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---- THE LATEST BUZZ ----
(6/25/22) The Horrors of Blumhouse Brings New Chapter To HHN (MORE...)
(6/22/22) July 4th Festivities (MORE...)
(6/19/22) The Latest HHN Haunt Speculation (MORE...)
(6/18/22) Universal's Great Movie Escape Opening This Fall (MORE...)
(6/12/22) New HHN Haunt Announced and UO Raises Annual Pass Pricing
Volcano Bay Rehabs - These dates are not guaranteed to be 100% accurate as refurbishments are subject to change.
Nothing is known at this time...
Click Here to read the full Screamscape review of Halloween Horror Nights 29
VOLCANO BAY IS NOW OPEN - Read the official Screamscape Review!
LOWES Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando - Read the official Screamscape Review!
General Resort News - (6/22/22) Universal Orlando has announced they will host special July 4th Festivities this year. This includes “special entertainment at Universal Studios Florida on July 4 to celebrate Independence Day, including a high-energy band, live DJ, meet & greets with Universal’s most popular characters, and patriotic-themed performers and stilt walkers. The activities are included with admission to Universal Studios Florida - allowing guests to top off an epic day of theme park thrills with patriotic fun.”
“The festivities will kick off on Monday, July 4 at 5 p.m. and run through park close at the Music Plaza, which will be decked out in festive décor and all things red, white and blue. The celebration will culminate with a special pyrotechnics display at 9 p.m. which guests can view throughout the theme park.”
(6/12/22) According to a report at The Motley Fool, Universal Orlando increased their prices for annual passes earlier this month about 6-8% across the various offerings. This is in addition to the increase in price for regular tickets to Disney, Universal and SeaWorld that took place back in February.
Given the huge demand for Orlando area theme parks right now, the timing of this increase to Universal’s annual passes isn’t surprising. Add in some growing frustration by the local market, some locals may be replacing their Walt Disney World annual passes for Universal passes due to the one-two punch-combo of increased Disney prices and lack of availability to get into Disney’s parks because of the continued use of a mandatory reservation system.
(2/12/22) Good news for upcoming Universal Orlando guests, as the theme park resort has now confirmed that effective today they are no longer requiring fully vaccinated guests to wear face coverings either indoor or outdoors. This seems to return things back to the way they were over the summer, before the latest COVID surge due to the Omicron variant that brought face masks back as a requirement for all indoor settings and attractions.
As before, all guests who are unvaccinated are “encouraged” to still wear face coverings while indoors, but you know how that works, as proof of vaccination status is not required for anyone.
Halloween Horror Nights 2022 - (6/25/22) Universal Studios has announced another haunted house coming to this year’s Halloween Horror Nights event in Orlando and Hollywood. “The Horrors of Blumhouse” will return, this time themed to two of their films, Freaky and The Black Phone. Check out the teaser video below!
While this haunt was predicted for Orlando on the speculation maps from Horror Night Nightmares, it is worth mentioning that it was not on their list for the Hollywood park. This year’s first announcements has also been a bit more unusual as all three houses announced thus far have been confirmed for HHN on both coasts, with no exclusives announced yet.
(6/19/22) Horror Night Nightmares has released the latest version of their HHN Haunt Speculation Maps with some interesting changes in Orlando. Gone is any mention of a Stranger Things haunt, as well as the Underground Creatures haunt. Instead we now have a new original concept haunt called Witch, The Evil Dead has arrived on the map what was formerly called The Wicked Growth 2 is now being listed as Seeds of Extinction 2.
So far only Halloween and Universal Monsters: Legends Collide have been confirmed, and we’ve got returning rumors for El Chupacabra, Dead Man’s Wharf, Horros of Blumhouse, Bug House and… alas… The Weeknd is still there as some kind of musical themed haunt.
(6/12/22) While I was away Universal announced their next Haunt returning to this year’s Halloween Horror Nights is “Halloween”. Yes, once again Michael Myers will return to scare HHN guests with another haunt themed to the 1978 original classic film.
At this point, I’ve lost track of how many times HHN has created haunts themed to “Halloween” over the years, especially in Orlando where over the past decade we’ve seen “Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers” in 2018, “Halloween: Hell Comes to Haddonfield” in 2016, and “Halloween” (2014).
