Monthly Archives: September 2015

Knott’s Scary Farm Opens Strong for Halloween 2015

Knotts_Scary_Farm_2015_3920It’s a tradition going back to 1973 here in Southern California; the sun flickers and drowns over the horizon, nightfall creeps across the land, and fog billows from Ghost Town and other areas of the theme park as it writhes in pain, transforming from Knott’s Berry Farm into the world-famous Knott’s Scary Farm!

Okay – perhaps it’s not so dramatic; and to be honest, fans get just as excited reading that makeup and wardrobe operations have commenced in the early afternoon hours backstage in the fabled Warehouse P at Knott’s, and techs are making last-minute checks on fog machine juice and lighting inside the mazes and scare zones as media assembles for the opening night of Knott’s Scary Farm in Buena Park! That’s exactly what transpired on the evening of September 24th; for Theme Park Adventure, it continued our 21st year covering the granddaddy of all Halloween events (the first event being the 2015 Scary Farm preview in August).

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Nola the Northern White Rhino Under Medical Care Once Again at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

CRITICALLY ENDANGERED NORTHERN WHITE RHINO AT SAN DIEGO ZOO SAFARI PARK RETURNS TO THE FIELDNola, a critically endangered 40-year-old female northern white rhino, who has been under close medical watch for the past 11 days in a boma at the San Diego ZoNola, a critically endangered 41-year-old northern white rhinoceros who has been under medical care since early September for a recurring abscess on her right hip, underwent a second medical procedure earlier this month at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

The elderly animal has been on antibiotics and keepers have been flushing the abscess site daily, but it is still an area of concern. In an effort to get to the source of the infection, veterinarians lanced deep into the abscess, but they weren’t immediately able to provide a definitive answer as to what is causing the ailment. During the procedure, the team opened the abscess site, allowing it to drain better and also alleviating any pressure buildup that can cause pain for the animal. A fine needle aspiration, skin samples and blood tests also were taken.

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What Lies Beyond The 17th Door – A Preview of Orange County’s Newest Haunted Attraction

17th_Door_Preview_5439This weekend marks the opening of Orange County’s newest – and most anticipated – haunted attraction, The 17th Door. Located in the Tustin Marketplace, just about 10 minutes south of Disneyland off the 5 Freeway in Tustin, this new haunt has been the topic of much discussion – and speculation – among fans for the past several months.

The amount of enthusiasm and curiosity within and outside of the Southern California haunt community has been unprecedented in the past months, as word spread of a husband and wife team who aren’t established haunters, creating a stunning, high-quality attraction in Orange County, unlike any other. When we first learned about Robbie and Heather Luther, we were equally intrigued as everyone else; the couple went to TransWorld Halloween & Attractions Show in St. Louis earlier in the year and walked the floor, visited local haunted houses, and discussed the business with professional haunters. Back here on the West Coast, rumors were flying that this mystery couple was preparing to launch themselves head-first into the SoCal haunt community and make a resounding impact with their first endeavor, The 17th Door.

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Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood 2015 Review

Horror_Nights_2015_4957It’s always a weird thing when the opening of Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights comes and goes. There’s so much hype leading up to the event – from Creative Director/Executive Producer John Murdy’s cryptic messages and hints on social media, to the major announcement he and Art Director Chris Williams make each summer at ScareLA in Los Angeles, and the sneak preview of some of the mazes that Theme Park Adventure has been privileged to attend for the past several years. It’s strange, because before we know it, we’re there, walking through the mazes, shooting video in the scare zones, taking it all in, and then – just like that, we find ourselves driving home at 3 a.m. discussing what we liked and didn’t like about the event – and how crazy it is that HHN has already come and gone for us.

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The Empty Grave Haunted Attraction 2014

The_Empty_Grave_2015-1058922014 was a great year for our friends at The Empty Grave, one of Orange County’s longest-running haunted attractions. For the past couple of years, The Empty Grave was located at the Anaheim GardenWalk, just across the street from the Disneyland Resort. One might think that such close proximity to hundreds of hotel rooms and an endless supply of tourists would make for an incredible source of business for a haunt at Halloween. Unfortunately, the GardenWalk just isn’t that great of a magnet – rarely does it attract locals, and when the Disney parks are open late – guests are in them, not wandering around a half-dead shopping mall.

