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P. 623: Universal's Mardi Gras 2023 details announced!

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My guess is they were probably slowing one train down on the lift hill, so they didn't synch up during the course. I think some people are just confusing that with it actually dueling. More than once last week they had both trains leave the station a second or two apart, only to have one stop half way up the lift hill for about 10 seconds.

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Thats pretty unfortunate that they dont duel anymore. Back in the day when I went to IOA, it was one of my favorite rides, and is still pretty unmique. As for what hit the victims, as a ride operator for the past six years I'm wondering what the loose item policy is. The timing BEGS for some scandal or wallet to fly out and hit the other person as the trains fling by each other....

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My guess is they were probably slowing one train down on the lift hill, so they didn't synch up during the course. I think some people are just confusing that with it actually dueling. More than once last week they had both trains leave the station a second or two apart, only to have one stop half way up the lift hill for about 10 seconds.


Yeah, just to reiterate, that's exactly what happened when I was there last week.

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First Trip Report! I will do my best to avoid any real spoilers.


Last night I was given the great opportunity to experience HHN during the employee preview (thanks to doublestufforeo). There was a rather large turn out for the event, but I still managed to squeeze in a walk through of every house at least once, three of them I got in twice. A couple of the houses were rather bland, but 4 of them immediately stand out as being some of the best houses I've seen.


Can't talk about the attractions without first giving my input on the event itself. Universal once again managed to give every inch of the park an amazing atmosphere that just oozes terror. They cut back a bit on fog this year as compared to last, but it doesn't really detract much from anything. The level of detail they put into everything is Universal's usual extravagance with sets and special effects that left my jaw on the floor. This was only the employee preview though so some of the effects in some houses and scarezones were not working yet, but even with these small detraction, my overall opinion of the event is that it is better than last year and I can't wait for my next visit.


Now, onto the houses. I will list them in the order I visited them.

Winter's Night:

Winter's Night is one of the three houses in the soundstages and right off the bat it blows you away. Walking in you have an amazingly beautiful set showing the entrance of the cemetary, also sporting a real snow maker (not the soap stuff you get everywhere). This house is gorgeous all around with some of the best set designs this year. It might not have the best overall scares, but it is worth checking out for the sets alone. Warning, it is cold in there! I think they have it set around 55 degrees. Not something you'd want to view if you are soaking from rain or another attraction. Overall this is one of my top 4 for the event and earns a solid 8/10.



Nightingales is another of the three houses in the soundstages, with the last one being The Thing. This house is amazing. Everything is pretty much flawless with some really effective scares, brilliant set design, and a few awesome special effects. This house throws you directly into the trenches of WWI, and I mean it really feels like you are there. I don't want to say much more about this house as this is probably going to be the underdog hit of the event and I would hate to spoil it. A perfect 10/10.


The Thing:

The Thing really disappointed me. How can you take an idea as awesome and creative as The Thing and create something so bland and somewhat boring? The sets are rather boring minus the entrance which uses a snow maker just like Winter's Night, and the space ship which only takes like 2 minutes to walk through. Also the ending of it is very anticlimactic. I really feel they dropped the ball with this one. One of the weakest of the event 4/10.


Holidays of Horror:

The comedy maze for this year, Holidays of Horror, is quite effective at giving comedy, or at least I laughed a lot through it. The idea is great and quite humorous in and of itself, but I wish it had been explored better, having only a small room for each of the holidays presented and no real scares to be found. I can't help but say this is the event's other weak maze, 4/10.



Awesome set designs and great material to work off of made this one a very fun house. I am a big fan of Edgar Allen Poe, so walking through these scenes and trying to figure out which scene eluded to which of his stories was a lot of fun. Sadly this maze feels rather short and doesn't include many of his works, so the potential is there, but it falls just short of glory 7/10.


The In Between:

As far as 3D mazes go, this is a good one. Very disorienting and with a couple good scares along the way. Some of the rooms seem rather cheesy though or are lacking in decoration. Overall it's just fun 7/10.


