Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Kennywood Park Celebrates the Grand Opening of Thomas Town

Original Kennywood and Palace Entertainment press release via PRWeb:

Kennywood Park Celebrates the Grand Opening of Thomas Town

Thomas & Friends(TM) debuts new home in Steel City at an all-new attraction in Kennywood Park

Thomas Town at Kennywood Park, near Pittsburgh, is now open to the public.


Peep! Peep! Everyone’s favorite Number 1 Blue Engine and the Island of Sodor come to life on Friday, July 27, 2018 with the grand opening of Thomas Town™. Located within Kennywood Park, one of the world’s most renowned family amusement parks, Thomas Town features five rides including a train ride with Thomas, a live stage show, themed play and entertainment areas, retail store and more. It will be the second-largest permanent Thomas & Friends™ attraction in North America.

Set on a bluff overlooking the Monongahela River and the historic Edgar Thomson Steel Works in nearby Braddock, Thomas & Friends debuts a new home in Steel City. Thomas Town is one of the largest single-year additions in Kennywood’s 120-year history, adding five new family rides, plus retheming The Olde Kennywood Rail Road into a Thomas & Friends story. The area also includes an indoor play zone, Birthday Room, a retail store featuring a section to ‘Pick Your Own MINIS’ custom collection, and an entertainment show featuring Sir Topham Hatt, Percy, James, Emily and Gordon. All the attractions are placed in and around the existing footprint of the park’s train ride, which has operated at Kennywood with various themes since 1945.

“With 120 years of history, Kennywood is one of the most beloved amusement parks in the country and we are so excited to bring our latest Thomas & Friends attraction to Pittsburgh for families to enjoy for many years to come,” said Julie Freeland, Senior Director of Global Live Events & Attractions for Mattel.

“It’s a great joy to welcome Thomas and his friends into the Kennywood family,” said Jerome Gibas, General Manager at Kennywood. “Guests have been eagerly contacting us for months, and we can’t wait to welcome them all into Thomas Town at Kennywood Park.”

The rides and attractions feature beloved characters such as Thomas, Diesel, Cranky the Crane, Harold the Helicopter and more favorites. Guests can visit familiar destinations around the Island of Sodor like Tidmouth Sheds and Knapford Station. Sir Topham Hatt, Controller of the Railway on the Island of Sodor, will be on site to greet and take photos with guests. Specific attractions include:

  • Journey with Thomas: Head to Kennywood Station and climb aboard for an unforgettable journey with the Number 1 Blue Engine! Guests of all ages can hop aboard a train ride with Thomas featuring wondrous views of the Monongahela River and the Edgar Thomson Steel Works, the oldest steel mill in the Steel City.
  • Cranky’s Drop Tower: Strap in tight for a truly Cranky experience! Sodor’s strongest crane will lift you high above Thomas Town, and then drop you down!
  • Harold’s Helicopter Tour: All set and ready for action! Kids can jump inside their own Harold Helicopter and pilot him up and down as they spin round and round.
  • Flynn’s Fire Training: Junior firefighters shoot water to extinguish flames on this unique, interactive ride with Flynn.
  • Diesel Drivers: Don’t forget the Diesels! Climb aboard Diesel, Iron Bert and other Diesel engines for a fun ride.
  • Steel City Adventures Live Show at Tidmouth Sheds: Join Percy, James, Emily, Gordon, Sir Topham Hatt for story and song as they prepare for an important journey to Pittsburgh!
  • For a limited time, guests will also have the opportunity to watch the exciting 4-D adventure Thomas & Friends: Bubbling Boilers at the Kennywood 4-D Theater in celebration of Thomas Town’s opening.

For more information and tickets to Thomas Town™, visit http://www.kennywood.com/thomastown.

About Kennywood and Palace Entertainment
Celebrating 120 years in 2018, Kennywood is America’s Finest Traditional Amusement Park! The Pittsburgh-area park offers a unique mix of modern thrills and classic rides, including seven roller coasters, a 14-ride Kiddieland, and several attractions that cannot be found anywhere else. Kennywood, founded in 1898 and named a National Historic Landmark in 1987, continues to provide unforgettable fun for all ages.

Kennywood is owned and operated by Palace Entertainment, one of the leading leisure park operators in the United States. Palace Entertainment owns and operates 21 major entertainment venues across 10 different states, offering a wide range of family friendly rides, shows and attractions.

About Thomas & Friends™
Thomas the Tank Engine™ was created more than 70 years ago by a British clergyman, the Rev W Awdry, as a storybook for his son. That story quickly grew to become the award-winning global brand franchise it is today, enjoyed by families in more than 150 territories and in over 40 languages across multiple touch-points and formats, including: 400+ original TV shows; 12 feature-length films; 14 websites in nine languages; apps; toys (ranked number one property in the pre-school toys category in the UK and Australia and number two in the US); consumer products; publishing; live attractions and much more. Thomas & Friends has scooped prestigious accolades including a Parent’s Choice Award, a Webby and a Licensing Award for Best Classic Licensed Property. The famous and cheeky No.1 blue engine and his friends invite children to enter a world of imagination through the tracks of a train. Together, the children and engines embark on timeless adventures while experiencing valuable yet fun life lessons of discovery, friendship and cooperation. For more information about the wonderful world of Thomas & Friends please visit: http://www.thomasandfriends.com.

