Theme Park Adventure has been an industry standard since 1994. For 18 years, TPA has taken readers on a ride through the past, present and the future of themed entertainment! From Disneyland Resort to the sparkling Las Vegas Strip, to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Theme Park Adventure is there! TPA is also a leader in covering haunted attractions, from stand-alone home and pro haunts to Halloween Horror Nights and Knott’s Scary Farm! Whether it’s roller coasters, zoological parks, mega resorts and casinos, world-class theme parks, or terrifying haunts, Theme Park Adventure has it all right here for you, with always-changing content, a fantastic fan community and completely engaging social media!
One of the most iconic and impressive theme park attractions in California is the Timber Mountain Log Ride at Knott’s Berry Farm. Built in the late 1960s by Bud Hurlbut and Arrow Dynamics, the famous log ride began operation on July 11, 1969 in Buena Park, and has thrilled countless millions of guests ever since. Today, the Timber Mountain Log Ride is still considered by many industry professionals and fans alike to be the greatest log flume attraction ever built, due to its physical length and one-of-a-kind experience. To compare, Timber Mountain is to Knott’s Berry Farm what Pirates of the Caribbean is to Disneyland; a timeless classic that stands as a monument to the pioneers of the industry, while entertaining and thrilling generations to come.
On Sunday, April 21st, Theme Park Adventure’s Spring Nights at Sam’s II took place under the burning Tiki Torches of Trader Sam’s at the Disneyland Hotel! It was an evening of fun, drinks and socializing! More than 50 people showed up at the event, some of them first-timers, which was awesome to see!
As fate would have it, that morning, the very first videos of Hong Kong Disneyland’s newest attraction, Mystic Manor, hit the web. Many of the attraction’s stunning audio animatronic figures and gorgeous set pieces came from the talented team at Garner Holt Productions right here in Southern California. What a great opportunity everyone had to give Garner and his team a round of applause for their contributions to this world-class attraction in person! TPAers lined up to meet Garner Holt and congratulate him and ask questions about the business of theme park design; specifically creating the best animatronics in the world! It was a very cool “bonus” for Disney fans attending this month’s TPA meet! more »
On Thursday, April 18th, Theme Park Adventure attended a media hard hat tour at Knott’s Berry Farm that took us through the brand new Boardwalk section of the theme park, which is under heavy construction and refurbishment. As Cedar Fair and Knott’s (both under relatively new management) move forward with a multi-million dollar plan to re-imagine California’s oldest theme park, there is much excitement in the air among not just fans, but employees of the park as well. Anxious to show off what’s happening, Knott’s gathered members of the media in the Wilderness Dance Hall and began the morning with a slideshow presentation.
Our monthly gathering at Trader Sam’s at the Disneyland Hotel kicked into its next season on March 24th, as we began TPA’s Spring Nights at Sam’s! As usual, there was a tremendous turnout of themed entertainment and haunt industry fans, podcasters, bloggers and designers under the glow of Trader Sam’s Tiki torches.
Being that it was so close to Easter, we naturally had to have a candy giveaway – from Reese’s eggs filled with peanut buttery goodness to the grand prize of a mouth-watering Godiva chocolate bunny! More than 60 enthused guests clamored for the prizes as Theme Park Adventure founder Rick West read off the lucky winning ticket numbers; it was a pretty intense several minutes as sugar-infused prizes were handed out!
I have written about the themed entertainment industry, attractions of all kinds, and the men and women behind them for more than 20 years. I have seen a lot in the past two decades, from the opening of Luxor in Las Vegas with its groundbreaking Doug Trumbull attraction trilogy to the modernization of the San Diego Zoo with high tech habitats such as Hippo Beach and Polar Bear Plunge. I’ve watched Six Flags Magic Mountain build and open some of the biggest scream machines on Earth, and have been around to cover both the original opening day and re-dedication of Disney California Adventure.
Throughout my travels, I have been fortunate enough to interview some incredibly influential individuals for Theme Park Adventure, from Marion Knott to Marty Sklar. Always awed by their accomplishments and life stories, the history of the theme park industry has always been near and dear to my heart; often times, more exciting and engaging than the present. Not because the now isn’t exciting – it is, and it is my own profession – but hearing about how the pioneers did things from scratch with a vision and elbow grease… those stories and events capture my heart, and truly shaped the industry we all love and cherish today.
Bahooka, one of California’s last great Tiki-style themed restaurants, closed its doors forever on Saturday, March 9, 2013. Iconic, absolutely absurd, and adored by countless fans for countless reasons, Bahooka leaves a legacy that will forever be recounted fondly by generations – those who grew up with the restaurant, and those like myself, who came to know and love the place late in the game. Its loss however, is profound in the Tiki community and on a larger scale, is another somber milestone in the passing of great old themed eateries that were just simply wacky fun.
Reign of Terror has been one of Theme Park Adventure’s favorite haunted attractions for the past several years. Watching Travel Channel, whenever it would show mind-bending haunted attractions, I’d always groan, why can’t we have these kinds of haunts in Southern California? And then along came Bruce Stanton and Reign of Terror!
Probably the most talked about and anticipated new maze at Knott’s Halloween Haunt for the 2012 season was Daniel Miller’s design, Pinocchio Unstrung. Based obviously on the famous 1883 children’s novel The Adventures of Pinocchio by Italian author Carlo Collodi, this Haunt maze was heralded by fans and industry veterans alike as a new standard in Knott’s design.
For the past several years, one of the more polished maze experiences at Knott’s Halloween Haunt has been Terror of London, a Brooke Walters (Virus Z, Endgames, Trick Or Treat) design that took Scary Farm visitors back to the seedy underbelly of London circa 1888. During that time, a serial killer dubbed “Jack the Ripper” slaughtered at least five victims in the Whitechapel district of London, typically prostitutes.