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Universal Orlando Halloween Horror Nights 22

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I was there on the rainy opening Friday night as well and I really feel like I have to give it another try on a non-rainy night because the experience with the scareactors in the streets just wasn't possible and that is a huge part of what they are selling this year.


We managed to hit 4 houses -

Universal's House of Horrors: By far this felt the weakest. 0 scares, cheesy rubber looking masks and really almost no strobe effects or gimmicks. I went into it expecting the blinding strobe experience that they have used in the past to disorient you and I was quite disappointed that it really wasn't that bad or disorienting. I do like the rerouting of the queue down the long back road but I was surprised that there was no decoration on the building at all - was that on purpose?


Alice Cooper: Not as horrible as I thought! Really not familiar with his music and didn't quite understand why the show scenes were set up the way they were, but it really had some great visuals and some good staging for a tent house. Hardly any scares but I really want to see it again.


The Walking Dead: I think a combo of not being familiar with the show and going through during a set change gave us a really poor experience. This is my huge problem with licensed houses, if you are not familiar with the property it ends up being a waste. And while I realize the show is very popular, I am sure at least a 1/3 of the people going through have never seen it. By making assumptions that people know it you are automatically alienating 1/3 of your guests. Not smart.


Dead End: Just great - really impressive sets, staging, effects and some good scares. This is what Universal is best at - awesome soundstage houses with unique and creative stories.


Bill and Ted - Surprisingly not bad! I want to see it again, but I felt it was probably the best one out of the last 4 years or so. Admittedly the last 4 years have been pretty bad, but this took the general story and turned it around just enough to make it feel fresh. The only WTF moment was the decidedly non-sexy opening dance number which usually is all about the skin.

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Just got back from the event, this is Friday Night. It seams the Universal, at least for tonight, ditched the roaming hoards. Each group of guels stayed in the same area the ENTIRE night.


Also, event twst awesome. Did Gothic: AWESOME, Walking Dead: Okay, Penn and Teller: Loved the 3D effect, did it twice. House of Horrors, gave me a few startles. Mostly with the lighting, where one second you wouldn't see anyone, and the next second someone is in your face. xD xD Bill and Ted made me laugh.


Would I spend another 41$ to see the event again this year? No. While I was amazed by the set detail, and the awesomeness of Bill and Ted, I personally think this year was a let down compared to yesteryear.

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Just got done with day 2 of HHN. We'll be going a third time tomorrow night.


Thursday - Did all 7 houses once, Pen & Teller twice, plus Bill & Teds.

Friday - Did all 7 houses once and 20 Penny Circus


Overall Thoughts:

The lack of scarezones has really impacted the overall atmosphere of the events. The roaming hoards were too spread out and I did not like the fact that there was not much stationary sets in the streets. Gothic and Dead End are on another level compared to the rest of the houses - both were spectacular. It looks like the best order to get everything in is to do Gothic and Silent Hill first, then do Dead End because it has been opening later at 6:30PM. Then head straight to Walking Dead as this line has been getting really long as the house in Disaster queue always does. Penn & Teller, Alice Cooper, and House of Horrors all have the shortest lines so do them last.


House By House Review:

1. Gothic 5/5

Hands down one of the best houses in terms of scenery ever. The facade is absolutely incredible and pretty much every scene inside is incredibly detailed and well done. They also brought back one of my favorite effects ever where it appears you are walking on a bridge over a room below you. They also have several scare actors on ropes hanging above the maze (reminiscent of the scare zone they had at the front of the park a while back where they would jump over the crowds walking next to Shrek). Overall my favorite house.


2. Dead End 5/5

This was the best house for scares. The scareactors in here seemed to have all of the scares nailed down really well and were doing a great job. The theming in this house is pretty amazing as well but its hard to rank it above Gothic just because Gothic was just THAT GOOD. As I said before, this one has been opening later at 6:30PM and the line really got long later into the night.


3. Silent Hill 3/5

I was really disappointed with this house. Having seen the movie, I had really high expectations but for whatever reason it just did not work. As soon as you enter the soundstage the maze starts and you are walking up the street that leads to Silent Hill from the movie. The falling ash was very cool and the details were great I just felt that there were not enough scareactors inside. The pyramid head was also really disappointing, there is two spots where he can come out and he walks back and forth to both of them so it is really hit or miss. Huge disappointment for me.


4. Penn and Teller, Newkd Vegas 2/5

I generally don't like the 3D houses but being from Vegas this one was better than some of the others they have done in the last few years. At the end of the day there is just only so much they can do with the 3D houses and they will never be in the same category as some of other houses. **Note - I saw a kid crabcrawling in one of the rooms after falling over from being drunk - only reason I did not give it 1/5.


5. Alice Cooper 3/5

I don't think this theme worked as well as Universal was hoping for. The house is super loud and too dark I thought. There is also one section where you have to do this awkward duck/squatting motion because the ceiling is low. I kept missing one of the scares during this part because I was trying to avoid hitting my head instead of looking to the sides where the scareactors were. There is a couple of repetitive scenes with Alice shooting an iv into a patient that were almost identical.


