Abby’s Orlando Adventure, Part 1. Universal

Hey Thrill Seekers!

I’M BACK!!

I’ve been back a few days now – just about getting over the jet lag but still wishing I was in Orlando.. 🙁 I had the most AMAZING week out in Orlando and had the opportunity to do things i’ve only ever been able to dream of doing until now. I’m going to let you all know what I got up to over a blog or three.  😉 Today’s blog is all about what I got up to at the Universal parks..

So on the 17th September I made my way to Gatwick and met everyone (all 50 of them) at the check in desk ready to do my first ever long haul flight. The flight was fine and seemed like we were there in no time! We then travelled straight from the airport to Universals Cabana Bay Beach Resort which is a really cool 1950’s retro themed hotel. After being shown to our rooms we met over at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort – another one of Universals properties to have a welcome buffet and drinks. At dinner our lovely Universal host Liz gave us the opportunity to go over to Universal Studios to experience Halloween Horror Nights 27. Of course I opted to do this (partly because if i didn’t I would be mocked here at OAT towers) We hopped on a water taxi from Loews over to Universal Studios to experience the best Horror Night event i’ve ever been too! As soon as you walk in to the park it starts, there’s a scare zone after scare zone and so many houses to choose from. I done a mix of Rides and Houses that night, started off on Hollywood Rip Ride Rock It (Kayne West – Stronger, obvious choice 😉 ) – Wicked ride to do in the dark! Also rode TRANSFORMERS-3D, The Simpsons and Men In Black. TRANSFORMERS 3D was my first experience of a simulator ride and it’s safe to say I absolutely LOVED it! Now on to the houses, the first house I went in to was American Horror Story.. one word, terrifying. There is a video / sound clip on our Facebook page that I took whilst walking through the house and you can tell from that how scared I was and also how funny it is to be scared. The attention to detail in the houses is second to none, if you have the chance to go make sure you keep your eyes open the whole time to really take in all of the props and details! The second house I went in was Scarecrow – The Reaping. This house was more jumpy and I did fall over at one point from being scared – not my finest moment ;). The Scare Zones were also amazing and clever, my favourite Scare Zone was the Purge one as you just couldn’t escape! This was closely followed by the Scare Zone Roaming Hordes – Clowns with Chainsaws.. enough said. We made our way back to the hotel at around 1am to get some sleep ready for the next day.

On our first full day we made our way over to Universal Studios where we met our very own VIP tour guides who were going to be taking us around for the morning. We started off by heading in to Diagon Alley – the ‘wow factor’ when you walk in is exactly, if not more, how everyone describes it. We had a quick taste of Butterbeer – I loved this, I love all things sweet and this is definitely sweet, yummy. We then went on to do the Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts, I also had a lot of expectations for this ride and it lived up to every single one of them, it’s just so lifelike and cleverly done. After this we met up outside Kings Cross Station, had a few photos with the knight bus and then made our way inside to board the Hogwarts Express. Oh another thing, when you are standing outside Kings Cross you will reeeeeaaaalllllyyyy feel like you are back in London! (let me know below if you know what I mean by this 😉 ) After walking through platform 9 3/4 we hopped in to a carriage.The journey on the Hogwarts Express was soo immersive and be sure to look both left and right throughout the whole journey. In what felt like seconds we had arrived at Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure, another ‘wow’ moment as you catch a glimpse of Hogwarts Castle for the first time. We headed straight for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, probably my favourite of the 2 Harry Potter rides we did, I love the way the ride really puts you in the middle of the action. We then made our way back on to the Hogwarts Express to head back over to Universal Studios, it’s a completely different experience on the way back so make sure you pay close attention (and look out for a cool graphic to do with a tree out of the window side). As we entered Kings Cross earlier on in the morning one of our group had said ‘the only thing missing is a busker’ and as we walked out back in to Universal Studios after departing the Hogwarts Express there was a lady standing at the entrance playing the violin – Universal don’t miss anything do they!  We then got to do most of the iconic attractions in Universal Studios.. Minion Mayhem, Revenge of the Mummy (fantastic ride!!) and Jimmy Fallon were all great, every sense is tested in Jimmy Fallon and the whole experience beforehand is also brilliant. We also rode the Simpsons Ride, TRANSFORMERS 3D, Rip Ride Rock It (Fergie – Glamorous this time) and Men In Black again (well second time for me because i’d stayed out to do them the night before hehe) Men in Black is so much fun, especially when you beat everyone.. not gloating, promise. My favourite ride in Universal Studios, by a mile is TRANSFORMERS – 3D I just absolutely love it for so many reasons. After Universal Studios we headed back to the hotel to get ready for a hosted event at Cuba Libre by Visit Orlando – great fun. 🙂

