IAAPA, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, holds its annual Attractions Expo next month and it’s back where it belongs – in Orlando, theme park capital of the world.
Organisers estimate around 25,000 people will attend this, the world’s largest conference and trade show for the attractions industry. More than 1,000 exhibitors are expected across more than 1 million square feet of the Orange County Convention Center. Central Orlando, of course, offers multiple theme parks and attractions for industry professionals to research and enjoy during their stay.
The trade show itself kicks off on Wednesday, November 17, but before that a wide range of education sessions and social events are planned. On Sunday, for example, the IAAPA International Charity Golf Tournament takes place at Hawk’s Landing Gold Club. Later in the week, on Thursday morning, the 4th annual IAAPA Charity Fun Run & Walk takes place at the Give Kids The World Village. Walking 1km is hardly a challenge, but getting up ready for the 7am start might be. The more athletic may prefer the 5km run.
On Monday night, there’s a social event and tour at Wet ‘n’ Wild. Further tours and behind-the-scenes opportunities will be offered during the week at SeaWorld (Tuesday night), Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Tuesday evening), Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (Wednesday night) and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando, home to this year’s Thursday night social. Most tours cost around $100, although for those wishing to take full advantage of the Harry Potter event, the fee is €179/199 (IAAPA member/non-member).
As well as Tuesday evening’s Opening Reception, there are dedicated social events for Young Professionals (Tuesday night), European operators/suppliers (Wednesday evening), Latin America operators/suppliers (Wednesday evening) FEC operators/suppliers (Wednesday evening), travelling showmen (Wednesday evening), Waterpark operators/suppliers (Wednesday night), Asian operators/suppliers (Thursday breakfast) and Canadian operators/suppliers (Thursday breakfast).
This year’s General Mangers and Owners Breakfast features an audience with Universal Parks and Resorts chairman and CEO, Tom Williams. IAAPA attendees can also enjoy a keynote luncheon the same day with Europa-Park’s Roland Mack. Herschend Family Entertainment president and CEO, Joel Manby, speaks on Monday during a “Lunch and Learn” session as part of the Zoo and Aquariums Track.
Sunday marks the start of the “Rookies and Newcomers” education workshop for aspiring FEC (Family Entertainment Centre) operators and the Institute for Attractions Managers, for more senior industry professionals. Both these events require pre-registration and fees, although many of the over 85 sessions and seminars during the week are free to Expo ticket holders.
On Monday morning, Mark Wijman (Floriade 2012) and Ken Whiting (Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk) will ask, Branded Food and Restaurant Concepts – Are They Right For Your Facility? On Tuesday afternoon there’s an interesting sounding session entitled An Inconvenient Seminar: How To Calculate Your Attraction’s Carbon Footprint. Always a popular event, the Disney Legends panel session takes place on Wednesday afternoon with contributions from Marty Sklar, Mickey Steinberg and moderator Bob Rogers. On Thursday afternoon, Dave Cobb of Thinkwell design will discuss Designing Guest Experiences to Take Advantage of Social Media. This will be followed on Friday morning by a Social Media Symposium, starting at 8.30.
IAAPA Attractions Expo takes place at the Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, from November 14 to 19 (trade show November 16 to 19). To register, for fees or for the full education programme and related events, visit www.iaapa.org/expos/attractions. Park World will be exhibiting on booth 4720 – come and say hello!