Tag Archives: Theme Parks

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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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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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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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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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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Knott’s Berry Farm Expands With New Rides, Attractions for 2017

There’s farm fresh fun for everyone coming to Knott’s Berry Farm in 2017 with a brand new thrill ride, an extended Knott’s Boysenberry Festival, the exciting return of Ghost Town Alive! next summer, and the expansion of Knott’s Soak City Waterpark.

Sol Spin will bring brand new hair-raising thrills to the Fiesta Village area of Knott’s Berry Farm next season. The new ride will send brave guests on a thrilling topsy-turvy adventure over 6 stories high as they rotate in all directions on one of six spinning arms. Sol Spin will be the newest addition to the theme park’s world-class line up of more than 40 rides and attractions when it opens in spring 2017.

But that’s not all! Knott’s Berry Farm is also expanding the park’s Seasons of Fun. For the first time ever, the mouthwatering Knott’s Boysenberry Festival, exclusively dedicated to celebrating Knott’s delicious roots, will be expanded to 23 days. Celebrate the historic berry with countless one-of-a-kind boysenberry inspired dishes, drinks and more, plus limited-time live entertainment the whole family will love!

Also, coming to Knott’s Berry Farm next summer, is the all new Boardwalk Barbecue restaurant located in the Boardwalk area of the park near Xcelerator. This new fast-casual dining location will offer various BBQ favorites including smoked pork ribs, tri-tip and rotisserie chicken along with a selection of sandwiches and side dishes. Boardwalk Barbecue will also be featuring a selection of local and well known craft beers. The restaurant will include a new covered seating area with a stage for live entertainment. The location will replace the existing Boardwalk Barbecue restaurant. Construction is set to begin this year.

Next year’s new enhancements also include an extensive expansion, renovations and new additions in store for Knott’s Soak City Waterpark, which were announced earlier this summer. Orange County’s largest water park will debut two water slide towers offering exhilarating attractions geared for families and thrill seekers. Shore Break will tower over seven stories and offer six different thrilling water slide experiences. Four of the slides on the tower will feature an Aqua-Launch chamber which will innovatively launch guests as the floor under their feet drops them into an almost vertical free fall through a series of flat loops and S-curves in a translucent flume. Shore Break will also feature dueling tube slides that will zip riders through an enchanting series of drops and turns. The height requirements for Shore Break slides are 48 inches. The Wedge slide tower will take the location of the current Pacific Spin and will be an open air family raft ride. Up to six guests at a time will descend down navigating twists and turns and unexpected drops.. Knott’s Berry Farm expansion project will also include updated shaded seating areas, cabanas and a remodeled Longboards’ Grill. Guests will be able to experience both water slide towers when Knott’s Soak City Waterpark opens for the summer season in May 2017.

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San Diego’s Seaworld Unveils Major New Attractions for 2017

SeaWorld has just announced an extensive list of first of it’s kind new rides, shows and events for it’s San Diego park for 2017.

The announcement includes a new Ocean Explorer section with five new family-friendly rides, a new Orca Encounter, Electric Ocean after-dark extravaganza  and numerous major entertainment options. Here are a few of the details:

Ocean Explorer: SeaWorld San Diego will unveil Ocean Explorer, a new 3-acre realm combining multiple aquariums, exciting rides and digital technologies. The area is designed to engage park guests in an experience centered on exploration and adventure, inspiring them to protect the wonders of our oceans.

In the signature attraction for the realm, called Submarine Quest, guests will be adventurers on a global expedition of scientific exploration, travelling aboard submarines to see Ocean Explorer’s remarkable undersea animals. Embarking on these mini submarines, visitors will become researchers on a mission to collect data and learn how they can help protect animals. This three-minute experience will include an onboard digital navigation dashboard, as well as a few other surprises along the journey, enhancing the riders’ understanding of our fragile ocean ecosystem.

The heart and destination of Ocean Explorer will be a series of undersea research bases housing specially-designed aquariums and interactive displays that showcase unique and elusive ocean animals like giant octopuses and dozens of moray eels, as well as huge spider crabs and spiny king crabs. Both crab species will be new to SeaWorld San Diego.

