IAAPA 2019: TEA reveals 26th annual recipients of prestigious Thea Awards
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IAAPA 2019: TEA reveals 26th annual recipients of prestigious Thea Awards

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The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) has announced the winners of its annual Thea awards, with the likes of Universal Orlando, Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi and Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, all walking away with honours.

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure at Universal Orlando was awarded a Thea for outstanding achievement. The newly-opened 'story coaster takes guests on a motorbike ride with Hagrid, who takes riders through the Forbidden Forest in an immersive world.

Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi also picked up an Outstanding Achievement Award, with the first-ever Warner Bros-branded indoor theme park bringing together more than 50 branded characters from the world of Warner Bros and DC Entertainment under one roof.

One of the most lauded projects in the attractions industry - Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge - also picked up a Thea. In its comments, the TEA Thea Awards Committee said that it considered Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge to be the most ambitious addition to Disneyland in more than 60 years, calling the attraction a groundbreaking new land that invites guests into a new chapter of the Star Wars saga - and in which the guest is the star.

Nancy Seruto, Shanghai Disney Resort Creative Executive for Walt Disney Imagineering, was individually honoured with the Buzz Price Award, recognising a lifetime of distinguished achievements.

"Nancy Seruto brings a rare blend of business acumen and creative talent, plus the ability to lead highly creative and interdisciplinary teams in a way that brings out the best in those around her," said the TEA. "She has also been an active leader involved in promoting cultural exchange and supporting initiatives that foster inclusivity. Her 30+ year career as a supplier, creative, project manager and entrepreneur has taken her around the world and touched pretty much every discipline and market sector of themed entertainment, including theatre and performing arts, touring exhibits, museums, theme parks, retail, restaurants, live events and casinos."

The full list of winners includes:


• Nancy Seruto, Shanghai Disney Resort Creative Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering


• Pageant of the Masters, Laguna Beach, CA, USA


• Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, Universal Orlando, USA (Attraction)

• Warner Bros. World™ Abu Dhabi, UAE (Theme Park)• The Cool Planet Experience, Wicklow, Ireland (Museum, Limited Budget)

• Wonderbox at Paradise City, Incheon, South Korea (Family Entertainment Center)• Fram Museum, Oslo, Norway (Museum Upgrade)

• The Hebrew Bible Experience, Museum of the Bible, Washington DC, USA (Museum Exhibit)• Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds, London, England (Connected Immersion)

• Poverty Encounter, Children’s Hunger Fund, Sylmar, CA, USA (Connected Immersion, Limited Budget)• Popcorn Revenge, Walibi, Belgium (Attraction, Limited Budget)

• The Google Assistant Ride, 2019 CES Trade Show, Las Vegas, NV, USA (Brand Experience)• Le Premier Royaume, Grand Parc du Puy du Fou, Les Epesses, France (Attraction)

• The Legend of the Gods, Huaxiacheng Tourism Scenic Area, Weihai Huaxia City, Shandong, China (Live Show Spectacular)• Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, Disneyland Resort, CA, USA (Attraction)

• Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Disneyland Resort, CA, USA (New Park Land)• Christie Eclipse 4K RGB Pure Laser Projector (Technical Innovation)


• Wendy Heimann-Nunes – Nolan Heimann LLP

The awards will be formally presented in Anaheim, California, next April at the TEA Thea Awards Gala, taking place during the annual TEA Summit conference, which devotes much of its two days of sessions to exploring the Thea Awards recipients.

Check back with Attractions Management for all the latest news coming out of IAAPA 2019.

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The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) has announced the winners of its annual Thea awards, with the likes of Universal Orlando, Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi and Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, all walking away with honours.

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