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The latest in themed entertainment industry news…

Hot Butterbeer at Universal Studios Hollywood

hot-butterbeer-at-wwohp-ush-3Hot Butterbeer – say it again, and say it slowly with your eyes closed… Hot… Butterbeer… It’s the stuff dreams are made of, and it’s finally come to Universal Studios Hollywood after fans have been begging for it since the opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter here on the West Coast!

There are three different types of Butterbeer, the mythical drink from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter franchise: regular, frozen, and hot. Hot Butterbeer was introduced to fans at Universal Studios Florida in 2014 – and is by far, the sweetest of the three, since the company altered the sweet level of regular and frozen (no one will confirm, but everyone knows Butterbeer isn’t as sweet now as when the Wizarding World opened). Much like Mexican hot chocolate, hot Butterbeer is thick and creamy in consistency, the legendary white froth melting away into the liquid, mixing into sugary bliss. Whether you end up sipping or chugging hot Butterbeer, it is an experience that most Wizarding World fans relish.

Universal has decided to make hot Butterbeer a seasonal treat, which I totally get – but also hate. Here in California, where it’s not unusual to see temperatures in the 80s and 90s Christmas week, the idea of holding a hot beverage until the Holiday Season is kind of absurd. I assure you – Potter fans would plunk down their cash year-round for hot Butterbeer, just as they do for the frozen version even on chilly nights.

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Midsummer Scream to Return in 2017

Halloween fans, rejoice! Midsummer Scream Halloween Festival has announced its 2017 return to the Long Beach in a teaser video this morning – the first treat of the day for fans far and near!

Presented by Creepy LA and Theme Park Adventure, Midsummer Scream is the West Coast’s premier Halloween, haunt and horror convention, taking place Saturday and Sunday July 29 and 30, 2017 at the Long Beach Convention Center.

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Los Angeles Live Steamers to Fans: “Leave us Alone!”

GHOST_TRAIN_2013_4307In the wake of our September 17 story regarding the closure of the Los Angeles Live Steamers’ annual Ghost Train event, fans of all walks have expressed their sadness and disappointment online and on social media. Certainly, the disappointment is widespread, as the LALS board of directors surely must have been anticipating when they voted to cancel the Halloween event.

Jay Carsman, a member of the club who originally reached out to Theme Park Adventure, asking us to remove all Ghost Train content on our site, instead voluntarily offered us a very detailed explanation into the club’s decision to do away with this 15 year-old event in Griffith Park here in Los Angeles.

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Ghost Train Cancelled by Los Angeles Live Steamers Board of Directors

ghost-train-2015_84022016 brings a lot of change to Halloween in Southern California. Sadly, not all of that change is good news. Case in point, Ghost Train, an incredible family event that has thrilled guests of all ages for the past 15 years in Griffith Park will not be returning. In an executive decision made by the Los Angeles Live Steamers board of directors this summer, it was decided that the beloved Halloween event would not return this year.

The word of Ghost Train’s sudden demise came in the form of public announcements from LA Live Steamers Railroad Museum on their official website as well as Facebook page – which fans immediately spoke up against. As a result, those early posts (and a slew of public outcry) were deleted, and a much more abbreviated and under-the-radar announcement is all that’s left on the organization’s website, offering no explanation regarding the situation or decision.

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Knott’s Scary Farm Reveals All Programming for 2016 During Season Passholder Event

This past week, Knott’s Berry Farm hosted a special event for its Season Passholders, lifting the veil and shedding light on every aspect of Scary Farm 2016 that fans can look forward to experiencing very soon!

Hosted by the always-exuberant Jeff Tucker, the Knott’s Scary Farm event was pure spectacle from beginning to end, starting with the massive Charles M. Schulz Theatre filling with fog before monsters of all shapes and sizes crept into the audience, snarling and lunging at excited guests and members of the media. A soundtrack of Scary Farm music from years and mazes past played loudly as some 2,000 fans – some who had waited more than 10 hours to be first in line – spilled into the theatre. Once everyone was in, lightning flashed, thunder boomed, and the show began.

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Frightful Attraction Design for Theme Park Audiences Brings Industry Legends to Midsummer Scream

Men in Black Alien Attack

Think about it: when you go to a theme park and get onto a ride, the response that comes next is usually either laughing or screaming. One of the most common elements used in theme park design is that of fright, or intensity. Very often, the formula for a theme park ride story is something normal suddenly taking an unexpected turn for the worst, resulting in chaos before there is any light-hearted resolution; its classic theme park attraction design 101.

