Pioneer Oil Refinery, California’s first commercial oil refinery and a Santa Clarita Landmark named a Historic Site by the National Register of Historic Places.

First Successful Oil Refinery in California Undergoing Stabilization Efforts.

Built in the 19th century, the Pioneer Oil Refinery in Newhall played a pivotal role in the early development of the Santa Clarita Valley. As the first successful oil refinery to be built and operated in California, the refinery was recently added as a Historic Site in the National Register of Historic Places and has been listed in the California Register of Historical Resources.

The Pioneer Oil Refinery was built by California Star Oil Works (later Chevron) in 1876 and was used to process oil discovered in Pico Canyon until around 1888 when its use was changed to instead provide water to the oil drilling operation at Pico Number 4 in Mentryville. The first historical recognition for the refinery came in 1930 when the site was recorded as California’s first commercial oil refinery.

In 1975, the site was identified as a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark as well. Chevron donated the Pioneer Oil Refinery site to the City of Santa Clarita in 1997, and since then, the City Council has worked to preserve and restore this one-of-a-kind piece of American history.

The City Council recently approved more than $250,000 to stabilize and restore the structures located on the Pioneer Oil Refinery site. While the site is not currently open to the public, future plans include the creation of an educational park to share the history of the refinery with residents and visitors of all ages.

Residents can view the National Register of Historic Places by visiting To learn more about the Pioneer Oil Refinery, please contact Lance O’Keefe, Recreation and Community Services Manager, at (661) 250-3716.

City of Santa Clarita Press release.

New Year, New Tips for Downtown Disney District at Disneyland Resort: Come Now for Fun Finds; Come Again Soon for Star Wars Trading Post in a New Location.

Anaheim, Calif. – Just in time for your winter shopping adventures, tips for exploring the Downtown Disney District at Disneyland Resort to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Downtown Disney District.

The Star Wars Trading Post, will soon be moving to new spot at the west end of the Downtown Disney District, becoming a destination for all things Star Wars. Walt Disney Imagineers have created a design inspired by a hidden jungle Resistance base, and it even includes Rey’s iconic speeder prominently displayed at the entrance.

From robes and lightsabers to creatures and toys, there’s something unique for every traveler on their galactic journey. The opening assortment will feature merchandise straight from Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge along with classic Star Wars and The Mandalorian, with apparel, accessories, souvenirs, creatures, droids and more. Select items direct from the planet of Batuu also will be available on

This move for Star Wars Trading Post gives you one more reason to visit: WonderGround Gallery will soon re-open! With housewares and headbands, and Spirit Jerseys in an array of colors, WonderGround Gallery has something for the Disney fan’s home and their closet, along with its unique collection of art, gifts and collectibles!  

Stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog for opening dates for both Star Wars Trading Post and WonderGround Gallery.

Until then, you can visit Downtown Disney District every day from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., including the extension along Buena Vista Street and the Disneyland Resort Backlot Premier Shop.

For your winter shopping jaunt, check out these fun finds awaiting you throughout the Downtown Disney District.

  • Disney Parks 2021 collection*: Celebrate 2021 with clothing, accessories and more.
  • Lunar New Year*: Get ready for Year of the Ox with festive clothing and accessories featuring some favorite characters. 
  • Reigning Cats and Dogs*: Show your love for four-legged friends with fetching new clothing and accessories for you and your pet. 
  • “Soul”**: Find your spark with clothing, accessories and toys inspired by Disney and Pixar’s newest film.
  • Disney balloons: These treasured souvenirs are now available at the Buena Vista Street vending cart. UP balloons float on a string now through Jan. 31, 2021, and more themes are on the way, including a balloon to celebrate Lunar New Year.

Another good reason to come now is the launch of Bring Home the Magic, deals at World of DisneyElias & Co., and Disneyland Resort Backlot Premiere ShopLook for the gold shopping bag throughout these stores for seasonal savings. 

For added convenience at World of Disney, try mobile checkout by opening the Disneyland mobile app,*** grab a mobile checkout shopping bag, scan your items in-store, check out and pay in the app, and then show your QR code in the app at a designated exit.