The Forsaken:

One word is best to describe this house, EPIC. The sounds, the effects, and the sets all add up to what is the most epic maze I've experienced. It is of a very large scale with details a plenty. Seriously one of the best of the event, 9/10. (It lost one point because of the conga line it forms that likes to come to a dead stop, killing several of the scares.)


Saws and Steam:

Once a scarezone, now a house, and a bloody good one at that. Walking in, only one thing popped to my mind, "Holy crap it's Bioshock!" Seriously, the theme of this maze is probably the closest we will end up getting to having a Bioshock themed house. This house had some of the best props and effects out of any of the houses, some of which were quite gruesome. This is in my opinion the best house they have this year and everyone should check it out! Perfect 10/10.


I'm not really going to talk about the scarezones as I was only able to check out three of them while the actors were still in place, but Grown Evil has a really cool theme to it and is just fun to walk through. Acid Assault had a really cool effect to it that made it stand out, but once again, no spoilers .

The last thing really for me to talk about is this year's Bill and Ted. It's hilarious! They have some better material to work with this year over last and some real guts in the jokes they present. There were a few jokes that I could tell were intended solely for the employee preview, but the majority of the really good ones should still be present during the normal run. An integral part of the HHN experience and definitely worth a watch.

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I invited Andrew (pufferfish) to come along with me last night to the employee preview of HHN21 and while he has his report being the big horror buff, and me just being the theme park dork here is my look at last night.


I'll go in the order of the houses we went to.


Winters Night: The Haunting of Hawthorn Cemetary

Rating: 8.5 / 10


This place had amazing sets and I loved the freezing cold you get when you walk in, it definitely is one of the best houses this year, the only thing I didn't like about it was the first time through it was just average, but later in the night it became a lot better as the actors got into their groove of things. The sets were definitely amazing and I loved the attention to detail in it and I love the ending. (Also watching a woman fall over the 2nd time through because she was so scared knocking her friend behind her to the floor kind of made the night.)


Nightingales Blood Prey

Rating: 10/ 10


Definitely my favorite house of the night themed after WWI, you immediately walk in and are taken into the trenches of the war, with dead bodies above you and dead soldiers to the sides no matter which way you go nowhere in that house is safe. I loved the aerial effects they used in that house, the sound, and the set, the scare actors were really amazing in that house, the best house of the night for me. (*HUGESPOILER* Watching a Nightingale swoop down to take the torso off of a guy and have the "guts" spray all over you was amazing. */ENDHUGESPOILER*)


The Thing

Rating: 6/10


I know Andrew didn't like this house but I definitely did, I think they could've done a lot more with this, but I still think it was pretty awesome, I just don't find strobe light monsters to be scary at all it looks to slow motion for it to be scary. I like the set for this, and it being the employee preview they didn't have the aerial effect through the hallway on which was a bummer and was the one thing that I was looking forward to, I'll just go on a normal night and see it then. While it wasn't great, the sets were awesome, and just in general cool to look at.


H.R. Bloodengutz: Holidays of Horror

Rating: 4/10


My least favorite house of the night, you could tell it was the "comedic" house but I find that rather pointless when I'm here for horror, granted it got a chuckle out of me at (spoiler) "Thankskilling Day," and "Ho-Ho-Homicide" (/endspoiler) but other than that it didn't impress me and I found myself walking through a few of the rooms just trying to figure out the holiday we were in.


Nevermore: The Madness of Poe

Rating: 7/10


I'm a fan of Edgar Allen Poe and my one of my favorite things to read is The Raven so I was definitely looking forward to this one. I would have enjoyed it more had the people in line before us not been chain smoking the entire time we were there. Once we got into the house it definitely had some awesome sets and I loved the costumes and I loved the spinning mirror room I don't know how the actors do it, I'd get so sick. The Raven part of the house definitely lived up to what I wanted from it, but for some reason I just left the house going "it was good," I felt like it was lacking something but I can't put my finger on it.


