Monthly Archives: December 2014

Theme Park Adventure 2014 – Year in Review

2014 was a huge year for Theme Park Adventure, as well as the themed entertainment industry as a whole. In addition to crazy new projects such as Diagon Alley opening, some old favorites had big moments as well, including the complete renovation of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland. TPA had its own major milestone, as we hit our 20th Anniversary in September and celebrated with a huge bash at the Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel with more than 200 friends and fans in attendance!

TPA_20th_selfieTheme Park Adventure has gained more momentum in 2014 than in most of its years combined. Our global readership has grown by leaps and bounds, as has our social media presence via Twitter and Facebook. The amount of news and information TPA publishes has risen sharply this past year from a few items per week to 1-3 new stories per day. As co-producers of ScareLA, Theme Park Adventure has also entrenched itself deeper into the Southern California haunt community, and using that platform, we have continued to work at bringing haunters together in unity not just from the region, but from around the world as our coverage of international dark attractions continues to pick up momentum. And then there’s our own Halloween content – that never-ending flow of imagery and video that we collect in October that is so voluminous that there’s just no way we can ever get it up and online as quickly as we’d like to. We surrender! Into the new year our Halloween madness continues – not that any of our TPAers seem to mind!

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Western Lowland Gorilla Birth at Busch Gardens Tampa

Busch_Gardens_Tampa_Baby_Gorilla_2014_06A male endangered western lowland gorilla was born at Busch Gardens Tampa on Tuesday, Dec. 16 at 11:35 a.m. The baby is healthy and is currently being cared for by first-time mother Pele, with the Busch Gardens animal care team watching closely.

This is the second successful gorilla birth at Busch Gardens and brings to six the number of gorillas in the park’s Myombe Reserve habitat, a 3-acre rainforest environment that opened in 1992. Bolingo, the suspected sire, was the park’s first gorilla birth in 2005. The mother, Pele, came to Busch Gardens in February 2010 from the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas. The baby gorilla, along with the rest of the gorilla troupe, can be seen on the Myombe Reserve habitat.

This birth is part of the park’s partnership in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP). The mission of the SSP is to cooperatively manage specific, and typically threatened or endangered, species populations within AZA-accredited facilities. Western lowland gorillas are an endangered species.

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Ron White’s Comedy Salute to the Troops at The Mirage

Ron White PhotoThe Mirage Hotel & Casino will host the seventh annual Ron White’s Comedy Salute to the Troops Wednesday, March 4 at 7:30 p.m. The one-night show will take place at the Terry Fator Theatre with proceeds benefiting the Armed Forces Foundation.

Ron White is best known as the cigar smoking, scotch drinking funnyman from the Blue Collar Comedy Tour. He has established himself as a star in his own right with multiple comedy albums and videos including Drunk In Public, They Call Me Tater Salad and You Can’t Fix Stupid.

“I look forward to spending the evening with some of my closest comedian friends as we do our best to raise these soldiers’ spirits, and at the same time, raise funds for a great cause,” said White. “I consider it an honor and a privilege and I believe that it’s the duty of each of us to give back to those who give so much – the bravest men and women on this planet. My friends and I are thrilled to be able to do it.”

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Universal Studios Singapore at Christmas

SAMSUNG CSCLog Cakes, Presents and Candy Cane. What else do you want for Christmas? A winter wonderland will certainly be great in tropical Singapore, and that is exactly what Universal Studios Singapore has accomplished. Christmas at Santa’s Land is the 2014 edition of this annual event, where guests can experience seasonal shows, food and decorations.

As with Universal Studios Singapore’s Christmas events of years past, the main highlight of Christmas at Santa’s Land is the extended opening hours till 9 PM. In the evening, New York and Hollywood sections are lit up by glittering “stars” and all rides remain open.

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New Year’s Eve at L.A. Zoo Lights 2014

165Christmas may have passed, but L.A. ZOO LIGHTS is going strong, WITH MORE THAN 150,000 TICKETS SOLD SO FAR IN ITS DEBUT YEAR.  L.A. Zoo Lights remains open nightly through January 4, INCLUDING NEW YEAR’S EVE!

Featured on Wednesday, December 31, 6 to 10 pm, is A VERY ANIMATED NEW YEAR’S EVE, inviting guests to ring in the new year family-style with screenings of critter-filled DreamWorks Animation classics including Shrek the Halls, Dragons Gift of the Night Fury, Merry Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda Holiday throughout the evening.  Zoo dining facilities and snack bars are open.

