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  1. 2 points
    The other being Depths of Fear. We were told that on the tour - that we were crushed by the station imploding, but that really didn't come across in the house as clearly as it did in GG. Was there an effect after the monster in the fog at the end that I missed?
  2. 2 points
    OCTOBER 31st Stingy Jack is back, with a new mix of terror to shock and horrify you! Using his magic to overtake an abandoned toy shop, he's arranged for a new set of terror to remind everyone of the true meaning of Halloween. Return to his world if you dare, but keep in mind: he's not messing around! Another set of Halloween-inspired scenes make up this journey to Stingy Jack's world. And to be honest, Jack's return is just an excuse for another set of Halloween scenes. I promise, while I might retread familiar ground I'll try to keep the scenes different. ROOMS: Facade: Guests find themselves walking up to an abandoned Toysaurus shop, overtaken with pumpkin vines bearing many Jack-O' Lanterns. The windows have the same swirl pattern as The House That Jack Built featured, and the vines hold the door open. Toysaurus: The building has been cleared out, even the shelves. However, standing upon a stage is Stingy Jack, who ushers guests into a world of terror! He's his old, wisecracking, charming self. Guests exit the scene through a giant wooden doorway decorated with old-time Halloween-themed signs, with the opening draped with black fringe curtain. Are You Ready?: The Halloween signs continue to appear in the dark hallway, lit with a black light. Stingy Jack can be heard, asking guests if they're prepared for the terror within. Guests pass through another fringe curtain, into... The Maize Part 2: Where guests find themselves in a moonlit cornfield. Like the original house, scarecrows lurk in the corn. Unlike the original house, as guests turn a corner they find a combine rushing towards them. The Sheet Maze: Exiting the corn, guests find themselves surrounded by white sheets hanging on clotheslines. A menacing silhouette can be seen behind one sheet, and he seems to be raising his knife... only for a clown to attack from an opposite sheet. (The shadowed killer is projected onto the sheet.) Masks: Guests enter a hallway covered with Halloween masks. A scaracter hides in the wall, wearing a suit covered with masks. Pumpkin Carving: Guests enter the gaping maw of a giant Jack-O' Lantern. Inside the gourd, pumpkin guts hang from the walls, over the walkway, and pumpkin creatures attack with giant pumpkin saws. (Steak knife sized saws.) As guests wind through the mazelike walls, the final turn hides a giant knife piercing the flesh of the squash, that will be lunged towards guests. The Coven: As guests exit the pumpkin, they find themselves in a witch's shack. The witches' song from MacBeth can be heard. (I may be taking that bit from All Hallow's Evil. Sorry.) A hag and a younger witch tend to a concoction, interacting with guests. This distracts from a crone on the other side of the room, who splashes the contents of her cauldron onto guests. (Water, fog, and lights.) Guests exit the shack through a giant, overturned cauldron, a green fire-and-ice light providing the spill, and into... Spinning Tunnel: A green-lit spinning tunnel. On the walls is the shroud of smoke, and skulls. Graveyard: Exiting the brew, guests wind up in a graveyard lit with orange, purple, and green stringlights. It's Halloween, and the dead are throwing a party. As guests make their way through the tombstones, Halloween party music plays and zombies and ghosts attack. One of the zombies is a man in a pumpkin suit. Guests then enter the mausoleum, the opening of which is a white fringe curtain coated with static.... Horror Film: Because it turns into a black-and-white vampire movie. Guests pass by a coffin, which will open... only for no one to be inside... until a vampire emerges from the false back of the coffin. Guests then enter a film studio archive, where Frankenstein's Monster, a mummy, and a killer doll lurk. Horrorthon: Guests exit the archives, and enter a theater through a tear in the movie screen playing scenes from Horror classics. Several horror fans are in the seats, dressed as monsters. Most are static props, but a few are scaracters. An usher (NOT Julian Browning. Unless they really want Browning.) forces guests out for not having a ticket. Trick Or Treat: Guests then enter a space made of candy. Lurking in this space is a giant monster made from various "loser candies". Those chalky disks, candy corn, razor apples, stuff that gets stuck in your teeth, all that fun. Distinctively different from the Summerween Trickster, of course. More Yeti-shaped. That said, a victim will burst out of his chest, begging for release before getting sucked back in. The Olden Days: Guests then enter Stonehenge, surrounded by druids in robes. A lead druid, face covered in markings and a long, grey beard, attacks guests with a scythe. FINALE: The Harvest Lords: Guests then find themselves in a valley of sacrificed animals and people, covered in fog. As guests navigate the walls of the dead, deer skull-headed stilt walkers attack.
  3. 2 points
    I asked during my UTH tour and the answer was a definitive YES. You die at the end. They worked very hard to make that black hallway soundproof, so the only things you heard were the whispers of the dead calling to you. I don't think that's a spoiler for anyone. This house is right up there with Poltergeist as GOAT. So funny, because I didn't expect either to be all that good before I went in. Usually I go through houses with a big grin on my face. But for these, my mouth was hanging open from start to finish. Was so blown away by the visuals and storytelling. After that, the big stupid grin appeared every walkthru.
