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Universal Orlando Resort (USO, IOA) Discussion Thread

p. 623 - New Epic Universe details, including Celestial Park!

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Universal just announced extended hours for HHN on select nights. The events on 10/12, 10/16, 10/19, 10/22, 10/30, and 10/31 now have an extra hour of operation vs. the original schedule:



I'm curious if this is due to crowds, pre-purchased tickets, etc.

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Universal just announced extended hours for HHN on select nights. The events on 10/12, 10/16, 10/19, 10/22, 10/30, and 10/31 now have an extra hour of operation vs. the original schedule:



I'm curious if this is due to crowds, pre-purchased tickets, etc.


The do this almost every year if im not mistaken.

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They've made changes to hours before Mike but this is on another level. Presales and predicted attendance are so high they've expanded hours on more nights than ever. Dare we see a USF sellout? Time will tell...

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This has been the first year that not once in any one night I've visited (five nights so far), I've not been able to complete every house before the end of the evening. The park is packed on a level I don't believe they've seen before, which is surely great news for Universal.


I'm hoping that if the success of the event is as good as we seem to be observing from the outside looking in, that serious conversations are being had about adding an additional house or two to the event lineup to help manage the crowds.

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At the parks now and resting up for the craziness of HHN to tonight. It is has been a rough day for the new Potter stuff. Gringotts was down all morning (it might have finally opened around 1, not for sure) and the train broke down for over an hour. Hopefully, Gringotts will get its act together for tomorrow.

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Just chilling at Cabana Bay. Gringott's was down much of the day, but I heard it may be up now (but take that for what it's worth). The Hogwarts Express was down for a while, but we did ride it over to IOA. I liked it. So, fun day overall, but rough time in Potterland.

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I have my Kayak alerts set to see if flight prices can drop low enough for me to do a quick day trip for HHN...Would be fun to do another "both HHN's in the same day" trip as I've done a few times already!

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I'm hoping that if the success of the event is as good as we seem to be observing from the outside looking in, that serious conversations are being had about adding an additional house or two to the event lineup to help manage the crowds.


Or 5 or 6

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The good news is that Comcast has shown is that they are certainly not afraid to spend money on the parks!


I have a theory that Steve Burke is still bitter about how Disney ran DLP under his watch and is now having fun with the theme parks.

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ORLANDO, Fla. (October 14, 2014) – Today, Universal Orlando Resort announced the return of the resort's popular 3rd Day Free Offer for U.S. and Canada residents - giving them a third day FREE with the purchase of a 2-day park ticket. This offer gives visitors even more time to enjoy the trip of a lifetime to Universal Orlando’s two theme parks, Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure and enjoy all-new experiences, including the awe-inspiring The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, the incredible journey between London and Hogsmeade aboard the Hogwarts Express, the blockbuster attraction TRANSFORMERS: The Ride – 3D and Springfield, home of America’s favorite animated family “The Simpsons.”


Buy a 2-Day Ticket and Get the 3rd Day Free

Includes the following benefits:

· Three days’ access to both Universal Orlando theme parks

· Access to live entertainment at Universal CityWalk

· Or upgrade with the purchase of a combo ticket to experience either Orlando’s premier waterpark Wet n’ Wild or the Blue Man Group show, featuring incredible live performances and music


Offer valid for purchase through June 7, 2015 and is valid for 14 days from the first use – must be used in full by June 20, 2015. Current price of a 2-day, park-to-park ticket is $175.99 per adult, plus tax. Blockout dates apply Dec. 26, 2014 – Jan. 3, 2015.


Make It a Vacation Package

· Visitors can make it a special vacation by adding a stay at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort with a discounted vacation package starting at $425 per adult, tax inclusive.

· Package also includes:

- 2-Day, Park-to-Park with 3rd Day Free ticket offer

- 3-nights stay at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort

- Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter one hour before the theme park opens

· Special vacation package rates are also available at Universal Orlando’s additional resort hotels Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel and select Universal Partner Hotels

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HHN trip report from Sunday:


We had stay and scream so we went into the holding area near finnegan's. They were lining up all stay and scream guests using the transformers queue, scanning tickets and feeding us into the gated holding area. They were allowing you to go to the bathroom area by issuing a small ticket so you could re enter the holding area without waiting in line first. The lines for beer both at Finnegan's and the one cart in the holding area were ridiculous.


They released us by opening the fence on the far left side of the holding area by Finnegan's and the herd was off! We went straight for AVP then ran over to Halloween in back of park. Then did Roanoke exiting right by dollhouse of the dammed and did that one too. We were able to do those 4 without using our express passes. We then went back and completed the other 4 houses (now using express) as well as the ones we did first a second time now with express.


Lines were super long as expected by the time we did our first four houses. But doing houses in this order seems to be the best way to get as many in as possible. Even if you don't have express like we did. Lines for Halloween and AVP were 120 all night. Halloween looked even longer than that when we passed regular line with express. The line went on forever.


