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Grinchmas 2010 Dates Announced

Universal City, California – “Grinchmas” time is coming to Universal Studios Hollywood as The Entertainment Capital of L.A. prepares for a lively holiday season with the Grinch, his faithful dog Max, tons of fresh snow and a “Whoville Whobilation” at the original movie sets where the classic “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” was filmed.

Nightly tree-lighting ceremonies, celebrity readings of “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and encounters with a “Who’s Who” of Whoville characters will be part of the celebration, which expands this year to 18 days, beginning on December 11 and 12 and continuing daily from December 18 through January 2, 2011. “Grinchmas” is included in the price of theme park admission. More information, including holiday promotional offers and information regarding celebrity readings of “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” will be available at www.UniversalStudiosHollywood.com.

Larry Kurzweil, President, Universal Studios Hollywood, said: “’Grinchmas’ has become a true holiday tradition, an event where families can enjoy a slightly irreverent approach to the season while still being thoroughly immersed in holiday spirit. Because we expect very strong attendance during Christmas week, we’re adding five dates to this year’s ‘Grinchmas’ schedule in response to the event’s growing popularity.”

Universal Orlando’s 2010 Holiday Events Announced

Universal has annoucned their plans for this year’s Holiday events for Universal Studios Florida, and Islands of Adventure.

Universal Studios Florida will once again be home to the Macy’s Holiday Parade. The parade will run every evening with the same iconic balloons seen floating through New York City during the Thanksgiving holiday. The parade features colorful holiday characters, floats, balloons and a tree-lighting ceremony by Santa Claus.

Over At Islands of Adventure, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” is brought to life in Grinchmas. Guests can see a live stage show featuring The Grinch and The Whos from Whoville with an original recorded musical score by Mannheim Steamroller. Also, guests will have the opportunity to meet The Grinch and the strolling Whos, and on select dates, purchase a spot at a special character breakfast with The Grinch.

This year’s Holidays event runs December 4 through January 1, 2011, and offers guests incredible entertainment themed for the season at both its theme parks.

On December 4, 11 and 18, Mannheim Steamroller will perform holiday music for guests on the Music Plaza stage. Guests will also be able  to check out the all-new Holiday Village, filled with hand-blown glass ornaments, caramel apples, hot chocolate, roasted chestnuts and a cupcake decorating location.

For more information on Universal Orlando’s holiday celebration and offers, guests can visit www.UniversalOrlando.com/Holidays.

The International Café Wins Santé Restaurant Award for Innovation and Culinary Achievement

Full presser after the break…

Universal City CA, October 29, 2010 –Universal Studios Hollywood’s new restaurant, The International Café, has been honored with a prestigious Santé Restaurant Award for innovation and outstanding achievement in culinary service and hospitality.

Now in its 13th year, the Santé Awards program is the only peer-judged national restaurant and hospitality competition in North America. Of the restaurants recognized with awards this year, The International Café is the only establishment located within a theme park.

The International Café opened earlier this year to provide theme park guests with healthy food choices in a casual, unhurried European bistro-style setting.

Halloween Horror Nights XX Gets Highest Ratings in History

Guests at Halloween Horror Nights XX have given the event its highest overall ratings ever.  They have also said it is the scariest Halloween Horror Nights in five years.

At the same time, Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights has won Amusement Today’s 2010 Golden Ticket Award for the “Best Halloween Event” in the country.  This is the third consecutive year it has received this honor.

Amusement Today’s annual Golden Ticket Awards are among the most prestigious awards in the amusement industry.  Winners are chosen based on results from a poll that is sent to hundreds of experienced theme park enthusiasts around the world.

Universal’s guest ratings are based on extensive surveys of guests after they have experienced the event.  Universal uses the surveys as part of its effort to constantly improve the guest experience.  This year, more guests are giving Halloween Horror Nights the highest possible overall ratings than in any year since the company began its Halloween event surveys in 1996.  Guests are also rating Halloween Horror Nights at its scariest in five years.


Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights XX is not an anniversary event.  Guests experience a new level of extreme and intense Halloween entertainment.  This year’s event features eight all-new haunted houses, six scarezones, two live shows, hundreds of frightening scareactors – and Fear.  Fear has been the mastermind behind Halloween Horror Nights for the past 19 years, and now he has emerged from the shadows to reign over all he has created.

“We set out to make this Halloween Horror Nights scarier, more intense and more entertaining than any other year,” said Jim Timon, Senior Vice President of Entertainment for Universal Orlando Resort.  “We’re glad our guests are having a great time.”