When theme parks host annual Halloween events, many of them have temporary scare zones and haunted houses – also known as “mazes” – that guests walk through and experience. Whether they’re themed to a specific brand or intellectual property, or created from scratch with an original storyline, seasonal haunted attractions are created to scare the snot out of anyone daring enough to venture in. On the flip-side, when a theme park opts to spend millions of dollars on an attraction that is based on a frightening or supernatural-based story, designers are tasked with a very delicate balancing act – what is “scary enough” versus taking the experience too far, making it too intense for a large number of visitors.

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Hall of Shadows to Feature Full Scare Zone, Roaming Monsters, and 9 Haunted Attraction Previews at Midsummer Scream

MidsummerScreamLogoOne of the most exciting and unique components of Midsummer Scream – California’s premier Halloween, haunt and horror festival – will be its Hall of Shadows dark zone, featuring roaming monsters, entertainment, and 9 terrifying mini haunted attraction experiences.

Hall of Shadows will occupy more than one third of the Halloween festival’s 90,000 square-foot show floor this year, giving thousands of fans the opportunity to preview home and professional haunts each day, included with their admission to Midsummer Scream. In addition to the haunted attractions, those brave enough to venture into Hall of Shadows will experience a full-blown scare zone, Toxicity, high-energy performances by the Decayed Brigade slider team three times each day, and many terrifying monsters lurking in the fog, waiting to pounce!

FULL SCARE ZONE

Created by Larry Bones and his crew at Bone Yard Effects, Toxicity is an immersive experience set within the walls of a genetics lab that has suffered a toxic explosion that will leave guests screaming as they are attacked by twisted, mutated scientists from all sides. Bone Yard Effects creates the makeup applications and prosthetics each year for Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood.

Toxicity Creature Design

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Museum of Paranormal History to Materialize at Midsummer Scream

ghostMidsummer Scream, California’s premier Halloween, haunt and horror festival announces the Museum of Paranormal History, a unique collective of vendors, experts, authors, and local tour guides specializing in all things supernatural.

The Museum of Paranormal History will feature more than a dozen exhibitors on the show floor including Bearded Lady’s Mystic Museum which will be showcasing their vintage Ouija boards, ParaXplorer Project, Dearly Departed Tours, Haunted Vegas Tours, Planet Paranormal known for their wide variety of fantastic radio talk shows, Orange County Ghosts and Legends tour and paranormal investigation group, and the Winchester Mystery House which will be featured in a major presentation on Sunday July 31 and will have actual pieces from the famous Northern California mansion on display – some for sale – at their booth. To ensure nothing gets out of hand, members of the Southland Ghostbusters cosplay group will be present throughout the weekend.

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Winchester Mystery House Coming to Midsummer Scream

Winchester Mystery HouseMidsummer Scream, Southern California’s premier Halloween, haunt and horror festival to be held July 30 – 31 at the Long Beach Convention Center, has unleashed a steady stream of announcements, from world-class theme park presentations to professional makeup demonstrations, and a massive show floor filled with artisans and vendors of the macabre. The most famous haunted house in California has now been added to the festival’s lineup; a storied mansion so legendary that its name is revered by fans and ghost hunters around the world… Winchester.

The Winchester Mystery House will be hosting an unprecedented 60-minute presentation and panel discussion on Sunday July 31 featuring rare photographs, never-before-seen footage and ghost stories from the sprawling 160-room Victorian mansion in the San Francisco Bay Area. WINCHESTER: California’s Original Haunted House will feature Walter Magnuson, General Manager Winchester Mystery House; Tim O’Day, Director of Communications for Winchester Mystery House; and Peter Overstreet, event producer of Winchester Mystery House’s all-new Halloween Candlelight Tours.

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Walking Dead Attraction a Solid Move for Universal Studios Hollywood

TWD attraction at USH - dateEarlier this week, Universal Studios Hollywood confirmed what fans have been speculating for a while – that a year-round attraction based on AMC’s blockbuster series The Walking Dead is close to opening at the Southern California theme park.

This is a major boon for haunt and horror fans in the region who lamented over the closure of Universal’s House of Horrors in summer 2014. House of Horrors was a year-round walk-through haunted attraction that featured such notable silver screen heavies as the Mummy, Wolfman, Frankenstein’s Monster, Phantom of the Opera, Dracula, Norman Bates, and more. It’s closure and demolition was part of the unprecedented property-wide makeover that Universal Studios Hollywood is still undergoing in large to make way for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which opened last month.

For the past five years, The Walking Dead has been a featured intellectual property at Universal Studios Hollywood during its annual Halloween Horror Nights event, taking on every form from sprawling scare zone to intense mazes reflecting whichever season ended that spring. Over time, two very defined groups of fans have found their voice – those who are totally into The Walking Dead, and those who have had more than enough of it at Halloween Horror Nights. The latter group becomes more and more vocal online each season that Universal announces that The Walking Dead will be returning. Personally, I’m a huge fan of the show, and I’ve already figured that it’ll be part of HHN for at least a year after the show finally ends.

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