Great event this year. My rankings are as follows;

1. Halloween - one of the best houses ever. Just amazing.

2. AVP - hit or miss on many of the scares but scenery and alien puppets are great. Crawl at end only disappointment.

3. Dollhouse of the dammed - super creepy. Baby In crib so weird

4. Roanoke - after reading all the negative reviews had low expectations. I admit the first half is boring but wow the second half has some great scares. Really depends on timing as I switched the order with Brad who I went with (he now walked behind me) on our second time through and I got all the scares both times.

5. Walking dead - way past it's time to go but can't ignore great layout and scenery here. Didn't feel as long as it is...I guess?

6. Giggles and Gore - it's ok but nothing special

7. Dusk till dawn - missed all the scares. Hoping for better run through tomorrow. Lots of T&A (thumbs up)

8. Dracula - so bad. Repeat so bad. An embarrassing house for universal HHN standards.


Really impressed with HHN 24. Had amazing time and going weds and thurs of this week again. Can't wait.


Side note: during the day Gringotts broke down all morning. It opened around 1pm finally. But before it opened they were letting people stand in line even though it was down. Brad and I headed into single rider and sat at bottom of stairs below loading station by ourself's. They stopped the regular line before the last hallway of the queue where you get to the stairs so we were literally by ourself. A couple employees walked up and down the stairs while we were waiting and saw us but did not say anything. Finally, they came down to open the regular line and signaled that we could go up. We went up and rode in row 4 by ourself's. No one else on train or in station. It was amazing and certainly rare given how new and popular it is. Line was 90 minutes by the time we got to the exit. We hopped right back into single rider hoping it would be short. Nope - even single rider was 25.

Edited by Ron Toomer
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I made my first visit to Halloween Horror Nights last Sunday after taking a year off from the event. I was so disappointed in the 2012 version that I thought it best to skip last year. I did enjoy myself more this year than in 2012, but there are still a few things about the current state of HHN that bother me:


Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure is anything but; in fact, it’s really quite bad. This year’s version was devoted largely to Disney bashing. Here’s a tip: It’s probably not a good idea to make fun of the cost of Disney’s Magic Bands at an event where your Express Passes cost more than admission. (Two sets of Express Passes cost just a bit less than $200 that night, when bought in advance.)


Universal is still too dependent on “triggered” scares. The maze scare actors rarely interact with guests at all; instead, they step on a pedal, lunge out when the sound and light effects go off, then return to their spot. Lather, rinse, repeat. I think triggered stuff is good when used strategically, but Universal is far too dependent on it. It made me appreciate those scare actors who didn’t use the triggered effects all the more.


The scare zones were better this year (particularly The Purge and Face Off), but there are so many people crammed into the park that it’s difficult to enjoy them.


Here’s what I thought of the houses (best to worst). As usual, Universal’s sets are the best in the business, and that’s probably what I appreciate most about HHN.


Roanoke--Cannibal Colony: Yes, I’m distinctly in the minority here, but this was my favorite house of the night. I think using the historical story of the “Lost Colony,” which originated on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, appealed to me. When you get down to it, this is just a “zombie” house in 17th-century drag, but a good one.


Dollhouse of the Damned: Creepy toys are always scary. Even scarier are “giant babies” in diapers, complete with the nasty smell of old talcum powder. This was one house where the scare actors “got me.”


The Walking Dead--End of the Line: I’m not a fan of the show, but this rather large house was well done. I particularly liked the “forest room.” But I am a little tired of zombies being the “monster du jour” these days.


Halloween: Let’s face it. As monsters go, Michael Meyers isn’t all that interesting. But Universal did a good job here generating atmosphere in a pretty bland, suburban-house setting (much as Director John Carpenter did in the original movie).


Giggles & Gore Inc.: A decent-enough spin on the standard “evil clown maze.” Funny, if not particularly memorable.


From Dusk Till Dawn: As Elissa said in her eloquent, succinct review, “Boobs.” Well, and fangs. Go in expecting those two elements, and you won’t be disappointed.


Dracula Untold--Reign of Blood: Again, lots of loud noises and lunging among elaborate sets. Aside from that, I don’t remember much about this maze. Maybe if I see the movie, I’ll appreciate it more.


AVP--Alien vs. Predator: Well, make that lots of “aliens on a stick” and a few predators. Good sets and atmosphere, but every bit as unmemorable as the “AVP” flicks.


That’s just my two cents.

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I pretty much agree with everything Chuck said, except AVP was my favorite. The Alien movies terrified me as a child and seeing the sets from the movie come to life was awesome. Sure, there weren't many scares but this house was much more about the atmosphere for me. I'd say my order for the houses this year would be:


1) AVP

2) Halloween

3) Dollhouse of the Damned

4) Walking Dead

5) Giggles and Gore (Loved the "funny" mirror scare!)

