To conclude with the roller coaster manufacturers, S&S-Sansei had a car from the new Adventuredome (Las Vegas, NV) El Loco attraction. Featuring the company new overhead lap bar, it also has a sound system and speakers installed on board.
In addition to the roller coaster manufacturers, you also have suppliers. Need a new chain for your roller coaster? A few companies were present and manufacture to OSM specifications or even further, depending on the needs. Kettenwulf USA, is one of those and is the American branch of the Kettenwulf group from Germany. Roller coaster wheels are among the most expensive component of any ride and a few companies had large booths promoting their products. Millennium is the main supplier of wheels for the Gerstlauer Hybrid Coaster cars and RMC Gen One cars. Uremet is another large manufacturer.
Kumbak: The Amusement Engineers is a company that specialise in providing simpler solutions to parks. In addition to offering wooden coaster braking and control upgrades, they also brought to the show floor a roller coaster car. This car is similar to the ones that were retrofitted on the Arkham Asylum: Shock Therapy at Warner Brothers Movie World in Gold Coast, Australia. Originally known as Lethal Weapon: The Ride, this ride was suffering from declining popularity. So, Kumbak came in and per the park request, stripped one of the ride trains down to the chassis and designed a brand new carrier to be hung from that Suspended Looping car. Removing the complex pivot and hydraulic ram system that kept the car in place, they designed a stiff carrier that is hung from the old chassis and feature a new restraint system that remove the uncomfortable shoulder restraints. Instead, you have an overhead lap bar and shoulder belts to restrain the upper torso. It uses a hydraulic locking system and in the station, pushing on the handle buttons will allow riders to adjust the belts for a more comfortable fit. This was a success and revitalised the ride.
In an interesting collaboration, the Netherlands Council for Trade Promotion NCH book a large booth and offer Dutch companies a centralised display for their products. In addition to Kumbak, Wood Design (maker of quality Wave Swinger type attractions and Carousels), Jora Vision (among the greatest theming and ride designers in the world), Van Egdom (maker of water attractions) were also showcased there.
Zamperla rides stayed true to their habit and again, had the largest booth of the Expo. Showcased this year was a new Air Race 8.2 transportable model. The Air Race is a spectacular looping ride that premiered last year and it was another success this year, with the show floor model already sold to Casino Pier in Seaside Heights, NJ. A Happy Swing and Sky Race spinning ride were also showcased.
Model of the new Thunderbolt coming to Luna Park New York City.
The Theming and Hi- Tech pavilion is always an impressive part of the show floor, with the most imaginative and unique booths located in that area. You have master planners such as Jack Rouse Associates (JRA), the Gary Goddard Group and Forrec who can help you design either individual rides, whole areas or even a new theme park. Then, you have the theming specialists, who will design and manufacture anything from audio-animatronics to large set pieces. Theming and Animatronics Industries S.A. featured a giant Horse of Troy display.
Next, you have the companies designing high tech attractions. Oceaneering Entertainment System provides custom solutions for parks who wish to have the most unique experiences. They design and manufacture high quality cars for rides such as Transformers: The Ride 3D at Universal Studios, the Falcon Treehouse designed Curse of Darkastle at Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Tokyo Panic Cruise at Tokyo Dome City. Sally Corporation is the master when it comes to interactive dark rides, inventing the genre and constantly renewing themselves to remain in the leader position.
Oceaneering Revolution Tru-Trackless dark ride system.
Sally Corporation animatronic of Guardian, who is a member of the Justice League. He is installed in the Justice League: Alien Invasion dark ride at Warner Brothers Movie World (Gold Coast, Australia)
Triotech is an imaginative company from Joliette, QC that offer all kind of interactive attractions. Present in one corner of the show floor were three attractions: a tracked interactive 3-D dark ride, a motion simulator and games that would fit in an arcade. The dark ride was very interesting, as using only two screens and no scenery in a small area, the spinning car was able to simulate and do a 2 minutes plus full attraction. The theme for this ride was a zombie apocalypse and so, we could test the shooting system very well.
Alterface are specialists when it comes to interactivity. Last year, they had a “Desperado” style interactive cinema and this year, the “Wall” was showcased. What is the wall? The most clever application of interaction of any attraction. Take a plain wall with various things hanging from it, such as shields, vases and artifacts. Then, hand your participants battery operated laser guns and start the show. The lights dimmed and then, the Wall comes to life! When you shoot any objects on the wall, things happen such as ghosts escaping, the vase breaking and other wonderful things. The major innovation here is that the targets can be hidden anywhere and thus, the possibilities are endless.
