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Universal Studios Hollywood (USH) Discussion Thread

P. 118: "The Horrors of Blumhouse" HHN house announced!

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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?

 

Supposedly it's 99-cent refills day of purchase only, but from what I was told when I bought mine at Krusty Burger, you can get it refilled on return visits for $3.19 or $3.49 or whatever the price of a regular drink is currently. Funny enough, the first time I tried using mine after that first visit, they still gave me the refill for $0.99...but maybe the cashier was just being nice (I went back to Krusty Burger). I wasn't asked for a receipt- I just said that I'd like to order a refill, showed the cup, and I was only charged $0.97 (this was the price after applying the 10% AP discount). So I'm not counting on being able to get $0.99 refills in the future, because I figured I just got lucky that day. But yes, according to the Team Member at Krusty Burger who I bought the bottle from, you can do refills for the price of a regular drink on return visits. Of course, sometimes you get false info from the front lines though, so I'll take this with a grain of salt for now.

 

On the subject, I hate that they got rid of the normal $0.99 refills! I bought my first souvenir bottle in 2011, and was able to use it for $0.99 refills when they were still offered regularly (meaning you could get them anytime on all future visits without a day-of proof of purchase) without any issues up until Springfield opened. I can understand why they did this though- the lines at all the food venues already got crazy long before Springfield, so I'm sure guests waiting in line for only refills didn't help. I was told that this is also why the all-you-can-eat wristband was discontinued a few years back. Before Transformers opened, they used to offer this deal where you could dine all-day at select locations, and it was great! But it was discontinued right before Transformers opened because they were expecting larger crowds, and so they needed tables to turnover faster for the influx of crowds they were about to receive. Again, this is what I was told from a front line team member at the time, but it makes sense. I miss these cheap food and drink deals, but I guess it's the price we're paying for a bigger and better USH!

 

I'm sure Joey (Jew) might be able to give more insight though!

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In past years, to encourage people to attend the first showing of Bill & Ted, you would be given a pass that would get you to the front of the line of a single maze in the lower lot. Anyone know if they're doing similar for the first showing of Jabbawockeez?

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No. Early entry offers a 6:15 show if you want to see it without worrying about being turned away. Exits right out by the escalators so you can head down to the lower lot right after and jump in another maze line before it gets too crazy.

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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?

 

Supposedly it's 99-cent refills day of purchase only, but from what I was told when I bought mine at Krusty Burger, you can get it refilled on return visits for $3.19 or $3.49 or whatever the price of a regular drink is currently. Funny enough, the first time I tried using mine after that first visit, they still gave me the refill for $0.99...but maybe the cashier was just being nice (I went back to Krusty Burger). I wasn't asked for a receipt- I just said that I'd like to order a refill, showed the cup, and I was only charged $0.97 (this was the price after applying the 10% AP discount). So I'm not counting on being able to get $0.99 refills in the future, because I figured I just got lucky that day. But yes, according to the Team Member at Krusty Burger who I bought the bottle from, you can do refills for the price of a regular drink on return visits. Of course, sometimes you get false info from the front lines though, so I'll take this with a grain of salt for now.

 

On the subject, I hate that they got rid of the normal $0.99 refills! I bought my first souvenir bottle in 2011, and was able to use it for $0.99 refills when they were still offered regularly (meaning you could get them anytime on all future visits without a day-of proof of purchase) without any issues up until Springfield opened. I can understand why they did this though- the lines at all the food venues already got crazy long before Springfield, so I'm sure guests waiting in line for only refills didn't help. I was told that this is also why the all-you-can-eat wristband was discontinued a few years back. Before Transformers opened, they used to offer this deal where you could dine all-day at select locations, and it was great! But it was discontinued right before Transformers opened because they were expecting larger crowds, and so they needed tables to turnover faster for the influx of crowds they were about to receive. Again, this is what I was told from a front line team member at the time, but it makes sense. I miss these cheap food and drink deals, but I guess it's the price we're paying for a bigger and better USH!

 

I'm sure Joey (Jew) might be able to give more insight though!

 

thanks, seems like it would just be a better deal depending on how many refills you get to just buy another and get 99 cent refills.

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Last night was my first ever visit to Halloween Horror Nights. Obviously, it raises the bar for other haunts as the mazes are unparalleled. A quick overview:

 

We arrived for early entry to knock out a couple of rides before the mazes opened, hitting The Mummy (pretty fun) and Transformers (our first time on it). Transformers was very impressive, but not having seen any of the films, I had no clue what was going on. I suspect storylines are peripheral to Michael Bay films though, and I was more engrossed with the projections' syncing to movement. Fun ride with great tech, and I spent our second ride on it paying more attention to the ride system itself.

