IAAPA Celebrates at Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure This Off-Season

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Image Courtesy Staff Writer Haley.
Image Courtesy Staff Writer Jess.

IAAPA, the global association for the attraction industry, kicked off its annual expo in Orlando this year on Monday, November 18 with a colorful new logo, a bustling exhibitor show floor, and more than 100 educational opportunities lined up through Friday, November 22. Nerds was present throughout the week.

Every year, thousands of professionals working in theme parks, museums, zoos, and every other entertainment facility you can think of flock to Orlando during a time when most tourists and locals are staying indoors. Though the sunshine state certainly lives up to its name nearly all year round, cold winds aren’t exactly ideal when skipping through a theme park, and an organization centered around the leisure industry like IAAPA knows it.

It’s when IAAPA hosts their Celebration event, a one night only separately ticketed party that always takes place at a nearby Orlando theme park that just so happens to have flexible winter hours ripe for an after-hours park rental (November). This year, IAAPA Celebrates took place at Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure theme park.


As with most Celebrates events, the chosen park played host on Thursday night from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. and offered attendees dinner, dessert, beverages, and – best of all – access to attractions. For Universal, this included the recently opened Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure.

For members, the standard four hour wait time that’s been plaguing Hagrid since opening day dropped to just 30 minutes, which is still a little long for a Celebrates event. All around the park, rides like Skull Island: Reign of Kong and even Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey were a mere 15 minutes or less.

Another perk of partying in November? The Nighttime Lights At Hogwarts Castle holiday show was available and played during the event, plus plenty of other live entertainment such as the Frog Choir, Triwizard Spirit Rally, and an interactive DJ.

To learn more about the IAAPA Expo and their exclusive events, visit iaapa.org.

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By Jess
Jess is a 90’s Slytherin who loves cartoons (Go Team Venture!) and 15-minute theme park queue lines. She spends most of her free time reading and writing about the hurry-you'll-miss-it, always exciting themed entertainment/experience industry. You can find her on social @shockscribble
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