Oni Haunts Episode 3 (Part 1) is now available to watch and features Universal Studios Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 2013:
Check out part 2 here.
Oni Haunts Episode 3 (Part 1) is now available to watch and features Universal Studios Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 2013:
Check out part 2 here.
Hell yeah, Disney’s Haunted Mansion case for my iPhone 5s!
It took a lot of searching in Disney World, but I found it. I like how it’s understated so that, unless you are in the know, you won’t know. It’s a good way to quickly find new potential friends because if you are down with Disney’s Haunted Mansion we probably have a lot in common.
If you want one of these babies you’ll have to ask for a Disney Cast Member to search it out in the computer. There were 2 left in Once Upon a Toy in Downtown Disney. The other version is more common, but kind of corny:
Disney: Trying hard every day to minimize the legitimacy of The Haunted Mansion and put happy-dappy squishy cartoons all over it that aren’t remotely in the same art style of the ride. That might explain why the version that I got is harder to find than this one.
Truthfully, both cases are nice. The second one is probably a nod toward Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, an event that is great for kids but didn’t appeal to us at all. BLECH!
Normally the cartooning is far more obnoxious than this. But it’s the same school of thought that puts giant 3D Pluto and Mickey in bright colors on a lot if the Haunted Mansion merchandise, so I gotta say something. :)
Also? If anyone can find out when they are getting more Dooney and Bourke Haunted Mansion bags PLEASE let me know. I heard they only made 70 of them and they sold out in minutes. Disney Parks blog claimed there would be more coming in and they would be available online but I have heard all kinds of conflicting stories from cast members. They were online for a brief time before they (you guessed it) sold out in minutes. I refuse to pay speculator prices on eBay, because FFS it’s already assclown expensive.
I don’t normally want items BUT I WANT THIS BAG.
Disney is super consistent in preventing me from giving them more stupid money.
Finally, someone is bringing legit back to central Florida. Grimm House, the old year-round haunted house in Kissimmee, Florida (minutes away from Disney World in Orlando) was closed, gutted, expanded, and an entirely new haunted attraction just launched under new ownership. This new haunt is at least twice the size of Grimm House.
Legends: A Haunting at Old Town is a year-round attraction that is currently in soft launch with a grand opening this November.
This is a must do attraction. We have not been this excited about a new haunt in quite some time. Central Florida has needed a good year-round haunt ever since Terror on Church Street closed. Now, here it is.
It was obvious to us that not only do these guys have the resources but they also have the brains to do it right. The front facade will be totally redone in the coming months along with constant updates. Yes, it’s scary. It’s for adult haunt fans. It’s not for babies.
They plan to change the haunt to suit the seasons. Jim, one of the owners, described it to us as “part Haunted Mansion, part Jungle Cruise” because of the theatrical element they blended in with this haunted attraction. I’ll explain that later.
Harknell and I had the opportunity to experience this haunt this past Saturday, which was their second day of operation ever. We were shocked at how well everything was working. It’s unheard of to have a haunt working this well that quickly. Normally haunts try and prevent us from coming that soon because most take weeks to get things right.
We found out that one reason why it’s firing on all gears is that some actors from the famous but now closed Terror on Church Street in Orlando now work here. It’s pro all the way.
You start out being led in groups of 6 through the attraction with a person speaking to you in the first couple of rooms. You are touring a funeral parlor, but (of course) Mr. Ashdown, the undertaker, plans to kill you.
Then you are on your own as you ascend to the top level (yes, there are multiple levels) and have to fend your way through the haunt on your own.
Most striking is that a large number of these props and set pieces are custom made for this haunt. We could tell – the detail inside has to be seen to be believed. You just don’t see this very often anymore in the age of budget cuts and disposable culture that we now live in. Many haunts like to take the easy route and to buy off the rack. These guys clearly created a narrative and built their own world around it – piece by piece.