The Inbetween

Rating: 7.5 / 10


This was my first 3D maze I've done and I definitely loved the effects, and I made the terrible mistake of closing my eyes then reopening them on the spinning tunnel. I was pretty disorientated after that, and I loved how rave-ish this house was with all the neon colors everywhere, there are some decent scares in there but in general its just awesome to look at.



The Forsaken

Rating: 9 / 10


One of the best houses of the night some amazing scares and even more amazing sets, we did get a stand still through the line which I understand why once you walk through it some people have a bit of trouble with it, but that I won't spoil because its the main room. The masks on the faces were pretty creepy alone and this house kept me on my toes a lot.


Saws n' Steam: Into The Machine

Rating: 9.5 / 10


This was my 2nd favorite house of the night behind Nightingales Blood Prey, I loved the effects in this house and it was definitely the best house they have had in the Jaws queue in a while. They have some awesome scenes in there and I the steam punk feel to it is awesome, just be prepared to get wet in that house, and if you wear contacts that will dry to water friendly bit of advice, don't stare directly at the waterfall. You'll see what I mean if you go.




Overall this was the best year I've been to HHN and I definitely enjoyed myself, great job Universal.

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Halloween Horror Nights 21 is offficially here! Today I had the opportunity to attend Media Night and check out everything about this year's event. Thanks goes out to Universal Orlando for giving out lots of goodies and hosting us!






The Country’s Best Halloween Event Returns with All-New Horrifying Experiences:

Eight Haunted Houses, Six Scarezones, Two Shows…and Lady Luck


ORLANDO, Fla. (September 23, 2011) – Screams will fill the darkness tonight as Universal Orlando’s Halloween

Horror Nights 21 officially opens at Universal Studios Florida. Starting tonight and running select nights through

October 31, guests will confront extreme Halloween entertainment that cannot be experienced anywhere else.


Recently named “the country’s best Halloween event” for the fourth consecutive year by Amusement Today,

Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights is not your typical Halloween event. Each year, the bar is raised as

Universal Orlando creates original, horrifying experiences to entertain thousands of guests from all over the world.


This year’s event will be the most intense yet as Halloween Horror Nights 21 features ALL-NEW terrifying

content. Guests will experience:


Eight elaborate haunted houses, including the In-Between, where they’ll don 3-D glasses and enter an

ominous portal filled with fiendish creatures; The Forsaken, where they’ll face the vengeful souls of a

condemned ship; and Winter’s Night: The Haunting of Hawthorn Cemetery, where they’ll be haunted

by the dead


Six inescapable scarezones, like Acid Assault, where they’ll be surrounded by the vicious survivors of a city

plagued with Acid Rain, and Your Luck Has Run Out, where they’ll take a chance and face the monstrous

Lady Luck – the force behind this year’s event


Two outrageous shows, including the return of the popular Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure

and Death Drums, an all-new seductive drumming experience


For a detailed listing of each haunted house, scarezone and show featured at this year’s event, see below.


Halloween Horror Nights 21 begins at 6:30 p.m. For more information about the event – or to purchase tickets –

visit http://www.halloweenhorrornights.com/orlando. Due to the event’s popularity, tickets for weekend nights are

expected to sell out and should be purchased well in advance.


Guests can get updates and exclusive details on Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights on the event’s

official Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/halloweenhorrornightsorlando) and Twitter handle (@UORHHN).






Nevermore: The Madness of Poe

The madness of Edgar Allen Poe’s greatest works has come to life. Step into the mind of the iconic writer, where

every turn of the page takes you closer to the brink of insanity.


The Forsaken

Four ships began Columbus’s fateful voyage, only three became legend. Condemned to a watery grave, the

mutinous and cursed crew of that fourth ship has returned with a vengeance. For within the walls of a Spanish fort,

a maelstrom has brought from the depths....death itself.


