TEA Connect Blog

14 January 2018

TEA Member Spotlight: Mike Davis of Universal Parks and Resorts

Meet Mike Davis - He sits on the Asia Pacific Board of Directors of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) and was recently promoted to Senior Vice President - International Entertainment - at Universal Parks and Resorts (UPR), where among other things, he'll be playing an executive production role on Universal Beijing.

Mike Davis is part of the international team of UPR executives, led by international president Page Thompson. Mike has been involved in numerous high profile attractions including several at Universal Studios Japan that were honored with Thea Awards. He's had a varied, fascinating and highly creative 40-year career, from performer to manager to executive.

Mike has produced over one billion dollars of live shows and events throughout the world during his diverse and expansive career. He joined Universal Studios Japan after serving as Vice President and Executive Producer of Disneyland Resorts Entertainment, where he produced and oversaw all live entertainment projects.

How did you get your start in the industry? 

I began as a professional musician and performer in the early 1970s, appearing at Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm, Universal Studios, Magic Mountain and Walt Disney World. I was a touring artist, traveling all over the U.S. until the late '70s. I then retired from the stage and started in my first management position as a Casting/Talent Booking Assistant at Disneyland in 1978. I spent 21 years with Disney and moved into my first executive position as the Director of Entertainment in 1987. I left Disney as the VP of Entertainment at Disneyland and the VP of the Walt Disney Special Events Company in 1999 and began my career with Universal Studios in 2000 as the VP of Entertainment for Universal Studios Japan. As a member of that opening management team, I continued to work and help build USJ as the SVP/Executive Producer of Entertainment until concluding that assignment in July of 2017, when I moved into a newly established position of SVP/Executve Producer of International Entertainment  for Universal Parks and Resorts, known worldwide for their outstanding and Industry leading Theme Park and Resort experiences.

This past October, I began my 40th year in theme park management and still enjoy the same level of excitement and energy to continue to help support and contribute to the growth of our fabulous Industry.


What do you find is unique about working in our industry? What’s special about Themed Entertainment?

We reach hundreds of millions of people every year around the world in a way that provides safe and entertaining experiences and do it in unique ways, connecting family and friends with lasting and fullfiling memories.


What have been your biggest challenges or biggest changes you have seen in the course of your career?

The audience expectations have grown to much higher levels as the world has become more technical and immersive.


What advice would you give to others about working in this industry? Or… if you could talk to your younger self what would you say?

Stay focused on the quality of the work. Understand it is a team sport, where all members have value and all are needed for great success!


Do you have a favorite slogan or saying that you use?

My three R’s.  Reward is a Risk Realized………and No One Flies Solo.


How did you first find out about TEA? Why be a member (motivations, benefits)? 

Through the Thea Awards. I have been very fortunate to lead and participate in three Thea-awarded projects while working at Universal Studios Japan in the course of the past 10 years. Projects: 

  • The Song of an Angel, Universal Studios Japan, Osaka, Japan (2014)
  • Space Fantasy The Ride at Universal Studios Japan (2012)
  • Peter Pan's Neverland, Universal Studios Japan (2008)

The most valuable benefit for me has been meeting so many unique and talented people in our industry who share similar challenges, success and learnings. TEA supports terrific networking and comaraderie!


Posted by Judy Rubin



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