We headed out for another night of Halloween Horror Nights this past Saturday just to enjoy the event as a family.
Because we were taking advantage of the "First Stab" for Annual Passholders we were able to get a few update pictures of Springfield and Wizarding World prior to heading down to the first stab queue.
We'll also take a look at what was once Stage 28 and tell you if our "Halloween Horror Nights Guide" really works. But first, lets start with the update stuff.
Springfield and Hogsmeade
The biggest change since our last update was the addition of new walls to Springfield. Remember, Springfield is opening a full year before Wizarding World.
Hogsmeade is still just a bunch of frames
Not only is there insulation and drywall up, but it looks like parts have already been painted.
That looked to be the only actual "window".
I little bit of insulation already on Hogsmeade
Moving over to Forbidden Journey, not too many open spots left in the show building, at least not on this side.
Frame supports for Hogwarts Castle continue to go up
Lots of stuff moving into the show building
A look at the Hogsmeade portion they have yet to start on
Stage 28 is now officially history. It took them just over a week to completely remove the historical stage. While many are upset about this, the sets inside have indeed been preserved.
Some pictures from the Transformers overflow queue
Halloween Horror Nights
We headed back out to Halloween Horror Nights this past Saturday, it was more of a "family" night than a "site" night (which are always fun) but we did follow our Halloween Horror Nights Guide and we are happy to say that it really worked out well.
If you missed our full review of Halloween Horror Nights and the Eyegore Awards click the link.
Even though we did use the guide, we actually did break the first rule about getting a Front of the Line pass. Not by choice, by the time we decided to go to the event (last Wednesday) they were sold out. So if you are planning on doing HHN, you must plan ahead.
That said, using the Annual Passholder First Stab allowed us to do all of the mazes and the longest wait we had was about 45 minutes (for the Terror Tram).
Basically how the First Stab works is you buy your ticket online with the special AP price, and it will say "Annual Pass Admission: Includes First Stab". There are also options for friends of AP's who don't have passes to use the Day/Night Pass.
Also, if you buy your AP the day of HHN you can still use First Stab. Some friends we attended the event with did this option and even though some employees on the upper level said they couldn't do First Stab, they had no issues once they got to the lower lot.
At about 6:20 we started our walk back to the backlot mazes.
Just like all of the other guests, we were let out into the Terminus scare zone.
We'll do a rundown of the order we did the mazes in. First stop was The Walking Dead.
I personally thought the maze was MUCH better this weekend than it was on opening night. That could also be because we got to actually walk through the entire maze and didn't get stopped by backed-up guests.
Next up we did From Dusk Till Dawn, which I also thought was improved. Make sure you are following @HorrorNights on Twitter for the special code, you can get one of these awesome cards.
Next up was AvP, about 7:25 this was the line.
This is definitely one of the breakout success mazes from this years event and shouldn't be missed.
We had hoped to do Walking Dead again before leaving the lower lot mazes, but at about 7:35 the lines were already pretty long as you can see below.
We next headed to Clowns 3D which had about a 20 minute wait by the time we got there. The Universal Scare Patrol was out so I did get a picture with one of their fun signs.
My other favorite maze from last week was American Werewolf in London which was again amazing. They seemed to be doing a better job of crowd control this week as well.
At about 9:00pm we headed up to the Terror Tram which by that point had a posted wait of 25 minutes, it turned out to be about 45. Still not bad.
This is truly an experience that can't be duplicated at any other event and is great every year.
Taking a cue from our Strategy Guide, we took this opportunity to grab a snack at Mel's and watch people getting scared in Mask-A-Raid. I think we would have rather sat in Dark Christmas, but there are no tables around there. I do think the talent in Mask-A-Raid was much stronger this week, which is great.
Some pics from The Purge
By this point we were all pretty tired (since we were at Haunt 2 days earlier) so we decided to do one more maze and waited for Face Off over Dracula Untold. No particular reason other than this might be our last visit to HHN and we wanted to walk through House of Horrors one last time.
As we were leaving, these were the wait times, at about midnight. So if you were getting in The Walking Dead or AVP lines at that time, you weren't doing anything else that night.
That's going to wrap it up for this update. Not sure when we'll have another Universal Studios update, but it may not be for a few weeks. But ... depending on how the day goes, we may be able to swing by for a bit on Thursday prior to Queen Mary Dark Harbor.
We were invited up for the opening night of Universal Hollywood's Halloween Horror Nights and the Eyegore awards last Friday night.
First we'd like to send a great thank you to the park for inviting us up. This was our first time covering a Universal Hollywood event and to be honest, it was kind of a dream come true and kind of overwhelming (in a very good way).
