Sally Dark Rides’ attraction receives global recognition for Outstanding Achievement

By | November 23, 2020

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Sally Dark Rides, a leading creator of family ride experiences around the globe, today announced its partner PortAventura World was awarded the prestigious Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement for dark ride Sesame Street: Street Mission. Named by the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA), the Thea Award is an international symbol of excellence and represents one of the entertainment industry’s greatest honors.

“At Sally, we strive to create unmatched, immersive experiences that bring families together and transport guests to a world of fun. To see one of our projects recognized as the best of the best is a tremendous honor,” says John Wood, CEO/Chairman of Sally Dark Rides. “Our team of artists, engineers and technicians put their whole hearts into Street Mission. We are so proud of them and the team at PortAventura World for bringing this incredible attraction to life.”

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Sesame Street: Street Mission debuted in April 2019 at PortAventura World in Spain. Since then, the ride has been recognized by the Park World Excellence Awards for “Family Ride of the Year” and received a European Star Award for “Europe’s Best New Ride.” 

The first Sesame Street-themed ride in Europe, Street Mission has been a boon for PortAventura World’s popularity and European presence, drawing attention from around the world. Season pass sales at the park increased by 50 percent in the first season after opening Street Mission and drew more families in for regular visits. PortAventura World went on to make the top twenty list of most-attended theme parks for its region, according to the 2019 TEA/AECOM Theme Index.

“The Street Mission dark ride has been a huge success for our family destination resort,” says Fernando Aldecoa, CEO of PortAventura World. 

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The near six-minute dark ride attraction is housed in a custom-designed 14,000 square-foot building. Street Mission is a one-of-a-kind, family dark ride experience combining the beloved characters and settings that Sesame Street fans love. Using mixed-media and interactive design elements, riders set forth alongside Detective Grover to recover the missing Big Cookie for the Cookie Day Parade. 


To bring this iconic brand to life, Sally Dark Rides worked alongside partners at Sesame Workshop and the Jim Henson Creature Shop. It was vital these characters perform true to how they are seen on TV. Sally’s New York visit to the Creature Shop and Sesame Workshop was filled with two days of discussing fabrication of the sets, animatronics, and CG characters. Seeing and feeling the materials, as well as filming and studying the puppeteers, was key to making these performances sound, look, and move identical to their TV counterparts.

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“The Sally Dark Rides team is truly humbled to be recognized by the Themed Entertainment Association for our work on the Sesame Street: Street Mission dark ride for Port Aventura theme park,” stated Rich Hill, Creative Director Sally Dark Rides. 

Everyone involved worked with passion, trust and enthusiasm to make this vision and dream a reality. Our client, PortAventura, was an incredible partner on the project, giving us the support and trust we needed to “do what we do”, which is create amazing story-based experiences for guests.” Street Mission was chosen for the Thea Award from hundreds of nominations received. The Awards Committee deliberated at length to produce the annual slate of recipients, which was then submitted to the TEA International Board of Directors for approval. While the TEA Thea Awards recipients are announced each November, they are formally awarded the following spring at the elegant TEA Thea Awards Gala. Learn more about the Thea Awards here.