After The Walking Dead premiere yesterday we decided to spend some time at the park because we could, and we had taken the day off. (if you missed our coverage of The Walking Dead check it out here)
Written by Gregg Condon
Below is a quick update from the park including some HHN preparation pics as well as some work going on near Transformers for a new attraction that everybody knows about but isn't announced yet so we'll call it "The Public Death of Wild Animals" (that's opposite of what it is right? ;) )
A busy park without AP's ... imagine that. =)
Down on the lower lot work is already going on for HHN
The spot for "The Public Death of Wild Animals" ...
The new soundstages near the Metro Sets are HUGE and coming along quite nicely.
Maze at the Metro sets ... from looking at this facade we are about 95% we have this one figured out.
Since Universal Florida decided to send out their humidity since they are mad that Universal Hollywood got The Walking Dead, we needed some yummy refreshments in the afternoon at one of our favorite spots in the park.
We hadn't seen Waterworld in about 10 years, so we were overdue
Alright, that's going to wrap it up for this update. We're probably about another month or so away from getting our Annual Passes again and resuming regular park updates but we hope this one is enough to hold you over in the meantime.
Yesterday we were invited out to Universal Studios Hollywood to check out the all new Walking Dead attraction.
The first half of this update contains ZERO spoilers, and is just about the opening ceremony and outside queue. There are warnings before we get into spoiler territory, so feel free to read on.
Written by Gregg Condon
Pictures by Gregg Condon and Kristi Condon
We arrived early in the morning to take on The Walking Dead (and a whole bunch of media people, some who were nicer than others)
After being bumped for being "too tall" we settled in for the opening ceremonies.
Greg Nicotero was on hand to talk about all the great work that went into the attraction.
Some of the cast, past and present (well, mostly past as is the nature of the show)
Suddenly a horde of walkers invades (it was actually pretty awesome, be sure to check it out in our video below)
Didn't see a whole lot of warning signs out, but these guys should give an indication of what's coming
If you thought Walkers were the biggest problem you'd have, you were wrong
Caution: Spoilers Below!!!
We were able to get two videos yesterday (even though we only got to go through the attraction once).
First up is our 360° video ... it's kind of dark but it gives a great idea of the maze. If you have a VR set up be sure to watch it with that, or if not be sure to watch it with headphones as it's also got 360° audio.
Next up is our video of the opening ceremony (complete with walkers and big explosions), some of the queue and of course an HD Walk-Through of the attraction.
Ok, this is your last chance to avoid spoilers, our review starts NOW!!!
Walk-Through attractions have a mixed history at Universal Studios Hollywood. Many of you may remember that the former location of House of Horrors wasn't always a walk-through attraction. It was actually a restaurant called Marvel Mania.
In 1999 this location became a walk-through for the movie Chicken Run. In 2002 this would be replaced by The Mummy Returns: Chamber of Doom which would turn into Van Helsing: Fortress Dracula in 2004. And then finally in 2006 this former restaurant would become House of Horrors.
Along with House of Horrors came many (MANY) different theme overlays for Halloween Horror Nights to make it different than the daytime attraction. Both good, and well, not so good.
All of this history is to kind of lay out what they had to work with in the past when it came to daytime walk-through attractions. Now they have none of those restrictions as The Walking Dead has been built in a building that is brand new and actually built for a Walk-Through attraction. And it really shows.
You start off inside the queue and you are in the hospital from the pilot episode. They don't wait to start freaking you out and the entire inside queue is the hospital. No different themes in each room which is nice.
This of course includes the iconic "Don't Open Dead Inside" door which is amazing.
The large queue area (switchbacks) are also themed to the hospital but it gets you in the mood for "The Walking Dead" with incredible lighting and sound effects.
As you enter the maze you are instantly transported into the world of The Walking Dead. yes, it's similar to an HHN maze, but as good as those are from a technological and themeing standpoint, this attraction raises that bar, and raises it significantly.
Because it's permanent there are no plywood walls, the effects are amazing and the lighting and sound quality are as good if not better than most other permanent attractions.
