Something that has become a big part of seasonal events at Universal Studios Florida theme park resides in the New York area of the park. The Halloween Horror Nights version opened today. The “Tribute Store” functions as a well-done walk-through attraction. Sure, they also offer some excellent themed merchandise and treats. The summer “Tribute Store” used the idea of an older style movie theatre. Many clues left in the last area of this year’s summer Tribute Store pointed to the probable theme for the Halloween Horror Nights version. My average level powers of deduction led me, and many others, to conclude a spooky themed theatre of some type will be emerging for Halloween Horror Nights. Those deductions proved only partially correct.
Here is a look at this year’s HHN Tribute Store for Passholder Previews:
It seems that the area is themed to an old “dark ride.” Like a ride there are a lot of pup up or moving parts you will see throughout.
The official HHN walk-through video:
its my tribute store now 😈 dare to enter?
— Halloween Horror Nights (@HorrorNightsORL) September 1, 2022
There is a great video showcasing a lot of the store, merchandise and treats from Rix Flix. So check that out here!
When you enter the store there is a “control panel” for the “ride” you are on!
You start off with the Twisted Pumpkin Patch.
Then you follow the ride tracks into the Hollow Hills Cemetery (Room 2)
Down the Hallway to the next room.
The third room is the Cauldron Cottage room.
This room of course contains the snacks, but there is only one cart this time!
Ghosts Cookies and Cream Macaron – $5
Assorted Monster Chocolate Shots – $10
Cookie Dough Balls -$4.50 Mummy(Peanut butter), Knife (Red Velvet), Black Cat (Chocolate) and Pumpkin (which of course is pumpkin.)
Chocolate Coffin Brownie -$10 (Not Vegan)
Knife Cake – $12
Rose Eye – $12 (Dark Chocolate Cake)
Pumpkin Trifle Cake – $12
Ghost S’More -$4.50
Lil’ Boo Pumpkin Bowl Cakes -$16
I love the “stained glass windows” in here. Watch them for some fun movement. There is also a screen that’s a “window” and you can see some things happening outside of it too.
Room 4 is Haunted Hollow Hills.
It’s set up like a little town square with different “stores” that are actually the check-out areas.
Stores are named things like: The Bitter Bookstore, The Scaredy Cat Café, Spooky Spells, Ghoulish Ghoul Gasoline and the Dead and Breakfast.
You can also find a Blow Mold Frankenstein head machine. It costs $8.
On the way out is the Eerie Emporium.
Now here is a brief history of rumors and rumblings that led us to today!
The clues of fake newspaper clippings placed in the summer Tribute Store detailed a story of sort. For example, a guest could read that in 1943, a local theatre closed after 58 years of operation. This happened due to a poisoning scandal we learn from the newspaper clippings. According to newspaper clipping clues, in 1952, the mayor of the town acquires the “cursed” theatre to retrofit it for a unique Halloween celebration. Newspaper clippings told guests that plans for this celebration were “hush, hush.” Yet, one insider has made claim that it could be a locally ran food venture selling new and exotic foods like “churros” and “Italian Fries” with a spooky theme. If that sounds like a reference to “pizza fries” to you, then I think we translated the clues properly. Then, the newspaper clipping clues informed us that in 1953 the mayor announced funding by a local candy maker.
With the highly rumored New York area scare zone themed around some idea of old-fashioned Halloween carnival gone wrong in the New York area near Tribute Store area, there could be a connection. Then again, these coincidences could mean nothing. We waited for conformation from Universal Orlando still.
On Monday August 1st, Halloween Horror Nights fans got a wonderful treat. Signs of “Lil’ Boo” from the previous year could be seen at the end of the summer Tribute Store. Would we get a homage to the cute aspect of the “Wicked Growth” house from Halloween Horror Nights 30 in 2021? Either way, this led to more credibility of a spooky old school Halloween Tribute Store.
The summer “Tribute Store” closed on August 7th. This creates a large amount of time for the changeover to the Halloween Horror Nights theming. Based on what we have seen now, that time was used well by Universal Orlando. Yet, all previous rumors pointed to a slight change to the façade to reflect a spooky themed theatre in which things went very wrong.
On August 16th, we learned all the scare zones for Halloween Horror Nights 2022. The scare zone near the “Tribute Store” location would be themed “Sweet Revenge.” Universal Orlando said guests would experience a terrifying 1950s Halloween parade-gone-wrong alongside bloodthirsty trick-or-treaters in “Sweet Revenge.” We now know that scare zone will even feature several full-size floats in the middle of it.
Based on all that, signs pointed to a connection with the store and that scare zone. Rumors indicated that the store would have a theme matching the chaos featured in the scare zone. All rumors pointed to the Tribute Store being themed around traditional Halloween. Also, the three main rooms would feature theming of a pumpkin patch, a cemetery, and a witches’ cottage. Those sound like they connect to three different scare zones for this year.
The final room, which usually serves treats was to be themed around a Halloween festival according to rumors. Also, this Halloween festival would be set in the same time and place as the neighboring scare zone Sweet Revenge. Rumors indicated that the store would sell candy manufactured by “Major Sweets.” “Major Sweets” functions as the main villain of the “Sweet Revenge” scare zone. You can even interact with him in the scare zone.
On August 22nd, guests arrived at Universal Studios Florida to see the theatre facade matching speculation with “The Tribute Store” featured on the marquee. The additional theming appeared to match speculation tying this store with scare zone nearby.
A week later, some more decorations and signage went up enhancing the Tribute Store facade for Halloween Horror Nights. Those clues gave more credibility to the speculation of the interior rooms of this themed store.
In addition, people learned during the Team Member preview that the Tribute Store was created to be like a dark ride. Guests are experiencing being on a dark ride attraction making it to the town carnival at the end. For example, as you enter the Tribute Store, you see a sign telling you to keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle. You can follow a “ride track” on the floor in this Tribute Store.” The overall work with this is incredible transforming it from summer theme to Halloween Horror Nights theme.
The theming done within this store to create the “dark ride” displays incredible skill. The pumpkins everywhere in the first room and the pumpkin scent there creates a perfect setting. As you walk through the first room, do not forget to look up and watch the shadows also.
The cemetery room even comes with an arch to walk through or “ride” through. The “Hallow Hills” cemetery would love for you to visit. A nice photo op resides in this room also to place yourself in a coffin. The hallway connecting rooms two and three resembles a mausoleum. Also, the witch themed area in the third room comes with a cauldron prop like you might experience on an actual dark ride attraction. If you look close enough, you might even find Earl the Squirrel in the third room. (Hint: He’s up high with a predator.)
As expected, the final room features some treats themed to the event. You enter “Haunted Hallow Hills.” The small-town carnival atmosphere appears obvious in this final room. Some Frankenstein “Mold-a-Rama” machines can be found here also. On your way out, you encounter some really well done themed “fake” merchandise. However, I suspect many people will beg for some of it. If you are a fan of the previous Tribute Stores, you will love this.
So now, the Tribute Store will be open every day through October 31st. In the mobile app, Universal Orlando tells us to expect exclusive in-park merchandise and spooky treats. They state you can pose for photo ops also. Enjoy the spooky!
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