Could this be the future of theme park food?

By Allison Walker Torres, Entertainment Reporter/Anchor
Last Updated: Friday, December 01, 2017, 6:46 PM EST

When you're at a theme park, you might grab for something like a Mickey Mouse ice cream bar, cotton candy or a big pretzel. But soon, you might have to "work" your way for a treat.

At the recent IAAPA Expo at the Orange County Convention Center, buyers and theme park enthusiasts got to try out a human-powered snow cone machine.

"It's not the snow cone that really sells — it's the adventure," said creator Joe Donoughe of Lake Mary. "When it comes down to it ... kids will be running in the wheel and not even realize that when they walk away, they're going to get a snow cone out of it."

His "Be A Hampster" experience has a human-sized hampster wheel that "powers" a crushed-ice dispenser. People can choose from a bunch of flavors for their DIY snow cone.

We also discovered a Dallas-based company that encourages interactivity with food. Chills 360 has a method to convert liquid to ice cream in 2 minutes.

"It's the freshest ice cream you can ever get," spokeswoman Javeria Nadeem said. "It's not just an ice cream, it's a show as well."

Staff demonstrated how they artfully prepare the icy treat in front of customers.

We all know that eating off a paper plate and walking isn't the easiest thing in the world. So we're seeing more and more food options that address that.

"A lot of the fast-casual concepts are going with the cone concepts," said David Ragosa of Kono Pizza. "They're trying to put stuff in a portable way to eat food."

Kono Pizza and their cone-shaped slices has been around since 2013, but it's now attracting the attention of buyers in the theme park industry.

Other edible attractions include a doughnut-flatbread hybrid and a Japanese ice cream concept that serves inventive flavors in fish-shaped waffle cones. So, just as the newest technologies are debuted at IAAPA every year, so is food, which is now more like food experiences.