After 18 months and counting of lockdowns followed by movement towards business returning to normal, the global attractions industry will be taking a major step forward with the resumption of the in-person annual IAAPA (International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions) Exposition.
Considered the industry's foremost annual trade show & conference, IAAPA EXPO 2021, returns to the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, Nov 15 – 19. The expansive meeting features exclusive networking events, receptions, more than 90 education sessions and the most extensive tradeshow exhibitions in the attractions and amusements industry.
The COVID-19 crisis may have been global in scope and impacted all sectors of the economy, but the reality is that the worst seems to be over and the rebuilding has begun. While business continued as best it could and recovery is inarguably underway, the fact is that online and virtual meetings can only attain limited productivity. As public gatherings resumed in 2021, reawakening revenue streams for amusement parks and midway providers, the need to reconnect in person and plan the post-Pandemic phase has never been more crucial.
Reopening & Recovery
“This past year has been unlike any other our association, and our industry, has ever encountered,” said Hal McEvoy, President & CEO, IAAPA. “Members have been looking to us to help them push the industry forward so guests around the world can safely return to the fun we are known for. The best way we can do this is by bringing the industry together for our global expos. No matter what stage of reopening, re-emerging, or recovery members are in, they will be able to find inspiration, solutions, and new connections in Orlando.”
International attractions industry leaders, decision makers, and visionaries from all segments of the industry are expected to will participate in IAAPA EXPO 2021, according to McEvoy. Attendees include manufacturers and suppliers, carnival company professionals, owners and operators of theme and amusement parks, water parks, family entertainment centers, zoos, aquariums, science centers, museums and resorts.
An IAAPA EXPO 2021 mainstay and attendee favorite – the IAAPA Legends Panel will also be returning with exclusive content that's truly – Amazing. Hosted by Bob Rogers, Founder and CEO of BRC Imagination Arts, this year's panel reunites three of the top creators and masterminds of the original Spider-Man attraction, who share how they have continued to blaze trails for world-class innovation, creative leadership, and success.
Spiderman – a iconic pop culture figure whose popularity has grown exponentially since the radioactive spider first bit Peter Parker in 1962 – this star of comics, television series and of course, blockbuster films – has also been one of the most popular theme park attractions on the planet. IAAPA's annual Legends Panel spotlights Thierry Coup, Phil Hettema and Scott Trowbridge, the creative legends behind The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, which opened at Universal's Islands of Adventure about 20 years ago.
This interactive extravaganza has been said to have forever changed indoor, immersive attractions. Three amazing super-star legends from the attractions industry will share how they led the team that conceptualized the breakthrough ride and how they brought it to life. Participants will hear insights, creative leadership strategies, and lessons —lessons in audacity, creativity and leadership that guests can apply to their own work, regardless of their field.
A centerpiece of the event is the extensive trade show, with more than 700 companies showcasing the latest products and services in 125 different categories, including: amusement rides & equipment, midway games, inflatables, play-equipment, novelties, souvenirs, food & beverage items and a range of other products and services. The Exhibition Floor (Open Nov.16-19) is renowned for being the must-visit place for the latest industry news, trends and technological developments. Press conferences, where exhibitors unveil new products and services on the show floor will also be held during exhibition hours.
Extreme Engineering, a leading manufacturer of family coasters and adventure rides renowned for its innovative design – the company has won 15 industry awards – will be welcoming IAAPA EXPO 2021attendees with three new suspended family coasters and a new adventure Parkour ride. The new rides – and their unique immersive designs – will have their debut at the company's booth through interactive models and rendered video layouts.
“We have the world's first surfboard suspended roller coaster called Surfin Tsunami™, a brand new side by side coaster at faster speeds called Cloud Coaster Storm™, an interactive coaster called Sky Tag™ and our latest adventure ride called Parkour Around™, where people literally experience what is like to be Super Mario Brothers™,” said Phil Wilson, Executive Vice President with Extreme Engineering.
New ride introductions will not be the only premiers on this year's exhibition. IAAPA debuts the new EDUTALK stage to present EDUTalks, a new programing featuring 15-minute fast-paced learning opportunities taking place live on the trade show floor.
