The BLOG Flume -- No Basket-brawls Here

We review the news from the annual IAAPA convention in Orlando.

Written by Russell Meyer
Published: November 22, 2004 at 12:54 PM

It's really tempting to discuss the NBA, especially with its impact on Disney-owned ESPN, but in a unanimous vote of 1 to 0, it has been decided to talk about movies and IAAPA...

Movie News
MSNBC/Reuters 11/21/04

Jerry Bruckheimer and Disney have collaborated for another #1 movie this week with National Treasure, taking in an estimated $35.3 million. I am particularly surprised that this haphazard take on Indiana Jones was able to top a box office loaded with lots of family friendly movies like Spongebob Squarepants ($33.5 million), The Incredibles ($26.8 million), and Polar Express ($15.2 million). The opening for National Treasure is nothing spectacular, and will probably fade quickly with much better “adult” fare on the horizon led by Oliver Stone’s Alexander opening Wednesday. Do people not read movie reviews anymore? Disney has been on a good run in November thanks to The Incredibles and this strong opening from National Treasure, but the movie division will have a hard time catching up to last year’s record total, despite some moderate success from The Village and Princess Diaries 2. With no more releases scheduled for the year, Disney will have to rely on the strength of National Treasure and The Incredibles to try to break the $500 million mark. They’ll probably make it, but it has to be considered a disappointing year after last year’s $1+ billion haul.

IAAPA Makes the “Nation’s Newspaper”
USAToday 11/18/04

Surprisingly, a small article about IAAPA managed to squeak into USAToday on Thursday. While not a very substantial article, it does make reference to Legoland California’s announcement of the installation of the nation’s first RoboCoaster. While USAToday specializes in “fluff” news, it rarely gives the amusement industry even a glance, despite the paper having a Friday Travel section. The article also references some other minor debuts at IAAPA such as “exploding ice cream,” “foam effects,” and “debit card/wristbands.” I’m not going to hold my breath for the next story cracking the headlines of the “Nation’s Newspaper.”

The Real IAAPA News
IAAPA Press Releases
Screamscape 11/19/04

IAAPA was yet another well-attended and successful exhibition of theme park technology, invention, and innovation. The convention had an estimated attendance of 27,556, but while there were very few “new” ideas presented at the exhibition, there were a number of concepts that were back, and may be potential attraction concepts in the years to come. As mentioned in the USAToday story, the RoboCoaster will make its U.S. debut in Legoland in Carlsbad, CA. The RoboCoaster people also introduced their G2 concept. The concept actually mounts the robotic arm onto an actual coaster track. While this may sound fun, I am skeptical that this particular application of the RoboCoaster concept can work (controlling forces and consistent operation are 2 potential problems that would come to mind).

Another interesting concept at IAAPA was the launching motorbike coaster concept. While the capacity of this particular ride would be really low, the ride looks like a lot of fun, despite an awkward looking restraint system. Vekoma showed off an interesting dark ride concept, called Pandora’s Box. The dark ride system mounts riders to hydraulic arms that can raise or lower guests through scenes as they progress around through the attraction. What makes this system so innovative is its ability to launch or plunge riders between scenes on pistons like a drop ride. Think of it as a cross between Tower of Terror and Spiderman.

A number of awards were also presented to IAAPA participants. Sally Corp. won the Image Award for Best Exhibit, and ProSlide Technology won the Impact Award for Best New Product.

What is interesting is that one of the biggest stories coming out of IAAPA 2004 is that next year’s exhibition will not be held in Orlando, FL. Next year, the exhibition will be in Atlanta, GA. That’s right, Hotlanta will be home to next year’s IAAPA festivities, with its massive array of 7 amusement parks in the state. I don’t know who made this intelligent decision, but I think that just about any other city would be a better home to the industry’s biggest event.

