THEME PARK ROUNDUP
Steve Zall and Sid Fish
With Thanksgiving behind us, the Christmas season is now in full swing, and if you really want to enhance this magical time, take a trip to one or more of our local theme parks to enjoy such special events as:
Holidays Come to Cars Land! Seasonal Cheer Spreads throughout Disneyland Resort as the Happiest Place on Earth Gets Merrier
Highlights Include New Holiday Décor for Cars Land and Buena Vista Street in Newly Expanded Disney California Adventure, plus Fireworks, the Christmas Parade and Snowfall in Disneyland
The newly expanded Disney California Adventure Park gets a spectacular seasonal makeover, and such beloved holiday traditions as “A Christmas Fantasy” parade, fireworks and snowfall on Main Street, U.S.A. return to Disneyland Park as the Disneyland Resort just gets merrier for the holidays, now through January 6, 2013.
Themed entertainment, sparkling decorations, and tasty treats add magical warmth to the holiday fun at both parks. The Disneyland Resort hotels shimmer with holiday cheer and guests will enjoy a new ice rink for the holidays at Downtown Disney.
Holidays at Disney California Adventure Park
Celebrating their first Disneyland Resort holiday season, Cars Land and Buena Vista Street, the new lands of Disney California Adventure, will be decked out in unique and festive seasonal décor.
- A whimsical “snowcar” (the Radiator Springs version of a snowman) will stand at the entrance to Cars Land, and each address along Route 66 – Flo’s V-8 Café, Fillmore’s, Cozy Cone Motel, Luigi’s Casa della Tires and more – will feature holiday décor that reflects the personality of the “Cars” character who lives there.
- A dazzling, 50-foot Christmas tree will adorn Carthay Circle along Buena Vista Street. The tree and surrounding buildings, inspired by Los Angeles as it appeared when Walt Disney arrived in the 1920s, will be decorated with vintage-style ornaments.
- The classic department store Santa Claus comes to Buena Vista Street. Children of all ages may tell Santa what they want for Christmas by visiting him at Elias & Co., the main department store along this thoroughfare, reminiscent of 1920s Los Angeles.
- New wintertime fun rocks the night at “Mad T Party” as Alice and the Mad Hatter add their own brand of off-kilter holiday spirit to the nighttime celebration in Hollywood Land.
- The nightly “World of Color” water and effects spectacular on Paradise Bay welcomes special holiday guests Lanny and Wayne, elves from the television show “Prep & Landing”.
- “a bug’s land” transforms as Flik and his bug buddies spread giant Christmas lights and oversized ornaments throughout their realm.
- The holiday scene along the Paradise Bay boardwalk includes a beautifully decorated Christmas tree and lampposts decked out with seasonal wreaths.
- A Holiday edition of the street show, “Phineas and Ferb’s Rockin’ Rollin’ Dance Party”, includes festive décor, costumes, and holiday tunes. The show invites guests of all ages to “seize the day”, dancing and singing on Paradise Pier with the Disney Channel’s inventive animated boy geniuses.
Holidays at Disneyland Park
At Disneyland, holiday guests will find the traditional snowdrifts and icicles adorning Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle. After dark, a sensational holiday lighting and special effects show carries the magic of the holidays from the castle all the way to the Christmas tree in Town Square. The 60-foot-tall Disneyland Christmas tree is specially designed to present a nightly holiday light show like no other with more than 62,000 energy-efficient LED lights.
The Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle presentation unfolds throughout the evening in three acts, each of them featuring a touch of winter snow on Main Street, U.S.A. The finale of the show includes the legendary “Believe … in Holiday Magic” fireworks show, which takes guests on a journey of sights and sounds of the season and ends with a touching rendition of “White Christmas,” along with a climactic snowfall swirling down on Main Street, U.S.A., “it’s a small world” Mall and New Orleans Square.
“A Christmas Fantasy” parade has become a holiday tradition in Disneyland. Guests enjoy watching as Disney characters celebrate the magic of the season, wrapping gifts, baking holiday treats and preparing for the arrival of Santa Claus, who shouts a jolly greeting to spectators along the parade route. Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse even take to the ice for some skating fun.
More holiday favorites return to Disneyland, adding to the merriment:
- “It’s a small world” Holiday becomes a worldwide celebration of the season, boasting more than 300,000 glittering lights on its facade. Along with the children of many nations in their holiday attire, the attraction features a sparkling snowman dressed in a gold top hat, golden scarf and hundreds of twinkling lights for its finale. A frosty snowflake mobile twirls over his head, and his “Happy Holidays” sign is sculpted out of ice that changes color.
