All posts by Los Angeles Life and Style

Los Angeles based writer, Margie Anne Clark covers the entertainment world in Hollywood, Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, the Santa Clarita Valley and surrounding entertainment venues in Southern California.

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance opens to thousands of fans on Friday, Jan. 17, 2020 at Disneyland. Immersive adventures available to guests inside Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

The groundbreaking new Disney attraction Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is now open at Disneyland Park in California, adding to the immersive adventures available to guests inside Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

Anaheim, Calif. – Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance opened Friday as Thousands of fans lined up as early as midnight for the opening day of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, the new trackless dark ride at Disneyland Resort, the Anaheim theme park. All of the boarding group passes for the entire day were distributed within six minutes, according to Disneyland Guest Relations. The day set a new standard for what a Disney theme park experience can be, with guests becoming heroes of the Resistance in a climactic battle with the First Order.

Groundbreaking attraction is another jaw-dropping way for guests to live their own Star Wars adventures in the award-winning new land

As the largest single-themed land expansion in Disney history, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is already proving wildly popular by inviting guests to live their own Star Wars adventures in a galaxy far, far away. They join a climactic battle between the Resistance and the First Order in Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and take control of the most famous ship in the galaxy aboard Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. And while exploring this expansive new 14-acre land, they can sample galactic food and drink, enter an intriguing collection of merchant shops and encounter some of their favorite Star Wars characters, including the resourceful and loyal astromech droid R2-D2.

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is epic, immersive storytelling on a massive scale—and our Imagineers have created an attraction that sets a new bar for theme park experiences,” said Bob Chapek, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance puts guests at the heart of their very own Star Wars adventure, and is the most advanced, action-packed attraction Disney has ever created.”

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which also appears at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, has been recognized by several prestigious organizations for excellence in design and execution:

  • Academy Award-winning® composer John Williams was nominated for a Grammy by The Recording Academy in the Best Instrumental Composition category for “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Symphonic Suite.”
  • Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge was named to TIME’s list of World’s Greatest Places 2019, recognizing destinations that are breaking new ground and leading industry trends.
  • The land earned two Thea Awards from the Themed Entertainment Association. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge won Outstanding Achievement – New Park Land, and Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run won Outstanding Achievement – Attraction.
  • The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions honored the land with three Brass Rings during its annual awards gala in November. Savi’s Workshop won for Best Hard Good Item; Droid Depot won for Best Visual Merchandising; and the lovable Porg won for Best Plush Item.
  • The Toy Association nominated the buildable droids in Droid Depot for 2020 Creative Toy of the Year.

These accolades speak to an entirely new kind of Disney experience happening every day inside Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. And now the next grand chapter in this story is about to unfold with the debut of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.

Welcome to the Edge of Wild Space: Black Spire Outpost on Batuu

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge builds off decades of collaboration between Walt Disney Imagineering and Lucasfilm Ltd., a global leader in film, television and digital entertainment production, including the Star Wars franchise. The work on Star Wars between these two creative powerhouses dates back to 1987, when the original Star Tours attraction opened at Disneyland.

They came together once again for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, transporting guests to the remote planet Batuu, a new location in a story that began in 1977 with the first Star Wars film. It is a far-flung destination along the galaxy’s Outer Rim, on the frontier of Wild Space – the uncharted region beyond all known star systems. The planet is home to Black Spire Outpost, an infamous port for smugglers, traders and adventurers wishing to avoid any unnecessary … entanglements with the First Order.

When guests arrive on Batuu, they come across aliens, droids and other inhabitants of this planet as they search for rare and unique goods, discover unusual food and drink, or join a crew seeking adventures. Along the way, guests may encounter some familiar faces, including Rey, Chewbacca or even Supreme Leader Kylo Ren and his Stormtroopers.

Star Wars Adventures Come to Life in Two Thrilling Attractions

For more than four decades, fans of Star Wars films have imagined what it would be like to race through the halls of a Star Destroyer or blast across the stars inside the Millennium FalconStar Wars: Galaxy’s Edge features two signature attractions that turn those dreams into reality.

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance brings guests into the middle of a climactic battle between the First Order and the Resistance, including a faceoff with Kylo Ren. The journey takes guests aboard a full-size transport shuttle and then into a nearby Star Destroyer on a thrilling adventure that blurs the lines between fantasy and reality. One of the most immersive, ambitious and technologically advanced experiences in Disney history, the attraction uses multiple ride systems working together to create a seamless story on a cinematic scale. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance opened Jan. 17, 2020, at Disneyland Park in California, and opened in December 2019 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida. A virtual queue* for the new attraction is available at Disneyland Park. Guests must be inside Disneyland Park with their tickets scanned to obtain a boarding group in the virtual queue. Guests can learn more about the virtual queue at Disneyland.com.

In Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, guests climb into the cockpit of “the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy” for their own Star Wars adventures. They take the controls of the Falcon in one of three unique and critical roles as the ship hurtles through space. Some are pilots, some gunners and some engineers, creating multiple ways for guests to engage with the attraction in an experience that responds in real time to the actions they take.

