All three Universal Orlando theme parks temporarily hit their pandemic capacities again today, as the opening of two houses from the canceled Halloween Horror Nights event drew fans to the resort.
Locals have been flocking to Universal Orlando on weekends ever since the resort launched an aggressive seasonal pass offer to Florida residents, giving them access to the parks through Christmas Eve for the price of a one-day ticket. The parks filled to capacity over the Labor Day weekend, and the opening of two Halloween Horror Nights houses today provided another strong draw to the parks.
Universal canceled its after-hours, hard-ticket Halloween Horror Nights events in Orlando and Hollywood earlier this summer. But with two original IP houses basically complete inside the sound stages at Universal Studios Florida, the Orlando resort decided to open those walk-through experiences to day guests this weekend.
The resort is billing this as a test, for one weekend only, so that likely inspired more fans to come out today and tomorrow, rather than risk Universal not continuing the test on future weekends and causing fans to miss out on this chance to see any part of HHN this year.
Of course, limited capacities for the physically distanced experiences meant that many fans who did come out today would not get to go through the houses anyway. Universal was using its Virtual Line system to assign entrance times for the two mazes: Revenge of the Tooth Fairy and Universal Monsters - The Bride of Frankenstein Lives.
Since I am in Southern California, I was not able to go through the houses today to review them for you, but I will hope that Theme Park Insider readers in the Orlando area will provide their thoughts about the houses for us in the comments. From what I have heard initially, Universal is using a Hollywood-style pulse system to stagger people's entry into the houses, with team members inside to enforce six feet of safe physical distancing between groups. Universal also has installed clear plastic barriers between guests and scareactors, which some fans have described making the house feel like a walk through a museum exhibit.
But fans have been praising the set decoration and art design of the houses. Even behind Plexiglass, scareactors can still find ways to make your scream, too. After all, a Halloween Horror Nights museum exhibit is still better than no HHN at all.
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