Sunday, June 30, 2013

Downtown Disney transformation preview at TEA member event July 15

The multi-year transformation of Downtown Disney into Disney Springs will build a unique destination that treats guests to significantly more shopping, dining and entertainment amid beautiful open-air promenades, meandering springs and waterfront charm. Members of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) are invited to attend a creative overview on July 15, 2013.

Signup is required, and capacity is limited. The event runs from 5:30-8:00 p.m on July 15 and is organized by TEA's Eastern Division. It includes a mixer at Downtown Disney Splitsville and group tours of the Downtown Disney Springs Preview Center. 

RSVP/more information:

Signup deadline: July 10, 2013 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

New York: July 12 behind-the-scenes at T-Mobile All-Star Fanfest (MLB) hosted by Themed Entertainment Association

Join the Eastern Division of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) for an exclusive, behind-the-scenes tour of T-Mobile All-Star Fanfest – Major League Baseball’s cornerstone marketing event.

This event is sponsored
by BaAM Productions. BaAM Productions works with Major League Baseball’s Special Events Department to design and manage all aspects of this immersive fan experience. BaAM President and Project Director Annemarie Roe will give a tour of the event and a look at the design and planning process BaAM undertakes each year, in collaboration with MLB and their partners, to create a unique event for each city where the All-Star Game and All-Star FanFest are presented. A mixer will follow the tour.

Date/time: July 12, 2013, 6:00-8:00 p.m.

The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center of New York
655 West 34th Street
New York, NY 10001
Enter off 11th Avenue – follow the signs to the “Special Guest Entrance”

RSVP/more information:

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

TEA Box Office opens for SATE '13 design conference, Oct 3-4 at SCAD in Savannah, Georgia

Registration for SATE '13 is open at the TEA Box Office. Discounts are available for TEA members and for students (TEA NextGen members).

SATE is the annual design conference of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). SATE '13 takes place Oct 3-4 in Savannah, Georgia USA.

SATE is for designers, producers, architects, operators, owners, technical designers and integrators, fabricators, vendors, students and newcomers. SATE stands for Storytelling, Architecture, Technology, Experience.

Host venue: Savannah College of Art & Design.
Presenting sponsor: Christie.

More information: Visit the SATE '13 blog.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Glendale: TEA Western Division mixer July 11 honors the Enchanted Tiki Room

Damon's Steakhouse Tiki Bar, Glendale Calif.
It's the 50th anniversary of Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room!
Put on your best Hawaiian shirt and commemorate the occasion in style with the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA)!

6-9 pm, Thurs July 11, 2013
Damon’s Steakhouse Tiki Bar
317 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale, CA 91203

Attire: Aloha Wear
No-host bar
No RSVP necessary
Open to everyone in the attractions business - TEA members and non-members are all welcome

Surprise guests/speakers TBD.
Organized by the TEA Western Division. Lynn Allmandinger, president.

Monday, June 17, 2013

TEA and AECOM publish 2012 Theme Index/Museum Index report on June 4, showing increased attendance at parks worldwide

Annual report of global attendance at theme, amusement and water parks also includes data for museums. Download the report free of charge at this link.

The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) and AECOM have published the 2012 Theme Index: Global Attractions Attendance Report on June 4, 2013. The annual calendar-year study of attendance at major theme parks, amusement parks and water parks shows increases nearly across the board at major parks, with strong performance in both North America and Asia.

Attendance at the top 25 amusement/theme parks worldwide grew 5.2 percent, to 205,906,000 visits in 2012.
Attendance at the top 20 water parks worldwide grew by 5.5 percent, to 25,100,000 visits in 2012 [Note: water parks figures updated June 5, 2013]. For the first time, museums are included in the report this year, with 98,486,000 visits at the top 20 museums worldwide.

The Theme Index is a collaboration of TEA, an international non-profit for the visitor attractions industry, and the economics practice of AECOM, a global provider of technical-professional and management-support services.

The largest amusement/theme park market remained North America, with 131,555,000 visits to the continent’s 20 largest parks in 2012, up by 3.6 percent from 2011. Asia’s amusement/theme park market continues to grow rapidly, achieving 108,689,000 visits to its 20 largest parks in 2012, up 5.8 percent from 2011. Continuing to struggle with the effects of the Euro crisis, the top 20 amusement/theme parks in Europe saw attendance decline marginally to 57,954,000 visits in 2012, down 0.3 percent from 2011. Despite significant declines at a few of Latin America’s amusement/theme parks, the top 10 amusement/theme and water parks in the market grew by 2.6 percent to 13,199,000 visits in 2012.

The top 20 water parks in North America grew by 2.2 percent to reach 15,386,000 visits in 2012. The top 15 water parks in Asia grew significantly faster at 7.4 percent, achieving 15,999,000 visits in 2012.

The top 20 museums in Europe had 71,536,000 visits in 2012, followed by the top 20 museums in North America with 55,816,000 visits, and the top 20 museums in Asia with 41,568,000 visits. In contrast to the amusement/theme parks and water parks, all of which charge an entry fee, the museums include those with both paid and free entry.