H.R. Bloodengutz Presents: Holidays of Horror

Join creature feature host, H.R. Bloodengutz, in his final televised broadcast as he presents a SCARE-athon of

holiday-based horror that is guaranteed to cleave you screaming for more.


The Thing

Paranoia spreads like an epidemic among a group of researchers in an isolated Antarctic outpost as they are

infected, one by one, by a horrifying creature from another planet. In a place where there is nothing, they found



Saws N’ Steam: Into the Machine

Spinning blades and massive, crushing pistons await you around every corner as you are forced deeper into the

bowels of a mechanical nightmare. Give yourself to “The Machine.”


The In-Between

An ominous portal reveals a 3rd dimension where all is not what it seems: a realm where our world and another

collide. Surrounded by fiendish creatures, your eyes will deceive you with every step through this phantasm of



Winter’s Night: The Haunting of Hawthorn Cemetery

As snow falls on this normally serene gothic cemetery, the deceased souls that occupy its confines have their sights

set upon you, insuring that the chill you feel up your spine is more than just the cold of night.


Nightingales: Blood Prey

Within every war, the Nightingales have appeared. Able to transform themselves to fit any setting, these savage

banshees feed on the weak and the helpless. Patrolling WWI era trenches, you discover that you are more than just

at war…you’re being hunted.




Acid Assault

For decades now the city has been degrading from the effects of Acid Rain that still falls today, caused by factories

which sprung up on the city’s edges during the 20th century. Those that have lived and survived the blistering

decay are all alone in the city. Survivors have stripped the city of all life to sustain their own…dare to enter the



Canyon of Dark Souls

Upon entering into the Canyon of Dark Souls, you will feel like a small spec of humanity as the overwhelming sense

of death surrounds you. Creatures that dwell within the Canyon are not welcoming so walk slowly as to not disturb



Grown Evil

Enter, if you dare, into our garden where Evil grows. Nature has taken this once well manicured sanctuary back

from the humans who once kept it. Now the creatures that inhabit the garden are making any human that enters

their prey.



Journey through the ever changing maze of darkness. This all black maze will morph and change as you walk

through it. You will not be scared the same way twice.



As daylight shines upon our Temptresses, their appearance, though evil, allows you the spectacle of beauty. As

night falls, these 7 temptresses will show their true colors and take on their true Fatal Evil forms. Beware of your

own temptations.


Your Luck Has Run Out

Enter if you dare into the lair of the LUCKY! Your choices will determine if you make it out alive. Witness luck’s

deadly wrath, will she choose you to be her next victim?




Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure

Party on as those two most excellent dudes return to skewer the biggest names in entertainment and pop culture.


Death Drums

A seductive, hard-hitting and raw extreme drumming experience.




Overall I think this is a very solid year for Halloween Horror Nights all around! The shows are different, the houses are each very unique yet seem to fit together perfectly, and the scare zones are totally different from last year and each offer something unique. Here is my run down of what I thought followed by photos from Universal Orlando and what I did during the event!


Houses (in the order completed):


1. Saws n' Steam - I can only compare to HHN 20 but this maze was an amazing use of the Jaws queue building! I didn't feel like I was in a wood structure like last year but in another world similar to Bioshock like the others have said. A reoccurring theme this year is the use of water in the houses and this maze is the best in that aspect as it squeezes the water out of unwilling humans in order to power New York City. More about the theming for me but it still had some good scares!


2. H.R. Bloodengutz Presents: Holidays of Horror - Even though this is supposed to be the funny maze it was actually really good! Way better than Zombiegeddon. It has a large number of holidays included such as Valentines Day, Easter, the 4th of July, Arbor Day (AMAZING- probably my favorite room of the entire event), President's Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. It wasn't really scary either but very will done in my opinion!


3. Winter’s Night: The Haunting of Hawthorn Cemetery - This was my favorite house of the night! The atmosphere is unreal, as if you were really in a cold cemetery where the dead become the living. It has the best scares for me (I jumped like crazy and my stuff went flying) and combined with the atmosphere it really was top notch. I don't want to give away too much but don't look at the train...


