Monday, August 31, 2009

 

Disney Buys Marvel - Whither Spidey?

Bam! Pow! Like Doc Oc and the Sinister Syndicate, Disney has swooped in and bought Marvel Comics for a paltry $4 billion, perhaps leaving Universal in the uncomfortable position of needing rescue by some unnamed superhero.

The big question for all Islands of Adventure-Universal fans: What will happen to Spider-Man? Indeed, what is the fate of Marvel Super Hero Island?

For it's part, Universal is saying Spidey stays put. But, tellingly, there was no time frame included in the statement by Universal spokesman, Tom Schroeder.

In the Tampa Tribune, Disney execs are quoted as saying that "many third-party licensing deals would remain in effect."

But licensing deals are never open-ended. The time will come when Universal's right to use Marvel properties will expire. That's when things will get interesting.

Disney has a history of doing whatever it can to wrest market share from its nearby competitors (Pleasure Island vs. Church Street Station; Disney-MGM vs. USF; Animal Kingdom vs. BGT; two Disney water parks vs. Wet n Wild). It defies logic to expect the future not to mirror the past.

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Monday, August 24, 2009

 

Busch Tampa Announces Howl-O-Scream 2009

From the official Busch press release:
Howl-O-Scream 2009 Proves That Evil Never Goes Out of Style
Florida’s top-rated Halloween event debuts a new kind of nightmare with launch of HouseofVayne.com

TAMPA, Fla. (Aug. 21, 2009) – Busch Gardens Tampa Bay kicks off it’s tenth season of gut-wrenching scares by launching the Howl-O-Scream 2009 website, HouseofVayne.com, expanding the event to seven horrifying haunted houses, and introducing the beautiful new face of evil itself – the fashionable Ms. Vayne and her deranged models.

For 17 select nights, Howl-O-Scream 2009 will prove that evil never goes out of style. The devious creatures that infest all-new haunted houses, scare zones, thrilling shows and even the streets themselves will have guests watching their backs, and bone-chilling roller coasters keep the screams coming all night long.

Howl-O-Scream 2009 is a separate ticketed event, and the general admission price is $69.95. Savings are available on advance ticket purchases for Passport Members and Florida Residents. Discounts are also available through promotional codes provided on Bud Light, Domino’s Pizza and Applebee’s products statewide.

The event runs every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night during October: Oct. 1-3, 8-10, 15-17, 22-24 and 29-31. Freaky Preview lets guests sink their teeth into the scares a week early on Sept. 25-26 for discounted rates as low as $29.95 for general admission and $24.95 for Passport members. Operating hours are 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. during Freaky Preview and on Thursday nights. Friday and Saturday hours are 7:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.



Howl-O-Scream 2009 has more haunted houses than ever before, designed to tease your deepest, darkest fears…

· NEW! Delta-Epsilon-Delta: Pledge Week – For decades, the most mysterious sorority on campus has invited only select girls from the top families to join. But this year, it’s open rush, and the sisters are welcoming new members with open arms. Can you escape before you fall victim to the sinister secrets of this twisted sisterhood? No one does it like a E girl…


· NEW! Nightshade Toy Factory – By day, the old Nightshade Toy Factory appears abandoned. But as night falls, the mysterious manufacturing plant glows and hums as it creates the diabolical dolls, terrible teddy bears and possessed playthings of your childhood nightmares. These twisted toys are alive…and they are coming after the adults who have forgotten them.

Some of the most demented houses ever are back by popular demand with some horrible new twists. These returning favorites are sure to terrorize first-time visitors and die-hard fans alike:

· Reconstruction: The Doctor Is In – Dr. Edger VonAngst has the skill and technology to make you over…but what will you become? This mad reconstructive surgeon has set up shop, putting human parts back together with mechanical pieces and combining flesh, bone and steel in the most hideous ways. Nip/Tuck has never been like this!

· Death Row Vengeance – The inmates at Grey Echo Penitentiary are slated for execution, and they blame you. With their last breath, they curse those who do nothing to save them from the electric chair or lethal injection and vow to haunt those who watched them suffer. Will you make it out alive when they come back to make good on their dying promise?

· 13 – Each October, the underground members of The Messengers come out of hiding to seek out 13 unlucky victims, who are tracked down and tortured before the gang feasts on their flesh. This year, they have already claimed 12 lives so far… will 13 be your unlucky number?

· Taste of Blood – Once revered as royalty, hordes of undead vampires have now been forced underground into the subways and sewers to avoid the sunlight. By day, they feed on rats to survive. But as night falls, these fanged fiends take to the streets to seduce fresh blood.