About Mattel
Mattel is a global learning, development and play company that inspires the next generation of kids to shape a brighter tomorrow. Through our portfolio of iconic consumer brands, including American Girl®, Barbie®, Fisher-Price®, Hot Wheels® and Thomas & Friends®, we create systems of play, content and experiences that help kids unlock their full potential. Mattel also creates inspiring and innovative products in collaboration with leading entertainment and technology companies as well as other partners. With a global workforce of approximately 28,000 people, Mattel operates in 40 countries and territories and sells products in more than 150 nations. Visit us online at http://www.mattel.com.


In additional Thomas & Friends news, Mattel recently announced during their 2018 second quarter financial results conference call that Nickelodeon USA plans to air "refreshed [Thomas & Friends] content [...] this September"!

Catch Thomas & Friends episodes on Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. in the USA and on Milkshake! in the UK! Check your local listings for the latest information.

Also, from TribLive:

Kennywood debuts Thomas Town attraction

​Thomas and Friends officially are part of the Kennywood Park family.

Leaders of the West Mifflin amusement park celebrated the opening on Friday of the $8.5 million expansion that brings the popular franchise to life in the Mon Valley.

“This is a really big deal for Kennywood — not just from the standpoint of adding new children’s attractions for the first time in 10 years, but this can really put us on the map for a lot of people who maybe didn’t know a lot about Kennywood,” park spokesman Nick Paradise said.

Nestled between the Raging Rapids​,​ Auto Race​ and the iconic Pagoda​, the addition is one of the largest in the park’s history, and includes a refreshed train ride named Journey with Thomas, plus four new rides, a birthday party center, and an indoor soft-play and activity area that features a jungle gym-like experience and let kids tinker with train and track pieces. Clips of “Thomas & Friends” also run inside.

New rides are Cranky’s Drop Tower, Harold’s Helicopter Tour, Flynn’s Fire Training, and Diesel Drivers.

The train, rethemed with Thomas as the​ lead​ engine, meanders along the same path it has for decades through a dense tree cover on the bluff overlooking the Monongahela River and the Edgar Thomson Steel Works that generations of parkgoers have enjoyed.

Season pass holder​ ​Annette Musta said she and her children, Aemilia, 13, and Aaron, 11, all of Venetia, visit the park weekly and are excited for the new addition.

They attended the Thomas Town opening and were among the first to ride some of the new attractions, including a ride on Cranky’s Drop Tower that carries riders up before a series of small drops.

“I liked it because it had a lot more drops than I expected,” Aaron ​Musta ​said as he waited in line for a second ride.

With Thomas Town and next year’s planned addition of Steelers Country — a themed area that will include a record-breaking steel coaster and along with other attractions — Annette Musta said she welcomed long-awaited upgrades to the park.

“I like the changes because I’ve seen so many,” she said. “There are things I still miss. I miss Laser Loop. I like (Phantom’s Revenge), but I love the Laser Loop.”

​Paradise said the park has received a high volume of calls and internet inquires about the Thomas addition, which he attributes to the longevity of the iconic franchise, which dates to “The Railway Series” story books of the 1940s. The premise of the story is based on the fictional Island of Sodor, and draws inspiration from the real Isle of Man — a self-governing British Crown dependency near Great Britain.

Paradise has said the fictional Isle of Sodor looks similar to that of the iconic Mon Valley, with its industrial roots backed by scenic waterways and woodlands.

“To have these characters here that are known the whole world round, and have such legacy and staying power — it’s great for Kennywood,” he said.

A view of the new Harold's Helicopter Tour ride during the grand opening of Thomas Town at Kennywood Park on Friday, July 27, 2018. Photo: Kristina Serafini

Marc Davis Jr., 5, has second thoughts after boarding the new Cranky's Drop Tower ride in Thomas Town during the grand opening of the $8.5 million addition at Kennywood Park on Friday, July 27, 2018. Davis, who was visiting Thomas Town with other members of the LaRosa Boys & Girls Club in McKeesport, said the ride was scary. Photo: Kristina Serafini

Children watch the new Diesel Drivers ride in Thomas Town during the grand opening of the $8.5 million addition at Kennywood Park on Friday, July 27, 2018. Photo: Kristina Serafini

Lincoln Cairone, 4, of Shaler sticks his head out of one of the fire engines on Flynn's Fire Training before its first public ride during the grand opening of Thomas Town at Kennywood Park on Friday, July 27, 2018. Photo: Kristina Serafini

Preston Geitner, 9, of Ross, with the character Percy painted on his face, poses for a photo during the grand opening of Thomas Town at Kennywood Park on Friday, July 27, 2018. Photo: Kristina Serafini

Emily Acevedo, 3, of Campton, New Hampshire gets some help from her father, Ray, as they cut the ribbon to Thomas Town during the grand opening of the $8.5 million addition at Kennywood Park on Friday, July 27, 2018. Photo: Kristina Serafini


More Thomas: Peter Andre Voices Mischievous Australian Rally Car 'Ace' in 'Thomas & Friends: Big World! Big Adventures! The Movie'!

H/T: License Global; Additional source: Licensing.biz.
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