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 The Walking Dead returns to Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights 2014 and here is what I think about it

Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights just announced that their first maze for 2014 is going to be another maze based off of AMC’s The Walking Dead. This is the third year that they have done a tie-in with this show.

If you’ve been reading my blog long enough you’ll know that you will get neither blind fannishness nor blind hatred from me.

I can’t lie. My initial reaction to this announcement was largely negative. I was briefly into The Walking Dead but I quickly tired of it sometime in the middle of season 3. Using it as a property for a haunted attraction always seemed to require minimal theming and no fancy costumes. That’s OK but it’s not really what I look for in innovation.

I’m sorry I am just damn tired of zombies. We get it. Boogity boogity.

Haunts have been taking a turn for the less creative overall in the past 2 years for various reasons. The Northeast was hit by a major hurricane which likely contributed to this. Other haunts really have no excuse.

That said, the execution of this maze is going to really be the crux of it all. The first year they did The Walking Dead we were left cold. The second year was pretty good. If they manage to impress me with a concept that I find to be simple and tired then that would be a huge amount of skill. I think their highly skilled people can do it. The question is: Will they?

I won’t know what I think until I go through it. Sure I am less excited about this but since I am a reasonable motherfucker with reasonable ladyparts I will check back with you after I’ve seen it and give you my honest opinion.

That said, I do hope that they don’t put The Walking Dead in every scarezone again. Because my god, man. It’s like the clouds are shitting Zombies and the ovaries of the clouds are on fire with boogity boogity.


 The beginning of Disney’s It’s a Small World ride: 50 year anniversary / the 1964 World’s Fair


I remember the first time I went on this. I got stuck in Holland for what seemed like an hour. A Cast Member comes out and laughs at us. IT WAS THE BEST. I love this ride so much. This was the era of true creativity in my opinion.


 Busch Gardens Williamsburg Christmas Town; also Pirates because I love pirates

Aaaa! How did I miss this? The pirates from this past Busch Gardens Williamsburg Howl O Scream have a video up.

They were hilarious! I hope they bring them back next year. But anyway, we are getting ready to start doing Christmas festivals now. You can blame our friends at Busch Gardens for that. They started inviting us and then everyone else started inviting us. Actually, they were the first to invite us to a haunted house, too. So you can say that Busch Gardens is MOAR BETTAR than every other place.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg Christmas Town is opening for the season on November 22nd. I’ll be checking it out at some point and you might want to as well. Here is my review of it last year.

Spoiler: We thought it wouldn’t be our thing but loved it!

We were to check out the one in Tampa last year, but we weren’t able to get to Florida in time. The same thing is happening this year – they close before we could possibly get there. :( Hopefully they can run it into the New Year in the coming years or I can get the time off from work next year.


 Orlando’s Zombie Survival Army Navy store and Star Wars liquor store has pretty much everything you need (if it’s an apocalypse and you’re thirsty)

Every time we visit the Disney Parks in Orlando we also explore the surrounding area. Driving past the tourist shops, supermarket, pharmacy, the Zombie Survival Army Navy Store

Wait. What?

Yes, our car made a U Turn into the parking lot of a nondescript strip mall on Sand Lake Road because of this:

Was this for real? Yes, apparently it is. The shop is a legit army navy store that sells things like camo, first aid kits, rations, and the like. They also have their own apparel and a lot of zombie merchandise, toys, and The Walking Dead products.

Click To See The Full Size View Of Your Everyday Zombie Survival Needs

Maybe A Patch Will Cover Up Those Bites

That Will Scare Them Off For Sure

Not Standard Issue Zombie Armor, But Pretty Effective

Hats and Big Knives Are Always Appreciated

We chatted for a bit with the shopkeeper who told us that they’ve been getting phone calls from as far away as Australia. I guess those zombies can move fast!

Also next door in the same mall (owned by the same people) is the Star Wars Liquor Store. Why is it Star Wars? Because they have a massive display throughout the store of one of the biggest Star Wars collections you ever saw.

Drink Up And Play With Some Expensive Toys

So the next time you are in Orlando and a zombie outbreak happens, you know where to go.


 Busch Gardens Tampa Howl-O-Scream 2013 Review

Oni and I visited Busch Gardens Tampa Howl O Scream as media guests this year. We’ve been to the Tampa Howl-O-Scream every year since 2009 (you can see all of our other reviews on our Haunted Attraction review portal), and we’ve been very happy with the event every time we’ve gone. This year was no exception, it was a fun event.

They had 7 houses this year, with one upsell house (which required an additional fee above the cost for regular entry to the event) called “The Experiment”. Five of the houses were rethemed houses from the previous year (which is a typical thing Busch does, but it’s quite cool in that they use this to add a narrative to the house and act like the new version is a new chapter in the story of the house), with 2 new additions. The new houses, “Death Water Bayou” and “The Basement”, were both our favorite houses for this year. The Basement was an adaption of the former “Alone House” (their former upsell attraction), and Death Water Bayou was a Louisiana themed house using Voodoo and other elements.

All of the houses we went through were nicely done and had the requisite amount of scares we’ve come to expect from Busch. We did not do “The Experiment” though, since as opposed to the narrative style of the “Alone House”, this event was advertised as more of an “extreme” style haunted experience (as in the NYC Blackout variety), which we typically don’t find as interesting.

One thing that was disturbing though this year, was a noticeable lack of wandering scare actors. Over the last few years the Tampa Howl-O-Scream has made it almost their trademark of having huge numbers of wandering scare actors, all in different outfits and themes, moving across the park. This year we practically saw almost none. It used to be a standout thing that you were never safe anywhere in the Tampa park. Once we noticed this, we noticed that it seemed that maybe the budget for this year had been cut a bit, since the overall feel of the event seemed a bit squeezed. Only someone like us, who’ve been to the event for many years, and have an eye toward these kind of details, would have noticed this, but we really hope this isn’t an indication moving forward that Busch is pulling back funding for what is usually our high point of the Halloween haunted attraction season.

So, it was fun, it was definitely worth it, but was a slight step down in overall atmosphere from their most recent years–though that could be simply because we’ve felt that they’ve been on an upward trajectory and moving in the right direction so a faltering would be more noticeable to us. (and maybe a bit unfair in some ways to criticize).

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