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IAAPA Expo: Wisdom Rides of America & Noble Rides Reports a Successful Show
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IAAPA Expo 2023 closed Friday after a very successful run at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL.   The event brought a whopping 36,173 attractions professionals to the floor from a total registration of 41,236. Of those, 26,453 were qualified buyers representing 18,135 buying companies, and 9,961 exhibitors representing 1,147 exhibiting companies. Exhibitors covered over 55,000 square feet of space in the Expo Hall and the economic impact to the greater Orlando area was estimated to be around $100 million to surrounding businesses.

“I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to the thousands of dedicated attractions professionals who make IAAPA Expo the thriving global community it is today,” said Jakob Wahl, president and chief executive officer for IAAPA. “Your passion and dedication to continuously innovate and share best practices with each other is what makes this event so special. It is wonderful to see everyone collaborate for the good of the attractions industry and bring joy and smiles to millions of guests all around the world.”

The IAAPA Foundation, whose mission is to inspire and support life-changing careers in the global attractions industry, raised $26,000 which will go towards academic, experiential and industry scholarships.

Other fundraising efforts included Give Kids The World Village, a charitable organization dedicated to creating magical, transformative wish vacations for critically ill children and their families. Several events were held throughout the week, including the 20th Annual IAAPA International Charity Golf Tournament, the 13th Annual IAAPA Charity Motorcycle Run benefiting Give Kids The World, and the 17th Annual IAAPA Footprints from the Heart 5k Fun Run and 1 Mile Walk. Those events, plus donations made from generous IAAPA attendees, raised an impressive total of $160,000 to support the Give Kids The World mission.

IAAPA Expo 2023 also offered unique EDUTours that allowed attendees to explore some of the most iconic attractions and destinations in the Orlando Area . Participants had the opportunity to visit venues such as Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort, and Fun Spot America, gaining valuable insights into the operations and creative processes behind these world-famous attractions. The week's marquee evening event IAAPA Celebrates, hosted by SeaWorld Orlando, included networking, park-exclusive food and beverage and hours of fun.

Michael Shelton, executive director and vice president for IAAPA North America, expressed his thanks to the IAAPA team, without whom this annual event would not be possible. “The true magic of every IAAPA expo event is the dedication from our team,” he said. “Their passion and hard work not only built this event but also strengthened the bonds of our incredible industry.”


Wisdom Rides of America / Noble Rides

As the trade show was winding down Friday, the booth at Noble Rides/Wisdom Rides of America was still active through mid-day.  “It was a good show for us”, said Jared Davis of Wisdom and Noble.  “People were in a buying mood  they had a positive outlook on the future.  It seems like most segments of the industry caught some good weather this year and had great seasons.”

The buying mood and orders have resulted in the pushing back of delivery times for the companies.  Davis says many companies are planning out 2, 3 and even 4 years.  The company has been working hard to backfill orders that were delayed due to supply issues.  If a company ordered something in 2021, when parts were ordered, many times a part that was supposed to come in 2022 didn't arrive until 2023.  The ride might be very close to completion but the key part they were waiting on delayed delivery, which can be very frustrating.   Davis says the company is working with their clients to get the rides delivered and catch up with the orders that have been delayed, a process that is starting to ease.

Davis observed that many parks are replacing equipment piece for piece, while others are looking for new and unique attractions to add to their lineup.  He said orders run the gamut from family coasters to larger coasters to flat rides, it just depends upon the buyer.  Several deals were made at the show for 2025 deliveries.

One segment of the company that is performing extremely well is the observation wheel business.  The company is hoping to contract 4-5 wheels over the next several months and they are not just going to parks and carnivals but have expanded out to stand alone attractions that want to add some excitement to what they offer.  

The addition of an observation wheel to a venue or stand alone attraction helps it to become an iconic destination and drive traffic.  Davis said his company has systems and programs in place to provide full service to put these wheels on site and even assist with operations if needed.  The company can assist those who may not have experience with amusement rides but want to add a wheel to their venue. 

“We can provide full turn-key services to these clients and in addition to a quality ride, I think we are really helping introduce new customers to the amusement ride market,” he added.

In the carnival market, where Wisdom has been a leader for many years, the lead time for delivery is stretching out to 18 months or 2 years for larger attractions.  Smaller rides can be fulfilled a bit quicker but Davis encourages potential buyers to get orders in quickly so the production process can be put in place.

Pre-Covid, Davis explains, some buyers would be able to come in last minute and make an order that was delivered in a relatively quick time frame. With the supply chain issues, labor shortages and increase in demand, that is no longer the case so it is imperative that new orders be placed as soon as possible to avoid waiting for new attraction deliveries.

With lots of traffic and new markets, Noble Ride and Wisdom are very optimistic about the future for the amusement industry.

2023 IAAPA Expo Trade Show Coverage

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