They did it right. You’ll see MASSIVE rooms that have lush vistas of terror. You’ll encounter animatronics that are placed appropriately with actors for distraction scares. They do not rely on technology here-they use it the right way.
In addition to this, they had a beautiful gift shop.
There are actors outside (including a feisty Mr. Ashdown on stilts), and they are also in charge of the Old Town Halloween festival. So to recap – they’ve done the decor for the entire area, scare actors for the area, choreographed impromptu outbreaks of Thriller and other mayhem, plus opened a haunted house that can stand head to head with the likes of Universal Studios and Busch Gardens.
Legends: A Haunting at Old Town is poised to be the next big thing to hit central Florida since the 90s. You should go to this now, and go often. Tickets are $15 and that gets you about 20 minutes of a high-quality haunted house.
EDIT: We made a video about it:
The theme has been revealed for this year’s Busch Gardens Tampa Howl O scream in Florida. I’ve already talked about what I felt about their new upcharge haunted attraction. “The Experiment”. Let’s talk about the regular event today.
Overall I think they’ve got a solid offering of returning houses and some interesting new houses. I personally think that the reveal of the short videos was not effective at all. I haven’t even watched them all because there really is no payoff. It would have worked better if each video contributed to an overall story that they spliced together and revealed at the end. Who has time to click through 13 short videos that don’t give you that much info?
So what is new?
The BASEMENT—From Momma’s secret ingredient to Granny’s bone-ground flour, Momma’s Meats’ award-winning recipe has always been a family affair that’s only created in the BASEMENT. Escape the depths of the BASEMENT before she and #4 The Butcher turn you in to the secret sauce! She always said it took blood, sweat and tears!
Death Water Bayou—Deep in the bayou the #6 Voodoo Queen mystically transforms lost wanderers into her minions of evil with black magic. Here, her night servants roam with a zombie-like hunger and seek to grow her collection. The darkest evils lurk in shadows. Get out before you fall victim to her spell.
Upcharge haunted attraction that replaces “Alone”:
The Experiment—Researchers challenge your fear tolerance and mental endurance in this never-been-done-before Experiment. In this exclusive study, “test subjects” endure psychological tests and must face top fear-inducing elements, from roaches and snakes to needles and darkness. How far is too far in the study of fear? Will you survive The Experiment? Note: The Experiment is a unique, interactive experience that challenges your threshold for fear for an additional fee. Reservations are required, and each reservation can accommodate you and up to three additional “test subjects.” Pass member discount does not apply. Not included with any other VIP tour or upgrade product. Howl-O-Scream admission is required, but not included. The Experiment admission is $50 for the first test subject and $10 for each additional test subject in the same reservation.
Returning houses with new ideas incorporated are:
Circus of Superstition 3-D—You’ve tried to avoid black cats and sidewalk cracks, but all those years of bad luck caught up with you! The #13 Clown challenges you to survive 13 superstitions in their 3-D Tent of Terror, but it will take more than luck to escape this whole new dimension of fear.
Blood Asylum—As lightning rages and thunder crashes outside, “The Creature” escapes from his holding cell in a high-security asylum for the criminally insane. Now this sadistic deviant is running rampant, skinning his former cellmates and turning the mental hospital into his own torture chamber. This serial killer’s bloody playground will drive you out of your mind with fear.
Zombie Mortuary—No one remembers how the epidemic started, but now, the #9 Zombie and his undead friends live here. They infest this small town funeral home and feed on the fresh flesh and brains of mortuary mourners to satisfy their insatiable hunger. Avoid the walking dead or you may find yourself deeper than six feet under.
Ultimate Gamble: Reversal of Fortune—Under sleek Vampire reign, the once-vibrant Ultimate Gamble casino glowed. Now werewolves have overthrown their mortal enemies and are running rampant in the casino. The carnivorous beasts have caught on to the scent of fresh blood inside the closed casino. Will you make it out alive before your luck runs out?
