T’was the Nightmare Before Christmas

haunted man chrHaunted Mansion Holiday is a seasonal remodeling of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion ride. It blends the settings and characters of the original Haunted Mansion with those of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas film.  The Haunted Mansion typically closes for two and half weeks in September so it can be converted into the Haunted Mansion Holiday. The overlaid attraction is then open to guests from late-September through early-January, before being closed again during January so the holiday theme can be removed.  The idea to re theme for the ride for the holidays, came from 2 other re themed holiday attractions, The Country Bear Christmas Special, and It’s a Small World Holiday, which were always quite popular during the holidays.  Both of these attractions had been opened in 1984, and 1997 respectively, and due to their success, The Haunted Mansion Holiday opened up in 2003.  The outside of the building is covered with Jack O’ Lanterns, as Jack Skelington sits on the roof in  his coffin sleigh, trying to figure Christmas through a long and advanced equation, as a clock strikes stating 0 days til Christmas.  Guests enter the inside of the mansion, which is decorated with skull wreaths before entering the famous octagonal room featuring “no windows and no doors”.  The room stretches as usual, but the stained glass portraits have been replaced with ones representing Christmas, but with a little something off, such as a candy cane shaped serpent, etc.  A voice comes through reading a poem originally written by Tim Burton, titled “The Nightmare Before Christmas”.  The suspense builds until lightening strikes and Jack’s head appears on the ceiling wishing everyone happy holidays, following a loud scream and then a blackout, as in the original ride.  The inside of the ride isn’t changed in many ways, but just has added props.  The changing portraits have been changed to fit the festive spirit, with a snowman turning into evil pumpkins, Jack turning into a character he calls Sandy Claws, etc.  Riders board to a toon of young children singing Kidnap the Sandy Claws.  As riders ascend up, a vampire teddy bear holds a fishing pole over them.  The endless hallway features Jack’s ghost dog Zero floating instead of the traditional candelabra, and the suit of armor is wrapped in tinsel.  The famous room of the glass ball mistress known as Leota is entered, as she chants her own version of the 13 days of Christmas.  The riders then enter the famous ballroom of dancing ghosts.  The ghosts remain to dance the same way, but , the table is set for a Christmas party, with a huge gingerbread manor in the center, thus the room is filled with the scent of gingerbread.  haunted ginger

The riders begin their climactic finish with a trip through the graveyard, featuring projected snow.  Jack welcomes you, replacing the old man and his dog in the original ride.  The riders then pass singing jack o’ lanterns which replace the singing statues.  Finally, the antagonist of the film Oogie Boogie appears, offering guests a gift before they leave, and as they pass the mirrors that usually depict the hitchhiking ghosts, they are instead given a “special gift”.  This ride is definitely one of the best re themed rides in the a park for the holidays, and isn’t one to miss out on.

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Opening of Grinchmas!

Yesterday, Wednesday the 27th was the official opening of Grinchmas at Universal Studios Hollywood! It was also the award ceremony for the Who-Manitarian of the year! Florence Henderson, the famous TV Mom, from Brady Bunch was handed the award this year! Below you’ll see pictures of the event Universal Studios Hollywood! We’ll be going to Grinchmas this winter, and a detailed update will follow soon!

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Throwback Thursday–Original Disney’s California Adventure

In the Summer of 2012, Disney’s California Adventure completed a huge expansion, adding many new experiences to the park’s line up.  The park added 2 new areas, Buena Vista Street, the entrance area of the park that represents how Los Angeles looked when Walt Disney first stepped of the bus there, and Cars Land, based off of the popular Disney Pixar Film series Cars.  Between the parks opening in 2001, and this newest expansion, many attractions at this park have came and went.  The following is a list of attractions that have been removed or replaced by the park: Continue reading “Throwback Thursday–Original Disney’s California Adventure”

Universal Studios Hollywood- Day of Giving

On November 14th, 2 days ago, Universal Studios Hollywood hosted the ‘Day of Giving’. An event in which homeless people, and especially children, could come out to receive school supplies, clothing, backpacks, and books. There was a lot of media attention for this great event!

This year’s Day of Giving was; ‘Operation School Bell’, thus all the school supplies for the 250 homeless children. ABC7 and NBC4 came out to cover the event live, and so did our partners from USHFans.com. Universal Studios Hollywood had characters come to the event, to entertain the children. Some characters walking around the event were; Frankenstein, Shaggy, Scooby Doo, and Beetlejuice. There were lots of volunteers at this event, as well as park employees who decided to give a helping hand, creating an amazing group of people giving back to the community!

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Photo credits to; Anthony Santavenere of USHFans.com

For the only full-photo coverage of this event, please visit our partners of USHFans.com by clicking here.

 

Blue Bayou Review

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Although there are many fine dining experiences at Disneyland, there are very few on the level of Blue Bayou.  This is not only because of its fancy decor and unbelievably amazing steak and seafood, but also because it is actually located inside the ride The Pirates of the Caribbean.  Let your eyes adjust to the perpetual twilight of this truly unique setting where the bayou is, literally, by you!  Enjoy your meal as jealous onlookers on board the ride can smell the cooking of your delicious meal.  Overhead strings of colorful balloon lanterns cast an enchanting glow, dotting the darkness from which crickets chirp, frogs croak and fireflies wink while providing an ambiance like no other. Since its opening in 1967, Blue Bayou has been a must-do for many a visitor to the Disneyland Resort.  Once you’ve gotten an eyeful of your delightful surroundings, turn your attention toward getting your belly full! Naturally, at Blue Bayou, the menu is inspired by the Cajun, Creole and French influences of Louisiana.  blue-bayou-restaurant-00-560x315

They welcome you to the Bayou with a Cajun-inspired salad or a cup of our delicious New Orleans gumbo, included with your entrée. Then choose from such signature dishes as the pan-seared Tesoro Island chicken with Boursin cheese mashed potatoes or the Royal Street seafood jambalaya. During lunch, they feature the Buccaneer’s boneless beef short ribs in a Cabernet reduction—while at dinner, the broiled filet mignon and succulent lamb chops entrees, and the surf-and-turf combo is extra-deluxe. Little ones are also well provided for with roasted beef strip loin, cheesy macaroni and healthy Mickey Check meals of seared salmon or chicken breast.  Full men eat no dessert, so save room! They aren’t not telling tales when they say that savoring a piece of Key lime pie tart or crème brulée in this magical  establishment full of Disney history is an experience you won’t soon forget. bbysteak

During Coaster King’s last visit to Disneyland this past June, we feasted on this restaurants broiled filet mignon, and let us tell you, it is no joke.  This gives a whole new meaning to fine dining in a theme park.  Along with the filet mignon came a bowl of there house gumbo that tasted “straight out of Louisiana!”  We finished of the meal with a cup of their light and airy chocolate mouse (served for a birthday, we are unsure if this item actually appears on the menu).  This restaurant is definately the finest dining experience at any theme park in the state of California, or possibly the world.  Be sure to get a reservation, because they will stop taking walk in diners later in the day, but be sure not to miss out on Blue Bayou.

Special Saturday– CA Winter Events

In this special you’ll see the 3 major winter events in CA Theme-parks. The 3 biggest ones are Knott’s Merry Farm, Holiday on the Park (SFDK), and Holidays at Disneyland Resort. Below you’ll find a description of each!

  • Knott’s Merry Farm is one of the many events that Knott’s has, and is the second largest. Halloween Haunt at Knott’s Scary Farm being the largest event. Visitors will visit Knott’s at a time of celebration, with all rides and buildings decked in lights, and Christmas music all around the park. Knott’s has special shows for the occasion, and additionally, all Peanut Gang characters are dressed in special Holiday outfits, as part of the ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’. All rides are operating, and some rides are transformed for the event. Additionally, there is  65 ft. tall Christmas tree in the park, as well as more festive decorations. Knott’s Merry Farm is opened daily form the weekend before Thanksgiving through the first weekend of 2014, except for Christmas.
  • Holiday in the Park is a similar event, but up North, in Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. The park’s rides are all beautifully decorated with Christmas lights, as well as other decorations alike. The park has many shows, which are all revised to the Christmas theme. Therefore there will be about 5 brand new shows every Holiday in the Park event! Additionally, the park has an artificial snow-hill in the back of the park, where visitors can slide down the icy hill on a sleigh provided by the park. This is a very popular attraction. Also, throughout the entire park, visitors will find fire pits, where they can get drinks, and relax while heating up by the fire. The park’s pathways are also heavily decorated with Christmas apparel. The park has had the world’s largest Christmas tree in one of it’s Holiday in the Park events, and still places a very tall tree in the entrance plaza each year. This is also the location where the Christmas closing and opening shows are being held. Over all, it’s a great event with all rides (but the ones that are in maintenance) operating, lots of interesting new shows, and a great atmosphere! Check it out if you happen to be up there!
  • The Happiest Place on Earth Becomes the Merriest Place on Earth.  The Disneyland Resort will once again be going all out for the Holiday festivities.  Starting November 12th, all of your favorite areas of Disneyland and California Adventure will be covered head to toe with Holiday decorations.  Carolers will line the lands of Buena Vista Street and Main Street USA, and the nights will all be capped of with the Believe in Holiday Magic Firework Spectacular.  Starting November 15th, the World of Color water show at California Adventure will begin sharing shows to spread the warmth of the holidays.  New for this year at the park is Viva Navidad; a fun celebration of Christmas with Latino influences, located at the dining area in Paradise Pier at California Adventure.  Of course, the three traditional Disney favorites will be returning.  First, the Christmas Fantasy Parade will once again wind around the streets of Main Street, featuring all of your favorite Disney characters in their finest Holiday attire, and of course the guest of honor, Santa Claus.  Also not miss Disney Holiday classics are the Nightmare Before Christmas themed Haunted Mansion, and the Holiday themed Its a Small World.  Overall, its looking like it will be one fine holiday season, and remember the Its Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas!

