Cars Land, Carthay Circle, Aulani Amongst 2013 Thea Award Recipients

The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) today announced the recipients of its annual Thea Awards during the IAAPA Attractions Expo. The prestigious Thea Awards recognize and celebrate excellence in the creation of compelling experiences and places. TEA serves the global attractions industry, including theme parks, museums, world expos, heritage centers and resorts.

Among the named recipients is a triple-threat from the newly revamped Disney California Adventure at the Disneyland Resort. In addition to the Cars Land themed area itself, Radiator Springs Racers and the Carthay Circle Restaurant located on Buena Vista Street are recipients of TEA’s Awards for Outstanding Achievement.

Radiator Springs Racers is being recognized for demonstrating ‘true excellence in design, technical innovation and in execution… the animated figures break new ground in creating the illusion of live animation, and the technical elements, including special effects, sophisticated, in-vehicle sound, and a sophisticated ride system, have all been transparently integrated into the highly enjoyable story and experience. In addition, the design team incorporated an extremely large attraction footprint into the plan of the overall Cars Land footprint in a way that creates multiple notable scenic vistas, and overlooks and seamlessly intertwines the environment and attraction into a total experience greater than the sum of its parts.’ TEA refers to RSR’s home, Cars Land, as ‘a destination attraction in and of itself. The sensitive layout, sophisticated use of scale, extension of character details and the high quality of execution combine to make this an outstanding example of experiential design.’ TEA also hails Carthay Circle Restaurant as ‘a truly outstanding achievement in a theme park,’ citing its ambiance and quality of food.

Also being recognized is Disney’s Aulani Resort, which the TEA defines as ‘an exceptionally cohesive, immersive and entertaining resort experience. Interlaced throughout the entire resort are many layers and references to native Hawaiian culture, both traditional and contemporary, including murals and music commissioned for the resort that successfully unites families in a shared experience of pure Hawaii. Mickey himself is seen on site as only another of many tourists enjoying the educational and entertaining offerings at Aulani.’

The Buzz Price Award, formerly known as the lifetime achievement reward, also underscores Disney’s history as it is being awarded to Frank Stanek. Stanek’s career reaches back into the 1960s when he served as part of the team that brought “it’s a small world” to life at the 1964-65 World’s Fair. His most notable project for the company would be the development of the Tokyo Disneyland Resort, but his hands reached much further inside and outside of Disney, notably also at Universal. Marty Sklar has this to say about Stanek: ‘Frank is one of those “unsung talents” who make our projects happen – much as Buzz Price did from the beginning of the industry. Perhaps no one has had more impact on the two biggest players in our business – Disney and Universal – than Frank Stanek has had – especially in the growth and development of the industry in the international marketplace.’

The Thea Awards will be formally presented on April 6, 2013 at the 19th Annual Thea Awards Gala, a ticketed, black-tie dinner affair, open to the public, at the Disneyland Resort. For more information on these and other recipients, see TEA’s full list here.

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