Jump to content

Zombieman's 2016 HHN Orlando vs HHN Hollywood house comparison


Recommended Posts

Halloween Horror Nights: Now with more synergy than ever before!


10 years ago, we saw the seeds of synergy planted, with Orlando and Hollywood presenting the same "big three" IPs on each coast: Freddy, Jason, & Leatherface. 

As I am one of the many that wish the IP houses would go away, this was a big negative, as it appeared that Hollywood's IP-centric focus was being forced on Orlando's design team.

The only saving grace was that each A&D team was at least free to present the IP with their own flair.  

As such, someone who visits both coasts in a particular year will experience very different presentations of the same IP.

I have visited both coasts every year since 2004, so I know of what I speak.


I remember in 2007 writing that Orlando did a far better job of presenting TCM - especially the dinner table scene with grandpa.  Orlando had a static grandpa and Hollywood had a live actor.  That was a standout house.  The Freddy and Jason houses in 2007 covered almost all of the kill scenes between the coasts, with each presenting even the same kill scenes differently.  


Fast forward to 2016, where we have a crapload of synergy forced down our throats presented: a total of 6 IPs shared on each coast.

I realize that there are endless walkthrus on Youtube and low light level cameras are better than ever, but nothing beats actually being there.

And since I was there, here's my comparison of how each IP was handled on each coast:



Venue: Hollywood (tent on backlot)     Orlando (Shrek theater #2)


Facade: WINNER: Hollywood

Hollywood was able to set up the story a bit with a voiceover.  Orlando facade was was tucked away inside the theater and did not have much room.

Hollywood also wins because of the frozen delivery guy who handed out souvenirs when you whisper the secret word.


Storyline: WINNER: Orlando      CAVEAT: I have not seen the movie.

I am going to assume that the movie takes place mostly inside one or two houses, because both coasts had you returning to a living room multiple times.  In Hollywood, you enter the house after it has been initially attacked by Krampus.  Hollywood has a weird ending with the last room a pristine version of the living room, with the attackers looking in.  I'm not sure what to make of that.  Was the house a dream?  Did the people move to a new house that was about to be attacked?  I don't really get the storyline Hollywood was trying to tell.  Hollywood also has an outdoor scene with a well that makes no sense to someone who missed the movie.   Orlando starts with a pristine living room and dining room from which you are attacked from the outside.  The destruction then proceeds throughout the house.  Orlando's snowman scene is clearly outdoors between two houses (and it SNOWS in the Orlando presentation!).  Orlando's also ventures into what must be Krampus' lair.  They handled this stark transition with a white tunnel that I presume simulates a blizzard.  bottom line is that in Orlando, the story was easily followed vs Hollywood.


Scares: WINNER: Hollywood

Hollywood's attic scene had a really nice teddy bear attack and a Jack in the box attack.  Orlando's had a Christmas light kill scene

Hollywood had THREE attacking snowmen and an attacking Krampus in one room.

Hollywood's kitchen scene made good use of scents and scrims.  Orlando's was a bit better with many more gingerbread men in play

Orlando's Krampus lair was really nice.  I think the Shrek theater allowed for this extra space.

Length of Orlando's house seemed longer.




Venue: Hollywood (Mummy overflow)    Orlando (Soundstage)


Facade: WINNER: Hollywood (by a tiny bit)

Orlando had a beautiful and very large facade.

Hollywood's facade was smaller, but they had an insanely lilfelike Father Merrin mannequin out front.  Get as close as you want - the thing looks absolutely human.


Storyline: WINNER: Hollywood - BY A MILE

Orlando presented their house from the mind of Regan.  So there was for instance one room where her bed was misshapen.  It was supposed to represent what her possessed mind must have imagined.  Orlando also presented Pazuzu in the first scene - in a really beautiful manner, but at the same time in a way that didn't make sense.  Why would we walk into Regan's house and see Pazuzu?  The scene of Iraq is really cool, but out of place.  Orlando picks the iconic vomit scene as the one to exploit, and turns it into a whole winding hallway.  From a haunted house perspective, it works, but Hollywood accomplished just as much in a single bedroom scene.

