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Vikings gather for TEA’s SATE Europe conference at Europa-Park
POSTED 18 May 2023 . BY Magali Robathan
Europa-Park hosted the SATE TEA Europe conference Credit: Themed Entertainment Association
Delegates from across Europe and the US gathered from 3-5 May 2023 for the Themed Entertainment Association’s SATE conference at Europa-Park in Rust, Germany.

The theme for this year’s conference was Revolution, and a range of speakers gave talks on topics ranging from AI and accessibility in attractions to burnout and rewilding.

Experiencing Eatrenalin
On the first evening, Europa-Park invited delegates to experience its Eatrenalin experience. Launched in November 2022, the eight course, 90 minute-long, multi-sensory fine dining experience sees visitors transported on floating dark ride seats and tables designed by Mack Rides, while virtual media by Mack Animation and MackNeXT and an original score from Berlin production studio T-Rex Classics build drama at this original and highly immersive experience.

At the request of delegates, Europa-Park executive partner Thomas Mack gave a talk about the Eatrenalin experience, explaining that the genesis of the idea was the question of why good Italian wine tastes better drunk in the sunshine in its country of origin than in rainy Germany. “It’s all about the atmosphere,” Mack said. The biggest challenges of the project included designing the floating chairs, and getting the choreography right – with just 25 minutes between each sitting, it is essential that everything is timed perfectly.

The restaurant welcomes up to 10 groups of guests per evening – with new booking slots opened as previous ones are filled – and prices range from E195 for the basic Eatrenalin dinner up to E645 for the Eatrenalin Sommelier Dinner. The experience has been sold out since its launch.

The family aims to take the concept worldwide, and are currently in talks with a number of operators, said Mack.

AI – the pros and cons
The conference kicked off the following day with a high energy session entitled The Revolution of Scale, with Geoff Thatcher, chief creative officer and Zoe Thatcher, designer and illustrator at Creative Principals, and Yael Coifman, senior partner/owner at Leisure Development Partners discussing the pros and cons of using AI to design attractions.

“The new era is different and fraught with possibilities, and also danger,” said Zoe Thatcher, concluding that if designers: “Don’t use AI tools to help us work faster as professionals, others will, and we’ll get left behind.”

Next Blue Telescope founder Trent Oliver looked at how designers can build revolution into their creative process in a number of different ways, using the company’s recent work with the Sloan Museum of Discovery in Michigan to illustrate his examples. Oliver posed the question: “How does reaching outside of our industry lead to creative inspiration, by bringing underrepresented voices to the table?”

Before lunch, Compagnie des Alps’ Fabien Manuel revisited the topic of AI in a talk entitled The New Age of Creation, sharing his experience of using AI tools to brainstorm ideas for a new dark ride. “I was initially resistant to the idea of using AI, but I changed my mind,” he said, concluding that, “This could be a new age of creation – AI could serve our creative process.”

Rewilding, immersion and green pirates
Katapult CEO Dawn Foote and Down to Earth founder Jamie Quince-Starkey gave a talk entitled Let’s all Be Green Pirates, outlining their plans to rewild Derby and challenging theme park designers and operators to include more biodiversity in their parks.

“What if your food was grown on site with community involvement, the ugliest part of your attractions were turned into beautiful, rewilded spaces, and your whole estate was one habitat?” they asked.

Wim Strijbosch, researcher and lecturer at Breda University for Applied Sciences, took a deep dive into the science and psychology of immersion, giving tips on different ways to immerse guests into the visitor attractions worlds they are visiting.

Michael Mack on being part of a unique family
Next, Europa-Park CEO Michael Mack was interviewed by Creative Studios Berlin’s Chris Lange about his experiences growing up as part of the Mack family.

“The work and the company is our life. Living and growing up in the park – the rides become your aunties and uncles, and of course you want to be part of that,” he said

In a frank interview, Mack spoke about launching Mack Media in 2002, and how it was at times difficult to persuade the family to innovate with rides and technology and a new style of communication with guests. “I always saw the necessity of doing something more than just rollercoasters,” he said, admitting that at times his ideas caused “healthy friction and debate” among the family.

“Always try to evolve your business,” he advised. “Don’t have a fear of experimenting and putting new things in.”

He also discussed other innovations, including the introduction of the park’s first VR coaster and the launch of the Voletarium flying theatre in 2017.

Improving accessibility
After lunch, BRC Imagination chief creative officer Christian Lachel and Arielle Spencer, graduate researcher in planning, design and the built environment at Clemson University spoke about the untapped impact of universal design, with access and inclusion director at Euan’s Guide Paul Ralph adding powerful arguments via video footage.

