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

Mmm Doughnuts…

Hey Thrill Seekers,

If there’s one thing I like as much as roller coasters its doughnuts… So Universal have just made my day with the announcement that Voodoo Doughnut is coming to Universal CityWalk this spring.

Voodoo doughnuts, the unique shop hailing from Mississippi has gained a cult following for their scrumptious fried creations.

Never heard of them… well here’s Universal’s lowdown!

Who: Kenneth “Cat Daddy” Pogson and Tres Shannon created Voodoo Doughnut in Portland, Oregon in 2003. The pair had enjoyed experimenting with unique flavors to create eccentric pastries and they turned their passion into the phenomenon that is Voodoo Doughnut. As they say, the rest is history.

What: Voodoo Doughnut will open at Universal CityWalk, Universal Orlando Resort’s entertainment and dining complex. Loved for its sinfully delicious, delightfully weird lineup of fried creations, Voodoo Doughnut will feature signature originals and one-of-a-kind delectables such as the Dirt Doughnut, the Bacon Maple Bar, Grape Ape and, of course, Voodoo Doll doughnuts.

When: The new Voodoo Doughnut location is set to open at Universal CityWalk in Orlando this spring. We’ll provide a specific date, so stay tuned here.

Where: Since their Portland origins, Cat Daddy and Tres have continued to spread their unique flavors across the globe with several new locations including a few more in Oregon and shops in Denver, Austin and CityWalk at Universal Studios Hollywood.
The Universal Orlando shop will feature the same eclectic pink theming and irreverent names that can be found in current Voodoo Doughnut locations. It will be located next to NBC Sports Grill & Brew, just steps away from the iconic Universal Globe and Universal Studios Florida entrance.

Why: Delicious doughnuts… Need we say more! Your mouth should be watering at this point.

We’ll keep you updated when we find out the exact date Voodoo opens.

Smiles included…

Jamie

NEW Nighttime Light Show at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

Hey Thrill Seekers,

I’m sure Gavin and I jinxed this. 🙁 The minute we finished OAT Live Universal announced a new nighttime Light show at Hogwarts Castle!

Grab your wands and robes because an all new projection mapping experience called The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle is coming to Universal and will have guests celebrate all four houses in all their glory by transforming Hogwarts Castle with special effects, music, lights and much more.

Each of the four houses – Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw and HufflePuff will ‘wrap itself around the castle’ as they showcase their pride in their own unique ways in time with the moving music from the films. This will definitely give me goosebumps (maybe even a tear 😉 )

The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle is set to debut on Wednesday 31st January through to Monday the 5th February as well as from Wednesday the 7th February through to Monday 12th February. Universal have said that additional dates will be announced later so don’t fear if your holiday date isn’t above. Guests to A Celebration of Harry Potter (27th and 28th Jan) will get to see a preview too! (lucky Gavin!)

The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Caste looked absolutely A-MA-ZING so if it is (and it will be) as fabulous as this then guests are in for a right treat! Just picture it now.. Hogwarts lit up in your house colour, wand in hand, soundtrack blaring, tear in your eye… Ahhh! 😀

Who’s going to Universal in Feb and will get to see this?!

Smiles Included

Abby

Universal Confirm Mardi Gras Details

Hey Thrill Seekers,

IT’S MARDI GRAS time… whoop whoop etc

From the 3rd February until the 7th April Orlando Attraction Tickets customers can get their PARTY on with GRAMMY Award-winning rapper, Macklemore; international superstar and recording artist, Sean Paul; and Billboard “Hot 100” pop group, Fifth Harmony, as they take the stage in the Music Plaza at Universal Studios.

As well as amazing live music guests can enjoy dazzling festival krewes, see stunning float designs during the nightly parade and taste mouthwatering Cajun-style bites.