A Diverse Menu of Food and Beverages Await

What does Blue Milk or Green Milk actually taste like? That question and more is answered when guests visit Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and experience the new land’s expansive array of food and beverages. Vendors offer various local favorites such as an Outpost Mix of flavored popped grains from Kat Saka’s Kettle, a unique popcorn snack with a combination of sweet, savory and spicy flavors.

At Oga’s Cantina,** even the blaster-bolt scorches on the walls tell a story. Here, guests gather to share their tales from around the galaxy as they enjoy exotic beverages served in unique vessels and listen to spirited musical entertainment provided by DJ R-3X, otherwise known as Rex, the former Starspeeder 3000 pilot droid from the original Star Tours. Rex re-invents himself as the cantina’s DJ, and he’s as quirky and talkative as ever.

A multi-purpose transport shuttle docked on top of a large hangar beckons guests into Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo, a designated location for traveling food shuttles. Chef Strono “Cookie” Tuggs is in much demand for his culinary skills, so he moves from site to site in a modified Sienar-Chall Utilipede-Transport that becomes a mobile kitchen and restaurant. His travels across the galaxy allow him to fill his pantry with exotic ingredients he uses to make new and unusual dishes. He is proud to present Tuggs’ Grub, a “traveling diner for diners traveling,” inspired by dishes he created during his time working for Maz Kanata on Takodana.

Elsewhere, Ronto Roasters draws attention with its large podracing engine firing up a barbecue pit for mouth-watering Ronto Wraps. When hungry customers queue up to order, they encounter a former smelter droid, carefully turning the spit of meats. Guests can also choose from a variety of exotic non-alcoholic drinks like the Sour Sarlacc or Tatooine Sunset.

The Milk Stand offers two local favorites – Blue Milk and Green Milk. Blue Milk was first seen in “Star Wars: A New Hope” when Luke Skywalker sat down for a family meal. Green Milk was introduced in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” when Luke lived on the planet Ahch-To. Now, thirsty guests can order these colorful frozen drinks as they live their own Star Wars adventures.

Take a Piece of the Star Wars Galaxy Home

In Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge guests encounter a robust collection of merchant shops and stalls filled with authentic Star Wars creations.

The Droid Depot** invites guests to construct their own astromech droids. Patrons pick pieces off a conveyor belt to build one of two core models (R-series or BB-series) and they can customize their droids with various parts and colors. These droids interact with elements throughout the land, enhancing guests’ adventures. Additional accessories can be added to further customize these new friends. The Droid Depot also offers pre-built droids, droid-inspired toys and apparel, and more.

At Savi’s Workshop – Handbuilt Lightsabers,*** guests have the opportunity to craft and customize their very own lightsabers. In this mystical experience, guests feel the Force as they build these elegant weapons from a more civilized age.

Inside Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities, guests find a selection of rare and mysterious items for sale, representing different eras of the Star Wars galaxy including holocrons, ancient Jedi and Sith artifacts, lightsabers and more. As they explore the nooks and crannies of the shop, guests also see Dok-Ondar at his desk as the large Ithorian checks his inventory and barks the occasional order at his assistants.

In addition to these special experiences, the Black Spire Outpost marketplace features the Creature Stall dedicated to the plethora of rare and fascinating creatures that populate the galaxy, as well as Black Spire Outfitters, showcasing the latest in galactically trendy apparel and accessories. The Toydarian Toymaker stall is full of toys and games crafted by a Toydarian (the flying alien species first seen in “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace”). And all tourists visiting Batuu will want to make a stop at Jewels of Bith, offering “trinkets to treasure” and other accessories.

Guests can also demonstrate where their loyalties lie with the gear and accessories they purchase within the land. Resistance Supply is a “makeshift” location at the Resistance encampment, selling pins, badges, hats and other accessories to help guests feel like part of the cause. First Order Cargo, meanwhile, is a temporary First Order storage dock easily identified by a never-before-seen First Order TIE echelon ship. The cargo location offers guests a chance to pledge their loyalty by purchasing pins, caps, gear, model ships and more.

Play Disney Parks Mobile App Deepens Guest Engagement with the LandϮ

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is the first land within a Disney park designed to integrate with the Play Disney Parks mobile app. The app debuted in 2018 and offers interactive adventures and experiences that bring surrounding environments to life at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort.

When guests choose to use the Play Disney Parks app in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, they will be able to transform it into their very own Star Wars: Datapad. Using the app provides new opportunities for guests to engage with the land, such as translating a galactic language or learning what’s hidden inside crates and containers.

In addition, guests can use the Play Disney Parks app to interact with elements in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, including droids, blinking door panels and antenna arrays. Throughout the day, guests may participate in a multiplayer game throughout the land, “Outpost Control,” to support either the Resistance or the First Order.

