Asian Attractions Expo (AAE) 2016 attracted a record-breaking 11,500 total participants, including 8,100 buyers; and for the sixth consecutive year broke records for the size of the trade show floor and number of exhibitors; delivered information-packed education programs; and featured sold-out networking events at Shanghai-area attractions, including the new Shanghai Disney Resort. Asian Attractions Expo, which is organized by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), took place at the Shanghai New International Exhibition and Convention Centre, 13-16 June. This is the highest number of participants in AAE history and represents a 365 percent increase, when compared to the last time the Expo was in Shanghai (2006). Owners, executives, managers, and leaders from the region's theme parks, water parks, family entertainment centers, zoos, aquariums, museums, science centers, and resorts, as well as a number of developers and investors, participated in Asian Attractions Expo 2016. A record 414 exhibiting companies filled 12,339 net square meters of space making it the largest trade show floor in the event's history.
Even before the expo officially started, and set-up was still happening, ALL eyes were on Sally's animatronic "Walker".
The day before the show began, we had a little time to explore Shanghai. We went to Xintiandi, or "New Heaven on Earth", an 8-acre collection of stone houses that has been transformed into an upscale shopping-and-dining complex. Here's Phil Wilson of Extreme Engineering with Lauren Wood Weaver and Greg Eccles of Sally Corporation enjoying the sites.
The next day, we were ready for action. Sally Corp. CEO, John Wood, and Marketing Director Lauren Wood Weaver standing tall at booth #1550.
Again, our Walker, and The Walking Dead dark ride concept got A LOT of attention.
Who couldn't stare with a face like THAT?!
We also displayed "Volcanikus 4D" - an all new dark ride concept from Sally Corporation. Enter the dark jungles of Inferno Island and experience the interactive 4D ride adventure of a lifetime as you find the mysterious jewels, battle Volcanikus and save the island from destruction!
After the first day of the show was over, we ventured out to The Bund, a waterfront area in central Shanghai. The area runs along the western bank of the Huangpu River and faces the high, modern skyscrapers of Pudong District.
Not only did we enjoy a spectacular view, but we had a delicious and fun dinner with some of our favorite clients from Six Flags.
One more of that beautiful Shanghai skyline.
The next morning, IAAPA's President and CEO, Paul Noland addressed the crowd at the AAE 2016 Leadership Breakfast. "Wow, Shanghai certainly proved to be a great location for Asian Attractions Expo 2016," said Paul.
The ever-so-eloquent, Jim Seay of Premier Rides was Key Note speaker at the 2016 Leadership Breakfast. A leading expert on amusement ride safety around the world, Jim provided insight into current safety standards and practices.
Day 2 and still turning heads.
The last day of the show, the ladies of Premier Rides just HAD to take a selfie with our Walker. They certainly weren't the only ones!
And that's a wrap! The 2016 Asian Attractions Expo has come to an end, time to reflect and celebrate with industry friends. From left : Jim Seay and Sara Ingram of Premier Rides; John Wood and Greg Eccles of Sally Corporation, Roger Berry of R.S. Alberts Company, Greg Hale of Disney, and Jim Pattison of Ripley's Believe It or Not.
After the conclusion of the 2016 Asian Attractions Expo, we were treated to a magical evening at Shanghai Disney, on the eve before the official park opening. Here's Sally Corporation's Greg Eccles, Lauren Wood Weaver, and John Wood with Give Kids The World President and CEO, Pamela Landwirth before walking in the brand new Disney park.
With only a few hours to explore the park, we rushed through dinner and grabbed an apple for the road.
The entrance to Shanghai Disneyland.
First ride of the night = TRON. Can you tell we're excited?!
The interior ride queue of TRON. The attraction is located inside, underneath a color-shifting canopy in Tomorrowland and takes guests on a ride through the Grid from Tron on their very own "light cycle". The coaster was manufactured by Vekoma (and it is incredible).
Of course, we had to ride Disney Shanghai's interactive dark ride, Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue. Lauren crushed the competition.
Heigh HOOOO... off to ride the Seven Dwarf's Mine Train we go! John Wood, Pamela Landwirth, and Phil Wilson are ready to ride.
The evening at Disney concluded. Luckily, you know you will always run into some fun friends at the hotel bar! (too many to name!)
Saturday, June 16th was the official "Grand Opening" of Shanghai Disneyland and the Sally crew hit the ground running! We were lucky enough to be among the first visitors to see one of the most spectacular and innovative Disney theme parks in history.
First thing's first - a ride on Pirates of the Caribbean : Battle For The Sunken Treasure with the Second Vice Chair of IAAPA, and dear friend, Andreas Andersen.
Just one of the incredibly complex animatronic characters within the ride.
The park was filled with many unique attributes. Below is The Alice in Wonderland Maze.
Look who we ran into... the gentlemen of Alterface!
Inside the Shanghai Disneyland castle.
Opening Day wait time for Souring Over the Horizon. Needless to say, we skipped out on this one.
Pirates of plenty. The park had a large pirate presence.
A picturesque evening at the park.
Time for one last ride on Pirates of the Caribbean!
Even the queue is rich with detail.
It's allll in the detail. As ride makers, we can appreciate that!
Fireworks did NOT disappoint.
Goodbye Shanghai Disneyland... 'till next time!