Kids get a chance to rate new theme park rides, food
More than 1,100 exhibitors representing the $29 billion-a-year amusement industry snapped to attention Friday when a group of clipboard-toting fifth-graders marched in.
The eight Atlanta-area students took their jobs seriously as they evaluated the latest theme park rides, games and food, all on display at the massive International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions Expo.
Wearing brightly colored ''Kid Testers'' T-shirts, they scribbled notes and circled grades. It was the first time the association had reached out to children, and the companies were braced for candid reviews.
''Who's more honest than a kid?'' said Beth Robertson, the group's vice president of communications. ''It's a great opportunity to see who's going to be riding these things.''
The most glowing reviews followed rides on S&S Powers' 65-foot tall ''Screamin' Swing,'' set up outside the Georgia World Congress Center exhibit hall, where the expo for industry representatives ran Monday through Saturday. Only about half of the kid testers were brave enough to try out the big swing, but Josh Trainer returned for a second ride. ''I thought it was awesome, better than all the others inside,'' said Trainer, a home-schooled student from Dacula. ''I liked how high it goes.''
Some young testers also passed on the ''Disk'O,'' which whips riders around a big spinning circle. But Nigel Manley of West Clayton Elementary rated it ''totally cool.''
More than 1,100 exhibitors representing a $29 billion amusement industry snapped to attention Friday when a group of clipboard-toting fifth-graders marched into the exhibit hall. The Atlanta-area children, wearing ‘‘Kid Testers’’ T-shirts, were invited to try out the latest theme park rides, games and foods on display at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions Expo, which began Monday and ends today.
This is the first time the IAAPA has reached out to kids to experience and rate the new products, and the companies were braced for potentially candid reviews. ‘‘Who’s more honest than a kid?’’ asked IAAPA spokeswoman Beth Robertson. ‘‘It’s a great opportunity to see who’s going to be riding these things.’’ Snapfinger Elementary teacher Donna Brockmann said the IAAPA ‘‘wanted children who are outgoing and who have the ability to be critical.’’
The lucky eight fifth-graders took their job seriously as they dutifully scribbled notes and circled grades following each stop through the Georgia World Congress Center. Even so, Josh Trainer, a home-schooled student from Dacula, had chocolate syrup smeared on his official judging sheet after the first stop at the Cool Dog Ice Cream Sundae display. ‘‘It’s cold,’’ observed Nigel Manley of West Clayton Elementary, who was accompanied by his teacher, Eric Coburn.
As soon as the group finished off their hot dog-shaped ice cream treats, they were off to their first rides — the Zamperla company’s ‘‘Wave Blaster’’ and ‘‘Disk’O.’’ Two students refused to ride the daunting ‘‘Disk’O,’’ the biggest ride set up inside the convention center. Manley, however, graded the ride — which whips riders around a big spinning circle — ‘‘totally cool.’’ The biggest compliments came later when the kids were taken outside to S&S Powers’ 65-foot tall ‘‘Screamin’ Swing.’’ Only about half the kids were brave enough to ride the big swing, but Trainer, who was the first to volunteer, returned for a second ride.
‘‘I thought it was awesome, better than all the others inside,’’ Trainer said. ‘‘I liked how high it goes.’’ The students stayed grounded for other games and exhibits, including a 4-D theater that won positive reviews. ‘‘I liked the way it comes out of the picture at you,’’ said Bria Collins of Point South Elementary in Clayton County. Collins said she didn’t ride the “Disk’O.” ‘‘I thought I might get dizzy,’’ she said.
But Collins said the “Wave Blaster,” which takes riders in a circle while each seat moves up and down, was not exciting enough. ‘‘I thought it could go higher and faster,’’ Collins said. ‘‘Once you got on, it really wasn’t that scary.’’ Other students had unfavorable reviews of a ‘‘MagiQuest’’ interactive show where contestants do battle with magic wands. ‘‘We are Christians,’’ explained Zachrey Foster of Brookwood Elementary near Snellville. ‘‘We don’t believe in witchcraft.’’ Added Trainer: ‘‘That one had too much witchcraft in it.’’
Source : AP