Saturday, November 19, 2011

Professional Development in Orlando at the IAAPA Conference

This past week Matt, Amanda M, Amanda G, Alex, Christy, Jessica, and Sheryl flew down to Orlando FL for the annual IAAPA convention. After meeting up at 3:30 am to catch our flight, our sleepy eyed crew headed to BWI to catch a plane to the sunshine state. Once we arrived in Orlando, we rented a car, turned up the air conditioning, and headed to the Orange County Convention Center.

Throughout the week we took several seminars that were geared specifically toward the theme park and attractions industry. Matt focused on learning more about water park development. Amanda M made sure to take plenty of seminars on marketing and social media. Sheryl and Christy learned more about group sales and management. Amanda G and Jessica studied safety regulations, employee development, and government compliance. Alex developed her knowledge of food and beverage trends and human resources.


We had a blast talking to vendors and trying out new products at the trade show. Amanda G. tried out 2 zip lines and plenty of slushies! Jessica, Sheryl, and Christy got water proof glitter tattoos, checked out some cool new locking key carabiners, and tried out several midway games. Amanda and Alex spoke with international exchange student programs for staffing, researched rock wall modifications and food items, and look into ordering water proof watches, and floating water proof cell phone carriers for smart phones.

While we were in Orlando we ate delicious food, courtesy of Matt! We scarfed down some tasty Thia food on Tuesday night. On Wednesday we hit up the House of Blues in Downtown Disney, and on Thursday we ate at Margarita-ville with our silly hats from our favorite balloon girl! We also went to Pat O'Briens at City Walk and sang along with the awesome piano players (even though they didn't get to our request! Sorry Jess!).

Luckily, we had to opportunity to work off all those extra calories at the Give Kids the World 5k. Matt and Amanda G finished with fantastic times. Alex learned that running isn't all the bad, as this was her first 5k. She did great! While running, Amanda M made a friend with a family visiting the park, and Jessica stopped to pet the neighborhood cat!

After an action packed week we landed in Baltimore and quickly realized we weren't in Orlando anymore. With record highs in the 80's all week, it took us a bit to acclimate to the chilly evening temperature.

We are beginning to type up and organize all of our notes from the conference, and are super inspired to bring positive change to River Riders with all of our new knowledge. We all feel as though next summer will be our most successful season ever with the help of all the experienced speakers from the IAAPA convention.

For more information on IAAPA or Give Kids the World, check out:
www.iaapa.org
www.gktw.org
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