Monday, September 23, 2013

Las Vegas: Oct 11-13 Experience the urban revitalization with TEA - Speakers announced!

Update: We are proud to introduce the confirmed panelists for the 2013 TEA weekend event celebrating the Downtown Las Vegas Revitalization: 

Join us as these experts discuss the revitalization of Downtown Las Vegas. Stay tuned as more panelists will be announced.
Get your tickets today (see below).  

Space is limited.

TEA invites you to a weekend in Las Vegas, exploring the city's new urban revitalization!

Downtown Project Las Vegas is a group of passionate people committed to helping transform Downtown Las Vegas into the most community-focused, large city in the world. They are doing that by inspiring and empowering people to follow their passions to create a vibrant, connected urban core. They’ve allocated $350 million to aid in the revitalization of Downtown Las Vegas. They’re investing $100 million in real estate, $100 million in residential development, $50 million in small businesses, $50 million in education, and $50 million in tech startups through the VegasTech Fund.

Come and see it for yourself with The TEA Western North America Division

DATES October 11 - 13, 2013
LOCATION Las Vegas Strip & Beyond

All Things Integrated
Blue Line Studios
Canyon Creative
Color Reflections
  • 6 - 11 pm Color Reflections Party
  • 10 am Zarkana by Cirque de Soleil Backstage Tour
  • 12 noon Lunch at Canyon Creative
  • 2:30 pm The Revitalization of Downtown Panel Discussion at Blueline Studios (Speakers to be Announced)
  • 5:30 - 7:30 MOB Museum Tour
  • 8 pm - ? Downtown Lounge — TEA Mixer
  • 10 pm Zarkana @ ARIA Resort & Casino™ at CityCenter (Discounted Tickets Available)
  • Sunday Brunch (The Artisan Hotel. $20.00 per person includes Mimosas and Bloody Mary Bar)
Members $25.00 Non-Members $40.00

The Artisan Hotel - $99.00 per room/night Friday & Saturday 

Call 800.554.4092 and request the Themed Entertainment Association rate. 
Room reservation deadline EXTENDED to October 1 - book now.


10 pm Category D — $104
Tickets include taxes & fees
*RSVPs are mandatory and must be paid through the TEA Store at the time of RSVP for both registration and the show.

Ryan Markus, The Mob Museum, to speak at TEA's Las Vegas event Oct 11-13

Ryan Markus has been with the Mob Museum over two years and is consistently finding ways to improve his surroundings. Managing all of the interactive exhibits, technical infrastructure and computer systems, software and security Ryan is the go-to guy in all things information technology. His previous experience includes consulting and a director of IT at Logistic Finance and Managements Consultants. 

TEA invites you to
a weekend in Las Vegas, exploring the city's new urban revitalization!

Organized by the Western North America Division of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA).

DATES October 11 - 13, 2013
LOCATION Las Vegas Strip & Beyond

Other speakers:

Tommy Bridges of ATI speaks at TEA Las Vegas event Oct 11-13

TEA invites you to
a weekend in Las Vegas, exploring the city's new urban revitalization!

Organized by the Western North America Division of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA).

DATES October 11 - 13, 2013
LOCATION Las Vegas Strip & Beyond

Speakers include:
Tommy Bridges – All Things Integrated (ATI)

Panel moderator Tommy Bridges, is a 26-year veteran of the audio-visual and broadcast product industry who helped Alcorn McBride become a global powerhouse. Bridges has worked with Walt Disney Parks, Universal Studios, and many other big name attractions throughout the world. In 2012,

he was elected to the International Board of the Themed Entertainment Association.

Other speakers:

Craig Sean Palacios, architect to speak at TEA's Las Vegas event Oct 11-13

TEA invites you to
a weekend in Las Vegas, exploring the city's new urban revitalization!

Organized by the Western North America Division of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA).

