Tag Archives: amusements

Countdown to Hollywood’s Biggest New Year’s Party

Universal Studios Hollywood rings in 2018 with Hollywood’s biggest New Year’s Eve celebration, EVE, on Sunday, December 31, 2017, with extended theme park hours to 1:00 a.m.

The New Year’s Eve event, the first ever for Universal Studios Hollywood, is included in the price of theme park admission and invites guests to spend the day and night enjoying its many popular rides and attractions with a special park-wide countdown party featuring multiple entertainment hubs with DJs and live music, starting at 9:00 p.m.

Universal Plaza, Simpsons Plaza located adjacent to “The Simpsons Ride” and an area near “Jurassic Park—The Ride” will transform into three uniquely-themed electrifying party hubs that will culminate simultaneously at midnight with a traditional New Year countdown and a spectacular fireworks display.


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Food and beverages, including specialty desserts, champagne, beer and wine, as well as 2018 memorabilia will be available for purchase.

With its festive environment, guests can toast the New Year with the spirit of the holidays already resonating throughout Universal Studios Hollywood. “Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry PotterTM” introduces “The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts TM Castle.” Several times each night, guests can enjoy amazing images inspires by the Harry Potter films as they come to life in breathtaking digital light projection on the backdrop of Hogwarts castle. And with extended hours on December 31, guests can celebrate the final day of “Grinchmas™” with The Grinch, his faithful dog Max and a roster of Who-ville Whos.

More information is available at www.UniversalStudiosHollywood.com.


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Explore The Wild Side Of Winter In Monterey County

While much of the country slumbers beneath blankets of winter snow, sunny Monterey County is awake and alive with winter wildlife. Whether it’s the delicate, migratory monarchs, the gentle giants of the sea or abundant birdlife, the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau invites visitors to come and explore the incredible biodiversity of our coastal region.

WINTER MONARCH MECCA
Witness fluttering clouds of orange and black descend upon charming Pacific Grove, also known as Butterfly Town, U.S.A. California’s central coast is the only place in America where monarch butterflies migrate to in the winter. They begin arriving in October and stay through February, creating spectacular effects as they flit and float through the air and hang in clusters from eucalyptus, pine and cypress trees in Pacific Grove’s Monarch Grove Butterfly Sanctuary. Because monarch butterflies have a lifespan of less than one year, their migration remains a mystery. They arrive each year, never having been to this destination before. Visit in the early afternoon, the warmest time of day, to see these delightful creatures when they’re most active.

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Pixar Fest Opens at Disneyland Resort in April 2018

Pixar Fest, the biggest Pixar celebration ever to come to Disney Parks, brings guests together to celebrate friendship and beyond beginning April 13, 2018, at the Disneyland Resort.

During this limited time event, some of the beloved stories from Pixar Animation Studios will come to life in new ways at both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Parks, with characters and experiences from films such as Disney•Pixar’s “Toy Story,” “Monsters, Inc.,” “Finding Nemo” and “Up.” Guests will join the fun as they experience a new fireworks spectacular, the return of two favorite parades with fresh new Pixar surprises, new décor, atmosphere entertainment, creatively themed food and beverage and exclusive event merchandise.

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WinterFest At California’s Great America Opens November 24

The Bay Area’s newest and most immersive holiday tradition, WinterFest, opens at California’s Great America on Friday, November 24 and will entertain guests on select dates through December 30. During WinterFest, Great America will be magically transformed into a winter wonderland where guests can experience unique new features, as well as fan favorites such as skating in front of the iconic Carousel Columbia, admiring magnificent displays of lights and décor, viewing spectacular live holiday shows, experiencing 25 rides and attractions, seeing Santa’s workshop and Mrs. Claus’ kitchen, and enjoying scrumptious holiday fare at numerous dining locations.

