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‘DIG: Escape The Room’ opens as popular new attraction concept at Universal Orlando for limited time

‘DIG: Escape The Room’ opens as popular new attraction concept at Universal Orlando for limited time

The “escape room” craze is sweeping the country with attractions in this relatively new genre popping up everywhere. The latest is a temporary installation at Universal Orlando (and Universal Studios Hollywood) called DIG: Escape the Room, promoting the upcoming USA TV show “Dig” that debuts this Thursday, March 5.

Now through March 8, Universal Studios Florida visitors can visit the park’s Studio Audience Center to reserve a time slot throughout operating hours. A minimum of 4 and maximum of 10 guests will enter the experience that requires interactive puzzles to be solved in order to “escape” the 2-room enclosed space. The attraction was created in partnership with Escape the Room NYC.

DIG: Escape the Room is set up in the Disaster attraction extended queue, which Halloween Horror Nights fans will recognize as an annual location of many popular haunted houses. After receiving a quick introduction and viewing a teaser for the TV show, guests are immediately locked in and told simply to do what they have to in order to figure out how to escape.

This being a temporary attraction, its design is fairly simple. But it fits the theme of the TV show and definitely requires some careful attention to figure out how to get out. There are locks, keys, books, and plenty of props to get hands-on with, all required to make it out in the 25-minute allotted timeframe.

For those who get stuck, subtle hints will appear on TV monitors throughout the space that push the experience along. Our team of 6 (two other reporters and our 4-person group of designers from The Republic) just barely made it out with 27 seconds to spare. The hard hats were just for fun.

The feasibility of a permanent escape room style attraction in a theme park is a tough, but intriguing possibility. Since only a small number of guests can experience the attraction at any given time, the vast majority of park visitors wouldn’t have the opportunity. But the longer duration and more interactive approach separates this type of experience from a ride, stage show, or even haunted house.

On its first day, DIG: Escape the Room filled all available time slots within a couple hours of the park being open, so it’s recommended to arrive early to ensure a spot. Guests can look for signs posted throughout the park for more information. An identical experience is also currently open at Universal Studios Hollywood for a limited time.


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Topics: Magic Kingdom, Special Events, Theme Parks, Walt Disney WorldTags: , , ,

Walt Disney World has released the 2015 dates for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party will take place throughout the months of September, October and November starting September 15 with the final party being on November 1. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will begin only a week after, starting November 8 and continuing through December 18.

Tickets for both events will go on sale in April.

Dates for 2015 Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party are:

September 15, 18, 20, 22, 25, 27
October 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29, 31
November 1

Dates for 2015 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party are:

November 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 29
December 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 17, 18


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Preview: “Frozen” comes to Epcot Flower and Garden Festival 2015 as Walt Disney World brings back tasty treats too

Preview: “Frozen” comes to Epcot Flower and Garden Festival 2015 as Walt Disney World brings back tasty treats too

Jump into the Spring season at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival 2015 with topiaries, lively entertainment and enjoyable food starting March 4.

For the first time in forever, Anna and Elsa from the movie “Frozen” appear as topiaries as a new addition to the already nearly 100 topiaries that can be found around World Showcase.

We had an opportunity to preview the event a few days ago before its official debut this week.

The “Frozen” topiary is new for this year. Our favorite snowman Olaf is not a part of it this year, but will more than likely show up next year together with his “Frozen” friends. Two flower towers that will change colors will soon be added.



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Date Nite at Disneyland: Grand Californian Hotel offers wandering walks, a sensual spa, or quiet cozy comfort

Date Nite at Disneyland: Grand Californian Hotel offers wandering walks, a sensual spa, or quiet cozy comfort

Especially in the off season, there is so much to love about the Grand Californian. It’s both sweeping and intimate, relaxing and exciting, upscale and laidback – a trifecta of combinations that make it a great date spot.

Slowed Pace or Game of Chase

If you’ve got the cash or are visiting for a special occasion date, start with a spa visit. The hotel’s Mandara spa effectively provides a relaxing (if comically overpriced) experience in a spotless environment. They even offer couples’ massages, which is a good way to dip your toe in the spa water if you’ve never been baptized there before. A hotel spa is also perfect for first-timers, as it’s filled with non-regulars by definition and focused specifically on hospitality and on welcoming newcomers.

Even if you don’t spa, linger near Mandara anyway and benefit from the calming aromatherapy scents that waft into the nearby air.

If you prefer your fun to be of the clothes-on variety, you’re still in luck. Part of the fun of hotel dates is the sneaking around, and the Grand Californian is a fabulous place for that! Some favorite semi-off-limits places to slip into: 1) The pool, even if you’re not going to swim, because the loungers are cozy, and the water is vacation-y, and you can see stars at night. 2) The ballrooms, where the peckish can find the occasional free cookies left out after meetings. 3) The concierge lounge on the 6th floor. This destination is for advanced sneakers only – attempt at your own risk for the rewards of free food and drink, views of the parks, and a congratulatory selfie.

Or, if you’d rather play by the rules (and honestly, we would 99% of the time), there are some lovely hallways and walkways both inside and outside where you can have fun exploring at the Grand Californian .

Go beyond the lobby, as pretty as it is. May we suggest a spontaneous, outdoor slow dance under the majestic pines of the circular Brisa courtyard?

A Rose by Any Other Name

You’re going to be famished after all your date-night frolicking (unless you scored a free cookie). Where to eat? Let’s talk about Napa Rose. It’s…fine. We’re not going to say don’t go there, because it technically does have a lot of the usual date night boxes checked, and it seems like an obvious choice. However, because the price is so high and the ambiance is so lacking and the service is so spotty, we’re going to suggest that you hedge your bets by eating in the bar. There you’ll get the full menu if you want it, you’ll get dimmer lighting and comfy chairs, and you’ll be able to manage your expectations. Because that’s what a romantic night is all about, right? Bracing yourself for disappointment?

If you eat in the dining room, bring your sunglasses. It is this bright, even when it’s all the way dark outside. Because what says “romance” like blinding, overhead lighting?

On second thought, maybe just hit Storytellers for their amazing cheesecake and call it good.

Comfy, Cozy

Do like the original datenighters and make your date night a late night at the Grand Californian. While you’re waiting for the lobby to clear, enjoy the flickers. As in most deluxe Disney digs, classic cartoons play in an out-of-the-way corner and their silly gags hold up pretty well these days. Soon the lobby fireplace and all its rocking chairs will be occupied by only a few wine-sipping hermits. Settle in near the warmth of the flames and chat with your date over a drink from the adjacent Hearthstone lounge. You can also sneak around back and enjoy the backside of fire – outdoors – where you’ll find respite from the racing, arrhythmic piano in the grand lobby (what is that guy’s perpetual hurry?). Beware the blue haze of cigar smoke clouding the patio, as this is a favorite spot for those lighting up stogies. On the plus side, you may spy some hotel matches to nab for your collection.

The later in the night, the quieter you’ll find the grand fireplace. It’s a nice place to lean in close and whisper to your date.

Photo credit: Fireplace by Michaela Hansen of toursdepartingdaily.com.


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Topics: Disney, Entertainment, MoviesTags: , , , , , , , ,

Disney has combined “Frozen” and emoji in a savvy new short featuring Anna, Elsa, Olaf and the rest of the film’s cast retelling the story via a mobile phone, including text threads, lock screens, photo galleries and more.

Disney plans to retell many of its popular stories in this amusing new “Disney As Told By Emoji” video series, with “Tangled” up next.


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