Feb 13, 2018 Joe Kleiman #71 - MENA/Entertainment, 2018, Asia, Attractions, Business, Europe & Middle East, Events, Features, Headlines, Latin America & Mexico, Museums, News, North America, Technology & Media, Theme Parks, Water Parks, World markets Comments Off on Virtual Reality, Animatronics Stand Out at 2017 IAAPA Attractions Expo
I’ve lived in Orlando for 21 years and written about the destination’s travel highlights all that time. I’m at the media openings of new water parks, theme park rides and a bevy of other attractions. I spend my days seeking out high-tech, all-natural, educational, family friendly and otherwise-noteworthy guest experiences to share with my readers.
In other words, I’m a journalist who knows the themed entertainment industry from the travel and visitor side. Now, my work with InPark Magazine has opened a door into a new dimension of the business – I’ve been getting a crash course in how these attractions are conceived and created.
In November 2017 I attended my first International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) Expo, which takes place every year in Orlando. The parent organization, IAAPA, is an international organization and also holds annual expos in Asia and Europe, and recently relocated its headquarters from Alexandria, VA to Orlando .
Spending time at IAAPA Orlando gave me a chance to get acquainted with the companies and people who design, build, develop, operate and maintain parks and attractions around the world. My newfound perspective enables me to go deeper into the story behind launching those attractions where I regularly attend media relations events. Thanks to this exposure, I’ll be able to share more meaningful information and insights with my consumer readers, and bring my travel writer’s viewpoint to enhance my industry coverage – in addition to the excitement of getting to know new people and new companies, many of them right here in Orlando, conveniently located to serve their clientele.
For four days, I walked the mammoth, IAAPA trade show floor, peering into the eyes of lifelike robots to see if they might be human, climbing into virtual-reality ride cabins to try yet another version of this type of experience, talking one-on-one with innovators about the why and how of their newest products and services, and racing from press conference to press conference to hear executives talk about hardware and software, ride vehicles, projectors, wave pools, looping coasters and much, much more. Having this backstage – so to speak – experience has added a level of understanding to my existing fund of knowledge and experience from the consumer side. I now have a broader perspective of the elements that go into rides, shows and theme and water parks.
This year’s IAAPA Expo was the largest ever. In fact, attendance was up 12 percent over the year before. More than 25,300 buyers traveled from around the globe to walk the 576,000-plus-square-feet of displays at Orlando, Florida’s Orange County Convention Center, where 1,114 companies displayed their newest offerings.
Orlando was a fitting home for the 2017 mega-gathering, in part because IAAPA recently moved its headquarters there. In fact, the association broke ground on what will be its new headquarters building during the trade show virtually, on stage during the welcome session (PHOTO top of page, courtesy IAAPA).
The Orlando market, with eight theme parks and six highly themed water parks in or near the core plus a growing array of smaller attractions, is filled with cutting-edge offerings, making it an ideal home for IAAPA and for its largest annual gathering. The most notable Orlando area additions in 2017 were Disney World’s newest headliner, the Flight of Passage virtual reality ride within Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s Pandora – The World of Avatar land, and Volcano Bay, Universal Orlando’s state-of-the-art water park, where technology gives guests two advantages: no lines for rides, and no need to carry rafts or tubes up stairs.
On the trade show floor, vendors showed off virtual technology products of all scales, from single self-contained rides to the types of sophisticated technology needed for highly immersive themed experiences on a grander scale. Separately, robotics manufacturers displayed animatronics that look realistic, with human-like skin, and smooth head, neck and hand movements. Other highlights included lighting technology that projects detailed images onto flat and non-flat surfaces; ride technology that mimics off-road adventures; and interactive attractions that include elements beyond the ride itself, inviting guests to continue their involvement within the theme park.
Here is a selection of noteworthy products from my explorations at IAAPA Orlando 2017. Click on the links to access photo reports from the trade show floor.
Skyline Attractions, LLC, introduced the Skywarp, on which two trains of 16 passengers travel an 8-shaped double loop, passing the other train repeatedly. The first Skywarp will debut in Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Northern California in spring 2018. It will have the name HARLEY QUINN Crazy Coaster, after a DC Entertainment super-villain.
Christie displayed its new Mystique projection system, with multiple projectors. Rugged surfaces, as well as flat ones, can show high-resolution moving pictures. That allows attraction operators to use buildings, domes, cars, mannequins and sports-venue surfaces as screens or projection mapping surfaces.
The Q-Ride is an all-in-one virtual reality package introduced by Brogent Technologies Inc. Seat movements coincide with the script, whether the theme is a hot air balloon expedition, a shooting game or an underwater experience. The headpieces are a single item with both speakers and glasses attached, which lowers loading time for the 12-seat ride.
Historical figures will seemingly come to life via Living Faces of History, a new line of animatronics by Garner Holt Productions, Inc. The figures, such as one of Abraham Lincoln, become lifelike thanks to 46 motions, complemented by a neck that functions seven distinct ways. A silicon skin makes the faces softer and more pliant than past materials did. The characters run on electricity, so they are portable and self-contained.