- Haunted Mansion Holiday presents a madcap celebration as the traditions of Halloween and Christmas collide. The ghoulish but well-meaning Jack Skellington from the film “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas” has come to Haunted Mansion to transform it with his skewed vision of the holidays.
- Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus greet Disneyland guests at Jingle Jangle Jamboree in Big Thunder Ranch, Frontierland. Kids and their families can chat with St. Nick, meet Disney characters, and enjoy games, music, crafts and seasonal entertainment
- Disneyland will celebrate Three Kings Day, also known as Dia de los Reyes Magos, from January 4-6, 2013, with special décor, food, and entertainment that showcases this Latin American holiday tradition.
- Guests may book guided “Holiday Time at Disneyland” tours that provide entry into “it’s a small world” Holiday and Haunted Mansion Holiday along with reserved seating for the Disneyland “A Christmas Fantasy” parade, a view of the new holiday décor in Disney California Adventure, a keepsake remembrance and entertaining information about the history of Disneyland holiday traditions. For information and reservations, guests may visit any Disneyland Resort Guest Relations location or call (714) 781-TOUR (781-8687).
Downtown Disney Ice Skating, Holiday Shopping, Resort Hotel Décor and Themed Menus
For the first time during a Disneyland Resort holiday season, guests in the Downtown Disney district will be able to go skating on an outdoor “The Secret of the Wings” ice skating rink, located near ESPN Zone and AMC Theatres. Ice skates will be available for rent. The rink pays tribute to “The Secret of the Wings”, the new Tinker Bell adventure released to DVD and Blu-ray by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.
Holiday shopping at Disneyland Resort offers an array of merchandise available exclusively at Resort theme parks and the Downtown Disney district. Along with ornaments, holiday-themed Mickey Mouse ears, jewelry and tasty holiday sweets, guests can discover a new line of Cars Land holiday-inspired merchandise that is sure to have you Dashing Through The Snow and Wishing others a Happy New Gear.
Disneyland Resort hotels join in the holiday festivities with twinkling lights and ornaments, special entertainment and holiday dining with themed menus. Expanded hours at both Disneyland Resort theme parks extend the family fun and offer more time for guests to enjoy all there is to see at do at Disneyland Resort.
Disneyland Resort features two fantastic theme parks – Disneyland (the original Disney theme park) and Disney California Adventure – plus the Downtown Disney District comprised of unique dining, entertainment, and shopping experiences. The resort’s three hotels are the luxurious 948-room Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, the magical 970-room Disneyland Hotel and the 481-room Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel with its day-at-the-beach fun.
Disneyland Resort in Anaheim is open daily year round and Holidays at Disneyland runs through January 6. For more information call 866-603-4763 or visit www.disneyland.com.
Knott’s Merry Farm Creates
Holiday Memories for the Entire Family
Knott’s Berry Farm will be filled with the magic of the season this year as it transforms into Knott’s Merry Farm and celebrates with live entertainment, crafts fair, spectacular decorations including a 65 foot tall Christmas tree, and a colorful Christmas parade starting Thanksgiving Day and running through January 6.
Now a holiday tradition in Southern California, Knott’s Merry Farm is proud to present the holiday ice spectacular, “It’s Christmas, Snoopy!” The show, performed in the 2,100-seat Charles M. Schulz Theatre, is hosted by the famous skating beagle and his PEANUTS friends as they look for the true meaning of Christmas. The show features Knott’s ensemble skaters, dazzling sets, colorful costumes and plenty of surprises! “It’s Christmas, Snoopy!” will be presented December 1-2, 8-9, 15-18, 20-24, 26 -31, January 1, 3-6.
Children and adults alike will enjoy “A Peanuts’ Holiday Parade” which includes seven elaborately themed floats featuring the PEANUTS Gang. Join CHARLIE BROWN, LUCY, LINUS, SALLY, and SCHROEDER and of course, SNOOPY, as they partake in all the holiday festivities including cookie making, tree trimming, and even toy building! A delightful soundtrack, professional dancers, and the appearance of Santa make this a must-see for everyone. “A Peanuts’ Holiday Parade” will run from December 1-2, 8-9, 15 - 23, 26 -31, January 1-6.
Knott’s 1880s Ghost Town will again be transformed into Knott’s Christmas Crafts Village, inviting mall-weary guests to explore one-of-a-kind treasures created by dozens of artisans in a Victorian holiday wonderland of strolling carolers, musical groups, community choirs, and lavish holiday decorations. The Knott’s Christmas Crafts Village is free Monday through Thursdays and runs through December 24.
