The Companion Page to Theme Park Adventure - the Internet's Original Fan Site

Monday, January 30, 2012

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with a Romantic Twist at Discovery Cove in Orlando

At Discovery Cove in Orlando, Halid Shokunbi took the plunge and proposed to his longtime girlfriend, Kyla Brown, while 14-feet underwater during the new SeaVenture experience.

Both from the Chicago area, Shokunbi popped the question in a most unique way -- surrounded by schools of exotic fish and velvety rays gliding overhead.

With Valentine’s Day approaching, there’s nothing more unique than celebrating with dolphins in a tropical paradise as part of Discovery Cove’s Special Occasions Packages.

Discovery Cove is an all-inclusive, limited-admission tropical day resort where guests swim with dolphins, hand-feed tropical birds in a free-flight aviary, snorkel among thousands of colorful fish and rays and relax on pristine beaches.

Learn more at Discovery Cove’s website or call 1-877-557-7404.

Universal Orlando Resort Hiring Hundreds To Bring To Life New Universal's Superstar Parade

WHAT:  Universal Orlando Resort is now hiring hundreds of new full-time and part-time performers to help bring to life “Universal’s Superstar Parade” – an all-new daily parade featuring larger-than-life floats, state-of-the-art technology and high-energy performances – coming to Universal Studios Florida this spring. Opportunities are now available for a multitude of full-time, benefits-eligible roles, including talented performers such as skilled dancers, drummers, stilt walkers and animated character performers of all heights.

For more information about Universal’s Superstar Parade, click here.

Universal Orlando is seeking well-rounded candidates for the following open roles:

·         Dancers – male and female dancers with strong technique in multiple dance styles

·         Animated Character Performers – high-energy dancers of all heights to perform choreographed routines in full character costumes

·         Candidates with a “little character” in them – positions are open for animated character performers with a maximum height of 4’11”

·         Drummers – skilled marching band style drummers

·         Roller Skaters – male and female, skilled roller skaters able to perform choreographed routines

·         Stilt Walkers – experienced male and female stilt walkers with ability to perform choreographed routines

AUDITION INFO:  Interested candidates can learn more about available positions and schedule an audition by visiting All candidates should have full availability, must be at least 18 years of age and provide proof of eligibility to work within the United States .

Universal Orlando provides a fun work environment and great perks, including competitive pay rates, comprehensive benefits, free admission to the theme parks, discounts on food and merchandise and much more.

WHEN:  Auditions for these positions will be held Saturday, Feb. 4, through Tuesday, Feb.7, 2012

WHERE:  Universal Studios Florida

Universal Orlando Resort Announces Multiple All-New Entertainment Experiences Launching in 2012

Universal Orlando Resort revealed details about a wide range of all-new exciting guest experiences that will open across the destination this year.

We’ve created a web-based video so you can share this exciting news with your audience, as well as provide an inside look at each new experience. Click here to view this video.

The new experiences will begin debuting in February and include:

    A new Blue Man Group show – opening in February
    HD enhancements and more to The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man – experience in March
    Universal’s Superstar Parade – a new interactive parade experience featuring characters like the minions from Despicable Me, E.B. from the hit animated film, “Hop,” Nickelodeon’s Dora & Diego and SpongeBob SquarePants that is opening in Spring
    Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular – a new nighttime show that will celebrate the most powerful and emotional moments from Universal Pictures’ most iconic films – all projected on cutting-edge waterfall screens – and opening this Spring
    The highly-anticipated 3-D attraction, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, which is opening this summer

For more information about these and other new experiences opening at Universal Orlando Resort this year, visit


BUENA PARK, Calif. – Knott’s Berry Farm will be celebrating the season of love this February with special events for teens, kids and adults as well as savings when you bring a friend. 

    Knott’s believes that everything is better when you share it with someone – your friends, your kids, your date, so they invite guests to bring someone they love anytime during the month of February and purchase online admission for only $34.99 each!  Knott’s Season Pass holders can bring a friend for only $24.99. Upcoming events for “Twogether is Better” include:

    February 12:  K-Earth 101 will invite their listeners to get remarried at Knott’s Berry Farm’s Church of Reflection.  25 lucky couples will be re-hitched and enjoy a special reception from 1-3 pm.
    February 18: Knott’s will showcase the up and coming boy band, Midnight Red.  These five talented young men – Eric, Colton, Anthony, Thomas and Joey, released their first single this summer, “One Club at a Time” on Interscope Records.  Known for their stellar harmonies and electrifying dance moves, Midnight Red will be appearing live in concert in Calico Square at 5:00 pm.
    February 25: The Anaheim Duck’s Wild Winger Kids Club will storm the park for their end of the year party.  The festivities which will take place in Calico Square from 1:30-3:30 and will feature an autograph session and a Q&A session with Wild Winger Kid’s Club Captain, George Parros, as well as several other Anaheim Duck’s players. 

