Young themepark enthusiasts

exploring the world


Last month, on 17 and 18 September, we were in Paris for the biggest expo of the attraction leisure industry of Europe, namely the IAAPA European Expo! (former EAS). Every year this expo brings together many industry professionals from all over the world and especially Europe. We took the metro, walked to the Porte De Versailles, picked up our Press Card and prepared for 2 days of contacting, interviewing and having a lot of fun!

Traditionally, we started the first day with the opening ceremony. The ceremony was a lot more professional then the years before and because we are in French, the dancing Can-Can ladies could not be missed!
The CEO and chairman of IAAPA gave a speech and all new attractions and shows in Europe were shown in a video compilation on the big screen. At the end of the show, the IAAPA Expo floor was officially opened by various park mascots, firework, and lots of confetti!

This was the biggest edition of IAAPA Europe and all of the greatest companies in the industry were present. For instance, the well-known rollercoaster and ride manufacturers like Mack Rides, Gerstlauer, Vekoma, Intamin, GCI and Zamperla. But also, many unknown companies, producing everything which is present in the leisure industry; from arcade machines to fluffy animals and from bowling machines to frozen drinks. It was very interesting seeing all these companies together and be able to test and experience their products! It is still a shame that companies like B&M and RMC are not present at the Expo though.

Because we were press, we were able to attend all the press conferences too. A couple of announcements and reveals were made at this year's expo. The first press conference was from Europe Park/ Mack. It was so crowded that not everyone got in, luckily we made it in and they showed a vehicle of Snorri Touren, the new dark ride for Europa Park (Iceland part of the park), and a new coach for Liseberg of their new dark ride Underland. They also talked about the construction and completion of Rulantica. More information about Rulantica and Kronasar will follow in an interview with Michael Kreft von Byern, the director of Rulantica.

Furthermore, SimWorx presented their new Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) and mini flying theatre! The AGVs of SimWorx were a much-discussed topic this year and show great potential. We think the AGV looks very impressive! (and very much identical to the ride system of Spiderman and Transformers in Universal, hmmm…).

The other press conferences were from SALLY, Zamperla and ACE2. The Sally group announced more details about its new partnership with Aardman Animations. SALLY also announced a completely new dark ride story called “Adventure through Time!”
The story is about a little girl that is trapped in a magical finger trap and have the ability to travel through time and goes through fun and dangerous adventures! Also, the new Shaun the Sheep movie dark ride was announced called “Farmageddon”.

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Zamperla announced 3 new thrill rides; The Super Air Race (which is an Air Race but literally raised to a new level), Nebulaz, and Z-max with can be seen in the photo below.

Furthermore, the France-based company ECA2 announced the company’s new ground-breaking, immersive spectacle to debut in China (which was indeed really really impressive!). ECA2 is mainly known for huge stand alone shows on a fixed location.

Sadly for us, there weren't any further big announcements made by manufacturers. They mostly wait until the bigger IAAPA Expo in Orlando in November. But we were able to get some information from manufacturers about what they are going to present there.
GCI will show their modified/finetuned version of the Millenium Flyer coach and Zamperla shall present a (at least for them) new rollercoaster type and an upgraded version of a rollercoaster type they already have. In november we know what it will be!

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We asked you, our followers, which questions we should ask for rollercoaster manufacturers. We interviewed almost all manufacturers present and the interviews we did with them shall be uploaded one by one on our website. They will be placed underneath this article and you can get a notification if you subscribe via our newsletter! We will start with the interview with Vekoma which you can read below.
We really enjoyed this year’s IAAPA Expo! We did a lot of crazy arcade games and eat a lot of weird, but good, food and beverages. We talked with a lot of the bigger companies but also a lot of not-so-well-known companies that are still very active in the leisure branch! It is nice to see that they also can present their work and be innovative. If you want to know more about some company or about the IAAPA show itself, don’t hesitate to contact us! For now, we hope to be in London for next year’s IAAPA Expo!

We really enjoyed this year’s IAAPA Expo! We did a lot of crazy arcade games and eat a lot of weird, but good, food and beverages. We talked with a lot of the bigger companies but also a lot of not-so-well-known companies that are still very active in the leisure branch! It is nice to see that they also can present their work and be innovative. If you want to know more about some company or about the IAAPA show itself, don’t hesitate to contact us! For now, we hope to be in London for next year’s IAAPA Expo!

Interview Vekoma

What is your opinion about the current thrill boomerang coaster type and are you still manufacturing it? The design of the “old” boomerang is still unique. It gives a huge thrill on a really small scale and we think that is the power of this design. We have developed the boomerang over the years and made some minor changes to improve the ride experience, especially the trains can make a big difference. If there is a request from a customer to make another boomerang, we first want to discuss newer and other options and possibilities, but we can sure make the boomerang again if they want to.

Are there any plans to redesign the current thrill boomerang to the new Vekoma standards? We are thinking about it and maybe it will happen in the future but it is not our focus now.

