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IAAPA Expo 2021 Deemed a Success
Trade Show Wrap Up

Rocky Mountain Construction debuts Arie Force One at IAAPA Expo
Fun Spot America's largest investment in any ride or attraction ever at its Atlanta, Georgia location, with the addition of Arie Force One

Rides 4U - New & Used Rides Hildebrand Rides is now booking
The IAAPA Expo 2021 ended a successful week, finally getting everyone back together in person after a year off due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.  There were over 28,000 registered attendees, including 21,026 qualified buyers.  The event was estimated by IAAPA to have an economic impact of $79.6 million for the Orlando area.

Some highlights of the Expo week include:
  • News from Merlin Entertainments that the world's first Peppa Pig Theme Park (opening February 24, 2022 in Florida) will be designed with all children in mind as they become a Certified Autism Center. The company shared this commitment along with a reveal of one of its attraction's ride vehicles, designed specifically for increased accessibility for children with wheelchairs.

  • Fun Spot America's largest investment in any ride or attraction ever at its Atlanta, Georgia location, with the addition of Arie Force One. On this steel roller coaster, riders will soar over 3,400 feet of track, towering 15 stories and “flying” at speeds up to 64 miles per hour.

  • A “hair-raising” and jaw-dropping moment as the president of Ripley's Believe It or Not! shaved his “pandemic beard” and added it to the Guinness World Records contender for Largest Ball of Human Hair –while raising more than $34,000 for Give Kids The World (GKTW) Village.


In other news, Crayola LLC announced that the children's creativity brand is actively seeking partners around the world to license and develop new iterations of its venue—Crayola Experience, an immersive and interactive family destination.

“Our growth strategy for 2022 and beyond includes extending our

location-based entertainment footprint domestically and internationally.  We are now looking to develop licensing partnerships that bring new capital and expertise to accelerate our LBE expansion, particularly internationally where local market access and expertise are important,” said Victoria Lozano, Executive Vice President Digital Strategy, GM  Attractions & Retail for Crayola.

Recognizing the desire by consumers for family-driven experiences that are fun, educational, and repeatable, Crayola saw an opportunity to build an attraction branded Crayola Experience. The company owns and operates Crayola Experiences in Orlando, Fla.; at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn.; in Plano, Texas; and in Chandler, Ariz. With venues ranging from 20,000 to 60,000 square feet, Crayola Experience engages more than 1.5 million kids and adults annually.

Crayola also is continuing to develop creative concepts that will help scale its events and exhibitions. Early this year Crayola debuted IDEAworks at Philadelphia's Franklin Institute, a traveling exhibition encouraging families to explore innovation, invention and design thinking. The company also collaborated with OceanX, a global ocean exploration nonprofit, on a national takeover tour of the Crayola Experience venues that began this summer and runs through summer 2022.

“Our strong brand equity allows Crayola and our partners to create exciting and unique new experiences, not just different iterations of Crayola Experience,” said Warren Schorr, Vice President of Business Development & Global Licensing for Crayola. “We're excited about the unique executions Crayola can develop… and we're ready to discuss creative ideas with potential partners.”



Lauren Wood Weaver of Sally Dark Rides said the company was enjoying a strong show with “more leads than expected.  Another surprise was that about 30% of the visitors were coming from Europe, something that was not anticipated due to the travel ban that has been in place until recently. 

Like other vendors, she said that attendance was definitely down, but interest and buying seemed to be strong.  The company had a schedule packed with meetings and information sessions for buyers and potential buyers. 

Sally Dark Rides is a leading creator of family ride experiences.  Teaming up with the themed fabrication experts at Daniels Wood Land, they announced a partnership after unveiling a first look at the new dark ride “Treasure Hunt: The Ride” at the show.  The ride will be located on historic Cannery Row in Monterey Bay, California. 

The pirate-themed dark ride takes adventurous storytelling to a new level. Hand-crafted set pieces, animatronics and special effects will blend seamlessly with interactive media, making this unique, stand-alone attraction a must-experience for those visiting Monterey Bay.  Guests will soon enjoy an adventure that embraces the region's local lore.

This is the first time Sally Dark Rides and Daniels Wood Land have partnered on both ownership and production of an attraction. “We have always been impressed with the scenic style and capabilities of the incredible artists and craftsmen from Daniels Wood Land. To work with them to create a one-of-a-kind pirate adventure in Monterey is something we were excited about from the moment we heard about the opportunity,” says John Wood CEO, Sally Dark Rides. 

Visitors to the attraction are invited to explore a newly discovered system of caverns located beneath Cannery Row where legend has it these caverns were once a hideout for pirates.  The story says infamous Pirate Captain Hippolyte Bouchard and his crew of scallywags hid their treasure in this location.

 During the exploration, riders will be provided “Cavern Car” vehicles and “Treasure Collector” interactive devices that will help them traverse the terrain down in the subterranean tunnels.  While riders keep their eyes peeled for treasure, they must also defend themselves against danger. Everything from the rising tide, sea monsters, and a fearsome skeleton crew will put their travels in peril as they hunt for hidden treasure.

“When the location for the ride became available, I discussed it with my team… it took about 30 seconds to arrive at the conclusion that we need to build a world class dark ride down there… and it took just a few more seconds to agree how great it would be if we could shanghai the scallywags at SallyDark Rides to join us in forming the most creative band of pirates that have ever plied the Western Coast. This is something my brother John and I have wanted to do for over 20 years… so it's literally a dream coming true by the sweat of our brows, and it's an honor and a privilege to partner with SallyDark Rides and make it happen!”, Ron Daniels President, Daniels Wood Land.

The ride itself takes up 8,145 square feet, and includes 6 ride zones and six 4- passenger vehicles that travel along a track.  The total ride experience lasts for 4 minutes and 30 seconds.

The ride is expected to open in 2022 at 700 Cannery Row,Monterey Bay, California.

In 2022, IAAPA Expo returns to the Orange County Convention Center Nov. 14-18. To date, more than 215 exhibit contracts have already been signed for next year.

2021 IAAPA Expo Coverage

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