Creative artists from Disney, Universal, and other themed entertainment firms from around the world — large and small — came together for the three-day event, which wrapped up last night with the presentation of the previously-announced Thea Awards, honoring the best of the best in the themed entertainment industry over the past year.
Day One of the TEA Summit focused on economic issues in industry. While presentations from TEA's partners at AECOM and other analysts were closed to the press, the Orange County Register spoke with some of them about industry trends:
Amusement parks are a $3 billion industry in China, and revenue has increased 11percent over the past five years, according to IBISWorld, a Los Angeles publisher of industry research and analysis.
Worldwide, theme parks revenue grew 4percent over five years to $16billion. That rapid pace is fueled by the growing middle class in China and Southeast Asia, and the Middle East’s desire to be a world-class tourist destination, several experts said.
The Register also looked at Disney's honorees in the Thea Awards, which included an award honoring the 50th anniversary of It's a Small World.
The Themed Entertainment Association... awarded the iconic attraction’s longevity the industry’s highest honor, the Thea Classic Award, which recognizes an attraction that has stood the test of time.
“I think it stands test of time because it’s the hope of the world that we have peace and get along,” [Disney Imagineer Kim] Irvine said. “It is very innocent [and] that is something that people are not tired of hoping for.”
On Day Two of the summit, attendees heard "case stories' detailing the work behind some of this hear's Thea Award winners, including The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida.
Universal sent a large delegation sent a large delegation to accept the awards, and members were momentarily stumped for a diplomatic response during a Q&A about Diagon Alley on Friday evening. The first question was how much of it would appear at Universal Studios Hollywood when it opens its own Harry Potter attraction in 2016.
“You will see some of it,” said Thierry Coup, senior vice president of Universal Creative. “You’ll probably start seeing a castle as we speak.”
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