View Full Version : Tampa Busch Gardens ... Take this tour!

04-10-2010, 12:29 AM
If you know what is good for you there is really ONE tradeshow event YOU can't miss and its Hauntcon... why?

Because of the tour through Tampa Busch Gardens. I'm telling you RIGHT NOW this is the MUST SEE...

See for yourself! They have something like 7 haunts and I think most if not all of them are left up year around. I would say for an amusement park they are pretty impressive and will teach you a lot about running a multi themed event.


04-10-2010, 12:34 AM
They have incredible sound systems, control rooms, actor rooms, really nice special effects, and much more. We will be doing a story on this event in one of the coming up magazines. I was impressed and there is no one nicer than Robbie Lepre to give you the grand tour. Once I heard of the tour through Tampa I was like man you guys have to go!!!

Your loss if you don't take this behind the scenes tour. WOW!


04-10-2010, 09:05 AM
Didn't Oak Island build most, if not all, of these attractions!? Nice pics... can't wait to see the article. -Tyler

Rich Hanf
04-11-2010, 03:02 PM
Larry...I couldn't agree more in terms of the quality people would would get by taking this tour. That said, there is a much bigger picture. Anyone who caught Amber's speed seminar regarding crisis preparedness and the things that can and do go badly should have left a little shaken.

Rob and Michael at Natl Haunters have put together a multi part seminar, given by the office of the fire marshal that will cover (but is not limited to) Life Safety, fire safety, disasters, codes, preparedness, crisis management, and disasters. You are telling people that it is better for them to blow off these FREE seminars in lieu of a back stage tour at Busch Gardens. I don't get it...on any number of levels.

One good disaster can be lights out for you and your business. Although it might be difficult to put a price on a back stage tour at Busch Gardens, I can put a price on these particular seminars...how about ...your business and all your future earnings...is that a good price?

Do you really want me or some other poor haunter to be standing in front of some judge, while a plaintiffs attorney says "Mr Hanf, it is my understanding that you had the opportunity to take free safety classes...classes that may have averted this tragedy...and you decided to tour a haunted house instead?" You want me or us to be hearing that? I prefer to have my attorney step up and and point to these classes proving that I am truly concerned about my customers and employees safety...and that I have been proactive in doing everything I can to avoid a disaster. You want the industry to sacrafice that to take a tour?

Listen, we go back a long way you and I...and I'm probably the only guy that can say this to you and get away with it...but you must have taken a whack on the freakin head at Transworld.

Listen, the scuttlebutt is that nobody understands why you are doing this anyway. Not only are you taking a guy whom you have hated and I mean F****** hated for 15 years and shoving him and his show down our throats...but you seem to be willing to do it at our expense as well because that is exactly what you are doing if you suggest taking a back lot tour vs these life saving, business saving classes. If you don't like Rob...ok...say so. If you don't like NHC or their bringing back Fright Times...that's cool...just say so. But please don't try to make people think that a HC tour is more valuable than these seminars. It is not. People should make up their own minds but you need to give them a little truth on this one pal.

Larry, who has done more for this industy tha you? Who has given more? You can't tell me that after years of giving, that you are going to try to tell people to visit HC...blow off life saving seminars...and think people are not going to see right through it? This is not you my friend. I am asking you to take a step back and rethink this. At least reword it. If you want to walk around with a bulls eye on your back, well, that's your business but please don't give the very people you have tried to help the sniper rifle to shoot. We need to talk. Rich

04-11-2010, 03:38 PM
Wow you sure do whine a lot...grow up! Its a convention! Nothing more Nothing less get over yourself.


Scream Shack
04-11-2010, 04:08 PM
And the DRAMA continues......

04-11-2010, 05:12 PM
The artwork at Busch Gardens looks really archaic and cartoony but, I guess that style lends to the unique character of the haunts. I personally don't see why any of us home haunters would choose Hauntcon over National anyways.

04-11-2010, 06:59 PM
Most people go to the conventions for the seminars. Hauntcon includes almost all of the seminars in the registration fee, Eastern you have to pay for almost all of them. I fired up the old calc and this is what I got.

Hauntcon - Full Weekend Registration $85
Eastern - Show Floor Pass (Good for all Weekend) $25 + $652 = $677

If I had time to go, I would go to Hauntcon and stay a few extra days and take a mini vacation and write off most of the expenses as a business expense, not to mention seeing some of the largest and best attractions in the world.

Hmm, vacation in Orlando or PA............. that is a tough one.

04-11-2010, 11:15 PM

You are right we go waaaayyy back... and I will always consider you a great friend no matter what you say. LOL

But I could care less about the new Fright Times or NHC or what anyone does. I didn't take a whack on the head either. I'm supporting Hauntcon because we went last year as well and Patti had a great time.

There was no Fright Times last year and we still went to Hauntcon. I have no beef with NHC none what so ever. If I did they woudln't be on my website on a near daily basis promoting their show for nothing. They did this last year as well and no one has ever said a word to them about not promoting their show.