Readers' Opinions

From J. Dana on November 22, 2004 at 2:05 PM
What a dumb move. The convention needs to be in a theme park hot-spot. Atlanta? Not so much. Someone got paid off, that's for sure. Why not just have it in Detroit...oh, right, because the Pistons and their fans would probably loot and burn anything they thought that "dissed" them. This convention, for the time being, should be in Orlando, Vegas or L.A. But what do I care? It's just a convention of off-the-shelf cheapie sideshow rides.
From Jason Moore on November 22, 2004 at 3:03 PM
I think (and it has also been mentioned elsewhere) that National Treasure benefitted greatly from it's PG rating. You might not think it would do so well with so much other "family film" competition, but it is something the whole family can go to that is not animated. It may entice some kids by seeming like more of an adult film that they can feel cool going to instead of the animated fare that is packed with a slightly younger crowd. It also helps when the whole family is picking a movie and dad can chime in by supporting the live action adventure movie instead of the cartoon that he has to put up with daily all over the house. I could still care less about the film myself but these are most likely factors in it's #1 status at the B.O. By the way, no, the average movie going citzen pays no attention to reviews, word of mouth maybe, but not official reviews. It never ceases to amaze me how truly little people know about the films that are playing and how they will pick them just based on the poster hanging in the lobby.
From Robert OGrosky on November 23, 2004 at 9:55 AM
I would agree that mopst people coukd care less about what a moive reviewer thinks, these are the same type of idiots who have no idea what the mainstream of america wants or likes about a moive, who will brag about a very medicore movie like the flop Sky Captain, then rip a truely outstanding movie like Passion of the Christ.
I saw National Treasure and found the movie to be easy to watch and enjoyable. While not as good as lets say a Indiana Jones, it was fast paced and kept your attention and from listening too people after the movie as they left i heard no one complaining about the movie.

It was nice too see the story on the IAAPA in the newspaper.
And how can we talk about the convention with no mention of Holiday World winning a major award for park excellance?????????????
Nice too see a park like that get the awards it deserves!!!

From Carey Lynn Holtsclaw on November 23, 2004 at 6:20 PM
IAAPA is actually moving to Atlanta for the next TWO years. I understand the reason for this being that they think they can get more notice from the portable ride buyers.

Atlanta is also one of only three cities in the US with large enough convention centers to satisfy IAAPA's needs. Orlando and Las Vegas are the other two. (The show didn't go to Las Vegas because the vendors felt that the city has too many "distractions")

From Derek Potter on November 23, 2004 at 7:02 PM
When did the IAAPA convention ever become the cheapie side-show ride place?? 95 percent of amusement companies can't even afford to build 50 and 100 million dollar rides like Disney and Universal can, so cut them a break. What's the big deal about Atlanta holding the convention anyway? Orlando is a centerpiece of the amusement community, but is it really a bad thing that another city hosts? Who cares how many parks are in the state.

I have to give kudos to the dark horse Holiday World as well. The awards were well deserved. There are good things brewing in little old Santa Claus, Indiana.

From J. Dana on November 23, 2004 at 7:21 PM
For the record, Chicago's McCormick Place convention center is much larger than Atlanta's....Atlanta isn't known as a large convention-center city.
From Robert OGrosky on November 23, 2004 at 10:33 PM
I have read somewhere on the net that they also wont go out to Las Vegas because of its extra distance they fear attendance would be lower.(cant say i agree with that, but that is what i have read.
From Derek Potter on November 23, 2004 at 11:09 PM
Seems to me that it would make more sense to keep it on the east coast. I could be wrong about this, but I think that there are more companies/parks in the east, not to mention it's closer for the European folk as well. Having any convention in Vegas is just asking for trouble....
From Robert Niles on November 24, 2004 at 12:05 PM
The kind of trouble I like...


From Derek Potter on November 24, 2004 at 12:51 PM
yep....trouble is good.
From Carey Lynn Holtsclaw on November 24, 2004 at 6:45 PM
I think the trouble with Chicago is that the Magical Midway (The Outdoor section) would not be very inviting up there in November. This area features tall drop towers that couldn't easily be placed indoors.
From Kenny Hitt on November 25, 2004 at 6:59 PM
There's also the fact that Universal and Disney both develop 99% of their attractions in-house, while Atlanta is a bit more centralized to the other theme park companies like Six Flags and Cedar Fair.
From Kenny Hitt on November 25, 2004 at 6:59 PM
There's also the fact that Universal and Disney both develop 99% of their attractions in-house, while Atlanta is a bit more centralized to the other theme park companies like Six Flags and Cedar Fair.

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