In addition to the little-to-no waits and unlimited food and drink service, there is another element that can help to make the Orlando Informer Meetup something special and out of the ordinary: exclusive experiences.
It could be a rare character making the meet-‘n-greet rounds, or you and your traveling party just meandering about and enjoying all the beautiful Christmas decorations with very few people around you, or gaining access to an exclusive speakeasy that lay hidden behind a password-protected door in the streets of the New York backlot at Universal Studios Florida. For my money, though, what tops these unique features is a little something that we called the Voodoo Lounge, which we put into the park’s Central Park area for our February 2020 meetup. Allow me to virtually walk you through everything and show you why.
Think of a Halloween Horror Nights scare zone, just without the scares. The Voodoo Lounge was atmospheric and moody and immersive, and a whole lot of fun – there was dramatic lighting, original music, and lots (and lots) of fog. The experience actually started with this last point, with a Voodoo Priestess standing over a bubbling cauldron, beckoning you to inhale its “hypnotizing” vapors and help you slip into the world of the other side.
And what a world it was. A cabinet of creepy curiosities was stationed nearby, and more than just engaging in some stage-setting, it actually contained a little treasure trove of community Easter eggs (including a cameo by yours truly!). But before you could even make your way over to it, you’d likely encounter some of the actors that were stationed throughout the area, including two different snake handlers – yes, with real, live snakes that you could pet or wrap around your own arm. Beyond them, a fortune teller was set up at her table, ready to spill all of the secrets of your future.
But the real star of the show, hands down, were the two Voodoo Dolls that were somehow brought to life. Not having quite gotten the hang of this whole being alive thing, their movements were halting, but also absolutely mesmerizing. They played jokes on each other (my personal favorite was when the one tried to hang the other with her own hair), they interacted with all the passersby, and, in one memorable exchange, they even gave a little girl who was a bit scared of them a hug. I easily spent an hour straight watching these two actresses doing all of their various bits, and I bet you would’ve, too.
Once you made your way past the creepy-yet-innocent Voodoo Dolls, there was the Witch Doctor himself, who stood defiantly but never once resisted a dramatic-looking selfie, and complimentary blacklight face-painting (seeing these guests drift through the Voodoo Lounge’s rolling fog really added to the atmosphere, let me tell you). Finally, bringing up the rear of the zone was a cash bar with appropriately bedecked bartenders who slung a couple of custom-made drinks for the occasion.
Miss our February Orlando Informer Meetup? Here's an inside look at the Voodoo Lounge we welcomed guests into for fortune-telling, face-painting, and more.— Orlando Informer (@OrlandoInformer) April 10, 2020
Join us for our winter OI Meetup to experience the seasonal surprises we have in store. https://t.co/1ly5AOGtAu pic.twitter.com/tXEAp9vcGm
When combined with the tables outfitted with “I discovered the Voodoo Lounge” buttons and Universal Studios Florida’s lagoon being lit with some custom voodoo colors, the Voodoo Lounge was an experience not to be missed – and the highlight of my personal four years of going to the Orlando Informer Meetup.
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