THEME PARK ADVENTURE – LATEST NEWS AND FEATURES

Theme Park Adventure has been an industry standard for fans and professionals alike for the past 23 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 owner Rick West is a professional within the themed entertainment industry, making this site not only an incredibly fun hobby, but a valued and important part of his life; a creative and informative extension of who he is and what he does professionally. Rick also co-produces Midsummer Scream Halloween Convention. 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.

Theme Park Adventure: It’s Time to Say Goodbye – Final Mixer Announced

Posted on

This just could be the single most challenging thing I have ever written. There’s no easy way to finesse or be delicate with the wording, and it’s going to come as a shock to many people. I have decided after 24 amazing years, that it is time for me to retire Theme Park Adventure. Effective immediately, our ride together has come to a full and complete stop, and I cannot thank each of you enough for all of the love, support, incredible friendship, love, and laughs we have shared together over the past two decades.

This is a long entry; thank you in advance for reading it through – this will be my last post as Founder/Editor-in-Chief here on Theme Park Adventure.

When I started TPA in 1994, there is no way I could have ever imagined that it would go on to blaze trails, inspire so many others, become the very first themed entertainment fansite on the Internet, find itself in the hub of the haunt community, or eventually open the door for me to step through the looking glass and become a professional in the very industry I have spent so many years writing about. I was just a young guy with a passion and a penchant for writing who wanted to share his love of theme parks and Halloween with like-minded folks who were willing to read.

And you read.

Some of you have read for the past 24 years as our adventures together have taken us on a ride through the past, present, and the future. And what an incredible journey it’s been. Words cannot convey the gratitude I have for the many years of community and group spirit TPA has enjoyed. While every day, every story, every tweet, every video, every event has been special, I’d like to indulge for a moment and reflect on some TPA events/crossroads that come to mind when I think about the legacy of this site and everything that’s gone into it as a living, breathing entity.

Read More »

Epic Home Haunts Halloween Documentary First Teaser Released

Posted on

Halloween fans, get excited! Saga Studios, LLC has released the teaser for their first feature-length film, a documentary called Epic Home Haunts. The fascinating film follows four groups of haunters as they create and build some of the world’s most incredible haunted attractions at their homes in Southern California, and Theme Park Adventure has your first peek!

Those familiar with SoCal haunters know what they’re capable of – full-blown haunted attractions complete with giant animatronic dragons, Medieval castles, Old West cemeteries, and portals to other dimensions that rival the quality of haunts found at major theme parks across the nation.

Read More »

Jon Cooke Steps Down from Knott’s Berry Farm, Launching Brand-New Horror Attraction

Posted on

The interwebs are buzzing, and the word is quickly spreading like wildfire through Southern California’s haunt community. After 13 years at Knott’s Berry Farm, Jon Cooke has stepped down from his daily position there as a designer, and has been working quietly on a brand-new horror experience in a nondescript industrial building in Upland, California, which will open its doors to the curious public in the weeks ahead.

Recently, we paid a visit to Jon’s new venture and stepped into his world – a highly-immersive escape experience/haunted attraction he’s named MurderCo: An R-Rated Horror Experience. MurderCo is an ambitious haunt-escape room hybrid that is going to thrill the hell out of SoCal fans looking for the next big deal.

Before we look ahead at what Jon Cooke is about to unleash on the Southland, it’s important to acknowledge his departure from Knott’s, and what it means to events such as Scary Farm; it’s the elephant in the room that everyone is buzzing about, so we would be remiss not to discuss that a bit. The good news is, it’s not a bleak as some are assuming.

Read More »

Lunar New Year 2018 Delivers a Kung Fu Panda-Packed Festival at Universal Studios Hollywood

Posted on

Seasonal events at theme parks everywhere are big business. Lunar New Year 2018 at Universal Studios Hollywood is no exception, and this year’s festival is by far, the finest we’ve ever seen USH produce.

Lunar New Year in general is short – a two-week celebration that is highly-concentrated and pretty much completely contained within the Universal Plaza area on the park’s Upper Lot, although the main entrance of Universal Studios Hollywood also features hanging red lanterns – a hallmark of Lunar New Year festivities around the world.

Visiting Universal’s event this year was extra interesting for me personally, as I spent last week in Beijing, China, where the real Lunar New Year 2018 festival is underway. Normally, you’d assume that theme park versions of these age-old festivals are in a way, cheesy and “plastic” Westernized overlays, geared toward making extra revenue for the parks. I’ve got to say, Universal Studios Hollywood’s Lunar New Year festival is as legit as anything I saw during my travels through Asia; I am really impressed.

Read More »

The Cauldron Casts a Spell on Buena Park

Posted on

Southern California is dense with bars, gastropubs, speakeasies, lounges and taverns. However, no one has quite seen anything like The Cauldron Spirits & Brews, which has officially opened in Buena Park, directly across the street from Knott’s Berry Farm.

