A Midnight Ride To A Thea Award
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On July 31st, 2019, The Twilight Saga: Midnight Ride made its grand debut at Lionsgate Entertainment World in Zhuhai, China. This innovative attraction was the world’s first to combine a fully interactive virtual reality experience with a high-capacity, individually-reactive motorbike motion simulator ride.
Thinkwell partnered with Lionsgate and the Hong Kong-based Lai Sun Group to bring Midnight Ride from an initial blue-sky idea in 2015, through a multiyear process of design and development, to installation, testing, and ultimately welcoming the attraction’s first midnight riders. This unique achievement was only made possible through the close collaboration with the attraction engineers at CAVU Designwerks and DreamCraft Attractions and the computer animation specialists at Framestore. Yet the journey is never complete on opening day.
As Midnight Ride took guests on a journey through perilous winding forest trails, the attraction’s debut year saw plenty of its own unexpected twists and turns… including a temporary closure due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, followed by a grand re-opening in June 2020 with enhanced health and safety guidelines.
The long journey proved worth it, however, as later that November The Twilight Saga: Midnight Ride was honored by the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) with a Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Attraction category. The Thea Awards have been awarded by the TEA since 1994 with the stated goal of bringing recognition to achievement, talent, and personal excellence within the themed entertainment industry.
Among the unique factors recognized by the judging committee, Midnight Ride is one of only a few major theme park attractions to give guests meaningful story agency during their experience. Within virtual reality, guests have the ability to choose their own moonlit path as they’re sent on an interactive motorcycle adventure alongside fan-favorite Twilight character Jacob Black and the rest of the wolfpack. This includes the ability to see and react to their friends within the motion-enhanced VR world, such as when they split off from the trail, speed ahead or fall behind, or are even attacked by the vampire Newborns, leaving each rider seemingly the last remaining of their group.
Other projects with Thinkwell’s involvement in past years that have been recognized by the Thea Awards include: Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi (2020 awards, theme park), Warner Bros. Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter near London (2013 awards, studio tour), Fernbank NatureQuest in Atlanta (2012 awards, museum exhibit), The Jurassic Park Institute Tour in Japan (2005 awards, traveling exhibit), and The Imagination Workshop in Temecula (2005 awards, limited budget).
The Thea Award recipients for the 2021 ceremony were officially announced on November 19th, 2020. Thinkwell, with all of our partners who helped make this attraction a reality, are thrilled and humbled to see Midnight Ride recognized by our industry peers who placed it among the ranks of many of the world’s most influential and impactful themed experiences.