 

After that, we hit the mazes in this order: Walking Dead, Insidious, The Purge, Crimson Peak, AVP, Terror Tram, This is the End, and Halloween. We managed to complete everything in about three hours as the lines were all around 10-30 mins. Later in the night, some of the mazes bumped up to 60 mins, but all in all, the crowd size was just right. Jurassic and Transformers were around 10 mins all night, and The Mummy hovered around 30 mins.

 

Walking Dead: Immersive and gruesome, but also quite funny. I'm not familiar with the TV show, but zombie narratives don't take much explanation. Lots of great jumps, clever designs, and good effects throughout. Very good.

 

Insidious: One of the two best mazes in the park, for us. Again, unfamiliar with the narrative, but the actors in the maze were exceptional and lightning fast. They'd get right in your face but were gone before you could make out what it was. The maze itself was very clever with a number of genuinely unsettling scenes (especially one in which you had to walk through a number of static monsters, not knowing which would animate). Excellent on all levels.

 

The Purge: There were two versions of this — the other being the terror tram. Again, not familiar with the narrative (I'm a major horror fan, but not too familiar with the blockbusters), but it seemed to be a dystopian environment with a ton of fog and light effects. The actors (not monsters here, it seems — just people in masks) were, again, very good. I guess this would be a scare zone, but one that you were forced to naviagte.

 

Crimson Peak: This had the one of the longest lines all night (about 30 mins when we went through). Hard to figure out the story as the film hasn't come out yet, but the set design was fantastic and the creatures looked great. It wasn't very scary though. The jumps were there, but the maze was more open than the others, and you could see where the actors were well in advance. It was all about the set, but as far as scare factors go, it was the weakest maze of the night.

 

AVP: Excellent, and the maze most enjoyed by our group. Amazing sets and costumes with excellent scares throughout. There were a number of tag-team scares in which an Alien would lunge out at you followed by a Predator from another angle. Genuinely terrifying from start to finish.

 

This is the End: A sort of 3D glow maze that looks like a combination of funhouse and office building. Had no idea what was going on, but there were some cool blacklight monsters and spinning effects and whatnot. While it felt elaborate, it seemed that it was designed to feel a bit cheesy as well — more like a low-budget walkthrough. Odd but entertaining.

 

Terror Tram: A little bummed that all the usual tram events were ditched, but this was fun as well. Basically an extended version of The Purge from the other side of the park with a close-up walk through of the sets. More like a guided scare zone than anything.

 

Halloween: The longest line all night and we waited 50 minutes for it. The queue was good due to the familiar soundtrack and the repeat stabbing of the woman in the house's window. The maze itself looked very good, but was a tad short compared to the others. Some strong ideas throughout, but we all found it to be a step-down from the other mazes overall.

 

We skipped the shows (not a fan of shows in general), and the scare zones on the top-level were okay, but nothing fantastic. At the end of the night, many of the monsters congregated around the exit which was fun. Overall, a great night that really sets the bar high. It certainly met all my expectations, although I suspect that having more familiarity with the films would benefit. AVP was the clear winner, closely followed by Insidious. The weakest mazes for us were Halloween and Crimson Peak, but the sets of both were very good. Although I'd hate to be at the event when it gets really busy (I can't imagine you'd be able to get into all the mazes), last night served as the perfect introduction.

Edited by Arthur_Seaton
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This is the End: A sort of 3D glow maze that looks like a combination of funhouse and office building. Had no idea what was going on, but there were some cool blacklight monsters and spinning effects and whatnot. While it felt elaborate, it seemed that it was designed to feel a bit cheesy as well — more like a low-budget walkthrough. Odd but entertaining.

 

I haven't seen the movie in a while, but a 3D glow maze isn't what I expected when this got announced. Weird.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've visited HHN about 4 times thanks to my Frequent Fear Pass, and I've been using early entry nearly every time. While I do enjoy the system of giving out wristbands and letting HHN guests mingle as the regular guests exit, it seems like it'd be a recipe for abuse. I mean, it appears that if you just had a regular admission, and waited long enough, you could find yourself in HHN without much effort (they stop checking wristbands at 7pm). Are they experiencing any of these problems, or do the problems outweigh the benefits of much easier crowd management of HHN guests?

 

I'm not suggesting this as an idea, but at the same time, if it is causing any sort of problems, it makes me wonder how it could be addressed later on.

