Author Archives: Rick West

REVIEW: Fright Fest 2014 at Six Flags Magic Mountain

Fright_Fest_2014_3561Large-scale theme park Halloween events are commonplace here in Southern California. After all, this is where the haunted attraction industry was born; we expect our world-famous theme parks to step up at Halloween and put on a good show for the tens of thousands of tourists and locals that flood through their gates each night looking for intense scares and thrills. Fright Fest at Six Flags Magic Mountain has been one such event since it began in earnest in 1993; one year before Theme Park Adventure was founded. TPA actually visited the event a few years later, and then had not returned until this year, after nearly two decades. Why the huge gap in time since our last visit, and why now all of a sudden? It’s a really interesting subject; one that needs explanation to coincide with our 2014 review of Magic Mountain’s event.

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Universal Orlando’s Holiday Celebrations 2014

Universal_Orlando_GrinchmasIt’s the most wonderful time of the year at Universal Orlando Resort. Beginning Dec. 6 through Jan. 3, families can create lifelong memories during Universal Orlando’s Holidays celebration. Kids from one to 92 can watch larger-than-life balloons float through the streets during the Macy’s Holiday Parade, hear Christmas music sensation Mannheim Steamroller perform beloved holiday classics with a modern twist and come face-to-face with The Grinch at Grinchmas!

At Universal Studios Florida, the Macy’s Holiday Parade will fill the streets with the same larger-than-life balloons seen in the famous New York City parade. Guests will be immersed in the spirit of the season with holiday characters, fantasy-filled floats and a tree-lighting ceremony with the big man himself, Santa Claus. Also, guests won’t want to miss the Chloe The Clown “Balloonicle,” a new addition to the parade that combines a towering balloon with a self-powered vehicle that roams the streets of Universal Studios.

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Free Admission Days at Fairytale Town

Sherwood Forest at Fairytale Town (3)Fairytale Town gives thanks to the Sacramento community by offering two Free Admission Days during the holiday season.

On the day after Thanksgiving, Friday, Nov. 28, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Fairytale Town offers free admission to families who bring a canned food item for donation to the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services – Holiday Spirit of Giving Food Drive. The day also includes free arts and crafts activities. Puppet Art Theater Company will be on hand to present “Jack’s Holiday Adventure,” a holiday version of the classic “Jack and the Beanstalk” story, at 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. in the Children’s Theater. Tickets for the puppet show are $1 for Fairytale Town members and $2 for nonmembers.

Families can let their imaginations run wild during the park’s second Free Admission Day. Fairytale Town will be open for play with free admission on Christmas Eve, Wednesday, Dec. 24, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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Busch Gardens Tampa 2015 Fun Card Now Available

Busch_Gardens_Fun_CardFrom world-class roller coasters and Broadway-style entertainment to one-of-a-kind, up-close animal encounters, Busch Gardens Tampa continues to deliver some of the biggest thrills found anywhere! In 2015, Busch Gardens is taking those thrills and experiences to new levels with brand new events and exciting entertainment.

You can see it all with a 2015 Fun Card, which lets you Pay for a Day, and get now through 2015 FREE! It’s the best value for again-and-again access to all of the amazing thrills Busch Gardens has to offer. Plus, if you buy your 2015 Fun Card now, you can enjoy visiting Busch Gardens for the remainder of 2014 for no additional cost, including Christmas Town!

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Four Cheetah Cubs Active at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Can You Spot the Kittens? Four Cheetah Cubs and Mother on Exhibit at San Diego Zoo Safari ParkFour almost four-month-old cheetah cubs rest alongside their mother at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The cubs, two males and two females, were born to firstFour cheetah cubs ran, climbed and played in their new habitat at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park for the first time this month. The young felines chased birds and each other, eventually resting alongside their mother, who groomed and nursed them, before the felines’ playtime started over again. Their attentive mother kept a close watch over the cubs and vocalized with a loud chirp when they ventured too far out of her view.

