32819 Travel Guide

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Tripping over Scareactors at Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights 2012

Where: 1000 Universal Studios Plaza [map], Orlando, FL, United States, 32819
October 16, 2012 at 6:10 PM | by | Comments (0)

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 drill—each 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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A Skull with Hair Just Arrived in the Mail

Where: 8504 Universal Boulevard [map], Orlando, FL, United States, 32819
September 26, 2012 at 12:32 PM | by | Comments (0)

Yup. Opened a box to find some sort of skull head and it felt very much like a Brad Pitt in Seven moment. This head, however, was not that of Gwyneth Paltrow; this skull belonged to Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights 22. The annual event will take place on select nights between September 21 and October 31st.

This year visitors will try to survive hordes of AMC's The Walking Dead, an Alice Cooper created haunted house, and a Penn & Teller magic trick gone wrong, amongst other experiences.

The skull we received still had hair on it, and the accompanying note said "don't worry, hair continues to grow long after death." Um…yeah.

For the scoop on what Five US Amusement Parks are doing this Halloween, check out our previous story here.

[Photo: Jaunted]

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Inside and All Around Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights 2011

Where: 1000 Universal Studios Plaza [map], Orlando, FL, United States, 32819
October 19, 2011 at 10:08 AM | by | Comments (0)

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 night—for 15 nights every fall—the 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 ship—we 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:

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2009 Halloween Theme Park Scare Guide: Halloween Horror Nights

Where: 6000 Universal Boulevard [map], Orlando, Fl, United States, 32819
October 6, 2009 at 9:28 AM | by | Comments (0)

At this year’s event you will be trapped by “SAW’s” maniacal serial killer Jigsaw, come face-to-fangs with “The Wolfman” and be chased by the twisted “Chucky” doll.    

And that’s just the beginning: All eight haunted houses, six scarezones and two live shows are inspired by blockbuster horror films. Until now, you’ve only been able to watch the action in horror films like “SAW,” “The Wolfman,” and “Chucky.” But at Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights, these films and more have been transformed into live experiences that put you in the middle of your worst cinematic nightmares.   

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Scarier Than Fear Factor: Universal Orlando Makes Cutbacks

Where: 6233 International Dr [map], Orlando, FL, United States, 32819
February 6, 2009 at 10:46 AM | by | Comments (0)

Eat this plate of fried worms, or... fail to turn a profit for the year? Universal Studios in Orlando closed or cut hours to several attractions yesterday including "Fear Factor Live," a participatory adaptation of the once-popular gross-out reality show.

A mouthpiece for Orlando said the cuts would be based on audience attendance and would be rolled out beginning this weekend, but didn't offer any other names of doomed attractions. Since Universal Studios Hollywood closed its Fear Factor Live attraction last year, there is now no way you can do dangerous stunts like the people on TV. (Woe!)

We'd never even heard of Fear Factor Live before being informed of its closing (in fact, we are still halfway convinced we have been punked). But it doesn't surprise us that often overpriced, temptation-stuffed theme parks are already hurting: Disney reported profits were down in its last quarter of 2008, and Universal Orlando just gave away some 300,000 seven-day passes in a Super Bowl giveaway designed to get visitors in so they could start buying some $7 funnel cakes again. Sea World even announced it would stop giving away free beer, which makes us sad because we never knew there was free beer to be had in the first place.

For these classic spring-break destinations, it's sink or swim, and one sinker is last year's shiny new Hard Rock Park in Myrtle Beach: While its website claims it's only closed for "restructuring," it's unlikely a buyer for the bankrupt park will be found in time for the 2009 season. In other words, it's gone to Rock'n'Roll Heaven.

Related Stories:
· Universal Orlando Cuts Attractions [MSNBC]
· Insufficient Rocking by Myrtle Beach Visitors Causes New Theme Park to File for Bankruptcy [Jaunted]
· A Lesson In Bad Timing [LOLFed]

[Photo: bfurlong]

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Starbucks Alternatives: Bad Ass Coffee

Where: 8554 International Dr [map], Orlando, FL, United States, 32819
August 31, 2007 at 11:35 AM | by | Comment (1)

Bad Ass Coffee Co. has bastardized caffeine consumption just like Ron Jon Surf Shop did surfing. But hey, marketing a business as some kind of wacky, counter-culture alternative to the mainstream worked for Hard Rock Café, Margaritaville and two guys named Ben and Jerry. It even shot it is coffee competitor, Starbucks, to world domination.

Since Orlando is arguably the gimmick capital of the world, drinking coffee at Bad Ass might is sort of like grabbing a cup of joe at the original Starbucks at Pike Place in Seattle--without the bitter aftertaste.

We'll forgive the fact that the slogan is "Coffee With An Attitude" since the coffee is, well, delicious. Though based in Hawaii, the Orlando shop is the largest of the chain's 45 stores, complete with a salt-water aquarium, fake volcano and a 3D surf wave.

Related Stories:
· Bad Ass Coffee Co. [Official Site]
· Starbucks Alternatives coverage [Jaunted]
· Orlando Hotels [HotelChatter]

[Photo: Dshalock]