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Wednesday, March 31, 2010


The San Diego Zoo received a $45,750 grant from the San Diego Unified Port District for its coastal stream restoration program, Stream Team Stewards. The collaborative program, in partnership with Ground Works San Diego, served more than 600 students at six elementary schools in southeastern San Diego. The six elementary schools that participated in the Stream Team Stewards program were: Valencia Park, Nye, Carver, Sherman, Chollas-Mead, and Encanto.

The goal of the Zoo's Stream Team Stewards program is to create knowledgeable, caring stewards of the environment who will work to improve their coastal waters and the surrounding watershed. Through school assemblies and field trips to local San Diego watersheds, the students restored one-acre of the Chollas Creek stream corridor at 38th and Alpha Street, cleaned up debris from the downstream beach and stenciled an estimated 50 community storm drains.

The students enjoyed participating in a trash removal day at their school or at the beach. Two of the schools picked up approximately 15 pounds of trash at the Silver Strands Beach. The other four schools picked up approximately 60 pounds of trash at their respective school sites. All of these activities helped to reduce the amount of trash contaminating the Chollas Creek watershed and the San Diego Bay. Another accomplishment of the Stream Team Stewards program was stenciling approximately 50 storm drains in and around the Chollas Creek watershed community. The storm drains were stenciled during a community event in the Chollas Creek neighborhood on September 26, 2009. The stenciling was a collaborative effort with the San Diego Oceans Foundation. The stencils serve as a reminder to individuals in the community that anything placed in the storm drain eventually makes its way to the ocean and could potentially harm ocean wildlife and habitat.

The students' favorite part of the Stream Team Stewards program was restoring the habitat at two restoration sites in southeastern San Diego. The students learned how to identify native versus invasive plants and observed some of the animals that live in and around the watershed. Every student planted a native plant at the restoration site and helped create new habitat for native animals in San Diego.

"Through this significant grant, the San Diego Unified Port District enabled students to become conservation champions for their watershed and led their community in creating a healthier coastal area," said Douglas G. Myers, chief executive officer of the San Diego Zoo. "We appreciate their support and look forward to working with them on conservation education projects in the future."

The grant from the San Diego Unified Port District taught students that their daily behaviors can affect aquatic plants and animals. It also empowered students to make a difference in their community and help the environment in which they live.

The 100-acre San Diego Zoo is dedicated to the conservation of endangered species and their habitats. The organization focuses on conservation and research work around the globe, educates millions of individuals a year about wildlife and maintains accredited horticultural, animal, library and photo collections. The Zoo also manages the 1,800-acre San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park, which includes a 900-acre native species reserve, and the San Diego Zoo's Institute for Conservation Research. The important conservation and science work of these entities is supported in part by The Foundation of the Zoological Society of San Diego.

Backstreet Boys Tickets On Sale April 2

Wild Adventures Adds Two Performances to the Concert Series

Valdosta, GA- Wild Adventures Water and Theme Park welcomes boy band sensation, Backstreet Boys, to the park for a blowout concert, Saturday, June 5. Tickets for this not to be missed event go on sale Friday, April 2 at 10:00 a.m. Reserved seats will be available for purchase online, by phone or at the park for $10 and do not include park admission.

Wild Adventures adds more funk and rock performances to the 2010 concert series, with Kool & the Gang and World Class Rockers. There are more concerts to be announced, rounding out the concert series to twenty high energy performances. All concerts are included with a 2010 Season Pass or general park admission.

Kool & The Gang, performing Saturday, June 26, has sold over 70 million albums worldwide and influenced the music of three generations. Thanks to songs like Celebration, Jungle Boogie, and Ladies Night, they’ve earned two Grammy Awards, seven American Music Awards, 25 Top Ten R&B hits, nine Top Ten Pop hits, and 31 gold and platinum albums. Their funk and tough, jazzy arrangements have also made them the most sampled band of all time.

Six musicians from some of the greatest bands of all time join together to form the ultimate classic rock band, World Class Rockers, performing Saturday, July 10. Combining the talents of some prominent musicians from some of the greatest bands in the world, World Class Rockers delivers a stage performance that appeals to a mass audience. Alex Ligertwood of Santana, Randall Hall of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Michael Monarch and Nick St. Nicholas of Steppenwolf, Fergie Frederiksen of Toto, and Aynsley Dunbar of Journey join together for a performance comprised of hit after unforgettable hit.

2010 Wild Adventures Concert Schedule*

Lynyrd Skynyrd, March 13

George Thorogood & Los Lonely Boys, March 20

Jeremy Camp, April 10

REO Speedwagon & STYX, April 17

Wynonna, May 8

Chicago, May 15

Rodney Atkins, May 22

David Crowder Band, May 29

Backstreet Boys, June 5

Steven Curtis Chapman, June 12

Tye Tribbett & Kirk Franklin, June 19

Kool & Gang, June 26

World Class Rockers, July 10

Josh Turner, July 17

MAZE, featuring Frankie Beverly, July 24

Third Day, September 25

Vince Neil, October 2

*All performers and dates are subject to change due to circumstances beyond the park’s control.

