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Universal Orlando confirms Halloween Activities and Haunted Houses to continue through Fall on Select Dates

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Universal Orlando has confirmed that their Halloween Activities at the Resort, including the operation of 2 haunted houses, will continue to operate on select dates, Sept 26 & 27, and daily from October 3 to November 1.

Universal recently conducted a “Testing” weekend for the activities, which we found to be a huge success (and it would seem they felt the same way, too). No official event name has been given, but Universal is encouraging fans to use #TeamHalloween on social media.

The Halloween fun will feature 2 haunted houses; Universal Monsters: The Bride of Frankenstein Lives and Revenge of the Tooth Fairy – and is included with daytime admission. Safety guidelines are in place for the haunted houses, with social distancing guidelines enforced in the queues and in the houses. Plexi-glass will also be installed in various areas to keep separation from the scare actors. The Virtual Queue system will also be in use.

In addition, guests can take part in the Scarecrow Stalk, which is a treasure hunt activity throughout Universal Studios Florida. Guests must located 13 different scarecrows and skeletons throughout the park and collect stamps to receive a free candy sampler bag.

Trick-or-Treating at Universal’s Islands of Adventure will also continue. Guests under 12 can grab a free trick-or-treat bag and go door-to-door, collecting tasty treats from participating retail stores this weekend. Keep a lookout for pumpkin stickers marking each location.

Specialty food and drink will also be available, including the new Skeleton Bar.

Guests are also encouraged to come dressed in costumes around the Resort. Make sure to check out the guidelines to see which costumes are allowed.

It should be noted that this event is no Halloween Horror Nights. That event, which would’ve celebrated its 30th anniversary, was canceled earlier this year due to the ongoing pandemic.

Stay tuned to Inside Universal for all the latest on Halloween events and more from Universal Parks & Resorts.

The Inside Universal Podcast: A Halloween Testing Review

Drew & Brian review Universal Orlando’s Halloween Special Event Testing weekend; including the 2 haunted houses – The Bride of Frankenstein Lives! and Revenge of the Tooth Fairy.

 

Direct Download and iTunes

You may download this episode directly here. You may also subscribe to the Inside Universal Podcast on iTunes. In addition, you can also follow us on Spotify to listen to podcast episodes on their app.

Photo Update: September 21, 2020 – CityWalk at Universal Studios Hollywood

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We’re back with September’s photo update around CityWalk Hollywood! This month, we take a look at progress on the multiple projects taking place throughout CityWalk as the theme park remains closed without any confirmed reopening date.

Let’s get started!

Park Update Index

» Howl at the Moon
» NBC Sports Grill & Brew
» Toothsome Chocolate Emporium
» CityFood
» Production Central & Universal Studio Store
» Reopenings
» A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That


Howl at the Moon

The former location of Howl at the Moon still remains vacant, with no sign of any future replacement for the time being.


NBC Sports Grill & Brew

Construction appears to have wrapped up on both the inside and outside of NBC Sports Grill & Brew. The front and side patios look mostly complete, as well as the interior of the restaurant itself. While the TV monitors are no longer playing loops of sports clips outside, the massive big screen on the front of the building in addition to all of the monitors inside continues to run as usual. The front patio area is currently being used as overflow seating for the ever-popular Antojitos just across the walkway while NBC Sports Grill & Brew awaits the announcement of its opening date.


Toothsome Chocolate Emporium

Work remains paused on the transformation of the Hard Rock Café into Toothsome Chocolate Emporium. No changes have occurred since our last update, with the exception of the addition of a few benches around the new planter just outside of the building.


CityFood

Construction continues on the transformation of Smashburger into The Habit Burger Grill on the upper level of CityWalk.

Though no official announcement has been made as of this update, according to the CityWalk directory, it appears that Firehouse Subs will be replacing Subway.

Since it has recently been updated to include Production Central, Firehouse Subs, The Habit Burger Grill, and more, we have included some additional photos of the CityWalk directory below.


Production Central & Universal Studio Store

A new Despicable Me unicorn mask has arrived at both Production Central and the Unversal Studio Store.

Since we did not notice many brand-new merchandise items during our last visit, we thought we would highlight some of the somewhat newer park-specific merchandise that has made its way to Production Central and the Universal Studio Store in CityWalk.


Reopenings

Many venues have reopened since our most recent update: Billabong, Havaianas, Sparky’s Mini Donuts and Chocolates, The Crêpe Café, Ben & Jerry’s, and Cinnabon are now open for regular operations.


A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That

LudoBird has permanently closed, particularly evident by the removal of all of the outdoor restaurant’s signage. As of this update, there has been no announcement of its future replacement.

Pressed penny machines printing designs from popular franchises featured in the theme park have made their way to CityWalk, scattered about the length of the premises.