After getting all those steps on your shopping adventure, treat yourself to a snack or a meal to take home. Some dining locations are open for takeout, including Black Tap Craft Burgers & ShakesSalt & StrawJambaWetzel’s Pretzels and Earl of Sandwich, now offering a mouth-watering Beefy Mac & Cheesy sandwich for a limited time. And you’ll definitely want to hit Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen Express, where the good times roll now through Feb. 16 with Mardi Gras beignets sprinkled with festive purple, green and gold – along with their original beignets and gumbo to-go.

As you wrap up your visit, be sure to stop at the art installation honoring “Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman. You have until Feb. 28 to enjoy this stunning tribute to Boseman’s life and legacy, created by artist Nikkolas Smith. It’s on the west side of Downtown Disney District.

You can enjoy “Black Panther” from home, along with other remarkable films and shows in the Celebrate Black Stories Collection on Disney+.

If you haven’t visited the Downtown Disney District lately, be sure to visit to learn important information regarding our health and safety measures.

The classic Snow White themed attraction at Disneyland Park in Anaheim, Calif., has undergone a magical reimagination during the park’s closure.

Anaheim, Calif. – The classic Snow White themed attraction at Disneyland Park in Anaheim, Calif., has undergone a magical reimagination during the park’s closure. Walt Disney Imagineering has been putting the finishing touches on this cherished opening day attraction, which will be ready to welcome guests when the theme parks reopen at a later date. State-of-the-art audio and visual technology will allow guests to discover new surprises as well as enhanced story elements like the dazzling mine scene featuring familiar characters, shimmering lighting effects and jewels all around.

While Disneyland park has been closed, Walt Disney Imagineering has been putting the finishing touches on this cherished attraction, which will be ready to welcome guests when we reopen our theme parks at a later date. While you may recognize some familiar elements in the attraction, you’ll be surprised to discover enhanced story details and all-new scenes. Take a look at the sneak peek below!

Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover to land on Mars, Feb. 18, 2021 in search for signs of ancient microbial life as part of NASA’s quest to explore the past habitability of Mars.

Mars 2020 Perseverance will test technologies to help pave the way for future human exploration of Mars.

Pasadena, Calif. – NASA Science – The Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover will search for signs of ancient microbial life, which will advance NASA’s quest to explore the past habitability of Mars. The rover has a drill to collect core samples of Martian rock and soil, then store them in sealed tubes for pickup by a future mission that would ferry them back to Earth for detailed analysis.

Perseverance will also test technologies to help pave the way for future human exploration of Mars.

Strapped to the rover’s belly for the journey to Mars is a technology demonstration — the Mars Helicopter, Ingenuity, may achieve a “Wright Brothers moment “ by testing the first powered flight on the Red Planet.

Searching for Ancient Life, Gathering Rocks and Soil

There are several ways that the mission helps pave the way for future human expeditions to Mars and demonstrates technologies that may be used in those endeavors. These include testing a method for producing oxygen from the Martian atmosphere, identifying other resources (such as subsurface water), improving landing techniques, and characterizing weather, dust, and other potential environmental conditions that could affect future astronauts living and working on Mars.

A close-up profile photo of Perseverance showing the mast, or neck of the rover, with the head on top which contains the two cameras, that look like eyes.

Key Facts About
NASA’s Mars 2020 Rover

July 30 at 4:50 a.m. PDT (7:50 a.m. EDT)

Feb. 18, 2021

Mission Duration:
At least one Mars year (about 687 Earth days)

Current Phase:
Cruise ›

Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover Science:

Studying Mars’ Habitability, Seeking Signs of Past Microbial Life, Collecting and Caching Samples, and Preparing for Future Human Missions

The Perseverance rover has four science objectives that support the Mars Exploration Program’s science goals:

Looking for Habitability:Identify past environments capable of supporting microbial life.
Seeking Biosignatures:Seek signs of possible past microbial life in those habitable environments, particularly in special rocks known to preserve signs of life over time.
Caching Samples:Collect core rock and “soil” samples and store them on the Martian surface.
Preparing for Humans:Test oxygen production from the Martian atmosphere.