On the second full day, after breakfast, we made the short walk over to Universals Volcano Bay. After collecting our Tapu Tapus we walked the short path (which is very cleverly located) and turned the corner to be face to face with the Volcano. It is so awesome when you first see it, I had a look around and everyone had just stopped dead to stare or take photos – great backdrop for any photos!! We then got to explore the park at our own leisure, I went on Krakatau Aqua Coaster, Ika Moana, Honu, Te Awa Fearless River, Puihi raft ride and the one i’m most proud of.. Ko’okiri Body Plunge. There wasn’t one slide that I didn’t enjoy here they all made me laugh out loud – that is all bar Ko’okiri which was the only attraction in Orlando I was scared to do before I went and admittedly, I was 10x more scared when I cane face to face with it. Not going to lie, it was the main thing I noticed when I first caught sight of the Volcano after walking in to the park. Ko’okiri features a 70-degree fall through a drop door and a 125 feet descent, to be honest it was sooo much fun I wanted to do it again but we didn’t have enough time! 🙁 Krakatau was also wicked, i’d worked myself up so much about Ko’okiri that i’d partly forgotten about Krakatau but it was so thrilling and the dips and drops are a lot bigger and much faster than I had anticipated. It’s definitely a must!! After Volcano Bay and a quick change of clothes we headed over to Universals Islands of Adventure and were told to not wear any denim or white tops.. if you don’t know then i’ll tell you, IOA is renowned for its water rides! We had planned to do the water rides last though (because we are smart like that) so headed straight over to the Hulk coaster – amazing and the launch is really something else, loved it! We also experienced The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman and Skull Island: Reign of Kong which is a wicked ride with a really cool surprise at the end (I wont ruin it for you). It was then time for the water rides.. We rode Jurassic Park River Adventure which was pretty cool and I sat at the back so didn’t get very wet.  We then opted for Popeye and Blutos Bilge Rat Barges which was hands down the most i’ve laughed on a ride, ever. You can sit in groups of 12 and you get DRENCHED. Luckily (well, for me) we didn’t have time to get on to Dudley Do-rights Ripsaw Falls but got to catch a glimpse of a few others getting absolutely soaked on it.. hehe! Once we were done at Islands of Adventure we headed back to Cabana Bay to get ready for our ‘surprise evening with Universal.’

#volcanobay @universalorlando amazing morning, conquered Ko’Okiri too!! 🌋💚

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Our surprise evening with Universal was incredible.. we had the whole of Volcano Bay to ourselves, yep you heard it right, the whole park! The lovely Universal had put on a delicious buffet dinner and drinks for us in one of the restaurants and just as we were finishing up our food, the minions walked in to have their photos taken with us! After our photo shoot with the minions we headed down to one of the bars by the Waturi beach for more cocktails and a live band, had a little dance and then we headed down to the beach to watch a fire performer and Waturi dancers, had some more photos taken in front of the Volcano – which changes colour and looks even more awesome in the dark! It was such a fantastic evening and I felt very lucky to be a part of it. After a few more drinks we walked back to Cabana bay for a game of bowling and a night cap. The evening at Volcano Bay concluded our visits to the Universal parks and what a ending it was!!