Iconic Musical Score for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

Music has been an integral part of Star Wars from the moment the iconic themes of Academy Award-winning® composer John Williams first introduced fans to this galaxy. The music for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge continues that tradition with a suite of all-new Williams-composed themes written especially for the land and its attractions. Along with a collection of original cantina songs created by composers and songwriters from around the globe, this new music will deepen guests’ connection to the land as Williams complements and builds upon the fanfares he created for the Star Wars films.

For more information about Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, visit DisneylandNews.comWDWNews.comDisneyParksBlog.com and StarWars.com.

* Admission into Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is subject to capacity and joining the virtual queue does not guarantee entrance to the attraction. Visit Disneyland.com for more information.

** Reservations for Droid Depot can be made in advance at Disneyland.com or through the Disneyland mobile app. A valid accepted credit card number is required at the time of booking, and guests will need to check availability. Droid Depot may also accommodate walk-ins each day, subject to availability. Separate Disneyland Park admission is required.

*** Oga’s Cantina and Savi’s Workshop now offer advance reservations, which are highly recommended. Additional reservations will be made available each day at 7:00am PST for visits that day, subject to availability.  Guests will need to check availability and make reservations online at Disneyland.com/Cantina orDisneyland.com/SavisWorkshop or through the Disneyland mobile app. Separate Disneyland Park admission is required.

Ϯ Message, data and roaming rates may apply. Availability subject to handset limitations and device settings, and features may vary by handset, service provider or otherwise. Coverage and app stores not available everywhere. If you’re under 18, get your parents’ permission first. Some features require separate theme park admission. Some experiences require in-app purchases.

About the Disneyland Resort
The Disneyland Resort features two spectacular theme parks – Disneyland (the original Disney theme park) and Disney California Adventure Park – plus three hotels and the Downtown Disney District, comprising unique dining, entertainment and shopping experiences. The Resort’s hotels are the luxurious, 948-room Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, which also features 50 two-bedroom equivalent Disney Vacation Club units; the magical, 973-room Disneyland Hotel – both AAA Four Diamond properties – and the 481-room Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel with its “day-at-the-beach” theme. For information on attractions and vacations at the Disneyland Resort, visit Disneyland.com, call (866) 43-DISNEY or contact local travel agents. Located in Anaheim, Calif., the Disneyland Resort opened July 17, 1955. Open daily, year-round.

In one of the most immersive, ambitious and technologically advanced attractions ever created for a Disney park, guests launch into space aboard a transport shuttle, only to be captured by a Star Destroyer and pursued by Supreme Leader Kylo Ren as they frantically search for a way to escape the clutches of the First Order.

As the largest single-themed land expansion in Disney history, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is proving wildly popular as guests live their own Star Wars adventures in a galaxy far, far away. They join a climactic battle between the Resistance and the First Order in Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and take control of the most famous ship in the galaxy aboardMillennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. While exploring this expansive new land, they can also sample galactic food and drink, enter an intriguing collection of merchant shops and encounter some of their favorite Star Warscharacters, including the resourceful and loyal astromech droid R2-D2.

Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival Returns to William S. Hart Park April 18 and 19

Santa Clarita, Calif. – The City of Santa Clarita’s Cowboy Festivalpresented by California Resources Corporation, is set to return for its 27th year and will take place on April 18 and 19, 2020. William S. Hart Park will once again host the most entertaining festival in the West!

The sights, sounds and swagger of Cowboy life will be on display all weekend and general admission tickets to the main festival at Hart Park are FREE for all visitors.

These special ticketed events include the Californio Fiesta De Rancho Camulos, a concert featuring seven-time Western Music Association “Entertainer of the Year” Dave Stamey and the Cowboy Dance with Syd Masters and the Swingers. Featured events also include the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Tour, featuring a shuttle that will provide tours of famous filming locations from the movie; a concert by Garth Guy, The Ultimate Tribute to Garth Brooks; and a Historical Bus Tour of the Santa Clarita Valley.

The main festival at William S. Hart Park will feature performances across five festival stages, as well as living history entertainers, food vendors, Western gear shopping and activities for all ages. Back by popular demand is the Chili Cook-Off, presented in partnership with Bridge to Home, which will delight taste buds and prove which chef’s recipe rules the West on Saturday, April 18.

Additionally, there will be a limited number of $100 VIP packages available. Each package includes special access to the festival at William S. Hart Park event area, including a VIP shuttle service to and from the festival and weekend admission to the VIP Cantina area, which will provide food and beverages.

The 2020 Cowboy Festival will feature favorite performers from festivals past, including Dave Stamey, New West, Gary Allegretto and Kristyn Harris, as well as a slew of rockin’ newcomers, including Ben Bostick, Alice Wallace, The Shootouts and more.

Leading up to the Cowboy Festival, the Walk of Western Stars will unveil its 2020 inductees on Thursday, April 16. This event will commemorate the inductees’ contributions to Western entertainment history by immortalizing their names in bronze and terrazzo tile, stamped into the streets of Old Town Newhall. There will also be an induction ceremony with a limited number of tickets that will include dinner and presentations.

The City of Santa Clarita is also looking for volunteers to staff the Cowboy Festival and is currently recruiting for festival greeters, activity helpers, ushers and more. To learn more about volunteering at the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival, please contact Volunteer Engagement Program Supervisor Tess Simgen at (661) 250-3726.

Details and ticket information for special events taking place as part of the Cowboy Festival will be made available in early February. To learn more about the 2020 Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival, please visit CowboyFestival.org.


To stay updated on the 2020 Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival, “like” the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival on Facebook or follow @CowboyFestSC on Twitter:

Universal Studios Hollywood Celebrates Lunar New Year and the “Year of the Rat,” Jan. 23 – Feb. 9, 2020.

Universal Studios Hollywood Celebrates Lunar New Year and the “Year of the Rat, Featuring Po, Tigress and Mr. Ping from the “Kung Fu Panda Adventure” Attraction, a Mandarin-speaking MEGATRON from “Transformers: The Ride-3D” and Hello Kitty and Illumination’s Minions, Adorned in Custom-Designed Lunar New Year Attire, from January 23 – February 9. Lunar New Year is Included in the Price of Admission to Universal Studios Hollywood

Click Here for a Sneak Peek at the Annual Celebration

Universal City, CA, January 9, 2020 — Universal Studios Hollywood ushers in the “Year of the Rat,” the first of the Chinese zodiac animals, as the theme park celebrates with the Lunar New Year event from Thursday, January 23 through Sunday, February 9. Lunar New Year is included in the price of admission to the theme park.

This spectacular themed Lunar New Year event will take place within Universal Plaza, located at the heart of the theme park. Under a curtain of traditional red Chinese lanterns and stunning plum blossom Wishing Trees, the festivities will come to life as guests discover the 12 zodiac animal signs accompanied by their symbolic attributes. Guests with birthday years that correspond with the “Year of the Rat” are said to be intelligent, witty and charming.

The immersive event will feature Po and Tigress from the thrilling “Kung Fu Panda Adventure” attraction who will greet guests and pose for engaging photos; Mr. Ping’s Noodle Shop returns by popular demand to serve up delicious culture-themed food, and Mr. Ping himself will be on hand to interact with guests and take memorable souvenir photos. Guests can learn how to draw Po and take home the drawing as a keepsake memento and, on select days, community cultural performances featuring traditional lion dances will round out the program.

Beloved global pop icon Hello Kitty, created by the lifestyle brand Sanrio, further complements this year’s Lunar New Year celebration when she steps out in style wearing her signature red bow and specially designed Lunar New Year attire. Hello Kitty will be available to meet guests at the Hello Kitty Shop located within the Animation Studio Store.

Keeping with Universal Studios Hollywood’s Lunar New Year tradition, MEGATRON from the TRANSFORMERS franchise will be speaking Mandarin while interacting with guests at the entry of the festivities. The imposing robot leader of the DECEPTICONS will engage attendees in real-time conversation reflective of his persona and will be sure to entertain TRANSFORMERS fans visiting the park.  MEGATRON is one of the stars of Universal Studios Hollywood’s thrill ride, “Transformers™: The Ride-3D.”

Illumination Entertainment’s Minions from the theme park’s popular Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride will add to the festivities, entertaining guests in their brightly colored traditional Lunar New Year attire.

The world-famous Studio Tour is available in Mandarin at select times throughout the day. Featuring expertly-trained Mandarin-speaking tour guides, the experience provides insight into the world of movie-making magic as guests enjoy behind-the-scenes access to one of the largest production studios in the world. In-language park maps are also available for guests.

Guests can continue their Lunar New Year celebration at Universal CityWalk’s Dongpo Kitchen restaurant which features upscale and modern Sichuan cuisine. Inspired by China’s premier restaurant Meizhou Dongpo, Dongpo Kitchen offers the comforts of a casual dining environment with both indoor and al fresco seating and caters to an eclectic palate with a variety of signature dishes.

More information is available at www.UniversalStudiosHollywood.com. Mandarin-speaking guests can learn more about the Lunar New Year event at www.ush.cn.  Information is also available on FacebookInstagramTwitterYouTube and Weibo @好莱坞环球影城.

About Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood is The Entertainment Capital of L.A. and includes a full-day, movie-based theme park and Studio Tour. As a leading global entertainment destination, Universal Studios Hollywood delivers highly themed immersive lands that translate to real-life interpretations of iconic movie and television shows. Attractions include “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™” which features a bustling Hogsmeade village and such critically-acclaimed rides as “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” and “Flight of the Hippogriff™”, and the new mega attraction “Jurassic World—The Ride.” Other immersive lands include “Despicable Me Minion Mayhem” and “Super Silly Fun Land” as well as “Springfield,” hometown of America’s favorite TV family, located adjacent to the award-winning “The Simpsons Ride™” and DreamWorks Theatre featuring “Kung Fu Panda Adventure.”  The world-renowned Studio Tour is Universal Studios Hollywood’s signature attraction, inviting guests behind-the-scenes of the world’s biggest and busiest movie and television production studio where they can also experience such thrill rides as “Fast & Furious—Supercharged” and “King Kong 360 3D.” The adjacent Universal CityWalk entertainment, shopping and dining complex also includes the all-new multi-million dollar, redesigned Universal CityWalk Cinema, featuring deluxe recliner seating in screening room quality theatres, and the “5 Towers” state-of-the-art outdoor concert stage.

