This week, at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) Expo, the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) announced that Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products will be presented with three prestigious Thea Awards in 2023.
What’s a Thea award? Good question. Think of it like an Oscar for theme parks. Each year the Themed Entertainment Association presents Thea Awards to theme parks that achieve genuinely incredible things (be it entertainment or innovation or any other aspect that can truly wow in a theme park). It’s one of the most prestigious awards in the theme park industry and the aspiration of anyone in the business. According to TEA’S website, “TEA’s Thea Awards have become internationally recognized as a symbol of excellence.” So just what awards has Disney been selected for?
The Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement will go to Disney World’s Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser. The award is being given to the immersive hotel for its ability to create a one-of-a-kind, exciting experience that blends “physical, digital, and live entertainment elements into one cohesive story that plays out over the course of multiple days and nights.”
The Thea Classic Award will go to the beloved Main Street Electrical Parade. This award is presented to an attraction that has stood the test of time and remains relevant and loved by guests. When it opened in 1972, the Parade was the first of its kind, with 600,000 electronically controlled lights and a synchronized soundtrack triggered by radio control along key areas of the parade route.
Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, said, “I’m so proud of our teams who continue to delight our guests and consumers by pushing industry boundaries. These accolades illustrate our legacy of innovation, as evidenced by projects that opened 50 years apart being awarded together.”
In addition to these prestigious awards, the IAAPA announced that Disney Parks would receive nine Brass Ring Awards for Live Entertainment Excellence, Games and Merchandise Excellence, and Food & Beverage Excellence. The Brass Ring Awards recognize global innovation and the unwavering spirit of the industry.