Halloween Horror Nights XX runs select nights now through October 31.  Tickets are on sale now for $74.99 plus tax.  The On-Site Gory Getaway vacation package is available for as low as $480 per person and includes three-night accommodations at one of Universal’s on-site hotels, a two-day ticket to both Universal Orlando theme parks, one-night admission to Halloween Horror Nights XX and more. For more information, visit www.HalloweenHorrorNights.com.

Triceratops Encounter Returning?

Orlando United Correspondent, Disneyhead, snapped some pictures last Sunday that shows activity taking place around the old “Encounter” attraction. Could this be a sign that it is coming back?

Update: One of our forum members, Universal_fanatic, is reporting that the “technical issues” audio was being played from within the attraction.

From Screamscape: Noise Complaints regarding Halloween Horror Nights

From Screamscape

One of our local sources sent in a copy of a neighborhood letter sent out to the residents one the “Hollywood Knolls Community Club”. This is one of those annoying neighbors who set themselves up on the hillside overlooking the Universal backlot, and then complains long and loud about all the noise and commotion going on down there, like it’s a big surprise to them or something. Unfortunately, this time it looks like they’ve chosen to target Halloween Horror Nights, which they describe as being an “ongoing annoyance”.

The letter describes talks with the studio / theme park and has resulted in a noise hotline being set up (manned 24/7) to handle the complaints and as far as HHN goes, they will “elimination of the “Waterworld” segment as well as the ‘Sheet Maze” from the War of the Worlds set. Chain Saw buzzing will also be cut back 60% from the areas closest to Blair Drive (which seems to run as the closest street overlooking the backlot area over War of the Worlds / Psycho House, and everything else on this side of the backlot.)

I feel for the neighbors. I really do. It’s not everyday that a movie studio suddenly pops up in your backyard and starts production. It’s not like these people had any notice beforehand that they would be living next to one of the largest movie studios in the worl…oh wait.

Never mind.

Behind the Screams of La Llorona

Get a glimpse into the terror and the fun in the video and come face to face with La Llorona herself at Halloween Horror Nights, going on now through Halloween, October 31, only at Universal Studios Hollywood!

Halloween Horror Nights XX: A Review

Friday was opening night for HHN XX: Twenty Years of Fear. I was able to spend Friday and Saturday night enjoying this year’s event. Speaking with T.J. Mannarino on Friday, he really wanted to drive home that this year was for the fans, and as you experience what the event has to offer, you can see the love for the fans. So without further adieu, here is my review of this year’s event. In those 2 days, I did every house and show save for Malice, Brian Brushwood’s new act.

*May contain spoliers*


Horror Nights: The Hallow’d Past
First Run – 8/10
Second Run – 8/10

The set design for this house is amazing. This house is basically a trip down memory lane for all Horror Night fans. So what it lacks in scares, it makes up in nostaligia. I’m not sure why they really only focused on the past 6 years of HHN instead of the past 20. The use of the Dead Exposure room was perplexing as I can think of better houses to borrow from. Also, both times I went throught the house, there weren’t any actors in the “Treaks N Foons” room, which I felt it was a missed opportunity.

Catacombs: Black Death Rising
First Run – 7/10
Second Run – 9/10

Another house with great set design. This is one of the better tent houses in recent memory. The first night, the scareactors were ok, I guess they were getting settled into their roles. The 2nd night was a more intentse experience. The actors definitely amped up their role and a few of the “doctors” came really close to my face. The finale of the house is sort of a let down however.

Havoc: Dogs of War
First Run – 4/10
Second Run – 9/10

I’m mixed on this house. The first night, the actors all just stood there, looking at us with little effort to try to scare. The second night, it was like they all realized it was time to step up and they just went nuts as I walked thru. The set design is ok, just your basic generic military theme. I have to go thru the house a few more times to really get a feel and give it a fair, final assesment. Apparently, there was supposed to be a machine gun firing at the entrance, but it wasn’t working the first 2 nights. Keep a sharp eye out as there are a few shout outs to the creative team in the first room.

The Orfanage: Ashes to Ashes
First Run – 5/10
Second Run – 5/10

I really was disappointed in this house. To be fair, both times I went thru was during a cast change so I didn’t get to see a lot of Cindy. However, a lot of the scenes were pretty redundant. Burned room, child with mask, “boo!”. The entrance was well done however, with the moving see-saw. It was very eerie and was a great set-up to a mediocre house. Also, the flame effect is subtle, but effective.

