THEME PARK ADVENTURE – LATEST NEWS AND FEATURES

Theme Park Adventure has been an industry standard for fans and professionals alike for the past 22 years. Predating the internet, TPA began as a printed newsletter that reached enthusiasts around the globe as we covered such stories as Luxor Las Vegas’ First Anniversary, the construction and opening of The Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland Resort, the creation of Blizzard Beach at Walt Disney World, and the Farewell Season of the Main Street Electrical Parade in Anaheim. At the same time, Theme Park Adventure was also unintentionally becoming the pioneer of covering Halloween events, such as Knott’s Scary Farm in Buena Park, California. Over the past two decades, TPA has indulged in the haunted attraction industry, from small home displays to professional stand-alone Halloween events and major theme park productions such as Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights! Our fan base consists of many haunt enthusiasts and producers – an unintentional portion of the themed entertainment industry that we are thrilled to be a part of on an on-going basis! TPA owners Rick West and Johanna Atilano are both professionals within the themed entertainment industry, making this site not only an incredibly fun hobby, but a valued and important part of their lives; a creative and informative extension of who they are and what they do professionally. Each month, Theme Park Adventure hosts large mixers, which fans and themed entertainment professionals attend in a virtual who’s who that is absolutely open to everyone! Theme Park Adventure has become more than just a magazine or fan site; we are a community of creative individuals who share a love of entertainment, theme parks and the spookiest season of them all – Halloween! We invite you to sit back and enjoy all that we have to offer here, from stories and reviews to videos and image galleries; partake, discuss, and become part of the TPA community we we take you on a ride through the past, present, and the future!
All material on this website is Copyrighted © Theme Park Adventure and may not be reproduced for commercial use or altered in any way without the written expressed consent of Theme Park Adventure or the companies that have provided material to Theme Park Adventure for media exposure purposes only.

Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle Show Coming to Universal Studios Hollywood

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Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts CastleA new after dark spectacular is coming to Universal Studios Hollywood’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter this summer: The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle!

Following the incredible grand opening ceremony of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Los Angeles last spring, fans have been begging for a similar nighttime projection show to be brought back to the theme park for everyone to enjoy as Potter’s own “kiss goodnight” each evening. Guess what? Universal listened. Beginning June 23, 2017, guests visiting Universal Studios Hollywood will be treated to a spectacular projection show on the Hogwarts exterior several times each night, after the sun has completely set and it’s dark.

According to Universal Studios Hollywood, the Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle show will showcase the four houses of Hogwarts: Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Slytherin, with a finale of a fan of lights beaming upward into the night sky. The dazzling visuals will be accompanied by a brand-new state-of-the-art sound system that has been installed in Hogsmeade, as well as other special effects surprises that will “wow” guests viewing the spectacle.

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Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Panel Announced for Midsummer Scream 2017

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One stormy night long ago, five people stepped through the door of an elevator and into a nightmare. That door is opening once again, and this time it’s opening for fans of the iconic Disney attraction – The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – as they converge on Midsummer Scream Halloween Festival at the Long Beach Convention Center this July.

Kicking off this year’s world-class presentations in the Terrace Theater at 12 noon on Saturday, July 29, is a must-see panel discussion titled, “Beyond the 5th Dimension: Creating The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror”.

Hosted by Midsummer Scream Creative Director Rick West, this thrilling panel discussion will feature Cory Sewelson, who served as the Production Designer/Art Director for the Florida version of Tower, and the Producer/Creative Director for California and Paris’ versions of the attraction; Michael Sprout, who was the Show Writer on each Tower project, including Tokyo’s, which does not carry The Twilight Zone theme; and Mark Silverman, the amazing voice actor who brought the persona of Rod Serling to life for the Florida, California, and Paris attractions.