The City of Santa Clarita announces “You’re The Best,” talent contest, debuting at the Main in Newhall on January 23, 2020. Community members of all ages invited to participate.

Monthly Talent Show to Feature Chaos, Quirkiness and More at The MAIN. Take Part in New Community Talent Competition to Show Why “You’re the Best”.

Santa Clarita, Calif. – Come one, come all to a new monthly community talent show at The MAIN in Old Town Newhall! The City of Santa Clarita is seeking community members of all ages to participate in a new talent contest called “You’re The Best,” which will make its debut on Thursday, January 23, 2020, at 7:00 p.m. 

The show is an outrageous and ridiculous evening of entertainment, fun and mayhem. Audiences will be encouraged to let their hair down, not take themselves or others too seriously, throw inhibitions out the door and expect the unexpected. 

The City of Santa Clarita announces “You’re The Best,” talent contest, debuting at the Main in Newhall on January 23, 2020. Community members of all ages invited to participate.

The City is looking for people who sing, dance, act, play music, do martial arts, have an animal act or want to showcase their unique skill. Each month, the winner of “You’re The Best” will receive a $50 gift card, and winners from each month will have the chance to win $500 in the grand finale in late 2020.

The competition is open to all ages and levels of experience. Finding inspiration from old school television variety shows, such as “The Gong Show,” “You’re the Best,” performances will include comedians, dance groups, magicians, animal acts, singers and more! 

“You’re The Best” will take place on the fourth Thursday of each month from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at The MAIN (24266 Main Street, Santa Clarita, CA 91321).

For more information on the contest, or to sign-up to perform, please visit AtTheMain.org.

Universal Studios Hollywood and Bravo Team for the First-Ever Bravo’s Top Chef Food & Wine Festival on March 19-20, 2020.

Universal Studios Hollywood and Bravo Team for the First-Ever Bravo’s Top Chef Food & Wine Festival on March 19-20, 2020 Coinciding with the “Top Chef” Season 17 Premiere, Inaugural Event Invites Guests to Sample Dishes and Enjoy Cooking Competitions with Series’ Alums To Learn More and To Purchase Tickets, Visit The Website Here

Click Here for a Taste of the Bravo’s Top Chef Food & Wine Festival

Universal Studios Hollywood – Universal Studios Hollywood and Bravo team up for the first-ever Bravo’s Top Chef Food & Wine Festival on March 19-20, 2020, inviting guests on a culinary excursion featuring an all-inclusive eclectic menu inspired by the series, live challenges, food & wine pairings and panels with “Top Chef” Alums.

The two-day, separately-ticketed event will take place at Universal Studios Hollywood and feature dozens of food, wine, craft beer and spirit stations with a delicious array of dishes inspired by the Cheftestants’ creations over the years. Guests also will have a chance to watch “Top Chef” veterans battle it out in a series of live cooking competitions and enjoy panels with fan favorites from the series.

In addition to a general admission ticket to the event, guests can also purchase a premium VIP ticket option, inviting them to experience several first-class opportunities including an exclusive tasting and wine pairing hosted by a “Top Chef” Alum, intimate meet and greets with the Cheftestants, early access to the theme park, complimentary parking and a special commemorative gift.

The inaugural Bravo’s Top Chef Food & Wine Festival coincides with the Season 17 premiere of “Top Chef” returning Thursday, March 19 on Bravo with All Stars LA, featuring the fiercest group of competitors the show has seen with 15 finalists, front runners and fan favorites from seasons past who have all returned to finish what they started and battle it out for the coveted title.  

“We are thrilled to partner with Bravo’s ‘Top Chef’ to introduce this exclusive Food & Wine Festival,” said Karen Irwin, President & COO, Universal Studios Hollywood. “As an industry leader, we take as much pride in our culinary offerings as we do with our innovative rides and we’re excited that our Executive Chef will have the opportunity to collaborate with these acclaimed ‘Top Chef’ Alums to create this unique food and wine event, and we look forward to toasting the occasion with our guests.”

            “Bravo’s Top Chef Food & Wine Festival will give guests an opportunity to interact with their beloved chefs and try the culinary feast firsthand while also giving them a glimpse at the pressure the competitors face in the kitchen with the Quickfire Challenges,” said Ellen Stone, Executive Vice President, Marketing, Lifestyle Networks, NBCUniversal.  “Partnering with Universal Studios Hollywood is a natural extension of our brand and offers our incredibly engaged fans of Bravo’s ‘Top Chef’ a unique chance to taste and experience a piece of the hit culinary competition series.”  