  4. 2 points
    During UTH, our guide explained that after you go through the armory tunnels, that the chaos of the games and Nightingales has caused the Colosseum to collapse completely. So when you go into the room with all the torn apart and hanging bloody bodies from above, you're going through the wreckage of the collapse, and the man on the right is the Emperor, fearing for his life. Then after that, the rest of the house is no longer the Colosseum, but instead the bloody streets of Ancient Rome. And the big thing on the right being turned is the gate being opened, unleashing the lion on the left. And finally, the ending is the deep caverns where the most vicious Nightingales await.
  5. 1 point
    I heard the giant spinning red light in that room is the implosion, which the Mouthbrooder is running away from. But if it is, it confuses me as to how guests would survive long enough to see the room after that.
  6. 1 point
    Did it last night, but I feel like I’ve definitely noticed it in earlier runs as well: there’s a voice over the speakers in the waterfall room talking about the implosion. I think it’s “implosion imminent,” or something like that.
  7. 1 point
    Well, that final tiny hallway looks blown up with wiring hanging down and marks on the wall, but other than that, not really.
  8. 1 point
    Typing on mobile, so I can’t format much, I’m sorry! So the only true GATs are the buttons in Klowns (which my tour guide explained will be pressed by the ops if they see that you didn’t press them). Some of the ropes in Hunchback in Monsters are in fact interactive. Look for the ones that have fabric wrapped around them (two on your left right across from Quasi and then one on the right just before Creature). They don’t cause any kind of effect, but they are on elastic cords to make it feel like you can actively ring the bells. You can pull them down pretty far! There are no references anywhere to Jack, which my guide was confused about, but there is an easter egg in Graveyard Games. No, a literal easter egg; check out the top left area of the shelves of urns and see if you see something oval-shaped and sparkly... Also, there’s a King Kong mini-grave up above you on the right just before you enter the candle hallway. The coffins that you may see (other than the moving one, of course) look pretty genuine ... because they are. When a coffin is used for a funeral but is not to be buried with the person, it’s essentially rendered unusable for the funeral home. It would obviously be a little weird and maybe considered disrespectful to keep putting different corpses in the same box for a viewing. So, Universal takes advantage of this by buying those genuine used coffins straight from the funeral parlors. Fun, FUN fact: any time you see an open casket, it was constructed by the Universal team, but all closed caskets did previously contain a real human body at one point in time! The statue observation from Monsters is correct and was an intentional inclusion! My guide explained that they really wanted to take the monsters in an angry, fierce direction (an obvious choice for a horror event), but still wanted to pay tribute to the original designs. The facade includes those old designs while the interior contains the new ones. The Creature, though, was essentially perfect, so they didn’t really change much about Gillman’s look. Speaking of Gillman, take a look through one of the holes in the cave wall as you’re passing the second Gillman. Directly across across from the first boohole of the third scareactor is an alligator. He was used in Dead Waters in the swamp of the facade, and he was apparently loved dearly. His name is Francis! The Mummy room contains many unused props from the Mummy ride, mostly the queue. It’s very hard to see in the dark, especially when the scareactor is inside of it, but the first Mummy’s boohole has a sarcophagus in the back that was used in the “prop collection”-esque display from the ride’s queue before it was taken out for unknown reasons. They just moved it over and put it in the house!
  9. 1 point
    When the announcement video came out for this house was so intrigued how different our house would be from Hollywood's and then seeing the t-shirt design of the monsters definitely added to that idea until I got into this house, I was truly expecting a definitely big house, this house truly proved that, the transitional scenes were truly awesome, my friend scene in this house had to be the mirror room from The Phantom Of The Opera, I always loved every monster but Phantom was definitely on my anticipation list whenever Universal mentioned Monsters returning to the event in some capacity, this house is beautiful and definitely amust to experience once every time you go.
  10. 1 point
    Hi All, As I’m bored waiting for my flight back to Blighty, thought I’d add my thoughts on this years event. Please comment, discuss, and argue against my rankings. I love the banter and discussion! Overall I feel houses were great with no proper duds, scarezones were ok (but I feel scarezones no longer work at HHN due to crowds), and the lagoon show was fantastic. In summary, overall rankings for me are as follows: ‪1. Universal Monsters‬ ‪2. ‬Graveyard Games ‪3. Ghostbusters‬ ‪4. Yeti Terror of the Yukon‬ ‪5. ‬Nightingales Blood Pit ‪6. House of 1000 Corpses 7. Depths of Fear ‬ ‪8. ‬Stranger Things‬ ‪9. Killer Klowns From Outer Space‬ ‪10. Us‬ 10. Us Very true to the film, and a couple of fun scares, but after doing this once it just fell flat on its face for me. Love the film, but for me this was boring. They may have been better doing half film, half original to ramp up the scares. Didn’t work for me, but sets were great and some good ideas means it wasn’t a total flop. 9. Killer Klowns I’ll be honest. I hate the film, and didn’t have much hope for this house. However it did grow on me during the event and having a few fun interactions with the scareactors really made it for me. The second Klownzilla puppet never worked for me which is such a shame, as the first was incredible! Overall a fun feel good house with plenty laughs and gags, just not my thing. 