Universal Studios Hollywood’s Annual “Christmas in Spring” Philanthropy Event Brings Heartfelt Holiday Cheer to 1,000 M.E.N.D. Low Income Families with the Help of Hundreds of Employee Volunteers, Saturday, May 6, from Noon to 2 p.m.

Universal Studios Hollywood’s “Christmas in Spring” Philanthropy Event Brings Holiday Cheer to M.E.N.D. Families on Saturday, May 6

Universal City, Calif.  Universal Studios Hollywood celebrates 26 years of giving in partnership with M.E.N.D. (Meet Each Need with Dignity) as part of its annual “Christmas in Spring” philanthropy event, bringing goodwill to low income families, with this year’s event taking place on Saturday, May 6 from Noon to 2 p.m. at 10641 San Fernando Rd, Pacoima, CA 91331.

Since its inception, “Christmas in Spring” has impacted the lives of over 15,000 less fortunate individuals, providing them with the opportunity to enjoy a fun outing during a time of year when the needs of these families are often overlooked.

Philanthropy is a major initiative for Universal Studios Hollywood through its acclaimed Discover A Star Foundation. Founded in 1994, Discover A Star provides grants to deserving organizations whose initiatives help individuals and families to achieve more productive and fulfilling lives.

With hundreds of Universal Studios Hollywood volunteer employees participating, this year’s “Christmas in Spring” event will invite Santa Claus and very merry mischievous Minions from the theme park’s popular “Despicable Me Minion Mayhem” ride to usher in a springtime holiday season. Families supported by M.E.N.D. will enjoy an afternoon of custom prepared food and interactive festivities from carnival games and face painters as well as a live D.J.

A special keepsake family photo memento with the Minions, Dora from “Dora the Explorer,” SpongeBob, Curious George and Santa Claus will add to the special celebration. Children will also be treated to giveaways, including a large plush toy and a book of their choice.

In the spirit of paying it forward, Discover A Star grant recipient, A Window Between Worlds, will provide an arts and crafts station. The non-profit group is dedicated to using art as a healing tool to empower and transform individuals and communities impacted by violence and trauma, while inspiring women and children to recover a sense of renewal and independence through creative expression.

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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. Recent additions 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™, Universal Studios Hollywood’s first outdoor rollercoaster.  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 RideTM.” and the “The Walking Dead” daytime attraction.  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 studio where they can also experience such authentic and immersive thrill rides as “Fast & Furious—Supercharged.” The adjacent Universal CityWalk entertainment, shopping and dining complex also includes the all-new multi-million dollar, completely redesigned Universal CityWalk Cinema, featuring deluxe recliner seating in screening room quality theatres, and the “5 Towers” state-of-the-art outdoor concert stage.

Santa Clarita’s 24th annual Cowboy Festival Evokes Western Days of Yesteryear with Hart; Melody Ranch owners Andre Veluzat and Renaud Veluzat Receive Star on Western Walk of Fame; ‘Rockford Files’ star Bo Hopkins also inducted.

Santa Clarita’s 24th annual Cowboy Festival celebrates the Old West  in Rootin’ Tootin’ style at Hart Park in Newhall.

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Newhall, Calif. – The 24th annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival, presented by Heritage Sierra Medical Group, featured a colorful
line-up of performances.  Hundreds of guests enjoyed numerous activities, delicious food and authentic cowboy merchandise, taking visitors back to the time of life on the Western frontier.17834765_10213322945294371_205767616624171399_o

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Attendees were immersed in a world of trick-ropers and gun-slingers.  Native American lodges were set up among the William S. Hart Park trees. Civil War reenactors battled and cowboys camped under the open sky.  Guests panned for gold,18119557_10213322946934412_171256701759595913_n

then hopped on the back of the bucking mechanical bull and tried their hands at archery and much more.

As part of the closing festivities, Western actor Bo Hopkins and Melody Ranch owners Andre Veluzat and Renaud Veluzat were inducted in to the Western Walk of Fame during the star unveiling ceremony in downtown Newhall.

