by Paul Ruben
What caught your eye during IAAPA Attractions Expo in Orlando? I’ll tell you what caught mine … Miss Germany, Anne-Kathrin Kosch.
It was Tuesday morning when the trade show opened for the first day. I headed over to the Mack Rides booth where they were about to unveil their new Manta coaster car destined for SeaWorld San Diego (see page 18). The car was beautiful, but then they unveiled Ann-Kathrin. That’s her with me in the photo. She’s a tall drink of water, and I was instantly smitten. I don’t speak German, but gave her my best imitation. “Sprechen Sie englisch?” “Yes,” she replied, and our friendship was off and running.
But there was more to see at this show. Did you ever notice how good ideas happen in pairs? For example, two exhibitors showed new raing simulators with wrap-around viewing screens consisting of three flat-screen TV monitors. Cruden showed is new Hexathrill simulator, while Evotek displayed the Evotek Sym 026, also a racing simulator.
I discovered Anne-Kathrin is 23-years-old and was crowned Miss Germany 2011 on February 12 during the annual pageant held at, where else? Europa-Park; proprietor the Mack family.
Another pair of good ideas, new spinning coasters, were found at the Zamperla and Wisdom booths. Zamperla showed two versions of its new Junior Twister Coaster (see page 22). A scaled down version of the company’s Wild Mouse style ride, it uses four or five-car trains, carrying up to four riders per car around a 170 or 230-metre (558/755ft) track. Wisdom’s Jungle Twist, meanwhile is a new family spinning coaster consisting of five cars in a train that each carry three adults or four children over a 140ft-long oval track.
One of my favourite all-time treats, Rita’s Italian Ices, exhibited at this show and was offering franchises to park operators. Rita’s is the best Italian ice in the world. Sure, they deliver instant brain freezes, but you need Rita’s.
Anne-Kathrin works as a pharmaceutical technical assistant in a pharmacy in her hometown of Weimar. Beauty and brains, what a combination.
At least two vendors showed off new zip lines. Stan Checketts had set up his new Soaring Eagle zip line in the show’s outdoor exhibit area. I rode it, and enjoyed every moment of the flight. It featured a unique reverse lifting system so that a single operator can load and unload guests at ground level. Extreme Engineering introduced its Zippin Zone portable zip line and climbing structure. It features a large inflatable slide, a chicken exit for those wimps who get cold feet before zipping.
This was Anne-Kathrin’s first time in America, and she loved it. Who wouldn’t, having left the cold, overcast Germany for the warmth of sunny Florida? Come back next summer, babe, when it’s sweltering hot and in the middle of hurricane season. But during IAAPA season, what’s not to like? With Miss Germany on the stand, Mack Rides got my vote for the show’s most beautiful booth. I’m easily distracted.