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Halloween Horror Nights 20 - Opening Weekend MEGA THREAD!

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Welcome to the opening weekend of Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando MEGA THREAD! TPR regulars will be bringing you coverage of the opening weekend of Halloween Horror Nights XX all weekend long!


For those of you who don't know, Universal Orlando is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the premiere Halloween event in the world - Halloween Horror Nights. In my opinion - it really is the best of the best out there. Completely new houses and scare zones each year, new and creative characters, "icons" and awesome shows.


This and many other reasons is why the TPR Staff continuously vote Halloween Horror Nights as the #1 Halloween event of the year on the Golden Ticket Ballot.


It really is THAT great!


This event stretches throughout late september and early october and is worth a trip to Orlando to experience. With the popularity comes the crowds - it is HIGHLY recommended that you get an express pass or the RIP tour to get through all the houses and scare zones in one night. On peak Saturday nights wait times will stretch over 2.5 hours for some houses!


I will be posting some of my thoughts about the houses and scare zones later on in this thread - but now I want to share with you some of the fun (and scares!) that we had this evening...


You will notice there are no photos in the houses - Universal has a very strict no photos or video of ANY type policy in the houses.


Uh-Oh! A Storm is brewing over Universal Orlando... Could it be FEAR himself?


It really is the nations premiere event. It's insane the amount of time and money put into this each year.


Stacey does not want the gross blood cup!


A little plain at the entrance this year.. just a screen playing the video.


Stacey's new name is "Guest"!


Part of the fun of arriving early is seeing the scare zones before the scare-actors get in them.




The media kick-off event took place in the Pantages Theater which is usually home to the Horror Make-Up Show.


Jack is ALWAYS back!


Here is FEAR himself! Nice and Creepy! The little minions around him look very cool after dark.


The director is my favorite icon - in the Fear Revealed scare zone you can meet them all.


The storyteller was a bit upset that I liked the director more!


Each icon has their own little "setting" where they hang out. Here is the Storytellers.


Universal does a great job with the directional signage for HHN - very tough to get lost!


This is what Rip Ride RockIT would look like if it was in an apocalyptic waste land!


Brian Brushwood (host of Scam School) is doing two different magic shows each night.. collect them all!


The event hasn't started and the lines are already getting long for Zombiegeddon!


Saws and Steam is the attempt at a Steampunk themed scare zone... great details.


No! Don't stick your head in there!


Something is missing... hmmmmm..


A look down the Saws and Steam scare zone before the scareactors arrive. This years theme was smoke.. everywhere.


The Esqueleto Muerte scare zone was already hopping!


Not very heavy on scares - but pretty fun!


One nice thing about HHN is the scare zone scareactors will always pose for photos with you.


Chainsaw drill team was extra fun this year with a military theme and some new moves.


It's starting to get dark and creepy! The large XX looks really cool with the fire f/x.


This year they are trying a VIP lounge. For 9.99 you get private access to a cash bar and lots of cool displays to look at.


The museum is REALLY impressive and worth the $9.99


There are items from almost every year. Some never seen before as well.


From my favorite year... the director.


The really cool totems that FEAR has on his belt. They represent each icon.


The details and concept art are amazing.


They will have special speakers and presentations in the lounge on certain nights.


I'm a hungry raptor - give me some candy apples!


The wolfman is a bit angry with Stacey!


Love this guy from the 13th year.


The icon looks even cooler at night!


No trip to HHN is complete without a visit to the blood bag shot girls!


45 Minute wait? That is why we STRONGLY RECOMMEND you get an express pass or RIP tour!


NOTED! They were even more strict than usual this year at Bill and Ted's!


The entrance of Zombiegeddon had really cool details like this Zombie trap!


Stacey got to meet a musical zombie in ZombieGras!


I will end this photo TR with a pic of a shark... 'nuff said.

Edited by robbalvey
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Awesome PTR! It was a pretty awesome night and you got quite a bit of it, can't wait for more!


This year was pretty awesome, the only disappointment for me came from BIll & Teds, but I'm not sure if that's 2010's fault or the shows. All the houses were def. epic, I have 2 more to get done! The event was awesome though, I can't wait to go back and visit!

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So, like Reed and Stacey, I was able to visit Universal Orlando for the opening night of Halloween Horror Nights. In brief, the event was awesome once again--I plan on doing a more in-depth writeup with more photos, but today I'm just going to upload the first taste of my first night at Horror Nights. Due to heavy rains, I didn't get to take as many pictures as I normally do, but that's why I'm going back tonight--for plenty more!


So enjoy this first set of photos from the larger report to come over the course of this Horror Nights season!


Over at CityWalk, they've put up a new billboard advertising the event.


The screen at the gate has returned, but unfortunately, it is the only front gate theming this year.


It is nice to see familiar faces, but I've seen this video online for a week or so now.


The Fear Revealed scarezone is definitely my favorite, because I appreciate so much of Horror Nights past.


Can you pick out any props that you've seen in my previous years' reports?


Its so much history!


What does it mean?


I'm excited to be back!


"What is my future?"

"You don't have one!!!"




Gory details galore!


My favorite!


For some reason, Brian Brushwood was invited back for the third year (he appeared as one of the Freak Show acts during the Carnival of Carnage). I didn't enjoy his show the first (or second, or third) time, but since Malice and Menace are supposed to be two new shows, I'm gunna give him two more chances. I'm generous. What more can I say?


The Chainsaw Drill Team has assembled!


A second after this photo was taken, they broke formation to charge at guests watching innocently. It was a quite amusing scare!


I'd never seen this character before, but he is from year 13.


And he's almost as big as Fear himself!


I took a photo with the Queen of Hearts back in 2008...


See? This was taken in 2008 during Reflections of Fear.


And I got another photo with Jack, finally!


I had taken this photo with him at my first Halloween Horror Nights year, the Carnival of Carnage.



"Wanna play?"



The Wolfman is back!



I was so glad to see Alice again, especially because she was portrayed by the same scareactor as she was in 2008.


Dead Silence: The Curse of Mary Shaw is one of my favorite houses of all time, so it was great to see her out and about once more!


Not sure where this creature is from, but she is cool.


Body Collector!


Chance was back this year as well, though it was a difference actress.


They still make a great pair!


Cindy was a little underwhelming outside, but it might have been that the daylight didn't help.


This was my first encounter with the Storyteller, and it was nice.


I see two familiar faces!


This isn't a wax figure.


Eddie's back!


As is the Usher!


Here comes Fear!


Looks kindof short here, right?


But he's actually pretty tall!


The Caretaker was pretty interesting as well...


The pumpkins on the path from the Pantages Theater to E.T. have returned.


Although there is no facade for the parade building house this year, it isn't necessary as the concept is that it is in fact, the Halloween Horror Nights warehouse.


While waiting in line for Zombiegeddon, we were given a rare view of the Disaster/Earthquake vehicle pulled out of the ride building for refurbishment.


Bill & Ted was a bit disappointing this year, but I'm gunna give it a few more chances in the hopes that the actors get better at it.


Time to head out for the evening! See you later tomorrow!

Edited by jedimaster1227
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I just got back from HHN and boy am I impressed! There weren’t very many crowds tonight and I went to the Passholder Early Admittance. I got all but 2 houses (Orfanage and Zombiegeddon) completed twice, watched Bill And Ted’s, and rode a few rides. Overall a GREAT night! I don't think I'm going to post any pictures since the few I took tonight are very similar to the ones already posted in this thread. Instead I'll give a little review of what I saw tonight (minor spoilers):


1. Scarezones are top notch this year:


Esqueleto Muerte- Very neat to look at but not scary by any means.


Fear Revealed- This year’s icon is basically just out for pictures, but he's got a pretty cool setup. One thing I found interesting that I hadn't seen mentioned before is how consitent the theme is throughout the event. Every lamp in the park is orange to represent the lantern and almost every major building in the park has the lantern image projected onto it. Fear's voice can also be heard no matter where you are in the park through the background music speakers. So, while Fear isn't too much of a visible presence he is definitely all over the park. I honestly thought this was a GREAT way to introduce the character since he is supposed to be running the whole event. Good Job on the creativity Universal!


Saws 'N Steam- In all honesty I was expecting a little more from this scarezone. It is in such a great location but it just wasn't scary when I went through it (I'll definitely give it another chance on my next visit). There was only 2 chainsaw scareactors in the entire area and they were at the two entrances. Overall, it looks great and it's deceiving with all the fog.


Zombie Gras- Again, not too scary, but more scares were found here than any of the preceeding scarezones during my visit. The festival theme holds this one back a little, but the Scareactors did great and pulled out a great experience!


The Coven- This one had some good scares. The theming and the storyline are great, and the scaractors really got into it!


HHN: 20 Years of Fear- This was an AMAZING scarezone. The theming was excellent, the props were cool to look at, the scareactors were - of course - perfect, and it is the largest scarezone. There as so many scareactors and so many details it's unreal, I LOVED this scarezone.