8. stranger things only had one decent run through out of 4, which is a shame as some of this house is fantastic (the large, larger, and even larger mindflayer puppets are stunning and brilliantly done). Suffers from season 2 being light on scares/iconic scenes, but season 3 is represented really well. Was always going to be tough to pull off and make it an incredible house, but I feel they did a great job. Other years this would have placed much higher but the overall house quality was fantastic this year. 7. Depths Was really looking forward to this one, and was very disappointed with the creatures. Very bulky costumes, and bit cartoony. However, the crew were aggressive, and this does have the best scare of the event (hand puppet from above got me every time, and I did see two people fall over on their arses because of it). Great concept, gorgeous sets, and I think a little better creature design would have propelled this much higher in the list. 6. Corpses Again not a fan of the film, but could see the HHN potential (Fun fact - this was a house in Hollywood BEFORE it was turned into a film). It’s a very true representation of the film, and some of the scareactor interactions were the best I’ve ever had (yes Captain Spaulding, I promise to take some chicken home to Mama, I don’t want your boot up my ass!). The catacombs were brilliantly done, and the scareactors here were mean and wouldn’t let me go. Loved it! Watch out for Thunder in the “who’s your Daddy” room! Scary, fun, and plenty of guest interaction makes this house much much better than I thought. 5. Nightingales This house STUNK. And was aggressive, claustrophobic, dark, and unfortunately inconsistent. When it was on point, it was incredible. When it was off it was dull and smelly. Big points to the scareactor who swings out to get you. He/she seemed to be in my face pretty much every time and such a great scare that seemed reluctant to let me pass. Also loved the lion with gladiator puppeteer. The last night I swear the lion almost kept off the platform and I nearly sh!t myself. It was also fairly historically accurate which shows the amount of research and dedication that goes into the original houses. I wanted this to be Scarecrow level, and while it has potential it’s inconsistent performances means it won’t reach that level. 4. Yeti Love this house and wish I had more chances to do it again. The yeti outfits are great, and the scenic elements are stunning. It’s the dark comedy house of the year for sure, with comedic deaths which are some of my fave scares this year (“door”, and “Alien” hand). Gorgeous sets, fun set ups for Yeti encounters, and again the final yeti scare with the full swing out like nightingales is a personal fave of mine. Great scareactor interactions, but I’m sick of being shot in this house. I must have a big target on my back as I seem to be shot by everyone, and the air blasts are powerful! Definitely did not expect this house to be as fun or as good as it is. 3. Ghostbusters I cannot do this house without a goofy smile on my face. It is everything I wanted and more, even if I missed the props reacting to Janine every time. I mean yes, it’s not scary, but it’s just fun and makes everyone smile. It’s the only house I’ve ever seen where the staff working it are still smiling and dancing to the same song playing over and over again for 8 hours a night throughout the run. Great effects, great scareactor interactions (special call out to Dan Ackroyd in the Slimer hallway, and Bill Murray at the end - high five!), and reminds me so much of the Ghostbusters show Universal used to have back in the day. Also nice nods to Ghostbusters II, and a sneak peak at next years Ghostbusters film too. 2. Graveyard Games This house is gorgeous. The most immersive, well designed, and stunning house I think I’ve ever seen in my 3 years going to HHN. The backstory is brilliant, and sets the scene for a very creepy, scary, and inventive house. There’s so many great scenes here, from the hallway with the candles being blown out, to the playground scene (creepy ghost kids), and the pitch black, soundproof room which is my fave effect this year. There’s so much in this house to see and follow it needs multiple run throughs. My fave original this year, and probably fave original I’ve ever done. Just do it. Then do it again. You won’t regret it. 1. Universal monsters Wow. Just WOW. This house is gorgeous, and coupled with incredible scareactor interactions this is my absolute fave this year. I thought this would be a good house, but never did I dare hope it would be as good as it is. It’s scary, aggressive, beautiful, surprising, fun, and allows for fantastic scareactor interactions (special kudos to creature, the mummy’s, and Frankenstein’s monster who is this years MVP). It is missing the invisible man (or is it?), but that is a minor criticism. I really hope they come back next year bigger and better. Scarezones Not much to say - they’re ok. I don’t think scarezones work in the current format due to crowds. Either do away with them or do something new and unique with them. Stop them becoming selfie zones! Shows Lagoon show is amazing. Please see it and make sure it’s back next year! AoV - good at what they do, one and done for me
  11. 1 point