 

I'm also curious if anyone has heard any feedback about the Jabbawockeez show, and if it's getting positive guest response. Whenever I pass by the stage, the queue seems pretty full, so I'm guessing it's drawing in people.

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I'm also curious if anyone has heard any feedback about the Jabbawockeez show, and if it's getting positive guest response. Whenever I pass by the stage, the queue seems pretty full, so I'm guessing it's drawing in people.

 

Well they did the Nae Nae with the crowd so... who could resist?

 

 

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You can't just "wait long enough" in a theme park and magically get to stick around.

 

I almost don't know why not. Again, I'm not actually suggesting anyone actually try it--I've already bought and paid for my frequent fear pass. But that said, every time I've gone in with early entry, I feel like I'm seeing a ton of regular park guests all the way up to 6:30 and beyond, and I don't really see anyone stopping them or pushing them out. Granted, they clear out the areas around the scare zones. They hang out at the tables around the plaza (just outside the scare zones), the stores, or are going up/down the escalators. I've also seen people just hanging around the bathrooms outside the Animal Actors stage, and, well, just about any seating area.

 

It's entirely possible the park is being diligent about getting them out, but I've really yet to witness it. That's why I'm asking, to see if anyone else has witnessed it. To me, it seems like a regular park guest could find themselves at HHN without much difficulty. And if that's the case, it seems like something management would need to address.

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This year I was dissapointed with the event. I attended on the 2nd night opening weekend. Used the early entry, which works ok. Although we apparently diid not show up early enough, still waited 1. 3 hours to entrr the Walking Dead, an apt metaphor. Having seen the previous versions of this maze, very little to recommend about this one. Yes it is long, but sparsely decorated with not enough actors to fill the space. One section was just simply a long dark hallway with nothing in it.

 

Entered Transformed. Ride ops at entrance did not bother to tell anyone it was broken down. That is horrible customer service. So we reach the loading platform, wait about 15 to get on, not bad, but it breaks down mid ride. They have a code word the give you to come back and use gate A.

 

Halloween I enjoyed, a few good scenes. This is the end, a failure. Knotts has been doing 3d mazes forever now. Universal can't figure it out.

 

The only good surprise was Crimson Peak the maze, at least it was visually interesting. Avp is still bland, which is too bad, because the costumes are amazing.

 

The Purge is far and away the cheapest theme I can think of for the Terror Tram. And to add another layer of bad operations, they shut off fast and the furious! Our dissapointing garbage tram drove right by the entrance. And of course, they cheap out by closing Shrek, and shutting down the despicable me funland.

 

This was my last year attending, just too many bad ops and bad customer service.

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And of course, they cheap out by closing Shrek, and shutting down the despicable me funland.

 

I suppose you get mad that Knott's closes Camp Snoopy for Haunt?

 

Shrek has never been open for HHN (it's queue always housed a maze until Potter). Super Silly Fun Land wasn't open last year either, because, let's be real...It's a children's area.

 

And to add another layer of bad operations, they shut off fast and the furious! Our dissapointing garbage tram drove right by the entrance.

 

The Terror Tram has never included any of the normal Studio Tour attractions....

Edited by Jew
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The Terror Tram has never included any of the normal Studio Tour attractions....

 

Actually, they did include Fast & Furious for one weekend--I think the second weekend. I even got an email from Universal promoting it. However, apparently, it didn't work out (I heard trams were very backed up), so they stopped.

 

And in past years, the Terror Tram did include a stop through the Mummy tunnel.

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So I've been wanting to post a mini-TR from last week and just haven't had time yet to post it.

 

First timer's experience at Horror Nights!!!

 

So basically the only haunts I'd ever done was CGA, SFDK and SFMM. I finally decided this year that I was ready to do Knott's, and the literal night before we left for SoCal, my friend and I were like, "Hey, wanna go to Horror Nights tomorrow?"

 

We drove down together and made it just in time for early entry. Another friend I met at West Coast Bash (and haunt veteran) was meeting us later and could get us to skip some of the lines. We found out Insidious and Walking Dead were open for early entry but had no idea where to go, so we followed the crowd and ended up getting in line for Insidious, not realizing how quickly the line would move. Before we knew it, we were walking through our first-ever Horror Nights maze!

 

Insidious was absolutely the most terrifying thing I had ever done, there were just so many scare actors coming out from seemingly nowhere and it was unlike any haunt either of us had ever done. We left the maze and looked at each other and were just like, "WTF just happened??"

