Advice for First time visitors to IAAPA: Part 1

IAAPA Attraction Expo (IAE) is coming up soon, and we at Park Vault would like to give some advice to first-time visitors.  It is quite an experience when you enter the show floor the first time, and you could say it is sensory overload.  So many bright lights, amazing things to see and only 30 hours on the show floor to see it all.

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One of the aisle at IAE 2015.

Before arriving in Orlando, a few things are in order:

How to get to Orlando and how to get around.

  • Book your plane tickets. No matter where you are coming from, you will find some ways to fly into Orlando.  Many cities offer direct flights, but in the case of a transfer to a large airport, make sure you have enough time to catch your connecting flight.
  • Do you expect to bring back a lot of things or do you need to bring your latest innovation with you? Driving in the United States is smooth and pleasant, so driving down is also not a bad alternative if you can.
  • Will you need to go around Orlando? Rental cars are available at a reasonable price in advance, but we strongly discourage using off airport vendors except for a famous European company. Make sure you approve all the fees and check if your car insurance, business and credit cards already offer coverage on the rental car.
  • In between UBER and the masses of taxis in Orlando, you can also go around town.

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After picking your rental car, give it a good look over and note down flaws and dents.  Take pictures of them like this one and then inform the staff at the Car Rental office.

Your hotel in Orlando, this can make your trip more relaxed when you pick the right one.

  • IAAPA has an excellent service through an approved vendor where they offer hotels with complimentary shuttles to the Orange County Convention Center. The prices are competitive and booking terms are flexible in case your plans change.
  • Some hotels are within walking distance of the Convention Center. Sleep is the hardest thing to find at IAE, so being able to go down an elevator and walk a few minutes to the show floor is worth its weight in gold.
  • Hotels on International Drive are close to many restaurants and venues. If your schedule includes many dinners and functions, this can also be a great option.

Last, before arriving in Orlando, make a list of who you want to talk to and group them when possible.  Do the same when you have meetings and appointments as the show floor is huge and you can lose precious time walking from one hand to the other.

In addition to the show floor, IAAPA offers many classes and speaker session for members that start on Saturday before the show floor opens.  Depending on your needs, having you and staff members attend some courses can be very profitable for the future.  Also, it also earns you credit toward IAAPA certification.

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An example of an education session.  Todd Hougland from Ocean Park gave an amazing presentation about using Special Events to prop up your venue.  This was at the Asian Attraction 2017 in Singapore.

IAAPA offers many special events at an extra cost and since those are often space limited, booking them in advance is recommended.  The networking possibilities at those are immense and very valuable.

Are you an exhibitor?  You have access to a media list where you can send participating media members press releases and information about your products before the show.  Also, press conferences can be scheduled before early September and IAAPA will then assign you a 30 minutes slot during the show.  Further details on those things are available on the IAAPA Attraction Expo Press page.  IAAPA Press Office

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Last year at IAE, SeaWorld unveiled additions to the chain and walked the media around the show floor.  At Intamin booth, SeaWorld San Antonio unveiled Wave Breaker: The Rescue Coaster ride vehicle.

Last, bring a lot of business cards.  You never know who you will meet, and it is customary for attendees to trade business cards.  You never know if that person you randomly met on the show floor is the key to your next success.

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