Hollywood's presentation is straightforward.  We see the decline of Regan in each entry to her bedroom.  The transitions between the bedrooms are presented so much better in Hollywood, as is the spider walk.  Hollywood's ending is quite different, with us being taken back to Hell with Pazuzu.  Orlando leaves us confused at the end with a "normal" Regan scaring us.  Why?


Scares: WINNER: Hollywood - BY A MILE

The puppet Regans at Hollywood are amazing, as are the actresses that play the live Regans.  Hollywood's first venture into Regan's bedroom is crazy, with the demon attacking the whole room.  Amazing!

The demons in the transition hallways in Hollywood are timed perfectly.  When the strobes go off, they are IN your face.  In Orlando, something is just not timed right, or the strobes are not bright enough, because over there you see a lot of movement when the lights go on.  There was not a single pass in Hollywood where the demons did not absolutely startle me.  


I dislike IP houses, but just as Orlando created top ten house with AWIL, Hollywood has created a top-five house with Exorcist.  I had such doubts going into this one but Murdy created an instant classic, while Orlando's is pretty forgettable.


[EDIT] - I visited HHN Hollywood on the final nights in November, and something was "off" each time I went through Exorcist.  The scares were there, but not timed very well.  Perhaps it was scareactor fatigue - or perhaps it was fill-in scareactors for the final weekend (I am thinking the latter).  But in those final nights, Hollywood was no better than Orlando.  




Venue: Hollywood (Waterworld queue)   Orlando (Sprung Tent)


Facade: WINNER: Hollywood

Orlando's facade is bigger but ordinary.  No shadow play in the windows.  Just a big white house - and one that looks too pristine.

Hollywood's facade is smaller but sets up the story of TCM2 


Storyline: WINNER: Orlando

Orlando recreates the story from the original faithfully.  

Hollywood is telling a story somewhere between the original and TCM2.  It feels a bit disjointed.

The problem with both of these is that we've been there multiple times before on each coast.  So much TCM repetition, that the years blur together.

[EDIT] - In subsequent visits to Hollywood, this house grew on me.  To the point where I think it's one of the best versions of TCM on either coast past or present.  I increasingly enjoyed seeing Choptop throughout the house.


Scares: WINNER: Tie

Orlando has some big highlights with the Red room.  Super startling scare if you are lucky enough to see it.

Hollywood's dinner scene is once again the star of the show but not much different that back in 2007.  

Again, so much of both of these houses is lost in the blur of repetition, aside from the standout scares mentioned.



Halloween II

Venue: Hollywood (JP Overflow)   Orlando (Parade Building)


Facade: WINNER: Hollywood

Hollywood is the clear winner with an actual facade.  Bonus of a voiceover setting up he story and shadowplay in the windows.

Orlando has an awful facade outside the parade building.


Storyline: WINNER: Hollywood

Both coasts tells the Halloween II story pretty faithfully, and both put their own twist on the end: Orlando ends with a post-exploded hospital with a scare by a burned Michael.  Hollywood ends with a VERY LONG surreal afterlife version of the opening credits of Halloween II.  I do give the edge to Hollywood for their "original" portion of the house.

Orlando's version of the hot tub scene and Michael's death was executed better.  Orlando presented razor blade pirate kid; Hollywood omitted him.

[EDIT] - In subsequent visits to Hollywood, this house got better and better.  While I still think Orlando did an overall better job, I found myself looking forward to the original twist ending that Murdy put on this IP - from the smells to the slow tempo Mr Sandman.  This is probably my second favorite house from Murdy's reign at HHN Hollywood, after Exorcist.



Scares: WINNER: Orlando

Orlando had so much more room to work with than Hollywood.  So Orlando had a massive hospital facade, and a better recreation of the hot tub and gas tank scene.  Hollywood used so much precious space for their ending that it took away space for much of the rest, which is why the transition to the hospital is minuscule.  Most of Hollywood's scares were presented around specific death scenes from the movie.  Orlando's size allowed the scares to come from all directions.  Orlando also had a very disorienting sheet scene before the hospital.  Was easy to get lost.


Both coasts have presented Michael Meyers on more than one occasion, yet (to me) this house is more memorable than the other incarnations either coast has presented.



Walking Dead

Okay, this one is not totally fair because I am comparing what is now a year round permanent attraction with an HHN attraction.  But Universal has decided to make TWD a never ending addition to HHN, so they get what they deserve...

Venue: Hollywood (Permanent attraction)    Orlando (Soundstage)


Facade: WINNER: Hollywood

I don't even remember the facade for Orlando.


Storyline: WINNER: Neither

Both coasts are presenting "highlights" from the story so far.  So there is no story to tell, because you cannot tell a story that takes place over six seasons yet not show a single character from the show.  HHN has never had a story to tell in any incarnation of this attraction other than "The zombie apocalypse has happened"


Scares: WINNER: Orlando

Hollywood's permanent attraction is all about the presentation, with its nifty animatronics.  They doubled the number of scareactors for HHN, but there are fewer actual scares than at any House of Horrors overlay in the past.  However, the permanent attraction was built for few but specific scares and they are effective.

Orlando had more scare opportunities due to its size, but we have seen ALL of these scares before.  Every single one of them.

So Orlando had more scares but Hollywood's were arguably better.





Venue: Hollywood (Tent on backlot)   Orlando (Soundstage)


Facade: WINNER: Orlando

The "facades" for each presentation were for each of the three seasons of the show.

Hollywood's "Facades" consisted of a transition hallway for each season, with an HD screen above showing the season you were about to enter.  Sounds pretty simple and it was.

Orlando's Facades were each a black and white room where color film projections were shot on the walls.  These projections were the eerie opening sequences for each season.  AHS has had the distinction of having super creepy but unique opening sequences for each season.  It's amazing they have the budget to do that.


Storyline: WINNER: Both did as good as can be expected

AHS storylines are crazy complex.  Even presenting one season would be difficult, given the huge number of cast members in AHS.

If you had never seen the show, good luck following this.  If you have seen the show, good luck following this.


Scares: WINNER: Orlando

Orlando had a HUGE soundstage to work with.  As a result, they had some massive sets - like the Freak Show midway.  You walk between huge wagons, and into Ethel's wagon.  You walk INTO Twisty's bus.  The stitched bed scene in Hotel has an entire room dedicated to it. 

Hollywood's maze seems pretty big, but still very small for three seasons.  Everything it presents seems abbreviated.

Each coast had a WIDE variety of scenes to use for three seasons of the show.  And it was interesting see the selection of scenes.

Take the "Piggy Piggy" scene.  Both coasts presented it, yet I don't even remember it from the show.

Hollywood presented the body sawing scene from Freak Show while Orlando presented the leg sawing scene.

Neither presented Devil's Night.

I really enjoyed both coasts' presentation of this IP, but for scares, I think Orlando had the edge.





Bonus: FvJ - I know these were two different years, but the presentation was so different it deserves a mention

Venue: Hollywood (Tent on backlot)   Orlando (Soundstage)


Facade: WINNER: tie

As with AHS, there is no single facade, per-se.  Both the Elm Street house and Crystal Lake area can both be seen as a facade.  Orlando had more room for those so there were by definition better.  However, Hollywood had a large exterior factory facade where a voiceover helps set up the story


Storyline: WINNER: Orlando

I don't really remember the movie and I'm not sure I completely follow either storyline.
Hollywood seems to tell the story of Freddy terrorizing Jason as a child, and Jason subsequently terrorizing Freddy in his dreams.  I think.  

Orlando seems to present each character happily terrorizing familiar victims, and getting in each other's way.  They have enough of each other and begin to fight.  We are caught in the middle.  I think.

I prefer Orlando's version because in it Freddy and Jason actually fight.  In Hollywood's version Jason is Freddy's victim at first so that's not really a fight.  And the only other times we see a confrontation is when they seem to attack us from opposite sides (just like AVP), or at the end when one of them has defeated the other.  

So Hollywood tells the story of Freddy AND Jason.

Orlando tells the story of Freddy VERSUS Jason.


Scares: WINNER: Orlando

The two presentations are so vastly different that it seems like each A&D got to tell an original story using Freddy and Jason, which is why I did not dislike either of these houses.  They both made good use of scares.  I do recall having more startles from Orlando, though.  They had a number of scenes where F&J were attacking each other - paying no attention to us - until they did turn their attention to us as a good scare.  I always thought those types of scares were highly effective.  When a monster is not paying attention to you, you tend to draw your focus to him even more, thinking he will not attack you.  That lets your guard down, which makes the scare more effective.  Hollywood was 100% straight traditional scares.


[EDIT] - In subsequent visits to Hollywood, this house became less and less interesting.  That's an interesting thought when you consider that they had an ending that could change depending on the cast.  In my opinion, they blew the opportunity to have F&J actually battle each other. 









Edited by zombieman
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 hours ago, DTH316 said:

Always love getting to read the comparison reviews from someone who actually attended both! 


Overall, which coast do you think had the better year?


I've been to each park three times for HHN this year.  Because I live in CA I'll go to HHN-H a couple more times to get my season-pass money's worth.


But if I lived in the middle of the country and was offered the chance to go to either event one more time, I'd pick Orlando.

Yeah, sure - Zombieman hates IP.  We know that, so it's of course Orlando.

Feelings of IP aside, both parks have some strong houses this year.  I think my comparison shows that.


Orlando has three original houses - one of which is really good, one of which is ok, and one of which is Lunatic's Playground 3D.  

It also has two really good shows, while Hollywood continues its love affair with utter dreck.

In Orlando, you can sit on a bench and watch a couple of their scarezones for hours.  They are that good.  Can't really say the same for Hollywood this year.

You know how good one Orlando scarezone was?  There were three casts and each cast had a completely different theme and different costumes.  That's about two hours of unique content - for a scarezone.  That's how good.

Let's not forget the 10th house, even if it's an upcharge.  TEN freaking houses.  Nine if you deny the existence of TWD.

And apparently I'm one of the few that really likes Chance as an icon.


So as much as Hollywood has grown, Orlando continues to expand and raise the bar.  As IP heavy as it was, I enjoyed it more than Hollywood.  I don't think Orlando topped 2015, but they did a damn good job.




18 hours ago, horror lover said:

I'd love to hear what zombieman thinks of the Tram since it's an original storyline and much, much different from what we're used to with TT..


I went to TT opening night and maybe things have changed since then.  I liked the backstory; glad they had the guts to attempt that considering the news.

LOVED the videos in the queue line, even though they were unrelated to the clown theme.  I wish I could have seen the whole loop.  Best part of the whole TT.


The execution of the theme was better than a lot of prior years.  Not having zombies in the damn WOTW set is a great change of pace.  The surprise queue before the cargo containers sucked.  I hope they worked that out.  I liked that we didn't have the long hike uphill this year.  Shorter can be better.


I wish they had some sort of payoff with the theme.  It just seemed to end abruptly.


For those of you who don't remember 2006 that I raved so much about, this year was as close as they ever got to that.  Walking around and seeing the sets of torture being repeated, with the scareactors acting out skits essentially.  That's what 2006 was like.  but just as 2006 never had the payoff of encountering the Director, this hear lacked the payout of encountering Hollywood Harry.




16 hours ago, foodstampsFTW said:

Is it weird that I have been waiting for this since Horror Nights started, still hoping for a individual Hollywood review. Kinda surprised at how much you like Exorcist, but I agree, I think it's the best house this year even though my run through tonight was ruined by drunk assfarts 


I think I'm more surprised than you that I loved Exorcist.  

And let's be clear - I went to Hollywood before Orlando.  Exorcist was the very first HHN maze I went through this year.  I was basically saying "let's get this over with".  And I'll be damned it was probably the best HHN house this year between both coasts.  When I set foot into Orlando's I was really excited, as they typically do even more than Hollywood.  But Orlando's version made me like Hollywood's even more.  


And it makes no sense.  Not particularly detailed rooms.  Same room over and over.  Lots of dark hallways.  IP from a hundred years ago.  I mean - how can this possibly work?

The only way is to do it exactly perfectly.  And they did.

I'm telling you - the dark hallways work perfectly because of the timing and brightness of those strobes.  They go off and someone is IN your face.  They weren't there a millisecond ago.  That is startling.  Every time.  The Regan puppets looked and moved so incredibly lifelike.  This house could have gone wrong in so many ways but it didn't.  Murdy hit a home run.


That's what Orlando did with AWIL and Murdy failed to do in Hollywood.  


My top 4 favorite IP houses of HHN are:

1) AWIL (Orlando)

2) Exorcist (Hollywood)

3) Cabin in the Woods (Orlando)

4) Dead Silence (Orlando)

None of the others are that memorable.  But these three delivered the surprises throughout.




Edited by zombieman
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great job. As for AHS like you said has differences and both Hollywood & Orlando have different characters as well. In Murder House the Hollywood version has a actress that was split in two, and the fourth kid not see in the show. Freakshow has Edward and his demon face in the Hollywood version while Orlando has Danny's conjoin twin puppet, and Meep. Hotel Hollywood has Countess' baby in the crib while Orlando has Queenie which is the only thing close to Coven being in the maze, and Iris.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On ‎10‎/‎21‎/‎2016 at 6:04 PM, zombieman said:

And apparently I'm one of the few that really likes Chance as an icon. I'm part of those few!  Too bad her house sucks and her zone isn't much better.


My top 4 favorite IP houses of HHN are:

4) Dead Silence (Orlando) - Loved this house.  I went through the end of my last night that year.  It was a choice between waiting in a long line for NOES at closing which seemed like at least a 30 min wait or going to Dead Silence with absolutely zero wait, no one at all.  We did DS (though I still regret not doing NOES).  That was one of the freakiest house walkthrough's I've done in 13 years of HHN.



  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 10/21/2016 at 7:51 PM, Psycho_Bates said:

Great job. As for AHS like you said has differences and both Hollywood & Orlando have different characters as well. In Murder House the Hollywood version has a actress that was split in two, and the fourth kid not see in the show. Freakshow has Edward and his demon face in the Hollywood version while Orlando has Danny's conjoin twin puppet, and Meep. Hotel Hollywood has Countess' baby in the crib while Orlando has Queenie which is the only thing close to Coven being in the maze, and Iris.


AHS has too damn many characters, but I will TRY to list the ones I remember from both coasts.  Pretty easy to see Orlando's version is much bigger with a wider range of characters.

BTW, I am no AHS expert; had to look up many of these.  Both coasts may have had more characters, but these are from my memory as well as posted videos.


Murder house:

Charles Montgomery: Appears in both

Rubber Man: Appears in both

InfantataL Aooears in both

Piggy: Appears in both

Larry Harvey: Appears in both

Patrick: Hollywood only

Tate Langdon: Appears in both

Moira (the maid): Orlando only



Twisty: Appears in both, obviously

Dandy Mott: Appears in both

Mordrake: Appears in both

Chester Creb (Neil Patrick Harris): Hollywood only

Bette and Dot: Appears in both

Gloria Mott: Orlando only
Elsa Mars: Orlando only

Stanley: Orlando only

Desiree (three breasted freak): Surprisingly, neither unless I missed her

Ethel Darling: Orlando only

Pepper: Appears in both

Ma Petite: Orlando only

Meep: Orlando only

Jimmy (Lobster Boy): Neither



James March: in both

Elizabeth: in both

Holden: in both

Addiction Demon: in both, but supposedly we see him from the "waist down" for a split second in Orlando

Mattress man: in both

John Lowe: in both (trophy room in Orlando includes a graphic representation of the "thou shalt not covet they neighbor's wife" trophy; absent in Hollywood)

Natasha Rambova: Hollywood only

Iris: Orlando only

Liz Taylor: Orlando Only

Valentino: Orlando only

Queenie: Orlando only

Hazel Evers: Orlando only

Ramona Royale: Orlando only

Sally McKenna: Orlando only

Devils Night characters: Neither



Edited by zombieman
Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 hours ago, Dead Inside said:

I think you mean Sally, not Billie Dean.

Heh, Heh.  I guess I do.

I had to heavily rely on the AHS Wiki to look up any character names, and I guess Sarah Paulson played two characters.  So she technically did play Billie Dean, but that was not the character presented in the house.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...