My Review: Universals Halloween Horror Nights 23

Hi Thrill Seekers,

What evil has taken root at Halloween Horror Nights 23

hhn-entrance

As the sun sets in the beautiful Orlando sky something terrible starts to emerge at street level. Suddenly Universal Studios is not such a happy place to be. You can hear eerie music in the distance as mist and fog start to roll into the streets, suddenly you think you’ve just seen a zombie lurking at the corner only to be terrified as you realise there are many walking among the crowds!

Yes its fair to say that Universal have not heard of the term ‘less is more’ as clearly their philosophy, when it comes to putting together an amazing experience, is ‘more, more, more’

This year I was lucky enough to be invited by Universal to experience Halloween Horror Nights 23 at Universal Studios. I sort of new what to expect but what I didnt expect was the sheer size and scale of this amazing experience.

The first thing that struck me upon arrival was the size of the crowd waiting to get inside. I am talking thousands of people. It was like queuing up to see your favorite band. The entrance to Universal Studios was just a sea of people all just itching to get inside. I spoke to lots of people waiting outside, some were looking forward to their first HHN (like me) but many were seasoned Halloween Horror Night pro’s that come back year after year – specifically for this event! Its only then do you start to realize why Universals HHN is consistently voted the #1 Halloween event.

Once inside you get to see just what all the fuss is about. The streets are filled with scary sounds, screams, mist and fog, zombies, chainsaw carrying psychos and more. Throughout the streets there are ‘scare zones’ clearly marked out. When in a scare zone you can expect to meet a zombie or two! But don’t show fear as you’ll only fuel their fire!!!

hhn-zombies

The zombies do an amazing job of blending into a crowd. You’ll be walking down a street only for the guy in front of you (who turns out to be a zombie) to suddenly turn around and scare the brown stuff out of you! At least 4 or 5 times I shrieked like a girl.

Through out the street you can also stop and buy things like, t-shirts and other merchandise, Vodka jelly shots in a syringe or a blood curdling cocktail in a blood bag – all on sale by your friendly neighborhood zombie of course.

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Here are a few of my favorite houses

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The Walking Dead

walking dead house

Based on AMC’s popular TV series this house was getting huge props as one of the highlights. Built within one of Universals sound stages this was one of the bigger mazes. I was expecting there to be a lot more room in this house, however there were lots of little alleys to negotiate with twists and turns packed with zombies just waiting for their chance to jump out and terrify you. There was even one alley which you had to duck down to get through which just added to the claustrophobic feeling of this maze. If you are a fan of the Walking dead you’ll recognise some scenes from he show. Scenes like human heads in an aquarium and a prison scene where guards try frantically to keep the zombies at bay.

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The Cabin In The Woods

HHN Cabin in the woods

This maze, based on the film, was one of the more scary houses. As you wondered through the house you couldn’t help but feel really creep-ed out buy the ‘help, help us’ pleas from the tortured victims inside. Those victims wait inside for their chance to scare you, one thing I didn’t expect was there to be people above you trying to claw at you as you walked past. Probably the most disturbing scene in this house is a surgeon who is seen mutilating one of the poor victims. Towards the end of the house you enter the surveillance room where you get to glimpse various screens showing the horrors that had befallen the victims of The Cabin in the Woods. Incidentally, this house scared one of my friends so much that they refused to do any others! I think that’s probably the best compliment that Universal could have asked for ūüôā

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Evil Dead

evil dead

Sticking pretty close the the principal story of the film. 5 friends head to a remote cabin in the woods (yeah, bit like cabin in the woods but not cabin in the woods) where they discover the book of the dead and unwittingly summon up demons living in the nearby woods! If you have seen the film you will recognise the story being told. This house is situated in a Universal sound studio so there is plenty of audio to help creep you out just a little bit more. Audio like thunder and lightning. There are some pretty disturbing scenes to be had including a possessed victim eating flesh and a girl sawing off her arm! yikes! Oh and look out for a demonic girl trying to break out of a hatch in the floor – classic!

