What Does IAAPA Mean to You?

100th Anniversary-w dates-colorAs IAAPA celebrates its centennial, Funworld asks members to talk about their relationships with the association


What has IAAPA meant to your business?

gonzalex_turnerIAAPA is a gathering place to make connections that enhance business and adds to the credibility of the industry. I’ve been attending IAAPA trade shows and conferences since 2001. It began with a meeting of water park operators trying to get insurance during a crisis of availability. The IAAPA Expo was a location where suppliers, operators, advisers, and others could gather to talk and ideate around big-picture issues. For me, IAAPA events have been the gathering place where not only my personal business could be conducted, but where the best ideas and initiatives that enhance the industry are created. Whether to harmonize safety standards worldwide, work on trade barriers, or to support local issues, IAAPA has been the place for successful individuals to come together to work on the things that make the industry thrive, adding to the credibility of what we do. 

Franceen Gonzales, Executive Vice President,
WhiteWater, Richmond, British Columbia, Canada

IAAPA opens doors and markets that could only be accomplished with the strength and respect that the association has. 

Michael Turner, Executive Vice President, Global Business Development,
CAVU Designwerks, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada


alvarez A turning point in our careers; IAAPA showed us that when we thought we had achieved all the objectives, it was clear we were just beginning. We signed up as members of IAAPA in 1994, with the name of Fantasia, I still have the frame that accredits us as members on the wall of my office, and every time I see it, it reminds me of how impressive it was to meet colleagues from around the world and see so many amusement rides and innovative arcades in the same space, which were totally different from what we knew. 

Salvador Alcazar Alvarez, Owner,
Diversiones Alegre Fantasia, Guadalajara, Mexico


brady IAAPA has been an integral part of our business for many years. The association has a wealth of information and knowledge about the industry from every aspect, including F&B [food and beverage], attractions, safety, and games, to name a few. We are there to exhibit and to participate. Personally, I love interacting with our valued customers and meeting new people who are wanting to get immersed into this exciting industry. 

Jon W. Brady, Vice President, Business Development,
Player One Amusement Group, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada


jeffery We have gained so many things; whether it was getting a 4-D theater from meeting a vendor at the show, to learning about how different operations function at the Leadership Conference, IAAPA has helped us grow our business as well as helped me grow professionally through certification. 

Ryan Jeffery, Director, Visitor Services,
Saint Louis Zoo, St. Louis, Missouri, United States


bernalIAAPA has meant the possibility of being part of a wide network of powerful contacts and access to updated and reliable information regarding the most important and key issues of the industry, such as security, marketing, finance, human resources, and more. Likewise, IAAPA is synonymous with training and lifelong learning through its continuing education programs that strengthen the skills of our team. 

Mauricio Bernal, General Director,
Corparques Mundo Aventura, Bogota, Colombia


ellis Being a member of the IAAPA network is an integral part of our sales and marketing strategy, and provides a valuable conduit for us to connect with potential partners and clients. 

Ken Ellis, CEO, Aquatic Development Group,
Cohoes, New York, United States


sullivant The IAAPA Expo of 1991 was our very first trade show. It was literally the launch of PeopleVisionFX, and it put us on the world map. Every international project we have ever done can be traced back to our involvement with IAAPA. 

Wayne Sullivant, President,
PeopleVisionFX, Roselle, New Jersey, United States


federBeing part of IAAPA played a fundamental role in the development and growth of PortAventura World as an international family destination resort. In the last decade, PortAventura has been transformed from a theme park into a complete family holiday destination with three parks, five themed hotels, a convention center, golf courses, and beach club. In all stages of innovation of projects, collaboration with the experts in this sector and with other members of IAAPA was imperative to bring us closer to the latest industry trends. 