Only Run – 10/10

Sadly, I only got to do this house once. I was surprised by how intense this house became after the lighthearted beginning. Everything was great about the house. The sets, the actors, the subtle smell. I loved how everything in the area was tied together, it had great synergy with the outside scarezone. Just a great, great house that I can’t wait to enjoy again.

Hades: The Gates of Ruin
First Run – 8/10
Second Run – 10/10

Probably right up there with Zombiegeddon for my favorite house. The facade and set design is stunning. The costume design is top notch, and the overall atmosphere of this house is phenomenal. The only reason it got an 8 for the first run is because some of the actors were changing out. I felt the Medusa room was pretty intense. I never scare, or jump. Well, it happened twice in that room.

PsychoScareapy: Echoes of Shadybrook
First Run – 7/10
Second Run – 9/10

Another house with great set design. It’s nice that his HHN Favorite is getting a proper send off. It definitely has left behind the light-hearted nature it started becoming. Also, make sure you press the Red Button! My only problem with this house is that the finale isn’t strong. I expected something a little better.

Legendary Truth: The Wyandot Estate
First Run – 7/10
Second Run – 8/10
Third Run – 8/10

The facade to this house is probably one of the best ever for Horror Nights. A major problem is that a lot of the neat effects that make the house “haunted” will be missed by most of the public. However, what helps the house is that an eerieness is felt the whole time you walk through. So whereas you might miss a big scare, you still feel eerie as you head to the exit. What really let me down was the final room. It’s just boring.


HHN: 20 Years of Fear

It’s nice to see all your favorites out, but a lot of it seems like a huge photo op. What works here though is that the actors turn the photo ops into scare opportunities. I’ve seen a few of my favorites (Gentleman, Dracula) but I haven’t seen Eelmouth or Nightmare.

Fear Revealed

Anotherphoto op zone. It’s great to see all the icons out with their new twist of being Fear’s puppets. There are barely any scares here though. I’m a little let down with Fear’s involvement in the zone. His presence is definitely great, but he just stands there, with his 5 souls, while the flames shoot out the “XX”. Just want to see a bit more.

Zombie Gras

Definitely more light hearted than it’s associated house. It’s a great zone for some laughs, but also grabs it’s opportunities to scare you. Plus, it’s zombies. You can never go wrong with zombies.

Saws n’ Steam

A small scarezone that packs a lot of entertainment. The high amount of fog creates a perfect atmosphere. The scareactors are great here, and Sting Alley has finally been utilized right.

The Coven

Nice atmosphere, just not a lot of scares. Most of the witches are just walking around, while creepy, just doesn’t work me. I do love the burning pilgrims though.

Esquelo Muerte

My guilty pleasure.  I think the purpose for this zone isn’t supposed to be scary, but a fun creepy that everyone can enjoy. The lighting and set design is fantastic and the costumes are top notch. I can probably spend a whole night just snapping pictures of this area.

Bill & Ted

Le sigh. It had it’s moments, but it was pretty bad this year. It’s not as bad as everyone made it out to be, but it was still pretty lackluster. To be fair, and they do make a joke out of it, there wasn’t a lot to work with for summer movies. Although I can proabably think of a few better options to make fun of than what they used.

What Worked: Twilight parody (Edward casting was great), Bieber, Nic Cage, “Hide Yo Kid” Reference, Lady Gaga, dance numbers, Katy Perry (She’s a looker )

What Didn’t Work: Plot, iPhone 4, Jersey Shore, Mel Gibson, Main Villains, Iron Man, Hit Girl, Mr. T

Overall, I’ve enjoyed the event. It’s great to see all the favorites, but still maintain a fresh twist on everything.

Halloween Horror Nights 2010 Hollywood – Guest Reactions

This year’s 2010 Halloween Horror Nights®, at Universal Studios Hollywood will feature five terrifying mazes and six “Scare Zones,” including “La Llorona,” based on the timeless Mexican urban legend. The event will also feature a fully re-imagined “Terror Tram” backlot studio experience, offering guests a chance to walk through Universal Studios historic movie sets.

Halloween Horror Nights 2010 Coverage

Halloween Horror Nights 2010 recently made its debut night this Friday at Universal Studios Hollywood. While I can’t make the event personally, a few members have been nice enough to share their reactions and capture a few videos. Here’s a quick recap from yesterday night.


Let me start by saying this year’s event was great. It has a great selection of mazes, some good (and one bad) scare zones, along with 4 rides and one rockin show, horror nights 2010 has something for fans of fear.

(Click here for the full review)

(Click here to view more videos)


We’ll be posting more reactions as we get them.


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