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P. 602: Universal Holidays & Velocicoaster photo report posted!

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I like how they build a roller coaster in the same time it took them to built new lockers for Harry Potter.   

On Sunday I ventured out to the Universal Orlando Resort for a chance to see the new holiday offerings at the two parks. This year is a little different thanks to COVID-19, but Universal has still man

^Agreed. I think the newer Intamin lapbars are actually the best steel coaster restraint currently being produced. When comparing overhead lapbars on Taron and Blue Fire, I found the Intamin ones to b

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Last night Theme Park Review was invited to a media preview for Halloween Horror Nights 24, including a great overview of this year's event, a look at new costumes and decor and a full experience of the event's Halloween maze. Building on the success of past years, Halloween Horror Nights 24 will feature five IP-based houses, three original concept houses and four scare zones--two original concepts and two intellectual properties used as a base for these. There was no word given yet on if the Legendary Truth interactive game will return for the event. Thanks to the promotional tie-ins between Face Off and Halloween Horror Nights this year including a new scare zone, two former contestants from the show were present for the media preview.

 

 

The night's event concluded with a full experience of Halloween, a live re-telling of Michael Myers' original assault on the town of Haddonfield, Illinois. Living up to previous years' houses, there are plenty of scares in this true-to-film recreation of John Carpenter's essential horror flick. There's even some hidden tributes to the franchises' lore, including a quick commercial for Silver Shamrock masks, the catalyst for some messed up happenings in Halloween III: Season of the Witch!

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And we're back for another look into this year's latest horrors at Halloween Horror Nights 24!

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Always fun to see this marquee for us!

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It wouldn't be Halloween Horror Nights without Michael Aiello on stage to share exciting details about the event!

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Halloween Horror Nights turns out to be Michael Aiello's favorite time of year--go figure!

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Universal created a great lineup of displays showing off the year's houses and scare zones.

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Dollhouse of the Damned looks like it'll be especially creepy!

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Maskerade Unstitched will be one of four new scare zones found during the event.

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Hello!

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They had to censor the bar's full name, but fans of the films or show will know what this is meant to be called.

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The Alien vs. Predator setup teased Alien puppets but nothing was shown during our visit.

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Banks & Robb fully approve of the costumes for the From Dusk To Dawn maze!

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Face Off from SyFy will be featured at Halloween Horror Nights with designed by the contestants (and one winner) from several of these show 4.

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More displays too ogle over!

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Ready to get "Gore-ified!"

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Going under the knife!

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The finished product!

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I fit right in...

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Looks so awesome!

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Here are Doc and Eric, former Face Off contestants from Season 7 and Season 3 (respectively) with their work-in-progress character that will be seen in the Face Off scare zone.

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An inside look at Halloween, with Michael Myers in action!

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Stay on the road. Keep clear of the moors. Beware the moon!

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What happened after we visited Michael Myers.

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What a tense night!

 

In all seriousness, this was another great event from the Universal Orlando Resort and a great look at what is still to come for Halloween Horror Nights 24. We can't wait to see what comes next for Halloween Horror Nights and with the event starting in less than two weeks, the wait is almost over. Special thanks to the Universal Orlando Resort for hosting us once again!

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A peek at the detail going in to Giggles & Gore, Inc.

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This puppet from Dollhouse of the Damned looks quite familiar... I believe he's from Dead Silence!

Edited by jedimaster1227
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This puppet from Dollhouse of the Damned looks quite familiar... I believe he's from Dead Silence!

 

Looks that way to me, too--waste not, want not.

 

I always enjoy the details Universal crams into their mazes. Looking forward to seeing HHN for myself this year after skipping it last year.

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The Universal Orlando Resort has put out a press release announcing the addition of a fifth Loews hotel to the Orlando resort!

 

Universal and Loews Hotels & Resorts Announce New Hotel for Universal Orlando

 

Caribbean-themed Loews Sapphire Falls Resort Will Feature 1,000 Rooms and Suites – Casual Feel Built Around a Lagoon and Towering Waterfall

 

ORLANDO, Fla. (September 9, 2014) When it opens in the summer of 2016, guests visiting the new Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando will walk into a colorful Caribbean hideaway built around a lush, tropical lagoon and towering waterfall.

