Comments for Halloween Horror Nights 2012 house-by-house review and tips as Universal Orlando originality wins over featured franchises

43 Comments

  1. Derrick

    I’m going to HHN this weekend- regarding Silent Hill, I just watched the movie (again) but I’ve never played the games. The house video looked similar to the movie, any particular reason I should play the game instead?

    1. Annie

      Though I enjoy the movie the games are a billion times better than what they did with it. If you’re looking for ‘Dead Space’ jump out and go ‘boo’ scares then stay away. The Silent Hill series is all about the psychology and feeling isolated, alone and close to death in it’s many forms in Silent Hill. Every monster represents something in the psyche of the victim(s) currently within the town and they are beautifully designed and you never forget them. The house is pretty much completely based on the movie, which I understand why they did but the games have so much more to offer the player.

    2. David

      This is my 22nd year doing HHN and I feel this was the WEAKEST year yet. There where to be no scare zone but whole park as fare game (this was a FAIL) I felt that there where 3 main scare zone (the covered tree area, out side of the walking dead, and the New York area.) The lack of street props was a large let down for me also. I could do better in my drive way with a budget of $400.

      My 13 year daughter (2nd year) and her 13 year old friend joined me this year and lets just say they found it funny not scary. This was for both the scare zones and the houses.

      The house in the sound stages looked great but felt empty as the scare where far in few between. The smaller house where better this year but also felt empty of scares.

      I think the budget must have been low this year or they need new “blood” This is a event that I look forward to every year good or bad but it has felt that they have had more bad years as of late.

      Something they should have thought of is with all the construction going on maybe they should have moved the event to IOA. In years past when the event was in IOA it was always a blast when more areas to setup scare zones but it is harder to set up houses as most space is used but with the use of “movable” sheds that they have been using they should look at moving it next year as construction will take a few more years to complete.

      Over all if this is your 1st year it is a good year to break you in but if you are a hard core fan like me it is a let down.

      1. Erik

        We just did Howl O Scream last night with a group that did HHN the night before. They easily said it was better this year than HHN. Memorable highlights for me was the Circus of Superstition (got my wife really good and she’s pretty tough), Ultimate Gamble: condemned (think From Dusk till Dawn cantina but condemned) and Nevermore. If you have a little extra money do Alone. It costs $50 for one person but with 4 it ends up being $20 pp. It is the #5 haunted house in the world. They know your name, purposefully split you all up if you are in a group. We didn’t do it, but I was advised by staff that it sells out every night.

      2. Brandon

        Could not agree with David more. This was my first year. Worst garbage I have ever wasted my money on. Drove seven hours and paid 96 dollars on the ticket alone not to mention gas hotel tolls parking and more to go through mediocre short “haunted houses”. It’s universal freaking studios… Please… They could do Sooo much better. Went through 3 haunted houses in 7 hours. About 3 minutes long each. Save your money I have never been so disappointed in my life.

  2. Eric

    Good review. Although not all my opinions mirrored your own.
    THE WALKING DEAD maze was the clunker of the night for me.

    Just Like the show it was generic, surprise-less and derivative of every zombie property you’ve ever seen! What made it an even worse/boring experience was that the actors didn’t seem committed to the whole affair. Effort from the players brings a lot to even the most sub-standard of spook houses. I actually felt sorry that I wasted my time giving the house a chance at all when I could’ve just gone down the street and experienced the superior DEAD END house again.
    Oh well…
    C’est la vie

    1. Mo

      Understand that for everyone at Horror Nights, they are given very few days to perfect their timing and “scares” before they premiere on the day that you most likely went. And some of them, are either veterans to scaring, or brand new and probably at first nervous and anxious. Come back and see them closer towards the end, when everything is perfected before judging the scareactors so harshly. I’m all for constructive criticism, but they’ve got the bruises to prove they are more then committed.

      1. Ricky Brigante

        That’s absolutely correct and I do plan on attending the event many more times throughout the weeks ahead. I will be updating this review along the way too, noting where things have improved.

      2. Eric

        Sorry, but I’m not driving four hours to see if that house was improved upon. Not everybody has a disposable income.
        If the actors become more lively then that’s great (I’m sure they’ll eventually get into the groove of things) but there is no saving the environment itself.

  3. Cherryumi

    I’m sorry to hear that the park-wide scare zones and the licensed houses didn’t fare too well opening night, but like you said there’s room for improvement.

    I’m also surprised to read that the original houses, Bill & Ted’s show and the souvenirs were excellent. I really had a feeling Bill & Ted’s was going to get axed in the coming years. I really wish there were videos to compare this year’s show from one of the past shows now so I can see the difference.

  4. Snarky

    I love HHN, but this year is horrible. Every actor I saw in the houses just stared at us! I was looking so forward to The Walking Dead and was so disappointed. Zombies should be attacking not just looking at you. Another thing that frustrated me is 95% of the actors are wearing masks and none of them are scary! Gothic had great costumes and were awesome to look at but once again not scary. The sets on the other hand are amazing! Gothic and Dead End are beautifully deatailed. For Bill and Ted, if was okay. Not the best they have done but not the worst.

    Overall I feel like the creative team is running out of ideas and the casting is hiring mostly newbie actors that dont know how to scare or act yet. I know it takes a few weeks to work out the kinks and to get the scares working, I really hope they can step up the intensity and energy or this may be the worst year yet. 🙁

    1. Brandon

      We have a haunted hay ride in Beauregard Alabama that was scarier than this non sense.