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Universal Cinema Opens at CityWalk Hollywood During Star-Studded Ceremony

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As one of the many new developments at Universal Studios Hollywood’s ongoing epic transformation, Universal Cinema is an exciting multi-million dollar renovation of its AMC Theatre at CityWalk. Boasting a state-of-the-art and contemporary design, the new theater incorporates the most up-to-date technology in audio and visual technology that truly breathes new life into the movie-going experience for guests.

Theme Park Adventure was thrilled to attend the official grand opening of this new venture. As part of the Universal Cinema grand opening, high-profile guests were able to celebrate with us including Ron Meyer, Vice Chairman, NBCUniversal; legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg; Jordan Peele of Get Out; Will Packer of Straight Outta Compton; producer Jason Blum of Blumhouse Productions; and Karen Irwin, President & COO, Universal Studios Hollywood.

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Final Weekend for Knott’s Boysenberry Festival 2017

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It’s not too late! If you haven’t treated your tastebuds to the goodness that is Knott’s Berry Farm’s Boysenberry Festival 2017, there’s still time to do so… but not much! This weekend marks the end of the wildly-popular “food and wine” event at Knott’s, which has been going on since April 1st. The final day is April 23rd.

Now in its third year, the Boysenberry Festival has definitely become a well-oiled machine. We haven’t once encountered issues we have in years past, such as food running out or associates not knowing much about the event they were working. Notable this year was the much easier process of paying (in most cases) at the point of food distribution for those who didn’t want to buy tasting cards in advance; that was a huge snag in the past – waiting in a long food line only to be told you had to go pay somewhere else first. Now, in most cases, you can just walk up, pay, and get your treats; simple. The best method however, is to buy a tasting/sampling card at any of the multiple locations throughout Ghost Town; additionally, we recommend the alcohol tasting card as well, if you’re going to indulge in adult beverages throughout your visit. In the long run, this method is cheaper and you’ll be stuffed!

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Wizarding World of Harry Potter Christmas Programming Announced for Universal Orlando Resort

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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Christmas is coming to Universal Orlando Resort!It’s the stuff of dreams, really: Universal announced today that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando would receive an extensive Christmas holiday overlay at both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley.

Since Universal began rolling out their Wizarding Worlds, fans have been begging for a Harry Potter Christmas celebration, which would transform both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley into holiday spectacles, even more enchanting than they are already.

Between November 18, 2017 and January 6, 2018, visitors to Universal Orlando Resort are in for a huge holiday treat as both theme parks – Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure – are transformed into a winter wonderland with all the sights, sounds, and sweet treats that come with an epic Harry Potter Christmas celebration for the whole family!

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Midsummer Scream Announces Hall of Shadows 2017 Participants

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Hall of Shadows 2017Midsummer Scream Halloween Festival, the West Coast’s premier Halloween, haunt, and horror convention returns July 29-30 to the Long Beach Convention Center for a weekend of world-class thrills and chills. One of the stand-out components of Midsummer Scream’s impressive array of entertainment is the Hall of Shadows – a large portion of the convention’s show floor that is shrouded in darkness and filled with billowing fog, and roaming monsters on an unprecedented scale. For 2017, the Hall of Shadows will feature 14 highly-themed “mini haunts” representing professional and home-made attractions that fans can look forward to visiting this Halloween season here in Southern California.

“Hall of Shadows is a substantial component of Midsummer Scream,” says the convention’s Creative Director, Rick West. “Last year, we featured 9 mini haunts within the Hall; this year, we are upping the count to 14. We are thrilled with the diversity of participating groups this year, from extremely popular pro haunts, to some of the greatest home haunts in existence. Add the awesome spectacle of the Decayed Brigade slider team into the mix, and you’ll find that we have a Hall of Shadows experience this year that is truly epic. Hall of Shadows is a cornerstone of Midsummer Scream, as there is nothing that defines Halloween in America more than haunted houses and lurking monsters. It’s going to be a blast, and all of our participants are raring to go!”