The front entrance plaza to Universal Studios Hollywood was completely blocked off during our visit for a private event.

For any who may be curious about crowd levels at CityWalk, we have found that it is quietest at opening on weekdays, though is often extremely busy on Saturday afternoons and evenings in particular. Below are some photos of a mostly empty CityWalk during our most recent visit:


From all of us at Inside Universal, we hope you are doing well and staying safe. Thank you for following our continuing coverage of Universal Parks and Resorts.

REVIEW: Halloween Seasonal Event Testing Weekend at Universal Orlando

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Universal Orlando recently held its Halloween Seasonal Event Testing event this past weekend. With Halloween Horror Nights not taking place this year, Universal is adjusting and trying to feature ways to bring the Halloween season to guests. The event features Trick or Treating, seasonal food, and daytime operations of a couple of haunted houses.

One thing that should be noted is that this event is not Halloween Horror Nights; nor is it pretending to be. It also needs to be stressed that this past weekend was a test, hence “Testing” in the title –  so it’s also really hard to call it a review. However, we did it experience everything that the event had to offer, so a “review” is what you will get.

The Haunted Houses

The meat of the event was the opening of 2 haunted houses that were originally set to open for Halloween Horror Nights – Universal Monsters: The Bride of Frankenstein Lives! and Revenge of the Tooth Fairy.

Both houses have been altered to adhere to the new pandemic safety guidelines, which makes the experience a lot different than your traditional Horror Nights house run. The “SiF” (Stuff in Face) is gone, plexiglass has been installed to separate actors from guests, and guests are now pulsed to help keep social distancing enforced.

There are pros and cons to this, but it’s the life and times we live in. The big pro is that the pulsing allows you to take in the scenes and stories, allowing you to take in the house and understand what was happening. On the flip side, the con is the plexiglass. It’s a necessity, but it does telegraph where actors are, and therefore telegraph the scare. Despite the changes, most of what you love about Horror Nights’ houses remain; with impressive sets and perfect attention to detail.

A socially distant queue for The Bride of Frankenstein Lives!

We found both houses to be excellent, but are leaning towards The Bride of Frankenstein Lives as our favorite. The house is a quasi-sequel of both HHN 29’s Universal Monsters house and the film The Bride of Frankenstein. The story goes that Frankenstein’s monster dies after being crushed by falling rubble. The Bride vows to bring him back to life and decides to use the blood of Dracula’s Brides to do so. Guests make their way through the castle and laboratory as the Bride tries several experiments to bring her mate back to life. The house delivers in scares considering the limitations and features some damn impressive sets. There are instances where you can see had this been a normal run, certain scenes would be very intense – especially as you reach the back-half of the house.

In Revenge of the Tooth Fairy, we follow the story of James Westhorne, a young boy who recently lost a tooth and who, despite warnings, does not want to follow the tradition of giving his tooth to the Tooth Fairy. Turns out the “Faerie Folk” aren’t keen on that idea and wreak havoc on James and his family. The facade is the highlight, and while it may not grand in scope like the Dead Waters ferryboat, it is one of the most creative and visually stunning facades in recent memory. The house itself has some good scares and exceptional storytelling. The downfall of this house is the plexiglass, which is a bit more obvious compared to The Bride of Frankenstein Lives; but again, we understand the need for it.

Overall, we’ve had several runs at each house and felt operations were run well and very safely. There were some hiccups with the Virtual Line, but on a testing weekend, hiccups are to be expected.

Food & Drink

In recent years, Universal has gone all-in on unique food and drink offerings, and this year is no different. The Tribute Store already featured an assortment of sweet goodies. With the event, Universal added 2 food trucks and converted Cafe La Bamba into the Skeleton Bar.

The Skeleton Bar is one of the cooler things they’ve done, with the bar located right in the middle of a little haunted walk-through. The bar also features some food; including the returning S’Mores Fries.

The bar features 3 drinks; Circus Peanut, Mango Inferno, and Loup-Garou. If you followed along on Twitter, you probably saw a fair amount of unfavorable reviews on the Circus Peanut – which we also did not enjoy at all. The drink features Skrewball Peanut Butter whiskey, Creme de Banana, Campari, and Orange Juice. The Loup-Garou was great, though; very easy to drink and was more reminiscent of a traditional Horror Nights drink. It features Pussers British Navy Rum, Cruzan Dark, Pineapple Juice, honey, chamomile tea, lemon juice, and pimento bitters.

