Posts Tagged ‘Halloween Horror Nights’

Dani’s Best Week Ever October 27, 2016: Bidding farewell to Halloween in Orlando

by on October 27, 2016

Halloween season is almost over here in Orlando, and if you listen close enough you can hear sleigh bells ring in the distance. It’s hard to believe, but here in the land of eternal entertainment our Halloween and Christmas / Winter holiday season starts in September and runs continuously to January, more than a quarter of the year. Thankfully, I am a sucker for this season, yet I still find it comical that we get two full months each of Halloween and Christmas.

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Over the course of this past week I enjoyed my favorite Halloween celebration in Orlando’s theme parks, conquered a thrill ride at the last minute, and started to see signs of the Christmas season celebrations. Let’s begin to say our farewells to Halloween and slowly turn our attention to the most festive time of year.

Orlando’s most valuable Halloween celebration – SeaWorld Spooktacular

Photo by Brandon Glover

Photo by Brandon Glover

SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular is the best value for Halloween in Orlando’s theme parks. It is included in regular park admission, no extra charge. It takes place during regular park hours on weekends in October. This allows guests to enjoy all the regular park offers plus the added bonus of a fantastic trick or treat trail, whimsical characters, festive decorations, and great photo opportunity. Plus you don’t have to keep the kids up late for an after hours event like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Now, the ‘wow’ factor is not as strong as Mickey’s event at Magic Kingdom, but it is charming, fun, super affordable, and very kid friendly. Costumes are allowed, policies can be found here.

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Photo by Brandon Glover

Photo by Brandon Glover

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Dani’s Best Week Ever September 22, 2016: Surviving Halloween Horror Nights

by on September 22, 2016

This past year I’ve learned a lot about fear. Facing your fear doesn’t necessarily mean that your fear goes away. Instead, it means you acknowledge it, accept it, and do the thing that scares you despite the fear. Last year I went to Halloween Horror Nights for the first time. It is nearly impossible to believe that I would do so once, let alone a second time. And yet, I did. And it turned out to be one of my best evenings ever.

Attending Halloween Horror Nights last year for the first time was eyeopening. Here are my tips on enjoying the event even when you’re scared of pretty much everything. This time around I attended the event almost from beginning to end, and experienced a lot more than my first visit. Here’s how I not only faced my fear, but quite possibly became a fan of this frightfully fun event.

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Go early and take advantage of daylight

I attended Halloween Horror Nights with two complete opposite ends of the spectrum: a friend who has been to HHN more times than I can count and a friend who had never been before and feared it more than me. Wait wait wait… I can’t believe this, I, the person who never believed she’d ever go to Halloween Horror Nights is now showing a first timer the ropes!

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Dani’s Best Week Ever September 1, 2016: Halloween Horror Nights Prep and Toothsome

by on September 1, 2016

Fall is finding its way, slowly sneaking out Summer. Yes, we do have a Fall season here in Florida. It is different than the rest of the country, but it is there. Scallop season gives way to snow crab season. Acorns begin to create a blanket on the ground. A short cool snap can be anticipated only to have the heat come back after a few days of relief. But above all this, Halloween begins in mid-September around these parts.

Preparations are underway for Halloween Horror Nights 2016 at Universal Orlando. And now we can prepare our sweet tooth for the treats of Halloween and the Holidays by visiting Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Kitchen. I enjoyed one of my best evenings ever at Universal with a visit to Toothsome and a stroll, with an unexpected thrill, through Universal Studios Florida.

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The weather

Summer’s oppressive heat is still upon us despite the signs of Halloween popping up around town. Summer thunderstorms will soon give way to longer, mistier rains, and stronger chances for hurricanes. But alas on this visit, a traditional summer thunderstorm poured itself upon me as I made my way to Universal Orlando.

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Walking into CityWalk there seemed to be a changing of the guards of sorts.  Hoards of guests streamed towards the exit. Meanwhile, just as many guests headed into the parks equipped with ponchos and umbrellas.

With grey skies it was difficult to see the smoke stack effect rising above Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Kitchen. With its black, white, and copper color scheme coupled with whimsical details, landscaping, and mechanical details, Toothsome’s facade stands out in CityWalk’s impressive line up.

 

Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Kitchen

At first the concept of a chocolate / dessert-centric restaurant at Universal Orlando did not really grab my attention. Although, I really never enjoyed its predecessor NBA City, so anything was an improvement in my opinion. As I arrived to the still-in-preview restaurant, I noticed a large influx of guests. Thankfully, my friends had arrived before me and had secured a spot at the bar.

