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- Bone Yard Effects Invites Haunt Fans INTO THE BLACK at Pomona Fairplex this Halloween
- Lunar New Year 2017 Sure to Draw Big Crowds to Universal Studios Hollywood
- Santa’s Village in Skyforest to Reopen?
- Queen Mary’s CHILL 2016 Features Enchanting All-New Alice in Winterland Theme
- THE VOID Virtual Entertainment Center Opening in 2016
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When you think of Universal Studios Hollywood and its signature annual events, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Halloween Horror Nights, or perhaps Grinchmas, right? How about Lunar New Year? It’s a biggie at the Southern California theme park. Beginning January 21, guests will be able to meet Mandarin-speaking Megatron, enjoy special Chinese food treats, and celebrate Lunar New Year 2017 with many of their favorite characters, who will be wearing traditional festival attire throughout the event.
Speaking of characters, Lunar New Year 2017 brings new, familiar faces to Universal Studios Hollywood – Po and Tigress, from DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda franchise!
Located within Universal Plaza, across from the entrance to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter on the park’s Upper Lot, the Lunar New Year celebration is a cultural celebration that invites families and guests of all ages and race to participate and enjoy. The main entryway into the Plaza is to be adorned with classic red Chinese lanterns and a beautiful plum blossom arch. Once inside the festival area, guests will be able to partake in really fun character meet-and-greets, as well as enjoy Asian treats including as pastries as they take in the elegant decorations and banners featuring the 12 animals that make up the Chinese Zodiac.
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INTO THE BLACK is a brand-new haunt experience for 2017 created by Bone Yard Effects, Inc. that will take visitors on a harrowing journey this Halloween season at the Pomona Fairplex in Southern California.
In 1866, Anton and Isabella Black built a large home deep in the woods, a fair distance from any village. They were reclusive, socially awkward individuals that kept to themselves and were rarely seen in public. Once locals began disappearing, people began speaking in whispers about the Blacks. Some suggested they were murderers. Others claimed that the couple was heavily involved with the occult – and that those who had gone missing were taken as part of heinous Satanic rituals and offerings. It didn’t take long for the woods to be deemed “off limits”. The looming Victorian in the heart of those woods would become known as the House of the Devil. For decades, no one ventured into the woods and eventually, the home and its occupants faded into obscurity. The lore surrounding The Black House was passed down for generations until people began to question the validity of the information at hand.
Recently, paranormal investigation teams and curious thrill seekers have started to return to the area, searching for any sign of The Black House or clues that shed light on whatever happened to Anton and Isabella – or those unfortunate souls who entered the woods all those years ago, never to return. Despite their best efforts, everyone looking for answers emerges empty-handed, casting even more doubt on the stories attributed to “the most evil place on Earth.”
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It’s that time of year again, and while some may think they’re seeing pink at Knott’s Berry Farm because of Valentine’s Day, that’s not the case. Beginning today, Knott’s and Susan G. Komen Orange County enter into their 4th year together helping to raise awareness about breast cancer with Knott’s for the Cure.
What does this mean for park-goers? For one thing, they’ll be seeing a lot of pink. During the event, which lasts from January 9 through March 5, 2017, several of the theme park’s most iconic attractions will be washed in pink lighting after dark, altering the Buena Park skyline dramatically; this includes Supreme Scream (beginning on Valentine’s Day) and the Calico Mine Ride.
The symbolic pink color doesn’t stop there. Guests may now purchase special Pink Tickets that will grant them admission to the park, as well as earmark a portion of each admission to be donated to Susan G. Komen Orange County. Those tickets may be purchased online at Knotts.com. In addition to the Pink Tickets, guests will find pink merchandise for sale throughout Knott’s Berry Farm as well, including special t-shirts, which also provide a percentage of each sale to the foundation.
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The mention of Six Flags Magic Mountain may instantly conjure mental images of some of the best roller coasters in the world… and rightfully so. However, in recent years, Magic Mountain has really stepped up its game – as has many of the other Six Flags properties – and has focused a great deal of attention on special seasonal events such as Holiday in the Park.
Holiday in the Park transforms much of Magic Mountain into a festive winter wonderland of twinkling Christmas lights, whimsical walk-around characters, sweet treats, Santa Claus, and of course, amazing thrill rides. While many of our readers have Magic Mountain on their radar because of Fright Fest, it certainly should be noted that we really love what they do each year now with Holiday in the Park – and we think you will, too.
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Knott’s Berry Farm certainly knows how to do holidays. Immediately following its world-famous Scary Farm event each year, the park transforms into a winter wonderland, becoming Knott’s Merry Farm. While you’d think the team behind the scenes at Knott’s would be exhausted this time of year (and you’d be right making that assumption), they go up and beyond to deliver an event that is nothing shy of world-class.