 

The new hotel, announced today by Universal Orlando Resort and Loews Hotels & Resorts, will be located across Adventure Way from the new Cabana Bay Beach Resort. It will become the destination’s fifth resort hotel and its 1,000 rooms, including 77 suites, will bring the number of on-site hotel rooms at Universal Orlando to 5,200.

 

Inspired by the picturesque rivers and waterfalls of the Caribbean, Loews Sapphire Falls will immerse guests in a highly themed resort environment using traditional island styling with modern touches. A resort-style pool with a water slide, children’s play area, sand beach and fire pit will help form a central courtyard and will be surrounded by the hotel’s guest rooms. There will be water taxi and shuttle access to all of the entertainment and dining options throughout Universal Orlando Resort.

 

“We are excited to continue our growth plans at Loews Hotels by building another hotel with our long-standing partners at Universal Orlando,” says Jonathan Tisch, Chairman of Loews Hotels & Resorts. “Loews Sapphire Falls Resort will be every bit as distinctive as the other four on-site hotels and will offer a new option to families looking for a truly special Orlando vacation.”

 

“Our guests repeatedly tell us that our Universal Orlando on-site hotels provide them a completely immersive vacation experience from the moment they enter our hotels and are transported to another place,” said Tom Williams, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Universal Parks & Resorts. “We look forward to bringing them yet another incredibly themed experience with the opening of Loews Sapphire Falls Resort.”

 

The new hotel will be full service. Amenities will include Early Park Admission to Universal’s theme parks, a full-service restaurant with scenic views and outdoor dining, a themed lobby lounge, poolside bar and grill, quick-service marketplace, valet service and a fitness center. Booking information and pricing will be announced at a later date.

 

FAST FACTS

  • Opening Date: Summer 2016
  • Style: Casual and easy-going Caribbean-inspired resort surrounding a lush, tropical lagoon and towering waterfall.
  • Rooms: 1,000 guest rooms and suites.
  • Amenities: Highlights include Early Park Admission to Universal’s theme parks, resort-style pool with water slide and children’s play area, valet service and a fitness center.
  • Dining: Full-service restaurant with scenic views and outdoor dining, themed lobby lounge, quick-service marketplace, poolside bar and grill.
  • Reservations: Will be accepted in spring 2015

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Edited by jedimaster1227
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^ I'm thinking pricing will be somewhere between Cabana Bay and Royal Pacific. I noticed that this resort will have early entry, but no mention of express pass access. If that is the case, should be cheaper than Royal Pacific. Glad that this new resort will have water taxi access. Looks nice and am happy Universal is continuing to give more on-site resort options.

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I will be in Orlando next week with my family. We're planning on going to Universal on Wednesday and Thursday. Seeing as how I've always really wanted to go to HHN and we are in town until Saturday 9/20, I think I have to try to get there on Friday. Is my best option to purchase the HHN add on ticket when I'm at the park earlier in the week? I'm on a budget but don't want to miss the opportunity to go. Any suggestions as far as tickets go and/or how I should plan my visit? Thanks a lot for any help!

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I will be in Orlando next week with my family. We're planning on going to Universal on Wednesday and Thursday. Seeing as how I've always really wanted to go to HHN and we are in town until Saturday 9/20, I think I have to try to get there on Friday. Is my best option to purchase the HHN add on ticket when I'm at the park earlier in the week? I'm on a budget but don't want to miss the opportunity to go. Any suggestions as far as tickets go and/or how I should plan my visit? Thanks a lot for any help!

 

What I would do is switch your Wednesday visit with a Friday visit...the HHN add-on (called the Stay n Scream option) is not only a better deal than a regular admission to HHN, but it will also work to your advantage if you are in the park when the event starts. If you spend your day at USF on Friday, head to Finnegans (across from the Mummy) when they begin closing the park to the public. Team members will then scan your ticket to make sure you have HHN access so upgrade your ticket before then! Then, you can just chill in the Finnegans holding area and one of the soundstage houses will open early for you. This headstart on the general admission crowds is a HUGE advantage, and will allow you to see everything almost guaranteed.

