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Tag Archives: Universal Studios Hollywood
Kung Fu Panda Characters and More Part of Lunar New Year Celebration 2017 at Universal Studios Hollywood
Despite a fairly cold and wet weekend here in Los Angeles, Universal Studios Hollywood kicked off its Lunar New Year 2017 celebration, to the delight of thousands of guests. On Saturday, Mother Nature gave us a decent break in the rain, so we made our way up the hill to Universal to check out the park’s decorations and Lunar New Year festivities, which are held in Universal Plaza on the Upper Lot.
As in years past, the physical footprint for Universal Studios Hollywood’s Lunar New Year event isn’t terribly large. There is, however, a lot of content crammed into Universal Plaza, including multiple character meet-and-greet locations, tasty treats for sale, and several spots throughout the space where guests of all ages can fill out red message cards and attach them to Chinese Wishing Trees. We watched as many visitors filled out red cards and attached them to the trees – some were sincere, while others were often humorous, including one that merely said, “Muggle Lives Matter”.
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When you think of Universal Studios Hollywood and its signature annual events, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Halloween Horror Nights, or perhaps Grinchmas, right? How about Lunar New Year? It’s a biggie at the Southern California theme park. Beginning January 21, guests will be able to meet Mandarin-speaking Megatron, enjoy special Chinese food treats, and celebrate Lunar New Year 2017 with many of their favorite characters, who will be wearing traditional festival attire throughout the event.
Speaking of characters, Lunar New Year 2017 brings new, familiar faces to Universal Studios Hollywood – Po and Tigress, from DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda franchise!
Located within Universal Plaza, across from the entrance to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter on the park’s Upper Lot, the Lunar New Year celebration is a cultural celebration that invites families and guests of all ages and race to participate and enjoy. The main entryway into the Plaza is to be adorned with classic red Chinese lanterns and a beautiful plum blossom arch. Once inside the festival area, guests will be able to partake in really fun character meet-and-greets, as well as enjoy Asian treats including as pastries as they take in the elegant decorations and banners featuring the 12 animals that make up the Chinese Zodiac.
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Grinchmas is of course, based on the classic book by Dr. Seuss, How The Grinch Stole Christmas! Universal Studios Hollywood has hosted the annual event for years now, and while aspects of it may be losing some of its luster, guests visiting the Los Angeles theme park certainly seem to enjoy the celebration.
The star attraction of Grinchmas is The Grinch, followed by all of the Whos that populate Whoville, which has a temporary home in Universal Plaza on the parks Upper Lot, as well as the more permanent set location on the Backlot, which is seen by guests riding the Studio Tour. Visitors on the Studio Tour stop at the set from the 2000 Ron Howard re-telling of the popular Christmas tale, and are treated to a short song and dance medley which features the beloved classic, “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch”.
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Hot Butterbeer – say it again, and say it slowly with your eyes closed… Hot… Butterbeer… It’s the stuff dreams are made of, and it’s finally come to Universal Studios Hollywood after fans have been begging for it since the opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter here on the West Coast!
There are three different types of Butterbeer, the mythical drink from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter franchise: regular, frozen, and hot. Hot Butterbeer was introduced to fans at Universal Studios Florida in 2014 – and is by far, the sweetest of the three, since the company altered the sweet level of regular and frozen (no one will confirm, but everyone knows Butterbeer isn’t as sweet now as when the Wizarding World opened). Much like Mexican hot chocolate, hot Butterbeer is thick and creamy in consistency, the legendary white froth melting away into the liquid, mixing into sugary bliss. Whether you end up sipping or chugging hot Butterbeer, it is an experience that most Wizarding World fans relish.
Universal has decided to make hot Butterbeer a seasonal treat, which I totally get – but also hate. Here in California, where it’s not unusual to see temperatures in the 80s and 90s Christmas week, the idea of holding a hot beverage until the Holiday Season is kind of absurd. I assure you – Potter fans would plunk down their cash year-round for hot Butterbeer, just as they do for the frozen version even on chilly nights.
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Without a doubt, 2016 is the strongest intellectual property lineup that Universal Studios Hollywood has ever assembled for Halloween Horror Nights. Fronted by the long-awaited maze The Exorcist, HHN features a powerhouse ensemble that includes mazes based on American Horror Story, Halloween 2, Krampus and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. There’s more – so let’s dive right in and pick apart Halloween Horror Nights 2016 piece by fleshy piece…
SPOILER ALERT: This in-depth review contains spoilers regarding the mazes and scare zones found at Halloween Horror Nights 2016. It also features images and video that contain spoilers as well.
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Universal Studios Hollywood has opened its newest attraction, a walk-through experience based on AMC’s The Walking Dead. The Halloween Horror Nights-style haunted house soft-opened to the public just a couple days before its announced 4th of July grand opening. Days before that, Theme Park Adventure was on hand for the media preview, which featured a whole herd of walkers bent on getting their 15 minutes of brains… er, fame.