The 2010 park season is one adventure after another with 20 concerts, three new rides, and new shows! Purchase a 2010 Season Pass to discover the fun all year long, including concerts, festivals and shows. 2010 Regular and Gold Passes are available for purchase online, by phone or at the park. Currently, Wild Adventures Season Passes are $59.99 or $79.99 for Gold Season Passes which include free parking, Adventure Quest miniature golf, Adventure Raceway go-karts and discounts on food and merchandise throughout the park. Season pass prices will increase April 12, 2010.

For more information about Wild Adventures Water and Theme Park and the 2010 concert season, guests should visit our website at or call 229-219-7080.


15 new bird species added to annual springtime event

Spring has landed at the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park as blue morphos, orange-barred tigers, zebra longwings are among thousands of butterflies emerging during Butterfly Jungle, the annual springtime event that runs through April 18.

New this year are 15 species of African birds. The purple-crested turaco spends much of its time in a large ficus tree calling loudly, while the male paradise whydah may fly by displaying its beautifully long tail. A pair of African gray parrots charm guests entering the aviary with their playful antics, as finches and lovebirds add lovely sounds to a colorful display of plants and butterflies.

Butterfly Jungle celebrates mimicry in the animal world. Some species of butterflies use toxins to deter predators from eating them. Other species have evolved to mimic the patterns or colors of toxic butterflies to protect themselves. The giant owl butterfly, on the other hand, has a large spot on the underside of its wing that looks like the eye of an owl. It flashes this “eye” at potential predators to confuse them.

Butterfly Jungle is included with admission to the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park. Admission is $37 for adults and $27 for children ages 3 to 11. Children 2 and younger receive free admission.

The 1,800-acre San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park is operated by the not-for-profit San Diego Zoo and includes a 900-acre native species reserve. The organization focuses on conservation and research work around the globe, educates millions of individuals a year about wildlife and maintains accredited horticultural, animal, library and photo collections. The Zoo also manages the San Diego Zoo, and the San Diego Zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research. The important conservation and science work of these entities is supported in part by The Foundation of the Zoological Society of San Diego.

Boo Blasters on Boo Hill new in 2010

Kings Island’s new dark ride an interactive family experience

KINGS ISLAND, Ohio – Visitors to Kings Island will have an opportunity to experience an all-new interactive family ride in 2010, Boo Blasters on Boo Hill.

The animated adventure begins when guests enter the attraction through the front gates of a haunted castle. Be careful! Those who dare enter must battle Boocifer, the meanest Ghost of all. But don’t be scared. You have a secret weapon called a Boo Blaster to zap Boocifer and all the Ghosts away as you travel through ghastly graveyards, creepy corridors, and down into dingy dungeons. If you collect enough points, you’ll rid this castle of Boocifer and his Ghosts.

Guests can choose to enhance their ride experience on Boo Blasters on Boo Hill with 3-D glasses.

“Boo Blasters on Boo Hill features special effects and a variety of ghostly gags which makes each ride a different experience,” said Greg Scheid, vice president and general manager of Kings Island. “This is a ride kids, parents, and grandparents can do together and will enjoy riding over and over again.”

As previously announced, also new this year is Planet Snoopy, as the park’s nine-time, award-winning “Best Kids’ Area in the World” receives a fresh new look with a timeless classic, and four new live stage shows: Way Too Much TV, Signed, Sealed, Delivered!, Charlie Brown’s Hoedown and Snoopy Rocks on Ice!

Kings Island opens for weekends beginning Saturday, April 17 for the 2010 season (the park is closed Sunday, April 18, but re-opens Friday, April 23). Daily operation begins Friday, May 21.

For more information about Kings Island, guests can call (513) 754-5700 or visit the park’s official website at

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Spring Break is Hammer Time at SEA LIFE™ Aquarium

Aquarium Becomes First in So Cal to Feature Scalloped Hammerhead Shark, Opens two new Shark Shows

CARLSBAD, Calif. (March 29, 2010) – A 3 1/2-foot long scalloped hammerhead pup joins the more than 50 sharks at SEA LIFE™ Aquarium making it the only Aquarium in southern California to have one on display. The Aquarium, located next to LEGOLAND® California also added two new shark-themed shows – “Shark Talk” and “The Shark and Ray Adventure” adding to the Aquarium’s interactive guest experience.

“We are all very excited to have this very unique species in our collection,” said Bob Burhans, Displays Curator for SEA LIFE Aquarium. “I have no doubt this shark will quickly become a visitor favorite.”

The hammerhead is a young male or “pup” and has the potential to grow up to 12 feet long. The name scalloped hammerhead comes from his most distinguishing feature – a scalloped ridge on the front of its broadly arched or hammer-shaped head.

“Our guests are really going to enjoy these new shows,” said Shawn Greiner, Entertainment Supervisor for LEGOLAND California Resort. “I am especially proud of ‘Shark Talk’ – we have had an absolute blast creating these new characters and I know our young guests will have fun interacting with them.”

The two new shows are running daily in the Aquarium. “Shark Talk” is a hilarious and interactive multimedia puppet talk show where guests are part of a live studio audience for a faux late night TV talk show hosted by Jay Octo and featuring movie star Hammie the Hammerhead. In “The Shark and Ray Adventure” young guests see if they have what it takes to become marine biologists studying the sharks and rays of the Ray Lagoon.

