Sunday, April 21, 2024

Christmas Cheer Hits Parks in Florida and California

With Christmas Eve just around the corner, the jolly man himself – Santa Claus – made an impromptu stop at Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark to practice for his night of chimney descents on Ihu’s Breakaway Falls. At nearly 80-feet tall, Ihu’s Breakaway Falls is Orlando’s tallest, steepest, and only multi-drop tower slide of its kind. Although Santa manages to maneuver his way down countless chimneys around the world each Christmas Eve, the exhilarating drop from the breakaway boxes is unlike any rooftop experience he has encountered before.

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On the opposite side of the country, People’s Choice award winning actress Stana Katic and her 5-year-old niece Sophia helped Santa pull the switch to light the world’s largest LEGO Christmas tree at LEGOLAND® California Resort during the 14th annual tree lighting ceremony in Carlsbad, California.

The LEGO Christmas tree stands 30-foot tall, is created out of more than 245,000 green DUPLO® bricks, features more than 400 LEGO ornaments and sparkles with more than 11,000 LED lights. In honor of the new Castle Hotel breaking ground in January, Master Model Builders created 15 new LEGO castle ornaments that hung from the enormous LEGO Christmas tree.

Katic, popularly known for her starring role as NYPD homicide detective Kate Beckett in the ABC hit series “Castle,” spent the day enjoying all the attractions at LEGOLAND with her niece and said she was thrilled to be a part of the ceremony and to see the new hotel.

“I hope we get an invite to come back and be one of the first to visit the Castle Hotel,” said Katic.

At the ceremony, LEGOLAND California Resort donated $10,000 on Katic’s behalf to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, a nonprofit pediatric academic medical center dedicated to creating hope and building healthier futures for children. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles treats more children with complex health conditions than any other hospital in Southern California.

“To me, it’s amazing if you can invest in a child’s health and education because then we are taking care of the next hundred years of our existence,” said Katic.

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“Children’s Hospital Los Angeles relies on the generosity of the community to support its groundbreaking pediatric research and the complex care it provides for critically ill and injured children,” said Vice President of Foundation Development for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Robert Weiner. “It is an honor to receive this donation from Stana and LEGOLAND California Resort as it helps us continue to provide the best possible care for children.”

Guests at the ceremony were not only treated to a sneak peek of the new LEGO NINJAGO rooms coming to LEGOLAND Hotel next year, but also saw new renderings of the Castle Hotel breaking ground in January and, of course, had a visit from Santa!

The tree lighting ceremony is part of LEGOLAND California Resort’s winter celebration, Holidays at LEGOLAND California. Now through January 1, 2017, Heartlake City has been transformed into a winter wonderland for guests to enjoy. Kids can sing and dance as they watch the LEGO Friends live holiday show and join in building activities in the Heartlake City stables. Occasional snow flurries and a traveling brass band playing festive bluegrass music will fill Heartlake City with the feeling of winter. Guests can also enjoy character meet and greets with LEGO Santa and a LEGO toy soldier and collect holiday inspired pop badges. Plus, families can ring in 2017 with San Diego’s biggest Kids’ New Year’s Eve Party on Dec. 31. All Holidays activities are included with regular Park admission.

Joe Kleiman
Joe Kleiman
Raised in San Diego on theme parks, zoos, and IMAX films, InPark's Senior Correspondent Joe Kleiman would expand his childhood loves into two decades as a projectionist and theater director within the giant screen industry. In addition to his work in commercial and museum operations, Joe has volunteered his time to animal husbandry at leading facilities in California and Texas and has played a leading management role for a number of performing arts companies. Joe previously served as News Editor and has remained a contributing author to InPark Magazine since 2011. HIs writing has also appeared in Sound & Communications, LF Examiner, Jim Hill Media, The Planetarian, Behind the Thrills, and MiceChat His blog, takes an unconventional look at the attractions industry. Follow on twitter @ThemesRenewed Joe lives in Sacramento, California with his wife, dog, and a ghost.

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