Check out the full line-up:

Feb. 3: Sean Paul
Feb. 10: The Beach Boys
Feb. 17: Kelsea Ballerini
Feb. 18: Andy Grammer
Feb. 24: Macklemore
March 3: 311
March 4: Phillip Phillips
March 10: To Be Announced
March 11: Fitz and the Tantrums
March 17: Foreigner
March 18: Fifth Harmony
March 24: To Be Announced
March 25: BUSH

Plus the  sounds of the Bayou to The French Quarter Courtyard:

Feb. 3 – Feb. 20: Free Agents Brass Band
Feb. 21 – March 6: Naughty Professor Brass Band
March 7 – March 20: New Breed Brass Band
March 21 – March 31: Young Pinstripe Brass Band
April 1 – April 7: Dirty Bourbon River Show

On top of music and of course the bead catching, Universal are upping their parade game and introducing 6 new floats  based around a celestial feel. The nightly constellation-themed parade will feature dancers, colourful stilt performers and 12 handcrafted floats.

Check out these designs;

Taurus

Virgo the Maiden 

Scorpius 

Andromeda

Orion the Hunter

Serpentarius

It looks like Universal’s Mardi Gras is going to be bigger and better than ever!!!

Remember: Entry is free with any Universal tickets purchased from Orlando Attraction Tickets.

Smiles included…

Jamie

Universal Hint There’s More To Come In 2018

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Happy New Year!!!

2018 is expected to be another amazing year for theme parks in Orlando with Disney opening Toy Story Land, SeaWorld opening Infinity Falls and Aquatica introducing us to Ray Rush.

Today though Universal have dropped a little hint at what we can expect from them in 2018. On top of Fast & Furious Supercharged set to open in Spring 2018, they’ve stated we can expect information about;

The previously-announced ride replacing Dragon Challenge in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade

Yep with Dragon Challenge now totally gone from Islands we’ll be waited with baited breath about what Universal will be replacing it will.
An additional projection mapping experience at Hogsmeade castle

The Christmas spectacular was so popular it makes sense that Universal might be looking to add a permanent show.
Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular being replaced

We knew this was happening but we’re yet to find out what will be replacing Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular.  Rumours state it could be a movie themed show.

Something new going in where Terminator 2: 3D was

Yep we knew this was being replaced, what it is we’re not sure. Rumours seem to suggest a high octane IP. Some are guessing Jason Bourne…

A new venue coming to Universal CityWalk where Element was

Nope, I know nothing about this one.

Our expanding hotel collection

2 hotels are expected to be built on the old Wet n’ Wild land. We’ll get confirmation soonish I’d imagine.

The continued global expansion of our partnership with Nintendo. Our sister park in Japan has already broken ground on Super Mario World; I’m sure you can’t wait to hear what’s next.

Pretty self explanatory… we just have to wait to see if we can get involved in a massive Mario Kart simulator (we think its a yes).

We’ll keep you posted when we learn more.

Smiles included…

Jamie

 

New Attractions to Look Forward to in 2018

Hey Thrill Seekers,

2017 has nearly come to an end, we’ve had loads of cool new attractions / parks arrive in Orlando this year such as Volcano Bay and Pandora – The World of Avatar and lucky for us 2018 is not going to disappoint either with loads of new rides set to open in the coming year.

I’m going to start with Hollywood Studios as we are eagerly awaiting the opening of Toy Story Land here at OAT towers. Two new rides and a food spot have been officially named for Toy Story Land which is opening in the summer of next year; Slinky Dog Dash – a family coaster where you will find  yourself zipping, dodging and dashing around a track that Andy has created to stretch Slinky to his limits. Alien Swirling Saucers where aliens will be flying around in their saucers trying to capture your rocket toy vehicle with ‘The Claw’ and Woodys Lunch Box which will be a quick service window to grab some of Andy’s fave food.

Next up is Universal Studios where Fast & Furious – Supercharged is set to open in Spring. Now this is one i’m personally super excited about as I LOVE  the Fast & Furious films. Guests will be immersed in their own Fast and Furious story, escaping the enemy with familiar faces such as Dom, Letty and Hobbs. The new ride will also feature a Virtual Line just like in Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon.

