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The Backwoods Maze Home Haunt 2014

The Backwoods_2015-103848One of the most impressive home haunts we’ve ever visited exists in Burbank, California. It’s The Backwoods, and this is an attraction at a private residence that has to be seen to be believed.

Truly a labor of love, the family that lives at 1912 N. Pepper Street is dedicated to their home haunt – and it’s a good thing they’re all-in, because it consumes their entire backyard year-round. The Backwoods features an incredibly full footprint that switchbacks on itself numerous times through towering two-story sets and past a mind-boggling assortment of home-made props, ranging from grotesque to simply awe-striking.

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The Joker Hybrid Coaster Announced for Six Flags Discovery Kingdom 2016

Joker Logo and CoasterIn Spring 2016, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom will open the most-anticipated new roller coaster in Northern California in over 10 years, The Joker. This state-of-the-art extreme coaster will be the “must ride” coaster of the season, adding to the park’s status as Northern California’s most thrilling theme park.

“The Joker will be the most talked about new coaster in 2016,” said Don McCoy, park president. “We are excited to introduce this innovative technology that marries the best of both classic and modern coaster designs to offer our guests an unparalleled and unique experience.”

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Morimoto Asia Disney Springs Opening Date Announced

New Morimoto Asia Restaurant to Open in Disney Springs at Walt Disney World ResortMorimoto Asia, a highly anticipated collaboration between Chef Masaharu Morimoto and Patina Restaurant Group, is pleased to announce a scheduled opening date of September 30, 2015 as Downtown Disney nears its transition to Disney Springs. The Japanese master chef’s first pan-Asian dining experience will showcase flavors from across the Asian continent, all with Morimoto’s creative touch.

Morimoto Asia’s eye-catching, 36-foot tall, two-story layout has been designed by STUDIO V Architecture. It includes lounges, dining spaces, and an exhibition kitchen that allows guests a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the culinary action. The second-level sushi bar and lounge have a separate entrance. Morimoto Asia will debut as part of The Landing, one of four neighborhoods in the new Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort.

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Evil Twin Studios – Raymond Hill Mortuary 2014

Raymond_Hill_2015_5965One group of haunters quickly climbing the spook chain here in Southern California is Evil Twin Studios, a team of creatives based in South Pasadena. Beginning in 2013 with their popular Theatre of Terror haunted house, Evil Twin Studios has become a fan favorite due to their overall production value, as well as their high-profile interaction throughout the community, including participating in ScareLA and Theme Park Adventure’s social mixers.

In 2014, Evil Twin returned to the same location in South Pasadena as they were in 2013, but with a completely new theme – Raymond Hill Mortuary. Not only was the story new, it seemed as if the team had a brand new enthusiasm, with really fun design elements and fantastic show moments that left fans cheering – and screaming – for more!

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Florida First Responders Honored by SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa With Free Admission in September

Busch_Gardens_TampaBusch Gardens Tampa and SeaWorld Orlando are honoring Florida first responders through September. From Sept. 1-30, first responders will receive free admission to both Florida parks, and a special offer for additional tickets.

In addition to complimentary admission, qualified first responders receive up to four discounted tickets per park for friends and family for just $50 per ticket, a savings of 48 percent off general admission.

“This special offer is our way to show our support and appreciation for the commitment and dedication of Florida’s first responders,” said Jim Dean, Busch Gardens Tampa park president.

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Exclusive Florida Resident Offer from Discovery Cove

Discovery Cove Florida Resident OfferJust in time for Labor Day travel planning, Discovery Cove is offering Florida residents a special offer that continues giving through 2016.

Available now through December 2015, the all-inclusive offer provides Florida locals a reduced Dolphin Swim Experience package starting at $219 plus tax, and Day Resort package (sans dolphin swim) for $149 plus tax. Additionally, residents will receive unlimited admission to two sister parks in Orlando – SeaWorld Orlando and Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark – beginning on the date of their reservation through Jan. 31, 2016.

For an additional $49, guests can enhance their day by adding SeaVenture to their admission, an underwater walking tour featuring hands-on encounters with schools of fish, velvety rays, tropical sea life, and an eye-to-eye view of sharks through underwater panoramic viewing windows.

As part of the unlimited admission to the SeaWorld parks through the year end, guests can enjoy upcoming family-friendly events including:

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Insane Clown Posse and More Announced for Rob Zombie’s Great American Nightmare 2015

Great American Nightmare Insane Clown PosseAnother night of music has been announced for Rob Zombie’s Great American Nightmare — the ultimate Halloween horror event — at Odeum Expo Center in Villa Park, IL. Detroit-based horrorcore/hip hop band Insane Clown Posse, rock band P.O.D., along with artists Stitches, Young Wicked, and Dope D.O.D., will perform at Rob Zombie’s Great American Nightmare on Saturday, October 3.

