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Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

P. 611: Jack the Clown returns for Halloween Horror Nights 2021!

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Just got back from a great HHN event. Average lines were 30-45 minutes for the houses, 10-15 for the rides. Bill & Ted was a bit weaker this year than last, but as stated before, they had less quality material to work with. Also saw the Malice show with Brian Brushwood; the nail trick got a good reaction out of the audience and my friends. Only did 4 of the houses, though, but it was nice just to be a little more relaxed and walk around instead of, "Okay, we have to hit this house NOW, then this one, etc." Favorite of the bunch was probably Zombiegeddon, where I also managed to (very) briefly talk with another TPR member who recognized my awesome shirt (Gambit).

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We rode Velocicoaster today! Here's our thoughts on the ride....  

Official Velocicoaster POV released!  

We spent the weekend at Universal/IoA on Sat/Sun/Mon. In that time, we managed 15 rides on Velocicoaster. A handful of front and back seat rides, including a few at night (which is just epic!). 

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Just got back from a great HHN event. Average lines were 30-45 minutes for the houses, 10-15 for the rides. Bill & Ted was a bit weaker this year than last, but as stated before, they had less quality material to work with. Also saw the Malice show with Brian Brushwood; the nail trick got a good reaction out of the audience and my friends. Only did 4 of the houses, though, but it was nice just to be a little more relaxed and walk around instead of, "Okay, we have to hit this house NOW, then this one, etc." Favorite of the bunch was probably Zombiegeddon, where I also managed to (very) briefly talk with another TPR member who recognized my awesome shirt (Gambit).

 

What up, Dan?!?!? Great running into you at Zombiegeddon!

 

Yeah. It was a great night. We got 5 houses done in the first 90 minutes which really took the pressure off of rushing around trying to hit everything in time. So it was nice to take a more leisurely pace with the Scarezones and the remaining houses. Took LOTs of great pictures! I am happy to report that we did all 8 houses, Bill & Ted (which I actually wish I had skipped this year. It was that weak. Give Hollywood the point on this one this year), and spent a lot of time in the SZ's and we left an hour early (my friends don't have the stamina that I do... sigh). We did all of this without the Express pass! I'm sorry. I know TPR swears by it but I'm still morally opposed to Universal bilking more $$$ out of us after charging $75 just to walk through the gate.

 

As for the event itself, I thought it was neither an unqualified success OR huge failure. It definitely wasn't a revolutionary step forward from the past but it was still a solid overall event. I have to commend the creative team for always looking to do something new and innovative. The problem with taking such risks is that sometimes it's a hit (like, say, the Hades house this year) and sometimes it's a miss (like The Catacombs, IMO). I felt that there were no truly "bad" houses this year like there have been in the past (People Under the Stairs: Under Construction in 2006 or The Spawning last year) but there also weren't any mind-blowingly awesome ones either (like last year's Wolfman/Dracula/Frankenstein trio). So it was consistently good but far from the best ever. I'd give the entire event a B overall but I still think it's the best Halloween event in the country.

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New to the forum, but just wanted to drop by and say how bummed I am that I spent an extra $60 on Express passes this year! We go every year without fail, and have always gotten the FFP but this year our schedules are so packed that we knew we wouldnt be able to go more than twice. So instead, we opted for the Express passes, thinking we will be able to see EVERYTHING atleast once, if not twice each! Mind you, Ive never used one before, so i read the FAQ questions about them before buying.. Well, a friend just told me that they can only be used ONE TIME per attraction!! What?! I thought they were wrong, but just went to the website and in the "Details" section under tickets, there it was, in fine print!! I am sooo frustrated, they dont tell you that in FAQ nor do they suggest you take a look at the "details" page, so when we purchased them I read: "can be used to bypass lines in participating attractions." Why did I pay TRIPLE the amount of admission for passes that I will only be able to use one time per house??!! I think this is very unfair of Universal, and they are unwilling to refund our money for the passes. We are going tomorrow night, but Im not even looking forward to it anymore, because I just keep thinking about how we totally got ripped off!!

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^You won't feel ripped off when you go and won't have to wait in line! I really don't understand why you're angry and pissed. The express passes are golden and I wouldn't be caught dead at that event without them.

