10/20/06 USH HHN Trip Report
*POSSIBLE SPOILERS* But read to compare opening weekend to 2nd weekend.
Got to the parking around 6PM. Secruity at 6:15PM-ish had no waiting. Short lines at the main gates. Surprised to see the park closes at 2AM since I thought they closed midnight, they must have learned something from last week ;). They let people inside the park at 6:30 or 45PM. DO NOT PUT YOUR TICKET IN THE SCANNER, GIVE IT TO THE EMPLOYEE! The guy forgot to flip the plastic case so people don't put tickets through. Although it still works and the manual scanner denied my ticket at first, for some reason they don't have people scan the ticket themselves... At the entrance plaza, had the live statue on the fountain. A couple of go-go female teaser dancers on the sides with zombie masks, but they still showed off their body :p. Nothing is open until 7PM. The walkway beside Shrek4D is closed for Asylum queue. Some employees had cloaks and others in non-themed Universal employee shirts. LOTS of employees everywhere.
*TERROR TRAM* I spent 20 minutes in "maze and 10 minutes on tram there and back
Went to the Terror Tram first, I got on the 3rd tram and like I suspected, the tram made a U turn to go "back" to the Grinch sets instead of going through back and frontlot, which is a good thing. Oh, there was some perverted character walking around the load station with bloody underpants. The tour guides acted pretty much the same as always, but with a different script of course. Showed a video about The Director. I wished they didn't tell us we were getting dropped off and allowed to wonder the sets. I kinda wanted a story. Like at the drop-off they act like the tram is having problems so they tell us to get out until they can fix it. But I went on the Tram early, so I don't know how later in the night it plays out.
First was Clowns (Grinch), college massacre (Bates Motel), Psycho House with Norman and a gored girl in a chair with a butcher for some reason, and zombies (War of the Worlds). I really wished the metal fences weren't there. They needed more sets and props and themed fencing/blockade. They should have sets up on the opposite side of Grinch set to balance things out and let scarers wonder in that. Set the Grinch cars to blockade people from getting into the real Grinch set. The clown theme is fine, they just need more. And pillars/towers for scarers to hide behind.
Bates Motel was pretty cool. When I saw the screaming college kids I thought "THAT'S WHAT I WANT TO DO NEXT YEAR!!" Again, the metal fencing is bad. Not sure how they could theme the blockade and towers/pillars. Perhaps here and the path to Psycho house have plants/bushes.
Why did they have a gored girl in a chair with a butcher next to the House?? I didn't get that. Norman was cool.
War of the Worlds fencing/blockade could have definately be themed to airplane wreckage and other destroyed objects with places for scarers to hide. The attacked victims and zombie eaters were just there. Their movements were slow and limited. Looked a bit dull. The squirting blood was cool.
So going back, the tram stops before going in the mummy tomb... FOREVER. It got very boring. I wish they had scarers here since it was VERY dark. I can see why they don't have scarers at load stations, because people waiting in line will see and will expect it. Anyways, after listening to the tour guide freak out for 5 minutes, we finally moved on and saw a chained girl in the forest and a guy chopping up bodies. This must be a very boring area to work at. The Director replaces the mummy as our tormentor. More video playback. Some event was taking place at Gibson. Got out at 7:30PM and there was no wait for Terror Tram, complete walk on.
*FEAR FACTOR LIVE: DEAD CELEBRITY EDITION* 30 minute show
The 8PM line didn't even fill up one queue line before 7:50PM when they let people inside the theater. Very lacking in crowds. One employee talked to a mother with 2 small children about the adult content of the show. She was perfectly fine with it. That's another thing, I was surprised there were so small children at this event. Anyway, the theater SLOWLY got guests inside. I was wondering if even half the theater was going to be filled. The theater needs a larger and lit sign for the show. But that's not the main problem. THe show really was a bit of a bore. The clown hosts were okay, but the script was bad. I don't really want to be reminded of Fear Factor with a Halloween layover. I wanted a real "The Hanging" and "Bill & Ted" type of show. I don't know if this was a lousy effort or they tried to make a new identiy for the park, but they could definately improve it. The 1st stunt had SO many characters running around, it was confusing. They need to do a REAL pop-culture parody show, BUT they can still use the Fear Factor stuff (spinning floor, hang em high, and "shocking" finale) and they can keep the clown hosts.
*SLAUGHTER WORLD* 20 minute show
8:45PM show had a good crowd. It really is Waterworld with some sexual and adult references. Plus some head gore theme close to the guests. 2 highlights for me, Helen's top rips off revealing a red bra and she ends up doing a tease. Then Deacon does something unexpected at the end.
Walked around, people watched, and had free samples at Full Throttle near Coke Soak.