SEA LIFE features more than 50 sharks from 14 different species including zebra sharks, black tips, white tips, grey reef sharks, white spotted bamboo sharks and Port Jackson sharks.

In April, the Aquarium is launching a third show, “The Daily Dive,” an interactive underwater dive show. For more information and a show schedule, visit


Actor John Stamos to Join the Band on Stage for Their Performance

The Party Continues Saturday, April 3

This Saturday, legendary rock band The Beach Boys – and special guest John Stamos – will send “Good Vibrations” as they perform live in concert for Universal Studios Mardi Gras guests. This will be their first-ever performance at the event.

Often referred to as “America’s Band,” The Beach Boys are the No. 1 selling American band of all time. They’ve scored 36 U.S. Top 40 hits and 56 Hot 100 Hits to date.

The band has earned numerous accolades, including induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and being ranked No. 12 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s 2004 list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. “California Girls,” “I Get Around,” “Wipe Out,” “Kokomo,” “Surfin’ USA” and “Don’t Worry Baby” are among The Beach Boys most memorable hits.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Wishing Stars - The Ultimate iPhone Application for Disneyland Fans

Review by Rick West

Take a very enthusiastic Disneyland fan that has a rich background in computer programming, give him an iPhone and toss a handful of pixie dust all over it and you have the seed for Wishing Stars.

Kind of. There was also a heck of a lot of work that went into the development for the wildly-popular iPhone GPS-based game, designed by Greg Maletic.

Based in San Francisco, California, as the Founder of the creative technology application firm The Future of Pinball, LLC, Maletic became interested in creating a social fan application for Disneyland that would allow fellow enthusiasts to communicate with one another via Facebook and Twitter by letting them post where they were at the theme park and what they were doing. At the same time, Greg also began toying with a feature that was originally, supposed to be just a fun little twist to the application - users being able to unlock secret, additional features as they used Wishing Stars more and more.

As the project took on a life of its own, Greg soon realized that the social application could, and would be much more; a new game was being born that was unlike anything any company (including Disney) had previously created for iPhone users.

Utilizing the GPS technology resident in both the iPhone 3G and 3GS, Greg began creating a virtual scavenger hunt that would take Disneyland visitors all over the Magic Kingdom in search of "stars" that would unlock further quests within the game.

After much planning, studying other iPhone GPS-based applications for the iPhone platform and many trips to Anaheim, Greg rolled out the first version of Wishing Stars in the iTunes Store in the summer of 2009. Quickly, and with much fanfare online, Wishing Stars became the most talked about Disney app for the iPhone amongst Disney enthusiasts. Theme Park Adventure caught wind of this application as its followers started raving about it online. The capper was when TPA's good pal and indutry designer David Cobb told us that Wishing Stars was a must-have and that we needed to check it out.

We contacted Greg and he very kindly welcomed Theme Park Adventure to download and test it at Disneyland for ourselves. And we became obsessed

Wishing Stars is made up of different quest groupings, which Greg has dubbed "Quest Books". They range from easy fun (perfect for kids) to extremely challenging for the most veteran Disneyland enthusiasts around. To advance through the game and unlock further Quest Books, users need to go to specific locations at Disneyland Park and answer Wishing Stars questions correctly. The GPS technology then kicks in and if you've given a correct answer, Wishing Stars lets you advance further into its wonderful world of trivia.

Some of Wishing Stars' questions are image-based; the game gives you a picture to look at and it's up to you to scour Disneyland in search of its actual location. The integration of the GPS technology makes it impossible for lazy gamers to cheat and simply input the correct answer - if the game says to go to a certain spot within Mickey's Toontown or on Tom Sawyer Island, you'd better lace up your boots and get moving, because that is where you will need to go in order to submit a correct answer to the application!

The way that Greg has designed Wishing Stars reminded me very much of the thought process that Blizzard Entertainment uses in designing quests for its World of Warcraft game - not every quest has to take up hours of your time; some can be handled in minutes, some a bit longer. This flexibility and variety of questing allows gamers to participate and play as they can - there is no pressure to spend an hour playing Wishing Stars at a time if you wish to make progress. Some of the game's quests can be completed in minutes; others take longer. Rather than be a burden on your time and schedule, Greg has created Wishing Stars to be a companion - an enhancement - to your Disneyland visit. And whether you're an Annual Passholder who's at Disneyland a few times a week or a visitor that makes it to Anaheim once every few years, Wishing Stars is the perfect application to take along, as it allows for a whole new dimension of fun to what's already a fun-filled trip for the whole family.

The range of questions and the difficulty levels make Wishing Stars a blast for the entire family to play as a team - young children may be able to answer easier questions or find more obvious landmarks along the way (although don't underestimate your kids - their level of observation sometimes trumps us "big kids") and older folks in your crew can handle the tougher trivia. Wishing Stars has something for everyone - it doesn't leave anyone out, which is one thing we really loved about this game.

