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Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

P. 624: Stella Luna and Terra Nova resort details released!

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I think Dueling Dragons close in the first weeks of January, I do not believe that universal can afford not to exploit the pull of the multitudes of Disney in December.The closure of Dueling Dragons with the not opening of Hogsmeade would people to stop going to the Park.

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^ Big thanks! Where can I find that? Would love to see it.

 

Just saw the website and Julian Browning is a GREAT and creepy character. LOVE IT!

 

Also wanted to mention Bloody Mary as another favorite lead character.

 

EDIT: Aha! Further looking in the Attractions section found it. And that is a smart twist on the traditional Frankenstory. Nice!

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Maybe I'm just beating a dead topic here, but really, whats up with this ride. They've had it open for plenty long now to have operations figured out. The ride still breaks down 7 times daily, only 3 of 6 trains on the track, and the moving loading platform seems to have been forgotten about. In addition all of the other media gimmicks seemed to have fallen through the cracks, I have only heard of the single on-ride camera and audio being implemented.

 

EDIT UPDATE: -updated number of times broken down today from 5-7 times.

-single rider line is ignored.

-only 1 train on course at a time, 2 trains always in station.

 

We can now officially tag this ride as FAIL!

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If coaster manufacturers and parks waited until their rides were absolutely perfect and had no issues, no breakdowns and ran max trains before opening...well, there would be very few roller coasters out there.

 

Give the ride a break, at least it's not more of the same like so many parks are giving us nowadays.

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I rode two times on the 19th. It was great! I liked it a lot. I was there at opening and used the single riders line, which got me on pretty quickly the first time. For my first ride, I chose #301, Float On by Modest Mouse and I was in the third row. There were a few jerks here and there, but it was completely tolerable.

I used single riders for my second ride, and since more and more people came in that line, it seemed interminable. When I finally got on, the device was already set on the Marrs song, but I selected Bring Me to Life *just* in time.

I totally agree with the people who said that Bring Me to Life went brilliantly with the ride! I loved how during the vertical lift, the piano introduction was playing right before the blare of the electric guitars as the train crests and drops. I was in the fifth row the second time, and I got more air than in the third row.

I can't wait to come back and ride it again in a couple of months!

 

* The seats in the fourth row of each train weren't used during the day.

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http://horrornights.be/media/hhn19/hhn19_v.php

 

There are videos at this site which show walkthroughs of both the Dracula and Frankenstein houses. Do not click if you do not want to be spoiled! These videos show off most if not all of both houses!

 

Less than three weeks until I finally attend my first HHN!!!

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Honestly, if they do all their theme work off site and just install it on top of what's already there, I don't see why it would take more than a couple of weeks. They could wait until the very end of the WWoHP build and throw all their weight at the retheming project. I mean, they don't want DD down for very long and they probably don't want to open it with HP theming before the rest of the land opens...

 

My guess would be February, and that's assuming that the rest of the land progresses on schedule. I'll still be surprised if the park is open before April or May.

 

We're going to be in Orlando during our spring break (third week of March), but even if HP-land is open, I'm not sure I want to brave the "brand new park" crowds. We may have to hold off for a while until we can get down there again.

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Now that I think about it.. unless they are planning on repainting the track (and I hope they do) they may not have to close Dragons at all. There is pretty much a way to route the queue line to let them rework the castle one or two rooms at a time... the station all they would need to do is hang some banners.

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Wow you guys weren't kidding, this event was awesome. I can't wait to go back tomorrow night and then later in october

 

I loved the saw house, but it tied with dracula, for that one had alot of frights in it. I also thought wolfman and frankenstein were done very well, and I loved spawning. not to mention the awesome fright zones. an overall great night!

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My thoughts on this years HHN....

 

Keep this in mind while reading - I attend every year so these opinions might be a bit biased - and if it is your fist experience at the event you are bound to have a drastically different experience. It is also the first night and things change and the scaractors get more practice. With that being said - here are a few of my thoughts....

 

First of all - as always - GET AN EXPRESS PASS. Even if you are going on an off night you will not be able to get through all the houses and see all the shows without one. If you chose not to do that route than get a frequent fear pass and attend a couple of off-peak nights in order to see everything.

