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Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

P. 611: Bride of Frankenstein & Texas Chainsaw Massacre HHN houses announced!

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Not sure if this has already been answered, but.. do Transformers have express pass? I saw a pic once from the ride entrance, and saw signs for both single rider and express pass.. ( and the normal que) But is the express pass avaliable for the ride at the moment or just in the future?

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^The ride has been built with a Universal Express Pass queue and originally had an Express Pass sign up, but the sign has since been covered over. It is expected that the ride will be featured on the Universal Express Pass system, but as of right now it does not appear to be included yet.

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Great report Adam! That food spread looked amazing! How were the chicken and waffles? Did they taste like Ego's with chicken chicken strips, or like real chicken and waffles? Either way, the whole simpson's area looks awesome. Can't wait to visit!

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Anybody else excited that they are announcing a HHN house tonight? I'm hoping it's something to do with Cabin in the Woods or Evil Dead. (simply basing that off of the look of the 23, and their hint at the evil being unleashed. Maybe eddie?) We'll know in 12 hours! I am also excited to see the event going into November. I won't be working it this year, but I am for sure visiting haha. I wasn't sure if it was to early to start an individual topic.

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I just got back from two days at USO, so I might as well put in a quick trip report.

Our first day was a Saturday in IoA, and I was accompanied by my two sisters, my thrill-avoiding mom, and my disabled dad (Anybody who thinks that wheelchairs have it easy in this park are mistaken; most of the lines (minus Mummy and HRRR) can entirely be accessed by using the normal standby line). All of the reports below were in the order that we rode them in.

  • The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman: I hadn't been on this ride since the high-definition makeover, and I can tell you flat out now that because of it, the ride is now amazing. The effects are much more convincing than last time, but the ride system itself hasn't been updated (which isn't necessarily a bad thing). It was good, now it's great.
  • Jurassic Park: It was a great ride from what I can remember, but on our only ride of the trip, we got evacuated due to a "human error" with the ride. Took us a good hour to get my disabled dad off the ride, but the good news is, we got to see what was inside of the lift/drop building: Offices! At least it's not entirely laid waste. We also got a few one-time use express passes to use in the next two days.
  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey: Not as good as I remember it being. The small, non-3D screens might not seem like a hindrance to the ride experience, but it really felt like it this time. Rides like this make me wish there was no screens on it and it was entirely setpieces (which IMHO are the best part of this ride).
  • Dueling Dragons (Still refusing to call it by its lamer name): It's pretty tragic not seeing it duel anymore. The ride is incredibly disappointing now, knowing that what it could be doing is nearly smashing two Inverts together. Now it's just two terribly paced B&Ms that happen to be close to each other. The ride definitely fell down my list several spaces.
  • Flight of the Hypogryff (I really hope I spelled that right): Decent capacity and good theming, but too short to be a substantial family coaster. I am glad they didn't get rid of it though.
  • The 8th Voyage of Sinbad: Pretty good as far as stunt shows go, but the pop culture references are horrifically cringe-worthy. That is, unless, you don't mind the cheesy nature of the show's one-liners.
  • Poseidon's Fury: So 90's it hurt. I don't remember this show being this cheesy at all.
  • Cat in the Hat: This was actually my first time riding this. I really enjoyed the well-made setpieces and theming, and the way it followed the story of the book exactly.
  • The Incredible Hulk Coaster: I was lucky enough to catch this on a good day. Forcefull, great layout, fantastic pacing (I hardly noticed the MCBR at all), great theming, and more intense than I remember it being. It's back on my list of my top 3 B&Ms next to Tatsu and Silver Bullet.

Our second day was a Monday at USO, which to my surprise, was actually busier than Saturday. We still had all of our express passes from yesterday, so it wasn't hard to ride everything we wanted to today.

  • Revenge of the Mummy: One of the two rides that we got a cheap pass with the wheelchair. Luckily it wasn't hard getting dad on and off; kudos to Universal for making their rides well accessible. As for the ride experience, it felt incredibly forceless and hokey for some reason this time around. All of the special effects looked makeshift, but at least the ride was good up until the fake station, and from that point onward, the ride was really slow moving. However, having the ceiling above you light on fire is never going to get old.
  • Beetlejuice's Graveyard Review: This was my first time going to this show, and now I can honestly say that Universal needs to replace this show with something else. Preferably something horror related, but not nearly as cheesy. This was pretty much the only show I had ever had an urge to walk out on.
  • Men in Black: Alien Attack: This was really an unexpected pleasant surprise. Sure the theming and anamitronics are cheesy, but as far as shooting dark rides go, this is one of the best... That is, if you get a gun that works. This ride literally is a hit-or-miss.
  • E.T. Adventure: Basically Peter Pan's Flight with aliens. Not that that's a bad thing, I really ended up liking this ride for the first half of track and the beautiful queue.
  • Curious George Goes to Town:

