Universal Orlando Presented with Awards for Diagon Alley
All those long lines this summer in Orlando, Florida, were worth it. The attention to detail and the complete immersion into Harry Potter’s world led to the theme park being awarded one of the industry’s highest honors – the Thea Award.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando Resort won three Thea Awards for their new attractions, dining, and retail experiences. The recipients were announced Tuesday, November 18, by TEA president Steve Birket during the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions Convention, which is being held this week at the Orange County Convention Center.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter won the Paragon Award, specifically honoring the new Diagon Alley expansion, the Hogwarts Express, and the Diagon Alley retail and dining locations such as Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes and the Leaky Cauldron, to name a few.
The new park won the Paragon Award for many reasons, but what we love best is that the themed entertainment industry recognized the hard work and the storytelling magic it took to make Harry’s world real for all of us (I mean, check out the amazing time we had this summer at the Diagon Alley opening and during LeakyCon!), and then TEA created this award specifically for WWoHP:
It has created a completely seamless storytelling experience without parallel that is unmistakably superior to anything. Thanks to the creativity, storytelling and technical prowess of Universal Creative, the brilliant production design of Stuart Craig and the strong collaboration with Warner Bros., Diagon Alley is bigger, richer and more detailed than what that same team created at Hogsmeade. From the Muggle world environs of London and King’s Cross all the way to the day-for-night environments of Knockturn Alley, the craftsmanship, attention to detail, delights and surprises that amaze around every corner are just… better. The Thea Committee created a new award category – the Paragon Award – for [t]he Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley for the entire land, integrated retail and food & beverage in addition to the Hogwarts Express.
Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts, the iconic 3D coaster with a fire-breathing dragon, won the award for Outstanding Achievement in the Attraction category. The interactive wands that witches and wizards of all ages can use to cast spells and perform magic both in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade received the award for technical excellence.
The Thea Awards are presented at an annual awards ceremony, bringing recognition to outstanding talent of the themed entertainment industry. The black-tie gala will be held in Anaheim, California, on March 21, 2015, and tickets will be available to industry partners as well as the public.
Congratulations to Universal Orlando on their impressive wins! You can read the complete list of winners here, and take a look below at the descriptions of each award and the committee’s thoughts on why the attraction, dining, and retail experiences have become “the new yardstick by which all will be measured.”
Have you experienced Diagon Alley, yet? Help us congratulate and thank those who brought us these amazing experiences by telling us what you thought of the park, sharing your park selfies, and revealing your favorite memory of your time in Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade using @UniversalORL and #DiagonAlley #Hogsmeade on Twitter and Facebook!