Universal Confirms Cinematic Celebration Nighttime Lagoon Show Will Beginning This Summer

Hey Thrill Seekers,

When our mate Mike Aiello speaks we listen, even if we did break this news last week…

Today Mike wrote a piece on the Universal blog confirming that the Cinematic Celebration” Nighttime Lagoon Show beginning this Summer.

What can we expect?

Located in the heart of the lagoon, “Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration” will bring thrilling and fun moments to life inspired by characters from popular Universal Orlando experiences and blockbuster films.

Mike stated;

You’ll witness moments from the Harry Potter series conjured to life by way of spells, ear-shattering roars from dinosaurs in Jurassic World, the adrenaline rush of speed from The Fast & the Furious, mischief by the Minions from Illumination’s Despicable Me and so much more…

And, it’s all seamlessly projected on full panoramic water screens, accented by pyrotechnics and – for the first time ever – more than 120 dancing fountains with projection mapping. The entire waterfront of the Universal Studios lagoon and surrounding buildings will transform into a vivid celebration of epic movie moments and beloved characters.

Mike also confirmed that Universal are also building a permanent, dedicated viewing area for the show in the Central Park area of Universal Studios where you’ll be able to watch the lagoon come to life.

I can’t wait to see this…

Smiles included…

Jamie

Universal Confirm Trick ‘r Treat For HHN28

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Yep we’ve got another confirmed house for Halloween Horror Nights 28 along with Stranger Things and the Universal Original house Dead Exposure we can now look forward to Trick ‘r Treat !!!

Trick R Treat made an appearance last year as a scare zone but as HHN fans loved it so much in 2017 Universal have decided to upgrade it to a house. Here’s what Universal had to say about it;

We’re throwing you head first into the world of this cult Halloween film, and putting you in the middle of all the grisly scenes and demented characters. These guardians of Halloween will teach you the traditions of the holiday as you find out first hand the consequences of breaking those rules. With monsters around every turn, you need to pay attention…or suffer the ultimate fate.

The mysterious Sam who is the keeper of the rules and the ‘spirit of Halloween’ will be keeping an eye over all of the scares. I was at HHN last year and the scare zone was one of my favourites so I cannot wait to see what is in store for the house!

We’ve still got 6 more house reveals and all of the scare zones to come, are you happy about this house and what do you think is going to be the next reveal?

Screams included!

Abby

 

 

What do we already know about Dead Exposure?

Hey Thrill Seekers,

So yesterday Dead Exposure: Patient Zero was announced as the first Original House for this years scarefest at HHN28. The word ‘original’ had got me thinking before the name was even announced and I had 2 ideas: could it be an original house from one of the first HHN’s or could it be a completely new ‘original’ IP? I’m going to take this one as a win as I was kind of right, right?

I’ve been doing a bit of digging to find out just how original Dead Exposure is and it turns out that it was last seen at Halloween Horror Nights in 2008 and this years house is a sequel/prequel (i’ll get to that later). So seeing as I was only 12 back in 2008 funnily enough I have never experienced first hand what Dead Exposure is really like, all I knew was that if you had been through the house and someone mentioned its name, even 5 years down the line, your toes would still curl at the memories…

What do we know?

Dead Exposure was 1 of 8 houses featured in Universals Halloween Horror Nights: Reflections of Fear back in 2008 which was the ‘year of Bloody Mary’. It took guests on a journey ‘through’ Charlie McPhersons photographs as he navigated his way through a city of flesh eating zombies where the only source of light was his camera flash. The creators of HHN used backlight strobes perfectly timed with the noise of camera clicks to pull off the feeling that you’re walking through photographs. They also used special paint on the costumes and set to highlight certain parts. The whole house (apart from the first and last rooms) was in complete darkness with only those camera flashes to light the way.

Found on Halloween Horror Nights Wiki was a description of the walk through itself:

Reaching the front of the house, guests were greeted with loud music which had famously been featured in zombie movies. Standing in front of the entrance was a large bulletin board with ghostly pictures and notes covering it noting where in town each of the photographs were taken. Walking into a hole in the board, guests entered into photographer, Charlie McPherson’s, apartment. The electricity was out and somethings were pounding on all of the windows with guests only able to see their shadows. Charlie himself was lurking in the apartment, warning guests as they walked by of what he saw and urging them to hurry out of there and to look into his portfolio.