            To learn more and to purchase tickets, visit here.  More information is available at www.UniversalStudiosHollywood.com. Like Universal Studios Hollywood on Facebook and follow @UniStudios on Instagram and Twitter.

About Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood is The Entertainment Capital of L.A. and includes a full-day, movie-based theme park and Studio Tour. As a leading global entertainment destination, Universal Studios Hollywood delivers highly themed immersive lands that translate to real-life interpretations of iconic movie and television shows. Attractions include “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™” which features a bustling Hogsmeade village and such critically-acclaimed rides as “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” and “Flight of the Hippogriff™”, and the new mega attraction “Jurassic World—The Ride.” Other immersive lands include “Despicable Me Minion Mayhem” and “Super Silly Fun Land” as well as “Springfield,” hometown of America’s favorite TV family, located adjacent to the award-winning “The Simpsons Ride™” and DreamWorks Theatre featuring “Kung Fu Panda Adventure.”  The world-renowned Studio Tour is Universal Studios Hollywood’s signature attraction, inviting guests behind-the-scenes of the world’s biggest and busiest movie and television production studio where they can also experience such thrill rides as “Fast & Furious—Supercharged” and “King Kong 360 3D.” The adjacent Universal CityWalk entertainment, shopping and dining complex also includes the all-new multi-million dollar, redesigned Universal CityWalk Cinema, featuring deluxe recliner seating in screening room quality theatres, and the “5 Towers” state-of-the-art outdoor concert stage.

Six Flags Magic Mountain Shines During 2019 Annual HOLIDAY IN THE PARK.

Santa Clarita, Calif. – Six Flags Magic Mountain, the “Thrill Capital of the World,” lights up the season even brighter this year during its annual holiday extravaganza, Holiday in the Park. With more than two million lights and seven uniquely themed areas, the park will transform into a spectacularly lit winter wonderland for guests to enjoy this holiday season. The event will expand to 44 nights— the most ever presented—beginning November 23 through January 5. Holiday in the Park begins each day at 5 p.m., signaled by the first falling snow of the evening.

In addition, Six Flags Magic Mountain is bringing back the popular holiday themed food festival, Taste of the Holidays, December 14-29. From traditional holiday-inspired culinary delights to surprising and unique taste-bud-tempting, non-traditional treats, guests will find a wide variety of specialty holiday foods that run the gamut between delicious main courses and mouth-watering desserts.

“We are thrilled to once again present this magical, annual holiday event for all to enjoy,” said Park President Neal Thurman. “Now in its sixth year, Holiday in the Park offers many Six Flags holiday traditions our guests over the years have come to love, and for 2019 we are adding more days so that holiday revelers have more opportunities to visit. With well over two million lights, snowfall around the park, exciting holiday entertainment, and many delicious one-of-a-kind seasonal treats, including our Taste of the Holidays Food Festival, we are proud to present our annual winter spectacular.”

Park guests will experience seven innovative, immersive and one-of-a-kind Holiday in the Park themed areas, including:

  • Merry Lane, located in METROPOLIS™ featuring thousands of twinkling lights synchronized to holiday music and magnificent, larger-than-life 30-foot brilliant lit walk through ornaments. To add to the holiday festivities, families can roast marshmallows over a fire pit;
  • Santa’s Cottage is home to the jolly man with the white beard and red suit, along with crafts with Mrs. Claus and her merry elves. Visit Santa in his home next to Bugs Bunny World every Holiday in the Park operating day beginning at 1:00 p.m. until December 24;
  • Take a step back in time in the Gleampunk District: Steampunk Holiday experience. Thousands of lights will illuminate the tree-lined streets and planters of the largest themed area of Holiday in the Park. Guests will be transported into the 19th century with the sights and sounds of the industrial revolution. On the façade of Gearworks Theater, a fantastic journey will take revelers on a video adventure into the inner workings of the Steampunk Candy and Toy Factory. Additionally, guests will want a one-of-a-kind photo in an iconic steampunk sleigh;
  • As guests enter Holiday in the Park, the Six Flags Plaza area will be transformed into Holiday Square with a kaleidoscope of breath-taking color, featuring hundreds of thousands of lights on trees and buildings throughout the area while snowflakes delight guests as they enter this magical scene;
  • Snowy Nights, the live holiday show, will feature contemporary music and themed dancers on the Full Throttle stage;
  • Spiced-up holiday treats, falling snow and larger-than-life toy soldiers will be the focal point in the Winter Wonderland area, beginning on the midway past Viper and extending up through the Mining Town area of the park; and
  • DC UNIVERSE™ comes to life as Rockin’ Universe, featuring three dancing light shows, each customized to contemporary holiday music. As one of the largest programmed light shows on the West coast, each five-minute display will include multiple lighting variations with tens of thousands of lights synchronized to holiday musical favorites.