The complete Theme Index/Museum Index report examines attendance trends by geographic region and park type, and will include rankings of top attractions. The full report is available at this link.

About TEA 

The TEA (Themed Entertainment Association) is an international nonprofit alliance founded in 1991 and based in Burbank, Calif. TEA represents some 7,000 creative specialists, from architects to designers, technical specialists to master planners, scenic fabricators to artists, and builders to feasibility analysts working in more than 900 firms in 40 different countries. TEA presents the annual Thea Awards and the TEA Summit and hosts the annual SATE conferences (Story, Architecture, Technology, Experience). TEA produces a variety of print and electronic publications, including the annual TEA/AECOM Theme Index, TEA Annual & Directory and Thea Awards Program. Visit TEA: on the web at

About AECOM 

AECOM is a global provider of professional technical and management support services to a broad range of markets, including transportation, facilities, environmental, energy, water and government. With approximately 45,000 employees around the world, AECOM is a leader in all of the key markets that it serves. AECOM provides a blend of global reach, local knowledge, innovation and technical excellence in delivering solutions that create, enhance and sustain the world's built, natural, and social environments. A Fortune 500 company, AECOM serves clients in more than 140 countries and had revenue of $8.2 billion during the 12 months ended March 31, 2013. More information on AECOM and its services can be found at

Season Pass Podcast interviews Thea Awards recipients and TEA Summit speakers

Podcasting at the 2013 Thea Awards. L to R: Douglas Barnes, Brent Young, Robert Coker, Andrew Hansen. Photo: Martin Palicki, IPM.
For the third consecutive year the Season Pass Podcast, hosted by Douglas Barnes, is posting audio coverage of the annual Summit and Thea Awards of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). The 2013 events are being covered in a 4-part series, for which Barnes, with colleagues Robert Coker and Brent Young, interviewed project owners and creatives about the Thea recipient projects, sharing behind the scenes information and personal journeys.

Part 2 of the four-part series (Episode #236) was released June 16 and includes a conversation with Christine Kerr, President of the TEA & VP of BaAM Productions, discussing Matt Ouimet’s keynote address and TEA's NextGen initiative. Part 2 also includes an interview with Michael Mack (Europa-Park & Mack Rides) on Europa-Park's receiving the Thea Classic Award.

Also in Part 2, Joe Rohde of Walt Disney Imagineering discusses the Aulani Resort on Oahu - named for a Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement.

The previous Episode #234, Part 1 of the TEA Summit/Thea coverage, includes conversations with Frank Stanek, recipient of the Buzz Price Thea Award for a Lifetime of Outstanding Achievements; Bart de Boer, CEO of Efteling, which received a Thea Award for its Aquanura attraction; and a discussion about the creative process with the team behind the Big-O Show from Yeosu Expo 2012.

Also of interest from 2013:
231- The Frank Stanek Interview 4/22/13
229- The Matt Ouimet Interview 3/28/13
228- 2013 Thea Awards Preview w/ Kathy Oliver & Patrick Roberge 3/26/13
227- The Christine Kerr Interview 3/20/13

From 2012:
202- Thea Awards Pt.3-Charles Phoenix, Lorenz Ruittimann, Ron Miziker & More 6/13/12
197- Thea Awards Pt.2-Joe Rohde, Jeremy Railton, Franco Dragone Group & More 4/17/12
196- Thea Awards Pt.1-Joel Manby, Nancy Cartwright, Disney Entertainment & More 4/5/12
191- TEA and Thea Awards Beginnings w/ Rick Rothschild & Ron Miziker 2/6/12

From 2011:
163- The 17th Annual Thea Awards (Part 3) 5/11/11
162- The 17th Annual Thea Awards (Part 2) 4/24/11
161- The 17th Annual Thea Awards (Part 1) 4/17/11
24- The Gene Jeffers (TEA) Interview 04/21/08

Business Development mentoring for the attractions industry: June 19 TEA workshop in Burbank

Roberta Perry
Burbank, Calif. USA -- Business Development Mentoring for Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) members will be led June 19 by top business development pros Roberta Perry of Edwards Technologies and Kelly Ryner of Thinkwell Group. 

This lunchtime workshop is designed for TEA's younger or newer members who are starting out in the attractions industry. It will be held at Thinkwell's offices in Burbank, 12:30-1:30 pm. 

Space is limited. Reservations are required and limited to one individual per TEA member company. To sign up or for more information, email Gene Jeffers,

Roberta Perry is VP of Business Development at Edwards Technologies Inc. (ETI) and a past president of TEA. Kelly Ryner is Senior VP of Global Business
Kelly Ryner
Development at Thinkwell Group. The session was organized by the TEA Past Presidents' Advisory Committee.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Initial TEA Asia Pacific Division Board Elected

Christine Kerr
SINGAPORE – “The Themed Entertainment Association is pleased to announce the results of the first election for the new Asia Pacific Division of our international alliance,” said TEA International Board President Christine Kerr of BaAM Productions. “The new Division has been formed to help organize and produce activities of interest and value to TEA members and their clients throughout the region, such as business networking, educational events and behind-the-scenes visits to project sites. Our goal is to help foster excellence and best practices within the rapidly growing Asian sector of the attractions industry.”