    This is the single most underrated, undermentioned attraction in both parks. Hurling foam balls and streams of water onto the heads of unsuspecting parents is literally the most fun I've ever had at any theme park ever. Next time you're at USO, no matter what age you are, do yourself a favor and go here.
  • Horror Make-up Show: We caught this show on a really good day. A couple of interesting twists and turns that don't usually happen made this show into an impromptu comedy show that I was laughing all the way through of.
  • Terminator 2 3D: Lots of 3D gimmicks, but the amazing live special effects were enough to make me love this show. I still haven't figured out how the actors can walk through the screen with the picture still rolling.
  • Shrek 4D: Still a funny story, but it needs to be updated. The seats are too loud, the 3D isn't convincing anymore, and the queue minus the preshow is completely boring.
  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem: Both of the preshows were hysterical. The ride is good, but the terrible capacity and the sheer cheesiness of the end of the ride kind of put me off of it.
  • Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit: This was the only ride that I managed to catch more than one ride on because of the Express passes. Two rides, with one in the front left and the other in the back right, gave me completely different rides, which was a surprise to me due to the tiny size of the trains. The back seat has insane ejector air while the front is smoother, but pretty much anywhere in the train is a great ride as long as you're willing to put up with a little roughness. And to my surprise, the MCBRs actually added a bit to the ride because the ride completely changes styles on each section of track. The pacing was better than expected, and the music does wonders to add to the excitement of it. I really love this ride.
  • Twister: Ride it Out: This is also an incredibly underrated "ride" at USO. Great special effects and there's never a line? Sounds like two things that would make for a great attraction, and Twister delivers. I really hope that USO keeps Twister for a long time.
  • And finally, Transformers: The Ride 3D: HOLY BANANAS THIS RIDE IS AMAZING. The queue is well themed, the ride motions are smooth and flawless, the 3D is used to its full extent with train interactions and convincing effects, the elevators are nearly impossible to notice on your first ride through, the plot is engaging, and MAN IS THIS THING INTENSE. This easily takes over Tower of Terror as the most intense dark ride I've ever been on, and it easily takes over Indiana Jones as my favorite dark ride ever. It's the closest to perfect I've seen a non-roller coaster ride, and the things I would change about it are so minuscule they're almost unnoticeable. This is my new favorite ride in all of Florida. Totally worth waiting 90 minutes to be one of the first riders.

Overall the trip was good, but not great. I wish I had more time to do some of the stuff in Toon Lagoon, but I'm happy with what I got, which was a couple of days at the best parks in Florida.


I have the feeling that this little guy is going to be a landmark of the Universal parks for a long time.

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Cabin in the Woods it is!


Should be fun...



You and your friends thought this would be a relaxing weekend away at an isolated cabin. But you’re being watched. And manipulated. They are pulling strings to orchestrate a bloody sacrifice that dates back to the beginning of time.


You think you know this story. You think you’re in control. THINK AGAIN.


This fall, Universal Orlando Resort is unleashing hell by bringing to life LIONSGATE’s hit horror film, “The Cabin in the Woods,” at its award-winning, terrifyingly immersive Halloween Horror Nights event. Universal’s Entertainment team is partnering with LIONSGATE and film director and co-writer Drew Goddard to deliver a movie-quality haunted house experience that’s authentic to the film and places guests in the middle of an ancient fight for survival.


Additional details about this year’s event will be revealed soon, including more all-new, horrifying haunted houses.


Running select nights from Sept. 20 to Nov. 2, Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights has a more than 20-year history of creating an incredibly entertaining, horrifying Halloween experience that is consistently rated the nation’s best. The event features highly-themed, disturbingly-real haunted houses that are based on everything from hit films like “The Cabin in the Woods” to worst nightmares -- and streets filled with hundreds of specially-trained “scareactors.” Tickets and vacation packages are on sale now and can be purchased at Halloweenhorrornights.com/orlando.


Available on Blu-ray, DVD and digital download, “The Cabin in the Woods” was directed and co-written by famed filmmaker Drew Goddard and co-written and produced by sci-fi and horror icon Joss Whedon. The film follows five friends on a college getaway to a remote cabin, and their fate is sealed the moment they walk through the door. They are pawns in a ritual sacrifice that demands blood.


“This is a twisted dream come true for me,” said Goddard. “The Universal team has done an amazing job making all the terrifying aspects of ‘Cabin’ come to life, and horror fans will not be disappointed. Also, they said they’d let me dress up like a merman and scare people, so I’ll see you guys there.”