 

If you want to do the houses multiple times get there early, DON'T USE THE PASSES IF THERE'S LITTLE TO NO WAIT, then when you're done with all of the houses once and they all have a 60 - 120 minute wait go back and use the Express pass!

 

Boom, done. Stop complaining!

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You didnt get ripped off, you got what you paid for. you said...

So instead, we opted for the Express passes, thinking we will be able to see EVERYTHING atleast once, if not twice each!

You will lol lol...

 

HHN only has express pass so you get to use it once each attraction. You can use your judgement on how you use it. In my opinion, if the wait time is 15 mins or less I would wait for it and use the pass when the line is longer on a second or third round of the houses.

 

I see you say they dont tell you to look at the details but seriously, why wouldnt you look at the details of the product you're purchasing when the details are right there. Why look at FAQ's?

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Express Passes are golden! We went last Thursday and got there at opening. Did a few houses without express passes with a near 0 minute wait and then switched back to express when we didn't want to wait. It worked perfect. Also, one house was a 30 minute wait for Express due to Bill & Ted just letting out. We went down the street and did something else, came back and the express line was about 5 minutes.

 

If a wait is 75 minutes and the park is only open 5 or 6 hours, I will always do what I can to experience everything.

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Does anyone know if Rockit is reopened yet? If not, I'm wondering if it will be in time for Thanksgiving week, as I'm planning to visit then. I haven't heard any updates on its status anywhere lately.

 

Thanks.

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It's still down, and from what I've heard won't be open in October at all.

 

Okay, thank you. If anyone has any idea whether it will open next month, please let me know. We'll be going either way, I'm just curious whether or not I should expect to be able to ride it.

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^If it gives you any hope I'm sure they really want to get it open for Thanksgiving as that's a busier time for them, as well as maybe getting it open for IAAPA as well.

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HI there. I'm very new to this board. I was linked here by a friend who knew I was looking for a place to talk about this. I went to HHN last year for the first time. I was super excited about it. I've been to a good few haunted houses and one other haunted theme park (Kennywood Park) up here in Pittsburgh PA. I get scared pretty darn easily but that's what makes them so much fun. So anyway, there we were, me 'n my friend, both of us really hyped about this event. Spent the decent amount of money for the tickets, got tickets to skip the lines and everything. So I'm thinking, this place is gonna be awesome, scariest place yet. Has to be right? Universal Studios!!

........ I was sorely disappointed. I mean, it LOOKED really cool, the haunted houses were neat to look at inside, but that was about it. I think I was startled once by someone inside. There were no really cool special effect props, no one popping out of beds, no one chasing after you, no screaming girls flailing their arm as blood comes gushing out of them! Am I wrong to expect Universal Studios to have the coolest stuff around?! I thought about our experience last year again because we just visited a Haunted House here called Hundred Acres Manor ($16). Had to be one of the coolest ones I've visited. There were so many special effects! I was scared at every turn, and I mean EVERY turn. And Kennywood Park!! ($26) What an awesome place for Halloween! The ENTIRE park is like a scare zone! You NEVER know when someone is going to come out of the fog and scare the daylights out of you. The haunted houses inside are super scary and super fun to go through. So yeah, I'm kinda ticked I spent the money for a place that I thought would be the ultimate scare and turned out to be the ultimate let down. Tell me if I'm wrong about this!!

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^^ I will partially agree with you on that point, Horror Nights isn't the scariest event in the world but just because it isn't the "scariest" doesn't mean its not the best. I would much rather see well themed haunts with professional make up and costumes and incredible sets and special effects then your typical shaker can plywood walls latex mask haunts like a lot of local haunts tend to be. Also I think the sheer size of the event makes it a little less scary by nature. having to slowly walk through HHN houses in a giant conga line definitely takes away some of the scares but there inst really any other way to pull it off without lines being 5 hours long.

Yes it is getting expensive, and really crowded, but Ive never walked from Horror Nights feeling like I didn't get my money's worth. Its always a great experience.

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Tell me if I'm wrong about this!!

 

You're wrong. Just kidding. Timing is everything, though, and any event can have an "off" night.

