THEME PARK ADVENTURE LATEST STORIES, NEWS AND FEATURES

For the past 20 years, Theme Park Adventure has been an industry standard for fans and professionals alike. 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!
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Hot Butterbeer Comes to Universal Orlando!

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Hot Butterbeer Comes to Universal OrlandoGuests have tried it cold, frozen – and even as an ice-cream flavor. Beginning this weekend, Universal Orlando Resort will now offer hot Butterbeer at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. To celebrate this new addition, some of the first guests at Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley and Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade were surprised with complimentary cups of the new drink.

Hot Butterbeer is a smooth, hot beverage reminiscent of shortbread and butterscotch served year-round with a whipped topping. In The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, it will be served at Leaky Cauldron, The Hopping Pot, and The Fountain of Fair Fortune. In The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade, it will be available at Three Broomsticks and Hog’s Head Pub.

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Francois’ Langur Makes Its Debut at San Diego Zoo

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Bright-Orange Francois’ langur Born at San Diego ZooA week-old baby Francois’ langur was held by two-year-old langur female Meili de Hua this week at the San Diego Zoo. The bright-orange baby, born on Nov. 14, is the newest addition to the Zoo’s langur troop and all five members of the troop have been taking turns caring for the youngster.

Francois’ langurs, also known as Francois’ leaf monkeys, practice alloparenting, which means every family member participates in raising the infant. The youngster can often be seen being passed around as each of the monkeys take turns holding the newest addition.

Langurs are born with bright-orange hair while their parents are black in color. It’s thought this color distinction makes it easier for the whole troop to identify and look after the infants. The youngster’s color usually changes within the first six months when the juvenile becomes an almost perfect copy of the adults.

Santa Ana Zoo Presents Winter Zoobilation 2014

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winter-zoobilationCome one, come all and enjoy the holiday spirit at the Santa Ana Zoo.  Every day during the month of December from 10 am to 4 pm, the Santa Ana Zoo will be transformed into a winter wonderland called “Winter Zoobilation” with magical decorations, faerie lights and falling snow. Guests will be treated to beautiful, original hand-crafted decorations that are perfect for pictures and depict many holiday favorites including Santa’s Workshop, Sweet Shop and Post Office cut outs of 3-dimensional wood and individually designed and painted by Friends of Santa Ana Zoo (FOSAZ) Board Member Rip Ribble. The Zoofari Express Train ride and Conservation Carrousel will also be lit up in holiday regale and the Treetop Toys Zoo Gift Shop will be filled with great stocking stuffers and gifts.

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Merlin Unveils Orlando Eye, SEA LIFE, and More at IAAPA

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2014.11.19_MERLINENTERTAINMENTS_LEGOMODEL_0002Merlin Entertainments Group, the second largest attractions operator in the world, is expanding rapidly in Central Florida. This week, at IAAPA Attractions Expo, the company revealed a LEGO model that spans more than 9-feet across and is nearly 8-feet tall, showcasing three iconic brands coming to Orlando: The Orlando Eye, Madame Tussauds Orlando and SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium. The model will be installed inside LEGOLAND Florida Resort’s Miniland U.S.A attraction. “This is the first 3D visual representation of the complex,” said Head of Marketing for The Orlando Eye, Madame Tussauds Orlando and SEA LIFE Orlando Todd Andrus.  “We are excited to unveil this expansive and comprehensive LEGO model as we move toward opening in spring 2015.”

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IAAPA Hall of Fame Announces New Inductees

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IAAPA_logo.svgThis week, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) announced that rides and carnival games developer Bob Cassata and legendary amusement park operator Richard “Dick” Knoebel were inducted into the IAAPA Hall of Fame. The IAAPA Hall of Fame honors individuals for their significant and lasting contributions to the worldwide attractions industry. The inductions were announced during the Kickoff Event for IAAPA Attractions Expo 2014 in Orlando, Florida, the premier annual conference and trade show for the global attractions industry.

“We are excited to welcome Bob Cassata and Dick Knoebel as the newest inductees to the IAAPA Hall of Fame,” said Ron Gustafson, 2014 chairman of the IAAPA Hall of Fame and Archives Committee and director of marketing and public relations for Quassy Amusement Park in Middlebury, Connecticut. “The products and guest experiences they have created have thrilled and delighted amusement fans for years. Their passion for our industry is profound and they both deserve this prestigious recognition for their contributions.”

