IAAPA 2019 – Day 1

Alexander: We’ve hit a huge milestone, folks! Our very first IAAPA! We’re so excited to see what the convention has in store for us!


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Everyone’s lining up for the convention floor to open up!

Greeting attendees near the entrance of IAAPA is SBF Visa miniature, self-contained amusement park – complete with a coaster! More on that in a bit.

Before the first press conference of the day (the reveal of Iron Gwazi‘s lead car), we stumbled upon the B&M booth which quietly unveiled the lead car for Kings Island’s Orion.

Also fresh at “rope drop” for the convention is the lead car for Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s Pantheon at the Intamin booth.

We’ve learned from experience on rides like Steel Dolphin and Taron that Intamin is working with some of the best rolling stock in the industry. Pantheon is sure to be a game-changer based on the trains alone!

Of course Intamin has one of the most striking booths at the convention – pay no mind to the shot of Guangzhou Sunac’s Dueling Dragons in the background, which most certainly do not duel per ours and other’s most recent visits to the park.

SBF Visa, an Italian purveyor of cost-efficient family rides, stole the show with a spinning/looping combo coaster that encircles their “micro park,” which includes a spinner ride, inverting pendulum, and drop tower.

We’ll go for a ride on SBF Visa’s “Hamster Wheel” coaster later – first we’re riding the tiny kiddie credit next door at the Rides 4U booth! It’s a great ride that sends attendees around like 12 times.

With a credit under our belts early on, Sean, the Perry Twins, and I set off for more booth ventures. Vekoma has a particularly sophisticated booth with warm associates and cool Heinekens.

IAAPA is full of bright light, crisp color images, and lots of little models! Some of theme even work, like this dark ride/carousel concept that rotates for would-be buyers.

Attendees curious about Gravity Group’s achievements need only to drive 10 minutes south of the convention to Fun Spot Kissimmee, home to one of our favorite woodies, Mine Blower.

We’re in love with the Zipflyer concept; a suspended roller coaster with zipline harness vehicles? Yes please!

We returned to the Intamin booth to enjoy some Roman fanfare with for-hire-deities stationed to promote Pantheon.

Nearby is the Ralph S. Alberts Co., Inc. booth, a company that makes ride seat molds and, apparently, 3D printed models of oft-overlooked industry game-changers like the Vekoma Boomerang and Intamin Space Diver.

Alright, one more shot of Pantheon. C’mon, Sean, let’s leave The Gods alone!

Our good pal Janine Rebbie–Matscherz is looking stunning with her prized PTC rolling stock – always a leader in quality craftsmanship and customer service!

Honestly we came for the coasters but stayed for the water slides; there’s a ProSlide / WhiteWaterWest turf war happening here that’s a good 20+years in the making and we are living for it.

ProSlide’s booth overwhelms the senses with high-gloss models of their most exciting and flamboyant installations superimposed on giant fantasy park-plans.

The two-dozen-or-so little slide likenesses are irresistible and look almost good enough to eat!

This rainbow Tornado Bowl/Wave combo is my favorite. What can I do to take one of these home??

New this year at the ProSlide booth is a complete model of the Dreamworks-themed indoor water park currently under construction at American Dream Meadowlands in New Jersey!

Perhaps the most eye-catching installation here is the water coaster that encircles nearly the entire park – let’s encourage Aquatica to get something similar!

Speaking of local water parks, Universal Volcano Bay’s signature Krakatau water coaster makes a cameo in miniature form sans-volcano – it’s almost unrecognizable!

Next door is the equally impressive WhiteWaterWest pavilion, which hosts its fair share of drool-worthy models.

One of the more memorable models of the show is this rotating likeness of the WhiteWaterWest /Weigand slide wheel, which made its debut at Chimelong Paradise last year!

Unlike ProSlide, WhiteWaterWest provides both water park and dry-park water attractions, and has divided their booth up accordingly.

Another stunning model is this small amusement park composed entirely of WWW water rides, including a rapids ride, splash battle, log flume, ropes course, and zip coaster!

Time for a snack! New this year at the BeaverTails kiosk is a Nutella tail topped with chocolate sauce and vanilla Dippin’ Dots. Delicious!

S&S Sansei was busy enjoying the positive reception of their new Axis coaster concept, which Six Flags is rumored to have already contracted for 2021!

Next door, Zamperla has a lot to show off! Next generation Thunderbolt vehicles, a new coaster concept, and functional NebulaZ for attendees to ride!

“Danglez” is a fascinating take on the drift coaster concept, sweeping passengers outward horizontally on turns.

NebulaZ is an excellent ride! It provides airtime, positive Gs, and great views of the IAAPA show floor! For reference, you’re looking at about 1/12th of the convention’s installations from here!

Squishy toys, arcade prizes, light-up toys, and so much more can be discovered at IAAPA’s merchandise booths.

Kumbak is in attendance to show off their trains designed for pre-existing coasters, but we think their Vliegende Hollander coaster at Efteling is by far their best work.

We know you’ve seen this already, but here’s Iron Gwazi ‘s lead car. Still no explanation on what the name has to do with gators, or the color purple.

Maurer unveiled the vehicle for their Spike “Coaster” for Carnival Cruises.

Not quite sure how, if at all, this concept qualifies as a coaster, but it looks fun nonetheless!

IAAPA extends beyond the main hall and into a pair of satellite halls full of additional products – not the least of which being this snazzy mini golf setup.

IAAPA’s outdoor exhibits are fairly low-key – just a handful of rides and a few dozen inflatables.

Crazy Surf : too crazy for me, but fun to take pictures of!

Back inside, we hung out at the GCI pavilion for a bit!

Last years show model of GCI Infinity Flyer car is too small for Sean’s giant legs, but according to GCI, the problem has been addressed in an updated version of this concept. Way to go, guys!

GCI celebrates 25 years of work this year, which is commemorated by this special Jr. Millennium Flyer vehicle.

Still no buyer yet on the looping/dueling GCI, though a park in China has purportedly expressed interest (shocker).

Texas Stingry at Sea World San Antonio will debut this spring! The lead car definitely captures the cuddly cuteness of these delightful creatures.

SunKid, the Austrian producer of everything from Nautic Jets to sky lifts to Vekoma and Schwarzkopf replacement trains, was very excited to talk to us about our travels and experiences with their vast array of products.

Gerstlauer’s booth was full of insight and surprises (and models, of course).

One of most burning questions was finally answered: What’s the difference between a Euro Fighter and an Infinity Coaster? besides the latter’s overall flexibility in height and train design, the key difference is in the Infinity Coaster’s larger wheel assemblies!

Premier Rides has unveiled the lead car for Ice Breaker, a coaster that attendees will actually be able to see from the entrance of the convention center when they return for IAAPA next year (for those who aren’t familiar with the Orlando area, Sea World Orlando is right next door).

Premier definitely has one of our favorite booths – extremely friendly staff eager to celebrate the company’s 25th anniversary!

Our last area of business for the evening was a ride on the “Hamster Wheel.” The verdict?

We love it! And we’re gonna ride it again tomorrow!

Goodnight, IAAPA! See you tomorrow!


That’s it for Day 1 of IAAPA! Click here for Day 2 of coverage! There’s still so much more to see!

If you haven’t already, check out all of the reports we’ve posted so far of our China trip!

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