Posts Tagged ‘Halloween Horror Nights’

Halloween Horror Nights 24: From Dusk Till Dawn Added to Lineup

by on July 16, 2014

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Photo provided courtesy of Universal Studios

After previously announcing that AMC’s The Walking Dead would return for its third straight year at Halloween Horror Nights (the first brand of any sort to accomplish that feat,) Universal added Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk Till Dawn series to the list of 8 haunted houses that will make up HHN 24.

Many know the From Dusk Till Dawn brand thanks to the original 1996 film which was directed by Robert Rodriguez, written by Quentin Tarantino, and featured George Clooney in his first major movie lead role. From Dusk Till Dawn went on to have two straight-to-video sequels (the second of which stars Robert Patrick, who played the T-1000 character in Terminator 2) and has recently been revived into a television show on the El Rey network.

The haunted maze at HHN 24 will be based on the From Dusk Till Dawn television show, featuring characters and locations from the first season’s 10 episode run.

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Universal Announces Return of “The Walking Dead” to Orlando for Halloween Horror Nights 24

by on June 11, 2014

HHN1Halloween Horror Nights 24 at the Universal Orlando Resort started off with a bang as it was announced that AMC’s The Walking Dead would return to the nation’s premier haunted experience for the third straight year. A ratings juggernaut for AMC, season 4 of The Walking Dead premiered in October of 2013 with a shocking 16 Million viewers and continued its popularity until the season finale in March of 2014, which also set a ratings record for season finales (breaking its own record set at the end of season 3).

In 2012, The Walking Dead made its debut at Halloween Horror Nights 22, with a haunted maze that used no characters from the popular television show. For HHN 23, not only did The Walking Dead have a bigger maze, but the entire park was filled with scare zones set to themes established by the television show. In addition, several characters from the show (such as Michonne’s walkers) were used in the scare zones and maze, making the experience much more immersive for fans of the show.

Universal says that for HHN 24 The Walking Dead will have the biggest house of the entire event and will use more scare actors than ever before. The official HHN 24 twitter feed has been dropping hints of what we can expect to see, including:

Almost every major environment in season 4 will be featured. Prison for a small portion. The big spot and its parking lot. The moonshine shack, the country club, the tunnel… Terminus. – Mike Aiello, HHN Creative Director

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Afternoon Abominations: Halloween Horror Nights 23 Unmasking the Horror (Resident Evil, An American Werewolf in London, and Evil Dead)

by on October 29, 2013

We’re continuing our review of the Unmasking the Horror tour, a lights on tour of Halloween Horror Nights (HHN) houses. Our Morning Menace tour included La Llorona, The Walking Dead: No Safe Haven, and The Cabin in the Woods. After a brief lunch, our tour picked up at 2:30PM for Afternoon Abominations and our first stop would be at Resident Evil: Escape From Raccoon City.

Throughout the tour we were shown little details that we never saw the night before when we toured all the houses as part of HHN. It is either too dark or we just didn’t have enough time to see everything with all the action going on around us. For example, in the opening room to Resident Evil, we never noticed this tribute to the Nightmare of Elm St. franchise that is off to the side.

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This particular street leads the nation in nightmares. A close second is SR 535 in Orlando.

Remember, you can click on any photo to see the full size original.

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Morning Menace: Halloween Horror Nights 23 Unmasking the Horror Review (La Llorona, The Walking Dead, and The Cabin in the Woods)

by on October 25, 2013

As a big fan of Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights event, I knew after going in 2012 that I wanted to take a lights on tour of the houses as part of the Unmasking the Horror VIP tours. This year Universal broke up their tours into two sessions. The Morning Menace tour started at 10:30AM while the Afternoon Abominations tour started at 2:00PM. Each tour cost $59.99 per person-per tour, or $99.99 if you did both tours. Myself, Brandon Glover from the Universal NOW! podcast, and friend of the show Zeus Navarro signed up for both sessions.

To start the day we were directed to check in “promptly” at 10:00AM at the VIP check in lobby located next to the guest services windows at the front of Universal Studios Florida (USF). We were checking out the Royal Pacific Resort that morning and ended up running a little late, arriving at about 10:20. There was an interesting directory outside the main door with some great tributes to the history of Universal including Lew Wasserman (who has a statue in the New York section of the park and was a key figure in getting USF built) and “Leonidas Chaney,” who we know better as Lon Chaney and one of the most iconic horror movie actors of all time.

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Sign outside VIP check in at Universal Studios Florida

(Remember you can click on any picture to see the full size version of it.)

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Observations from Universal Orlando Resort: October 16-20, 2013

by on October 23, 2013

Over the past week, I logged over 18 hours and 40,000 steps (thank you, iPhone 5S motion sensor) exploring what’s new at the Universal Orlando Resort. To save you the shoeleather doing the same, here’s a super-sized photo essay of my observations from Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventures and Halloween Horror Nights between Wednesday, October 16, and Sunday, October 20, 2013.

I started the evening of 10/16 with a lap around Islands of Adventures to see what guests purchasing the Scream Early ticket option experience.

Here’s a look at the future Starbucks inside Islands of Adventure’s Port of Entry. This area is the equivalent of the Magic Kingdom’s Main Street, U.S.A., but I haven’t heard any controversy in the online community over this mermaid invasion

Another Starbucks? Where are the torches and pitchforks?

No official word yet whether this will be an indoor location or a walk-up counter only.

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Ultimate Halloween Horror Nights 23 Touring Plan

by on October 15, 2013

We’re heading into the home stretch of Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 23, and if you plan on facing the undead hordes you’ll need a good plan now more than ever. Luckily for you, we’ve been on the ground every weekend of the event so far, and have recorded over 300 pieces of wait-time data for the haunted houses.

