The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) Expo 2014 drew tens of thousands of industry professionals to Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center last week to debut new innovations in rides, games, and food for parks worldwide.
Below are some of the highlights from this year’s massive show floor, in no particular order. (Visit Outside the Magic to see the more gruesome side of the IAAPA Expo, spotlighting the show’s haunted attractions, props, and displays.)
Coca-Cola always has a big presence at IAAPA, this time drawing attention with a highly articulated polar bear costumed character that could blink its eyes and move its mouth.
They also debuted Coca-Cola Life there, a new twist on low calorie soda that tastes a whole lot better than Diet Coke.
Sally Corp had one of the biggest reveals at the event, showing off new animatronic figures of the Joker and Cyborg for the upcoming Six Flags ride Justice League: Battle for Metropolis 4D.
Other ride reveals included the “flying” vehicles for Batman: The Ride, Thunderbolt, and Twisted Colossus.
Other eye-catching new ride systems included RDC’s flying saucer style bumper cars that were easy to control and a wild “Frenzy” outdoor swinging attraction.
Among the best interactive experiences at this year’s IAAPA Expo was an Oculus Rift-based motion simulator game from Media Motion. Oculus Rift has yet to reach the public space but it definitely has potential to allow attractions that feel big to fit in a small space.
Video games are always big at the IAAPA Expo and it seems curved screens and surfaces are becoming increasingly popular, utilized by games like Star Wars Battle Pod, Sega Showdown racing, and even air hockey.
Other surefire arcade hits shown at the convention included a new HD Jurassic Park shooter and the return of Flappy Bird.
There was plenty of pinball from Stern’s fast-paced table based on The Walking Dead to Jersey Jack’s upcoming multimedia table based on The Hobbit to a modern remake table of a Williams classic, Ye Olde Medeval Madness.
And there was even a crane game that grabs beer bottles.
Food is big at the IAAPA Expo, with vendors showing off both new edible creations as well as machines that make them. Easily the most unique and talked about were the Multi Pops from Delice Global, which can best be described as tubes of Cap’n Crunch-tasting puffed cereal filled with soft serve ice cream. Delicious.
Honolulu Hot Dogs were a big hit, especially with their bold sauces like mango, pineapple, and lava. They’ll be setting up shop at Fun Spot in Orlando.
Carmi Flavors’ pistachio popcorn was one to not miss as were the BeaverTails that everyone seemed to be eating throughout the event.
Those familiar with foods at Disney’s theme parks may have found some recognizable flavors at the IAAPA Expo. Makers of Disney’s quick service pizza, waffle cones, and fudge were all present. (The fresh fudge was SO good, as were the unique taco cones.)
Many of the hundreds of exhibitors at the IAAPA Expo return year after year, so those who keep coming back start to get a sense of what’s new and what’s simply doing well enough to return. The above products are a sampling of new hits at the 2014 show and may show up in an amusement or theme park near you soon.
More photos from the IAAPA Expo 2014: