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IAAPA 2004 Trade Show Report

I'm back from the 2004 edition of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions' annual trade show at the Orlando Convention Center. This year's show saw more than 27,500 attendees, from 85 countries, and over 1,100 exhibitors. Next year the show moves to Atlanta and gets a new name: IAAPA Attractions Expo.

This year things are looking up -- straight up. It seems like most coaster manufacturers had at least one design on display that incorporated at least one 90 degree lift or drop. Vekoma had an interesting take on a coaster car: their Motorbike Launch Coaster revives the thrill of the steeplechase with motorcycle styled, upright seating.

KUKA Robotic's RoboCoaster has taken their adaptation of an industrial robot arm as amusement ride to the next level. Now, in association with Amec Dynamic Structures Ltd., they've put a robot arm with seats on a roller coaster track -- making completely programmed motions in motion possible. With the right theming a truly next generation thrill ride/attraction that puts the rider in almost any situation could be possible.

Zamperla had the best new twist on an old classic portable ride with their Flying Tigers. Remember the Whip? It's a simple oval track with cars that accelerate rapidly around the ends of the oval as they swing around. Take that idea and elevate the track, suspend the ride cars below so they can swing out and around at the ends, theme them as airplanes, and you've got a simple but entertaining ride.

In simulators the stand-out for me was Entertainment Technology Corporation's Wild Earth: African Plains. This two seat simulator takes visitors on an interactive, virtual reality ride through the African plains to photograph wildlife. One rider drives wherever they want to go; the other photographs with a handheld digital "camera" -- and, after the ride, a custom news article can be printed detailing their trip and including the photos taken. An undersea version of the ride is in development.

That's my take on the show, now here are the Winners of the IAAPA Orlando 2004 Best New Product Awards (IAAPA selects the honorees from hundreds of show floor exhibitors. The number following each honoree refers to booth number):

Best New Product

The product or service must have been in use in an amusement facility during 2004, and not eligible for Best New Product Award consideration during IAAPA Orlando 2003. Criteria for entries include: product or service benefits and features to the prospective buyer; product or service originality or distinctiveness; product or service design and construction quality.

Major Theme or Amusement Park Ride/Attraction

First Place: Vekoma Rides Mfg. (4020; Vlodrop, Netherlands) for “Motorbike Launch Coaster”

Hon. Mention: Premier Rides (2637; Millersville, MD) for “Thematic Roller Coaster”

Kiddie Ride/Attraction

First Place: Zamperla, Inc. (2615; Parsippany, NJ) for “Flying Tigers”

Waterpark Ride/Attraction

First Place: ProSlide Technology, Inc. (3806; Ottawa, ON, Canada) for “Behemoth Bowl”

Hon. Mention: Empex Watertoys (3248; Uxbridge, ON, Canada) for “Empex Spraypark”

Family Entertainment Center Ride/Attraction

First Place: Entertainment Technology Corp. (1860; Southampton, PA) for “Wild Earth”

Hon. Mention: Ropes Courses, Inc. (3677; Allegan, MI) for “Skytrail”

Coin-Operated Kiddie Ride

First Place: Cogan S.a.S. (4412; Soliera, Italy) for “Art 550 – Grand Canyon”

Technology Applied to Amusements

First Place: Amergames (629; Alpharetta, GA) for “Arcade Tracker”

Hon. Mention: Motorsports Image (1448; Mooresville, NC) for “Sim-Showcar”


First Place: Skee Ball, Inc. (1925; Chalfont, PA) for “Midway Big One”

Hon. Mention: Coastal Amusements, Inc. (1425; Lakewood, NJ) for “Fool the Guesser”

Coin-Operated Arcade & Redemption Equipment

First Place: Bob’s Space Racers, Inc. (1814; Daytona Beach, FL) for “Capsule Craze”

Hon. Mention: BayTek, Inc. (2600; Pulaski, WI) for “Movie Stop”


First Place: Nancy Sales Co., Inc. / Nanco (2032; Chelsea, MA) for “Shrek Plush”

Hon. Mention: Motion Graphix, Inc. (3636; Orange, CA) for “Wacky 3D”

Revenue & Admission Control

First Place: Gateway Ticketing Systems, Inc. (2277; Boyertown, PA) for “Galaxy 2”

Show Production & Entertainment

First Place: Snow Masters (192; Anderson, AL) for “T-1600 Snow Machine”

Displays & Sets

First Place: Black Hills Institute (1179; Hill City, SD) for “World’s Largest Sea Turtle”

Hon. Mention: The Holo-Walls Co. (1572; Westlake Village, CA) for “Holographic Films”


First Place: Diamond Studios (4481; Birmingham, AL) for “Interactive Web Park Map”

Hon. Mention: Fluid Promotions (6465; Pacific, MO) for “Ad Island Multisensory Ad Kiosk”

Equipment & Supplies

First Place: Frost Products Mfg. (4170; Houston, TX) for “Star Bart”

Hon. Mention: Whitewater West Industries (5032; Richmond, BC, Canada) for “Silktek”

Impact Award Winner

The product or service among the 14 category winners that had the most impact on the industry over the past year, based on the same guidelines as “Best New Product.”

ProSlide Technology Inc. (3806; Ottawa, ON, Canada) for “Behemoth Bowl”

See Also:

The Amusement Park Suppliers Index from Theme Park Company.

Amusement Trade Associations Links.

Back To Robert's Reports Index

Copyright (c) 2004 Robert H. Brown
All Rights Reserved.