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Looking Ahead to the 2019 IAAPA Expo with North American Vice President John Hallenbeck

As we head into fall 2019, there’s a lot to look forward to in the theme parks and attractions industry. Personally? I’m already looking forward to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions expo this year!

Theme Park University has covered the convention in Orlando for years now and it’s always a great way to stay on the pulse of the attractions industry! Recently we got a chance to catch up with Jon Hallenbeck, Vice President for IAAPA North America and what he’s looking forward to in this year’s convention. Enjoy!

John Hallenbeck – IAAPA North America Vice President

As someone who has worked in the attractions industry, and now works at IAAPA, what do you think is the one thing people in the industry don’t know about IAAPA and IAAPA Expo?

My background is with major theme parks but that’s not the only audience IAAPA Expo is intended for. Each November in Orlando, there’s truly something for everyone. The IAAPA team works diligently with member committees from all five constituencies (amusement parks, family entertainment centers, zoos and aquariums, museums and science centers, water parks) and across various job functions to plan our program. Everyone has a voice in the room as we plan the week ensuring that there’s a session, event, or product on the show floor for each type of attendee.

What’s your favorite IAAPA Expo memory?

I’ve been going to IAAPA Expo for many years – as an attendee, a speaker, and now IAAPA’s VP of North America. I always look forward to the Thursday night event as IAAPA ensures attendees will have the opportunity to experience one of the latest and greatest attractions in the Orlando-area. This year will be no different as we head to Universal’s Islands of Adventures for their latest attraction that been receiving a lot of positive buzz. I was on the original opening team for this park so I love going back to see what’s new!

What event or session are you looking forward to the most at IAAPA Expo 2019?

This year’s Game Changer session features Vince Kadlubek, Co-founder and CEO of Meow Wolf, which is a very unique, new attraction. Vince is a true visionary and I think he represents what the future of the attractions industry is all about in providing immersive experiences to guests.  

What insider tip would you give to someone who’s never attended IAAPA Expo before?

It sounds cliché but plan ahead to make the most of your time at IAAPA Expo. It’s a jam-packed week and in order to see all corners of the massive trade show floor, hear from industry leaders during education sessions, and be part of our special events – you need a game plan. (Shameless plug, you can look at the schedule here to get started!) and if you haven’t done so already, I recommend downloading the IAAPA Expos app. As an attendee I used it to personalize my schedule and find exhibitors.

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Editor’s Note: Thank you to IAAPA for being a sponsor of Theme Park University!

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