Ralph – who is a wheelchair user – outlined the business case for providing more welcoming environments for visitors with invisible and visible disabilities, explaining that the spending power of the UK disabled market is £274bn, and that disabled visitors spend more money and time in attractions, and bring more people with them.

“There are 1.85 billion disabled people in the world. That is 1 in 4 people, a market larger than China,” said Lachel.

Celebrating industry icons
Each year, SATE celebrates industry leaders. This year, TEA president Melissa Ruminot sat down with Kraftwerk senior VP Kevin Murphy, winner of the Peter Chernack Distinguished Service Award for his many years of service and support of the TEA. Murphy talked about his early days, his passion for electronics and his route into the industry via a job at London’s Natural History Museum.

Asked about his advice for young people hoping to enter the attractions industry, Murphy said: “Analyse your motives – ask why you want to get into the industry. And then get out there – meet people, learn, network and talk.”

George Lawton Lighting Design founder George Lawton then interviewed DJ Willrich founder David Willrich about his career, his early work at the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu – which included driving a veteran bus around the park, and helping to develop a dark ride to celebrate the centenary of the motor vehicle – and the challenges of setting up his own business.

When asked what advice he would give his younger self, Willrich said, “Have the conviction to believe in yourself. If you’ve got that dream, just go for it.”

Vikings and acrobats
At the end of the first full day, delegates dressed up as pirates, and were treated to a spectacular theatre show at the Europa-Park Teatro, before being addressed by recent TEA’s Buzz Price Award-winner winner Roland Mack, who thanked delegates for coming to his park and spoke about his career and the success of Europa-Park.

After a buffet dinner, guests had the opportunity to experience Mack Animations’ new Fly over Kazakhstan film at the Voletarium flying theatre ride.

Straight into it
Day two of the conference began with a lively session by Adirondack Studios president Michael Blau and P&P projects intern Bunyarit Hoff, involving an interactive quiz in which delegates had to try to solve the challenges of designing an imaginary attraction.

Next, The Room Laboratories’ CEO Chris Lattner talked through how his company creates award-winning highly themed escape rooms, sharing what he has learned about world-building and total immersion. “Take reality, bend it a bit, then people will believe you,” he said, adding that, “Storytelling is about the details.”

Staffing revolution
Next consultant and director at Clear Associates Margreet Papamichael implored delegates to be the revolution in the face of a staffing crisis brought about by an ageing population, waves of resignations following the COVID-19 pandemic and a younger population that stays in education for longer.

“We can’t take the wage per hour down, and while we can focus on ideas for how to retain staff and keep costs down, none of that tackles the underlying demographics and the squeeze on labour availability,” she said.

“Innovation is needed,” Papamichael concluded, making a plea for designs that require less staff input for the “boring tasks,” freeing them up for more enjoyable work.

Magnetic Moon Coaching’s Emma Newell spoke next about burnout and its impact on individuals and the industry, and gave some tips on how to increase our window of tolerance, in a talk that struck a chord with many watching.

Building Rulantica
Finally, Europa-Park senior consultant Chip Cleary, Lukas Metzger, head of park operations, Matthias Lange, head of design and development at MackSolutions and Rulantica’s operations manager Kevin Kruschwitz spoke about designing and building the E180m waterpark, which opened in November 2019. Challenges included finding a theme, designing for such a wet, humid atmosphere, and educating the German market on what waterparks offer – at that point they tended to be publicly owned, with a focus on saunas and wellness.

After the talk, delegates got changed into their swimming costumes, and got to experience Rulantica for themselves, ahead of a day at the park on the Saturday.

The final day offered a chance for attendees to view the results of the NextGen Showcase, a new 10-month free programme which gives participants the chance to create a new attractions concept while being mentored by influential figures in the industry.

Next year’s TEA SATE Europe will take place at Gardaland in Italy.
Delegates dressed up as Vikings for 2023 TEA SATE Europe Credit: Themed Entertainment Association
Europa-Park founder Roland Mack welcomed delegates Credit: Themed Entertainment Association
RELATED STORIES
  TEA announces 2022 Thea Award winners, with Disney, Futuroscope, Kevin Murphy and Roland Mack among those honoured


The Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser experience at Walt Disney World, Orlando, is among the winners of this year's Thea Awards.
  Melissa Ruminot to take the reins as TEA president


The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) has named Melissa Ruminot as its president-elect.
  FEATURE: AM People: Melissa Ruminot


The TEA’s new president elect has ambitious plans for the organisation
  Themed Entertainment Association sets up presence in China


The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) has established an official presence in China, with a company registered in Shanghai.
MORE NEWS
Merlin unveils record-breaking Hyperia coaster at Thorpe Park
Merlin Entertainments has launched its new Hyperia rollercoaster at Thorpe Park to celebrate its 45th year.
Second Chaos Karts launches in Dubai
Live action video game experience Chaos Karts has launched in a 15,000sq ft arena in Al Quoz, Dubai.
Vietnam Van Gogh exhibition uses VIOSO-powered immersive installations
Twenty-five cameras, nine servers, 70 projectors and a range of AV technologies are being used to bring the art of Van Gogh to life in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Use of cinematography techniques significantly increases engagement with VR
A study has found that the use of cinematic and video editing techniques can drastically increase the aesthetic appeal and user engagement of virtual reality environments.
+ More news   

COMPANY PROFILES
instantprint

We’re a Yorkshire-based online printer, founded in 2009 by Adam Carnell and James Kinsella. [more...]
DJW

David & Lynn Willrich started the Company over thirty years ago, from the Audio Visual Department [more...]
Clip 'n Climb

Clip ‘n Climb currently offers facility owners and investors more than 40 colourful and unique Cha [more...]
Alterface

Alterface’s Creative Division team is seasoned in concept and ride development, as well as storyte [more...]
+ More profiles  
FEATURED SUPPLIER

Red Raion expands global presence with new Riyadh office
Red Raion, the CGI studio for media-based attractions, has announced the opening of its new office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. [more...]
CATALOGUE GALLERY
 

+ More catalogues  
DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

06-06 Jun 2024

National Attractions Marketing Conference

Drayton Manor Theme Park & Resort, Tamworth, United Kingdom
06-07 Jun 2024

World Sauna Forum 2024

Sataman Viilu , Jyväskylä, Finland
+ More diary  
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NEWS
Vikings gather for TEA’s SATE Europe conference at Europa-Park
POSTED 18 May 2023 . BY Magali Robathan
Europa-Park hosted the SATE TEA Europe conference Credit: Themed Entertainment Association
Delegates from across Europe and the US gathered from 3-5 May 2023 for the Themed Entertainment Association’s SATE conference at Europa-Park in Rust, Germany.

The theme for this year’s conference was Revolution, and a range of speakers gave talks on topics ranging from AI and accessibility in attractions to burnout and rewilding.

Experiencing Eatrenalin
On the first evening, Europa-Park invited delegates to experience its Eatrenalin experience. Launched in November 2022, the eight course, 90 minute-long, multi-sensory fine dining experience sees visitors transported on floating dark ride seats and tables designed by Mack Rides, while virtual media by Mack Animation and MackNeXT and an original score from Berlin production studio T-Rex Classics build drama at this original and highly immersive experience.

At the request of delegates, Europa-Park executive partner Thomas Mack gave a talk about the Eatrenalin experience, explaining that the genesis of the idea was the question of why good Italian wine tastes better drunk in the sunshine in its country of origin than in rainy Germany. “It’s all about the atmosphere,” Mack said. The biggest challenges of the project included designing the floating chairs, and getting the choreography right – with just 25 minutes between each sitting, it is essential that everything is timed perfectly.

The restaurant welcomes up to 10 groups of guests per evening – with new booking slots opened as previous ones are filled – and prices range from E195 for the basic Eatrenalin dinner up to E645 for the Eatrenalin Sommelier Dinner. The experience has been sold out since its launch.

The family aims to take the concept worldwide, and are currently in talks with a number of operators, said Mack.

AI – the pros and cons
The conference kicked off the following day with a high energy session entitled The Revolution of Scale, with Geoff Thatcher, chief creative officer and Zoe Thatcher, designer and illustrator at Creative Principals, and Yael Coifman, senior partner/owner at Leisure Development Partners discussing the pros and cons of using AI to design attractions.

“The new era is different and fraught with possibilities, and also danger,” said Zoe Thatcher, concluding that if designers: “Don’t use AI tools to help us work faster as professionals, others will, and we’ll get left behind.”

Next Blue Telescope founder Trent Oliver looked at how designers can build revolution into their creative process in a number of different ways, using the company’s recent work with the Sloan Museum of Discovery in Michigan to illustrate his examples. Oliver posed the question: “How does reaching outside of our industry lead to creative inspiration, by bringing underrepresented voices to the table?”