4. Nightingales: Blood Prey - While not the scariest house of the night for me it was the most "intense" sort of like Hades from last year. The setting is unreal as it throws you right into the trenches and it uses some new scare tactics that I won't give away. Don't trust the Nightingales!


5. The Thing - Wasn't too sure what to think of this house. It was really well themed as expected and the actors were in super detailed costumes and everything but there wasn't anything really jumping out. I felt like I was in the middle of a gun fight as if I was placed into the middle of the action of a movie but unaffected by what's going on around me.


6. Nevermore - Once again a very unique house with extraordinary theming. This also made us of some new scare tactics as it followed the life of Poe perfectly. Definitely one of my favorites of the night but I don't want to give away too much.


7. The In-Between - This maze was really trippy! The use of 3d glasses makes it very disorienting and sets up some really good scares because you can't tell what's around you. Going in to the event I didn't care too much for this house but it was probably the biggest surprise of the night for me! Got the crap scared out of me in the final room.


8. Forsaken - Once again an insanely well themed house with a crazy atmosphere. I felt like I was exploring the Titanic or something after it sunk. Has some amazing sets and I really like the use of some larger rooms (Poe had one too) and the titled ship walk through was awesome. Another favorite for sure.


As you can see all of the houses this year are like dead even! They are all really good and it's hard to pick a favorite, which is a good thing. Another plus is that they are all very long. It's hard to put together an order now after 1 walk through, but if I had to, it would look something like this:


1. Winter's Night

2. Nightingales

3. Forsaken

4. Nevermore

5. In-between

6. Holidays of Horror

7. Saws n Steam

8. The Thing


As for the scare zones, they were each completely different in style. Your Luck Has Ran Out was similar to last years Saws n' Steam zone (same location) as it had lots of fog, just Lady Luck characters (her 2 sides) instead of chain saw dudes. 7 feature 7 different girls dancing on little stages with scare actors everywhere! There were a ton of them and they came from no where. NightMaze is a bunch of black walls that MOVE making the maze always different. However when I went through there wasn't any scare actors present. The same happened at Acid Assault, but the large amount of theming and the image projection on the buildings that crumble down were really impressive. Canyon of Dark Souls is a small zone but had a ton of actors hiding off to the side. It's supposed to feature actors on stilts but they weren't being used tonight. Last but not least was Grown Evil, my favorite zone. It is very dark as it is located on the tree covered path and kinda felt like a scene for a house in a way.


I'm not a huge show person myself but Bill & Ted was still really funny this year! It has a really cool set this year (I liked it a lot more than last years) and in my opinion is way different from last year. I can't really compare the two. Regardless you have to see the show on your visit to HHN 21. Death Drums was the brand new show for 2011 and is definitely worth catching as it only lasted about 12 minutes. However the two drums towers (see below) meet up and it's kind of like a big street party for a few minutes for the actors. Each show is also different as they play different music (I think there are 3 versions).


Anyways, here are some photos provided by Universal in the media kit and a few that I took of tonight's event.


The good side of Lady Luck. Be Careful!


This is the side of Lady Luck you best get used to.






Holidays of Horror


Holidays of Horror


Holidays of Horror




Winter's Night


Saws n Steam




The In-Between


The In-Between


Canyon of Dark Souls


Grown Evil


Here we are arriving at Universal Studios Florida for HHN 21!


This looks like the right way.


Check-in Table! Grabbed our credentials and a poncho to stay dry ;)


Halloween Horror Nights Media Night Swag!


Being V, I mean RIP means getting to walk through the park before normal guests.


Universal Orlando has rolled out the red carpet for TPR!


Just in case you forgot the special event.


Ready to go was a photo opportunity for the media, including wireless photo transferring to laptops!


Lady Luck wanted Garbels.


However inside there was a lot of FOOD =)


The room was very decorated and even included Monsters of its own!


There are a lot of good movies on this wall.


