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Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

p. 623 - New Epic Universe details, including Celestial Park!

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Universal Orlando Resort has added two event dates to Halloween Horror Nights 2018 due to popular demand – giving guests more chances to brave the most intense event in history, featuring more haunted houses than ever before. The added dates – Wednesday, September 19 and Wednesday, September 26 – make this year’s event the longest in history with a total of 36 nights.

 

Universal also revealed details about the final haunted house that will be featured at Halloween Horror Nights 2018 - ScaryTales: Deadly Ever After.

 

The twisted minds of Universal Orlando’s Entertainment team are bringing back a fan-favorite with a whole new twist in ScaryTales: Deadly Ever After. Guests will encounter The Wicked Witch of the West, who has seized control of the fairytale realm and is tormenting treasured storybook characters in hideous and cruel alternate storylines. As guests venture through this nightmarish bedtime story, they’ll see familiar characters now turned evil including Hansel and Gretel salivating for human flesh, a splattered Humpty Dumpty and more.

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Edited by robbalvey
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The Universal Orlando Resort has sent us an update about the movie theater at Universal CityWalk being enhanced as it converts from AMC to Cinemark!

 

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Exciting news! Major enhancements are coming to our movie theatre at Universal CityWalk beginning this fall, as it becomes Universal Cinemark. The superior upgrades will enrich your entertainment experience, further immersing you in the action of the films in the most cutting-edge movie-watching environment available.

 

The transformation of our theatre will begin in September and take several months to complete. New, reclining, Cinemark Luxury Loungers with extendable footrests, cup holders and plush seating will be installed in all 20 auditoriums so you can kick up your feet and enjoy the utmost comfort while watching your favorite films.

 

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And one of the things I’m most excited about is the addition of a Cinemark XD auditorium. XD auditoriums feature expansive wall-to-wall screens, custom-engineered surround sound with multi-channel speakers and state-of-the-art projection systems capable of delivering 35 trillion colors. The XD auditorium offers comfortable, plush Luxury Lounger seating, the brightest digital images and the newest movies every week.

 

Plus, you can boost your movie-going experience by joining Cinemark Movie Club, a unique monthly movie membership program offering ticket and concession discounts along with other exclusive benefits. You can join and take advantage of the benefits by downloading the Cinemark app.

 

This marks the beginning of our partnership with Cinemark Theatres, which operates more than 530 theatres around the world. Our theatre will be closed all day on Friday, September 14 to prepare for Universal Cinemark’s debut on Saturday, September 15. Then, the remodeling work will begin to implement all of the awesome enhancements I mentioned earlier.

 

So this fall, head over to Universal Cinemark at CityWalk, grab your popcorn and get ready to experience a blockbuster movie…Universal Cinemark-style!

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If this is the start of the rumored Ministry of Magic expansion I will be very, very upset.

 

I was under the impression that the Ministry of Magic expansion would be on the USO side of the property as an extension off of London/Diagon Alley in the plot currently occupied by the Fear Factor Live Stage.

That actually makes a lot of sense, as the Ministry of Magic is in London (like all the other UK ministries are). I really hate to be this pedantic, and I never am normally, but Rowling is particular and has some creative control over what Universal does, so she will insist that things be as close to the books as possible.

 

Plus, I'd have to imagine a lot of their creative work is going to developing a large new Harry Potter section to anchor their new Orlando park (though not that they may not also have Harry Potter related expansions in mind for both IOA and USO).

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If this is the start of the rumored Ministry of Magic expansion I will be very, very upset.

 

I was under the impression that the Ministry of Magic expansion would be on the USO side of the property as an extension off of London/Diagon Alley in the plot currently occupied by the Fear Factor Live Stage.

 

With Rowling I'm sure that the MoM is going to go into USO. I could very much see the rumored Forbidden Forest going into where Lost Continent currently sits.

 

Though even as a huge potterhead growing up I really don't want to see much more of it in the parks. Especially being raised and working IoA when Potter first opened. I just think it's getting to be too much of the same thing.