 Photos and post by Margie Anne Clark

From Surreal Worlds to Super Heroes, Groundbreaking New Experiences Premiere During Blockbuster Summer of Fun at Disney Parks

he invitation to check into the Hollywood Tower Hotel is even more urgent now as The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror approaches its final check-out date, Jan. 2, 2017. A special tribute begins Sept. 9 to salute the haunted hotel’s eerie story and exciting adventure at Disney California Adventure Park. During the celebration, guests who arrive after twilight will enjoy “Late Check-Out”–-a chance to venture beyond the fifth dimension into complete darkness.  It’s something guests have never experienced before: free-falling in the attraction’s haunted elevator shaft with all the lights out. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror celebration also includes special musical performances, commemorative merchandise and specialty food and beverage items. Performing at the Hollywood Tower Hotel are the Silver Lake Sisters, characters from the story of this famous hotel who once performed at its rooftop lounge. The sisters make their return to the Hollywood Tower Hotel during Halloween season. Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland

ANAHEIM & LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. and Calif. – Anchored by two amazing new experiences ­– one an alien planet where mountains float and Banshees fly, the other an epic adventure inviting a breathtaking drop into the world of Super Heroes – Disney parks on both coasts are poised to make summer 2017 a season like none other. It all begins May 27, with the debuts ofPandora ­– The World of Avatarat Walt Disney World Resort and Guardians of the Galaxy ­– Mission: BREAKOUT! at the Disneyland Resort.

With a supporting cast of even more new events and great attractions at both resorts, there’s plenty of fun in the sun for Disney Parks guests in California and Florida.

“In the U.S. and around the world, Disney parks are making new magic for our guests,” said Bob Chapek, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “With an irreverent and rockin’ new attraction at Disneyland Resort and an entire never-before-seen world at Walt Disney World Resort opening this May, there are fantastic experiences in store for our guests. Starting this summer they will be able to step into the worlds of their favorite stories and characters like never before.”

Throughout the season, guests at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts will experience the kind of sensational adventures only Disney can create.

At Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, opening May 27: Pandora – The World of Avatar, an all-new land at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, will transport guests to a mystical world of bioluminescent rainforests, floating mountains and soaring banshees. In collaboration with filmmaker James Cameron and Lightstorm Entertainment, Disney is bringing to life the fantasy world of Pandora, inspired by Cameron’s epic film AVATAR. Guests will fly above the jungles of Pandora while riding on a mountain banshee on the thrilling Avatar Flight of Passage. And they’ll board reed boats for Na’vi River Journey, a family-friendly excursion down a rainforest river to see the Na’vi Shaman of Songs.

At Disneyland Resort in California, opening May 27: Outrageous and irreverent characters from the “Guardians of the Galaxy” films, comics and animated series lead guests on a high-energy adventure in Guardians of the Galaxy ­– Mission: BREAKOUT! at Disney California Adventure Park. The chaotic and hilarious adventure combines a breathtaking free-fall sensation with all-new visual and audio effects, plus the attraction’s “awesome mix tape” of music inspired by the films’ soundtracks. Guests will board a gantry lift for multiple, random ride experiences in a pulse-pounding rise and fall as they join Rocket, one of the most unusual heroes a guest will encounter, in a daring plan to free the captive Guardians from The Collector’s Fortress. Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! is the cornerstone of the summertime celebration, Summer of Heroes, where guests will enjoy Super Hero encounters; an awesome dance-off featuring Star-Lord and Gamora; and, for a limited time, a challenging “Avengers Training Initiative” for young recruits.

The two, all-new experiences are just the beginning of the fun at Disney Parks on both coasts this summer:

AT DISNEYLAND RESORT

As Disney California Adventure unveils the sensational new Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! and Summer of Heroes, exciting experiences will be found all across the Disneyland Resort this summer. Specific dates for some will be announced soon.