All address key astrobiology questions related to the potential of Mars as a place for life. The first three consider the possibility of past microbial life. Even if Perseverance does not discover any signs of past life, it paves the way for human life on Mars someday.

Mars 2020 Technology: Heritage and Innovation

Technologies for Entry, Descent, and Landing

The mission uses technological innovations already demonstrated successfully, especially for entry, descent, and landing (EDL). Like NASA’s Curiosity rover (, the Mars 2020 spacecraft uses a guided entry, descent, and landing system. The landing system on Mars 2020 mission includes a parachute, descent vehicle, and an approach called a “skycrane maneuver” for lowering the rover on a tether to the surface during the final seconds before landing.

This type of landing system provides the ability to land a very large, heavy rover on the surface of Mars in a more precise landing area than was possible before Curiosity’s landing. Mars 2020 takes things one step further. It adds new entry, descent, and landing (EDL) technologies, such as Terrain-Relative Navigation (TRN). This sophisticated navigation system allows the rover to detect and avoid hazardous terrain by diverting around it during its descent through the Martian atmosphere. A microphone allows engineers to analyze entry, descent, and landing. It might also capture sounds of the rover at work, which would provide engineers with clues about the rover’s health and operations, and would be a treat to hear.

Technologies for Surface Operations

The Perseverance rover design minimizes costs and risks because it is largely based on the engineering design for the previous Curiosity rover. The Perseverance long-range mobility system allows it to travel on the surface of Mars over 3 to 12 miles (5 to 20 kilometers). Improvements on Perseverance include a new, more capable wheel design. And for the first time, the rover carries a drill for coring samples from Martian rocks and soil. It gathers and stores the cores in tubes on the Martian surface, using “depot caching.” Caching demonstrates a new rover capability of gathering, storing, and preserving samples. This could potentially pave the way for future missions to retrieve the samples and ferry them to Earth for intensive laboratory analysis.

Perseverance tests a technology for extracting oxygen from the Martian atmosphere, which is 96% carbon dioxide. This demonstration helps mission planners test ways of using Mars’ natural resources to support human explorers and improve designs for life support, transportation, and other important systems for living and working on Mars. The rover also monitors weather and dust in the Martian atmosphere. Such studies are important for understanding daily and seasonal changes on Mars, and will help future human explorers better predict Martian weather.

First Look at Actor Tom Holland as Peter Parker in WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure Coming to Avengers Campus at Disneyland Resort.

Anaheim, Calif. – When Avengers Campus opens at the Disneyland Resort at a future top secret date, you will see a very familiar face inside the Worldwide Engineering Brigade – or WEB as the kids call it. As we shared before, Tom Holland reprises his role as Peter Parker for WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure.

In the WEB workshop, young engineers specialize in developing innovative technologies to equip and empower a new generation of Super Heroes. This workshop showcases the inventions of Peter Parker and the rest of the WEB Tech team, including their adorable Spider-Bots, which are designed to be robotic sidekicks capable of building anything a Super Hero might need. When Peter’s demonstration goes awry, the Spider-Bots are stuck in a replication loop, creating even more Spider-Bots!

Donning 3D glasses, your mission will be to test-drive the aspiring inventor’s latest invention, the WEB Slinger vehicle, and discover your web-slinging super powers! Through specially designed, innovative technology that recognizes body movements and gestures, you will reach out your hands and sling webs from your wrists, just like Spider-Man. As the WEB Slinger vehicles progress, you will virtually pass through several other Campus addresses, including Pym Test Kitchen, Avengers Headquarters and the Collector’s Fortress, also home to Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! As the mission continues, Spider-Bots will become harder and harder to beat as they continue to multiply.

WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure is just one of the many addresses found inside Avengers Campus, an entirely new land dedicated to discovering, recruiting and training the next generation of heroes at Disney California Adventure park. Keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog for more updates on #AvengersCampus!

Disneyland Resort News Release


LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has named Fernando Garcia as its Executive Vice President, Member Relations and Awards.