Whenever you talk about a trivia game and think of people being left out, hard core fans will tell you that it's usually them left behind - in many cases, in order to appeal to a wider audience base, trivia games are watered-down and made too easy, leaving little more than a semi-amusing and half-rewarding experience for the vets. Fear not, Wishing Stars users! Greg has included many quests in the game that really stumped us as we searched the Mouse House high and low - we were really pleased that much of Wishing Stars is not dumbed-down; it is a perfect challenge for even the most extreme Disneyland fan out there!

For the purpose of getting  through Wishing Stars as quickly as possible to review the game for our readers, Theme Park Adventure blasted through the game as quickly as we could - and even though we went to Disneyland with the specific intention of completing Wishing Stars quickly, it still took two trips and hours to complete. Casual gamers not in such a hurry or on such a focused mission will find that it takes quite a while to successfully take on Wishing Stars; this isn't a one-time deal. It's a fantastic Disneyland trip companion that you can pick and poke at, however you' like. It's great and doesn't take over your life - unless you want it to!

Almost-Free Download

Since its debut in 2009, Wishing Stars has been through a couple price adjustments within the iTunes Store. Starting at $5.99 and then dropping to $4.99, Greg has now made Wishing Stars a free download, along with two complimentary quests. This new pricing structure allows gamers to try before they buy - and we're confident that once you do try, you will buy. Individual Quest Books at varying difficulty levels are available for purchase, making it easy for users to expand their Wishing Stars game at their own will, however they'd like.

Expansions Coming

Wishing Stars is currently only available as a Disneyland-based trivia game. Greg does however, assure us that a Walt Disney World version is on the way, as well as new Disneyland Quest Books! For the time being, Wishing Stars is a Disneyland-based game - which shouldn't be too much of a business roadblock for Greg, as the Anaheim resort now has more than one million Annual Passholders; some of them are sure to have iPhones!

As new Quest Books are made available and other Disney parks are added to the mix, Greg will keep users posted via the Wishing Stars Twitter feed, as well as on Facebook. Theme Park Adventure will also keep its readers updated as Greg rolls out future Wishing Stars expansions and upgrades.

This is a product that we feel is absolutely worth-while and worth the price. Wishing Stars is completely well thought-out and there was definitely a lot of love and effort that went in to making this game. Our honest suggestion is that all Disneyland fans try it out; we're sure you'll love it as much as we do!

Wishing Stars is available for download from the iTunes App Store and users wanting more information about the game itself are encouraged to check out the official Wishing Stars website.

Theme Park Adventure applauds Greg for bringing Wishing Stars to life - it's absolutely a must-have iPhone app for all Disneyland fans, casual or hard-core. The game is thoughtful, well-rounded and most of all, fun. There is no doubt in our minds that The Walt Disney Company has kicked themselves for not rolling out something like Wishing Stars. The quality of the game is high and gameplay itself is simple and very user-friendly. If you lose your signal (Disneyland has horrible GPS/cell reception in some areas) or you have to turn your iPhone off to take in a ride or have a meal, the game auto-saves your spot so that you're not stuck repeating quests. This is a smart, fun, very "Disney" application that brings Disneyland trivia and scavenger hunts to the next level.

Huge props and kudos to Greg - and to Wishing Stars. Give it a go - you won't be disappointed.

You will become obsessed!


Celebrities and Families Celebrate as Conrad Prebys Polar Bear Plunge Becomes an Expedition for the Entire Family

After three months and a $1 million investment, the San Diego Zoo re-opened the Conrad Prebys Polar Bear Plunge. During opening events Friday, the Zoo welcomed celebrities, their families and the public into the renovated exhibit to explore the world of the polar bear.

"The San Diego Zoo is my favorite zoo. I grew up coming here, so I was really excited to bring the kids," said Tori Spelling, actress and celebrity emcee. "This is their first trip to a zoo and it's something we've been wanting to do for a while, this is a momentous occasion in their lives."

The Polar Bear Plunge exhibit is home to Kalluk and Tatqiq, 9-year-old siblings, and Chinook, a 15-year-old female.

The seven new areas for guest to discover are:

Storybook Area - kids and parents can read about polar bears

"How You Measure Up station" - guests will see how they compare to a polar bear - in height, weight and food consumption

The Snow Den - kids of all ages can crawl around the home of a polar bear and her cub and pop through a seal's breathing hole in the ice

Research Helicopter - like those used by researchers in the Arctic

"It's Melting" - maps changes to ice in the Arctic during the last 20 years

Carbon Dioxide Graph - larger-than-life graph of the carbon dioxide levels in the Earth's atmosphere

An Experience Wall that gives guests a glimpse into the relationship between the Zoo's keepers and the bears

The San Diego Zoo is the first zoo to offer a polar bear interaction wall. Three times a day, polar bear keepers move aside glass panels and interact with the Zoo's three polar bears through wire mesh.

The San Diego Zoo is also offering online tools to help guests measure their carbon footprint and then offset some or all of those measured emissions. Through a partnership with Nature & Culture International, a carbon calculator on the Zoo's Web site calculates information about household size and activities, including travel, power consumption and recycling, to measure carbon emissions. Once calculated, users have the opportunity to purchase carbon offsets, which is one way to mitigate personal contributions to carbon emissions. The calculator can be found at

The 100-acre San Diego Zoo is dedicated to the conservation of endangered species and their habitats. The organization focuses on conservation and research work around the globe, educates millions of individuals a year about wildlife and maintains accredited horticultural, animal, library and photo collections. The Zoo also manages the 1,800-acre San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park, which includes a 900-acre native species reserve, and the San Diego Zoo's Institute for Conservation Research. The important conservation and science work of these entities is supported in part by The Foundation of the Zoological Society of San Diego.

