Hello, and welcome to a special edition of Dateline Universal Orlando! We attended opening night for Halloween Horror Nights 26 and we can’t wait to tell you all about it. We have some photography from the event as well as film from two of the houses. But, we don’t want to spoil everything, so we won’t be showing content from everything. As well, please be warned that the material is slightly more graphic than a normal Dateline update, so proceed with caution! But you can handle it, can’t you folks?!

Welcome to the horror.
Welcome to the horror.
Marquee banners for the bigger houses this year.
Marquee banners for the bigger houses this year.

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The Chance in Hell scare zone takes place between Shrek and Despicable Me.
The Chance in Hell scare zone takes place between Shrek and Despicable Me.

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We had a fun cocktail hour in Soundstage 33.
Media was invited to a fun cocktail hour in Soundstage 33.

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In case you missed it, Chance is this year's icon after Jack the Clown vanished and Chance was locked up in Shadybrook asylum.
In case you missed it, Chance is this year’s icon after Jack the Clown vanished and Chance was locked up in Shadybrook asylum.

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Members from Universal Entertainment were on stage to discuss the different houses.
Members from Universal Entertainment were on stage to discuss the different houses.
Members of the cast of AMC's The Walking Dead showed up as well!
Members of the cast of AMC’s The Walking Dead showed up as well!

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Out into the night we go!
Out into the night we go!
Here are a few more views from A Chance in Hell.
Here are a few more views from A Chance in Hell. The lighting is intoxicating.

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Hey, buddy, put some clothes on. We can see your back side.

 

In the Hollywood section of the park is Vamp '55, a scare zone themed to an old school high school homecoming overtaken by zombies.
In the Hollywood section of the park is Vamp ’55, a scare zone themed to an old school high school homecoming overtaken by zombies.

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Poor tuba player.
Poor tuba player.

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Academy of Villains put on a dance and acrobatic show 3-4 times a night.
Academy of Villains put on a dance and acrobatic show 3-4 times a night.
We then moved into Banshee's Lair, the scare zone in Central Park, which is largely themed to monsters.
We then moved into Banshee’s Lair, the scare zone in Central Park, which is largely themed to monsters.

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Our first house of the night was Halloween: Hell Comes to Haddonfield. This house is a direct sequel to 2014's HHN house and Michael Myers is EVERYWHERE. Tons of great scares.
Our first house of the night was Halloween: Hell Comes to Haddonfield. This house is a direct sequel to 2014’s HHN house and Michael Myers is EVERYWHERE. Tons of great scares.

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Next up was Tomb of the Ancients, an original house. This one takes us into, you guessed it, a tomb. Lowered ceilings make for a claustrophic's worst nightmare.
Next up was Tomb of the Ancients, an original house. This one takes us into, you guessed it, a tomb. Lowered ceilings make for a claustrophic’s worst nightmare.

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After Tomb of the Ancients, we saw Texas Chainsaw Massacre, an homage to the original film from the 70's. There were good scares here, but where it really succeeded was putting you in the film and seeing it happen around you.
After Tomb of the Ancients, we saw Texas Chainsaw Massacre, an homage to the original film from the 70’s. There were good scares here as well, but where it really succeeded was putting you in the film and seeing it happen around you.
Dead Man's Wharf is the scare zone in the San Francisco area, with lots of scaly looking creatures.
Dead Man’s Wharf is the scare zone in the San Francisco area, with lots of scaly looking creatures.

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Full moon!
Full moon!
In Survive or Die, the scare actors make up three different groups all vying for your services during an apocalypse.
In Survive or Die, the scare actors make up three different groups all vying for your services during an apocalypse.

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Next up, we have video of the Walking Dead house. This house was our least favorite last year, but was a nice surprise this year, with a great finale scene!

After this, we entered the Ghost Town house. They referred to this as a “re-quel” of a house they did back in 2004. It wasn’t terribly scary, but it had a lot of cool details and felt really big. There were also some neat water effects that simulated a rainstorm indoors.

Next up was The Exorcist, which was a fever dream bouncing between scenes from the movie and us becoming Regan as she is possessed. Very creepy.
Next up was The Exorcist, which was a fever dream bouncing between scenes from the movie and the guests becoming Regan as she is possessed. Very creepy.
American Horror Story takes place in the largest soundstage this year. We have a video below.
American Horror Story takes place in the largest soundstage this year. We have a video below.

 

After this, we watched Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure, which was hilarious as always. But of course, no photo or video allowed.

We next went to Lunatic’s Playground 3D, which is the Chance themed house. This was sadly our least favorite house this year, as it borrowed many of the effects from last year’s Alice in Wonderland 3D house.

We finally wrapped up the night with Krampus. This was a fun, Christmas themed house with silly, tongue in cheek scares, and got us ready for the holiday season!
We finally wrapped up the night with Krampus. This was a fun Christmas themed house with silly tongue in cheek scares. Surprisingly, this one got us ready for the holiday season! You have to be . . . or Krampus gonna get ya.
After a whirlwind night of nine houses, five scares zones, and two live shows, it was time to head out.
After a whirlwind night of nine houses, five scares zones, and two live shows, it was time to head out.

 

Overall, this year’s event was fantastic. The theme might not have been as strong across the park as last year, but it would be difficult to top Jack the Clown and the 25th anniversary of the event. That said, I think the houses were stronger this year, and the event will only get better night by night. Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights runs on select nights now through Halloween, and we can’t wait to return. It’s just that good.

Nightmares come to life in nine disturbingly-real haunted houses based on some of the most terrifying legends in pop culture. Guests will:

Become the next doomed residents of Murder House, tortured performers in the disturbing and twisted Freak Show, and victims of the otherworldly, death-dealing Hotel from FX’s groundbreaking anthology “American Horror Story

Desperately try to escape Leatherface’s lethal chain saw in “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

See, hear, feel – and even smell – every iconic levitating, head-spinning, vomit-wrenching, skin-crawling moment from “The Exorcist

Fight to survive the return of masked killer Michael Myers in “Halloween II

Fend off packs of flesh-hungry walkers in instantly-recognizable scenes from Seasons 1 through 6 of AMC’s “The Walking Dead

Encounter the evil ancient spirit of the dark shadow of Saint Nicholas in “Krampus

Step inside the twisted minds behind the nation’s best Halloween event in three haunted houses based on original stories – Lunatics Playground 3D: You Won’t Stand A Chance, Ghost Town: The Curse of Lightning Gulch, and Tomb of the Ancients.

And there’s even more horror lurking in the streets of Universal Studios Florida, with five unique scare zones and two live stage shows.

Beginning Sept. 29, guests can witness a whole new generation of psychological horror with a brand-new, cutting-edge entertainment experience – The Repository. A blend of custom virtual reality technology, real-life characters, incredible immersive storytelling and intensely-themed environments, this exclusive experience will terrify, thrill and amaze like never before. This highly interactive horror experience can be purchased for $49.99 plus tax, per person, by calling 407-224-7840. Halloween Horror Nights admission is also required.

For 31 select nights through Oct. 31, guests can experience theme park thrills by day and become victims of their own horror film by night at Halloween Horror Nights. For more information, visit www.HalloweenHorrorNights.com/Orlando.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below! Thanks for reading!

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