 

As for the hotel...love the concept, HATE the name. Sapphire Falls? Ugh. But it definitely looks nice. I agree that it probably wont have Express access due to oversaturation concerns. Still should be a nice option though. It'll be interesting to see if Universal can sustain all these rooms even without Harry Potter hype.

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What I would do is switch your Wednesday visit with a Friday visit...the HHN add-on (called the Stay n Scream option) is not only a better deal than a regular admission to HHN, but it will also work to your advantage if you are in the park when the event starts. If you spend your day at USF on Friday, head to Finnegans (across from the Mummy) when they begin closing the park to the public. Team members will then scan your ticket to make sure you have HHN access so upgrade your ticket before then! Then, you can just chill in the Finnegans holding area and one of the soundstage houses will open early for you. This headstart on the general admission crowds is a HUGE advantage, and will allow you to see everything almost guaranteed.

 

Great info, thanks for the suggestion. We'll move out USF day to Friday. Now to figure out the best way to go about purchasing tickets. When we went to Disney a year and a half ago I bought our tickets at AAA. Looking at the pricing there now it doesn't seem to be any cheaper than purchasing them directly through Universal. Any other places to look? And is there a chance of the opening night of HHN selling out? There will be four of us at the park that day but probably only two of us staying for the Event. Thanks again for the help!

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I CAN'T WAIT FOR MY TRIP!

 

I'm staying at the Residence Inn & Suites (my mom got a free night due to her points) on Sunday, September 27th. I'm going to Islands of Adventure early in the morning on September 27th and then going back to the hotel by lunch time (we usually finish what we want to do by 11). Then go back for Horror Nights later!!!!! The following morning (which will be hard to wake up after Horror Nights), we are going to take advantage of the Passholder special to get into Diagon Alley 1 hr before park opening! Then head back home.

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What I would do is switch your Wednesday visit with a Friday visit...the HHN add-on (called the Stay n Scream option) is not only a better deal than a regular admission to HHN, but it will also work to your advantage if you are in the park when the event starts. If you spend your day at USF on Friday, head to Finnegans (across from the Mummy) when they begin closing the park to the public. Team members will then scan your ticket to make sure you have HHN access so upgrade your ticket before then! Then, you can just chill in the Finnegans holding area and one of the soundstage houses will open early for you. This headstart on the general admission crowds is a HUGE advantage, and will allow you to see everything almost guaranteed.

 

Great info, thanks for the suggestion. We'll move out USF day to Friday. Now to figure out the best way to go about purchasing tickets. When we went to Disney a year and a half ago I bought our tickets at AAA. Looking at the pricing there now it doesn't seem to be any cheaper than purchasing them directly through Universal. Any other places to look? And is there a chance of the opening night of HHN selling out? There will be four of us at the park that day but probably only two of us staying for the Event. Thanks again for the help!

 

Typically, opening weekend is one of the best times to go to HHN, simply because its so early in the season and people arent quite on their Halloween grind yet, so to speak. That being said, the event is growing a lot in popularity, so I cant say for sure. Based off of my previous experiences (Ive been going since 2007) I would guess that opening night will NOT sell out and that the crowds will be very manageable. But like I said, its tough to tell nowadays and I dont want to provide info that could be wrong. With the growing use of IPs to draw people in plus the huge draw from Walking Dead, HHN gets more and more packed every year, so just keep that in mind, even though my gut instinct tells me you'll be ok.

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HHN does get a bit more crowded each year, since word of mouth and press continues to spread while the event maintains its quality. But it doesn't sell out but MAYBE 1 or 2 nights a year, and that only happens on the night of. If you buy tickets beforehand, no problems.

 

Walking Dead could have insane crazy waits this year. Its entrance is near the front of the park, people will see it on the way in and the way out. I wouldn't be surprised if it posts at 3.5 or 4 hours at some point this season (also wouldn't be surprised if it's nothing like that, people might be tired of that IP or visited "the walking dead house" last year). HHN functions like a crowd sandwich, on any typical night the hour of 6-7 waits will be really short, then 7:30-11:30 everything gets really busy with posted waits peaking between 8-10, and any time after midnight waits go down dramatically and become walk-on at 1:15 AM.

