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Get Away

Busch Gardens' new beacon beckons

Embark on a ghostly adventure Saturday when R.L. Stine's Haunted Lighthouse 4-D attraction, based on Stine's Goosebumps series of children's books, debuts.

Published May 29, 2003

[Photos: Busch Gardens]
Get in on the action with Mike (Matt Weinberg), Ashley (Sara Paxton) and Cap’n Jack (Christopher Lloyd) in Busch Gardens’ new 4-D attraction.
As Ashley (Sara Paxton) and Mike (Matt Weinberg) get involved with a strange kid (Bobby Edner, right), their experiences become yours. Expect wind in your hair, water on your face -- and a few surprises.

TAMPA - Spooky special effects replace sea creatures Saturday at Busch Gardens as the park unveils its R.L. Stine's Haunted Lighthouse 4-D attraction in the space that held the Dolphins of the Deep show for 22 years.

Stine's story, written just for Busch Gardens, involves vacationing children named Ashley and Mike, who meet a strange kid on a rocky beach. The encounter leads them to a lighthouse and a ghostly adventure.

The 750-seat theater, resembling a typical stadium-seating multiplex, is rigged with speakers and sprays to give more oomph to the 22-minute, 3-D movie based on Stine's Goosebumps series of books for kids.

When the wind blows on the screen, visitors will feel a breeze; when water splashes in the movie, visitors will feel a mist. There are other surprises, too, but Busch Gardens doesn't want to give away all the secrets.

Park spokeswoman Leigh Wallace said the film isn't supposed to be too frightening. It's geared to ages 4 and older. "It's spooky, but not scary," she said. "It's a really fun story, and families are going to enjoy it together."

The film was directed by Joe Dante (Gremlins, Innerspace) and stars Christopher Lloyd and Lea Thompson, veterans of the Back to the Future movies. Michael McKean, who recently had parts in The Guru, Auto Focus and A Mighty Wind, plays Thompson's husband. Daveigh Chase, who was the voice of Lilo in Lilo and Stitch, and Bobby Edner, who will be in Spy Kids 3D: Game Over, are the ghost children.

Sara Paxton plays Ashley. She has parts on TV as a voice on SpongeBob Square Pants and in the TV movie Geppetto. Matt Weinberg, who plays Mike, also is a veteran, most notably with parts in The X Men and The Hot Chick. "Weird Al" Yankovic also makes an appearance.

R.L. Stine's Haunted Lighthouse premiered earlier this month at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, SeaWorld San Diego and SeaWorld San Antonio. Busch Gardens also has renovated the Festhaus restaurant into the Desert Grill with a new show, Jammin', featuring rhythmic dance and percussion in the style of Stomp.

PREVIEW: R.L. Stine's Haunted Lighthouse 4-D opens Saturday at Busch Gardens. Toll-free 1-800-372-1797 or Hours vary, but the park will be open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday. Call or check the Web site for schedule. Single-day admission: $49.95 plus tax adult, $40.95 plus tax ages 3-9.

[Last modified May 28, 2003, 09:58:09]

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