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  1. #1

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    Halloween Horror Nights: very very ungood.

    I went to Universal Studios Hollywood's Halloween Horror Nights last night (Friday the 13th). I am a major theme park fan and a "haunted house" fan, and so is my GF. Personally, I like the cool and elaborate ghosty Halloween stuff, but I also really enjoy the homemade cheap blood-spatter stuff to. What I don't like is...

    Totally half-assed.

    Pathetic.

    It's like this: the park gives us 6 hours, 7PM -12AM. We were there before 7. It took, no exaggeration, over 45 minutes to get through security and the gate. I don't mind waiting in line, but almost 1/6th of the night was burned just waiting for them to tell my GF to throw away her half-bottle of Coke. Once we were in the park, she realized she forgot to take the pepper spray out of her purse before we went in the park. Oops. That could have been a North Korean nuclear device. Feel safer?

    The wait for the tram was, again no exaggeration, an hour. Fine for a normal day at the park, bad when, now, 1/3rd of your night disappears.

    Here is what happens on the tram tour. I don't think these are spoilers, this is more like an itinerary.

    - The tour guides have a Fox attitude (thanks Bart Simpson).
    - You watch a little movie on the tram screens about "the Director," the bad guy.
    - You get out at Cat In The Hat, guys jumping out at you.
    - Walk up through the Psycho Bates Motel area, guys jumping out at you.
    - Walk through the War of the Worlds wreckage, guys jumping out at you.
    - Get back on the tram ("move it, fat *****" from the tour guides. Such language, I never!).
    - Do the Mummy tunnel (formerly the ice tunnel).
    - Done.

    Me, personally... I would have liked to walk through everything with the lights on WITHOUT the guys in clown masks honking at me, or driven through slowly. But I understand, they're doing a "horror" thing. If you go (don't, but IF) just know going in it's not a studio tour, or even THE studio tour (no Jaws, no Earthquake, no flood, no back lot, that stuff). It's limp. And I swear to you I'm an easy customer. I really, actually AM a very easy customer, despite this screed.

    Then we made the biggest mistake of the night: we went on the Mummy coaster. Don't get me wrong, the coaster itself is completely fantastic... it just burned another two hours going up and down the escalator and waiting in line. We didn't realize we were seriously running out of time to do..

    The TWO mazes. Exclamation point! Knotts has 12! Even Six Flags has 6, and doesn't even charge an extra fee! In other words, at Six Flags, ride the coasters all day and do mazes at night, no extra charge.

    Numbers themselves don't matter to me. One awesome maze beats fifty lame ones. But? But?

    The Asylum, one of the mazes, had an 80(!) minute wait time. So we went to the House of Horrors maze and decided to go back to the Asylum.. Guess what? The House of Horrors maze is the Van Helsing walk-through with guys in Freddy Kruger and Jason masks jumping out at you.

    And then...

    BAM! KABOOM! That was it. We didn't realize how late it was, the clock struck midnight, and we was TOAST. My GF, who is kind of broke and saved for the tickets, looked like someone hit her with a baseball bat when I told her it was midnight. Near tears for a moment. We felt like suckers.

    And we never did see the big bad guy, the Director. Guess he's supposed to be elusive and mysterious, and I'm not worthy. Maybe next year. Or, maybe, never ever.

    Okay, so it's the morning after. Clear heads. what's the grade?

    F. A hard, solid, unangry, deserved F.

    Here's what happened, in my imagination: one Universal executive told another executive last July that their kids went to Knotts last year and it was xtreme. Tweenagers, a prime demo, were spending money everywhere. That executive described what his kids had told him... fog machines, people in masks wandering around, mazes, that stuff. And then he says to the other executive: let's do something like that, it's a cash cow, but don't spend any money. We can dress up our regular stuff. And we can sell a sponsorship to some jackass gen-x extreme product, like Full Throttle energy drink. And if you sit down we can have the people in masks who are wandering around tell you that you'd have more energy if you drank Full Throttle energy drink (for reals, I'm not kidding).

    But, the other executive thought, WE'VE ALREADY TRIED THIS A BUNCH OF TIMES. The other executive remembered all the times Universal Studios Hollywood attempted a half-assed version of Knotts Halloween Haunt. He remembered Universal's on-again off-again relationship with Halloween events... the Halloween events appear for a couple of years, then disappear for a couple of years (because they sucked). Totally Haley's Comet, if Haley's Comet sucked. But I like my job, the other executive thought. I'll say nothing and do it with effort set to minimum on a tight budget and live to exec another day.

    The end. Did it happen that way? The all-seeing-eye knows.

    Enough venom. Here are my recommendations, in ranking order:

    Knotts Halloween Haunt should be your first choice. It's just fantastic, and you just know they've got evil elves already working on Halloween Haunt 2007 and 2008. They're the best game in town for a reason: care, love, and quality for their product. It's obvious. I can't wait to go.

    Six Flags is next, the little park that could. The Halloween stuff is low rent. GOOD low rent. FUN low rent. Ride a few coasters during the day, do some mazes at night! Figure out whatever promotion they're running, such as bring in a can of Coke or run into Ralph's, and get in for Confederate Scrip. Going tonight.

    Third? Anything else. Finding weird, unknown Halloween events is a kick.

    Dead last. Uni. A park I love. IF you are going to Universal Halloween Horror Nights, follow my advice. Get to Universal VERY early so you can be first in line to get through the TSA style security theater. Ignore the rides in the lower lot, or save them for dead last. Skip Terminator 2: 3D and Back to the Future (if it's open, it wasn't last night). Those things are great, but you want Halloween stuff, right?

    The two mazes are the Asylum and the House of Horrors. We didn't do the Asylum despite wanting to. Later in the evening the line was titanic, so I recommend STARTING with that. Do everything you want to do after that, but when you get to the LAST HOUR, get over to the Tram. The reason? Everyone did what we did and went to the tram first. I was watching the wait time displays, and the tram tour wait went from over 60 minutes in the early hours down to less then 20 minutes later in the night. And if the clock strikes twelve (later on Saturday) they can't kick you out if you're in line.

    Two shows are modified versions of the regular shows, the Water World stunt show becomes Slaughter World and Fear Factor Live becomes Fear Factor Dead. Didn't see 'em, ran out of time. The other two shows are the "Mutaytor," which you'll walk by on your way to something else and perhaps be impressed for a minute or two by the fire, and the Carnival of Carnage, which appears to be a Geek/Freak/Carnie style show. Oh, and Chucky will insult you, that counts as a show too. Didn't see 'em, no time.

    Simply, If I had it to do over again, I'd do it like this. Get to Universal at least an hour early, do Asylum, do everything else besides the usual park rides until the last hour, then do the tram.

  2. #2

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    Re: Halloween Horror Nights: very very ungood.

    I dont know if it will be like this the entire run but Terror Tram did not open untill 8pm... this wasnt an oh technical difficulties thing either it was printed in the guide! it also closed before everything else at 11:30... wow only 3 1/2 hours of operation on the supposed to be highlight of the event, no wonder I saw an 80min wait time. We got in line at 7:45 and were on a tram by about 8:20.. The line after that was funny

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    Re: Halloween Horror Nights: very very ungood.

    You should've gotten there earlier and planned your time better. I was done with everything by 10. And the tram tour wasn't supposed to be a regular tram tour.. duh. I only waited 20 min in that line anyways.

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    Re: Halloween Horror Nights: very very ungood.

    It took an hour to get through the gate once the park opened and things started moving. One of the main points of my post is to tell people to get there early if they are going. A warning to poor souls like me, not to advanced park-goers such as yourself.

    About the tram tour. I know it's a different thing, me, the guy who's been there since the seventies, but my GF and her daughter who have never been before thought it was, wait for it, a tour of the Universal backlot. There's nothing to lead them to think otherwise. At the end they were asking: where's the tour? Another point of my post is to tell other people, not experienced theme park goers like yourself, that it isn't the studio tour, nothing like the studio tour, not the studio tour.

    As for planning our time better. You mean like multitasking? Or getting front-of-line passes? I'm not sure how proper time management would expedite an 80 minute wait for a maze. We're talking about six hours total here.

    And you say you were done with everything by 10. It doesn't add up in my head, just watching the shows alone would get you to 10. But okay, I'll take you at your word. Let me ask you...

    Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

    To use your words... duh.

  5. #5

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    Re: Halloween Horror Nights: very very ungood.

    Quote Originally Posted by ycngha View Post
    To use your words... duh.
    Well said.

    I, an advanced park goer, appreciate your trip report. I'll be going on Oct. 21, despite the ever-growing bad reviews. But at least I now know what I'll be getting into. Thanks for the tips!
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  6. #6

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    Re: Halloween Horror Nights: very very ungood.

    Hubby and I went last night. We got there at 6:45 and were in the park by 7, security check didnt take that long. It rained a bit the first hour and like pp, most things didnt start until 8, so we just walked around and checked out the atmosphere.

    We did the House of Horrors, and being that we havent been to Universal in the day time for about 2 years, we werent sure to expect. We waited in line about 1/2 hour and I didnt like it much, but hubby did. After that we deceided to go over to the Tram tour and do that. We waited in line about 45min, but the line continuously moved, once on the tram we were shocked by the vulgarity of our tram guide, but being that we are older and have kids we are in the habit of tryin to be aware of vulgarity around our kids (we went by ourselves last night..kids at grannys), but we blew it off. The only reason we really went to Universal for this is the fact that we were able to get off the tram and get close to the Psycho house.

    We didnt do the Asylum, due to the fact that the wait was 80 minutes and I dont have the patience for that, so we went and saw the Fear Factor show and it was ok, the typical sexual inuendo and such, but it was what I had expected...crap.

    We went down by the Mummy ride and were dissapointed that they didnt have more going on there, so we went back upstairs.

    WE killed the rest of the time just walking around and observing people and things.

    My opinion..it was ok, hubby and I had gone to Knotts about 2 weeks ago, and had a great time. We enjoy the VIP dinner and all the mazes, and with all the rides going on we can get to all the mazes, than go back to our favourites and do those again and again. Knotts always puts on a great show and I dont think that anyone will be able to pull off the greatness that they do each year.

    Univeral tried and from the crowds last night I would say had a good opening. I was also dissapointed by the fact that we didnt see anything of the "director", I thought for sure they would have had something for him to do during the night, except for the occasional voice over the park saying "the director requests your presence at...etc"

    If they do it again next year we might try it again, but for us, Knott's will always be our first stop!!
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    Re: Halloween Horror Nights: very very ungood.

    I went early because you never show up late to events like this. It starts at 7 so be there by 7. And the the tram tour.. if you wanted to see the whole backlot then go during the day.. they already said multiple times it wouldn't be the whole tour. I don't know why people are so mad about the lines duh it would be crowded. Make the most of it and go early.

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    Re: Halloween Horror Nights: very very ungood.

    I like the tram it was really cool to walk around the bates motel but there was lots of dead spot in between scenes. And in the advertisments dont they say not recommended for children?? so the language was fine and i found the tram to be funnier. Some of the monsters said some "bad words" and it was hallarious! but the park just lacked things to do and is was dissapointing. there was just TOO MUCH empty areas like the coke zone area. Did anyone see the chucky thing?

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    Re: Halloween Horror Nights: very very ungood.

    Who in their right mind would bring a child to this? Are you a sick person?

  10. #10

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    Re: Halloween Horror Nights: very very ungood.

    Given my work schedule and the work schedules of the people I went with (not to mention traffic) there was no way we were going to be able to be there right at 7 on Friday night. We knew this going in and fully accepted it. We also realized that it was going to be crowded and had no problem with that either. What we did have a problem with was the mediocrity of the whole evening. Next time we're going to skip it and go to Knott's.
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  11. #11

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    Re: Halloween Horror Nights: very very ungood.

    i was there on saturday (the 14th) and i have to admit, i was rather disappointed as well. i was surprised that they only had 2 mazes. we got to the gate around 6:30 pm, and managed to enter the park at 7:02 pm. we quickly went for the mummy ride and jurassic park b/c we knew they would get crowded later in the night (which they did). both rides were almost walk ons, and then we head for the terror tram.

    i thought it could have been much better. instead you walk between barracades and you could easily see what's around you and if any monster is headed towards you ahead of time. it felt like a marathon w/ the monsters. the story of the "director" was cool though. i enjoyed the asylum, and house of horrors, but i wish there were more.

    we also managed to do T2 3D which was the same... and we caught Slaughter World which was lame i think. just some dirty language that makes jocks go "wwooooo!! yeahhh!!" whatever... i didn't care for it.

    it was fun, but not great, i'd rather spend my money on Knott's.

  12. #12

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    Re: Halloween Horror Nights: very very ungood.

    Im willing to bet that most of the reason it was so busy was just because it was Friday the 13th.
    "I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it. "Groucho Marx

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    Re: Halloween Horror Nights: very very ungood.

    Congratulations: you were born yesterday. And you have now grown up wiser.
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    Re: Halloween Horror Nights: very very ungood.

    We still haven't done Universal so thanks for the heads up. I have to recommend Queen Mary Shipwreck. This one is spectacualr! It isn't even so much of hte monsters jumping out, but a bunch of the mazes go below decks. These are FREAKY (not Frecky)! Super dark and quiet with the occasional drips and such and the haunted history. This one is kind of $$, but if you go the opening week, its half priced.
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    Re: Halloween Horror Nights: very very ungood.

    Quote Originally Posted by justjohn View Post
    We still haven't done Universal so thanks for the heads up. I have to recommend Queen Mary Shipwreck. This one is spectacualr! It isn't even so much of hte monsters jumping out, but a bunch of the mazes go below decks. These are FREAKY (not Frecky)! Super dark and quiet with the occasional drips and such and the haunted history. This one is kind of $$, but if you go the opening week, its half priced.
    We went Sat night and had lots of fun. Definately worth your $30
    "I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it. "Groucho Marx

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