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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?
If you’re thinking about a international theme park road trip there might be another point of interest to add to your planned Google Map. The bulldozers aren’t turning up the earth just yet, but it does sound like Universal Studios will bring its movie magic overseas. The plan is to create a brand new park all the way over in Moscow, but it might be a little bit different than some of the company’s other parks.
It gets pretty darn chilly over in Russia, so the plan is for Universal Studios to be more of an indoor theme park. It’s scheduled to take up around 37 acres of space, so we kind of think that’s going to limit the potential for Harry Potter to make an international flight across the globe. However, the blueprints do a call for an indoor water park as well as one of those CityWalk shopping and entertainment districts. The whole thing will be called Galactica Park, but that’s assuming the drawings and sketches actually come to life.
We didn’t even know that the Spider-Man ride at Universal Orlando was closed for refurbishment, but no need to worry as it’s already back open. Apparently the ride was in need of a little TLC, but engineers and designers did way more than just dusting things off and spaying a little Lysol on the seating surfaces.
According to park officials the new ride is “Mind-blowingly better,” and if we recall it was pretty darn awesome before. It sounds like they ripped out all kinds of the former wires, screens, this, and that and replaced it all with more high tech gadgetry. Park officials are quick to brag about new 4K digital high-definition animation, a new fancy pants 3-D projection system, and even new and improved 3-D glasses to take advantage of all the improvements and upgrades. There’s also a whole new soundtrack and music score to keep your heart pounding as you venture through the world of Spider-Man and his comic book friends.
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Not only have we entered 2012 this week, but it's also the last few days of winter break for schoolchildren. If we're talking about college-age kids, then they've got a little longer. Regardless, this is the last dash time for family vacations at the theme parks in Orlando, FL...specifically at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
We've been a few times now since it opened 1.5 years ago, and each time we return with photo galleries and tips aplenty. If you're about to jet down to hit the park or are contemplating a last-minute mini-vacay, here's everything you need to know:
· Changes to ticket prices & ride seating
· Our complete, first-hand survival guide to the Potter park
· Photos from November 2011
· Photos of the all the FOOD
· Inside the Forbidden Journey castle & ride
· The souvenirs! Oh man, the souvenirs.
· Photos & video of the Hippogriff and Dragons roller coasters
· Even more photos (from the night before opening)
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Not gonna lieour June 2010 visit to the opening of Universal Studios Orlando's Wizarding World of Harry Potter is definitely a highlight of our travels from the last few years. To some that might sound perfectly stupid since we're adults and can just as easily jet off to Phuket as to Orlando, but to those who've been and also found themselves similarly taken in, the sentiment is shared.
That's why today's news that Universal Studios Hollywood will get a Wizarding World of its own in 2014 or 2015 is so thrilling. That means, if all goes according to plan, that in a span of five years the United States will have become home to two Harry Potterlands selling chocolate frogs, running roller coasters and otherwise thumbing their nose at the UK, which doesn't even have one to call its own.
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As the final Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 makes its way to the DVD today, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando is hosting “A Celebration of the Harry Potter Films” this weekend.
Special vacation packages (which were sold out an hour after going on sale this summer) will give fans a chance to attend Q&A sessions and autograph signing events with Harry Potter cast members, including everyone's favorite ginger Rupert Grint. There will also be red carpet arrivals, galas and screenings of all eight movies at the AMC Universal Cineplex 20 at Universal CityWalk.
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Universal Studios Orlando is in the midst of its annual spooky-fest, Halloween Horror Nights. Each fall crowds converge on the park to experience the transformation; during the day the park welcomes guests of all ages to experience Shrek 4D, ride ET's bike, and hug Curious George while at nightfor 15 nights every fallthe park turns itself into a big screen-like horror movie.
Eight writers work year round to come up with the themes and schemes that inhabit Universal's annual Halloween Horror Nights. While the details, both cinematic and thematic, are incredible, you have to wonder if maybe the eight writers got a little too intricate with some of these ideas (Spanish fort run by a mutinous undead crew of Columbus' missing fourth shipwe are looking at you). After all this isn't Lost. However, despite some of the themes being a bit convoluted, some are just downright scary (Saws n' Steam), some are incredibly visually compelling (Nevermore), and some just might be the future of fright (The In Between house).
We toured all eight haunted houses and here's what we think, in order from scariest to not so scary: