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IAAPA Expo 2018 Breaks Attendance Records
Galaxy New Lighting Concepts; Rides 4-U Crazy Cab Gets Interest; Battech Enterprises Downdraft Sales
Rides 4U - New & Used Rides Now Booking Food, Games, Rides for select dates!
The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) shattered records during the association’s 100th anniversary celebration. IAAPA had both a record attendance and the largest trade show floor. 42,000 registered attendees visited the show in Orlando Nov. 12 - 16. There were over 1,150 vendors on the trade show floor. The five-day Expo pumped an estimated $77.2 million into the Orlando-area economy.

"There is no better way to celebrate IAAPA's centennial anniversary than with a remarkable and record-breaking Expo," said Hal McEvoy, IAAPA president and CEO. "IAAPA's mission is to connect attractions professionals with each other and with new and innovative ideas. All that and much more happened here in Orlando. It's been an incredible week!"

At this year's Kickoff Event, IAAPA also revealed its new logo and brand that will officially debut on Jan. 1, 2019.

Many vendors reported at least moderate success at the show. We reported previously on KMG and they announced an additional sale by show’s end, selling a Speed to Ocala-based Michael Parks of Paradise Amusements.

new IAAPA logo

Rides 4 - U

Rides 4-U

Len Soled of Rides 4 U also weighed in on his experience at the trade show. While the company didn’t set any records, they had a decent show. “The carnival and amusement park markets were weak, but the FEC market was really good”, said Soled. He attributed the weaker markets to a rainy season on the East Coast and secondarily, the Labor/H2B issue that seems to crop up each year.

There was quite a bit of interest in the trailer-mounted Break Dance/Crazy Cab ride on display. Beauce Carnival in Canada purchased one and Arnold’s Amusements was seriously contemplating a purchase. He said he was looking forward to closing some deals in San Antonio as a few things were left on the table.

“At the end of the show we had 25 people just watching it come apart”, said Soled.

In addition to the mini Crazy Dance, Soled sold a mini Prate Ship to Mike Skelly of Skelly’s Amusements. His new park model spinning coaster was also busy throughout the show, with lots of interest from riders and buyers alike.

Although he said he could only count the number of carnival owners on both hands, he said he was very happy with the show and was looking forward to San Antonio and Gibsonton.


ARM was celebrating the first sale of its new Sky Hawk ride to North American Midway Entertainment. The new Sky Hawk will be similar to the Vertigo tower ride but with hang glider cars so guests will be laying down and simulating flight. The ride is projected to seat 24 and has a different support and sweep assembly than the Vertigo. The first Sky Hawk, which will stand at 100’ tall, is due to be delivered in mid-2019.

ARM Sky Hawk

The company had a Frenzy on display at the show that was headed to Robbie Houser of West Coast Amusements.

Mike Gill of ARM said this new version of the Frenzy had many improvements over the original ride introduced in 2013. The ride itself is 11,000 lbs lighter, though still not legal weight. The ride doesn’t need water ballasts every week as well. The older version had drop down floors and a step. The new version raises and has a linkage system to do the work. The floor size was revamped and the vehicle has been designed, benefitting from experience of operations.

Gill said the Vertigo ride is still a strong seller for both parks and carnivals. Carnivals remain the bulk of his business, at about 80%.

ARM Frenzy


German-based Zierer announced a new ride, Super Grover’s Box Car Derby for delivery to Sea World in 2019. The roller coaster has a 850’ track length with 10 2-passenger cars. The first car is reserved for Grover himself and shaped as a Soap Box.

“The ride will of course have a wonderful decoration”, said Marina Ernst-Wiedener of Zierer.

Zierer delivered a Snoopy ride to universal Japan, and a Wave Swinger, the company’s iconic ride, to Sea World in San Diego, to name a few recent projects. The family drop towers, standing about 40 feet have also been doing very well.

‘It was a good show”, said Weidener, “we had lots of meetings”.


US-based Battech also saw lots of interest at the show. Lother Young said there was a surprising amount of interest in slides from parks, pumpkin patches and smaller venues. The Downdraft also garnered a lot of interest from parks and carnivals.

Both Skinner’s amusements of Powers’ Great American Midways purchased Downdrafts in 2018. In fact, Powers bought the Downdraft along with a new Black Widow and a Zero Gravity, all in the last year!

The company has also done some park business, selling a Cliffhanger to Broadway at the Beach in Myrtle Beach, SC for 2019.

In addition to new sales, the company been doing lots of Cliffhanger rebuilds. They are also taking Startroopers and converting them into Cliffhangers through its Windglider conversion program.

