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The latest in themed entertainment industry news…

45 Years of Knott’s Scary Farm Presentation Announced for Midsummer Scream 2017

This Halloween season marks a special milestone for our friends at Knott’s Berry Farm. When the fog begins to billow across Ghost Town, and strange creatures begin to emerge from the shadows later this year, it will be time to celebrate the 45th Halloween event the park has hosted – known around the world as Knott’s Scary Farm. Fans need not wait until late September or October to begin celebrating, however. On Sunday, July 30th, Midsummer Scream will proudly present 45 Years of Knott’s Scary Farm, hosted by author/historian Ted Dougherty.

45 Years of Knott’s Scary Farm will close Midsummer Scream 2017 with a special 90-minute presentation on Sunday, July 30th, beginning at 4:30pm in the Terrace Theater, which will accommodate up to 3,000 fans. The unique presentation will feature historical photos of Knott’s Scary Farm, and an unprecedented “rotating panel” that will spotlight individuals key to the creation of, and crucial to the continued success of the haunt that pioneered similar events at theme parks around the world.

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Voodoo Doughnut Debuts at Universal CityWalk in Los Angeles

“Good Things Come in Pink Boxes!”

The signature pink boxes, multi-colored icing, that iconic voodoo doll-shaped doughnut. The legendary Portland pastry shop Voodoo Doughnut has officially opened its first-ever California location at Universal CityWalk in Hollywood.

It’s no secret that Voodoo Doughnut may be the most popular doughnut shop in the world. I’ve read, watched and heard about this original Portland creation for years. From Travel Channel to friends boasting about their jelly-filled purchases, Voodoo has been a part of popular conversation for a long, long time.

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Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle Show Coming to Universal Studios Hollywood

Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts CastleA new after dark spectacular is coming to Universal Studios Hollywood’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter this summer: The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle!

Following the incredible grand opening ceremony of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Los Angeles last spring, fans have been begging for a similar nighttime projection show to be brought back to the theme park for everyone to enjoy as Potter’s own “kiss goodnight” each evening. Guess what? Universal listened. Beginning June 23, 2017, guests visiting Universal Studios Hollywood will be treated to a spectacular projection show on the Hogwarts exterior several times each night, after the sun has completely set and it’s dark.

According to Universal Studios Hollywood, the Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle show will showcase the four houses of Hogwarts: Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Slytherin, with a finale of a fan of lights beaming upward into the night sky. The dazzling visuals will be accompanied by a brand-new state-of-the-art sound system that has been installed in Hogsmeade, as well as other special effects surprises that will “wow” guests viewing the spectacle.

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Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Panel Announced for Midsummer Scream 2017

One stormy night long ago, five people stepped through the door of an elevator and into a nightmare. That door is opening once again, and this time it’s opening for fans of the iconic Disney attraction – The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – as they converge on Midsummer Scream Halloween Festival at the Long Beach Convention Center this July.

Kicking off this year’s world-class presentations in the Terrace Theater at 12 noon on Saturday, July 29, is a must-see panel discussion titled, “Beyond the 5th Dimension: Creating The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror”.

Hosted by Midsummer Scream Creative Director Rick West, this thrilling panel discussion will feature Cory Sewelson, who served as the Production Designer/Art Director for the Florida version of Tower, and the Producer/Creative Director for California and Paris’ versions of the attraction; Michael Sprout, who was the Show Writer on each Tower project, including Tokyo’s, which does not carry The Twilight Zone theme; and Mark Silverman, the amazing voice actor who brought the persona of Rod Serling to life for the Florida, California, and Paris attractions.

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Universal Cinema Opens at CityWalk Hollywood During Star-Studded Ceremony

As one of the many new developments at Universal Studios Hollywood’s ongoing epic transformation, Universal Cinema is an exciting multi-million dollar renovation of its AMC Theatre at CityWalk. Boasting a state-of-the-art and contemporary design, the new theater incorporates the most up-to-date technology in audio and visual technology that truly breathes new life into the movie-going experience for guests.

Theme Park Adventure was thrilled to attend the official grand opening of this new venture. As part of the Universal Cinema grand opening, high-profile guests were able to celebrate with us including Ron Meyer, Vice Chairman, NBCUniversal; legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg; Jordan Peele of Get Out; Will Packer of Straight Outta Compton; producer Jason Blum of Blumhouse Productions; and Karen Irwin, President & COO, Universal Studios Hollywood.

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Wizarding World of Harry Potter Christmas Programming Announced for Universal Orlando Resort

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Christmas is coming to Universal Orlando Resort!It’s the stuff of dreams, really: Universal announced today that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando would receive an extensive Christmas holiday overlay at both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley.

Since Universal began rolling out their Wizarding Worlds, fans have been begging for a Harry Potter Christmas celebration, which would transform both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley into holiday spectacles, even more enchanting than they are already.

Between November 18, 2017 and January 6, 2018, visitors to Universal Orlando Resort are in for a huge holiday treat as both theme parks – Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure – are transformed into a winter wonderland with all the sights, sounds, and sweet treats that come with an epic Harry Potter Christmas celebration for the whole family!

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Midsummer Scream Announces Hall of Shadows 2017 Participants

Hall of Shadows 2017Midsummer Scream Halloween Festival, the West Coast’s premier Halloween, haunt, and horror convention returns July 29-30 to the Long Beach Convention Center for a weekend of world-class thrills and chills. One of the stand-out components of Midsummer Scream’s impressive array of entertainment is the Hall of Shadows – a large portion of the convention’s show floor that is shrouded in darkness and filled with billowing fog, and roaming monsters on an unprecedented scale. For 2017, the Hall of Shadows will feature 14 highly-themed “mini haunts” representing professional and home-made attractions that fans can look forward to visiting this Halloween season here in Southern California.

“Hall of Shadows is a substantial component of Midsummer Scream,” says the convention’s Creative Director, Rick West. “Last year, we featured 9 mini haunts within the Hall; this year, we are upping the count to 14. We are thrilled with the diversity of participating groups this year, from extremely popular pro haunts, to some of the greatest home haunts in existence. Add the awesome spectacle of the Decayed Brigade slider team into the mix, and you’ll find that we have a Hall of Shadows experience this year that is truly epic. Hall of Shadows is a cornerstone of Midsummer Scream, as there is nothing that defines Halloween in America more than haunted houses and lurking monsters. It’s going to be a blast, and all of our participants are raring to go!”

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Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville Officially Opens at CityWalk Hollywood

Margaritaville at CityWalk HollywoodAs part of Universal Studios Hollywood’s epic transformation, CityWalk welcomed the official arrival of their newest restaurant and venue, Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville. At exactly 5 o’clock on Thursday evening, March 30th, Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band performed on the restaurant’s stage to celebrate the grand opening and first-ever Margaritaville in California with hundreds of fans, friends, and press with margaritas in hand.

While Margaritaville just made its debut in California, the Caribbean-themed restaurant is no stranger to the dining world and Universal. For many years, the restaurant has been celebrated and loved by fans around the world and has shown enormous popularity at destinations like Universal CityWalk at Universal Orlando Resort, the Las Vegas Strip, and 60 other global locations. I’ve never personally dined at a Margaritaville other than at CityWalk Hollywood, but have always admired the laid-back vibe and famous hand-crafted margaritas and dishes that they offer.

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Forbidden Journey 4K Comes to Universal Studios Hollywood

Forbidden Journey 4KFans visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood may have noticed a big change that’s been made to the Forbidden Journey attraction. The projected segments have been upgraded to vibrant 4K, and the ride no longer features 3-D media.

When the gates to Hogsmeade opened last spring here in Los Angeles, it was the third iteration of the Warner Bros./Universal endeavor – the first being in Orlando in 2010, and the second in Japan in 2014. While each version of Hogsmeade features the massive Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey attraction, the Southern California installation was unique in that the projected media guests encounter throughout the ride was presented in 3-D. Riders had to wear “Quidditch goggles” for the duration of the experience; customized 3-D glasses made exclusively for Universal Studios Hollywood. The added component of 3-D media was met with mixed reviews. Some fans felt that it absolutely pulled them further into the suspension of disbelief while on the ride; others felt the glasses were distracting, and felt they were wearing “blinders”, which made them miss a good portion of the ride’s detailed practical sets.

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Midsummer Scream 2017 Tickets on Sale Today!

Midsummer Scream 2017Tickets are on sale today for Midsummer Scream 2017, which will be hosted at the Long Beach Convention Center Saturday and Sunday, July 29-30. After a stellar debut last year, Midsummer Scream returns to Long Beach with a vengeance for a weekend of non-stop Halloween fun, haunted attractions, world-class panel presentations, live entertainment, makeup demonstrations, amazing vendors, and a sinister after-hours party in one of the most iconic paranormal activity locations in the world – the Queen Mary.

Ticket options are available beginning today at MidsummerScream.org.

Fans attending Midsummer Scream 2017 are in for an early Halloween treat, as virtually every aspect of the convention is bigger and better this year, including:

World-Class Presentations and Bigger Main Stage Venue
As the official kick-off event for the Halloween season in Southern California, Midsummer Scream features an unparalleled lineup of major presentations by the largest tourist attractions on the West Coast. This year’s epic Main Stage lineup includes Universal Studios Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights, Knott’s Scary Farm, Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor, and Six Flags Magic Mountain Fright Fest. These Main Stage presentations will be held in the beautiful, state-of-the-art Terrace Theater, which features comfortable seating for up to 3,000 screaming fans.

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