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With Theme Parks Spending, Orlando Attraction Companies Grow

Skyline Attractions displays its Harley Quinn ride car heading to Six Flags. Photo: Brendan Byrne
Skyline Attractions displays its Harley Quinn ride car heading to Six Flags. Photo: Brendan Byrne

The annual IAAPA Expo hosts amusement companies from around the world, but companies right here in Orlando are carving out a place in the growing amusement and attractions economy.

Orlando’s Skyline Attractions is pretty young by amusement company standards but it reached a big milestone: It sold a roller coaster to Six Flags.

The company unveiled its comic-book themed ride car this week at the IAAPA expo. Skyline’s Colin Coon said the appetite for new rides is increasing.  "It’s grown substantially in last seven or eight years. We came from absolutely nothing to selling a roller coaster in three years. Parks are spending more money.”

Coon says North American companies are taking a bigger piece of the $40 billion spent globally in the amusement park industry each year.

Skyline Attractions designs and manufactures its rides in Orlando, including the new DC Comic-themed Harley Quinn ride. Coon said the company's location in central Florida' tourism corridor is fueling growth.

“It’s really good for us to see industry trends right in our own backyard. We have a lot of customers that work in these parks, so it’s great to go and be able to meet with them, see what issues are, what they want from a ride and then go to our shop ten minutes away and start working on it,” he said.

More than 1,100 companies from around the world touted their products on the expo floor at the Orange County Convention Center. The week long event pumps about $50 million dollars into the local economy. The event runs through Friday.

Brendan Byrne is Central Florida Public Media's Assistant News Director, managing the day-to-day operations of the newsroom, editing daily news stories, and managing the organization's internship program. Byrne also hosts Central Florida Public Media's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration, and the weekly news roundup podcast "The Wrap."