Holiday in the Park Operating Hours and Days:

10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. – November 23 – 30, December 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21- 29

10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. – December 30, 31, January 1-5

12:00 p.m. to 8 p.m. – December 2-6, 9-13, 16-20

For more information on Six Flags Magic Mountain’s Holiday in the Park, visit our website at www.sixflags.com/magicmountain

Six Flags Magic Mountain 2020 Season Passes are currently on sale.  For a limited time, get a free upgrade to GOLD with purchase of four or more Magic Mountain Season Pass. GOLD Passes include admission to Hurricane Harbor (Los Angeles and Phoenix), as well as any other Six Flags branded theme park, plus free parking, special admission offers for friends, and many food and retail discounts. Additional Season Pass perks include park admission to Fright Fest®, Holiday in the Park®.  Season Pass are valid now through all of 2020 with no blackout dates. 

Six Flags Membership program offers guests a wide range of our most valuable benefits including preferred parking every visit, unlimited soft drinks, 50% off almost all food and merchandise in the park, and exclusive perks that are only available to Members. Members also receive priority entry, special appreciation days and exclusive ride times on some of their favorite rides and attractions. For more information, visit us online at www.sixflags.com/magicmountain

Members who sign up for Six Flags Membership Rewards, the company’s loyalty program exclusive to Members, earn points for almost everything they do at the park. Points can be redeemed for free food, merchandise, and special experiences.

Season Passes and Memberships can be purchased at the Season Pass and Membership Sales Center or save time and buy online at sixflags.com.

About Six Flags Entertainment Corporation

Six Flags Entertainment Corporation is the world’s largest regional theme park company and the largest operator of waterparks in North America, with $1.5 billion in revenue and 26 parks across the United States, Mexico and Canada. For 58 years, Six Flags has entertained millions of families with world-class coasters, themed rides, thrilling water parks and unique attractions. For more information, visit www.sixflags.com.

Holiday in the Park® is a registered trademark of Six Flags Theme Parks Inc.

Park visit photos by Margie Anne Clark/Los Angeles Life and Style

Universal Studios Hollywood Ushers in 2020 With EVE, Hollywood’s Biggest Party, Featuring Live Music, Dancing, Fireworks and a Night of Thrills on All Rides and Attractions!

EVE is Included in Theme Park Admission or Guests Can Upgrade to the Ultimate EVE Package, Offering Exclusive VIP Lounge Access, Gourmet Buffet Dinner, Private DJ Entertainment, Reserved Fireworks Viewing Area, Preferred Parking and Unlimited Universal Express Access Click Here to Purchase Tickets for EVE or Ultimate EVE Annual Pass Members Can Purchase Tickets Here .

Universal City, California, December 5, 2019 – Universal Studios Hollywood invites guests to ring in 2020 with EVE, Hollywood’s biggest party of the year, on Tuesday, December 31, with extended theme park hours to 2:00 a.m.  EVE is included in the price of theme park admission, or guest can enhance their celebration with the popular Ultimate EVE package.

Guests can visit Universal Studios Hollywood on December 31, 2019 and leave on January 1, 2020 after enjoying a full day and night of fun experiencing the park’s many thrill rides and attractions, including the all-new “Jurassic World—The Ride.”

EVE officially kicks off with a special park-wide celebration at 9:00 p.m., featuring multiple DJs and live music areas, that culminates at midnight with a traditional New Year’s Eve countdown and spectacular fireworks display. Giant, spirited photo op locations add to the festive environment, offering bragging rights to share with friends on social media.

To purchase tickets for EVE or the Ultimate EVE package, guests can click hereAnnual Pass members can also benefit from a variety of special incentives devised especially for these valued ticket holders. To learn more and to purchase tickets, Annual Pass members can click here.

The Ultimate EVE package takes the celebration to a whole new level. Package highlights include theme park admission starting at 6:00 p.m., VIP Lounge access with gourmet buffet dining and cash bars with specialty cocktails, private DJ and dance floor, reserved VIP viewing area for the dazzling fireworks display, a complimentary midnight champagne toast, commemorative 2020 party favors, preferred parking and unlimited Universal Express access to all rides and attractions.

At a glance, EVE begins at 9:00 p.m. with Universal Plaza, Simpsons Plaza located in Springfield™ and an area near “Revenge of the Mummy – The Ride” transformed into three uniquely-themed party areas, featuring a variety of music, from rock ‘n’ roll to electronic dance music to Latin pop, and the celebration will continue with enhanced DJ shows and after-party entertainment until 2:00 a.m.

A selection of food and beverages, including desserts, champagne, beer, wine and cocktails, as well as 2020 memorabilia will be available for purchase.

More information, including special EVE Preferred Hotel Packages, is available at www.UniversalStudiosHollywood.com. Like Universal Studios Hollywood on Facebook and follow @UniStudios on Instagram and Twitter.

With so much to see and do at Universal Studios Hollywood, an Annual Pass makes the perfect holiday gift, providing guests with the opportunity to experience the theme park’s thrills and adventures again and again.  Visit www.UniversalStudiosHollywood.com for more details and to save up to $60 on an Annual Pass when purchased online. Offer valid through March 2, 2020; restrictions apply.

