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Halloween Events: Knott's Or Universal?

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Even thought they are similar events, they are very different.


How do you explain this? Hmm...the Knott's event is easily the best event done with a "Theme Park Budget" whereas the Universal event is the best event done with a "Movie Studio Budget."


The basis of both are the same - build a bunch of haunted houses, scare a lot of people, put on a few shows.


My person opinion is that I prefer the big budget feel of the Universal event and I like the fact that ALL the mazes each year are brand new.


Knott's on the other hand will have 10 or so mazes, with usually only one or two of them being new for that year, and all the other mazes being re-hashes of previous years. Last time I went to Knott's haunt in 2002, there were mazes still lingering around from 1998.


Universal builds most of their mazes in large sound stages that have controlled enviornments that lend themselves well for building a haunted house.


Knott's builds most of their mazes by either converting current ride or building structures (bumper car building, Jaguar queue, etc) or turning an outdoor area into a maze. While Universal does this with some of their mazes too, the majority of them are built in sound stages or large buildings created specifically for haunt mazes.


Universal seems to use newer technology, like the compressed air cannons and the bungee jumpers whereas Knott's uses a lot of 'traditional' props like shaker cans.


Universal has the chainsaw guys, Knott's doesn't. Knott's has the 'sliders', Universal doesn't.


Universal has the Bill & Ted show, Knott's has the hanging. Personally, I thought the last versions of both of these I saw sucked.


Universal has Mummy, Hulk, Dragons (on some nights) and Spider-Man, Knott's has XLR8R, Bullet, and GhostRider.


Universal gets HUGE lines for the mazes, but not too bad for the rides, Knott's gets HUGE lines for the mazes AND the rides. Universal does seem to have the better crowd control of the two.


Universal has express passes for the mazes! (These are a must!)


Universal uses tons of fire effects including fire balls and flame throwers throughout the park, Knott's uses a lot of blacklit cobwebs and fog.


Overall, it seems that this has been the ongoing debate for years, and of course, people who are local to one or the other seem to take biased sides.


I've lived in California most of my life and have been going to Knott's Haunt on a fairly yearly basis since 1986 and always had a good time and liked it a lot, but the first time I went to HHN at Universal Orlando was the first time I was 'blown away' by a Halloween event.


It's just done on a much higher budget and a more grander scale than the Knott's event. And I'm not saying that the Knott's event is bad by any means, but Universal's really is on a different level, and IMO probably shouldn't be compared to each other.



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Universal has the chainsaw guys, Knott's doesn't. Knott's has the 'sliders', Universal doesn't.


Sliders are returning to HHN this year, so I've heard. Also, hate to correct you, but last year was actually the only year that the majority of the houses have been in the soundstages. Before that, there were only two soundstage houses every year, except for HHN12, when there was only one (Scream House). This year, there's 3 in the soundstages and 4 elsewhere. These are the latest grumblings about this year's houses. The names are just rumored, but the locations are pretty much confirmed:


Demon Cantina - The Disorientorium building (behind Fear Fall)


The Skool - Thunder Falls Terrace (across from JP river adventure, housed Funhouse of Fear two years ago)


The Body Collectors - Jurassic Park Discovery Center (housed Psycho Scarepy two years ago)


Mines of Terror - Poseidon's Fury (yes, you read that correctly)


Blood Ruins - Soundstage 22 (housed Ghost Town last year)


Where Evil Hides - Soundstage 18 (They are supposedly building two copies of this house, right next to each other, to handle long lines on weekends. This has caused rumors that this is the "main house".)


Blind Terror - Soundstage 20 (housed Wax and Hellgate last year, also the home of Scream House)


As for the topic, I've never been to Haunt, but I think I'd really dislike it due to repeat houses. I hate when HHN has sequels, even if the first house was really good.

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I've been to both quite a few times, and even HHN at Universal Hollywood.


I agree with a lot of what Robb said, but do have some different opinions. BUdget is no doubt larger for Universal. I think it also more expensive, unless you do an add-on if they still offer it.


Universal has original mazes each year, but only about half as many total as Knotts. And usually only about 2 or 3 are real high budget standouts, the rest are on par with Knotts. The main negative to Universal almost every time I visit is maze talent. They usually have much fewer people in the mazes. Plus just the level of talent in general. Knott's Scary Farm is an institution. Many people work hard for years to get a coveted "slider" job. SO the ones that make it are hard core haunters, and it shows.


So, for mazes, Universal has a few really good ones, Knott's has more. And yes, they rehash many of them. But Knott's also has more humor in mazes than Universal.


Secondly, are rides. The log ride at Knott's is in a class all itself. It is fantastic and a must see during haunt with plenty of on-ride scares. The mine train has tons of potential (my band teacher always said that was code for "it sucks"). Universal doesn't theme any rides. Although Psiedon's could be neat this year, but it doesn't lend itself to being a maze.


As for shows, I think the Hanging kicks Bill and Ted's asses. B&T usually devolves into a dance party at the end. Even the year where they were making fun of dance music when Mr. Burns was the main bad guy. The Hanging usually devolves into a non-stop pop culture slaughterama. I really miss Freddy, but last years was great. Especially the banned Six Flags segment that I got to see. And the Hanging uses blood packets in the fights and frags. The Hanging alone is a huge draw.


General atmosphere is about a tie. Universal uses the existing theming in each area, and evils it up for HHN. But nothing beats Ghost Town full of fog and sliders. The foam zone at Universal was quite creepy one year.


Crowds are bad at both, numerically speaking. But at Universal (even at the Hollywood one) it is mostly gang-free. Knott's has a horrible crowd packed with gang bangers from your favorite minority groups. Which made the previously mentioned Six Flags joke a bit ironic.


The parade at Universal was really cool, but I think it has been on hiatus for years.


Bottom line, DO BOTH!!! We try and alternate one place each year. ALthough we're probably skipping this year.


Orlando obviously has tons of other stuff. Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party is loads of fun. And Disneyland has the Haunted Mansion Holiday again this year, which is fantastic.


Rastus O'ginga

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I've been going to HHN since it opened and have always loved it but last years event was a bit of a let down, it was still good but I expected more with all the hype of it being in two parks. Basically IOA had the entrance, Bill and Ted's and IMHO the worst house in any HHN event, Disorientorium, I think that's what it was called. Then the rest of the houses were in the sound stages between both parks and the furthest one away by earthquake,quite A haul from the IOA side. The scare zones were cool and all but I remember early HHN events were the chainsaw guys and sliders came at you every ten steps, last years event had a lot of walking with very few scareactors except in the scare zones.


For the last two years I've also gone to Busch Gardens Howl-o-Scream and I honestly think some of their houses were better than any of the houses at HHN.Escape from insanity in the skyride building in my opinion was the best house in both events. Their 3-d houses especially the one from 2 years ago was also very good.There was also a lot of walking in between scare zones and houses but I expected that from the sheer size of this park, but we took a break and ate dinner at the Desert Grill while watching their version of the Bill and Ted show with a bunch of reality people like Paris Hilton kept getting taken out by a deranged killer. It was pretty funny and gave us a good rest.

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For the record: KBF does have both chainsaw and bungee monsters. Unfortunately there just isn't that many of them.


Anyways...not that I'm bias or anything...but Haunt is the shiznit.

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