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The latest in themed entertainment industry news…

New Revolution Virtual Reality Component Unveiled by Six Flags Magic Mountain

SFMM VR Revolution Key ArtSix Flags Magic Mountain, the undisputed thrill capital of the world, today announced final details for The New Revolution, North America’s first fully-integrated Virtual Reality (VR) roller coaster from Samsung Gear VR, powered by Oculus, to develop a multi-dimensional virtual coaster experience. The Valencia-based theme park stays true to its history of launching coaster thrills to new and unprecedented levels of exhilaration by immersing riders in a completely virtual world. From the moment riders board and don Samsung Gear VR, the traditional roller coaster experience is transformed. High-definition imagery and storytelling syncs with the unique track configuration creating a one-of-a-kind seamless “real world” to “virtual world” thrill ride experience. Riders now become co-pilots seated in the cockpit of a true-to-life fighter jet, flying through a futuristic city while virtually engaged in a battle to protect the Planet against alien invaders, all while racing over the 3,500 feet of twisting, turning, looping coaster track.

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New Details Revealed About Skull Island: Reign of Kong at Universal Orlando

Skull Island Reign of Kong Great Wall Night time shot IOA

Soon, you will be transported to an island shrouded in mystery and legend.  It is a lost world where adventure – and the unimaginable – will challenge you in unforgettable ways.

When it opens this summer at Universal Orlando Resort’s Islands of Adventure, Skull Island: Reign of Kong will bring the next generation of the King Kong legend to life.  You will be thrust into an exotic world filled with the menacing, the intense – and the wildly entertaining.  A powerful storyline, a stunning 3D experience, innovative technology – and the unexpected – will pull you into one of Universal Orlando’s most massive adventures yet.  This is a multi-dimensional experience filled with surprise – all wrapped into what will be one of the longest Universal ride experiences ever created.

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Ocean Explorer Attraction Announced for SeaWorld San Diego in 2017

Ocean Explorer - Submarine Ride

SeaWorld San Diego will unveil an extraordinary, new attraction in 2017 that will create an expedition of wonder across the seven seas. Ocean Explorer will combine multiple aquariums, exciting rides and digital technologies to engage park guests in an experience centered on exploration and adventure inspiring them to protect the wonders of our oceans.

“I’m extremely excited about Ocean Explorer and I know our guests, of all ages, are going to love this fun, interactive and educational new area of the park,” said John Reilly, SeaWorld San Diego’s park president. “The opportunity to see and learn about some of the ocean’s most fascinating creatures, coupled with a mix of distinctive rides and activities, will give our visitors a meaningful experience only SeaWorld can create.”

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SeaWorld Orlando Unveils Lead Car for Mako Roller Coaster

20160216_MakoRideVehicleReveal_018This week, SeaWorld Orlando unveiled the custom-built Mako lead car that will take riders on a thrilling experience this summer – the tallest, fastest and longest roller coaster in Orlando.

Mako’s design and engineering was inspired by the real Mako shark – one of the ocean’s fastest shark species.  When it opens, Mako will top 200 feet high and reach speeds of 73 mph on a track that’s nearly a mile long. The new ride will be a hypercoaster, which means it’s all about speed, tight turns and that weightless feeling riders get at the top of each hill.

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Stars to Shine Bright on The Wonderful World of Disney: Disneyland 60

Disneyland 60ABC has announced that a star-­studded line-­up of music, film and television personalities will participate in the festivities on The Wonderful World of Disney: Disneyland 60.  Stars include Jessica Alba, Jason Bateman, Kristen Bell, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Sabrina Carpenter, Sofia Carson, Priyanka Chopra, Viola Davis, Hilary Duff, Ginnifer Goodwin, Nolan Gould, Neil Patrick Harris, Bryce Dallas Howard, Sarah Hyland, Jimmy Kimmel, Dame Helen Mirren, Lupita Nyong’o, Pink, Alfonso Ribeiro, John Stamos, Eric Stonestreet, Kiefer Sutherland, Kerry Washington, Ariel Winter and Zendaya. The Wonderful World of Disney: Disneyland 60, with Master of Ceremonies Derek Hough, airs SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 21 (8:00 – 10:00 p.m. EST) on the ABC Television Network.

