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Universal Studios Hollywood (USH) Discussion Thread

P. 119: Super Nintendo World opening February 17th, 2023!

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How busy is HHN on opening night/weekend? I work at Knotts Scary Farm so opening weekend is the only time I can catch HHN since it starts a week before Knotts. Who has actually been opening night or opening weekend?


It will probably sell out since it's the cheapest night.

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I'm heading to Southern California in a few days for a couple of occasions and to see friends and relatives. Of course, I do what I can to squeeze in some parks. Although my temptation to ride Twisted Colossus is huge, I visited Magic Mountain only a few years ago and the park geographically stretches my itinerary a bit too thin. USH is the only LA-area park I haven't visited yet, so I've made it my choice for the trip. I'll be going before Horror Nights kicks in, which I'd love to take in for the atmosphere, but hopefully I'll be able to dodge those crowds while still getting the chance to enjoy the primary attractions. In addition, I'll be revisiting Belmont and Sea World for the first time in years, which should be good fun.


I'll leaf through the thread for tips instead of pouncing with the usual Qs, but if someone has important advice, I'm happy to listen. I'm not sure what kind of picture-taking opportunities I'll have, but I look forward to letting everyone in on my review/report when I get back in a few weeks!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Last week, TPR was invited to Universal Studios Hollywood for a Halloween Horror Nights maze walk-through with Creative Director John Murdy. We visited two of their anticipated mazes: Halloween: Michael Myers Comes Home and Insidious: Return To The Further. These mazes we toured were mostly completed, and it was fascinating to see the mazes out of operation with time to appreciate the rich level of detail.


Before we get to the pictures, we would like to give a very big "thank you" to our Social Media Coordinator Gail, Creative Director John Murdy, and the Universal Studios Hollywood team for their hospitality and for giving us this incredible sneak peek of their ever-growing Halloween event! Stay tuned later this week as Theme Park Review will be covering the opening night of this event!


For event details visit:



Welcome back to the Entertainment Capital of LA!


Creative Director John Murdy welcomes us to our first stop, Halloween: Michael Myers Comes Home


Maze description: October 31st, 1963 is a day that will forever haunt the small town of Haddonfield, Illinois. That's the night a six-year-old boy named Michael Myers inexplicably stabbed his sister to death. The family house where the murder took place has sat abandoned all these years, the source of endless tales about "The Boogeyman" Michael Myers. The local children believe the house is haunted.. they may be right. Welcome to Halloween: Michael Myers Comes Home, a terrifying new haunted attraction based on the classic movie that spawned an entire genre of Horror. Return to the town of Haddonfield on Halloween night, the night "he came back" to take his bloody revenge. Michael Myers is waiting for you in the dark, relentlessly stalking you at every turn. Let's follow John inside!


John not only gave us a tour of the mazes, but described the entire creative process and how elements such as costumes, lighting, audio, and most importantly the scare actors work together to create a seamless and fully immersive experience for the Guests. Here, he shows us a hiding place for a Scare Actor and how their part contributes to this scene.


John tasked his set dressing team to recreate Halloween decorations from the 70's. They did a great job with the graphic design of the exterior decorations!


John Murdy and his team wanted to bring Michael back to the event, but with a big change that primarily focuses on the classic line “You can’t kill the Boogeyman.” The Halloween maze from 2009 featured the 1963 version of the family house, but this year’s version features the house in 1970 which is now abandoned and still for sale.


More maze detail.


Poor Mama...


You won't get to see Michael Myers himself until a bit further into the maze; the first half helps set up the story, and Michael is waiting for you a bit further in. But then, he will almost be following you the rest of the way through.


Just remember: "You can't kill the Boogeyman."


Moving to the Lower Lot for Insidious: Return To The Further, we were excited to see the park’s 2nd crack at this film franchise after previous great success.

