SoCalThrills’ 2018 Year in Review

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As 2018 rides off into the sunset, let’s take a look back at all the fantastic surprises that came our way this year. From the explosive release of Black Panther to the reveal of Disneyland’s latest oasis, there were so many incredible moments. Here’s just a handful of what 2018 had to offer!


Paradise Pier Welcomes Guests for the Last Time


At the top of the year, we said our last farewells to the famed Disney California Adventure original, Paradise Pier. Ariel’s Grotto and Cove Bar gave their last call and California Screamin’ surfed off into the sunset. It was a magical moment, bringing us one last chance to soak it all in before Pixar Pier.


Black Panther Pounces and Wonder Shows Us the Science of Happiness


Marvel reigned in February, releasing the box office smash, Black Panther. One of the year’s best breakout films, Black Panther became a cultural phenomenon and shattered all expectations. The bar had been set and it would be nearly impossible for any other film to measure up despite two additional Marvel releases later in the year.


February also brought us an exclusive look at the film, Wonder, and the science of happiness. We had a chance to sit down with the cast and crew of the film, discussing the power of happiness and the connections between science and emotion. Overall, the message of kindness prevailed, bringing in a truly heartwarming and inspiring moment that was the perfect way to start the year.


Mark Hamill Gets His Star and the Queen Rules at Medieval Times



Mark Hamill is honored right outside the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood with his own star on the Walk of Fame. He was joined by his Star Wars family, including director George Lucas and costar, Harrison Ford. Hamill thanked his fans and also paid a touching tribute to the late Carrie Fisher, who passed away in December of 2017.



Medieval Times also unveiled their brand new dinner show, featuring the fearless Queen. As you can see from our exclusive coverage, there was plenty of pageantry, intensity, and new surprises to be had. Drink and be merry!


Legoland Reveals the New Castle Hotel and Avengers Infinity War Drops Worldwide

Castle Media Hotel grand opening on Friday, April 26, 2018.(Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Legoland California)

Legoland California revealed our first look at the amazing Castle Hotel in April. The highly immersive 250 room hotel’s opening ceremony was given the royal treatment filled with knights, wizards, princesses and dragons. It was truly a beautiful sight to be hold.


Meanwhile, the world was shaken by the release of Avengers: Infinity War.  The film cracked the very foundation of the MCU, bringing us all on one of the most emotionally thrilling rides of all time. Even going into 2019, the aftermath of it all is still felt as strongly as ever for Marvel fans everywhere.


Disneyland Launches Mobile Food Ordering and Knott’s Debuts HangTime


May brought a big change to the Disneyland Resort with the Mobile Order Service. Available in select resort locations, this quick and easy food offering was a game changer. We had the unique opportunity to explore it in depth and it’s safe to say the world of Disney Foodies will never be the same.


Knott’s Berry Farm was making waves of their own, debuting the new HangTime coaster to the world in tubular fashion. The party included a special preview of the summer hit, Beach Blanket Beagle, and gave us all the perfect preview of summer.


Snow White Reunites with the Seven Dwarves and Pixar Pier Finally Opens


In a rare appearance, Snow White and all Seven Dwarves came out at the Disneyland Resort and marched throughout the Magic Kingdom. It was an incredible experience, and one that we won’t forget anytime soon.


Pixar Pier also joined in the fun with their grand opening, giving us a chance to explore a brand new series of adventures over at Disney California Adventure. From the fabulous food, to the twists and turns of the Incredicoaster, there was so much to take in. Pixar Pier was a definite highlight of 2018.


Doctor Who Crashes the Her Universe Fashion Show and Jim Cummings Reunites with Winnie the Pooh



The wave of excitement was felt throughout the world during San Diego Comic Con as Jodie Whittaker surprised fans by taking the runway at the Her Universe Fashion Show. Met with thunderous applause, Whittaker rocked her new ensemble and made the bold statement that anyone can dress as the doctor.



Ahead of the release of Disney’s Christoper Robin, the legendary voice actor, Jim Cummings sat down for an intimate chat about his experiences and the legacy of Winnie the Pooh. If you ever wanted a chance to peek into the mind of one of the greatest Disney Legends, this interview was everything we could have hoped for and more.


Fans Get First Glimpse of Star Wars Episode IX and ScreenX Opens New Theater


It was definitely a good time to be a movie fan in August, as director, JJ Abrams gave us all a quick tease of the first shot from Star Wars Episode IX. Though we are still far, far, away from the release date, the excitement can still be felt across the galaxy.

ScreenX also gave SoCalThrills an up close look at their newest theater location, bringing us closer to the state of the art movie going experience. Just in time for the conclusion of the summer movie season.


Captain Marvel Drops First Trailer and Knott’s Scary Farm Sends Chills



After receiving the tease at the end of Infinity War, Marvel fans were finally given their first look at Brie Larson in action as Captain Marvel. Releasing March of 2019, it brought us all back to the 90s with that retro Blockbuster intro.


Knott’s Scary Farm was also preparing to spook up a storm, bringing us right back into the Halloween spirit in chilling fashion. SoCalThrills had the opportunity to explore every twist, turn, and nightmare they had to offer. Are you ready for next year’s scares?


World of Disney Reopens and Hocus Pocus Celebrates 25 Years



After a long slumber, World of Disney reopens in Downtown Disney. Crowds came out in droves to be part of the big celebration, finding themselves immersed in a whole new world of exclusive offerings once the doors opened. Every inch of the store was filled with excitement and plenty of pixie dust.


Hocus Pocus put a spell on the iconic Hollywood Forever Cemetery, hosting an all out bash to celebrate the film’s 25th anniversary. The night was filled with cameos from the original cast, musical performances, and an enchantingly wicked costume contest.


Mickey Turns 90 and the World Mourns the Loss of Stan Lee


Fans gathered at the Disneyland to pay tribute to our favorite mouse for his 90th birthday celebration. From park open to gate close, the parks were crowded with eager fans wanting to be part of the fun. In addition to limited experiences, guests were treated to exclusive merchandise and food offerings. The party was just the beginning, as Disneyland prepares even more birthday magic going into the new year.


Earlier that month, the world united in sorrow at the passing of Stan Lee. A titan in every sense imaginable, it was clear that the universe would never be the same. In honor of his legacy and lifetime of accomplishments, we paid a special tribute to the man behind the very fabric of Marvel. You will be forever missed. Excelsior!


Mary Poppins Flies into Theaters and Tropical Hideaway is Unveiled


Emily Blunt took the silver screen by storm in Mary Poppins Returns. The film’s release was met with critical acclaim and is practically perfect in every way (As Expected). A true masterpiece, we had plenty to say about it in our full review.


Disneyland guests also were given their chance to explore the brand new Tropical Hideaway. Nestled in the jungles of Adventureland, it’s a perfect addition that brings the land together in a whole new way. There’s a lot to take in and appreciate, including some incredibly sweet twists on the classic dole whip that will leave you coming back for more.

With so many fantastic things to look back on in 2018, we couldn’t be more excited for what’s coming next year. Stay tuned, as the adventure is just getting started. Happy New Year from SoCalThrills!


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