Author Archives: Rick West

Universal Studios Hollywood at a Glance – Lunar New Year, Harry Potter and More

Universal Studios Hollywood (11)Universal Studios Hollywood is currently undergoing its biggest physical transformation ever, in preparation for the April 7, 2016 opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Everywhere you look, there is major construction underway, from the brand-new E.T. Parking structure, to finishing touches being put on Hogsmeade as we speak. With an April hard open date announced, fans are expecting that we could have soft open (industry term for “preview”) dates as soon as mid-February. In short, it’s about to get real here in Los Angeles, and all eyes are on Universal.

We made our way up the hill to Universal Studios this past weekend and braved the rain and blustery weather conditions to see what we could see and bring TPAers a brief update – quite honestly, possibly the final update regarding Potter before we actually get to experience it, if the soft open rumors are true.

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Legacy of Arrow Development Makes SoCal Debut January 30 at Six Flags Magic Mountain

legacyofarrow_LOGO_bbw-variantWith the exception of wooden roller coasters, most of today’s state of the art thrill rides are designed by European firms. But in the 1960s, Northern California-based Arrow Development Company was the company that parks around the world came to for the latest in steel coaster innovation.

In the summer of 2015, various coaster enthusiasts and a group of members from American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) Worldwide, Inc. criss-crossed the country to tell the story of an American manufacturing legend that entertained millions. The team visited parks with prominent Arrow rides, including: Six Flags Over Texas, Cedar Point, Kennywood, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Lagoon Park and Silverwood Theme Park among many others.

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Health of Giraffe Calf Baridi Improving Daily at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

How to Feed a Six-foot, Five-inch Baby Special Bottle Feeding for a Recuperating One-month-old Giraffe CalfThe future of Baridi, a giraffe calf, looks promising this week, after animal care staff at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park labored day and night nursing him back to health. The newest member of the herd was born last month, to the joy of zoo employees and guests—but that joy turned to concern after Baridi was discovered to be extremely ill, with a severe infection that made it impossible for him to stand. Baridi was quickly admitted to the Paul Harter Veterinary Medical Center at the Safari Park, where he received IV fluids and around-the-clock specialized care until he was able to move around on his own. Animal care staff said the challenge of nursing Baridi was a fulfilling experience.

“Taking care of Baridi has been a very rewarding experience for all of us keepers,” said Lissa McCaffree, lead keeper in the Animal Care Center nursery at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. “He’s been a pleasure to work with. He has a great personality, and we looked forward to feeding him every day.”

Nursery staff members said Baridi will soon be strong enough to join the herd’s other four young giraffes—Congo, Siri, Yamikani and Kafele—in the East Africa exhibit, where they are often seen together in a crèche, or nursery group. It is typical for young giraffes to stay together in a herd while their moms forage. The Safari Park’s giraffe breeding program has produced more than 164 giraffe calves since the Park opened in 1972.

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Universal Studios Hollywood Celebrates Lunar New Year 2016 Beginning January 30

Curious George USH Lunar New Year 2016Universal Studios Hollywood marks Lunar New Year and the Year of the Monkey with a traditional celebratory event featuring Shenzhen performances, Asian-inspired food, thematic décor and a special Mandarin-speaking MEGATRON character from the park’s popular thrill ride, Transformers: The Ride-3D. The special Lunar New Year celebration begins on Saturday, January 30 and continues through Sunday, February 14, 2016.

Lunar New Year comes to life within Universal Plaza, a grand courtyard situated at the heart of the theme park, where guests will be ushered in to celebrate the Year of the Monkey under a curtain of customary red Chinese lanterns and a stunning plum blossom arch.  The polygon-shaped piazza will also display a dozen lampposts each featuring banners of the twelve zodiac animal signs along with three symbolic attributes.

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Kylo Ren Coming to Star Wars Launch Bay at Disneyland and Walt Disney World in February

Kylo Ren Arrives at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts

Star Wars: The Force Awakens has quickly become the highest grossing film in American history, and soon guests at Disney Parks will be able to interact with one of the film’s most intriguing and chilling new characters, Kylo Ren.

Every day at Disney Parks, guests step into Star Wars experiences such as Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple and Star Wars Launch Bay, where they come face to face with some of the greatest heroes and villains of the saga. Starting in February, a visit to Star Wars Launch Bay at either Disneyland Park in California or Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida will transport guests to the Star Wars galaxy for an encounter with Kylo Ren on the bridge of his First Order Star Destroyer.

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Disneyland Kicks off 2016 With Southern California Resident Ticket Offer

Hyperspace Mountain Art DisneyThe Disneyland Resort is kicking off the new year with a special ticket offer for Southern California residents, just in time to enjoy the thrilling Star Wars Season of the Force at Disneyland Park, all the nighttime excitement of the 60th anniversary Diamond Celebration and the opening of Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters at Disney California Adventure Park.

The Southern California Resident ticket offer* provides flexible options for two or three days of magic and adventure at special prices. Available for a limited time, the offer has four purchase options:

  • 2-day ticket with choice of one park per day for $149
  • 2-day Park Hopper ticket for $189
  • 3-day ticket with choice of one park per day for $179
  • 3-day Park Hopper ticket for $219.

Guests who choose to visit Disneyland will enjoy all the thrills of Star Wars Season of the Force, an exciting lineup of experiences that celebrate the Star Wars film saga. The lineup includes the Star Wars-themed transformation of Space Mountain into Hyperspace Mountain; new characters and a new adventure among the destinations at Star Tours – The Adventures Continue attraction, and an exciting short film, Star Wars: Path of the Jedi, which relives highlights of the Star Wars films. In addition, Star Wars Launch Bay invites guests to encounter that favorite Star Wars pilot Chewbacca, visit a Star Wars-themed cantina, discover authentic replicas of film props, and more.  And younglings will learn about conquering their fears in a new show, Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple.

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Starbucks Coming to Knott’s Berry Farm’s California MarketPlace in March

Knott's Berry Farm Starbucks_Exterior Rendering

Knott’s Berry Farm has announced that it will open its first Starbucks location.  The 935 square foot Starbucks store will open in March 2016 in the California MarketPlace, just outside the Park’s main entrance, and will offer Starbuck’s world class coffee drinks and entrees.

Knott’s follows Cedar Point, King’s Island and Canada’s Wonderland as the fourth Cedar Fair Park to open a Starbucks location at its theme park.  As a themed entertainment destination, Knott’s has partnered with Starbucks to design a welcoming gathering place that evokes themes of the Knott family’s original roadside stand with the familiar, contemporary aesthetic of Starbucks stores.

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Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras 2016 Announced, Including Fall Out Boy and Diana Ross

Fall Out Boy at Universal Orlando's Mardi Gras 2016Let the good times roll at Universal Orlando Resort’s 2016 Mardi Gras celebration. On select nights Feb. 6 through April 16, guests can top off their day in the theme parks with a family-friendly version of the famed “N’awlins” celebration at Universal Studios Florida – featuring delicious Cajun cuisine, a dazzling parade and 14 nights of exhilarating concerts from some of the biggest names in music.

This year’s star-studded concert lineup features a diverse array of talent with something for everyone to enjoy. Headliners include rock band Fall Out Boy, teen pop sensation Shawn Mendes, GRAMMY-nominated recording artist Adam Lambert, country singer-songwriter Hunter Hayes and legendary entertainer Diana Ross.

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Thirsty River Bar and Trek Snacks Opens at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Thirsty River Bar and Trek SnacksGuests trekking through Africa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park will enjoy the new Thirsty River Bar and Trek Snacks. This adventurous food and beverage location rests near the foot of Expedition Everest and treats guests to an assortment of exotic drinks and eats.

The Trek Snacks menu varies throughout the day, with delicious pastries in the morning and more substantial bites such as sushi and sandwiches in the afternoon and evening. Breakfast pastries include assorted muffins and Danish, croissants and an indulgent chocolate twist. Healthful snacks offered include fresh fruit, crudité and hummus, edamame and an Asian noodle salad.

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Knott’s Scary Farm Returning Mazes and Attractions 2015 Review

Knott's Scary Farm 2015 ReviewIn October, we brought you a detailed look and review of everything new at Knott’s Scary Farm, including Paranormal, Inc. and Dead of Winter. This past Halloween season was monstrous in scope for us, to say the least; with 46 stops along the way between mid-September and the beginning of November, the amount of images, video and content in general that we collected is completely nuts! Now that we’ve moved out of the Halloween season, we’ve been sorting everything out and presenting it to you bit by bit here on the site; most folks who have been Theme Park Adventure fans for any duration of time will tell you – around here, Halloween is the gift that keeps on giving! That said, it’s finally time to circle back to the granddaddy of them all, and finish our review of Knott’s Scary Farm 2015 with a look at the mazes and attractions that returned this year to Buena Park.

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