DATES October 11 - 13, 2013
LOCATION Las Vegas Strip & Beyond

Speakers include:
Craig Palacios – CSP Architect
Craig Sean Palacios is the Owner of his firm, a consultant for a national sustainability firm and a university instructor. Currently he is working on a number of buildings for the Downtown Revitalization, such as the Fremont Studios and various restaurants and bars. He has
Craig Palacios
brought to life many of the structures we see around the valley with his many years of experience relays his knowledge as an adjunct professor for the UNLV School of Architecture. See his amazing work at

Other speakers:

Robert Athey of ATI to speak at TEA's Las Vegas event Oct 11-13

TEA invites you to
a weekend in Las Vegas, exploring the city's new urban revitalization!

Organized by the Western North America Division of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA).

DATES October 11 - 13, 2013
LOCATION Las Vegas Strip & Beyond

Speakers include:
Robert Athey – ATI
Bob has designed and installed audio, video, and lighting systems in world-renowned venues and mixed for famous artists such as Bon Jovi, Lenny Kravitz, and the Eagles. In 2006, Bob and long-time cohort Francis Heinrich founded FBP Group, a lighting, sound, and video company that quickly made its mark on the industry by turning the most prominent clubs in the country into loyal clients. Years later, Bob and a team of handpicked specialists launched All Things Integrated (ATI), which is quickly becoming a leading force in the A/V industry.

Other speakers:

John Saltonstall of Blueline Studios to speak at TEA's Las Vegas event Oct 11-13

TEA invites you to
a weekend in Las Vegas, exploring the city's new urban revitalization!
Organized by the Western North America Division of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA).

DATES October 11 - 13, 2013
LOCATION Las Vegas Strip & Beyond

Speakers include:
John Saltonstall – Blueline Studios
Blueline Studios is a fabrication and rental company that handles the needs of Corporate Events, Themed Environments, Millwork, Film, Tradeshow Exhibits, Rentals and Live Theatrical Markets. They are
John Saltonstall
committed to a operating in a socially responsible manner by practicing green initiatives using the Reduce, Reuse and Recycle concept. 

Other speakers:

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

PHOTOS! from TEA's Antarctica event, and Marty Sklar's book event

Sept 4, 2013 TEA event 
Empire of the Penguin, SeaWorld Orlando
These photos were taken by Dan Freedman at the sold-out, TEA Eastern Division behind the scenes event. Many thanks to SeaWorld and to the event sponsors: Many thanks to the event sponsors: Electrosonic; exp; Wow! Works; PCL Construction Leaders; The Nassal Company; Oceaneering Entertainment Systems; PGAV Destinations; SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment; TEA.

See two full collections of photos from this terrific event on TEA's Facebook page - here, and here.

Marty Sklar book event at WDI
On August 29, 2013, at Walt Disney Imagineering, a special TEA event was held celebrating the publication of Disney Legend Marty Sklar's new book, "Dream It! Do It!" Marty took the time to honor TEA executive director Gene Jeffers, who is retiring in 2013 after many years of dedicated service. Each TEA member who attended received a copy of Marty's new book, and proceeds from ticket sales benefited the Ryman Arts Foundation.

See all the photos - on TEA's Facebook page here.

TEA member Joe Fox attended, and shared this report: 
"Marty's book was a great eye-opener for me. I loved that there were new stories, many of which had never been shared before. The stories of the major involvement he had in writing some of the company announcements, particularly the announcement of Walt's passing (written so quickly!) were very special. To me, though, the most compelling was a realization that there are different types of creative people, and it helped me define my goal for where I want to be in the themed entertainment world as I make my transition from my other career. I may never be the super-creative blue-sky visionary; those are not my skills. My creative skills and talents are in bringing those creative ideas to life and delivering on those visions. 

"Marty's explanation of how Imagineering and Disney (and many other successful similar enterprises) have had such success with a balance between the creative (Walt, Marty, Bruce, etc.) and the delivery (Roy, Mickey Steinberg, Craig, etc.) was the real defining moment for me in reading this book and one I will ALWAYS be thankful for. I felt, after reading Marty's book, that I had finally found my path and my goal in the attractions industry.