Franken Fried Chicken and Funnel Brains

Universal also added 2 food trucks that featured some crazy twists on food, including Twisted Tater Hot Dogs, Pork Rind Nachos, and Fried Chicken and Funnel Cake. Of the three, we really enjoyed the sweet and salty combo of the Fried Chicken and Funnel Cake, officially called Franken Fried Chicken and Funnel Brains. The strawberry sauce surprisingly pairs well with the chicken, which is something I would have never expected to say. The Twisted Tater Hot Dog comes as a basic tater wrapped around the dog, with the option to add “Blood and Guts” aka cheese and chili. The Pork Rind Nachos, aka the Electrofied Skin and Guts, had good flavor but was a tough chew.

Scarecrow Stalk

In an effort to cater to younger guests, Universal has set up the Scarecrow Stalk around Universal Studios Florida. Like the Christmas Tree Hunt last year, the Stalk features 13 different scarecrows and skeletons at various locations around the park that guests must locate. After collecting all 13 stamps, guests receive a free trick or treat candy sampler bag and also can get a 30% on bulk candy at San Francisco Candy Factory or Studio Sweets. The figures themselves are pretty impressive, with our favorites being the Leprechaun in the Irish Shop and The Pumpkin Alien in the MIB Gear Shop.

Pumpkin Alien Scarecrow

Trick or Treating

Over at Islands of Adventure, guests under 12 can go Trick or Treating around the park. Since we are not under 12, we did not partake; but here’s a list of the participating locations:

  • Islands of Adventure Trading Company
  • Christmas Store
  • Mulberry Street Store
  • Cat in the Hat Store
  • Treasures of Poseidon
  • Dino Store
  • Gasoline Alley
  • Toon Extra
  • Comic Shop
  • Alterniverse Marvel Store

Each location is marked by a pumpkin decal and has different candies to offer, including Nerds, Tootsie Pops, Starburst, and Jolly Rancher.


 

Overall, we’d say the test was a success and went as smoothly as a testing weekend can go, with the Team Members and actors all did a tremendous job. As of now, the event was only confirmed for this past weekend. Hopefully, Universal decides soon to expand the event into the Halloween season so we can get our spooky on.

Thematic Installation underway at Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Hollywood

We spy some green hills…

The first parts of Super Nintendo World’s thematic elements have been installed as construction continues at Universal Studios Hollywood.

Though the theme park is still closed, construction can still be seen from areas around the park’s garages.

It’s only a few pieces, but you can see the familiar green hills that are usually found in Super Mario’s video games. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing more and more very soon.

Universal has yet to officially confirm any details on Super Nintendo World, including an opening timeframe. It is expected that the land will be anchored by a ride based on Mario Kart. Super Nintendo World is set to open at Universal Studios Japan early next year.

Stay tuned to Inside Universal for all the latest on Universal Parks & Resorts.

 

Dog robot, Latte, debuts at Toothsome Chocolate Emporium at Universal CityWalk Orlando

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Guests can now meet Latte, a dynamic Spot robot, outside Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen at Universal CityWalk Orlando.

The interactive meet & greet with Latte will run through the end of September, occurring intermittently between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. daily.

Latte joins Penelope and Jacques for a first-of-its-kind interactive character appearance utilizing the innovative Spot robot technology developed by Boston Dynamics.

 

Latte is a steampunk-inspired mechanical dog and is the latest invention of the restaurant’s founder, Penelope, and her trusty companion, Jacques. The pair utilized their store of leftover cogs, wheels, and kitchen utensils to bring Latte to life in the form of “women’s best friend.”

To celebrate Latte’s debut, Universal has released a new Toothsome milkshake called “Latte’s Latte.” This milkshake is made with coffee ice cream and espresso then topped with fresh whip cream, dark chocolate, biscotti, and chocolate-covered espresso beans.

The milkshake is a very traditional coffee milkshake that was made for coffee lovers. Fans of Toothsome will recognize that it’s the successor of another milkshake, Espresso Buzzzz.

Setup underway at Universal Studios Florida for Halloween testing event

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Set up is underway at Universal Studios Florida, as queues and decorations are showing up around the park for this weekend’s “Halloween Seasonal Experience Testing”, which will feature Trick-or-Treating and 2 haunted houses.

Queue fences have been set up in Music Stage Plaza, which will form the line for Universal Monsters: The Bride of Frankenstein Lives.

Near the Tribute Store, the entrance to Revenge of the Tooth Fairy is ready to go but no queue boundaries have been set yet.

2 Food trucks have appeared near each of the haunted house entrances, but no word on what the menu will feature.

Halloween decorations have appeared around Cafe La Bamba’s signage. It is believed the restaurant will be used in some form this weekend.

Elsewhere, Halloween decorations have also appeared inside the Universal Studios Store.

While guests can go Trick-or-Treating at Universal’s Islands of Adventure this weekend, no decorations have been set up at this time.

“Halloween Seasonal Experience Testing” event is set for Sept 19th and 20th, where guests can enjoy some Halloween fun. As the event includes “Testing” in the title – it’s clear Universal is trying to get a feel on running the event safely and gathering feedback before any further information is announced. It’s very possible the event could be “one and done” after this weekend.

