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IAAPA 2017 Trade Show LIVE Updates from TPR!


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^It was the smallest, and least amount of stuff I've ever seen outside.

 

The only two 'large' attractions were a ripoff iFly and a Ropes Course. The next biggest thing was a happy fun slide from carnivals if that gives you an idea. Not even a bunch of cool inflatables or anything.

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Thank you for all the coverage. I especially loved the interview with Alan Schilke. What an awesome job to have!

 

And like others have said, the presentations/unveiling of cars on Tuesday was great, but I lost interest the last couple days. I was low-key hoping for Gerstlauer to reveal the HangTime lead car, but that was a long shot. The models were very impressive though!

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In response to what happened with Golden Horse, a couple of years ago, the authorities showed up to inform them that they were being sued for making knockoffs. Beijing Jiuhua's people immediately packed up and left upon learning this. To be honest, with Chinese parks not willing to admit westerners on Chinese made rides in China, why would Chinese companies even bother showing up?

Edited by The Angry Darren Mullins
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And like others have said, the presentations/unveiling of cars on Tuesday was great, but I lost interest the last couple days. I was low-key hoping for Gerstlauer to reveal the HangTime lead car, but that was a long shot.

Remember that, and I'm sure that there are plenty of us that do, for the most part, the IAAPA Attractions Expo is not a consumer's show. From what I've seen and read, we as an enthusiast community tend to hold the show up in high regard as our Detroit Auto Show, San Diego Comic Con, CES, or E3, because we are the ones that end up eventually experiencing these theme park innovations in the coming years. But we can't actually buy them ourselves, can we?

 

From my own experience (your mileage may vary), the things that happen most often at the IAAPA expos (IAE, AAE, and EAS) are business transactions and networking. Those business transactions happen at all scales, from a family entertainment center looking to add the Honolulu Hot Dog to their menu, to a destination theme park looking to invest in an Intamin giga coaster.

 

These companies are looking for clients to build rides for, to offer creative services to... Sometimes, representatives from a park will even go to the show for no other reason than to go, but they will leave with an order placed for a brand new type of flat ride. Some companies will choose to only exhibit at one of the three shows because they don't feel that their new innovation or service will be relevant in the other markets.

 

The shows are also ripe with educational opportunities for attendees. For me as an enthusiast reading Theme Park Review, I'll never see or care about any of that. But for me as a creative in the theme park industry (which I am as well), some of those sessions are worth the entire ticket price on their own.

 

In response to what happened with Golden Horse, a couple of years ago, the authorities showed up to inform them that they were being sued for making knockoffs. Beijing Jiuhua's people immediately packed up and left upon learning this.

I attended that year. One day, they were just gone. It was freaky.

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And like others have said, the presentations/unveiling of cars on Tuesday was great, but I lost interest the last couple days. I was low-key hoping for Gerstlauer to reveal the HangTime lead car, but that was a long shot.

Remember that, and I'm sure that there are plenty of us that do, for the most part, the IAAPA Attractions Expo is not a consumer's show. From what I've seen and read, we as an enthusiast community tend to hold the show up in high regard as our Detroit Auto Show, San Diego Comic Con, CES, or E3, because we are the ones that end up eventually experiencing these theme park innovations in the coming years. But we can't actually buy them ourselves, can we?

Well, to be fair, speaking for a total car nerd's point of view, very few that attend the Detroit Auto Show are actually consumers attempting to buy the cars. Usually it's dealership owners and managers, sponsor offers, and an ass-load of execs from various car companies trying to get a glimpse of their latest competition. So in that way, I would compare IAAPA to the amusement industry version of Detroit or Geneva auto shows, but I'm placing them a bit closer in similarity. Not trying to disprove you though, I agree with you for the most part. And if I missed the point of what you were trying to make, my apologies.

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In response to what happened with Golden Horse, a couple of years ago, the authorities showed up to inform them that they were being sued for making knockoffs. Beijing Jiuhua's people immediately packed up and left upon learning this. To be honest, with Chinese parks not willing to admit westerners on Chinese made rides in China, why would Chinese companies even bother showing up?