"The event with Marty was a different kind of special. It was my first time at Imagineering where I actually got to go into the main 1401 building, and to be able to have that experience: to see what the Imagineers are working on, to hear from Marty himself and to have dinner with such a special group of folks (and all for a good cause, too!) -- the only word for it is inspiring. My membership in TEA has been absolutely transformative, and it's all because of the opportunities to meet and learn from the best mentors and experts in the industry -- and to share moments like these" -- J.F.

PHOTOS! Orlando mixer specifically for TEA NextGen members, Sept 4 at Give Kids the World

Below are photos from the successful event now past. 
Many thanks to Give Kids the World and everyone who helped organize this gathering.

Calling all NextGen Members of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA)!!
Sept 4, 2013 Mixer in Orlando at GKTW!

Wednesday, September 4th, 1:00-3:00pm
Give Kids the World at Give Kids The World Village
210 South Bass Road, Kissimmee, FL 34746

There is a TEA NextGen mixer on Wednesday, September 4th from 1:00-3:00pm at Give Kids the World (GKTW), a non-profit resort where kids with life-threatening illnesses are hosted with their families for a free-week long vacation.

The GKTW event is on the same day as the TEA event at SeaWorld on September 4th. (The SeaWorld mixer begins later, at 6:30 pm).

We will be given a tour by the director of GKTW, followed by a Q-A and meet-and-greet for TEA NextGen members. This will be a great opportunity for TEA NextGen members to get to know one another better.

A minimum of 15 people is needed to confirm this event!
If you wish to attend, please contact Marissa Blake in advance at If we cannot get 15 people the event will be rescheduled for later in the fall.

Carpooling is encouraged! The event ends at 3:00pm, allowing plenty of time if you are scheduled to attend the SeaWorld event later in the day.

SATE '13 overview: Program, schedule and speakers. Oct 3-4 at SCAD Savannah.

SATE co-chair Aram Ebben
The SATE '13 conference committee, chaired by Aram Ebben of exp, and Stefan Lawrence of Stefan Rules! has confirmed the speakers for this year's program, with the theme, "What's Next". The annual design conference, organized by the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA), is hosted this year at the Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) in Savannah, Georgia, Oct 3-4.

SATE '13 is presented by Christie®.
DAY-by-DAY SCHEDULE: scroll down, or click here.
REGISTRATION: click here.
HOTELS: click here.

Thursday, October 3
Donald Marinelli Keynote Address
SATE co-chair Stefan Lawrence
Don Marinelli (founder, ETC, Carnegie Mellon University) will deliver a shot across the bow – a challenge to us as an industry to engage in what he calls “whole brain” thinking. When we go beyond
Don Marinelli
the old left brain/right brain paradigm, we can harness a more complete understanding of the intersection between art and technology.

Adam Bezark (The Bezark Company) presents this lively, entertaining segment about where storytelling is headed in our modern age. An amazing range of story minds, from inside and outside the experience industry, are joining us to discuss such topics as:
  • Tools You Can Use - We’ll explore new and classic tools for strengthening the stories your projects... whether you’re creating a dark ride, a museum exhibit or a looping wooden coaster.
  • Storytelling Technology - How are storytellers using new software to craft complex, interactive and engaging stories and new formats?
  • Where do we go from here? - The market for storytelling is exploding into areas never imagined. Where is story heading, and how can you be part of the journey? 
  • Storytelling speakers include Mark Caro (Chicago Tribune), David Misch, Chris Huntley (Write Bros.) and Asa Kalama (Walt Disney Imagineering). 
Al Cross (PGAV Destinations) curates this segment about the state of architecture and its role in the themed entertainment world.
Jonathan Douglas
  • Creating an Attraction is Like Making A Great Movie - Jonathan F. Douglas (VOA Associates) discusses how architecture can be used to tell great stories. By encouraging audience engagement and interpretation, narrative spaces can create deep, meaningful experiences. 
  • Delivering Story: Architecture’s Role - This roundtable discussion focuses on the ways in which architecture can deliver story without overwhelming it. How much of the backstory needs to exist in studs and drywall? What is the architect’s role in determining the balance? 
  • Cecil Magpuri of Falcon's Treehouse will talk about the balance of creative design and architecture in a project and the ingredients of a great collaboration.

