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From the show floor at the 2009 IAAPA Attractions Expo

By Robert Niles
Published: November 18, 2009 at 3:34 PM
LAS VEGAS - [*Updated throughout with photos and additional detail.] Scenes from the 2009 IAAPA Attractions Expo:

  • I bumped into Six Flags CEO Mark Shapiro this morning, and he's trying to manage expectations for Magic Mountain's new roller coaster. We've known it will be a family coaster, bur Shapiro said to think even smaller than that.

    Terminator Jr., anyone?

  • Six Flags' bigger news, which I didn't get to ask Shapiro about, is that the chain will install an attraction from 5D International in Spring 2011. No word yet on which park, but I talked with the folks at 5D and the tech seems impressive. (Think 4D show inside a ride.)

  • If you're mourning the loss of Big Bad Wolf and other suspended coasters, keep your eyes open for the new Free Fly Coaster from S&S. It's two four-seat verticle benches, swinging freely on either side of a coaster track. It reminds me of a milder version of X2, with a suspended coaster feel.

    A prototype ran this summer in Sweden, and an S&S rep boasted that it didn't suffer any downtime. Yet she said that while several US parks have expressed interest, the economy seems to be stronger in Europe, prompting more serious interest there.

  • The Gravity Group was showing off its new Timberliner train cars, which will be installed on The Voyage at Holiday World this spring.

  • If you're going to ride a kiddie car ride, why not ride in style?

    Chance Morgan was showing off this Ferrari ride vehicle, which will be features at the new Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi next year. Middle Eastern parks are a bit beyond my radar, but Arthur Levine has been keeping track of what will be in the new park.

  • Mack has blended the Splash Battle and the classic Teacup spinner in its new Twist 'N' Splash shoot-'em-up soaker:

  • Finally, because I knew someone would ask, here is the Bolliger & Mabillard booth. Not much action in the coaster leader's exhibit this year, but they did bring along a B&M Mega coaster car:

    Later today, I will post a write-up of the afternoon session with five Disney theme park legends: Blaine Gibson, Bob Gurr, Harrison "Buzz" Price, Richard Sherman and Marty Sklar.

  • The IAAPA Attractions Expo isn't held for theme park fans. It's an industry gig, where you can find vendors hawking everything from greaseless frying machines to light-up cotton candy cones.

    Need thatching for a tiki hut? Non-skid surface material for walkways or rubbery pebble material for playgrounds? Tons and tons of carnival prize plush, at low wholesale prices? Someone on the IAAPA show floor can hook you up.

    I enjoyed checking out the new trends in food options. Based on what I saw on the floor, look for crepes to make a bigger presence in theme parks in the year ahead. I also was intrigued by potato chips on a stick.

    But the wildest food exhibit has to be one that Bob Rogers tipped to me: A vendor who combined a restaurant lobster tank with a carnival "claw" prize game. For $2 a pull, you can try to extract a live lobster from the tank.

    One one hand... ewww. On the other, how did it take someone this long to combine those concepts?

    Yeah, that's the IAAPA show floor.

    Readers' Opinions

    From TH Creative on November 18, 2009 at 6:24 PM
    Start posting IAAPA pics, Dr. Vegas!
    From Anthony Murphy on November 18, 2009 at 7:39 PM
    Got my Great America Season Pass. They are ready to go! Woo Hoo!

    Wish I was in Las Vegas for a variety of reasons!

    From Robert Niles on November 18, 2009 at 7:49 PM
    Camera phone pics are on the Twitter feed. Will upload pics from good camera when I get home later tonight.
    From Nick Markham on November 19, 2009 at 7:51 AM
    I live about 1 hour away from the S&S Offices and Factory, and I had seen that track and those cars outside it each time I went past it! I might be able to get some kind of interview up there, but it looks like Mr. Niles is getting all theme park enthusiasts' dreams and having the ability to have everyone right there.

    Also, by Terminator Jr., do you mean a super big Intamin Family launch wooden coaster at a height of 180 feet, because if not, it must be bigger! :D

    From Vickie Boyd on November 19, 2009 at 10:51 AM
    Those Timberliner cars look really comfortable, especially for people with long legs. That's why I like the GCI's open sided cars. But these are awesome.

    The B&M car, while not the right color, is the car that's going to be on Intimidator at Carowinds. The "stadium" seating is really interesting looking. I love the lap harnesses. Best ever, especially on Apollo's Chariot at BGW. I'm a little anxious about those, however, on what I've seen of Intimidator. It looks like it has almost a corkscrew in it (maybe just one side and then the other rather quickly), but I guess they are going to rely on centrifugal force to keep you in the seat.

    Not sure what to think of the flyer. It's the seat restraints that worry me.

    Thanks for all the twitter updates yesterday. It was fun following you around the dealer's floor.

    From Jay Norman on November 19, 2009 at 7:40 PM
    There's a lobster "claw" tank in the lobby of Kalahari resort in Sandusky. Not sure of the price to play, $2 sounds right though. It isn't very prominent as it is back behind the gift shop at the restaurant entrance. I saw it a month or so ago and yes, it caught my eye. Made me think about a whole new boardwalk dining concept...
    From Robert Niles on November 19, 2009 at 11:28 PM
    I'm told that one can control the "win rate" on the lobster claw game by adjusting the water temperature in the tank. Make it warmer, and the lobsters become easier to pick up. Lower it, and they fight back more aggressively when grabbed.

    I gotta say, the LGMs of "Toy Story" notwithstanding, active defense is a new concept in claw games. Still, I'd rather just pay the $18 or whatever and get the sure thing on my plate, instead of having to gamble for it.

    From 69.177.52.38 on November 20, 2009 at 6:18 PM
    I remember seeing the lobster claw game on tv a while back, in a movie (maybe a cartoon?) it's certainly not new, I just can't place it..
    From David Sutter on November 22, 2009 at 8:17 AM
    Now the S&S Swing Cars would have been a great in a true Space Mtn. Redue.

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