Author Archives: Rick West

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom Announces Closure of Popular Roar Coaster

Roar Six Flags Discovery KingdomSix Flags Discovery Kingdom announced that its iconic wooden roller coaster, Roar, is set to close on Sunday, August 16, 2015.

Guests and fans can ride Roar one last time from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on August 16. After that, the ride will be permanently closed.

“We are a dynamic and evolving entertainment venue,” said Don McCoy, park president. “Although Roar continues to be a guest favorite, sometimes hard choices must be made to allow for future expansion.”

Roar opened in 1999 amidst a major revitalization effort, with several new shows and attractions, restaurants and shops opening simultaneously. Since that time, an estimated 11 million guests have experienced the 10-story coaster featuring six reversals, 22 crossovers, 17 turns and 12 breathtaking drops, in this 55 mph ride that was named for the thunderous roar of a California sea lion.

Read More »

Leave a comment

Disneyland Celebrates 60th Anniversary, Launching Million Dollar Dazzle Philanthropic Program

Disneyland Anniversary MomentSixty years ago today, Walt Disney dedicated his dream project: Disneyland – a land beyond the boundaries of the motion pictures with which he’d made his reputation, a park where families and guests of all ages could be immersed in worlds of fantasy and adventure.

Today, as part of its Diamond Celebration, the Disneyland Resort honored 60 years of that dream by announcing Million Dollar Dazzle at a ceremony at Sleeping Beauty Castle. Each month during the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, the Million Dollar Dazzle Crew will surprise one or more local nonprofits that exemplify Walt Disney Parks and Resorts’ Better Together philosophy with a $60,000 gift, totaling more than $1 million. Girl Scouts of Orange County was surprised with the first gift earlier today. The funds will support the organization’s Comadres outreach program that helps the Girl Scout experience transcend language and cultural barriers for girls in low-income neighborhoods.

Read More »

Leave a comment

Disneyland Reaches its 60th Anniversary – Reflections and Memories

Disneyland Opening Dedication60 years ago today, Walt Disney threw open the gates to the Happiest Place on Earth and welcomed the world to come inside and have a look around, thanks to the miracle of live television and an army of press representatives – and then some – cramming into Disneyland.

With temperatures rising above 100 degrees, bands played, children gawked, lessons were learned, and a beaming Walt Disney dedicated his park to generations to come in the middle of Town Square on Main Street. History shows that the day was far from perfect from an operational point of view – it would be dubbed “Black Sunday” due to its numerous issues, from non-operational water fountains, to womens’ high heels sinking into fresh asphalt. Perhaps it was the “Happiest Mess on Earth”. Regardless, 60 years have come and gone, and Disneyland stands as one of the greatest theme parks in the world; a monument to the dreams and vision of Walt, his brother Roy, and the small army of Imagineers, construction workers, and Cast Members who got the job done under incredible conditions – and to all of those individuals who have contributed their efforts to the park ever since.

The first time I visited Disneyland was in 1972. The park was only 42 or 43 years old at that point. Being so young, my first solid memories of my many visits with my grandfather and other friends and family members don’t start snapping into focus until a bit later on, toward the mid-late ’70s. Of course, as a frequent visitor these days, my entire Disneyland experience has kind of blended into one big mental tub of Flubber, with snapshot memories making up most of my reflections, along with very certain moments that spiked into my psyche.

Read More »

Leave a comment

Universal Announces Insidious: Return to The Further Maze for Halloween Horror Nights Orlando and Hollywood

Halloween Horror Nights Insidious MazeThis fall, it’s not the maze that’s haunted… YOU ARE.

The twisted minds behind Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood are teaming up with Focus Features and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment to create all-new mazes based on the chilling Insidious film franchise. The announcement comes after the third installment of the film, Insidious: Chapter 3, hit theaters to terrify moviegoers.

At both Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando, event goers will be transported into some of the most sinister scenes from all three films in the Insidious franchise. Guests will investigate unexplained phenomena in the Lambert family’s eerie Victorian home and find themselves at the ghastly séance that unleashes chaos and horror. They’ll journey into The Further – a supernatural realm that houses tormented spirits – and face deadly ghosts and demons like the Woman in Black and Red-Faced Demon who will stop at nothing to infiltrate the world of the living.

Read More »

Leave a comment

Peter Renaday Joining Disembodied Spirits: Voice-Over Experts Panel at ScareLA 2015

Peter Renaday ScareLA ParticipantAs we creep closer to ScareLA 2015, the thrills and chills keep coming as more information is revealed to fans! Just when Disney enthusiasts thought this year’s lineup of related subjects and guests couldn’t get better, we have yet another tremendous announcement to make!

Peter Renaday will be participating in the Disembodied Spirits: Voice-Over Experts panel presentation on Sunday, August 9 at 12 PM on ScareLA’s Second Stage. He will join Mark Silverman (Twilight Zone Tower of Terror) and Corey Burton (Haunted Mansion Holiday) and moderator Brady MacDonald of the LA Times to discuss their work and take questions from audience members.

An accomplished talent, Peter Renaday is well-known in the field of voice-over artists, and has been featured at Disneyland and Walt Disney World as Henry in the Country Bear Jamboree, Captain Nemo in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Abraham Lincoln in The Hall of Presidents, and much more. Peter was also the voice of the Ghost Host on Disney’s Story and Song from The Haunted Mansion record, which every kid in the ’70s must have owned and listened to endlessly!

Read More »

Leave a comment

MGM Resorts Unveils Plan for 5,000-Seat Theater at Monte Carlo Las Vegas

Monte Carlo TheaterMGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM), one of the world’s leading presenters of live entertainment, today announced plans for an approximately 5,000-seat theater at Monte Carlo Resort and Casino. The new concert venue will amplify the vibrant entertainment district taking shape on the west side of the Las Vegas Strip with a robust calendar featuring special engagements by many of the music industry’s most-celebrated performers.

With more than 7 million entertainment tickets sold in 2014 alone, MGM Resorts’ offerings are unrivaled. The Company owns and operates two arenas; two Las Vegas Strip festival lots (62 acres); seven theaters housing Cirque du Soleil production shows; 14 theaters for concerts, headliners and comedy performances; and more than two dozen lounges and nightclubs. Additionally, it is currently developing a new world-class Las Vegas arena as well as integrated resort projects in Macau and National Harbor, Maryland, each of which will feature entertainment venues as central amenities.

“From Las Vegas to Maryland, Macau to Massachusetts, presenting the biggest and most sought-after names in music, sports and special events is a core focus for MGM Resorts.  This new theater will enable us to host performers in Las Vegas who we previously haven’t had a home for, broadening our entertainment offerings and providing the opportunity to expand those relationships to our properties around the globe,” said Bill Hornbuckle, President, MGM Resorts International.

Read More »

Leave a comment

SeaWorld Orlando Caring for Two Rescued Manatee Babies

SeaWorld rescued manateeDuring the past week, the SeaWorld Orlando Animal Rescue Team has been caring for two rescued orphaned baby manatees.  The newborn and month-old calves were both brought to SeaWorld Orlando’s rehabilitation facility after being rescued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). The calves were both seen by locals who said the manatees appeared lethargic and swimming alone.

First Rescued Manatee Calf

The first manatee – which was found floating on its side – was rescued July 7, 2015, from Merritt Island and immediately transported to SeaWorld for instant treatment, including fluids and antibiotics.

To help the young animal float, the SeaWorld team used a custom-fitted infant life vest with a foam flotation device. This tool has allowed the manatee to remain upright ever since.

Read More »

Leave a comment

5th Annual Brew at the L.A. Zoo Returns Friday August 7, 2015

Brew at the LA Zoo band

Photo by Jamie Pham

The 5th Annual Brew at the L.A. Zoo, one of summer’s most popular events for guests 21 and over, returns on Friday, August 7, 2015, 7 to 11 pm, featuring an after-hours visit to the Zoo with beer samples from 55+ local craft and microbreweries and an eclectic music lineup including “the best of the worst of the ’80s” with The Spazmatics; The Noble Gasses surf band; The Black Canyon dance band; live karaoke with Casual Encounters; and something completely different from Der Burgermeister Boys, a German Polka band.

New this year is a special VIP Lounge with complimentary food, including a bountiful buffet offering early 6 pm access, hors d’oeuvres, snacks, specialty cocktails and exclusive access to several breweries.

Other highlights are dancing with DJ Johnny Hawkes, an array of “pub grub” food for purchase, photos with the celebrated “Beer Girls,” zookeeper talks, up-close encounters with some of the Zoo’s smaller residents and visits to animal habitats.  Adding to the brew mix is Wreck Check, which will be on standby to provide breathalyzer services.  With sell-out crowds at the four previous Brew at the L.A. Zoo evenings, advance ticket purchase is strongly suggested.

Read More »

Leave a comment

8 New Disney Legends to be Honored During D23 Expo 2015

Disney-Legends-AwardStar Wars creator George Lucas, composer Danny Elfman, All My Children star Susan Lucci, Disney Animator Andreas Deja and other beloved contributors to the Disney legacy will be named and honored as official Disney Legends during D23 EXPO 2015 at 10 a.m. on Friday, August 14, in Hall D23 at the Anaheim Convention Center. The ceremony will be hosted by Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger, and will include special musical performances.

The Disney Legends Awards program is a 28-year tradition of The Walt Disney Company, and the first Disney Legend was Fred MacMurray (The Shaggy Dog, The Absent-Minded Professor, The Happiest Millionaire), who was honored in 1987. The three-day EXPO provides the opportunity for Disney fans to be a part of the memorable and prestigious event.

“The Disney Legend Award is our highest honor, and we are incredibly proud to recognize these eight talented individuals who have contributed so much to the world of entertainment and the Disney legacy,” said Bob Iger, chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company. “Their vision and dedication to their work have brought joy to audiences around the globe and earned them a place in Disney history.”

The 2015 Disney Legend Award honorees (listed alphabetically) are:

Read More »

Leave a comment

Knott’s Berry Farm Calling on TPA Fans for Roller Coaster Media Shoot

Knotts LogoTPAers and Knott’s Berry Farm Fans, the company is putting out an open casting call! Next week, Knott’s Berry Farm’s corporate team will have a film crew at the park shooting a new library of footage to be use by marketing as B-roll.

Knott’s is looking for 40 fans to ride several roller coasters for this media footage from 6 AM to 10 AM next Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday; July 22 – 24, 2015.

All participants must be 18+ years of age, at least 54″ tall, and able to ride all of Knott’s Berry Farm’s roller coasters.

The park will provide breakfast each morning to participants, and if they would like, they may stay in the park each day after filming wraps to enjoy the other rides and attractions as long as they’d like. On Friday, following the complete wrap of the B-roll project, each participant will receive 2 complimentary tickets to Knott’s Berry Farm that can be used during normal operating hours for a future return to the park!

Read More »

Leave a comment