· Trapped in the Walls – The gruesome fate of an innocent family made headlines when it happened. Years later, evil still lingers in the rooms where the tragedies happened. It has seeped into the walls, trapping dark demons and infesting a house that can’t let go of its horrible history.
At Howl-O-Scream, even the sidewalks aren’t safe from the things that go bump in the night. Four scare zones and nine bands of roaming hordes will keep guests watching their backs as they explore 335 acres of fright:

· NEW! Unearthed – Ancient evil rages when archeologists unearth the tomb of a feared Egyptian ruler, releasing his spirit into the world of the living. Ahmenhotep and his underworld minions will carry out a dreaded curse, seeking revenge on those who dared to defile his final resting place.

NEW! Banshees – According to legend, a banshee will wail around a house if someone there is about to die. When several banshees appear at once, it is said to foretell the death of someone great or notable. Here, Banshees glide through the darkness, preying on the living and looking to make their screeching songs come true.
NEW! El Carnaval del Muerto – In the small town of Decada de Sustos, the locals come together once a year to celebrate death. But in the midst of the wild revelry, visitors to this tiny village unwittingly play an important part in this macabre party by becoming the victims of the raucous and bloodthirsty townspeople.
NEW! Werewolves – As night falls, a hoard of restless half-man, half-beast monsters patiently wait for innocent guests to stumble into their lair. Those who are not worthy to join the clan will be preyed upon as dinner. These scavengers’ insatiable hunger is matched only by their cunning and determination to satisfy their need to feed.
· You never know where your next scare is preparing to pounce. Just when you thought you were safe, Roaming Hordes of clowns, zombies, monsters and more take their terror to the streets and sneak up on unsuspecting victims. Who’s watching your back?

After braving bone-chilling coasters in the dark such as SheiKra, Montu, Gwazi and Kumba, you can catch your breath at these twisted live shows:

· NEW! Full Moon Cabaret: The Magic of Jason Byrne – As darkness descends on the Desert Grill each night, The Academy of Magical Arts’ “Stage Magician of the Year” Jason Byrne takes to the stage with tantalizing tricks and ominous illusions as he presents his unique brand of award-winning killer magic.

· Fiends – Is there a doctor in the house? These captivating creatures of the night will infect you with dance fever and keep your pulse pounding with their deranged dance party. But when Dr. Freakenstein’s naughty nurses start operating, the diagnosis is always “code pink.”

Looking for a killer party or the perfect souvenir to round out your evening of evil?

NEW! Club enVy – Take a break from the terror to stop by Howl-O-Scream’s new, exclusive 21+ dance club, featuring unlimited access to exclusive cocktails, drink specials, character meet-and-greets and great music all night long. A special “Happy Hour” option also includes hors d’oeuvres and exclusive early access to haunted houses.

NEW! Howl-O-Scream Shop of Horrors – Remember your evening of evil with the perfect Howl-O-Scream souvenir, including signature House of Vayne jewelry, “10 Years of Terror” commemorative t-shirts and other Halloween-themed gifts. Then, smile through the pain and snap the perfect party pic with the DED girls at an exclusive photo op that’s not for the faint of heart.
Take advantage of the best way to see Howl-O-Scream with All-Inclusive Fear Tours that include your admission ticket. Fear Tours offer three levels of terrifying special treatment: “The Viewing” is a three-hour group tour of haunted houses and major thrill rides. The five-hour “Funeral” group tour adds reserved show seating, and “The Embalming” includes the Fright Feast dinner buffet, preferred parking and a private “Ghoul Guide” for your party of three or more. All tours include commemorative photos and complimentary beverages, and packages start at $89.95.

For those who want to skip the lines and get right to the screaming, the Front Line Fear pass offers no-wait access to your choice of seven haunted houses as well as photo and merchandise discounts – all for $35.00. The Front Line Fear Plus pass also includes front-of-line access for your choice of four major coasters for $45.00.

The Thrills & Chills Weekend Pass lets true Halloween fans face their fears over and over again with a long weekend (Thursday through Sunday) of unlimited access to Busch Gardens’ thrills by day and Howl-O-Scream’s chills by night – all for just $79.95!

For out-of-town guests, Gory Getaway vacation packages are also available, featuring Howl-O-Scream admission and accommodations at one of Busch Gardens’ preferred partner hotels. Prices start at $238.04 per person plus tax, based on double occupancy.

And if there’s one thing worse than being terrified, it’s being terrified on an empty stomach. Fright Feast is the most deranged dinner show in town, featuring a buffet of monstrous main courses and devilish desserts, plus an exclusive performance of Full Moon Cabaret: The Magic of Jason Byrne. Fright Feast guests are also the first to brave the dark with a half-hour of early access to the haunted houses. Fright Feast is $24.95 per person, with group rates and discounts for Passport members available.

Howl-O-Scream is a separate ticketed night event. No costumes are allowed. For guest information, visit HouseofVayne.com or call 1-888-800-5447.

Howl-O-Scream is intended for a mature audience. This year's event contains intense adult content such as violence, gore and blood.

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