EDUSessions – 60 or 90 minute education sessions – located in rooms on the North and South Concourses of the Orange County Convention Center – cover a range of cutting edge subjects, especially the post-pandemic trends looming on the horizon. Topics include: Lessons Learned from Resilient Theme Parks and Attractions; A Big Brand Means a Big Responsibility: Living Up to Today's Consumer Expectations; Diversity & Inclusion in Themed Entertainment; Management Strategies in a Strained Market; Has the Pandemic Changed Arcade Strategies? Fear to Fascination: Saving Animals Using Immersive Experiences; Focus on the FUN! Creating Memorable and Unique Experiences for Games& Merchandise Teams; Skyrocket Your Food & Beverage Revenue and Maximize Profits!; Millennials & Gen Z: Different Generations, Different Marketing.
IAAPA EXPO 2021 also features several key events sure to enrich the convention experience, including:
- Lunch & Learn – Josh D'Amaro (11/15 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM)
“Join this annual luncheon featuring a keynote presentation from Josh D'Amaro, Chairman, Disney Parks, Experiences & Products. Share ideas, discuss trends, and network with peers from across the global attraction's industry.
- Trade Show Floor Tour: Food & Beverage Suppliers (11/16 –11:00 AM - 12:30 PM)
“ Discover the latest innovations in food and beverage service supplies, carts, kiosks, and other related products during this guided tour of the trade show floor. This tour will lead you to participating exhibitors who will showcase their services, demonstrate their products, and help inspire you as you make your buying decisions.
- Trade Show Floor Tour: Games & Merchandise Suppliers (11/16, 2021: 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM)
“Attendees seeking new games and merchandising products and services should take part in this guided tour of the trade show floor. Visit participating suppliers who will showcase their midway and skill games, apparel, souvenirs, plush, and novelty products, and help you make informed buying decisions.”
- Carnival and Showmen's Reception (11/17 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM)
“Carnival owners, showmen, and outdoor amusement business operators are invited to relax, connect with longtime friends, and establish new business relationships during this annual reception.”
- GM and Owners' Breakfast (11/17 8:00 AM - 9:45 AM)
“The GM and Owners' Breakfast is one of the premier networking events for senior attractions industry professionals from around the world. Keynote Speaker: Richard A. Zimmerman, President & Chief Executive Officer, Cedar Fair Entertainment Company.”
- 15th Annual IAAPA Footprints From the Heart 5K Run/1-Mile Walk Benefiting Give Kids The World Village (11/18, 2021: 7:00 AM - 9:00 AM)
“Show your support for Give Kids The World Village by taking part in the 15th Annual IAAPA Footprints From the Heart 5K Run/1 Mile Walk Benefiting Give Kids The World Village. New this year, the run will take place at SeaWorld Orlando. Participants will experience the sights and sounds of SeaWorld as they run through the park before it opens. Runners can register as individuals or create teams and attend together.”
- IAAPA Celebrates 11/18, 2021: 9:30 PM - 11:59 PM)
“This annual event celebrates the innovations and partnerships that the global attractions industry is known for. EXPO participants will mix and mingle with industry friends and colleagues and make new connections during this exclusive event for attractions professionals from around the world – located @ Star Wars Galaxy's Edge Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Most special events require an entrance fee, although membership and other discounts do apply.
IAAPA encourages participants to be vaccinated, but it is not a requirement to attend. All IAAPA staff and several of our vendor partners, including the OCCC, are fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated participants will be required to wear a face covering while inside at the convention center or inside at EXPO-related events.
All individuals age 2 and above will be required to wear a face covering while on EXPO transportation. Any individual age 2 and above who is not fully vaccinated will be required to wear a face covering while inside at the convention center or inside at EXPO-related events.
IAAPA highly recommends a face covering for vaccinated individuals, as well. When not wearing a mask, it is recommended to maintain appropriate physical distancing. Complimentary masks will be available.
To attend some events, completing a COVID-19 waiver will have to be completed.
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