Santa's Village, the alpine Christmas theme park near Lake Arrowhead, is something out of Southern California legend. Nestled among towering pine trees at the top of the San Bernardino National Forest at an elevation of 5,910 feet, Santa's Village originally opened in May 1955, about seven weeks before Disneyland. After entertaining and thrilling guests for decades, though, Santa's Village fell on hard times and closed its doors in 1998. The winter wonderland park then sat dormant, succumbing to the elements, as adventure seekers from all over were drawn to its abandoned log buildings, defunct attractions and overgrown walkways.
Thanks to new ownership and a painstaking, 30-month restoration and update, visitors can once again visit Santa's Village in the manner in which it was originally intended. Rebranded as SkyPark at Santa's Village, the theme park, which will be open year-round, boasts indoor and outdoor rock climbing, adventure bike riding, ice skating, personal meet-and-greets with Santa, live entertainment, a daily parade and all sorts of delicious treats to keep you warm on a cold day in the mountains. As the weather warms up, other outdoor activities such as zip lining, fishing and hiking will be made available — and you can still visit Santa.
We were invited for a preview of Santa's Village as both newbies and some who remembered visiting the original Santa's Village walked through the front doors for the first time in nearly two decades.
SkyPark at Santa's Village is open year-round from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (excluding Thanksgiving and Christmas Day). Advance ticket purchase is recommended during the holiday season, as days are expected to sell out. 28950 Highway 18, Skyforest; (909) 744-9373, skyparksantasvillage.com.
This year's Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood resurrects some beloved horror movie icons: Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers and Leatherface. Among the familiar faces, though, are some brand-new tricks and treats on the Universal Studios backlot. Guests can experience the demonic possession of young Regan MacNeil inside The Exorcist maze. Fans of the hit FX series American Horror Story have the chance to get up close and personal with Twisty the Clown. The Christmas Krampus brings the holidays early to Southern California. Visitors can take a ride on the new Terror Tram, presented by horror mastermind Eli Roth, which drives you out to the backlot only to abandon you in the middle of a group of demented killer clowns. All photos by Jared Cowan.
Halloween Horror Nights runs through Nov. 5. Advanced ticket purchase is recommended, as event nights sell out. Tickets can be purchased here.
Who says you have to wait until October for Halloween? This past weekend at Midsummer Scream in Long Beach, fans of the fall holiday proved that any time of the year is perfect to celebrate All Hallows' Eve. The convention center floor was filled with cosplayers, escape rooms, vendors selling anything and everything Halloween-related, and a Hall of Shadows featuring walk-through "haunts" by some of the region's best haunted-house creators. Saturday ended with an ’80s costume contest and a concert from Johnny Vatos' Oingo Boingo Dance Party, featuring members of the original Oingo Boingo lineup (minus Danny Elfman, of course). All photos by Jared Cowan.
Fans of Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood have reason to rejoice — the theme park is about to unveil its scariest and bloodiest attraction to date. Opening on July 4, The Walking Dead attraction will unleash hordes of the undead upon anyone brave enough to enter this indoor horror experience, brought to you by the talented and twisted creative team behind AMC's top-rated series. A combination of animatronic and live — or dead, depending on how you look at it — walkers, designed in gory detail by The Walking Dead director and executive producer Greg Nicotero and his special effects company KNB Efx, are lurking around every dark corner inside a new, custom-bulit structure. Universal invited the media for a sneak peek at the new attraction, and L.A. Weekly was there to capture the bloody good time. All photos by Jared Cowan.
Sunday May 1st was the 5th annual Spring Dapper Day at the Disneyland Resort. Each year an unofficial theme springs up, and this year it was dress as a dapper version of your favorite character from the Disneyverse. Guests from all over the world came as dapper versions of Leia and Han Solo, Minnie Mouse, Agent Carter and Snow White. There were plenty of Tweedles but only one Alice, and Minnies but no Mickies.
While Dapper Day is not a cosplay event, and many of the attendees at the best dressed unofficial day at Disneyland didn't come with an homage to a character in mind, this year was the first year that the dapper cosplay really came into its own. We stayed into the wee hours of the night to get you photos of all the dancing, eating, riding and gliding at Dapper Day Spring 2016.
Photos by Star Foreman
It’s dusk and Huey Lewis & the News’ “Power of Love” is playing as Marty McFly skateboards into a blue-collar, suburban neighborhood, passing between two distinct markers, one on either side of the street. A regal stone lion is perched atop each sign and in bold, block letters they announce...