Category Archives: Theme Parks

Seaworld’s Halloween Spooktacular {Review}

This weekend we finally got a chance to take the kids over to Seaworld for the Halloween festivities. We’ve never checked out this event before, so we were all types of excited (Okay maybe even a little more excited than the kids were).

The Halloween Spooktacular is and in park trick or treat experience and celebration, so you can get the family dressed up (I understood that only kids can dress up, so we only did costumes for them) for the party!

They have 3 main highlights: Trick or Treating, Penelope’s Party Zone, and the Sesame Street Countdown to Halloween. We did it all except the last.

Overall it was a great experience. We all had a great time in all.There’s not much in all to comment on other than that so I will amuse you with pictures of the event with the occasional witty comments!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bam Bam and Pebbles!! We made the kid’s costumes (which was a new feat for us)!!

The Trick or Treat stations are adorned by large jellyfish. The lines are usually pretty long though. We didn’t wait many of them. The ones on the upstairs portion of the stadium where the party zone don’t have many people. Also if you forget to bring your Jack o’lantern for candy they have some bags that you can use to keep your goodies all together.

I also like the fact that they try to show kids that you can have healthy treats too, they passed out mini bananas and peanuts!

The Party Zone. The front had a DJ playing music. They had character meet-n-greets. Some easels with pages to color and tables for families to sit. This was the main part of all the entertainment.

They have a make your own dipped apple station. Which to me was the best thing EVER. You can choose to dip it in white chocolate, regular chocolate, or caramel. Then you take your dipped apple to the topping bar on the side and add whatever you want to it. Very messy, but so much fun!!

What’s Seaworld without some animal friends! This little guy was out so everyone can see and touch him!

We had to visit the penguins (they are my favorite) and even they were in on the festivities!

Also, this flamingo….I think he had his costume on. He sure wasn’t pink like everyone else!!

Well that about wraps it up for this event!
There are two more weekends left for this event so if you have a chance go check it out!

-Sakina

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A Tale of Trades

Pin Trading

The year is 1999. With the millennium approaching, Disney introduced to the world pin trading. I don’t know if they were aware of how big that would become, or it would fizzle out like other fads. But this one has still stayed strong!

What is so cool/unique/fascinating about pin trading?
With Disney pin trading, you can collect pins from either your favorite movie, Disney attraction, and even character. So your collection can be personalized to what exactly YOU want. Also there are special Hidden Mickey pins that you can only acquire by trading with Disney cast members.

Trading Tips

  • Buy starter packs. Buying single pins can cost you a pretty penny, starter packs give you a little more pins for a grouped price.
  • You can trade with any cast member that has a black lanyard around their neck, or  hip lanyard. Green/teal lanyards mean the cast member can only trade with kids 12 and under.
  • You can only trade 2 pins per cast member per day. For example, you can only trade 2 pins cast member Suzy in any one day. After your two trades with her you can move on to another cast member.
  • You can ONLY trade Disney pins. (Seems obvious enough, but just in case the question arrises.)
Disney has pin trading etiquette available.
Also on their website are pin trading FAQ.

Vinylmation

There is now, a new neighbor in the town of trading. These are Vinylmations. While they are not as easily transported as pins are able to be (Can you imagine trying to carry around like 12 of those of your neck all day?), they are unique in their own way. They are the little Mickey Mouse figures that are designed all differently to represent something else.

Vinylmations come in series, like groups, and they are classified by the specific series they are in. For example one of the “on-going” sets are the Park Series, which, like the name implies, are things taken from the parks. There are 12 different Vinylmations in a series 11 of them being known and 1 mystery chaser. The thing is that the sets are limited, and the mystery chaser is even more limited than the individuals in the set.

How do I know what I got? 

You don’t. Until you open the box, and you can’t open the box until you buy it. So it’s pretty much the luck of the draw. There are also sets that are open box, which means there is a little window in the box so that you are able to see which Vinylmation you are choosing.

How big are these things?

They come in the sizes. The normal series come in 3 inch figures, with each series a couple of 9 inch figures are released, and there are also the Vinylmation Jr. which are 1.5 inches and have the ability to be a keychain.

Can I trade these?