A long-time dream of owner Lara Hanneman, The Cauldron is unique in that it’s an upscale bar setting wrapped up in an environment one would expect to find in a haunted house maze at Knott’s Scary Farm. That’s no surprise, as Lara worked at Knott’s for over two decades, ultimately becoming the park’s Creative Director, overseeing all aspects of Halloween Haunt and the property in general throughout the years. For Haunt fans, it is a familiar environment – like stepping inside the event’s now-famous Trick or Treat maze for the evening to enjoy cocktails and food. For guests not familiar with Lara’s past or Knott’s Scary Farm, it’s a walk on the slightly spooky side – without any gore or anyone jumping out of the shadows; it’s a moody, dimly-lit immersive experience that speaks to all ages.

Read More »

Universal Studios Hollywood Announces First-Ever EVE Celebration to Ring in the New Year

Posted on

One of the biggest nights of the year – New Year’s Eve – just got bigger in Los Angeles! Universal Studios Hollywood has just announced its brand-new EVE celebration, the perfect way to count down the last hours of 2017, and ring in the first of 2018 throughout the theme park.

Guests enjoying Universal Studios Hollywood have the entire day and evening to experience its world-class attractions and shows, including Grinchmas as well as Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which features the brand-new Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle show every 20 minutes or so after dark. At 9pm, EVE begins, radiating throughout the park from three unique entertainment hubs as DJs and live entertainment mark the final hours of 2017.

EVE’s three uniquely-themed party zones will be found throughout the theme park – at Universal Plaza, just steps away from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter; Simpsons Plaza, in front of The Simpsons Ride; and an area adjacent to Jurassic Park: The Ride down in the Lower Lot. As the final moments of 2017 slip through the hourglass, and the clock strikes 2018, the festivities culminate with a spectacular fireworks display.

Read More »

Knott’s Scary Farm 2017 – A Spectacle 45 Years in the Making

Posted on

The screams and thrills of Halloween may have faded into the fog, but the memories of Knott’s Scary Farm 2017 linger here, as we continue to reflect on the amazing experiences we had this past season. Our videos from Haunt 2017 have been up on our YouTube channel for weeks – but we definitely have photos and thoughts to share, as fellow fans.

I’ll start by saying what everyone already knows and what we’ve been saying since September – Knott’s Scary Farm 2017 was absolutely stunning on all fronts. This “review” is going to be a love letter to the Haunt and the folks behind it, past and present.

Read More »

Holiday Magic Comes to Universal Orlando Resort in Big Ways for 2017 Season

Posted on

The 2017 Holiday Season is in full swing at Universal Orlando Resort, and this year’s offerings are the biggest ever for the company. Theme Park Adventure was in town for the debut of Universal’s Christmas celebration, so we were able to stop in and check some of it out!

For years, Universal Studios Florida has hosted its Holiday Parade, featuring Macy’s balloons and a wide variety of performers on the ground, dazzling the thousands of fans who line the parade route each day to catch a glimpse of this Central Florida tradition. This year, Universal’s Holiday Parade has been taken to spectacular new heights (literally), with awesome floats, characters, and massive balloons featuring favorite films such as ShrekDespicable Me, and Madagascar. We staked out a spot along the parade route in the New York section of Universal Studios Florida (where else would we watch from!?) and watched as the crowds became several people deep in each direction in the hour or so leading up to step-off time. It was surreal for us to actually be there to see a parade that TPA has posted about for years on behalf of the resort – and it didn’t disappoint!

Read More »

Into the Black 2017 Offers Rich Storytelling and Personalized Terror

Posted on

Into the Black 2017One of the most-anticipated new haunts of 2017 has made its debut at the Fairplex in Pomona: Into the Black. This multifaceted attraction is heavy on storytelling, culminating in a rather large haunted “maze” walk-through that guests must venture into… alone.

Larry Bones and his wife Cheryl, along with lots of talented folks from their company Bone Yard Effects, Inc. have partnered with many seasoned haunters – including the team from Hollow Studios – to create a unique haunted attraction for a region that is extremely competitive and already full of a myriad of haunts, from sophisticated yard displays and stand-alone immersive experiences, to world-class theme park Halloween events. The Into the Black team knew it was going to be challenging entering a marketplace that not only is the most diverse on the planet – it also has the most sophisticated and demanding fans anywhere.

The good news is, Larry isn’t new to the industry. In fact, many fans may recognize his name for his work well before Into the Black was a thing. For 11 years, Larry and his team of talented artists supplied the makeup prosthetics and effects for Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights.

Read More »

Southern California’s Beloved Home Haunt Boney Island Closed Permanently

Posted on

Boney Island 2017This one hurts. Not only is it personal, it is a sobering wake-up call to the entire SoCal haunt community in general. Boney Island, the beloved, family-friendly home haunt in Sherman Oaks has been cancelled; permanently shuttered, thanks to a couple of uncooperative neighbors and city officials that saw an opportunity to make some money, rather than stand behind an event that brought so much happiness and good to Los Angeles. The announcement of Boney Island’s closure just days before its 2017 season isn’t the end of the story – it’s the beginning of something much, much bigger and important that everyone needs to be aware of.

Read More »