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Cars Land at Disney’s California Adventure

Cars Land is a themed area of Disney’s California Adventure, inspired by the 2006 film, Cars. The 12-acre area, built as part of Disney California Adventure Park’s $1.1 billion expansion project, opened on June 15, 2012, and contains three rides as well as shops and restaurants, all situated in a replica of Radiator Springs, the fictional town in which most of the film’s events take place.  Most of the present-day site of Cars Land had been used as the Timon parking lot since 2001; the lot had been designated as future growth space for Disney California Adventure when it was originally designed in the 1990s, and was partially built over with Tower of Terror and the Flik’s Fun Fair section of A Bug’s Land. A small portion of Cars Land was built over the site of the Bountiful Valley Farm, one of the park’s original attractions.  Designs for a possible “Carland” appeared in the “Dreaming” section of the Walt Disney Company’s 2006 Annual Report, released on December 12, 2006, 6 months after Cars was released in theaters. The concept art depicted a racing simulator ride but provided no specifics; Disney’s CEO stated at the time that the concept art depicted projects at various stages of development, and that some of the projects depicted may not even get built.  The area holds a multitude of new rides, restaurants, and Shops.  They will all be listed with a brief description here.

Shops:

Ramone’s House of Body Art:  A building themed as a car parts and paint shop, that sells mainly clothing and a few Cars themed souvenirs.

Sarge’s Surplus Hut:  A hangar style building that is themed to be owner by the former military vehicle Sarge, that also sells Car’s themed souvenirs.

Radiator Springs Curios:  A large shop in Car’s Land themed similar to an indoor flea market holding all sorts of Cars and Disney souvenirs.

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Restaurants:

Cozy Cone Motel:  A restaurant inside a giant traffic cone serving all there dishes in traffic cones known as cone-coctions.

Flo’s V8 Cafe:  A 1950’s diner inside an old gas station specializing in rotisserie chicken plates, house made pies, and mouth watering milkshakes.

Fillmore’s Taste In:  An open air fruit stand selling, whole and pre sliced fruits as well as snacks like chips and drinks.

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Rides:

Radiator Springs Racers:  A half dark half thrill ride, first taking you through the world of Cars, then finishing it off with a race between your vehicle and another, using the same technology as Test Track at EPCOT in Orlando.

Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree:  A combination whip and teacup ride in which riders board wagons that spin while also being pulled and whipped around by baby tractors, all conducted by everyone’s favorite tow truck.

Luigi’s Flying Tires:  An updated version of The Flying Saucer ride in Tomorrowland, this ride has riders board giant tires that float off the ground and try and bump other tires while only steering with their body weight.

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Tower of Tower @ Disney’s California Adventure

totThe Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is an accelerated drop ride featured at Disney Parks in Florida, California, Paris and Tokyo. All but the Tokyo version are based upon the television show The Twilight Zone, and take place in the fictional Hollywood Tower Hotel. The Tokyo version, which features an original story line not derived froThe Twilight Zone, due to the tv show being not very popular in Japan, takes place in the fictional Hotel High-tower. The three Twilight Zone-based versions and the unique Tokyo version all place riders in a vehicle themed to an old hotel service elevator, and present riders with a fictional back story in which people mysteriously disappeared from a hotel elevator under the influence of some supernatural element many years earlier.  The original version of the attraction opened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in July 1994, and was the basis of the 1997 made-for-television movie Tower of Terror. Several years later, Disney began plans Continue reading “Tower of Tower @ Disney’s California Adventure”