Maze description: The Further is a world far beyond our own, yet it's all around us - a place without time as we know it. It's a dark realm filled with the tortured souls of the dead. A place not meant for the living... they crave life; the chance to live again. But there are other entities who are malevolent and have a more insidious agenda. A new threat has crossed over from that world into ours, a threat that does not merely seek to possess the souls of the living but to steal the living back to their world of shadows and keep them there for eternity. To face this new threat, we are going to have to confront the demons where they live; we are going to have to Return to The Further! Welcome to Insidious: Return the Further, a terrifying journey into the paranormal based on all three chapters of the Insidious saga. Keep a steady stride, into The Further you go!


Murdy explained to us that one of the most iconic visual elements in the films is the low lying fog that is found in the Further. Dry ice is traditionally used to create this effect, but would not be practical for this 27 night event. The USH team has done research on a more cost-effect way to still create this effect and they believe it will be successful!


Unlike the Séance scene from the previous maze taking place in the living room, this time the Séance is held in Dalton's Room. Projections will be used in this scene to bridge our two worlds.


Pegged to be an incredible special effect, you will be walking down a hallway only to have it disappear and find yourself standing in the middle of the Further! We can't wait to see this effect in action!


More detail.


John futher explains the training process of the Scare Actors and how they mentally prepare to repeat the same action hundreds of times a night to ensure a consistent guest experience throughout the entire run of the event. These scare actors work very hard!



Everyone gets to go into the closet!


Once again, a big thank you to John Murdy, Gail, and the USH team for inviting us to their open house tour! We can't wait to see these mazes and more in action starting this Friday!

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I got my tickets for Sunday, September 27 for HHN. It'll be my first time ever going to this event at Universal. Do you guys think it'll be really crowded? I'm planning on getting there very early, but I want to know if it'll still be possible to hit all the mazes and the terror tram without a front of the line pass. Also, what's the best order to hit the mazes and attractions there?

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The kids had the Friday before Labor Day off from school, so I ended up taking them to USH for the first time. I grew up going to the park but I hadn't been there in at least 15 years, so it was almost like a new park for me. We got there a few minutes before the 9am opening and headed straight to the Minion ride, which we walked right on. Then we headed down to the lower lot per the advice on here. Everything on the lower lot was a walk on and we ended up doing all of those attractions twice. The Mummy coaster was lots of fun, although I wish it was a little bit of a longer ride. Jurassic Park is still a great water ride and I actually came out of my seat a little bit on the drop. But I have to say that Transformers was pretty incredible, easily the best ride at the park and the best dark/3D ride I've ever been on. We also got the meet Megatron, which my son really got a kick out of. As we were waiting in line, Megatron was mocking people and it was actually pretty funny.


We headed back up the escalators (which seemed really slow to me) and got in line for the Studio Tour. The wait time said 25 min and it ended up being about a 20 min wait. I really liked how the attraction wait times were posted outside each attraction and then on boards around the park. I found the wait times to be pretty accurate, if anything, our actual waits were slightly less than the posted times. The Studio Tour is a lot shorter than I remember it, but I'm glad that they kept some of the classic parts (Jaws, flood scene, earthquake, etc) and it's not all 3D stuff. It's a shame that the King Kong attraction burned down, the replacement 3D attraction is just kinda meh. My kids were totally fooled during the earthquake attraction though. My daughter started freaking out a bit, so I had to break down and tell her it was part of the tour and not real. The Fast & Furious finale was really well done and probably the best part of the tour. My son was very excited for it (he was wearing his F&F shirt he got at Citywalk the night before) and it didn't disappoint. We also got a pic with wax Vin Diesel and his car later in the day.


We spent the rest of the day exploring Springfield and watching the shows. Universal did an amazing job with Springfield and we enjoyed eating at Krusty Burger and hanging out at the Kwik E Mart. And yes, we did eat one of the giant pink Homer donuts and it was delicious! The Simpsons ride was the longest wait of the day at 30 min, but the old Back to the Future ride system still delivers a fun experience. I kinda wish it was still BTTF, but it made sense to update it to go along with the Springfield makeover. The shows were all entertaining, although they really could use another one. The park used to have a wild west stunt show that was pretty good, it's too bad they did away with it. Waterworld was still great though and packed in a huge crowd. My kids couldn't believe it when the plane came flying in and blew up. The Shrek 4D show was just ok and really seemed dated compared with the other attractions.


