Posts Tagged ‘HHN’

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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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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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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Observations from Universal Studios Florida: September 19, 2013

by on September 26, 2013

Weekday afternoons during mid-September are some of the most wonderfully crowd-free times to tour the Universal Orlando Resort. So last Thursday I stopped by Universal Studios Florida for a few hours to take one last look at the park before Halloween Horror Nights XXIII began on the following night.

(Fear not, we’ll be posting an updated HHN touring plan later this week in time for the next event night, based on wait-time data we collected during opening weekend. And we’ll continue refining the plan as the event progresses into October.)

Approaching the park you are now greeted by massive “tree roots” entwined around the iconic archways, framing banners representing the haunted mazes featured at HHN XXIII.

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Doomsday Prepping: Preliminary Touring Plan for Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights XXIII

by on September 17, 2013

In just a few days, on Friday September 20, the 23rd annual edition of Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights will open its zombie-filled gates to the hordes of gore-hungry fans who have made HHN the nation’s most popular and industry-awarded haunted theme park event.

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…

Every year, Universal’s creative designers shake up the event, so it’s impossible to predict exactly how things will play out until opening weekend has passed, and even then operational tweaks will continue to be made throughtout October. However, after years of experience with HHN (I’ve attended every edition since 1996) we can make some educated guesses towards a preliminary touring plan for tackling Universal’s elaborate (and infamously long-queued) haunted mazes.

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Observations from the Universal Orlando Resort: HHN 23 props, Simpsons photo area, Despicable Me Minions and more

by on September 10, 2013

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Props from AMC’s The Walking Dead at USF

This past weekend I headed up to the Universal Orlando Resort to get some research done for the new Universal menu pages on TouringPlans.com, and while I was there I got to see some new things that have popped up around the parks.

Obviously the biggest change going on right now is the near daily arrivals of props related to Halloween Horror Nights 23 over in Universal Studios Florida. Fans of the hit television show The Walking Dead on AMC are going to recognize many of the elements showing up in the park. Right across from the main gift shop is a beat up truck that has Daryl Dixon’s famous crossbow laying on it while nearby is the “Sophia stay here we will come every day” car that was located in front of Disaster! for HHN 22 last year. Over by Cafe La Bamba there is a section that is mostly covered up except for a well placed bicycle. This could an area set aside for “Bicycle Girl,” one of the most well known zombie characters from both the Walking Dead show and comic book series.

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Evil Dead, Rocky Horror Picture Show coming to Halloween Horror Nights 23

by on July 16, 2013

TP_HHN_EvilDead_TweetAt midnight Eastern Time, John Murdy, the creative director of Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood, tweeted:

Just confirmed: @EvilDead maze coming to HHN 2013!

It was confirmed shortly after by the official HHN Orlando twitter account (@UORHHN) that the Evil Dead maze would also be making an appearance on the East Coast.

This announcement came after a day of heavy speculation that started when a photo leaked of a flyer that is included with the DVD/Blu-Ray of Evil Dead (which was released today, July 16). The flyer includes details of a contest in which the winner can receive a trip to experience the “Evil Dead Maze” at Universal Studios Hollywood or Universal Orlando Resort.

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