Sunday, May 19, 2024

IAAPA shatters records with 2018 Attractions Expo

The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) shattered records this week at IAAPA Attractions Expo 2018 with the highest attendance and largest trade show floor in the event’s history. A record 42,000 registered attractions industry professionals gathered in Orlando to learn, buy, and network during the association’s 100thanniversary celebration. The premier conference and trade show for the global attractions industry took place Nov. 12-16 at the Orange County Convention Center.

Attractions industry professionals from around the world came together to discover the latest products and technologies on the trade show floor, learn from world-renowned industry experts during the education conference, and build connections with attractions industry colleagues. The largest trade show floor in Expo history also featured the new Exploration Station, a custom-built outdoor structure with more than 140 exhibitors. 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 (above) that will officially debut on Jan. 1, 2019.

IAAPA Attractions Expo 2018 by the Numbers

• 1,151 companies displayed innovative new products and services on 600,375 net square feet of trade show floor space, including the new Exploration Station outdoor structure.

• 26,600 qualified buyers from around the world, including executives from amusement parks, water parks, family entertainment centers (FECs), zoos, aquariums, museums, science centers, resorts, and attractions participated in the Expo.

• 15,128 people participated in 149 education experiences which included multiple-day institutes and symposia, behind-the-scenes EDUTours at area attractions, panel and roundtable discussions, and constituency lunches. The education figure includes:

• 713 attractions industry professionals attended the GM and Owners’ Breakfast featuring Bob Chapek, Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences, and Consumer Products

• And, approximately 364 industry leaders who enjoyed a lunch-and-learn presentation by Mohamed Al Zaabi, Developer of Yas Island and CEO of Miral in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

• More than 1,800 people attended the Kickoff Event, the Expo’s official opening session, for an update on the state of the industry; to see the exciting new attractions introduced around the world in 2018; and to preview IAAPA’s new global brand.

• 1,152 participants met, socialized, and shared ideas at the Opening Reception.

• More than 3,600 people attended IAAPA Celebrates: IAAPA’s Centennial Celebration at Universal Studios Florida.

• Expo participants raised approximately $120,000 for Give Kids The World (, through a golf tournament, motorcycle ride, fun run and walk, individual and corporate donations, and hole-in-one challenge.

• Expo participants and IAAPA members raised approximately $50,000 for the IAAPA Foundation ( through a Silent Auction at Opening Reception benefiting programs that support tomorrow’s attractions industry leaders and the Al Weber Scholarship Fund.

• IAAPA appreciates the generous support of 76 sponsors that helped to make IAAPA Attractions Expo 2018 possible.

The following industry awards were presented at IAAPA Attractions Expo 2018:

• IAAPA Hall of Fame Awards (worldwide industry pioneers and innovators)

• IAAPA Service Awards (service to IAAPA and the industry)

• IAAPA Brass Ring Awards (excellence in marketing, retail, live entertainment, human resources, food and beverage, top family entertainment centers, new products, and best exhibits)

Joe Kleiman
Joe Kleiman
Raised in San Diego on theme parks, zoos, and IMAX films, InPark's Senior Correspondent Joe Kleiman would expand his childhood loves into two decades as a projectionist and theater director within the giant screen industry. In addition to his work in commercial and museum operations, Joe has volunteered his time to animal husbandry at leading facilities in California and Texas and has played a leading management role for a number of performing arts companies. Joe previously served as News Editor and has remained a contributing author to InPark Magazine since 2011. HIs writing has also appeared in Sound & Communications, LF Examiner, Jim Hill Media, The Planetarian, Behind the Thrills, and MiceChat His blog, takes an unconventional look at the attractions industry. Follow on twitter @ThemesRenewed Joe lives in Sacramento, California with his wife, dog, and a ghost.

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