Friday, March 26, 2010


Come hear authors Gladys Harvey and Ron Woodward discuss their new book, Wabash County Chronicles: Raucous Quirky and Essential Tales. This event will be held in the multipurpose room of the museum. Admission is free to the book signing and discussion. (Regular admission rates apply to the museum.)

Please spread the word that admission to the book signing and discussion is FREE. The article in the paper made it sound as if there is a charge, and there isn’t. Regular admission rates apply to the museum, but the book signing is FREE!

From The History Press: “Just about fifty years before lights atop the courthouse put Wabash in the record books, a gang of squirrels came marauding through the area, denuding the trees and crops. Of course, the farmers fought back with guns; the kids with clubs. This happened just about the time of the Irish canal worker infighting; those boys attacked one another with everything they had. Oh, and there are the unexplained monster sightings and things of that nature. But really, it's not all bizarre. After all, Wabash was the first electrically lighted city, and there are scores of heroes and important businesses. There's just so much to hear about. Come along with authors Ron Woodward and Gladys Harvey as they share the strange and important history of this old Indiana county.”


Ron Woodward was born and raised in New Albany, Indiana. He has taught in the Greater Clark County school system, Muncie schools system and Wabash City Schools. He has also taught at the Upper Wabash Vocational School and a methods class at Manchester College. He has served as president of the Wabash County Historical Society and Wabash County Genealogical Society, which he helped to form. He has served as Wabash County historian since 1981 and was a sponsor of the Indiana Junior Historical Society club for twenty-five years.

Gladys Dove Harvey was born on a farm in Daviess County, Indiana. Receiving a county scholarship, she attended and graduated from Indiana State Teachers College. After the war, she obtained a master's degree at Indiana University. She then taught in LaPorte County and West Lafayette. She became the Wabash High School librarian, a position she held for forty years. For a brief time, she served as interim librarian at the Wabash Carnegie Public Library and taught English at Ivy Tech College in Wabash.


Our friends at the Wabash County Genealogical Society are taking a road trip to the North Manchester museum (Center for History) on Monday, April 19, at 6 pm. There is no charge for admission. If you would like to carpool, please meet at Grandstaff Hentgen parking lot at 5:15 pm. This is a great chance to see what our friends in North Manchester have done to preserve the heritage of North Manchester!


WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (March 25, 2010) – Busch Gardens kicks off its 2010 season Friday, March 26, and will open daily through April 11 to coincide with spring break.

Join the fun with the park’s all new Highland Stables attraction, featuring the park’s own team of Clydesdales as well as a flock of Scottish Blackface sheep and two Border collie puppies. The barn itself also is getting a facelift. The gleaming white fencing and polished brass tack gave way to a more rustic look and feel akin to barns found on farms dotting the Scottish countryside.

Of course, all the traditional favorites are back this year as well. With a host of KIDsiderate opportunities, the thrill of Griffon and the great dining options, Busch Gardens offers something for the whole family.

Busch Gardens is offering a new way to save in 2010.

All season long, guests can save $5 on each single-day ticket by making the purchase at Busch Gardens also is retaining its 2009 pass prices, so a new 2010 one-year pass still costs just $99.95. Guests renewing their 2009 passes will receive additional cost savings. All passes include access to all of the park’s concerts, Howl-O-Scream, free parking, discounts on food and merchandise, and unlimited visits to the park. A single-day ticket costs $61.95. Residents of Virginia can still purchase the Fun Card, which also costs $61.95 and is valid for admission all spring and summer.


Universal Orlando Also Unveils Details for the Highly Anticipated New Attraction::: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

ORLANDO, Fla. (March 25, 2010) – One of the most widely anticipated theme park entertainment experiences ever created – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort – is set for a public grand opening on June 18.

Today, Universal Orlando Resort also revealed details about what is expected to be one the most exciting theme park experiences ever created: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. It will be one of three themed attractions within The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, including Flight of the Hippogriff and Dragon Challenge.

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is the heart of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. This all new adventure combines a powerful storyline with spectacular new technology so effectively that guests will be completely immersed in the experience.

And as they live their adventure, guests will feel things no one has ever felt inside a theme park attraction, move in ways no one has ever moved, experience film like no one else ever has, explore vast sets punctuated by amazing special effects – and have an adventure only possible in Harry Potter’s world.

The new attraction lies deep within Hogwarts castle, a majestic structure that towers over The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - the only place in the world where the wonder, excitement and adventure of the Harry Potter books and films comes to life.

The Adventure


…meeting Harry, Ron and Hermione as if they were in person

…soaring over Hogwarts castle with Harry

…being swept into a Quidditch match

…feeling the chilling effect of a Dementor

…exploring your favorite places inside Hogwarts castle

…living adventures you’ve only been able to imagine – until now.

