This week, the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) announced three coveted Thea Awards will honor the talents of Walt Disney Imagineering in 2022. A top industry honor, the Thea Awards recognize excellence in the creation and production of compelling places and experiences around the world.
The announcement was made Tuesday at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) Expo, where recipients of IAAPA’s acclaimed Brass Ring Awards were also celebrated. IAAPA announced three Brass Ring Awards for Disney, recognizing industry innovation and excellence.
“Our brilliant creative teams continue to elevate the standards of themed entertainment in amazing new and relevant ways,” said Josh D’Amaro, chairman, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. “With breakthrough achievements and the finest talent, it’s no surprise that Walt Disney Imagineering and our consumer products business continue to be leaders in our industry.”
The innovative Stuntronics technology will receive a Thea Award for Outstanding Technical Innovation. Disney Imagineers designed an advanced robotics figure that makes its own, real-time decisions when to tuck, somersault and slow down while soaring 85 feet in the air. The result is Spider-Man in Avengers Campus, flying above with gravity-defying feats never before seen in a Disney park.
Two incredibly accomplished and influential Imagineers also will be honored with Thea Awards.
Retired Imagineer Doris Hardoon will receive the Buzz Price Thea Award, recognizing a lifetime of distinguished achievements. As a designer and art producer, Hardoon began her career with Disney Parks in 1979. She was well-known for her visionary perspectives and creative candor that helped bring some of the World Showcase pavilions at EPCOT to life, and she later worked on Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park (1998). Hardoon also was a key leader in projects like the opening of Tokyo Disneyland (1983) and Disneyland Paris (1992). Her international work continued through Shanghai Disney Resort (2016), where she developed culturally relevant details for the resort.
Recognizing her focus on relevant, authentic and culturally accurate storytelling across Walt Disney Imagineering, Carmen Smith will receive the Thea Catalyst Award, presented to an individual who has recently made an important impact benefitting the themed entertainment industry. With Smith’s newly expanded purview as senior vice president for Creative Development, Product/Content & Inclusive Strategies for Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, her positive influence and impact connecting with guests around the world will continue to grow. Smith also is working to diversify external partnerships and collaborations, and she ensures thoughtful representation and engagement throughout the creative development process.
Disney Live Entertainment is the recipient of Brass Ring Awards for Live Entertainment Excellence. The “Magic Happens” parade received a Brass Ring Award for Best Atmosphere Street Show Performance, and Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party was awarded for Most Creative Halloween Haunt, Show or Experience. In addition, the Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure Remy Feature Plush was recognized with a Brass Ring Award for Best Plush Item.
“We never lose sight of the global audience we create experiences for, and we are grateful to TEA and IAAPA for being such a force in our industry and their recognition of our Imagineering teams,” said Bob Weis, president, Walt Disney Imagineering Creative and New Experience Development, who received the Buzz Price Thea Award himself last year. “I am so proud of everyone who was recognized this year, especially Doris Hardoon and Carmen Smith, to whom I extend a special congratulations.”