CARLSBAD, Calif. (Nov. 26, 2012) – Guests at LEGOLAND® California Resort were surprised when more than 59,000 lights illuminated Fun Town during the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony featuring actor Thomas Gibson. The star of “Criminal Minds” along with his sons James (13) and Travis (10) and daughter Agatha (8) joined Santa in pulling the switch that lit up the 30-foot tall Christmas tree created out of more than 245,000 forest green DUPLO® bricks. More than 11,000 LED lights were added this year to illuminate LEGOLAND California’s tree which is adorned with more than 400 LEGO® ornaments and towers over Fun Town in the 128-acre family theme park in Carlsbad.
“My family has been enjoying LEGOLAND for 13 years so it was an honor to come here tonight to do something so extraordinary,” said Gibson. “And in the season of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we forget about some things and there’s a new tradition which I’m hearing about called ‘Giving Tuesday’ and of course, LEGOLAND has a head start on that by doing this tonight.”
During the ceremony, LEGOLAND General Manager Peter Ronchetti presented $10,000 on Gibson’s behalf to Haven for Hope, the largest, most comprehensive Homeless Transformation Campus in the United States. Twenty-five percent of the homeless assisted at the Haven for Hope Campus in San Antonio, Texas, are children; half of which are under the age of five. “Understanding that so many children are affected by homelessness is one way of reminding our guests the need to support organizations such as Haven for Hope over the holidays and throughout the year,” said Ronchetti.
“Please know that this gift really makes a difference to the people we serve and it will be used to directly help support Haven’s mission to transform and save lives,” said Evita Mendiola, Haven for Hope’s AVP of Community Relations & External Affairs. “Haven for Hope addresses homelessness by providing, in one location, shelter and access to over 80 partner agencies, providing over 150 different social services. In our first two years of operation we have served over 10,300 individuals. Over 680 job placements have been made to men and women sheltered at our campus and almost 900 individuals and families have successfully graduated and are now living, self-sufficiently, in permanent housing. We all work together to meet the mission of transforming and saving lives.”
Gibson, a long-time LEGOLAND fan, spent the day in the Park with his children and wife, Christina, checking out LEGOLAND California’s coolest holiday celebration ever, Holiday Snow Days and new Winter Nights presented by Western Dental. Over the holidays, Fun Town transforms into a magical, winter wonderland where the weather forecast calls for real snow every day and guests can build snowmen using LEGO carrots and other fun LEGO elements, throw snowballs at LEGO themed targets and play with large, soft LEGO bricks in the snow. Along with snow-filled fun, guests can enjoy festive entertainment and nightly fireworks Dec. 26 through 31. New this year, LEGOLAND California is extending its hours every Saturday night starting Nov. 24 and nightly Dec. 22 through 31 for guests to enjoy the new Winter Nights celebration.
The holiday season at LEGOLAND concludes with the one-and-only Kids’ New Year’s Eve party on Dec. 31. The party begins with a mini-concert in Fun Town during the day and continues with games and special musical performances from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in Miniland U.S.A. Like the famous Times Square party, Kids’ New Year’s Eve features a countdown followed by a huge LEGO brick dropping 22 feet into 2013 and dazzling fireworks cap off the night!
For more information on Holiday Snow Days and Winter Nights at LEGOLAND, event schedules, hours and prices visit www.LEGOLAND.com or call (760) 918-LEGO. To make reservations at the nation’s first LEGOLAND Hotel opening in spring, visit www.LEGOLANDHotel.com.
MERLIN ENTERTAINMENTS is the leading name in location-based, family entertainment, and has seen the most successful and dynamic growth of any company in the sector over the last five years. Europe’s Number 1 and the world’s second-largest visitor attraction operator, Merlin now operates 94 attractions, seven hotels/two holiday villages in 21 countries and across four continents. The company aims to deliver memorable and rewarding experiences to its 46 million visitors worldwide, through its iconic global and local brands, and the commitment and passion of its managers and more than 20,000 employees.
Among Merlin’s attractions are - SEA LIFE, Madame Tussauds, LEGOLAND, The EDF Energy London Eye, Dungeons, Gardaland, LEGOLAND Discovery Centers, Alton Towers Resort, Warwick Castle, THORPE PARK, Chessington World of Adventures Resort, Blackpool Tower, Heide Park, WILD LIFE Sydney, Sydney Tower Eye and SKYWALK, Siam Ocean World and Busan Aquarium. All brands which are distinctive, challenging and innovative – and which have great potential for growth in the future. Visit www.merlinentertainments.biz for more information.
Merlin currently has seventeen attractions in the USA including the stunning LEGOLAND Florida theme park with its new Water Park; LEGOLAND California theme park with its exciting Water Park, and SEA LIFE Aquarium (a hotel will also open in 2013); Madame Tussauds attractions in New York City, Washington DC, Las Vegas and Hollywood; LEGOLAND Discovery Centers in Chicago, Illinois; Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas; Kansas City, Missouri; and Atlanta, Georgia; and SEA LIFE aquariums in Phoenix, Arizona; Kansas City, Missouri; Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas; the Mall of America in Minneapolis, underlining the company’s position as the world’s biggest global aquarium operator.
Haven for Hope
Haven for Hope aims to offer a space of hope and new beginnings for men, women and families experiencing homelessness. Haven for Hope seeks to address the root causes of homelessness with trauma-sensitive person-focused care, offering wrap-around services which include job training, education, behavioral health services, recovery services and spiritual care. The Haven for Hope Campus is made up of 15 buildings, on over 37 acres, with almost half a million square feet of service space under roof. Haven for Hope currently has a network of service providers with more than 80 partner agencies. On any given night, there are approximately 1,600 individuals seeking shelter and other services on the Haven for Hope Campus.