Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cars Land, Radiator Springs Racers, Carthay Circle Restaurant, Winners of 2013 THEA Awards!

The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) has announced their 19th annual Thea Award recipients. Among the Disney winners for Outstanding Achievement are Radiator Springs Racers, Cars Land, and the Carthay Circle Restaurant.


Radiator Springs Racers, Disney California Adventure Park
Category: Attraction
In one of the largest attractions ever built for a Disney theme park, the Radiator Springs Racers ride at Disney California Adventure Park puts visitors in the driver’s seat for a thrilling race through the world of the Disney∙Pixar film Cars. This family-oriented, indoor/outdoor thrill ride incorporates fast moving, variable-speed, six-passenger vehicles that start their journey with a calm and scenic drive through the colorful landscape of Ornament Valley. Traveling into an interior dark ride environment, guests find themselves face-to-face with Lightning McQueen, Tow Mater and all the other 4-wheeled personalities of Radiator Springs, personified via breakthrough figures that combine physical and projected animation to bring the characters to life. Variable track paths allow for changing and unpredictable scene experiences during the indoor portion of the ride. The ride culminates in a high speed, side-by-side, outdoor race between two ride vehicles that careen neck-and-neck through the twisting Ornament Valley landscape. The winner isn't decided until the cars reach the Finish Line at the end of the race!
This attraction demonstrates true excellence in design, technical innovation and in execution. In bringing a well-known movie to life, the designers went the extra step in expanding it into a fully experiential world, creating new details and gags throughout. The animated figures break new ground in creating the illusion of live animation, and the technical elements, including special effects, sophisticated, in-vehicle sound, and a sophisticated ride system, have all been transparently integrated into the highly enjoyable story and experience. In addition, the design team incorporated an extremely large attraction footprint into the plan of the overall Cars Land footprint in a way that creates multiple notable scenic vistas, and overlooks and seamlessly intertwines the environment and attraction into a total experience greater than the sum of its parts.
Cars Land, Disney California Adventure Park
Category: New Theme Park Land
Guests visiting Cars Land often remark that, “It looks like they took the plans for the Disney∙Pixar movie and just pushed 'Print!'” Cars Land is indeed a startlingly accurate realization of the town of Radiator Springs and surrounding Ornament Valley, but the reality is not nearly that simple. Walking down the main drag of Radiator Springs, all of the storefronts and businesses which appeared in the Cars films have been brought to life in careful and delightful detail. From Flo's V8 Café, Fillmore’s Taste-In and the Cozy Cone Motel to Sarge's Surplus Hut, Radiator Springs Curios and Ramone's House of Body Art, each has been created as its own distinct experience, drawn from the films and further inspired by the lore and legend of Route 66. In addition to the big “E-Ticket” ride, Radiator Springs Racers, two other attractions, Luigi's Flying Tires and, in particular, Mater's Junkyard Jamboree are cleverly conceived reinventions of classic rides, each with a new twist.
Cars Land's 12 acres are particularly notable for the overwhelming scale of the rockwork panorama that frames the land, providing spectacular vistas and a sense of scale and perspective that make the significantly large footprint of the development even larger, seeming to extend for miles. At night, spectacular lighting takes the entire land to a new level of immersion as the colorful neon lights of downtown Radiator Springs come to life against the glowing palate of the Ornament Valley landscape beyond.
The sensitive layout, sophisticated use of scale, extension of character details and the high quality of execution combine to make this an outstanding example of experiential design. Far beyond being a supporting element of the Radiator Springs Racers attraction, Cars Land is a destination attraction in and of itself.
Retail, food and beverage programming begins with inspiration from the films, but Imagineers have added humor, story and surprise extra touches throughout. Every element has been thoughtfully considered to maximize its character and story content, while simultaneously providing optimal (but often invisible) operational function and capacity.
Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge, Disney California Adventure Park
Category: Theme Park Restaurant
The Carthay Circle Restaurant resides within a reproduction of the famous Carthay Circle Theatre, renowned in Disney history for having been the venue for the premiere of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937. The Restaurant and Lounge are keystones in the storytelling of Buena Vista Street, a newly added area to the park. (Buena Vista Street is a new retail and entertainment entry to California Adventure and showcases Los Angeles as it may have looked to Walt upon his arrival in 1923).
This opulent dining experience would be transportive in any locale - its interior representing the refined and retro stylings of the Golden Age of Hollywood, complete with beautiful historic photographs and archival memorabilia. But this restaurant is in a theme park. From the lounge on the ground floor that serves vintage cocktails to the restaurant lobby and the dining rooms upstairs, the striking period décor is befitting of such a theatrical setting.
The reservations-recommended restaurant offers seating on the second floor in an intimate main dining room, exclusive, themed, single-table dining alcoves, private dining rooms, and two sunny open-air terraces. The food is also exemplary for a theme park setting. Award-winning chef Andrew Sutton (from Napa Rose Restaurant at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa) created the menu to feature the bold and diverse flavors of Southern California. The high quality service, distinctive setting and cuisine in an exclusive-feeling environment make Carthay Circle Restaurant a truly outstanding achievement in a theme park.

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