This unmatched event will feature more than 7 million LED lights, creating such a vibrant experience that it will be visible from the International Space Station, more than 270 miles away. The winter scene will be dominated by one of the Bay Area’s tallest Christmas trees adorned with thousands of twinkling lights accompanied by giant toy soldiers greeting guests. The six-week WinterFest celebration will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, with daily operations December 19-23 and 26-30 from 5pm-10pm (November 26 and December 17 from 6:30pm-10:30pm)

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California’s Great America To Host Fireworks July 1-4

California’s Great America will celebrate the July 4th holiday weekend with fireworks set to patriotic music each night from July 1-4. Additionally, current and past military men and women will be honored with free park admission (with valid ID) July 1-4 and can bring up to 6 guests for just $22.99 each.

“Great America is historically one of the Bay Area’s best locations for July 4th fireworks, and we’re excited to deliver them each night for the extended weekend,” said California’s Great America Vice President and General Manager Raul Rehnborg. “We’re proud to again provide free admission for all U.S. military members who have served our county and hope they can enjoy a visit to the park during the July 4th weekend.”


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On July 4th, Coca-Cola will create an in-park destination near Food Festival with tasting samples of Coca-Cola, Diet Coke and Coke Zero, a giant interactive inflatable, a photo booth and a prize wheel.

Great America’s summer season is underway with 10am-10pm operating hours, the new Patriot coaster experience, and family rides, Boomerang Bay water park and an exciting show lineup, including Vertical Impact, a high-flying acrobatics stunt show.


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The Best Amusement Parks for Families in 2017

Family Vacation Critic, TripAdvisor’s family travel site, has just named the Best Amusement Parks for Families in 2017 – naming the best parks in the U.S., and sharing the year’s newest attractions and highlights for every age group.

“Amusement parks are one of the most quintessential summertime activities for families,” explains Lissa Poirot, editor-in-chief of Family Vacation Critic. “But for those traveling with family members of various ages – including kids-at-heart – finding a park that caters to thrill-seekers and the younger set isn’t always so easy. This list includes parks that successfully cater to both, and those that also have exciting new features for the 2017 season.”

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It’s the Summer of Love – Redux! June 10 – 18 San Mateo County Fair

50 years ago, the “Summer of Love” hit the Bay Area. A half century later, San Mateo is still feeling groovy with one of the largest and most family-friendly events on the West Coast, The San Mateo County Fair (www.sanmateocountyfair.com). Over nine days of diverse entertainment, June 10 – 18, “Tradition Meets Innovation” in the uniquely California experience that matches the enthusiastic diversity of the region. Now through June 1, Pre-Sale Discounted All-Season-Passes are available online: $22 adult; $ 18 junior and senior. The purchase a season pass includes all nine days of the Fair and all concerts, exhibits and attractions.

“We were hip before there were hippies,” quipped Dana Stoehr, CEO of the San Mateo County Events Center and Fair, “Every year is the summer of love at the San Mateo County Fair and there’s something to love for everyone. Whether you’re looking for traditional food, fun and entertainment, or the hottest musical acts around, we’ve got a little something for everyone, and every generation.”

As always, the San Mateo County Fair delivers a rocking week of musical quality and diversity: War (June 10); Summer of Love – Live! (June 11); The Family Stone & the Oakland Symphony (June 12); Pink Floyd Laser Spectacular (June 13); Tower of Power (June 14 & 15); The Ohio Players (June 16); Smash Mouth (June 17); and, of course, the traditional closing-out-of-the Fair Latin Music focused Día De La Feria (June 18).

However, it’s not only celebrity musicians who will come out to shine at the San Mateo County Fair.


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“Have you ever dreamed of performing live on stage? This 2017 Fair could be your big break and a great way to get involved in your community,” notes Kaitlyn Bailey-Findley, whose efforts last year socializing the Fair led to a marked increase in attention from young fairgoers. “Join our community stage and become a local celebrity. All singers, musicians, dancers, or performing arts enthusiasts are encouraged to register online to participate. And once you’re onstage, use that hashtag to build your personal fan base: #SMCF2017.”