Nevermore—Beating hearts, swinging pendulums and a raven’s cries haunt the manor of Lenore, creating a demented and twisted nightmare. Step inside to experience the gothic terror that maddens the lord of the house and feel delusion overcome reality. Find your way out of this horror story before paranoia authors your final chapter.
The 13—Once every century, on precisely the thirteenth year, evil comes out to play. Thirteen evils, to be exact. The #7 Surgeon, #4 Butcher, #11 Psychopath, #13 Clown, #6 Voodoo Queen and their demented friends will torment and terrorize you the moment you enter the gates. This your chance to find out: Who are the 13?
Harvester’s Haunt—An unnerving soundtrack of banjos, fiddles and harmonicas fill the fields with haunting bluegrass music. Something just doesn’t feel right. You realize you’re not alone when you discover a hoard of sadistic scarecrows. They’re looking to harvest a few lost souls. Will you escape their reach or be theirs forever?
Pain Lane—Torture, torment and pain line this sinister street as the #2 Torturer and #12 Hangman stalk their prey in the shadows of this dark and disturbing alley. Here, pain-inducing devices are the toys of the twisted and screams are surrounded by haunting silence. Will you escape this playground of pain before the #2 Torturer and #12 Hangman find you?
Show, Club, Shop, and Miscellany:
Fiends—The classic monster mash-up Fiends will be performing nightly at the Desert Grill in Timbuktu. Captivating creatures of the night will infect you with dance fever and keep your pulse pounding with their deranged dance party. But when Dr. Freakenstein’s naughty nurses start operating, the diagnosis is always “code pink.”
Club 13—Escape the hordes and head to the transformed Marrakesh Theater to drive yourself mad partying at Howl-O-Scream’s dance club. This nighttime dance playground keeps the energy pumping all night long with non-stop music, premium signature cocktails, drink specials and Taco Bus food.
Howl-O-Scream Shop of Horrors— This year, the Howl-O-Scream shop of Horrors has been transformed into The Butcher Shop. Find GOREgeous apparel and trendy tees featuring Howl-O-Scream favorites, including the 13 and the infamous Naughty Nurses. You can also purchase or pick up your Front-Line Fear Passes here. Visit this year’s new Voodoo Village Market, located next to The Experiment in the Egypt area of the park by Montu for even more Howl-O-Scream gifts.
Howl-O-Scream Photo Ops— Snap the perfect party pics at exclusive photo opportunities with our Pin-Up Scream Girls in Moroccan Village and the Naughty Nurses in the Desert Grill.
Darkhearts’ Games of Skill—Test your luck in this unlucky thirteenth year in Darkheart’s Games of Skill.
So what do I think?
If you are curious about my opinion on the returning houses and shows, check out my haunted attraction reviews. I’ve done Busch Gardens Tampa Howl O Scream nearly every year and it looks like it will continue to be one of my favorite events this year regardless of my disappointment with “The Experiment”. BGT HoS has some of the strongest houses and scare actors around. They also do creative things to make the returning houses different each year.
I have received feedback from readers indicating the the representation of Voodoo in the “Death Water Bayou” house is problematic. While I love the idea of using southern legend, Voodoo is an actual religion in which it’s practitioners are greatly marginalized and attacked with violence – even today. Death Water Bayou seems to have just represented Voodoo as “Satanism with Voodoo dolls”. I am not an expert, but I know enough to know that this is completely not what this religion is about. Voodoo will be featured on American Horror Story this year. I had read that they took actual Voodoo practitioners as advisers to represent it more accurately. I wish BGT had done that.
I also think that from a Marketing perspective, this is the weakest campaign I have seen for this event. It failed to hold my attention. The 13 Evils are too much. there are too many characters to keep straight and all have generic archetype names. To paraphrase Beavis and Butthead, “If I wanted to read, I’d go to school.” All joking aside, it is very overwhelming from an attendee perspective.
Why are the 13 Evils here? What is their goal? Is there a story here? I’m not clear on that.