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What makes Universal Hollywood’s The Walking Dead Attraction More Than A Maze

by on July 15, 2016

The Walking Dead Attraction concept art at Unviersal Studios Hollywood

Image © Universal

On July 4, Universal Studios Hollywood opened its new, year-round Walking Dead Attraction (because nothing screams patriotism like a horde of zombies, yes?). The experience is, on one hand, a fairly standard walk-through attraction–which isn’t surprising, given the fact that it replaces the House of Horrors (a maze starring Universal’s classic monsters instead of walkers) and the presence of The Walking Dead at the past four Halloween Horror Nights events on both the West and East Coasts.

On the other hand, however, this new attraction has garnered much more money, time, and resources from Universal Creative than either of its predecessors, befitting its mammoth stature in the pop-cultural consciousness and its nature as a permanent, around-the-clock fixture in the park. The sheer amount of detail poured into every nook and cranny of every scene is one of The Walking Dead’s biggest selling points; it has been routinely reported in the themed press that, despite its horror veneer, guests will want to linger in every room to try and soak up every last hidden detail and Easter egg to the television series it’s based on.

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The 12 Days of a Theme Park Christmas

by on December 24, 2015

Everyone has their favorite Christmas traditions. For some it’s a dramatic reading of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, while for others it is the 24 hour marathon of A Christmas Story. Many of us enjoy reading the famous poem 12 Days of Christmas, even going so far as to figuring out how much all those items would cost (imagine if they were bought at a theme park!) This year we are starting a new tradition on the blog with a look at the 12 Days of a Theme Park Christmas. Get close to your loved ones, slip on an ugly sweater, drink a big sip of egg nog, and let’s begin with…

TWELVE CLOSED ATTRACTIONS

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This is a busy time for the Disney Dump as many attractions have been added to the pile. A great time to invest in construction walls though!

ELEVEN BANISHED BUBBLE GUNS

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Guns have been completely banned from Walt Disney World, even the bubble guns.

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SATURDAY SIX: Yes, Even MORE Extreme Eats at the Universal Orlando Resort

by on November 21, 2015

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Even MORE Extreme Eats at the Universal Orlando Resort. We’re fast approaching Thanksgiving, the official holiday of glorious overeating. As most of you know by now, we here at the SATURDAY SIX headquarters are big fans of Extreme Eats at the theme parks. Long ago we passed the line of adventurous foodies and into the realm of  gluttony for the sake of gluttony. And guess what? We’re heading back for more! So sit back, be careful as this article is the literary equivalent of a case of 5 Hour Energy (unfortunately just all of the side effects and none of the benefits), and let’s begin our countdown starting with…

# 6  – Big Pink Donut (Springfield, USA)

Our first stop has to be in Universal’s Springfield USA, home of the Krusty Burger, the Clogger, and Lard Lad Donuts. The giant Lard Lad figure and his gigantic donut (a fun reference to the Big Boy restaurant mascot) stand out even in a land of outrageousness. But what stands out even more is the  Lard Lad Big Pink Donut. The size of a human head, the Big Pink Donut is incredible to see in person, and even better to eat!

As Homer Simpon once said, “Donuts. Is there anything they can’t do?”

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Now THAT’S a donut!

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Encased in glass, like all fine works of art. (photo by @AmusementBuzz)

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SATURDAY SIX: Six MORE Reasons We Love Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights 25

by on October 31, 2015

This week is a very special one as we have a second SATURDAY SIX taking a look at the Six MORE Reasons We Love Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights 25. That’s right, six MORE because we already give six of our favorite reasons why this year’s HHN is one of the best ever. But there was just so much more we wanted to talk about, and what better day to do it than Halloween itself?! So sit back, eat some of the good candy you bought for trick or treat but is really for you, and let’s begin our countdown starting with…

# 6 – HHN Bear

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HHN Bear in Jack Presents: 25 Years of Monsters & Mayhem. (photo courtesy of the Universal Orlando Resort)

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When Goldilocks slept in @HHNBear’s bed, she was mauled.

