Four Reasons to Attend the IAAPA Asian Attractions Expo

May 15, 2018

JRA is a proud silver sponsor of the IAAPA Asian Attractions Expo.

JRA is a proud silver sponsor of the IAAPA Asian Attractions Expo.

June is right around the corner, and that means it's almost time for the IAAPA Asian Attractions Expo (AAE)! This year in Hong Kong, you'll see our team at Booth 720 on the show floor, as well as at the educational sessions, mixers, and special events throughout the conference.


Stop by and say hello, and let us know how together we can dream, design, and realize your next project. Also, be sure to attend the JRA-sponsored AAE Leadership Breakfast, featuring Dr. Allan Zeman, Chairman of Hong Kong's influential Lan Kwai Fong Group. 


The theme for the 2018 AAE show is "it's all here" - and we can see why! Here are four reasons why AAE is an event we wouldn't miss: 

2018AAE展的主是“一切在 -  可以看到其原因所在就是四个我不能错过 AAE的理由。

1. 15 Education Sessions Led by Industry Experts
This year, the conference offers even more unique and compelling learning opportunities to enhance your business! There will be 15 education sessions led by industry experts to share their insight on current industry trends. Join us, acquire best practices, and gain business insights here.

1. 15场由行业专家主讲的教育会议

2. Special Events – Great Opportunities to Network!
You can also take part in the Expo's special events to strengthen your network with industry peers. Opening Ceremony, Opening Night Reception (to celebrate IAAPA's 100th year anniversary), Leadership Breakfast, and Lunch and Learn, are just some highlights of networking opportunities during AAE 2018.

2. 特别活动——拓展人脉的良机!

3. Exclusive EDUTours to Hong Kong's Renowned Attractions
IAAPA members can participate in exclusive EDUTours to Ocean Park Hong Kong and Hong Kong Disneyland to learn the behind-the-scenes operation of two of the top attractions in the city.

3. 独家考察游 参观香港著名景点

4. Explore the Expansive Trade Show Floor
On the trade show floor, there will be over 300 companies from 30 countries and regions displaying new products and services. AAE 2018's international profile will keep your attractions on the cutting edge of success.

4. 博览会现场 规模庞大展品众多

The IAAPA Asian Attractions Expo takes place from 5-8 June at the Hong Kong Conference and Exhibition Centre. Register today at, and we'll see you there!





Tags: JRA Journeys , Outside the Studio

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Flip This Museum! Shawn McCoy Helps Children's Museums Turn Struggles Into Success

May 14, 2018

Shawn McCoy

Shawn McCoy

At this year's Association of Children's Museums Interactivity 2018 Conference, JRA Vice President Shawn McCoy moderates a "Flip This Museum: Real World Techniques That Turn Struggles Into Success," a session on how museums can overcome and pave the way toward a more successful future.

While children’s museums are nonprofit institutions created to serve their communities, many facilities underperform or ultimately fail due to a variety of financial and operational issues. In this engaging and interactive session, attendees will first hear from two museum directors who have taken on such challenges and transformed their museums into institutions built for long-term success. Next, two economic and management consultants will share how to identify and solve various financial and operational problems. Attendees will then test out new knowledge by examining a fictional case study of a struggling museum.

Panelists for Shawn's session include: 

  • Sally Edwards, Marble Kids Museum
  • Ainslie Brosig, expERIEnce Children's Museum
  • Sarah Linford, AECOM
  • Ray Glang, Management Resources 

In addition to his concept development, business development and marketing roles as VP of JRA, Shawn McCoy is globally recognized as a thought leader in the themed entertainment industry, crafting and sharing presentations on industry trends, intellectual property, branded attractions, theme park technology, the impact of globalization, and immersive storytelling. Shawn has served as a speaker, panelist, or moderator for conference sessions around the world, including the Themed Entertainment Association’s SATE Conference, the Future of Immersive Leisure Conference, the China Summit, and the Museum Education for Children Symposium, and has been a featured contributor for numerous webinars.

For the past eight years, he has presented the session “Emerging Trends in Immersive Design” at the annual International Association for Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) Expo to standing-room-only crowds. He has been interviewed as a trends expert by global industry and mainstream publications, including Forbes, Quartz Magazine, and CNN and has many internationally published articles to his credit. He is currently a member of the Association of Children's Museums Education Committee and is Museum Subcommittee Chair for the Themed Entertainment Association's Thea Award Committee.

