TEA Connect Blog

22 December 2021

London Festive Day Out: the return!

After last year’s Zoom-only celebrations, the EME division returned with not one but three festive events this December. And ugly sweaters were encouraged at all three!

The planned get-together in Amsterdam on December 16th was replaced at the last minute by an online murder mystery, however there were in-person gatherings in both London and Dubai on December 7th. The latter was a classic TEA Tuesday at the Media One Hotel. Meanwhile 30 members gathered for the return of the London Festive Day Out, an afternoon of waxy and ice cold exhibits, hot drinks and warm company.

Meeting at Madame Tussauds, TEA members were granted an audience with head of operations Neil Dolan and studios manager Jo Kinsey. Operator Merlin Entertainments still makes most of Tussauds’ figures out of wax, we were told, a costly and time-consuming process but one that is part the attraction’s USP. Countless selfie opportunities presented themselves with stars of stage, screen, palace and politics, as attendees made their way through the galleries of the original and most expansive Madame Tussauds in the world.

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland has been a key part of the London Festive Day Out itinerary for several years now, and with Suzy Griffiths of organiser IMG now on the EME board, we were made more welcome than ever. Suzy detailed the unique set of challenges that her team had overcome this year to present this logistically intense seasonal spectacular in the heart of the British capital.

With hot mulled wine on arrival, followed by Bar Ice cocktails, a tour of the Magical Ice Kingdom and a Christmas ‘jumper’ (sweater) parade around the Fire Pit, our senses were taken on a rollercoaster ride. Those that craved a real rather than metaphorical coaster found their fix on München Looping, the Oktoberfest favourite that makes a once yearly sojourn to London to wow the Winter Wonderland public.

Selected as our ugly sweater winner on the night was 7th Sense’s John Higgins, with second and third place going to Paul Taylor and Lynn Willrich. But would John’s kitsch kitten sweatshirt be eclipsed by the woolly wonders on show the following week at the Western US division’s Ugly Sweater Party in LA, or the Eastern division’s event in Orlando? One thing’s for sure: London had the more authentic winter weather!

Thank you to everyone who, quite apart from anything else going on in the world, braved Storm Arwen to join for this enjoyable pre-Christmas catch up with industry colleagues. It was good to see Kelly Voysey from sponsor Luminous Showtech at her first TEA event, and we are grateful too for the support of Updike Creative and Kraftwerk Living Technologies. A festive thanks also to Chris Willrich and Yael Coifman for their help behind the scenes.

Posted by Morgan Lucchese

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