Overall, my top 3 rides / attractions from the Universal parks were:

3. Ko’okiri Body Plunge

2. The Incredible Hulk Coaster

1. TRANSFORMERS-3D.

What are your favourite Universal attractions?

Stay tuned for my next blog all about what I got up to at Discovery Cove, SeaWorld, Aquatica and Busch Gardens! You can also take a look at the video below of me and Gavin chatting about what I got up to on the first part of my FAM trip. 🙂

Smiles Included,

Abby

 

Halloween Horror Nights 27 Team Member Preview

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Tomorrow Universal Orlando Resort will be taken over by the creatures of the night… yup it may only be September but that doesn’t stop Halloween Horror Nights from opening its doors to those who love to be scared.

But before that Universal gave their houses a quick test drive using their very own staff. Last night HHN27 was opened up to Team Members (Universal employee’s & Special guests) and here’s what they had to say about it.

Our mate Mike was also pretty happy too;

Great to see so many different opinions, which seems to suggest that HHN27 has got the correct mix of houses. I can’t wait to read your reviews once the event gets going.

Screams included…

Jamie

Halloween Horror Nights 27 Confirm Scare Zones

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Seems like every time I post something in the morning about HHN27 they announce something new in the afternoon…

With the lack of information up until now I’m definitely not complaining.  This afternoon Universal have confirmed the scare zone.

What is a Scare Zone?

Scare Zones are the part of Halloween Horror Nights that nobody can escape. In certain parts of Universal Studios creatures roam the streets looking for victims.

This year Universal are inviting visitors to The Festival of the Deadliest – an ancient tradition from the depths of where nightmares are born. Remember to pack those spare pants cos here’s what awaits you.

Trick ‘r Treat

Get a proper Halloween education in Universal’s Central Park scare zone inspired by the film Trick ‘r Treat. HHN27 are excited to have Sam visit and make sure we follow the rules of Halloween.

In this zone, you’ll have the opportunity to come face-to-face with several characters from the film, and learn for yourself what happens when you don’t follow the rules.

The Purge

The Purge returns to the streets of New York but this time Universal’s approach is to create a zone that showed how they think the events of a Purge night might play out in on the streets.
There are some fan favourites returning such as the open auction and a very polite gentleman. There are also some new surprises in store.

Altars of Horror

Near the front gate, on Avenue of the Stars, you’ll find the Altars of Horror.
In this zone, Universal are introducing some of the larger than life characters featured in this year’s houses and letting them have their own scare zone.

Invasion!

Set in a time decades ago, the docks in San Francisco find themselves the victim of an INVASION! Visitors from far beyond have crashed their vessel, and are now wreaking havoc on the streets of San Francisco.
They aren’t just here to destroy; these invaders are also on a mission to learn everything they can about us humans. Careful, or you may find yourself on the experiment table at the mercy of an alien scientist.

Roaming Hordes

Finally, no Halloween Horror Nights would be complete without roaming hordes. This time, it’s the smell of the greasepaint, the roar of the chainsaw. Unhappy with how popular culture has made clowns scary, this grotesque gang of gigglers has risen from the grave determined to show the world that if you want scary clowns, they’re going to make sure you get your worst nightmare.

ACADEMY OF VILLAINS: AFTERLIFE (Show)

The ACADEMY OF VILLAINS: AFTERLIFE will be returning to put on an all-new killer performance. This group of powerhouse artists will make you bear witness to what happens after we leave this life. They’re going to give you one mind-blowing and shocking dance performance that will escort you from this world to the great beyond.

Screams Included…

Jamie

How Close To Halloween Horror Nights Offical Line Is This?

Hey Thrill Seekers,

We love a bit of speculation here at Orlando Attraction Tickets and today we got sent this fan made “map” based on current rumours of what we can expect at this years HHN27 (if you made this map, please let us know so we can credit you).

