Universal Studios Hollywood Announces Food and Wine Festival!

Today Universal Hollywood announced that on March 19th and 20th they will be hosting a Food and Wine Festival. The only difference between this one and other theme park festivals is that Universal’s will be an after hours hard ticket event.

The event will start at 7pm each night and cost $179 to attend on each night. That price includes food tastings, beer, wine, live competitions and photo ops with Top Chef talent, live entertainment, merchandise, and a gift. For $300 you can get a VIP ticket that allows you access to Universal Studios starting at 12pm and preferred parking with VIP tasting with alumni from Top Chef or for $199 you can get a day and night combo ticket that starts at 12pm but does not include free parking and the special VIP experiences.

If you have not guessed already this event is themed to Bravo’s Top Chef and you will be able to taste some of their delicious meals all night long! Will you be attending this festival? Would you rather it be included in regular park admission like at California Adventure? Do you think what your getting is worth all that money? Let me know in the comments below!

West Coast Racers to Host Previews For Passholders Starting Week of Christmas!!

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According to commenter Tom Read on the latest West Coast Racers Update from Parks Bros, Six Flags will be hosting Passholder Previews for the coaster starting December 21st and running through the first week of January.

Depending on what type of pass you have will be the day you get to experience this new coaster. Using an educational guess, my thought is that the ride will be open to the general public on January 6th, 2020.

Are you a Six Flags season pass holder? Will you be going to try out this ride early? Let me know in the comments below and follow this blog for constant theme park updates!

Universal Studios Hollywood Officially Announces Toothsome Emporium

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Universal Studios Hollywood announced today that the Toothsome Emporium is set to take over the space occupied by Hard Rock Cafe and open in 2021. Hard Rock Cafe will be closing January 8th to begin the transition.

The restaurant will feature all of the goodies in the Orlando version and be two stories. It will also feature a gift shop, dessert bar, and all day brunch. Universal Citywalk over the past few years has undergone a massive overhaul including the opening of Margaritaville, Antijitos, Voodoo Doughnuts and more. New dining and retail options should be announced in the coming months as there are several more vacant spaces throughout the entertainment center.

What do you think of the Toothsome Emporium coming to Citywalk? I personally love chocolate so I am very excited for this new addition, but let me know in the comments below what you think about this recent change to Citywalk!

Hard Rock Cafe at Universal Citywalk Hollywood Set to Close January 8th

Universal Citywalk continues to go through major changes as the large and iconic Hard Rock Cafe is set to close at the beginning of January. It is rumored to be replaced by a Toothsome Emporium that is currently at Orlando’s Citywalk.

Photo courtesy of Inside Universal

Above is a picture of the Toothsome Emporium in Orlando and as you can see it is a two story full service restaurant with a large dessert section as well. There is also a gift shop attached. Have you been to the Emporium in Orlando? Are you excited for it to come to Hollywood? Let me know in the comments below!

Six Flags Magic Mountain Unveils West Coast Racers Trains!

It’s a Six Flags day today because now they have released a brand new look at the West Coast Racers trains coming hopefully soon to the construction site itself (Right now they are in the Magic Mountain parking lot). I must say they look very impressive and just like the original concept art which is fantastic. Great job by West Coast Customs for their work on the trains and in the land itself with the graffiti murals they have been painting all over.

As for West Coast Racers, the track is all done and the station box should be finishing up shortly as it looks almost fully framed. Once that is done these lovely new trains will be hoisted on the track for a slow pull through of the entire course to make sure the sizing is correct among other potential safety requirements and issues. After that full testing can begin and it is law by CalOSHA that every vehicle on every new ride at any park in California must go around its course at least 1,000 times before it can be cleared to open. So expect testing to be going over for a few weeks before hopefully on opening date by Christmas time is what I am guessing.

What do you guys think of the new trains? When do you think this ride will finally open? Do you like the comfort collars being used on these trains or would you rather it be a different type of restraint? Let me know in the comments below!

Grinchmas To Begin on Thanksgiving at Universal Studios Hollywood

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Whoville Tree lit up at USH

It’s that time of the year again where the two holidays of Halloween and Christmas collide. Christmas decorations are already being set up at both Disney and Universal and now we are starting to get more information on Grinchmas with some pretty awesome news.

This awesome news is that this year Grinchmas will start on Thanksgiving Day and will run DAILY (instead of the previous just on weekends) through December 29th. Also starting at this time will be the Christmas at the Wizarding Wold of Harry Potter celebration with Christmas themed shows and entertainment including the ever popular projection show on Hogwarts Castle.

The holiday themed food and Hot Butterbeer will also be making a return and eveyr night at Universal Plaza there will be a Whoville themed lighting celebration to light the 55 foot Grinchmas Tree. As I have stated in previous articles about the holidays Christmas is my favorite time of the year at the SoCal parks and I am so excited to celebrate again this year!

What about all of you? Are you excited for Grinchmas this year? Let me know in the comments below and give this page a follow for constant holiday updates and footage!

Guests To Enter Universal Beijing Using Facial Recognition Tech

An awesome news story came out today via the website France 24 saying that guests who enter Universal Beijing will be able to use facial recognition technology instead of showing a ticket. The story also notes that the park is partnering with popular Chinese tech company Alibaba so that guests can use Alipay to purchase meals and merchandise.

I think this is fantastic news and is yet another sign of the theme park industry advancing every year implementing new technology into their parks and enhancing the guest experience in large and small ways. Universal is probably also thinking that this is a way to take a jab at Shanghai Disneyland and all of the fancy high tech rides they have over at that park.

Usually Disney and Universal use their international parks to test out new ride tech and new tech to enhance the guest experience. If successful these new ideas usually make there way to the domestic parks (ie: Tron Power Run) I would like to see facial recognition make its way to Universal and Disney parks in the United States and hopefully both companies start to implement this advanced tech into the parks in the coming years and completely take away the need for paper tickets.

What do you think of this new technology? Would you like to see Apple or a tech company partner with Disney or Universal and implement Apple Pay and facial recognition into the parks? Let me know in the comments below!