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Amusement Parks: Queueing for Devon’s Finest Fudge at the IAAPA Expo


(three Englishmen were once put in an empty room, under laboratory conditions, and after a few hours they were found to have formed an orderly queue, complete with much tutting, sighing and drumming of fingers on elbows. One was reading a copy of the Times despite there having been no newspaper in the labs that day).

We had a queue on the Blooloop home page last week, ostensibly to illustrate a story about Lo-Q plc ( see: Lo-Q and Irisys Partner to deliver queue management solutions to the Theme Park industry) but appearing as it did on the day of the US Election it was somehow appropriate as queues were very much a feature of that day too.

Obama’s election was a momentous day in both US and world politics and the debate now rages here in the UK as to whether such an occurrence (eg a black Prime Minister) could ever happen here. Being as in a year or so it looks very likely that the 3 most powerful politicians in the land, the Prime Minister, his Chancellor and the London Mayor will not only have been to the same public school at roughly the same time but also been members of the very same drinking club at the same university it seems unlikely. This is either an incredible state of affairs so statistically improbable as to defy meaningful analysis or perhaps, despite what Tony Blair once said, the English class system is alive and kickin’.

There will be a lot of information exchange – formally, as in sessions, and informally, as in schmoozing – going on at next week’s IAAPA Expo in Orlando. I like to think that our industry is free of bias and that all the speakers at the conference have been chosen for their specific expertise and experience, and not because they went to the same school. Especially because this year, I am one of the speakers!

I am taking part in a roundtable discussion looking at the uses of Web 2.0 for our industry. If you do have the time to spare, there are some great speakers with me in this session, including Rob Gallardo and Mark Kupferman from Universal Orlando. The details are:

Session: Social Media 201 Roundtables: Online Social Networking & Web 2.0

Date/Time: 11/18/2008 at  4:30:00 PM to 5:45:00 PM

Location: S330EF

Other industry figures whose sessions you might want to check out include Tom Mehrmann (CEO, Ocean Park), Nick Varney (CEO Merlin Entertainments Group) and Dick Kinzel (CEO of the Cedar Fair Corporation). The whole conference is packed out with great educational sessions and  events that are well worth occasionally tearing yourself away from the Blooloop stand (please stop by booth #6008 and say hello, before all the clotted cream fudge is gone).

While on the subject of national pride, the UK-based Blooloop tips its hat to Nick Farmer of UK-based Farmer Attraction Development, who is finishing out his year as the first European president of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). Nick will pass the gavel to incoming president Steve Thorburn of Thorburn Associates, during TEA’s annual membership meeting at IAAPA (See: Steve Thorburn is the New President-Elect of TEA)

And speaking of Lo-Q, a contract extension with their biggest client, Six Flags has produced a good day in the markets, as Thomson Reuter’s Interactive Investor reports:

“Shares in Lo-Q Plc jump 17 percent to 34.5 pence after the virtual queuing system supplier signs an extended agreement with U.S. theme park operator Six Flags, which will see more of Lo-Q’s ‘Flash Pass’ systems installed at the American group’s theme parks.

"Six Flags, Lo-Q’s largest customer, is increasing the number of parks that will be using Lo-Q’s technology next year by two to 10. This, with the news that one million visitors used Lo-Q’s Flash Pass this year, should imply upgrades for both this year and next year’s forecasts, " says Arbuthnot analyst Robert Sanders, who reiterates his ‘strong buy’ recommendation on the stock.”

So, off to Orlando, leaving these grey dreary skies behind. (And not just yours truly, but also my wife and three children are queuing up to board the transatlantic plane, bound for Florida’s sunny pleasures and some first-hand exploration of Orlando’s legendary themed attractions – and queues – on which we will report back.)

Let’s hope it’s another great show for us all!

See also: The Dark Side of Themed Entertainment, A chat with Nick Farmer

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Rachel Reed

Rachel Read

Rachel is Finance Director. She has a degree in engineering from Cambridge University and qualified as a Chartered Accountant at Deloittes in London. She worked in finance in industry for twenty years. She oversees our news and also manages our events.

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