Pull-through vehicle testing has begun on Jurassic Park Coaster at Islands of Adventure

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Universal Orlando has begun vehicle testing on the unannounced Jurassic Park coaster, conducting pull-through and clearance tests on the track.

With the track now complete, the testing simulates the reach a rider could extend while riding the coaster and ensure clearances are met as well as make sure the track is aligned.

While the vehicle is on the track, we still have to wait to see what the train will look like it as it is under wraps. Going the extra mile, Universal has had the wrap themed, sporting an InGen logo – the fictional bioengineering company from the Jurassic franchise.

Universal has yet to announce any details on the roller coaster, including an opening date; though rumors indicate a 2021 opening. Construction has continued, with much of the work now focusing on themeing and rockwork around the coaster.

Stay tuned to Inside Universal for all the latest on the Jurassic Park coaster and the rest of Universal Parks & Resorts.

Images come courtesy and with permission of @CoasterSpotting on Twitter.

The Inside Universal Podcast: The Horrah (Kinda) Rises!

Drew & Brian return to discuss the announcement of the”Halloween Seasonal Experience Testing” at Universal Orlando; which will feature 2 daytime haunted houses – Universal Monsters: The Bride of Frankenstein Lives and Revenge of the Tooth Fairy. We also discuss the awesome HHN@Home event that took place on Saturday.

 

 

Direct Download and iTunes

You may download this episode directly here. You may also subscribe to the Inside Universal Podcast on iTunes. In addition, you can also follow us on Spotify to listen to podcast episodes on their app.

Universal Orlando announces Halloween Seasonal Experience Testing for Sept 19-20; features 2 haunted houses

Universal Orlando has announced a new “Halloween Seasonal Experience Testing” event for Sept 19th and 20th, where guests can enjoy some Halloween fun; including 2 haunted houses that were originally part of the Halloween Horror Nights 30 line-up.

Universal Monsters: The Bride of Frankenstein Lives and Revenge of the Tooth Fairy will be the 2 haunts included with daytime admission. Premier Annual Passholders will get the first crack on Friday, Sept 18. Registration will open on Sept 16 at Noon. No other dates have been announced at this time.

Halloween Horror Nights 30 was cancelled earlier this year due to the ongoing pandemic. As the event includes “Testing” in the title – it’s clear Universal is trying to get a feel on running the event safely and gathering feedback before any further information is announced. It’s very possible the event could be “one and done” after this weekend.

Here’s some information on the houses:

Universal Monsters: The Bride of Frankenstein Lives

“We belong dead.” The last words of Frankenstein’s monster on that fateful night when his Bride rejected him. But his end was her beginning. Now the Bride is stepping out of the shadows to bring him back. And there’s nothing she won’t do as she sharpens her brilliance by experimenting on unsuspecting victims. The mate will have her monster. And the monster his mate.

Revenge of the Tooth Fairy

The innocent traditions of the tooth fairy hide a darker ritual. All children must give up their baby teeth to the goblinesque tooth fairies or pay a gruesome price. Step into an old manor that has been overrun by yellow-clawed fiends who extract teeth by force. It’s an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.

Safety guidelines will be in place for the haunted houses, with social distancing guidelines enforced in the queues. Plexi-glass will also be installed in various areas to keep separation from the scareactors. The Virtual Queue system will also be in use.

Universal has also announced that guests can go Trick-or-Treating at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Guests under 12 can grab a free trick-or-treat bag and go door-to-door, collecting tasty treats from participating retail stores this weekend. Keep a lookout for pumpkin stickers marking each location.

Guests are also encouraged to come dressed in costumes around the Resort. Make sure to check out the guidelines to see which costumes are allowed.

Stay tuned to Inside Universal for all the latest on Universal Parks & Resorts.

LATEST POSTS

Universal Orlando confirms Halloween Activities and Haunted Houses to continue through Fall on Select...

0
Universal Orlando has confirmed that their Halloween Activities at the Resort, including the operation of 2 haunted houses, will continue to operate on select...

The Inside Universal Podcast: A Halloween Testing Review

0
Drew & Brian review Universal Orlando's Halloween Special Event Testing weekend; including the 2 haunted houses - The Bride of Frankenstein Lives! and Revenge...

Photo Update: September 21, 2020 – CityWalk at Universal Studios Hollywood

0
We’re back with September’s photo update around CityWalk Hollywood! This month, we take a look at progress on the multiple projects taking place throughout...

REVIEW: Halloween Seasonal Event Testing Weekend at Universal Orlando

0
Universal Orlando recently held its Halloween Seasonal Event Testing event this past weekend. With Halloween Horror Nights not taking place this year, Universal is...