Garcia will lead engagement and outreach initiatives for the organization’s worldwide membership of over 10,000 artists, filmmakers and executives, and oversee Academy Awards® processes for submissions, nominations, voting and balloting.  Garcia will also work with the Academy’s Office of Representation, Inclusion and Equity and the Branch Executive Committees on member representation and inclusion efforts, heightening awareness of diverse filmmakers worldwide who meet membership criteria.  He will report to Academy COO Christine Simmons.

“Fernando is an innovative thinker with a deep passion for movies and a true appreciation for the people who make them,” said Simmons.  “He joins the Academy’s leadership at a pivotal time, and we are confident he is just the person to lead our global membership forward and further the Academy’s mission to support, identify and champion talent in our filmmaking community.”

Garcia has over two decades of experience in developing marketing and publicity campaigns for films across a range of special projects and events, domestic and international film festivals, brand partnerships and promotions, publicity stunts, conventions, and film and television awards campaigns.  He most recently served as president of The Fernando Garcia Company, where his clients included Amazon Studios, Disney, NBC, New Regency and Prime Video.  Previously, he served as vice president of special projects & events at Paramount Pictures.  He has worked on a diverse slate of films including “Dreamgirls,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” four films in the “Transformers” franchise, “Iron Man,” “Kung Fu Panda,” the franchise reboot of “Star Trek,” “How to Train Your Dragon,” “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,” “World War Z,” “Nebraska” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.”  He began his career at DreamWorks Pictures on the films “Almost Famous” and “Gladiator,” and helped develop the launch of the “Shrek” film franchise.  Garcia has worked with major marketing and publicity entities all over the world including the United Kingdom, Russia, Hong Kong, China, Brazil, Italy, Mexico and France.  He is a member of the Academy’s Marketing and Public Relations Branch.

Garcia is a graduate of the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts and Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.  He is on the Western Council of the Actors Fund of America and works with Conservation International and the USC Alumni Association.

“I’m so thrilled to be joining the Academy’s leadership team,” said Garcia.  “I look forward to working with them to find new ways of bringing together the incredible individuals who create the films we all love, and to uplifting great filmmaking from all around the world.” 

Garcia starts February 8.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a global community of more than 10,000 of the most accomplished artists, filmmakers and executives working in film. In addition to celebrating and recognizing excellence in filmmaking through the Oscars, the Academy supports a wide range of initiatives to promote the art and science of the movies, including public programming, educational outreach and the upcoming Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.


City of Santa Clarita’s MAIN’s Stage on Screen (SOS) Theatre Fest Goes International.

MAIN’s Stage on Screen (SOS) Theatre Features Eight Weeks of Online Theatre Featuring Plays From Around The World!

Santa Clarita, Calif. – Stage On Screen (SOS) Theatre Fest is back for its International Edition of online theatre! The MAIN welcomes eight-weeks of free virtual productions from around the world, running from January 22 through March 12, 2021, via Zoom.

The festival will present interactive stories, compelling dramas, original one-acts and more every Friday beginning January 22, 2021 

Looking to learn more about the featured international productions? Tune into the “MAINcast Interview” on The MAIN’s Facebook! Curated to take an in-depth look at each weekly featured production, the “MAINcast Interview” is scheduled every Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. on Facebook at, until March 9, 2021, followed by the theatrical performances every Friday. Performances will begin at 7:00 p.m. PST unless otherwise specified to accommodate different time zones.

            To view the full lineup of interviews and performances, please visit For questions about SOS Theatre Fest International, please email Cristeen Shields at

‘WandaVision’ Snack & View: A Flavorful Look Back Through the Decades at Disneyland Park.