 

I agree that the "scare potential" tends to drop the more crowded a Haunt becomes. One of the scariest experiences I've ever had was at a "Scream in the Dark" event in Modesto, California, back in the 1970s (one big house that took about a half-hour to get through). I think it depneds on what you're looking for: Startles and scares? Creepy atmopshere? Grim, dark humor? HHN tends to offer all of those in a single night. (Personally, I go for creepy atmosphere and a dark sense of humor.)

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HHN definitely concentrates more on the theatrical side of a scare than most of your run-of-the-mill haunted houses. As a result, it is really important to go through these houses multiple times to truly appreaciate them. A lot of the scares rely on that right timing for the guest to experience it as it was meant to be presented. I was only able to do Wolfman once last year and I think I missed every single gag/scare. Therefore, I came away with a low opinion of the house, but that doesn't mean it sucked. Just bad timing for me.

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Not to burst your bubble, but...this past Sunday every house was at least 75 minutes with some reaching 90 minutes (Hallow'd Past, Havoc) and some even over 100 minutes (Orfanage). I would seriously recommend an Express Pass.

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yeah I figured that would be the case this year, I usually go every year on an "off night" and have never gotten an express pass. I usually get there very early and hit as many hosues as possible till the lines get long, then see the shows and ride rides, and then do houses later when the lines are shorter again towards the end of the night. Never have bought an express pass but always have had a good time and gotten to see most everything rides included. However with the frequent fear express pass they've offered this year I had feeling that even on non peak nights the lines would be ridiculous.

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I was there two Sundays ago and did all 8 houses, all scarezones, and Bill & Ted with no Express pass and still had 90 minutes to spare. You can do it. The secret is to get there early, have a plan, and keep moving. But, because it is later in the month, it is getting more crowded. Make sure you do The Orfanage early. Once Bill & Ted starts dumping, then you're looking at a 90 minute wait for the rest of the night and, frankly, the house just isn't worth that long a line.

 

As for Asphodel- I think everyone has done a pretty good job explaining the value of HHN Orlando. I still truly believe that it is the best Halloween event in the country. Is it truly the "scariest"? That's up for debate. As others have mentioned, the conga line can easily decrease the scariness in the houses. So can timing. Nothing compares to going through a house in a small group of four having every scare targeted at you. But, because of the size of the event, that's just not feasible for USO. Also- smaller haunts can take bigger risks with scares (actors invading your personal space, etc.) that a big company like Universal just won't attempt. They're far too focused on safety. One more thing is that I also don't feel this year was the best representative of the best of the event. It was a very SOLID year but far from the best ever (IMO). I'd actually call this one of the weaker years and I've been going for 11 years now.

 

However, in terms of number of houses, quality of theming, performances of scareactors, make-up, and scope of the event, you just cannot top Halloween Horror Nights Orlando. I go every year and it's worth every penny!

 

HHN definitely concentrates more on the theatrical side of a scare than most of your run-of-the-mill haunted houses. As a result, it is really important to go through these houses multiple times to truly appreaciate them. A lot of the scares rely on that right timing for the guest to experience it as it was meant to be presented. I was only able to do Wolfman once last year and I think I missed every single gag/scare. Therefore, I came away with a low opinion of the house, but that doesn't mean it sucked. Just bad timing for me.

 

This just makes me sad. The Wolfman house was AMAZING last year! Sorry you missed a lot of it.

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Well, My whole point about this is, HHN tends to advertise about it BEING scary. "face your fears" n such. I did appreciate the cool looking scenery inside the houses and the decorations around the park. I enjoyed the shows that they put on. But I will keep my opinion on the fact that it just wasn't worth it (for me). I think haunted houses should be all about giving the best scare. Universal Studios has the potential to BE the best there is in that area but I think it falls very short. And as to having the best props and makeup artists to work with, I saw nothing there that I haven't seen at many other places. And also as for the bad timing, I mean, maybe we just had a bad day? It was the same in all of the houses. Single file line, someone steps out in front of you, but it was very rare I heard anyone scream in fright at anything.

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Good review Tyler!

 

I completely agree that this year felt like any other instead of being something truly special for the 20th Anniversary. It was a ton of fun but, for me, falls closer to the bottom of all the years I've gone (which is 11 years now! Damn I'm getting old).

