Tuesday, December 8, 2009

TEA Announces Thea Award Recipients

“The annual Thea Awards, presented by the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA), reflect the best among the projects and people of our industry,” says TEA president Steve Thorburn of Thorburn Associates. “It was a good year for museums as people vacationed closer to home, and as our Thea Awards Committee found, museums are delivering superlative new guest experiences. Other Thea Awards illuminate the growing Asian market and its steady flow of creativity and innovation. The predominant thread of this awards cycle is a maturation in the use of technology - we've mastered the seamless and transparent blend of media and technology with live performers and physical elements - all in the service of storytelling. Ours is an industry reaching for economic recovery, and we're pleased to note that TEA grew more than 30 percent over the past two years. We extend hearty congratulations to all the new Thea Award recipients and salute them for their contributions.”

The prestigious Thea Awards recognize and honor excellence in the creation of outstanding visitor experiences, attractions, exhibits and places. Truly international in their recognition of outstanding productions, the Thea Awards focus international attention on innovation within the Themed Entertainment and Experience Design Industry. The awards were created in 1994 by TEA to recognize and honor excellence all up and down the chain of creative production. The Theas honor the vision and dedication of the project owner while bestowing and recording credits for the work of the designers, technicians, vendors and suppliers who realize the project.

The Thea Awards Nominating Committee (listed below) recommended the current slate of 12 Thea recipients, with final approval by the TEA International Board of Directors. The Awards will be formally presented March 6, 2010 at the 16th Annual Thea Awards Gala, to be held at Universal Studios Hollywood and sponsored by Economics at AECOM. The Awards Gala is a formal black-tie dinner event and is open to the public. Tickets/more information: www.teaconnect.org.

Recipients - 16th Annual Thea Awards

Thea Lifetime Achievement Award: Mark Fuller, WET Design
Thea Classic Award: Coal Mine, Chicago Museum of Science and Industry

Thea Awards for Outstanding Achievement (AOA):

Toy Story Midway Mania, Disney's California Adventure and Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World (Attraction)
Dragon’s Treasure Show, City of Dreams, Macau (Attraction)
Disaster! Universal Studios Hollywood (Attraction Rehab)
The Museum at Bethel Woods, New York USA (Museum)
Please Touch Museum, Philadelphia USA (Museum)
America I Am: The African American Imprint (Traveling Exhibition)
Skyscraper! Achievement & Impact, Liberty Science Center, Liberty State Park, Jersey City USA (Science Center Exhibit)
McNeil Avian Center, Philadelphia Zoo (Zoo Attraction on a Limited Budget)
Tea Show @ OCT East Resort, Shenzhen, China (Live Show)
Heineken Experience, Amsterdam (Brand Experience)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Orlando, Fla. (December 1, 2009) – With the sale of Busch Entertainment Corp. to Blackstone Capital Partners V L.P., an investor fund advised by The Blackstone Group, comes a new name for the company that operates some of the nation’s best known and popular theme parks.

“SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment” replaces “Busch Entertainment Corporation” with the closing of the sale announced jointly today by Anheuser-Busch InBev and The Blackstone Group.

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment operates 10 parks across the U.S.: SeaWorlds in Orlando, San Diego and San Antonio; Busch Gardens parks in Tampa, Fla. and Williamsburg, Va.; Discovery Cove and Aquatica in Orlando; Sesame Place near Philadelphia, Pa.; and water parks Adventure Island in Tampa and Water Country USA in Williamsburg.

The new name reflects the prominence of the SeaWorld brand in both the family travel industry and among the company’s portfolio of parks.

“It is one of the world’s most widely recognized and respected family travel brands,” said Jim Atchison, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment President. “SeaWorld has been a brand associated with quality family entertainment since SeaWorld San Diego opened its gates for the first time in March 1964.”

Despite the new name, little else about the company changes with today’s acquisition by Blackstone, Atchison said. The leadership team, park portfolio, operating philosophy, commitment to quality and workforce is unchanged: “While this is the start of an exciting new phase in our evolution, we remain dedicated to the same values and principles that have been the foundation of our success for five decades.”