Wednesday, February 28, 2024

IAAPA Hall of Fame 2022 inductees revealed

The four newest inductees set to join the IAAPA Hall of Fame ranks represent some of the finest leaders of the global attractions industry and represent decades of innovation and evolution that have shaped the industry across a number of brands and sectors.

The IAAPA Hall of Fame celebrates and honors those extraordinary pioneers who have seen their personal dreams through to completion not for their own success, but for the growth and betterment of the entire industry.

This year’s honorees include:

  • Joan Ganz Cooney was a pioneer in edutainment, something that has greatly and directly influenced theme parks. From Sesame Place to KidZania and LEGOLAND, her influence is seen in the interactive exhibits at museums and zoos, education-based programming incorporated into attractions, and even in FECs. The opportunity to education through entertainment was the very foundation of the Children’s Television Workshop.
  • Xavier Lopez Ancona is the driving force behind KidZania, the role-playing edutainment concept with an international proliferation. He took the simple idea of child role-playing and turned it into a major attraction located in retail malls. The concept proved to be a completely new approach to children’s attractions, allowing kids to play as adults in a city built to their scale. Bringing his business and consulting experience to the concept, he thought outside of industry norms and created the links with business and sponsors that underpin the business model and drive KidZania’s success. KidZania now operates in more than 15 countries and continues to develop new sites with franchises around the world.
  • Darrell Metzger has bridged more than four decades of working in the industry and built a successful global track record in the development, operation and revival of leisure/resort/residential communities and attractions. He is one of the very few professionals that built excellent expertise in the positioning and repositioning of major destinations, theme parks and resorts on a global scale. Mr. Metzger’s professional highlights include Disneyland Resort, California; Tokyo Disney Resort, Tokyo; Ocean Park Resort, Hong Kong; Atlantis Adventures, Hawaii; Sentosa Island Resort, Singapore; and LEGOLAND Resort, Malaysia.
  • Dennis Speigel has loved the amusement and leisure industry for more than 60 years. His passion for the industry came when he was just 13, a young ticket taker at Coney Island Amusement Park in Cincinnati. It was 1959 — now over six decades ago. Since that time, He has traveled the world advising and consulting investors, bankers, developers, students, enthusiasts, researchers, suppliers and buyers. Called almost daily, Mr. Speigel has long been regarded the “go to” guy when an opinion or the most updated information is being sought. His professional highlights include Kings Island, Ohio; Taft Broadcasting, Virginia; and founding International Theme Park Services.

“We could not be more thrilled with this year’s Hall of Fame inductees,” said Michael Collins, chairman of the IAAPA Hall of Fame and Archives Committee and senior partner with Leisure Development Partners LLP. “These four individuals truly represent more than 100 years of influence and imagination that has resonated throughout our industry.”

Hall of Fame inductees will be officially announced and celebrated at IAAPA Expo 2022, taking place at the Orange County Convention Center November 14-18.

The IAAPA Hall of Fame was established in 1990 to honor legends and pioneers for their significant and lasting contributions to the growth and development of the global attractions industry. Over the past 32 years, dozens of industry pioneers from around the world have been inducted to the IAAPA Hall of Fame including Walt Disney (The Walt Disney Company); Milton Hershey (Hersheypark); Dick Knoebel (Knoebels Amusement Resort); Bo Kinntorph (Liseberg); Will Koch (Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari); Jack Lindquist (Disneyland); Franz Mack (Mack Rides/Europa-Park); Bob Rogers (BRC Imagination Arts); Jay Stein (Universal Studios Florida); Geoffrey Thompson (Blackpool Pleasure Beach); Tom Williams (Universal Parks & Resorts); Antonio Zamperla (Zamperla); Philippe de Villiers (Puy du Fou); Henri and Pamela Landwirth (Give Kids The World); and Richard M. Sherman (Iconic Disney Songwriter).

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