Even though we were right by Disney World, IAAPA felt like the happiest place on earth! The KCL team was blown away by the expansiveness of the expo area and the displays themselves. Walking up and down every aisle would equate to nine miles! It truly felt like wandering through an amusement park.
Here are takeaways from the KCL Team:
Kris Kunze: When an industry that specializes on attractions and entertainment put on a expo it is bound to be enjoyable to attend. This year’s IAAPA show did not disappoint. From our first impression on Tuesday to the final announcement on Friday, the IAAPA organization ran the show very professionally with exceptional accommodations. The exhibitors were friendly and knowledgeable. We observed a great balance of deal-making and good ole' fashioned fun as attendees clearly enjoyed themselves riding rides, playing arcade games, and sampling “state fair food” all around the expo.
Mike Lambert: What was very evident was the genuine joy that the attendees felt for their industry, and their deep commitment to the theme of this year’s IAAPA that “Every Experience Matters.” Many individuals mentioned that “I just can’t imagine doing anything else,” and for a great number of them being a part of this was the fulfillment of a childhood dream. One of many fascinating conversations I had was with a young American guy who manages a waterpark in Turkey. He was a bit of a philosopher about his profession, and we discussed a photo I had just taken. At first glance, these are just silly and perhaps useless stuffed animals…. until an adult suddenly becomes a hero to a young child by winning one. Or the sense of achievement a youngster feels by winning one, maybe playing a game where the cleverly designed level of difficulty can make the legendary “house advantage” of Las Vegas seem like a completely level playing field by comparison. These simple souvenirs can often provide lifelong memories of some of the most enjoyable times spent with loved ones. So yes, maybe these really are just silly and useless stuffed animals…. Or then again, maybe not. Nearly everyone described the warm and welcoming attractions industry as a relatively small group that is more of a “family." A family where everyone knows and respects each other, know the members’ children, and truly enjoys each other’s company. That certainly seemed to be the case for the week we were privileged to be there, and what an enchanting and captivating family it is.
Andy Versluys: Anything you can imagine related to a theme park, carnival, or arcade was there! I succeeded in finding lighting controls and software to use on future KCL Theme & Thrill projects. I also found the free cotton candy and fried Twinkies, as well as tried the newest arcade games and virtual reality simulators. There was even a ninja warrior course and an inflatable rock climbing wall that I passed up (maybe next year).
Julie Eliason: The booths! The booths were out of this world! The graphics, branding, and inviting nature were unlike anything I've seen before. I perceived immediately that the level of exhibits is a direct reflection of the respect that buyers and companies have for one another. The exhibiting companies go to great lengths to present their products and buyers go to great lengths to engage in meaningful conversations. KCL was privileged to be part of this remarkable industry filled with a fun, intelligent, and welcoming professionals.