The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) has revealed the winners of its 2020 Thea Awards.
Winners this year – the 27th edition of the awards – include PortAventure World in Spain, which nabbed the Best Attraction award for its Sesame Street: Street Mission area.
Combining the popular Sesame Street characters with an engaging storyline and a bespoke gaming system, the attraction was deemed to create "a unique family attraction worthy of recognition".
In its assessment, the TEA jury said: "It powerfully illustrates how major IP-based attractions can be executed with excellence at theme parks anywhere in the world.
"After years of wondering exactly 'how to get to Sesame Street,' we now know it’s at PortAventura."
Other winners in the "attractions" category included The Twilight Saga: Midnight Ride at the Lionsgate Entertainment World in Zhuhai, China, which was recognised for its multi-rider, multisensory, interactive virtual reality experience.
The ride sees guests climb aboard their own motorbikes, each with its own multi-axis motion platform and lightweight, sanitary VR headset. Riders are greeted by Jacob, who introduces them to their mission: to ride out with the wolf pack to combat the vampire newborns prowling the forest.
Meanwhile, The Buzz Price Thea Award – given to an individual for a lifetime of distinguished achievements – was this year given to Bob Weis, president of Walt Disney Imagineering.
The 73-year-old industry veteran has been the creative and design lead for some of Disney’s largest and most successful parks.
"Bob's portfolio of work is unparalleled and recognised by the industry, his peers and the tens of millions of visitors as among the best," the TEA judging panel said.
"The admiration he has earned from our community over the decades is rooted in his authentic leadership style – that of a world-class visionary who is sincerely modest, selfless and kind."
Launched in 1994, the Thea Awards celebrate achievement, talent and personal excellence within the themed entertainment industry and have become internationally recognized as a symbol of excellence.
In total, there were 19 winners selected this year. See below the full list:
The Buzz Price Thea Award – Recognizing a Lifetime of Distinguished Achievements
Bob Weis, president of Walt Disney Imagineering
Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Blackpool, United Kingdom
TEA Peter Chernack Distinguished Service Award (recognizing exceptional volunteer service to the Association)
Dale Sprague – Canyon Creative
Thea Awards for Outstanding Achievement (AOA)
• Entrance Experience Limited Budget – St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station, St.Louis Missouri, USA
• Attraction – Sesame Street: Street Mission, PortAventura World, Tarragona, Spain (Attraction)
• Attraction – Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, FL and Disneyland Park, CA, USA
• Live Show Spectacular – Qu Yuan, Jingzhou Oriental Heritage Park, Hubei China
• Attraction – The Twilight Saga: Midnight Ride, Lionsgate Entertainment World, Zhuhai, China
• Attraction Limited Budget – Snorri Touren, Europa-Park, Rust, Germany
• Technical Innovation – ARGUS LED Dome System
• Touring Exhibition, Limited Budget – Amazing Pollinators
• Live Attraction Spectacular – The Bourne Stuntacular, Universal Studios Florida, Orlando, Florida, USA
• Connected/Immersive Storytelling – The Nest, Los Angeles, CA, USA
• Attraction – Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Orlando, Florida, USA
• Immersive Design for Special Needs Guests – D.R.E.A.M. Centre, Chailey Heritage Foundation, Lewes, UK
• Museum Exhibit Design, Limited Budget) – “Becoming Jane: The Evolution of Dr. Jane Goodall,” National Geographic Museum, Washington DC, USA
• Themed Hotel – Les Quais de Lutèce Hotel, Parc Astérix, France
• Technological Innovation of Industry Significance – Tait Navigator Automation and Show Control Platform
• Airport Destination Experience – Jewel Changi Airport, Singapore