The International Association of Amusement Parks Expo, the largest annual gathering of the amusement park and attractions industry, returned to Orlando this week to begin a 10-year run. Although we don’t claim to have visited all 1,136 exhibitors which filled 1 million square feet of space at the Orange County Convention Center, we did our best to cover the most interesting.
We’ll start with a video report from Orlando Attractions Magazine host Jessica Steele Allen:
As in past years, there were many inflatible play houses at the expo. But it seems since 2008, when the expo was last in Orlando, the inflatables have gotten a lot bigger.
All the major roller coaster manufacturers were at the expo. Obviously this one built Manta at SeaWorld. I asked if they usually kept one of the vehicles from each coaster. They said SeaWorld was nice enough to let them borrow this one for the expo.
I’m 6-foot-one, but that’s nothing compared to this life-size animatronic. Ripley was promoting a new concept for their Guinness World Records attractions. The new Guinness will focus on interactive exhibits. Although nothing is set in stone yet, they’re hoping to open one in Orlando once they sign papers with a franchisee.
You always see long lines at the vendors offering free food samples. Coca-Cola was showing off this Coca-Cola Freestyle machine. This one machine offers more than 100 flavor combinations, many unavailable elsewhere – such as raspberry Coke and peach Fanta. You’ll soon be able to try it out yourself when the Downtown Disney AMC movie theater opens their remodeled concession stand.
You may have seen this on the television show Shark Tank, in which people bring their ideas to investors in hopes of launching their business. Well, the sharks turned this idea down, but someone watching liked the idea enough to buy it. Hoping to get them into malls or arcades, guests will pay for a set amount of time inside this virtual game. The game player wears a virtual reality helmet then enters the ball. Once inside they can walk around the virtual environment they see in their headset as the ball rolls with each step. Visit 360virtualventures.com to buy one for yourself. It costs about $50,000.
I’m not sure if this would be fun or too dizzying. Click Here to see it in action.
Pronounced “fruit snow”, this was a big hit at the expo. They were giving samples of the 100 percent fruit coconut flavor. Topped with chocolate or caramel, it was delicious. It tastes like eating flavored snow. I hope it shows up in Orlando’s theme parks soon.
A new Pac-Man game! Pac-Man Battle Royale allows four players at once. You not only try to eat the blue ghosts, but also the other Pac-Men. Click Here for a quick video of the game.
I think this is the world’s first water slide loop. They couldn’t set up the whole loop, so they were offering short drops down the first part of the slide. As seen in our hosted video above, the floor drops out beneath you after a short countdown.
You may have already tried these Chipstix, spiral potatoes on a stick, at SeaWorld, Busch Gardens or Universal. They said they’re also in talks to bring them to Disney parks. Tip: Let them cool down if you want them crispy. Eat them hot if you want more of a potato constancy.
Thanks to contributor Don Gworek for this video showing more from the expo:
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