AUSTRALIAN LEISURE MANAGEMENT: Premier Rides Provides Global Technology Solutions for Park Re-Openings


With attractions and theme parks planning to re-open following COVID-19, the Premier Service division of Premier Rides is working with their clients to provide 24-hour a day support for areas such as ride rehab video link support, real-time service bulletins, and online training conferences.

As theme parks worldwide consider and implement new operating strategies for their facilities to reopen, the Premier Service team is emphasising its tech-savvy approach to customer support, using a wide array of existing and cutting-edge technology platforms.

Premier Rides’ focus on safety and service is why clients rely on Premier Service for support during this reopening phase.  The Premier team has experience with challenging regulatory environments and has even worked with clients to help them open other manufacturer’s rides.

Premier Rides President Jim Seay advises “the focus of our industry has always been one of providing amazing lifetime memories. We have all faced challenges before, and although this season has been delayed, we are seeing parks start to reopen.  Premier Rides is here to help our clients navigate through these uncharted waters as the reopening process begins to emerge.

Premier Rides Product Fabrication

While the pandemic has closed the doors for many, Premier Rides’ tech-savvy service team is proud to provide support and to be able to continue fabrication of products for valued clients around the world

During the pandemic, Premier Rides has been able to remain open for business and fully operational.   Seay notes “as soon as facilities started shutting down, our clients’ focus shifted rapidly to the service side of business.  And even though the logistics of delivering service has become far more challenging, our team has risen to the occasion and has been both providing global support and expediting shipments of rehab product worldwide.

“Many parks are facing limited time to ramp up for reopening once restrictions are lifted, and many have limited staff to perform all the necessary work related to opening.  That is where the Premier Service team can help.  Whether it be support related to maintenance inspections or providing guidance to socially distance riders on an attraction, the Premier Service staff is working to ensure our clients get in business as quickly and as safely as possible so the focus can return to creating lifelong memories of fun.”

Celebrating 25 years in business this year, Premier Rides has extensive experience not only in the development and delivery of new attractions but also in providing service to clients around the globe.  The majority of the service work performed by Premier Service is on non-Premier attractions.  During the past quarter century, the Premier Service team has worked onsite alongside clients to perform maintenance on all rides and to train park staff.

They have performed ride rehabilitation, safety analyses and modifications, provided spare parts, ride upgrades, and replacement fleets of roller coaster trains.

Seay adds “the attractions industry is a close-knit community, and occasions like this highlight how we support each other and our communities for success.

“Thank you to the global attractions community for coming together…thanks not only the committees in our global and regional associations, but also to the individuals and entities who are working long hours to explore ideas and develop guidelines, technologies, and best practices  that have been shared around the world in an effort to ease the challenges of reopening.  We are in this together.”


NEW YORK TIMES: The Brains Behind Your Stomach’s Drop

Jim Seay travels the world, designing, constructing and testing some of the world’s most exciting roller coasters.

The first roller coaster Jim Seay rode was the wooden Cyclone at Coney Island when he was 9 or 10 years old. He admits being “pretty scared.” Today, Mr. Seay, 59, is behind award-winning, heart-in-throat thrill rides around the world.After graduating from Cornell University with a mechanical engineering degree, Mr. Seay worked at the Hughes Aircraft Company in California in the company’s aerospace department. In the late 1980s, as military spending dropped, Mr. Seay shifted into entertainment, working for Six Flags before opening Premier Rides, based in Baltimore, which designs, constructs and tests attractions like Revenge of the Mummy at Universal Studios and the soon-to-open Dragonfire in Qatar. As president of Premier Rides, he spends more than half the year traveling to rides or to explore future coaster destinations.

Below are edited excerpts from a conversation with Mr. Seay.

There was a significant learning curve. At Hughes Aircraft it was a white-collar engineer environment. In the theme parks, there’s a very technical side. The engineers are developing the attractions, but there’s also an entire team of electricians and mechanics. They are the people who actually know how to make things work. I learned that the people at the theme parks tend to understand the equipment better than even the suppliers who are building it. They live with it daily. They inspect it daily. I learned a tremendous amount about the safety and maintenance side of things from the front-line technicians.

Sometimes we design our own attractions based on the creative talent at Premier Rides. Sometimes you have people who want to develop something around an intellectual property and you work together to develop something. We were very fortunate to do that with Universal Studios on the Revenge of the Mummy attractions. That ride is now in three locations around the world. Over 160 million people have ridden those rides. It’s very humbling.