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Conference Review www.parkworld-online.com


TEA Masters with their awards- Nina Vaughn, Ralph Nielsen, Philipp van Stratum, Rich Procter, Glenn Birket, Joe Falzetta and John Lindsay


SATE co-chairs John Paul Geurts and Bettina Buckley


packed to capacity in Orlando on 4-5 October Attended by more than 500 of the brightest minds and top decision makers in themed entertainment, the TEA’s signature international conference explored upcoming trends in storytelling, architecture, technology and experience in Orlando last month. The conference comprised two full days of sessions and discussion related to Experience Design and the SATE segments, as well as an invaluable opportunity to network. The iconic location provided great opportunities to enjoy exclusive behind-the- scenes activities at SeaWorld itself, whilst mingling with colleagues. The 2018 theme was ‘The Experience Recipe’, and sessions were designed to spark the imagination with fresh, new ‘recipes’ and techniques for creating groundbreaking experiences and rich, diverse projects. Presenters curated a diverse ‘menu’ to satisfy audiences' taste for adventure, discovery and fun. The innovative approach was inspired by the latest trends in hospitality, retail, food, costumes/fashion, scenery/theming and even horticulture, inviting participants to broaden their thinking and explore beyond the boundaries of traditional attraction design.


Meet the Speakers Conference co-chairs Bettina Buckley, vice president of Disney Parks Live Entertainment - Walt Disney World, and experiential entrepreneur John Paul Guerts


Jennifer Nevin, Cookie Monster, Lynn Allmandinger and Marie Kingsley


SATE 2018 O


rganized by the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) and hosted by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, SATE 2018 was


A recipe for collaboration in Orlando


developed a list of ‘Mixologists’ (Curators) to lead and drive each of the Experience Recipe ‘Ingredients’. Brian Smith and Jackie Cuscuna, founders of ice


cream scoop shop chain Ample Hills Creamery, were the event’s keynote speakers, sharing business insights on how they achieved their success story. Craig Feldman, creative director at Be Amazed Media, led a conversation on the major role played by technology and digital development in the creation of immersive experiences across the themed entertainment space. Under the EduTainment header, SeaWorld’s Scott Gass headed up a panel presentation on ‘making the real relevant’, looking at how to bring the public closer to the wild in a world where more and more people are removed from nature. A session with Mirena Rada looked at how to


create fantastical visual experiences through cutting edge themed entertainment costumes, whilst Nassal’s Melissa Ruminot explores the importance of a strong and inspiring leader when using technology to connect and engage. Gary Wichansk of entertainment design firm Hotopp Associates spoke on how having a ‘North Star’, an underlying way of thinking that is untethered from the specific development process, can be key to making the right design choices. A discussion with Forrec’s Gordon Dorrett brought


together innovative international developers who shared what resonates for them in hyper-competitive, mixed-use design –an opportunity to see experiential design through a client lens.


The session led by Fran Boettcher of AECOM saw a panel of game-changing design professionals explore the connections between nature, community and culture in public spaces. Finally, Deanna Siller, co-creator of the Strategy+Design Shop, and Tom Ito of Gensler presented on experience trends, looking at what drives people to explore around the world.


TEA Masters SATE Orlando - SeaWorld also provided the occasion to officially recognise the TEA Masters at the inaugural awards, celebrating individual accomplishments in specific disciplines to the industry. In addition to the formal honours, the seven TEA Masters made up an educational panel on the conference program, chaired by TEA Founder and past president Monty Lunde of Technifex, chair of the TEA Masters Committee.


As Park World goes to press, TEA SATE Asia 2018 is imminent, located in Guangzhou at the Chimelong Panda Hotel and reflecting the dramatic, rapid growth that the attractions industry is experiencing in Asia. The TEA will be at Booth #1366 at the upcoming IAAPA Attractions Expo in Orlando – networking events include: • TEA International Mixer, November 13 • TEA Annual Member Meeting, November 14 • TEA NextGen Meet & Greet, November 14 • Team TEA's 7th annual 5k charity race, November 15 • TEA Member Mixer, November 16


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