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I'm also a big HP fan and I think what they have is enough. I can see them going for the surefire money maker though, and looking at their recent films I'm finding it tough to pick a new IP that would have enough lasting power to justify that kind of investment.

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The Universal Orlando Resort has sent us an update about the movie theater at Universal CityWalk being enhanced as it converts from AMC to Cinemark!

 

Interesting. I wonder what that means for the AMC in Hollywood....

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The Universal Orlando Resort has sent us an update about the movie theater at Universal CityWalk being enhanced as it converts from AMC to Cinemark!

 

Interesting. I wonder what that means for the AMC in Hollywood....

Hopefully nothing... If that moves to Cinemark as well they'll lose their IMAX theater as Cinemark doesn't pay for IMAX and will replace it with XD.

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My local theater is a Cinemark with the luxury loungers, and it is phenomenal. They feel like you're in your living room. I honestly stopped going to the movies for a few years because of how expensive it was getting to uncomfortably watch a movie in sub-par seats, but these brought me back!

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Our nearest Cinemark is a really great theater in a really terrible location (the remains of the former Artegon/Festival Bay mall). I've always felt like CityWalk's AMC was one of the weaker theaters in town despite the location, so I'm hopeful this change brings the theater up to speed.

Edited by jedimaster1227
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Here's a "first look" at the new Stranger Things Maze coming to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood, Orlando, and Singapore...

 

Universal City, CA, September 5, 2018 – Universal Studios reveals first look images from the “Stranger Things” haunted mazes coming to “Halloween Horror Nights” 2018.

 

For the first time ever, Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Singapore are partnering with Netflix to bring “Stranger Things” to life at their “Halloween Horror Nights" events. Each park will feature its very own maze that will give guests the chance to brave the Upside Down and encounter iconic scenes, characters and environments from season one of the critically-acclaimed series.

 

The images showcase some of the eerily-authentic environments guests will encounter at “Halloween Horror Nights” 2018 – including the Byers’ living room adorned with an erratic display of flashing Christmas lights, Hawkins National Laboratory in the Upside Down, Will’s makeshift fort called Castle Byers and more.

 

“Halloween Horror Nights” begins Friday, September 14 in Hollywood and Orlando, and on Thursday, September 27 in Singapore. Tickets and vacation packages are on sale now. For more information about “Halloween Horror Nights” at Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Orlando Resort or Universal Studios Singapore, visit http://www.HalloweenHorrorNights.com.

 

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Edited by robbalvey
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I liked Season 2 way more than season 1 and think it's a pretty fun show, maybe not as great a some think but still worth watching.....

 

.....but these pictures look absolutely stunning. I really wasn't planning on going this year but might have to try to squeeze in one night to check out this maze.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm not going to belabor myself posting a lengthy opening night TR since I'm sure TPR will do an even better job, but I can speak from my own experience.

 

It was our first Orlando HHN and we had a great time! Did not splurge for a Fast Pass so we accepted that we'd be waiting a while for everything and not get much done. Met a cool couple during early entry and ended up having a blast together just goofing off during our waits. Yes, we were those people last night.

 

Ended up getting two rides in and 4 (1/2, more on that later) mazes, plus plenty of beer runs! Was definitely glad that Orlando is not a dry event, like Hollywood is. Maze lines topped out around an 60-80 minutes for everything but Stranger Things. Stranger Things was 2+ hours the whole night.

 

So the one bittersweet thing that happened (which maybe you've heard about if you look at their socials):

We saved Stranger Things for last partially because we like saving the best for last and partially because it was a 2+ hour wait all night. Got in line for it 30 minutes to close, and they still were letting people get in line up until close. At around 1:30 (after we waited an hour, but others had waited much longer) we start to see them sending everyone home. There were droves of people all confused and frustrated being told that Stranger Things was closed. Basically, we heard the employees were under a certain contract but that per their contract they didn't have to stay past a certain time (which seems kinda weird and confusing, but whatever). So, since employees were leaving they could not keep Stranger Things open. The line to Guest Services was ridiculous. For the most part people were disgruntled and confused, but not belligerent. They ended up giving us signed business cards stating we could have a comp HHN ticket for any night as well as a Stranger Things fast pass.

