Posts Tagged ‘special events’

Observations from Universal Studios Florida: September 19, 2013

by on September 26, 2013

Weekday afternoons during mid-September are some of the most wonderfully crowd-free times to tour the Universal Orlando Resort. So last Thursday I stopped by Universal Studios Florida for a few hours to take one last look at the park before Halloween Horror Nights XXIII began on the following night.

(Fear not, we’ll be posting an updated HHN touring plan later this week in time for the next event night, based on wait-time data we collected during opening weekend. And we’ll continue refining the plan as the event progresses into October.)

Approaching the park you are now greeted by massive “tree roots” entwined around the iconic archways, framing banners representing the haunted mazes featured at HHN XXIII.

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SATURDAY SIX: Top Six Reasons We Loved the 2013 Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

by on September 21, 2013

The Saturday Six is a weekly look at the most interesting, most fun, and sometimes even the most outrageous things within the theme park world that we all love so much. Whether it’s the top six “secrets” of Marvel Superhero Island, a look a the Loews Royal Pacific Resort, or even the craziest food items at Universal, the Saturday Six will be your personal guide to experiencing the very best Orlando has to offer.

This week’s Saturday Six looks at the Top Six Reasons We Loved Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 2013.

Madame Carlotta MNSSHP

Madame Carlotta in front of the Haunted Mansion

# 6 – Characters Who Only Come Out During the Party

If you are a fan of rarely seen characters (and judging by the success of Limited Time Magic’s Long Lost Friends week both in WDW and Disneyland, most of you reading this are) MNSSHP is going to satisfy you and then some. The Dapper Dans are out and about as the Cadaver Dans, complete with creepy make-up. Madame Carlotta can be seen in front of the Haunted Mansion, interacting with passers by. Jack Skellington and Sally from Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas have a special (and popular) meet-and-greet. All your favorite characters, like Mickey Mouse and Minnie, are dressed up in their Halloween costumes.

Seven Dwarves MNSSHP

The Seven Dwarves (photo courtesy of Michelle Myers)

The MNSSHP will also be your chance to get your picture taken with all of Seven Dwarfs at the same time. This unique photo op is one of the most popular things every year at the party, and the line starts to form around 5:30 PM, well before MNSSHP officially begins. If meeting the Seven Dwarfs is on your character bucket list, it’s recommended you just bite the bullet and get in line around 6 PM so that you give up as little party time as possible. If standing in lines for character photos is your thing, then you’re in luck, because MNSSHP has princesses and their princes (such as Rapunzel and Flynn Ryder) meeting guests together, along with villains such as Dr. Facilier, Maleficent, and the Queen of Hearts, that you never run into during a normal day at the park.

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Disney’s PLANES Invade Soarin’ Over California Preshow in Disney California Adventure

by on September 17, 2013

Image copyright Disney

Some people saw the recent Disney Pictures’ release PLANES as a cynical cash grab that merely made margins modifications to Pixar’s charming CARS franchise…and some other people enjoy Dane Cook. Whichever camp you fall in, you must admit it was inevitable that the anthropomorphized aircraft would eventually arrive in at least one of Mickey’s theme parks.

It looks like at least one PLANES tie-in came in for a landing recently in Disney California Adventure at Disneyland Resort, though thankfully in a relatively subtle way.

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Doomsday Prepping: Preliminary Touring Plan for Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights XXIII

by on September 17, 2013

In just a few days, on Friday September 20, the 23rd annual edition of Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights will open its zombie-filled gates to the hordes of gore-hungry fans who have made HHN the nation’s most popular and industry-awarded haunted theme park event.

Originally a locals-friendly filler during a normally slow season, Universal Studios Florida’s Halloween celebration has grown so famous that the 27 event nights between 9/20 and 11/2 will provide a sizable percentage of USF’s annual attendance statistics. Much like visiting any of Orlando’s theme parks during a peak holiday season, an evening at HHN can be tremendous fun if you go in with a solid plan and sane expectations; without those things…well, you might be better off eaten by zombies…

Every year, Universal’s creative designers shake up the event, so it’s impossible to predict exactly how things will play out until opening weekend has passed, and even then operational tweaks will continue to be made throughtout October. However, after years of experience with HHN (I’ve attended every edition since 1996) we can make some educated guesses towards a preliminary touring plan for tackling Universal’s elaborate (and infamously long-queued) haunted mazes.

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Disneyland Now Accepting Guest Artwork For Inclusion In “World of Color Winter Dreams”

by on September 15, 2013

Image copyright Disney

Have you always wanted to see your own artistic creation on display inside a Disneyland Resort theme park? There’s no shortcut to becoming a full-fledged Imagineer, but you can make a creative contribution to the new winter-themed edition of World of Color debuting inside Disney California Adventure this holiday season.