  • Guests have a chance to be dazzled by the beloved and iconic “Main Street Electrical Parade,” with an extended run through Aug. 20.
  • The spectacular nighttime “Fantasmic!” show re-opens at Disneyland this summer, and the classic Disneyland Railroad and Rivers of America attractions return to delight park guests.
  • Also in Disneyland, Star Wars and Disney fans will step into out-of-this-galaxy adventures at Star Wars Launch Bay, meeting some Star Wars characters and getting an up-close look at replica props and models from “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”
  • Across both parks, guests will meet characters familiar and new – from Moana and Chewbacca to the stars of Summer of Heroes, including Groot, Captain America and Spider-Man. Photos with Groot are sure to be a big hit as he makes his first appearance in a Disney park.
  • “Disney Junior Dance Party” debuts Friday, May 26, at Disney California Adventure, creating a fun concert experience where adults and kids can sing and dance along to the music. Popular Disney Junior characters from Disney Junior TV shows “Doc McStuffins,” “Sofia the First” and “The Lion Guard” will be joined by characters from the new series “Mickey and the Roadster Racers.”

AT WALT DISNEY WORLD RESORT

The stunning world of Pandora headlines a full lineup of new attractions at Walt Disney World Resort.  From theme parks to water parks to resorts to Disney Springs, there’s something new in every corner of this world.

  • A dazzling new after-dark show, Rivers of Light, treats Disney’s Animal Kingdom guests to a celebration of nature in an experience that features water, floats, projections, fire and light choreographed to an original musical score.
  • A new nighttime experience premieres at Disney’s Hollywood Studios May 26. A full orchestra will provide the soundtrack for a 40-minute visual journey into The Music of Pixar LIVE!
  • Additional movie replicas from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story welcome guests to Star Wars Launch Bay at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
  • A new family-friendly raft adventure, Miss Adventure Falls, recently debuted at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon water park.
  • A May 12 opening is set for “Happily Ever After,” the most spectacular fireworks display in the history of the Magic Kingdom.
  • Disney Springs rocks out with more new, food and beverage locations to complete its transition from Downtown Disney.

All of these new experiences add up to a thrilling summer at Disney Parks, with blockbuster excitement awaiting guests at parks on both coasts.

Acclaimed Filmmaker Steven Spielberg, Ron Meyer, Vice Chairman, NBCUniversal, Jordan Peele, Will Packer and Jason Blum, Help Universal CityWalk Inaugurate its All-New State-of-the-Art Universal Cinema

Celebratory Event Invites Movie-Goers to “See Movies Where Movies are Made” as Universal CityWalk Officiates the Grand Opening of Its Multi-Million Dollar Cinema Renovation

Ron Meyer, Vice Chairman, NBCUniversal, and Acclaimed Filmmaker Steven Spielberg, along with Jordan Peele, Will Packer and Jason Blum, Help Universal CityWalk Inaugurate its All-New State-of-the-Art Universal Cinema

Universal City, Cali. – Ron Meyer, Vice Chairman, NBCUniversal; Academy®, Emmy, Golden Globe and BAFTA award-winning filmmaker Steven Spielberg; Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Jordan Peele (Get Out); Emmy Award-nominated filmmaker Will Packer (Straight Outta Compton); Academy Award®-nominated and Emmy Award-winning producer Jason Blum (Get Out); and Karen Irwin, President & COO, Universal Studios Hollywood, celebrated the grand opening of Universal CityWalk’s multi-million dollar AMC Theatre renovation to create an all-new state-of-the-art Universal Cinema

With its proximity to the Universal Studios’ production lot and filming locations for many blockbuster movies, these award-winning filmmakers helped call “action” and shine a spotlight on the Universal Cinema as the place to “see movies where movies are made.”

“The new Universal Cinema is a spectacular place to enjoy blockbuster films and we’re thrilled to have such acclaimed filmmakers join us to commemorate the occasion,” said Karen Irwin, President & COO, Universal Studios Hollywood. “As The Entertainment Capital of L.A., we’ve entertained guests for generations, taking them behind-the-scenes of movie-making and placing them in the heart of the action with our incredible attractions, so it’s only fitting that we create the ultimate movie-going experience giving fans access to a movie theatre where they watch films in Hollywood screening rooms the same way filmmakers do.”