 

If you go on a peak night without an express pass you deserve the 2+ hour waits for the houses that you are going to get.

 

 

SPOILERS

 

Overall Theme

The movie theme worked well - although the icon was not very well integrated into the event. I think they wanted to promo the licensed movies a bit more and that kept them from using the Usher character that much in the park.

 

Scare Zones

Lights Camera Haction - Located in Hollywood in front of T2-3D, this had the chainsaw guys hacking up some of the production people on a film set. Simple yet it was funny and had some great scares. The best scare zone in the park that I experienced.

 

Horrorwood Drive In - Right in front of Mels drive in - very effective use of cars and distractions on the screen. Well themed and very compact.

 

Cirque Du Freak - Feels like an afterthought. Located in a very small circular area in front of the Animal Actors Stage it basically is a meet and greet with the characters where they try and scare you. Pretty poorly conceived.

 

Containment - OMG. Worst. Scarezone. EVER. Like - I can't think of a worse one in the last 10 years bad. Basically inflatable "things" that make an arch over the walkway and there are a few scaractors and smoke machines.... wow. Unfortunatly the first scarezone most folks in the park walk through and not a good first impression.

 

Apocolypse and War of the Living Dead - Didn't really walk through them enough to give an accurate opinion.

 

Houses

Silver Screams - This is the icons house and he takes you though some of his favorite movies. This one is located in the "shed" type building behind barney that was built a few years ago. Fun concept that was OK in execution. It didn't really give you enough time to enjoy any of the scenes so it felt a bit disjointed.

 

Chucky - Not bad..the full size chuckys were a bit impressive but the house lacked any real scares since it was SO bright inside.

 

Saw - By far one of the best houses of the night. VERY true to the movies, great FX and a few good scares. Wait is out of control since it is in the Jaws queue which is a low capacity house anyways. Hit this one early in the night unless you want a 75 minute wait.

 

Leave it to Cleaver - Surprisingly pretty friggin cool! I love how deep the backstory is on this (the queue film sets it up perfectly) and it is just creepy enough with the masks to be perfect without being overly distracting. The only bad part - Earthquake Queue = No A/C

 

Frankenstein - VERY cool and pretty inside this soundstage house. This is a much darker version of Frankenstein than we are used to. Lots of scares and some tight quarters - very steampunk looking.

 

Dracula - Probably the best house of the night - even though I think we missed some of the scares due to a set change out. Perfectly gothic with perfectly timed scares throughout. Jumped quite a few times!

 

The Wolfman - UGH. What a waste! Perhaps it would make sense if the movie had come out and folks had seen it. Right now it seems like a very confusing mix of rooms and stories with no apparent thing to tie them together besides an occasional wolf jumping out. No real scares... lame lame lame.

 

Bill and Ted It starts of a bit slow with an oddly chosen land of the lost theme but it picks up steam pretty rapidly and the star trek segment near the end is one of the best the show has ever had.

 

Overall You can tell they cut some corners this year - only 3 rides open (mib, mummy and simpsons) and not many scareactors on the streets. Overall though the houses were quite fun and continued the great tradition of detailed set design, amazing costumes and great lighting and f/x. It really is the best Halloween event in the country.

 

Except no RRR... LAME.

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Chainsaws vs. Production Assistants = Fun!

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Lights, Camera, Haction was pretty fun.

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This is Containment.. the WORST SCAREZONE EVER!

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Entrance is kind of "meh" this year.

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It's John C. Riley and some random emo teens!

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They had a special appearance by some of the actors from Cirque Du Freak

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Oddly shaped slice of pizza... hmm...

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The merchandise this year leans heavily to Saw and Chucky.

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Welcome to Universal Orlando - Please grab a shard of glass after you park your car.

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Thanks for the reviews and photos. From all the reviews I've read so far, I definitely think that I'm going to enjoy this year more than the last one. I was not a fan of the fairy tale theme, but I love the movie theme and it seems like it has been executed very well.

 

Going to go see "Dead Snow" tonight - the film that 'War of the Living Dead' was based on.

 

Oh all the Nazi Zombies?! Hahaha, nice!

