After a challenging 2021, where operators struggled to meet the incredible demand combined with everchanging regulations, 2022 was the year of records. European operators reported an incredible 10-20% attendance increase, bringing them above their already high 2019 attendance. In-park revenues also grew, leading to record revenues.
What this mean is that while IAAPA Expo in Orlando (2021), IAAPA Expo Europe in Barcelona (2021) and, London (2022) saw lower attendance than in 2019 due to COVID travel restrictions, exhibitors had amazing shows with motivated buyers. For IAAPA Expo 2022 in Orlando, things on the show floor are nearly at the same level as in 2019, with a lot of the booths sold already and the return of the EDUTalk quick sessions at booth #486.
The idea behind the EduTalk is to give attendees a quick 15 minutes break where they learn about essential topics in an informal way. Being right on the show floor, it’s easier than ever to attend an education session, and this is a great initiative.
Booths are now assigned per pavilion to make it easier for attendees to find products and suppliers. For example, WhiteWater (#2240), Polin (#2847), and Vortex Aquatic Structures International (#1047) all joined in the same area. Proslide (#2254), who completes this foursome of the water park heavyweights, is located just north of the pavilion at #2254. Vortex launched a fantastic product in 2022, launching their first Dream Tunnel at Super Aqua Club north of Montreal, QC. The Dream Tunnel technology was shown at IAAPA Expo 2021, and Super Aqua Club quickly jumped on it to revitalize an older lazy river. ADG (#2654) is hosting a press conference on Thursday, November 17th, at 10:35 at #3439 to talk about a new surf product called EpicSurf.
Vortex Dream Tunnel seen at IAAPA Expo 2021.
The pavilions are not completely strict, as companies such as Proslide mentioned just before and Zamperla Inc.(#2024) are partly inside another pavilion or near their natural spot due to the size of their booths and seniority in assignment. Speaking of Zamperla, they return to their usual location. This year, they are helping relaunch the classic log flume attraction with their new “Super Flumez” premiering in 2023 at Luna Park NYC (New-York City) and at Adventureland in Altoona, IA. Those two are part of a dual attraction design where the flume is built around a new Junior Coaster model.
Interlink (#4417) sold their first super flume in the United States to another park in Iowa, Lost Island Theme Park. Sadly, a fire during construction delayed the attraction, but it will open in 2023. Hafema (#4631)has also been selling log flumes in Europe, continuing the trend. WhiteWater is also present on the Flume market, notably recently selling replacement boats for existing flumes in Australia and Ireland.
Replacement boat for Wild West Falls at Warner Brothers Movie World in Australia.
Usually, SeaWorld has announcements during IAAPA Expo, and if they continue in 2022, Intamin will be one of the two headliners. SeaWorld San Antonio is building the first next-generation 8-person Flume Ride in the US in 2023. The new attraction will replace an older flume ride removed in 2011 and feature the new boats with individual lap restraints and an elevator lift hill first seen at Family Park in Austria. The Austrian Compagnie Des Alpes (CDA) facility had particular restrictions for construction, and attraction placement, and Intamin was able to place a massive 56 feet tall elevator for a roller coaster-style drop along the 1067 feet long course. A new high-speed track switch also leads to a backward drop halfway through the attraction.
Catapult Falls, as SeaWorld San Antonio is calling their new flume, will include a world’s first: the first launch on a log flume in the world. Boats will accelerate to around 20 mph after a nice float around the area where the old Texas Splash Down flume used to operate. The launch leads into a dry hill, where riders will experience a brief moment of weightlessness.
Intamin is supplying two new straddle car launched family coasters to Busch Gardens Williamsburg (DarKoaster, the name is in reference to Curse of DarKastle that used to occupy the building) and SeaWorld San Diego (Artic Rescue, replacing the closed Wild Artic simulators).
Continuing with SeaWorld, S&S (#2217) is providing a new S&S Screaming Swing (Serengeti Flyer) for Busch Gardens Tampa. This successful attraction has had installations in Williamsburg and San Antonio that saw great success, and this one will reach heights of 135 feet.
Catapult Falls, DarKoaster, and Artic Rescue are not the only launches coming to SeaWorld in 2023. Pipeline The Surf Coaster is a brand new style of roller coaster from Bolliger & Mabillard (B&M, #4806) where riders will stand two across in all ride vehicles. A 60 mph LSM launch will launch riders into a massive overbanked curve, followed by a corkscrew. The Surf Coaster style of ride uses a suspension in each seat to absorb excessive G forces and keep riders comfortable.
Cedar Fair is introducing three roller coasters in the chain in 2023. Two prototypes are the first Zamperla Freestyle Twister Coaster and the Great Coaster International (GCI) Infinity Flyer roller coasters cars. Wild Mouse is the name of the Freestyle Twister Coaster coming to Cedar Point, and Zambezi Zinger is making its grand return to Worlds of Fun. Zambezi Zinger was a beloved Schwarzkopf family roller coaster that featured a spiral lift hill and a visually exciting turn around that massive lift hill structure. Using a combination of the Infinity Flyers roller coaster cars and the new Titan Track seen on Wolverine Wildcat (Michigan’s Adventure, Muskegon, MI) and Predator (Darien Lake, Darien Center, NY), GCI is recreating the signature elements of the classic coaster on this new wooden coaster.
Great Coasters International Infinity Flyer demo vehicle on display at IAAPA Expo 2021.
ART Engineering received a lot of attention in London for its new Wild Swing family attraction that premiered at Fantasiana in Austria and Potts Park in Germany. They are supplying their second Family Launch Coaster to Canada’s Wonderland (Vaughan, ON) in 2023, part of the Cedar Fair company. Unfortunately, they do not have a booth at IAAPA Expo in Orlando in 2022.
Premier Rides (now at booth #2612!) is teasing something for IAAPA Expo. Could it be related to a poster on the Steel Pier in Atlantic City, NJ? Steel Pier was home until 2021 to the first American Reverchon Crazy Mouse Spinning Coaster, and Premier Rides is listed on the poster advertising a new Spinning Coaster in 2023.
In regards to Reverchon, they are returning to IAAPA Expo Orlando for the first time in nearly 20 years. Now run by a new generation, Reverchon/ SAMC Avia has a new spinning coaster to show prospective clients, along with a ride refurbishment division that has worked for major European parks before.
Vekoma will show a model of their new Tilt Coaster at their stand. They are busy building next-generation family coasters with LSM launches. Dollywood (Pigeon Forge, TN) is building for 2023; the largest of those rides as Big Bear Mountain, and it will be nearly 4000 feet long with three launches.
On the high-tech side, we have Brogent (#4227), usually showing off some new immersive media attractions. We don’t know yet what will be previewed, but they are always an highlight.
Triotech (#5424, 5818)has already booked two press conferences, with the first mentioning a new budget-friendly attraction for FECs and arcades. The second one is for a new custom dark ride experience for Lotte World (Seoul, South Korea). We will know more on Tuesday, November 15th, at 10:28 and 11:35 at the Press Conference area (#3439). In addition to the press conferences, Triotech is bringing a working dark ride (Hyper Ride) to the showfloor. This is a rare event, such as 2003 when Sally Dark Rides (#2267) brought a miniature version of their Ghost Blasters interactive dark ride to IAAPA Expo.
A Hyper Ride vehicle being shown to prospective clients during IAAPA Expo 2021. Gosetto S.r,l. (#4629) provides the ride vehicles to Triotech who integrates them with their proprietary ride and media systems.
Dynamic Attractions (#669) sold their first Motion Theater to Futuroscope (Poitiers, France) as Chasseur de Tornade. Guests go on a thrilling adventure to chase tornados using a combination of actors, physical effects and massive LED Screens. They are also launching the Compact Flying Theater, with space for 24 riders.
Don’t forget the special events and working functions, such as the Canadian Breakfast, which will feature Jim Pattison Jr., president of Ripley’s Entertainment, as the keynote speaker. Mr. Pattison will also assume the role of IAAPA’s Chairman of the Board for 2023 during the opening ceremony. Both Guardians of The Galaxy Cosmic Rewind at Epcot and Velocicoaster at Islands of Adventure have special EDUtours to go behind the scenes for IAAPA members, but sadly, the Velocicoaster tour is already sold out.
Velocicoaster will be featured during IAAPA Celebrate, held this year at Islands of Adventure on Thursday, November 17th, in the evening.