New rides for Dreamworld in $50m makeover

 

IT'S the multimillion-dollar masterplan to restore Dreamworld to its former glory.

A state-of-the-art roller coaster, six new water slides and an extensive overhaul of the entire precinct will mark stage one of the rebirth of the Gold Coast icon.

The $50 million investment, to be unveiled to shareholders today at a board meeting of parent company Ardent Leisure, comes as the park's latest ride, the Sky Voyager 'flying theatre', finally opens to the public.

While the highly-anticipated findings of a coronial inquest in to the deaths of four people on the Thunder River rapids ride in 2016 continue to hover over Dreamworld, today's announcement is a clear indication of Ardent's long-term commitment to the much-loved theme park.

Dreamworld have revealed plans for a new roller coaster.
Dreamworld have revealed plans for a new roller coaster.

Dreamworld CEO John Osborne, who spoke of bringing back the 'wow factor' after his appointment late last year, said the spending spree would revolutionise the park.

"Investment into new rides, attractions and technologies to improve customer experience is key for Dreamworld's future direction," he said.

"Today's announcements, along with the opening of Sky Voyager is a fantastic start to our transformation of the park.

"(This) heralds an important time of transition for Dreamworld and provides us with an opportunity to provide our guests new experiences never seen before in Australia."

The $20 million Sky Voyager will finally open to the public today - the park's first new major ride in years.

Also in the pipeline is a $30 million thrill ride rollercoaster featuring a 1.2km track, multiple inversions and capable of reaching hair-raising speeds of more than 100km/hr.

 

Dreamworld’s new roller coaster will reach speeds of more than 100km/h.
Dreamworld’s new roller coaster will reach speeds of more than 100km/h.

 

It will be built by leading German-based entertainment giants Mack Rides, a company responsible for hundreds of thrill rides around the globe including Disney and SeaWorld parks in the US.

Mack Rides CEO Christian von Elverfeldt vowed to deliver a truly special thrill ride.

"It is a great honour for the Mack family and everybody from Mack Rides to partner with Dreamworld Australia on this project," he said.

"The product we deliver will bring a famous coaster to Australia and we all are looking forward to opening this great attraction."

Other work will include a multimillion-dollar revamp of ABC KIDS World, while sister park WhiteWater World will see construction of a new waterside complex featuring six new body slides, five unique splashzone experiences and the installation of multi-coloured natural lighting effects.

The slides have been created by Swimplex-Polin Australia.

Dreamworld will on Friday reveal details of six new water slides planned for WhiteWater World.
Dreamworld will on Friday reveal details of six new water slides planned for WhiteWater World.

 

Sky Voyager is the 33rd flying theatre-style ride for developer Brogent Technologies and is right on trend with a growing number at some of the world's most famous theme parks.

Riders soar over an IMAX-style screen featuring iconic Australian landscapes and special sensory effects such as wind, sound, light, mist and even scents.

Dreamworld had planned to open Sky Voyager during the Christmas holidays, but final approvals from the State government's Workplace Health and Safety regulator have only just been signed off.

Lola and Hugo Lange on Dreamworld's new Sky Voyager ride. Picture: Nigel Hallett
Lola and Hugo Lange on Dreamworld's new Sky Voyager ride. Picture: Nigel Hallett

Mr Osborne conceded the initial opening date had been 'ambitious' but was confident the ride would lure crowds back to Dreamworld.

"These locations hosted over 13 million visitors last year, so there is no doubt this world-class experience will continue to take the world by storm," he said.

Ardent Leisure chairman Gary Weiss has also expressed confidence in Dreamworld's ability to bounce back to the glory days when it was one of Australia's most beloved tourist attractions.

Preliminary construction has already started on the WhiteWater World expansion, with the water slides expected to be completed in the coming months, while no time frame has been given for the opening of the new yet-to-be-named roller coaster.

Further stages of the redevelopment are expected to be announced in the coming months.

Findings from the inquest were initially expected to be handed down mid-year but a sitting date is still yet to appear on upcoming court lists.

DREAMWORLD'S SAFETY PLEDGE

DREAMWORLD has vowed to make safety No.1 as the park continues to rebuild from the fallout of the Thunder River Rapids tragedy.

The 2016 disaster left four people dead and a coronial inquest exposed what even Dreamworld management described as "shocking and deeply concerning evidence".

However, when new CEO John Osborne was appointed late last year, he vowed to rebuild trust in the beloved theme park, using ­airline-style safety standards as a benchmark.

Dreamworld CEO John Osborne. Picture: Nigel Hallett
Dreamworld CEO John Osborne. Picture: Nigel Hallett

Since the tragedy, Dreamworld has undertaken a comprehensive park-wide engineering and safety review of rides and attractions, featuring three tiers of checks and balances from both internal and external engineers, including leading Australian engineering firm Pitt and Sherry and UK-based theme-park safety specialists Leisure Technical Consultants.

Water safety standards have also been reviewed by the Royal Life Saving Society of Queensland.

Last year Dreamworld's parent company Ardent Leisure appointed Geoff Sartori as an independent external safety adviser to the board.

In March the park launched a training academy to "become a leader in all aspects of theme park operations and safety".

In the same month it appointed Ben Hogan, who has considerable experience in the aviation industry, as general manager of engineering.

The Thunder River Rapids ride never operated again after the tragedy and has since been demolished.