Celebrating another successful year for the leisure industry, the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) has announced the winners of its annual Thea Awards. The total of 18 recipients were made public on 14 November, the first day of this year’s IAAPA Expo in Orlando. An overview can also be found on the TEA website. On 16 March 2024, the physical trophies will be handed out during the Thea Awards Gala held in Hollywood (California, USA). Let us take a look at the 3 dark ride-related projects that will get to shine during the gala.
In the category of ”Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement – Attraction”, the first winner is Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at Walt Disney World – EPCOT (Florida, USA). Opened in 2022, this fan-favourite enclosed roller coaster is based on the superhero team of the same name by Marvel and features multiple dark ride scenes. Guests then experience a fast paced adventure through space. The coaster system was manufactured by Dutch company Vekoma, is equipped with spinning cars and is with an impressive length of 1700 metres the longest to be enclosed in the world.
Another award in the category ”Outstanding Achievement – Attraction” was presented to Bermuda Storm. This unique and record breaking simulator is located in the recently opened Chimelong Spaceship (China), the largest indoor amusement park in the world. Bermuda Storm is a stand up simulator, in which guests can experience what it is like to sail on a ship through a fierce storm. With its enormous capacity of 304 guests at once, it is the world’s largest simulator.
Eatrenalin was presented with an award in its own and newly created category ”Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement – Experiential Dining Attraction”. This unique restaurant and dark ride hybrid is offers guests an over 100-minute long, unique experience in which they travel through different scenes on ”floating chairs”. The stand alone and premium priced attraction is owned by Mack Rides of Europa-Park (Germany) fame and is located within the resort.
Aside from these rides, there was also a notable park nominated. SeaWorld Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) was awarded for ”Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement – Indoor Marine Park”. The park was newly opened earlier this year and includes Hypersphere 360°, the first simulator of its kind. The so-called Dome Ride Theater, developed by Attraktion! and Intamin, puts guests on a large ring with various degrees of motion and is surrounded by a dome of LED screens.
This is the 30th time the Themed Entertainment Association has presented the Thea Awards. As explained on their official website: ”The Thea Awards honor individuals, projects, and technologies in the arena of themed attractions and experiences worldwide.” The Thea Awards are often considered to be one of the most prestigious in the industry.