  5. I agree that the street experience is very poor compared to previous years, mainly due to the lighting. It’s so dark, you can barely see anything in the scare zones, and with so much fog, visibility is almost nil. Despite that, I did get some pictures this year in two visits so far:

    http://mschiff.zenfolio.com/hhn22

  6. NoImpressed

    I’ve been to many HHN’s over the years but they have become less and less entertaining. It’s more about moving people as quickly as possible thru the houses and less about scaring qaulity.

    If any of you really want to visit the best haunted house, you really need to visit New Orleans to do so. The best haunted house is “The Mortuary” on canal street. http://www.themortuary.net

  7. Chad W

    Agree that these is something really lacking. Was there on Sept 29th. Most of the streets were too dark and although a windless night not much fog. I will say that the express pass system is working very well (at least that night). Express pass waits where never more than 10 minutes, as opposed to 75+ minutes for the regular lines. The adult beverage system didn’t seem to be working very well and some vendors seemed to be in strange places. I was disappointed that many of the normal attractions were closed. Not that I wanted to see Twister or Shrek again, but one of my guests had not been there before.

  8. erika

    I am at universal orlando at this moment I spend a lot of money and withthe express pass. I am very disappointed.. I can’t believe how much it has changed. Is not dark enough and they didn’t have enough scary people like in the past …oh if u pay 100$ for the express lane extra on top of ur ticket price u only Get to go to stages one time . Also if u are a resident u have to purchase it 24hrs in advance in order to Get the fl discount …. The only good thing is that the make Up and customer are good .

  9. Kristi

    I’m just going to say it….it sucked. I’ve been every year since it started.
    It just sucked. Also we went on a Wednesday and only had enough
    Time to see four houses and one show. No we didn’t stop to eat. The lines
    We’re ridiculous. No scare zones; incredible. I want a refund!!!! ABSOLUTELY
    Horrible!!

  10. DW

    Tonight I took my 12 yr. old son to HHN. He was so excited and really wanted me to get tickets while we were in Orlando on Fall break. I thought Thursday would be better than a weekend night. When we arrived, traffic was heavy and not well directed. Once we got parked we had the LONG walk into the park. Once there we encountered metal detectors at a security check point. No problem with that – I’d prefer no weapons be brought in. What I had the problem with was the LACK of detectors. We waited in a SEA of people for almost an hour to get through the metal detectors! I honestly thought I was going to have a panic attack. I got very claustrophobic and hot waiting in the crowd and wasn’t sure what I was going to do if I passed out. This was VERY out of control. As much as they were charging they could easily bring in MORE detectors.

    Once in the park, we encountered 90-120 min. waits (!) for almost every “attraction”. And there were very few attractions open. My son waited in the 90 min. line for the RipRock Coaster (or something like that) because that’s one of the main things he wanted to ride. They REALLY want you to buy that “Express” pass so that they can get even MORE money from you. I find that VERY offensive. You shouldn’t have to pay twice for the attractions. They have two different prices (I checked because I knew that was the only way he would get to do some things) and BOTH were more than I paid for the tickets.

    It was very obvious the oversold the tickets. They should have a limit on how many they sell but I geuss the almighty buck rules and not the comfort/enjoyment of the “guests”. It was so crowded it was difficult to walk around. The employees seemed to have more fun scaring people than the guests were having. It’s truly shameful that they would promote and charge so much for an event when the guests can’t even enjoy the offerings.

    1. Derek

      I don’t personally agree with the park selling express tickets but they tried the free model and it didn’t work – they’ve had better success with the pay express tickets – which is strange to think but I guess people feel like they’re getting a better value if they pay for the express tickets.
      There are not many attractions open during Halloween Horror Nights – they want you to go to that instead. Also, several attractions are being changed or built at Universal right now.

  11. Drake

    I really enjoyed it, even though the lines were unbelievably long. Rip Ride Rocket’s music wasn’t functional the day I went. (October 18)

    I loved the prisoners!! They were my favorite.

    I smell Slenderman being incorporated in next years theme.

  12. Just was there this evening with my family. We are Florida residence and although we have always visited the parks. We have never tried a HHN. I thought I’d surprise the kids this year. I’m sorry to say it was a HUGE Disappointment! I think they over sold tickets because every haunted house was an 1 1/2 hr. wait or more. We arrived at 8:00 pm in the park and it took us nearly 2 hours to wait in line for the House of Horrors. After waiting that long we were basically grumbling that this better be good. But, the wait did it in (the walk through seemed to take about 5 min. not worth it for me to wait in line that long for. We were going to go to the walking dead, but the wait time was 2 1/2 hrs. long. Not worth the waiting. It was a waste of money, we ended up leaving the park as there was nothing that was less than an hour wait (including the rides they did have open). Seemed like in areas the event was poorly supervised or organized. They were selling beer in the line. Every time a person bought a beer the whole line was backed up (finally after some staff member came through she told the line to go around the people that were buying the beer. I know they have put an event on like this in the past so you would think it would be better organized and down pat. I’m unsure I’d ever go to that event again. The only way I’d go is if the park was not over crowed so at least we could visit all the haunted houses not just one or two.

    1. Derek

      I don’t know that they even have a concept of “overselling” tickets for HHN – I have come very early and had a much reduced wait but otherwise it’s very long waits for everything. Organization is always a problem for Universal but the waits are always bad – also, they get worse as the night goes on as some people come later at night. The houses not being as good though does make it seem a bit like a waste versus the wait, unfortunately.

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