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An American Werewolf in London

American Werewolf in London

This has to be my favorite house! I think I enjoyed this house best because I’d recently been at a Universal Screening of the film which also included a Q&A with Director John Landis. The house follows the story of the film with epic detail…you enter through the Slaughtered Lamb Pub and then flow through some classic scenes such as David being haunted in the cinema, the werewolf attack on the London underground and final scenes where the wolf tries to attack you as you turn a corner. Some scenes are pretty creepy, such as the werewolf feeding on its victims. This house, for me, was the highlight, very true to the film in the classic sense of horror! and you even exit the house to the sound of the song Blue Moon!

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La Llorona

la llorona

Based on a Mexican urban legend. La llorona (The weeping widow) tells the story of a beautiful woman by the name of Maria who drowns her children in order to be with the man that she loved, but is then rejected by him. Eventually drowning herself she is challenged at the gates of heaven as to the whereabouts of her children, she is not permitted to enter the afterlife until she has found them. So now she wonders the banks of the river searching for the souls of her children. This house actually creep-ed me out the most, it was so chilling. Statues come to life as you pass by, crying can be heard throughout the house. You even pass by a river and can see the bodies of the drowned children. If I had to say which house scared me the most, hands down…its this house!

Final thoughts…

Overall I was extremely impressed with Halloween Horror Nights. If you are ever in Orlando while its on you just have to go and see it. Its not just Halloween on steroids! it’s also one of the best nights out you’ll ever have. Many try to imitate the success that Universal have had with Halloween Horror Nights but I think they forget that making movies, with amazing special effects is Universals business which is apparent in the amazing detail put into everything you see, hear and run away from at Halloween Horror Nights.

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My Halloween Horror Night Tips

Get there early! By the middle of the evening the park is probably as full as its gonna get. I saw many wait times to get into the houses at 90-100 minutes. So get their early to visit the houses you want, then just enjoy the street experience.

If the houses are based on films then Watch those films. By doing a little research on the houses you’ll appreciate just how much detail Universal put in.I watched Evil Dead and An American Werewolf in London and read up on La llorina before visiting and really found it enhanced my experience.

Take your time! The temptation when your walking through the house is to keep moving and rush through – Dont! its OK to have a look around, you’ll discover loads of detail. Remember you probably queued up for ages to get in so make the most of it.

Catch a show. I watched Bill and Teds Excellent Halloween Adventure. Party on as Bill and Ted poke fun at all the biggest celebrity antics and news of the year. Its a really funny show, a little ‘American-centric’ so you might not get all the gags…but they do make up for this with some scantily clad dancers ūüôā

billandted

The other show on this year was The Rocky Horror Picture Show so you can Rock out to clips from the classic cult film with your favorite Transvestite, live tribute performers, and audience participants.

Click the following link to view some pictures from the first first week of Halloween Horror Nights 23

You can still buy tickets for this years Halloween Horror Nights. Please visit Orlando Attraction Tickets for details.

If you’ve been this year, we’d love to hear what you thought and what was your favorite house.

Smiles…and screams included…

Karl

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Halloween Horror Nights Frequent Fear Pass Dates Extended

 

Hi All,

ffpGood news for all for those of you that have purchased a Universal Halloween Horror Nights Frequent Fear Pass – we have just been contacted by Universal who have advised that your Frequent Fear Pass has been extended to cover additional dates.

Current dates still available: 24th, 27th and 31st October –¬†The extra dates are as follows: ¬†1st & 2nd¬†November

So you still have time to experience Orlando’s most popular Halloween event. Frequent Fear Passes are currently ¬£55.00 ¬†– click here for details

Other tickets that currently include Halloween Horror Nights;

2-Park Universal Bonus Ticket + Halloween Horror Nights

 

Halloween Horror Nights¬ģ annually draws hundreds of thousands of horror fans from around the globe to this one-of-a-kind event. But don’t take our word for it…

Tony Timpone, Editor of Fangoria Magazine, said, “After visiting scream parks all across the U.S. for the last 20 years, I can easily say that Universal’s is the best in the business‚ĶHalloween Horror Nights is the ultimate Halloween experience.”

For more information on Halloween Horror Nights and other great ticket deals visit orlandoattractiontickets.co.uk

 

Smiles…and screams included…

Karl

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12 Get Stuck On Universal Studios Rip Ride Rockit

Morning Thrill Seekers,

By now you will probably have read about Rip Ride Rockit rip_rocketbreakdown yesterday at Universal Studios leaving 12 people trapped 150 foot in the air for approximately 2 and half hours. There were actually a few coasters stuck on the track but all but one of them were easily accessible by staff who managed to get them off without to much fuss.

The incident occurred at around 7pm because of a technical glitch, the computer system that monitors the ride went in to safety mode, which literally locks down the ride to prevent injury.

Universal spokesman Tom Schroder said;

We spent a lot of that time talking to the passengers and trying to make them as comfortable as we could

No one was injured during the glitch however one woman was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure after she complained of a sore neck.

Universal has promised a full investigation into how the error occurred, they did not confirm how long Rip Ride Rockit would be out of action for.

Being stuck on a coaster must be up there with one of the more scary things that could happen at a theme park, knowing how to react is important, Orlando Attraction Tickets in 2010 put together a quick guide on¬†what to do if you’re stuck on a Roller Coaster.

Remember these types of incidents are very rare and I think you’ll agree its good to see that Universal’s fail safes are working.

Regards,

Jamie

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Wizarding World of Harry Potter Expansion Update

Hi Thrill Seekers,

As mentioned on Monday our own Karl Hendrie is off to sample Halloween Horror Nights this week. Although we’re all excited to hear how he gets on we’re also keen to see if he can get some new snaps of the construction work going on at Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios¬†where the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter expansion is being built.

Well just to whet your appetite, here are some recent pictures taken by the fantastic folks at Orlando United¬†that show how far they’ve come since the last Potter images.

Wizarding World Pics

wizarding world pics 1

wizarding world pics 2

wizarding world 3

wizarding world 4

wizarding world pic 6

wizarding world 7Some great aerial shots I’m sure you’ll agree, you can make out the train stations at Hogwarts and Kings Cross very clearly and the train track which will connect the two.

I don’t know about you but I can’t wait for this to open…

Smiles included…

Jamie

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Universal Orlando To Open One New Attraction Per Year

Afternoon Thrill Seekers,

Probably the most anticipated reveal of 2014 will be when Universaltransformers 3d Orlando announce the exact date that the new Harry Potter Expansion will welcome its first guests but Universal isn’t happy to just sit back and rest on J.K Rowling’s creation.

At a conference in California on Wednesday, Universal’s President and Chief Executive Officer Steve Burke told delegates that they aren’t going to accept their role as number 2 in Orlando with grace and have plans in place to perhaps up hotel room occupancy from 4200 (once Cabana Bay Beach Resort officially opens) to around 10 – 15k rooms!

“We’ve done a study that says we could have 10,000 or 15,000 hotel rooms and still have occupancy that makes those rooms profitable”

“And all of those people staying in those hotel rooms would be more likely to go to our theme parks, So I think, strategically, we need to get those hotel rooms open and build out the resort.”

So as Universal begins to mold itself into a real threat to Disney’s dominance you’d be forgiven for thinking that it all centred around hotels…

However whilst Disney focus on RFID technology, Universal are fully committed to spending within the parks, Burke stated NBCUniversal has elevated its capital spending in its theme parks to approximately $500 million this year, and this amount is set to become its new bench mark.

The company’s goal is to open one new attraction every year both at Universal Orlando and at Universal Studios Hollywood in Southern California.

This spending ideology has already had positive effects in Orlando where the slightly overlooked Universal Studios has seen footfall rise by 20% since the June opening of Transformers the Ride.

So its exciting times at Universal, once the next section of Potter is up and running it will be interesting to see what’s next, Jurassic World perhaps?

You can purchase Universal Theme Park Tickets from Orlando Attraction Tickets for as little as £8.00 per day based on 14 consecutive days.

Smiles included…

Jamie

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Today We Will Find Out When The Transformers Ride Will Open At Universal

Morning Thrill Seekers,

Today is the day that Universal will finally officially confirm the opening date for the highly anticipated, Transformers the ride 3D!

Universal in the past have dropped hints about the Transformers ride via a host of photo clues and yesterday they released two further multi media teasers. The first a picture of Megatron was displayed on a building in downtown Orlando.

megatron

The second, a Cloverfields type video, depicting the arrival of Megatron.

For me I’m thinking the release date will be the 20th June 2013… Anyone else have any predictions?

regards,

Jamie,

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Universal Studios Announces Early Access To Transformers Ride

Hi Thrill Seekers,

Last night via their twitter account Universal Studios announced they will be offering early access to their park on the 29/03/13 and 30/03/13 in preparation to the full launch of the Transformers Ride 3d, the popular Theme Park home to Rip Ride Rockit and Revenge of the Mummy will open at 8am exclusively for the Transformers ride, the rest of the park will open at 9am as usual.

transformers early access

The Transformers ride has proven very popular in California which prompted Universal to recreate the ride in Orlando at a cost of a reported $100 million.

Wikipedia describes the ride as

A dark ride consisting of vehicle-mounted motion platforms which follow a 2,000-foot-long (610 m) track. Throughout the ride, screens up to 60 feet (18 m) high project 3D images of various Transformers characters as the Autobots attempt to protect the All Spark from the Decepticons. Transformers: The Ride has been praised by media around the world with some stating it is one of the best theme park attractions in the world.

Universal insiders describe the ride as “Forbidden Journey on¬†steroids”…. To be fair though they also described Forbidden Journey as “Spider-man on¬†Steroids”…. I think they may have a problem ūüėČ

Will you be there to take advantage of the early access?

regards,

Jamie

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Universal Orlando 2012 Financials Solid

Morning Thrill Seekers,

Yesterday I reported on Comcast’s purchase of NBCUniversal transformers 3dincluded in the deal was Harry Potter’s favourite park, Islands of Adventure and the soon to be home of the¬†Transformers, Universal Studios.

One of the more interesting parts of the press release was Comcast’s financials for 2012 in relation to it Theme Park revenue, here’s the breakdown;

  • Theme park revenue was up 4.8% for 2012 to nearly $2.1 billion from $1.98 billion in 2011.
  • Fourth quarter 2012 revenues were $520 million, up 4.5% from $498 million reported the year prior.
  • Operating cash flow at Universal finished the year strong with $953 million, up 9.9% from $867 million in 2011.
  • The quarter‚Äôs ending cash flow was $245 million, a 9.7% jump from $223 million in 2011.

Comcast must believe (as do I) that the future of Universal Orlando to attract footfall is strong. The addition of the Transformers Ride 3D this year should¬†continue¬†Universal’s impressive additions and if the rumours regarding the extension to the Wizarding World are true (and they are) 2014/2015 could be very strong.

regards,

Jamie

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Universal Orlando’s Big Reveal Will Happen On The 1st November

 

Hi Thrill Seekers,

A lot of building work has been going on at Universal Orlando¬†this year with not a lot of explanation…¬†obviously¬†the internet has been a wash with rumours regarding what’s actually been going on¬†¬†but¬†Universal have finally sent out media invites for a press conference due to happen on the 1st November at 19:30.

So what do we think will be announced….

Well here at Orlando Attraction Tickets¬†we don’t like to get involved in ideal chitter chatter…… Pah! of course we do!!!

Back in 2011 we reported on the percieved extension of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter¬†and from what we’ve seen and heard we think this is pretty much a no brainer… The closure of Jaws pretty much sealed this exciting deal.

The second¬†announcement¬†that we believe Universal Orlando will make is the¬†introduction¬†of Universal Studios¬†Hollywood’s¬†flagship ride; Transformers The Ride 3D.

The Transformer themed thrill ride has been getting rave reviews in California, and with Universal keen to encourage footfall not just at Islands of Adventure but at Universal Studios as well, the Transformers ride could definitely provide that spark.

Here’s a look at the video for Transformers the Ride 3d at Universal Studio’s Hollywood to wet your¬†appetite.

You can gain access to Universal Orlando with the following tickets.

So stay tuned on the 1st November to see which rumours Universal announce.

regards,

Jamie