In addition to the previously mentioned Free Concerts, there will be plenty — traditional and innovative — about which to tweet, including but not limited to the following:

  • New this year is the Rainforest Exhibit in Sequoia Hall recreating a tropical paradise to walk through and at which to marvel. The Rainforest Adventure exhibit will feature mammals, reptiles, birds and invertebrates totaling more than 35 species including a spider monkey, sloth, binturong, forest hawk, pythons, huge tarantulas, and exotic frogs. Exhibit will also have two shows daily.
  • Returning favorites include Butterfly Adventures, where kids can feed butterflies, Captain Jack Spareribs, a fun filled pirate adventure, and of course, Dennis Forel at the Voice of the Fair.
    Fair Food – Alligator on a Stick, Fried Kool Aid, and The Healthy Food Fare – Our Healthy Food Fare initiative is back with healthy choices being provided by many Fair vendors. But don’t worry: your Fair favorites will still be available from barbeque to funnel cake.
  • Science, Technology, DIY Science Exhibits are back – Young people get hands on experience with innovative new concepts and devices such as 3-D printers. See how much fun a Do-It-Yourself environment can be for kids! In addition, livestock shows, painting, fine art, literary arts, cooking and healthy eating are just part of the fun.
  • Free Grounds Acts – Fairgoers will see traditional pony rides, costumed “Hippy and Summer of Love” characters strolling throughout the grounds, and much more. After a popular debut last year, hypnotist Kellie Karl-Hypnotist returns joined by Celebrity Chef David George Gordon, the Great American Petting Zoo and AgVenture, San Francisco street performers and The Great American Pig Race.
  • Carnival Rides including The Freak Out is Back! The Fair introduced this new carnival ride in 2014. It flies passengers 40 feet into the air. The Freak Out joins Fair favorites like the Ferris Wheel, Zillerator and roller coasters

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The San Mateo County Fair — “Where Tradition Meets Innovation” — is The Peninsula’s premier, community event for family fun and entertainment: June 10 – 18, 2017. Visit sanmateocountyfair.com often for regular updates, contest rules, schedules, promotions, and information.


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New Patriot Floorless Coaster To Open at California’s Great America Saturday, April 1

California’s Great America opens its 2017 season on March 25 and will introduce an array of new attractions, entertainment and dining experiences. Patriot, the first floorless coaster in the park’s history, will make its official park debut on Saturday, April 1.

Patriot will take riders to a nine-story height before plummeting them into a 360-degree loop and a series of hairpin turns. The floorless ride will include state-of-the-art blue and white floorless trains positioning guests with their feet dangling inches above the track.

To celebrate Patriot, all current and past military service members will be provided free admission from March 25-May 29 (with valid ID), along with special $30 tickets for up to 6 guests (available at the Front Gate).

“Patriot will be an outstanding addition to our family of roller coasters,” said California’s Great America Vice President and General Manager Raul Rehnborg. “We’re honored to provide active and past military service members free admission through Memorial Day weekend. They do so much for our country, and we’re happy to provide them fun family entertainment.”

One of the most notable changes for 2017 comes at the iconic Maggie Brown’s restaurant. Renamed Maggie’s Smokehouse & Fried Chicken, in addition to the legendary fried chicken, the restaurant will also delight guests with smoked tri tip, pulled pork and rotisserie chicken. Seasonally, Maggie’s will also serve beef and pork ribs in the completely refurbished interior.

Food Festival will also feature new dining options, including crab sandwiches and lobster rolls for seafood lovers, burritos and tacos, clam chowder bread bowls and highly popular Boba tea drinks.

Season Passholders can take advantage of the All Season Dining Plan that, for as low as $84, provides two meals per visit (4 hour interval between meals) and pays for itself in just three visits. This year the on property Panda Express and Subway are included in the plan.

The brand new Red, White & Brews festival will debut Memorial Day weekend and run five total days (May 27-29, June 3-4). Red, White & Brews will be located in Hometown Square, adjacent to Patriot, and features locally crafted beers, great barbeque and live music, all wrapped in a fun family atmosphere. The Taste of Orleans festival with Cajun cuisine, bayou music, themed fireworks and Mardi Gras atmosphere returns for two weekends (July 22-23, 29-30).