 

I came all the way from Ohio to visit friends and go to this, so I'm definitely very thankful they gave us this comp. I'm lucky that we have time in the schedule to go again, so it will work out pretty well because we can hit the mazes we missed, including Stranger Things.

 

I'm still very confused why this happened. My experience with theme parks is either A. as long as you get in line before close, they let you do the ride/experience (shout-out to Disney's Flight of Passage crew!) or B. they anticipate the length of wait time and close it off correspondingly before closing, which is frustrating if you thought that A. was going to happen, but at least you can go do something else until park closing. I definitely don't think the park expected this to happen.

 

So now, we'll go again either tonight or Sunday and make sure to do Stranger Things early in the night. Those of you planning to go in the near future (esp if you don't get a fast pass): I'd recommend doing Stranger Things early or at least ask staff if they are going to close off the line early. I'm sure the park is going to make sure this is NOT going to happen again.

 

TL;DR : Unexpected things happen in this hobby, but drink plenty of beer and take a chill pill if they don't work in your favor.

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I'm still very confused why this happened. My experience with theme parks is either A. as long as you get in line before close, they let you do the ride/experience (shout-out to Disney's Flight of Passage crew!) or B. they anticipate the length of wait time and close it off correspondingly before closing, which is frustrating if you thought that A. was going to happen, but at least you can go do something else until park closing. I definitely don't think the park expected this to happen.

Yeah, I can most certainly say this was probably an "opening night anomaly" as I can tell you that I regularly go to HHN after 11pm and will always jump in a line for a house right at park closing, and I've never seen them turn away guests. Even if they have to send team members home, they'll put people through that maze even if there are only three scareactors left! lol

 

So I'm wondering if this was just something different, an unexpected issue, etc.

 

At least they gave you the comp and did the best they could to fix the situation. And thankfully you're understanding enough to know that "opening night" for anything can be filled with longer than normal waits and unexpected issues.

 

Hope that gets resolved though or they will have to start cutting the line off early.

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I was in line for ST when it was shut down and I wanna shout out to the employees. I saw one lady getting verbally abused by a guest but she was still smiling. I couldn't imagine doing that especially at 130 am.

Was it this batshit crazy lady who went off on us on Twitter this morning?

 

https://twitter.com/JenniHo/with_replies

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Halloween Horror Nights 28 - Opening Night Media Event!

 

TPR was at the opening night media event of Halloween Horror Nights 28 and with a record breaking 10 houses and 5 scare zones, this is the year to be here! The theme this year is really more of an "aesthetic" (as the kids today would say) of the 80s and it stretches through many of the houses, the scare zones and even into the shops and food stands! While I still miss having an "icon" as they have in years past, this is a fun and different way to approach the event.

 

I have been attending HHN since the very first one, 28 years ago and even though they added a 10th house, they didn't take away from the quality of any of the other houses and they all stand solidly on their own. Stranger Things is the house that will get top billing this year on most "lists" and it deserves every bit of praise. Incredibly detailed and true to the story, this is worth the wait.. whatever it is! The original property houses dreamed up by the creative minds at Universal Orlando are also top notch. Carnival Graveyard and Scary Tales might be some of the most detailed they have done in years. Everyone has their favorites for different reasons and multiple run throughs can get you very different experiences, which is why I recommend going multiple nights to make sure you see it all!

 

Halloween Horror Nights is really the premiere Halloween event in the country. It goes for a record breaking 36 nights from September 14th through November 3rd this year and features 10 NEW houses, 5 new scarezones, 1 show and 2 roaming hoards of chainsaw killers! There are also a great selection of rides open with minimal waits throughout the park. Before we start off with the pictures, just some friendly tips if you are planning on going to the event!

 

- The event officially begins at 6:30pm,but they almost always will open the gate at 6. If you have tickets for the day, do "stay and scream" and get a head start on the crowds running to the mazes.

- If you have only one night and want to try and fit it all in, you will need to get an Express Pass or RIP guided tour. Both are *WELL* worth the money and I have done both many times throughout the years.