2. Bill And Ted: I thought the show was great and pretty funny throughout, don't want to reveal anything here.


3. Houses (Ranked from worst to best, but there really wasn’t a bad house this year they were all amazing!):


The Orfanage: Ashes to Ashes- This house just did not deliver on the scares for me. It looks great but I’m not too afraid of children, especially ones that just go for the “creepy” look instead of jumping out. I’ll have to give this one another try but the line was the longest of the night. 7/10


Havoc: Dogs of War- There were some good scares here but unfortunately this house didn’t move crowds through quickly enough for them to be effective. Hopefully Universal figures out a way to help the flow because this house has a lot of potential! 7.5/10


Psychoscarepy: Echoes of Shadybrook- Great scares here but for some reason I didn’t feel too immersed in this house either time I went through. 7.5/10


Zombiegeddon- This was a surprisingly good house. I wasn’t expecting too much from this house but they set the story up very well and, for being the “humor” house of the year it’s pretty scary. There’s a lot of smells here and the scareactors were excellent. 8/10


Hades: The Gates of Ruin- This house was superb! The costumes were amazing, the sets were amazing, the scareactors were amazing (I think Medusa and the Minotaur steal the show). This was tied for scariest house with Catacombs and Legendary Truth IMO. 9/10


The last three houses were all tied for first in my book (I’m sure my opinion will change as I visit HHN more). Unbelievably amazing in every way!


Catacombs: Black Death Rising- This is another “scariest house.” This house is amazing. The environment is very immersive and the end was so well done and scary that you saw many guests running out of this house. If you have the chance to read the signs in the queue about the Black Plague it will help you understand the costumes in the house. 10/10


Horror Nights: The Hollow’d Past- I loved the layout of this house. It really feels like a warehouse in the beginning and the end. Most of the major characters will be found here, there is almost too much to look at, and the scares are great. 10/10


Legendary Truth: The Wyandot Estate- This may very well end up being my favorite house from HHN XX. It is so well done that your jaw will be on the floor as you exit. While I think the other houses are better to experience at a quicker pace, this house is much more fun to creep through very slowly to see all of the amazing effects. This is the final “scariest house,” and the scares are done amazingly. 10/10

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Here is yet another update/review from Halloween Horror Nights 20: Twenty Years of Fear. Overall I thought it was a very solid year for HHN. I was pleased to see that Universal has gone back to HHN's roots in that all eight mazes were original this year in that none of them were based on other's licenced properties (i.e. Saw, Chucky, Freddy etc). Also since it is the 20th anniversary of the event, they could have easily done a "best of" and simply brought back 8 former mazes from previous years. As for the houses this year, I honestly think that there was not a single bad one. They really kind of tried to make this year a bit more scary and a lot less gory than previous years. So those who really are not into a lot of gross effects will be happy. While I thought that the houses were good, all but one really were not very innovative in terms of special effects or theming. They kept things pretty simple this year with the houses. Nothing is quite a elaborate as last year's classic monster houses which I found to be somewhat dissapointing with this year's event. Also, makes sure you do the non-sound stage houses after dark. There is a LOT of light leakage which ruins the effectiveness of the houses during the day. Ok, let us get to the houses.


*Spoilers Ahead*


1. Horror Nights: The Hallow'd Past. (Warehouse outside Barney show) This one was pretty cool, especially if you are into looking at props from previous events. It is themed as a large warehouse where they store hundreds of HHN items. As you walkthough you are transported via a spinning vortex into a series of rooms which recrates some of the favorite scenes from previous houses such as Body Collectors, Dead Exposure, Scary Tales etc. You finally do escape into the other side of the warehouse where more props await to be seen.


2. Catacombs: Black Death Rising. (Tent outside Barney show) 500 years after the plague, we are given the chance to explore a recently opened tomb which is filled with all sorts of nasty infected people. This one certainly was one of the more scary mazes so if you are into being scared you will probably like this one. Make sure you do this one at night because this is one of the tent houses and any light leakage simply ruins it.


3. Havoc: Dogs of War. (Tent by Men and Black) This maybe the loudest house I have every experienced at HHN. Seriously my ears were ringing after both my walkthroughs. You walk into a government's secret army facility where you come face to face with a bunch of scary looking bald soliders who have gone crazy. Just think of Dolph Lundgren's character from Universal Solider and you get the idea.


