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Has anyone tried using Early Entry at Universal Studios, taking the first Hogwarts Express train to Islands of Adventure, and then joining the Hagrid's line?

 

Normally I'd have no problem getting there early for the new ride, but since there's a decent chance it's closed at opening, this seems like a way to do some rides in the morning and still get to Hagrid's somewhat early.

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^Agreed. I think the newer Intamin lapbars are actually the best steel coaster restraint currently being produced. When comparing overhead lapbars on Taron and Blue Fire, I found the Intamin ones to b

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Halloween Horror Nights 29 - Opening Night Media Event!

 

Theme Park Review was at the opening night media event of Halloween Horror Nights 29 on Friday and with 10 houses, 5 scare zones and two shows, this is a year you don't want to miss! Universal Studios Florida continues their recent trend of not having an "icon" but using an overall theme that weaves throughout the event. They did a deeper dive into the 80s theme this year and it really works and continues to be a crowd pleaser. It isn't just seen in the houses and the scare zones, it is also seen in the merchandise, food, music, etc.

 

This is my 29th year of attending Halloween Horror Nights and the enhancements they keep making each year help to keep it in its slot as the #1 Halloween event in world. I will talk about it a little more in the pictures below, but some of the houses this year BLOW AWAY things they have done in the past. Ghostbusters is light on scares but might be the best house they have EVER done. Yeti, Us and Stranger Things are all probably going to place in my "top 10 houses of all time" list and this years Academy of Villains and the lagoon show really round off the event perfectly!

 

Halloween Horror Nights is really the premiere Halloween event in the country. It goes for a record breaking 41 nights from September 6th through November 2nd this year and features 10 NEW houses, 5 new scarezones, 2 shows and a hoards of chainsaw killers! There are also a great selection of rides open with minimal waits throughout the park. Before we start off with the pictures, just some friendly tips if you are planning on going to the event!

 

- The event officially begins at 6:30pm, but they almost always will open the gate at 6. If you have tickets for the day, do "stay and scream" and get a head start on the crowds running to the mazes.

- If you have only one night and want to try and fit it all in, you will need to get an Express Pass or RIP guided tour. Both are *WELL* worth the money and I have done both many times throughout the years.

- If you have multiple nights then you really should get the "Frequent Fear Pass" - this is a great deal and is basically an "annual pass" for the event. There are different levels of this that include various days and some even include express passes.

- If you are buying a one day ticket, don't pay full gate price. There are MANY discounts out there that are available.

 

Take a look at the TPR video of the Ghostbusters house, I can't wait to do it again!

 

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We started off the evening at Cabana Bay resort, where they are doing a "pop up" Stranger Things event for Universal Studios resort guests.

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Ooooh! I wonder what is up these stairs!

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The photo ops are fun and interactive, this will be very popular this HHN season!

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Anyone want some ice cream?!?!

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We are checked in and ready to go!

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We started off walking through the Anarch-Cade scare zone. It is always fun to see these during the day!

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At night the chainsaws have LEDs on them and look amazing!

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Not gonna lie.. I love the 80s arcade theming. At night these make for perfect nooks for scaractors to hide in!

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Waits can be very long at the beginning of the event!

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Ghostbusters and Stranger Things will be the hot houses, make sure you grab an express pass or plan on coming multiple nights!

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Stacey is NOT happy to meet the Killer Klowns from Outer Space!

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OMG! I love that they have classic arcade machines throughout the media event!

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Hmmm... I wonder what that cake is made out of?!?!?!

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Universal Studios really does a great job of theming their special events!

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The 80s theming even stretches into their "video game" preshow video!

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The Chiodo Bros came out to talk about their Killer Klowns From Outer Space house.

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Priah Ferguson from Stranger Things season 3 was there to talk about Stranger Things.. how cool!

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Time to start off the night with the "Us" house, based on the Jordan Peele movie of the same name.

Edited by disneyfan1313
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Time to check out the rest of the houses!

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The US house was incredibly solid and true to the movie. I can't wait to do this again and again!

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Yeti: Terror of the Yukon was an awesome surprise! It had some amazing scares and atmosphere.

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Sometimes when the main creatures are so big, the scares are limited... but not in this house! They will get you in some really creative ways!

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I really can't say enough about the Ghostbusters house. Perfect blend of atmosphere, lighting, sound, sets, story, audio, etc.

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They do some special effects in this house that I have never seen before.

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The scale of some of these sets are insane. I am really glad it is a soundstage house.

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Stranger Things this year covers seasons two and three in an epic way. They packed so much into this house, it is crazy!

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Not only does it capture the spirit of the show perfectly, there seem to be a lot more scares this year.

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We then ventured into Killer Klowns from Outer Space which is housed in Shrek. These klowns are huge and get you from all angles throughout the house!

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The Vanity Ball scare zone is a fashion show gone wrong, with lots of gruesome plastic surgery and patients who have sacrificed their faces.

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The Vikings Undead scare zone is in the Central Park area and has a few show scenes in addition to some great atmosphere.

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We then checked out this years Academy of Villains show which is much improved from last year. They have a ton of high energy dance numbers and even an amazing contortionist.

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House of 1000 corpses is based on the Rob Zombie movie of the same name and was a big surprise. I had 0 expectations and was really impressed by this creepy and well thought out "bloody" house.

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Nightingales Blood Pit uses these "nightingales" characters we have seen in the past HHN houses and puts them in ancient rome. This is dark and claustrophobic with a lot of good scares.

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Depths of Fear was the one house that was a little disappointing, but I know these things change and improve throughout the course of the event. It seemed a bit repetitive to me, but the atmosphere was top notch.