With the ability to borrow good horror IP’s from other studios becoming increasingly difficult for Universal however, it may become more common to see certain IP’s brought back on repeat going forward, and used at more than one park. As in this case, the new “Halloween” haunt will be appearing in both Orlando and Hollywood parks.
(5/19/22) The first haunt for this year’s Halloween Horror Nights has been announced and it will have a classic Universal Monster’s theme. The new haunt will be called “Universal Monsters: Legends Collide” and it will take place at both Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood this fall.
The haunt will put Wolf Man, Dracula and The Mummy together for the first time in a search for The Amulet of Ra. The Wolf Man believes it could break his curse, while Dracula and The Mummy want to use the power of the Amulet to enslave humanity. And you will find yourself trapped in the middle of this epic power struggle where only one will survive.
If that wasn’t enough, Grammy Award-winning musician, SLASH, will be working with Universal to create an original composition for this epic battle of the titans.
(4/17/22) It’s long past time we talk about some rumored themes for the mazes at this year’s Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando. Or I guess I should call it Halloween Horror Nights 2022, as rumors suggest we may have seen the last of the incremental numbering of the event in Orlando following the running of last year’s HHN 30, which was actually meant for 2020 but was delayed a year due to the COVID-related canceling of the 2020 HHN event. Simply referring to it as HHN 2022 will also bring it in line with what the Hollywood park has been doing forever, as that’s park’s sequential run ended shortly after it first started, with the Hollywood event having been put ‘on hold’ a few different times since it started for a variety of different reasons. Meanwhile 2020 was the first time the Orlando park was forced to not host an HHN event since it first started as Fright Nights back in 1991.
So what’s on deck for the ten haunts planned for this year’s Halloween Horror Nights? As usual, there are a lot of rumors each year, but I’m going to hand this one over to the awesome ‘speculation’ map created by Horror Night Nightmares on Twitter. While these are always subject to change as the latest rumors shape up, what I’m hearing thus far is that this list is looking to be fairly accurate in principle, which you can see below.
The one odd thing that sticks out to me is that they show four IP haunts, 5 original creations and then a haunt themed to “The Weeknd”. While initial reaction was “Nawwwwww…. They wouldn’t…” the addition of music themed houses has been a bit of an up and coming thing within the greater HHN universe, with several having been created for the Hollywood park featuring the music of Slash, Alice Cooper, Rob Zombie and so on. HHN 30 in Orlando (the planned 2020 version) was actually going to have a Haunt themed to the music of Billie Eilish but that was canned when the event was delayed a year because Eilish was going to be premiering a new album in 2021 with a new blonde bombshell look that wouldn’t fit the 2020 era haunt concept. Also… a haunt themed to “The Weeknd” has long been rumored for the Hollywood park’s HHN in 2022 anyway, so this all falls in line.
So far for the IP haunts on the list:
We’ve got the return of Stranger Things, which makes sense, season 4 is coming soon.
Another “Universal Monsters” creation featuring The Mummy and Wolfman this time, which also makes sense as the Bride of Frankenstein at HHN30 was fairly popular.
The return of another “The Horrors of BlumHouse” mix and match haunt… (Meh…)
And finally yet another in a long line of “Halloween” themed haunts. While this theme has been done somewhat to death, you might think that this new haunt could be taking a crack at the latest trio of Halloween films: Halloween (2018), Halloween Kills (2021) and the upcoming Halloween Ends (October 2022!!). While this would make sense and could actually be happening… the interesting rumor says that this year’s Halloween haunt may actually take a crack at taking us into the universe of the odd-ball of the Halloween series… Halloween 3: Season of the Witch.
Previously three other rumored IP haunts were in the mix, and may have either been dumped or perhaps were only considered for the Hollywood park. Again, one of these haunts would have been tied to Netflix, showcasing last year’s new horror trio series, Fear Street. Another one was said to be themed to the runaway hit PlayStation video game series, The Last of US. A new live-action series based on The Last of US has completed filming and is said to be heading straight to HBO MAX for a 2023 debut.