SeaWorld is also opening a brand new ride in the summer called Infinity Falls. Infinity Falls is a river rapids ride with a twist. It will be a 4+ minute ride featuring a 40ft plunge down the tallest drop of its kind. Riders will get to experience the excitement and thrills of category 4 white water rapids and use a ‘unique elevator lift’ which will create the worlds tallest drop on a river raft ride.

Aquatica is also debuting a brand new ride; Ray Rush. This ride is set to open in Spring and will be the only water ride in Florida to offer a water jet propel system which will launch riders (4 at a time) at 33 feet per second. It will have a height requirement of 42”.

LEGOLAND are also in the mix of opening new rides in 2018 with The Great LEGO Race: Opening in Spring – a new virtual-reality roller coaster adventure. This new coaster will feature virtual reality technology, a cast of wacky LEGO minifigures and is replacing the current Project X coaster.

Take a look at myself and Gavins recent OAT Live where we discussed everything we are looking forward to in 2018 (as well as my rubbish attempt at playing a Kazuu) and also another cool video below to round up all the new things to look forward to next year;

Personally, the one i’m most looking forward to is Fast & Furious – Supercharged. Whats yours?

Smiles Included

Abby

 

Is Super Nintendo World Going to be Bigger than Expected?

Hey Thrill Seekers,

If we weren’t already excited enough about Super Nintendo World, there is some rumors flying around that Nintendo could be expanding over both Universal parks.

Sources have told a Orlando news channel that Universal are planning to eventually add more Nintendo rides and attractions to Islands of Adventure AND to the recently purchased 500 acres of land..

Up until now we have only expected Nintendo to appear at Universal Studios – taking the place of KidZone and building permits released on Tuesday include a 8.8 acre Super Mario Land in that spot with Donkey Kong and Mario attractions anticipated. There is also speculation that this could be part of a bigger picture and that there is an idea for a possible film project with Illumination Entertainment, the studio behind Despicable Me to maybe make a Super Mario Bros CG Movie.

The above image is what we are expecting from Super Nintendo World in Japan which is expected to open in 2020 with the Orlando one opening shortly after.

“You’ll feel as if you’re playing inside your favorite games – in real life.”

We already have lots of information on what Super Nintendo World will have to offer however Universal have not commented on this recent speculation.

There is so much that Nintendo has to offer such as Zelda, Animal Crossing, Pokemon etc that extra land for Super Nintendo World could be filled easily. Would you want to see it expanded over 2.. possibly 3 parks?

Smiles Included

Jess

New Harry Potter Film Star, Panels and Experiences Revealed for A Celebration of Harry Potter

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Universal have announced some more details for A Celebration of Harry Potter…

Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley) has been confirmed as another film star to join the line up for next years highly anticipated event. Universal also announces new content and returning favourites for all you witches, wizards and muggles to join in on at the Harry Potter Expo:

  • NEW: Wizarding Costumes from Harry Potter: The Exhibition”
  • You’ll be able see some of the most stunning costumes from the Harry Potter series and walk the runway to pose for a one-of-a-kind keepsake photo.
  • The Sorting Hat Experience
  • “ If you don’t know your Hogwarts house, you’ll have the chance to find out if you’re a Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, Gryffindor or Slytherin at The Sorting Hat Experience.

  • Pottermore
  • Start practicing your Harry Potter trivia because Audible Recall is back with updated questions. And, you can even play against your fellow housemates with house-specific rounds each day of the event. #HogwartsRules
  • Scholastic
  • Scholastic is celebrating 20 years since Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was first published. You can write your favourite Harry Potter memory on the Muggle Wall, step into a life-sized recreation of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and enter to win one-of-a-kind Harry Potter prizes.

