19 December 2013

Polynesian Cultural Center, Oahu, to receive Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement - Attraction Revitalization, from TEA

Hawaiian Journey Theater, PCC. More photos
Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement - Attraction Revitalization: 
Polynesian Cultural Center, Oahu, Hawaii 
The Polynesian Cultural Center opened on the Hawaiian island of Oahu in September of 1963. Since opening, the PCC has hosted over 37 million guests, including international dignitaries, presidents, kings and ambassadors from around the globe. Recently, the PCC engaged in a comprehensive planning and development effort to create new guest experiences. To this end, two major renovations were recently completed. The Gateway is a 37,000 square foot facility that provides evening buffet meal service and has been re-imagined as a grand Hawaiian hall. The second project, "Hawaiian Journey” is a repurposing of an aging giant-screen theater. 

Representing The Polynesian Cultural Center
at the 2014 TEA Summit

on Thea Case Studies Day, April 4:

P. Alfred Grace
President & CEO since 2012, Grace started working at the PCC in 1983 as a freshman at Brigham Young University-Hawaii. He started as a cultural dancer and proceeded to work as a trolley driver, tour guide and sound & lighting tech - and eventually sales. Earning a degree in business with an emphasis in travel management, he worked for leisure and hospitality companies including Business and Leisure Holidays and Royal Hawaiian Cruises, returning full-time to PCC in 1998 and continuing up through the ranks.

Michael Lee
President, Michael Lee Design
Michael Lee has built a reputation as a creative artist, planner, designer and
architect on high-pressure, world-class projects. He has extensive experience in all phases of development of theme parks, museums, cultural entertainment centers, waterparks, resorts, and theaters - consulting, managing, and building projects for themed entertainment clients including Swire Properties, Warner Bros., Sesame Workshop, and others. He specializes in creative environments for attractions with his own unique mixture of experience in both science and art.

Pat Scanlon
Producer / Project Director, Michael Lee Design
An 18-year executive of WDI, Pat brings a wealth of experience in planning, producing and managing world-class projects.
Post-Disney, Pat spent six years as Executive VP at BRC Imagination Arts, participating in the development of Mystery Lodge at Knott's Berry Farm, Space Center Houston at Johnson Space Center, and Apollo/Saturn Center at Kennedy Space Center. He has expertly directed several projects with MLD. He is a past member of the TEA Board of Directors and past President & Chairman of the National Space Science and Technology Institute.
The transformation of the buffet hall (the size of a football field) into Gateway included adding new entry canopies and doors, a new color scheme and dimensional Hawaiian symbols and graphics. The exterior lighting and landscaping were also redone and are more reflective of authentic Hawaii. The interior was completely renovated and includes the addition of stately Koa wood (GFRP) columns and flame effect sconces sculpted as giant clam shells. Beneath the woven, thatch-looking ceiling, a 20 foot high by 500 foot long mural encircles the entire space and depicts a Hawaiian King welcoming his royal Polynesian brothers and sisters to join in feast and fellowship. Renovations also included a new and more robust sound system and all-new interior lighting.

The second project, "Hawaiian Journey,” represents the repurposing of PCC’s giant-screen theater. The exterior, out-of-theme facility shell, was covered and recast with the look, feel, sounds and sensibilities of an ancient volcano. By incorporating extensive rock work, waterfalls, faux painting, “breathing” steam vents and lush landscaping, the facility was completely transformed. The entry into the theater is a lava tube, with flame-effect lighting and deep, rumbling sounds that lead guests into the interior volcanic chamber (theater). From a technical perspective, a state-of-the-art, high-definition, digital 4K projection system was installed, as well as a new sound system and a new 40' x 74' projection screen and a full-length, motorized screen curtain for added drama. A new show lighting package was also incorporated and includes black lights to highlight painted wall graphics. The 14-minute movie is an original production about Hawaiian culture that highlights spectacular natural settings throughout the Hawaiian islands. Additionally, the theater's 252 seats have 4D effects incorporated that enhance the movie experience.

The renovation and resulting transformation of the dining hall and giant-screen theater represent PCC’s full embrace of the arts and sciences associated with Themed Entertainment. Relative to the theater, the entire facility started as a large building that had absolutely no thematic connection to the cultural center. The complete renovation of the facility has resulted in a significant and impactful improvement to the guest experience both visually and experientially. The transformation of the theater entry, seating and staging into a dramatic and immersive setting (with comfortable 4D seats!) fully engages guests. The original film production is true to the mission of the PCC in that it is a compelling story about Hawaiian culture and ancestry and illustrates how Hawaiian traditions live on through each generation. The Gateway also utilizes the best in Themed Entertainment technologies in ways that artfully represent the Hawaiian culture and traditions, thus furthering the guest’s connection with the mission of the PCC.

The PCC fully embraces the arts and sciences associated with Themed Entertainment in its renovation of key facility elements. They are very successfully bringing the 50 year old facility into the 21st century and the guest experience is vastly improved.  

About the Thea Awards
The Thea Awards, sponsored by Economics at AECOM, were created by the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) to help realize a key mission of the association: bringing recognition to achievement, talent and personal excellence within the themed entertainment industry. From a modest beginning in 1994, the Thea Awards have become internationally recognized as a symbol of excellence. The public is welcome to attend the black-tie 20th Annual Thea Awards Gala, which will be held April 5, 2014 at the Disneyland Hotel, Disneyland Resort, Anaheim Calif. USA. Tickets may be ordered online at teaconnect.org