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.