Category Archives: Universal

A Belated Trip Recap

So thanks to life getting in the way, I was never able to finish a more detailed recap of the trip.  After all the Halloween fun was over, we spent Saturday at Epcot enjoying the many offerings that were available at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival.  Some of highlights included the tacos at Mexico, more Cherry Wheat, and the lamb at Australia.  I also continued to wear my rainbow afro visor that I picked up the night before, which continued to get several double takes and compliments.  The following day brought Islands of Adventure along with the sadness of having to make the trip home.  IOA was solid, as always, and attendance was surprisingly low.  We only waited 15 minutes for Forbidden Journey and that was the longest that we waited for anything.  We also picked up some candy from HoneyDukes for the kids and slowly made our way out of the park for a bit more shopping offsite and then the ride to the airport.

It was just an awesome trip.  We had all the fun of the Halloween event, plus the food and wine festival, combined with relatively small crowds and beautiful weather.  Fall is just an awesome time to visit Orlando and the parks.  Julie and I plan on continuing to make this an annual event for as long as we can and maybe one of these days we will get some friends to go with us on the trip.

As far as what is next for the blog,  I plan to start sharing theme park news from various sources and talk about upcoming trips.  We are considering a trip Thanksgiving weekend to attend the Christmas party at Magic Kingdom and I am working on planning my next solo adventure.  Maybe first I will detail my previous solo trips.  Thanks for reading!

Halloween Horror Nights 23

Julie and I love this event, having been 3 times in the past 4 years.  We made a few changes to our approach this year to try to get in as many houses as possible.  First we got to Universal Studios around 4 pm so we would be in the park before it closes.  If you are staying for HHN, they setup a couple of different areas for you wait while they put out all the props and get ready.  We chose the one next to Finnegan’s not only because it was close to one of the houses we were most interested in (American Werewolf in London), we could also get a drink at the bar 🙂  We also decided to purchase Express passes to help skip some of the long waits.  This turned out to be a great decision.  After much research (thanks Orlando Informer!), we expected this to cut the waits in half but it literally made all of our waits less than 15 minutes at all the houses we used it at despite the fact the post waited times were 100 or 110 minutes. We were stunned and amazed and I would definitely recommend them to anyone even though I am sure results vary depending on the night.

The event opens at 6:30 but since we were in the holding area, they released us at 5:45 and we went straight to American Werewolf in London.  It was well done and very faithful to the movie, right down the Slaughtered Lamb sign as you walked into it.  We went to Cabin in the Woods next and having just seen the movie, I will say they did an awesome job of bringing it to life.  Julie decided after the first house that she would let me lead the way and after this house, she led the way the rest of night.  I slowed down and allowed a gap between us and the party ahead, allowing time for all the people who jump out and scare you to get reset.  This meant she got to experience almost all of the scares of the house firsthand.  Like I said, I never led the way again.  From there we moved on to Evil Dead and Havoc 2, both of which were good and had some scary moments.  At this point, we decided to take a break from being scared and went to Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure.  If you haven’t been, they basically make fun of all kinds of pop culture from the past year and sprinkle in some dance numbers to the popular music of the last year.  This years edition was not quite as good as last year but still contained plenty of laughs.  Targets included Paula Dean, Kim and Kanye, Justin Bieber, Duck Dynasty, and Miley Cyrus.  We jumped back in the houses after this with Afterlife, which features 3D.  This house was not as scary as the others, but the 3D effects were well done and made for a very interesting house.  La Llorona was next and this was the one house of the night when our timing was really off and we missed almost all the scares.  Other people have liked it so I think we just had a bad walkthrough.  Walking Dead was next on the list and one of our most anticipated houses.  Having watched the show since it’s inception, it was great to see how they worked in various sets and items so you could look at them and “experience” the show itself.  The scares were pretty good and if you weren’t fan, several scenes would be lost on you.   This left us with only 2 things left on the list, the Rocky Horror Picture Show tribute and Resident Evil so we grabbed a quick bite and head off for the tribute.  We spent a few minutes people watching in one of the  scare zones along the way and it was hysterical to see all the different people get scared.   The tribute show was well done and a great way to spend a half hour or so off your feet in the middle of all of the craziness.  Resident Evil was the only house left so we worked our way through the crowd over to it.  Again the Express pass allowed us to basically skip to the front of the line.  It was not our favorite house by a long shot but we can say we went through all 8 houses in one night, a feat we had never managed before.  Also due to the proximity of the lines for it and American Werewolf, we saw the Express line for it was short as well so we decided to do it again since we didn’t use our Express the first time.  A few different scares the second time through made it well worth the second trip.

The night was awesome.  The decisions we made allowed us to see all 8 houses and both shows in 5 hours and 15 minutes; which is incredible considering the all the most popular houses had wait times of 100 minutes or more.  Overall the event was good but the heavy dependence on the Walking Dead for all the scare zones did get a bit repetitive.  Also, the zombies were restricted to the scare zones this year, where in previous years the “scarers” would follow people pretty much anywhere.  The houses themselves were awesome and well done.  We will definitely be coming back.

Getting excited about trip for Halloween!!

Leaving Wednesday for a trip to Orlando to do both Halloween Horror Nights and the Not So Scary Halloween party and I wanted to get this started before we left.  I have several trips planned for Orlando this year as this will be my first year with both a Universal and a Disney annual pass (yay!) and I want to document these plus some recent trips that have been exciting.  Some of these trips will be more standard theme park trips and others will be ones where efficiency is the goal.  And by efficiency I mean riding as many rides as possible in the shortest amount of time.  I look forward to sharing all this!  It should be a busy week.