Photo via Dynamic Attractions
Wings over Washington is a Dynamic Attractions "flying theater" that opened in Seattle in 2016.
Dynamic Attractions is well-known within the amusement industry, but many are surprised to find this leading thrill ride design firm is owned by a steel-fabrication company. But that's about to change.
Known for their ride systems used on Disney’s Soarin’ and their Test Track system, Dynamic Attractions
has a long history of impressive, innovative ride systems, including multiple ones throughout Orlando. Dynamic Attractions has now contributed to more than 50 rides around the world, 22 in the United States alone, most at top-tier theme parks like Disney, Universal and several Middle Eastern parks.
It’s always been a bit of an odd marriage between Dynamic Attractions and its parent company, Canadian-based Empire Industries
. Known for commodity-style steel fabrication, Empire purchased Dynamic Attractions’ parent company, Dynamic Structures, in 2007. Dynamic Structures had previously proved to be a fierce competitor
of Empire's. During that time, Dynamic Structures was still very much a player in the steel industry, thanks to its role in steel-heavy construction projects like astronomy observation systems and other large-scale projects.
Since purchasing Dynamic Attractions via Dynamic Structures, Empire Industries has slowly grown Dynamic Attractions into the juggernaut it is today. In 2015, Dynamic Attractions announced its new Attraction Development Center
in the heart of Orlando’s tourism district. The research and design center is to thank for many groundbreaking new technologies revolutionizing the amusement industry, and has led to Dynamic Attractions constantly winning industry awards.
At the same time, the steel industry has continued to see years of decline
. In 2018, leading steel producer U.S. Steel – who at one time was also a primary investor in the amusement industry, thanks to their heavy involvement with the creation of Walt Disney World – saw their stock drop
by more than 50%.
With steel becoming a less reliable industry, Empire slowly wound down its steel fabrication operations, noting that it is “low margin.” Now, with 95% of the company’s total revenue coming from Dynamic Attractions, the company has confirmed
it is leaving the steel industry altogether to focus exclusively on its growing presence within the amusement entertainment industry. Along with the updated focus, Empire Industries will also embrace the Dynamic name, transitioning from Empire Industries to Dynamic Entertainment.
In announcing the new name and focus, CEO Guy Nelson noted to shareholders:
“Our new name reflects the company that we have evolved into… Our roots of over 90 years in the steel fabrication industry have served us well. We cut our teeth building complex mechanical systems in very remote locations. We learned how to make things that must keep running all the time. That is what our DNA brings to the entertainment industry. It makes us unique among the competition…
Everything we have done in our company’s history has brought us here and prepared us for this moment in time. The attractions industry is entering its golden age, with growth occurring on virtually every continent. Dynamic Entertainment is just getting started and our expanded prospects have never been stronger.”
Earlier this year, Dynamic Attractions took a significant step forward in moving beyond the top-tier of theme parks, launching a new partnership program
. Dynamic Co-Ventures will provide midway attractions access to Dynamic Attractions' high-end concepts while also assisting in financing. It has set out to create high-quality midway attractions in the more budget-conscious segment of the industry.
The first such co-venture will be a new flying theater attraction coming to Pigeon Forge, Tenn. By co-owning the attractions, Dynamic will be able to not only benefit from the contract for designing it but, as stated by Empire earlier this month, the new co-venture attractions will provide the company with “stable, long-term, recurring and growing revenue and profit.”
"The concept is simple," said Nelson on a company call. "We supply our world-class rides in order to co-own attractions with local tourist operators. By doing this, we trade-off receiving one cheque, for an ongoing stream of revenue that will occur year after year. We leverage what we do best, making the world’s best rides, for an ongoing piece of the action."
Dynamic Co-Ventures is also viewed as a way for the Dynamic brand to become more of a household name, while also providing the company with a path to expand beyond the limited number of high-tier parks. Midway attractions are those which stand alone along major corridors in tourism districts.
Orlando’s Ripley has seen considerable success in this market with its odditoriums, aquariums, and other attractions. U.K.-based Merlin has been quickly growing its U.S. offerings, including Orlando’s Madame Tussauds and Sea Life Aquarium. Most operators don’t have the finances or knowledge to compete against the growing presence of Ripley and Merlin, partnering with Dynamic could provide these operators a better chance of doing so. It will also help Dynamic to become more recognizable among non-industry folks.
Empire Industries will slowly roll out the new Dynamic Entertainment name over the next year. The company's renewed focus on entertainment will lead to even more opportunities for the Orlando based Attractions Development Center. Across all of Dynamic Entertainment’s companies’ current contracts have more than two years of work already lined up for the company with more deals in the works.
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