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Girls of the Bone Yard 2015-16 Calendar Available!

cover artOnce in a while, a story is borne of the haunt industry that has far-reaching effects well beyond October or the Halloween season/arena itself. Such is the case of the brand-new Girls of the Bone Yard 2015 – 2016 18-month calendar, created by Larry Bones and the team at Bone Yard Effects, here in Southern California!

The 18-month calendar features haunting, spooky imagery that features some of the ladies that work on the Bone Yard crew throughout the year. Best of all, $10 of every sale goes to the Share Our Strenth initiative called No Kid Hungry. No Kid Hungry aims to end childhood hunger in America by connecting kids in need with nutritious food and teaching families how to cook healthy, affordable meals.

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The Barn – Woolley Edge October Screams 2014

the-barn-bedroomThe Barn, which is part of the annual October Screams Halloween event is just one of many haunted attractions that has recently opened in the UK, thanks to the demand of a growing fan population there. Here in the United States, Halloween is big, big business – over $10 billion annually, according to some experts in the industry. It’s only natural that fans around the world have taken to the spooky themes of haunted attractions for immersive and interactive experiences; and it’s only natural that business developers and creatives across the pond have started tapping into this extremely lucrative genre for themselves.

Theme Park Adventure loves haunted attractions, the people that create and run them, and of course, the fans – because that’s what we are on an extremely large and geeky scale when it comes down to it! We have friends and TPAers in every of the world, including all over the UK. That’s why we are really excited when we have the opportunity to share haunted attractions with TPAers from different parts of the world that many of us will never get to visit in person.

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ALONE: An Existential Haunting 2014 Review

Alone_2014_3847ALONE: An existential haunting returned to Los Angeles after making its debut in 2013, and has grown significantly since then with an incorporated story, longer experience and unique scares.

In 2013, ALONE was a great take on being “extreme”, as well as theatrical and frightening. It was aggressive and dark – taking place primarily in the pitch black, as guests were completely alone. My only complaint (but more of a suggestion) at the time was that I wanted to see the creators incorporate a story, or at least a consistent theme. I understood the rawness of the experience and disorientation; however, my preference in any attraction is to be able to somewhat follow what is happening.

ALONE successfully experimented with unique ways for guests to experience the attraction in 2014; this started as early as two months prior to the main event in mid-October. I had the honor to work with the creators of ALONE to bring a one-of-a-kind experience to ScareLA, the Los Angeles Halloween convention – something that I don’t think has ever been done before in that type of setting. There have been many haunted house walk-throughs at conventions, but this was a personal, interactive and aggressive attraction that each guest had to experience… alone. At ScareLA, guests had to check in at ALONE’s booth, and were given strange, cryptic brochures about the mysterious Enola Foundation. Some guests were marked with triangles or neon paint after checking in, which caused quite the hype and discussion among other convention attendees. When ALONE was ready, your cell phone rang with a man’s voice on the other line, asking “Are you alone? Drop all your things and head to the elevators on the second floor. Do not talk to anyone.”

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LEGOLAND Florida 2015 Events Line-up

WINTER HAVEN, FL -- LEGOLAND® Florida   (PHOTO / CHIP LITHERLAND)The Force grows even stronger at LEGOLAND Florida Resort with the announcement of LEGO Club Weekend featuring the LEGO Star Wars Miniland model display as a new addition to 2015 Events.

LEGOLAND Florida kicks off the year with a full line-up of action-packed fun for 2015 with special events specifically geared towards families with children ages 2 to 12. Guests will want to return again and again to enjoy a full year of LEGOLAND Florida’s special events and more than 50 rides, shows and attractions. All events (*except Brick Dash) are included with regular Park admission.

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Bill Burr Returns to Aces of Comedy at The Mirage

Bill-BurrThe Mirage welcomes back comedian Bill Burr when he returns to the Aces of Comedy lineup June 26 – 27. Burr is one of the top comedic voices of his generation, achieving success in television and film as well as the live stage. He premiered his fourth hour-long special, “I’m Sorry You Feel That Way” December 5 on Netflix. Burr’s upcoming projects include co-starring with Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer in the film “Black or White,” opening January 30, and starring in his own animated Netflix series “F Is For Family” with Laura Dern and Justin Long as the voices of the Murphy family, debuting in 2015. Burr’s “Monday Morning Podcast” is one of the most downloaded comedy podcasts on iTunes. Burr will tour theaters in Australia, New Zealand and Asia in January and February

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