The Ocean Explorer realm will feature five new family-friendly rides in total, including an exhilarating wave swing ride where guests will fly through thousands of real bubbles in chairs suspended from the tentacles of a giant jellyfish.

New Orca Encounter: SeaWorld San Diego will introduce new, inspiring, educational orca encounters, rather than theatrical shows, as part of its ongoing commitment to education, marine science research, and rescue of marine animals. These live documentaries will focus on orca enrichment, exercise, and overall health. This change will start in its San Diego park next year.

Electric Ocean: Electric Ocean will debut next summer at SeaWorld San Diego as a brand new, end-of-day spectacle event. As the sun goes down, the lights and energy go up, offering guests a different kind of fun after dark. The ocean comes to life with bioluminescent lighting, music and pathway entertainment, immersing guests in a glowing sea of wonder.

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer & Friends: Beloved Christmas character Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and friends, including Clarice, Bumble, the Abominable Snow Monster and Yukon Cornelius, and Rudolph themed attractions will be returning for the 2017 season, with additional Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer-themed experiences for families to enjoy the Christmas spirit even more.

2017 Events: Seven Seas Food Festival, a popular music and food event at SeaWorld in San Diego is returning for 2017. Other park events include: Lunar New Year and Wild Days.


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California’s Great America To Host July 4 Fireworks

July 4 fireworks set to patriotic music will decorate the night sky above Great America on America’s birthday. Additionally, current and past military men and women will receive free park admission (with valid ID) July 2, 3 and 4, with the ability to bring up to 6 guests for just $21.99 each.

“We’re excited to continue the July 4 fireworks tradition at California’s Great America,” said Vice President and General Manager Raul Rehnborg. “We hope all those who have previously served or currently serve our country can take advantage of our free admission offer.”


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Hogwarts Has Arrived In Hollywood!

Universal Studios Hollywood marked the opening of “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™” with legendary Oscar, Emmy, Golden Globe, BAFTA and Grammy award-winning composer John Williams conducting the L.A. Philharmonic synchronized to a spectacularly choreographed three dimensional digital lighting projection on Hogwarts castle. A dynamic fireworks display followed to signal the much-anticipated arrival of this incredibly immersive land.

More than five years in the making, and inspired by J.K. Rowling’s compelling stories and characters that were brought to life in the Warner Bros. films, “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” has been masterfully recreated with impeccable detail as a real-world interpretation at Universal Studios Hollywood. The land is faithful to the visual landscape of the fiction and films, including Hogwarts castle which serves as its iconic focal point.

From its snow-capped roofs and cobblestone streets to the historic British sensibilities that characterize the whimsical look and feel of the land, “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” transports guests of all ages to the very places they read about in the stories or watched on the silver screen.

Upon entering the land through the archway, Hogsmeade bustles to life with the same vitality of a quaint local village: merchants hard at work, a train conductor welcoming new arrivals and a pub packed to the gills with hungry patrons, but with the added element of enthusiastic guests intent on experiencing them all, including the land’s signature ride, “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey,” and the family outdoor coaster, “Flight of the Hippogriff™.”

An achievement in pioneering theme park ride technology, “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” makes its U.S. debut at Universal Studios Hollywood in hyper-realistic 3D-HD designed to further immerse guests in an already engaging storyline. The multidimensional thrill ride features a groundbreaking robotics ride system, fused with elaborate filmed action sequences and immersive visceral effects. In this updated adaptation of the ride, guests sport Quidditch-inspired 3D goggles as they venture through journeys experienced by Harry and his friends, spiraling and pivoting 360-degrees along an elevated ride track on a whirlwind adventure of a lifetime.

Also within “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” the enchanting family coaster, “Flight of the Hippogriff™” opens as Universal Studios Hollywood’s first outdoor roller coaster.

“The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” resonates with immense detail, inviting guests to revel in Harry Potter’s world with the opportunity to enjoy authentic food and beverage at multiple locations, including Three Broomsticks™, and Hog’s Head pub, as well as the Magic Neep and Butterbeer™ carts.

A foray through the shops adds to the authenticity of the land with eight retail venues and locations, including Honeydukes™, Ollivanders™, Owl Post™, Zonko’s™ Joke Shop, Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment, Dervish and Banges, Gladrags Wizardwear and Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods™.

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