The other one is always near and dear to my heart… a haunt themed The Evil Dead series that could have been tied to the upcoming new release, Evil Dead Rise coming later in 2022 where the traditional forest and often cabin setting for the film concept is rumored to have been switched up to take place inside a high-rise building. Sort of a Die Hard vs the Deadites concept I guess, which I can get behind. It’s all rumor until the trailer drops, but the film is so far confirmed to premiere on HBO MAX later this year, but as they say, “therein lies the rub”. If HBO MAX is involved, then Warner Bros. may be involved, and latest Warner Bros has not been in the sharing mood with their various Horror IPs when it comes to Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights events. According to industry rumors, in recent years, WB has refused requests from Universal to use WB-owned characters that Universal has used in previous Halloween Horror Nights events, such as Freddy and Jason and Leatherface. You may have also noticed that WB’s “IT” and “IT Chapter 2” both hit theaters to much success and would have a perfect IP for Universal to use at HHN, but Pennywise the clown was apparently off-limits. With Disney’s purchase of FOX also seeming to block any potential future appearances at HHN from the Alien and Predator franchises, Universal is having to work a little harder to mine those precious IP deals. With two of those previously rumored haunt concepts being tied to HBO MAX for exclusive release, the future isn’t looking any brighter right now.
This leaves five original concept houses rumored to fill up the remaining haunts, which is fine because Universal Orlando has an awesome track record for creating their own concepts. The names listed for the current crop are subject to change as the event gets closer and marketing has time to take a crack at renaming them:
Deadman’s Wharf - an ocean / dockside concept previously listed as “Seaside Village”.
El Chuppacabra - will attempt to bring the Latin American creature legend to life.
Underground Creatures - Which I have to wonder if this is entirely original or perhaps a crossover of a couple of old HHN haunt concepts from long ago: HHN5’s “Terror Underground” haunt and HHN18’s “Creatures”.
Lastly we have “The Wicked Growth 2”, a follow up to HHN 30’s “The Wicked Growth: Realm of the Pumpkin”. Will we see the return of the Pumpkin Lord or some other new baddie?
With the official marketing and haunt reveals expected to begin very soon, we should be able to start ticking boxes off this list to see what’s real and what isn’t.
(3/25/22) Universal Orlando has announced that select tickets and package deals for this year’s Halloween Horror Nights event (select nights: Sept 2 - Oct 31, 2022) are now on sale. While no specific details about the theme or specific haunts have been released yet, this year’s event will take place across a record-breaking 43-nights and feature “10 new, movie-quality haunted houses”, five scare zones and two live shows. With the cork now out of the bottle, I imagine we will see the first of many new haunt announcements to come within a week or so.
(2/27/22) Is the first announcement for Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando about to drop? The official Twitter account has been active again as of late, teasing a possible announcement to come, but the last tweet on Feb. 25th was extremely interesting. It simply said, “in space, i can hear u scream”, which on the surface would be a direct hint indicating something to do with the Aliens film IP.
The big problem with that is, Alien/Aliens were films from 20th Century Fox, and DISNEY now owns the rights to these IP and is highly unlikely to be motivated to license them to Universal for another HHN maze experience. Perhaps there is another SciFi/Space themed IP that could step in to fill the gap, but keep in mind that the Predator franchise is also a FOX IP now under the control of Disney.
While typically a studio could always be willing to license out something they aren’t using, that isn’t usually the way Disney works. They are very protective of their IPs, and as of late, they were very protective in the use of both the Alien and Predator IPs. Both were to be used for a new attraction at the new Genting SkyWorlds theme park in Malaysia, a park that was formerly going to be called Fox World Malaysia, but upon taking over 20th Century Fox, Disney sought to protect and remove many of the Fox brand IPs from theme park attractions already under construction. Interestly enough they were more willing to leave the Fox animated projects for use at the theme park project, such as Ice Age and Rio, and even a few of FOX’s retired live action IPs like Independence Day and Night at the Museum, but all references to Aliens, Predator and strangely enough, Sons of Anarchy, were removed from the Malaysian theme park. The opening of the Aliens/Predator attraction itself, a special effects coaster, has been delayed by at least another year to rework the theme and story of the attraction. So with this in mind, I’m hesitant to say that Disney would license out the rights to either of these IPs.
