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22 Nov 2021

North American and Japanese attractions dominate 2021 Thea Awards
BY Tom Walker

Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan was among this year's winners

Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan was among this year's winners
photo: Themed Entertainment Association

North America and Japan-based visitor attractions and businesses picked up 14 of the 19 Thea Awards this year.

Organised by the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA), the annual awards celebrate excellence, innovation and leadership in the global visitor attractions industry. The winners were announced during the IAAPA Expo in Orlando, US.

Among the Technical Innovation winners this year were the MarioKart Augmented Reality Themed Ride at Super Nintendo World in Universal Studios in Osaka, Japan.

The other was Anaheim, US-based Stuntronics, developer of the aerial robotics technology behind the 95-lb Spider-Man robot that swings up to 85 feet in the air and performs up to nine shows per day at the Disney California Adventure Park.

The full list of winners:

The Buzz Price Thea Award for Lifetime Achievement:
Doris Hardoon, executive creative director and producer, Walt Disney Imagineering

Thea Classic Award
Night Safari, Singapore

Thea Awards for outstanding achievement:
Indigenous Peoples Experience, Edmonton, Canada (Heritage Centre award)
The Roads to Freedom, Bastogne, Belgium (Live Show Spectacular on a Limited Budget award)
Mario Kart Augmented Reality Themed Ride Technology, Osaka, Japan (Technical Innovation award)
Elephant Springs, Fort Worth Zoo, Texas, US (Zoo Expansion award)
Symphony: A Virtual Journey Into The Heart of Music, Barcelona, Spain (Immersive Experience on a Limited Budget award)
Gideon's Bakehouse, Disney Springs, Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando, US (Themed Retail Experience on a Limited Budget)
AniMakerspace, US (Inspirational Learning Experience, Limited Budget)
BOOM!, Britannia Mine Museum, Britannia Beach, Canada (Museum Experience on a Limited Budget)
Stuntronics - Aerial Robotics Technology, Anaheim, US (Technical Innovation)
Wētā Workshop Unleashed, Auckland, New Zealand (Brand Experience)
Level99, Natick, US (Attraction)
Super Nintendo World, Universal Studios Japan (Theme Park Land)
The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash!, Universal Studios Hollywood, US (Attraction)
Reodor Felgen's Hyperakselerator, Hunderfossen Adventure Park, Norway (Attraction on a limited budget)

Thea Catalyst Awards:
Sina Bahram, founder of Prime Access Consulting
Carmen Smith, senior VP, creative development, Disney Parks

TEA Peter Chernack Distinguished Service Award
Lynn Allmandinger, "super volunteer", supporting TEA

To read more about each individual winner, click herefor the dedicate Thea Awards page on the TEA website.

While the TEA Thea Awards recipients are announced each November, they are formally awarded the following spring.

In 2022, the awards gala will take during the "TEA’s big weekend" for the industry at Disneyland Resort, Anaheim, US, during 21-23 April.

TEA International Board President, Chuck Facett, said: "We invite our community to join us in Anaheim at Disneyland Resort for TEA’s big weekend of events April 21-23, 2022, to celebrate these achievements at the annual TEA Summit and Thea Case Studies, crowned by the TEA Thea Awards Gala presented by Chimelong."

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