Universal Cinema’s top-to-bottom makeover coincides with Universal Studios Hollywood’s ambitious epic transformation to reimagine the world-class entertainment destination.

For film buffs, Universal CityWalk has long been the epicenter for fans seeking an environment that matches the excitement of their favorite blockbuster movies. Delivering modern, high-tech elegance and chic sophistication, the renovation of the split-level movie theatre offers a stylish and inviting place that captures the spirt of the glamourous movie studio—complete with screening room quality theatres and ultra-plush reclining seats.

The Director’s Lounge Cocktail Bar—an all-new upscale and stylish second-level retreat, flanked by the upper level theatres—adds a charismatic new dimension to the space for casual pre- and post- movie-going fun.  Beverages served at the lounge can also be taken into the second level theatres.

Each redesigned theatre has been fully upgraded with the most technologically advanced sight and sound achievements. The Universal Cinema represents the first multiplex in the United States to incorporate Christie laser projection, Christie Vive audio sound system and Dolby ATMOS with recliner seating to deliver maximum-impact movie presentations in 18 auditoriums. The installation of new state-of-the art screens, perforated to enable 360 degree audio, complement the overall enhancements.

The recent upgrade to the IMAX theatre features IMAX’s next-generation 4K laser projection and 12-channel sound systems designed to enhance the entire movie-going experience and provide an audience with sharper, brighter, clearer and more vivid digital images than ever.

A departure from traditional movie concession stands, the completely redesigned AMC Marketplace offers movie-goers a contemporary grab-n-go, self-service experience, featuring a delectable new take on concession favorites, including specialty popcorn, gourmet foods, real fruit smoothies, café style coffees and a Coca-Cola Freestyle self-service touch screen soda fountain featuring 165 different Coca-Cola drink products. 

A box office and guest services concierge is now located inside the venue, with convenient automated box office kiosks situated adjacent to the venue by the “5 Towers” outdoor concert stage. Additionally, movie-goers can enjoy $5 Movie General Parking with the purchase of a movie ticket. 

Since 1993, CityWalk has boosted the city’s rhythm through a foundation built on providing memorable entertainment experiences.  With a series of dramatic enhancements currently underway from the introduction of new dining experiences such as the recently opened Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, Voodoo Doughnut, and LudoBird, shopping experiences and visually aesthetic design features, CityWalk continues to resonate as one of L.A.’s most influential lifestyle centers.

More information on CityWalk is available at www.CityWalkHollywood.com. Regular updates can also be found on CityWalk’s Twitter @CityWalkLA, Facebook-Universal CityWalk Hollywood and Instagram @CityWalkLA.

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. Recent additions include “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter TM” which features a bustling Hogsmeade village and such critically-acclaimed rides as “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” and Flight of the Hippogriff™, Universal Studios Hollywood’s first outdoor rollercoaster, as well the all-new “The Walking Dead” daytime attraction.  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 RideTM”. The world-renowned Studio Tour is Universal Studios Hollywood’s flagship attraction, inviting guests behind-the-scenes of the world’s biggest and busiest movie and television studio where they can also experience such authentic and immersive thrill rides as “Fast & Furious—Supercharged.”  The destination also features the Universal CityWalk entertainment, shopping and dining complex, including the Universal CityWalk Cinemas and the “5 Towers” state-of-the-art outdoor concert venue.

The Fate of the Furious Races onto the Scene at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal CityWalk as the Destination Becomes Headquarters for Universal Pictures Blockbuster Movie

See the No. 1 Film in the World at the All-New Universal Cinema, Check out Original Prop Cars and Wardrobe Displays and Experience the Theme Park’s Mega-Attraction, “Fast & Furious—Supercharged”

Universal City, Calif. Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal CityWalk become headquarters for Universal Pictures’ blockbuster new movie The Fate of the Furious, inviting fans to see the No. 1 film in the world at the all-new Universal Cinema, get up close and personal with original prop cars and costume displays and cap off the experience aboard the theme park’s exciting thrill ride, The Fast & Furious—Supercharged, which features stars from the original film series.