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Universal Classic Monsters was another top notch house. I love when they play homage to their classic characters and this house manages to fit every single one and weave their stories together in an epic way.

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Our final house of the night was Graveyard Games. The story didn't really translate well into the house, but it was pretty epic! Tons of scares and tons of atmosphere - a really well designed maze!

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Another awesome HHN in the books! I have a frequent fear pass, so I know I will be back many more days this year and I can't wait to see how the houses evolve and change throughout the run! Happy Halloween!

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Thank you for the look into this year's HHN! It looks and sounds epic. I love that they continue to up the ante and top themselves year after year, and I love that each year brings totally new mazes and experiences. Don't think I'll be able to make it down this year, so I really appreciate you all sharing about it so I can at least experience a piece of it vicariously.

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Ok, now that I've gotten over crabbing about the ticketing structure and the reports are going out....I'm getting pretty excited about our trip in a few weeks. So, seeking input from those of you that are veteran HHN attendees:

 

We have tickets for both a Sat and Sun night with express passes for both. I understand the stay and scream option but cannot say I'm thrilled about being stuck in one area when we could go out to city walk and/or back to the hotel for a little break. Also, would rather wait until it's full dark. My experience at Halloween events is that they kind of take on a silly, less than scary vibe in the daylight. Not a criticism to those that like it, just my opinion. We spent the money for two nights just so we wouldn't have to run around frantically to get all the mazes in and could relax and enjoy the atmosphere, have time for the shows, shop a little, do a few rides, etc etc.

 

Are we ok on getting it all in over two nights if we wait and show up an hour or so into the event or are we just shooting ourselves in the foot? I get that the express passes at this won't be 5 minute walk ups. I was kind of thinking we might do that on the first night and then depending on how much we got in, utilize stay and scream the second night. Any opinions? Or am I just overthinking the whole thing?

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Wait and show up. You have express for both nights right? The houses I saw that had the longest waits (over the last 3 nights) were ghostbusters and Stranger Things. I would say you can wait until 8 to come in and still do all the houses with express pass. I had express and did all the houses before 11 each night and that wasn't even marathon-ing them.

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Ok, now that I've gotten over crabbing about the ticketing structure and the reports are going out....I'm getting pretty excited about our trip in a few weeks. So, seeking input from those of you that are veteran HHN attendees:

 

We have tickets for both a Sat and Sun night with express passes for both. I understand the stay and scream option but cannot say I'm thrilled about being stuck in one area when we could go out to city walk and/or back to the hotel for a little break. Also, would rather wait until it's full dark. My experience at Halloween events is that they kind of take on a silly, less than scary vibe in the daylight. Not a criticism to those that like it, just my opinion. We spent the money for two nights just so we wouldn't have to run around frantically to get all the mazes in and could relax and enjoy the atmosphere, have time for the shows, shop a little, do a few rides, etc etc.

 

Are we ok on getting it all in over two nights if we wait and show up an hour or so into the event or are we just shooting ourselves in the foot? I get that the express passes at this won't be 5 minute walk ups. I was kind of thinking we might do that on the first night and then depending on how much we got in, utilize stay and scream the second night. Any opinions? Or am I just overthinking the whole thing?

 

If you have express passes you will 100% be OK showing up a little later. Also, once it gets past midnight the waits start to drop pretty dramatically so it's a really good time to go through some houses a second time!

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Thanks guys, that's pretty much what I figured. Figured the cost of express passes both nights would be worth the freedom it brings. My son watched Zombieland for the first time last night and totally loved it!

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Since I'll be at Islands of Adventure in two weeks, I've been keeping an eye on Hagrid's queue. I think today may be a new low. It's already "At Capacity" 5 hours before closing. I know it always closes early, but that's stunning on a weekday.

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We had a trip planned next month to go and ride it. We ended up buying Disney tickets instead after keeping an eye on queue times for a week or two. This is a cluster.

Edited by coasterbill
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People have said even though the App states that, they were still letting people in the queue. It's a gamble and a risk I say.

 

Unbelievable transparency.

 

I know we're going to wait forever, but we're just getting in line around noon. We're not joining the masses in the morning since it always seems to have a delayed opening (unless the app lies then too) and now it could close as early as 3:30.

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Canobie, please let us know how it goes with the line. We will be there less than a week after you and while the main purpose of our trip is to do HHN for the first time, we certainly do want to get on Hagrid's as long as we are there. Trying to decide if we need to get up early which is not attractive with the late HHN nights or just get there when we get there and take our chances.

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Thanks for the info, we are staying at the Royal Pacific so can totally use the resort entrance. I was kinda wondering in case we run over to IOA to see the new Hogwarts Dark Arts show and then want to get back in to HHN quick, but not a big deal.

 

I think since we have tickets to HHN for Sat and Sun night as well as express pass for both and based on advice here, we are going to take a short hotel break and have a relaxed meal at citywalk on Sat and go back in for HHN about 7:30 or 8 when it's nice and dark and the atmosphere is better. If we really don't get many houses in we can always use the stay and scream the next night.

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To be fair, there’s nothing uncommon about this. Griffon closes for wasps almost daily this time of year, Dollywood has a well known bee problem and even Nitro briefly closed for bees a few weeks ago before they remembered that they were Six Flags and decided to run the ride anyway because Nitro stops for nothing.

 

Boldikus and I blew through the Virginia bee convention on the top of Apollo’s Chariot on Sunday too. Brit and his SO wisely sat that one out.

Edited by coasterbill
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