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.
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.”