Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Vibrant TEA Summit & Thea Awards Gala 2014 reflect today's international attractions industry

At the 20th annual Thea Awards Gala, April 5, 2014: Garner Holt of Garner Holt Productions accepts the Buzz Price Thea Award for a Lifetime of Outstanding Achievements, while Disney Legend Bob Gurr cheers. Photo: Martin Palicki.
The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) welcomed full houses to its annual weekend of events comprising the two-day TEA Summit (April 3-4) and the Thea Awards Gala (April 5) 2014 at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim.
At the Thea Awards Gala April 5, 2014 in the Grand Ballroom of the Disneyland Hotel. Photo: Martin Palicki.
Day One of the TEA Summit was the Executive Master Class, an opportunity for frank, peer-to-peer discussion and exchange of business development tools and resources.
TEA President Christine Kerr of BaAM Productions, with Dr Kiat Tan, CEO of Gardens by the Bay, Singapore, which was honored with a Thea Award. In the background is Kathryn Griffith of Universal Creative. Photo: Martin Palicki.
The dialog continued next day on a broader scale with Thea Case Studies Day offering presentations from the leaders of the projects that were formally honored the following evening (April 5) at the Thea Awards Gala. 

TEA COO Jennie Nevin. Photo: Martin Palicki.
The morning of April 5 was set aside for select industry leaders to offer experience and guidance in a TEA NextGen interchange, the “Superheroes Breakfast.”

Two aspects in particular lent special vitality, interest and meaning to the dialog throughout the weekend:
  • International scope: Outreach from TEA's Europe & Middle East and Asia Pacific Divisions helped the Thea Awards Committee identify a rich global slate of awardees.
  • Inter-generational exchange: Via TEA's flourishing NextGen Initiative, aspiring students and recent grads brought their energy to the group.
Inter-generational exchange: At the TEA NextGen "Superheroes Breakfast" TEA Summit co-chair Roberta Perry of ETI (right) talks to NextGen member Tim Higley. Photo: Martin Palicki.
Excitement, ideas and networking flowed across oceans, borders, industry sectors and disciplines, and between age groups.

TEA Summit. Photo: Martin Palicki.
Shared experience and real-world gatherings
TEA works to reflect the reality of today's attractions industry as it expands around the world. The industry embraces digital communications and their benefits – they are now a vital part of the toolkit. Yet just as people continue to value out-of-home shared experiences in visitor attractions, the themed entertainment business and its businesspeople continue to benefit from face-to-face networking and information exchange.

At the TEA Summit. Photo: Martin Palicki.
The attractions industry is a collaborative business, and accordingly the TEA community emphasizes real-world gatherings - to network, foster relationships and creativity, and to formally recognize and honor the industry's outstanding accomplishments and breakthroughs. At the Thea Awards Gala, they come together in style, showing themselves at their personal best - endeavoring to bring the same creativity and quality to their business gatherings and events as they do to the guest experiences and places they create.

At the TEA Summit. Photo: Martin Palicki.
In the 20 years since the Thea Awards were founded (the Association was formed in 1991 and the Thea Awards introduced in 1994) the Theas have risen to global prestige and recognition, and continue to fulfill TEA's mission for the awards: facilitating the handshake between the project owner and the project team, and the education of the industry, press and public alike in awareness and appreciation of the artistry, cultural contributions and economic significance of the global attractions sector.

Want to know more?
The 2014 TEA Summit & Thea Awards received excellent coverage in the media, and TEA has collected article links on the “In the News” page on the official 2014 Thea Awards & Summit blog. The blog serves as a general information hub with speaker bios, project descriptions, links to photo galleries and more. Print copies of the official Thea Awards Program were available at the Gala; the virtual edition can be accessed online here, and contains project descriptions, articles and full credits lists.
At the 2014 Thea Awards Gala in Anaheim, TEA Summit co-chair Pat MacKay poses with Paul Van Vlijmen of Het Spoorwegmuseum (Dutch Railway Museum) which received a Thea Award for its 4D guest experience, De Vuurproef (The Fire Test). Photo: Martin Palicki.
TEA depends on a combination of staff, volunteers and contractors to conduct its many activities. Many, many people and groups deserve acknowledgment for their contributions, leadership, energy and support in creating and implementing the successful 2014 TEA Summit and Thea Awards. Here is a partial list:
  • TEA president Christine Kerr of BaAM Productions
    Francois Delarozi & Pierre Orefice, awarded for Marine Worlds Carousel, Nantes.
  • Roberta Perry of ETI: TEA Summit co-chair
  • Pat MacKay of Ones&ZerosMedia: TEA Summit co-chair
  • Patrick Roberge Productions, producer of the Thea Awards Gala
  • Kathy Oliver, TEA Event Producer
  • Clara Rice, TEA NextGen chair, and Kile Ozier, immediate past chair
  • Peter Chernack, Monty Lunde and the TEA Past President's Committee
  • The Thea Awards Nominating Committee

