Understandably, manufacturers and suppliers have been trying to create a highly immersive and interactive experience for visitors and patrons. Creating machines and products that interact with several guests at a time and are inclusive in their interactions to try and provide an experience you cannot buy for your home. There's a lot of buzz, but is interactivity really what the industry needs to get back to the glory days? The number of new products angling highly immersive, interactive technologies suggests as much.
The three day event is owned and produced by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA). According to organisers a total of 393 exhibitors from over 40 countries participated in this years EAS 2013, and this years floor was the largest it had been in 10 years with over 9,000 sqm of space booked, equaling a 10% increase in space. Also, preliminary estimates indicated the show attracted approximately 8,500 industry professionals, including 5,900 buyers, from all over the world.
The record-breaking amount of space was complemented by a vast program of special events, tours, and a plethora of new products from exhibitors. More than 300 industry professionals participated in tours around word-renowned French attractions, such as Disneyland Paris, Futuroscope and the Machines de I'lle in Nantes.
The large range of exhibitors booths, programmes, tours, special events and seminars garnered the show more international visibility, which was a common comment from suppliers: “I think the show is demonstrating a lot of new maturity, the market is grown, the buyers have come to this show, but more than anything else, the quality of the presentation in the show suppliers and IAAPA putting together a real professional experience from beginning to the end. It's gonna pay off,” said John Wood, CEO of Sally Corporation.
The show covered over 100 categories, but what seems to have caught most peoples eye is the large amounts of interactive products that are in progress and market ready. Some of these included:
- The new Interactive Dark Ride and Interactive Themed Technology from Alterface display in "African Magic" which is designed specifically fro small amusement parks and FECs.
- Sally Corporation's new pirate themed animatronics and dark ride model for 'Den of Thieves'.
- Simulator Entertainment showed off their new 4 seat XD cinema 'Supernova' which features a 3D HD projector screen and special effects for the extra dimensional immersion, including the absence of a foot platform, so feet hang freely.
- TheJuice showed off their 'Mapping Dark Ride' machine which has changeable scenes, allowing for more freedom and convenience for operators.
- Polin presented some models on their booth of new watwr slides, including thje 'King Cobra' and 'Magic Sphere!'
- More from the water arena, Antonio Zamperla Spa represented their latest ride, 'Water Mania', Preston & Barbieri showed off models of their 'Splash Battle' attraction and ProSlide presented models of their most popular water slides.
- Vekoma Rides Manufacturing B.V. showed off their panoramic flight simulator, I-Ride, which was a big hit with visitors.
- Holovis presented one of the show favourites of the event, MotionDome, a joint effort between Holovis and ProjectionDesign, who have also partnered up with Garmendale Engineering Limited on the project to include their 'Motion Master' ride system into the interactive theater.
- MACK Rides displayed the front car of the HELIX, a launch coaster, while TAA - Theming and Animatronics Industries S.A. brought their massive catapult booth to Paris - try arguing with that.
- Europa Park organized a press conference about their latest venture "Arthur: In the Minimoys Kingdom", which includes exhibiting partners P&P Projects (who also presented the award winning, Thor's Hammer) and L.F. Creative Group (an artistic animatronics company). Europa Park showed off some of the impressive animatronics to be included in the project at the conference.
- nWave Pictures Distribution introduced some multi-dimensional booths, featuring movies for visitors, including The Good, The Bad and a Horse.
- Jora Vision showed off a model of the entrance building for Kolmarden Zoo while their sister company Jora Entertainment presented a model of their new interactive haunted maze, 'Dracula'.
- Triotech moved away from their usual 4D and 5D theaters and showed off instead their XD interactive dark ride theaters.
- And Technical Park showed off a new flying ride concept as well, which generated a lot of interest too.
The event also welcomed 84 first-time exhibitors this year, including Cruden, Dippin' Dots. IDEATTACK, Rocas Theming Factory, Delta Strike International, Rain Drop Productions, and Universal Space Amusements.
This doesn't even begin to cover everything the event had to offer, but it gives you a rough idea of what was on display. The growing event is one to keep an eye on, as it grows and matures, and starts to come into it's own.
Next year, EAS 2014 will be held in Amsterdam, September 23-25 at the Amsterdam Rai Center. If you wish to exhibit, you should book quickly as there are already more than 230 companies that have reserved 7,800 sqm of space so far! Next event to look forward to is the IAAPA show in Orlando, Florida. Watch this space for more news.