    HHN 29 Another year moving further into family-friendly territory. My 19th year attending Halloween Horror Nights and I guess I'm no longer in the target demographic. I've become one of those grumpy old guys who pines for the "Good Old Days" of HHN. The lineup of houses was actually an improvement from last year, but nearly every other aspect was about the same or worse. The overall atmosphere was incredibly unspooky. Most of the background music was 80's synth stuff that had no business being played at a halloween event. Why did they go with the 80's theme again anyway? I think a lot of people are hoping for more effort for HHN30. Fingers crossed for the return of Bill and Ted and the icons. Until then, we're saving quite a bit of money that we would usually spend at HHN and have lots of extra time to check out other halloween events. From 2013 on, during the Bill and Ted years we always purchased the most expensive Frequent Fear pass with Express so we could see the show as many times as possible and make sure we could attend the final performance of the year. In 2017, we did 24 nights. Without Bill and Ted, we have made due with the Rush of Fear pass, attending 12 nights in 2018 and only 9 this year. -Houses- HHN has never been scary to us. We are mostly interested in the incredible scenic work and costumes / makeup. That being said, we like to see that there has been some effort put towards making the event frightening. 1 - House of 1000 Corpses (8.5 out of 10) This was absolutely fascinating for me and my wife. The people who put this house together should be very proud. We hated this movie and the only parts we liked were Captain Spaulding (barely featured) and his incredible looking Murder-Ride (missing entirely). Plus, the fact that this house was in the tent between MIB and the iconic Fear Factor theater, which had housed nothing but awful mazes up to this point, it looked to have no chance. Yet somehow this was our favorite house of the year right from the get-go. We're still shocked. The facade and interior of the gas station are a note perfect way to start the experience. The transition rooms with the music video style footage projected on the walls and ceiling are as effective here as they are annoying in the actual movie. The sets, scareactors and costumes are all excellent. I love that we see several different environments and the scares are plentiful. They somehow turned a lame Texas Chainsaw Massacre rip-off movie into an exciting, fun haunted house attraction. We were incredibly impressed. Also, the fact that a certain phonebooth was parked in front of this facade made me giddy each time I saw it. I like to think that Bill and Ted were trying to pilot the booth back to the Fear Factor Theater but just barely missed. Maybe they'll get it right next year. 2 - Graveyard Games (8 out of 10) I actually didn't like this one at all on the first night. But by our ninth night it had become one of my favorites. Beautiful facade. All the sets are incredible, as are the costumes. Great use of effects, namely the brick wall disappearing to show the reanimated corpse inside attempting to scratch his way out and the hallway where the mother blows out the candles one by one. Excellent energy from the scareactors, especially the one who sometimes attacked while on his hands and knees right before the pitch black hallway near the very end. The creepy kids section of the graveyard is also worth mentioning. This house managed to maintain a feeling of dread for us from beginning to end. 3 - Yeti (7.5 out of 10) Easily the best sets from this year's event, just stunningly well done. I like that you actually get pretty far into the maze before the first scare. I love that you go through several cabins, tents and a barn, getting hit with cold air each time you return "outside." Then the variety of environments continues with icy caverns and a dark forest. The costumes and action are just the right amount of silly for my taste. 4 - Us (7.5 out of 10) In contrast to House of 1000 Corpses, we actually love the movie "Us" and we loved the house. Huge kudos to the cast for this house, they totally made it incredible. Since they don't have elaborate costumes, the success of this attraction is entirely up to the performances of the scareactors. They absolutely delivered each time, the crazy facial expressions and movements were spot on. I always had a big smile on my face as we made our way through this one. 5 - Universal Monsters (6.5 out of 10) This house was pretty well done. Good sets, with a large variety of different environments. Good costumes, although some of the modern updates to the character designs were a bit cheesy to me. Was the Phantom of the opera's set an exact rebuild of the Wicked Witch's set from last year's Scary Tales 3? It seems like it was. 6 - Ghostbusters (6.5 out of 10) I should have liked this one much more than I did. My biggest issue with this house is that all of the dialogue has been re-recorded for some reason. Instead of hearing Bill Murray and Dan Akroyd's voices reciting iconic lines, we get other people trying to impersonate them. As someone who has seen this movie an unhealthy amount of times over the years, this is incredibly distracting. The half-assed facade is sad, but the effects in the library rooms are well done. The Ghostbusters HQ set with a live-mic Janine is cool. The containment unit being turned off is also pretty awesome. I don't understand why they included characters from Ghostbusters 2 and the reboot, it is 100 percent unnecessary. The set and acting for the key master / gatekeeper scene is spot on. The hellhound puppets are perfect. The scene with Gozer atop the stairs is way too cramped to be effective. 7 - Depths of Fear (6 out of 10) The setting is so unique, the sets are incredible and the use of flat screens and water effects is very well done. Unfortunately, the creature costumes ended looking like super-hokey 1950s B-movie creatures to me and it really pulled me out of the whole experience. The creature inside the first room whose upper-body is suspended over the pool of water actually looks pretty solid, so I would have to guess that the problems came from making the design into a wearable costume. Some of them also seemed to have tiny T-Rex arms, making them hard to take seriously. 8 - Nightingales (4 out of 10) Too cramped, too much "stuff in face." Given the subject matter, it seems like this house should have felt more unique, but it didn't for us. I didn't like the creature designs, and the sets were repetitive and uninteresting. 9 - Killer Klowns from Outer Space (3 out of 10) This is the second year in a row that HHN has turned a Scarezone from the year before into a house. First with "Trick r Treat" and now with "Killer Klowns." Both times I felt that seeing costumes and props two years in a row really lessened the impact. The Killer Klowns costumes are absolutely perfect, I think if we saw them for the first time this year, in this house, it might have gone a long way towards covering for how cheap the rest of this house is. Klownzilla is pretty amazing, though. 10 - Stranger Things 2 (2 out of 10) We like this show, (although not as much as a lot of people seem to) but this was not a good house. Last year's version was very pretty to look at and the character look-a-likes were impressive, which kind of smoothed over the fact that it was not intended to be even slightly scary. The sequel isn't as effective. The sets this time around aren't really that great, (except for the cabin scene, which is glorious) and some of the look-a-likes are poor. We spend way too long in the tunnels in season 2. What is the deal with the repeating audio? "We're in the old junk yard, and we are GOING TO DIE! We're in the old junk yard, and we are GOING TO DIE! We're in the old junk yard, and we are GOING TO DIE! We're in the old junk yard, and we are GOING TO DIE! We're in the old junk yard, and we are GOING TO DIE!" You can see by the wait times and people walking around in the merchandise that this show is very popular, but if it comes back to HHN, I hope they can do better than this. -Scarezones- Scarezones have been kind of useless for years. Mostly they are still just annoying bottlenecks that keep us from the next attraction. 1 - Rob Zombie's Hellbilly Deluxe (6.5 out of 10) I kind of enjoyed walking through this zone. The heavy fog and lights at both entrances made me think of old school HHN scarezones. I appreciated that the go-go dancers and blondes in skin-tight leather were trying to bring some sexiness back to the event. Now if we could get the adult humor and language back, everything would be excellent. The album that this scarezone is based on is not too bad, but I really feel for the scareactors who will have to pretend to be enjoying listening to these four(?) songs on repeat for two solid months. 2 - Anarcade (5 out of 10) Pretty to look at. Very photogenic. A good representation of the overall theme of the event, too bad this is the only place that really shows that theme, most of the rest of the park looks quite crap. 3 - Vikings: Undead (3 out of 10) Some nice costumes and decorations, but mostly just an infuriatingly slow walk. The worst thing was, once we walked through as the lagoon show was about to start and "Hungry Like the Wolf" by Duran Duran was playing loudly in the zone, completely drowning out whatever ambient sounds we were supposed to be hearing. It was immensely silly, and something they need to address in the future. Having said that, the Duran Duran version was much more enjoyable for my wife. 4 - Vanity Ball (2 out of 10) We thought the fashion show idea had some potential, but they didn't go anywhere with it. Some of the makeup work was good, and it was fun to see some of the scareactors really work it, but it wasn't enough. More points lost for making me hear that awful dance cover of "In the Air Tonight" originally by Phil Collins. 5 - Zombieland: Double Tap (0.5 out of 10) Why would Universal choose this zombie "comedy" from another studio for a scare zone when they already own a far superior zombie comedy in Shaun of the Dead? I know, the answer is synergy because there is a sequel out this month. Another lazy scarezone in the NYC area of the park, where it's mostly just people in regular street clothes with some blood on them. The stage "show" was extremely poor, and it's identical for all four main characters. "Tallahassee" looks and sounds so little like his movie counterpart that it was only the banjo on his back that helped identify him. "Little Rock" looked pretty spot on, at least. -Shows- - Halloween Marathon of Mayhem (6.5 out of 10) The special Halloween version of the World of Color lagoon show was pretty successful. It's lightyears ahead of the old nightime lagoon presentations. The only real issue I had with it, as was mention before, was when the audio from this show spills out into the central park area scarezone. We only watched once from the official viewing area, but the fountains were nice to look at from many other places in the park. - Academy of Villains: Altered States (-69 out of 10) I didn't like this show again. It just felt like more of the same high-school talent show level quality from last year. I know a lot of people like AOV. Cool, don't get rid of them. Just move them out of this location where they 100 percent don't work. I felt like they tried too hard to justify that this dance show belongs at a halloween event. Two Marilyn Manson singles in one show! Spooky. Also, the chorus from "Master of Puppets" being used about eight different times throughout the performance was annoying. The reason that I miss Bill and Ted so much is that it kept the event fresh and gave us a reason to come back as often as possible. The actors were incredible at changing small things from performance to performance, and when something unexpected happened like a technical hiccup, they got creative in keeping everything moving, usually with magical results. The last show of the night was always the best way to finish a HHN visit. The performers were usually pretty exhausted by this point and anything could happen. When we downgraded to the Rush of Fear tickets last year, we were afraid that it wouldn't give us enough nights and we would miss not being able to go the last several weeks. But we found that we actually were fine. The houses were the only reason to go anymore, and we had been through them enough. As I write this, HHN29 is still happening, but we have lost interest. We're off to Howl-O-Scream instead.
  12. 1 point
    Just returned from a 5 night stay. Attended 4 nights (9/25, 9/26, 9/27, 9/29). Didn't attend on Saturday because I caught the creeping crud and was sick as a dog. Pro tip that I failed to heed: Purell is your friend... I say that this event took place in the Upside Down because everything I thought was going to be great was not, and everything I thought was going to be so-so was great. Almost without fail. As usual, I'll go category by category HOTEL Stayed at Sapphire Falls once again. Big plus is the water taxi. Big negative is the water taxi - because it's mobbed by people staying at Cabana and Aventura. I really wish they would check hotel keys... Another big negative is no vending machines on site. The worst hotels I've stayed at have had vending machines... But the rooms are very good and the price is good. Pro Tip: This year was my first time using an annual pass. I got the AP rate for the room, saving me $100. Saw the rate only a week out, so keep looking for it. Although you can make the reservation without first having a season pass, to actually get that rate you need to present your AP at check in (really, just show them a pass that says UOAP).... But here's the tip: you don't have to get your pass processed at Guest Services. You can go to the Universal desk at the hotel and they will process it for you right there. Saves you a buttload of time. Get your season pass from the desk, go to front desk and check in, and you're done. The only catch - they can only give you a pass if you paid for the whole thing up front. If you are making monthly payments, you have to get your pass from Guest Services. Also excellent was that they have UOAP appreciation days going on, and one perk is that ALL levels of passes get 10% off dining. So this makes the bottom rung Seasonal Pass quite a great deal! Saved at least $40 eating in the park, because the discount applies at HHN. Thanks, Universal! TOURS For HHN, used Rush of Fear + Express Tool the six-house UTH tour on 9/27. The 6-house UTH Tour included: Nightengales The Depths House of 1000 Corpses Stranger Things Ghostbusters Yeti Learned something new: The 3-house UTH tour had unique houses, so taking both tours will let you see 9 of the 10 houses. The 3-house UTH Tour includes: Graveyard Games Universal Monsters Killer Klownz Us is not included on any UTH tour, unless one of the other 9 is unavailable. I was going to book the 3-house tour but didn't because I was sick... They did not allow Video recording or Audio recording (the audio prohibition was new). Pictures were also restricted. In originals it once again made no sense. "No pictures allowed in this first hallway" (where there is nothing to see). "Take as many pictures in here as you like" (viscera and gore abound). In IP houses pictures were highly restricted. Ghostbusters was insane. "You can take a picture in this room, but ONLY of this object, and ONLY framed in this manner". If you can get past the picture rules, I do recommend the tour. As usual, you do NOT need a daytime park ticket or an HHN ticket to take the tour. When the tour is done, they escort you to the Blue Man building and then out the door (no staying in the park after the tour, but there is an entrance gate near the Blue Man exit). Instead of a free lanyard, they give you a free pin at the UTH tour. Supposedly exclusive for UTH. FOOD AND BEVERAGE Weather was hot but not humid. Weather-wise, it was one of the best HHN vacations I've had. Event food was not great. The Hero sandwich at the Starcourt food court (aka the shacks near Monsters Cafe) was the standout. Small portion, though. When staying till the closing of the night, I recommend grabbing a sandwich at the Today Cafe to take to the hotel. They are one of the ONLY places in Universal that will give you something to go. Lines are not horrible, but the food comes sloooooowly. Tried all four specialty drinks and bought three of the four glasses (blinky cups) What sucks is that each bar serves only one of the four drinks. There are at least 8 bars, so you will find your favorite drink at only two bars across the event. Stupid idea, HHN... The cups are: Ghostbusters, Universal Monsters, Arcade, Killer Klowns (to be released 10/4) Drinks: The Saturn - Hayman’s London Dry Gin, Velvet Fallernum liqueur, passion fruit puree, sour mix. My favorite Vampire's Curse - Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, fruit punch, sour mix. Tasted like fruit punch and nothing more. Twilight Galaxy - Corazon Blanco Tequila, Mr. Boston Watermelon Schnapps, pineapple juice, orange juice, grenadine. Even with all the sweet flavors, this was really NOT sweet. Very bitter and "Watermelon" was straight melon. Blood Pit - St. Augustine Vodka, Finest Call Blood Orange Sour, Bols Peach Schnapps, orange juice. Strong orange flavor. Not great, not bad. I wouldn't want to try to make any of these at home. Last year's Totally Rad Punch was memorable as all hell. Regarding the Freestyle cups - the "good all HHN season" cup is no more. You now need to buy a $9 recharge every day you want to use the cup. Now, I can tell you that if you recharge during the day in the park, your cup is good all the way through HHN that same night. So you could recharge at, say, 9AM on a Saturday and it would be good through 2AM Sunday. I don't know what happens if you recharge at HHN, though. My understanding is that the cup remains charged through at least part of the next day, during daytime park hours. Not sure. I also tested my park-charged Freestyle cup at Aventura - it did NOT work at their Freestyle machines this year (did last year). I was really disappointed to see that an UNCHARGED cup will not let you get ice water at a Freestyle machine. You can get ice, but no water. This makes no sense. One more thing, totally unrelated to HHN (but this is why my posts are TLDR, right?) Universal is no longer selling the Impossible Burger, and has switched to Beyond Beef. I'm not a vegan or vegetarian, but I really latched onto the Impossible burger, because it tastes so good - like a good burger with no gristle. Most theme park meat burgers are really not very good at all. I've tried Beyond Beef and yuck. Oh well. It was good while it lasted. IMPORTANCE OF EXPRESS PASS With an Express pass each night, was able to easily do all 10 houses, and repeat any that were short waits at end of evening. Each night I didn't even enter the event until around 8-9PM. In addition to all 10 houses was able to do AoV show three nights, grab a sit down meal, and spend quality time in the scarezones. Granted, the was early in the season. Even peak season, I think you should be able to do what I did armed with an Express Pass and getting to the park when it opens. I saved my HHN shopping for the daytime. MILES LOGGED Wed Sep 25 - 13 miles (Just HHN - went direct from airport) - 12 houses, AoV, Marathon of Mayhem Thu Sep 26 - 11 miles (included a bit of daytime visit to IOA for Hagrid) - 10 houses Fri Sep 27 - 14 miles (included 6 house UTH tour) - 12 houses (+6 in tour), AoV Sun Sep 29 - 13 miles - 12 houses, AoV EXPRESS MERGE POINTS The Express/standby merge points are very similar to last year. Some notes: Nightengales, Ghostbusters, HOTC, Stranger Things and Yeti had great merge points. There is a very short wait following the merge. 5 min max KKFOS, Depths, Graveyard Games and Us had the same so-so merge points - 10-15 min max Universal Monsters had a crappy merge point with a good 20 min wait post merge HHN APP GAME There is a section called The Arcade, where you can play a Stranger Things game or a Universal Monsters Candy Crush type game. For the life of me, I can't get the latter to work. I don't know what I'm doing wrong, but the app locks up. You can get badges for scanning a QR code at a sign near each house.. But there's huge problems. First, the sign is a scavenger hunt - some are HARD to find (especially Graveyard Games). Some are right at the entrance - right where they tell you to turn off cell phones. Some are at the exits, but you can't stop or you will back everyone up. None of that really matters, because most are in total darkness, so you can't scan them unless someone shines their light on it. What I did was take a flash photo of each sign. But that sucks, since you need a second phone to scan the first. This game is just stupidity. And don't think you can scan the codes from home. Once you leave the park, that function turns off. You can scan them from your onsite hotel room, though. In fact NONE of the in app games work off site. The trivia is back, but for the original houses, they use general trivia unrelated to the house. For instance, for The Depths, they ask questions like what the deepest dive is, and when it took place, etc. Some of the Stranger Things questions were the same as last year's game. And UNLIKE last year, Terror Trivia locks once you leave the park. Last year I could continue to play from home. And I'm not a big fan of "get a badge for spending money" - you get a badge for buying Pizza Fries, the HHN Freestyle cup, and the UTH tour. MERCHANDISE Way too much merch to go into deeply, but here are some points of interest They do still have AP HHN shirt, AP HHN pin, and free AP HHN magnet, but you need to get those during daytime at the AP lounge (NOT available at Tribute store!) I think they should be at the Tribute store, because they are HHN, and can count toward your 10% off for an AMEX purchase over $75. Custom Ink shirts are once again in the Tribute store. The print is much higher quality. The ones from last year feel sticky and flimsy. These feel like they are part of the fabric. There are very few custom house designs available. I saw one for Yeti. Everything else is custom IP shirts. All stores are sold out of XL and XXL House of 1000 Corpses shirts. I assume they will reorder. I was told they sold out immediately after Sid's passing. No light up pins at all this year. Tribute store is HUGE this year. Individual rooms for KKFOS, Ghostbusters, ST, and general purpose room. They are selling 2019 tokens in the arcade. Be on the lookout for them. Williams of Hollywood store has almost nothing in the way of HHN memorabilia this year. Life size Chance statue is gone. (No, I didn't buy her, but a guy can dream...) SHOWS Loved AoV House of Fear in 2016. Did not like 2017. Really did not like 2018. LOVED this one. It's as if they listened to me, and gave me a HHN themed show in the spirit of House of Fear. The music was great, the story was great, the acts were great. They didn't haul someone up on stage to embarrass them. They didn't force the wave, or slow motion, or freaking Mr. Roboto. The only slow point for me was the aerial silk acrobat, and he wasn't bad at all. I'd still prefer Bill & Ted (and the survey they just sent me asked a couple of questions about B&T...) In my 4 visits, I watched this show 3 times. Also made a video of it. My trick was to turn screen brightness fully down. Marathon of Mayhem Oh. My. God. So much better than I ever expected. I really hope they bring this back time and again with new content, but the 80's theme was so well done. SCAREZONES My Scarezone anticipation list: 1) Zombieland 2) Vanity Ball 3) Anarch-Cade 4) Rob Zombie 5) Vikings Undead ....and after my attendance, almost a complete reversal: 1) Rob Zombie 2) Vikings Undead 3) Anarch-Cade 4) Zombieland 5) Vanity Ball Rob Zombie zone was just plain fun. I spent a long time there and loved every part of it. Favorite use of that area so far. In no way scary. Vikings surprised me with its brutality. The pumpkins were not missed; lanterns made sense for this zone. Wouldn't mind a Zombie Vikings house sometime. To me, Anarch-Cade was beautiful to look at. That laser ceiling was so good, and it was the best thing that area has seen in years. Reminded me of being in the arcade at the mall. Zombieland was cute but boring. The little "shows" were all of 2 minutes of nothingness. It was weird that "zombie kill of the week" was the exact same kill regardless of the character doing it. I chuckled at the Bill Murray zombie but didn't like anything else. It was really low energy as compared to last year. Shadybrook is still my favorite for this area. Lots here have loved Vanity Ball but even though I gave it a straight uninterrupted hour, it was blah. And this was after the UTH tour got me all excited with the backstory. The tour described it as two competing "body designers" who each have runway fashion shows. Their "designs" supposedly will talk to endlessly about what they had done and how much better their designer is than the other one, etc. Other than the runway shows, I got none of that. They had a little "plastic surgery" show, but only one thing happened over the course of an hour. Chucky was so much better... HOUSES My list based on anticipation 1) Depths of Fear 2) Yeti 3) Nightengales 4) Graveyard Games 5) Ghostbusters 6) Killer Klowns 7) Universal Monsters 8) House of 1000 Corpses 9) Stranger Things 10) Us ....and after my attendance, mostly flipped on its head (mostly) 1) Graveyard Games (BY A MILE!!) 2) Universal Monsters 3) House of 1000 Corpses 4) Yeti 5) Ghostbusters 6) Nightengales: Blood Pit 7) Depths of Fear 8) Stranger Things 9) Killer Klowns 10) Us Graveyard Games (A++) So far and away above the rest. My first night every house was leaving me with a "meh" taste and this was the last one I visited. I wasn't really expecting anything, but was in awe as I went through. It just got better and better. This house was utter perfection. Almost every scareactor has multiple scare points - and each one uses all of them. Over the course of my 4 nights, I went through this about 8 times. Each time I saw new things, and it was just perfect. Not a single bad run. I really wanted to hear the backstory on this one, but at the same time, I don't see how it could improve it for me. This house would be the ONLY reason for me to do another trip to Orlando, and a whole trip for one house won't do it for me. Universal Monsters (A+) This was done completely differently than the way Hollywood did it, but they did it equally great. So many great things to experience in this one. Felt like an original to me. Did not expect it to be this good at all. They ought to consider putting some of these monsters in a film some day I with they had turned the rain effect on more at the start. House of 1000 Corpses (A) I'm a big fan of the movie and was a big fan of Hollywood's take (which was also quite different, as the first few rooms back then were parts of the Murder Ride). Good house, but it very strictly stuck to the storyline; if it wasn't in the movie, you won't see it. Yeti (A) Some really big scenes and scares in this one, along with a surprisingly comedic scare outta nowhere. In my opinion, wasn't as good as any of last year's originals. This will be one I will have forgotten about in a few years. <Last year, houses 5-8 would have still been great. On this year's list, everything after Yeti is a big step down> Ghostbusters (B-) Yes, it's a beautiful house. Yes, I know it's not supposed to be scary. Yes, I loved the movie. The house was just....underwhelming. Nightengales: Blood Pit (B-) Like so many others said, the bird beaks were too distracting. UTH tour guide said that these Nightengales were devolved, being much older. Okay, but without someone telling me that, I'm just wondering what the heck I'm looking at. BEAUTIFUL FACADE. Unfortunately, we immediately go into the bowels of the Colosseum and stay there. As such, it's very monochromatic. I guess the original Nightengales: Blood Prey was also monochromatic with the trenches, but frankly the WWI house was more fun and the Nightengales were more scary. And, man, the water effects were practically turned off. I felt nothing rain-like anywhere. Depths of Fear (C+) This was at the top of my anticipation list. The goofy Mouthbrooders killed it for me. In Seeds of Extinction, a guy dressed as a plant was awesome, but here a guy dressed as a silver angler fish with giant translucent teeth is just goofy. I liked the idea and parts felt underwater, but the transition from above water outside to underwater inside was just not great. I think they needed for the facade to already be an underwater scene. Missed the dog entirely until the UTH tour. The house still looked cool and was somewhat fun, but as far as originals go, this is Giggles & Gore territory (and I don't remember much from Giggles and Gore). Disappointing. As I mentioned in another thread, Knotts' "The Depths" was such a better "We dug too deep!" mining themed house. Stranger Things (C) The casting was once again amazing. The flayer at the end was amazing. The rest was just OK. Killer Klowns (C-) Really surprised this came in so low. And unfortunately it's not because the rest was just that much better. I like the movie, really liked the zone, but the house just seemed like a 3D clown house without the glasses. Honestly, I don't think they could have done better. Klownzilla was a great puppet. The final room was huge but filled with too many static figures. Big letdown. I just think this one makes a much better zone than a house. Us (D-) They killed a perfectly good SoundStage for this. I saw the movie and liked the movie. The movie is hard enough to follow. As a house - forget about it. If you've never seen the movie, you will be lost. So let's put all that aside, what about the scares? Not many. So many actors stand there and do nothing. Most of the actors that DO something do it as part of an insanely long action. In any scene with Red or Adelaide, she just stands there. Forever. Then does something. Those are just no no's in houses. It stops the line. If you haven't seen the movie you exit the room wondering WTF. In 4 trips through the house, I saw most of the scares happen one time each. Sorry, this is just garbage as a house. CLOSING THOUGHTS Can't compare this yet to HHN Hollywood because I haven't gone. Only 4 really good houses out of 10. Last year was 8 out of 10. But last year's show was awful and this year had two standout shows. I don't think they topped 2018. As I mentioned, 2018 was so good, I spent $1000 to fly back a second time. This year was middle of the road as a whole. As so many have said: Not awful. Not great. Graveyard Games, though. Oooh, baby! Instant classic for me; I'll miss that one dearly.
  13. 1 point
    The cast for this house deserves an award. They're all incredible and if you go through the house when it's not crowded the experience changes entirely
  14. 1 point
    Do you "die" at the end of this house? Because the room before the finale is the tomb of 'Angeline Albright' (I think that's the name) but it goes straight back into dirt and roots like a grave. Then you veer off into the pitch black hallway where the children ask things like 'where did you go?' and 'play with us' with the final scene being gazing upon the Blue Woman. Either that or she let's you go/ protects you and that's why the children can't find you? Or I could just be over thinking things. I really like this house
  15. 1 point
    I love this house and can't figure out if I like this or Graveyard Games as my favorite so far. It takes what you saw in 25 Years of Monsters and Mayhem and makes it into a knockout of a house. The queue is an awesome way to get you excited and combined with the opener it makes you feel like you're facing Titans. I don't think its possible to do this any better.
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