  • MinaLima
  • Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima are back this year to share their graphic designs of Weasleys Wizard Wheezes and so much more.
  • Warner Bros. Studio Tour London
  • The Making of Harry Potter is back to give you the opportunity to see first-hand some of the incredible effects that were used in the Harry Potter film series.
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
  • As the play gets ready to open on Broadway, you’ll get an exclusive, never-seen-before look at the costumes, designs and imagery from the production.

Also, get ready for three brand-new panels you won’t want to miss:

  • Discover Behind-the-Scenes Secrets with Award Winning Special Effects Supervisor, John Richardson The magic comes alive as John Richardson  Special Effects Supervisor on all eight Harry Potter films shares with you how flying broomsticks, floating candles, wand explosions, fire-breathing dragons, and more were created on the Harry Potter film set.
  • Graphic Design for Film: Creating the Weasleys Wizard Wheezes Eduardo Lima and Miraphora Mina of MinaLima are here to chat about what went into bringing Weasleys Wizard Wheezes to life.
  • The Magic of Costumes in Harry Potter Join Jany Temime, award-winning costume designer behind the last six films, and Eddie Newquist, exhibition curator, to talk about the amazing costumes in the Harry Potter films.

Harry Potter is EVERYWHERE at the moment and I LOVE it 😀

Smiles included

Jess

More Details Released on Universal’s Holiday Parade Featuring Macy’s!

Hey Thrill Seekers,

So just as I was planning tomorrows OAT live and literally writing the sentence ‘new line up & more details coming soon’ in relation to Universal’s Holiday Parade Featuring Macy’s, Universal decided to release the ‘more details.’ Way better than when they usually release cool stuff AFTER we finish ay!!

So what did we already know about The Holiday Parade? Well we knew it would star Minions, Santa, Madagascar and Shrek characters. Lora Sauls from Universal has said that they’ve been working on this parade for three years. “The new Universal’s Holiday Parade Featuring Macy’s is unlike any other parade that has been at Universal Orlando Resorts” 

There is 16 new balloons that will soar above your heads and 13 of these balloons have been exclusively designed for Universal by Macy’s who are the global leader in balloon entertainment. Apparently the ‘Dronkeys’ from Shrek are ‘adorable’ cant wait to see them!!

“One of my favorite reactions is when people first see the floats – their jaws hit the floor! These 15 floats are HUGE. Each float has an astonishing lighting display and unique details to each theme.”

Near the end of your day in Universal Studios you’ll be able to catch the parade which will feature 100 performers and Santa will be making it snow! , it looks as though parade times may vary so be sure to check the app! Check out below what the Parade is going to entail…

Jingle All the Way With the Minions

The Minions are bringing mayhem to the holidays this year. You’ll hear them sing their own rendition of Jingle Bells as they attempt to decorate a Christmas tree. Look up and you’ll see Bob the Minion balloon chase after his favourite teddy bear, Tim. You’ll also see Lucy (for the first time ever), Gru and his daughters spreading holiday cheer.

Santa Claus is Coming to Madagascar

Up next, King Julien and the Madagascar crew are inviting you to a tropical holiday party. The Penguins are searching for Santa Claus, followed by King Julien who has gifted himself a giant pineapple balloon. The last float showcases Alex, Gloria, Marty and Melman celebrating the holidays like only they can.

Celebrate the Most Wonderful Time of Year with Shrek  

Shrek, Fiona and their baby ogres are also celebrating the holidays in their swamp. Gingy leads the festivities from above with his gingerbread house float below. Donkey follows right behind with an assortment of gifts. Lastly, Shrek and Fiona share a massive float with Dragon while two of her Dronkey babies fly above.

Here Comes Santa Claus…With His Elves

Holiday favorites are also returning with a brand new look. Santa’s elves are inviting you into the workshop where you’ll see all your favorite toys come to life. Following close behind is Santa Claus himself. Santa’s float is beautiful when it lights up with all the reindeer!

Universal’s holiday celebrations start this Saturday 18th November and will run all the way through to the 6th January.

Smiles Included,

Abby