*CHUCKY'S INSULT EMPORIUM* 15 minute show
9:30PM. Never the same show twice. The puppet stage is set up over on a balcony so lots of people can see. I wish they had more themeing up there and a different puppet. The current puppet looks cheap. This was still a pretty good interactive element to have.
*THE MUTAYTOR* 30 minute, I think each show it different
They had go-go dancers around and they leave 15 minutes before show time. A person in a fiber optic light suit replaced them. Visually and musically neat. The 5 or so fire blasts are pretty cool. They start them off to get people's attention. Consists of different acts. 1 was strange.
Missed the 10:55PM of Carnage show. People watched, browsed shops, 11:15PM Chucky Insults.
*CARNIVAL OF CARNAGE* 30-35 minute show I think
12:05AM showing. Series of acts that involves the human body, bed of nails, fire, broken glass, etc. The hosts reminded me of a mix of Penn & Teller and the two guys they liked on "America's Got Talent".
*HOUSE OF HORRORS* 15 minute posted wait time, was really 5 minutes
Saw I think Pennywise, Dracula's bride??, Leatherface??, Michael, Dracula, Wolfman. I have to agree with another reader, they could have added more themeing. I wanted to see more horror icons. I heard Freddy was around, didn't see him.
*THE ASYLUM* 60 minute wait, precisely. If you're going to try to use a Prioity Pass Acess ticket paper, make sure it has a red stamp on it- I guess its specifically for HHN/mazes.
Spent 55% of the queue in Nickeoldean and 45% in Shrek 4D queue. HEY, THEY SHREK 4D QUEUE IS BEING USED!! HAHA. The Asylum is in the Shrek 4D queue tent. I think in that tent there's metal poles and chains, so it was easy to take them out and put a maze in. A facade was put up before you go inside. Very well themed. Exit through Shrek pre-show. Funniest thing, a group of people peaked through the curtains to the pre-show, BUT they didn't turn around to see the scarer. This made a perfect opportunity for him to scare, which worked well :p. Exit through the I guess chicken exit.
Overall, really cool night. I did all the Halloween stuff. I didn't waste my time on Jurassic Park in the dark (which Chucky insulted :)) and The Mummy. Longest wait times I saw were average 45, max 60, and only 100 for Mummy probably because it's the newest attraction. Anybody know if they had mummies in the queue for mummy ride? Cause one daytime trip I had, they had one and I thought it'd be neat to have it during the HHN.
I didn't get to my car until 2:40AM. Bought a T-shirt :D. I videotaped all the shows, so I MIGHT put it on youtube, don't know when I'll have the time.
Re: 10/20/06 USH HHN Trip Report
thanks for the report. its good to know they increased the length of time they are open, 5 hours on the 14th was definantly not enough.
another person has told me how bad they feel for Heckles and Twitch (the fear factor show hosts) becuase they have to shill Full Throttle a certain number of times each show. those clowns are usually quite terrifying, and from what i've heard they're very stunted in their current spot.
glad it wasn't too horrible of a trip for you
Re: 10/20/06 USH HHN Trip Report
I was there that same night... and at about the same times as you were, filmfreak11!
After hearing all the negative posts about huge crowds, we (my boyfriend and I) arrived early, about 6:20, and also found absolutely no lines through security, and no lines at the left turnstiles... so I got in immediately! (They also asked for my ID with my prepaid print n go ticket... didn't know they were going to do that.)
We were mainly interested in the mazes, and based on previous posts, I decided to head over the The Asylum immediately. It was a total walk on. In fact, I think many people didn't realize it was open! (It was still before 7pm.) I was generally impressed with the maze. I especially liked all the gore, and there were a few good scares. The actors seemed very into their characters. When we got out, the line was still nonexistent, so we decided to do it one more time! Still pretty good the second time around.
Then we decided to head over to House of Horrors. About a 5-10 minutes wait, when 15 was posted. As everyone else has said, the maze is the same as usual, just added people wandering around. While it wasn't bad, I feel they could have added a lot more to this for the occasion, especially "electronic" effects, to be used in narrow and/or high up places that people can't go. If you've ever done the haunted house in Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, you'll know what I mean. There is not single live person inside, but all kinds of gizmos jump out, light up, and shriek as you walk past them. Many of them quite effective. They could have used some of that here.
Following that, we hit the tram tour--a total walk on at 7:30. It was fine. I didn't hate the fences as much as I thought I would, but at the same time, they do seem to need to add more "hiding" places for the monsters. We initially ripped through this pretty fast, and then decided we could have gone through the walk-through section a lot more slowly. When we got out of line, we noticed it was still a walk on... so we decided to go on again, and take our time. That was better, and more fun. Yeah, we also got held up for a long time before the Mummy tunnel--we were probably on the same tram! ;)
We didn't plan on riding Mummy or Jurassic, but the lines were so short, we changed out minds (it's maybe 8:00 by now). Went down there, and found ourselves a bit caught up in the great vintage trailers/movie clips they are showing on the movie screen above the Sound Stage tour (which is closed off, but you can still see the screen from a distance). We probably watched just that for about 15 minutes solid! Also a few sliders down there to entertain people. Finally got on Mummy... and all the blacklights were on in the supposed "dark" portion of the ride, revealing all the track layout! While that was pretty cool for us, each of whom has been on Mummy many times, it also seemed pretty odd. Jurassic was fine, no big surprises there.