Yes! You can trade the regular Vinylmations and in some places even the Vinylmation Jr.’s. There is no trading on the 9 inch figures.

Soooooooooo how do you trade them?

There are two options for this. Clear and blind box trading. Some stores have these large black boxes numbered. You pick a number and then whatever is behind that door you trade for. Again, luck of the draw. The clear boxes contain 3 different figures that you can see and can pick to trade from.

So who is the better of the two? I can tell you that for years the big breadwinner is the pins, but they’ve also been around for years. I honestly like them both though. I have pins and vinyls. They both are different and unique in they’re own way. For example in pins I collect ALL figment pins, with Vinylmation I collect only the ones that I like or mean something to me. My friend Nicole on the other hand also collects a specific character in pins, Minnie Mouse, and with Vinylmation she likes to pick a set she likes them all and then tries to complete the set. So your collection can vary depending on your specific tastes.

What’s in your collection???

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{Don’t Overlook} Universal Orlando Edition

This week we are going to take a hop, skip, and a jump away from Walt Disney World over to Universal.
I sometimes think that as a whole Universal is the underdog park, overshadowed by it’s little brother Islands of Adventure. In my heart, since it was the original I love it, I remember when even Citywalk didn’t exist and you parked right in front of the arches. And though I do have a couple of bones to pick with them (*cough* replacing Back to the Future with The Simpsons COME ON! *cough), it’s still a

But we aren’t here to walk down memory lane. We will leave that for another time. Let’s get down to business!

Universal has only a handful of attractions, so seeing the majority of it in one day is mostly possible. I think this makes it most difficult to make this list up for this park. But I’m going to go with what I think.

Continue reading

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Sweet Dreams

It’s Tuesday night, and I’m craving dessert. There isn’t a sweet within a mile radius of my kitchen, and I’m not making a mess. So instead, I will blog about something delicious.

Talk about living in a fantasy world.

This my friends, is the Red Velvet Cheesecake Cupcake. Let me just say, it is amazing.
I’m not somebody who is fond of cheesecake and the cheesecake frosting was PERFECT with the red velvet cake. And the little crunchy pieces, I don’t even know what they were, but they were awesome too!

Want to try it for yourself??

You can find it at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Starring Rolls Cafe.
If you are heading out there note that the cafe closes way earlier than the park does, usually at 4pm.

-Sakina

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Halloween Horror Nights 21 *Review*

This year marks year number 11 that I have been continuing this Halloween tradition. We’ve come a long way from since than, and it always just keeps getting better.

I got the chance to experience opening weekend fun with our Frequent Fear Passes. Of course Florida weather had to intervine and it did BIG! Both nights we had thunderstorms, but only temporarily so the fun resumed after a while. Also, I love to add pictures for you guys, but because of, again, that lovely weather I decided to leave my camera in the car instead of risking water damage.

I did get a chance  to do every single house once, and some of them even twice. Although because of the weather when I went through some of the scare zones there were empty, so there are two that I have yet to experience.

All in all I had a pretty good time. I’m not going to say it was the best Halloween Horror Nights ever, because in reality it wasn’t. It does have a few hiccups, but I wouldn’t call the event a disaster either.

So I’m just going to give a quick rundown of what I thought about each house/scare zone/show. I’m going to try to leave out spoilers of any kind to my best ability. The great thing about an event like this is that everyone can see it in a different light, you have to experience it first hand to completely be able to judge it for yourself. I just want to share with you my personal thoughts on the event itself. But I do hope if you are able to, take the time to go out there, even if it is for a night. or two. In all it’s great fun, especially in a group.

Houses

Nevermore: The Madness of Poe

Description: The madness of Edgar Allen Poe’s greatest works has come to life. Step into the mind of the iconic writer, where every turn of the page takes you closer to the brink of insanity.

Review: I have to say this was one of the best houses. I really like the way it was done. I went through it twice opening weekend and both times I got different experiences that were really great.

Rating:  8 /10

The Forsaken

Description: Four ships began Columbus’s fateful voyage, only three became legend. Condemned to a watery grave, the mutinous and cursed crew of that 4th ship has returned with a vengeance. For within the walls of a Spanish fort, a maelstrom has brought from the depths….death itself.