    Both the Midnight Red concert and the Anaheim Duck’s Wild Winger Kids Club end of the year party are included with general park admission.

    Additional activities during “Twogether is Better” include a brand new stage show, “Love Is In the Air, Charlie Brown!”, Cupid’s Craft Corner where children 11 and under can create special tokens for the ones they love, and a special Peanut’s Hugging Booth all of which take place in Camp Snoopy.

    Families wishing to spend the night at Knott’s Berry Farm can book one of the Knott’s Resort Hotel Vacation Packages that include park tickets, breakfast and more by calling 1-866-752-2444 or booking online at

Universal Orlando Resort to Launch More New Entertainment Experiences in 2012 than During Any Other Year in its History


Universal Orlando Resort to Offer More New Entertainment Experiences Across its Entire Destination than During Any Other Year in its History

Universal Releases First-Ever Looks at All-New Experiences, Including Upcoming Despicable Me Attraction, New Interactive Parade and Spectacular Nighttime Show

Orlando, Fla. (Jan. 25, 2012) – This year, Universal Orlando Resort will debut more adventure, excitement, laughter and awe-inspiring moments than ever before – making 2012 an extraordinary year to be here. 

There will be something for everyone and every family.  From a new Blue Man Group show and newly re-created experience inside one of Universal Orlando’s most popular attractions to a stunning parade, spectacular nighttime show and brand-new blockbuster attraction based on an incredibly popular film – Universal Orlando Resort is bringing guests more new entertainment across our entire destination in 2012 than during any other year in our history.

The new experiences will begin debuting in February.  Guests will discover the exhilarating entertainment of a new Blue Man Group show; marvel at breathtaking new animation and effects in The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man; dance and celebrate with their favorite animated characters during Universal’s Superstar Parade and relive memorable moments from Universal Pictures most powerful and beloved films during the nighttime show Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular – 100 Years of Movie Memories.  And coming this summer – families will laugh together as they are transformed into minions for an incredible adventure inside the new Despicable Me Minion Mayhem attraction.

Universal Orlando will also be marking the Universal Pictures Centennial Anniversary Celebration during 2012 with a series of events to be announced throughout the year.

“We are about to offer our guests a historic range of incredible new entertainment experiences,” said Alice Norsworthy, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales for Universal Orlando Resort.  “This year will be filled with excitement and entertainment for the entire family.”

The new 2012 experiences at Universal Orlando Resort include:

Blue Man Group ~ Opening February 2012 at Universal CityWalk

Universal Orlando’s Blue Man Group show is taking their unique and captivating mash-up of high energy music, comedy, audience participation and collective exhilaration to another level. Featuring a new show environment, new music, new technology and new experiences, the show will allow audiences to join the Blue Men as they discover, engage and explore the world’s obsession with cutting-edge technology.  Signature Blue Man Group moments combine with breathtakingly fun new pieces for an explosive evening of entertainment.  New show elements include the curious Blue Men interacting with enormous “GiPads,” a funny and insightful look at contemporary communication vehicles, and a pulsating new finale with an original Blue Man Group music score that will have guests jumping to their feet. Look closely – you may even see the Blue Men take a spin on one of Universal Orlando's most popular attractions.

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ~ Experience March 2012 at Islands of Adventure

Universal Orlando is transforming what is already one of the most amazing attraction experiences ever created into what will feel like an all-new adventure.  The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man will soon feature all-new, 4K digital high-definition animation, new high tech 3-D glasses and upgrades to the set, audio and lighting systems.  The re-animation of the ride film will include an entirely new level of detail for guests to discover, including a cameo by legendary comic book icon and Spider-Man co-creator, Stan Lee.

Universal’s Superstar Parade ~ Opening Spring 2012 at Universal Studios Florida

Some of today’s most beloved characters and stories will bring new adventure to the streets of Universal Studios during Universal’s Superstar Parade – an all-new daily parade that features larger-than-life floats, state-of-the-art technology and hundreds of energetic street performers.  Guests will sing and dance along with characters like the minions from Despicable Me, E.B. from the hit comedy, Hop, Nickelodeon’s Dora & Diego and SpongeBob SquarePants during the interactive experience. Guests will have the opportunity to enjoy performances and character meet and greets prior to the parade at select locations throughout the day.

Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular: 100 Years of Movie Memories ~ Opening Spring 2012 at Universal Studios Florida

Narrated by award-winning actor and recent Golden Globe - Cecil B. DeMille honoree, Morgan Freeman, Universal Orlando’s brand-new nighttime show, Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular, will celebrate the most powerful and emotional moments from Universal Pictures’ most iconic films – all on cutting-edge waterfall screens within the Universal Studios lagoon and surrounded by colorful fountains and pyrotechnics. The experience will take guests on a journey through epic cinematic moments filled with heroes, horror, laughter, good vs. evil and triumph. The new show opens this spring, runs all summer and then on select nights through the end of the year.

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ~ Opening Summer 2012 at Universal Studios Florida 

Universal Orlando’s newest attraction, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, will take guests on an unforgettable 3-D adventure with their favorite characters from the hit film – Gru, Margo, Edith, Agnes and the mischievous minions. The experience begins when guests enter Gru’s home, where they learn that they’re being recruited to become minions and undergo “minion training.”  Things don’t go as planned, and guests find themselves on a wildly hysterical journey with Gru and his daughters.  Once guests make it through training, they join an interactive, minion-inspired dance party where they can show off their best moves.

Universal’s Creative team is working closely with Chris Meledandri’s Illumination Entertainment to bring this all-new adventure to life in the most authentic way possible.  In fact, the beloved characters in the attraction will be voiced by the film’s original cast: Steve Carell (Gru), Miranda Cosgrove (Margo), Dana Gaier (Edith) and Elsie Fisher (Agnes).  The ride’s experience is being developed by the same creative team that brought you the award-winning film, Despicable Me. The motion-picture event Despicable Me 2 arrives in theaters on July 3, 2013.

Other New Experiences Opening this Year

    Hollywood Drive-In Golf, a unique 36-hole miniature golf experience inspired by the classic drive-in movie era, will open in February at Universal CityWalk.
    A great, new immersive retail entertainment experience that will become home to SpongeBob SquarePants and other characters from the number one kids animated TV series, Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants.  It will open inside Universal Studios this year.

    Minutes away from Universal Orlando, the popular Wet ‘n Wild water park will open its first interactive family water play area this summer – allowing everyone in the family to splash and swim together.  Amidst lush, tropical landscaping, the new area will feature 15 water slides and more than 100 soakers, jets, waterfalls and water cannons - making it the largest interactive water play experience in Florida.

 Universal Orlando 2-night getaway packages are available for Florida residents starting from only $109 per adult, per night, tax inclusive. Upgrade to an on-site hotel and receive complimentary Universal Express access to Skip The Regular Lines for FREE in both theme parks.  For more information about Universal Orlando Resort, visit

San Diego Zoo Global Web Cam has First Public View of Condors Caring for Egg

  With less than 400 California condors in existence, this endangered species is still an uncommon sight. Even rarer is the opportunity to watch condor parents incubate an egg, turning it gently with their beaks or squabbling over which one gets to incubate the 250-gram egg. That is, until now.

     Visit the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy's new web camera, Condor Cam (, to see Sisquoc and Shatash, the first condor pair ever to be observed by the public, incubating an egg on a live web camera set up in an off-exhibit area for condor care at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. For decades, field biologists, behaviorists and zookeepers were the only people able to witness a condor's parental behavior. This behavior has never been available for public viewing.

     "For decades we've had the opportunity to work with this remarkable species behind the scenes," said Michael Mace, San Diego Zoo Safari Park curator of birds. "Beginning today, this rare experience is no longer for a select few. We invite you to watch, for the first time, this fantastic experience, the beginning cycle of a California condor's life, from the egg until it fledges."

     Shatash, the female condor, laid the egg on Friday, Jan. 13. As a standard practice at the Safari Park, every condor egg laid is moved to an incubator for safe keeping, and the parents are given an artificial egg to incubate. The incubation behavior of the parents continues as it would with their own egg, with the male and female taking turns incubating the egg.

     In the incubator, keepers monitor the egg for embryonic development. In the last few days of incubation, the artificial egg is removed from the nest and replaced with the fertile egg, allowing the parents to help the chick hatch and immediately begin their parental duties.

     The chick is expected to hatch in early March after 52 to 54 days of incubation. Condor Cam viewers may witness rare moments such as the chick emerging from the egg with its white down feathers and a light pink, bald head and the parents tending its needs from feeding to clean up. When the chick is 5 to 6 months old, observers may also witness the chick's first flight! The chick continues to be tended to by its parents until it is approximately 1 year old. These are moments in the life an endangered species that very few people have ever seen.