Battech will have a Zero Gravity on display at the IISF trade Show in Gibsonton this year and they will be rolling out an all-new website in 2019.

Battech Enterprises

Galaxy Amusement Sales

Todd Kunz of Galaxy was also enthusiastic about the future. The company is doing well with their new 360 degree Pixel Pros. The new light can change colors, numbers, brightness, etc using an app on your phone. The process can be done entirely wirelessly.

Another great feature of the light is that the PCB can be easily replaced. All you have to do is take off the lens, pop out the PCB and replace it so there is virtually no downtime. The light fits in the same socket as the old turbo light. You can control even wheel lights from the app.

With video monitors becoming increasingly affordable and easy to use, the company has been integrating monitors into front gates and signs more and more. The new Tilt-A-Whirl signs the company is making are also very popular. The signs are all aluminum and totally enclosed in one fixture.

The company’s Camaleon has proven very effective. “They are great partners”, said Galaxy’s Scott Kunz, “they come up with new innovations every year”.

Galaxy Amusement Sales


Another new and interesting company exhibiting for the first time at the trade show was Luboo. Luboo is the first rental, wearable tracking wristband for parents and caregivers of young children at large events and venues. The product was developed by Gabby Stein, an Australian mom with children, most notably a 5-year old who likes to wander.

Luboo wants to alleviate anxiety in parents of young children by providing a low cost solution to find a wandering child at the press of a button in crowded, public spaces - empowering parents and caregivers and saving resources for the venue.

Luboo gives the anonymous, aggregated, real-time tracking data of the young visitors with the wristband back to the venue so they can learn more about their young guests and their movements in order to better improve services.

Luboo envisions selling the band rental online as part of the ticket purchasing experience. Parents can download the app and then onboard their children and attach the wristband once in the park by scanning the QR code and entering the band #. The GPS pings the band about every minute until the search feature is activated. Then the band is pinged every 10 seconds and the location of the child can be seen on the map overlay of the parl.

Luboo’s designers will overlay the park map with landmarks on the generic GPS map of the area. Some helpful features of the app include notification when the band is taken off, notification if the band leaves the park boundaries, and an alert when the battery is low. More than one parent can download the app and track their children at the same time.

Luboo will place charging stations at guest relations centers throughout the park if guests require more than the eight hours of battery life the bands have on a full charge.

Working with a park’s guest relations centers, the band is envisioned as an important addition to park safety. The bands are projected to be rented to guests at an estimated price point of $10. The company is also working on programs for use of the bands at fairs as well.

Brass Ring Awards

On Wednesday, November 14th, (IAAPA) presented their 2018 IAAPA Brass Ring Awards. The annual awards recognize amusement parks, water parks, zoos, aquariums, museums, family entertainment centers (FECs), and suppliers from around the world for excellence in food and beverage, games and retail, human resources, live entertainment, marketing, new products, and exhibits.

The tradition of the brass ring, a term now synonymous with spectacular achievement, dates back to the 1800s. Rings were suspended above carousel riders — low enough for them to grasp, but high enough to pose a challenge. Skilled riders who grabbed a brass ring often earned prizes, including a free ride on the carousel. Most rings were made of iron, but a few were made of brass, so grabbing the brass ring was a valuable accomplishment.

The winners of the 2018 IAAPA Brass Ring Awards are:

Top Family Entertainment Center (FEC) of the World
Jake's Unlimited; Mesa, Arizona, United States;

Food and Beverage Excellence

Best New Menu Item – Annual Attendance Less than 1 Million:
"Poopies and Poopcakes," Skånes Djurpark, Sweden;

Best New Menu Item – Annual Attendance More than 1 Million:
"Chicken Bacon Ranch Tater Bowl," Palace Entertainment, Newport Beach, California, United States;

Games and Retail Excellence

Best Plush: "Gillie Guinea Pig Plush," Zoomars Petting Zoo, San Juan Capistrano, California, United States;

Best Apparel: "Killer Croc Flat Brim Cap," Warner Bros. Movie World Gold Coast Australia, Oxenford, Queensland;

Best Hard Good Item:
"Light Up Slinky Dog," Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando, Florida, United States;

Best Store Visual Merchandising:
"Europa-Park Factory Shop powered by Majorette," Europa-Park, Germany;

Human Resources Excellence

Best Employee Engagement Initiative – Annual Attendance Less than 1 Million:
Great Wolf Lodge - Niagara Falls; Canada;

Best Employee Engagement Initiative – Annual Attendance More than 1 Million:
"Dolphin Way at Work," Grupo Dolphin Discovery, Mexico;

