The 2014 IAAPA Attraction Expo took place from November 17th to November 21st 2014 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. Over 30,000 people attended the show this year and there were various workshops, events and recognition in addition to the show floor. Festivities started with a motorcycle ride to benefit Give Kids The World village on the Sunday before the official start. This fun activity took participants on a fun trip around Orlando while riding motorcycles and beautiful cars. Premier Rides and Harley-Davidson of Orlando were the main supporters of this activity.
Throughout the week, various events were hosted by the IAAPA and people were honored for their extraordinary contributions to the industry. During the Kick-Off event, Bob Cassata (founder of Bob’s Space Racers) and Dick Knoebels (current president of Knoebels Resort) were inducted into the IAAPA Hall of Fame. The title of Chairman of the Board was passed from Mario Mamon (Philippines Enchanted Kingdom) to Gerardo Arteaga (Chile Fantasilandia).
Passing of the Gavel between Mario Mamon and Gerado Arteaga.
During the Owner and GM Breakfast, four persons were presented with Industry Service Awards. The first one was the Lifetime Service Award, presented to Mats Wedin. After a 25 years career as an executive in the attractions industry, throughout which he also served as the IAAPA Chairman of the Board in 2007 and as Liseberg Chairman, Mats Wedin was recognized for his extraordinary contribution.
Rob Norris of Seabreeze Park received the Board of Director Service Award. This is to recognize his input and service to the IAAPA board of director. In addition to being an advisor, he also served as the Treasurer from 2011 to 2015.
Franceen Gonzalez of Whitewater West was presented with the Outstanding Service Award. A 25 years industry veteran, Franceen has been involved as a volunteer with the industry for many years. She is also a past chairwoman of the World Waterpark Association and has been active with promoting safety in all aspects in the industry.
Ted Molter of the San Diego Global Zoo won the Meritorious Service Award. This award is presented to individuals who thrived to improve the IAAPA mission and in this case, he won it for his extraordinary contributions in retooling the IAAPA Institute for Executive Education and creating IAAPA’s professional development certification program.
Liseberg presented the Applause Award this year at the Kick-Off event. Presented every two years, this award is awarded to parks for their excellence in Guest Service, attention to details and inspiring the industry with their foresight, originality and sound business development. Thus, any park, no matter how small, big or unusual can be a recipient. Chosen by a board of director lead by the CEO of Liseberg, Andreas Andersen, this can be viewed as the Academy Award for the Theme Parks.
The winner this year was Le Puy Du Fou, located in Les Epesses in the Vendee region of France. This historical theme park actually does not feature a single ride. Instead, 5 incredible shows and many smaller ones are shown throughout the day. At night, “Cinescenie” is presented on a large outdoor stage near the ruins of the castle that inspired the park. It features thousands of actors, hundreds of horses and around 400 firework shells shot during the show. It tells the 700 years old story of the area.
Part of the Puy du Fou team, holding the Applause Award.
Moving on toward the show floor, the first day of the show featured many press conferences showing off brand new attractions and products that will introduced to the public in 2015. All in all, a total of 33 press conferences were scheduled throughout the Expo.
The first press conference was probably the nicest one, whereas Zamperla donated an actual attraction to Give Kids the World Village. Give Kids The World Village is a magical resort with 88 villas where children with life threatening diseases and handicaps are able to come spend a week just escaping their issues and having fun with their family. The Village already featured a beautiful Vekoma Carousel, but last year, Antonio Zamperla approached the village with a fantastic idea: the donation of a brand new ride. The ride in question is a specially modified Magic Bike family ride, with two ride cars modified: one can accommodate someone in a wheelchair and the other feature flat seats that are more easily accessible. The ride was set-up on the show floor and right after, will be packed up and finally installed at its new home.
Sally Corporation, Oceaneering and Six Flags presented the new Justice League: Battle for Metropolis dark ride to the world. Featuring an all-star crew of suppliers, this fantastic new attraction is a true revolution for Six Flags, as it brings the kind of attraction usually reserved for Disney, Universal or giant theme parks to regional parks. The goal for Six Flags is to offer the same thrills as a roller coaster, but on a dark ride accessible to families. Due to their licensing deals with Warner Bros, they were able to work with their Consumer Products division to finally do a dark ride that will do justice to the greatest superheroes: DC Comics.
Oceaneering will provide 10 vehicles for Six Flags Over Texas and 7 vehicles for Six Flags St-Louis. Costing nearly half a million of dollars each, those extraordinary ride vehicles can accelerate, slow down and the passenger portion is mounted on pneumatic cylinders, providing many degrees of freedom. It can also rotate indefinitely. The ride itself will feature 5 high definition screens and over 500 targets. A few audio-animatronics are also featured, such as Guardian and the Joker, which were at IAAPA.
Also at Sally, there was also an animatronic of Dr. Morphio’s, the host of the House of Nightmare walkthrough attraction. Opening in 2015, this was a unique experience for Sally, as their goal is to go for maximum scares, as children under 12 will not be allowed to experience it. So, they can go for scares they otherwise could not pull. Grona Lund in Stockholm, Sweden will open the attraction in spring 2015.
Over at S&S/Sansei, Six Flags Fiesta Texas introduced the world’s first 4D Freefly ride vehicle to the world. This huge 8 seat car will use magnetic brakes in order to control the rotations and eddy current brakes mounted on the car to reduce speed through the drops. It will use a overhead lap bar with two seatbelt straps over the shoulders to keep riders restrained. Now, for the purpose of IAAPA, both rows were facing forward, but when installed, the front row will be facing backward, as shown in the promotional video.
This show the layout of the ride, with the location of flips and braking.
The seats and restraints. The two straps are covered with this soft vest for more comfort.