Canadian theme park ride developer Dynamic Attractions - the company behind Disney's Soarin' and Universal's Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey - has been sold out of bankruptcy to a Hong Kong-based financial services firm.
Forbes has the story behind the sale. (And thank you for calling me "world renowned theme park industry expert Robert Niles," by the way.) The price was just $2 million (don't know if that is Canadian or US) with the buyer - Promising Expert Limited - assuming much of Dynamic's accumulated debt, a good chunk of which already was held by PEL.
It was that debt that drove the critically-successful Dynamic Attractions into bankruptcy. The company had spent tens of millions of its own money to develop advanced ride systems - most notably the SFX coaster, Duel Power coaster, and the Motion Theater - that turned heads and excited the industry when they were introduced at the IAAPA Expo in Orlando. But few of these ride systems have made it to market, and none of them debuted before the pandemic, which shuttered the industry and crippled Dynamic's financial health.
Mission Ferrari was the first SFX coaster but was delayed for years before opening early this year at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. Yet the ride was closed already when I and dozens of other theme park reporters visited Yas Island this week. The park cited "annual maintenance" on a coaster that had been open for less than half a year, and sources associated with the park said that the ride's projectors had to be replaced, as they had been on site and running throughout Mission Ferrari's years of delays.
The people at Yas Island moved heaven and earth for us to experience another attraction on the island that was supposed to be closed during our visit (more on that later), so I suspect that Mission Ferrari's closure was not discretionary.
Dynamic also developed the attractions originally themed to Sons of Anarchy (now Mad Ramp Peak) and Alien vs Predator at Genting SkyWorlds, both of which remain unopened and in need of millions of dollars of additional work.
Previously, Dynamic created the rides systems for Disney's Soarin' and Test Track, Disneyland's Space Mountain retracking, Universal's Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, and, most recently, Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge. Going forward, company leaders told Forbes that Dynamic will focus on working again as a design and engineering contractor with parks rather than the developer of its own turn-key ride systems, which should minimize the company's financial exposure.
To that end, inventory and assets at its Vancouver production facility have been sold to Infinity Asset Solutions for an auction in July. However, Universal reportedly has made a deal for Dynamic's demonstration track for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey to be dismantled and shipped to Universal Creative in Orlando before the auction.
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That’s a pretty damned impressive list of attractions and ride systems that they have developed or innovated so far.
Presumably, Dynamic would retain the designs and it would be a matter of hiring another manufacturer to fabricate any needed custom parts. It's when you need to reverse-engineer old, unsupported designs that replacement gets tricky.
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Just wondering what sort of impact this means long term? What do parks do about spare and replacement parts from manufacturers who go out of business?