This year's Themed Entertainment Association Thea Awards have a very international flavor, with five of the winners coming from outside the US.

The Thea awards were "created to honor the thousands of professionals working worldwide on themed entertainment and experience design projects, individuals and organizations striving every day to develop places and events that bring people together, capture their hearts and allow their imaginations to soar," says George Wiktor, president of the Themed Entertainment Association in announcing the 2003 Thea Awards.

"This year, we are very pleased to honor George Millay with a Thea Lifetime Achievement Award," continues Wiktor. "Mr. Millay's vision, persistence and passion for people having fun have led to a worldwide eruption of water parks and attractions. For more than forty years, his successes have included such greats as Sea World and Wet'n'Wild, and his influence has resulted in innovative and exciting water parks around the globe. Hot summer days have been irrevocably changed for millions of people thanks to Mr. Millay's designs and efforts."

In addition to the Lifetime Achievement Award for Millay, the TEA is honoring a wide range of creative works. The full list of 2003 recipients is as follows:

Thea Special Achievement: Legoland Parks

Thea Classic: Knott's Scary Farm Halloween Haunt

Thea Awards for Outstanding Achievement

Attraction: CinéMagique, Walt Disney Studios, Disneyland Resort Paris

Attraction: Templo del Fuego, Universal's Port Aventura, Spain

Attraction: Tomb Raider: The Ride, Paramount's Kings Island, Cincinnati

Creative Technology: Stitch's Picture Phone, Walt Disney Imagineering

Effective Re-Theming: Haunted Mansion Holiday, Disneyland

Event Spectacular: 2002 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremonies, Salt Lake City

Library: Cerritos Library, City of Cerritos, California

Limited budget: The Great Barn, Stone Mountain Park, Georgia

Live Show: Luz y Voces del Tajin, Estato del Veracruz, Mexico

Themed Retail: The Grove, Caruso Affiliated Holdings, Los Angeles, California

Visitor Center: Die Gläserne Manufaktur Dresden (Volkswagen), Germany

Visitor Center: The Guinness Storehouse, Dublin, Ireland

The 2003 TEA Conference and Thea Awards Gala, at which the awards will be presented to the recipients, will be held October 3-4, 2003 at the Century Plaza Hotel, Century City, CA. The Themed Entertainment Association is an international alliance of professionals in the location-based entertainment industry. The TEA currently represents more than 500 member companies employing thousands of individuals within the experience design and themed entertainment community.

For additional information about the TEA or the Thea Awards, please contact Gene Jeffers, Executive Director, 818-843-8497, email gene@themeit.com.