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Thursday theme park news round-up

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Published: July 1, 2010 at 10:55 AM

  • The big news in the theme park industry this week has been the death of six visitors in a crash on a high-speed centrifuge ride in China on June 29. A ride vehicle on the Space Journey ride at the Overseas China Town East theme park in Shenzen broke loose, crashing into other vehicles as the ride spun. Ten other riders were injured, and the Chinese government is investigating.

  • In less significant, though nevertheless depressing, news, here's the front page of today's print Los Angeles Times:

    LAT front

    No, Universal Studios Hollywood hasn't been destroyed. The whole page is a "wrap" ad for Universal's King Kong 360/3-D ride. Kudos to Universal for scoring the ad, and I suppose I should congratulate the LAT ad department for what ought to have been a big payday.

    But, as a reader and former employee of the Times, how depressing to watch the paper sell itself out this way. The point of journalism ought to be to inform people, not to jerk them around. I've long had a policy at Theme Park Insider that ads never should cover up the editorial content of the publication. That's why you don't see pop-ups or "takeover" ads crawling across the posts on this site. I'm all for Universal promoting and advertising Kong. But the Times shouldn't be selling Universal fake front pages to do that. Perhaps if the Times cared as much about its readers, the paper wouldn't be in bankruptcy and it wouldn't be hemorrhaging readers and advertisers as it is.

  • Speaking of promotions, Dollywood fans might want to check out the Hallmark Channel at Saturday, July 3 at 8pm Eastern. The cable network will present a one-hour special, Dolly Celebrates 25 Years of Dollywood, featuring coverage from the theme park, as well as musical performances by Dolly Parton and guests Billy Ray and Miley Cyrus, as well as Kenny Rogers. (Interesting to see a Disney Channel star plugging another company's theme park!)

  • Finally, be sure to visit ThemeParkInsider.com tomorrow at noon Eastern (9am Pacific), when I announce the winners of the 2010 Theme Park Insider Awards. We'll be honoring the Best Theme Park, Best New Attraction, Best Restaurant and Best Theme Park Hotel in the industry, based on your ratings over the past 12 months.

  • Readers' Opinions

    From Jacob Sundstrom on July 1, 2010 at 11:01 AM
    I agree about the wrap ad. This is the third or fourth time the Times has done this, and it is very depressing to see a once great paper destroy itself like this.
    From 166.137.138.11 on July 1, 2010 at 11:10 AM
    I don't have a problem with it. A part of the reason old school journalism is talking fire is it's stubborn insistence on an outmoded sense of what constitutes journalistic integrity. This is clearly a promo and in no way dies it change my perception of the Times.
    From Robert Niles on July 1, 2010 at 11:23 AM
    I should explain the "LATEXTRA" thing for out-of-LA readers, too.

    Last year, the Times made a deal to print the Wall Street Journal locally that resulted in the Times having to back up its deadline for the front section of the newspaper to the early evening to accommodate the WSJ press run.

    In order to get news that happens after, oh, 5 pm into the LA paper, the Times added a new section, which it called LATEXTRA, for those stories.

    As a result, the "traditional" front page tends to be dominated by staff-driven feature and investigative pieces while the actual breaking news ends up in LATEXTRA. (It has to be in all caps to work the pun between LAT-Extra and Late-xtra. LAT being the acronym for the Los Angeles Times.)

    So, ultimately, this ad is a sell-out of a sell-out. How very meta.

    From steve lee on July 1, 2010 at 11:25 AM
    Speaking of what's on TV, tonight's episode of Ace of Cakes features the opening of I-305 at King's Dominion (they provided the cake for Media Day).

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