Thea Awards Recipients

Thea Awards 2017

Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement: Attraction

Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure, Shanghai Disneyland, Shanghai Disney Resort, China

Photo courtesy Disney

This attraction at Disney’s newest park, Shanghai Disneyland, embodies excellence in concept and is a signature, next-step achievement that represents the pinnacle of Disney storytelling, immersive design and advanced technology. Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure reinvents and reimagines the original Pirates of the Caribbean attraction that first opened at Disneyland in 1967 (and is a past recipient of a Thea Classic Award).

It is housed in a mammoth facility in the all-new Disney themed land, Treasure Cove, and features Captain Jack Sparrow and Davy Jones in an epic adventure. The ride is a nearly 10-minute experience that plays out in 10 major scenes with seamless technology, a new controllable boat ride system, operatic scale scenery, large format projection, award-winning visual effects, illusions and next-generation Audio-Animatronics technology.

Though the experience begins with the familiar talking skull warning all who pass, it soon becomes clear this isn’t your parents’ Pirates ride. The opening scenes in the Caverns of Misfortune pay homage to the original Pirates, culminating with one of the skeletons magically transforming into Captain Jack Sparrow. Once you enter Captain Jack’s world, the real adventure begins as you sink to the depths of the Graveyard of Lost Ships. There, guests are caught by the master of the depths, Davy Jones, and are thrust into the middle of the ultimate pirate battle.

During production, the team made effective use of an integrated, digital design pipeline that allowed for pre-install adjusting and programming. From staging and programming, to lighting and sound, all show systems within this attraction are exceptional and represent the highest standards in the arts and sciences of themed entertainment.

The Audio-Animatronics figures are the most lifelike ever created by Disney and represent a major step forward in figure animation. The special effects and illusions are staged to amaze guests and enhance the story. The scenic ships are enormous and ornate, complete with blasting cannons. The ride vehicle is fully automated and has the capability of spinning, moving sideways and backward, with seamless onboard audio, all perfectly timed with the various effects, film and animation sequences. The ride system truly enhances and accentuates the journey. All the elements are magically blended to completely immerse guests into the battle for Davy Jones’ treasure.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure is a worthy successor to one of the most famous theme park attractions in the world. This high-capacity, thrilling experience is one that many in our industry have declared the “best theme park ride - ever!”

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