• IAAPA 2015- The International Association of Amusement Parks Shines
    Where Do All of Those Amazing Amusement Park Rides and Attractions Get Started?
    They Start In Orlando, Florida Where IAAPA Hosts the Largest Amusement Park & Attractions Convention on the Planet.

    BY RICK SINGLETON

    It’s the single largest gathering of professionals from amusement parks world-wide. Officially it is the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) annual trade show and conference held in November in Orlando, Florida. And in 2015 it grew to be bigger and better than ever before thanks to the efforts of a talented organization, a variety of enthusiastic exhibitors and supportive sponsors.

  • THE BUSINESS OF ENTERTAINMENT

    Amusement park professionals gathered from all over the planet to attend this well-planned, well-orchestrated event which is not only educational and interesting… it’s fun and entertaining.

    If you happen to be involved anywhere in the entertainment business whether it be Family Entertainment Centers, Water Parks, Amusement and Theme Parks or even Haunted Houses; IAAPA is certainly the place you need to visit. The ideas and resources here are virtually endless; so if you are in the business and walk out of this show without a plethora of creative ideas and new discoveries, I would suggest you may already be a zombie.

    SO BIG IT'S SCARY!

    This year IAAPA showcased a myriad of products and as always debuted several new technologies and interesting props, rides, innovations and of course attractions. It's loud, it’s colorful and it’s exhilarating, just exactly what you are looking for if you are in the entertainment arena. With over 33,000 attendees and over 1,000 exhibitors this is as Ed Sullivan would say “a really, big show!” And how big is it exactly, well IAAPA promotional folks put it best when they say “9 miles of aisles.” By the way, if you walk the show (more than 550,000 net square feet) you will know that ain’t just promo mumbo jumbo.

    One of the team members from VFZ, a special effects company from Illinois, shows off one of their popular characters

    SOME OF OUR FAVORITES

    Our favorite booths? Well it’s really difficult to narrow those down because there is simply so much great stuff, but here are a few:

    Sally Corp. (of Jacksonville, FL) featuring a zombie from “The Walking Dead” and a very cool set as an exhibit.

    The Canadian based TRIOTECH, a Leading creator of state-of-the-art media-based attractions, showcased Maestro™, a hand gesture technology which allows riders in an Interactive Dark Ride to control the gameplay by simply using hand gestures. Talk about technology.

    Pictured is Sally Corp.'s Trade Show Exhibit featuring a zombie from the AMC hit series- "the Walking Dead"

    Polin Waterparks of Turkey featured a promising new new technology which embeds both interior and exterior designs into the waterslides during the production process. Their very clever booth resembled an outpost of the Tate Gallery. Management says the product is expected to do very well. After seeing it we agree.

    Italy’s Zamperla unveiled four new products Zip Zap Racer, Endeavour, Factory Coaster & Windstarz as they reenforced slogan, Zamperla is Speed! As usual their booth had much to offer.

    Of course let us not forget the trains. Everyone is taken by the wonder of trains. That not only includes guests of parks but the folks in the industry as well. And when it comes to trains IAAPA gave us quite an impressive selection this year.

    Earnest Lee the president of Bella Tori Family Trains stands proudly beside one of the company's attractive new units.

    The new WaveOz, the first full 180 degree surf wave machine in the world, was a hit for WhiteWater West (another Canadian company). The company prides itself on being providing the ultimate WOW experiences and we have a tendency to believe them after seeing this new product.

    Also remember the ever growing Haunted House Industry. Several companies displayed their goods which attracted many of the leaders from top haunted houses and scream parks from all over.

    Pictured is Mark McDonough brainchild of Creative Visions and several popular products in the theme park and haunted house industries. Next to Mark is his Talking Pumpkin Head which has been a hit with several companies within the amusement industry. amusement industry.

    Finally, it was hard not to feel immersed in the excitement when you visited Dynamic Attractions’ booth; especially if you had the opportunity to visit with charismatic and energetic, Guy Nelson, President of Dynamic Attractions and CEO of Empire Industries (of Orland). One of the aspects of Dynamic Attractions success is certainly packaged within their unique approach to the business. According to Nelson, coordinating the development of a storyline (or as he says storytelling) with their extremely advanced ride systems; attractions will be much more exciting and impactful to audiences. Take a look at the Dynamic Attractions portfolio and you will see that they absolutely execute that practice.

    Pictured are well respected and exceptionally talented industry leaders- Mike Hightower, Executive Project Director at Universal Parks & Resorts, (Orlando) and Guy Nelson, CEO of Dynamic Attractions, LTD. (Toronto).

    FOOD AND EDUCATION IN ABUNDANCE

    When you spend three or four days on the showroom floor you seem to appreciate the food exhibitors just that much more. At IAAPA we found everything from mini donuts and pizza to Dippin' Dots and fresh squeezed lemonade. We also discovered the latest ways to prepare food, the newest technologies and of course new edible delights.

    Finally, the educational seminars were nothing short of outstanding but with well over a hundred of them we would have to dedicate an entire series to just that aspect of this unique convention.

    Standing with their Taffy Town Display are Jason & Derek Glade, president and vice president of the company. The Glades are first time exhibitors at IAAPA but next year I expect we will see them again.

    SO HOW SUCCESSFUL WAS IAAPA ATTRACTIONS EXPO 2015?

    In essence IAAPA 2015 was a huge success. From the smallest companies to the largest, there was excitement and energy throughout the entire week. Exhibitors, sponsors and visitors alike were extremely impressed with everything from the introduction of the latest technologies to the presentation of the convention itself. Rest assured that energy will spill over to the upcoming seasons for the masses. We can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next year!


    NOTES: The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) is the primary trade association for the amusement park and attractions industry. IAAPA was founded in 1918 and is the largest international trade association for permanently located amusement facilities and attractions.

    IAAPA’s global headquarters is in Alexandria, VA.

    www.IAAPA.org

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