How to Roll at IAAPA Expo
Imagine a playground abuzz with the familiar sights, sounds, and smells of your favorite attractions: all connected, all in the same location. The miles of aisles at IAAPA Attractions Expo 2021 in Orlando, Florida can be energizing, captivating, and perhaps… a bit overwhelming.
“Wear blinders because you are going to lose focus as soon as your feet hit the floor” says Chris Gray with Skyline Attractions. “From the sounds to the visuals, it is the most exciting trade show floor space in the world!” Gray recommends all buyers should keep a list in hand of all the booths they need to visit, and schedule appointments in advance.
With more than 90 EDUSessions, workshops, tours, and EDUTalks (new for 2021), the wealth of knowledge being shared at Expo is stunning.
“Attend every educational workshop that you can,” suggests Bob Williams, general manager of Calaway Park in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. “IAAPA is a place where industry information sharing is paramount. Practical ideas will come that you can apply and will make a difference to your operation.”
As one of the largest playgrounds in North America full of samples and helpings of what’s new, also comes with old friends.
“For those working in the industry for several years, Expo becomes a family reunion of sorts,” says Jerry Pierson with Dynamic Attractions, adding collecting updated business cards is a must.
With this magical week each November, also comes the need for pacing.
“Sure, it’s marathon of a week, but it’s as exciting as Christmas morning!” says Lauren Wood Weaver, a director with Sally Dark Rides.
Members helping members—The IAAPA News Hub asked attractions industry professionals around the world for their best tips when attending IAAPA Attractions Expo.
- Get Tickets Early
From in-depth learning opportunities at the Orange County Convention Center and EDUTours at Orlando’s theme parks and water parks, attendees should plan to get tickets before traveling, as space is limited and events have a history of selling out. The insightful Game Changer session featuring will feature Winston Fisher, the CEO of AREA15, an immersive entertainment complex in Las Vegas. Fisher will discuss the changing consumer appetite from passive spectator to active participant. He will also provide a roadmap on how to develop in-depth storytelling, curated content, authentic connections, and experiential entertainment while appealing to a broad audience.
Tip: Purchase tickets early, since space is limited and events have sold out in the past.
- Wear Comfortable Shoes
While it’s not a race, your feet may feel like you ran one. With miles of aisles under one roof at the Orange County Convention Center and exhibits extending outside, attendees will be on their feet.
Tip: Switching shoes throughout the week can help aching feet.
Join Give Kids The World for Morning Exercise
Wake up and lace up! The IAAPA Footprints from the Heart 5K Run and 1 Mile Walk is a great way to network, feel good, and do good. Benefiting Give Kids The World, Thursday morning’s charity event is a great team building event, and great way to build your network of contacts. New in 2021: a race route through the heart of SeaWorld Orlando, just blocks from the Orange County Convention Center. Register and see the preview video here.
Tip: sign up today and pack your shoes tomorrow!
- Munch and Learn, Sip and Greet
Make plan to learn from industry professionals while enjoying lunch where education is on the menu or reception in the evening. Several lunchtime and evening events allow attendees to sit for a spell, while still networking and learning. From the Family Entertainment Center (FEC) Lunch: FEC Operators' Roundtable on Tuesday,November 16, to the Water Park Social at Discovery Cove on Wednesday night, November 17, enhance your Expo experience by joining a special event. New contacts and new friends are often times formed at these events.
Tip: Look at the list of luncheons and evening receptions before traveling to Orlando and get them on your calendar now.
- Treat Yourself
From a massage at Expo partner hotels, to making time for a quick dip in a resort pool, or just pausing for a tempting treat on the trade show floor, making time for you shouldn’t be overlooked.
Tip: Many of the hotels near the Orange County Convention Center have hours that stretch into the evening and offer one hour spa treatments for busy people. Take a load off; We won't tell!