Leaving the room, guests entered the pictures that he had taken that night. With three clicks and flashes at a time the room was illuminated to reveal a hardware store. A number of zombies surrounded both sides of the path, ready to attack. Continuing on Charlie’s path, guests entered the sewer. Drips and other sounds were heard from the darkened path, and a camera flash illuminated a zombie lurking in the sewer pipe on the wall. The path continued toward the surface again through a narrow hallway with zombies inside of the walls.

Reaching the surface, guests were inside a public bathroom. Stalls surrounded the path with some open and zombies inside of them. A zombie blocked the path out of the room and would only move between camera clicks. Once through Charlie’s pictures brought guests outside into a park. Abandoned seemingly quickly by the humans, zombies lurked in the park equipment and near the toys left by children. Leaving the park, guests entered a room full of zombies . Seemingly surrounded by dozens of zombies, there was no clear path through the middle of the area. While guests tried to navigate, zombies would attack between camera flashes.

Once the room was successfully navigated, guests entered a hallway. Camera flashes revealed zombies hanging above the path. Following the hallway around a corner, flashes revealed a lone zombie underneath the clear flooring trying to get out at guests. Done with Charlie’s pictures, guests walked back into his apartment. A number of zombies were surrounding a table to the right of the path. On the table was Charlie, screaming as he was torn apart to be eaten by his attackers. A final zombie, who looked suspiciously like Charlie, popped out of a closet at the other end of the room to scare guests out of the house.

I don’t think anyone was really prepared for how scary this house was going to be, i’ve been reading a few reviews and every single one of them mentions the impact of the pitch black and the fact you can’t even see your own hands in front of your face. Scottyrif from Halloween Horror Nights Unofficial said “The camera flashes were the only source of light throughout the entire house experience, and scareactors would scare the hell out of you in those brief moments of bright flash. Of course, once the light was out again, it was even harder to see because our eyes couldn’t adjust to the extreme change from light to dark.”

Here’s a review of Dead Exposure from HHN18 by attractions magazine:
Scare Factor: 9/10
Entertainment Factor: 7/10
You do not want to miss Dead Exposure. Period. The premise is that you’re in the world of a photographer who has stumbled upon an outbreak of zombies… and you’re stepping into his black and white photographs. It’s the most unique of all the houses as it is pitch black inside, with occasional strobes of blacklight illuminating your way, providing you only with a quick “picture” of what’s around you. A constant droning sound gets your heart racing and you never know where the next scare is coming from.

So earlier on I said that this years house Dead Exposure: Patient Zero is a sequel / prequel to the house featured in 2008. Let me explain, so basically the concept of each house is the same but there is a different storyline. This years house will actually take you back to 1982 and is set in Paris where the zombie epidemic is just beginning and the only people on your side are the military who are issuing vaccinations but with a BIG side effect… Blindness. Check out my blog from yesterday for more information on Dead Exposure: Patient Zero

Dead Exposure was also voted house of the year back in 2008 and looked absolutely terrifying – one of the scariest i’ve seen or read about and with how far technology has come in 10 years I would bet my left leg that this year it is going to be even more so…

I can’t wait!

Screams Included,

Abby

Second HHN28 House Revealed!

Hey Thrill Seekers,

YES! The second HHN28 House has been revealed…

Dead Exposure: Patient Zero is coming to Halloween Horror Nights this year. Get ready to be infected with fear in a BRAND NEW house that ‘lives within a world of a fan-favourite from our past.’ This house is a prequel to Dead Exposure which was featured at HHN in 2008 and according to Universal was ‘easily one of the most terrifying houses we’ve ever had’ where guests entered complete and utter darkness with only flashing bright lights to guide them through the hoards of zombies that surrounded them.

This year Universal are bringing back all of the same scares and terror of 2008 but are instead dropping guests in the middle of Paris 1982. Chaos has spread throughout the city as flesh eating, vicious zombies make their way through the streets looking for prey. The only people on your side are the military who are giving vaccinations to anyone not already infected however this is at your own risk as there are BIG side effects…

Blindness.

Universal are really bringing a whole new meaning to the word darkness. While you will be trying to escape the zombies clutches you just need to remember one thing.. they will find you.

This house is the first original house that has been announced so far and only the 2nd of the 9 to be released this year.

Remember Halloween Horror Nights 2018 is taking place from 14th September – 3rd November and you can get 2 nights for the price of 1 here.