Review:  I also ran through this house twice and I’m not going to lie. I thought that this was going to be my favorite house. Ships and sea tales have been done before at HHN, and in my mind they have been very successful. This one…literrally SANK. It had a couple of good scares, and a couple of cool effects, but it wasn’t completely there for me.

Rating:   5/10

H.R. Bloodengutz Presents: Holidays of Horror

Description: Join creature feature host, H.R. Bloodengutz, in his final televised broadcast as he presents a SCARE-athon of holiday-based horror that is guaranteed to cleave you screaming for more.

Review: The comic relief house. I thought it was so-so. I got way more laughs then I did scares. Then again, that is the point of these houses (like if you’re familiar with the Psychoscarapy series). So I am gonna kind of rate it against houses of it’s type since it’s “technically” not supposed to be entirely scary.

Rating:  6 /10
The Thing

Description: Paranoia spreads like an epidemic among a group of researchers in an isolated Antarctic outpost as they are infected, one by one, by a horrifying creature from another planet. In a place where there is nothing, they found something.

Review: This one got me. GOOD. It was very different from what I expected really, but I guess I was trying to compare it to The Thing Assimilation house that was done a couple of years ago. All in all, it was a pretty good house in my mind.

Rating:   7/10

Saws N’ Steam: Into the Machine

Description: Spinning blades and massive, crushing pistons await you around every corner as you are forced deeper into the bowels of a mechanical nightmare. Give yourself to “The Machine.”

Review: I didn’t get a whole lot of scares out of this house, but I thought it was pretty damn cool. If you visited the year they did a Saw house, this felt to me very similar to that (and coincidently it is in the same location). It was more of a show house in my opinion. But those chainsaws though, they are a killer…literally.

Rating:   7/10

The In-Between

Description: An ominous portal reveals a 3rd dimension where all is not what it seems: a realm where our world and another collide. Surrounded by fiendish creatures, your eyes will deceive you with every step through this phantasm of terror.

Review: LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! This house was amazing. This is the 3D house that they have been boasting about and let me tell you, I think they did a pretty good job with it. Between the light, the darkness, and the distortion you will have an awesome experience in there. By far my favorite house.

Rating:   9/10

Winter’s Night: The Haunting of Hawthorn Cemetery

Description: As snow falls on this normally serene gothic cemetery, the deceased souls that occupy its confines have their sights set upon you, insuring that the chill you feel up your spine is more than just the cold of night.

Review: This is my second favorite house. Universal knows how to tell a story. No let me rephrase that, Universal knows how to PUT YOU in the middle of a story. I felt like I was outside in a real cemetery, in the winter time (that air conditioning felt amazing on those muggy humid nights HAHA!!) A lot of great scenes in this house, and both times I went through it was entirely different. Loved it!

Rating:   9/10

Nightingales: Blood Prey

Description: Within every war, the Nightingales have appeared. Able to transform themselves to fit any setting, these savage banshees feed on the weak and the helpless. Patrolling WWI era trenches, you discover that you are more than just at war…you’re being hunted.

Review: I kind of got it, but I didn’t like it a whole lot. I only got to go through this house opening night so I’ll have to give it another go. I was expecting something else entirely so I guess in a way that made me disappointed in the end.

Rating:   5/10

Scarezones

Acid Assault

Description: For decades now the city has been degrading from the effects of Acid Rain that still falls today, caused by factories which sprung up on the city’s edges during the 20th century. Those that have lived and survived the blistering decay are all alone in the city. Survivors have stripped the city of all life to sustain their own…dare to enter the ACID ASSAULT.

Review: I’m only going to tell you for sure, check out ALL the buildings in this area. I’m not going to say anything else about that. AMAZING. Also this scare zone did a pretty good job with scares. Just by overlooking the area you couldn’t really pick out exactly everyone who is a scareactor. So in it’s defense it works great for the element of surprise. Overall great job.

Rating:   6/10

Canyon of Dark Souls

Description: Upon entering into the Canyon of Dark Souls, you will feel like a small spec of humanity as the overwhelming sense of death surrounds you. Creatures that dwell within the Canyon are not welcoming so walk slowly as to not disturb them.

