On the 18th of November 2020 the TEA (Themed Entertainment Association) announced the winners of the 2021 Thea Awards. These prestigious annual awards honor people, projects and technologies representing excellence in the visitor attractions industry. Among the 16 winners of the Awards for Outstanding Achievement are five dark rides and show rides. The full list of winners can be found through www.teaconnect.org.
One of the Awards for Outstanding Achievement was rewarded to the Chinese Lionsgate Entertainment World for their ride Twilight Saga: Midnight Ride. In this show ride, riders take place on their own motorcycle which is mounted to a motion platform. The riders receive a VR-headset and then race through the world of Twilight Saga, where every ride is able to control his own speed or direction. According to the TEA, “all the elements come together in a truly cohesive, compelling and exceptional experience, a shining example of excellence in our industry.”
One of the dark rides winning an Award for Outstanding Achievement is Sesame Street: Street Mission in the Spanish PortAventura Park. This dark ride is designed by Sally Dark Rides and produced in cooperation with Alterface (shooting system), ETF (ride system), Sim Leisure (theming manufacturer) and BonArt Studio (media development). The combination of a highly approachable gaming system and a ride experience which is fun for all ages convinced the TEA to honor this ride with an award.
The dark ride Snorri Touren in the German Europa-Park received the Award for Outstanding Achievement for ride on a limited budget. TEA especially honors the quality of the decorations in combination with the intimacy of the ride, creating a charming ride experience. More information on of Snorri Touren, designed and manufactured by Jora Vision in collaboration with Mack Rides, can be found in our DRdb Special.
Two other Awards for Outstanding Achievement were received by two new major dark rides in the American Disney Resorts. These are Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway in Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Walt Disney World) and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance in both Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Walt Disney World) and Disneyland (Disneyland Resort Anaheim). Both are praised for their outstanding quality, creating a level of ride experience that was not seen before in the theme park industry. Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway brings a 2D cartoon world to life in a cheerful immersive experience of projections and actual props. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance combines multiple unique ride technologies into one seamless, mind-blowing ride experience. According to the TEA, “the entire attraction, from front to back, is one massive magic trick that leaves riders gobsmacked and represents the absolute pinnacle of how our industry can entertain an audience at a theme park.”
Apart from the Awards for Outstanding Achievement, the special Classic Award was rewarded to the U.K. theme park Blackpool Pleasure Beach. The park was founded in 1896 and thus celebrates its 125th birthday in 2021. “Most notable is the park’s surviving collection of vintage rides, some of these are the last remaining types of their kind in the world,” according to the TEA. Some of these classic rides include the world’s first Ghost Train and the dark rides Alice’s Wonderland and River Caves.