Went back up, and walked through the Scare Zones. I liked them all, especially the European/Medieval section, and England. They were all really in great character, and I was especially pleased to find a Sweeny Todd character homage!
We didn't really have any real interest in any of the shows. We happened to be in the area for the 9:30 Chucky show (again, I must have been right by you, filmfreak11!), but felt it didn't really sustain itself, so we left halfway through--as much of the crowd did. Still, it's not a bad idea for a show... but the nature of the improvisation would result in a lot of uneven moments.
That about wrapped it up for us. We were done by 10:00, and were quite content to go home, pleasantly surprised by the night, especially after reading all the negative reviews. But having low expectations helped make anything good really stand out. ;) Oh, having no lines to deal with helped considerably.
By the time we left, we did note the line for nearly all the mazes had increased to 45 min. So it pays to go early. Universal opened the park and mazes early the night we were there, and were done with all mazes by 8:00.
While it wasn't a bad Haunt, I do think there's much more room for it to grow and develop. At least one more walk through maze wouldn't hurt!
Re: 10/20/06 USH HHN Trip Report
do either of you know if the night was sold out like the previous weekend? becuase, as i said in my review i think(?), the line for House of Horrors maze was already over an hour long by 715pm and up to 90mins during various parts of the night, as was the asylum.
also when we returned from our terror tram trip, around 8pm, the line for that had completely filled the queue and was extending beyond it
amazing what a difference a week can make eh? ts why we go to go Haunt at least 3 times during our vacation, becuase things do change from night to night
Re: 10/20/06 USH HHN Trip Report
UPDATE: This one I think girl zombie followed me on the left and breathed heavily to scare me since I went to the park alone. I turned around saw her and said "Hi". She said "ER, you're no fun" in a demonic voice. I said "Oh" and she left". Haha.
Between 11:30PM-1AM, I noticed the fire engine and ambulence were parked on the west roadside of the Animal Actors Stage. Have no idea what happened. And quite a few secruity personal were racing towards someplace.
I only saw one slider on the Upper Lot. Bunch of chainsaw guys and them sparking the floor.
elly, I have no clue if it was sold out. But a passing employee mentioned there may have been a few tickets still available that night... no idea if it was true.
JesterMn, I had my camera bag on me the whole night, sometimes had my camcorder out and walking. Had a grey Disneyland sweater with a hoodie. Had the Fab Five on the lettering. Oh, and jeans :). Maybe you saw me but didn't know who I was :p. I took my time in Terror Tram, which was about 20 minutes wondering around.
I think they could have had a maze in Coke Soak, probably queue in Annual Processing Center, er, to the east end of the waterplay area. Then exit near T2:3D shop, haha. Oh yeah, I think they got rid of some shelter near CyberGrill.
Another maze I think could have been in the Globe Theater, queue in T2:3D's extended queue and the walkway between these locations. I don't think T2:3D had a real line that evening anyways.
I remember USH had a Jurassic Park exhibit in the soundstage behind Backdraft. Maybe they could of had a maze there if there wasn't anything in production.
I always knew the front of Back to the Future was a good spot for a temporary show. Maybe have Mutaytor in the Lower Lot infront of the Big Screen/ SFX stages. Then Beetlejuice Graveyard come back infront of BTTF.
House of Horrors queue in Blues Brothers & restaurant was good idea. Blues Brothers would have been too small of an area for a good show.
The metal railings should only be used for queueing. Not like in Terror Tram.
And I kinda wish the mazes were themed to Universal Productions. Well, at least for Coke Soak area, themed as a "Fear Factor" but with a complete bugs, snakes, rats, etc themed maze.
Re: 10/20/06 USH HHN Trip Report
I too attended the same night and me and friends were amazed at how dead the place was for the first 2 hours of the night. By 9pm the place was really packed.
We were able to do everything by midnight. That included all the mazes, shows, and rides. We even rode the Mummy twice (no lines at all).
Universal needs to go back to the drawing and bring back some of the things which made this event so great in the past.
Bring back the tram tour the way it was the first year, just make sure no actors are too close to the tram. Put mazes back in the lower lot. And please turn Waterworld into the maze back the way it was the last time there was a Horror Night (there were some really freaky images). Put a maze back into the parking structure under T2.
And for goodness sake bring back Bill and Ted.
Re: 10/20/06 USH HHN Trip Report
How did you enter the maze that's in the parking structure under T2?