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Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville Officially Opens at CityWalk Hollywood

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Margaritaville at CityWalk HollywoodAs part of Universal Studios Hollywood’s epic transformation, CityWalk welcomed the official arrival of their newest restaurant and venue, Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville. At exactly 5 o’clock on Thursday evening, March 30th, Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band performed on the restaurant’s stage to celebrate the grand opening and first-ever Margaritaville in California with hundreds of fans, friends, and press with margaritas in hand.

While Margaritaville just made its debut in California, the Caribbean-themed restaurant is no stranger to the dining world and Universal. For many years, the restaurant has been celebrated and loved by fans around the world and has shown enormous popularity at destinations like Universal CityWalk at Universal Orlando Resort, the Las Vegas Strip, and 60 other global locations. I’ve never personally dined at a Margaritaville other than at CityWalk Hollywood, but have always admired the laid-back vibe and famous hand-crafted margaritas and dishes that they offer.

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Forbidden Journey 4K Comes to Universal Studios Hollywood

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Forbidden Journey 4KFans visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood may have noticed a big change that’s been made to the Forbidden Journey attraction. The projected segments have been upgraded to vibrant 4K, and the ride no longer features 3-D media.

When the gates to Hogsmeade opened last spring here in Los Angeles, it was the third iteration of the Warner Bros./Universal endeavor – the first being in Orlando in 2010, and the second in Japan in 2014. While each version of Hogsmeade features the massive Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey attraction, the Southern California installation was unique in that the projected media guests encounter throughout the ride was presented in 3-D. Riders had to wear “Quidditch goggles” for the duration of the experience; customized 3-D glasses made exclusively for Universal Studios Hollywood. The added component of 3-D media was met with mixed reviews. Some fans felt that it absolutely pulled them further into the suspension of disbelief while on the ride; others felt the glasses were distracting, and felt they were wearing “blinders”, which made them miss a good portion of the ride’s detailed practical sets.

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VR Showdown in Ghost Town Comes to Knott’s Berry Farm April 1st

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VR Showdown in Ghost TownVR Showdown in Ghost Town has come to Knott’s Berry Farm, making its debut April 1, during the kick-off of this year’s Boysenberry Festival. Theme Park Adventure was fortunate enough to preview the brand-new family attraction at Knott’s this week, and we came away with some really positive observations to share.

I’ve long said that virtual reality as we know it is best suited for home console gaming. It’s taking off by leaps and bounds in the home market, resulting in some pretty amazing video game experiences. In theme parks, VR is a really hard sell for me, for several reasons. Typically, VR is an operational nightmare – the headsets are bulky and require constant cleaning and maintenance, guests need assistance putting the gear on properly and then removing it, and depending on your luck, it’s very easy to get a piece of hardware that isn’t calibrated properly or out of focus, which ruins the experience. To be completely transparent, the only VR-equipped attractions I have experienced are roller coasters, and I’m not a huge fan to be honest. When I ride a coaster, I want to experience the coaster – I want to see where I am, what the train is doing, and I want to have interaction with other riders, whether it be screaming and laughing, or putting our hands up as a group. When rumors started flying of virtual reality coming to Knott’s, I was less than excited. I guessed that Montezooma’s Revenge was going to get the VR treatment, as many other older coasters across the nation and around the world are getting these days. I’ve never been happier to be wrong!

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Pirates of the Caribbean 50th Anniversary at Disneyland Resort

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Pirates of the Caribbean 50th AnniversaryPssssssssssst! Avast there! Pirates of the Caribbean, the greatest adventure to ever set sail has been sacking the Spanish Main celebrated its 50th Anniversary this weekend at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim.

To mark the occasion, Disneyland offered mouth-watering treats in New Orleans Square including Golden Churro, Buccaneer Pulled Pork Sandwich, Jolly Roger Punch, and Lost TreasureBeignets. In addition to themed food items, guests found live entertainment popping up throughout the Square, including special appearances by Captain Jack Sparrow himself. As would be expected, Disney also released limited edition merchandise, including T shirts, commemorating the occasion.

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