- If you have multiple nights then you really should get the "Frequent Fear Pass" - this is a great deal and is basically an "annual pass" for the event. There are different levels of this that include various days and some even include express passes.

- If you are buying a one day ticket, don't pay full gate price. There are MANY discounts out there that are available.

 

Take a look at the TPR highlight video of the Stranger Things house and also our photo trip report of our night!

 

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Checked in and ready to go for the event! I love the themed lanyards.

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I love being able to be some of the first ones escorted in and seeing the scaractors getting ready for their first scares!

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Hiding and ready to go! Getting daylight pictures is one of the best reasons to get to the event early.

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The first scare zone as you enter the park sets up some of the IP houses that you might visit during the night.

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Spoiler... there is a clown in the Poltergeist house... a LOT OF CLOWNS!

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I saw it hit about 120 minutes on opening night, so 65 right at opening for the Stay and Scream folks isn't bad!

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But at the same time you can do Carnival Graveyard for only a 5 minute wait while everyone else runs to Stranger Things... decisions, decisions...

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Universal Studios media events always have great food that is themed really well. First stop, the desert table!

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Who is going to be the brave one to take the first slice of clown cake?!!?

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Who is going to be the brave one to take the first slice of clown cake?!!?

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I love the 80s theming even at the food stations!

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Oooohhh! I bet something might happen here soon....

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For a year without Jack as an icon, there are an awful lot of clowns...

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On this stage we learned all the incredibly detailed stories behind the houses from the creators themselves!

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Then, characters from each of the houses came out to their backdrop.

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OH YEAH! You can imagine the applause in the room when eleven came out!

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Picture time! Then off to get scared!!!!

Edited by disneyfan1313
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Time to hit some houses! Pictures below...

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We started off the 10 houses with Scary Tales! This is the telling of fairy tales in a very twisted way. The facade of this soundstage house is insane and the Wicked Witch flies over you.

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So many gruesome fairy tales gone wrong in this one!

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I'M A HUNGRY WOLF! GET IN MY BELLY!

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I was very excited to see the return of HHN bear!

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We moved on to Carnival Graveyard, where carnivals go to rust to pieces. Great original house and it has a hidden Jack the Clown!

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I *do not* want to run away with this carnival!

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The detail in these soundstage houses is just amazing.. and creepy!

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We then took a walk through the Vamp 85 scare zone. Straight out of the 80s with tons of recognizable "characters" from that era.

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The NY Street scare zone is epic each year, they have so much room to roam, and you don't have places to hide!

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They also have a number of show scenes and kills that take place throughout the night. Can't wait to go back and see it in more detail.

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We then hit the mini scare zone of Killer Klowns from Outer Space. Very detailed costumes and true to this B movie classic!

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Cotton Candy made of PEOPLE!?!!?!?

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I don't think I want any treats from you, thank you very much!

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Oh, hai mr clown...

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Uh... what is happening...

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This is the last thing you see before you die...

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Time to hit more houses!

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OMG! Stranger Things was AMAZING. So detailed and true to the series.

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There are SO many demogorgons in the maze, you can't escape them!

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Spoilers! You know what Eleven is doing here!

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Poltergeist was next and while the first 1/2 is true to the movie, the second 1/2 was done almost like the 1/2 half of the Shining house, a creative interpretation with (in this case.. ) TONS OF CLOWNS!

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The Revenge of Chucky scare zone has Chucky bringing all of your favorite children's toys to life!

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Oh no! What happened to the Cabbage Patch Dolls!

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Care Bear SCARE!

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The Twisted Traditions scare zone was next where all of your favorite Halloween traditions get gruesome!

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I see you! Don't take my candy!

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There is no Bill and Ted show this year, but Academy of Villains brought the energy to their stage. It is a great show and worth seeing, but I do feel it is better served as a street show.

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Blumhouse House is next... who gets this reference from Happy Death Day?

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The Happy Death Day portion was awesome! Hopefully the Purge portion gets a little tweaked as the run continues.

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