"As exhibit designers, our focus is on creating engaging visitor experiences that allow children to better understand the world around them. However, we understand that for a children's museum to be truly successful, its leadership has to be equally focused on economics and operations.

With this in mind, we wanted to create a session that speaks to the daily challenges that museum leaders face to keep their institutions operating as effective and efficient businesses. Our hope is that the lessons provided by our panel of museum leaders and consultants will provide session attendees with a variety of valuable tools that will help them to continue to successfully serve their communities and meet their missions." - Shawn McCoy

"Flip This Museum" takes place Wednesday, May 16 at 1:15 p.m. If you're attending InterActivity, it's a session you won't want to miss. 


Tags: JRA Journeys , JRA Team , Outside the Studio

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Emerging Trends in Immersive Design - Shawn McCoy's 2017 IAAPA Presentation

December 18, 2017

Shawn McCoy. Photo courtesy Owen Ralph of Blooloop

Shawn McCoy. Photo courtesy Owen Ralph of Blooloop

 What differentiates a fad from a trend? How are VR, AR, AI, and IP transforming the experential design landscape? 

JRA Vice President Shawn McCoy answered these questions and more as part of his "Emerging Trends in Immersive Design" presentation at the 2017 International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) Expo. For the seventh consecutive year, Shawn offered a fast-paced, full-of-cool-things presentation featuring the latest standout experiences in the attractions and leisure industries. But this year, he also shared the technologies, techniques and traits that comprise trends and give them lasting value.

Didn't make it to IAAPA this year, or want to catch Shawn's presentation again? Enjoy the video below and/or email Clara Rice at for a transcript. Thanks for watching!

Tags: Blog N Learn , JRA Journeys , JRA Team

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JRA's Chloe Hausfeld Receives International Industry Award at IAAPA Expo

November 20, 2017

Chloe Hausfeld

Chloe Hausfeld

Last week, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) named JRA Director of Marketing and Business Development, Chloe Hausfeld, its 2017 Young Professional of the Year. The recognition and accompanying award were given at the annual IAAPA Attractions Expo's GM and Owners Breakfast by IAAPA Young Professionals Sub-Committee Chair, Will B. Morey, ICAE.

The IAAPA Young Professional of the Year Award honors members who demonstrate a dedication to the attractions industry through strong leadership, teamwork, and integrity, while continually developing their knowledge and experience. The Young Professional must also be a strong advocate of IAAPA’s mission to support, grow, and nurture the amusement park and attractions industry.


Chloe Hausfeld and Will B. Morey

The IAAPA Young Professional of the Year recipient is determined by the association’s Membership Committee. Hausfeld was selected from a strong list of candidates on account of her professionalism, leadership ability, and passion for the industry. “In her short time in the industry, Chloe has made a name for herself by working tirelessly and dedicating herself to advancing the missions of JRA and IAAPA,” said Morey. “She speaks candidly and is a motivating force to those around her.”

As Director, Marketing and Business Development, Chloe Hausfeld’s leadership efforts and relationship management abilities have greatly contributed to JRA’s penetration into the Asia-Pacific market, and
she frequently attends high-level meetings with current and perspective clients from around the world. Within the office, Hausfeld is a chief strategist in the studio’s marketing and business development department, contributing to discussions as to which projects JRA should pursue. She also helps coordinate trade show logistics, business travel, and employee enrichment activities. Prior to JRA, Hausfeld received her Bachelors Degree in Special Education from the University of Cincinnati.

2017 IAAPA Advocacy Day

Upon entering the industry, Hausfeld immediately became involved in several IAAPA committees and initiatives, including the Young Professionals Committee and Manufacturers and Suppliers Committee. In addition, for the last two years, she has represented both IAAPA and the State of Ohio in IAAPA’s Advocacy Day activities, lobbying Ohio senators and representatives on the issues faced by the entertainment industry.