  • Chuck Hoberman, inventor of the Hoberman Sphere, will discuss transformable design and adaptive building technology.
  • SCAD & WDI - Josh Lind of the SCAD Collaborative Learning Center, David Stofcik (Walt Disney Imagineering Architect) and SCAD Student/WDI intern Shelly Martin will talk about the college's work in which students contributed ideas to real-world Disney projects.

Opening night reception… stay tuned for details

Friday, October 4
Mk Haley (Disney Research) brings us a segment all about the exciting advances in technology that are enabling us to create richer entertainment experiences.
Mk Haley
  • The Death of Halogen and the Rise of Coherent Light - Paul Kent and Chris Conte of Electrosonic leads this discussion about recent advances in lighting and projection technology and how they can be applied in new and creative ways to the world of themed entertainment. Speakers will include Bryan Boehme of Christie and others TBA.
  • The Now and Next in Interactive Technology - This session explores the exciting new world of interactive experiences made possible by new technology. How are these new opportunities being
    Joshua Jeffery
    exploited to create genuinely great guest experiences? What are the challenges inherent in providing intimate, personal experiences on a theme park scale? Produced by Jason Hintz Llopis, the session will include Mark Gilicinski (MobileXpeditions), Joshua Jeffery (Warhol Museum) and Asa Kalama (Walt Disney Imagineering).

Phil Hettema (The Hettema Group) leads this segment dedicated to the experience – the result of storytelling, architecture and technology all coming together.
Dave Cobb
  • Cosplay Colonists - Dave Cobb (Thinkwell) explores the ways in which fans creatively express themselves through role-playing and user-generated experiences. Increasingly, fans are not content to merely consume the things they love, but desire to live out their fantasies in the real world, leading to intersections of audiences and destinations that have never before existed. 
  • Creating Meaning Together - Jake Barton (Local Projects) talks about creating genuine meaning in collaborative public spaces. From the 9/11 Museum to Storycorps, Local Projects has focused on engaging audiences through emotion and technology. This session will examine how new ways of interacting with technology is impacting how we tell stories together.
Liz Gazzano
Pixar: A Culture of Collaboration - Keynote Address
In the closing keynote, Roger Gould and Liz Gazzano let us inside the world of Pixar. They’ll discuss how Pixar fosters a culture of collaboration among its many departments, and how they work with Walt Disney Imagineering to create attractions that seamlessly step off the screen and into the real world.


(SATE '13 schedule - subject to change)


WEDNESDAY - OCT 2 Attendee Arrivals
  • 4:30 PM Speaker rehearsals (day one speakers)
  • 6:30 PM Informal networking at a location TBD
  • 7:30 8:30 Add'l Speaker rehearsals
  • 7:45 AM 8:45 Breakfast at the venue
  • Program Start 9:00 AM 9:15 Welcome remarks
  • 9:15 AM 10:15 Morning presentation - Story
  • 10:15 AM 10:30 Coffee break
  • 10:35 AM 12:00 Mid-morning presentation
  • 12:0l PM 1:15 Lunch break - location TBD
  • 1:20 PM 2:20 Day One Keynote - Don Marinelli
  • 2:25 PM 3:25 Afternoon Presentations - Architecture
  • 3:30 PM 3:45 Coffee & snack break
  • 3:50 PM 5:30 Afternoon Presentations
  • 6:45 PM 7:45 Hotel pickups - transport to Habersham Hall
  • 7:00 PM RECEPTION HOSTED BY SCAD -  HABERSHAM HALL (Savannah's old jailhouse) 235 Habersham Street
  • 7:45 AM 8:45 Breakfast
  • Program Start 9:00 AM 9:15 Welcoming remarks
  • 7:30 AM 8:30 Speaker rehearsals (day 2)
  • 9:15 AM 10:15 Morning presentation  - Technology
  • 10:15 AM 10:30 Coffee break
  • 10:30 AM 12:00 Mid morning presentation
  • 12:01 PM 1:15 Lunch break - location TBD
  • 1:20 PM 3:30 Afternoon Presentations - Experience
  • 3:30 PM 3:45 Coffee break
  • 3:50 PM 5:00 Closing keynote: Pixar presentation with Liz Gazzano & Roger Gould
  • 5:00 PM 5:30 PM Q & A with Pixar

