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History Center gives guests a behind the scenes look at Universal Orlando

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“The Serious Art of Make-Believe” is a limited-time exhibition at The Orange County Regional History Center, which goes behind the scenes in Universal’s Art and Design Department. The exhibit runs until April 29, 2012.

More than 200 original detailed drawings, architectural plans and models are among the 1,000 pieces of artwork and artifacts from the resort’s signature annual events including Halloween Horror Nights, Mardi Gras and their holiday extravaganzas.

Full-size props such as the Terra Queen’s motorcycle from Halloween Horror Nights 2005, and the “Gog” pumpkin will allow visitors to get an up-close view of the detail that Universal uses for its events. This behind the scenes experience also includes artwork, scale models and costumes from some of Universal’s most popular productions.

The exhibition ends in the “Art and Design Director’s office” where you can become part of the creative team. Two drafting tables with hands-on activities provide a chance to learn from the experts. For young visitors, there are designs to trace and line art to color; for older children and adults, an instructional video with art and design scenic designer Kim Gromoll shows visitors how to sketch and then invites them to try their hand at drawing something of their own.

There are a few special events planned during the exhibit:

“Artists & Authors Series” – Meet the creative team from Universal Orlando. A reception and dinner with the Art & Design team members is followed by a panel discussion which includes a question and answer session. The dinner begins at 6 p.m. on Dec. 8 at a cost of $50 for History Center Members and $65 for non-members. Call 407-836-7010 for reservations.

A Meet & Greet with the Art and Design Team from Universal Orlando Resort will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. on Dec. 11. This informal meet and greet is included with general admission and allows guests to meet the creative team from Universal Studios. The team will be on hand to answer questions about their artwork and explain what it is like to produce Universal’s signature events.

The History Center is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. General admission is $9, seniors (60+), students and military with I.D. $7, and children ages 5 to 12 $6. Historical Society Members and children ages 4 and under are free. Parking is available at the adjacent Orlando Public Library garage on Central Blvd. For general information, call (407) 836-8500 or visit thehistorycenter.org

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