Anaheim, Calif. – Grab your popcorn – Walt liked his with extra butter – then sit back, relax and watch the new Disney+ series “WandaVision.” Debuting today, the new show stars Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda and Paul Bettany as Vision—two super-powered beings living idealized lives who begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems. The series, which takes place after the events of “Avengers: Endgame,” is curiously inspired by classic sitcoms spanning the 1950s to early 2000s. In the spirit of looking back through the years, let’s take a journey through some of the sights, sounds and especially tastes of Disneyland park over the decades:

1950s – When Disneyland park opened in 1955, the food offerings ranged from hot dogs for the families eating on the go as they went from attraction to attraction, to sit down meals at Swift’s Red Wagon Inn (now Plaza Inn), where “fancy” meals were served in an elegant setting. The food focal point of Fantasyland was the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship and Restaurant. Tomorrowland’s quick service eateries were the Yacht Club and Space Bar. Main Street U.S.A.’s Carnation Café offered hot dogs, sandwiches and chili along with an array of ice cream treats representing each land. Ta Cup, a fried tortilla bowl filled with hamburger meat and cheese, was the signature item sold at Casa de Fritos in Frontierland (Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante occupies the space now). Menus at The Golden Horseshoe advertised “Tongue Teasing Foods and Drinks,” along with the famous stage show. 

1960s  – The Blue Bayou Restaurant was ready when New Orleans Square was dedicated in 1966, however Pirates of the Caribbean was not. Walt delayed the opening of his anticipated themed restaurant saying, “It’s a bad show to look out at the bayou without pirate boats floating by.” Upstairs, the private and exclusive Club 33 was where Walt intended to host dignitaries and sponsors, including those that were being courted for what was then called simply Disney World. (His brother Roy added Walt’s first name to the Florida Theme Park after Walt passed away, insisting that there couldn’t be a Walt Disney World without Walt.) The cuisine throughout New Orleans Square was authentic –  Monte Cristos, beignets and Mint Juleps – and remain today. Adventureland featured the Tahitian Terrace along the banks of the Jungle River. Don DeFore’s Silver Banjo Barbecue, the only restaurant at Disneyland park to have a name on it other than Walt’s or one of his Disney characters, offered spareribs, chicken, plus fish and chips. Fantasia Ice Cream  – a blend of banana, pistachio and cherry – was introduced to Disneyland park!

1970s – DOLE became the sponsor for Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, notably the only attraction at Disneyland park with Walt’s name on it. In the beginning, only fresh pineapple spears and pineapple juice were sold; DOLE Whips arrived the following decade. Originally planned to be a restaurant concept, the idea was abandoned when it was determined that the guests would be so “enchanted” with the birds above, they would linger and never leave. The dinner show became a theater experience with three performances an hour. Outside, the Tikis in the Garden of the Godswere carved by Disney Legend and Imagineer Rolly Crump using an ordinary plastic fork from the Walt Disney Studios commissary. 

1980s – Churros and Disneyland park go together like Wanda and Vision. Intended for Videopolis in Tomorrowland, they were first tested near the exit of the Mark Twain Riverboat. Only 100 were made on that one fateful day in 1985. When they were wheeled through Frontierland, guests were following the cart, and needless to say – they sold out! Variations on flavors, colors, textures and dipping sauces were innovated more than a decade later; the churro remains a fan favorite and darling of social media. Big Thunder Barbecue opened at Big Thunder Ranch in 1986. Set outside, Guests were served beef or chicken from the chuck wagon. The fixings were delivered family-style to picnic tables. The beloved BBQ’s operation spanned nearly thirty years – with a few name changes –  before finally closing to make room for a galaxy far, far away. 

1990s – Believe it or not, it took almost forty years to bring a fully realized, chocolate-covered ice cream bar in the shape of Mickey Mouse to Disneyland park. There were several iterations over the years, with the vanilla bar first having oblong and oval shapes, and a version with only Mickey’s ears covered in chocolate, before technology finally caught up with the Mouse that started it all. The treat we know and love today, Nestlé’s Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bar, was introduced by Nestlé in 1992. This decade also brought us skewers across the path from Indiana Jones Adventure at Bengal Barbecue. Beef, chicken, veggie – but no snake!

2000s to Today – Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opened at Disneyland park in 2019 and included intergalactic foods from Batuu including Blue and Green Milk, (believed to be Luke Skywalker’s favorite), and podracer engine-roasted Ronto Wraps. State of the art culinary theming is also evident at Oga’s cantina and Chef Strono “Cookie” Tuggs Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo. Back on earth, the Tropical Hideaway in Adventureland became the new home of solo artist Rosita, along with assorted baos, lumpia, and reimagined DOLE Whip.

