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Robert Niles
Editor

Tournament, round one: Central Florida Halloween events

Published: March 14, 2011 at 6:48 AM

It's time to kick off the 2011 Theme Park Insider Tournament: America's Best Theme Park Event. On Friday, we previewed our opening match-up: Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights vs. Busch Gardens Tampa's Howl-O-Scream. Now, it is time to vote.

Halloween Horror Nights
Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Florida

Howl-O-Scream
Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens Tampa

This vote will be open until Tuesday morning at 10, Eastern time. You are encouraged to use Facebook, Twitter or any other means available to you to encourage others to come vote.


Remember, you don't need to have been to both events to vote - go with the one that sounds the best to you, based on comments and descriptions you've read here on Theme Park Insider and elsewhere. If you're really on the fence, let's use the comments as one last chance for fans to make their cases.

Replies (17)

Tom Rigg

Published: March 14, 2011 at 7:17 AM

I have been going to HHN for several years now and it is by far the best most polished experience you will get. That being said this past year was the weakest year since I started going. As far as Howl O Scream, I have been going to the BG Williamsburg event for years as well, but this past year was my first time going to the Tampa event. It was REALLY good (made me jealous for Williamsburg) but I also learned that they don't change their houses every year like HHN does. So the rub is thus: do I vote for the overall winner that rocks every year till my face melts off and my children weep over my exploded body, but that had a particularly weak showing this past year, or do I go with the event I saw for the first time and was definitiely great, but I know doesn't bring the variety each year the way HHN does. In the end I went for the face melting Tiger Blood that is HHN. But this is also because the Caretaker was back this year and he scares the bejeezus out of me.
Eric Malone

Published: March 14, 2011 at 7:45 AM

Having been to both events several times when I was younger, I have to say that they're both great events. The only issue is that I have to give the nod to Halloween Horror Nights, as it's simply the more elaborate of the two.
James Rao
Writer

Published: March 14, 2011 at 8:34 AM

Since I have never visited either event, I will vote for the one I MOST want to visit: HHN. Although, Busch Gardens is never second rate in anything it does, so I am probably making the wrong choice.
98.254.38.255

Published: March 14, 2011 at 8:56 AM

After going to HHN for 10 years we took our first trip to HOS and have NEVER gone back to HHN.... The experience at HOS is HANDS DOWN A MILLION TIMES BETTER!!!!!
173.169.8.239

Published: March 14, 2011 at 9:01 AM

I never been to HHN but I heard many good things about. But Im more of a HOS fan. And I've been going there since they first came out with it in BuschGardens Tampabay. by far HOS is great cause every year it changes and it gets more scarier every year. Great JOB !!
174.252.160.35

Published: March 14, 2011 at 9:26 AM

Horror Nights is by far the better event and its not even close. Great shows and movie quality houses that are so elaborate and new every year. Howl O Scream is garbage, same houses, same scare zones and same shows year after year. Everything about HHN puts HOS to shame, the thought as well as money put into it is about ten times more than HOS. And the simple fact the HHN is in Orlando makes it better as compared to a park in the Ghetto.
Crystal A

Published: March 14, 2011 at 10:35 AM

Both events are by far my favorite Hard Ticket events during the year. We are Platinum Passholders for BG, therefore we get in free and only pay for the front of the line pass every year. HOS is a good time, although I am not certain we would attend every year if we had to actually pay much money for it. HHN on the other hand is an experience. Being Preferred Passholders for UO we get discounted tickets for HHN, however we always go on a Saturday (more money), we always get an Express Pass (more money) and always stay on UO property (much more money). We never miss either event but there is no way I would pay even a portion of the money for HOS as I pay for HHN. Both are a lot of fun though!
71.100.22.11

Published: March 14, 2011 at 12:05 PM

Howl O' Scream is by far the better event. But, I really do not like polls like this because it's truly unfair to Busch Gardens. Because of Universal's location, they will always win. Orlando is the big tourist attraction in Florida and because people will spend days there and it's more known then Tampa, HHN is more likely to win. It'll be the same even if it was reversed, Howl O' Scream would be the better event if it was in Orlando because of the location.
Scottland Jacobson

Published: March 14, 2011 at 12:28 PM

Both are really well done - and "Trapped in the Walls" at BG is one of the best - but HHN with all of its movie magic really is the best!
192.251.125.85

Published: March 14, 2011 at 12:42 PM

I have to admit that for the price, HHN is begining to drop in quality. I have attended EVERY year since it began (I still have all of my ticket stubs) and they are not putting the effort into the program they once did; while HS is really ramping up their program and are still cheaper.
S L

Published: March 14, 2011 at 1:16 PM

HoS does an admirable job and it is a solid Halloween experience. But HHN themes which includes online clues and reveals and a completely immersive experience (down to the smells inside the houses) can't be topped. HHN attention to detail and vast array of resources for new houses each year makes it the clear winner.
Tom Rigg

Published: March 14, 2011 at 1:35 PM

I didn't mean to make "by far" the trend for posts about this...."by far" if by far the most come used idiom on these comments...lol
Anthony Murphy
Writer

Published: March 14, 2011 at 3:54 PM

I vote for HHN just because they seem to really spend it all during the Halloween Season. Thats "their holiday" where all others get compared.

The interesting thing to me is the similarites between the two and the imagination of the houses! Very good!

50.9.101.230

Published: March 14, 2011 at 4:03 PM

HHN is always so crowded, they do seem to go all out and I bet they have a bigger budget. HOS is still very good, but last year theme was pretty lame, however their houses were very very good, even thought they are repetitive since they barely change from the past year. But ALONE was amazing! BGT really went all out for this house, very well done. As for HHN, it is good and all but I think i always have more fun at BGT's HOS. So I voted for BGT HOS
72.187.195.28

Published: March 14, 2011 at 7:41 PM

I voted for HOS. HHN always changes up houses and themes but HOS is much more in your face! HHN has great scenery and design but I never get as scared there as I do at HOS. If this vote was for best bang for your buck HOS would also still get my vote. Scarier and cheaper sign me up!
68.200.206.79

Published: March 16, 2011 at 7:49 PM

I love HOS but I am sorry that I don't agree with the way you did the page for the voting. There are many great pictures of HOS and the one you use did nothing for those people who may have just voted based on pictures without ever being to the events.
173.78.88.146

Published: March 19, 2011 at 5:07 PM

I have been going to both events for a years now and I put my vote definatly for HHN. I am a total chicken who can't even watch scary movies without running out of the room. Howl-o-scream maybe gets me to jump once or twice per house and the scare zones are not scary, very empty and bland. But its still a fun atmosphere. HHN manages to keep me screaming the whole time and practically running through the houses. Though for their prices the scare zones could be a little more scarier. :)

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