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Part:1

 

My Thoughts on Halloween Horror Nights 19: Ripped From The Silver Screen

 

Every year I always look forward to attending Halloween Horror Nights. This year it was a special milestone event for me, it was my 15th event year attending. Over the years the events start to blur into each other. Not that they aren’t good, but it gets hard to remember which house/scare zone went with which year. Over the years some do stand out in my mind, like my first house back in 94’. You always remember your first house, I was 19 and with a bunch of my friends. We went through the Psycho Path Maze. We queued up in front of the old Bates motel and then headed into the house built behind the now gone Psycho House façade where Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster now stands. From the moment walking into the Bates Motel lobby and Norman slamming down a butcher knife on the front desk screaming “GET OUT!” We knew this was going to be a night full of screams.

 

Over the years a few more memories come to mind, like my first scare zone: The Midway of the Bizarre in Amity. The little monster creature biting a eyelid as part of the Frightmares theme in 1997. Bill Clinton, Monica and Hillary and rest of the Bill & Ted cast performing “You’re the One That I Want” from the movie Grease. Trying to find our way out of a room with the walls caving-in, in the Dungeon of Terror. Or when “Neo” from the Matrix flew over the audience in Bill & Ted and then found his “Ted” twin. Running scared sh#tless through the Terror Mines with just one source of light on our leader of the group’s helmet light. Being trapped in a room full of Micheal Myers in the The Director’s All Nite Die Inn at Islands of Adventure. Having Jack spray the boat with a giant firehose in the boathouse on Jaws. Experiencing and being amazed by the bungee effect of a flying vampire in Castle Vampre for the first time. Always being blown away by the massive detail that goes into the sets for the houses. I have experienced the event in the super hot normal Florida mid-90’s weather, through 2 tropical storms and every once in awhile a nice low humidity night when it actually feels like fall! And then there are the memorable icons from The Crypt Keeper, Jack, The Caretaker to the Director. All the events are fun, some years stronger than others but I always have a good time.

 

Last night I had a very special treat: along with Erik and Adam, we were invited to attend the Media Night/Kick off for this year’s event: Halloween Horror Nights: Ripped from the Screen”. Ripped From The Screen places you in some of the most terrifying scenes from motion picture history. The icon for this year is a movie ticket usher who once worked at the Universal Palace Theater. When approaching the entrance plaza for the Studios you immediately notice the theater entrance and marquee. Movie posters that feature characters from this year’s houses are decorated in each of the surrounding arches. We started with a Q&A at the front entrance with Michael Roddy, the show director for HHN. After some trivia, Michael brought out actors John C. Reilly, Chris Massoglia and Josh Hutcherson stars of the upcoming Universal film, “Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant”. It was exciting, I wanted to shout out to “Broc Landers”, Dirk Digler’s wing man, but I resisted. After seeing a sneak peek of the new film (opens October 23rd) and some Q&A, HHN officially kicked off.

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HHN Show Director, Michael Roddy.

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Erik was happy about his free movie poster.

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Yay for "Broc Landers!"

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Actors John C. Reilly, Chris Massoglia and Josh Hutcherson stars of the upcoming Universal film, “Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant”.

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Part 2:

 

We were led to our “RIP” party at the Horror Make Up Show theater lobby. They really rolled out the red carpet for this event. A perfect setting to host in, the lobby features many artifacts from a gazillion classic Universal horror films. The party was great: 4 food stations and 2 open bars were all top notch. Got to meet with some of the creators of the event including Michael Roddy the show director and the creator of Jack, just to name a few. Also spoke with Kim Grommel the creator of past scare zones like “The Skool” and this year’s Horrorwood Drive Inn”. Kim gave us a great tidbit: there is a new small indie movie called “Scare Zone” that will be either in theaters or on DVD soon that was filmed in last year’s “Body Collectors” house. So be on the look out for it. Another little tidbit: did you know it takes over 1,000 cast members make HHN happen? I believe it! After a welcome by Chris Thomas, the VP of Universal Entertainment, we were sent off on our “RIP” private tour of the event. Led by our great tour guide, Ethan, we hit the monster-filled streets of Universal Studios Florida.

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Chris Thomas, the VP of Universal Entertainment.

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Show director, Michael Roddy.

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T.J. Mannarino one of the creators of HHN.

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Tribute to past Halloween Horror Nights.

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