IAAPA Young Professionals Committee

Most recently, Hausfeld joined IAAPA’s Give Kids the World (GKTW) Committee to help organize the various charity events hosted by IAAPA during Expo week. GKTW Village is an 84-acre, nonprofit “storybook” resort in Central Florida, where children with life-threatening illnesses and their families are treated to weeklong, cost-free vacations. Events include a motorcycle ride, a golf outing, and the Footsteps from the Heart 5K/1K through GKTW Village.

2017 JRA Give Kids the World Team at IAAPA

“I have had the very distinct pleasure of watching her grow up (literally) in our industry,” said Dan Schultz, JRA Chief Operating Officer. “I know that I speak for all of us at JRA when I say that we are extremely proud and thrilled that Chloe has received this prestigious award. Her passion and dedication serve as a prime example of the new wave of talented professionals that will lead the charge as our industry continues to grow and prosper.”

From left, JRA Team Members Dan Schultz, Linda Round, Chloe Hausfeld, Shawn McCoy

“Just being nominated is humbling, but to actually be the recipient of the 2017 IAAPA Young Professional of the Year Award is beyond words,” said Hausfeld. “I’m unbelievably honored to receive the award, and I’m grateful to those who contributed to the nomination. To say that I am lucky to able to do what I do is an understatement, and I look forward to many more years in the ‘Industry of Fun’!”

Keith James and Chloe Hausfeld

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Conference World Tour 2017: Immersing Myself in SATE

September 15, 2017

Hi! Clara, Blogger-in-Chief, here.

Storytelling is as old as human speech (and perhaps far older). While storytelling techniques have changed throughout the centuries, the need for audiences to step outside of their everyday lives and become immersed in compelling narratives remains steadfast.

Today’s technological marvels allow designers, fabricators, and engineers to create innumerable worlds through which visitors can laugh, cry, scream, and dance. In order to craft tmagical places and spaces, these creators must have opportunities to converge and network, to share their successes and failures, to teach and to learn.

The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) SATE conference offers just such an opportunity. SATE explores the art and craft of experience design (Storytelling + Architecture + Technology = Experience), and on October 5 and 6, TEA and SATE will welcome over 200 industry professionals to California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in Los Angeles.

Under the theme “The Future of Immersive Realities,” more than a dozen speakers will address such topics as the intersection of art and technology, immersive theater, and why the TV show Westworld may not deviate that far from real life. Michael Jung of Walt Disney Imagineering will offer a keynote conversation, moderated by Travis Preston, dean of the CalArts School of Theater.

Michael Jung. All photos courtesy TEA.

Over the years, SATE has been held mostly in the US, but recently the SATE calendar has expanded to include meetings in Europe and Asia. Last spring, SATE Europe took place in Beaulieu UK, and a few weeks after SATE 2017 LA, Beijing will host the first SATE Asia on November 3-5. The type of venue for SATE varies, but to underscore its educational and professional development nature, the conference is often held at a university with a themed entertainment degree program. CalArts goes one better: Not only is its curriculum complementary to the industry TEA serves; the school was founded by Walt Disney for that very purpose.

As a TEA International Board Member, SATE is one of the highlights of my professional calendar. Every year I arrive excited to reunite with friends, greet new members, and discover new ideas. And every year, SATE delivers. I leave with my mind blown, my (virtual) Rolodex full, and my spirit stirred to implement the insights I’ve gleaned from my distinguished colleagues.

By virtue of my love for SATE, I wanted to delve a little deeper into the secret of its success. Luckily, my good friend and SATE Co-Chair, Chris Conte of Electrosonic, was more than happy to oblige.

SATE 2017 LA Chairs

CR: You co-chaired last year’s SATE in New York City. What brought you back this year?

CC: I’ve been involved in the planning of previous SATE conferences, and I have always enjoyed the process. That said, the SATE conference is evolving into its refined format and I wanted to participate in the long-term planning and strategy for future SATE conferences. As we grow these events and begin to produce them for our international membership and community, we are setting in place processes and expectations for SATE to ensure the SATE conference is consistent wherever we take it around the world. It’s a very exciting time for the expansion of our SATE conference program.

CR: Talk about the curatorial process – how did you arrive at “The Future of Immersive Realities”?

CC: We felt strongly that the host city should be an important component of our theme. Los Angeles is the film, TV, and video gaming content capital, and because there is a huge trend to develop immersive experience based on film, TV, and video gaming content (IP), I thought it would be of interest to our SATE audience to explore the challenges of converting this “Hollywood content” into dynamic attractions, museum tours, and all levels of a guest experience.