Western Division Mixer, April 4. Photo: Martin Palicki.
TEA Western North America Division
The weekend of events occurs on Western Division turf. Many thanks to Western Division Board president Nancy Emerson and her team for organizing the mixer at Trader Sam's on April 4.

Corporate Sponsors
  • Canyon Creative - Dale Sprague
  • Color Reflections - Shannon Martin
  • nth Degree - Janelle Picard
  • Modern Postcard - Keith Goodman
  • Electrosonic - Chris Conte
  • Walt Disney Parks & Resorts
Summit Sponsors
Selfie at the Thea Awards Gala: Phil Hettema and friends
  • Christie
  • Electrosonic
  • Fountain People

Thea Awards Gala Sponsors
  • Garner Holt
  • Oceaneering
  • Fountain People

TEA Global Partners
  • Walt Disney Imagineering
  • Universal Creative

Ferrari World & Yas Waterworld welcome TEA behind the scenes April 10: David Willrich reports

Yas Waterworld
David Willrich of the Europe & Middle East Division (EME) of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) reports on the success of a behind-the-scenes tour on 10th April 2014 at two major parks in the UAE, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and Yas Waterworld. The excursion was one in an ongoing professional development series titled "SATE Academy Days" that are an offshoot of TEA's annual design conference, SATE (Storytelling+Architecture+Technology=Experience). 

Ferrari World
Theme park development in the UAE had slowed dramatically following an explosive growth spurt several years ago, and many projects on the books were postponed or canceled. Ferrari World remained on track and opened in 2009; Yas Waterworld's opening in January 2013 was one signal that development in the area had resumed.

David Willrich, DJ Willrich Ltd.
TEA's EME Division staged its second SATE Academy Day, at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and Yas Waterworld on Thursday April 10th. The event was a great success and the audience reflected the cosmopolitan nature of the UAE with a multi-national audience all having one thing in common; the world of themed entertainment.

The theme of the day was "Experience," and all presentations focused on creating or maintaining the quality of Experience. Craig McIntyre got the session moving with an introduction to Ferrari World and Yas Waterworld, followed by Kevin Johnson of WS Atkins who gave an informative insight into creating Yas Waterworld and the story on which it is built.

Kile Ozier took us outside Ferrari World and considered the creative process as a whole and the factors that all got together to create an exciting guest experience. Following a short break, economic analyst David Camp of D&J International Consulting gave some insight into current market trends.

Martin Valentine gave a very informative study on an experience of a different type, lighting. He looked at how lighting in general is being properly addressed in Abu Dhabi with a desire to improve the general quality and reduce light pollution to improve not just individual buildings but the general experience of driving around the capital of the UAE.

Glenn Davidson brought us back to Yas Island by discussing the need to create a story before creating a guest experience, in this case Yas Waterworld. He went onto discuss the path being followed for creating the storyline for a new guest experience in a new and unnamed Theme Park. George Walker, art director for Ferrari World, completed the formal presentations by looking at the value of the Ferrari brand in relation to the park and the continuing development of the visitor experience.

Following lunch, attendees were able to take a quick tour of Ferrari World followed by a formal tour of Yas Waterworld, before retiring back to Dubai for a mixer and dinner.

A big THANK YOU to Farah Leisure for hosting the event, and to EME Board member David Gray of Oasis Enterprises LLC for all his hard work in bringing together the speakers.

An additional report of the day will appear in the next issue (July) of the E&ME Newsletter. -- D.W.