6. House of Horrors 3/5

They did something completely different with the queue for this house and the Parade building this year. You walk all the way down behind the Parade building and actually enter it from the rear instead of the front of the building as usual. There is a couple of really cool rooms in this house especially Frankenstein but overall I was not that impressed.


7. Walking Dead 3/5

As a fan of the show, I was disappointed with this house as well. They did a great job of recreating some of the best scenes from the show (Hospital, Department Store, Dale's RV), however, the last 1/4 of the maze is basically all outside and it is awful. There is one section with a fence where you can literally see the regular Disaster Queue even when it is dark out. The first time we did the house it was still light out and it was literally like taking a lights on tour at the end. Definitely try to wait until it is dark to do this one. This house also had the longest line of the night.




Bill & Teds

Really disappointed with this year's show. It was absolutely awful. The basic theme is that Bill and Ted are competing against each other in an election and they try to get all of the other characters to vote for them. The crowd barely got into the show as much as they have in years past. Bonus points for them including Open Gangham Style in the show though!


20 Penny Circus

The show was pretty short but entertaining. They take 8 volunteers at the start of the show (4 men, 4 women) and it was very interactive. They did a lot of old tricks that I've seen many times but there was some really funny parts. The Naked Mentalist was great.

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Finally did all of the houses and saw Bill & Ted last night. Personally I thought the show was awful this year...I preferred last years and the one before that. As for the houses, I'd rank them like this:


1. Dead End - Incredible set design, and had the absolute best scare I have ever seen at HHN. Down the hallway...

2. Gothic- Even better set design, and the distractions allow for some really good scares

3. Walking Dead - thought the actors were really aggressive! Saw it in the day light and still thought it was awesome.

4. Alice Cooper - some really good scares and great set design for a tent house!

5. House of Horrors - I don't really have to say much about this house except that it's better than the two below

6. Pen & Teller - decent for a 3d house, but no scares really at all. Somehow some guy in front of me ended up on the floor. Must have been the clown!

7. Silent Hill - I have done this twice and don't care for it one bit. The entrance to the house is AMAZING but then nothing really happens :/


Overall I feel like this year is REALLY divided. I thought those first 3-4 houses were AMAZING and easily some of my favorites ever...yet the last 3 I might not ever wait for again. Roaming hordes/scarezones doesn't really matter to me, as long as there's some scares out in the park to keep you entertained between the houses.

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September 30th Trip Report:


I am always excited for Halloween Horror Nights every year. I was questioning this years though without the scare zones.



I ran into two groups the whole night and probably walked the park 3 times and as there from 6:00-10:30. 2 GROUPS! The whole park seemed to have no scareactors!!! I was really disappointed!


HOUSES (In order by my opinion of best)

1) Dead End 10/10-This house is a real "haunted house." The whole thing was perfect. Perfect scares, just the whole house was great! We did this twice with our HHN Express Pass (totally worth the money!!!) because their scanners were down so they couldn't really mark off on the express pass! This house was one of the best houses I personally feel HHN has made during the past three years.


2)Gothic 10/10-I enjoyed this house too but I just liked Dead End a tiny bit more because of being in a "haunted house." Gothic had really cool elements and scares! This was a great house! All of the scares were great and the detail was incredible!


3)Silent Hill 8/10-This house seemed very short to me and it didn't seem to have a lot of scareactors in it. The whole atmosphere, detail, and burning ash smell was great. The scares weren't as good as Dead End and Gothic but they were "well." A decent house.


4) House of Horrors 8/10-I know a lot of people expected this to be better, me too. I was confused on who the monster was a lot during the rooms but it did offer some great scenes and scares. I know there was a Frankenstein scene that was really cool and Dracula. Great scares, not enough detail.


5)Walking Dead 7/10-This house was just confusing with the different rooms right after another. The rooms just didn't seem tofollow. There were tons of scareactors in here but not a lot that did any scaring, just staring at you and making weird noises. This house also seemed really short and the ending was terrible. It seemed like they rushed to put this house together and just threw together an ending with the fence where you could see all of Disaster's queue.


6)Penn & Teller 5/10-The only thing I liked in this house were the one or two red buttons and the interactive things in there. The 3d just made it weird and the whole house was just stupid, didn't get it. They could've done a lot better with this and it was such a weird theme. No real scares in here too.


7)Alice Cooper 4/10-This house was just plain dumb, that's all I have to say about this.



BILL & TED-I was so confused in this show, it was not funny, and was dumb. Fiends is a lot better!



Overall, I feel this event this year was lacking in a lot of areas and hope that they will fix it and do something about the scarezones. I was really upset about the scarezones! They had 2 or 3 great houses but the rest were just "decent" and "ok." I did have a fun time however. Hopefully next year will be better! Howl O Scream does a lot better with the scare zone thing and their shows. HHN has better houses though.

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^That's too bad about the lack of scareactors. At BGT last year, you were bumping into roving hordes of zombie cheerleaders, doctors, lumberjacks, and other creatures all over the place. Maybe the crowds at Universal make the "roving horde" concept impractical.