When Insane Clown Posse (ICP) emerged from the darkness surrounding Detroit’s underground music scene in the early ‘90s, the world had yet to imagine the impact that the hardcore hip-hop style spawned by these two artists–Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope–would bring to bear on mainstream music. Shunned by mainstream music players like MTV and castigated in the media, banned from radio airwaves and yanked from the shelves of “conventional” retail outlets, ICP was dealt a hand that seemed destined for swift and certain failure. Instead, the duo amassed a following of millions of fans endearingly called “Juggalos” and smashed through the ceiling of music industry expectation.

Tickets for the October 3 show at Rob Zombie’s Great American Nightmare are on sale and start at only $35. Tickets include the concert and haunted attractions. Tickets purchased at the door (if available) will start at $45. On October 3, doors open at 5:00 PM and the concert starts at 7:00 PM.

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Anubis Paintball Adventure Coming to Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor 2015

Queen Mary Dark HarborFear lives here at The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor as the torrid history of the haunted ship rises from the deep October 1 – November 1, 2015. In addition to Dark Harbor’s horrific new maze, Lullaby, that tells the tale of the ship’s youngest soul, Scary Mary, the annual fright festival is thrilled to unveil the all-new Anubis Paintball Adventure.

Those who dare will venture into the tombs of Anubis, the Greek Egyptian jackal-headed god of mummification and the afterlife. In Anubis’ underworld, guests will test their skills in an LED 3D paintball battle against the most terrifying gaggle of mummies, monsters and myths.

The brand new Lullaby maze will take guests on a frightening voyage with Dark Harbor’s youngest soul, Scary Mary, who has haunted the Queen Mary ever since her horrific drowning in the poolroom in 1952. Dark Harbor will also welcome the new Side Show of Freaks and Oddities and the Side Show Bar that will bring guests up close into the grotesque world of freaks.

The Ringmaster, The Captain and their band of spirits including Samuel the Savage, Graceful Gale, Half-Hatch Henry and Scary Mary will be joined by over 200 grizzly monsters and ghouls that will be plotting terrifying tricks and treats throughout the season of fear. Dark Harbor’s signature haunts Deadrise, Soulmate, B340, Circus and the Voodoo Village will be wrought with more horrific monsters than ever before.

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Wes Craven – Bringer of Monsters and Nightmares

Nightmare on Elm Street Movie PosterNovember, 1984. My grandfather and I were in the restroom of the Crest Theatre in San Bernardino, California after seeing Madman. When I noticed in the newspaper that the movie (it had become a sleeper/cult classic of sorts in the early ’80s, playing with other horror films around the country long after its initial release) was playing at the Crest, I asked my grandfather to take me – and away we went. As we washed our hands, my grandpa asked if I wanted to stay and see the movie that Madman was playing with as a double-feature; something or other about Elm Street. Neither one of us really knew much about it, but figured we’d give it a shot; if it sucked, we’d leave.

That second-thought film was indeed, Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street, and for the next hour and a half, we sat silently in that theater, completely transfixed by what we saw on the screen. We left the Crest that evening buzzing about this new monster – with a charred red and green sweater, crumpled fedora, and a blade-tipped glove that slashed his victims in their dreams as they slept. We didn’t realize it at the time, but we’d just witnessed the birth of one of horror’s most iconic characters – Freddy Krueger.

Wes Craven’s career was a good one – and he unleashed an impressive list of terror on moviegoers that includes The Last House on the LeftThe Hills Have EyesSwamp ThingThe Serpent and the RainbowShockerScream, and Red Eye, to name a few. His films were mostly all received very well by horror fans, and the character of Ghostface from the Scream series arguably has become the most famous mask in cinema since John Carpenter’s Halloween. In my mind however, what towers above all else is the Gloved One – Freddy. And this is where we can easily bridge Craven’s world to that of themed entertainment.

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Carolina Harbor Waterpark Expansion Plans Announced for 2016

Carolina Harbor WaterparkCarowinds has unveiled plans to bring a fresh and exciting Carolina coastal experience to guests with a historic waterpark expansion in 2016.  The transformation is part of the park’s commitment to celebrate Carowinds’ heritage as the place where the Carolinas come together, creating an “aquatic playground” with thrilling new attractions, new amenities and a new coastal name – Carolina Harbor.

Carolina Harbor Waterpark will be included with park admission and will offer guests relaxing moments of tranquility and refreshing thrills by the “shores”, plus delivers a best day ever guest experience.  The addition is the latest phase in a $50 million plus multi-year expansion at Carowinds, an effort kicked off by building the world’s tallest and fastest giga coaster, Fury 325, as well as new park food offerings which are regionally relevant.

“We listened to our guests and have made a promise to bring them more family-friendly attractions,” said Mike Fehnel, Carowinds vice president and general manager.  “And we’re happy to be delivering on our promise with the addition of Carolina Harbor – a guaranteed ultimate waterpark experience.  Carowinds is growing by leaps and bounds and continues to put the park on the map as the premier entertainment destination of the Carolinas.”

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