It was a great night of Hollywood Stars, Hollywood moments and top-notch scares at Halloween Horror Nights.
A couple of hours before the event, we found ourselves outside of the front gate.
Have to admit, when I arrived and saw our own little press spot it was very cool and overwhelming.
We had a great spot where we could see all of the red carpet
The Man, The Myth, The Legend ... The one and only Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig)
Brighton Sharbino from The Walking Dead
Greg Nicotero and Robert Kirkman from The Walking Dead
The Nerdist himself, Chris Hardwick
Chris was nice enough to take a selfie with me. No surprise, he's the better looking of the two.
DJ Cotrona from the From Dusk Til Dawn: The Series. If you haven't checked out the show yet, you should. It's pretty awesome.
Face Off judges Lois Burwell, Glenn Hetrick and Ve Neill.
John Murdy lurking in the background.
One of my main goals for the night was to shake Danny Trejo's hand. I'm glad to say that he was the nicest man and spent over an hour going down the red carpet and talking to everybody. And yes, I got to shake his hand.
Eiza Gonzalez also from the From Dusk Til Dawn: The Series
Brandon Soo Hoo - From Dusk Til Dawn: The Series
The incredible Robert Rodriguez gives Park Journey two thumbs up!!
Ok ... story time:
At about the age of 8 my best friend showed me this movie that proceeded to give me nightmares. It was also the movie that started my love for Horror Movies, despite the nightmares. The three men in the picture below were mostly responsible for those nightmares and my love of Horror Movies.
So I got to thank Rick Baker, David Naughton and John Landis for giving me Nightmares after seeing American Werewolf in London. And I mean that in the most awesome way possible. It gave them all a nice laugh.
After the red carpet, it was time to head inside to the Special Effects stages for the awards.
The host of the awards was McKenzie Westmore from Face Off
John Landis accepting his Eyegore award from Rick Baker
Robert Kirkman and Chris Hardwick presenting an Eyegore Award to Greg Nicotero. If you've ever seen one of the Comic Con panels hosted by Chris you know how entertaining it was.
Danny Trejo presenting an Eyegore to Robert Rodriguez. Or as Danny calls the Eyegores, the Bad-Ass Oscars.
The last Eyegore Award was presented to Slash who played "Nothing Left to Fear" with Myles Kennedy.
All of the presenters and award winners. Great group this year!!
After the awards it was time to head out into the event. We've also included some maze pictures from the park.
First we headed to the lower lot.
An American Werewolf in London
Given my love for the movie this was easily my most anticipated maze of the event, and I'm happy to say that it didn't disappoint. The scenes were great, the werewolves were amazing but the transformation scene, wow. So well done.
Roughly 90 minutes into the event, the three backstage mazes had about an hour line. So expect to spend awhile down here.
As we reported last month, the walk back to the mazes, which was actually not a bad walk at all.
Heading to Terminus
First maze up on the Backlot was From Dusk Till Dawn
From Dusk Till Dawn
The maze itself was great, it was "The Twister". Unfortunately this maze suffered from "Conga Line Syndrome" which really eliminated the scares.
Alien Vs Predator
This is the Dark Horse hit of this years event. Great talent, great scenery, great effects. But once again, Conga Line (which did allow us to get some pictures).
One other thing that we noticed with both AvP and The Walking Dead was a food cart in the Gate A line. Which meant that stand-by guests were in the Gate A line to get food, and then they'd stay in the Gate A line. Which made Gate A about 25 minutes for AvP even though maybe 40% of the people didn't have Gate A as the employees were letting everybody through.
Hopefully this is something they'll fix by next weekend. Food is needed when people are spending 3 hours on the Back Lot mazes, but they need to find a better spot.
The Conga Line did allow us to get some pictures.
The Walking Dead
It was close to last years, although I do think it was slightly better this year. The "Tunnel" room going to Terminus was actually pretty awesome.
Due to time constraints I had to skip Clowns but will be sure to do it next time we are at the event. When that is, still trying to figure it out. =)
But here are some pictures provided by the park of Clowns 3D - Music by Slash
I love the Slash clown
As you can see, by about 9:45pm the lower lot and back lot mazes had very long lines while the two upper lot mazes were essentially walk-on's.
Which is pretty much what we noted in our HHN Guide.
Dracula Untold: Reign of Blood
On the upper lot, Dracula Untold was essentially a walk-on. This is another great maze with some great talent. I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to going through this a few more times.
Was glad to see how well the scare zones turned out with their show lighting.
Dark Christmas was AWESOME!! So looking forward to spending some time just observing in this area next time we are at the event.
