3 local companies contributing to success of theme parks

All exhibiting in IAAPA 2021 expo

IAAPA Expo virtual reality gaming (McReynolds)

ORLANDO, Fla. – During the IAAPA Expo at the Orange County Convention Center, hundreds of companies from around the globe are eyeing owners and operators of theme parks.

More than 100 of those companies are Florida-based with several located in Central Florida.

One of those companies is Martin Aquatic.

The Orlando firm has helped lead and develop world-class water features for theme parks including Universal, SeaWorld and Walt Disney Parks around the globe.

Martin Aquatic at IAAPA Expo 2021 (McReynolds)

“Over the last 30 years, we have done about 100 different bodies of water at Disney, we’re doing active work at SeaWorld’s water parks, we do some work for Universal Parks and Resorts. Internationally, we have done big projects in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, " said Josh Martin, president and creative director of Martin Aquatic.

One of the company’s newest spotlight achievements is designing Royal Caribbean’s private island destination, CocoCay.

Martin Aquatic speaks about success in theme park industry

Designed as a $250 million transformation of the cruise line’s island in The Bahamas, Perfect Day at CocoCay island combines every amenity for travelers looking to thrill and chill on their vacation, from the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean to the tallest waterslide in North America and everything in between, the companies website describes.

Other major achievements from the company that Central Floridians might know is the design of the water features in the center of Disney Springs.

Disney Springs (Walt Disney World)

“We were the aquatic consultant on Disney Springs. The large 55,000 square foot, natural looking body of water,” Martin said. “We were one of the consultants in that team that was spearheaded by Walt Disney Imagineering. We have also worked on some of their end-of-day spectaculars all around the world.

Another company located in Central Florida is the global technology group, Accesso.

Accesso at IAAPA Expo 2021 (McReynolds)

The company in Lake Mary has 220 employees.

The company delivers a variety of things including ticketing services, virtual queuing, and mobile app technology for theme parks, ski resorts and entertainment venues.

“We’re the e-commerce provider for all the Six Flags parks, all the Cedar Fair parks. Locally, you would know Legoland Florida is our e-commerce and POS client for ticketing. So, most venues you can think of, we’re probably associated in some way, shape or form,” said Steve Brown, Accesso chief executive officer.

News 6 speaks with leaders with Accesso at IAAPA Expo

The company said during the coronavirus pandemic, guest behavior has shifted to a virtual options and that has changed how theme parks and venues operate.

“We’re working on more and more mobile capabilities (for the future). Everything needs to be in the palm of the guest’s hand, and anything we can do to extenuate that is part of our product road map,” Brown described.

When it comes to developing attractions and experiences, Central Florida is no stranger to it.

The area has a ton of companies looking to appeal to theme park owners and operators.

One of those companies is Orlando-based designer Skyline Attractions.

Skyline Attractions at IAAPA Expo 2021 (McReynolds)

The company has developed family-friendly flat rides, record-breaking wooden roller coasters and revolutionary new roller coaster track designs including the all-new children’s roller coaster, P’Sghetti Bowl.

The company was first established in 2014 by four theme park industry veterans who had a history in coaster design.

“We were working for another company in the industry for a long time, and seven years ago we decided to split off because the company we were working for kind of only based themselves on one product -- and we had a lot of other ideas that we wanted to manufacture and come up with and design,” said Chris Gray, vice president and partner of Skyline Attractions. “We wanted to design kid’s rides, roller coasters, and we really wanted to get into steel roller coasters cause you can do a lot more stuff with that.”

News 6 speaks with Skyline Attractions at IAAPA Expo

Since its inception, the company has designed a handful of attractions including the Tidal Twister at SeaWorld San Diego and Harley Quinn Crazy Coaster in California.

P’Sghetti Bowl is the company’s newest star attraction.

The weld-free track makes it easy for installation and is also cost effective for ride operators.

Skyliner Attractions model at IAAPA Expo 2021 (McReynolds)

“With the single-rail design and relatively modest size of these rides, we have the opportunity to be the first ride manufacturer to allow a park or FEC to theme the roller coaster track itself,” Gray said in a news release. “Instead of looking like a roller coaster track, it could now look like a snake, a racetrack, or whatever a customer wants to fit their theme.”

Skyline Attractions is just one of hundreds of companies that continue to innovate and help define the future of the theme park industry.

Use the form below to sign up for the ClickOrlando.com In the Loop: Theme Park Scoops newsletter, sent every Friday morning.


About the Author:

Landon joined News 6 in 2017. He grew up in Southern Illinois and graduated from Southern Illinois University with a bachelors degree in TV and digital media. When he is not at work you can catch him at one of Orlando's theme parks or the beach. Before working at News 6 he worked for stations in Miami and Fort Myers.