Universal Orlando Halloween Horror Nights Preview

Written by Eric Davis. Posted in Features, Universal Halloween Horror Nights, Universal Orlando

Tagged: , , , , , ,

frontpagepicUSO

Published on September 25, 2012 at 12:00 am with 5 Comments

Orlando Parkhopper had the pleasure of attending the opening weekend of one of the country’s top haunted attractions.  Universal Orlando Halloween Horror Nights returns on weekends and select nights until October 31st for its 22nd year.  This year there are seven new haunted houses, two shows and six scare zones.  Parkhoppers, Eric and Andre, braved the terror filled park to bring you the low down on the hits and misses of this popular and often crowded event.

Eric (Left) and Andre (Right) surrounded by the living dead.

We’ll start our review with the haunted attractions not to miss, then move on to the should dos and finally the ones you can skip if the lines are long or you are running out of time.

Must Dos:

  • House of Horrors: Universal Classic Monsters at its best.  This maze is in Black and White, and really takes some classic monsters and makes them scary again. 10/10 – this one is a slam dunk.
  • Gothic: Statues come to life, breathtakingly large set pieces, and some really impressive old tricks have been reimagined to bring this experience to life (or to death). 9/10
  • Penn & Teller Nuked Las Vegas:  This years “funny house”  takes the concept of the 3D house to all new levels, which tricks that are surprising, jarring, perception bending, and scary all at the same time.  Penn & Teller are a very welcome addition to the Halloween Horror Nights family, and I hope to see more houses from them in the future!  9/10
Pen and Teller took time out of their scary schedules to answer questions about themselves and their new haunted house at a recent press conference.  Here are some highlights.

  • The Walking Dead:  If you are a fan of the series you might not be surprised as this maze unfolds.  But you will feel as if you have been transported into the world of the Walking Dead, and if you aren’t a fan of the Walking Dead, this house, will make you one! 9/10

Should Dos:

  • Silent Hill:  Based on the popular Video game, movie (and to be released sequel) this house, takes you into the world of Silent Hill.  Some great uses of technology and some of the largest scareactors you will ever see.  7/10
  • Dead End:  A cursed house that uses some HHN favorite tricks in some new ways.  A fun maze, but very familiar if you have attended Horror Nights in the past.  7/10

Skippable:

  • Alice Cooper Welcome to My Nightmare:  Based on Alice Coopers twisted tales, this house seems to desperately want to make you grab your mouth in disgust.  However it didn’t seem too twisted nor overly nightmarish, and came off as kind of ok.  After a night of excellent and phenomenal experiences, this one just stood out like a sore thumb in the presence of excellent mazes elsewhere.   5/10

THE SHOWS:

  1. 20 Penny Circus: A must miss.  A complete lack of energy, showmanship, story, cripple this show fully of tried and true side show acts.  As a local Orlando act, I was disappointed, because I was hoping this could be a launching point for them, but the “edginess” felt forced, the dialogue painful, and the execution unbearable.  1/10
  2. Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure:  As bad as 20 Penny Circus is, Bill and Ted’s is Excellent.  Simply the best  Bill and Ted show in years!  With a new set, new writers, new choreographer, new life has been breathed into this staple!  You will find yourself belly laughing, and wanting more when the show ends.  An absolute MUST DO for this year’s Halloween Horror Nights!  10/10 A perfect score.

With all the construction going on, and the new Superstar Parade, Halloween Horror Nights has had to adapt to the changing map of the park. With the streets jammed pack full of day time entertainment and construction crews, having large stationary Halloween sets just isn’t possible this year.  With that, Universal has themed the streets to compliment all of the construction.  Something has been unearthed, and now there is no escape.  While the clever ideas work to include the ubiquitous construction, one can’t help but remember that this is the park that gave us flying monkeys over our heads, Robo-saurous, school houses full of demented children, crashed buses, and countless other large set pieces.  To have small rollout pieces makes the scare zones feel minimal this time around.

The overall experience inside each house this year is incredible.  With stories that are unique, and familiar, with old familiar tricks used in surprising news ways, and new technologies being employed, you really get the sense and feeling that this year the creative team really cranked it up to 11.  And minus a few mistakes, these haunted attractions are as close to the perfect scare as we’ve seen in a long time.

Join Us For MiceChat’s Universal Orlando Halloween Horror Night Event – Friday, September 28

Interested in joining some fellow MiceChat readers at Universal Orlando Halloween Horror Nights? Fishbulb will be leading a small group of Halloween lovers through one of our favorite Haunts this Friday, September 28th. If you’d like to explore Universal’s excellent lineup of haunted attractions with us, please email [email protected] We’ll fill you in on all the details.

About Eric Davis

By day, Eric is in Marketing and Social Media. But on the weekends, he's a theme park addict. Eric is a frequent contributor to MiceChat's Orlando Parkhopper columns and tends to focus his efforts on what's new and what's news at Universal Studios and SeaWorld.

Browse Archived Articles by

5 Comments

Comments for Universal Orlando Halloween Horror Nights Preview are now closed.

  1. Thank you Eric and Andre. Can’t wait to see the new mazes (or ‘Houses’ as they call them in Orlando). On our way to Orlando tomorrow!!! :-)

    • I can’t wait for you to experience Classic Monsters, but you should wait until it is nice and dark to do that one!

  2. Next month I am taking my mom back to where she was born in Florida. In turn I get to go to HHN, Can’t wait. It’s been 9 years. Oh yeah and EPCOT. :)

    • You will love it! Remember to see BILL AND TEDS! A MUST SEE!

      Have a blast, and let me know what you thought of the houses!

  3. LOVED Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights this year! I thought just about every haunted house was a good one. No real letdowns like last year. HOWEVER, it did not impress me that they have essentially given up on scare zones. The overall feeling of the event was diminished by the lack of theme in the streets.

    Still, this is one of the best haunts in the country. Great Houses (or as some of us call them, mazes).