If you’re familiar with Universal’s wildly-popular Halloween Horror Nights event, then you already get an idea of what’s in store once you make your way through the exterior switchback queue and enter the abandoned remains of Harrison Memorial Hospital – the location where The Walking Dead series begins. True to HHN-style attractions, this new year-round haunt takes approximately 6 minutes or so to get through. Park fans will find it a lot shorter than House of Horrors, which existed as Universal’s daily-operating haunted attraction from 2006 to 2014. That said, The Walking Dead packs a lot into each scene, putting it on par with the former experience and right up there with most Horror Nights mazes to date. Guests are leaving the attraction laughing, clapping, and yes – even crying; that’s exactly what designers John Murdy, Chris Williams and everyone else involved in this project wanted to see.
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If you’re a horror or theme park fan (preferably both) living in Southern California, chances are you are well aware that there is a brand-new walk-through attraction based on AMC’s The Walking Dead opening July 4th at Universal Studios Hollywood.
And, if you’re not or weren’t aware… now you know.
Under the creative direction of John Murdy and artful eye of Chris Williams, The Walking Dead will become the newest addition to the Los Angeles park, which is still undergoing an epic transformation that will see more exciting additions in the wake of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade, which opened this spring. While involved in other aspects of creative development for Universal Studios Hollywood, Murdy and Williams are best known as the dynamic duo of terror behind the theme park’s wildly-popular Halloween Horror Nights event.
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Earlier this week, Universal Studios Hollywood confirmed what fans have been speculating for a while – that a year-round attraction based on AMC’s blockbuster series The Walking Dead is close to opening at the Southern California theme park.
This is a major boon for haunt and horror fans in the region who lamented over the closure of Universal’s House of Horrors in summer 2014. House of Horrors was a year-round walk-through haunted attraction that featured such notable silver screen heavies as the Mummy, Wolfman, Frankenstein’s Monster, Phantom of the Opera, Dracula, Norman Bates, and more. It’s closure and demolition was part of the unprecedented property-wide makeover that Universal Studios Hollywood is still undergoing in large to make way for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which opened last month.
For the past five years, The Walking Dead has been a featured intellectual property at Universal Studios Hollywood during its annual Halloween Horror Nights event, taking on every form from sprawling scare zone to intense mazes reflecting whichever season ended that spring. Over time, two very defined groups of fans have found their voice – those who are totally into The Walking Dead, and those who have had more than enough of it at Halloween Horror Nights. The latter group becomes more and more vocal online each season that Universal announces that The Walking Dead will be returning. Personally, I’m a huge fan of the show, and I’ve already figured that it’ll be part of HHN for at least a year after the show finally ends.
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What an Excellent Day – The Exorcist Maze is Finally Coming to Universal Studios Hollywood and Orlando for Halloween Horror Nights
Fans of Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights will tell you, John Murdy (Creative Director, HHN Hollywood) and Chris Williams (Art Director, HHN Hollywood) have wanted to land The Exorcist for a long time as an HHN maze property. At the same time, whenever the subject has been brought up in public, fans return the desire with enthusiastic cheers and applause. This week, that unholy wish has been granted, as Universal announced The Exorcist for both its California and Florida events.
In an interview I did with Chris Williams, he noted that the one IP he’s always wanted to have as a maze at Horror Nights is The Exorcist.
“I began entertaining that thought five or six years ago. I’m a very spiritual person,” explained Williams. “The more I thought about it, I would love to make it so scary on Saturday night, that you might find yourself sitting in church on Sunday morning!”
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Knott’s Berry Farm Joins Universal Studios Hollywood, Queen Mary, Six Flags Magic Mountain and Walt Disney Imagineering at Midsummer Scream
Midsummer Scream Halloween Festival proudly announces that it has secured the biggest names and brands in themed entertainment as partnering content providers for its debut event to be held July 30 – 31 at the Long Beach Convention Center.
Midsummer Scream is California’s premier Halloween, haunt and horror festival featuring more than 100,000 square feet of artisan vendors, live entertainment, specialty workshops, makeup demonstrations, a screening room, haunted attraction previews and experiences, a darkened scare zone and more.
Fans of all ages will be thrilled and captivated this summer by world-class panel presentations by the leaders in themed entertainment as they wow Midsummer Scream audiences with 2016 maze reveals, special guests and heart-stopping surprises throughout the final weekend in July at the Long Beach Convention Center.
Knott’s Berry Farm is the most recent major attraction to join Midsummer Scream’s world-class lineup, rounding-out the bulk of Southern California’s theme park/major Halloween events that draw millions to Los Angeles and Orange County each autumn.
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