The Story

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey draws you into the excitement and chaos of Harry's life. As you venture through Hogwarts castle, you meet Harry, Ron and Hermione who convince you to skip a planned lecture and follow them. Upon taking their advice, you travel by Floo powder, and begin the adventure as you soar over Hogwarts, narrowly escape a dragon attack, have a close encounter with the Whomping Willow, get pulled into a Quidditch match and more.

“Guests will experience firsthand a completely new adventure featuring the iconic characters, amazing creatures and recognizable locations they’ve only read in the books or seen in the films,” said Thierry Coup, creative director for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

The Location

The Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey experience starts as soon as you walk through the gates of Hogwarts. Within the towering Hogwarts castle, you explore a truly magical place. You journey through iconic locations taken from the films and take in the extraordinary detail of each scene. They include:

· Dumbledore’s office: Here, you meet the Headmaster as he welcomes you to Hogwarts

· Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom: Where you first meet Harry, Ron and Hermione

· Gryffindor common room: You meet three additional characters who prepare you for your journey

· Room of Requirement: Here, with hundreds of floating candles above, you take your seat on an enchanted bench and begin the Forbidden Journey

· Other locations: In addition, guests will pass through the Dungeon passageway and hallways of Hogwarts where they will have the chance to see hundreds of wizard portraits from the films, including several magical talking portraits created exclusively for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, including the four founders of Hogwarts. Guests will even get a glimpse of the Sorting Hat.

The Innovation

This is more than just an attraction and it is unlike any theme park experience ever created. It’s a revolutionary, 360-degree theme park experience and first-ever combination of live-action, advanced robotic technology and innovative filmmaking – specially designed and developed for this brand-new adventure.

“We have created an entirely new way to place our guests into the heart of one of the most compelling stories of our time,” said Mark Woodbury, president of Universal Creative. “What we have done will forever change the theme park attraction experience.”

The attraction’s newly created ride system envelops guests in filmed action scenes and moves those scenes with them as they travel through the ride, allowing more time in the center of the adventure and with their favorite characters. This fusion of robotic technology and filmed scenes has never been achieved until now. In some cases, technology had to be invented to achieve the highest level of guest experience. The combination of pioneering, state-of-the-art technology, innovative filmmaking and surprises around every corner make this attraction the embodiment of the Harry Potter book and film series—and the future of theme park entertainment.

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey Quick Facts

  • Storyline: As you venture through Hogwarts, you meet Harry, Ron and Hermione, who convince you to skip a planned lecture and follow them. Upon taking their advice you travel by Floo powder, and begin your adventure as you soar over Hogwarts, narrowly escape a dragon attack, have a close encounter with the Whomping Willow, get pulled into a Quidditch match and more.
  • First-ever combination of advanced robotic ride system technology with innovative, immersive filmmaking
  • Award-winning composer John Williams oversaw the creation of the attraction’s score
  • The queue includes the following Harry Potter book and film elements: Headmaster Dumbledore’s office, Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom, Gryffindor common room, Room of Requirement, and the greenhouse; talking portraits including the Fat Lady and the never-before-seen four founders: Godric Gryffindor, Salazar Slytherin, Helga Hufflepuff and Rowena Ravenclaw; the Sorting Hat, the One-Eyed Witch statue and the Mirror of Erised
  • Duration of ride: The full attraction experience, including the queue, takes about an hour
  • Number of scenes in the attraction: 12
  • Characters (featuring Harry Potter film talent): Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Albus Dumbledore, Rubeus Hagrid and Draco Malfoy
You may also catch a glimpse of Fred and George Weasley, Ginny Weasley and Neville Longbottom


The Party Continues Saturday, March 27

This year’s Mardi Gras celebration at Universal Orlando Resort features live performances by some of today’s most popular musicians.

On March 27, Mardi Gras guests will enjoy the rockin’ sounds of 3 Doors Down. Since stepping onto the mainstream music scene a little over a decade ago, the band has made a quick ascent to fame, topping the Billboard charts and earning award nominations. Their first album, “The Better Life” was released in 2000 and became the 11th best-selling album of the year. 3 Doors Down has become an international success, selling more than 15 million albums worldwide. Some of their most popular hits include, “Kryptonite,” “When I’m Gone” and “Here Without You.”

Wild Adventures Plans Spring Break Events

Vacation close to home with a 2010 Season Pass

Valdosta, GA- Spring Break is fast approaching and Wild Adventures Theme Park is affordable entertainment for families this season. The park is open daily, March 27 through April 11 (Closed Easter Sunday), for guests to enjoy Wild About Babies, a limited spring time event, Jeremy Camp in concert April 10, and more than 40 thrill rides, hundreds of animals and captivating shows. All Spring Break activities are included with a 2010 Season Pass. Season Pass prices increase April 12.

Baby animals debut at springtime event

Baby animals make their park debut at the springtime event, Wild About Babies. The event features all things cute and cuddly, kicking off Saturday, March 27 and continuing through Sunday, April 11. Guests can interact with bunnies, chicks, ducklings, lambs, piglets and kids (baby goats, of course), all included in park admission.

Babylympics, a baby inspired competition, will kick off Wild About Babies Saturday, March 27 at 1:00 p.m. Thirty adult competitors will participate in several baby themed events, such as a stroller race and baby food eating contest. Registration for the contest will begin Saturday at 11:00 a.m.

