Theme Park University hit the floor running again with even more coverage of IAAPA 2013. I can’t stress enough how busy this year’s show is compared to the last several years. You can’t walk past a booth without some sort of deal going on. It’s great news for the industry and fans of themed entertainment.
If you have never seen Wendell, Garner Holt’s animatronic unicyclist, take a moment and click on the video above. He is easily one of the most incredible animatronic figures ever created. He travels along a small beam with no visible signs of support. What’s even more impressive is that Wendell was made nearly 25 years ago! This is not new technology!
What is most fascinating about Garner’s story is that the man is self-taught. He literally starting tinkering around with robotics while he was in high school and now creates animatronics for some of the biggest names in the industry. Fans of Theme Park University know that his first major theme park job was for the MGM Grand Theme Park. Today Garner creates animatronics for some of the biggest names in the business including Knott’s Berry Farm, Universal Studios and just about every Disney theme park around the world.
The synchronized fire show seen above happens literally every five minutes on the IAAPA show floor. Orlando Special Effects specializes in virtually any kind of special effect needed for a theme park, special event or even a concert. They can provide the equipment and safety systems necessary to pull off some pretty amazing stuff. Whether you need a for machine, confetti cannon or a giant fireball, Orlando Special Effects can design it and safely install it for any kind of special event. They even do weddings!
Waltzing Waters, based out of Cape Coral, Florida really brings me back. When I was a kid visiting Sea World Orlando, the theater currently housing Pets Ahoy, was once home to a dancing waters show. Back in the mid to late 80’s they even had stand alone versions of the show in locations like Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and Branson, Missouri. Waltzing Waters can build a custom show with fountains and lights all synchronized to music. They have created shows for theme parks, private events or even someone’s backyard!
Moments Factory, based out of Canada, provides one of a kind multimedia presentations for museums, concerts and attractions. Readers of Theme Park University will remember them as the creator of the pre-show for FlyOver Canada in Vancouver. In the video seen above, Moments Factory created a unique video mapping projection technology being demonstrated on a small scale model in their IAAPA booth. The truly amazing technology is where they can manipulate the image in real time through the use of an IPad. This may not sound that impressive, but considering that the IPad can control up to sixteen projectors at one time, this is no small task.
On Wednesday afternoon, IAAPA held their annual Legends panel hosted by Bob Rodgers, former Walt Disney Imagineer and current CEO of BRC Imagination arts, his own themed entertainment design company. This year’s panel included Marty Sklar, former President of Imagineering, Jack Lindquist, former head of Marketing of Disney Parks and Resorts, and Lee Cockerell who was the former Vice President of Operations at Walt Disney World.
What’s always fascinating about these shows is just how candid the answers are. None of the gentleman on the panel are currently on the Disney payroll, so they can be more open and honest with their answers. While there was nothing scandalous revealed, their answers were pretty fascinating. Watch for a future article here at Theme Park University for more on what went down at the Legends Panel at IAAPA 2013. If you’re interested in buying any of these gentleman’s books. click on the Amazon link below and Theme Park University gets a tiny piece of your purchase to help pay the power bill here on campus.