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As the one-stop destination for all things Fast & Furious, Universal CityWalk’s new state-of-the art Universal Cinema offers movie buffs the best seat in the house, where they can kick back on ultra-plush recliner seats in Hollywood screening-room quality theatres to watch their favorite characters reunite on the silver screen.

The turbo-charged takeover also provides guests with an exclusive look at the high-speed vehicles from the new movie on display both at Universal CityWalk and Universal Studios Hollywood.  This includes “Dom” Toretto’s (Vin Diesel) 1970 Dodge Charger, which has been souped-up to an Ice Charger with a 707 horsepower, 6.2 liter V8 engine to enable the vehicle to zip along snow and ice terrains in the new film. Other cars on display include the International MXT driven by Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), Hobb’s Dodge Ram, Roman Pearce’s (Tyrese Gibson) 2004 Bentley GT and the Ripsaw driven by Tej (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges).

Authentic wardrobe worn by Dom and Hobbs will also be prominently featured within the lobby of the new Universal Cinema.

Universal Studios Hollywood also invites guests on an electrifying thrill ride aboard it’s all-original “Fast & Furious—Supercharged” mega-attraction. The Studio Tour’s grand finale ride features characters made famous by Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson and Luke Evans and catapults guests into the high-stakes underground world of fast cars in a harrowing escapade – at perceived speeds in excess of 120 miles per hour – to save one of their own from an international crime cartel.

For more information and to purchase tickets to The Fate of the Furious, visit www.CityWalkHollywood.com. Additionally, movie-goers can enjoy $5 Movie General Parking with the purchase of a movie ticket. 

Visiting guests can get a supercharged look at the new The Fate of the Furious displays within Universal Plaza, located in the heart of the theme park, now through Friday, April 28, and just outside Universal Cinema until Sunday, April 23.

More information about Universal CityWalk is available at www.CityWalkHollywood.com. Regular updates also can be found on CityWalk’s Twitter @CityWalkLA, Facebook page Universal CityWalk Hollywood and Instagram @CityWalkLA. Join the conversation online using #FastFuriousRide, and for the latest news, ‘like’ Universal Studios Hollywood on Facebook and follow at @UniStudios on Instagram and Twitter.

About The Fate of the Furious
On the heels of 2015’s Furious 7, one of the fastest movies to reach $1 billion worldwide and the sixth-biggest global title in box-office history, comes the newest chapter in one of the most popular and enduring motion-picture serials of all time: The Fate of the Furious.

Now that Dom and Letty are on their honeymoon and Brian and Mia have retired from the game—and the rest of the crew has been exonerated—the globetrotting team has found a semblance of a normal life.  But when a mysterious woman (Oscar® winner Charlize Theron) seduces Dom into the world of crime he can’t seem to escape and a betrayal of those closest to him, they will face trials that will test them as never before.   

From the shores of Cuba and the streets of New York City to the icy plains off the arctic Barents Sea, our elite force will crisscross the globe to stop an anarchist from unleashing chaos on the world’s stage…and to bring home the man who made them a family.

For The Fate of the Furious, Vin Diesel is joined by a returning all-star cast that includes Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel, Elsa Pataky and Kurt Russell.  In addition to Theron, the series welcomes newcomers Scott Eastwood and Oscar® winner Helen Mirren.  The film is directed by F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton) and produced by returning producers Neal H. Moritz, Michael Fottrell and Diesel.  www.fastandfurious.com 

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. Recent additions 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™,” Universal Studios Hollywood’s first outdoor rollercoaster.  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 the “The Walking Dead” daytime attraction.  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 studio where they can also experience such authentic and immersive thrill rides as “Fast & Furious—Supercharged.” The adjacent Universal CityWalk entertainment, shopping and dining complex also includes the all-new multi-million dollar, completely redesigned Universal CityWalk Cinema, featuring deluxe recliner seating in screening room quality theatres, and the “5 Towers” state-of-the-art outdoor concert stage.