[VP of BaAM Productions and TEA Past President] Christine Kerr pointed out that this theme concept resonated because there is an obvious connection between media producers and experience attractions as well as the current cross-cultural addiction to handheld screens and its wide-reaching influences (second screening, emoticon as language, avatars, reduced attention spans, push vs. pull content, etc.). It was a nice brainstorming effort with key industry leaders that made this happen.

I’ve been impressed by our SATE chair teams over the past few years. This year, I successfully recruited a few leaders from the film industry (producers, art directors, visual effects, etc.) as well as icons in our industry who have great experience across the board. I feel that my current team fits this requirement perfectly.

Last year's co-chairs - Conte, Traci Klainer of Luce, and Michael Blau of Adirondack Studios - discuss the importance of taking risks at SATE 2016 NYC.

CR: One could look at the title of this year’s conference and think, “oh, another conference on AR and VR,” but your session schedule alludes to a more diversified approach. Without revealing too many SATE secrets, what can audiences expect to learn this year, and what “knowledge nuggets” would you like them to walk away with?

CC: Funny you should ask. Presentations about AR and VR are exactly what we did NOT want to do. There is already so much buzz about AR/VR and we felt there was no reason for us to re-hash the same topic. I also suspect there is nothing new and groundbreaking about AR/VR that the industry is not already aware of.

Immersion in the themed entertainment world is so much more than an electronic recreation and media content additives via AR. Also, the isolation that is inherent to VR is very off-putting in my opinion. Immersion is best served as a group experience. Immersion is to design and blend unique elements to create experiences using all the tools available from architecture, technology, and dynamic storytelling.

We wanted to explore the use of all these elements in creating new and exciting immersive worlds. One of the big lessons I want our audience to take away is that we all have unique skills that can play a role in creating these immersive worlds. It can’t just consist of virtual software and hardware. I want our audience to be inspired to engage and contribute.

SeaWorld's Brian Morrow reviews a NextGen portfolio during GibGab at SATE 2015 Carnegie Mellon.

CR: One of the components of this year’s SATE is GibGab, a product of the TEA’s NextGen program in which students and recent graduates engage in a rapid-fire round of interviews with top industry leaders – speed dating meets “Shark Tank”! As SATE Co-Chair and as a hiring manager, what does GibGab bring to SATE and to the TEA NextGen program as a whole?

CC: GibGab is all about preparing new talent for our industry. For years, new graduates from universities were schooled well on the subject matter but were not ready for the real-world challenges that awaited them. The SATE/GibGab format helps with perspective, informs them about real-world challenges, opens their minds to future possibilities, and hopefully inspires them to think freely. They witness first hand that no one person has all the answers. Success is a collaborative effort of talent, diligence, and most importantly, hard work. The most important thing for the GibGab audience can take away is that you never stop learning.

CR: Why is SATE important to the TEA’s mission?

CC: SATE is all about challenging our thought processes and how we do things. Specifically, SATE is about challenging our audience to think differently and explore new ideas. We guide content and encourage our speakers to offer new ideas and challenge the norm. We know that audiences come to SATE to see presentations that are thought-provoking and even controversial about how we normally approach design and implement ideas. It’s also one of the best opportunities to network with interesting people both inside and outside of our industry.

The themed entertainment industry is growing and diversifying at a rate heretofore unimaginable. In order to sustain this pace, we as industry professionals must continue to meet new challenges, seek new answers, and benefit from each other’s expertise. I hope you will join me at SATE to hear professionals from within and without our industry tell stories about better ways of telling stories. If you’re like me, you’ll leave with a fresh perspective on the role of immersive realities in creating narratives that engage minds, evoke emotions, and conjure memories to last a lifetime.

The Themed Entertainment Association’s SATE Conference takes place October 5-6 on the campus of CalArts in Valencia, California, USA. To find out more about the TEA, purchase tickets to SATE, and view sessions from previous SATE Conferences, please visit JRA is a proud global sponsor of the Themed Entertainment Association.

Industry professionals gather for a museum tour during SATE 2016 NYC.

Tags: JRA Journeys , JRA Team , Outside the Studio

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