Stay tuned for more announcements to add to the already mazing line up:

  • Stranger Things
  • Dead Exposure: Patient Zero

Scares Included

Abby

Wizarding World of Harry Potter secrets

Hey Thrill Seekers,

So Gavin and I let you in on some secrets we know about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter the other week on OAT Live and I’m going to tell you all my favourites including some new ones we didn’t have time for…

  • Universal hired a large amount of its staff from Britain to ensure the experience is as authentic as possible. Each staff member also has to sit an exam to test their knowledge of the books and films to make sure interactions with guests are as seamless as possible.
  • Harry and Hermione’s voices in Escape From Gringotts aren’t actually their real voices
  • We all know that the Leaky Cauldron serves as a gateway between the magical and muggle world and Universal have added a hint of this to the sign of the Leaky Cauldron. Lets just say be careful of drips if you’re standing underneath the sign..
  • The perfume advertisement that can be found in Kings Cross Station at Universal Studios is not exactly the same as the one in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The advert in the film says ‘Tonight make a little magic with your man’ however the one used in Kings Cross says ‘make a little magic’ so it is a little less suggestive.
  • In Zonkos Joke Shop you can hear whispering coming from the Extendable Ears which can be found hanging over the registers. If you wish to purchase one, you can however there is a sign warning you of eavesdropping.
  • Also in Zonkos you can buy your very own Pygmy Puff – if you do decide to buy one the attendant will ring the bell and announce your Pygmy Puffs name to the whole shop!
  • Look out for the Pots and Pans cleaning themselves in the window to the left of the Three Broomsticks.
  • If you need to make a pit stop at the single restroom in Hogsmede you won’t be alone… Moaning Myrtle can be heard complaining in the men and the women’s loo’s!
  • It’s not just the Dragon that comes to life every 15 minutes.. every 15 mins a owl will pop out the top of the Owlery just like a cuckoo clock.
  • When in line for The Forbidden Journey if you stop by the potions classroom door and listen very carefully you will be able to hear Neville Longbottom being told off for not performing a spell correctly.
  • Keep an eye out for Kreacher in the window of 12 Grimmauld place if you decide to knock…

So there you have it.. some secrets to impress your mates with the next time you visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Some are tried and tested and some aren’t so let us know if you know of any more!!

Smiles Included,

Abby

Fast & Furious Supercharged is now open!

Hey Thrill Seekers,

‘Life’s simple, you make choices and you don’t look back’ – Han Lue. I know something you will look back on though –  memories and Fast & Furious – Supercharged will give you and your family thrills and memories that will last forever.

Fast & Furious – Supercharged is now open at Universal Studios so what are you waiting for? Get yourselves over to Universal and step right into your very own Fast & Furious film. (I know for most of you that it will take a 9hr flight but still.. get yourselves over there.. on your next holiday 😉 )

On Monday lucky old Mr Blog Squad himself, Gavin is heading out to Orlando to attend the special evening event being held for the opening of Fast & Furious – Supercharged which is being held on the 2nd May and will feature some of the stars of the films.

Here’s what we know so far about the attraction..

You’ll get to ride alongside members of the Fast Family such as Dom, Letty, Hobbs, Roman, Tej and Mia who are all played by the stars themselves. You’ll find yourself immersed in a recreation of the crews warehouse headquarters where there will be actual props from the films, iconic scenes and of course, supercharged vehicles, 15 to be exact that you will be able to see throughout the queue, the ride and in the retail shop. Many of those 15 have been driven by the Fast Family themselves.

Whilst waiting to enter the action you can gear yourself up by using the special mobile experience to play games, receive messages from Mia and the rest of the family, do quizzes, check out character bios and even try and unlock some surprises – this can be found on the Universal app.

Last but not least Fast & Furious – Supercharged is the next attraction at Universal Studios to feature the new Virtual Line system.. Just like Jimmy Fallon, all you will have to do is select the time you wish to ride on the app or at a kiosk located near the attraction entrance. You can then do whatever you like while you wait for your ride time.

Stay tuned for lots of pics, videos and information from Gavin on our Facebook and Instagram pages next week!

Smiles included,

Abby

Take A Sneak Peak At Fast & Furious Supercharged

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Fast & Furious Supercharged is set to open this Spring at Universal Studios and although we don’t have a firm opening date confirmed today’s images seem to imply that our wait is almost over…

Here’s what Universal had to say;

From the moment you enter the attraction, you’ll become immersed in the storyline. You’ll encounter Dom’s iconic car parked out front of the new home base of operations for the Fast & Furious family.

