Europe, Middle East, Africa Quick Takes: Gulliver’s Valley Launches in England; Liftoff for New PanoraMagique in France
Gulliver’s Valley Launches in England
Gulliver’s Valley is the fourth park for the family-run Gulliver’s Theme Park Resorts. The new theme park, part of a five-phase project estimated to cost £37 million, has regenerated a former mining site near Rotherham, England.
Gulliver’s Valley opened on July 11, a month later than planned because of delays in the wake of COVID-19. “The pandemic has thrown challenges our way that we didn’t imagine we’d ever have to deal with, but I am so proud of our team for carrying on to make this park a reality,” says Julie Dalton, managing director of Gulliver’s Theme Park Resorts and daughter of Gulliver’s founders Ray and Hilary Phillips.
Upon opening, Gulliver’s Valley limited visitor numbers and made advanced booking mandatory. Visitors found temperature checks on arrival, contactless entry, social distancing measures, and a preordering system for food items. Guests older than 3 years needed to wear face coverings on rides.
“It is so exciting to finally be open and welcoming families into the park,” says Dalton. “We have worked so hard to bring our vision of Gulliver’s Valley to life and to create a truly magical experience for our guests.”
Gulliver’s Valley, which is designed for children ages 2 to 13, offers more than 30 rides and attractions. “We are a very close-knit team at Gulliver’s, and we do a lot of the work ourselves in-house, from planning right through to manufacturing. ‘Apache Falls’ and ‘T-Rex Tower’ were manufactured in-house, and SBF-Visa completed our new ‘Paragliders’ ride,” says Dalton.
The park hopes to open its 8,000-square-meter indoor entertainment hub once the government’s coronavirus guidance permits. There are currently 28 overnight accommodation units at Gulliver’s Valley, including Unicorn and Princess Suites, Western Cabins, and Lost World Lodges, with more planned in the future.
Liftoff for New PanoraMagique in France
Guests can float above Disney Village at Disneyland Paris on PanoraMagique, which has a fresh new look for 2020. Operated by Aerophile, PanoraMagique is one of the world’s largest tethered balloons, standing 34 meters high and capable of carrying up to 30 people over Lake Disney. PanoraMagique’s previous balloon envelope launched in 2010. Since then, it has carried 1 million passengers and withstood storms with winds reaching up to 100 kph.
PanoraMagique’s new envelope features a design with Disney flying characters. “We could only see Tinker Bell’s figure in the past. Tinker Bell is now accompanied by other flying characters such as Buzz Lightyear, Jasmine and Aladdin, Dumbo, and Peter Pan,” says Jérôme Giacomoni, president of Groupe Aerophile.
Aerophile also recently inflated its first balloon in Tbilisi, Georgia. According to Giacomoni, tethered balloons could be used to help monitor air quality, in addition to providing entertainment. “Krakow in Poland and Terra Botanica in France have already chosen to equip their balloon with air quality sensors,” he says.