Merry Farm 2016 is the best we have ever seen the park look during the Christmas season, and we’ve grown up with Knott’s. Each year, Cedar Fair management works with Knott’s, raising the bar and really pushing everyone involved to dig deep and go big. The company doesn’t throw millions at the Christmas season the way Disney or Universal do – but they go head-to-head with those very companies by way of live entertainment and quaint, classy decorations that truly resonate with guests and create a gorgeous setting to celebrate the holidays in with friends and loved ones of all ages.
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Earlier this month, Theme Park Adventure held its Naughty & Nice Holiday Bash at Don the Beachcomber in Huntington Beach. With more than 100 TPAers from near and far in attendance, the Christmas mixer was an evening to remember! Fans gathered at the famous tiki restaurant and bar on Pacific Coast Highway for several hours of socializing, cocktail libations, and outrageous nerdy fun as together, we embraced the Holiday Season and said goodbye to 2016 collectively.
While all guests at our mixers are considered special, this month’s gathering had an extra-awesome VIP in attendance – the Krampus! Thanks to our friend Bill Rude, who made a fantastic appearance as the ancient Christmas demon. Bill is the owner/artist behind 7 Hells: The Retro Horror Art of Bill Rude, and a friend of both TPA and Midsummer Scream, and an asset to the horror and haunt community in general. To the delight of TPAers, Krampus hung out for quite a while, taking photos with all of the naughty little boys and girls – and as far as we know… all TPAers from that night are accounted for! He even brought a sack full of 7 Hells gifts for our raffle. A huge thanks to Bill for hanging out and dressing up!
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Grinchmas is of course, based on the classic book by Dr. Seuss, How The Grinch Stole Christmas! Universal Studios Hollywood has hosted the annual event for years now, and while aspects of it may be losing some of its luster, guests visiting the Los Angeles theme park certainly seem to enjoy the celebration.
The star attraction of Grinchmas is The Grinch, followed by all of the Whos that populate Whoville, which has a temporary home in Universal Plaza on the parks Upper Lot, as well as the more permanent set location on the Backlot, which is seen by guests riding the Studio Tour. Visitors on the Studio Tour stop at the set from the 2000 Ron Howard re-telling of the popular Christmas tale, and are treated to a short song and dance medley which features the beloved classic, “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch”.
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Sinister Pointe has always been on the cutting edge of innovative haunt-centric attractions here in Southern California. In 2011, the company broke through the traditional Halloween season barrier and introduced its Not So Merry Holiday Haunt concept for the first time – an adults-only event using the same footprint as the existing haunted attraction, but redressing much of it with Christmas props, costumes and soundscape. Everyone went nuts for the Holiday Haunt, and curious fans came from far and near to see the raunchy spectacle for themselves.
The Holiday Haunt continued for two more Christmas seasons in the company’s long-time location in Orange County before going dark after the 2013 Christmas season. In the years that followed, Sinister Pointe has explored other ventures and opportunities despite fans asking without fail each year if the Holiday Haunt would return. When Jeff Schiefelbein and his crew announced the return of the Not So Merry Holiday Haunt for Christmas 2016, fans were thrilled; we were too, as this over-the-top holiday attraction had also become one of our favorite annual events.
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Sinister Pointe, a company that is renowned throughout Southern California and beyond for its highly-detailed, interactive haunt attractions. This past summer, Sinister Pointe thrilled fans at Midsummer Scream by announcing that they would be unleashing a new kind of terror for the 2016 Halloween season: a walk-through experience called Fear the Mark.
In 2015, Sinister Pointe produced an escape room type of attraction, rather than the traditional walk-through experience they’re most known and loved for; it was fun and well-executed, but definitely was a big departure from the type of haunt the company had produced for years. The announcement that the group was returning to its walk-through roots was very well-received by everyone in the haunt community. Knowing what Sinister Pointe is capable of, and understanding the creative need to move forward and try new things, we were very curious and excited as well to see what Jeff Schiefelbein and his team were going to bring to the table for 2016.
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One of the biggest holiday events in Southern California is CHILL, held each year at the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California. We went this past weekend to check it out, and although Mother Nature decided it was time for some much-needed rain here in the Southland, we had a really fun time exploring everything offered at this year’s CHILL. The popular winter event takes place just off the ship, including the massive dome where Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose used to reside.
In years past, the largest component of CHILL was its Ice Kingdom attraction – a collection of very impressive ice sculptures, including a reproduction of the Queen Mary’s bow and several ice slides for guests to enjoy. The ice sculptures were featured at the event for the past 4 years, and so, management decided it was time to change things up – if guests are coming back each Christmas season to enjoy CHILL, it’s got to be kept fresh and evolving, otherwise interest will begin to fade. Change things up is exactly what they’ve done this year with the introduction of Alice in Winterland, a large-scale walk-through interactive attraction developed for Queen Mary by Mycotoo, a creative design firm in Los Angeles. TPAers may recall that Mycotoo also developed this year’s new maze, Aftermath 2: Chaos Rising, for Six Flags Magic Mountain’s Fright Fest.
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