You’ll note it includes houses recently confirmed by Universal like SAW, The Shining and American Horror Story it also includes Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure which we’ve learnt will be its last appearance at Halloween Horror Nights.

 

It also takes a stab (yep I went there)at guessing what the other houses will be… and they’re pretty close to what we think too.

Outside IP

As we mentioned recently we think the last house made up of IP not created by Universal will be a Blumhouse maze. We believe the house will incorporate several Blumhouse films including Sinister, Ouija, and Insidious.

Original IP

The original ip’s this year seem to nod to previous years;

  • Bayou of Blood which made an appearance at HHN24
  • Vampire Hive perhaps similar to Vampire ’55 that appeared last year
  • Angels Vs Demons
  • Harvest of the souls which appeared at HHN16

Scarezones

  • The Purge appeared at HHN24
  • Sci-Fi Creatures
  • Trick n’ Treat
  • Festival
  • IP Zone

Shows

  • Bill & Teds Excellent Halloween Show
  • Academy of Villains

Assuming this is correct or at least very close to it HHN27 looks like it will be one HELL of a show (yep went there too).

Which house are you looking forward to most?

Screams included…

Jamie

Universal confirm SAW for Halloween Horror Nights 27

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Just as we predicted this morning Universal have today confirmed that JIGSAW will be returning to HHN27. Yey!!!

Here’s what Universal had to say;

Jigsaw’s return in our brand new haunted house—SAW: The Games of Jigsaw—allows us to place our guests into the twisted situations that fans of the film series have grown to love throughout the years. And while there are nods to the Halloween Horror Nights 19 house, make no mistake:  this is not that house.

About the concept

During concept, we were very excited to examine the evolution of Jigsaw in the new film and how that might affect the guests’ experience- *Spoiler alert: You’ll be part of a living preview of a trap featured in the new film JIGSAW coming out Oct. 27. Go. See. It.

Different Location

Also, placing the house in a different location this time around gave us another way to elevate the scares. SAW: The Games of Jigsaw functions as one large trap. You’ll be funnelled through claustrophobic, visceral experiences and be a part of the most terrifying “games” ever devised on screen. Trials that you may be familiar with and some that are completely unknown to you— sounds fun.


I’m so excited for this one… HHN27 looks like its going to be scaretastic!!! So far we have;

You can still get tickets for Halloween Horror Nights directly from Orlando Attraction Tickets. Our frequent fear pass is available for just £96 per person.

Screams included…

Jamie

What does this image tell us about HHN27?

Hey Thrill Seekers,

On Saturday we posted a pic on our facebook page gathered from the Halloween Horror Nights twitter account, the picture shows 4 images taken by a team member who walked through a few of the houses for this years HHN27.

The typewriter image (top left)  is probably from The Shining house as the letters that are being pressed spell out Redrum  (murder backwards) which is part of the plot in the film.

(Top right) Is the side profile of a Skull. From what we know of the IP’s already announced I don’t think this pictures relates to any of them, so we can only assume that this is an original Universal IP. Looks to me like its part of jungle/swamp scene perhaps voodoo related? Bayou of Blood perhaps?

The old style tap recorder (bottom left) with the times on 666 is probably a reference from the Evil Dead. The tweet came with the comment

I believe I have made a significant find…

If you google this it brings back;

The final image (bottom right) could be anything if I’ honest. I can’t decide if its Leatherface, Scarecrows or a Mummy?

What we do definitely know is that there will be 9 houses in total made up of  5 “outside” ip’s The Shining for example and 4 original Universal created IP’s. As we already know that HHN27 will have

  • The Shining
  • American Horror Story
  • Ash Vs The Evil Dead

It leaves just 2 other outside IP’s to be announced at this point I’m guessing

    • SAW/Jigsaw
    • Blumhouse of Horrors

SAW because we know there’s a new film coming out this year so it kind of makes sense and Blumhouse of Horror mainly because of strong information regarding a recent trademark application filed last month for an “amusement park attraction” to be named “Blumhouse of Horrors”, which we expect to be a mashup of Blumhouse IP’s. Universal already have a relationship with Blumhouse who have a pretty impressive list of films that include The Purge, Insidious and Paranormal Activity.

