Thought Repository

IAAPA Wrapup

This past week I went with 14 other people from the ETC to the IAAPA convention in Orlando. IAAPA is the international association for amusement parks and attractions. The show floor was absolutely enormous. They had everything from the tickets and tokens, prizes, arcade machines, roller coasters, 4D theaters, animatronics, consessions, and everything else you could imagine. One of the most interesting things we saw was a live lobster tank crane game. Another excellent idea was the ice-cream hotdog. Take a stick of ice-cream, wrap it in a shortcake bun, and top it with chocolate sauce or caramel and wipped cream. Yum. Also up there were the Mini Melts (a competitor of Dippin' Dots) with Pop Rocks in them.

The ETC was exibiting the Jam-O-Drum there. We had a small little booth where we showed people a little taste of what our program does. We were well received. The Jam-O-Drum was fairly unique among things there. People actually wanted to buy it and they were impressed that it was just one of the things done by the students in this program.

A big part of the show for me at least was going around trying to figure out where I'd like to work and get an internship. I didn't do all that well of being able to talk to the companies. Later in the week, I got better at it and had a few good conversations. I got some business cards that I have to follow up on.

While we were there we did more than just the show. We had dinner with several Disney Imagineers and ETC alumni. It was good talking to them even if I might not get to work there. We did a whole bunch of Disney things. Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney Quest, and Pleasure Island. It was a lot of fun. There were a number of new things I hadn't seen yet. It has been 6 years since I was at most of those parks.

One other thing of note that we saw was Give Kids the Worlds. GKTW is an organization that you can think of like Make a Wish Foundation. They are responsible for filling many Orlando related wishes. It is an organization that caters to children with life-threatening illnesses. Besides getting the families of these kids down to Orlando and getting them tickets to all the major attractions, GKTW has their own "village" where their guests stay. Their "village" is like an amusement park by itself. It was all built by donation from corperate partners. Disney, Universal, and others have been very generous donating properties as well as labor. Lots of areas they are are themed. They've got amazing one of a kind carousel, model train set, unique buildings, and mini golf course. Everything is the pinnacle of handicap accessibility. It is all run by an army of volunteers. It was all very moving. The ETC is hoping to get involved with them and build a project for them. It would be a great thing to do.