Why do you think flying coasters are so unique and why is Vekoma innovating in a new flying coaster type? Flying coasters are pretty difficult to design and manufacture to make them comfortable, that makes them more expensive and I think, together with a relatively low capacity, this coaster is not so common. The fact that we are introducing a new flying coaster type is the demand from a customer and now we have a design for a new flying coaster, why not promote it for other parks?

People are very excited about new “next generation” Vekoma coasters. Are there any plans to bring the next generation to the USA or West Europe? With our first models sold to almost only Asia, our focus is really promote our new coasters in the USA and West Europe as well. Our new marketing plan will keep that into account.

Can you tell a little bit more about the successor of the SLC coaster model? The successor is not officially announced yet, but imagine a Vekoma suspended family coaster with almost the same trains and inversions, that is all I am going to say about it haha.

What is the influence of Sansei Technologies after they acquired Vekoma? To be honest, Vekoma does not feel a lot of the influence of Sansei. We keep doing our own thing and Sansei is really happy with that. I think you shouldn’t suddenly change a good running company, so we are happy that it is still the way it was before Sensei.

What is it that you are looking forward the most? The new Shockwave for Energylandia! We never build a coaster like this before and we are so curious that the guests think of it.

Interview Gerstlaurer

Are there any plans for a new ride type? It is not our main focus right now, but if we have a little bit of time, we would love to continue new ride and coaster type ideas!

Have you considered multi car trains for your spinning coasters? We can definitely make a multi-car train for our spinning coasters, but we haven't had to do it yet. The capacity is the same/ even less with multi-car trains and it gives a totally different experience in the overall ride than single cars. Single cars also give parks the possibility to easily remove a train to reduce capacity and maintenance of the trains and give them a longer lifespan. Less maintenance and variable capacity are really important for smaller parks.

Which coaster of a competitor do you like the most? Great question! I have to go for Phoenix in Knoebles, Thunderbird in Holiday World and Fury 325 in Carowinds! The kick that you get from Fury is just insane… It really pushes you to a limit and it is really different than any other coaster I have ever ridden.

Where is the turning/voting idea on Fury (Bobbejaanland) coming from to vote for a forward or backward ride and are there plans to put it on more rollercoasters? This idea really came from Bobbejaanland itself. We wanted something unique and interactive with the guests, so we came up with the voting system! We really like the idea and I think it will be on more coasters in the future as well.

Are there any new coasters planned for the US? Yes! We talked with almost every big park and we can tell you that there are multiple rides coming over to the US soon!

What is the future of the Eurofighter, will the infinity coaster be a successor of the Eurofighter or are there still developments on the Eurofighter coaster model? No! The infinity coaster is definitely not a successor of the Eurofighter. We still make and develop the Eurofighter. We think the Eurofighter perfectly fits in a smaller park which needs less capacity than bigger parks. The infinity coaster can be really big and is mainly meant for the bigger parks.

What is it with Gerstlauer and the crazy supports lately? The engineers calculate what supports they need to divide all the forces on the track perfectly. Because our coasters are most of the time on a smaller footprint, the supports can be seen as a bit hectic. A manufacturer can choose between a bigger track (backbone) or more supports, we chose the last.

Interview Great Coasters International

What are the big difference between the millennium flyers and the infinity flyers? Haha, the infinity flyers are not yet officially announced but they will be soon, we think on the IAAPA in Orlando in a couple of months. The infinity flyers need to go upside down, so we designed the main frame for that. They also will have the lapbars because it just gives you the best freedom you can have on a coaster. The main axis has to turn a bit more to be able to go upside down. We are finalizing the design right now and we can’t wait so show you guys!

Could the infinity flyers ride on current millennium flyer rides? Well, the track width is exactly the same, so in theory, there will be no problem doing that, but the location of the equipment (lifthill, brakes etc.) should be adjusted because the alignment of equipment under the two train models are not the same.

Is it possible to add an inversion to a current wooden coaster of yours? Yes, it is! We announced a concept of a coaster that has inversions earlier this year and it would be possible to put a random inversion in a current GCI wooden coaster. However, it has to fit the ride though. Every GCI coaster is built with elements that continue each other perfectly, if you randomly put an inversion in there, it won’t make sense and we won’t do it. But if it really increases the ride experience, we are open to talk about that in the future.

What are the plans for the future? Do you feel anything of the success of RMC? No, we don’t really feel anything actually. The focus of RMC is completely different and not (yet) bothering us. We think we make totally different products, they make steel coasters and we make wooden coaster. My definition of a wooden coaster is; if it runs on a wooden track, it is a wooden coaster. If it runs on a steel track, it is a steel coaster, like RMC! You can also see it in our new design with inversions, only the inversion part will have some steel, the other part is just our trusted wood!

Is there a park where you definitely want to see a GCI coaster in the future? Not a park in particular, but I want to see one in every park of course haha.

When do you think it is time to retrack a current wooden coaster? It really depends on the state of the coaster and what the customer wants. We offer a yearly inspection where we can perfectly see where the coaster is running fine and where it can be improved a lot (using visual inspection only!). We have men that know every coaster of ours in detail. They know every turn and how the turn should be. If they ride the coaster and that turn is not how it should be, we will have a look and maybe offer a retrack for the next season to improve the coaster’s ride experience.

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