The park closed at 6pm that day, but we were finished with everything by 5:30pm. We did Minions/Simpsons/Shrek/Studio Tour 1x, Mummy/Jurassic/Transformers 2x, and then each of the shows once. It looked like most of the exterior for Harry Potter was finished as was the track for the Hippogriff coaster. USH really needs a few more attractions, so the addition of Harry Potter should really round out the park nicely. Overall, my kids had a great first experience at the park and we'll probably be back next year for Harry Potter.


Meeting Megatron was one of the highlights for my son. He was surprisingly very funny.


No trip to Springfield is complete without meeting Bart "Eat My Shorts" Simpson


Trying to look tough with Dominic Toretto and his Charger

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I got my tickets for Sunday, September 27 for HHN. It'll be my first time ever going to this event at Universal. Do you guys think it'll be really crowded? I'm planning on getting there very early, but I want to know if it'll still be possible to hit all the mazes and the terror tram without a front of the line pass. Also, what's the best order to hit the mazes and attractions there?

Defiantly get in during early entrance. You'll miss the opening ceremony but you'll be done with a maze before everyone gets in. Once in immediately go to the backlot for AVP and Crimson Peak. After that do everything on the lower lot (The Walking Dead,Insidious,This is the End) including the rides(Transformers,Jurasic Park,The Mummy). After this you'll only have to do Halloween and Terror Tram. I would leave The Simpsons and Despicable Me to the end if you have time. Hope this helps!

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I'm intrigued by the Insidious maze's "corridor effect" in which you find yourself entering another dimension--sounds cool if they can pull it off.

This really intrigued me too! I loved the Insidious movies (I own the first one) and seeing this maze really makes me want to go to HHN this year! I might have to reconsider my plans now...

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Cool! And how does early entry work, exactly? Do they let you through the main gate entrance? Or is there a special entrance we have to go through? Cause I definitely want to take advantage of this.


Show up early (opens at 5pm) and follow the signs.

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Halloween Horror Nights 2015 started last night, meaning the Halloween season is finally here! Was a fun night as usual, I thought Halloween was amazing, the performers and production design were great. Really enjoyed Crimson Peak as well, the set design was incredible! Loved the Terror Tram this year, probably one of the favorite versions of it they've done. There were a few moments where I thought to myself "Wow, this is actually mildly disturbing." Which is great, I've sort of thought it was lacking the last few years, I'm glad to see they've put the work into it to make it a highlight again. Scarezones were all around really good this year, Dark Christmas is still a favorite. Jabbawockeez was ok, it's very high production but I was sort of expecting a big "oh wow" moment which never really came. Still pretty decent, I'd say check it out if you're there. Overall, another good year of HHN, will definitely be back!


Check out the photos and videos:


We're here for HHN grand opening!


Got our press badges and we're ready to go!



Still one of my favorite scarezones.


How did Harold get to Universal?? BTW Anyone recognize which maze the frozen lady was originally from?


Very festive!




Highlight of HHN! ;)





Couldn't agree more. ;)






First maze of the night!


Facade looks great!








Corpz was a really cool scarezone, war torn battlefields are always creepy.



Going into the Further!







Visiting James Franco's house!


In 3DDDDD!!!



Yes, there is an Emma Watson scareactor!








Honestly seeing some of these scenes performed live was actually pretty hilarious!


Terror Tram!


Was a pretty light night by HHN standards.


Purge Party...sounds legit!




This lady loves the word fabulous...I guess it's better than suuuuper. ;)


We were greeted by some welcoming looking people.






We found Log Bunny! (The unoffical mascot of Terror Tram)


Checking this out.



Pretty high production.





Lots of audience participation.








The crowd loved it.






Obligatory construction wall shot.


Trams are back this year to transport people to the backlot mazes.



Oh and the Purge is going on here too.







Loved the way these building look during HHN.


Loved this maze!








AVP...still solid.









Edited by DallasAlvey
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kind of a dumb question for anyone who frequents USH. i bought a sports bottle last i went. i know it was 99 cent refills for the first day. does the sports bottle basically become useless after that first day? or is there some kind of discount after?

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