19 Jul 2019 World leisure: news, training & property
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Attractions Management
2019 issue 1

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Leisure Management - IAAPA Attractions Expo 2018

Show report

IAAPA Attractions Expo 2018

More than 41,000 buyers, suppliers and representatives of the attractions sector from more than 100 countries came together in Orlando, Florida, for the biggest attractions expo in IAAPA’s history. Attractions Management was in attendance.

Celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2018, IAAPA shattered its own attendance record, with more than 41,000 people converging on the Orlando for the annual Expo
Buyers from more than 100 countries came to the Orlando show

Showcasing more than 1,100 exhibiting companies, the trade show floor for this year’s IAAPA Attractions Expo was the largest in its history, with more than 55,000sq m (592,000sq ft) of exhibition space. For the first time in Expo history, the show floor extended beyond the walls of the convention centre into outdoor structures created just for the event. Dubbed the “Exploration Station”, the new area was dedicated to more than 140 companies exhibiting at IAAPA for the first time.

Education sessions played a big part once again at this year’s Expo, with presentations by leading operators on topics including industry trends, new technology, marketing and more.

Defy definition
Bob Chapek, chair of Parks, Experiences and Products at Disney, delivered this year’s keynote speech.

Speaking during the GM and Owners’ Breakfast, Chapek offered personal insight into his more than 25 years of leadership at the global entertainment giant: “When Disney opened its first park in 1955, it set a new standard. Since that day we’ve invented and reinvented nearly every aspect of this industry, setting new standards along the way.”

Chapek spoke about Disney’s upcoming Star Wars lands, saying the anticipated new additions will “defy definition”.

He also revealed for the first time details about the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy rollercoaster ride at Epcot.

“This will be a storytelling coaster,” said Chapek. “Each individual cab will be programmed to direct your eye to the story happening around you. You’ll be fully immersed from the minute you launch.”

Celebrating a century
IAAPA celebrated its 100th year in style, as Universal Studios Florida hosted a special event on 15 November. Open only to IAAPA attendees, the week’s major networking session featured a special music set performed by Canadian rock band ‘The Barenaked Ladies’.

“IAAPA’s mission is to connect attractions professionals with each other and with new and innovative ideas,” said IAAPA’s new president and CEO, Hal McEvoy. “All that and much more happened in Orlando. It was an incredible week for us.”

IAAPA Attractions Expo by the Numbers
  • 1,151 companies displayed innovative new products and services on 600,375sq ft (55,776sq m) of trade show floor space
  • 26,000 qualified buyers attended the show
  • 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
  • More than 3,600 people attended IAAPA Celebrates at Universal Studios Florida
  • Expo participants raised US$120,000 for Give Kids The World Village through a golf tournament, motorcycle ride, fun run and walk, individual and corporate donations, and a hole-in-one challenge

Originally published in Attractions Management 2019 issue 1

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