Oh yeah...MORE FOOD! They know us well ;) (The Burger Sliders were extremely good, I might add)


Just hanging out with the Creative Designers! These guys make all the magic happen.


It's almost time to head out and check out this years houses, scare zones, and shows!


As we were about to leave one of the vehicles for Death Drums began to roll out.


Hmmm...I wonder what these guys are for?


As the rain began to fall hard the park's PR department spoke with us, shared information about this year's event, and answered any questions.


After waiting out the storm inside, it was time that we got placed into our tour groups!


RIP status! Shake it before you break it.


Time to head out into the park!


NightMaze was very disorienting with bright lights and moving black walls! It will never be the same path.


Our Lovely RIP tour director Jessica points us in the right direction.


Acid Assault! Watch out for the buildings crumbling down.


After seeing how people in Florida drive in rain I would not want to see how they drive in Acid Rain.


Ladies and gentlemen, this is the way to do a HHN event. Front of the line!


Your Luck Has Ran Out starts out with the good side of Lady Luck.


There she is, luring you in...


But she is evil.




This is a very sexy scare zone!


Lots of scare actors in this zone! Very well done.


WHAT? 2 faces!


Can you handle the heat?


Canyon of Dark Souls. Im glad they have more scare zones over here by Simpsons as they were all in one area last year


Lady Luck is everywhere in this event! You can't escape her.


Just in case you forgot what year of HHN it is.


And then we saw Bill & Ted's excellent adventure! Sorry folks, no cameras allowed- you'll just have to come and see for yourself!


After Bill & Ted saves us once again we viewed Death Drums.




This makes me want to grab a drum, bang on it, and dance.



Last picture from the show. After this we finished by hitting all of the houses in record time. No photos allowed there either, so you just need to come and experience it for yourself!!!


Thanks goes out to Jessica and Janelle for being our excellent tour guides! Hope you guys enjoyed it and I'll be sure to make some more photo rounds as the event goes on. Two thumbs up for Halloween Horror Nights 21!!!

Edited by robbalvey
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I had a wonderful time attending opening night, can't wait to go back in a few hours. Like stated in all the reviews, Forsaken and Winters Night are incredible just to walk through. The biggest surprise of the night for me was definitely The In-between. I loved every second of that house from how it looked to the scares. The only big let down for me was Bill and Tedds...if it's true it is a new director it really showed. I had a few good laughs but over all disappointing. Not to knock the event at all, it was awesome, because the atmosphere is so great!

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Its interesting to see how other people rate the houses, I honestly just think some of them depend on your mood/the time you walk through/how long you waited, it really just depends. You can tell some of the best ones off the bat just by comparing other peoples reports, but then if you look at others me and Andrew put Saws n' Steam very high, and Holidays of Horror dead last, it really just depends on a lot of factors, so I think in general they are all just awesome houses, its really (not to sound punny about the theme,) just all about luck.

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^ A lot of it has to do with timing as well. Since, you are usually going through in one big conga line, you can easily miss a lot of the scares. I usually like to see people's ratings that have been through each house multiple times. That is a better indication of which houses are the top ones.

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^ Andrew and I went through a few a couple of times, this year the only one I wasn't really satisfied with but wasn't unsatisfied with was Holidays of Horror, the rest of it is pretty amazing. Even if I miss some of the scares (which happens a lot) normally the people who get them are the people in front of me which is totally fine because I love watching people get scared.

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I don't think there's any bad houses this year. The Thing and Winter's Night are both classics in the making, and all of the others are pretty decent, with some new and imaginative effects being seen in multiple houses. The Forsaken is a bit of a letdown, because I think it could have been better, but it's still not a bad house. The one house I see getting bashed a lot is Holidays of Horror, and people need to realize that it's a comedy house before they go through it. Much more so than the previous comedic houses. Don't expect the same type of experience you get from the other houses.


I think the area where the event needs the most improvement is scarezones. And yeah, Bill & Ted needs some tweaking at the very least. The new writer isn't off to a great start.

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