Every year a surprise hit comes out of HHN. Last year at HHN 24 it was Puppet Dyin’ (you had to be there). This year, the SILVER ANNIVERSARY of HHN no less (when Jack is back, there’s an incredible new stage show, and four houses that could be considered the best house in any given HHN), the viral sensation turned out to be HHN Bear. A scareactor located in Jack Presents: 25 Years of Monsters & Mayhem, HHN Bear was an immediate hit and took on a life of its own, including a Twitter account (@HHNBear) that has been favorited and retweeted by a Who’s Who of the HHN Community (not to mention some famous wrestlers such as Stardust and Scotty 2 Hotty.)

Jack Presents: 25 Years of Monsters & Mayhem is basically a “greatest hits” of awesome haunted houses Universal has made over the years. HHN Bear can be seen in the room recreating a scene from Scary Tales (HHN 18) and is a terrifying take on the Goldilocks children’s story. While guests are distracted by one bear on the floor going to town on a poor victim, out comes HHN Bear for the big fright. A classic misdirection that works to great effect, but one thing that has taken on a life of its own is guests in the know chanting “Bear! Bear! Bear!” when HHN Bear attacks. This chant has, on occasion, started an impromptu HHN Bear dance.

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HHN Bear’s partner in crime. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Reasons We Love Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights 25

by on October 10, 2015

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at the Six Reasons We Love Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights 25. While Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is WDW’s best hard ticket event, the premier Halloween party in Florida takes place down the road at Universal Studios Florida. Halloween Horror Nights (HHN), which is celebrating its silver anniversary, transforms the entire park after day guests leave. When HHN begins, out come elaborate street experiences throughout the entire park, 9 insanely detailed haunted houses, and two incredible stage shows. After 25 years HHN is still going strong and this year is one of the best ever. Today we are going to look at six reasons we absolutely love HHN 25. So sit back, don’t answer the phone (because they are probably calling from inside the house), and let’s begin our countdown starting with…

# 6 – JACK’S BACK

Jack Schmidt made his debut back in the year 2000 for HHN X. He was created after a survey by Universal revealed that one of the things guests are most afraid of is clowns. He was the first icon given a detailed backstory and paved the way for later icons such as the Storyteller, the Usher, and the Director. Hands down the most popular icon of all, Jack has made several appearances at subsequent HHNs, but was last seen at HHN XX

This year Jack is back in a major way. He is the key figure in advertisements, point of display ticket offers at Publix, tons of merchandise (including his own Uni-Mini), a stage show, and one of the best houses of the event – Jack Presents: 25 Years of Monsters and Mayhem. Welcome back Jack, we missed you.

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Jack Schimdt, the icon of HHN 25. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

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Being given what in wrestling is called “the Cena push,” here’s Jack from the 25 Years of Monsters and Mayhem house. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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Seth Kubersky’s Best Week Ever October 8, 2015: Halloween Horror Nights 25

by on October 8, 2015

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The fiendish festivities of Halloween Horror Nights 25 await you in this Best Week Ever (photos by Seth Kubersky).

It’s been exactly one week since I stepped off the Disney Magic, and my sea legs had barely worn away before I stumbled — for the sake of Best Week Ever — into Halloween Horror Nights 25 at Universal Orlando. The event’s 25th edition was the first in almost a decade whose opening weekend I missed, so to say I was anxious to experience upon returning to the States is an understatement.

Driving into Universal Orlando’s parking structure, I snapped a photo of the parking rates. Little did I know this would be the last time I’d ever see these prices, as Universal raised their general parking rate up to $20 per day only hours after I took this picture.

 

There was steady pedestrian traffic heading in and out of the park by 5 p.m. Everyone play nice out there and follow the rules!

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How to Enjoy Halloween Horror Nights When You Are Scared of Everything

by on October 7, 2015

Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights is the undisputed champion of Halloween events in North America. Now celebrating its 25th year, longtime fans flock to this event, many claiming it gets better every year. I, on the other hand, swore to never set foot inside the gates of this terrorizing event. Last weekend I broke that oath and faced my fear… and I loved it! I am astonished to admit that I had a great time and am already making plans to attend next year. But this success story didn’t happen without some very important factors. A game plan is needed if you want to enjoy Halloween Horror Nights when you are scared of pretty much everything.

Wait until the first week has passed

Thankfully, Halloween season starts early in Orlando, usually the second week of September. Halloween Horror Nights is an incredibly elaborate production that changes dramatically each year. After opening week there are typically adjustments made to the shows, a few scare zones, and even a house or two. This is not to say that the first week is not enjoyable, but if you’ve never been to HHN before I think it is a good idea to let them iron out any kinks of the first week before attending yourself.

Source: Universal Orlando

Source: Universal Orlando

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