What makes me excited for this event this year? The fact that I know what the crew on the ground floor of Busch Gardens puts out and how amazing they all are. I’ve been loving this event for years because it is one of the best. Do I disagree a bit on how it was Marketed and what some of the new attractions are?
Am I excited to review this and return to one of my favorite events on earth?
Busch Gardens Tampa Howl O Scream is my absolute favorite Halloween event. It is with much sadness that I have to say that in my opinion their newest announcement, “The Experiment” disappointed me. Normally I have to experience something in order to say that about something. This is an exception.
The concept is what disappointed me such that the execution is a non-issue. They hit the sweet spot of putting literally every concept that Harknell and I do not like about haunts into 1 attraction. If you are not us and you do not share our preferences, you might love this. Read on for details.
What is “The Experiment”? It’s the next version of their once-phenomenal “Alone” house. Yes – “Alone” is gone. This is the new “Alone”, which makes it more upsetting to me personally because “Alone” was absolutely amazing.
“[T]he Howl-O-Scream creative team is introducing the next twisted level of interactive scare experiences that they promise to be “the most personally invasive haunted attraction in Howl-O-Scream history” with The Experiment.
In this all-new experience you become a “test subject” and researchers challenge your fear tolerance and mental endurance. The test subjects endure psychological experiments and must face fear-inducing elements, from roaches and snakes to needles and darkness.
You are not just seeing the scares. In the Experiment, you become part of them. Refuse to participate and your Experiment will be terminated…
Up to four test subjects can challenge The Experiment at a time, and reservations are required. The Experiment admission is $50 for the first test subject and $10 for each additional test subject in the same reservation. Howl-O-Scream admission is required, but not included. The Experiment is available every night of the event and is located in the Eqypt area of the park.”
This upset me for 2 reasons.
The first reason is that there has been a theater company (Nightmare Haunted House NYC) doing a post-Halloween show called “The Experiment” for at least 2 years now. You can read a review of their show here.
Not only is this the same concept – it’s exactly the same name. Unless they got the Nightmare crew to consult on this I call a major party foul.
I’ve often ranted about my frustration with haunts cloning concepts and names. In fact – the reason I started blogging haunts is because most of them are named in such a similar way that I needed this blog to keep track of which ones I had gone to. Would it really have been so hard to call it something unique? Call it “Doctor Scaryguy’s Whateverman’s Experiment” or something. You get the idea – just don’t call your event the exact same thing someone else does.
The other reason I am unhappy is because this is the type of haunt experience that I and Harknell dislike, Its just Not For Us. We enjoy fantasy and horror narrative. Neither of us want anything resembling the Fear Factor TV show anywhere near us. We have gone to these types of shows in our review tour and luckily were not the ones picked out of the audience. These types of experiences often rely on peer pressure to make you do something. Guess what we both don’t respond to? If anything, peer pressure makes us respond more negatively than if there were no pressure.
This works for a certain demographic, but I personally hate this concept being at Busch Gardens Tampa. BGT always stood out to me because of their storytelling, amazing execution, and superior scare actors. This just seems like a gross out show. I’m sure they will do the best gross out show you have ever seen, but I don’t care to see it. I hate that this replaced ” Alone”. As a sideshow or an addition to the event “The Experiment” would have been fine. But this replacing something that was so amazing? No.
I love the people who work here and consider many of them to be friends. Some may kick my ass for posting this. Look, guys. BGT is consistently on the cutting edge of innovation in almost every aspect. Their attitude and passion often gleam brighter than anyone else in the biz. If you like this kind of thing I am sure they will bring that same passion to this and you will have a great time.
I was looking forward to another immersive fantasy haunt from Busch Garden’s Tampa this year. They delivered something different and exactly the type of “fear” that I do not consider to be fun.
I am interested in other people’s reviews. If you are going to this and would like to do a guest blog for me, please get in touch.