What I love about Orlando…   

HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS!!! Halloween is, by far, one of my favorite holidays. I’m in charge of a Halloween Pumpkin Carving contest for my entire office building and all because I like to celebrate. This year I may even add a costume contest to it since we always get a few people dressed up (incl. me) for the judging anyway. But – my favorite part of this year in Orlando is Universal Studio’s (now Universal Orlando) Halloween Horror Nights. This is the 13th HHN – which is kinda cool, 13 being a spooky number. I went to HHN back when I was in high school. I have no idea what number it was (either the 3rd or 4th) but it was great fun. Not only for the scary park stuff but also because it was the first time my friends and I got a hotel room 2 hours away from home and stayed over night in Orlando. We got hotel rooms for our birthdays all the time but always in town or on the beach, never so far away!

Then, when I moved to Orlando for college, I got a job at Universal Studios. I was a seasonal hire specifically hired to staff HHN. The first night I worked, I worked the streets (haha – that sounds bad!). I was a vendor on the street selling those ligt-up necklaces, light sabers, and other goofy ‘scary’ stuff. It was SOOO much fun. I then moved on to a store in the park but I loved working HHN even when it meant working until 3 or 4 AM (or even 6 AM on the last night as we were also responsible for taking down the HHN displays on the last night and replacing them with our regular displays). Sometimes I wish I could go back to that job since it was no where as stressful as ‘real’ work.

Plus, I got to eat dinner and late night break snacks with the characters in costume. I saw everything from behind the scenes. Of course, this has changed my HHN experience. I mean, I don’t get scared easily anyway but, once you’ve eaten dinner next to a headless man and chainsaw wielder, you don’t really ‘fear’ them on the street anymore. This actually draws those people to me for some reason… the challenge perhaps? They really want to see me jump but I never do. (To explain – HHN has scary characters roaming the streets of Universal. It’s dark out and some areas have fog so you don’t always see these people coming until they jump out at you or until they pop up behind you gunning their chainsaw. It’s good for a healthy old fashioned fear rush.

So, I haven’t quite made it every year that I’ve lived in ORL but I think I’ve only missed two. I skipped last year because I wasn’t impressed when they moved it to Islands of Adventure. It’s great to have the other rides available to you (the roller coasters, etc.) but the park is too big and spread out. Universal is set up like city with streets so it lends itself so much better to the scariness factor. However, this year it’s going to be in both parks. They’ve opened up the back alley between the parks (usually reserved for park workers only) and are going to combine it. Now THAT has me pumped! I can’t wait to go. I’m antsy just thinking about it. I’m such a freak!

Why I am telling you all of this? I have no idea… just wanted to share my excitement. Plus, I wish all of you lived here so we could go as a group! What a better place to go hang out with people I met through a love of Buffy and Angel?! Damn, too bad I’m not rich and can’t fly you all down for it.

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