IAAPA update: Koch, Rogers join the theme park industry's Hall of Fame

November 16, 2010, 11:32 AM · The late Will Koch, the president of Holiday World, who passed away last summer at age 48, was inducted this morning into the IAAPA Hall of Fame, joining his late father, Bill, who was inducted in 2001.

The Koch family accepts the award
The Koch family at IAAPA 2010 as Will Koch is inducted into the Hall of Fame. Photo from Holiday World.

Bob RogersJoining Koch in this year's induction class is Bob Rogers, the founder and chief creative officer of BRC Imagination Arts, the producer of the greatest theme park movie ever made and a frequent TPI lurker. (Congratulations, Bob!) The other two inductees are Don Clayton, the founder of Putt-Putt Golf, who died in 1996 and Daniel Hudson Burnham, the creator of the first attractions midway, at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. Burham died in 1912.

Dollywood won the 2010 Applause Award. From the press release:

"The Applause Award, the most prestigious award within the amusement and theme park industry, honors a park whose management, operations and creative accomplishments have inspired the industry with its foresight, originality and sound business development. The award is presented every other year by Liseberg amusement park located in Gothenburg, Sweden. For this 2010 award, Dollywood competed with Alton Towers in the UK and Phantasialand in Germany for the honor."

I'm in the air on my way to Orlando now, but will be on the show floor tomorrow with more updates.

Update: Here are the winners of this year's theme park-related Thea Awards from the Themed Entertainment Association, announced at IAAPA.

Buzz Price Award (for lifetime achievement): Kim Irvine, Art Director, Disneyland

Outstanding Achievement Awards:
Feature Attraction - Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
New Theme Park Land - The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Thematic Integration of Retail, Food & Beverage - The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Technical Achievement - Harry Potter and the Forbbiden Journey
Nighttime Spectacular - World of Color

Replies (8)

November 16, 2010 at 12:14 PM · Congratulations to all the Hall of Fame inductees and to Dollywood's Applause Award.

We learned more than ever this season how close-knit our industry truly is.

We are so proud of all Will accomplished and will do our best to honor his vision in the future.

Paula Werne
Holiday World

November 16, 2010 at 1:09 PM · Congratulations to Bob Rogers, very well deserved.

Robert: in your article about Impressions de France you mention the pastry shop windows. The next time you see the film, look at them carefully to discover a bit of tricky film-making!

November 16, 2010 at 5:17 PM · When I got the chance to watch Impressions de France with Bob at BRC, he pointed out several of the tricks that they used in making the film. (In the pastry scene, for example, it's the same kids, duped to fill the screen.)

I would love for theme park fans to be able to get Blu-Ray versions of their favorite narrative attractions, along with audio commentaries like what Bob offered at BRC that day. Film fans get these goodies - why can't theme park fans?

November 16, 2010 at 10:20 PM · Excellent, as usual!

I too would not mind getting my hands on a blu ray copy of Impressions, O Canada, Wonders of China, and, yes, Captain Eo!

November 17, 2010 at 2:44 AM · Robert,

Be sure to check out Jack Rouse Associates' booth on the showroom floor. My husband says his company is doing daily "happy hours" in celebration of Ferrari World!

November 17, 2010 at 10:22 AM · Cool. It's nice to see some different parks and people awarded other than the usual gang.
November 17, 2010 at 11:26 AM · I just want to take this opportunity to share my love and respect for Will Koch and offer my congratulations to the whole Holiday World family for his induction into the Hall of Fame. I'm a child of "Santa Claus Land" who was taken there during a wonderful snowstorm as a child where I thought I'd been taken to the real North Pole to meet the real Santa Claus. As an adult, I've taken my niece to Holiday World on special occasions since she was 4 years old, and I think it's one of the most wonderful places on Earth. She has turned 13 this year (yikes!) and is growing up too fast for my liking. When I was a manager for Wild & Woolly Video here in Louisville, we took the whole crew to Holiday World for a work retreat and it was a joy to see a bunch of hardcore hipsters turn into children again for a few hours. Will Koch is one of my personal heroes; someone who I looked up to and aspire to be like. I'll never acheive his level of professional or family success, but at least I have an example to reach for.
November 19, 2010 at 2:17 PM · What happened to Will Koch?? He was so young? Was there an accident?? That's terrible some one so young dying early like that. Great to know he was inducted though, that's really great!

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