The new Asia Pacific Board takes effect immediately and includes:
  • Chris Yoshii (AECOM) - President of the Asia Pacific Board
  • Shahryn Azmi (JRA Malaysia)
  • Quan Gan (Darklight Precision Lighting System)
  • May Kan (Adirondack Asia)
  • Shumei Li (Birket Engineering Asia)
  • Ron Merriman (MR Profun China)
  • Peter Sanderson (Sanderson Group)
  • Anthony Van Dam (Forrec)
  • Ken Wheatley (Christie Digital Asia Pacific)

Kerr thanked the members of the Interim Board that was established to help form the new Division, including Interim Board President Chris Conte (Electrosonic) and Interim Board Members Rick Rothschild (FAR Out! Creative Direction)m David Aion (Weber Group), Steve Birket (Birket Engineering), Thomas Bridges (ATI), Jeff Mayer (Bassenian Lagoni), Liz Terry (Attractions Management), Phil Hartley (Philip Hartley & Associates), Peter McGrath (Walt Disney Imagineering) and Louie Allen (Adirondack Studios). She also thanked all of the candidates who participated in this initial election. Kerr added there would be a second round of voting to complete the Asia Pacific Board.

Chris Yoshii
Chris Yoshi said, “The themed entertainment industry in Asia is poised to undergo a massive growth in investment, innovation and geographic expansion. The timing is perfect to establish TEA's Asia Pacific division to provide a common platform and network to develop the industry in a professional and sustainable manner. I look forward to working with the Board and members to clearly define the programs and member benefits suitable to the Asia Pacific market.”

Judy Rubin, +1 314 853-5210
Gene Jeffers, +1 818 843-8497

About the TEA
The TEA (Themed Entertainment Association) is an international nonprofit alliance founded in 1991 and based in Burbank, Calif. TEA represents some 7,000 creative specialists, from architects to designers, technical specialists to master planners, scenic fabricators to artists, and builders to feasibility analysts working in more than 900 firms in 40 different countries. TEA presents the annual Thea Awards and the TEA Summit, and hosts the annual SATE conference (Story, Architecture, Technology, Experience). TEA produces a variety of print and electronic publications, including the annual TEA/AECOM Theme Index & Museum Index, the TEA Annual & Directory and the Thea Awards Program. Visit for more information.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Aram Ebben and Stefan Lawrence are co-chairs of SATE '13, the design conference hosted by TEA Oct 3-4 in Savannah

Aram Ebben
Aram Ebben, IALD, LEED AP, Principal in charge of lighting design at exp, Inc., and graphic designer/show writer Stefan Lawrence of Stefan Rules are the co-chairs of the SATE '13 conference on Experience Design, presented by Christie® and hosted by the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) Oct 3-4 at the Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) in Savannah, Georgia USA.

Ebben and Lawrence are currently roughing out a program and putting together a team of segment chairs who will be responsible for organizing sessions and panels and recruiting speakers, to reflect the topics of the SATE acronym: Storytelling, Architecture, Technology, Experience.

To produce and promote SATE '13, the team of volunteers led by Ebben and Lawrence will interact with TEA leadership, including association president Christine Kerr of BaAM Productions and members of the TEA International Board and TEA Eastern Division, with SCAD faculty including George Head, and TEA staff members Gene Jeffers, director of business development/sponsorship Kathy Oliver, and PR/publications editor Judith Rubin to produce and promote the conference.

"We expect to begin announcing details about speakers, topics and sessions for SATE '13 around the end of June 2013," says Ebben. He brings to the task his experience of the past two years representing IALD on the conference advisory committee for Light Fair. He noted that in addition to panels, SATE '13 will include networking opportunities, after-hours activities, tours of SCAD and a platform for students to present their ideas and work. His company, exp, is an international firm providing professional, technical and strategic services to the world's built and natural environments in six key practice areas: Buildings, Earth & Environment, Energy, Industrial, Infrastructure, and Sustainability. Ebben is based in Orlando.

Stefan Lawrence
Lawrence is an all-around creative specializing in the themed entertainment industry and based in Los Angeles. His clients have included Walt Disney Imagineering, the Hettema Group, Rethink Attractions, the Miziker Entertainment Group and Rhythm & Hues Special Projects.

The SCAD location is supportive to TEA's NextGen initiative to nurture the new wave of attractions industry professionals and help lead them to mentors, internships and employment. TEA encourages educators and students in such areas as interior design, architecture, engineering and media production to join seasoned professionals in attending TEA conferences and mixers.

TEA's SATE conference is an annual, international gathering of themed entertainment and experience design creators, producers, owners and operators. As such, it explores issues, opportunities and possibilities relating to the creation of compelling guest experiences for entertainment, education, retail and branding. More information about SATE '13 is available online at the official SATE information hub.