IAAPA Expo 2022 recap: part 1 of our look at the wonders of the show floor

IAAPA Expo took place this year at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando from November 14th to 18th, 2022.  It was a major success, with over 37.000 attendees, sold-out EDUtours, press conferences, and fascinating products to discover on the show floor.  Booths were full, people were interested, and the networking possibilities very good.  The show floor once again filled the Convention Center’s whole North/South halls and was an exciting time for those who attended.

In addition to the usual buyers, there was also the presence of many students from universities around North America.  They were there to learn more about the amusement industry, network, and find out what they could do in the future.  There were individual students before, but the organized groups filled up the EDUtours (which they had access to as their schools are often IAAPA members), and Young Professional Reception.  Adding the help of Anne Irvine-Ondrey from IOE, Inc. helps them get their footing and maximize their possibilities.  IOE organizes its Rising Edge party as an add-on to IAAPA.  It is an excellent example of how everyone is coming together to help the next generation of leaders and designers.

The show floor got underway on November 14th with a busy press conference slate.  There were many trains reveals and the biggest and happiest surprise of the year.

SeaWorld got things going with train reveals for two new roller coasters: at Bolliger & Mabillard, the first ever Surf Coaster vehicle was unveiled.  This new ride system will be used on Pipeline: The Surf Coaster at SeaWorld Orlando.  It features a more comfortable standing-up riding position where the seating column will dampen the vibrations, solving the comfort issues that existing Stand-Up coasters have.  The car also features a beautiful surfboard design, making them some of the prettiest roller coaster riding stock in the world.

Pipeline: The Surf Coaster ride vehicle

Over at Intamin, SeaWorld spoke about Artic Rescue, coming to SeaWorld San Diego, and showed up the snowmobile train.  Launching out of the former Wild Artic building, guests will experience three tire drive launches, sharp turns, and curves that are the signature of the Intamin Family Coaster line.

Artic Rescue, a new version of the straddle car that turned into a signature for Intamin.

Continuing the trend of family coasters, Vekoma and Dollywood (Pigeon Forge, TN) unveiled the lead car of a train of Big Bear Mountain.  This is one of the first rides to use Vekoma new family coaster line and will also feature three launches, using Linear Synchronous Motors (LSM) this time. 

Big Bear Mountain front two cars.

Next to Vekoma and Intamin booths, Triotech had a massive presence and held two announcements this year: first, the QUBE, an autonomous four-person motion simulator was launched.  This was designed for the Family Entertainment Center (FEC) market, where its compact size and attendant-free operation will make it the next headliner worldwide for that growing market.  They also priced it at a point where it is more accessible than the famous XD Dark Ride.  Interest at the show was high for the QUBE, so we expect many to start appearing soon.

Ernest Yale, Triotech’s founder, unveiling the Qube.

In addition to QUBE, Triotech was proud to announce that they created, in collaboration with PUBG: BATTLEGROUNDS, a new walkthrough attraction for Lotte World in Seoul, South Korea.  Named the BATTLEGROUNDS WORLD AGENT, groups of 16 future agents will explore three zones in an area 8100 sq2 big and immerse guests in the popular IP.  Adding to the two press conferences mentioned previously, new movies for the STORM and TYPHOON FEC attractions were unveiled.  A rideable HYPER RIDE dark ride attraction was also present to show off what this unique ride concept can do. 

Triotech and Lotte World standing pround next to the advertisement for PUBG Battlegrounds.

Boldmove, Benoit Cornet’s new company, was present at Triotech’s booth, and in 2023, the first Smash&Reload from Boldmove will open at Le Pal, an amusement park in Dompierre Sur Besbre, France.  They are reimagining the park’s aging motion simulator and, a new dark ride using hardware from Triotech will go into the compact building.  With four scenes and a boarding station, it is an extraordinary feat to fit so much inside, and the park is adapting a Boldmove IP/content.  Polluted mushrooms will need to be neutralized by riders, and it is a unique story.

Boldmove provided us with the look at the inside of the new Smash & Reload coming to Le Pal.

WhiteWater proudly announced that Vantage won the Brass Ring IMPACT Award for Vantage and its Virtual Pass Processing.  The goal of that new process was to remove as many irritants from park entry, allowing guests to upload their photo and guest information at home, keeping the steps at the park minimal.  Guests only need to show a QR code to the employee, and that’s it.

WhiteWater won another Brass Ring award for the Blasterango Battle that premiered at the Soaky Mountain Waterpark (Pigeon Forge, TN.)  Called The Edge, it consists of a waterslide where dueling Master Blaster water coasters race each other with themed lighted-up enclosed sections between the drops and blasts.  The attraction concludes with mirrored Boomerango elements where rafts race high up the incline before dropping backward.  A fun aspect to promote that new slide was shown at the Expo, when Yo-Yo’s were handed out to media, along with a sheet demonstrating how both Yo-Yo’s and waterslides use the same physic formulas.  One aspect that WhiteWater worked on was energy efficiency: they now offer an option where the water jets in the Master Blaster sections are shut down between rafts and only turned on when necessary.  This can mean as much of a 50% peak power reduction, which is enormous in a world of rising energy costs.

The Edge at Soaky Mountain Waterpark. Those are the Boomerango elements that conclude the attraction.

In addition to Blasterango Battle, WhiteWater talked about the evolution of the rest of their portfolio.  The Boomerango Squeeze means that the famed Boomerango element can now be placed mid-ride, rather than always ending an attraction.  The Walhalla combines the gigantic Manta element and the Boomerango, introducing a whole new sensation.  AquaFortress is the next step when it comes to water play structures, which, combined with Life Floor and polycarbonate guardrails, mean a safer environment.

Walhalla and the AquaFortress

River surfing is an incredible experience only available to a few and WhiteWater is bringing it to everyone with FlowSurf.  For the first time, flowriders will be able to use authentic surfboards in a new FlowRider configuration that simulates a massive wave seen in the rapids of a river.  The main target for this product is a dedicated location, such as the Wave Houses on Sentosa Island (Singapore) and San Diego, CA.

FlowsSurf by FlowRider

While WhiteWater and other suppliers had tried building clear waterslide sections, they were always challenging to manufacture and assemble.  Clarus is WhiteWater’s new clear fiberglass, and the slide section on display at their booth was truly transparent, allowing someone to read through it their phone placed on the other side.

Clarus information and the example on display at the show.

Last, WhiteWater showed off a new boat for Viking Voyage, a flume ride at Emerald Park (formerly known as Tayto Park, in Ashbourne, Ireland.)  Viking Voyage opened in 2017 as a Super Flume ride from Interlink, AG.  Alas, technical issues made the ride difficult to operate, which, combined with capacity challenges, required the ride to get modifications.  To that end, Emerald Park hired WhiteWater, and it’s water rides division to design, engineer, and manufacture new boats for the attraction, along with technical upgrades.  The original boats had three rows of two passengers; WhiteWater designed custom boats based on their own Super Flume line.  Those fit in the complex turns and drops of the course while having four rows of two passengers.  Hydraulic lap bars in each row secure riders and allow the ride to conform to the latest EN regulations.  Capacity is expected to double thanks to the technical upgrades and larger boat capacity.  WhiteWater also announced a new Super Flume and a River Raft Ride for VinWonders  Phu Quoc, Vietnam.

WhiteWater incredible new boat for Emerald Park.

One thought on “IAAPA Expo 2022 recap: part 1 of our look at the wonders of the show floor

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s