When Six Flags Magic Mountain announced this year they were going to have their first "Holiday In The Park" event earlier this year, we have to admit that we were equal parts excited, optimistic but also a bit concerned.
Not that the park doesn't know how to put on great events, they do, but previous holidays saw no decorations and even the park would admit that the first decade and a half of Fright Fest wasn't on par with other events in the market.
We are happy to say that the "concerned" part quickly evaporated once we were able to immerse ourselves in everything "Holiday In The Park" and we were very pleasantly surprised.
* All Pictures by Gregg Condon (Click on any pictures below to see a larger version)
Before we look at the present (see what we did there), let's rewind to December past, and this was pretty much the extent of the Holiday decorations at Magic Mountain. The park wasn't even open past 5 or 6 last year to see anything at night.
Fast Forward to 2014 and you'll see a VERY different type of event, one that the park management and staff is very proud of (as they should be).
For the most part, we're going to allow the pictures below to speak for themselves. We'll start at the front of the park and work our way back.
This was the best shot we got of the "Holiday Fountain", which is a great concept.
Full Throttle Christmas
They even updated some of the Full Throttle video. I would seriously love that persons job.
These trees are seriously cool
Ricky Rocks rockin' out on the Full Throttle stage ...
Even the Full Throttle Sports Bar got some nice lights
DC's "Rockin Universe" is probably the most popular area of Holiday In The Park, and for good reason.
A look at the "Tree of Heroes" which has some names of local heroes, very nice touch.
There are three different "Rockin' Universe" shows and they run every 15 minutes. They are all pretty great.
Video of one of the shows
Between the shows a lot of great lights. Still haven't seen the Pegasus though, I think the park was messing with us. =)
Rapids Camp's "Winter Wonderland" is probably the most traditional of the area's.
Santa's got a tall guard
Holiday (Food) in the park
One of the big things the park did this year for both Fright Fest, but more for Holiday In The Park was to introduce some great new food that is exclusive to the event.
It's not any big secret that SFMM isn't really known for it's food, but with Full Throttle last year, the new Sports Bar this year and the great holiday food they've recently introduced we can definitely see an improvement in this area that we hope will continue.
The park invited us up last Saturday to try some of the great Holiday In The Park food, and we have to admit that we were very impressed with all of it.
Our first stop was to Katy's Kettle, which has a special menu just for the holidays. We were able to try most of what you see here.
Robert and Brandon who are the masterminds behind all of the Holiday Food. It was great talking with both of them throughout the evening and I really do think the future of food inside the park is in good hands.
The team has been making small tweaks each week based on guest feedback, remember, this is all new to them. So if you do try stuff, be sure to head to Guest Relations and give some (constructive) feedback. They do look at it.
Refillable Hot Chocolate FTW!!!
Steak Sandwich. I'll be the first to admit I'm not a huge fan of peppers on sandwich's, but this one was so well prepared that it would have been weird to eat it without them.
If you didn't grow up or live in a Hispanic community (as I did) then you probably don't know the sacred place that Holiday Tamale's have in the hearts of so many people. So when I heard that SFMM was making Holiday Tamale's I was concerned, and in talking to Robert and Brandon, they were too. It's a BIG DEAL and it's something that if they didn't do right, they'd hear about it.
I'm SO happy to say they did a bang up job on these Tamale's, so much so that I really wish they'd put these on the regular menu somewhere in the park. Maybe Baja Ridge or even Katy's Kettle.
We tried at least 15-20 different food items, and two of the three in this picture were great. Like, I want the recipe great.
The ONLY miss of the entire night was probably the mashed potatoes. Admittedly, they were kind of cold by the time we got through everything else and dug in, but they seemed instant or frozen to me.
The Ham was also really great, but those mashed potatoes ...
Peppermint Bark and Candied Apples. There is a Peppermint and Gingerbread apple. I prefer the Gingerbread, my wife preferred the peppermint ... so everybody wins!!
After we left Katy's Kettle, we headed over to the patio behind the Cyber Cafe and tried all of the rest of the sweets like Funnel Cake, Ice Cream, Cheesecake, Rice Krispy Treats and Fried Oreo's.
I even suggested to Robert that they use Holiday Oreo's and he loved the suggestion, so look for them on the menu this week and tell them Gregg from Park Journey sent you. It won't do you any good to name drop, but tell them anyway. =)
Everything on this table was absolutely delicious. Indulge and eat your way through the park. You won't be disappointed.
Ok, story about the hot dog below. If you are a fan of the show Friends, remember the episode where Ross makes his ultimate Thanksgiving sandwich with the turkey and all the stuff on top of it? Well, this is pretty much the Hot Dog version of that.
It's a Turkey Dog with Cranberry Sauce, Stuffing and Mayonnaise. Now before you think ewww, you've gotta try it. I don't think there was one person in the blogger group who didn't like this. It was REALLY great and you should definitely try it.
This is available at Full Throttle Dogs.
Also near Full Throttle are these amazing Sweet Cranberry Wings. The sauce is just the right bit of sweet and spicy, and I could have eaten 20 of them.
Overall, Holiday In The Park is a great event that is good for all the senses, whether it's the lights, the food, the music, etc.
Park reps have already told us on multiple occasions that the event can only get bigger in the years to come, but for a first year event we were totally blown away. So please, head up and support this event before it's done. The more support it gets the bigger and better it's going to get.
Holiday In The Park runs through January 4, 2015. Santa will be around until December 24, he's kind of busy after that. =)
We'll have another Twisted Colossus update for you tomorrow.