4. Orfanage: Ashes to Ashes. (Jaws Queue) You walk through a burned out orphanage that still is inhabited with scary looking kids. You do get to experience some really cool fire effects which was a nice surprise. This one was certainly more of a house built on atmosphere rather than scares. Again, make sure you do this one after the sun sets.


5. Zombiegeddon. (Earthquake Queue) This one starts off like it is one of the more fun houses but it turns real serious very quickly. There is a lot of great detail in this one especially with all of the posters that you could spent a lot of time looking at if you did not have to keep moving through the queue. This would be one of my favorites from the evening.


6. Hades: The Gates of Ruin (Soundstage) This one appeared to be really cool, but I honestly think that I missed out on quite a few things because it appeared that we walked through during a scare actor shift change. Great atmosphere as well as makeup on some of actors that we did see. It was obvious we missed out on something great in what appeared to be an empty throne room at the end.


7. PsychoScareapy: Echoes of Shadybrook (Soundstage) Well, I guess this one is sort of a repeat maze as they do this theme every few years. While it was good there was nothing really special about it especially when compared to the Christmas themed variation from a few years ago. No, you do not have to worry about any bad smells this time.


8. Legendary Truth: The Wyandot Estate (Soundstage) This one was my favorite house this year. You walk in an episode of a Ghost Hunters type show and you get to experience some really cool effects. The way they used the scare actors was very innovative (floor gag was really clever). With that said, if you are unlucky and walk through this one during a shift change you will think that it is not very good. I went through this one twice. The first time was awesome (full of scare actors), the 2nd time was awful (due to we only saw 2 or 3 scare actors the entire time).



Overall the scare zones were pretty good with HHN: 20 Years of Fear as the highlight. This one is fantastic for all of the many great photo opportunities you can have.


While the actors and dancers were really good for the Bill and Ted show this year, I found the show to be rather flat. Just like last year I think this was a difficult one to try to find good material to make fun of from this year's events.


Does anyone else think that they used more fog machines and chainsaw people than any other previous year?


Ok, onward to the photos.




It looks like Universal has matched Six Flags for parking prices. Plan accordingly.


It is always a good idea to take a picture of where you park. This garage is simply huge.


It is that time to experience another year of Halloween Horror Nights.


This year's billboard.


Do you want to check out some of this year's exclusive merchandise?


Here is the front on one of the T-shirts.


Here is the back of another.


You can fill these up with your choice of liquids.


Other than the large monitor, they did not do any additional theming to the front of the park.


This year's video does a really good job tying in the new Fear character with the rest of the icons.


Here are a bunch of photos of this year's map.









The passholder event this year was pretty awesome.


This line went really fast.


This wristband allowed us early entry intro three houses and Bill and Ted.


This would be this year's slogan.


The first scarezone we experienced would be: HHN 20 Years of Fear.


This one is themed to a prop warehouse.


Since we are early, we had the opportunity to check out all of the sets/props closely.


Oh look, Dueling Dragons.


This makes me sad.


I remember this....But I do not remember from where.


Anyone got any matches?


Notice anything from a past attraction here?


Who are you going to call?



This was from last year's event.



Just awesome details!


We see you Jack.


Fear will be here a little later.


The Director's set.


The Usher's set.


The Undertaker's set.


Who is Billy?


A little later the HHN Icons showed up. Hello Mr. Undertaker.


This would be one of Fear's minions.


Fear itself.


Watch out for The Director!


Not sure who this is supposed to be, but I am sure someone can help me remember.


You really do get some great photo opportunties in this zone.


You can see how much taller Fear is compared to normal folk.


The Storyteller.


The Usher.




The Wolfman took me be surprise, heh.




Dracula's Bride.






The tree looking guys are still simply amazing.


Oh awesome! The Cryptkeeper.


Scary dude.


Scary woman.


Certainly one of the best scarezones ever.


Well...maybe not quite yet. It is still pretty bright out.


You knew that these guys will be here.






Esqueleto Muerte is much cooler at night.


These costumes are made to been seen under black lights.


Close up.





The Coven during the day without scare actors.


Saws n' Steam during the day.


If you get too close you may get wet.


The pumpkin trail is my favorite area. It does look better at night.


Horror Nights is a house for the fans of HHN.


The theme is a warehouse, so no extra theming was necessary.


Scary stuff....but make sure you do this one at night.


This one has some backstory.


Hope that we can get out alive.


This may be the loudest house ever.


Wow, they really did build apartments 500 feet away from Universal.


Entrance to Dogs of War.


When it gets closer to Halloween, expect all the lines to look like this.


There were many fog machines this year.


One of my faves from Body Collectors.


