The 2019 IAAPA Attractions Expo is now in the books and it turned out to be quite the record-breaker. The convention welcomed a record 42,600 attendees and 1,146 exhibitors from around the world who came to buy, learn, and network at the premier conference and trade show for the global attractions industry.
"With the largest attendance in IAAPA Expo history, this year's event is a testament to the continued growth and strength of the attractions industry worldwide," said Hal McEvoy, president and CEO, IAAPA. "It's been an incredible week bringing together this vibrant and diverse community that continues to evolve in ways we've yet to imagine."
"The 42,600 people attending this year's show, included 27,800 qualified buyers from amusement parks, water parks, family entertainment centers (FECs), zoos, aquariums, museums, science centers, resorts, and attractions from around the world. The five-day Expo pumped an estimated $77.2 million into the Orlando-area economy this week."
According to the latest "IAAPA Global Theme and Amusement Park Outlook Report (2019-2023)," theme and amusement parks worldwide are expected to entertain more than 1.16 billion people in 2019 and generate $52 billion in revenue.
Thirty eight companies made new product announcements directly from the trade show floor during Expo, including Carnival Cruise Line and Maurer, Legoland New York Resort, Holovis and ETF Ride Systems, and SeaWorld Orlando and Premier Rides.
The show was not all business however. Showing the generous spirit of the industry, Expo attendees raised approximately $155,000 for Give Kids The World (GKTW) Village through corporate donations and an annual series of events, including a golf tournament, motorcycle ride, fun run and walk. Celebrating 25 years of partnership, IAAPA has raised more than $1 million over the years, helping make magical memories for children with critical illnesses and their families.
One exhibitor very pleased with the show was Rides 4 U. Len Soled said his presence at the show this year was a “Home Run” and his new Big Air coaster was a big hit. “I got calls from all over the country about the new car”, said Soled. “Some coaster enthusiasts said the ride was one of the best coaster experiences they have had”, he added.
The first Big Air coaster was sold to Craig's Cruisers in Silver Lake, MI. Several carnivals were also interested in the ride and the possibility of putting it on a trailer.
In addition to the Big Air coaster, Soled and his team sold 2 Mini Break Dances, one to Stewart Amusements of CT and the second to Murray Brothers in Ohio. The new “micro-coaster”, the Sky Flyer, was sold to Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement park in Coney Island and the second will be a portable model sold to Barry Jamieson with World's Finest Shows. The Drop N' Twist Tower ride was sold to Jolly Roger Amusement Park in Ocean City, MD and a smaller 30' portable model was sold to Dreamland Amusements that will travel on one 28' pup trailer. A Mini Dance Party 360 was also sold to Jolly Roger.
As we reported previously, Soled assisted with the sale of two KMG rides, the Crazy Surf to Otterbacher Shows and a Freak Out to RC Cole of Cole Shows. Pride of Texas Shows will also be taking delivery of a new Freak Out in the coming months.
Finally, the Fredricksen slide on display outside was sold to DBR Entertainment for their park in Destin, FL.
“We sold out”, said Soled adding, “we saw a lot of people and got a lot of interest, people were definitely buying and we had a lot of compliments on our booth and display”.
While Soled said the new market for rides was brisk, the used market has been soft.
Another highlight of the show was the Rides 4 U party at FunSpot in Orlando, attended by over 400 people. Soled said the party attendance was about 2/3 carnival people and 1/3 park people. Soled said there was an incredible amount of interest and he was “looking forward to Gibtown”.
MondialMondial also had some new ride concepts on display at the trade show in model form. The first, the Escape, has riders sit in seats wit their feat dangling as they twist and twirl. The first model is being built and will be delivered in 2021. The Escape will have 6 seats per arm and up to 5 arms on each ride for a seating capacity of up to 30. The ride will be available in both park and portable models.
A second ride, the Surf's Up, is a Swing Ride that looks like a windsurfer. The Surf's Up has a unique interactive ride experience, its patented ride design creates an interactive swinging feeling for the riders. By pushing and pulling the lap bar, the gondola angle changes, creating a great sense of control and a broad sweeping motion. The ride is still under development and can be decorated / themed and modified to fit each customer's special requirements. The ride will seat between 16 and 32 people per model.
The other eye-catching concept on display is the Avalanche. This huge ride rises over 120' tall and has a long arm with two large banks of seats at the end. The rider's feet dangle off the sides as the arm swings up and around at breathtaking heights.
The company recently delivered one of its Observation Wheels to St, Louis last year and it has now moved to Cincinnati. The 45 -meter version has 36 air-conditioned gondolas. Mondial's wheels are design to be easy to move with a one day up and down time window. The company makes wheels in sizes ranging from 33 - 70 meters.
On the carnival circuit in the US, Mondial has a handful of iconic pieces traveling the country including the Magnum (Shake) from Wood Entertainment, the Fighter (Swinger) with Wade Shows and Jeremy Floyd's Space Roller (Top Scan).
In 2020, the IAAPA Expo returns to the Orange County Convention Center Nov. 17-20. More than 245 companies have already reserved booth space for the trade show floor.