Other seasonal entertainment events include Opening Day (March 25), Fiesta Hispana (Aug. 13), The Great Pumpkin Fest (weekends Sept. 30-Oct. 29), Halloween Haunt (Friday-Sunday, Sept. 22-Oct. 29) and WinterFest (select nights Nov. 24-Dec. 29). Halloween Haunt will celebrate its 10th anniversary, and the highly decorated WinterFest will be back for a second season of holiday fun beginning November 24.

New live entertainment in 2017 features Vertical Impact in Great America Theater, a high-flying acrobatic display with trampoline artists and amazing choreography, along with The Great American Game Show in Theatre Royale.

Also new in 2017 is FunPix, the ultimate way to capture and share unlimited Great America digital photos on social media. FunPix is available for as low as $19.99 for a day-long pass or $39.99 for a season-long package. With FunPix, guests can digitally capture their favorite memories, whether it’s the classic family shot in front of the carousel, thrilling on-ride moments aboard Great America’s roller coasters or fun character shots with Snoopy and Charlie Brown.

Great America will open daily beginning May 25, and Boomerang Bay water park will open daily beginning May 27.

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I-5 RoadTrip – Seattle Space Needle Lights Up The Sky New Years Eve

The Space Needle will celebrate the arrival of 2017 with its 32nd annual fireworks spectacular – T-Mobile New Year’s at the Needle. This year’s pyrotechnics display has been extended to ten minutes making it the largest show the Space Needle has ever produced. For the fourth year in a row, hometown partner T-Mobile, America’s Un-carrier, is the exclusive sponsor of the West Coast’s premier New Year’s Eve celebration.

The Space Needle will be illuminated in T-Mobile’s distinctive magenta brand color on Dec. 30-Dec. 31 as a precursor to the New Year’s Eve festivities.

Pyro Spectaculars, global fireworks experts for over 100 years, will design and coordinate the ten minute display. Pyrotechnics will illuminate the entire Space Needle from top to bottom. Gala New Year’s Eve parties are being held on the Observation Deck and at the SkyCity restaurant and have already sold out.

More than 20,000 people are expected to gather on the Seattle Center campus to watch the T-Mobile New Year’s at the Needle show. The entire Seattle Center campus will be one big party with thousands of free giveaways from T-Mobile as all the revelers watch the amazing pyrotechnic effects being fired from 87 different locations on the iconic landmark. An estimated 400,000 will view the show from surrounding neighborhoods, along with another half-million tuning-in from home.


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Celebrate Holiday in the Park at Six Flags Magic Mountain

Tis the season for thrilling roller coasters, millions of dazzling LED lights, and kisses under the mistletoe as Six Flags Entertainment Corporation, the world’s largest regional theme park company, kicks off its annual holiday spectacular, Holiday in the Park.

Holiday in the Park is a treasured holiday tradition featuring intricately-themed lighting displays, holiday entertainment and an expansive selection of specialty food offerings guaranteed to make the season merry and bright for every member of the family.

Signature Holiday in the Park offerings guests of all ages can enjoy, include:

  • A myriad of activities families can experience together including cookie-decorating, ornament-making, and face-painting;
  • Millions upon millions of dazzling lights, choreographed lighting packages and beautifully decorated holiday-themed sections throughout the parks;
  • Towering Christmas trees all lit up and decked out for the holidays;
  • Wood-burning fire pits, perfect for making s’mores and keeping warm and toasty during nighttime visits;
  • A wide assortment of seasonal menu items including flavored coffee and hot chocolate, peppermint and mocha fudge, festive funnel cakes, hot soups and chili served in homemade bread bowls and holiday platters of sliced turkey and chicken;
  • Holiday photo locations featuring Santa, Mrs. Claus, antique sleighs, giant candy canes and life-size nutcrackers;
  • Live entertainment with strolling carolers, choirs and elaborate stage productions;
  • Retail locations brimming with great stocking stuffers like holiday candles, plush toys, scarves and unique ornaments; and
  • Expanded hours of operation means more time to enjoy the sights and sounds of the season and create thrilling family memories.

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