Adding to the unique Village atmosphere are live performances of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” and O. Henry’s “A Gift of the Magi” in the Bird Cage Theatre.
Elf Mountain Christmas is also back. The world famous Timber Mountain Log Ride has once again been transformed this holiday season giving guests an up-close-and-personal view into the world of Santa’s Elves. Sneak a peek at Santa’s helpers, as they get ready for Santa’s busiest day of the year. Rich with lights, music, and the merriest of times, this attraction will remain open until January 6.
Guests can also experience the wonder of “Snoopy’s Magical Nights of Lights”. Hundreds of thousands of twinkling white and multicolored lights merrily light up the nighttime sky accompanied by a festive soundtrack that brings the Christmas spirit alive from dusk to Park closing.
A trip to Knott’s Merry Farm would not be complete without a visit with the man of the hour – Santa! Stop by Santa’s Toy Barn for a little one-on-one with the big guy. Here, in Santa’s cozy hideaway, kids can share their wish lists with St. Nick, and Mom and Dad can take home a picture of the occasion (photo requires additional fee).
Village guests can also indulge in the ultimate comfort foods with Knott’s world-famous holiday treats, including fresh-baked pies, cakes, cookies, muffins and gingerbread men, as well as daily specials and the legendary cooking at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant.
Another holiday treat is “Snoopy’s Calico Christmas Tree Lighting” each evening in Calico Square. Join SNOOPY, LUCY, LINUS, SALLY, and CHARLIE BROWN as they host a song-and-dance show complete with carolers and a Christmas sing-along then light a beautifully decorated Christmas tree, through December 24.
For more holiday cheer, the Peanuts gang and their pal JT are featured in their very own live musical show, “Winter Wonderland” shown daily in Camp Snoopy.
Merry Farm guests can combine their holiday treats with Knott’s blockbuster rides. The legendary GhostRider, the ultimate wooden sleigh ride; 30-story Supreme Scream, the world’s tallest descending thrill ride; and Silver Bullet, the longest and tallest suspended coaster in the West will all be available for holiday enjoyment.
Knott’s Merry Farm admission covers all Christmas Crafts Village and in-park shows and activities, including the ice show, “It’s Christmas, Snoopy!” and all regular rides, shows and attractions. A Knott’s 2013 Season Pass makes a wonderful Christmas present and is available for only $66.99, and can be purchased with our six easy payment plan now through 1/13/13. Buy one now and receive one free visit in 2012 and additional visits through 2012 for just $9.99 per day!
Knott’s opens daily at 10 a.m. The park closes December 25 to allow its employees to spend Christmas with their families. For information about the day you plan to visit and available discounts, call (714) 220-5200 or click on www.knotts.com or download the Knott’s Berry Farm mobile app for your smartphone.
Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park is open daily year round, and Knott’s Merry Farm runs weekends through January 6. For more information call 714-220-5200 or visit www.knotts.com, where you can also save time and money with Knott’s Print@Home tickets.
LEGOLAND California Resort Announces
Holiday Snow Days and Winter Nights
Over the holidays, Fun Town transforms into a magical, winter wonderland where the weather forecast calls for real snow every day and guests can build snowmen using LEGO carrots and other fun LEGO elements, throw snowballs at LEGO themed targets, and play with large, soft LEGO bricks in the snow.
Along with snow-filled fun, guests can enjoy festive entertainment and nightly fireworks December 26 through 31. New this year, LEGOLAND California is extending its hours every Saturday night and nightly December 22 through 31 for guests to enjoy the new Winter Nights celebration.
The holiday season at LEGOLAND concludes with the one-and-only Kids’ New Year’s Eve party on December 31. The party begins with a mini-concert in Fun Town during the day and continues with games and special musical performances from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in Miniland U.S.A.
Like the famous Times Square party, Kids’ New Year’s Eve features a countdown followed by a huge LEGO brick dropping 22 feet into 2013 and dazzling fireworks cap off the night!
All Holiday Snow Days and Winter Nights activities are included in the price of LEGOLAND California admission.
LEGOLAND California Resort includes LEGOLAND California, SEA LIFE Carlsbad Aquarium and LEGOLAND Water Park, all geared for families with children between the ages of 2 and 12. LEGOLAND California features more than 60 rides, shows, and attractions including LEGO Star Wars™ Miniland and the all-new Pirate Reef where guests board boats that drop down 25 feet between two battling pirate ships! SEA LIFE incorporates LEGO models into a child’s voyage to the depths of the ocean and features play zones, fun facts, quiz trails, and the all-new Claws exhibit.
