On Sunday, January 19th, Theme Park Adventure held it’s first monthly mixer of 2014 – Winter Nights at Sam’s 2. To our great surprise, not only did we have a very good turnout for the event – we had a huge turnout, rivaling the biggest mixer we’ve had to date, which happened in November 2013! We didn’t bother with a final count, but by 10 p.m., well over 100 TPAers were mingling, eating and drinking on the patio outside of Tangaroa Terrace and Trader Sam’s at the Disneyland Hotel!
Not only did Winter Nights 2 bring out a lot of regulars, a lot of first-timers were in attendance as well, which really is exciting for us; it is fantastic to see these events growing each month, and people bringing friends is exactly what’s happening – the TPA community is expanding, and has never been stronger! Many of the new faces this month included haunters from attractions that TPAers are very familiar with, which is also awesome – bringing the haunt community together each month to socialize is something that we have become very proud of over the last several years. To see this interaction and kinship taking place is wonderful – a side-effect of TPA gatherings that was unintentional, but has become so incredibly important to the community here in Southern California.
We had haunters by the armful this month at Sam’s, representing attractions from San Diego to Los Angeles: Sinister Pointe, Delusion, Knott’s Scary Farm, Rotten Apple 907, Boney Island, The House at Haunted Hill, Los Angeles Haunted Hayride, Zombie Joe’s, Higgins Manor, Chambers of the Mausoleum/Labyrinth of Lost Relics, Scareventures, Savage House, Blackout, Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights, and Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor… It was like a mini ScareLA event!
Speaking of ScareLA… Rick West and Johanna Atilano have reprised their roles as producers for ScareLA 2014, which has officially kicked off its planning for the second year of Los Angeles’ only Halloween/haunter/fan convention. Lora Ivanova was also present at Winter Nights 2; she also returns this year as one of ScareLA’s producers! Also present were several key members of the ScareLA team, so it felt like we were having a mini convention right there in Anaheim! Now that Theme Park Adventure is once again involved in the production of ScareLA, we will be making exclusive announcements each month at our mixers regarding the convention! This month, we shared that the dates are going to be August 9th and 10th, and that while we are still looking at all venue options, there is a strong chance that ScareLA 2014 will return to the LA Mart in downtown Los Angeles, where it was held last summer. As we move further into 2014, be sure to keep an eye on the ScareLA website, and that you’re following it on social media, including Facebook and Twitter for up-to-date information and announcements!
Long-time TPAer Raquel P. made a triumphant return after being away following a surgery at the end of last year. Everyone was so excited and pleased to have her back, that a group of her close friends even surprised her with an absolutely badass Nightmare on Elm Street cake, and her very own Freddy Krueger glove to cut it with! It was one of those really sweet moments that confirms how special the Theme Park Adventure family is, and how loving they are toward one another. We are thrilled that Raquel is up and about, and can’t wait to see her back to her old self, “dancing on tables” again at our mixers real soon!
The evening was full of surprises; those who stayed until the very end of the night got a huge thrill when legendary designer/producer/musician/entertainment icon Don Dorsey joined the TPA group for a bit. Don has been responsible for many Disney nighttime shows and parades that we’ve grown up with, from IllumiNations and Sorcery in the Sky at Walt Disney World, to the Air Launch Firework system that Disneyland uses, as well as the DECS (Disney Entertainment Control System), which controls all audio for parades and live atmosphere entertainment at each of the Disney parks around the world. Don’s most prominent work was the composition and performance of the Main Street Electrical Parade soundtrack that became the quintessential Disney musical signature from 1977 until 2009. In the mid ’90s, Theme Park Adventure featured a farewell look at the MSEP, with a dedicated issue of its Brake Zone publication that featured an exclusive, in-depth interview with Don Dorsey. Rick West and Don Dorsey have been friends ever since, and so it was fantastic that some of our lucky TPAers were able to have the opportunity to visit with Don during Winter Nights 2! Hopefully, this won’t the be the last such opportunity, because we know how many of you would love to meet Don and share your own memories of the Main Street Electrical Parade and other Disney entertainment productions with him!
Kicking off 2014, we held a huge raffle that included some really fantastic prizes – cookies, a ton of Saving Mr. Banks, Monsters University, Oz the Great and Powerful, and Planes promo goodies, a Lone Ranger mini poster signed by Jerry Bruckheimer, signed Mary Poppins artwork by Stacia Martin, a Halloween cookie tray/baking set, a chunk of wood from GhostRider at Knott’s Berry Farm (so perfectly won by Rick Polizzi, owner of Boney Island and one of the most amazing tree houses in California – the wood is going to be added to the tree house), two sound effects discs from Stage 13 FX, Sinister Pointe shirts, and two tickets to Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group! A HUGE thank you to everyone who donated prizes for this month’s raffle – we appreciate it all so very much, and love that you’re all so giving and all in when it comes to making these mixers so much fun for everyone!
Our third and final Winter Nights meet (like we’ve had a winter this year) at Sam’s will take place Sunday night, February 16th. So if you haven’t had a change to receive one of our Winter Nights tiki buttons, this will be your final chance! 30 will arrive at 7 p.m. and 30 will be given away to those who still haven’t gotten one; don’t miss out! Look for a Winter Nights 3 event page in the coming weeks on Facebook so that you may RSVP.
Of course, a big thank you to the Disney Cast Members at Trader Sam’s and Tangaroa Terrace for being such gracious hosts; the outside patio where our mixers take place was booked for a private party, so for a bit, we were at standing room only until the other group cleared out, and it was a bit crowded – the Cast Members remained cheerful and welcoming, and we appreciate that hospitality, always.
Thank each of you who came out for such an amazing evening – it felt bigger than the November 2013 turnout, although we can’t be sure. It’s an exciting time for Theme Park Adventure, as our gatherings become more popular each month. This is going to be a truly fantastic year for us, and we can’t wait to see what adventures lie ahead for this amazing group of fans, haunters and industry pros!
See you in February for Winter Nights at Sam’s 3!