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Marion Knott Has Passed Away

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Marion-Knott-ColorMarion Genevieve Knott was literally born into the amusement park business. As youngest daughter of Walter and Cordelia Knott, founders of Knott’s Berry Farm, Marion was the only one of the four Knott children to be born on the renowned berry farm which grew up to become the nation’s oldest theme park.

Marion was a real-life farmer’s daughter, who toiled long hours along with her sisters, Virginia and Toni, and brother, Russell, picking berries and waiting on tables when the family homestead was surrounded by a tiny berry farm with a tea room.

“With us there was never a question,” she recalled. “We worked [the farm] because we were needed. Even with everyone pitching in, we still had a tough time.

“My mother built a tea-room onto the house and, using her wedding china, offered sandwiches, pie and coffee to the public. We put in five tables to seat 20 people. My sisters and I were the waitresses, and we were really grateful for every 10-cent tip that was left for us.”

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TEA Announces 21st Annual Thea Award Winners

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Thea_AwardThe Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) announced the new slate of recipients for the 21st Annual TEA Thea Awards – to be formally honored March 21, 2015 at the Thea Awards Gala in Anaheim (Calif.), sponsored by AECOM. The Thea Awards Nominating Committee recommends the Thea Award recipients, with final approval by the TEA International Board of Directors.

Those recognized achievements include:

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Faberge Revealed Opens at Bellagio Las Vegas

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Imperial Peter the Great Easter Egg, 1903 (2)Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art (BGFA), the premier cultural destination on the Las Vegas Strip recognized for presenting world-class exhibitions in an unrivaled setting, has debuted “Fabergé Revealed.” Culture seekers and art lovers can view the exhibit through May 25, 2015.

Organized in partnership with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, “Fabergé Revealed” showcases 238 rare Fabergé artifacts. A part of the largest public collection of Fabergé outside of Russia, these treasures are synonymous with exquisite craftsmanship, impeccable taste and the rich history of the Russian imperial family from the late 19th and early 20thcenturies. Unique to this exhibition is a small collection of “Fauxbergé” objects – Fabergé look-alikes once believed to be originals.

“Our guests will be fascinated by these treasured objects that not only encompass the beauty of art, but also tell one of the most powerful stories in history – the fall of the Russian imperial family,” said BGFA Executive Director Tarissa Tiberti. “‘Fabergé Revealed’ highlights each of the distinct styles displayed in the original House of Fabergé stores in St. Petersburg, Moscow and London centuries ago.”

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CHILL 2014 Coming to Queen Mary

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2014QUEENMARY_CHILL_RETAILHot off the heels of a record breaking year for Dark Harbor, The Queen Mary’s full holiday event season continues as the coolest winter wonderland in Southern California, CHILL, prepares to open on November 21. New in 2014, all CHILL guests can enjoy unlimited access to The Ice Kingdom, ice tubing, ice skating with skate rentals and a visit on the Queen Mary ship with the purchase of general admission tickets.

This season The Ice Kingdom at CHILL will showcase holidays in the Golden State with the magic of a California Christmas theme meticulously hand sculpted by a team of international artists, and made entirely out of 2 million pounds of ice. The California Christmas theme begins with a traditional poinsettia entrance lined with toy soldiers standing over seven-feet tall. Next comes the candy cane forest with ten-foot candy canes that unveil a surfing Santa shredding through twenty-foot tall waves. Guests can gaze at the giant ice Christmas tree with tons of gifts for boys and girls and Jolly Old St. Nicholas on the rooftops with his team of reindeer. Venture onto the ice replica of the Queen Mary ship with four new lanes of ice slides for all to enjoy. A nativity scene, forest of penguins and the fairytale kingdom with the almighty ice queen round out the California Christmas theme in The Ice Kingdom.

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Universal Studios Hollywood’s Day of Giving 2014

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Operation School Bell Universal Studios Hollywood's Day of GivingUniversal Studios Hollywood’s annual “Day of Giving” community outreach program celebrated a milestone 10th anniversary with the theme park empowering hundreds of employees to volunteer at six non-profit organizations across Los Angeles on Thursday, November 13, 2014.

The inspirational “Day of Giving” event is Universal Studios Hollywood’s decade-long tradition designed to connect employees with diverse community organizations, many of which are beneficiaries of the company’s philanthropic foundation, Discover A Star, whose mission is to empower individuals and families to lead more productive and fulfilling lives.

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