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Author Archives: Rick West
Golden Globe award winner Jenna Elfman and her family joined in the winter tradition at LEGOLAND California Resort and helped Santa pull the switch lighting the 30-foot tall LEGO Christmas tree during the 13th annual tree lighting ceremony in Carlsbad, California.
Elfman is popularly known for her starring role as free spirit Dharma Finkelstein Montgomery in the hit series Dharma & Greg and is currently starring as Iva Lou Wade in the romantic comedy Big Stone Gap currently playing in theaters.
Guests at the tree lighting got an exclusive first look at an image from The LEGO Movie 4D A New Adventure and viewed special LEGO ornaments created by Master Model Builders that were inspired by the Park’s new animated attraction premiering Feb. 6 at LEGOLAND California. Emmet and Wyldstyle costume characters joined Elfman and her sons Story (8) and Easton (5) and, of course, Santa, on stage to help pull a magical switch that set off thousands of lights and a twinkling LEGO star, followed by snow showering Park guests and a fireworks show.
On December 16th, share the European opening night of Star Wars: The Force Awakens like you never dreamed possible! Be among the lucky few to take this history-making moment a step beyond… in a galaxy not so far away. Venture into the darkness for an exclusive after-hours party at Planet Disneyland Park.
Don a costume to show your allegiance to your favorite side of the Force so you can live the part to its fullest! Take home a commemorative ticket – a unique souvenir for lightyears to come. Revel in the excitement of witnessing Discoveryland take on a new dimension with specially designed intergalactic décors, outer space photo backdrops, and constellations of thematic activities.
Universal 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.
Nola’s Legacy Will Benefit Science and Efforts to Return Northern White Rhinos From Brink of Extinction
While 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.
During 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.
WhiteWater Recognized by The Learning Partnership as Outstanding Employer for Helping Students with Early Career Exploration
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.
With 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.
Compared 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.
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.
Knott’s Berry Farm Serves Traditional Thanksgiving Offerings and a Winter Wonderland of Seasonal Fun
When 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.