Thrill, suspense and exhilaration… it’s no wonder senior Dalton Fischer has loved roller coasters for as long as he can remember. Therefore, it was a no-brainer when he applied to work as an intern at Silver Dollar City. His position at SDC helped him become an ambassador at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions’ (IAAPA) International Attractions Expo (IAE), the largest tradeshow of its kind, held recently.
Dalton first applied to Silver Dollar City to work as an attractions intern. During his interview, he and his interviewer quickly realized that his marketing background and experience better aligned with a public relations internship. Dalton applied for the PR position later that day and was soon hired as their newest intern.
In this role, Dalton determines the publicity value of commercials or news features, sends tons of emails and evaluates the quality of bloggers and writers that may cover the park. He contacts bloggers, reporters and travelers to spark their interest in visiting SDC or he’ll issue press releases. These cover nearly any Silver Dollar City event ranging from the opening of an Old Time Christmas to winning an international blue grass award for distinguished performance. Dalton may send out hundreds of emails for a single press release. As an intern, he works under the Senior Publicist and Director of Public Relations.
Recently the focus of his attention has been the roller coaster, Time Traveler, a $26 million investment. For the world’s fastest, steepest and tallest spinning coaster, Dalton works on getting the word out about this new attraction while taking pictures of construction and keeping the press up to date on its status.
What shocked Dalton about his position was how much event management he does. He has helped with video shoots and has been involved with three Travel Channel specials. The first was simply about roller coasters; the next followed Jason Zone Fisher, a theme park enthusiast who goes around trying amusement park foods and rides; and finally, and most notably, the host of “Bizarre Foods”, Andrew Zimmern. Also well known in the industry for his viral videos is Robb Alvey, who travels with groups of coaster enthusiasts and films his rides. “I’m really into roller coasters so meeting him was awesome,” Dalton said.
While Dalton frequently works with local news, occasionally bigger news outlets cover Silver Dollar City happenings. They were once on Fox News in the travel section because a freelance blogger who works with the news channel visited the park so many times that he wrote about his experience and Fox ran the story.
Dalton’s work at SDC has given him valuable experience, helping him qualify to work as an ambassador at the International Attractions Expo this year. “Being part of IAE has been a long term goal for me. It’s what I was really hoping to do before I graduated college,” Dalton said. IAE is a 575,000 square feet trade show with more than 1,100 exhibitors, 20,000 buyers and is in the top 30 tradeshows as far as size.
“Anything that is involved with, or could be involved with an amusement or theme park, is there. You have engineering firms that build rollercoasters and then right across the aisle is Dippin’ Dots and right across from them is Coke, then by them is a security solution for bag checking. Literally anything that can be involved.”
Dalton, as an ambassador, helped run the show. Three days before the event, he headed to Orlando, also known as the theme park capital of the world, and joined the other 30 applicants where they prepped for the show, networked and participated in a philanthropy event. Once the show started, Dalton was able to use his marketing skills by running social media for the event.
Now that IAE is over, Dalton has another rollercoaster to ride. With graduation in December, he would like to stay in the amusement industry, unless he decides to continue his education. If he stays at Silver Dollar City, he’s interested in learning more about public relations and marketing at the park, since that can tie in his education in sales and marketing. If he did seek other opportunities, Dalton might work in sales for an engineering firm to see things from another side. This would also allow him to perhaps return to IAE, only this time as an exhibitor.