Before lunch, Compagnie des Alps’ Fabien Manuel revisited the topic of AI in a talk entitled The New Age of Creation, sharing his experience of using AI tools to brainstorm ideas for a new dark ride. “I was initially resistant to the idea of using AI, but I changed my mind,” he said, concluding that, “This could be a new age of creation – AI could serve our creative process.”

Rewilding, immersion and green pirates
Katapult CEO Dawn Foote and Down to Earth founder Jamie Quince-Starkey gave a talk entitled Let’s all Be Green Pirates, outlining their plans to rewild Derby and challenging theme park designers and operators to include more biodiversity in their parks.

“What if your food was grown on site with community involvement, the ugliest part of your attractions were turned into beautiful, rewilded spaces, and your whole estate was one habitat?” they asked.

Wim Strijbosch, researcher and lecturer at Breda University for Applied Sciences, took a deep dive into the science and psychology of immersion, giving tips on different ways to immerse guests into the visitor attractions worlds they are visiting.

Michael Mack on being part of a unique family
Next, Europa-Park CEO Michael Mack was interviewed by Creative Studios Berlin’s Chris Lange about his experiences growing up as part of the Mack family.

“The work and the company is our life. Living and growing up in the park – the rides become your aunties and uncles, and of course you want to be part of that,” he said

In a frank interview, Mack spoke about launching Mack Media in 2002, and how it was at times difficult to persuade the family to innovate with rides and technology and a new style of communication with guests. “I always saw the necessity of doing something more than just rollercoasters,” he said, admitting that at times his ideas caused “healthy friction and debate” among the family.

“Always try to evolve your business,” he advised. “Don’t have a fear of experimenting and putting new things in.”

He also discussed other innovations, including the introduction of the park’s first VR coaster and the launch of the Voletarium flying theatre in 2017.

Improving accessibility
After lunch, BRC Imagination chief creative officer Christian Lachel and Arielle Spencer, graduate researcher in planning, design and the built environment at Clemson University spoke about the untapped impact of universal design, with access and inclusion director at Euan’s Guide Paul Ralph adding powerful arguments via video footage.

Ralph – who is a wheelchair user – outlined the business case for providing more welcoming environments for visitors with invisible and visible disabilities, explaining that the spending power of the UK disabled market is £274bn, and that disabled visitors spend more money and time in attractions, and bring more people with them.

“There are 1.85 billion disabled people in the world. That is 1 in 4 people, a market larger than China,” said Lachel.

Celebrating industry icons
Each year, SATE celebrates industry leaders. This year, TEA president Melissa Ruminot sat down with Kraftwerk senior VP Kevin Murphy, winner of the Peter Chernack Distinguished Service Award for his many years of service and support of the TEA. Murphy talked about his early days, his passion for electronics and his route into the industry via a job at London’s Natural History Museum.

Asked about his advice for young people hoping to enter the attractions industry, Murphy said: “Analyse your motives – ask why you want to get into the industry. And then get out there – meet people, learn, network and talk.”

George Lawton Lighting Design founder George Lawton then interviewed DJ Willrich founder David Willrich about his career, his early work at the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu – which included driving a veteran bus around the park, and helping to develop a dark ride to celebrate the centenary of the motor vehicle – and the challenges of setting up his own business.

When asked what advice he would give his younger self, Willrich said, “Have the conviction to believe in yourself. If you’ve got that dream, just go for it.”

Vikings and acrobats
At the end of the first full day, delegates dressed up as pirates, and were treated to a spectacular theatre show at the Europa-Park Teatro, before being addressed by recent TEA’s Buzz Price Award-winner winner Roland Mack, who thanked delegates for coming to his park and spoke about his career and the success of Europa-Park.

After a buffet dinner, guests had the opportunity to experience Mack Animations’ new Fly over Kazakhstan film at the Voletarium flying theatre ride.

Straight into it
Day two of the conference began with a lively session by Adirondack Studios president Michael Blau and P&P projects intern Bunyarit Hoff, involving an interactive quiz in which delegates had to try to solve the challenges of designing an imaginary attraction.

Next, The Room Laboratories’ CEO Chris Lattner talked through how his company creates award-winning highly themed escape rooms, sharing what he has learned about world-building and total immersion. “Take reality, bend it a bit, then people will believe you,” he said, adding that, “Storytelling is about the details.”

Staffing revolution
Next consultant and director at Clear Associates Margreet Papamichael implored delegates to be the revolution in the face of a staffing crisis brought about by an ageing population, waves of resignations following the COVID-19 pandemic and a younger population that stays in education for longer.

