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TEA Summit 2019

TEA Summit Sign

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Posted in Categories:Theme Park Design

By Mason Schmitz, Director P+A Projects

The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) organized their annual conference this past April 11 & 12 at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California.  The conference is called the TEA Summit, and allows an opportunity for industry professionals to come together and discuss “the business of the business”.  The summit is followed by the 25th Annual TEA Thea Awards Gala, which recognizes the best attractions, technologies and guest experiences in the industry.

The first day featured several speakers discussing the state of the industry and hot topics related to work force, live entertainment, safety, and storytelling.  Dollywood also introduced their upcoming land expansion, and the day finished with a conversation with Mark Woodbury, the recipient of the Buzz Price Thea Award Recognizing a Lifetime of Distinguished Achievements.  

Day two is dedicated to Thea Case Studies.  Each of the recipients shared highlights and the challenges they faced creating some of the most captivating and influential visitor attractions and leisure destinations in the world – including theme parks, museums and museum exhibitions immersive experience, brand experiences, spectaculars, parades and more.  Each were honoured the next day at the 25th Annual TEA Thea Awards Gala.

P+A Projects attended learn more about the current status of the market, observe presentations of the best of the industry, to foster & expand network relationships, and to let people know about the recent office expansion in the USA.   Both days of the summit proved to be beneficial.  

On day one, the insights shared related to the global trends and economic expectations will certainly help guide our long-term planning.  Disney went into detail of the interworking of their highly integrated animatronics used in some of their attractions.  Mark Woodbury told his career story, and what he learned along the way to make him the leader he is today.

The second day we learned about the design concept behind Universal’s non-IP Volcano Bay water park.  Interactive technology was implemented in various ways at the Be Washington: It’s Your Turn to Lead attraction, The Evel Knievel Museum, and the LEGO House.  We discovered new ways of using projection art to create an immersive experience at the MORI Building Digital Art Museum.  And numerous other attractions were showcased throughout the globe.

The summit was well organized and produced to a level that kept the audience engaged.  One takeaway was seeing how creators are telling authentic stories with visitors playing an integral part of the presentation, instead of being only a spectator.  I think really the key theme though, was to remember to always incorporate fun in every guest experience.  Looking back, the event was a fun learning opportunity, with conversations building beyond the structure of the occasion.  We look forward to attending again in the future, as well as other TEA events.