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So is this years event so bad that's it's not even worth going to? I don't think I've read a single positive review of anything at the event other than Gothic and Dead End are as good as some of the better houses in recent years. I was considering hitting up the event on a Sunday in a few weeks just to keep my "event attendance streak alive" but from the sound of things I may be better off just checking out some local haunts and saving my money this year?

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So far from what I have read everyone has mixed feelings about each house and the street experiences. The main thing that is ruining each night is the weather. Bad weather = no streets and upset guests.


I am going tonight and extremely excited. It's only my second time to any type of Halloween event.

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I won an radio contest for HHN tickets, paid hotel rooms, parking pass, R.I.P. tour, and 4 seperate Universal/Islands of Adventure tickets! (so excited!)


I've never been to HHN, but are all the rides open throughout the whole course of the night? I really want to ride Mummy, MIB, Simpsons, Minion Mayhem and HRRR.

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^All of those rides are open during the event. That's actually all of the rides that are open for the event and no more. But honestly, the RIP tour should cover HHN for you and the day tickets should help you to get all of the normal attractions done during your visit.

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^All of those rides are open during the event. That's actually all of the rides that are open for the event and no more. But honestly, the RIP tour should cover HHN for you and the day tickets should help you to get all of the normal attractions done during your visit.

I know, but I'm using my HHN tickets on October 28th and then the 4 day tickets in middle to late November. I'm just hoping the R.I.P. Tour will allot me enough time to complete those rides also, hahaha.

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^It depends on if it is a private RIP tour or not, as well as what time the tour starts. If it starts at the beginning of the event you normally have time for a ride or two but if it is a delayed start it may not work out as well. I've done RIPs where we've gotten rides on Rockit and Mummy but I've also done some that have given us enough time to do the houses (and this year both shows) and nothing else.

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So is this years event so bad that's it's not even worth going to? I don't think I've read a single positive review of anything at the event other than Gothic and Dead End are as good as some of the better houses in recent years. I was considering hitting up the event on a Sunday in a few weeks just to keep my "event attendance streak alive" but from the sound of things I may be better off just checking out some local haunts and saving my money this year?


Two things bothered me the most about this year's event:


1. The lack of atmosphere in the park itself. The roaming hordes of scareactors were more annoying than scary, and I really missed the themed scarezones. (I understand that all the construction in the park may be a factor here.)


2. The houses were much too dependent on set scenes and effects to the detriment of any interaction with guests. It all seemed too "push button."

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I was at HHN nights 10/11, and I must say, as a HHN night veteran, I was highly disappointed in the whole night. The crowds for a Thursday night at early season were HORRID. Walking Dead was at a 120min wait at one point. Most houses remained at 75-90m waits all night. Though we managed to do all the houses thanks to Stay and Scream, I am not pleased with Universal basically forcing people to pay the extra money for FoTL passes...and from what I saw..they still had 30min waits...Why bother?


Overall, I only loved Gothic...but Alice Copper was a close second. Dead End was neat, but there was hardly anyone inside it. While the sets in Walking Dead were neat, the lack of people in the house sucked. The walkers outside were fun to watch though. Gothic was simply AMAZING. I wanted to stand in the house and stare. Silent Hill was just OK, but after waiting an hour for it, being rushed through it by employees was not good either. The other houses were just OK...though Penn and Teller had a nice laugh.


The lack of scarezones really just did not work. It was dumb really. We never did see the Beasts or the Warriors. I must say the woman chainsaw team was a welcome change though. They move MUCH more swiftly then the men, and the are much more evil and sadistic. There was one stationed in a dark corner right near the ladies room scaring people left and right. They were a highlight of the night.


The construction going on also detracted from the atmosphere...nothing say spooky like the bright flood lights of an active construction zone. The park overall was lacking the normal spooky feel. Very little fog to be had.


Overall I rate the night a 3 out 5 stars. I am looking much more forward to HOS in Tampa now, to get my fear fix. I am going to consider long and hard if I return to HHN next year or not

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I had never been to any of these sort of Halloween events before, but I made it to HHN this year; twice. On a Thursday and then the Sunday 2 weeks ago.


Well I REALLY enjoyed it. Yes, there were Qs but thats the sign of popularity isn't it - so I bought the Express pass for the second night. I encountered the roaming hoards lots of times and managed the mazes a few times each. Bill&Ted I enjoyed, thought it was a good (& quite long) show - maybe the Circus show a bit less so, but even then it was worth doing.


I realise I don't have "previous HHN" to compare it to, but if that made me enjoy it and its putting other people off, more power to me I suggest!


Can't control the weather, and I guess it'd be pretty meh in the rain (did get rain for an hour or so on the Sunday) - but if you can look at the weather forecast, get an express-pass and have a happy attitude, I'd expect you to have a good time!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, only one week left of the event! I can't believe how fast this thing flew by. I have had the opportunity to be a part of many attractions and I've loved them all. I think this years event has been great, after finally getting to see it from a guests perspective. I also think adding 2 more legions was something they could have used from the start but they look awesome. I can't wait to see how it finishes out!

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