IAAPA Expo concluded in November with 36,882 registered attendees, including 25,561 buyers representing 11,689 buying companies, and 1,077 exhibiting companies, while attendees represented 104 different countries.

“We set out this year to bring a fresh and innovative Expo experience to showcase the best of the attractions industry and we certainly accomplished that,” said Michael Shelton, executive director, and vice president for IAAPA North America. “We proudly welcomed more than 36,000 attendees, filled more than 518,000sqft of exhibit space and presented more than 100 on-site educational sessions. The incredible speakers and content presented along with the largest trade show in the industry surely inspired all who attended.”

IAAPA kicked with a programme full of educational opportunities and highlights including EDUTours at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and Walt Disney World’s Blizzard Beach. The weeklong conference and trade show also included seven EDUTours, more than 50 networking opportunities, and a variety of charity events benefiting Give Kids The World.

Mack Rides team

In total, participating Expo attendees raised more than $157,000 through the 19th Annual IAAPA International Charity Golf Tournament; 12th Annual IAAPA Charity Motorcycle Run benefiting Give Kids the World; and the 16th Annual IAAPA Footprints From the Heart 5K Run/1-Mile Walk Benefiting Give Kids The World Village.

“It has been wonderful to see the continued recovery of the global attractions industry,” said Hal McEvoy, IAAPA’s former president and chief executive officer. “I’m proud of our team, partners, and volunteers for executing a great show in Orlando that benefits our members and our community.”

Attendees were also able to enjoy the thrills of one of Orlando’s top theme parks with the signature IAAPA Celebrates event held this year at Universal’s Islands of Adventures theme park.

Plans for IAAPA Expo 2023 are underway already, with the show scheduled to take place in Orlando 13-17 November.

2022 Exhibitor Highlights

Holovis told InterPark the team was excited to attend the IAAPA Expo again this year during which, it made two exciting announcements: its partnership with Farbound and the upcoming DarKoaster attraction at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

Frances – Holovis

Tim Rheault and Steve Trowbridge, former heads of Rhetroactive, have joined Holovis, expanding the firm’s creative and design management capabilities for delivering innovative experiential experiences. The new partnership plans to debut several ready-to-market attractions under the new innovative Farbound brand in the coming year. Holovis Farbound creates experiences that can simultaneously live in real life and the digital world, so users can interact and engage with stories and characters wherever and whenever they wish. Farbound builds on and integrates with the Holovis HoloTrac software platform, enabling virtual, augmented, and physical realities to converge, allowing guests to journey through a different adventure. Holovis Farbound will partner with studios, brand IP holders, and venue developers to design, deploy and operate the next generation of ground-breaking immersive extended experiences.

DarKoaster – is North America’s first all-indoor straddle coaster, launching in 2023 at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Travelling on snowmobiles across 2,454ft of track, daring explorers race through total darkness while changing course to avoid the elements. As the weather strikes, riders encounter four accelerating launches on this family-friendly dark ride experience. Holovis said the team is excited to be working on this project with Busch Gardens and cannot wait for guests to experience it this year!

Commenting on the IAAPA expo generally, Holovis told InterPark that overall, it went great and it was wonderful seeing the show floor come back to life in 2022. 

Aquatic Development Group (ADG) had a very successful IAAPA 2022, sharing some of its award-winning projects with visitors – Wild Rivers (Irvine, CA) and Wild Waters (Cullman, AL) – while hosting an epic happy hour at its booth, where the team saw many familiar and new faces. The company’s award-winning surf wave technology, EpicSurf, drew lots of interest to the booth and IAAPA 2022 enabled the team to meet potential buyers and to talk to many great people within the industry.

ADG team

Innovative Leisure’s Phil Pickersgill told InterPark: “IAAPA Orlando was a big week for us as we were sponsors of the Monday night BALPPA (The British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions) drinks reception which was very well attended. On the show floor we were represented through our three US manufacturers: RCI Adventure, Spectrum Sports and Water Wars. The show was very much alive and busy this year, however due to the success of IAAPA London in September we felt that UK and EU visitors were arguably lower than usual. In addition there was a lot of excitement and mention of the charity 5K run this time with many records broken.”

Phil from Innovative Leisure – front

Vekoma announced Circuit Breaker is making its debut at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, US, making it the first Tilt Coaster in the States. As the riders slowly climb, a massive seesaw looms in the distance. They stop at a dead-end track, floating in mid-air. The huge track tilts. Riders in the front tip down. Riders in the back lift to 40-meters (131ft) high before falling into a pit of camelbacks, full-speed Zero-G roll airtime, inversions and bunny hops.

