Orlando, FL -- The IAAPA Expo 2008 closed Friday November 21, 2008, with preliminary estimates indicating approximately 24,000 people from a record 100 nations participating. Conference and Trade Show participants represented amusement and theme parks, family entertainment centers, waterparks, zoos, aquariums, museums, casinos, resorts, developers, themed entertainment designers, consultants, manufacturers, and suppliers.
"Considering the state of the world economy and the fact that this was our second consecutive year in Orlando, we are pleasantly surprised with the attendance at this year's Expo," said IAAPA President and Chief Executive Officer Charles Bray. "26,500 people participated in last year's show in Orlando, which was one of our best events in the past 10 years. To be down less than 10 percent during these tumultuous
economic times is amazing."
More than 13,000 buyers representing more than 5,000 companies participated in the Expo. While some buyer categories experienced a decline in attendance, the number of buyers increased from zoos, aquariums, museums, and science centers. The number of buyers from Western Europe, Middle East, and Southeast Asia also decreased; however, the number of first-time buyers increased 25 percent.
The vast trade show floor featured 1,154 exhibiting companies on 482,550 net square feet of space, (8.3 miles of aisles) filling the North/South halls of the Orange County Convention Center. Exhibitors showcased everything from new thrill rides, roller coasters, and inflatable attractions to theatrical equipment, souvenirs, high-tech control systems, candy, snow machines and other support equipment. Some buyers were interested in products and services for 2009, while many others laid the foundation for plans well into 2010 and beyond.
Zamperla, the Italian Ride Company announced two new rides for this year. The Barnyard, has a themed vehicle with a unique spinning and tilting motion. The Barnyard can accommodate 24 passengers. In addition, the Surfs Up was introduced. This ride is unique because it is the only ride where the passenger stands and is not strapped in. The ride travels along an arched track that is 80" long while the surf board rotates 360 Degrees. Both rides are classified as family rides, come in trailer models, and can be designed with a custom theme. The first Barnyard ride has been sold to Majestic Midways who is celebrating their 100th season in 2009.
In reference to the trade show, Lucy Murphy, Executive Assistant with Zamperla USA, said, "The people coming into the booth are coming to talk. You're seeing a lot of caution. The buyers are looking at all angles before making decisions, but we have made some sales. There is optimism out there. People who already have projects in the works are moving forward with those. We've had quite a few folks come here with new developments, looking ahead, but they're taking small steps because of the economy."
Victor Wisdom, of Wisdom Industries announced that they are in the process of designing two new rides. The Wind Surfer is based on the Flying Scooter concept. It is mounted on a Tornado frame, and can be transported on one trailer. The seats are mounted on a surfboard, and the rider controls the movement.
Wisdom Industries is also in the process of developing an 8-lane slide based on a Drag Strip Theme. When fully set up, the slide is 70, high, and is transported on 2 trailers. Custom designs are available for either ride. The first slide will be delivered to Frank Zaitshik's Wade Shows.
Mr. Wisdom is excited about the potential of these rides, as they are exciting for the customer, dependable to operate and easy to transport and set up.
In addition, Majestic Manufacturing has developed a new design for the Wiggle Worm. According to Jeff Kudler, the ride has a 34-person capacity. The ride is mounted on a 28, trailer, which can be pulled with a one-ton truck, and can be set up in one hour. This is classified as a family ride, and as Jeff stated, this ride has a good theme, good capacity, and makes money.
As reported previously on MCW, Rides 4U has developed a relationship with European Ride Manufacturer KMG. Tammy Nazarete explained that Rides 4U has a lot irons in the fire right now. They have a relationship with Kairies Electronics from Germany, manufacturer of LED Lighting. Rides 4U will be the exclusive distributor for this product. Nazarete stated that the LED lights consume only 10% to 15% of the power required for other lights, and the projected life expectancy is approximately 50,000 hours, compared to 3,000 to 5,000 for conventional lights.
In addition, Rides 4U is very involved with the liquidation of Cypress Gardens in Florida. There are a wide variety of rides available, ranging from trailer models to park models. More information is available on the Rides 4U web site, which can be accessed by clicking on the large Rides 4U ad at the top of this article.
The Anajet Printer is a product that David Lavita believes will be good for the amusement industry and will either make money or save money for a park or show. Lavita said the printer is compact, uses the latest technology, and replaces the mess associated with the traditional screen printing process. Lavita discussed several uses for carnival operators including creating their own uniforms rapidly and efficiently and producing and selling shirts on the midway to increase revenue.
Inflatable rides had a significant presence at the show. The mass of big blow up slides and other attractions created a lot of color and excitement at one end of the exhibit hall.
Chris Carducci, General Manager of "The Inflatable Depot" was excited about the duel lane 30' Gigantic Slide. This slide is in one piece, and uses 3 blowers. In addition there are 15 versions of the giant slide in 15' or 18' models. The inflatable industry has become a major player in the amusement industry, filling a niche with both the theme parks and the carnivals.
Rebound Unlimited from Smithfield, Utah has developed a line of Trampoline attractions that offer a variety of options, including a 4-way bungee trampoline. In addition they had on display the Shoot N Shower, which is an arcade style basketball shoot out with a surprise for the loser.
In the next installment, we will take a look at the manufacturers and suppliers represented at the show along with exhibitor awards.