Wander®, Alterface’s newest game, is non-linear. Every game begins in a designated hub but then moves out into the larger attraction or park. Participants return to the hub for new missions after completing each one. Guest information, stored on a wand used by a single person or a team, guides the experience.
S&S Worldwide is creating an updated version of its Steeplechase Coaster, which itself was created in 1976 by Arrow Dynamics, now owned by S&S. The original was modeled after a classic equestrian-themed attraction introduced in 1896 at Brooklyn’s Steeplechase Park. After having engineers study an extant version at the UK’s Blackpool Pleasure Beach, the S&S team improved the ride. It will now go in a Möbius loop, and have a bar restraint that lowers the height requirement from 55 inches to 42 inches. In addition to horses, the Steeplechase Coaster can now be adapted to feature dragons, raptors or motorcycles.
Two video game franchises, Rabbids and Assassin’s Creed, will soon be available in virtual reality versions. The experiences will be modular and small enough to fit 10-square-meter (108-square-foot) spaces. Triotech and Ubisoft are collaborating on the projects, and Asterion VR is providing technology.
Dynamic Attractions unveiled a flying theater product that is available in fully themed and customizable formats. Essentially, the Dynamic Flightcycle allows riders to lean forward on a motorcycle-like vehicle in front of a concave screen. They will feel as if they’re soaring through the sky. Wind, mist and scent can be added to the ride, which can fit into small spaces due to a low ceiling requirement. A Dragon Rider version has a feudal storyline in which the cycles are dragons and kingdoms are dueling. Scenery, media, projection, a screen and even a preshow are part of the package. Dynamic Attractions also introduced a ride that mimics an off-road experience.
Three new waterslide offerings have expanded the Proslide Technology Inc. portfolio. RocketBLAST®, a modified version of the ProSlide HydroMAGNETIC ROCKET®, is a hydro coaster that uses water propulsion and turbine technology to provide speed going up and down.
FlyingSAUCER® elements, round and tilted, can be added to RocketBLAST®, inserted between water-slide water coaster flumes, allowing guests to traverse turns at up to 30 feet per second. Separately, ProSlide introduced the Double TornadoWAVE™ in 2017, an extension of its 6-year-old wall insert. The new version creates a dedicated ride path for 4- and 6-person rafts into a near vertical-zero-gravity moment.
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment announced several additions and enhancements to its parks around the world. Among them are the following:
Infinity Falls, a river rapids attraction opening at the Orlando park this summer, will have a rainforest theme and a 40-foot vertical drop. Passengers will ride on an 8-seat raft resembling those found on real white-water rafting expeditions. As part of the new “Park to Planet” initiative, the ride will have a water conservation theme and end with educational animal encounters.
Electric Eel, a 150-foot-tall roller coaster, will debut in San Diego this summer. It will include an educational component about moray eels.
Oscar’s Wacky TaxiTM, a wooden roller coaster, will open at the Pennsylvania Sesame Place in in spring 2018.
The San Antonio and San Diego parks will be home to new Sesame Street parades, and the Orlando Park will gain a Sesame Street land in the future.
Battle For Eire™—Action VR Ride will join the line-up at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. It will be a motion-based simulator with a 360-degree virtual reality headset.
SeaWorld will announce the location of a second Sesame Place theme park, modeled on the original in Langhorne, Pennsylvania.
Three sets of worldwide industry innovators received the IAAPA Hall of Fame Awards during the 2017 IAAPA convention. Those so honored were Writer and Park Founder Philippe de Villiers of Puy du Fou, Les Epesses, France; philanthropists and industry ambassadors Henri and Pamela Landwirth of Give Kids The World, Kissimmee, Florida, United States; and songwriter Richard M. Sherman of California, United States.
InPark is pleased to welcome new contributor Rona Gindin (firstname.lastname@example.org), who writes about tourism, business, travel, restaurant and lifestyle issues. Her work has appeared in Zagat, foodnetwork.com, Brides, Parenting, Endless Vacation and other publications and websites.
Comments Off on Inaugural Festival of Licensing to feature keynotes from Smiley, ABG and Alibaba
Comments Off on Integrated Systems Europe 2021 postponed from February to June
Comments Off on Registration now open for IAAPA EMEA Trade Summit at Europa-Park February 2021
Comments Off on Eicher Leisure Consultants representing Extreme Engineering in European market
Sep 18, 2020 Comments Off on Union Station Kansas City final US stop of international touring exhibition on Holocaust and Auschwitz concentration camp
Sep 18, 2020 Comments Off on MDRN Photobooth Company amplifies brands and the guest experience with customized photo and video activations and DNP dye-sublimation printers
Sep 18, 2020 Comments Off on Analog Way Ascender 48 drives massive LED videowall backdrop at Pytch’s The Virtual Venue
Sep 17, 2020 Comments Off on American Society of Interior Designers announces Virtual Conference
Sep 02, 2020 Comments Off on Smaller attractions: Following the leaderHow smaller attractions stay competitive and innovative...
