director of Sales at Marketing at Premier Rides is the recipient of the New England Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions’ prestigious Paragon Award.  Seay was honored for her excellence in marketing.  The Paragon Award is presented to an individual who has created outreach or advertising pieces that demonstrate “unequalled excellence in graphic promotion.”

Seay’s focus on graphic promotion and engagement includes marketing for not only Premier Rides, but also Premier’s clients, industry associations and charitable organizations.  NEAAPA recognized excellence in the promotion of Premier’s Sky Rocket II coaster named Tigris located at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay as a great example of unique marketing for Premier Rides, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment.

From the beginning of the Tigris project, Seay and her team worked to promote the coming attraction through digital graphics, posters, print literature and ads.  Additionally, Seay worked closely with SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment to execute a “sweet reveal” at the IAAPA Expo in Orlando by unveiling a 5’ cake, an edible version of the yet-to-be-seen train.  Months after the coaster’s opening, USA Today nominated Tigris as a contender for their 10BEST New Amusement Park Attractions.  Seay and her team created and distributed multiple graphics to encourage people to vote for Tigris. Seay’s focus to provide creative and new ways to encourage engagement resulted in Tigris being named the top roller coaster in the poll.

“I am both humbled and honored that NEAAPA selected me to receive the prestigious Paragon award,” Sara Seay said of the honor. “I am fortunate to have an amazing and talented team at Premier Rides, and they certainly deserve much of the credit for the success of the Tigris marketing campaign.”

She continued, saying “For all of us, it was an honor to work with the incredibly creative and talented teams at SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay to promote Tigris. From the press event in our booth during IAAPA Expo, to social media construction updates and opening announcements, to the concentrated push to vote for Tigris in the USA Today poll, the synergy between our teams allowed us to not only #TakeOnTigris but to promote it to become the #1 coaster on USA Today’s 10 Best Amusement Park Attractions list!”

President of Premier Rides, Jim Seay added, ““We are extremely proud to have won this award and are very grateful for the NEAAPA’s recognition.   Premier Rides is known for our “guerilla marketing” efforts to promote our clients and new products.  Premier has a reputation for being on the leading edge of ride design, is not afraid to push the boundaries or to think out of the box, and yet maintain the highest level of innovation, service, quality and safety.” Seay continued, “Sara and the entire Premier marketing team live up to that reputation, and they strive to reach our clients, colleagues, and fans by engaging them through both traditional and unconventional techniques.”

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