SATURDAY - OCT 5 optional post-events
  • 9:00 Noon SCAD invites you to tour their facilities
  • SATE 2013  adjourns

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Josh Jeffery, Mark Caro and Asa Kalama confirmed speakers at TEA's SATE '13 conference Oct 3-4 at SCAD Savannah

Asa Kalama
"As advocate for Walt Disney Imagineering, Asa Kalama's primary focus is interactive experience design. From the Story front and the Technology front Asa explores and integrates advanced technologies into immersive guest experiences," says Mk Haley of Disney Research, SATE '13 Technology Chair. Read more

"Mark Caro, entertainment reporter for the Chicago
Mark Caro
Tribune, covering movies / theater / music / pop culture, brings a high-level view of the 'story market,'" says SATE Storytelling chair Adam Bezark of The Bezark Company. Read more

Josh Jeffery

"Want to take your museum to a leadership position in social media, interaction, guest creation and distribution? Come listen to Josh Jeffery from the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh," says Mk Haley of Disney Research, Technology chair, SATE '13. Read more

SATE (Storytelling, Architecture, Technology, Experience) is the signature conference of the Themed Entertainment Association. SATE '13 presented by Christie® takes place Oct 3-4 at the Savannah College of Art & Design.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

CNN creates a museum slideshow based on the 2012 TEA/AECOM Museum Index

TEA is very pleased that CNN has made the TEA/AECOM 2012 Museum Index a jumping-off point for a CNN slideshow of the world's Top 20 Museums.

Every spring, the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA ) and AECOM jointly release the Theme Index, looking globally at the top-visited theme parks and amusement parks of the previous year. This year, in addition to the 2012 Theme Index, information was compiled on the world's top-visited museums and published as the 2012 TEA/AECOM Museum Index. Click here to view/download both reports.

"(CNN) -- An afternoon spent in a world-class museum can be an out-of-body experience -- a trip in a mental time machine to the courts of China's Ming and Qing dynasties, to the cradle of civilization in Egypt, to Michelangelo, Rembrandt and Picasso's studios or to the top of Gettysburg's Little Round Top, where the Union came within one Confederate flanking maneuver of dissolving.
The Louvre in Paris topped the 2012 Museum Index with more than 9.5 million annual visitors last year. The list is part of the recently released Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) and AECOM global attractions attendance report...." Click here to see the full article on

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Shop @ ShowReady offers hospitality on Sept 12 - TEA member open house

The Western Division of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) invites you to attend
September 12, 2013

(A precursor to TEA's Knott’s behind-the-scenes event later the same day, for those who want to beat the traffic!)
Located 2.5 miles from Knott’s Berry Farm
5595 Fresca Dr.
La Palma CA 90623

2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Light refreshments will be provided
Facility tour from 3:00 pm – 3:30 pm or 3:30-4:00 pm
Wi-Fi available
Ample parking

A place to decompress, relax or get some work done prior to the evening event at Knott's.

Please RSVP by no later than September 10th to Rachael Silvers, Marketing Manager – or call 714-367-9265 with any questions.

Disney legend Marty Sklar honors TEA exec director Gene Jeffers

On August 29 at Walt Disney Imagineering, in the course of a special TEA event celebrating Marty Sklar's new book, "Dream It! Do It!" Marty took the time to honor TEA executive director Gene Jeffers, who will be retiring in 2013 after many years of dedicated service. Marty Sklar wrote the poem and Wayne Hunt designed the plaque, reproduced below.