 

But we weren't done yet, so we did Walking Dead. Then accidentally got in the tram line and found ourselves at Crimson Peak, then AVP, then back up for the Terror Tram (walk-on) just after the park opened. Insidious was by far the scariest but all of them were terrifying and amazingly well done. I had never screamed so much in my life!

 

We ended up doing all of the haunts twice except for This is the End and Halloween (ran out of time for a 2nd trip in Halloween) and we did all of the major rides once as well and saw Jabbawockeez. Between it being a Thursday night earlier in the month and my friend getting skip the line passes, we didn't have to wait very long for anything!

 

Our favorites in order from best to worst: Insidious, Crimson Peak, Halloween, AvP, Walking Dead, Terror Tram, This is the End.

 

I had watched a lot of the TPR videos of these mazes so kind of knew some of the scares, but it was still just so ridiculously insane to be there in person! We left as instant Horror Nights fans and now I want to visit every year!

 

Here are some pictures we took

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Why are you all just standing there while I'm getting murdered?

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This is the End! Not that great of a maze in our opinion...

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About to be terrified by Insidious!

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Terror Tram! Or should I say, effort walk?? Not that much terror and not that much tram!

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OMG I can't believe we went to Horror Nights!!

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I'm way too happy for this photo

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Jabbawockeez! Good show because we got to do the Nae-Nae with them! ;)

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UNIVERSAL!! It had been a while for both of us!

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In line for something and very excited to be at Horror Nights!

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Terror Tram selfie!

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OMG is someone getting murdered?!?

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This reminded me of Lost and I loved it!

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Something very eerie about strung up bodies...

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Jabbawockeez!

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Oooh pretty!

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I immediately recognized what movie this was from and I sooo wish I could have done this maze!

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The Terror Tram has never included any of the normal Studio Tour attractions....

 

Actually, they did include Fast & Furious for one weekend--I think the second weekend. I even got an email from Universal promoting it. However, apparently, it didn't work out (I heard trams were very backed up), so they stopped.

 

And in past years, the Terror Tram did include a stop through the Mummy tunnel.

 

I should clarify that I meant to say that the Terror Tram has never advertised that tour attractions were included aside from the test you mentioned. It wasn't ever mentioned as being open the week he visited (along with the other attractions he complained about), so it's a flawed argument IMO.

 

Nobody cares about the Mummy tunnel, so I didn't count that...

 

In any case...

 

here's my reviews:

 

Overall, it feels like the quality of the scenic keeps getting better, but the scares keep getting more generic with few exceptions. The other thing that stands out about HHN is that the mazes don't really have grand finales (except for AVP & Halloween).

 

-Hallowen: my personal favorite. Great homage to the movies with a nice ending. The scene with Dr. Loomis was pretty cool.

 

-Walking Dead: Really Long. I don't watch Walking Dead, so I don't understand the story. However, I will say that the maze was full of monsters.

 

-This is the End: I thought the 3D was done well, but the maze really just couldn't decide what it wanted to be. Funny or scary? If you've seen the movie, it makes a lot more sense and you really laugh at the references. The Demon costume looks cool, but the scare is repetitive. It still turned out a lot better than I thought, but lacks the "wow" factor because it's a mix of funny and scary instead of going all in on either theme. The Heaven scene was great.

 

-Insidious: Again, I haven't seen the movie so I don't know the story. But the use of scrims in this maze is awesome. Couple of great scares too. Probably the most innovative maze HHN has done so far in terms of FX.

 

-Crimson Peak: the best looking maze HHN has done. Very beautiful gothic sets. Very basic scares though.

 

-AVP: Stunning costumes and puppets, but a 100% repeat of last year.

 

-Terror Tram: Needs a 100% overhaul. It's the same thing every single year. I really hope they can find a new route to take in the future. I wish they'd also include something for the trip back like they did the first year with the director putting a body in a wood chipper.

Edited by Jew
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These nights are being billed as an "after party" featuring more entertainment:

 

 

Special fan meet and greets with the Jabbawockeez

Intense choreography, jaw dropping stunts and spectacular illusions of Academy of Villains.

Distinctive sounds by innovative drummer/percussionist Ricky Rocks joined by DJ Nel and other surprise guests.

Mesmerizing sights and beats of the Rhythm Extreme illuminated drummers

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The extension is interesting to me. I wonder how much demand there'll be the week after Halloween, especially since I would think most will have gotten their visits in by now / already purchased tickets for this weekend and that of the 31st.

 

Tickets look pretty cheap for the two additional nights. I may try to go on one of them and hope for lesser crowds!

Edited by TopThrill182
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