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    "Eric and his crew did a masterful job of painting the walls to perfection and making sure that our chestnut woodwork was protected. He oversaw the refinishing of our living room and dining room floor that now glows. He fixed all sorts of things that got our beautiful home ready for sale. All of this Eric did with heart!"

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  • Halloween At Universal Studios Orlando

    [caption id="attachment_4224" align="alignleft" width="377" caption="Universal Studios"]universal[/caption]

     

    Halloween at Universal Studios Orlando is not what it used to be. It's not that they don't have the money, the talent or the time to do so, rather people just aren't getting scared anymore. What make Universal Studios so great is how different it is from Disney World. If you want the family fun, Hallmark postcard to send back to friends and family, then Disney is the place to be. But if you want more excitement, thrills and a place to cut loose, Universal Studios is where you should be. Brooks Barnes of The New York Times discusses more in his article The Real Scare Is Not Being Scary:

    Chainsaws? Yawn. Bathtub electrocutions? Done them. Demented, blood-thirsty clowns? So 2001. For Universal Orlando, the big theme park here that counts on Halloween as a crucial profit center, the art of the scare sure isn’t as easy as it used to be.

    The challenge is not size or money. Universal spends millions to stage and market its Halloween Horror Nights, which this year include eight haunted houses and multiple “scare zone” street parties on 25 nights. No, the scarce resource is ideas: coming up with new ways to entertain a “been-there, screamed-at-that” customer base raised on torture movies like “Saw” and bloody video games.

    “These people are paying to get the bejesus scared out of them, and every year it gets harder,” said Patrick Braillard, a show director for the park. “We look at each other and say, ‘What’s left to do?’ ”

    It’s no small worry. This movie-centered theme park, owned by Comcast’s NBC Universal, would not provide Halloween-related financial details, but the revenue appears to be considerable. Entry to Horror Nights starts at $42 (although discounts are available), and analysts estimate that as many as 500,000 a year have attended. Add in sales of beer, food and merchandise, and substantial profits are at stake.

    Desperate to increase their off-season business, theme parks started circling Oct. 31 on their calendars in the late 1990s, led by Universal on the East Coast and Knott’s Berry Farm in California. It was a smart call: America’s obsession with Halloween as a cultural event was just starting to spike, and even in a stagnant economy, the growth shows few signs of slowing. The National Retail Federation estimates that total Halloween spending in the United States this year will total $6.8 billion, up from $3.3 billion in 2005.

    Along the way, theme parks have played a major role in globalizing the holiday. Universal Studios Singapore is holding its first Horror Nights this year, for instance, while Disney now mounts Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween events at its parks in Paris, Hong Kong and Tokyo, as well as the United States.

    Here in central Florida, the haunted house scene has become rather, well, cutthroat. In 1990, when Universal first staged a horror event, it didn’t take much more than a couple of boos and a bowl of spaghetti guts to spook visitors. Since then, Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Sea World and Busch Gardens have steadily increased their own Halloween offerings.

    Read more at The New York Times

    Filed under: Entertainment, Fun Stuff
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