     Since the recovery program began in the 1980s, when there were only 22 condors left in the world, the Safari Park has hatched 171 chicks and released more than 80 birds in the wild. There are now more than 390 condors, half of which are flying free in California, Arizona and Baja California, Mexico.

     The California Condor Recovery Program is implemented by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, zoos in the U.S. and Mexico, and U.S. and Mexican government agencies. Although listed by the federal government as an endangered species in 1967, the California condor population continued to decline, reaching a critical low of less than two dozen birds. In 1982, the condor breeding program was successfully established at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and Los Angeles Zoo. Today, two additional breeding centers are assisting with the recovery of the species at The Peregrine Fund's World Center for Birds of Prey and the Oregon Zoo. In addition, condors are part of an education program that allows guests at the San Diego Zoo, Santa Barbara Zoo and Mexico City's Chapultepec Zoo to see North America's largest bird up close.

     The San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy is dedicated to bringing endangered species back from the brink of extinction. The work of the Conservancy includes onsite wildlife conservation efforts at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, and international field programs in more than 35 countries. In addition, San Diego Zoo Global manages the Anne and Kenneth Griffin Reptile Conservation Center, the Frozen ZooTM and Native Seed Gene Bank, the Keauhou and Maui Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation Centers, San Clemente Loggerhead Shrike Breeding Facility, Cocha Cashu Biological Research Station, the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center, and a 900-acre biodiversity reserve adjacent to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The important conservation and science work of these entities is supported in part by The Foundation of the Zoological Society of San Diego.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


BUENA PARK, Calif. – Knott’s Berry Farm will be celebrating the season of love this February with special activities for the whole family every weekend as well as discounted pricing when you bring a special someone. 

    Knott’s believes that everything is better when you share it with someone – your friends, your kids, your date, so they invite guests to bring someone they love anytime during the month of February and receive park admission for only $34.99 each!  This is a two-for-one special, because “Twogether” is better!   And, if you are a Season Pass Holder you can bring a friend for only $24.99 during the month of February.

    Knott’s Berry Farm will also be teaming up with the American Heart Association for “Knott’s Has Heart.”  When purchasing their tickets, guests will be asked if they would like to send a special Valentine to Charlie Brown for an additional $1, $5 or $10 donation.  Proceeds from this special Valentine will go directly to the Orange County American Heart Association to assist them with their ongoing medical research and education efforts.

    Weekend activities for “Twogether is Better” include a brand new show at the Camp Snoopy Theatre “Love Is In the Air, Charlie Brown.”   It’s Valentine’s Day and the Peanuts Gang is wondering who is going to invite them to the Valentine’s Day Dance.  Will Schroeder ask Lucy to go?  Will Sally’s Sweet Baboo, Linus, ask her?  Will Charlie Brown get the nerve to ask the little red haired girl?  This musical show is filled tales of unrequited love and enduring friendships.

    Camp Snoopy will also be the site of Cupid’s Craft Corner.  Children under 11 can create special tokens for the ones they love including tissue paper bouquets, paper Valentines and Peanut’s coloring pages.  Visitors to the Cupid’s Craft Corner can also try their skill at the “Target of Love” bean bag toss.

    Those looking to find that special someone while visiting Knott’s during “Twogether is Better,” just might be in luck.  Knott’s cowboys will be on the lookout for unsuspecting guests who might find themselves involved in a Shotgun Wedding at Judge Roy Bean’s complete with marriage certificate and horseshoe wedding rings!

    Knott’s will also be offering some special “Twogether is Better” food deals including “Double Dawg Love” at Pink’s and  a chocolate dipping station in Ghost Town.  Guests can make their special someone’s weekend even better by booking Knott’s Sunday Brunch.  Served from 9:30 am to 2:00 pm Knott’s Sunday Brunch offers dozens of menu options including a carving station, pasta station and omelet station.  Reservations for Knott’s Sunday Brunch can be made by calling (714) 220-5055.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Actress Uma Thurman Visits Universal Orlando Resort

Award-winning actress Uma Thurman was hosted by Universal Orlando Resort on Sunday, January 15, 2012 while vacationing in Orlando with friends and family. During her visit, she came face-to-face with a mysterious Egyptian guard moments before experiencing the pulse-pounding attraction, Revenge of the Mummy. Thurman is best known for action-packed films such as “Pulp Fiction” and “Kill Bill” and stars in the upcoming historical drama, “Bel Ami,” due out in March.

