IAAPA News - Leadership Conference 2018 Preview - January 2018


Participants will experience three cities in Japan - Osaka, Kyoto, and Tokyo - through cultural and facility tours across three days. 

Celebrate History, Culture, and Technology in Japan

IAAPA Leadership Conference 2018 travels to Osaka and Tokyo, Japan, for four days packed with attractions tours and cultural experiences

by Juanita Chavarro Arias

Set along a backdrop of historic cities and vibrant attractions in Japan, IAAPA Leadership Conference 2018 will offer industry leaders myriad opportunities to network with fellow decision-makers, engage in thought-provoking discussions, observe best practices, and be inspired.

Extended from the usual three-day event, IAAPA Leadership Conference 2018 is four days, March 6-9, allowing attendees ample time to discover three Japanese cities: Osaka, Kyoto, and Tokyo. At the heart of this year’s event is its lineup of diverse attractions among these cultural centers. Embarking on numerous tours of these popular facilities across multiple days will create an immersive experience full of creativity, centuries-old traditions, and cutting-edge technology. 

Learn, Connect, and Be Inspired

Participants will visit several attractions in Osaka and Tokyo for behind-the-scenes tours, traditional Japanese entertainment, unparalleled scenic views, and historical presentations. Inspiration abounds at each stop during the event, providing fresh perspectives and unique ideas attendees can use to drive their businesses and enhance the guest experience at their attractions. Through networking and education sessions, attendees will interact with industry colleagues from around the world and hear leaders from local attractions speak about their experiences in the Japanese market. For the entire four-day program, IAAPA Leadership Conference 2018 participants will earn 23 total continuing education (CE) credit hours applicable toward IAAPA Certification.

What to Expect

When attendees arrive in Osaka, they will be welcomed with an opening keynote presentation delivered by Mike Davis, senior vice president of international entertainment for Universal Parks & Resorts. They will also take part in education sessions and a networking luncheon, followed by a facility tour of Universal Studios Japan. The second day features visits to the Tempozan Harbor Village and Kyoto, and then participants will hop on the Shikansen high-speed bullet train for a one-way ride to Tokyo. Highlights for the third day include the Kabukiza Theatre and Fuji-Q Highland. The final tours will be hosted at Toshimaen and Tokyo DisneySea. A two-hour networking reception at Tokyo DisneySea Hotel MiraCosta will close the four-day event. Find out more about each tour location at IAAPA Leadership Conference 2018 below:

Universal Studios Japan

Attendees will enjoy a lively afternoon and evening at Universal Studios Japan, where they’ll learn about the park’s newest projects and find out what makes this location different from the other Universal Studios parks around the globe. When Universal Studios Japan opened in March 2001 in the Osaka Bay Area, it was the first theme park under the Universal Studios brand to be built in Asia. The park features numerous themed areas, including Jurassic Park, Universal Wonderland, and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Its rides vary from kid-friendly carousels to thrilling roller coasters and simulators based on popular movies and entertainment brands, including “Despicable Me,” “Shrek,” and “Jaws.”


Kaiyukan Aquarium at Tempozan Harbor Village

The tour of Kaiyukan Aquarium, one of the largest aquariums in the world, will begin in the theater, where a senior executive will present the company’s background, and then attendees will go on a behind-the-scenes tour to the animal feeding area.


Kyoto Culture

Kyoto will offer participants the chance to sightsee by roaming the city where Maiko performers entertain, visiting a road with famed views and attractions, riding a rickshaw through the streets, and gathering for lunch at a traditional Japanese restaurant.


Kabukiza Theatre

Attendees will spend a morning exploring the Kabukiza Theatre, where the nation’s most celebrated actors showcase traditional Japanese opera. They will travel several meters below ground level to view the largest rotating stage in Japan and the adjacent gallery that explains the legendary theater’s history.

Fuji-Q Highland

In the presence of a breathtaking view of Mount Fuji, participants will learn about Fuji-Q Highland, the amusement park in Japan most known for thrill rides. Lunch will be served in its hotel’s ballroom, and Fuji-Q management will present information about the company, its train coach systems, boat tours, cable cars, and more. Fuji-Q Highland is home to 40 different attractions, from thrilling roller coasters to family-friendly rides.



The management team at Toshimaen amusement park will share the park’s history and showcase its water park and traditional Japanese onsen (spa) during a tour of the park. A highlight will be seeing and riding the original, 111-year-old, German-made carousel from Coney Island in New York City.

Tokyo DisneySea 

The final stop of IAAPA Leadership Conference 2018 is Tokyo DisneySea, a Disney theme park complete with themed sea elements, submarines, and pirates. Attendees will learn about the park's culturally relevant food and beverage offerings and unique merchandise.

Tokyo DisneySea, which opened on Sept. 4, 2001, is part of Tokyo Disney Resort, which is owned and operated by the Oriental Land Company. Along with Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea, the resort features four Disney-branded hotels and the Ikspiari shopping, dining, and entertainment district. In 2018, the resort will celebrate its 35th anniversary.