Universal Orlando Halloween Horror Nights
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Halloween Horror Nights 24 at Universal Studios Florida included houses for Halloween, The Walking Dead: End of the Line, AVP: Alien vs. Predator, From Dusk Till Dawn, Dracula Untold - Reign of Blood, Dollhouse of the Damned, Giggles & Gore Inc., Roanoke - Cannibal Colony. HHN 24 also offered scare zones including: The Purge: Anarchy, Face Off - In the Flesh, Bayou of Blood, and MASKerade: Unstitched.
While I like zombies, I didn't like that all the scarezones were nothing but zombies. They just shuffle around and yell at people. In the past, the vampires and other forms of undead could interact a bit more with the guests, so it felt more involved.
We went to the event this past Saturday night during a terrible rain system. This is the first year (in seven visits) that it has rained the entire time we have been at the park. Eventhough the rain was a terrible bother the biggest problem I had was that the Scare Zones were none existent. I am sure the reason there were not any scare zones set up was because of the rain but I had hoped that UO would have a better plan to deal with it rather than just not having any at all. I thought the houses this year were OK. Oddly enough my favorite was the 3-D "In Between" house. I have no idea what the theme was supposed to be, but the effects were pretty good. I thought the overall 21 theme was pretty weak in itself. Then after visiting and not seeing Lady Luck even one time it was even more disappointing. We did get to ride HRRR for the first time which was awesome. We'll keep going because we love it but it has definitely been falling off in scares for the past few years. The last time I remember this event being excellent was in 2005.
HHN has always had the market cornered on detail. That said, the past two years have lacked something. For starters, the scares haven't been as consistent, as if the detail has trumped the scare. It feels as though the event is groping for innovation and just not finding the mark. This isn't to say that the event was bad. It still ranks in the top three events I go to each year. However, this year in particular there were some missteps. First, the scares zones were lack luster and not a single one greeted you at the entrance. You had to walk a solid 4-6 minutes to get to your first scarezone. Second, the houses seemed to strain under the need to be very detailed and eerie and then ended up lacking enough scares. While I really appreciate the detail and the atmosphere that Universal can create, it can't compromise the scares. And let's be honest, a haunted house in an event like this needs to rely on jumps and startles. Due to the pace of the event you can't spend enough time setting up the atmosphere for that to scare people. Third, the icon has always had its own house, even last year, while fear itself wasn't present, they used the premise to create a house. I remember the Care Taker and The usher having awesome houses that really solidified the icon's status at the park. And finally, Bill and Ted's was not good. They need to get new writers and they need to focus on putting good solid jokes in it rather than trying to cram as much pop culture in as they can.
It's got the best houses by far of any Florida event! Plus, Bill and Ted's is always good for a laugh - even if I'm not sure why the Flintstones alien was the villain this year... ;)
The best Halloween event in the world.