Best Employee Reward and Recognition Program – Annual Attendance Less than 1 Million:
"Skånes Djurpark," Skånes Djurpark Resort AB, Sweden;

Best Employee Reward and Recognition Program – Annual Attendance More than 1 Million:
Denver Zoo, Denver, Colorado, United States;

Best Innovation in a Training Program – Annual Attendance Less than 1 Million:
"Skånes Djurpark," Skånes Djurpark Resort AB, Sweden;

Best Innovation in a Training Program – Annual Attendance More than 1 Million:
Hersheypark, Hershey Entertainment and Resorts, Hershey, Pennsylvania, United States,

Live Entertainment Excellence

Best Atmosphere/Street Show Performance/Act: "Sesame Street Party Parade," SeaWorld San Diego, San Diego, California, United

Best Performer: Sabrina Marlene, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Williamsburg, Virginia, United States;

Best Live "Edutainment" Show: "Ocean Resistance," Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, China;

Best Theatrical Production: Annual Attendance Less than 1 Million: "Favola," Leolandia, Italy;

Best Theatrical Production: Annual Attendance More than 1 Million: "Beauty and the Beast," Disney Parks Live Entertainment, United States;

Most Creative Christmas Show: "The Enchanted Journey," Hersheypark, Hershey, Pennsylvania, United States;

Most Creative Halloween Haunt, Show, or Experience: "Hell's Grand Finale," Ocean Park Corporation, Hong Kong, China;

Most Creative Multimedia Spectacular: "Celebrate! Tokyo Disneyland," Disney Parks Live Entertainment, Tokyo, Japan;

Most Creative Property-wide Event: Annual Attendance Less than 1 Million: "Vivid Festival at Luna Park Sydney," Luna Park Sydney, Australia;

Most Creative Property-wide Event: Annual Attendance More than 1 Million: "Summer Carnimal 2018," Ocean Park Corporation, Hong Kong, China;

Most Creative Show Featuring Animals: "Pets Rule," SeaWorld San Diego, San Diego, California, United States;

Most Creative Sports/Stunt Show: "Cirque Electrique," SeaWorld San Diego, San Diego, California, United States;

Spirit Award

The Spirit Award is given to the most outstanding person who works behind-the-scenes to support high-quality entertainment value of the nominating attraction.
Ulrich Grawunder, Europa-Park, Germany.

Excellence in Marketing

Best Digital Marketing Campaign: "The Poopie Movie," Skånes Djurpark, Sweden;

Best Integrated Marketing Campaign: "Ocean Park Hong Kong Drink'N Music Fest 2018," Ocean Park Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China;

Best Outdoor Advertisement: "Your Visit Protects Wildlife" Outdoor Campaign ("Tu Visita Protégé La Vida Silvestre"), Africam Safari, Mexico;

Best Public Relations Campaign: "Launch of the Haunted Mine Drop," Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, Glenwood Springs, Colorado, United States;

Best Radio or Streaming Audio Commercial: "Silver Dollar City's Time Traveler Radio Commercial," Silver Dollar City, Branson, Missouri, United States;

Best Social Media Campaign: "The Poopie Movie," Skånes Djurpark, Sweden;

Best Television or Digital Video Commercial – Annual Attendance Less than 250,000:
"Xenotes Live," Mexico;

Best Television or Digital Video Commercial: Annual Attendance 250,000 – 1 Million: "Spökjakten," Furuvik Djurpark, Sweden;

Best Television or Digital Video Commercial – Annual Attendance More than 1 Million:
"Lagoon: Summer Daze," Lagoon Amusement Park, Farmington, Utah, United States;


Innovative Concepts in Entertainment, Inc. (ICE), Booth 1106/1306

Booth Size 100 – 199 Square Feet
First Place: YourMapp, Booth E7609
Second Place: VITO Fryfilter, Booth 3858

Booth Size 200 – 399 Square Feet
First Place: Imagination Corporation, Booth 856
Second Place: WIPEOUT, Booth 3610

Booth Size 400 – 499 Square Feet
First Place: Eleventh Hour, Booth 460
Second Place: S4 Lights, Booth 4029

Booth Size 500 – 899 Square Feet
Second Place: Weber Group, Inc., Booth 1684

Booth Size 900 – 1,200 Square Feet
First Place: Dynamic Attractions Ltd., Booth 1073
Second Place: Legacy Entertainment, Booth 1062

Booth Size 1,201 and Larger Square Feet
First Place: WhiteWater West Industries Ltd, Booth 2239
Second Place: Polin Waterparks, Booth 846

2018 IAAPA Coverage

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