The Purge: Anarchy
Face Off: In The Flesh
Really great and IMO, the best of the makeovers in the House of Horrors spot. They didn't try to shoehorn a theme into the maze and just let the Face Off designers do what they do best. Be sure to check it out when you are there. Not to be missed.
One last look at the wait times.
From what we heard from opening night and Saturday night, taking advantage of the Annual Pass "First Stab" allows you to get two walk-through's of AvP, Walking Dead and From Dusk Till Dawn as well as American Werewolf in London and Clowns 3D prior to most of the HHN guests arriving in that area.
So it technically would be possible to not do the Front of the Line, but you have to plan ahead.
This was the creepiest picture I took all night ... who can tell me why? =)
That's going to wrap it up for this update. We hope you enjoyed this look at the Eyegore Awards and HHN. Thanks once again to Universal for having us out to the event, we were humbled and thrilled to be included.
Can't wait to be back at HHN very soon.
Every year Halloween Horror Nights seems to get bigger and bigger, and so do the crowds.
Below you will find some of our tips for making the most out of your Halloween Horror Nights experience.
Some do's and don'ts and most importantly, what should be your "plan of attack" for the night.
You can also check out the HHN site for more information on tickets, hours, etc.
If you MUST go on a Friday or Saturday and you can't do the Front of the Line Pass, hopefully the tips below will help you out a bit.
Annual Passholders: The AP page to buy tickets is here. You can save Up to $30. Plus, with First Stab enjoy the day and get first access to the Walking Dead, From Dusk till Dawn, or AVP Maze!
Basically with First Stab, as long as you are inside the park prior to 5pm you can wait in a special queue on the lower lot and get walked back to the three Metro Set mazes (Walking Dead, Alien vs Predator and From Dusk Til Dawn). This allows you to get through those three mazes in the time that it would take regular guests to get down to that area.
Metro Set Mazes:
Most people assume that you should head to the Terror Tram first. And if you don't show up when the event starts then this is probably your best bet. But if you have followed the instructions above and are at the event at opening, first thing you should do is head down to the Lower Lot and walk to the Metro Set mazes (The Walking Dead, Alien vs Predator and From Dusk Til Dawn).
From what we've heard from employee preview night, AvP is a definite repeat maze. Utilizing this strategy should allow you to get through all of these mazes once and perhaps a second go on AvP prior to most of the crowds showing up.
Front of the Line tip: When the event opens, go through these mazes once with the General Public and use your FOTL pass later in the evening when it's busier. If you don't want to walk all the way back to the Metro sets later in the night, go through them once with the GP and then use your FOTL privilege right after to get two trips through each maze.
Lower Lot Mazes:
Once you have completed the Metro Set mazes and made your walk back to the Lower Lot, you should then do American Werewolf In London and Clowns: 3D Music By Slash.
Front of the Line tip: Same rules apply. If the lines are not long, go through once with the General Public and then use your FOTL pass later in the evening. Getting back down to the lower lot mazes is much easier than walking back to the Metro Set mazes.
If you don't have a Front of the Line Pass, don't be tempted by "Jurassic Park: In The Dark". It's just "Jurassic Park: At Night". But if it's hot and there isn't a line, by all means go for it.
At this point you've already completed 5 of the 7 mazes so it's time to head up to the Terror Tram.
Depending on the night, you may have a bit of a wait if you don't have a Front of the Line pass, so be sure to use the restroom and get a snack/drink before getting in line. Even if the line seems long it's always moving unlike maze lines.
Front of the Line tip: If it's an unexpectedly slow night and there isn't much of a line, feel free to go in with the GP and go again with your FOTL pass. But more likely than not you are only going to be able to do one trip on the Terror Tram.
You are probably going to need to rest by now, feel free to stop by Mel's or Gru's and get a snack, a meal, etc. Sit around Mask-A-Raid, Dark Christmas or The Purge and watch the talent in action.
Upper Lot Mazes:
If you've followed the strategy at this point you'll only have two mazes left and plenty of time to do them. We've heard that Dracula: Untold is a surprise hit maze (at least from Employee Preview night) so you may want to leave time to do this one twice.
Also remember that Face Off: In The Flesh will be your last chance EVER to walk through House of Horrors, so if you usually skip this maze, you may want to take the time to do it.
Once you have completed all the mazes you can hang around the scare zones and watch the talent, check the wait board to see if there are any short maze or ride lines or if you have a Front of the Line Pass use up any trips you haven't already.
Do some shopping, grab a t-shirt, watch the fire in The Purge and drive home safely.
We hope you enjoyed this strategy guide. If you have any additional tips be sure to share them below and we'll add them to the article. After you've gone to the event be sure to post and let us know if this strategy worked for you or if any tweaks need to be made.
Have fun at Halloween Horror Nights!!