Review: Okay, I know I said I was going to avoid spoilers, but if you are anyone thats familiar with the Harry Potter series you will notice that these guys sort of look like Death Eaters. Although I probably would’ve been more intimidated by actual Death Eaters than these guys. I didn’t like it.

Rating:   1/10

Grown Evil

Description: Enter, if you dare, into our garden where Evil grows. Nature has taken this once well manicured sanctuary back from the humans who once kept it. Now the creatures that inhabit the garden are making any human that enters their prey.

Review: This area was so-so. There is lots of fog and it’s very dark, so it is really kind of creepy going through it, and it limits your vision.

Rating:  5 /10

NightMaze

Description: Journey through the ever changing maze of darkness. This all black maze will morph and change as you walk through it. You will not be scared the same way twice.

Review: I really really really really really wish that Universal would just do this as a house. I believe there was something similar to this a long time ago. But this was pretty cool after I went through a couple of times. Each time was different. And it definitely scared the crap out of me!

Rating:   7/10

7

Description: As daylight shines upon our Temptresses, their appearance, though evil, allows you the spectacle of beauty. As night falls, these 7 temptresses will show their true colors and take on their true Fatal Evil forms. Beware of your own temptations.

Review: I think this has become my favorite scarezone. You have to run through it twice though. Once in the beginning of the night, and again near the end of the night. I don’t want to spoil the surprise for you, but there are significant differences between the two times!

Rating:   7/10

Your Luck Has Run Out

Description: Enter if you dare into the lair of the LUCKY! Your choices will determine if you make it out alive. Witness lucks deadly wrath, will she choose you to be her next victim?

Review: The only reason this scare zone got more than Canyon of Dark Souls if because of some other people that are in the zone and NOT Lady Luck. I won’t spoil it for you…but in this case there IS such a thing as too much. You’ll understand.

Rating:   3/10

Shows

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure

Description: Party on as those two most excellent dudes return to skewer the biggest names in entertainment and pop culture.

Review: Kinda excellent! While not the best Bill & Ted’s. It was better than last years in my opinion. It also kind of got me thinking that this year lacked in the pop culture department. But the one’s that they did get, they did do a pretty good job with. Take the time out to catch a show for sure. You’ll enjoy a couple of good laughs.

Rating:   7/10

Death Drums

Description: A seductive, hard-hitting and raw extreme drumming experience.

Review: *Didn’t get to it yet*

Rating:   /10

Other

Another thing that I also did try was the drink that they change every year to match the theme. This year it’s called the “Ante Up.” It looks very similar to whatever it was called last year, but it tasted very different to me. Actually I really didn’t like it too much. What did it taste like? Imagine cherry Robitussin and a Four Loko had a baby…that, ladies and gents, is the Ante Up. Oh well, I got the blinking red cup to add to my collection!

So that about wraps it up for my review of Halloween Horror Nights 21. Like I said before, I hope you get to go out an enjoy the event for yourself. In all Universal does a great job with this, and I really enjoy it every year.

-Sakina

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{Don’t Overlook} Hollywood Studios Edition

Although I there are so many things to do in any one of the theme parks in a day, everyone always flocks to the big ticket items first and formost. I don’t blame them, they are usually the most promising attractions in the parks for a reason! But there are also a lot of smaller or lesser attractions that don’t get any fame or glory at all.

So this is for the underdogs. I’m writing this series on things that I think are more likely overlooked. So I’m going to highlight a few things and maybe next time you have downtime between attractions you can check out some of these other places as well.

This week we’re going to look at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

When naming off attractions in this park you can usually count the biggest ones using one hand..

  • Tower of Terror
  • Aerosmith Rock N Rollercoaster
  • Star Tours
  • Toy Story Midway Mania
  • Lights, Motor, Action

Those more times than less have a large wait time. (Unless you go to the park during slow season, where no line is larger than 15 minutes)

So let’s go to those attractions that I feel aren’t seeked out as much:

One Man’s Dream

It’s not a crazy roller coaster, or an awesome 3-D show. But it’s the story about a guy, a rather famous one at that. His name is Walt Disney. Sound familiar?

