The Latest News From Universal Studios Resorts, Disney Parks, and More Fan-tastical Destinations

The Latest News From Universal Studios Resorts, Disney Parks, and More Fan-tastical Destinations

Horror Nights unleashes the Universal Monsters, Cosmic Rewind reveals process to ride, Meow Wolf adds new Texas locations, and Star Wars Celebration is upon us.

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Posters for Dracula, The Mummy and The Wolfman.
Screenshot: Halloween Horror Nights/YouTube

Halloween Horror Nights has finally announced the first official haunted house for its fall event on both coasts—just after we got back from a thrilling excursion at the Universal Orlando Resorts. Over on the Disney Parks side of things, we try to break down the complex process of getting a ticket for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. And finally, we’re excited to share what we know about Meow Wolf’s latest expansion!

Here’s the latest news from theme parks and other fan-favored destinations.

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Universal Studios Reveals First Haunted House for Halloween Horror Nights 2022

Universal Studios Reveals First Haunted House for Halloween Horror Nights 2022

The first haunted house announcement for Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights 2022 is here, and it’s a really good one for classic horror fans, who will get to see the Universal Monsters duke it out. Dracula, the Wolfman, and the Mummy headline a two-part maze whose story spans both coasts (more on how that’ll work in a second), which will transport guests to the 19th century where the monster trio seeks the amulet of Ra for power over humankind. Here’s hoping this house rotates winners at the end.

Halloween Horror Nights Orlando kicks things off on Friday, September 2 with 10 haunted houses. Meanwhile, Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood is set to open its gates on September 8 with the return of the Terror Tram and a live show (please no more dance troupes) in addition to its eight mazes. Its Universal Monsters: Legends Collide house will feature a new original score from Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash, who’s previously provided music for recent mazes based on the classic horror franchise. Hopefully, we’ll see some sort of vinyl release of the five tracks composed so far. Both events will run select nights through Monday, October 31, and additional details will be revealed soon.

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How Universal Monsters: Legends Collide Will Work

How Universal Monsters: Legends Collide Will Work

Horror Nights Hollywood creative director John Murdy hopped on Twitter for an extensive chat answering fan questions about the house—which will be, as previously mentioned, a two-parter. Part one takes place at Horror Nights East and part two at Horror Nights West, a tactic that’s clearly aimed at enticing more folks to join hardcore Halloween Horror Nights fans in visiting both parks. Regarding the monster mythology that informs Legends Collide, Murdy elaborated that “I love that it’s our story that expands on what the films did but is still rooted in that world. Some cool new effects we’re creating to help tell that story.”

And while we’ve seen the Wolfman and Frankenstein centered in past mazes, the addition of the Mummy will add the ancient horror he’s known for. “He’s a big part of his story,” Murdy wrote. “Particularly something called ‘The Amulet of Ra’ which is used to reanimate him kind of like the tana leaves or scroll of Toth in the film series. It’s our invention based on Egyptian mythology.”

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Universal Studios Hollywood Pass Member Appreciation

Universal Studios Hollywood Pass Member Appreciation

Universal Studios Hollywood is hosting an exclusive Pass Member Park Takeover Event on Thursday, June 9, from 8 p.m. to midnight. Park superfans can enjoy their favorite rides and attractions, with character appearances (please bring out the Frankenstein and his Bride) and photo ops, plus a “party zone” complete with dueling DJs (sounds chaotic), an outdoor lounge, themed games, and more. So far, there’s no word on whether Beetlejuice will be there to emcee.

Admission is free (with an active pass), but online reservations are required and space is limited. Pass Members can RSVP starting May 24 at 1:30 p.m. PST at UniversalPassMember.com.

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Thrills at Universal Studios Orlando Resorts

Thrills at Universal Studios Orlando Resorts

Jurassic June is almost upon us. Jurassic World Dominion will hit theaters and Islands of Adventure will eagerly welcome dino fans looking to ride the VelociCoaster. We recently visited the parks for a tour of all the Jurassic franchise offerings, including the DNA splicing station where you can see what you would look like as a hybrid prehistoric abomination. Flip through our adventure gallery here!

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Eats-a-Me Mario Dessert

Eats-a-Me Mario Dessert

Over at Universal Studios Osaka in Japan, they’ve got the cutest treats like this strawberry and cream Mario hat handheld sandwich. I really hope the Universal Studios Hollywood Super Nintendo World gets food like this.