This would suggest that perhaps we wont see a Walking Dead house this year, which might be seen as good thing as the IP has featured heavily for the past few years in Orlando.

The final 4 houses will be IP’s created solely by the Universal team and could see the return of a few favourites from the past. What we do know is that Universal will be dropping more details in the next couple of weeks.

We’ll keep you posted.

Screams included…

Jamie

 

Universal Release Ash V’s Evil Dead House For Halloween Horror Nights 27

Hey Thrill Seekers,

We’ve been waiting an awfully long time for Universal to drop some more Halloween Horror Night information but the long wait is now over…

Yep that’s right Universal are teaming up with the STARZ original series Ash vs Evil Dead to create a very loud, brash and bloody world captured all for you in a HHN27 maze.

The house will feature various locations from the first two seasons of Ash vs Evil Dead  and lots of blood. And for those “in the know,” the answer is yes…We’ll be going back to the cabin; with a few other surprises along the way.

This looks like a great addition to the houses that Universal have already announced;

We’ll keep you updated when we find out more…

Scream’s included…

Jamie

Part 1 Of Our Interview With Mike Aiello From Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights

Hey Thrill Seekers,

We recently had the opportunity to speak to Mike Aiello; Senior Director of Entertainment Creative for Universal Orlando. On top of a lot of jobs, Mike is synonymous with Universals’ Halloween Horror Nights and in this first part of our two part interview Mike tells us about how he got to where he is now and the creative process his team go through when planning a house!

Mike is a lovely guy and was really fun to interview. The second part will be available next Tuesday on our facebook page.

You can purchase Halloween Horror Nights Tickets directly from our website, we currently offer the 3 park Halloween Horror Nights Bonus Ticket and the Halloween Horror Nights Frequent Fear Pass

Smiles included…

Jamie

HHNUnofficial’s Top 3 Tips To Surviving Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Sometimes its not what you know but who you know and when it comes to Halloween Horror Nights there’s no better people to know than HHNUnofficial and as a (trick or) treat they provided us with their Top 3 Tips for surviving HHN27.

Here at Orlando Attraction Tickets we offer some great deals for HHN27 check these out

What tips do you think we’ve missed?

Screams included…

Jamie

Latest Halloween Horror Nights 27 Rumours…

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Now that we’ve got Halloween Horror Nights tickets on sale we can begin to focus on what we hope we’ll see this year. Universal have already announced that one of last years favourites will be making a return in the form of American Horror Stories this time it will feature 3 of the franchises most popular series Season 2’s: Asylum, Season 3’s: Coven and Season 6’s: Roanoke.

But what’s next…. Well according to this tweet we wont have to wait long…

Now its good to have mates… and we’ve gone one that’s particularly good to know when it comes to Halloween Horror Nights. The lads over at HHNunofficial (click on the link to check out their excellent blog) found some interesting info from an official Universal site that seems to suggest the next announcement may well be The Shinning!

Yup The Shining… even if you’re not a big fan of horror films you’ll know The Shining… Originally a book by Stephen King it became iconic when turned in to a film fronted by Jack Nicholson and Directed by Stanley Kubrick. Now Universal have not confirmed this yet and the afore mentioned information was taken down from the site almost immediately however HHNunofficial are hardly ever wrong!
Rumour rating – 10/10 (take it to the bank)

Also on the rumour train are an Evil Dead house, this rumour is based around this image which does bear a resemblance to one of the haunted trees in the film.

Rumour rating – 7/10 (smells like a possibility)

One rumour that has been doing the rounds but feels less likely is something to do with Death Eaters at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

I believe this has come about due to the technology used in Japan to replicate an attack on Hogwarts…

Rumour rating – 4/10 (doesn’t feel particularly HHN)

We’ll keep you posted when know more.

Smiles included…

Jamie