Mike Talarico, who owns The Empty Grave, gave it one hell of a shot – and while there were decent crowds during the seasonal run, they just weren’t steady. Quite honestly, we felt that if Mike and his team stayed there at the GardenWalk, that The Empty Grave might just end up dying on the vine. We certainly didn’t want that to happen, because this is a great group of haunters.

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Sneak Preview of Paranormal, Inc. at Knott’s Scary Farm 2015

Paranormal Inc. Knott's Scary FarmThis week, Theme Park Adventure had the pleasure of getting a sneak peek walking tour of one of Knott’s Scary Farm’s most highly-anticipated new mazes this year, Paranormal, Inc.

Paranormal, Inc. is one of those mazes that somehow rises above the rest when it comes to fan hype; it’s never usually something that is planned from the very beginning – it just kind of jives with what people are excited about and through word of mouth (and a little bit of marketing magic), becomes the sight unseen fan favorite before Scary Farm even begins. We’ve seen this in the past, most recently with last year’s Voodoo attraction in 2014. There’s no really solid reason as to why this happens – it just is one of those things that we’ve seen time and again play out at Knott’s, as well as other major theme park haunts.

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Diamond Celebration and Halloween Collide Boo-tifully at Disneyland Resort

Diamond Celebration HalloweenFrightfully good fun adds to the excitement of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration this autumn, as the Halloween season arrived at the resort Sept. 11 and runs through Nov. 1. The annual, family-friendly Halloween experience includes spooky transformations of Haunted Mansion and Space Mountain, plus special décor, themed foods and merchandise. In addition, the separate-ticket Mickey’s Halloween Party offers guests an opportunity to visit in costume and trick-or-treat throughout Disneyland Park, on 17 selected nights.

Haunted Mansion Holiday in New Orleans Square has become a thrilling Disneyland Halloween tradition, with Jack Skellington from the Walt Disney Pictures classic Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas moving into the Mansion to spark a collision between Halloween and Christmas. As in past years, some eerie new touches have been added to the Haunted Mansion Holiday experience. The Hatbox Ghost, who recently rejoined the Mansion’s happy haunts, is staying to celebrate Halloween and Christmas with Jack Skellington and his friends.

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SeaWorld Orlando Rescuers Care for a 4-Week-Old Orphaned Manatee Calf

20150827_ManateeCalfRescue_026More than 500 animals have been rescued by SeaWorld Orlando this year alone, including one of the newest lucky ones: a 4-week-old, orphaned manatee calf.  The female calf was brought to SeaWorld Orlando’s rescue and rehabilitation facility about two weeks ago by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) after being rescued in the Tomoka River behind a residential home in Ormond Beach.  The tiny 66-pound calf had been on her own for more than 24 hours. She was confused, lost and lacking vital nutrients from nursing.

Since she arrived at SeaWorld, the calf has been bottle-fed seven times a day and looked after around the clock by SeaWorld’s veterinarians and animal care experts. Her bloodwork and x-rays came back normal, which is a good sign.

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Quassy Amusement & Waterpark Honored with Turnstile Award During 2015 Golden Ticket Awards

Turnstyle Award - Quassy-correctedQuassy Amusement & Waterpark, Middlebury, Conn., received one of the industry’s highest honors Saturday evening during the 2015 Golden Ticket Awards.

The iconic, family-owned property was the recipient of the 2015 Turnstile Award presented by Amusement Today (AT) Publisher Gary Slade during the gala event at Gargiulo’s Restaurant here. The Golden Ticket Awards are one the most prestigious honors within the amusement park industry and are compiled by the magazine, which has its offices in Arlington, Texas.

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Denver Ready for Halloween 2015 with 13th Floor and Asylum Haunted Attractions

13th Floor Character 3 (1)Back again for an eighth season, 13th Floor Entertainment Group brings Denver the two scariest haunted houses in town – the 13th Floor and the Asylum.

Hailed by Fangoria Magazine as “the #1 scariest haunted attraction in the U.S.,” the 13th Floor haunted house takes guests through a frightening tour of horror. Brave guests will learn just why the 13th floor is so often omitted from building plans – if they make it through to tell the tale.

The Asylum haunted house is Denver’s #1 rated haunted attraction. Back again, this 1800’s era themed “hospital for the mentally insane” has been taken over by the patients and prisoners. Tapping into some of our greatest fears, the haunted experience is a head trip that screams of its tortured souls inside the once orderly insane asylum.

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