In fact we've listed them on our tradeshow page for free. So there is no issue I have no issue with them or the fact they start a magazine.

Why can't I support Hauntcon because I like the tours they are planning...why in THIS industry does every choice someone makes more specific myself by examined under a microscope or a reason why I'm doing something has something to do with something else.

We are going to Hauntcon because Patti had a GREAT time last year... whether I like or don't like say in this case Leonard has nothing to do with his show. People subscribe to my magazine because of hte information we provide and I'm sure some of those 2000 or so don't like me personally.

I'm not saying I don't like anyone just that Hauntcon tours are EDUCATION because I've seen them myself and its more valuable than ANY seminar because its HANDS ON...

I place a high value on these tours.

There is nothing wrong with that what so ever. Plus the people who run both Universal and Tampa Busch Gardens are friends of mine, and I would do anything to support them. They give up their time and should get some thanks.

Again I'm going to Hauntcon! Hauntworld will be at Hauntcon.

The tours I feel are second to none! Sorry both these shows landed on the same day that isn't my fault. Sorry I have to pick one over the other talk to Leonard talk to Rob or whomever planned it this way. Bottom line is Rich, that I wish we could attend both shows but we can't, since you seem to know Rob make sure he does a better job to keep the two shows on different days next year. Lastly, both shows will have seminars and like I said before some will blow and some will be great and I'm sure the safety seminar will be great and I'm sure there will be seminars at Hauntcon which will be equally good as well. Its give and take and certainly not the reason why someone shoudl go to one over the other. People go to one or the other for the tours. They always have.


04-11-2010, 11:17 PM

You are correct.

As for who designs the Tampa haunts ... Tampa designs all of their haunts themselves. They put bids out sometimes for build out to their own designs.

I know this because we have worked for them. Oak Island has done work for them as have many other companies. They hire several companies and they do a lot of the work themselves.


04-12-2010, 02:03 PM
I'm with Larry on this issue.

I choose shows based on what haunts we get to tour. Thats bottm line. I still pay attention to the seminars also, but it'a not the main purpose. I'm more of a hands-on kind of person.

Also, knowing that HauntCon has the seminars included in the price is a BIG plus. I would be spending enough just to get down there and stay the weekend. I can't afford to dish out the extra $40 or whatever it is per seminar at another show.

It is a shame that these shows are on the same weekend, and I think that can be resolved with good communication between the organizers of each show.

Also, Rich is based out of PA I believe, so naturally, it's much easier to go to NHC.

Im not judgemental at all about NHC. I've never been, and I would like to go some day soon.

But knowing the value that HauntCon has (seminars, tours, and costume ball), Im more inclined to go there.

04-12-2010, 09:57 PM

You are correct.

As for who designs the Tampa haunts ... Tampa designs all of their haunts themselves. They put bids out sometimes for build out to their own designs.

I know this because we have worked for them. Oak Island has done work for them as have many other companies. They hire several companies and they do a lot of the work themselves.


I do believe that Busch farms out the design and planning of their Howl o Scream events to outside contractors. Keith Kaminski out in L.A. is one of their designers, and I believe Advanced Staging Technologies in Orlando does some of their design development as well. Im sure that Busch has entertainment personnel that have control over what they ultimately want to see..

And yes youre right on the fabrication, its mostly all outsourced, with Oak being one of their go-to companies, especially in the past when Oak had a shop in Tampa.

I am excited about this tour at BGT, I have worked on installing some of these haunts and it should be a great time. And NO, haunt tours arent more important than safety, but I dont have a haunt so for me, this is the ticket. I hope to see many of you there.

Scaren Karen
04-13-2010, 12:33 PM
I tend to think Rich is more about NHC here because they massage his gia-normous ego and tell him just how special he thinks he is. That said, it's all about personal preference, nobody should be putting down anybody because they choose one show over the other. We've all had to make choices lately when it comes to how we spend our money. I've never been to NHC, and probably never will. Too many conventions and not enough time. I've never missed a Hauntcon, or a Midwest Haunters Convention, and hope I never will. Both awesome shows!

Scaren Karen

04-13-2010, 05:17 PM
Karen, Rich is a great guy, great haunter. He seems to have opportunities with NHC, nothing wrong with that....


04-14-2010, 11:10 AM
Rich lives in New Jersey so he's a hop stip and a jump away from NHC. If i loved going to haunt shows and I was going to one over another sure I'd want everyone to come as well... it doesn't bother me. The fact is though these events success soley depend on the tours themselves or the proximity you live to the show one or the other and or both.

I think people decided to go in these orders...

1) Transworld: a) VENDORS b) EDUCATION c) TO SEE EVERYONE/FUN d) tours and events

2) Hauntcon: a) TOURS b) proximity c) Education and simple fun d) vendors

3) NHC the same.

These events are about the tours and the fun! So I think in the end a lot of people will choose based on how close they live. If you go to Orlando you get to make a mini vacation out of it plus see Tampa Busch Gardens in the process and some of Universal.


04-14-2010, 01:01 PM
Got anymore photos to share?