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Cartoon Network picks site near Dutch Wonderland for first hotel

A rendering of the new Cartoon Network Hotel opening in Lancaster County in 2019. - (Photo / Submitted)

The Cartoon Network is coming to Lancaster County next year, with plans to stay and play awhile.

The network behind popular shows such as “Adventure Time,” “We Bare Bears,” “The Powerpuff Girls” and “Ben 10” said Tuesday that it is building its first-ever hotel. It will be next to Dutch Wonderland in East Lampeter Township.

The 165-room property, which is being developed in partnership with amusement park operator and Dutch Wonderland owner Palace Entertainment, is under construction on nine acres at 2285 Lincoln Highway East. The site was formerly the Continental Inn.

The Cartoon Network Hotel is scheduled to open in the summer of 2019. Lancaster-based Wickersham Construction & Engineering Inc. is the general contractor. Cost of the project was not disclosed.

Through a combination of character animation and creative technology, the hotel is being designed to provide families and other guests with an immersive experience.

The Cartoon Network Hotel will feature an interactive lobby, resort-style pool and water play zone, an outdoor amphitheater with an oversized movie screen, lawn games, fire pits and more.

Each guest room and suite will feature interchangeable show theming that can be customized around children’s preferences to make each visit a new adventure. In addition, there will be an indoor arcade, kids play area, coffee lounge, wine bar and Cartoon Network store.

“With just the right mix of technology, design and animation, we’re aiming to bring our characters to life in a way that we haven’t seen done before,” said Christina Miller, president of Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and Boomerang networks for Turner Broadcasting System. “We can’t wait to be part of many family vacations with the ultimate Cartoon Network experience.”

Cartoon Network’s Erik Resnick, senior vice president of business development and commercial strategy, said developing a hotel was first about finding the right partner. Lancaster County was then seen as a great fit for a hotel to capture people traveling from New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

Rolf Paegert, COO of Palace Entertainment, called the hotel project a game changer.

“We are thrilled to be part of bringing the Cartoon Network experience to Lancaster, evolving the family hospitality and accommodations industry within the region,” he said. “The new hotel will enhance the tourism in Lancaster offering several options in hospitality choices for families.”

Palace owns and operates more than 20 amusement parks, water parks and family entertainment centers in the U.S. and Australia. Palace acquired Dutch Wonderland in 2010 from Hershey Entertainment & Resorts.

“The project is great news for Lancaster’s tourism industry,” said Joel Cliff, a spokesman for Discover Lancaster, which promotes the county as a tourist destination. “Not only will we be home to Cartoon Network’s first hotel, but having it right next to Dutch Wonderland will turn the entire complex into a destination itself. Both properties complement each other perfectly in their joint appeal to the family travel segment.”

As the economy has grown and commercial construction activity has picked up, new hotel projects have been on the rise. The bulk of the hotels built in Central Pennsylvania over the last two or three years have been Marriott- and Hilton-branded hotels, including several extended-stay properties.

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