As you walk through the attraction you are of course greeted by walkers, but due to the size and scope of the attraction you are treated to acted out scenes between walkers and the survivors in locations such as the burning cabin, the prison and more.
And even though it's permanent, you can easily see how they can change things out in subsequent years to add new things from the show.
If you have grown tired of The Walking Dead mazes at HHN we get it, but this is on a completely other level and that we can experience it 365 days a year and get our "Scare Fix" anytime we want is amazing.
One other tidbit I'll add, I'm so glad they decided to skip over the Terminus theme, that was terribly tired and played out from the HHN mazes.
So be sure to check out the attraction after it opens next week, we can't wait to get back and do the walk-through more without having to film it.
Thanks again to Universal Studios Hollywood for having us out, we had an amazing time. You've once again raised the bar and we can't wait to see what you come up with next.
We will have a "general" park update later today or tomorrow.
UNIVERSAL’S VOLCANO BAY REVEALED:
UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT’S HIGHLY-ANTICIPATED WATER THEME PARK TO OPEN IN 2017
Volcano Bay to Become Universal Orlando’s Third Theme Park,
A One-of-A-Kind Paradise Filled with Adventure-Drenched Thrills, Relaxing Indulgence and Rejuvenation
International Tickets On Sale Soon for Travel Dates Beginning June 1, 2017
ORLANDO, Fla. (June 21, 2016) – A lush, tropical oasis unfolds before you, instantly transporting you to a little-known Pacific isle. In the distance, a colossal volcano rises above a sparkling beach, boasting majestic waterfalls by day and blazing lava by night.
Welcome to Universal’s Volcano Bay– a radically-innovative water theme park opening next year at Universal Orlando Resort. Spanning 28 fully immersive acres, Universal Orlando’s third theme park will be an entirely new kind of water theme park experience, giving guests even more to enjoy on their vacation.
At Volcano Bay, guests will discover a place like no other, filled with incredible thrills and relaxing indulgences. This one-of-a-kind park will combine exhilarating experiences with hassle-free convenience so families can get the most out of their vacation together. They won’t have to stand in long lines or wrestle with tubes before diving into the unique attractions found throughout the park. They can enjoy a variety of experiences, ranging from winding rivers and private, two-story cabanas to family raft rides and twisting body slides that launch guests above the water.
Here’s what you need to know about Volcano Bay:
An Innovative Water Theme Park Experience:
Volcano Bay will redefine the queue experience so guests can focus entirely on having fun and spending time together. Guests won’t even have to carry their own rafts up the slides.
18 Unique Attractions in Four Imaginatively-Themed Areas:
Volcano Bay will offer 18 unique attractions ranging from daring to serene. They’ll be divided across four primary park areas where there’s something for everyone, including a multi-directional wave pool with sandy beaches, peaceful winding river, twisting multi-rider raft rides, speeding body slides that drop from the top of the volcano into the waters below – and a state-of-the-art marquee attraction that will be revealed at a later date. Additional details on the park’s attractions can be found on the last page.
An Award-Winning Team of Creators:
A place like this could only be brought to life by Universal Creative – the same team behind ground-breaking theme park experiences like The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man and Despicable Me Minion Mayhem. The team researched water parks and tropical resorts around the world to help redefine the water park experience and shape their vision for Volcano Bay.
Easy-to-Access, Resort-Like Amenities Throughout the Park:
Each area of the park will offer its own easy-to-access, resort-like amenities, such as concierge locations and lockers, so guests won’t have to stroll out of their way to get what they need. There will also be highly-themed restaurants and bars located throughout the park offering signature food and beverage options and impressive volcano views. Even more unique features of the park will be announced later.
Convenient Location On-Site at Universal Orlando:
Volcano Bay will be located within Universal Orlando, adjacent to Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort. The water theme park is just a short walk or ride away from Universal Orlando’s two additional theme parks – Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, on-site hotels and Universal CityWalk.
International Tickets On Sale Soon:
Universal Orlando will soon introduce a brand-new, 3-Park Explorer ticket for guests where they can plan to experience the highly-anticipated Volcano Bay for travel dates beginning June 1, 2017. Tickets will soon be available through international web sites and travel professionals, and additional ticket options will be announced later.