LEGOLAND California Resort in Carlsbad is open Thursday through Monday every week through December 19, then daily through January 7, and Holiday Snow Days and Winter Nights runs through January 7. For more information call 760-918-5346 or visit www.legoland.com.
SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration
Is Tons of Fun for the Whole Family
With More Snow, More Lights and a
Baby Reindeer named Jingles, SeaWorld is
the place to be this Holiday Season
With special holiday-themed animal shows, real snow, reindeer, festive décor and more, SeaWorld is the place to be this Christmas season. Back this year is SnowWorld, a winter wonderland of snowmen and family fun, with a brand new snowball target game for kids and snow falling along the pathway. SeaWorld will be decked out with more lights and décor than ever before, and a baby reindeer named Jingles is sure to put a smile on everyone’s face. SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration takes place weekends through December 16 and daily December 22–January 5. Holiday festivities are included with admission.
Only SeaWorld can offer this kind of unique experience: Shamu and friends celebrate with the “Shamu’s Christmas” nighttime killer whale show; SeaWorld’s prankster-loving pinnipeds (California sea lions) have a hilarious holiday time in “Clyde and Seamore Save Christmas”; the cats and dogs at Pets’ Playhouse take over and throw a Christmas party full of high-jinks in “Christmas Tails”; and the nightly lighting of SeaWorld’s 320-foot Skytower Christmas Tree of Lights, is sure to put SeaWorld guests in the spirit of the season.
Here’s a detailed look at SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration 2012:
New in 2012
- More snow fun at SnowWorld – A winter wonderland of snowmen, snowballs and family fun at SeaWorld’s Arctic Plaza, SnowWorld features 8,000 square feet of fresh snow each day and new this year, a snowball target game for kids, plus snow falling along the pathway near SnowWorld. Impromptu visits from SeaWorld’s arctic foxes will add to the wonderfully-wintery atmosphere. SnowWorld will be open daily through January 5.
- Santa’s Cottage features expanded reindeer corral – Jingles, an adorable baby reindeer named by SeaWorld Facebook fans, will be the star of this magical wonderland on the lawn near Seaport Marketplace. In addition to the expanded, holiday-themed reindeer corral, Santa’s Cottage also features pathway characters (elves, a toy soldier on stilts and Mrs. Claus), plus cookie decorating and photos with Santa. The reindeer corral will be open daily through January 5; Santa and characters will be at the Cottage on select dates.
- New sea lion and otter show: “Clyde and Seamore Save Christmas” – Sea Lion and Otter Stadium’s ne’er-do-well stagehand Biff fills in for Santa and when he reviews the naughty and nice list, we learn that O.P. Otter has again made the naughty list. The list goes missing and comedy ensues as Clyde and Seamore go looking for it in this new Christmas comedy show. “Clyde and Seamore Save Christmas” will run daily through January 6.
SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration 2012 highlights:
- “Shamu’s Christmas”: Shamu and friends celebrate the season with classic Christmas songs and carols featuring soloists, a hand-signing choir, community carolers, a saxophonist and, of course, Shamu! This holiday favorite is one guests will not want to miss. “Shamu’s Christmas” will run weekends through December 16; and nightly December 22–January 5.
- “The Polar Express 4-D Experience” – Based on the film from Warner Bros. Pictures, this magical 4-D experience takes viewers on a journey to the North Pole where a doubting young boy learns that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe. During 18-minute presentations at SeaWorld’s Mission Bay Theater, guests experience amazing multi-sensory effects including snow, fog, gusts of wind and even the smell of hot chocolate! “The Polar Express 4-D Experience” will run daily through January 6.
- “Christmas Tails” – This holiday-themed show features the shelter-adopted stars of the “Pets Rule!” show. When Lester’s family leaves him home alone while they visit grandma, holiday high-jinks ensue. “Christmas Tails” will be performed daily through January 5.
- SeaWorld’s Christmas Tree of Lights Presented by KyXy – Each night at 6 p.m. through December 25, the lights on SeaWorld’s 320-foot Skytower will dance, flash, swirl and glow for five minutes, synchronized to holiday music that can be heard in the park and simulcast to all of San Diego on KyXy 96.5 FM.