2022/2023 - New CityWalk Developments - (6/18/22) After being rumored for several years now, Universal Orlando finally confirmed a few days ago that “Universal’s Great Movie Escape” will open this Fall at Citywalk. The new escape room experience will feature two adventures when it opens, themed to Juassic World and Back to the Future. The new attraction logo has already been added to the front of the former Groove nightclub location.
(5/8/22) Screamscape sources tell us that the Universal themed Escape Room attraction is still in the works for CityWalk, but has experienced some project delays. They are still hoping to get it open just before the end of the year if they can.
(1/15/22) Is Universal Orlando taking the next step to opening their own Escape Room attraction inside the former Groove nightclub location? Apparently work permits for a “Project 235” in CityWalk have been filed to begin work on “Phase 2 Interior and Exterior Renovations” following a previous work permit that was for “Interior Demolition”.
For years now we’ve been following the breadcrumbs that indicated Universal was working towards opening their own highly themed Escape Room attractions, which opens the gates to a lot of fun possible ideas in terms of themes. While anyone can make their own custom themed Escape Rooms, only Universal could bring you Escape Room concepts themed to classic Universal IP’s like Back to the Future, Jurassic World, Jaws and many more.
Even more interesting might be the chance to bring back concepts from retired Universal Orlando attractions. For example, think back to Back to the Future: The Ride and how Doc was trapped in his lab while Biff took the Time Machine for a joy ride. Care to relive this experience, but from inside Doc’s Lab? Who’s ready to escape from the Jurassic Park Operations Center during the original “incident” where the dinosaurs got loose? Or in a fun cross-over, escape from the underwater tunnels (at SeaWorld??) under siege from a giant shark as seen in the climax of Jaws 3. Well… maybe not the SeaWorld part, but the idea could be a lot of fun regardless.
(12/16/21) Remember those rumors about how The Groove was gone for good and soon to be replaced by a new Escape Room style experience? Last we heard was that work to transform The Groove would be the first of the new projects to get moving, and this now seems to be the case. A construction wall is now up around the entrance to the building and The Groove sign has now been removed from the building.
(10/23/21) In an article that goes over some of Screamscape’s latest rumors for upcoming CityWalk projects, Orlando Weekly adds a great point that I missed. The rumored “Beer Garden” we heard that was on-deck to replace the current Legacy Store could very well be a new “Wubei Craft Food and Beer” location. Universal developed this new upscale beer garden concept to open first in CityWalk at the brand new Universal Studios Beijing complex and if it proves to be a hit, it would be easy to see Universal bringing a clone or a similar concept to Florida.
Orlando Weekly also recalled how Universal had been dreaming about ways to bring a beer garden to CityWalk for some time now. Guest surveys in 2017 that also included ideas for the rumored Escape Room concept, also described a concept for a German themed beer hall that could have taken over the Emeril’s location. Instead we saw Emeri’s become the awesome BIGFIRE restaurant with a bar that focuses on specialty Whisky, Bourbon and Vodka cocktails, so dropping a fancy Beer Gardens next door sure wont take anything away from that.
(10/10/21) Universal fans, take the time to enjoy the “Legacy Store” in CityWalk while you can, as I’m told that it is only temporary and will eventually make way for another new concept. If the rumors are true, Screamscape has heard that the Legacy Store will eventually make way for some kind of new “Beer Garden” themed eatery. More on this as we find out.
(10/3/21) Remember that rumor about the next projects coming to CityWalk at Universal Orlando? Screamscape sources tell us that they are indeed moving forward with plans to add the rumored Escape Room and Comedy Club attractions there. We don't have a timeline however, and it seems very possible that one may open before the other at the moment, with the Escape Rooms taking the lead here. We did get a fun note about the Comedy Club concept however, as our source confirmed that Saturday Night Live themeing would indeed be involved in that project, which may be partly the reason it could take a bit longer to bring to life.
(8/31/21) Is another wave of new projects being planned for Universal Orlando’s Citywalk? According to a Screamscape source, this may very well be the case, which means plans may be underway to shutter a few old Citywalk locations to make room. But what if I told you that the locations may have already been closed, shut down during the early days of the pandemic, and have yet to reopen?
Currently the Red Coconut Club and The Groove are both closed until further notice. The official Universal Orlando App only lists them as being temporarily closed, but you really have to know where to look to find any mention of them at all on the Universal Orlando website right now.