Once inside, you’ll get to explore familiar scenes from the films like Tej’s high-tech War Room, where you learn more about your mission.


And of course, garages filled with supped up cars designed by Dennis McCarthy, the man behind the vehicles created for the films. Several of the cars you’ll see are from the Fast & Furious movies. You’ll even come across an all-new vehicledesigned exclusive for the attraction – Letty’s Turbo Truck!

If you’re a car fanatic, keep your eye out for modifications that only a true fan would recognize. I’m not what you would call “car savvy”, but it was pretty cool to walk through and see it all.

Keep checking our blog and facebook page for more information about the release date of this highly anticipated attraction.

Smiles included…

Jamie

Universal Launch a new skill for Amazon Alexa

Hey Thrill Seekers,

So Universal have recently launched a new ‘set of skills’ for Alexa which will provide information such as;

 

  • Wait Times
  • Show Times
  • Park Hours
  • Points of Interests (Restrooms, Restaurants, Guest Services, etc)

It is definitely the way forward for holiday planning, if you’re at home planning out your days and you can’t remember what time Volcano Bay closes then all you’ll have to do is ask Alexa ‘What time does Volcano Bay close on…..’

To enable the skill on Alexa, visit the skills section of your Alexa App or Amazon.com or say, “Alexa, open Universal.” Once enabled, Alexa will be ready to assist. All you have to do is say, “Alexa, open Universal” and you’ll have access.

Pretty cool huh?

Smiles Included,

Abby

Abby’s Annual Halloween Horror Night Predictions

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Yep its that time again where I try to guess what this years Halloween Horror Nights houses will have in store for us. Last year I got 3/6 correct which I was pretty happy about to be honest.

Last year I had the privilege of attending HHN for the first time and it was INCREDIBLE. I feel as though it has also given me an advantage for this blog.  This year I’m confident of beating my previous score and if I’m correct HHN28 is going to be awesome.

Stranger Things

We thought this might make an appearance at HHN27 after Universal big cheese, Mike Aiello, expressed his love for the show on twitter, however due to time constraints (they start working on the following years Halloween horror nights as soon the latest one starts) we feel this might make an appearance this year.

With 2 seasons under its belt and no sign of viewer fatigue we’re guessing that a Stranger Things house will cover the events on season 1 & 2, so expect Demogorgans and a girl with a nosebleed. 

Likelihood: 8/10

IT

One of 2017 most anticipated remakes and although it split audiences it still raked in $700 Million  on a budget of just $35 Million proving that there is definitely a strong fan base there.

IT feels like a very obvious choice for me, the theming is right up Universal’s alley and I can see the house moving from scene to scene easily. Also last year we didn’t see a house with a resident clown so maybe it’s time to step up the clown antics at HHN or could the recent uproar of working clowns vs scary clowns affect this?

Likelihood: 9/10

American Horror Story 

One of the highest rated houses from HHN27 and HHN26 (and my personal favourite) could well return, American Horror Story season 8 is rumoured to be hitting TV’s in the Autumn and will centred around either lust or violence (following the 9 circles of hell.) In 2016 the house featured Murder House, Freak Show and Hotel. Last year it featured Asylum, Coven and Roanoke with their biggest floor plan of the year (you can hear me screaming my way through the 4+ minute house here. ) I think it’s obvious that we would see Cult featured this year!

Universal obviously have a working relationship with FX and the creators of AMS and as Walking Dead’s popularity falls I think American Horror Story is in a good position to become a HHN regular.

Likelihood: 8/10

Five Nights at Freddy’s 

Now this one’s a bit of a hail Mary but bear (excuse the pun) with me. For those who don’t know Five Nights at Freddy’s is a computer game about a security guard looking after a Pizzeria at night, during the night the animatronics come to life and are hell bent on killing stuff.

Here’s the reason we think this could have a chance. Chris Columbus of Harry Potter, Home Alone  and The Goonies fame has signed on to direct a film based on the computer game. The Studio making the film? Friends of Universal, Blumhouse. Who you might remember had a house last year based solely on their horror franchise.

The only thing that makes us doubt ourselves is the timing, the announcement that a film was in the pipeline only happened a few days ago. So perhaps we’re looking at HHN29?