The almost four-month-old cheetah cubs, two males and two females, were born to first-time mother Addison on July 13 at the Safari Park’s off-site cheetah breeding center. The little family moved to their new habitat at the Safari Park’s Okavango Outpost this month. “Addison is an excellent mom, calm, confident and extremely protective,” stated Paula Augustus, senior keeper. “The cubs are very vocal, curious and playful, each with their own distinct temperaments. It is great to be able to watch a cheetah mother raising her cubs.”

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Christmas Town Tradition Continues at Busch Gardens Tampa

Christmas_Town_BGTChristmas Town transforms Busch Gardens Tampa into a holiday wonderland of wintery surprises and all things Christmas, filling guests’ senses with seasonal sights, sounds and flavors, and continuing a beautiful family tradition.

Christmas Town is now included with any annual pass, Fun Card or daily admission to the park. This year’s event has added even more dates to experience Christmas Town attractions, shows and shopping. Christmas Town is open 23 select dates and park closing times will range from 8pm to 9pm throughout the event, Nov. 28 through Dec. 31.

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LEGOLAND California Announces 2015 Additions

Presser_021A galaxy far, far away and some new Friends took center stage as LEGOLAND California Resort announced two major additions for 2015 at the annual press conference. General Manager Peter Ronchetti shared the family theme park’s 2014 successes before announcing the LEGO Star Wars Miniland Death Star is arriving in time for spring break and an entirely new area, Heartlake City, based on the popular LEGO Friends product, is opening before summer.

“This is our tenth straight year of continuous attendance growth and much of this can be attributed to providing our guests with a fun, family environment to enjoy unique interactive experiences and create family memories,” said Ronchetti.

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Additional Disneyland Resort Holiday Merriment in 2014

“Frozen” Sisters Join “A Christmas Fantasy” Parade for 2The Happiest Place on Earth Just Gets Merrier starting Thursday, Nov. 13, when Anna and Elsa from Walt Disney Pictures’ animated hit “Frozen” join the annual holiday celebration at the Disneyland Resort. The Holidays bring themed entertainment, sparkling decorations, delicious treats, festive traditions and holiday shopping to locations throughout the Resort.

Among the highlights of the season, Nov. 13 through Jan. 6, 2015, is the return of the breathtaking “World of Color – Winter Dreams” holiday spectacular – with new songs added from the “Frozen” soundtrack. Also returning to Disney California Adventure Park is the festive “Disney ¡Viva Navidad!” holiday celebration and the grand finale of the season, a five-day celebration of Three Kings Day.

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MGM Resorts Las Vegas Lounge Acts November 2014

Whether it’s date night, girls’ night out, music while playing some video poker, or just chilling, here’s what you can expect during November in some of MGM Resorts’ coolest lounges in Las Vegas:

ARIA

ALIBI COCKTAIL LOUNGE 

Alibi-Interiors-3The cocktail hideaway presents a unique blend of curated cocktails crafted by leading mixologists, which are complemented by a music program celebrating the indie music scene. The perfect convergence of premium spirits, innovative ingredients and highly-stylized opulence, ALIBI offers a sophisticated alternative to the bustling Las Vegas nightlife scene and is reenergizing the cities lounge culture.

Act:                 Eddie McDonald

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Universal Orlando Thanksgiving Dining Options 2014

portofino_bay_trattoriaThe deluxe on-site hotels at Universal Orlando Resort are featuring a festive lineup of Thanksgiving dining options for 2014. From holiday buffets with live entertainment to a tree-lighting luau and Holiday Harbor Nights, the resorts will glisten with holiday decorations and the spirit of the season. This Thanksgiving, $1 from each meal at Islands Dining Room, The Kitchen restaurant and Trattoria del Porto will be donated to Feeding Children Everywhere, a local charity that empowers and mobilizes people to assemble healthy meals for hungry children.

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