Here's my 2 cents...
We went Saturday 9/21 and got in at 4:30 for the AP event. Immediately, Walking Dead line backed up to 60 minutes so we went to La Llorona first. We then went through W.D. after since the line went down so quickly. By 6, the rest of the park was open to us. Scare actors didn't seem to flow into the streets until 6:45-ish. And it didn't rain on opening weekend! Woo Hoo.
Here's my house summary:
Evil Dead. 8 out of 10. My favorite house hands down. On two walk throughs we were lucky to get most of the scares. Get effects, sets and actors.
La Llorona. 8 out of 10. On our first walk through, we got all the scares but couldn't appreciate the details since it was 5 in the afternoon. On our second walk through, it was 10 at night but we missed a lot of the scares. Go at night and hope your timing is lucky and this will be a tremendous house.
American Werewolf in London. 5 out of 10. The sets are great once you get past the first half. The wolves are great if you get to see them. This house is to dark and way to empty. Needs a LOT of improvement. 0 scares on two walk throughs. Disappointed.
Havoc Derailed. 5 out of 10. Love the first part while you're "inside the train". Sad that Universal with all its abilities didn't put in a moving floor effect for the derailment. Cast needs to really work on the aggression. Could be a good house with some changes.
Resident Evil. 5 out of 10. Love the wide open sets but the costumes and props looked a bit on the cheesy side. Not many scares in this house.
Cain in the Woods. 3 out of 10. Met my low expectations. Some props were not "dressed" up with the right amount of blood and gore. Timing was off on many effects (light to sound) and didn't see as many different creatures as I thought I would and this comes from having very low expectations. No scares.
Walking Dead. 3 out of 10. Went through this house twice. Neither time did I get a scare and both times I saw poor quality masks & make up. I only give it 3 for the set design.
Afterlife. Skipped it. Never liked "3D" gimmick houses and after hearing it being compared non stop to the In Between... meh. I hated In Between so why waste my time.
Yeah, one big scare zone. Take away what very few set pieces are there and you get an entire theme park filled with "Wash, Rinse, Repeat". I have to say that it was cool at first. Some actors have good makeup but some still had the curse from last year with crappy masks with seams that don't blend. It was better than I expected but it was still disappointing to see how Universal has been treating scare zones these last two years.
Overeall Event: C-
All in all. We enjoyed the night but not due to scares... it was because we got to hang out with friends that we rarely ever get to see. And don't get me started on the so called "merchandise" this year. I'll just say this... to any of you who buy that lame "tastes like" tag line T-shirt, you're just cattle feeding the money machine. Don't ever let me hear you complain about poor merchandise when you buy crap like that.
My family won't be attending again this year. The event is not nearly scarey enough to justify spending the money. There are better haunt event & attractions. Universal could really stand to look at its competition and take some notes. The Golden Era of HHN died in 2000. Hoping it'll come back some day.