6) Roanoke

7) From Dusk Til Dawn

8) Dracula


My favorite part of the entire night was waiting in line for Despicable Me and watching the MASKerade scareactors in action.

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My favorite part of the entire night was waiting in line for Despicable Me and watching the MASKerade scareactors in action.


That was a lot of fun. MASKerade wasn't as crammed with people as The Purge, and you could get a better look at what was going on.

Edited by cfc
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Wow! Last year, in December, I paid $146.99 for the 2-Day Ticket and Get the 3rd Day Free promotion. I can't believe that the price has gone up almost $30 in under a year! I guess that Universal is making great money on the Harry Potter expansion.

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From Dusk Till Dawn: As Elissa said in her eloquent, succinct review, “Boobs.” Well, and fangs. Go in expecting those two elements, and you won’t be disappointed.

It's my favorite house of the event, but mainly because I like boobs!

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We were invited to come visit HHN24 again last night as part of a special event focusing on the Face Off characters. Had another great night. Was fun being able to take HHN at a bit more of a relaxed pace and not worrying about getting all the pics and video we needed as we did that all at the first media night. Here's some of the photos & videos from last night....


We are back at Universal Studios Orlando for another visit to Halloween Horror Nights 24!


We were invited to come take part of a special Face Off event where we got to see Doc (from this past season of the show) doing finishing touches on some of the creatures going out into the event that night.


Laura Wallace, Laura Taylor, and Mike Aiello talked about the event and what it was like to work with Face Off to be part of the event.

Here's our interview with Mike Aiello, Creative Director of Halloween Horror Nights. Loved his response to the questions, and he's just such a great, down-to-earth casual person to chat with. Really liked how this turned out! Watch:


The creatures of Face Off wandering around among us bloggers!


To be honest, it's kind of hard to tell which are the bloggers and which are the monsters!


This is a Face Off monster.


This is a typical blogger...


No, wait...this one is... same thing! =)

We interviewed Doc about what it was like to be on Face Off. Loved his commentary! Check it out:


Doc is making Banks for Attractions Magazine nice and pretty!


Yes! What an improvement!


We hung out with Laura, who won season five of Face Off!

We chatted with Laura a couple of weeks ago about being on Face Off. She was wonderful! Great to see so many friendly people involved with an event so horrifying. The juxtaposition is fascinating!


Out on the streets we go!


Of course our first stop is Face Off - In the Flesh.


Love it when fog fills the streets of Universal Studios!


The creatures all look just fantastic!


Axe Girlfriend is the monster that was the winner from the HHN episode.


She said she'd go out with me! Or wanted me dead. Or something like that. It doesn't matter, a girl talked to me!!!


Seriously, though, the character looks FANTASTIC!


Goodbye Axe Girlfriend...you will live on in my dreams...or nightmares...


Not only are characters beautifully set up to get photos, but there are also other scare actors wandering the streets ready to pounce!


It's just awesome being able to take amazing photos of all the characters.


I hope they continue to do this in future years of HHN.


Our final shot from Face Off: In The Flesh!


Heading into Bayou of Blood...


This is a scare zone on the dark side of New Orleans.


The lightning and effects in this area are fantastic!


Gonna check out a few houses starting with Dollhouse of the Damned.


If you're a stuffed animal fan, this is NOT the house for you! lol


Halloween is still proving to be one of the most popular houses of this year's event.


Giggles & Gore offers pretty girls, clowns, and, well.... gore!


The highlight of the Bill & Ted show this year is still the Frozen section! lol Amazing!


And yes, we had awesome VIP seats! All the sexy people and dancing up close!


As part of the RIP tour they took us into someplace special...


We got to wander the inner queue area of Men In Black!


It was cool getting pics with all the aliens in here!


This is not a perspective I'm normally used to seeing.


I signed the "Earth Immigration Registration"


And now TPR is part of the theming for Men In Black! Look for this desk when you're in the queue!


Oh, trust me...we will!


Loved the Purge scare zone. The actors they had in here were some of my favorite of the entire event.


Cool to see all the darker lightning they had in Springfield during HHN.


Same with the London Facade of Diagon Alley.


We stopped by Transformers for a quick ride during our RIP Tour.


And of course you can't have an HHN update without a photo of Mel's Die-In!


Roller coaster photo just so we can say we've got one!


Another great night at Halloween Horror Nights! We STRONGLY recommend doing an RIP Tour or at least getting Express Passes. With how crowded the event can get, it's really the best way to see the show!


Here's a walk-through of some of the houses we filmed during our first visit to HHN 24. Enjoy!


Photos & video by Robb Alvey & Hanno Roos




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The Face Off scare zone was pretty good. I've only watched a few episodes of the show over the years, and even I recognized some of the monsters. Pretty cool way to make a living.

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