Concert offers more family entertainment for Spring Break

Jeremy Camp, renowned Christian recording artist, is scheduled for Saturday, April 10 at 8:00 p.m. General concert entry is included with a 2010 Season Pass or general park admission. Concert reserved seats are available for $10 and must be purchased separately.

Season Pass offers best value: first Bring- A- Friend Free day April 11

Just in time for Spring Break, Season Pass holders can enjoy Bring-A-Friend Free Day on April 11. Guests can visit the park with their Season Pass and one friend gets in at no extra cost. For the best value, guests must purchase their 2010 Season Pass before the prices go up April 12.

The 2010 park season will be one adventure after another with 20 concerts, three new rides, and new shows! Purchase a 2010 Season Pass to discover the fun all year long, including concerts, festivals and shows. 2010 Regular and Gold Passes are available for purchase online, by phone or at the park. Currently, Wild Adventures Season Passes are $59.99 or $79.99 for Gold Season Passes which include free parking, Adventure Quest miniature golf, Adventure Raceway go-karts and discounts on food and merchandise throughout the park. Season pass prices will increase April 12, 2010.
For more information about Wild Adventures Water and Theme Park and Spring Break events, please visit our website at or call 229-219-7080.

Wild Adventures is a 170-acre theme park located in Valdosta, Georgia featuring one of the largest ride collections in the South, more than 500 wild animals, Splash Island Water Park, the region’s largest water park, shows, festivals and all-star concerts. The park is owned and operated by Herschend Family Entertainment (HFE), a company specializing in family entertainment. For nearly half a century, HFE has owned, operated or partnered in 21 properties across nine states, including Branson, Missouri’s Silver Dollar City; operating partner with Dolly Parton in Tennessee’s Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country; operating partner in Atlanta’s Stone Mountain Park and owners of Ride the Ducks amphibious tours in six cities.

LEGOLAND® California Shows First Construction of New Water Park – the Slides Are Going In!

World’s First LEGO® Themed Water Park Opens in June

CARLSBAD, Calif. (March 21, 2010) – Crews at LEGOLAND® California are hard at work today installing the family raft slide for the world’s first LEGO® themed water park opening in June. The family raft slide is just one of seven slides to be featured at LEGOLAND® Water Park and is 11-feet wide and more than 300-feet long.

The 5.5 acre Water Park is geared for families with young children and features several water slides including the family raft slide, enclosed tube slides and toddler slides, a zoo-themed water play area for toddlers and an interactive water play zone. The most unique feature is Build-A-Raft River where kids customize their own raft made of soft LEGO bricks before floating down a lazy river. More than 20 new LEGO models are being constructed for the Water Park including 6-foot-tall LEGO friends who will splash and spray water on guests throughout the Water Park.
The centerpiece of the Water Park is a 45-foot-tall tower designed to immerse children in the creative world of LEGO plus a splash tower that will countdown and pour hundreds of gallons of water over kids standing below it.

LEGOLAND Water Park is located at the north end of LEGOLAND California behind Fun Town and is a $10 upgrade from the standard LEGOLAND California admission. For more construction photos and information, visit

Universal Studios Hollywood 2009 Archive Created

To make way for all of the content coming this year, we have archived all of the 2009 Universal Studios Hollywood stories on Theme Park Adventure.

The URL for the 2009 stories is:

Stories included in the archives are Grinchmas 2009, Dick Dale at the Jon Lovitz Comedy Club, the beginning of the Kong 360 construction area and more!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Theme Park Adventure Pizza Meet & Greet Recap - March 2010

Haunt love in the house!
On Saturday, March 6, 2010, Theme Park Adventure had its March Pizza Meet & Greet at Shakey's in Anaheim, California. It was a blast and we had a decent turnout, regardless of the fact that it was a rainy day!

What is a TPA Pizza Meet & Greet?

Some of you may be new to the concept of a pizza-based meet and greet event, which is perfectly okay! Waaaaaaaay back in the day when the Internet came to be in the form of BBS groups (Bulletin Board System), people wanted to connect in person as well as online, so they held public gatherings - most everyone likes pizza, so the pizza meet and greet was born. Theme Park Adventure started its online years as a BBS under a larger system Rick West named "Black Rainbow BBS", so we've been doing this a long time; longer than some of our readers and fans have been alive!

And then there's Kritter...
Today, the pizza meet and greet remains a strong bonding and friendship-building tool that Theme Park Adventure uses to bring its readers together for some good old-fashioned personal interaction with each other once a month or so. The pizza gatherings are also designed to entice new TPAers to come out as well and join the group. TPA's pizza meets have been gaining in popularity as they are held more frequently (at this time, in the Orange County area) each month.

While Theme Park Adventure has started planning reader gatherings other than simple pizza meets, the quick and relatively cheap idea of gathering for some slices and just hanging out remains very easy and doable for most people, so pizza meets will always be the usual way we get together.

Johanna and Jake... yeah.
Who typically comes to a TPA pizza meet?