At Halloween Horror Nights 23, guests will step inside the menacing cabin from the movie and fend off a malicious family of zombies. Just like in the film, guests will flee from the cabin and enter a hidden facility where a secret operative is plotting their sacrificial demise. Suddenly, a menagerie of bloodthirsty monsters is released – and they’re in the middle of all-out chaos.


“‘The Cabin in the Woods’ took the horror film genre and turned it on its head, and it’s a perfect fit for Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights,” said Michael Aiello of Universal Orlando’s Entertainment Team. “We’re collaborating with LIONSGATE and Drew Goddard to bring the iconic monsters from the film to our event. Guests will be assaulted by terrifying beasts taken right from the big screen – including the Hell Lord, the Dollfaces, the vicious Sugarplum Fairy, the Doctors and more.”


For details on special Florida resident offers, please see below. For more information about Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights and to purchase tickets, visit http://www.HalloweenHorrorNights.com/Orlando.

Edited by jedimaster1227
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^Unless it's part of The Buckner Family that's following him, no.


The Cabin in the video is just your typical cliched horror movie cabin, so it could link to Cabin in the Woods.


I too feel it would be weird to have both Cabin in the Woods as well as Evil Dead at HHN23 together, however I would not complain at all. As a fan-boy to both movies I will say that I have been sold to make this my first HHN I attend.


Cabin in The Woods has so much potential to be so wild and varied in it's scares. Cannot say too much as it would spoil the move for those who haven't seen it, which by the way you should go watch it now with as little information about it as possible. Best way to watch this movie is going in blind.


American Werewolf in London would make for an amazing house as well. So many iconic scenes I would love to be able to walk through.

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Universal Orlando has purchased more than 50 acres of land under and around the Wet 'n Wild water park, giving itself more flexibility for future growth.


The giant theme-park resort, which has been rapidly expanding under new owner Comcast Corp., paid $30.9 million for the properties, as implied by documentary stamp tax payments.


Universal would not say Thursday whether it has any plans to re-theme or expand Wet 'n Wild in any way.


"We are pleased with Wet 'n Wild as a component of our business and this purchase was a natural step for us," Universal spokesman Tom Schroder said. "Beyond that, we don't discuss our business transactions."


Universal already owned Wet 'n Wild, which sits just across Interstate 4 from its primary holdings, which include two theme parks, a shopping district and three hotels. But it had been leasing the underlying land from Southwest Land Co. of Newport Beach, Calif.


The sale was first reported by Parkscope.net, a blog devoted to theme-park news and rumors.


Orange County records show that Universal bought eight parcels in all from Southwest, totaling about 52 acres. In addition the land under the water park, its administration building and its parking lot, the sale included several smaller parcels that are currently vacant or being used for warehouses.


Wet 'n Wild drew a little more than 1.2 million visitors in 2012, according to estimates by consulting firm AECOM, That places it well behind competing water parks in Orlando, including the Walt Disney Co.'s Typhoon Lagoon (2.1 million) and Blizzard Beach (1.9 million) and SeaWorld Entertainment Inc.'s Aquatica (1.5 million).


The purchase fits with an aggressive growth strategy that Comcast has laid out for Universal Orlando, where attendance and profits have soared since the mid-2010 opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal's Islands of Adventure. Comcast wants to make the resort a true multi-day destination similar to the Walt Disney World and is currently spending hundreds of millions of dollars to expand Universal Studios Florida, including with the just-opened Transformers: The Ride — 3D.


Comcast and Universal are also moving deeper into the hotel business in hopes of capturing more of their visitors' total vacation spending. A top Comcast executive noted earlier this month that Universal currently has about 2,400 on-site rooms, which he called only "a fraction of our competitor." That was a reference to Disney World, which has roughly 25,000 hotel rooms and time-share suites across its vast property.


Universal and partner Loews Hotels and Resorts are now building a fourth on-property hotel: the 1,800-room Cabana Bay Beach Resort, which is scheduled to open as soon as January. But more hotel rooms are likely on the way.


"We have 2,400 hotel rooms today; we probably should have 10,000," Steve Burke, the chief executive officer of Comcast-owned NBCUniversal, told analysts at a conference last fall. "Hotel rooms are strategically important because if people stay in your hotels, they spend an extra day in your theme park."


There have been rumors in recent years that Universal's land lease for Wet 'n Wild was close to expiring. That had fueled speculation that Universal might have to move Wet 'n Wild or build a new water park on its own land, closer to its existing theme parks and hotels.


Could this be the first of many rumored land purchases Universal is exploring to expand its borders in Central Florida?

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