Hello, my fellow WOE Friends,
We have made it to another weekend! Jennifer and I are back in Orlando this weekend and will be visiting Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. We plan on seeing the Mardi Gras Parade and the Steve Miller Band Saturday night if the weather holds out.
I am happy to announce that the WOE Short Story; Drugs can Kill - is now complete and online. This compelling and powerful story is one that should get the attention of any teen and parent. There will be a follow-up on my blog on Monday, which will be three weeks since it all took place.
From out HR Friends - It's still a Big Deal. Poster at the bottom of the blog.
This week's closer look of the WOE Complex takes us to the super attraction; Castle Mare, located in the Dark Room, one of the five themed Sections to the WOE Complex. Sally and I are visiting on our vacation, as Jennifer is in the medical facility. We did visit other attractions that day, and they are in the WOE Story (chapter 18) if you wish to read more.
I hope you enjoy it!
The Dark Room was added in the third year and houses two original attractions and two newer ones that were just added. The two original attractions are; Castle Mare (name taken from “nightmare”) and Galactic War. The two latest are; NASA: In Space and Mother Nature’s Fury.
The entryway to the Dark Room is like walking into a portal to go to another world; like walking from day to night, all within a 20-foot tunnel. The tunnel is surrounded by lights and video and filled with haze. Once through, you enter a massive, mostly darkened room, that resembles night time. The only illumination is from the faux night sky in the ceiling, a full moon, lights coming from the four main attractions and the ambient lighting on the ground: Pole lights, concession lights and those from a few rides in the center of the massive room. I have always loved the Dark Room, as it’s completely different than the other sections and now has the four most advanced attractions in the world.
We first headed to Castle Mare. This attraction, which is to the right, stands over ten stories tall and is completely decked out like a medieval castle, complete with a moat and blazing torches on the outer walls. As you walk to the Castle, you cross several bridges over waterways, which are part of a boat ride attraction that’s connected to Castle Mare. We crossed over the main drawbridge over the moat and entered the main Castle. We scanned our fingers and went right to the boat ride; “The Cursed Voyage.”
Our wait was just a few minutes since we booked our time in advance. A boat pulled up, and we boarded. After seat-belting ourselves in, the 16-passenger boat slips off the loading platform into the dark water. We start by traveling through a small fishing village with lots of action going on through the very realistic animatronics. The villagers looked hard at work; catching and cleaning fish and other tasks. Then we entered the open area of the Dark Room where you gently float along a winding canal through the room. You pass under a few bridges, each with a haunting ambiance under them, though nothing terrifying yet. Thus far, the canal voyage is peaceful and calm. But you know this is just to lull you into thinking that this is going to be just a peaceful boat ride. But, it’s not, as you will soon find out.
As you start to head back into the Castle, you know things are going to get a little rougher. You float past the dungeon and enter the bowels of the Castle. You then enter a vast, dark lake. You see next to nothing as you glide across. You begin to hear splashing in the distance, and soon your boat starts to get hit underneath by something on both sides. Is it a shark? A water monster? You don't know. You hear a loud growl and more splashing. By now, our hearts are racing, as all the noise, action and barely seen moon darkness has left our imaginations in overdrive. As you continue, you start to hear what sounds like a waterfall. As you draw nearer, you start to hear faint screams from a boat in front of you in the distance. As the waterfall gets closer and the sounds become louder and louder, your heart feels like it’s going to pound out of your chest. Your boat is being hit so hard underneath, you feel like you may be tipped over and now this waterfall is approaching. You hear it roar as you feel like you’re getting near the end and you start yelling. You can't see it, but it sounds like the size of Niagara Falls; the thunderous sound makes it seem like if it is plunging very far down.
Your boat begins being tossed from side to side from the rapids and then starts to dip forward as you hold on with everything you’ve got. The only thing holding you is a seat belt. The boat then tips downward, and you plunge, for what seems like 200 feet. Somehow, you land in the water upright and keep floating along. You can’t believe you just made that plunge. Everyone is clapping and cheering because they survived and are so exhilarated. What a rush of adrenaline! The boat then docks, and you exit! My God, what a ride!
While our hearts were still pounding, we then went right to the other attraction; The Castle Tour. This ride takes you on a roller coaster type tour of the Castle and features special effects and drops to scare the courage out of anyone. Each vehicle is similar to what you would find on a water rapids ride; ten seats all facing inwards, in a tube-like structure. Everyone is harnessed in. The vehicles can turn 360 degrees and can tilt up or down, to a 45-degree angle.
Sally and I boarded and just held on, not knowing what to really expect, because, like Galactic War, the Castle Tour can be a distinct experience each time you ride it. The ride is smooth and varies its speed. We briefly stopped at many different areas throughout the Castle to observe a room with a “creature or scene” and then moved quickly to the next, all the while spinning and dropping or rocketing upward in the dark. We went from scene to scene. A hologram of an ugly witches’ head appeared in the middle of our vehicle and warned us of impending danger if we entered this one room, which of course, we did! The ride went into the room and stopped at a floating wizard who said. “Be doomed those who enter this room, for you do not listen when told.” Just then, we dropped straight down, well over 200 feet, in the pitch black. Next time, we should listen to the witch.
Each one of these rides lasts at least 20 minutes and comes with unbelievable effects. During October, Castle Mare expands for Halloween. There are six different walk-through haunts guests can take to see even more of the Castle. Each one of these lasts about 20 minutes and features something completely different. There are no “live” actors here, but the effects are like nothing you’ve ever seen before. One has a glass floor you walk on that lights-up to show “live” snakes that are crawling underneath you. It’s like you are in the pit. There is animatronics, and effects galore.
Castle Mare also features a haunted restaurant, called Dining in the Basement. It's a completely immersive atmosphere with special effects, and many startle scares, even in the bathroom.
Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoy your weekend. Until next time,