The Coin-op pavilion is one of the funniest experience for attendees, as companies from around the world bring all sorts of arcade games and coin-op rides for inquiring customers to try. In the same area and around the floor, a few companies offer solutions for payment, such as pre loaded wristbands and credit card solutions.
Accesso merged with the Lo-Q group and now offer a near complete solution for parks, with everything from admission media to ride reservation systems offered.
Food is an important part of any attraction, both for guest comfort and as a source of profit. Coca-Cola and Pepsi were both present, showcasing their latest products. Companies also showed new ideas, such as “funnel cake on a stick” or bringing popular food items from around the world to North America. One such product is shaved snow that is served with both a fruit puree and condensed sweet milk. Popular in Taiwan, this was brought to the United States by Chilly Ribbons.
During the show, the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) announced the recipients of their awards. The TEA has a lounge area in the Hi-Tech pavilion and while the winners were announced there, the prizes themselves are presented during the TEA Summit. It is usually held in April. The last presentations were at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, CA. Also, during the presentation, it was announced that Mr. Gene Jaffers, long time staffer of the TEA was retiring and he was replaced by Jenny Nevins in his functions.
TEA Executives posing for a picture in their booth.
The IAAPA has the “IAAPA Theater” (presented by the Wanda Group) in the back of the show floor and it is there that the Kick-Off Event and various other functions take place. Most, such as the GM and Owner Breakfast are ticketed events. For that function, the keynote speaker was Matt Ouimet, current president-CEO of Cedar Fair. Cedar Fair is one of the largest amusement park operator in the world and they currently manage 12 theme parks and 3 stand alone water parks in both Canada and the United States. Matt Ouimet delivered a very interesting speech saying that you need to both be a leader and you also need to listen to your employees. For example, he was set on moving a Churro Cart that he viewed as blocking the view of the Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland. He was the president of Disneyland at the time and it was finally Mary Niven, Vice President of Disney California Adventure, who pointed out to him that cart produced a million dollars in revenue in a year. So, an acceptable compromise was found and the cart is still there, but better integrated into the hub.
During the Kick-Off event, the Gavel that is given to the chairman of IAAPA was passed from Will Morey, president of Morey’s Pier in Wildwood, NJ, to Mario Mamon. Mario Mamon founded Enchanted Kingdom in 1995 and had been a IAAPA member even before. He assumed the role of Chairman for the rest of 2013 and for 2014. Enchanted Kingdom is the premier theme park in the Philippines and is located in Santa Rosa City, Laguna. It is roughly 24 miles from Manila and has shuttle buses to a car park in the capital.
What’s next in 2014? Most of the features and special areas I mentioned above will still be present and in some cases, expanded. Some of the larger booths were moved, such as Alterface and Triotech moving to the Hi-Tech pavilion. The first time exhibitor pavilion is expanded and is always a very interesting area to browse, as you find all kinds of products and services. As of September 8th 2014, the indoor show floor was sold out.
Six Flags will be featured during three press conferences: the first one with Oceaneering and Sally Corporation where the new Justice League: Battle for Metropolis dark ride will be presented. Opening at both Six Flags St-Louis (Eureka, MO) and Six Flags Over Texas (Arlington, TX), Oceaneering is providing the multi motion 6 passengers dark ride vehicles. Sally Corporation is designing the dark ride and will provide two audio-animatronics for each attraction. Alterface is also a collaborator, for the targeting system.
The second is with RMC again, showcasing the new ride car for Twisted Colossus at Six Flags Magic Mountain (Valencia, CA).
The third is with S&S-Sansei, where the new Freefly roller coaster car will be unveiled. Known as Batman: The Ride and opening in 2015 at Six Flags Fiesta Texas (San Antonio, TX), this unique ride vehicle promise to be a real revolution in the industry.
Cedar Fair and Triotech will host a press announcement, but the details are confidential at the time.
Holiday World (Santa Claus, IN) and Bollinger & Mabillard will unveil the front car of the new Thunderbird launched Wing Coaster. This will be the first time ever that the famed Swiss firm designed a launch system.
The Gravity Group and ZDT Amusement Park will unveil a new project during the expo. ZDT Amusement Park is located in Seguin, TX and this small amusement park started as a small FEC in 2007. With only 5 rides at opening, they have been growing quickly and they now feature 12 attractions. Can we expect another compact wooden roller coaster among the lines of the Wooden Warrior and Roar-O-Saurus?
Zamperla and Give Kids the World will have a joint presentation at the start of the expo. Merlin Entertainment will host a press conference in a room off the show floor where a Lego model will be unveiled and details given regarding the considerable investments of the group in the Orlando area.
See you on the show floor in November!