Anyone and everyone that is part of (or soon to be part of) the Theme Park Adventure online community is welcome to attend our monthly meets and get to know other readers. We have a really cool, totally diverse readership that includes younger folks, industry employees and veteran executives of the themed entertainment business. TPA has always served fans of all ages and walks of life - that's something we're really proud of and vow to continue for years to come. Theme Park Adventure is an all-inclusive group, and we welcome everyone!

That's one bad monkey
Many of our readers are dark industry, or "Halloween fans". In fact, many of TPA's readers are associated with various haunts around the country, including Knott's Halloween Haunt and Universal Studios' Halloween Horror Nights. And many TPAers are simply fans - some of them very hard core!

Halloween is our company's favorite time of the year, so there is a huge emphasis on haunted attractions and events - especially in California - each season and all year long on our site. If you're one of the "spooky kids" - well, then TPA and its readers are just what you need in an online community; and in person!

Another bad monkey: Kevin
How do I attend a TPA pizza meet?

Just show up! It's as simple as that!

If the thought of attending a pizza meet alone is unappealing to you (which we certainly understand), recruit a friend to come along - the more, the merrier! And our group will grow even faster as your friends become fans too! Of course, plenty of people do come alone - and after the initial few moments of, hi... I'm new that are always a bit awkward-feeling, everyone is right at home and new friends are made. In no time, you'll feel like you've known other TPAers forever! Like we've said, everyone is welcome and encouraged to join us!
A TPA family affair!

What goes on at a TPA pizza gathering?

Typically, whenever we host a meet and greet, it's just that - we all hang out, eat, drink and socialize. Readers connect with each other and share stories, pictures of their travels, laughs and so on. It's not rocket science - it's a pizza dinner!

Theme Park Adventure also uses the meets to discuss future events and ideas with our readers face-to-face, as well as host small "games" such as trivia challenges for prizes.

Basically, the TPA pizza meets are designed as social events with little structure. You come, eat, meet and hang with us. Once in a while, as with this month's meet - the event takes on a bigger form and spills over into something more than a simple gathering...

Invasion of Yogurtland
This month, the TPA pizza meet evolved into madness far beyond a pizza greet! After spending a couple hours at Shakey's in Anaheim, part of our group decided dessert was in order, so we invaded a nearby Yogurtland!

Yogurtland locations are relatively small, so when our group walked in and took up 95% of the available seating and tables, it was a sight to behold! There weren't many of us - but we absolutely took the place over for an hour! It was awesome.

Did the madness stop there? Oh, hell no!

Once TPAers wiped out Yogurtland, part of the group proceeded on to the Disneyland Resort for a late-night viewing of Captain EO! While planned Disneyland reader meets are rare (because when we plan an event, we don't want anyone to feel excluded - and not everyone has Annual Passes to the Disneyland Resort), they do happen - and did! Those without passes hung out at the ESPN Zone and drank while the other part of the group rode the Monorail into Tomorrowland and made a beeline for the Magic Eye Theater! Afterward, the group also ventured into New Orleans Square for a ride through The Haunted Mansion! It was so much fun!

Happy Birthday, Shea!
Long-time Theme Park Adventure staffer Shea Foley was celebrating his birthday as well that night - so it was an extra-special treat to have him and his fiancee, Erin, join us for pizza at Shakey's for a bit! Happy Birthday, Shea!

When and where is the next TPA pizza meet?

As of now, it appears that we'll be having our next pizza meet in Buena Park at a huge pizza location called John's Incredible Pizza Co. If you haven't heard of it, check out the site - it's like Chuck E. Cheese's on steroids - much bigger, much better food (all-you can eat BUFFET, kids!) and the place even has a couple rides and mini-bowling lanes. It's nuts!

To avoid swimming waist-high in little kids, we are planning to host the meet at 8pm on a Friday night (as opposed to 6pm on a Saturday - which is not great for groups wanting to gather at any pizzeria), since the venue is open until 11pm. There are several themed rooms to choose from, and we've already got a pretty clear idea of where we want to meet. We will spill those beans shortly!

Team Reveles in da house!
You're all invited - and encouraged to come join the fun and madness that is a TPA Pizza Meet & Greet event! Bring your family, boyfriend, girlfriend, mom (okay, maybe not mom) or friends and have a blast getting to know us, hanging out with fellow theme park fans and making new pals!


As we mentioned, there was a trivia challenge during the March pizza meet that stumped even the most veteran of our theme park fans! We even encourage using cell phones as our readers frantically search for answers to our questions! While the prizes have already been given out, perhaps you'd like to take a stab at some of the questions that were asked this month:

Name FIVE attractions/shows that are part of Disney's California Adventure's expansion plans.

Trivia time with Rick West!
Name FIVE attractions from the Universal Studios Hollywood tram tour that no longer exist.

What movie-related symbol is permanently displayed between the two steam stacks atop the paddle boat inside the finale scene of Disneyland's Splash Mountain attraction? BONUS: What is the name of that paddle boat?

Name FIVE walk-through attractions/mazes that have existed at Universal Studios Hollywood that were NOT exclusively part of the Halloween Horror Nights event.

Name the location at Disneyland where at one time, guests could purchase both Coke and Pepsi.

Name 11 roller coasters that have called Knott's Berry Farm home since the park's opening.

We'll see you in April for our next event!

And now, MORE unflattering Pictures: