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Halloween Horror Nights 32 (UOR) - Reviews, Photos, & Videos

Quick weekend trip has come and gone. This was the first time I bit the bullet on express, and my entire group agreed that we will never do standby again. It’s a total game changer. Perhaps the biggest fault is that the express lines move so quick that we had to chug our drinks.

House Ranks
1. Yeti (A-)
2. UCM: Unmasked (A-)
3. Dr. Oddfellow (B)
4. Darkest Deal (B)
5. The Last of Us (B-)
6. Dueling Dragons (C+)
7. Exorcist (C)
8. Stranger Things (C-)
9. Chucky (F+)

(Did not do Blood Moon — feet hurt too much at the end of the night)

Brief Notes
• ST4 was a huge flop. The MOP scene was such a letdown, and there were some laughably bad set pieces, like the forest drape that looked like it was purchased at PartyCity. Actors did what they could, and I appreciate that.
• TLoU delivered on the sets, but felt like it was a bit short. Would’ve appreciated some scenes that were really quiet to drive home the “anticipation” kinda fear/anxiety the game gives in certain scenes.
• Yeti was so much fun. Tried to get the Bear to dance, but no dice.
• My whole group loved the idea of the split in DD (we went half and half in each direction). Neat trick, wish it went a little longer.
• Halloween Nightmare Fuel rocks, again. Phenomenal music. Had a different Nightmare Queen for my show, so the acrobatic scene was slightly different than what I had watched on YouTube, but still the best part of the event in my opinion.
• David S. Pumpkins is the man. If you’re not appreciating his commitment to the bit, you’re not fun.
• The pre-mixed drinks stink. I got one this year and the rest were all superior beer/cocktails. Lacto-kooler was way better than I expected. Somehow wound up getting the skull mug instead of the normal blinky cup, which was a little disappointing, but oh well.
• Not a fan of the merch this year. Didn’t end up getting anything from the tribute store besides some of the desserts that they sold. Wish they sold more shirts with the art on the back and just an HHN brand-hit on the front.
• Vamp was the only SZ I thought was worth its weight. The rest were pretty forgettable themes.
• Oh yeah, Chucky stunk. Except for the one actor who was able to ad lib in the transition portion of the house. Shoutout that guy!


Bonus Drink Rankings!!
1. Mai Tai (Strongwater) A+
2. Duff Lite (Duff Brewery) A
3. Guinness (Finn’s) A
4. Captain & Coke (Animal Actors) B
5. Carole’s Punch (Strongwater) B-
6. Miller Lite (HNF stand) B-
7. The Green Mixed Drink (Peacock Bar) F+
 
Those that have not tried the sour apple funnel fries, GET THEM. I never saw a line because it really isnt a good sign. Same food truck as the carnival hot dog. The sign only has a pic of the hotdog so I think people dont see the funnel fries. Big serving for the price. Hubs and I shared and we both loved them. The icecream tasted like a jolly rancher.
The walking taco must come back. So good and a huge serving size, we shared again and both had plenty to eat. Only suggestion is maybe the scoopable chips were a bit large for ladylike bites.
I noticed a lot of people getting the popsicles from the minion area. Good choice to leave that open.
 
Some additional thoughts that have occurred to me since posting my initial review --

  • Security for the event already seemed to be a borderline cluster by around 3pm, which motivated my decision to walk to the parks from Cabana and then take the shuttles back. Those enormous switchbacks on the turned-off moving walkways are a major bummer when there's no need for them.
  • After two years of really resenting the park loop, I loved the music and soundscape choices this year. Memorable tunes that evoke a creepy carnival without becoming sonically stereotypical.
  • The Chucky Twisted Playground or whatever it's called at Cabana is the best one of these photo ops they've done yet. I'd argue the scenic is more inspired, pleasing, and true to the source material than much of what we got in the house. Really cool and glad we made time for it.
  • I forgot to mention I really liked the Chucky Chicken, for anyone on the fence about trying it. Good portion size.
  • I really wish they could find a way to get scare actors back in (or near) Springfield. The generic clown chainsaws they used to place there were excellent, but I get Disney may have forced their hand. We really need another scare zone location, though - can we bring back the old Killer Klownz spot, NYC lagoon side?
  • All of the premixed cocktails I tried were awful, including a few that I liked in previous years (Electric Dream this year... bleh). The on-tap offerings were great, thankfully, as was the exclusive canned cider. Never had major issues with bar lines - if we saw one that looked overrun, we'd walk for a few minutes and find a quieter location.
  • The Zombie Shark cocktail at Chez Alcatraz - which came with an accompanying modified puppet show - was an unexpected delight.
  • Something I think Orlando can learn from Hollywood this year is to incorporate more dedicated photo ops. The West Coast event has accepted that people really want photos with the characters and will disrupt zones if there aren't other opportunities. Fortunately, Orlando is already starting to move in this direction by making Dr. Oddfellow a photo op-ready character, putting characters in the Peacock Halloween Bar, and letting the Zodiac performers on the stage pose. I also noticed Young Oddfellow was fine posing in Jungle of Doom, particularly early on before that corridor gets slammed. M3GAN is a non-entity for me because it's a madhouse and so few people can reliably meet her. I'd encourage the park to find even more spots to put characters that will always be present. In my initial review, I noted you should have a Death Eater or two on platforms so that people can get their quick pics without hounding the roaming performers. Put a M3GAN in the photo op area over by the Horror Makeup Show. Give another character a dedicated area over by the JAWS photo op. The more you meet folks where they are and give them what they want, the more the scare zones can be permitted to do their best work.
 
Went 2 nights no express, friday and saturday. My house rankings:
1. Exorcist: just amazing, the chair scene was incredible. went through once and all the scares I was getting were coming from the demons, and the second time I was missing the demons but getting the girls scares, so felt like 2 different runs.
2. Yeti: nothing to say besides the fact that these yetis are HUGE which makes effective scares. loved the pine scent throughout as well.
3. Dr. Oddfellow's: just very fun overall, loved the variety in costumes and stage scenes with Dr. Oddfellow.
4. Bloodmoon: was good, church scene was cool....but I was getting so much hype from this bell tower and hearing about how it's the "dead man's pier of this year" but I totally disagree with that...bell tower felt more like a small scene, not something you're looking at throughout the house like the lighthouse was last year. Dead man's pier made my jaw drop, this was just like "oh cool". Still a solid house but I think dead mans pier felt waaaaay more grand and the comparisons I've been hearing overblew my expectations.
5. Monsters Unmasked: solid monsters house, good scares, just a bit forgettable for me.
6. Darkest Deal: just fine. maybe I had a bad run, but I was surprised this was a lot of people's favorite house when I got out. To me there was nothing incredibly scary or memorable about this house, but again maybe I had a bad run...
7. Dueling Dragons: not scary but still liked the concept. beautiful costumes. Think they should have taken advantage more of the 2 paths and made it longer, would have given more repeat value because it would feel like 2 houses.
8. Chucky: just bad...the "meta" concept didn't get through and it just looked like a bad house...

Didn't do Stranger things or The Last Of Us because they were already 80-90 minutes at park opening, and still at ~65 minutes at 1:55am...definitely had time to do them if we wanted to but to me there's no house worth standing up for the length of a soccer game and more....

scarezones
1. Vamp69: absolutely loved it. great interactions with scareactors, and I didn't know dark 60's was an aesthetic I needed until now.
2. jungle of doom: cool costumes, the jungle theme made this zone feel a little bit different than the classic mythical creatures/classic Halloween vibe that's usually here, so I liked that. Also I think it didn't feel as crowded for a central park zone?
3. dark zodiac: cool concept, but overall it felt like many zones in the past especially with that pinkish/purplish glow...like icons from 25, eddie's revenge from 30, vanity ball....last year's graveyard zone felt so different from the norm, and this is just going back to the usual...
4. Oddfellows?
5. Shipyard?
for the last 2, no one in my party of newbies even realized they were zones...but I liked the oddfellow stage and got some interactions with him so I'll put that first, and shipyard last.

I'm being pretty critical but overall I had an amazing time at the event. Went with new people so was fun to see their reactions as first-timers, sometimes I wish I could erase my memory and see this event through fresh eyes again!!

One general thing: I found there was almost no reason to go through Dark zodiac or by the oddfellow stage throughout the night (like on your way to a house), unless you make a plan to go there, since the shrek house is gone....I found myself crossing by transformers sooooo many times throughout the night and was wondering why they don't just put a zone there? If I remember correctly they've done a killer klownz zone there and it worked well, and I also know they've had roaming hoards there....I don't know if logistics are a reason why there's no zone there, but If they can fit a zone in san Francisco, the transformers alley seems like a no-brainer.
 
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Went to the event for the first time ever this past Friday. AWESOME! Totally loved how the park was transformed even in a year where the scare zones were reportedly weaker than previous years. Makes me appreciate the flexibility of USF. The main star of the event for me and my entire party was definitely the houses though. I can't even imagine the amount of effort it takes to put one of these together, let alone 10. Here are my rankings:

1. Monsters Unmasked - Maybe bias here because this was my first house ever, but man did I have a great run through here with a very aggressive cast. Hit just about every scare. Cast was in my face every time, pretty sure I got whacked with the Phantom's cape (awesome). Best combination of scenery and scares of the year. Was the favorite of the entire group.
2. Dueling Dragons - While definitely lighter on the scares, I thought this was the most beautiful house scenically. Amazing facade, great lighting effects throughout, very cool costumes, and a huge dragon room to cap it off before we had to choose our fate. My party split up making the ending very personable, did not face the issue of actors missing us at all.
3. Yeti - Just an all around fun time with a great blend of scares and humor. Was simultaneously laughing and screaming the whole time, especially when that poor kid gets dragged away by mama yeti.
4. Darkest Deal - Moody/somber atmosphere, great cast, great music, and an easy to follow story made this house another favorite of my group. Just wish it was a *tad* bit longer. Turning the corner and seeing the Collector's final form at the finale was very cool though.
5. Blood Moon - Another scenically beautiful house with large sets and some unnerving scenes. I'm a sucker for scenes where you can't tell the difference between an actor and a mannequin, lots of moments like that in this house.
6. Exorcist - Surprise hit! Very scary, cast was killing it. Got a great double scare. Loved going through the room with the girl in the chair and then re-entering a hellish version of the same room.
7. Oddfellow - Basically tied with Blood Moon and Exorcist. Sensory overload in the best way. The headless clown and lion were some of the more inventive scares of the event.
8. The Last of Us - Scenically very cool and well done, not nearly as scary as I expected (except the Bloater at the end, would not leave me alone haha). Still very good, may have just had bad timing.
9. Stranger Things - Liked a lot of the big set moments with the screen backdrops, but didn't think this house was scary at all and had too few actors. Maybe hit a cast change?
10. Chucky - To be expected, it definitely wasn't horrible but wasn't great either. No impressive sets at all, scares were fine but nothing special. Big Chucky at the end was the highlight.

We had express for the night and never waited more than 15-ish minutes for anything, totally worth it. Couldn't imagine trying to do it all in one night. Missed the M3GANs unfortunately and only saw the exit of the Death Eaters in Diagon so those were the only very minor disappointments of the night.

Overall had an absolute blast, looking to return next year!
 
Is there a way to compile our rankings and come up with a definite IU ranking at the end of the event? Oi is that something we do already?
Anyway, got to experience HHN32 this weekend. Solid year! Every single house was solid except for Chucky. I thought everyone was exagerrating how bad it was but man.. don't know how an extended trailer for the TV show passed for a haunted house. It was more along the lines of a promotional installation than a HHN quality house.

Funnily enough, my most anticipated house was Dueling Dragons but it ended up pretty low on my list. It just wasn't scary and the effects, while cool, got repetitive pretty fast.

  1. Darkest Deal
  2. Blood Moon
  3. UCM: Unmasked
  4. Yeti
  5. Stranger Things 4
  6. Dr. Oddfellow
  7. Exorcist: Believer
  8. The Last of Us
  9. Dueling Dragons
  10. Chucky
 
Got back yesterday from a long weekend trip to UOR, one night spent doing all things HHN. It was . . . a time. This was my second year attending -- first was last year, and truth be told, it was kind of a letdown. I mean not literally because it's HHN and it's always great, but after years of reading these and other boards and seeing everyone praise Orlando while dumping on Hollywood, I left feeling disappointed and honestly a little cheated. I kept thinking "This is the big, bad HHN Orlando? Really?" It was a fun night, but I did not feel the same kinetic excitement that I do in Hollywood.

We went late in the season last year -- I think it honestly mighta been Halloween weekend. So I attributed the lack of energy in the park/houses to burnout. Everyone had been at it for nearly two months at that point; I assumed folks were just exhausted. But it was the same exact energy this year, and I think the bottom line here is that HHN Orlando is just not a strong haunt event. I think you can claim it's a great theme park event, but the atmosphere and the buzz and the intensity is lacking in so many areas. My feelings about this are the same as they were last year: 1) The actors aren't as good. I'm sorry, they're just not. Hollywood has the benefit of being the epicenter of performing art, so perhaps it's an unfair standard, but it's true nevertheless. And 2) The scare zones are bad. I was kinda confused by them last year -- I'd heard they were different (less interactive and more like flash mobs), but ultimately thought they were cool for what they were. This year, with the exception of Vamp '69, they all felt inert and superfluous.

Ultimately I don't think one coast necessarily has the other beat. I think they both deliver the kind of experience they want to deliver, and it's only personal preference that determines which is better. HHN Orlando is a fun event; HHN Hollywood is a thrilling (ahem, scary) event.

The cliche joke is the scariest thing about HHN Orlando is the lines. We got express this year because we only barely got everything done last year, and it helped a lot. Got some repeat runs, had time to stop and eat (Ration Station -- everything was tasty!), and caught the show, which we enjoyed! Not gonna harp on the operations because it's not like Hollywood is a shining beacon of efficiency, but my biggest question is why do they do Express lines like that?????

Anyway, house rankings.

1. Exorcist Believer (x2) Wow! Just wow. Felt on par with Hollywood's best IP houses, like Us and Hell Comes to Haddonfield. (A)
2
. The Darkest Deal Another ripper. Really represents what's great about Orlando originals. (A)
3
. Universal Monsters Unmasked Hollywood kinda phoned in our house this year, so I was glad this one got better treatment. Lots of fun. (B+)
4
. Yeti: Campground Kills Similar feelings as Darkest Deal, although it was a bad run. Got conga'd real bad and didn't get a single scare, but still enjoyed being in there. Feel like it's easily an A with a better run so giving the benefit of the doubt. (B)
5
. Bloodmoon: Dark Offerings (x2) I'm a sucker for cult narratives. I Liked this a lot. (B)
6
. Oddfellow's Twisted Origins Had no idea what was happening story-wise but I was still vibing. Some great scenic in here. (B-)
7
. Stranger Things Getting sick of Stranger Things but this was decent. (C+)
8. Chucky Ultimate Kill Count
Admittedly not great but nowhere near as bad as y'all were making it out to be. (C)
9
. The Last of Us (x2) Really surprised by the lack of effects and scenery in this one. I thought Orlando would go crazy here but this was really weak. Did it twice hoping we'd have a better run, but no -- just dull all around. (C-)
10. Dueling Dragons
Cartoonish and gimmicky. (D)

Will probably attend next year too, despite some critical commentary. I really do enjoy this event, but tbh I think a lot of the Orlando hype over all these years has been little more than bias. Multiple people have said the last couple years have been down years for Orlando, and obviously these events kinda tend to ebb and flow, so here's hoping next year is an up year!
 
I haven't been to HHN since at least 2014 so there was a lot to take in and compare between now and then. It was interesting to have such a large gap between years to compare against.

I was only there for a day and I took a risk by not getting Express. I'd been keeping an eye on talk about the lines here while checking the app for posted wait times leading up to my trip. My game plan started off with putting Stranger Things, Chucky, and Exorcist on the bottom of my list and to start with The Last of Us. Before heading there I was only expecting to get through maybe 4 houses but I managed to do 7.

My ranking:
  1. Dueling Dragons - saw posts before mention that there should have been more dragon than warlock and I agree. I had a good time looking at the sets during multiple runs. I loved the scene with the dragons midway through and kept slowing down to look at it but I so wish they had recreated the original DD coaster entrance to walk though. It did feel like you needed to go through it a few times to see all the other creatures besides the warlocks. Kudos to the scareactors who teamed up on my final run and made me jump back! I wasn't expecting that. lol
  2. Darkest Deal - This would be in first place honestly if it wasn't for nostalgia. I liked the overal flow for the story in this one. The scene near the end when Pinestraw's soul gets taken was cool and having the house turn into a firey bit at the end was great.
  3. The Last of Us - fantastic zombie house. It was a nice touch they got the voice actors to for audio and the costumes were fantastic. Great translation from the game!
  4. Bloodmoon - More startling than scary. I really liked the scene when you first enter and see the moon above, it's a really great setup that felt cinemetic. This house was more movie set than haunted house.
  5. Yeti - fun camping chaos! This a great house that doesn't require any backstory to get, it's literally just yetis in the woods.
  6. Dr. Oddfellow - It's nice to have a haunted house with a circus theme that wasn't clown-heavy. I think the middle gets purposefully disorienting and overwhelming with the circus look. There were some good scares in this one and the beheading scene was unexpected. I only saw it from the side as I was leaving the room but it still very effective.
  7. Monsters: Unmasked - Some beautiful sets and some nice visual moments. It was a nice house for seeing these characters but otherwise was alright. There were also fewer scareactors than I've seen on video during my run so perhaps I was going through a cast change.
If I didn't take time out to enjoy some rides (and a few runs through DD) I could have likely gotten 1-2 more houses, maybe even all 10. I almost did Exorcist as I was leaving but it was nearly 2am and I wanted to beat the closing crowds out of the park. Generally I never waited more than 45(?) minutes in any one line and some dipped down to 20 minutes over the course of the night. Maybe I was lucky and that Friday wasn't as busy? (I will say the Last of Us waiting area is ridiculous when you're waiting in the sun. Really wish they could put some temporary shade over there.)

The only two scarezones that left an impression were Jungle of Doom and Vamp '69:

- Jungle of Doom: I suggest checking this area out before it gets dark to get a good look at the costumes. Don't be like me and walk along the sides. lol
- Vamp '69: really fun area and felt most dynamic with the roaming crowds and random vamps moving between the crowd.

I didn't realize I was in Shipyard 32 my first time walk through because I swear area looks like it usually does but with the lights off. This area also seemed to be the most crowded which meant there weren't many actors to fill the space and looking at the map it doesn't look very big to begin with.

One general thing: I found there was almost no reason to go through Dark zodiac or by the oddfellow stage throughout the night (like on your way to a house), unless you make a plan to go there, since the shrek house is gone....I found myself crossing by transformers sooooo many times throughout the night and was wondering why they don't just put a zone there?
It wasn't until telling someone about my trip that I realized the same thing and never went through Dark Zodiac the entire evening. I felt bad about missing it since it wasn't like a house where there were long lines but looking at the event map again there really wasn't any reason to go through there. Cutting by Transformers felt faster. I wonder how many people did the same thing?


Nightmare Fuel Revenge Dream - Amazing show and great performances! It definitely helps keep the energy high for the night and it's a nice break from the lines.

I caught the end of the Death Eaters show and saw them roaming around Diagon Alley. They move through the crowd really well and get in your face with their wands but only for a moment before moving on to someone else. Costumes and masks were perfect.

I did notice the lack of chainsaw gang and it felt strange not hearing those revving engines and seeing people scramble to get away. Doesn't really take away anything from the event but it still felt like something was missing after seeing them for so long during previous years when I attended.

It's also great that even if ET isn't open Universal still runs the house exits through the queue so you can still get your pine forest fix. *sniff* lol

It was fun attending HHN after so long away! I'll certainly be going for atle ast two days as there were some smaller things I wanted to check out particularly in the food and drink department. Either way I'm looking forward to next year!
 
Got back yesterday from a long weekend trip to UOR, one night spent doing all things HHN. It was . . . a time. This was my second year attending -- first was last year, and truth be told, it was kind of a letdown. I mean not literally because it's HHN and it's always great, but after years of reading these and other boards and seeing everyone praise Orlando while dumping on Hollywood, I left feeling disappointed and honestly a little cheated. I kept thinking "This is the big, bad HHN Orlando? Really?" It was a fun night, but I did not feel the same kinetic excitement that I do in Hollywood.

We went late in the season last year -- I think it honestly mighta been Halloween weekend. So I attributed the lack of energy in the park/houses to burnout. Everyone had been at it for nearly two months at that point; I assumed folks were just exhausted. But it was the same exact energy this year, and I think the bottom line here is that HHN Orlando is just not a strong haunt event. I think you can claim it's a great theme park event, but the atmosphere and the buzz and the intensity is lacking in so many areas. My feelings about this are the same as they were last year: 1) The actors aren't as good. I'm sorry, they're just not. Hollywood has the benefit of being the epicenter of performing art, so perhaps it's an unfair standard, but it's true nevertheless. And 2) The scare zones are bad. I was kinda confused by them last year -- I'd heard they were different (less interactive and more like flash mobs), but ultimately thought they were cool for what they were. This year, with the exception of Vamp '69, they all felt inert and superfluous.

Ultimately I don't think one coast necessarily has the other beat. I think they both deliver the kind of experience they want to deliver, and it's only personal preference that determines which is better. HHN Orlando is a fun event; HHN Hollywood is a thrilling (ahem, scary) event.

Oh this makes my little cynical heart so happy.

Two (well, three-ish) things significantly impact the quality of Orlando compared to Hollywood (and most other haunts).

First, Orlando is designed for “assembly-line scares,” with the intention of providing every guests an as-close-to-identical-as-possible experience. That’s why so many of their scares and vignettes require resets and why so many scares are trigger based. Impact is part of it, but uniformity is the bigger goal. That leads into…

Second, because uniformity is key, acting ability isn’t a concern. The concerns are “can they wear this costume” and “can they push this button.” As a result, many scareactors have minimal (or no) acting experience. While most are drama kids, the quality and experience difference from Hollywood is drastic.

As a result of two (so three-ish), Orlando doesn’t actually audition performers on their ability to scare, nor do they train on how to scare. It’s a type-out cattle call audition and a “here’s your trigger, do this” rehearsal. The actual preparation Hollywood gives is light years behind Orlando. Most haunts, period, are lightyears beyond Orlando in that regard.

Orlando is popular because of scale and polish. It’s incredibly hard to beat by those criteria. If you start throwing “scariness” in as a criteria, its quality starts to diminish fairly drastically.
 
Orlando is popular because of scale and polish. It’s incredibly hard to beat by those criteria. If you start throwing “scariness” in as a criteria, its quality starts to diminish fairly drastically.
I admit "scariness" is a subjective quality, but it's less about the level of actual "scariness" and more about intent, execution, and format. Call me crazy, but I think an event like HHN Orlando should be aspire to be scary, and I don't really believe that it does. Another common thing you hear from Orlando HHN folks is "That house was so good, I wanna live in it." You shouldn't want to live in an HHN house; you should be scared. And I know that phrase is euphemistic, but I think my point stands.

Agree about scale and polish. Orlando has a broad scope and a uniquely immersive quality, but within that broadness is a lack of specificity, and within that immersion is (in my opinion) a distinct lack of thrill/spirit.
 
First, Orlando is designed for “assembly-line scares,” with the intention of providing every guests an as-close-to-identical-as-possible experience. That’s why so many of their scares and vignettes require resets and why so many scares are trigger based. Impact is part of it, but uniformity is the bigger goal. That leads into…

Second, because uniformity is key, acting ability isn’t a concern. The concerns are “can they wear this costume” and “can they push this button.” As a result, many scareactors have minimal (or no) acting experience. While most are drama kids, the quality and experience difference from Hollywood is drastic.
From my perspective, the consistency was 100% nailed this year. We didn't have a "bad run" of any house. That's something that we had gotten used to. Instead, we felt like most of our runs were nearly identical with the exception of a minor thing here and there.

To your point, Orlando basically employs a lot of what we call "flesh animatronics". There are some roles that are a bit more advanced (the two main characters in Darkest Deal for example), but most require bare minimum "acting".
 
Just throwing this out there but the lack of scariness doesn't bother me. I've been to haunts all over that have been considered significantly scarier than HHN and it still doesn't make a difference. I just don't scare. Simple as that. I know it's fake, so it doesn't phase me. The only type of haunts I haven't done are extreme (torture chamber) haunts.

Still I can't lie I wish for some form of dynamics back. This year there were so many times where I was alone in rooms from getting so far ahead of the people behind me and the people ahead were long gone too that I wish for some interactivity and such from the actors outside the triggers.

Still I am going more for the sets and atmosphere since I don't get scared so scares are a moot point for me anyway.

Anyway, I might give a review this year but not sure yet. Loving the return of an icon and probably the best scare zones I have seen since possibly 25, honestly. Loving the darker streets again. Been nice not having them be bright as hell. Dark Zodiac and Vamp 69 were my favorites, and they were some of my least anticipated. Dark Zodiac has a wonderful weird and creepy atmosphere with the music and lighting and props. Costumes were some of the best I've ever seen for this event honestly. Vamp 69 fixed my issues with 85 and was an awesome time. Spent a good deal of time in this zone. House lineup is consistently great as well.

Death Eaters were a welcome addition. I thought they were great and was pleased with their inclusion.
 
It depends what you're looking for. An HHN Hollywood house n years past that was mostly black walls and boo holes was scarier than most of the HHN Orlando houses.. But I don't know that it would have been considered "better" by any means. Hollywood is definitely catching up though.
 
One thing I’ve really noticed more of over the past few event nights is a simple tactic that I personally haven’t experienced in previous years. Occasionally I’ve had scareactors hit their trigger and pop out, but then pop out again right after without the sound and lighting. That was 2 of the best scares I had tonight, both in Darkest Deal actually.
 
Traveled down two weeks ago from a state a couple of Bucee's north:

Highlights
-All of the houses, even Chucky
-Diagon Alley atmosphere
-Oddfellow as host
-David S Pumpkins as comic relief

Lowlights
-Scarezones, but actors did their best
-Tribute Store, without the usual stylized facade I forgot it was there
 
I enjoyed a couple of trips this year. Here are a few of my observations and overall thoughts on this year’s event. I will preface all of this by saying we had a good time and I can’t help but compare this year’s event to past years.

- I think this is easily the weakest event since 2016. Our group really thought something was off this year - it felt very different and lacking the atmosphere typically associated with HHN.

- I appreciate this is very subjective but I personally think a number of factors conspired to impact the overall atmosphere of the event. Construction and crowds are certainly a piece, but the closure of Mel’s, lack of a second show, empty scarezones, and almost no front of the park scarezone all contributed. IDK, maybe I’m still missing the cafe!

- I applaud the creativity and overall design of the Tribute store this year. It was their best house lol. This will be the enduring memory I have of this years event. I actually think they could have leveraged the comic and store for more merchandise. Give me Jim’s Diner as a house next year!!!!

- Universal has really upped their food game IMO post covid. Both in terms of theming and quality. There is also a pretty decent variety to satisfy picky eaters. My personal favourite this year was the peanut bludder burger.

- I didn’t think there were any bad houses this year. Chucky wasn’t as bad as I envisioned after reading reviews (my personal benchmark for awful over the past decade was the Chance house in 2016, and Blumhouse 2018 being not far off). I agree with the sentiment the originals were all strong. However at the same time there wasn’t anything that I will be thinking about a few years down the road and wishing I could walk through it again.

- My personal favourites were Darkest Deal and Universal Monsters Unmasked. I absolutely loved the facade for Monsters and really appreciated the storytelling in Darkest Deal. As a Stranger Things fan I was initially quite disappointed with the house, especially after comparing it to 2018/2019. Of course it was fun to immerse myself in the show, but it sure felt like they spent a small fraction of what they did to construct the last two iterations.

Overall as stated above it was an off year for us but we still had a good time. Happy Halloween everyone. Until next year.
 
I enjoyed a couple of trips this year. Here are a few of my observations and overall thoughts on this year’s event. I will preface all of this by saying we had a good time and I can’t help but compare this year’s event to past years.

- I think this is easily the weakest event since 2016. Our group really thought something was off this year - it felt very different and lacking the atmosphere typically associated with HHN.

- I appreciate this is very subjective but I personally think a number of factors conspired to impact the overall atmosphere of the event. Construction and crowds are certainly a piece, but the closure of Mel’s, lack of a second show, empty scarezones, and almost no front of the park scarezone all contributed. IDK, maybe I’m still missing the cafe!

- I applaud the creativity and overall design of the Tribute store this year. It was their best house lol. This will be the enduring memory I have of this years event. I actually think they could have leveraged the comic and store for more merchandise. Give me Jim’s Diner as a house next year!!!!

- Universal has really upped their food game IMO post covid. Both in terms of theming and quality. There is also a pretty decent variety to satisfy picky eaters. My personal favourite this year was the peanut bludder burger.

- I didn’t think there were any bad houses this year. Chucky wasn’t as bad as I envisioned after reading reviews (my personal benchmark for awful over the past decade was the Chance house in 2016, and Blumhouse 2018 being not far off). I agree with the sentiment the originals were all strong. However at the same time there wasn’t anything that I will be thinking about a few years down the road and wishing I could walk through it again.

- My personal favourites were Darkest Deal and Universal Monsters Unmasked. I absolutely loved the facade for Monsters and really appreciated the storytelling in Darkest Deal. As a Stranger Things fan I was initially quite disappointed with the house, especially after comparing it to 2018/2019. Of course it was fun to immerse myself in the show, but it sure felt like they spent a small fraction of what they did to construct the last two iterations.

Overall as stated above it was an off year for us but we still had a good time. Happy Halloween everyone. Until next year.
I had a similar experience a week ago. This is actually something I’ve always loved about HHN. The scare actors at the beginning of the event have a tendency to stick to using the triggers. But as the event goes on, they may start to improv. The big bloater for instance at the end of The Last of Us was insanely aggressive and took the boo hole as a suggestion rather than a requirement. He was standing in the middle of the path and charged us. Then nearly chased us out of the room. Actually got me a bit creeped out and I loved it. The Darkest Deal had a lot of this too. Many actors not activating triggers instead rushing out of boo holes and swiping their hands out at people going by and sometimes using the trigger before or after. Made for dynamic houses on later runs.

I loved when scare actors just learn to let loose and improv and have fun. It’s when the houses are at their best. Towards the very end of the event it usually gets really awesome.

Edit: This glitch and had me reply to the wrong person but y’all get my point.

As for this year. I thought it was one of the my favorites since at least 26 (I know it’s not a popular year but I personally loved it) maybe even 28 (which was one of the best non-icon years). The only issue is once again…crowds. No surprise. My god have they gotten bad.
 
The big bloater for instance at the end of The Last of Us was insanely aggressive and took the boo hole as a suggestion rather than a requirement. He was standing in the middle of the path and charged us. Then nearly chased us out of the room. Actually got me a bit creeped out and I loved it.
Every time I went through TLOU, both Bloaters were extremely aggressive. The second Bloater always charged at me and got me every single time. :lol:
 
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