While plans are always subject to change, our source tells us that the plan right now would be to transform the Red Coconut Club into a new Comedy Club of some kind, while The Groove will be transformed into some kind of high-end Escape Room attraction concept. For long time readers, these plans may sound a little familiar. We’ve heard on and off for years now that Universal Orlando had been looking into ways to get into the Escape Room business where they could use their various IPs as official themed for the games. Back in 2018 Universal went so far as to file trademark paperwork for the name, “Universal’s Great Movie Escape” with the description of use being used for “Entertainment services in the nature of escape room attractions.” A quick fact check… Universal still owns the active Trademark to this name even now.
As for the Comedy Club… ever since NBC joined with Universal Studios there has long been a desire for the theme park resort to somehow add some kind of attraction that could make sure of the Saturday Night Live comedy brand. As such, more than a few comedy clubs and comedy themed attraction concepts have been drawn up and shelved over the years in an effort to scratch this comedic itch. While I’m not saying for sure that they may use the SNL branding for the final product, Universal has done a lot of research into the concept of adding a comedy club to Citywalk over the years for possible use in other locations, including as an alternate concept for Citywalk’s Rising Star location. And another quick note… for those wondering, while The Groove and Red Coconut are currently listed as closed, Rising Star is open for business, so it isn’t going anywhere.
So the next time you’re walking through Citywalk, it may be worth keeping an eye on these two locations, because it seems change is coming.
(6/15/21) Universal Orlando has confirmed that Bend The Bao, an all new Asian quick service food location has now opened at CityWalk.
(4/2/21) As I predicted, Universal Orlando has opened the brand new Universal Studios Store in CityWalk. You can catch a video tour of the new stop along with a look at the Legacy store in the video below from our friends at Orlando Experience.
(3/27/21) It’s official… the existing Universal Orlando gift-shop in CityWalk has now been renamed as the “Universal Legacy Store”. Our friends at Attractions Magazine have posted a large new photo update showing off the new decor inside the store. I would imagine the new Universal gift shop site on the other side of CityWalk will probably be ready to open in the very near future as well.
(2/28/21) Universal CityWalk is soon going to have TWO Universal Studios themed stores. There is the original store just to your left as you pass through CityWalk and make the split towards Islands of Adventure, and then there is the new store listed on the promo artwork as “Universal’s Premier Retail Experience”, as you move down the right pathway towards the Universal Studios Florida park. This new location once served as home to several smaller stores, but has now been merged together into one giant sized retail location, and is set to open very soon.
So what will happen to the older store? It isn’t closing… in fact we’ve been told that the decor inside the old store is now in the process of changing and evolving more into a “throw-back” themed store that could focus on the logo, look and themes of Universal Studios Florida from when it first opened back in 1990. If you venture inside now you’ll see new themeing has been added all around to attractions of the past like Ghostbusters, Jaws, Kong, Hitchcock Presents and more mixed in with some modern old favorites like Jurassic Park and Revenge of the Mummy.
It kind of makes sense, as you may recall Universal’s retail division has been heavily practicing the same concept of highly themed Universal throw-back stores for the past year with the ever evolving “Tribute” store inside USF. These Tribute stores have been themed to Halloween Horror Nights, the winter Holiday season and now even Mardi Gras, so it only makes sense that everything they’ve tried and learned from the Tribute stores could be put to use for a permanent Universal Orlando “Tribute” store in CityWalk.
(1/30/20) According to a report at Inside Universal, some new changes are afoot at within Citywalk. According to the report, the Fresh Produce and Island Clothing Co. stores have both closed within the past month. There are also rumors that P!Q (located between the two) along with Fossil are both also expected to close sometime this year. According to the report, rumor has it that all four of these side-by-side locations, once closed, could be turned into one giant mega retail site.
Future Expansion Site / 3rd Theme Park - (8/3/19) Universal’s EPIC UNIVERSE was announced as the name of their next theme park coming to Orlando. All information and history about the rumors and development of this project have now been moved to an official EPIC UNIVERSE page for future reporting. Head on over and check out our complete breakdown about what was announced and what we think we know about this new park based on all concept artwork compared to the various rumors. (CLICK HERE FOR ALL THE NEWS ON EPIC UNIVERSE)