 

I will respectfully disagree with your opinion of The Hallow'd Past. I loved this house. The warehouse sections were awesome and I loved the "best of" different houses. I can see the complaint of them choosing too many recent houses (I also would have liked to have seen a nod to Dungeon of Terror) but if you look at the ones slected, they all have VERY unique themes and feels. It kept them from blending into one another. I loved the trip down memory lane.

 

I also did not care for Catacombs at all. The Plague Doctor costumes were just too silly looking to be scary. Everyone called it the "Spy vs. Spy" house and for good reason. That's exactly what it looked like.

 

I just wrote a VERY long review on another board so I don't have the energy to rewrite it here. LOL. But here's how I summed it up:

 

"Overall, I think that HHN XX was a solid but not a spectacular year. It was interesting because there were no houses that I thought were really awful (ala Leave it to Cleaver and The Spawning last year) but there were also none that totally rocked my world (like the EPIC triad of Wolfman, Dracula, and Frankenstein- also last year). As always, it was a great event and a lot of fun but it definitely felt more like 'business as usual' than something truly mind-blowing or new for the 20th anniversary. I had a great time but I would put this year somewhere in the lower middle compared to all the years I've been going. Final grade for everything? B"

 

Great to read your thoughts. I always like hearing people's reactions to the event.

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I went on Sunday, 10/19, and it was crowded! The lines became long very fast. I did Horror Nights first and that was the only house I didn't use Express on. At around 6:15, the wait was around 5 minutes. When I did all the other houses, I went back to Horror Nights and used Express. The line was then 90 minutes. All the houses had 60-120 minute waits! The schools are out now and Sunday was a special UCF night, so that's what made the crowds huge. It felt like a Saturday.

 

Even though it was crowded, the Scare-actors were going all out. I got more scares that night from the Scare-actors than I did during my visit earlier in the month! The least scares were in Horror Nights. The most was in Havoc. I went in at around 6:15 and left around 10. I did all the houses and rode Jaws. I skipped Bell and Ted because it was terrible when I saw it earlier. I did walk by a show and I didn't hear uproarous laughter.

 

By the way, if you want wait times texted to your phone, send "tonight" (no quotes) to 64646. You'll get updates every 30 minutes. The times are not accurate to a T, but they tend to be +/-15 minutes. By using this system, I saw the waits grow and grow every 30 minutes.

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I didn't see this posted anywhere, and couldn't find an "Official" Universal Orlando thread, so I figured it would be best here.

 

http://www.wesh.com/r/25402375/detail.html

 

Universal Orlando has 36% increase in attendance ... WOW!!!

 

In Universal Orlando’s quarterly financial results, which were released on Friday, the theme park reported a 36 percent increase in attendance from the previous quarter.

 

Revenue for the three months was up 62 percent.

 

Year to date, the company said attendance was up almost a million people, or 12 percent.

 

The quarterly results are the best in Universal Orlando's history, the company said.

 

“We are seeing tremendous excitement for everything Universal Orlando Resort has to offer,” Universal Orlando President Bill Davis said in the financial filing. “We’re happy for what The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has done for our business and for all of the Central Florida tourism community.”

 

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened at Islands of Adventure in June.

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This is fantastic news. From what it seems the Harry Potter addition has opened the eyes of many tourists as to what Universal Studios actually has to offer. Most people I talked to knew it existed but the thought of visiting over Disney World never crossed their minds as they had no clue what the parks encompassed but now people are making the journey to Universal Orlando to see the Harry Potter section and realizing that the resort really is fantastic as a whole. I've heard from quite a few people who regularly visit Disney World changing their tentative future plans to Universal instead of Disney just to get a new experience when in Orlando. And it seems like this is what much of the country is doing also as the numbers obviously show that many more people are visiting the parks and hopefully they are gaining repeat customers in the process. I'm happy to hear the great news from my favorite Orlando resort. Only 53 days until my stay at Royal Pacific and four days at the parks. I'm looking forward to riding Forbidden Journey and getting to ride my number one coaster, Revenge of the Mummy, for the first time in three years.

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^Nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!

 

Save the Sinbad show! Let's find Princess Dezmound and she will donate money. I need trucks and hammers. Come on people, we can save the Sinbad show!

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