I regretfully confirm that Theme Park Adventure is no longer associated with ScareLA Halloween convention in any way. I am unable to answer any questions about the convention’s current operations or future plans, nor am I going to make any further statement at this time regarding the extremely difficult decision I’ve made to resign as one of the event’s producers.
I appreciate the support of the haunt community, and will always be incredibly proud of what we accomplished as a team over the past three years. Sadly, that has come to an end, and I am just as disappointed about that as our friends throughout the industry are.
Thank you all for the outpouring of love and strength during this extremely challenging transition. I promise that I have not abandoned this great community, nor am I fading away. Theme Park Adventure is stronger than ever before, and remains dedicated to the Southern California haunt community and beyond.
We are family. Always have been, always will be.
— Rick West
Fans can follow Theme Park Adventure via social media on Facebook, Instagram (search our posts with #ThemeParkAdventure), Twitter, and Periscope for live streams of our travels and special events!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.