Monday, November 06, 2006

Running on empty

We left the park at 1:45am and arrived at our hotel around 2am. My brother, Meg and I went to sleep because we were super tired. My brother and I knew that we had to be up somewhat early for the "Unmasking the Horror" tour the following morning. My other friends Claude, Laurie, Jen and Amber were not so wise as they headed out to IHOP and then didn't go to sleep until 5 am. Maybe I'm just getting old, but I wanted to have enough energy for the following day and for the drive home.

Amber, Jen, my brother and I (the other people did not go to the tour) got to Universal Studios at 11 am to meet our tour guide the following morning. We met him at the guest relations office and he told us to go upstairs and that he'd meet us up there in a little while. It was a conference room where they had spooky music playing and had decorated with Halloweeny things. As if I wasn't psyched enough about this tour, this really put me into the mood. We watched a 10 min video with info about past Halloween Horror Nights. Some of the stuff I already knew since I had thoroughly scoured the website during all of September and October. You've heard of Star Wars nerds? Yeah, well, I became a HHN nerd (became?).

We headed out to the park and the tour guide told us a little bit about previous HHN years and the themes that were chosen for those years and why or why not some things were used. Very interesting and informative! We saw the main stage and some of the sets for the scare zones. We were then taken to the back of the Psychoscareapy (Shadybrook Asylum) haunted house. We got to see the cubbies and nooks and crannies where the scare-acters hide. I always figured that they would get lost in the maze of the haunted houses, but it looks like they have signs to guide them. The tour guide told me that they also stay in one particular area which is why it feels like the same person comes out at you from a hundred different places. We then went in through the front of the haunted house and got to take lots of pictures. I, of course was clicking away like a madwoman (ha ha, get it?) because I wanted to get as many details as possible. I was taking notes for my own haunted house which was to take place on Halloween night. (You'll notice the similarities when I post those pictures).

We then went into the Screamhouse haunted house. This was also one of my favorites because I really like the Caretaker character. He's very tall, lanky and creepy looking....just my type. Ha ha. It was cool to be able to roam through the house with the lights on and nobody coming out at you. We got to look at and touch all the gruesome body props (I'll spare you the pictures). On HHN, they have you going through those haunted houses so fast, that you don't really get to notice all the details that go into them. We also got to go into the All Nite Die-In, but I didn't take any pictures there. I was a bit disappointed with that HH because I was hoping to see Michael, Freddy and Jason there, but alas, they used different scary movies this time.

We then saw the areas where make-up and wardrobe are done and finished up our tour at the HHN museum. I wasn't aware that such a museum existed; they must have put it up just for the crazy folks such as myself. The museum had the floor plans for all the HHs. They had a bulletin board with all the things that were posted on the website as well as costumes and props from previous years. I enjoyed the tour very much and will definitely look into doing it again. The guide said that last year was the first year that they offered it and that it was still in the experimental phases. We only had 6 people in the tour group, so it wasn't heavily advertised. In a way, I hope it doesn't get too advertised because I loved the personal feeling of it, but at the same time, if they don't get too many people, they may consider not doing it at all and that would be a shame.

Speaking of shame, this brings us to the end of part 2. We left the theme park and I managed to remember where I had parked (without photographic evidence this time). I began to get a little worried about whether I would find the highway ok and whether I would take it going in the right direction or not, but those fears were quickly dispelled because the exit of the parking garage practically throws you onto the highway.

This would have been fabulous except for the the fact that an hour into our drive home, my gas light went on. Yes, that's right folks, yours truly forgot to get gas before leaving. Heck, dork of the year here, forgot to even LOOK at her gas tank. Yes, the long distance inexperience really made itself quite evident. As soon as the little light lit up, a few chosen words escaped my mouth. If the panic hadn't reached me by now, it found its way to me then. What's the big deal you ask, you can just get off at the next exit and put gas. Well, yes and no. Sure, there will be gas at the next exit, but that could be 40 miles away. You see there's a lot of open land in Florida, and the Turnpike can go on for miles without an exit to get off on. Since there's nothing but farmland, well, then there's no need to put an exit. Yes, so you can see what my predicament was.

My friend Jen tried to reassure me that we would find an exit in time. I started paying attention to the mile markers so that I could see what mile I was on. That way, I could tell people where the heck I was when my car broke down. As the indicator edged out of the red zone and closer to the E below it, I knew it was just a matter of time before my car would start puttering and travel no more. We had driven at least 20 miles already, and I didn't know how much longer we had. At first my passengers were asleep and not worried about it, but at this point they were now all wide awake and very aware of our impending doom. I gave my cell phone to my brother and told him that we might as well call the roadside service now, since we were definitely going to stop within the next five miles. I figured, I might as well get a start on it now and have them dispatch someone sooner rather than later.

He was speaking with the person on the phone when all of a sudden we caught sight of a sign up ahead. The sign teased us and made promises of food and gas, but unfortunately for us, those glorious prizes were 9 miles away, and we didn't have the steam to make it that far. Oh, I'm sure the disappointed collective "Aw" could be heard for miles. We traveled along with lumps in our throats just thanking God for every inch of pavement that passed under us, when what was this that we saw just ahead? Another sign with more promises. This one said Yeehaw Junction was only 3 miles away!! That was a definite maybe! We hoped with all our might that the car would go just 3 more miles (and not to mention that said "Junction" would have gas). Three more miles is all we needed. I slowed the car down and prayed for the best. We made it to the toll exit and asked the attendant if there was a gas station nearby. She pointed over to our right and said "just around the corner". If I could have, I would've gotten out of the car and danced for joy, but we still had to actually make it to the gas station. Since we had stopped to pay the toll, I didn't know if the car still had the momentum to keep on going. It would suck to go this far and have the car die a block before the gas station.

I'm happy to report that we did make it to the gas station. The indicator was on the actual letter E, way below the red part already. I know that someone upstairs was definitely watching over us, because that car would not have even gone another block with the 2 drops of gas that were probably left in it. I told you that traveling with me was an adventure!

I should've put this last tidbit in the Part 1 post, but I just found it. There's a really cool video of Halloween Horror nights on their website (click on production diary #10 on the left side) so you can get a nice overview of everything we saw and experienced on Thursday. Go watch the video and stay tuned for part 3!


Blogger Ayleen said...

OMG you are hysterical! You had me on edge hoping that your car would make it to the next gas station. Reminder to Claudia: Make sure your gas tank is full!

6:35 AM  

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