It essentially is a walk-through of Walt Disney’s history. Not only with the parks, but with animation as well. There are tons of models, and pictures, and actual pieces from Disney history.

Old Plushes

Can you guess what this is a model of?

I personally think it’s really great that there is so much history behind Walt Disney World as a whole, I think that’s what sets it apart from a lot of the other theme parks. I’m a big Disney fan, so I love just exploring through the exhibit.

Recreation of the studio filming for the Florida Project

At the end there is a movie about Walt Disney. I think it’s a well put together film, even though some of the things mentioned in the film you’ve probably heard before if you are, again, huge on Disney history. If you don’t want to watch the film and just see the exhibit, you can just walk through the theater and out the side doors.

All in all I think it’s a great exhibit if you have some downtime during the big rides. It’s also a great way to get out of the heat or beat the rain, since Florida weather can be cruel sometimes!

Animation Building

Outside of the building


While it IS getting a little more popular in there recently due to the fact that it is now the meet and greet area for Mickey Mouse, I’m still going to cover it.
I stumbled on that particular fact a while ago. The official place that you could meet Mickey was an empty soundstage a little walk after the Toy Story Midway, which was closed a while ago.

So the way my story goes, it was raining, My boyfriend and I were with my Godson and of course wanted out of the rain. We had just got out of the Playhouse Disney (now Disney Junior) show and ventured over there since it was close by and BAM! we are face to face with the one and only Mickey Mouse! (which, of course, is a HUGE deal when you are 2 years old! Haha)

Not only was Mickey there, there was a slew of other characters as well! The Incredibles, Little Einstein’s, and Handy Manny, just to name a couple. So of course this was the holy grail of character meet and greet spots.

Meeting Handy Manny!

Other than the fact that you can fill up your autograph books in one spot, it also has some great exhibits as well. On display now is some of the work that was done for the Winnie the Pooh movie that just released.  There are even animators working in some booths that you can see through a glass. Some of Disney’s animated films have actually been done here at the studios. If I’m not mistaken one of the cast members told us Mulan was one of them.

Inside there are also a variety of interactive screens with activities having to do with animation. And the Animation Academy, in which an animator teaches you to draw a Disney character. (It’s not always the same I believe, they change throughout the day.)

On the way out there is a shop with lots of collectibles and even drawings of your favorite  characters available for purchase.

So whether you want to get out of Florida weather (I know it seems like a recurring theme, but sometimes it’s just necessity), want to meet some of your Disney friends, or are an animation junkie, I believe the Animation Building has something for everyone!

Honey I Shrunk the Kids: Movie Set Adventure

Entrance sign

While the main group this playground is aimed towards may not have even HEARD of the series that it’s designed after, I believe this is a great for kids and adults alike.

Film slide (literally)

While it is a recreation of the world that was done in the movie Honey I Shrunk the Kids, it also doubles as a playground. So if you have little ones, this is a great way to let them work off some of that excess energy that they mysteriously gain. If you don’t it’s a great place to explore and take lots of interesting pictures, especially if you are a fan of the film.

That about wraps it up for Hollywood Studios. Hope that next time you are in the park you get a chance to check these attractions out!

-Sakina

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Horror By Day

Today I took the day out for a yearly tradition — going to buy Frequent Fear Passes for Halloween Horror Nights and taking pictures of the scare zones during the day time.

Our Frequent Fear Passes!

It’s going to be very photo heavy right now. I tried to get as many pictures as possible, so here’s the best of the best!

Pride stage in "7" Scarezone

Sloth stage in "7" Scarezone

Envy stage in "7" Scarezone

Greed stage in "7" Scarezone

Wrath stage in "7" Scarezone

Gluttony stage in "7" Scarezone

Note: There was a breakdancing show going on right in front of the last stage, so I wasn’t able to get a picture of it.

Street in Acid Assault scarezone

Acid Assault

Someone's luck ran out....

Canyon of Dark Souls

Entrance to Grown Evil

Blood thirsty bats in Grown Evil scarezone

That’s all the pictures I have for you!!

Halloween Horror Nights starts this Friday! I’m going to try my luck…will you??

-Sakina

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