“We can’t take the wage per hour down, and while we can focus on ideas for how to retain staff and keep costs down, none of that tackles the underlying demographics and the squeeze on labour availability,” she said.

“Innovation is needed,” Papamichael concluded, making a plea for designs that require less staff input for the “boring tasks,” freeing them up for more enjoyable work.

Magnetic Moon Coaching’s Emma Newell spoke next about burnout and its impact on individuals and the industry, and gave some tips on how to increase our window of tolerance, in a talk that struck a chord with many watching.

Building Rulantica
Finally, Europa-Park senior consultant Chip Cleary, Lukas Metzger, head of park operations, Matthias Lange, head of design and development at MackSolutions and Rulantica’s operations manager Kevin Kruschwitz spoke about designing and building the E180m waterpark, which opened in November 2019. Challenges included finding a theme, designing for such a wet, humid atmosphere, and educating the German market on what waterparks offer – at that point they tended to be publicly owned, with a focus on saunas and wellness.

After the talk, delegates got changed into their swimming costumes, and got to experience Rulantica for themselves, ahead of a day at the park on the Saturday.

The final day offered a chance for attendees to view the results of the NextGen Showcase, a new 10-month free programme which gives participants the chance to create a new attractions concept while being mentored by influential figures in the industry.

Next year’s TEA SATE Europe will take place at Gardaland in Italy.
Delegates dressed up as Vikings for 2023 TEA SATE Europe Credit: Themed Entertainment Association
Europa-Park founder Roland Mack welcomed delegates Credit: Themed Entertainment Association
RELATED STORIES
TEA announces 2022 Thea Award winners, with Disney, Futuroscope, Kevin Murphy and Roland Mack among those honoured


The Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser experience at Walt Disney World, Orlando, is among the winners of this year's Thea Awards.
Melissa Ruminot to take the reins as TEA president


The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) has named Melissa Ruminot as its president-elect.
FEATURE: AM People: Melissa Ruminot


The TEA’s new president elect has ambitious plans for the organisation
Themed Entertainment Association sets up presence in China


The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) has established an official presence in China, with a company registered in Shanghai.
MORE NEWS
Merlin unveils record-breaking Hyperia coaster at Thorpe Park
Merlin Entertainments has launched its new Hyperia rollercoaster at Thorpe Park to celebrate its 45th year.
Second Chaos Karts launches in Dubai
Live action video game experience Chaos Karts has launched in a 15,000sq ft arena in Al Quoz, Dubai.
Vietnam Van Gogh exhibition uses VIOSO-powered immersive installations
Twenty-five cameras, nine servers, 70 projectors and a range of AV technologies are being used to bring the art of Van Gogh to life in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Use of cinematography techniques significantly increases engagement with VR
A study has found that the use of cinematic and video editing techniques can drastically increase the aesthetic appeal and user engagement of virtual reality environments.
Disneyland Paris renames theme park as part of $2 billion transformation
Disneyland Paris has unveiled a new name for Walt Disney Studios Park as part of the park’s US$2 billion transformation.
UK's Royal attractions had a bumper year in 2023
Numbers from the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions, (ALVA) show that Royal attractions saw a huge increase in visitor numbers during 2023 – the coronation year of King Charles III.
+ More news   
 
COMPANY PROFILES
instantprint

We’re a Yorkshire-based online printer, founded in 2009 by Adam Carnell and James Kinsella. [more...]
DJW

David & Lynn Willrich started the Company over thirty years ago, from the Audio Visual Department [more...]
Clip 'n Climb

Clip ‘n Climb currently offers facility owners and investors more than 40 colourful and unique Cha [more...]
Alterface

Alterface’s Creative Division team is seasoned in concept and ride development, as well as storyte [more...]
+ More profiles  
FEATURED SUPPLIER

Red Raion expands global presence with new Riyadh office
Red Raion, the CGI studio for media-based attractions, has announced the opening of its new office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. [more...]
CATALOGUE GALLERY
+ More catalogues  
DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

06-06 Jun 2024

National Attractions Marketing Conference

Drayton Manor Theme Park & Resort, Tamworth, United Kingdom
06-07 Jun 2024

World Sauna Forum 2024

Sataman Viilu , Jyväskylä, Finland
+ More diary  
 


ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media
Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2024

ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
ATTRACTIONS MANAGEMENT NEWS
ATTRACTIONS HANDBOOK
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS