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Thursday, October 25th: The Return of DTH


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AHHHHHH last night was SO good. Definitely better than my opening night visit, which was already pretty top notch. Scareactors were on their freakin GAME (except for ONE maze). Let's get to it.


Despite some minor traffic on the 134 and Barham (my new secret backway to Universal courtesy of Forest Lawn), we made it to the parking lot at around 6:20. Heading through City Walk, we got into the park at 6:40 (twenty minutes through City Walk is what happens when you're with a group of 8, haha). As we entered, there was barely a little crowd gathered at the scaramonies area. My friend got there a bit before us and got to the early entrance line for Transformers. He was let in at 6:35, so by the time we go there, we already missed the line by about 5 minutes. VERY LUCKILY, scaramonies started a whole 20 minutes early and we met up with him on the lower lot.

Silent Hill (scarezone)

I take back a lot of the things I said in my first review. This zone is VERY minimal but I think they did a GREAT job for what and who they had. There were maybe 5 or 6 scareactors in that spot but they were attacking everybody! When I got there, the zone was still located at the bottom of the escalators instead of moved to the back of the maze.

Welcome to Silent Hill (maze)

It was only 6:55 or so with a literal walk on. Entered and the maze was already completely different from my mediocre experience opening night. The talent was getting us in every direction! Had so much fun in this maze, I was really impressed with the improvement. Couldn't believe they had gone from practically 50% to a full 98% in terms of how good that maze could probably be. It made all the difference in the world. Only thing lacking at that point was the lack of different monsters and environments. Hats off to these fellas for most improvement, by far! The creature within the fences who's wrapped up like a mummy (haha, total newb to the series to not know his name) gave me a good tortured scream as we passed... kinda freaked me out haha. The Pyramid Heads in this maze were ferocious and nearly made my friend fall over, who usually doesn't scare easy. Such a great memory. I even like the Robbie the Rabbit scare at the end, as he came at us for a hug. Very cute and creepy, just like he should be! As we exited, we all got dang near stabbed in the face by those fiesty nurses. Good job, ladies, you were rocking it! And amazing work to the whole crew!

Repeatability: 8 [This maze felt very fresh going through it, even though I've watched it a dozen times. It's environments, although fairly boring, are forgettable and therefore, easy to walk back into and be like "aaaah, this seems new" haha]

Improvement: 10 [Most improved maze, by far.]

Downfalls: 0 [Nothing but improvements for this maze, which is very good.]


Right after Silent Hill, went straight to Transformers. Another LITERAL WALK ON. Gotta freakin' love it. Our group had a whole car to ourselves, even. 4 extra seats. That's how empty it was down there.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre

After Transformers, ran up the steps for TCM (I need to remember to enter into JP and just duck under the ropes to the TCM queue), and came to another LITERAL WALK ON. Man, I love 1) Thursdays 2) being on the lower lot during the first hour. This maze improved a tad, as I already thought it was strong last time as well. Main difference is I caught two of the scares I missed the first go around at the beginning of the maze. Also, in the diner scene (minor spoiler) the girl tied down wasn't tied down at all! She lunged at me with her hands and SCARED THE SHIT OUT OF ME. Very simple and yet, VERY EFFECTIVE. (end minor spoiler) My one sadness was the outside of the BBQ shop wasn't foggy, just dark. However, it was so dark, I couldn't see a damn thing. Mixed with fog, that would've been lovely. Oh and I finally saw Franklin! Why are there 2 wheelchairs in his scene though? And why isn't he being brutally murdered?! And again, all the cast was on their game. However, they were targeting pretty much the group in front of us and behind us, but we still got some decent scares.

Repeatability: 4 [After 2 other years with TCM, and even though this one feel tonally different, I don't care much to just go through this one over and over again]

Improvement: 5 [Got my few extra scares I didn't get the last time, so that was good :)]

Downfalls: -3 [Missing the fog, some scares were mis-timed]

The Mummy

After, hit the Mummy. Another literal walk on. At this point, it was like 7:40 and still having walk ons was pretty dang cool. However, ALL OF THE ANIMATRONICS WERE BROKEN! Every last one of them! No skeletons moving, no hands reaching from the ceiling, no Imohtep chanting, NOTHING! Oh well.

Terror Tram

I hate to brag, but another walk on (not literally though, had to wait for the next tram). I imagined something hectic since everyone was making their way to it first. The tram host sold the story a bit better than our opening night host. Once we got off, the insanity began. I dig going around the motel a bit more than through it. Makes the tram feel longer. However, they need more open space for going around the turn because it still causes a traffic jam. We actually got MANY ferocious scares at the Bates Motel. Things were looking very positive at this point. We got up the hill and it was pretty much dead. I think there was only one scareactor there. Then, things picked up again at the camper. My new favorite part is the walkers trapped in the cages. With perfect timing, 2 or 3 walkers were pulling on their gate and simultaneously, they all pushed them open and attacked us! Then heading through the fence to WOTW, LOTS of scareactors jumping over. They were doing great. But after that, a dud. There were barely ANY walkers in the WOTW set. That was SO disappointing. I think maybe 1 or 2 in the barn also. However, two of our friends got chased at two different points during this tram, so that was fun to see. This is definitely miles better than last year, but what the hell was up with the emptiness of the WOTW part?

Repeatability: 6 [Very good tram, lots of new sets and such to see.]

Improvement: 2 [uh, not much actually other than little tiny things not even worth mentioning]

Downfalls: -5 [Very dead WOTW scene dang near ruined it]

Alice Cooper Goes to Hell

We were STARVING at this point but with AC having a 15 minute line, we couldn't pass it up. Opening night, we waited 80 minutes and I was not about to endure that wait for this disappointing maze. This time, the maze was even more disappointing. I'm so sad to say, everyone was a bit sluggish. None of the scares hit. None of the scareactors were using their triggers. Literally, I don't think I even heard one. Nothing in this maze was working. The visuals are still great and I think the sets are still pretty impressive but the talent is just so... bleh. Even the Lust girls were mute the entire time through. However, I did notice that blank room after the gates of hell scene people were mentioning. Um... yeah, what's up with that? lol oh and the liposuction water squirt is just beyond annoying -- got squirted a mondo amount! I really don't know what was going on in here tonight but it made me very sad. I think most of my group forgot we even did this maze, as nobody really even mentioned it again later in the night. So with this experience combined with my first one, Alice Cooper falls very short this year and is probably my new second to least favorite maze, as Silent Hill now takes its spot.

Repeatability: 0 [This sounds harsh, but I never wanna go in this maze again.]

Improvement: 1 [um... the hell room was actually cold this time...........]

Downfalls: -8 [All the big and small things I loved about this maze are now gone. Such a shame]

Mels Diner

At around 8:45, we finally decided to stop for dinner. We chose Mels Diner since Doc Browns Chicken wasn't open. Seriously, WTF?! Anyway, got some chicken tenders with chili cheese fries. VERY YUMMY. Also got my collectible sipper. They were having a buy 2, get 1 free deal. Since '09 on their final week, it was usually buy one, get one free, but I guess good things can't last forever. Ate in the courtyard between Toyz and Witches. We pushed our two tables together and took some time to relax and just relish in the thought of everything we got done so far in such little time. We honestly could've probably had everything done by 10, but we like to space out our night. So knowing the lines would be short, we sat here for maybe 45 minutes trying to kill some time.

La Llorona

Got in line at 9:05 for an expected 55 minute wait. It was dead on with the time, as we got in at 10. VERY GOOD work, Universal. And to mention, my expected 15 minute wait for AC was 15 minutes as well. And later in the night, the 75 minute wait for TWD was that much time as well. So other than the walk ons which said they were longer wait times, no misdirection or miscalculations this time! YAAAAY. Anyway, the maze is still amazing. It's aggressive, bone chilling and has haunting imagery that I'll remember for years. At this point, my girlfriend and I went to the back of the group just to watch our friends get scared. So much fun. This maze will go down in HHN history as one of the greats.

Repeatability: 6 [i don't wanna be that guy but... I could do it for another year with 50% changes again!]

Improvement: 3 [Nothing much more from my opening night visit.]

Downfalls: -2 [Didn't get the picture scare, which is one of my favorites]

Universal Monster Remix

At 10:10, we decided to hit UMR. Literal walk on. We walked on so fast, my group didn't even realize we actually walked into the maze yet. And as expected, they danced their way through the maze. The only people who liked it were my 2 friends in the back, who seemed to get the bulk of the scares. They actually said it was their favorite of the night, and it was obvious because they were screaming LOUD! Everyone else thought it was stupid lol

Repeatability: 0 [Please, never again]

Improvement: 0 [Nothing new, that I can remember, only things lessened]

Downfalls: -5 [Less Wolfmen in the Wolfmen room, but I can't complain too much about a possible shift change/schedule thing. However, the go-go was just standing around and DJ Franky didn't seem into it. Everyone else was on fire though.]

The Walking Dead

MAJOR, MAJOR, MAJOR PROPS to the zombie in the van out front. This is what went down: we're walking to the maze and a hand/foot prop falls by our feet. We all stop, "huh?" Then SLIDING IN under the van door is the zombie, grabbing the prop and chewing on it and scaring the shit out of us. Make our way through and every scare is just as aggressive as I remember, if not more aggressive. This maze really stepped it up, even though they were already leaps and bounds above the other ones. I think I got the scare in every single room, it was perfect. (minor spoiler) One scare that REALLY got me was the guy behind the window in the "God Forgive Us" scene. You know, he's just pounding on the glass, doesn't seem very useful other than a distraction for what's coming from the left. But just as we're exiting from that room, he POPS OUT from a random side door, which I've never heard of, known about or seen in any of the videos. GOT ME GOOD. (end minor spoiler) This time around, I also got to appreciate the length of the maze. It feels very long despite that feeling of adrenaline that makes it seem like we're running through it. I also hear a lot of the walkers from Terror Tram are located to the maze on early TT closure nights, which is a great way to populate the maze! Another great part is the barn, all the zombies popping out at different angles, areas and places, it's just beyond scary getting pinballed all the way out of the maze. The talent in here just amazes me.

Repeatability: 10 [*Thor voice* ANOTHA!]

Improvement: 5 [Physically, I didn't see any improvements but talent-wise, they went from scorching hot, to BLAZING HOT!]

Downfalls: 0 [Just good all around]

Bill and Ted

Had 50 minutes to spare until the 12:30 Bill and Ted so we sat over there early. Our friends saved our spots as my girlfriend and I ran off to get some tacos and refill our sipper (from the one in front of Cinnabon and the girl working there was really nice and helpful -- she needs a raise!). We come back to the line and our friends are already inside. So, inside before the actual show time and starting the show ON TIME? Wow, complete opposite experience from opening night. I like the new additions/replacements but at this point, I figured some things would be cut out to thin down the run time of the show. It's still WAY too long. For example, do we really need the Ted thunder-buddy song? Or any of the Men In Black stuff? Unfortunately, my audience was dead as a doornail. Often, I'd be the only one clapping along when they wanted you to. And is the Magic Mike girl a plant or not?! The girl on opening night was very rowdy, but the girl today was totally embarassed! Anyway, really good show and is always the perfect way to end the night. OH! And for freakin' ONCE, I caught the Chainsaw Chase Out! About dang time.

Queue Entertainment

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HEARING MY CRIES! For the last 2 or 3 years, I've been begging them to bring this back, now half of the damn queues have something to entertain us with. Silent Hill has a trailer playing on the escalator wall (might be more, I only walked passed it really quick), La Llorona not only has the old man/woman telling the story but also the La Llorona diaries playing on a (one little) TV and The Walking Dead has a huge projection showing clips from the show on the side of the building. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. But um... make sure all this stuff is there OPENING NIGHT also, but good job with improving on all that stuff.


I really enjoyed this trip, and much more than my opening night trip. The last Thursday of the month is just my absolute favorite day to attend and I will never miss it! Cheap, low lines and smoothed out scares. Thinking back on it, I only waited in TWO lines the whole night. Freakin' wow.

Revised --

Years (from top to bottom): 08, 10, 12, 09, 11, 07

Terror Trams: 08, 09, 12, 07, 11, 10

Mazes: Walking Dead, La Llorona, TCM, Silent Hill, ACGTH, UMR

Bill and Teds: 08, 12, 07, 11, 10, 09

It felt wrong at first, but it's so right. I moved 12 up above 09 on the years part. I really do think this year edges it out for having 4 great quality mazes, a great TT and a great B&T show.

Walking Dead remains the top dog. I gotta hand it to La Llorona, for being a repeat, it sure is one intense maze so I gotta edge it out over TCM. Silent Hill proved itself while ACGTH showed it's true colors. UMR is still crap, but at least it's slightly fun crap.

Edited by DTH316
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DTH, I can read into your posts and I know you WANT to give the highest praise possible for UMR!! Let go and embrace the inner darkness!! Hee Hee!

Seriously though, I miss the event and the reviews actually continue reminding me of what I enjoyed. From your review, it really looks like Universal continues to do a masterful job of managing the event (lines, talent, FOOD).

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BAH! I wish I could like UMR. Nothing would make me happier than to say "all mazes were at the very least decent." But there's always one rotten egg.

I commend Universal for pulling off this event with the high magnitude of people that go through there. You'd think it'd be falling apart and filthy with trash but it always has a great upkeep. However, next year, we need to disperse the crowds and by a lot. There should not be 2 hour lines for any maze. Next year, I want to see a 1 hour line for maybe only ONE maze AT THE MOST.

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