Our brief trip through the decades of Disneyland park illustrates how Walt put it in 1955:  “Where the food is as fabulous as the fun.”  

Celebrate one of the tastiest places on earth and WandaVision with two retro dishes from two different decades. Download the recipes here: Tuna Burger / Big Thunder Ribs.

And may I suggest you set the mood while cooking just like I do any time I write about our beloved Disneyland park: Listen to the sounds of Walt’s original Magic Kingdom on Walt Disney Records The Legacy Collection: Disneyland.

By Marcy Carriker Smothers, the author of “Eat Like Walt: The Wonderful World of Disney Food,” exploring the lore of each land, beginning with Main Street, U.S.A., an homage to Walt’s childhood home of Marceline, Missouri, to Tomorrowland, set in futuristic 1986.

Renovations Continue at City-Owned Ice Rink.

Interior, Exterior Work Happening on Highly-Anticipated Project.

Santa Clarita, Calif. – Residents driving along Smyth Drive in Valencia will notice a flurry of activity, a fresh coat of cool blue paint and a distinct chill in the air as they pass the former Ice Station. The facility, which the City of Santa Clarita acquired last year, is currently undergoing renovations prior to its highly anticipated grand reopening later this year.

At 93,000-square-feet, it will once again host hockey, figure skating, curling and recreational skating, but in addition, the amenity will also be a prime events location. Imagine banquets, mixers, conventions, concerts, charity galas, sporting competitions and so much more taking place on covered ice.

“We have spent a lot of time speaking with user groups who are thrilled about the future of this facility,” said Assistant City Manager Frank Oviedo. “Their excitement is contagious, and City staff are really enjoying the process of revamping the building and are looking forward to how it will benefit our community – not only those who participate in ice sports, but also as a hub for community gatherings and other events.”

Complimenting the updated color scheme that residents will see on the outside of the building, revamped aesthetics inside give a nod to the location’s legacy and the history of skating and ice sports in Santa Clarita. Currently, the City is in the Request for Proposals (RFP) process to select a management company to oversee the day-to-day operations of the facility when it reopens.

The visuals are not the only things being updated before residents can take the ice once more. Crews have been hard at work cleaning the facility from top to bottom, installing lighting for various events and ensuring everything is up to the City’s high standards.

High-speed internet access connections are being set up, and residents will soon be able to connect to the City’s free public Wi-Fi network. City staff are also working to ensure all systems needed to operate the facility work properly to create a high quality, safe experience for all users.

In the coming weeks, the City will introduce a new graphic look and brand to solidify the facility as one of the top community amenities throughout Southern California. For more information, please follow the City of Santa Clarita on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

City of Santa Clarita Press Release

Waste Management Extends Modified Green Waste Pick-Up Schedule in Santa Clarita

Temporary Schedule to Last Through Late January .

Santa Clarita, Calif. – Waste Management has extended its temporary residential green waste pick-up schedule for customers in Santa Clarita. Residential green waste pick-up, which normally occurs weekly, will continue to take place every other week, with regular service anticipated to resume the week of January 25. Additional drivers have been hired and are currently in training to allow for a return to normal levels of service.

The schedule modification means that ONLY residential green waste carts (yard waste) will be serviced once every two weeks on their regular service day. Trash and recycling pick-up schedules will NOT be affected. Waste Management will notify affected residents the day before service changes using a combination of automated phone calls, emails and text messages according to each customer’s notification preferences.

Customers are currently sorted into “Week A” and “Week B” areas. Residents are encouraged to visit to view their service area and schedule based on the location of their residence. 

The City of Santa Clarita continues to coordinate with its partner Waste Management to regularly communicate service changes to Santa Clarita residents. Waste Management customers are encouraged to provide updated contact information in order to receive service notifications and updates by email, phone call or text. Visit to update your online account or register if you haven’t previously. For questions regarding the temporary schedule change, please contact Waste Management at (661) 259-2398 or email Additional service updates can be found on the City’s social media @GreenSantaClarita.