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Theme Park Travel / Amusement Park Travel / Harry Potter / Universal Studios / Islands of Adventure / The Wizarding World of Harry Potter / Travel News / Orlando Travel / → All Tags
Although there's still no official opening date, the summer 2014 debut of the addition to Universal Orlando's Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park is heating up with tantalizing new previews.
First off, let's discuss the Hogwarts Express, which is simply a stationary attraction in the first version of the park. Come this summer, however, when version 2 opens, it will be a fully functioning train, connecting the wizarding and muggle worlds through a detailed recreation of London's King's Cross station. Yes, you'll need to look for Platform 9 3/4, but the most important thing to know is that riding the Hogwarts Express will require guests to have a park-to-park ticket, as the train travels from Universal Studios into the Island of Adventure.
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Well that didn’t take too long. Earlier in the week we were chatting about how prices were increasing at Walt Disney World, and now it looks like the other theme parks just down the interstate are doing the same. We kind of figured this was going to happen, but we guess we just did not expect it to take place so soon after.
Looking to pay for all the new entertainment options and additional Harry Potter stuff, Universal Studios is upping the price of admission at their two theme parks in the Orlando area. It looks like a one-day ticket is now $96 for the big kids and $90 for the little kids, and if you’re looking to hop between the parks on the same day it will be $136 for adults and $90 for children. The prices do not include tax, so expect things to jump right over that $100 level when it’s all said and done.
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We are about to see how much good stuff $1 billion gets you, as the airport in Orlando just scored that kind of funding to upgrade and improve its offerings within the terminals and concourses.
All the theme park traffic and other tourist attractions in the area made Orlando the 13th busiest airport in the country last year based on passenger numbers. Airport officials only imagine the place getting even busier in the future as, after the renovations are complete they expect as many as 45 million passengers to come and go through the place each year.
Halloween Travel / Cedar Point / Universal Studios / Busch Gardens / Six Flags / Amusement Parks / Halloween Horror / Theme Parks / Scary Stuff / Best-Halloween-Theme-Parks / → All Tags
For theme park fans it’s one of the best times of the year, as before the rides and attractions go into hiding for the winter it is time for the scary stuff. Theme parks around the country are heading into the attic to bring down the spooky ghouls, ghosts, and other Halloween decorations in preparation to scare you silly.
Some of the stuff is pretty darn intense from movie scenes gone wrong to mazes that you just can’t escape, but once you stop and catch your breath—it’s all in good fun. As the season is just beginning to do its thing we thought we’d give you a quick rundown of five spots where things are going down and when. So here’s five picks with prices, dates, and links to the action—start planning those sick days accordingly.
When To Go: Weekends—as in Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays—between Friday, September 20 and Sunday, October 27
It'll Cost You: Tickets run as low as $38 on Friday nights, and as much as $47 on Saturday nights
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The Simpsons—in ride form—have been a presence at Universal Studios Orlando for quite some time, but just recently the rest of the Simpson gang finished moving into the amusement park.
It might not be as overwhelming in theme when compared to Harry Potter’s place, but Homer, Bart, Marge, and Lisa have some pretty respectable new digs. Familiar music welcomes visitors into their town, and soon enough park-goers run into retail and restaurants all developed with Springfield in mind.
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Like it or not the summer is starting to wind down, and that means it’s time to start thinking about the cooler temperatures and spooky stuff that comes with the fall. As far as the marketing teams are concerned Halloween is like right around the corner, and the folks over at Universal Studios Hollywood are busy announcing this and that regarding another year of Halloween Horror Nights.
This year it looks like there’s plenty of haunted hijinks coming to the park, and one of the best pieces of entertainment comes from Black Sabbath. For the first time the band is bringing their darkest lyrics from their biggest hits to one of the park’s annual mazes, and it’s all set to debut on September 20. Park officials are promising graveyards, madhouses, and plenty of other spooky stuff. Black Sabbath: 13 3D will feature a 3D video, and of course plenty of loud music led by Ozzy Osbourne’s vocal—uh—talents.
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If you're a Harry Potter fan even in the slightest, you might want to sit down for this news.
Not only has Universal Studios Orlando today revealed the first image of planned additions to come at The WIzarding World of Harry Potter, but they've announced that the new zone will be connected to the original Wizarding World by a recreation of the Hogwarts Express train.