This one got pretty serious quickly for being the "fun" house this year.


Zombiegeddon: The Entrance


Probably would be TPR approved.


Looks like they found a 2nd use for all of those Mardi Gras decorations.


While the actors and dancers were good, I found the show to be rather flat this year.


I do not understand the double standard they have with this when comapred to the Hollywood show. Yes, they really do enforce this.


No HHN Photo TR: is complete without one of these.


Another really atmospheric house. Too bad I went through during a shift change or actor break.


While good it was pretty standard.


Some really cool fire effects in this one.


Most innovative house of the evening, though it would be simply ruined if you go through without seeing any scare actors.


Looks like the witches are taking care of this pilgram.


Hello again!


Let us learn about Roman numerals, shall we?


No HHN Photo: TR is complete without...


I like fire.


Fear...at night.


Fear at night....with fog.


I LOVE the pumpkin trail.


I finish up with one of the new icon pumpkins for this year.

Edited by Erik Johnson
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Thanks everyone for sharing. The more photos and reviews the better as I can't go until mid October. I am a little bit underwhelmed with what I have seen so far, but that is just because I expected a 'gamechanger' for the 20th year and it looks more or less the same. Hopefully I'm proven wrong.



While I thought it was a soild year it really was pretty much more or less than the same as others (i.e. not a gamechanger).

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Great pics Erik! I spotted you about ten people in front of us in line for Catacombs when it was still light out. I figured it was a little too large of a distance for me to introduce myself lol. I had almost the same experience with Legendary Truth. I first went through around 6:30 and thought it was AWESOME, plenty of great scares and innovative effects. The second time I went through - around 11:15 - barely any scares... The one fault with this house is how time-dependent the effects are since most of them only occur when there's "lightning." You're either going to have a thrilling experience or you'll be left wondering what all the rave is about. Still, this house was superb!

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Awesome Reviews and pictures so far! I'd have to say so far Legendary Truth was one of my favorites, along with Hallowed Past. I have really liked all of them so far this year, but it will be interesting to see how much changes through out the event. I'll post a few more pictures of my experience of the event, just to triple cover how awesome this event really is!


I loved the event, and I can't wait to go the next few weekends. My g/f has never been and isn't really into scary "things" so I can't wait to bring her!


Awesome Costumes as always!


Watching them scatter into the crowd was priceless!


Watching people run in fear never gets old.


Look out behind you sir! Wait no, look out right next to you!


I'm glad I got a good look at them in the light, I love the outfits/costumes.


Fear is pretty epic, I just wish he wasn't as limited as he is.


Is there room for artsy pics at such an intense event?


Of course there is!


I was King and my Girl friend was Queen one night of Mardi Gras parade, so it was awesome to see zombies in the same costumes!


I'm glad she was out again, always entertaining!


Don't you just love the light beaming through the tree's on such a gorgeous evil night?


What can I say, Fear is an awesome icon!


Nothing to see here, just sweet lighting.


Jack being as cool as ever. Sup Brad?


Another (out of order) amazing costume...


Fire is always pleasing.


I'm sorry for posting so many pictures of there epic lighting designs. *nerd shot*


Nobody would bring this poor pilgrim anything to drink!


Crazy zombie!


At least they don't have to modify this place to much to fit the theme!


Not sure they got the memo, the event started a few hours ago....


That awesome lantern theme that was everywhere!


One last shot of Fear. Take car sir, you are awesome.

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Absolutely, all the pics have such great view points on so many different things, great to see!


I had an extra question that perhaps somebody could answer. While I was in line for Havoc:Dogs of war, the first time through I noticed that behind the fenced off area off to the left (final zigzag, its during the approach to the house backstage behind MIB) there were two seats on the ground. They were purple and orange, yet they were OTSR seats, with almost a Vekoma slc look to them. They looked old, and I was wondering if there was some sort of generic coaster theme they did some where, because I can't think of anything they would actually belong to. I tried to get a picture but by the time I went back, it was to dark, any body have any idea?

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I just found this on Youtube, I sometimes watch this guy and some other "Vloggers" (ShayCarl shout out!). Anyways, this is a great video with a look inside the houses!



MOD EDIT: Links removed. Universal has a strict anti-video/photography policy within their houses and we can not display links to material that violates their rules.

Edited by larrygator
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Thanks! Anybody have any idea what those coaster seats I mentioned are from? I just found it interesting.



I'm curious about these seats as well. I saw them while in line for Havoc during the passholder event. I'll try and take a picture next time I go and see if anyone can figure it out.

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