Disney recently announced a call for guests to submit their family’s seasonal holiday cards, which will be digitally scanned and incorporated into new projections for World of Color — Winter Dreams, as the limited-time variation of DCA’s nighttime fountain show will be known. See here for details on the artwork requirement and submission rules; all cards must be postmarked or delivered in person to the Anaheim Downtown Disney’s World of Disney store by September 20, 2013.

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Disneyland’s Long-Lost Hatbox Ghost Reappears at D23

by on August 9, 2013

Disneyland’s original Hatbox Ghost (photo courtesy Doombuggies)

There haven’t been any blockbuster surprise announcements out of this weekend’s D23 Disney fan expo yet, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t gems to discover inside the Anaheim Convention Center. The “Journey into Imagineering” pavilion, hidden behind a facade recreating WDI Glendale offices, holds one of D23’s most ghoulish delights — a modern Audio Animatronic reincarnating a favorite attraction’s most infamous former resident.

The Hatbox Ghost was one of the original inhabitants of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion, but was removed from the ride’s attic scene shortly after opening because of technical problems with his disappearing head effect (not, as the urban legend claims, because he scared a guest to death). Lost to theme-park lore for decades, he’s seen a merchandise revival in recent years, but this is the first time Imagineering has revealed an operating animatronic — based on the same AA100 architecture as PoTC’s Auctioneer and Mr. Lincoln — of the fabled figure.

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Disney Infinity Annual Passholder Preview Tomorrow at Disneyland’s Innoventions

by on August 5, 2013

Image copyright Disney

Are you ready to take your home video game console to infinity…and beyond? Disney Infinity, this seasons’s most eagerly awaited videogame release, promises to integrate “sandbox” style open-world gameplay with Skylanders-style physical toys, creating a universe where characters as diverse as Jack Sparrow and Jack Skellington can virtually coexist.

The game and its associated figurines go on sale to the public on August 18, but Disneyland Annual Passholders can get an early preview tomorrow night (Tuesday, 8/6/2013). From 5pm to 10pm, APs get exclusive access to the Xbox 360 area of Tomorrowland’s Innoventions attraction, which will be devoted to Disney Infinity for the next few months. You’ll also get to meet members of the game’s development team, and maybe find a few other surprises.

No advance registration is required for this Limited Time Magic event, but space is limited so you will need to show your valid AP at the attraction entrance.

AVP Beach Volleyball Championships This Weekend at Disneyland Downtown Disney

by on August 1, 2013

Photo copyright Disney

Nothing says “summer” like a little beach volleyball. But if you can’t make it to the beach this weekend, the Disneyland Resort is bringing the beach to Anaheim. Now through Sunday, August 4, Downtown Disney is hosting the “Summer Celebration” Sand Volleyball Tournament and Pro Exhibition in a championship-sized sand court constructed near the AMC Theaters and Earl of Sandwich.

On Friday and Saturday (8/2 & 8/3) VolleyOC will play the final championship games of their tournament at Downtown Disney. On Sunday (8/4), Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) players (including Ed Ratledge, Pedro Brazao, Mark Williams and Matt Olson) and 2008 Olympic gold medalist Rich Lambourne will sign autographs and play a pro exhibition.

Admission to Downtown Disney is free; regular parking rates apply.

August Art Events Coming to Disneyland’s WonderGround Art Gallery

by on July 29, 2013

Art by Matt Spangler

Attention all deep-pocketed devotees of collectible Disney artwork: several exclusive new merchandise events are coming next months to the Disneyland Resort’s WonderGround Gallery at Downtown Disney.

All of the above appearances are from 1pm to 4pm. In addition, the monthly Pop Fusion event (August 24, 11am to 1pm) will feature Sean D’Anconia, John Coulter, Sam Carter and Noah. The WonderGround Gallery is always free and open to the public.

inside the park, artist Katie Kelly debuts her new “Movie Time with Mickey” series on August 17&18 from 10am to 4pm at Disneyland’s new Disneyana shop (formerly the Disney Gallery). Park admission is required.


Free Cars Screening with Planes Preview for Disneyland Annual Passholders

by on July 29, 2013

If you are a Disneyland Annual Passholder who just can’t get enough of Radiator Springs Racers over at Disney California Adventure, head across the Esplanade this Wednesday night (7/31/2013) for a free screening of Pixar’s original Cars film. In addition to a full-length presentation of the original film, attendees at Disneyland’s Main Street Opera House will also enjoy a short preview of the upcoming Planes spinoff.

Screenings are at 5pm and 8pm, and wristbands for the limited seats will be distributed on a first-come/first-served basis beginning at noon. A valid annual pass is required; read here for more details.

If you will be at Disneyland and aren’t interested in the screening, be aware that Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln will close early on Wednesday for the event.