Aug 19, 2020 Comments Off on Nathan Jones: Continuing a journey of amazing attractionsFollowing a long track record at both WhiteWater and...
Jun 30, 2020 Comments Off on Right place, write timeHollywood screenwriter Bennett Yellin authors a new future...
May 18, 2020 Comments Off on Eleventh Hour: The rise of consultants since COVID-19 affords a vision of leadership for the Location Based and Themed Entertainment Industry.To help companies respond to industry-specific challenges,...
May 05, 2020 Comments Off on Inside the time machineCreative Principals’ Geoff Thatcher says now is the...
Apr 22, 2020 Comments Off on InPark exclusive: International participants in Dubai Expo 2020 share thoughts on the likely one-year postponement and the status of their pavilionsLeaders of several national pavilions being developed for...
Apr 03, 2020 Comments Off on Bingo Tso, ACE International, on the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on Asian companies and the attractions marketBingo Tso of ACE International shares his perspective from...
Mar 17, 2020 Comments Off on COVID-19: Reassurances from Beijing and Kelly Ryner (Thinkwell)"As for business here in China, there is a lot of positive...
Dec 25, 2019 Comments Off on California’s Great America WinterFest: Transforming a theme park into a holiday wonderland.With millions of lights and thousands of decorations, the...
Nov 16, 2019 Comments Off on #80 – IAAPA 2019Table of contents
Nov 15, 2019 Comments Off on Meet Amanda ThompsonIAAPA’s incoming chair has deep roots in the attractions...
Nov 15, 2019 Comments Off on TEA 2020A chat with Michael Blau - incoming TEA International Board...
Nov 14, 2019 Comments Off on IAAPA 2019 Chair David Rosenberg: The aqua-manRosenberg serves as the 2019 Chair of the IAAPA Board of...
Nov 14, 2019 Comments Off on CircusTrix CEO Fernando Eiroa: Leaps and boundsInPark spoke with Eiroa about the unique business of...
Nov 09, 2019 Comments Off on InPark exclusive: Interviews with Jeremy Railton and Scott Ault on the launch of their new company, Railton Entertainment Design (RED)Themed entertainment design veterans Jeremy Railton and...
Oct 22, 2019 Comments Off on ISE 2020The annual Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) trade show for...
Oct 21, 2019 Comments Off on IAAPA: “Wear comfortable shoes!”"If this is your first Expo, attend the First Time...
Sep 11, 2019 Comments Off on Netflix and thrill: Greg Lombardo joins the content streaming powerhouse as Head of ExperiencesLombardo brings with him more than a decade experience in...
Sep 10, 2019 Comments Off on Transitions: Leaps and boundsIndustry professionals are making moves and creating waves
Sep 09, 2019 Comments Off on Exploring IAAPA EuropeMeet recent additions to IAAPA’s European team
Aug 08, 2019 Comments Off on IPM Interview: Jennifer Lee Hackett, Sinking Ship EntertainmentGiant screen veteran Jennifer Lee Hackett has joined...
Jun 28, 2019 Comments Off on John Miceli and the new DE-ŹYN StudiosThroughout his career, John Miceli has worked in feature...
Jun 26, 2019 Comments Off on Meet Lionsgate Entertainment World’s new general manager: Selena MagillMeet the new GM of Lionsgate Entertainment World, scheduled...
May 08, 2019 Comments Off on ECA2: All eyes on LanzhouECA2's latest spectacle, a permanent installation in a...
May 06, 2019 Comments Off on IAAPA Expo Asia"Establishing a presence in both Hong Kong and Shanghai...
Sep 07, 2020 Comments Off on #82 – Solving problems with innovation
Sep 07, 2020 Comments Off on The InPark Magazine editors: Meet the press
Sep 07, 2020 Comments Off on Alterface: Popcorn Revenge results
Sep 07, 2020 Comments Off on Christie: Ultimate contrast
Sep 07, 2020 Comments Off on The Land of Legends meets Masha and the Bear
Sep 03, 2020 Comments Off on Diving into the TEA/ AECOM Theme Index
Sep 02, 2020 Comments Off on Smaller attractions: Following the leader
Aug 15, 2020 Comments Off on Funding, revenue, reopening and saving the animals: Museums struggle in COVID times
Aug 05, 2020 Comments Off on Three industry leaders talk about the TEA Thea Awards: Nancy Seruto, Susan Bonds, and Wendy Heimann-Nunes
Aug 03, 2020 Comments Off on Going virtual: TEA honors Thea Award recipients with Digital Case Studies event
Jun 30, 2020 Comments Off on Right place, write time
May 18, 2020 Comments Off on Eleventh Hour: The rise of consultants since COVID-19 affords a vision of leadership for the Location Based and Themed Entertainment Industry.