 

i seem to hear of at least one story like this every year at the Consumer Electronics Show.

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Well, to be fair, speaking for a total car nerd's point of view, very few that attend the Detroit Auto Show are actually consumers attempting to buy the cars. Usually it's dealership owners and managers, sponsor offers, and an ass-load of execs from various car companies trying to get a glimpse of their latest competition.

That's totally fair, you're cool! From my own experience, I've met a lot of people that have gone to auto shows when they're considering buying a new vehicle so they weren't pressured into buying anything, and so they could just sit inside / play with all the features as much as they wanted. I would still consider an auto show (though maybe a state-specific show as opposed to the major national ones) as a more consumer-friendly event than the IAAPA expos. It even only costs $15 for someone to be admitted to the Los Angeles show this year.

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Agreed, this year’s IAAPA is really slow. Everything’s announced online anyway.

 

I spent the week working the show, and I was pleasantly surprised how busy it was Tuesday through about lunchtime Thursday. According to CEO Paul Noland, this year's show had record attendance easily surpassing the 35,000+ attendees in 2016, despite his worry that a wide under-performance of parks across the country would stagnate or reduce attendance. Exhibit space was also sold out, despite the less eye-catching appearance of the outdoor exhibits compared to prior years.

 

The show is very front-loaded with activities and events. Monday is filled with education seminars with excellent speakers that go largely unnoticed by many. Tuesday and Wednesday are huge with the festivities of kicking off the opening of the show floor and various press events. By Thursday afternoon most visits with exhibitors have taken place and big contracts have been signed. The show floor is typically drastically less busy on Thursday and Friday. However, the introduction of the day pass has helped Friday out a little bit over the past couple years with many university groups and young professionals taking the chance to explore and network.

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^It was the smallest, and least amount of stuff I've ever seen outside.

 

The only two 'large' attractions were a ripoff iFly and a Ropes Course. The next biggest thing was a happy fun slide from carnivals if that gives you an idea. Not even a bunch of cool inflatables or anything.

 

Just my guess here, but I would imagine that there being more trade shows worldwide has changed how things are displayed at IAAPA. Is a manufacturer going to pay to ship their ride overseas when they can just display it at the European or Asian shows?

 

There is still a ton of networking, sales, behind the scenes tours of Orlando attractions, and "backroom" stuff that isn't shown to the public yet...but it is no longer THE place to showcase rides.

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Honestly, I think that small flats are brought in (with their fancy bright lights) to draw attention to a particular exhibitor's booth.

 

Everyone goes nuts when SBF brings in their latest wacky looping ride, which is oh-so-conveniently small enough to fit inside the exhibit hall and is also oh-so-conveniently also available in larger sizes / capacities. But, how many people / parks purchase that specific type of ride right on the show floor? What's to say that the ride drew them in, but they ended up getting something else? Or nothing at all? I feel like the lack of rides outdoors has more to do with the manufacturer wanting to make sure their stuff is in the center of the action and generating buzz instead of making people walk outside where it's super-warm.

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The rides brought in now are usually ones already sold or anticipated to sell to U.S. operators. Either that, or loaned out by an existing owner to display at the show.

 

I had a friend who worked for Zamperla when the Disko was launched---the model on the floor was sold to an FEC (golf'n'stuff) in Norwalk during the show. Went from IAAPA to the FEC.

 

IMO, The decline in the outdoor midway is an indication of where the market currently is. There is no need for big rides to be put on display @ IAAPA because there are other avenues to showcase those rides and they are not what is selling right now. People go nuts for the smaller rides because they can fit inside their FEC/pizza place/mall/etc.

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SBF Visa Group has 43 currently installations (plus 3 announced for 2018) of their spinning Figure 8 coaster that was on display a few years ago. IMHO being present at the show helped launch the model successfully. Future purchases were influenced not only by word of mouth but the ability to view/ride the coaster during the year displayed on the floor.

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