Maybe coming to a theme park near you … a report from the IAAPA Attractions Expo 2012
The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions Expo (IAAPA) is the largest annual conference and trade show of the $24 billion global theme park and attractions industry. This past week, the Orange County Convention Center was converted into a dazzling marketplace of midway-style thrills that may arrive soon at favorite theme park and attractions worldwide.
Since the expo isn’t open to the public, we walked the long isles (showcased by 1,160 exhibitors from six continents, filling a half-million square feet) to bring you this report.
The show floor featured many strange creatures, most moving very lifelike, like this smoke-breathing dragon.
Because you stand up while riding this attraction, it gives you the feeling of skateboarding a half-pipe or surfing as you swing back and forth and spin.
Dippin’ Dots was showing off their newest creation, Clusters. It’s chocolate mixed and frozen with different flavor Dippin’ Dots.
Notice the rhino running in front of this guy on the screen? The animals that were on screen looked very realistic. If you only saw the screen, you’d think there was really a rhino there.
Place your order on a touch screen and this robot will make your custom frozen yogurt. There’s also a version with just a robot arm that is already serving at Dave and Busters in Orlando.
This couple was virtually riding a roller coaster for a fun take-home video.
Bull riding seemed to be a popular attraction this year, including for little kids.
A new sort of climbing attraction.
Projections are becoming more popular and are appearing on many different surfaces. This prototype from Theatrical Concepts highlights the balls on a pool table. They were also showing off projections on a miniature golf course.
A model of roller coaster vehicles shaped like cars. I’ve also seen roller coasters in which guests ride on motorcycles.
The computer and camera let you virtually try on different outfits without heading to a dressing room.
More cool projections. This Benjamin Franklin looked very lifelike. Will updated versions of projections like Disney’s Haunted Mansion busts take the place of animatronic faces?
This puts a new spin on spinning rides. The hippos bounce up and down as they go around.