Likelihood: 3/10

Titans of Terror

In Hollywood last year they were blessed with the Titans of Terror, yep Jason, Freddy and Leatherface. We’re thinking that perhaps these classic horror icons might make the trip east to appear at HHN28.

Here’s what Hollywood said about the house;

Fall victim to the silver screen’s most deplorable killers, whose affinity for bladed weapons, redefined the horror movie genre as slasher films: Leatherface (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) wielding his iconic chainsaw, Jason Voorhees (Friday the 13th) brandishing his relentless machete, and Freddy Krueger (A Nightmare on Elm Street) swiping his trademark glove armed with razor blades.
The new maze will be an assault on your sensibilities as you descend into the forbidden realms of these iconic horror monsters and discover the place where these depraved legacies were born.

Likelihood: 6/10

The Purge

Okay, bear with me on this one. I know that the Purge franchise is very popular and featured as a scare zone in 2014, a house in 2015, didn’t feature in 2016 and was back as a scare zone in 2017. It works extremely well in a scare zone  BUT there’s a new Purge film set to be released this year called ‘The First Purge’ (also known as Purge: The Island) which will be a prequel that will focus on the events that lead up to the very first Purge event. So with all loose ends tied up, a beginning, middle and end it could be upgraded to its own house again.. I hope so anyway!

The Purge was by far my favourite Scare Zone of HHN27 and I could imagine it to be a very adrenaline pumping, high energy house that can now also tell a story.

Likelihood: 6/10

Now this one is not included in my predictions as such, it’s more of a wish.. and that is the idea that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter could be incorporated in HHN. How? I hear you ask… Let me explain..

Death Eaters Attack Diagon Alley.

This has already happened at the Japan park, what’s to stop it coming to Orlando?! In Japan guests saw Death Eaters attack Hogsmeade so for Studios if this were to ever happen it would have to take place in Diagon Alley as HHN only features in Universal Studios.

In Japan, as night fell the cheerful world of magic transformed into a world of darkness as the Death Eaters appeared wearing black hoods and masks enabling guests to come fact to face with the followers of Lord Voldermort

This is a very far-fetched idea and I’m pretty sure JK Rowling wouldn’t allow for the Wizarding World to be part of HHN but I think it would be amazing!

Likelihood: 0/10

So there you go, my predictions for Halloween Horror Nights 2018 are out there.. none of these have been confirmed by Universal.

What would you like to see come to HHN this year?

Screams included…

Abby

A Portrait Of A Celebration of Harry Potter

Hey Thrill Seekers,

I was lucky enough to attend this years A Celebration of Harry Potter, after reporting about the event for the past few years from the UK I was so excited to finally get the opportunity to sample the atmosphere in person.

On top of being present at the media event for the talent Universal invited (Ginny, Weasley twins, Tonks and Victor Krum), the opening ceremony and a special night time visit of Diagon Alley I also got access to some of the amazing people that attended. Here is a selection of some of my favourite pictures.

Best Dressed

Jay McDougall (@ragingstormcosplay ) won best costume and for me was a worthy winner. His attention to detail is amazing and I believe the costume took just under 2 years to design and source.

My Favourite Photo

I grabbed this pic on the fly. I happened to be talking to a colleague when I spotted the girls walking down the New York section of Universal. I practically sprinted to grab their picture. The girls were amazing too, they really played up to the camera and I have a few shots of them being awesome but this was my favourite. They’re dressed as the Holyhead Harpies, the all girl quidditch team that play in the British and Irish league.

Craziest Costume

If you come to an event dressed as a couch then for me you’ve won this award hands down.

Most attention

This gentleman was roughly 6′ 5″ and dressed as Professor Umbridge. I watched him try and walk through Diagon Alley and literally every step he took someone stopped him to take a picture. He handled the attention very graciously.

Funniest

There’s so much to love about this picture. When I approached them they were sitting chatting to each other quite normally, as soon as I raised the camera they were straight into House Elf mode.

Most obscure 

…. took me a while to get this one…. but it’s when Neville faces the Boggart and uses the Riddikulus spell on his worse fear, Professor Snape.

Cutest

I love this one, it totally looks like just two old mates hanging out in Diagon Alley plus the costumes are amazing.

Best of the rest

If you get the chance to visit A Celebration of Harry Potter next year then I would encourage you to not only do it but dress up and get involved. I really wish I had.

Smiles included…

Gavin