Sergio Feder, Executive Committee President,
PortAventura World Parks & Resorts, Salou, Tarragona, Spain


mayerI have been to many IAAPA trade shows over the years. The most memorable one was in 2004. We had just started CenterEdge Software (Pathfinder Software back then). This was the first time we would be exhibiting. We had formed the company, but didn’t even really have a fully developed product yet. We were just three guys in a 10-by-10 booth. In fact, we had even driven to the event (I don’t want to do that again!). But we knew we had to go to IAAPA if we were going to bring a new product to the industry. 

Marcus Mayer, CEO, CenterEdge Software,
Roxboro, North Carolina, United States


danauIAAPA has meant bringing new ideas to try, and vetting other ideas before taking the risk. IAAPA has meant having a group of friends to confide in and lean on both when times are good and when times are tough. It’s a way for our business to tap into the experience and expertise of thousands of operators and suppliers, to find the best products for our business, and also to give back to the industry that gives us so much. 

Victor Danau, Director, Asia Pacific Development and Operations,
Ripley’s Asia Pacific, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam


christensenPromoting that I am an IAAPA member is helping me build on the success I’ve had so far, and continues to strengthen my reputation as a new and committed service provider for the attractions industry. IAAPA membership has proved to be an authoritative stamp of approval, and is really helping get my business on track! 

Bjørn Christensen, Managing Director,
We Amusement Consultants, Copenhagen, Denmark


loxleyBeing an IAAPA member has allowed us to connect with the industry globally. This is particularly important to us, as the industry in Australia is quite small compared to other parts of the world. Being members of IAAPA has enabled our business to learn from others, share with others, and develop into a world-class attraction. 

Brad Loxley, Senior Manager – Amusement Park,
Luna Park Sydney, Sydney, Australia


serffTo most, the story of IAAPA over the last 100 years might be about friends, relationships, overcoming challenges, and growth. It is that for sure. To me, it’s about an industry that’s made this world a better, happier place to live; that’s found ways to collaborate, cooperate, create relationships, cross boundaries, innovate, and ignore the politics of place to create environments of joy, a respite from daily challenges, a place for memories. Our industry did this … but it was our association that was the glue that facilitated the transformation. It is what we’ve excelled at. 

Paul Serff, Former IAAPA Chairman


quinnWe at Kennywood have always felt IAAPA is crucial not only to our success, but the success of the entire industry. As the sole surviving founding amusement park member of what is now known as IAAPA, having the organization and its membership as a resource has been vital to Kennywood’s growth and prosperity over the past 100 years. 

Andy Quinn, Director of Community Relations,
Kennywood Park, West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, United States


freddiIAAPA opens up the windows on an endless field of contacts, ideas, and best practices from all over the world. It helped us in making Leolandia grow as an international destination for kids and myself to become a better leader. 

Massimiliano Freddi, Vice President, Strategic Development,
Leolandia, Capriate San Gervasio, Bergamo, Lombardy, Italy


smartAs a family-owned operator in the U.K., IAAPA membership opened the door to a treasure chest of detailed industry learning. This not only encouraged consistent season-on-season enhancements, but has also helped with professional growth at all levels of our business when dealing with generational transition. IAAPA engagement and involvement has undoubtedly resulted in the continued improvement in quality, professionalism, and employee satisfaction at our family-owned/run facility. Like our father before us, my brother and I have absorbed the wealth of benefits and learning IAAPA has provided. We have been a member for over 30 years, and we look forward to seeing IAAPA’s continued growth in the future. 

Ash Smart, Deputy Managing Director,
Harbour Park, West Sussex, United Kingdom


akersIAAPA has been an important piece for networking and sharing best practices with others in the industry, building a worldwide network of people who you can reach out to and interact with as we continue to make our industry better every day and provide amazing, memorable moments for our guests. 

Doug Akers, Director, Operations,
Universal Beijing Resort, Beijing, China


romanoWhen my dad started Nellie Bly in the early 1970s, guests, staff, and the world at large did not have the expectations that came with the development of theme parks. Getting involved with the people, operators, suppliers, and IAAPA staff opened the eyes of a little ­kiddie park to what was out there and possible. We learned a lot of best practices and were exposed to products that we could afford as a small business that made us stand out. Today, I run my own events business. There is not a day that a client does not recognize my attention to service, safety, and knowledge of what entertainments can be adapted to different budgets. Most of what I learned and practice came from being an IAAPA member. As the North American representative for Martin & Vleminckx, I can address clients’ needs because of the exposure I’ve had to their businesses and operations. The larger world of our industry came to me through my involvement in IAAPA. 

Gina Romano, Vice President, Marketing and Sales, North America,
Martin & Vleminckx, Montreal, Canada


bacornIAAPA has helped our business grow to international markets that we normally would not have been able to be a part of. We love to travel, and IAAPA allows us to do that while expanding our personal network connections. Those people [we’ve met] along the way have become good friends and colleagues. 

Anna Zykina-Bacorn, Vice President,
Barron Games International, Buffalo, New York, United States


gustafsonThe opportunity to learn and grow through networking relationships with those involved in our industry worldwide. IAAPA Attractions Expo week is the most rewarding, as we always come back with new ideas to implement at our 110-year-old property. In addition, it’s like “Old Home Week” as we see so many friends during a whirlwind five days. 

Ron Gustafson, Director of Marketing and Public Relations,
Quassy Amusement & Water Park, Middlebury, Connecticut, United States


linet-frionIAAPA is a rhythm in my year, and has been for the last 20 years, at least. November in the U.S. was to benchmark anything new and network at the IAAPA show. It was also a way to travel to North American cities (Los Angeles, Dallas, New Orleans, Atlanta, etc.), but now that it stays in Orlando, I also go to EAS in Europe or Asia show! IAAPA is like an old friend—I always know he is somewhere I can get in touch with when needed. 

Michel Linet-Frion, Creative and Innovation Director,
Pierre & Vacances Development, Paris, France


rodriguesFor my company and me, IAAPA is the best source of information and networking in the industry. For every new project, we use IAAPA’s knowledge base and benchmark reports to guide us through the development and strategic processes. When we need equipment, we look for suppliers in the IAAPA Member Directory. Most of all, being an IAAPA member gives us the opportunity to be in touch with all we need to be successful in the attractions industry. 

Emilio Rodrigues, Operations Director,
Show Play, São Paulo, Brazil


lueckIAAPA has been an incredibly strong entry point into the location-based entertainment community and a consistent source of up-to-date park news and trends that keeps us informed and moving forward. We have found the network and the information provided through the IAAPA community to be best in class. 

Kristen Lueck, Director of Strategy,
Man Made Music, New York City, New York, United States 


andersenLiseberg has been involved with IAAPA for the last 30-40 years, and the association has been an integral part of the progress of the park. By getting involved—on all levels—we have lifted the knowledge curve of the company tremendously. 

Andreas Andersen, CEO,
Liseberg, Gothenburg, Sweden


gonzalex_turnerLearning new things and creating lasting friendships. At any IAAPA event, I always meet new, fascinating people. I am surrounded by the best minds in the business, and I get to learn something new at every encounter. Being an IAAPA member means I have access to top-notch education, a vibrant network of people, and a place I can conduct business. Through all this, I have found some of my best friends, including my husband, who is also in the business. We have amazing trips together to see parks, and we have quality time together enjoying what we are most passionate about. That’s really hard to beat when it comes to feeling fulfilled personally and professionally. 

Franceen Gonzales, Executive Vice President,
WhiteWater, Richmond, British Columbia, Canada

Being in the same industry with Franceen and having the ability to work and travel together. IAAPA provides great opportunity for learning and experiencing the world. 

Michael Turner, Executive Vice President, Global Business Development,
CAVU Designwerks, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada


What is most rewarding about being an IAAPA member?

mackWhat I find remarkable is the close network and the constant exchange between members of IAAPA. Several IAAPA events, such as the first Spring Forum, the Summer Meeting, or the IAAPA Board of Directors meeting, took place at Europa-Park. These are not only great networking opportunities for our senior staff, but also produce sustainable results for the entire industry. 

Roland Mack, Co-founder and Managing Partner,
Europa-Park, Rust, Germany


mkeoghBeing an engaged IAAPA member has opened up opportunities for me to educate attractions industry professionals from around the world. Facilitating the IAAPA Institute for Attractions Managers program in diverse attraction markets such as Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Los Angeles is a reward beyond measure! 

Shaun McKeogh, Vice President, Operations,
MR ProFun, MahaNakhon Observatory, Bangkok, Thailand 


andersenIAAPA is in many ways our window into the world—a way of getting out of the bubble you are in, when you operate an attraction in a regional market. IAAPA has the ability to connect us with others in a similar situation. 

Andreas Andersen, CEO,
Liseberg, Gothenburg, Sweden


bernalIt’s rewarding to know that we do not find barriers of any kind in this wonderful industry because what unites us is the same goal of entertaining people through memorable experiences and that our reward every day is to see the smiles on the thousands of faces of our visitors. 

Mauricio Bernal, General Director,
Corparques Mundo Aventura, Bogota, Colombia


ellisThe annual IAAPA Attractions Expo in Orlando is a key event for us. Because of the high exposure and ability to get directly in front of clients, it is the perfect opportunity to launch new campaigns and products and deliver our message. The networking, meetings and our strong presence on the trade show floor throughout this event contribute greatly to our long-term success. 

Ken Ellis, CEO, Aquatic Development Group,
Cohoes, New York, United States


groskreutzThe GeO-Deck has been honored to be a multiyear finalist—and winner—of the IAAPA Brass Ring Award for Marketing Excellence—Best Public Relations Campaign. It is a source of pride to be recognized by a world-class, industry-leading organization. 

Dusti Groskreutz, President,
Reunion Tower, Dallas, Texas, United States


christensenIt is a real joy being part of the IAPPA “family.” More than anything, I have been so inspired by the insights provided by seasoned members and key players within the industry that I may not otherwise have access to. 

Bjørn Christensen, Managing Director,
We Amusement Consultants, Copenhagen, Denmark


danauThe global perspective IAAPA offers is unparalleled. Whenever I find myself in a rut thinking I have an unsolvable problem, there is always an IAAPA member somewhere in the world I can reach out to for ideas and help. The power of having a global network of friends to learn from, bounce ideas off of, and get a different perspective from makes me a better (and happier) operator. 

Victor Danau, Director, Asia Pacific Development & Operations,
Ripley’s Asia Pacific, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam


sullivantBeing a small company in a big industry can seem pretty overwhelming. Our membership in IAAPA has helped us to feel that we’re part of a true community. 

Wayne Sullivant, President,
PeopleVisionFX, Roselle, New Jersey, United States


steinI love the interaction with industry professionals at IAAPA Attractions Expo. I’ve met so many wonderful people at roundtable sessions, on the Expo floor, in the IAAPA Bookstore, and at IAAPA special events. They have graciously shared information about their organizations and have provided me with insights into the work they do. 

Andi Stein, Professor and Graduate Program Coordinator,
Department of Communications at California State University, Fullerton, California, United States


federIt’s a great honor being part of the sector where constant innovation is requisite for success. Being an IAAPA member allows PortAventura World to collaborate and benefit from the latest innovation trends. Being a member of IAAPA is key, as it permits me to share the vision with other members of the industry while participating in debates and conferences that bring the sector closer together. It allows each member to come with a distinct point of view and to contribute to enhance the customer experience by offering the latest industry trends and digital innovations. 

Sergio Feder, Executive Committee President,
PortAventura World Parks & Resorts, Salou, Tarragona, Spain


romanoThe most rewarding thing about being an IAAPA member is the people you meet. The other is the exposure and opportunity to learn from so many innovations, projects, and ideas. 

Gina Romano, Vice President, Marketing and Sales North America,
Martin & Vleminckx, Montreal, Canada


mayerWhat’s most meaningful is getting to introduce new people to the trade show every year. It’s nice to have the opportunity to bring clients to the event and connect with them to deepen relationships. We also use the event as a reward to several team members who have really made a difference for CenterEdge clients during the year. They work hard every day helping our clients operate their businesses, and the show gives them a bigger glimpse into how vast this industry really is. I think it helps them connect with what we’re doing in a more meaningful way. 

Marcus Mayer, CEO,
CenterEdge Software, Roxboro, North Carolina, United States 


akersInteracting with so many people who are passionate about what we do and the industry we all truly love. Also, the ability to participate as a speaker in different Expos to share my passion as a young professional, but also professional work experience and strategies that I have had the opportunity to develop over the past 18 years. 

Doug Akers, Director, Operations,
Universal Beijing Resort, Beijing, China


smartIt is impossible to pinpoint a single most rewarding aspect. For long-term members, the journey with IAAPA is a personal one; as your career develops, so do the rewards, and, trust me, the rewards keep coming. At first, just being at an Expo is a rewarding experience. Then you start to learn new details that help you and your company excel and grow, and then you network and connect with industry colleagues who become genuine friends. Finally, the ultimate reward is being invited to participate at IAAPA and help improve the industry on a regional and global scale. You get back what you put in tenfold. 

Ash Smart, Deputy Managing Director,
Harbour Park, West Sussex, United Kingdom


freddiBeing an IAAPA member is knowing you have colleagues everywhere, reflecting an industry that knows no borders and no wrong approaches. Every experience counts, and exchanging ideas with other members is an opportunity no attraction should miss. 

Massimiliano Freddi, Vice President, Strategic Development,
Leolandia, Capriate San Gervasio, Bergamo, Lombardy, Italy


quinnThe interaction with other parks. The ability to see what’s working and what isn’t, and sharing best practices has been a great benefit. A rising tide lifts all boats! 

Andy Quinn, Director of Community Relations,
Kennywood Park, West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, United States


rodriguesBeing an IAAPA member opens doors to the greatest amusement parks in the world. Participating in backstage tours, IAAPA Celebrates [during IAAPA Attractions Expo], IAAPA institutes, and education sessions are very special moments. During these experiences, you encounter the best practices, best projects, and best professionals in our field. There is no better place to improve your personal and professional skills. 

Emilio Rodrigues, Operations Director,
Show Play, São Paulo, Brazil


lueckWe have felt welcomed into this dynamic and thoughtful industry family, who are all after the same goal—serving audiences with fantastic, immersive, multisensory experiences. 

Kristen Lueck, Director of Strategy,
Man Made Music, New York City, New York, United States 


gustafsonThe lasting friendships that have developed throughout the years. Regardless of the size of a property, we have come to learn that virtually everyone in this business is willing to lend a hand at a moment’s notice regardless of the situation. 

Ron Gustafson, Director of Marketing and Public Relations,
Quassy Amusement & Water Park, Middlebury, Connecticut, United States


What is your favorite IAAPA memory or story?

ortizEvery time I go to IAAPA Attractions Expo and the Euro Attractions Show, it is remarkable. In 2014, I was thrilled to join “IAAPA Celebrates at Universal Orlando Resort” and visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter after the park closed to the public, with exclusive access only for IAAPA participants. This was an experience I will never forget! 

Tiana Ortiz, Head of Marketing,
IMPLY, Santa Cruz do Sul, Brazil


bradyWithout a doubt, the annual IAAPA Attractions Expo in Orlando. It’s an exciting show, and it makes me very proud to be a member of this fantastic association. The amount of time, energy, planning, and passion that goes into the show and each exhibit is incredible. 

Jon W. Brady, Vice President, Business Development,
Player One Amusement Group, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada


andersenSome of the events, especially in connection with EAS, have been remarkable. The reception at Musée des Arts Forains in Paris a few years ago, or in 2016 at Tibidabo in Barcelona. I call them my “pinch-pinch moments”—moments when I can’t believe how lucky I am to be part of this community. 

Andreas Andersen, CEO,
Liseberg, Gothenburg, Sweden


mkeoghEvery year we gather at IAAPA Attractions Expo to reconnect with old friends and forge new attractions industry friendships. We learn together, share together, and have a good time! Totally awesome being an IAAPA member! 

Shaun McKeogh, Vice President, Operations,
MR ProFun, MahaNakhon Observatory, Bangkok, Thailand 


christensenI was overwhelmed by the warmth, kindness, and valuable advice that leading figures within the industry and talented peers gave me at EAS 2017 in Berlin. As a startup business, I was humbled that they were so enthusiastic about my business model, championed my vision, and gave me some great practical feedback. The whole event was brimming with opportunities and fun, from start to finish. 

Bjørn Christensen, Managing Director,
We Amusement Consultants, Copenhagen, Denmark


mackhave two favorite memories. The first one was when my father, Franz Mack, was inducted into the IAAPA Hall of Fame in 2005. And the second memory is when I received this great honor myself 11 years later. Two truly incredible moments. My father has always been a role model for me, and the fact that both of us have received this exceptional honor will be unforgettable for me and my family. 

Roland Mack, Co-founder and Managing Partner,
Europa-Park, Rust, Germany


alvarezIAAPA helped us consolidate our small company. With its courses, seminars, and webinars, it gave us the guidelines to institutionalize and stop being a family business, and look to innovate in all aspects. Not only is it about novel games, but also payment facilities, promotions, good prices, security, etc. We still have a lot to do, and I firmly believe that our favorite story and memory of IAAPA is written every year, in the company of our friends, exhibitors, suppliers, and partners. 

Salvador Alcazar Alvarez, Owner,
Diversiones Alegre Fantasia, Guadalajara, Mexico


jefferyIn 2013, I planned to stay in Orlando to propose to my girlfriend at Disney (the Christmas party) on my last night there for the Expo. I was scared and freaking out and worried I could not scout the location and talk to the Disney cast. I happened to attend that year’s Lunch and Learn where Walt Disney World President George Kalogridis was the featured speaker. He gave everyone in the room MagicBands with an admission to a park, so I was able to visit the Magic Kingdom, scout the proposal site, and interact with the cast, who actually ended up giving us tons of stuff so people would know it was a special night for us. I really have IAAPA to thank for letting me be in that room and allowing for all that magic to happen for us! 

Ryan Jeffery, Director, Visitor Services,
Saint Louis Zoo, St. Louis, Missouri, United States


danauThere are too many to list, but my most important IAAPA memory is my first memory of IAAPA Attractions Expo. I had just graduated from college and was debating whether to stay in the industry or “get a real job” in finance. I was incredibly lucky that Six Flags invested in sending me to Orlando for the Expo, and what I found cemented my decision to stay in the industry. I was incredibly excited to find thousands of like-minded people who were passionate about throughput, queues, and guest service. I distinctly remember comparing trash-can photo collections with a group of other young professionals at Pat O’Brien’s and thinking, “Yup, this is definitely the right industry for me.” After going to IAAPA Attractions Expo, I knew if I worked hard and kept learning from all the great leaders at IAAPA, I could make a real career out of my fun summer job. 

Victor Danau, Director, Asia Pacific Development & Operations,
Ripley’s Asia Pacific, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam


steinMy favorite memory is of my first IAAPA Attractions Expo. As I rode the escalator down to the show floor for the first time and saw the spectacle of lights, colors, and displays spread out before me, my jaw practically dropped to the floor. I felt like I had died and gone to that great theme park in the sky. It was awesome! 

Andi Stein, Professor and Graduate Program Coordinator,
Department of Communications at California State University, Fullerton, California, United States


groskreutzWhen I first visited IAAPA [Attractions Expo] years ago and saw the sheer volume and variety of options available, it really helped open my creative mind and visualize new experiences for our guests. It was very invigorating! 