- Breakfast With Shamu and Santa – Breakfast With Shamu and Santa offers diners a chance to enjoy a scrumptious breakfast buffet at poolside tables just a few feet away from SeaWorld’s family of killer whales. Santa makes an appearance during the event, posing for festive holiday photos. Cost is $26 for ages 10 and older; $16 for ages 3–9 (plus tax, gratuity and park admission). Dates are December 1–2, December 8–9. December 15–16 and December 22–24. For reservations, visit www.seaworldsandiego.com or call (800) 25-SHAMU.
- Holiday Atmosphere – SeaWorld will be decked out more than ever before, including a 40-foot tree with marine animal-themed ornaments, lights in the trees outside the show stadiums and Christmas decor in animal habitats. Outside Pets’ Playhouse, the Cat’s Christmas Parlor is home to the feline stars of “Pets Rule!” who hang out in their own holiday house. Plus, Southern California’s largest Christmas tree — SeaWorld’s 320-foot Christmas Tree of Lights — shines bright above the whole park (dusk to midnight through January 5).
All Christmas Celebration festivities are included with SeaWorld admission. The best way to enjoy SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration is with a Fun Card. Guests who purchase a 2013 SeaWorld Fun Card can enjoy all of SeaWorld’s Christmas festivities in 2012, plus come back again and again in 2013, all for the price of single-day admission (blackout dates apply). For show schedules and more information, visit www.seaworldsandiego.com or call 800-25-SHAMU.
SeaWorld San Diego in San Diego is open daily year round, and SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration runs through January 5. For more information call 800-257-4268 or visit www.seaworldsandiego.com.
Universal Studios Hollywood Celebrates ‘Grinchmas’ as The Entertainment Capital of L.A. Rings in the Spirited
Wholidays with 19 Snow-Filled Days
“Grinchmas” returns to Universal Studios Hollywood as The Entertainment Capital of L.A. prepares for a lively holiday season with The Grinch, his faithful dog Max, tons of fresh snow, and nightly celebrity readings as part of the vibrant “Whobilation” tree lighting celebrations.
“Grinchmas” begins on the weekend of December 8 and 9, continues daily from December 15 to 31, and is included in the price of theme park admission.
At the heart of the snow-covered winter wonderland towers a whimsical, curving 60 foot tall “Grinchmas” tree surrounded by The Grinch, Max and a colorfully costumed Who-ville choir, caroling and spreading holiday cheer in enchanting “Whobilation” performances.
Prior to select “Whobilations” and tree-lightings, celebrities from the worlds of film, television and music will join the festivities to help Universal Studios Hollywood celebrate “Grinchmas” and read their entertaining interpretations of the heart-warming tale of Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”.
Throughout the event, The Grinch, Max and the Who-ville Whos will be on hand and paw to meet fans and take memorable holiday photos, while families gather to enjoy traditional winter fun, romping together in a playground of fresh, real snow.
“Grinchmas” will also provide fans of the blockbuster film a close-up view of the original Who-ville film sets, featured in the Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” movie, aboard the world-famous behind-the-scenes Studio Tour. As the tram rolls to a stop amid the fanciful Who-ville buildings, guests will experience a one-of-a-kind performance by a Who’s Who of Who-ville re-enacting favorite scenes and songs from the film.
More information, including updates on the “Grinchmas” celebrity readings, will be available at www.UniversalStudiosHollywood.com.
As families prepare for holiday gift giving, Universal Studios Hollywood’s popular “Buy A Day, Get 2013 Free" annual pass offers tremendous value and visits throughout 2013 for the price of a single day’s admission. Plus, guests who purchase the “Buy A Day, Get 2013 Free” pass will be able to come back to experience Universal Studios Hollywood‘s award-winning thrill rides, including the new “TransformersTM: The Ride-3D.”
Universal Studios Hollywood, The Entertainment Capital of L.A. includes a full-day, movie-based theme park and Studio Tour; the CityWalk entertainment, shopping and dining complex, the Universal CityWalk Cinemas, the “5 Towers” state-of-the-art outdoor concert venue, and the Gibson Amphitheatre concert and special event arena. World-class rides and attractions include the critically-acclaimed mega-attraction, “Transformers: The Ride—3D,” the intense, award-winning ride, “King Kong 360 3-D” on the famed behind-the-scenes Studio Tour, “The Simpsons Ride,” “Revenge of the Mummy —The Ride” and “Jurassic Park —The Ride.”
Universal Studios Hollywood in Universal City is open daily year round, and Wholidays runs December 8 through December 31. For more information call 800-864-8377 or visit www.universalstudioshollywood.com.
Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way, oh what fun it is to go to a theme park every day… Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Kwanza, and may everyone have a Happy New Year.