Vekoma team

Intamin and SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment announced a partnership of three new rides for 2023. Among these rides are the DarKoaster at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, and a Flume Coaster at SeaWorld San Antonio.  The companies also unveiled a ride car for the soon-to-be announced coaster at SeaWorld San Diego. Furthermore, Intamin presented another new immersive ride system – the Dynamic Motion Stage, which offers a new level of immersive storytelling with a highly dynamic and unique ride system.

Polin Waterparks announced it has entered an exclusive distribution agreement with Ka’ana Wave Co – creater of the award-winning CM7-Series of surf attractions. Polin will work to extend Ka’ana’s reach in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. “This agreement positions Ka’ana extremely well in two major growth territories and is a key milestone in our distribution strategy,” said Stacy Shannon, Ka’ana Wave Co. VP, Strategic Accounts & Alliances.

Great Coasters International launched the Infinity Flyer trains, which will be on the new Zambezi Zinger coaster at Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, Missouri. The manufacturer also showcased its Titan Track, which is its newest product and will be built into the spiral lift hill on the Zambezi Zinger coaster, which gives riders an extra smooth ride circling up the lift hill.

Clair Hain from Great Coasters International

Themics Philippines presented itself for the first time on the American exhibition floor after a two-year, Covid-related break. Being a theming manufacturer specialising in themed environments and IP-figures, Themics naturally decided to have a themed booth – this year to resemble the Ancient Greece. The Expo was overall a great success, generating a lot of interest and project inquiries for the company. The positive experience also led to their decision to add IAAPA Expo Asia to their agenda next year.

Sally Dark Rides shared details about the new Whispering Pines Haunted Hotel it is creating exclusively for Funtown Splashtown in Maine, US – where guests will quickly learn the haunted hotel is really the park’s dark ride attraction. “We are really excited to work with Funtown Splashtown,” shared John Wood, Chairman and CEO of Sally Dark Rides. “Blending a magical, spooky theme with our company’s interactive technology and unmatched theming allows us to deliver a one-of-a-kind experience.”

Sally Dark Rides

Interlink had a very successful IAAPA Expo this year, with Commercial Director John Davies commenting: “The show had much more of its traditional “buzz” this year with many more international visitors returning now that we are clear of the pandemic. Last year’s show was very much a domestic show due to travel restrictions.”

Martin Steffens and John Davies from Interlink

During the show Interlink released details of its latest dark ride in Nha Trang, Vietnam, which has been themed by Jora Vision to produce an exciting guest experience. It also hinted at an innovative new ride to be installed in the Middle East during 2023, which will debut some exciting new features and become the first ride of its kind in that region. In addition to this, Interlink teased visitors to the booth with insights of its new water coaster, which is already attracting great interest in the market.

Triotech was proud to announce that Hive Break, its double walkthrough experience has been recognised by the IAAPA Brass Ring Awards. The attraction, recently installed at OCT Fabland Valley Resort in China, was rewarded for “Best New Product Major Ride/Attraction second place” in the $2 to $5 million category.

“We’re honoured to have been recognised by the Brass Ring Awards”, stated Ernest Yale, CEO & Founder of Triotech. “It is always humbling and motivating to receive recognition from our industry. This drives us to continue developing breakthrough attractions.”

Huss Park Attractions presented four new attraction concepts following the successful launch of Break Dance 5 during last year’s IAAPA Expo Europe. All five new rides will be available to customers over the coming year. The first Break Dance 5 is already in production and the company is working on multiple projects around the world. Furthermore, Huss is working on a mobile version for travelling attractions.

Simworx launched its new flying theatre solution, the Pegasus Flying Theatre. The dynamic and scalable ride considers venues of all capacities as it endeavours to be a solution to fit all without compromising on experience.

Zamperla revealed the Lightning Train – to be installed on the Lightning LSM Coaster at the PNE, which will be Canada’s fastest launch coaster. “This Lightning train, and the Lightning LSM coaster project in Playland at the PNE, is confirmation that the investments made in people and technologies over the past five years in our Roller Coaster Business Unit are bearing fruit,” said Zamperla.


During a press conference, WhiteWater introduced six new products: Blasterango Battle; Boomerango Squeeze; Walhalla; AquaFortress; FlowSurf – Deep River; and Clarus – Truly Clear Fiberglass; as well as discussing how parks can take advantage of the concept of the Joy Economy, and showcased iconic projects that were completed this year or are in progress to make world-class destinations.

WhiteWater Press Conference

This article was first published in the Jan/Feb edition of InterPark magazine, for more features or in-depth news take a look at the hard copy or digital edition.