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How to Queue for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

How to Queue for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

When Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind opens on May 27, guests of the Walt Disney World resort will have to go through a serious process to actually ride Epcot’s latest attraction. First of all, you’ll obviously need valid park admission—a base ticket with a reservation set at Epcot on the day you’ll visit, or for park hopper ticketed guests and passholders, a reservation there or at any of the other parks as a starting point for your day. If you fulfill the above, you have a few shots (including one you can pay for) at riding this thing via a virtual queue on the Disney Parks app. Here’s how that shakes out:

7 a.m.: Park guests with Epcot starting park reservations can join the queue via the Disney World app. Or you can opt for the paid individual Lightning Lane if you hold Epcot opening reservations or are a hotel guest visiting the park that day as well. Pricing has not been announced (I’m guessing around or more than $15, based off the rate for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance). These go quick, but you don’t need to be in the park to book them.

1 p.m.: Epcot starter park guests can try again, as can park-hopping guests (passholders, too), but all of them need to be in the park when they try, even though park-hopping guests can officially enter at 2 p.m. if there’s capacity. So far, there’s no official word on whether there’s an area to book this on Epcot property outside or a holding area inside at 1 p.m. for hoppers/passholders.

6 p.m.: Deluxe hotel guests get an additional shot for the virtual queue (anywhere on the property) on a day there are extended evening hours for Epcot; they must have a valid reservation or be park-hopping. Everything is subject to availability, including your levels of Guardians of the Galaxy-fueled determination.

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Disney’s Haunted Mansion Gets the Spotlight on a New Podcast

Disney’s Haunted Mansion Gets the Spotlight on a New Podcast

The planDisney team got a chance to sit down and talk fall holidays at Disney Parks and on the Disney Cruise Line as part of their “halfway to the holidays” content. They conducted this interview with Imagineer and Haunted Mansion principal concept designer John Gritz inside the dining room on the ride, which is indeed as cool as it sounds.

Gritz provided some behind-the-scenes intel about the process that went into refurbishing the aging Miss April to December portrait (seen right before you hitch a ride on the Doombuggy), which was recently added back into the attraction. “Originally Marc Davis [created] six different paintings of the different phases of her life,” he said of the transforming, youth-draining display. “The technology now allows us to use those six different images. So, we finally brought an effect to the Haunted Mansion that the original Imagineers were trying to do and at the time couldn’t really manage.”

For more of the interview and travel tips check out the video below:

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Fantasmic! Celebrates Its 30th Anniversary

Fantasmic! Celebrates Its 30th Anniversary

Disney art director Jody Daily shared an awesome snapshot of his work making models for Fantasmic!, Disneyland’s original nighttime spectacular (which would later get an East Coast version at Walt Disney World). The show celebrated 30 years recently, just a couple weeks shy of its return to Disneyland on May 28.

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Orlando Magic’s Robin Lopez Shares His Disney Fandom


Orlando Magic’s Robin Lopez Shares His Disney Fandom

Honestly, this is how seasoned fans feel as unofficial tour guides to their more casual theme-park-visiting friends, only here it’s NBA player Robin Lopez encouraging his Orlando Magic teammate Jalen Suggs to experience his favorite things at Walt Disney World. It’s part “here’s stuff I like,” and part curation of the perfect set of vibes based on who you take with you.

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Meow Wolf Announces Texas Locations

Meow Wolf Announces Texas Locations

The collective known as Meow Wolf, whose immersive art installations have raised the bar on participatory themed entertainment, continues to expand. Two more portals are set to debut in Texas, joining the Las Vegas, Denver, and original Santa Fe outposts. Their sci-fi and fantasy realms mixed with the incredible talent in the art scene bring whimsy and experimental thought to the human condition with each location. With the choice to bring new locations to Texas, careful consideration was taken in regard to the state’s anti-LGTBQ laws. On a recent Instagram post, organizers promised accountability in this statement:

“Meow Wolf has always stood with marginalized people and that includes LGBTQIA communities and women. We wanna be clear: we are coming to Texas to bring our support, love, and adoration for those communities by supplying jobs, hosting events, supporting artists, and doing everything we can to give space and time and resources to the communities of Texas facing the most backlash. Y’all means all!”

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Have Some Bob’s Burgers

Have Some Bob’s Burgers

The Alamo Drafthouse theater chain has unveiled its special burger menu to coincide with the theatrical release of The Bob’s Burgers Movie. You can’t tell but I’m totally doing a Linda Belcher dance as many of the Drafthouse locations offer their burgers to also suit dietary needs, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free optionse.

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Star Wars Celebration Is Not So Far, Far Away

Star Wars Celebration Is Not So Far, Far Away

io9 has everything you need to know about panels, celebrity guests, exclusive merchandise, and more ahead of Star Wars Celebration, which runs May 26-29 in Anaheim, California. io9 squadron leaders James Whitbrook and Germain Lussier will be reporting from the event itself, and we’ll have all the news as it breaks here on io9. Stay tuned!


Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel and Star Wars releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

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