Animal Care Becomes Part of the Guest Experience at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

New State-of-the-Art Facility Educates Guests, Offers One-Of-A-Kind Access To Park’s World-Class Animal Care

TAMPA, Fla. (Jan. 12, 2012) – Busch Gardens welcomes guests to closely observe and even take part in the animal care experience when the Tampa park opens its new Animal Care Center on Jan. 23, 2012. From nutrition to treatments, X-rays to surgeries, much of Busch Gardens’ animal care will be conducted in guest view in this new state-of-the-art facility.

“We are proud of the care we provide our animals,” said Mike Boos, vice president of zoological operations. “We welcome the opportunity to share our level of care with our guests, and to continue our mission of connecting guests to animals and the natural world. No other zoological facility can offer the unique, up-close experience that this new facility will provide.”

The major guest components of the new facility include a nutrition center, treatment rooms, a clinical lab and an interactive diagnostic activity. The nutrition center will feature a kitchen similar in set-up to a cooking show on television. Educators will lead demonstrations several times a day on the planning and preparation of animal diets.  Guests will even have the chance to assist in preparing and doling out the range of food the park provides its animals, from fruits and vegetables to crickets and mealworms. Nutrition demonstrations will take place during scheduled times each day.

The treatment center will allow guests to watch as Busch Gardens’ skilled vets do preventative checkups, treatments and surgeries on animals. Guests will be able to see into the rooms through glass walls, and audio capabilities will allow guests to talk to vets working behind the glass. Cameras placed over the exam table will show unique vantage points to guests who can watch on monitors. During treatments and surgeries, zoo educators will also be on hand to talk about what’s taking place. Since it is a working center, procedures will vary daily, and will not take place during all scheduled park hours due to field work, office work and other projects requiring the vets’ time and attention.  Daily schedules will be subject to change.

In the clinical lab, staff will perform tests on samples collected from the animals, such as blood, urine, and feces, using the same types of laboratory equipment used in human hospitals and veterinary clinics.  A camera connected to the laboratory’s microscope will allow guests to see exactly what the staff who are looking under the microscope see.  

Guests can also participate in a diagnostic exercise by scanning an interactive activity card at several stations as they follow an animal from diagnosis to treatment to blood and lab work to a final outcome.

In addition to the guest views, the new facility will also include animal recovery and holding rooms and vet offices. The new, nearly 16,000 square-foot facility replaced the rhino exhibit in the Nairobi area of the park. The park’s former animal care center was located behind the scenes.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Super 78 Gets VES Nomination for Outstanding Visual Effects in a Special Venue

Super 78 Nominated for VES Award for Typhoon 360

Race for Visual Effect Award Pits Super 78’s Typhoon Experience Against Disney, Universal Attractions

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (Jan. 9, 2012) – A film by Super 78 Studios for a brand new attraction that brings its audience face to face with the forces of a Southern Pacific Typhoon scored a nomination today from the Visual Effects Society for a coveted VES Award.  Super 78 Studio’s production of Typhoon 360, the feature attraction at the new Maritime Experiential Museum and Aquarium in Singapore, netted a nomination in the Outstanding Visual Effects in a Special Venue and will compete with Disney’s Star Tours Revamp and Universal’s Transformers for the coveted visual effects award next month.

Filming for Typhoon 360, which features state-of-the art, real time effects including robotic, and high-resolution projections, required the meticulous integration of practical set pieces, lighting, projection mapping, and included 60 different shots for the six-minute film.  And, it was produced at just a fraction of the cost of its big-budget competitors.

“We’re quite proud that a low-cost and technologically-stunning venture like Typhoon 360 measures up to the same standards and level of performance of deep-pocket projects from Disney and Universal,” said Brent Young, CCO and Creative Director for Super 78 Studios, and Co-Writer, Director and Visual Effects Supervisor for Typhoon 360.

Listed on the nomination with Young are Peter Crossman - VFX Producer, Michael "Oz" Smith - Technical Director, and Seungyong Lee - Visual Effects Supervisor.

It’s the second consecutive year a Super 78-produced film has been nominated for a VES award.  The firm’s work on Flight of the Dragon, a popular Flying Experience attraction at one of China’s largest theme parks, was nominated for Outstanding Visual Effects in a Special Venue in 2011, and Super 78 also was previously nominated for its work on the Busch Gardens Curse of Darkastle, and for a VES television award for the creation of Ben 10 for the Cartoon Network.

The 10th annual VES Awards honor outstanding visual effects in 23 different categories of film, animation, television, commercials, special venues and video games.  Winners will be announced Tues., Feb. 7 at a ceremony at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.