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Intersection: IAAPA 2017

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Virtual reality at IAAPA 2017. Photo: Brendan Byrne WMFE.

The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions is wrapping up its trade show at the Orange County Convention Center.

Hundreds of exhibitors and displays line the concourses for IAAPA, showing off the latest high-tech wizardry that powers everything from thrill rides to food production at amusement parks around the world.

It’s here that industry insiders share ideas and learn from experts on a multitude of concepts: the ins and outs of maintaining attractions that are themed around a movie franchise or other intellectual property; new methods to move big crowds more seamlessly and comfortably through amusement parks and ride lines; and innovations that are spicing up the rides themselves, such as virtual reality headsets enhancing the experience of a roller coaster.

IAAPA’s Communications Director Susie Storey joined Intersection to talk about the convention, along with Orlando Weekly’s arts and culture columnist Seth Kubersky and 90.7’s Brendan Byrne.

Kubersky said while IAAPA is a great experience, there’s no time to rest because IAAPA hosts many panels, Q&A sessions, and even parties in addition to events and displays on the main convention floor

“You’re probably going to need a vacation after your vacation, because it’s really one of the most exhausting experiences,” he said.

Byrne said he noticed nearly everyone at the convention sporting some type of virtual reality headset. “It looked almost like a science fiction novel or something,” he joked.

Storey said the theme park industry just keeps evolving and changing with the times, adding things like virtual reality to attract new guests…and that is, in part, how it continues to be popular.

“What makes this industry really unique is it keeps growing,” she said. “And the classics and the traditional ones, they stay here, and they just find new ways to attract new guests.” The beauty is, the collaboration of how companies come together just to continue to make smiles and thrill their guests.

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