Previously-announced participants and performers include  Kelsea Ballerini,  Witney Carson, Harrison Ford, Josh Gad, Jessie J, Elton John, Tori Kelly and Kermit the Frog, Maddie Ziegler and The Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by music and artistic director Gustavo Dudamel.

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Wizarding World of Harry Potter Soft Opens at Universal Studios Hollywood

Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hollywood Soft OpenAt about 2:45 PM on February 12, 2016, history was made here in Los Angeles as the Wizarding World of Harry Potter soft-opened for the first time to park guests at Universal Studios Hollywood. The moment marked the end of a long journey that began on December 6, 2011, when Universal made the official announcement that Harry and the gang from Hogwarts would indeed, be coming to Southern California. Since then, Universal Studios Hollywood has embarked on an unprecedented growth spurt – a transformation unlike the property has ever seen.

You may find yourself asking what a “soft open” actually is, and that’s a valid question. The term “soft open” is often used in themed entertainment (and other industries) when it comes to new rides and attractions that are in their preview stage. Once a new attraction is ready for its first guests and a series of technical/dress rehearsals, it will often be put into operation during park operating hours, allowing guests the opportunity to experience it unannounced. Not only is this a thrilling revelation for guests – it’s an important period for the park in question to start understanding guest flow patterns, focus on tweaks and adjustments, and to really polish the show before the grand opening date arrives. Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood is now in its soft open stage. It’s very important to point out however, that a soft open period also comes with risk and uncertainty to guests arriving with the expectation that the attraction in question will actually be operational. In the weeks to come, Universal will be adjusting various aspects of the new land and its attractions. Guests may or may not be allowed into the area, and should understand that if you go to Universal Studios Hollywood prior to April 7, there absolutely is a chance that Potter may not be available, or that one of the land’s two attractions may not be operational. If you happen to own an annual pass, a soft open period can be a “safe bet” because you really have nothing to lose – except a few hours if you choose to wait around for the area to open. However, if you are planning on visiting and buying a ticket to get in to Universal and are expecting to experience the Wizarding World in all of its glory, you really should wait until after April 7, to ensure the land is opening and everything is ready to roll.

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Reign of Terror Open for One Night in February – Benefits to Make-A-Wish Tri-Counties

Reign-of-TerrorHalloween 2015 is well in our rear view mirror now, and some of you are experiencing major haunt withdrawals. Reign of Terror in Thousand Oaks is here to help – and in turn, you have an opportunity to make a difference for kids in need through Make-A-Wish Tri-Counties.

Reign of Terror is one of the largest and most visually-stunning haunted attractions on the West Coast, and has long been a charitable contributor to multiple causes here in the Southland, where so many haunters and fans live, work, and play. Having this attraction open during the year on special occasions is a fantastic opportunity for enthusiasts and fellow haunters that may not have the chance to check it out during the Halloween season to come out and join in the fun for a few ghoulish hours.

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Ripley’s Pays Tribute to World Sword Swallower’s Day 2016

World Sword Swallower's DayRipley’s Believe It or Not! will pay tribute to the ancient art of sword swallowing by holding free sword swallowing performances as part of World Sword Swallower’s Day on Saturday, February 27. Two things to remember – that’s solid steel and yes, it’s all real.

Ripley’s will showcase the greatest group of sword swallowers ever assembled and offer free performances for the public at 18 of its Odditoriums around the world – New York City, London, Hollywood, San Francisco, Orlando, Baltimore, Copenhagen, Grand Prairie, Atlantic City, Branson, Gatlinburg, Key West, Myrtle Beach, Panama City Beach, St. Augustine, Wisconsin Dells, Williamsburg and Surfers Paradise.

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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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