This is just the beginning, and more exciting details about Volcano Bay will be released over time. Stay tuned for additional information by visiting www.UniversalOrlando.com and following Universal Orlando’s blog.
Volcano Bay’s Four Primary Areas:
Guests will have the opportunity to explore four imaginatively-themed areas at Volcano Bay, filled with experiences ranging from daring to serene.
The 200-foot volcano, Krakatau, will lie at the heart of the park, inviting guests to venture through its hidden caverns and cascading waterfalls.
o A state-of-the-art marquee attraction found only at Volcano Bay. More details will be announced later.
o Three distinctive body slides found at the rear of the volcano, which start off with surprise doors that drop out from beneath guests:
· Ko’okiri Body Plunge: A racing, 70-degree drop that will plummet 125-feet through the center of Krakatau. It will be the world’s first slide to travel through a pool filled with guests.
· Kala and Ta Nui Serpentine Body Slides: Two intertwining slides where guests will fall freely along 124 twisting feet.
o Punga Racers: A high-speed race through four different enclosed slides featuring manta-shaped mats.
Located at the base of Krakatau, Wave Village will be home to:
o Waturi Beach: A sparkling, multi-directional wave pool where guests can swim, relax on the sand or indulge in private, one- or two-story cabanas.
o The Reef: An adjacent leisure pool will provide guests with calmer waters and exciting views of riders speeding through the Ko’okiri Body Plunge.
Named for the peaceful river that snakes through it, River Village will feature unique attractions for the entire family, including:
o Kopiko Wai Winding River: A gentle, winding river that will pass through the volcano’s hidden caves, featuring spontaneous water effects and special nighttime lighting.
o Tot Tiki Reef: A whimsical toddler play area with spraying Maori fountains, slides and a kid-size volcano.
o Runamukka Reef: A three-story water playground inspired by the coral reef overflowing with twisting slides, sprinklers and more.
o Honu: An adventurous, multi-passenger raft ride that will soar across two giant, sloped walls
o Ika Moana: A twisting, multi-passenger raft ride that will glide across bubbling geysers.
Exhilarating thrills await guests in Rainforest Village, including:
o Maku: North America’s first “saucer ride” – sending multi-passenger rafts speeding around three saucer-shaped curves.
o Puihi: A breath-taking multi-passenger raft ride that will plunge guests into darkness before bursting into a funnel and launching into a zero-gravity drop.
o Ohyah and Ohno Drop Slides: Two twisting, adrenaline-pumping slides that launch guests four- and six-feet above the water at the end.
o TeAwa The Fearless River: An action-packed, racing torrent river where guests hang tight in their inner tubes amidst roaring, whitewater rapids.
o Taniwha Tubes: Four unique Easter Island-inspired slides with rafts for single or double riders.
o Puka Uli Lagoon: A tranquil pool where guests can swim and relax.
About Universal Orlando Resort
For more than 25 years, Universal Orlando Resort has been creating epic vacations for the entire family – incredible experiences that place guests in the heart of powerful stories and adventures.
Universal Orlando’s two theme parks, Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, are home to some of the world’s most exciting and innovative attractions. Its on-site resort hotels, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, the Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Royal Pacific Resort, and Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort are destinations unto themselves. Its entertainment complex, Universal CityWalk, offers dining and entertainment for every member of the family.
Universal Orlando Resort has unveiled 20 new guest experiences since 2010 – powerful attractions, incredible dining opportunities and a dramatically themed hotels. And more is on the way. Coming this year is Universal Orlando’s fifth on-site hotel, Loews Sapphire Falls Resort; Skull Island: Reign of Kong, a groundbreaking attraction in Islands of Adventure; and CityWalk’s newest, unique dining experience The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen. And in 2017 will come Universal’s Volcano Bay, an entirely new water theme park experience.
Universal Orlando Resort is part of NBCUniversal, a Comcast company. Follow us on our blog, Facebook,Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.