The first new episode of TNA Impact will be recorded live at Universal Orlando’s Soundstage 19 on November 21-23, 2013. In the past, guests wishing to be part of the studio audience could attend free of charge. Since production typically occurs inside the soundstages, we anticipate little to no impact on crowds or touring inside the parks on broadcast days. Keep an eye on Universal’s production website for information on how to attend.
Mama Della’s is located on the lowest level of Portofino Bay Hotel’s waterfront plaza, between Sal’s Market Deli and Trattorio del Porto. You can self-park at the hotel, and the restaurant will validate; or park in Universal’s main garage and take a scenic water taxi from CityWalk.
This week’s SATURDAY SIX looks at the Top Six Photo Connect Experiences at Universal. I personally feel that the Photo Connect Star Card is – hands down – the best value in any of Orlando’s theme parks. For $59.95 you get every on-ride photo, every meet and greet photo, all the special Photo Connect “hot sets” like Sneetch Beach in Seuss Landing and the Daily Bugle front page photo at the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Manand any picture taken by one of the photographers in front of the parks. I can talk about the Star Card package all day long, so just do yourselves a favor and buy it for your next trip to the parks. Anyhoo, here’s a look at the top six Photo Connect Experiences at the Universal Orlando Resort…
# 1 – Transformers Meet and Greet
Transformers: The Ride-3D, itself, is incredible, but the attached Supply Vault gift store is no slouch, either, offering a ton of unique and exclusive Transformers merchandise (including the chocolate Allspark, EVAC action figure, and pressed pennies). But what might be the biggest “wow” moment overall is meeting the Transformers, themselves. Located directly across from the attraction is a special Photo Connect picture area. Completely themed to the government run N.E.S.T. look that the ride building has, this area allows you to meet and take pictures with Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, and Megatron. Seeing these incredible walk-around characters in person is one thing, but seeing them walk around is another. Jaw dropping. Rumor is that Universal spent over $20,000 for each one of these suits, and you can see every single penny spent.
Be sure to head to the Photo Connect counter after having your picture taken to ask for the special Autobot and Decepticon borders that can be added onto the pictures.
Throughout the tour we were shown little details that we never saw the night before when we toured all the houses as part of HHN. It is either too dark or we just didn’t have enough time to see everything with all the action going on around us. For example, in the opening room to Resident Evil, we never noticed this tribute to the Nightmare of Elm St. franchise that is off to the side.
This particular street leads the nation in nightmares. A close second is SR 535 in Orlando.
Remember, you can click on any photo to see the full size original.
As a big fan of Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights event, I knew after going in 2012 that I wanted to take a lights on tour of the houses as part of the Unmasking the Horror VIP tours. This year Universal broke up their tours into two sessions. The Morning Menace tour started at 10:30AM while the Afternoon Abominations tour started at 2:00PM. Each tour cost $59.99 per person-per tour, or $99.99 if you did both tours. Myself, Brandon Glover from the Universal NOW! podcast, and friend of the show Zeus Navarro signed up for both sessions.
To start the day we were directed to check in “promptly” at 10:00AM at the VIP check in lobby located next to the guest services windows at the front of Universal Studios Florida (USF). We were checking out the Royal Pacific Resort that morning and ended up running a little late, arriving at about 10:20. There was an interesting directory outside the main door with some great tributes to the history of Universal including Lew Wasserman (who has a statue in the New York section of the park and was a key figure in getting USF built) and “Leonidas Chaney,” who we know better as Lon Chaney and one of the most iconic horror movie actors of all time.
Sign outside VIP check in at Universal Studios Florida
(Remember you can click on any picture to see the full size version of it.)
As of a couple weeks ago, Filch’s has begun selling a new electronic interactive version of the Marauder’s Map that is exclusive to Universal Parks and the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London. The new maps, which retail for $59.95, feature light-up footsteps and sound effects that are triggered by a “magic” wand.
This week’s Saturday Six looks at the Top Six Hidden References in Halloween Horror Nights 23′s Haunted Houses. We’ve already done Saturday Sixes on what we loved about HHN 23 and even our favorite food and drink items from the event, but we also took both the Morning Menace and Afternoon AbominationsUnmasking the Horror Tours. These were lights-on tours of six of the haunted houses with a personal tour guide from Universal. The Morning Menace tour led us through La Llorona, The Walking Dead: No Safe Haven, and The Cabin in the Woods. The Afternoon Abominations tour took us to Resident Evil: Escape from Raccoon City, An American Werewolf in London, and Evil Dead.