IAAPA 101: Why You Don’t Want To Miss The Most Epic Trade-Show Ever

What is IAAPA Expo

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Ever wish you could meet up with other party rental business owners from around the country to network, learn, and talk shop? Wouldn’t be nice if you could actually meet face to face with your website provider or favorite manufacturers? How about walking through thousands of square feet of the newest inflatables and checking them out in person?

If any of that sounds like pure awesomeness then you need to go to IAAPA!

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What The Heck Is IAAPA??

IAAPA is the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. The IAAPA Expo Is the largest trade show for the attractions industry. IAAPA has an indoor and an outdoor section but it’s much larger than just party rentals. You’ll find vendors for theme parks, zoos, FEC’s, food vendors, and much more. The coolest part of IAAPA for party rental operators is the Inflatable Pavilion and Family Entertainment Center (FEC) Pavilion. There you’ll find the latest and greatest from inflatable manufacturers, service providers, and new attractions you can add to your inventory. But as cool as that is, it doesn’t compare to meeting and networking with tons other party rental business owners who do what you do in different parts of the world!

  • Where is IAAPA?

The IAAPA Expo is held in the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando Florida.

  • When is IAAPA?

IAAPA Expo is usually held every November the week before Thanksgiving. For 2022, the IAAPA Expo will be from Tuesday 11/15 to Friday 11/18/2022. Monday 11/14 is open for exhibitors only and Friday is usually a short day (although there are some ticket levels that give you access to educational seminars on Monday). The show floor is open from 10am to 6pm Tue-Thur and 10am to 4pm on Friday..

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What Is There To Do At IAAPA?

There’s so much to do at IAAPA and not just during the trade show. There are parties and networking events during the evenings after the expo doors have closed. And there’s so much to do in Orlando that you’ll have to make a list of things to see when you come back next year!

Here’s what you absolutely must do:

  • Explore the trade show floor

First you should look through the IAAPA Floor Map to see which vendors will be there and make a list of stops you want to make. You can use the search bar in the upper left to search for keywords like “inflatables” or “marketing”. While at the trade show you should be having fun and taking notes. Many vendors offer their best deals of the year at the show and you can even pick up floor models for extra savings (be sure to get there early Tuesday because they go quick!).

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  • Network & Learn

Perhaps the most valuable part of the IAAPA experience is meeting other party rental business owners from around the country (even the world!). After about 6 months of delivering and cleaning water slides, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and beat in this business. But you’ll feel instantly recharged when you walk amongst hundreds if not thousands of other party rental business owners who share your struggle. You’ll hear horror stories that will make you feel like you’ve got it all together, and you’ll hear success stories that will motivate you to kick off make your next season one for the books!

👉 Make the best of this off season with our Off Season Survival Kit!

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  • Attend The Parties!

There are after hour events sponsored by various vendors in the industry each night the week of IAAPA (after the show).  It’s a great opportunity to meet other operators and vendors/manufacturers.   Event Hawk will be hosting family friendly events on Wed 11/16 & Thur 11/18.   We can’t wait to meet all of you!  

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Other things to do in Orlando

Although the trade show is awesome, you really don’t need to go all 4 days. Plan to spend 1 or 2 days at the expo and the rest of the time consider visiting one of the many iconic sites nearby like Disney World or Universal Studios. If you are only going to the show for a couple of days there are a variety of things you can do in the area.

  • Disney Springs: It’s not as big as Disney World but you can stop here for a few hours for great photo ops and an all around great atmosphere.
  • Universal Studios: This is our family favorite and features epic rides for all ages.
  • Orlando Starflyer: Ride with double-seat swings, offering views from 450 feet up in the sky!
  • Fun Spot America Theme Parks: Roller coasters, kiddie rides, go carts, and arcade games.
  • ICON Park: Sizable destination with an observation wheel, aquarium & wax museum, plus shops & restaurants.
  • Ripley’s Believe It or Not!: Museum with kitschy oddities on display, including shrunken human heads & rare animal skeletons.
  • Legoland
  • SeaWorld Orlando
  • Dinner Shows
  • Water Parks
  • and the list goes on!  

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Where Should I Stay And Should I Bring My Family To IAAPA?

  • Should kids go to IAAPA?

YES! You will be like a kid in a candy store and so will your kids! You and your family can spend an entire day at the expo and not get bored.

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Where to stay during IAAPA

Orlando offers a variety of options ranging from hotels, condos, Airbnb, and even timeshares.   Some suggestions are: 

  • Cabana Bay
  • Vista Cay
  • Tru by Hilton
  • Rosen Hotel

Make sure wherever you stay is fairly close or you could be stuck in traffic trying to get to and from places for what seems like FOREVER!  

How Do I Get Tickets To IAAPA?

Tickets for IAAPA are not free but you can get guest passes so you can still get in for free. These guest passes are usually offered by vendors who will be exhibiting at the show. Ask one of the inflatable manufacturers or service providers you’ve done business with if they can give you guest passes. You can also contact us and we can point you in the right direction.

what is IAAPA Event Hawk Team photo

So should you go to IAAPA? The answer is a resounding YES!!! This trade show will inspire you like nothing else will. No YouTube video or Facebook Group can compare to what you’ll learn at IAAPA. You’ll see amazing things, you’ll meet incredible people who do what you do all over the world, and you’ll have conversations that will change the way you do business forever!

Win a FREE trip to IAAPA!

This year we’re doing something extra special and sending one lucky winner to IAAPA! Flights, hotel, and car rental will be covered. You can enter the giveaway here.

 

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