TEA Connect Blog

02 March 2020

TEA International Board President Michael Blau shares his perspective on the Thea Awards

Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) International Board President Michael Blau of Adirondack Studios shares his perspective on the significance of the TEA Thea Awards. The 26th annual TEA Thea Awards Gala presented by Chimelong takes place July 11, 2020 at Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California. It is preceded July 9-10 by the annual TEA Summit including TEA Thea Awards Case Studies Day. #TEAtheas #TEAsummit

Tickets/more info at this link.

Photo at top: Michael Blau with Jennie Nevin (TEA COO), Michael Mercadante (TEA Past President) and Chris Ho (Chimelong) at the TEA Thea Awards Gala VIP reception in 2019.

I was recently asked, “How important are the Thea Awards?” 

Without skipping a beat, I responded, “The TEA Thea Awards are an important measure of how the industry is performing.” The awards involve…


Collaboration and trust

Not everyone realizes that a Thea Award honors the project itself. Symbolically, the trophy given to the owner/producing organization at the Thea Awards Gala to honor the collective achievement. A Thea Award recognizes the people and companies that dedicated their energy to creating the project, and the teamwork culture of our industry that allows these celebrated projects to become the best of the best. See the gallery of TEA Thea Awards recipients, with descriptions and photos. 


Innovation and the test of time

Whether a new ride system or ways to integrate a ride system, new ways of telling a story, inventive technologies or other pioneering achievements, breakthrough innovation is celebrated at the Theas because it expands the creative possibilities of our industry. And when innovation is successfully applied, it endures. This year’s Thea Classic Award, recognizing a project that has stood the test of time, honors Pageant of the Masters. It has been entertaining guests and supporting artists for nearly 90 years.


Education and celebration

Thea Awards Case Studies Day, which takes place the day before the Gala, is another opportunity for our global community to come together, learn from the innovators, and reflect on our industry making the world a better place through education, experience and emotion.

TEA recognizes dedication and learning in other ways, such as the TEA Masters Program. The program honors individual masters of their craft and positions them to enrich our community with their knowledge through the TEA SATE conferences and other educational events.  An industry with Masters is a mature industry.  Look for ways to connect with them!


The future

The TEA Thea Awards give the industry something to aspire to - a goal that may influence day-to-day project decisions to make things better. When project teams are creative, positive, respectful and trusting, there’s great potential for excellence and innovation. If I could wave a magic wand, I would wish for every project to foster these things. Personifying those traits is the 2020 recipient of the Buzz Price Thea Award - Recognizing a Lifetime of Distinguished Achievements: Nancy Seruto of Walt Disney Imagineering. Well-deserved, Nancy! 


A dedicated TEAm

Every year, the Thea Awards Nominating Committee - a dedicated team of experienced, industry experts -reviews hundreds of submittals from around the world. There is a rigor applied to the selection process with research, analysis, assessments and much debate.  Without rigor, everything becomes average.  Thank you all!

The TEA has so many energetic volunteers deserving of thanks. This year, we are specially honoring Wendy Heimann-Nunes of Nolan Heimann LLP with the TEA Peter Chernack Distinguished Service Award.  She is an industry leader who has helped the TEA again and again.

Heartfelt thanks to Chimelong Group, presenting sponsor of the TEA Thea Awards Gala, and to all our other sponsors. Your support is invaluable. Kudos to the entire TEA staff led by Jennie Nevin, TEA Chief Operating Officer, in creating the Gala and everything that makes up TEA’s big weekend of events.

Enjoy the celebration and the sharing of success!

Michael Blau


Tickets/more info:



Thank you to the TEA Global Partners:


Thank you to TEA Global Sponsors:


TEA App sponsor:


Posted by Judy Rubin



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