 

The Non-IP houses down the kidzone pathways will be missed by many guests this year, I would imagine those two will have the shortest overall waits.

 

Rockit, Despicable, and Transformers are just as busy during the event as the daytime. Rockit gets really long actually.

 

Last year Peak Saturdays were actually not bad and maybe a little better than Peak Fridays, due to the difference it cost to attend and no Frequent Fear on Saturdays. Wednesdays and Sundays and the November dates are the most dead.

 

All of this is anecdotal from me working for last year's Afterlife:Death's Vengeance house, and going around my few nights off or after shifts.

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When in doubt, spring for the Express Passes. Yes, they're a bit pricey, but it you have only one night for HHN, at least they help you to experience all the houses without much fuss.

 

I skipped HHN last year because, frankly, I'd been disappointed with it the year before (after a steady decline in quality, in my opinion). But I'm checking it out this year. We'll see.

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I'll look into an Express Pass as well then. In the end if I miss a couple of the houses it won't e a huge deal. I'll try to hit them in order of appeal to me.

 

Next question. Do you think it is reasonable to do both parks in one day? If we did that the plan would be to get to IOA at opening, do everything we want to there, then hop over to USF and try to get in the main attractions before HHN starts. Possible to do on a Friday?

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^If you try to do both parks in one day, and try to do HHN on opening night, you will be extremely rushed all day to fit everything in to limited hours. It could be a busier daytime than the others in September with Annual pass holders and Frequent fear guests arriving early. Even with Express pass you will not see everything or rerides. It depends on what all you want to see.

 

One warning on HHN express pass, it only cuts your wait times in half, it does NOT make for instant queues. It is still very much worth getting and I wouldn't go to HHN without it.

 

HHN express queues are empty from 6:30-7:30 and then from 11:30-Close. It's those middle, peak hours when where the houses literally cannot handle more than 1 person every 3 seconds, the lines stack up in both queues and the ratio is like 3:1 express guests.

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I'll look into an Express Pass as well then. In the end if I miss a couple of the houses it won't e a huge deal. I'll try to hit them in order of appeal to me.

 

Next question. Do you think it is reasonable to do both parks in one day? If we did that the plan would be to get to IOA at opening, do everything we want to there, then hop over to USF and try to get in the main attractions before HHN starts. Possible to do on a Friday?

 

Im actually gonna have to disagree with BlahBlahson here...you can definitely do both parks and HHN. Ive done it more than once (I have family who visits for HHN religiously and they like to do the parks all in the same day). Granted, you wont see EVERYTHING in the parks, but you can do the big rides considering September is completely dead during the day. Between both parks, you can definitely squeeze in all the headliners if you get there at opening and utilize single rider lines.

 

EDIT: plus, if you get HHN Express like you were suggesting, you can ride Transformers, Simpsons, HRRR, Mummy, Men in Black, and Despicable Me (basically all of USF's star attractions) during HHN, leaving you more time at IOA during the day/seeing shows at Universal.

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^Just because you CAN do something, doesn't mean you SHOULD. I'm sure a lot of us have done both parks and HHN in the same day and it's just not as enjoyable as spreading it out. If you only have one day and you want to do it, then go for it as it's doable, but it's going to be hot and tiring!

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I have done this several times, and it a real mess of a day. Open of IOA to close of HHN is grueling and one of the more exhausting things I have ever done. I rode nearly ever ride in both parks, and did every maze (with the help of express passes during the day and night) and about died when I finally go into my bed. Its totally possible with the right game plane, but like Elissa said, its much more enjoyable to spread them out. Especially if you want to do the water rides at IOA.

 

What we did was this:

 

Open IOA, when done with everything but water rides, we hopped over to UNI. Did UNI at lighting speed until it closed. Back to IOA (it stayed open a hour longer then UNI) did the water rides, and changed into a dry set of clothes. Then BACK to UNI for HHN. We have succeed every time, missing only minor attractions. But this was also before Diagnon alley.

 

So the best of luck to you.

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