More information is available at www.UniversalStudiosHollywood.com. Like Universal Studios Hollywood on Facebook and follow @UniStudios on Instagram and Twitter. Admission to Universal CityWalk is free.

About Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood is The Entertainment Capital of L.A. and includes a full-day, movie-based theme park and Studio Tour. As a leading global entertainment destination, Universal Studios Hollywood delivers highly themed immersive lands that translate to real-life interpretations of iconic movie and television shows. Attractions include “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™” which features a bustling Hogsmeade village and such critically-acclaimed rides as “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” and “Flight of the Hippogriff™”, and the new mega attraction “Jurassic World—The Ride.” Other immersive lands include “Despicable Me Minion Mayhem” and “Super Silly Fun Land” as well as “Springfield,” hometown of America’s favorite TV family, located adjacent to the award-winning “The Simpsons Ride™” and DreamWorks Theatre featuring “Kung Fu Panda Adventure.”  The world-renowned Studio Tour is Universal Studios Hollywood’s signature attraction, inviting guests behind-the-scenes of the world’s biggest and busiest movie and television production studio where they can also experience such thrill rides as “Fast & Furious—Supercharged” and “King Kong 360 3D.” The adjacent Universal CityWalk entertainment, shopping and dining complex also includes the all-new multi-million dollar, redesigned Universal CityWalk Cinema, featuring deluxe recliner seating in screening room quality theatres, and the “5 Towers” state-of-the-art outdoor concert stage.

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Opens Jan. 17, 2020, in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland Park. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge now open at Disneyland Orland.

Anaheim, Calif. – Orlando, FloridaStar Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opened today, Dec. 5, 2019, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida and will open in Anaheim on Jan. 17, 2020, at Disneyland Park in California, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. The rides will be among the most ambitious, advanced and immersive experiences ever undertaken by Walt Disney Imagineering. The innovative new attraction will take guests aboard a full-size transport shuttle before they are captured by a Star Destroyer and wind up in the middle of a climactic battle between the First Order and the Resistance. The harrowing adventure will blur the lines between fantasy and reality on a scale never seen before in a Disney attraction.

Prior to the Aug. 29 grand opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney Imagineering released additional details about what promises to be one of the most thrilling experiences ever created for a Disney theme park:

  • Guests will join the Resistance and depart from Batuu in a transport ship to meet General Leia Organa at a secret rendezvous point. However, on their way to the hidden base, guests are intercepted and taken prisoner by the First Order as their ship is drawn into the hangar bay of a Star Destroyer. The action then ramps up as guests seek to escape the clutches of Kylo Ren and the First Order.
  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will bring guests face to face with some of their favorite Star Wars characters, including Resistance heroes Rey, Poe and Finn, as well as Kylo Ren and General Hux of the First Order.
  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is one of the largest attractions Disney has ever created. Its massive show building is a world unto itself, housing two full-sized AT-AT walkers and a Star Destroyer hangar bay – complete with a TIE fighter and a garrison of Stormtroopers – plus more thrills and surprises.
  • Walt Disney Imagineering will combine multiple ride systems to tell the story of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. In one sequence, a new simulator experience will give the sensation to guests they are falling from space to crash land on Batuu.
  • During a portion of the experience, guests will race through a Star Destroyer in a trackless ride vehicle featuring an onboard droid that reacts to its surroundings.

Look for more information on Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance in the coming months at WDWNews.comDisneylandNews.com and DisneyParksBlog.com.

The City of Santa Clarita Ranked in the Top Five Percent of Cities in the California State Auditor’s Fiscal Analysis.

Santa Clarita, Calif. – The City of Santa Clarita was ranked in the top five percent of fiscally healthy cities on a new interactive website posted by the California State Auditor that compares the fiscal health of 470 cities based on 10 financial indicators. Santa Clarita received a low-risk designation, and received perfect scores in the categories of liquidity, general fund reserves, and in both pension and other post-employment benefits (OPEB) obligations, receiving a total combined score of 92.77.

“Under the leadership and financial stewardship of our City Council, we pride ourselves on fiscal responsibility, and we continue to maintain a healthy and sustainable budget,” said City Manager Ken Striplin. “This report demonstrates that we have been successful. There is no doubt that the City is in good financial standing and we will continue to do all we can to ensure that it stays that way through our conservative budget practices.”

As part of the State’s high-risk local government agency audit program, the State Auditor aimed to identify cities that could be facing fiscal challenges, by assessing their levels of risks using various financial metrics primarily found in each city’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the Fiscal Year 2016-17. Some of these metrics included cash position/liquidity, debt burden, financial reserves, revenue trends, pension and OPEB obligations, among others.

Using information published by each city, the State Auditor placed high, moderate or low-risk designations on each city with regard to fiscal confidence. The analysis concluded with 18 cities receiving high-risk designations, while 236 cities received moderate and 217 cities received low-risk marks.