IAAPA Attractions Expo (IAE) took place this year from November 16th to November 21st 2015 with the show floor opening on November 17th at 10 am. Before that, 2000 attendees had a sneak peak of the show floor with the Kick Off Event that took us through the West center aisle to the back where the Wanda Theater is located. Throughout all those days, there were various EDUtours (facility tours) and educational sessions offered along with regional and industry lunches and breakfasts.. Around 28900 attendees were expected, but the final number of 32900 was reached, which was the second largest IAE in history since regional expos take place around the world.
At the Kick Off Event, three industry legends were inducted in the IAAPA Hall of Fame: Jack Lindquist, Disneyland first marketing director and eventually, the first Disneyland president. He was at the park for 38 years and is credited with inventing park staples such as “Disney Dollars” and the famous “I’m going to Disneyland!” line that athletes say after winning a major event.
Fred Holingsworth III can be credited with creating a major part of the industry today: motion simulators. In 1974, he introduced the 180 Theater and Motion Master attractions and those inspired the next generation theaters and dark rides that are so important today.
Tom Williams worked with Universal for over 40 years and in 1990, was named Universal Parks and Resorts CEO. He then leads that division through expansions in Florida, California, Japan, Spain and Singapore.
One important moment during the Event was the passing of the ceremonial Gavel that represent the title of Chairman of IAAPA. Gerardo Arteaga, president of Fantasilandia (Santiago, Chile) travelled around the world in the last year and now, John McReynolds of Universal Parks and Resorts was presented with the Gavel. John McReynolds has been with Universal since 1995 in various roles and now supervises legislative, regulatory and civil matters for the chain around the world. He also oversees Community Involvement and Real Estate entitlements in Central Florida.
Optimus Prime and Bumblebee were present to officially open the showfloor and also greet the new IAAPA Chairman of the Board.
Right after the show floor opened, Dollywood and Rocky Mountain Construction (RMC) held a press conference that talked about their new attraction: Lightning Rod. Opening in 2016 at Dollywood (Pigeon Forge, TN), Pete Owens (Director of Public Relations for the Dollywood Company), Craig Ross (President of the Dollywood Company) and Fred Grubb (Owner of Rocky Mountain Construction) held a press conference talking about that project and also a new concept where people will be able to use their own smartphone to experience either a park or a ride with a 360 degrees view. This is especially important as there some people who due to disabilities or other reasons cannot go on a roller coaster and this is an amazing initiative from Dollywood. Disney had tried this a few years back with a new attraction that was not accessible, but Dollywood is going one step further. The point of view video released at the time of the Lightning Rod announcement was modified by a California company and now work with the cardboard 3-D headset from Google. When guests move their head, the video follows that motion and it appears you are looking out in that direction from the ride.
Fred Grubb and Craig Ross standing behind one of the custom Hot Rod that will be located in the ride waiting line.
To make the experience the most authentic as possible, this Hot Rod was handbuilt as a model by an experienced craftsman.
Virtual Reality was the theme this year at the show, as many companies were using various headsets to either show new technology or to experience virtually attractions. One such company was OCT Vision from China. Besides being the largest theme park operator in China at this time, they also design and manufacture various multimedia attractions. The headsets at their stand allowed the participant to experience virtually a new type of Observation tower. They also had at their stand large model that showcased their various products.
The model on display at OCT Vision. The attraction you experienced in Virtual Reality is the blue tower in the middle.
Side view of the model.
Zamperla again had a huge stand and three rides were featured this year: a portable Ferris Wheel, Windstarz and ZipZap Racer. Zamperla held a press conference on Tuesday November 17th and talked about four new products: The Windstarz, the Endeavour, the ZipZap Racer and Factory Coaster.
Windstarz is a 24 seats adult version of the popular Magic Bike family attraction and was equipped with an impressive light package.
Windstarz during tear down at the end of the show.
Windstarz and the Ferris Wheel in the background.
ZipZap Racer is similar to the classic Whip, but in a compact circle and aboard small race cars.
The Endeavor is a brand new version of the classic Enterprise that use Inverted style pairs of seats. Each set is attached around the outside of the wheel and the ride use a double hydraulic system to smoothly lift the wheel in place and lower it in such a way that the open seats come upright in a safe way. The Factory Coaster is a new flexible line of roller coasters that can incorporate backward segments, drop tracks and soft launches. This is part of a renewed push from Zamperla to promote their Roller Coaster division and that division had its own area at the Zamperla stand.
S&S-Sansei and Playland’s Castaway Cove in Ocean City, NJ unveiled the car that will be used on the Gale Force roller coaster. It is a new style of El Loco roller coaster that is known as the LSM Launched Coaster and it will feature inversions, a 100 degrees drop, three launches and 64 mph speeds in a compact package. In order to accommodate their 2016 three roller coasters expansion, Playland’s Castaway Cove sold two roller coasters: A Pinfari Zyklon Loop called the Python and a classic Zierer Flitzer. Beside Gale Force, an E&F Miler custom family roller coaster and SBF Visa Spinning roller coaster will also debut in 2016.
The car just before unveiling.
The car will also feature onboard lighting.
The restraints are similar to the ones that premiered on the S&S 4-D Free Spin coaster last year at IAE.
The ride various statistics.
The wheel carrier and fins that will interact with the ride various Linear Synchronous Motor (LSM).
BeaverTails Inc. is a staple in Canadian amusement parks, water parks and festivals and for their second year at IAAPA Attractions Expo, they held a press conference that talked about their worldwide expansion plans. They already opened stores in the UAE, South Korea, Japan and last summer, opened their first United States locations at Cedar Point (Sandusky, OH), Lagoon (Farmington, UT) and Morey’s Pier (Wildwood, NJ). It was an amazing success at those three locations and the media push this year at IAAPA was to open more markets. Also offered were Frapp-Eh, an orange smoothie in addition to the BeaverTails samples.
BeaverTails brought another trailer to IAAPA this year.
CEO Pino Di Loia posing in front of the trailer and proposed menu.
What are Beaver Tails? They are hand stretched whole wheat pastry that are fried and while they are still warm, covered in butter. Then, they are covered in various toppings, such as Hazelnut chocolate spread, Maple Spread, Chocolate syrup and many other things. Nearly everyone who had the chance to try one at the show was amazed and knocked back by the incredible taste. It is quite different than the commonly seen Elephant Ears and Fried Dough seen around the USA.
The Coco Vanil’ BeaverTail is covered in Vanilla cake icing, crushed Oreo and topped with chocolate syrup.
The Triple Trip is covered in Hazelnut spread, peanut butter and topped with Reese’s Pieces. Those two BeaverTails are offered at La Ronde in Montreal, QC.