Monthly Archives: November 2015

Wizarding World of Harry Potter Video Released by Universal Studios Hollywood

Hogwarts Express Conductor - The Wizarding World of Harry PotterUniversal Studios Hollywood has debuted a series of virtual tour videos showcasing the Spring 2016 opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, beginning with this month’s insider’s look at the land hosted by the Hogwarts Express conductor.

The video, which can be viewed at Universal Studios Hollywood’s newly launched The Wizarding World of Harry Potter interactive website and here, will highlight some of the land’s best-known shops and eating establishments, including Ollivanders wand shop, Three Broomsticks and Honeydukes.

More than five years in the making, and inspired by J.K. Rowling’s compelling stories and characters that were brought to life in the Warner Bros. films, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be masterfully recreated with impeccable detail as a real world interpretation at Universal Studios Hollywood.  The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be faithful to the visual landscape of the fiction and films, including Hogwarts castle which will serve as its iconic focal point.

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Nola’s Legacy Will Benefit Science and Efforts to Return Northern White Rhinos From Brink of Extinction

RHINO WITH A RUNNY NOSE: RARE RHINO UNDERGOES VETERINARY EXAM AT SAN DIEGO ZOO SAFARI PARKWhile Nola, a critically endangered northern white rhino who died Nov. 22 at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, is still being mourned by those who worked closely with her, as well as people from around the globe, scientists at San Diego Zoo Global are focusing on how Nola’s contributions to science could eventually help save her species from extinction.

Taking a science-based approach, Oliver Ryder, Ph.D., director of genetics; Barbara Durrant, Ph.D., director of reproductive physiology; and their teams at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research Frozen Zoo — along with collaborators at Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla and at the Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Medicine in Berlin— are working to develop and perfect assisted reproductive technology to save the northern white rhino from extinction.

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Universal CityWalk Hollywood and NBC4 Southern California Present The Wishing Tree

print-CW_Holidays_pubimageDuring this joyful season of giving, Universal CityWalk and NBC4 Southern California are collaborating to present the first-ever The Wishing Tree event, inviting the public to pay it forward by making a wish for someone deserving.

From now through Tuesday, December 22, Universal CityWalk visitors may place their wishes for friends and family next to the decorative trees adorning Universal CityWalk’s 5 Towers plaza.  NBC4 viewers can also share their wishes at www.NBCLA.com/wishingtree.

Wishes will be granted live weeknights from December 9 – 23 during the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. from Universal CityWalk with longtime NBC4 Weathercaster Fritz Coleman.

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WhiteWater Recognized by The Learning Partnership as Outstanding Employer for Helping Students with Early Career Exploration

WhiteWater Take your Kids to Work day (5)WhiteWater is the perfect place to showcase the variety of career options open to kids because making amusement park rides, water slides and designing water parks involves architects, designers, engineers (structural, mechanical and electrical) as well as project managers, all types of manufacturing and trades, finance teams and sales and marketing. Representatives from the many areas talk about the path they took to end up in their role and how it rarely is a direct route.  From the product engineer that started in IT sales to the accountant that was formerly a plant manager, they see careers are a journey, not a point A to point B process. WhiteWater outlines co-op and apprentice opportunities alongside University degrees as ways into these jobs to show a successful career has many routes.

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L.A. Zoo Lights Returns Bigger and Brighter for 2015 Holiday Season

PHOTO CREDIT: Jamie PhamWith the flick of a switch that illuminates a dazzling wonderland, L.A. ZOO LIGHTS returns bigger, better and even more spectacular as it heralds a new standard for nighttime magic at the Los Angeles Zoo from Friday, November 27, 2015, through Sunday, January 3, 2016. With awe-inspiring features providing a brand-new spin on holiday lights in Griffith Park, L.A. ZOO LIGHTS sets the Zoo’s enchanting environment aglow with breathtaking displays, among them thousands upon thousands of LED lights, flurries of illuminated snowflakes, stunning 3-D animated projections and glittering light tunnels. A fanciful menagerie of animal characters include mischievous animated monkeys scampering through the grounds, a glowing 130-foot snake coiled on a roof, a hillside with snowboarding “lizards,” 3-D animated elephants wearing colorful holiday sweaters, an origami-type rhino lit from within and so much more. L.A. ZOO LIGHTS is open every night, except Christmas Eve (December 24) and Christmas Day (December 25), from 6 to 10 pm Mondays through Thursdays, and 6 to 11 pm Fridays through Sundays and December 21 through 23.

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Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor 2015 Review – A Shipload of Terrifying Fun!

Dark Harbor 2015_5262Compared to the other large-scale haunted attraction events in Southern California, Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor is the new kid on the block. While there have been haunts hosted at the Queen Mary for quite some time, Dark Harbor and its very specific theme and character roster has only been there for 6 seasons. Aging like a fine wine, I’d have to say that 2015 was my favorite so far for Dark Harbor; it is maturing and coming into its own so nicely, that many fans are declaring it to be their favorite “theme park haunt” for numerous reasons.

The Queen Mary is, as I have said in the past, arguably the most unique setting for a large-scale haunt event anywhere in the world. With an established history of paranormal activity and ghoulish happenings, having some of Dark Harbor take place on the actual ship itself is worth the price of admission right off the bat. The more recent “dark carnival” element that has been added to the surrounding area – has been embraced and lauded by fans from far and near for the most part. The combination of haunted passenger ship and twisted carnival is so strange that it works – it works beautifully together, and is pulled off by an unparalleled cast of original characters; home-grown intellectual properties (IP) that have amassed huge popularity in just a few years; more so than any other haunt we’re familiar with here in Southern California.

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Grinchmas Comes to Universal Studios Hollywood December 5, 2015

The Grinch GrinchmasIt’s the most wonderful time of the year as Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal CityWalk deck the halls for a wintry calendar of cool holiday activities at The Entertainment Capital of L.A.

A very, merry Grinchmas returns to Universal Studios Hollywood as the theme park celebrates the Who-lidays with The Grinch, his faithful dog Max and a roster of Whos from the town of Who-ville.

Grinchmas runs weekends on December 5-6 and 12-13, then continues daily from December 18, 2015 through January 3, 2016.

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Knott’s Berry Farm Serves Traditional Thanksgiving Offerings and a Winter Wonderland of Seasonal Fun

Thanksgiving-Turkey-Dinner-Social-MediaWhen it comes to holiday dining, no one does it better than Knott’s Berry Farm!  Starting Thanksgiving Day, a bounty of delectable choices await hungry guests, from freshly made Thanksgiving Take Home Dinners, an all-you-can-eat champagne buffet at Spurs Chophouse, or an elegant Thanksgiving meal at the Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel. The Thanksgiving holiday is only the start of delicious dining on the farm.

Guests who plan to host Thanksgiving at home this year, can take advantage of Knott’s Thanksgiving Take Home Dinner. The delicious meal serves between six – eight people, and includes the choice of a 12 – 14 lb. whole-roasted turkey or an 8 – 10 lb. honey glazed ham, for $124.99 (price excludes tax). Fixings include: mashed potatoes with turkey gravy, buttered whole kernel corn, country apple stuffing, cranberry sauce, candied yams, one dozen farm baked dinner rolls, bread and butter pickles, butter and boysenberry preserves, and pumpkin or boysenberry pie. Now through November 24, guests can order online or by calling (714) 220-5006. Pick-up will be available on November 25 from 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and November 26 from 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

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Iconic Northern White Rhino Nola Passes Away at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Nola Grazing

Since the news of the death of Nola, a critically endangered 41-year-old northern white rhino who died yesterday at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park was announced, San Diego Zoo Global has received an overwhelming outpouring of sympathy from around the globe.

“There are no words to adequately express the depth of the loss of Nola”, stated Randy Rieches, curator of mammals at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. “All of us at San Diego Zoo Global are grateful for the outpouring of condolences we have been receiving. Nola was truly an amazing animal and her story resonated with people not only in San Diego, but globally. It is a very difficult time for our staff right now as they have worked with and cared for Nola for 26 years. Our hearts are broken over the loss of Nola and knowing her subspecies is now three individuals from extinction makes it even more difficult for of all of us who work with and love rhinos. But, we are not willing to give up.”

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Universal Studios Hollywood Employee Volunteers Serve Up Day of Giving in Los Angeles

Day of Giving 1Hundreds of Universal Studios Hollywood’s employee volunteers and a medley of Minions from the theme park’s popular Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride banded together to pay it forward and give back to six LA-based non-profit community organizations as The Entertainment Capital of L.A. marked its 11th annual Day of Giving on Thursday, November 12, 2015.

The inspirational Day of Giving event is Universal Studios Hollywood’s yearly 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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