Dusti Groskreutz, President,
Reunion Tower, Dallas, Texas, United States


smartThe first time being asked to serve on an IAAPA committee, the excitement of receiving the letter, the nerves on the first conference call or in-person meeting, the feeling of inclusion by actively taking part and getting to know your peers, and, finally, the fulfillment of working with phenomenal people to enhance the industry and, with it, this remarkable association. 

Ash Smart, Deputy Managing Director,
Harbour Park, West Sussex, United Kingdom


quinnThe 1993 IAAPA Summer Meeting in Liseberg, Sweden, where a “Viking food fight” broke out. We were taken out on a fishing trawler for an hour-long trip to an old Viking stronghold. Drinks called “Viking Blood” were served and attendants were given Viking helmets to wear. Utensils were very limited—just like the Vikings would have used (or not used, as the case may be). It all started when someone tossed a piece of potato at somebody else to get their attention, and within minutes the air was filled with food as chaos erupted within the hall! 

Andy Quinn, Director of Community Relations,
Kennywood Park, West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, United States


romanoThere are so many. When I was first nominated to the IAAPA Board of Directors, I was the only woman. Boyd Jensen, who was then the president, called me at my workplace to welcome me and invited me to sit with him at the board dinner. He represented what our industry is all about. He made me feel comfortable and welcome. I will never forget that thoughtfulness. 

Gina Romano, Vice President, Marketing and Sales North America,
Martin & Vleminckx, Montreal, Canada


wolaverWorking with IAAPA’s press office team since the 1999 Expo in Atlanta brings to mind several fun memories that collectively make one big “favorite” memory of “media relations greatest hits for IAAPA Attractions Expos.” My team loves discovering “the next big thing” with reporters, and in 2000 to 2003, the media and our team could not get enough of “The Cool Dog” ice cream treat that helped get IAAPA Attractions Expo on CNBC and CNN. We also loved driving a motorized toilet on the show floor and onto the pages of The New York Times in 2006. Dinner In The Sky got its North American debut in Orlando, and there was nothing like dining a few hundred feet up while seated with The Today Show on site. And it was great fun to kick a soccer ball with “James Bond” actor Roger Moore, who we introduced to Orlando’s hometown movie critic, also named Roger Moore, before live interviews on Fox News. Love all the smiles and laughter combined with business, and can hardly wait to see what the future of the industry unveils at the Expos in the decades ahead. 

Nicholas Wolaver, Senior Media Relations Counselor,
NEW’s Public Relations, Atlanta, Georgia, United States


rodriguesMy favorite memory from IAAPA Attractions Expo was the time where we had the chance to go backstage at the “Fantasmic!” show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Meeting the crew and learning about all the processes to make that show possible was incredible. But the very best of all was seeing the show’s dragon activated from the operation cabin. This memory will never be forgotten. 

Emilio Rodrigues, Operations Director,
Show Play, São Paulo, Brazil


bacornMy favorite IAAPA memory is being a part of the Opening Reception during EAS 2016 in Barcelona, Spain, at the breathtaking and scenic spot, Tibidabo Amusement Park, overlooking the city. 

Anna Zykina-Bacorn, Vice President,
Barron Games International, Buffalo, New York, United States


canonI hold pleasant memories of my first IAAPA event. I remember how much we walked across the trade show, looking for informational leaflets, and, later, how much our growing collection weighed!  That memory still generates a smile. Today, the network we create at IAAPA events continues to grow. I tell many to listen to the Legends panel. The quality and humility of these great personalities of the industry are always a highlight.

Valeria Canon, Commercial Manager and Owner,
Aquopolis Water Parks, Mar del Plata, Argentina


benassiniMy favorite IAAPA moment was during the Dubai leadership conference, where we were treated as VIPs, while visiting some of the most iconic places in the country. Plus, seeing all of the parks and attractions, both operating and under construction at the time. The whole trip proved utterly to be an absolutely amazing experience.

Guido Benassini, CIO,
Ventura Entertainment Group, Mexico