Thursday, June 02, 2005

IAAPA Badge Changes Announced

Every year, coaster enthusiasts await snippets of news coming from those on the inside of the convention of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), hoping for a hint of what might be coming to their favorite parks. And for a number of years, those snippets have come from enthusiasts who have paid their way into the convention by way of their membership in the American Coaster Enthusiasts ("ACE").

Notably, ACE members receive "buyer" badges. These badge indicia have resulted in confusion, including Walter Bolliger of famed coaster designers Bolliger & Mabillard going into great detail about the technical specifications of the new B&M flying coaster with someone who turned out to be best known as TalonMakesMeHorny243 on CoasterBuzz. (Bolliger, in an exclusive ARN&R interview, was unable to explain why he thought a Six Flags buyer might be dressed in a stained "Want to check out my launch?" t-shirt and wearing a fanny pack, beyond saying that "You're weird.")

To help reduce such confusion, IAAPA announced today that ACE attendees will receive a "special" stamp along with their badge.

"We call it the 'legitimate' stamp," said spokesman Mark Graft. "Each ACE member will have an enormous 'L' stamped in indelible ink on their forehead, just to be sure everyone at the conference knows that ACE members are just as legitimately there as those people who are spending millions of dollars. We have the utmost respect for those people who spend sixty bucks on a season pass and sneak entire roasted turkeys into the parks to avoid spending a buck on food, and we want every one of the folks displaying at the conference to treat ACErs with the deference they're due. We believe the 'L' forehead stamp will go a long way to achieving that goal."

Joe "HotHydra" Pitsker, Volunteer IAAPA Badge Tester

ARN&R has learned that, depending on how the forehead stamp debut goes this fall, every major park chain and most independent parks are investigating the possibility of mandatory forehead 'L' brandings and/or tattoos for coaster enthusiasts.