Here's the full details:
Universal Studios Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights is back for another year of creepy mazes, "scare zones," monsters and now, zombies too.
In addition to a Silent Hill-themed maze, the Penn and Teller “Vegas” maze, even an Alice Cooper maze, Universal Studios (on both coasts) features a new Walking Dead maze. [Be sure to check out our comprehensive guide to Halloween Horror Nights here].
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Once again, Universal Studios Orlando is doing its best to scare nightly visitors as the park is in the midst of the 22nd annual Halloween Horror Nights. You know the drilleach fall crowds converge on the park to experience the transformation; by day Universal Studios welcomes guests of all ages to experience the new Despicable Me ride, ET's bike, and pose for photos with Spongebob, while at night (22 nights, ending on Halloween night) the park turns itself into a giant live action horror movie.
A gaggle of writers work year-round to come up with the themes and schemes that inhabit Universal's annual Halloween Horror Nights. For this 22nd incarnation of fright, Universal went heavy on the partnership route, teaming up with AMC's Walking Dead, Penn & Teller, Alice Cooper, and Silent Hill for four of the seven houses. Furthermore, the park ditched the "scare zones," opting to let the legions of horror scareactors freely roam the streets to search for victims in bars, restaurants, lines, and inside every henhouse and outhouse inside park boundaries.
We toured each of the seven haunted houses and searched out all the scareactors roaming the streets and here's what we think, in order from scariest to not-so-scary:
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If you haven’t started to feel the chill in the air you will sooner than later, and that means that theme parks around the country will start loading in their pumpkins, scarecrows, and other spooky seasonal decorations. Halloween is still over a month away, but that doesn’t mean that the scary stuff won’t begin a little bit sooner.
Here’s a quick rundown of some of the country’s best parks and when they begin to do their Halloween thing:
Here’s a quick rundown of some of the country’s best parks and when they begin to do their Halloween thing:
Cedar Point – HalloWeekends
Over at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio the werewolves and vampires come out to play beginning on September 14—that’s this Friday. The frightening fun runs on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through October 28, but you might want to just double-check the official calendar before filling up the tank and starting your drive. Admission to this year’s events should set you back around $45, but that’s only if you order in advance online.
Busch Gardens – Howl-O-Scream
There’s a couple flavors of this year’s seasonal celebrations from which to choose, as Busch Gardens is getting the ghosts and goblins ready in both Tampa and Williamsburg, Virginia. Expect haunted houses, live entertainment, and plenty of pumpkins. In Virginia the run runs on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays beginning this week, ending October 30. Down in Florida things don’t begin until next week, and it’s going to be a Thursday, Friday, Saturday thing with the scary stuff running as late as 2am. Advance admission will set you back $55 for Florida and $70 if you’re looking to be scared silly in Virginia.
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July is just starting to wind down, and that means it’s already time to start planning for Halloween. We might be exaggerating just a bit, but getting things ready well in advance is a necessity if you’re running a theme park. Even though the summer is still in full swing, details about spooky and scary stuff is already starting to trickle in. Of course we’ll fill you in on where and when to go once the weather gets a little cooler, but for now we though it would be worth revealing a sneak peek.
Over at Universal Studios—in both Hollywood and Orlando—it sounds like the characters and critters from the movie and video game Silent Hill will be making an appearance. That means theme park visitors will be happily tormented by all kinds of creatures from an alternate dimension, including everyone’s favorite—deformed nurses and the executioner. Specific details haven’t really been released as of yet, but it does sound like the designers and engineers at the park are truly up to the challenge of bringing the horror from the video games and the movies to life.
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Your summer vacation may have just gotten a little more expensive, as a couple pretty big theme parks have just increased their ticket prices—again. Universal Studios was the first to hike its admission prices a couple of weeks ago as the park raised the one-day ticket price from $85 to $88. That started the battle for the tourist dollars in Orlando, as officials at Disney World have reacted to the competition.
It seems like the parks want to be the most expensive option in town rather than the best deal. We guess the rationale is that if you only have one park from which to choose—and one day to visit—you might as well pay a couple extra bucks to visit the pricey one. After all, everyone know the best stuff costs the most—right?