Here’s the final result: field-tested touring plans, designed to help you tackle all eight mazes in a single evening without the use of extra-cost express passes — provided you pick the right night to attend (Wednesday or Thursday are best, Saturdays are worst, and Sunday can be surprisingly busy), arrive early, and stay late.

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SATURDAY SIX: Top Six Food and Drink Items at Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights 23

by on October 12, 2013

The Saturday Six is a weekly look at the most interesting, most fun, and sometimes even the most outrageous things within the theme park world that we all love so much. Whether it’s checking out the Loews Royal Pacific Resort, playing the Hollywood Drive-In Mini Golf in CityWalk, or eating at Springfield USA’s Fast Food Blvd, the Saturday Six is your personal guide to experiencing the very best Orlando has to offer

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HHN has arrived…

This week’s Saturday Six looks at the Top Six Food and Drink Items at Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights 23.  Regular readers of this column know that we like food. Scratch that. We like breathing. We love food. Especially theme park food. Perhaps you’ve seen our article on the six most outrageous food items at Universal or its follow-up looking at six more outrageous snacks. Or maybe you’ve browsed through our look at the best items in Springfield USA’s Fast Food Blvd. Or perhaps you’ve chosen to look at our take on the very best signature drinks at Universal. Today we are going to look at the top six food and drink options at Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights 23 event. Once Universal Studios Florida closes to regular guests and reopens for HHN, a whole bunch of food and drink stands open up with it. Here is what we enjoyed the most…

(Remember, you can click on any picture to see the full size version)

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Fried Sweet Potato Chips (Applewood Bacon and Cheddar)

# 6 – Fried Sweet Potato Chips 

Located in the New York section of the park (or the Fall of Atlanta scare zone for HHN fans), you’ll run into the stand selling Fried Sweet Potato Chips as you’re queueing up for the Evil Dead house or on your long walk out of The Cabin in the Woods, Resident Evil: Escape from Raccoon City, or An American Werewolf in London houses. It was good to see waffle fries brought into the park, something that should be around all year. The two available  toppings that are Applewood Bacon & Cheddar and Candied with Cinnamon and Marshmallow, the latter of which scares even me.

We went with the bacon and cheddar topping and found the serving size to be more than generous. While normally I prefer regular fries over sweet potato fries, the taste combination of the sweet potato and the toppings was definitely more flavorful than the regular fries would have been. It’s very filling, and  at $7.00 – it isn’t too bad a deal for the amount of food that you get.

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Observations from Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 23: October 4, 2013

by on October 9, 2013

Okay, I admit it: I’m spoiled.

Usually when people talk about Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Florida the first thing they mention (after the gore and booze) is the huge lines. But this year, I lucked out. So far, I’ve been on an “RIP” guided tour, attended during exclusive annual passholder hours and “Stay & Scream” early entry periods, and made full use of my “Rush of Fear” and “Frequent Fear” unlimited Express passes. As a result, I’ve been able to experience all eight of the event’s haunted houses at least five times each so far this season, with an average wait time of under 15 minutes.

All photos by Seth Kubersky

But last Friday (10/4/2013), I wanted to experience how “the other half” lives and see the event from the perspective of an ordinary guest. Is it possible to arrive at the front gate on a moderately crowded night without any special line-cutting passes and still have a good time at HHN? Let’s find out!

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Observations from the Universal Orlando Resort: October 6, 2013

by on October 9, 2013

For this edition of “Observations” from the Universal Orlando Resort,  I’m going to take a page out of the format that blogger Guy Selga uses instead of the one I have used for previous observations pieces on Disney’s Night of Joy or an August weekend at Universal. They say a picture says a thousand words, but I counter that with “a review of a Transformers action figure can also be 1,000 words.” However, let’s see where conventional wisdom gets us. (Remember that you can click on any picture to view it full size)

While walking through CityWalk on our way to the parks, the first thing we noticed was that the Endangered Species store has already become extinct. Construction walls are set up outside and the place has been gutted. This area now joins the old Pastamore Market counter service location and Latin Quarter as locations being completely remodeled. Word is the Endangered Species space will be used for Starbucks (which would move from the second level of CityWalk), the Pastamore location will become a new Red Oven brick oven pizza place, and Latin Quarter is rumored to be a new Mexican-themed dining restaurant.

EndangeredSpecies

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REVISED Halloween Horror Nights XXIII Touring Plan

by on September 26, 2013

On 9/20/2013, the 23rd annual edition of Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights unleashed its undead hordes upon horror-hungry fans who have made HHN the nation's most popular and industry-awarded haunted theme park event. Touring Plans researchers have attended all event nights so far to capture data on attraction wait times in order to present this updated itinerary, and we'll continue to improve our advice with new information throughout the month.

Originally a locals-friendly filler during a normally slow season, Universal Studios Florida's Halloween celebration has grown so famous that the 27 event nights between 9/20 and 11/2 will provide a sizable percentage of USF's annual attendance statistics. Much like visiting any of Orlando's theme parks during a peak holiday season, an evening at HHN can be tremendous fun if you go in with a solid plan and sane expectations; without those things…well, you might be better off eaten by zombies…

With only two nights worth of wait time data to analyze, it's impossible to craft an HHN touring plan with the same precision we do for daytime visits. Operational tweaks will continue to be made throughout the event, so the crowd patterns observed during this year's initial operating nights aren't guaranteed to persist. However, thanks to years of experience with HHN (I've attended every edition since 1996) we can extrapolate the opening weekend info to update our preliminary touring plan into a multi-pronged strategy for tackling Universal's elaborate (and infamously long-queued) haunted mazes.

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