Halloween is the best time of the year and for us Orlando local’s that means? It’s time to get our spooks in at Universal Studio’s Halloween Horror nights. With Hurricane season dwindling down it’s the perfect time to get out of the house and this year? We were fortunate to gain access to the Annual Passholder’s early access night for opening weekend. We arrived at the park at 4:45 pm and were able to get signed into registration and to our holding area over in the Simpson’s portion of the park. At 5:30pm we were let lose to visit 3 of the houses open to us in the area. They were Blumhouse, Scarecrow the Reaping and The Hive.
With everyone going left we went right and entered into The Hive. This is an original concept house about a nest of thirsty vampires. Make sure you go when the sun has already set, this way your eyes are already adjusted to the dark. The first time we went through we couldn’t see much and it seemed over foggy so we weren’t able to enjoy the house that much. However, the second time we went through the house we were able to see the scenic much better as well as the actors and their fantastic make up. It is one of the best houses in the parks this year.
Next we hit up Scarecrow the Reaping, a house about an abandoned farm in the depression era. The outside façade was adorned wigth corn stalks and a skeleton like scarecrow. The corn stalks took a bit of a beating thanks to Hurricane Wilma but still did their job. The Team Members (TM’s) had us enter the house side by side which was something we have never done before at Horror Nights or any other Haunt we visited. The scenic in this zone was interesting with a lot of it dangling from the ceilings for you to walk through. The scare actors were on point in their Scarecrow and Pig Masks were terrifying. It is already a fan favorite and we could see why.
By this time the park was open to regular attendees so the line for Blumhouse was much longer than we were willing to wait at that time in the evening. Not only that but we couldn’t wait to get over to the Ash Vs Evil Dead House.
We ran over to Ash Vs Evil Dead. Now, I’m going to say this. If you have not seen the show or any of the Evil Dead movies you more than likely will not be a huge fan of this house. For us fangirls this house was a dream. The scenic was fantastic, so were the deadites and of course – Ash. There are a few hilarious scenes from the show and even some scenes from the original Evil Dead Films. This house quickly became my favorite for the night.
The Trick ‘R Treat Scare Zone was the first one that we got to go through and it is glorious. The pumpkins all around were carved up for Halloween, some with faces paying homage to other films. The roaming scare actors in the area were perfect and right out of the movie. The Sam’s that roamed about were fantastic and keep an eye on that kid on the stoop. He doesn’t look so good…
Next we caught the Academy of Villians show which was scaled down. Hurricane Irma damaged the original stage and in front of The Horror Make Up show there was a smaller temp stage for them to perform. They were amazing and added some crowd interaction that they did not have last year. Rumors are Universal is rebuilding the larger stage to make it safe so that the Villians can perform their original show. I for one am looking forward to the final version of their show.
The last house we went to on opening night was The Fallen. This house is another original concept house where your caught in the crossfire of a war between the light and the dark. This is one of my favorite houses. The decor alone is amazing, I wish I could have gotten pictures of it to show you. The scares were plentiful and coming from directions you would not expect. This is on my repeat list of houses to hit.
When we left the park we went through the Festival of the Deadliest Scare Zone which had characters from each house roaming the streets. Signs adorned the walk way displaying each movie house name. We were informed that additional props were being worked on and would be added later on but were unfinished opening night due to Irma.
We did spend some time looking for the specialty drinks that had been advertised online. We wanted to try the S’mores, Pumpkin Spice and Candy Corn specialty drinks. We searched high and low and at the end of the night found a stand selling them Between the Simpsons Land and Harry Potter as soon as you cross over the bridge if your leaving The Simpsons. We were told that these drinks were non-alcoholic and could not be given to us in a souvenir cup. The S’mores was delicious where the Pumpkin Spice was flat out disgusting. Don’t waste your money on that flavor.
We spoke with aTeam Member who advised us that at the last minute Universal’s higher ups decided to get rid of the shot nurses and restrict liquor sales to the three main bars. The beer tents would serve beer, wine and the other three specialty drinks being offered. If you wanted a Jack and Coke you would need to head to Finnegans. We were told that this was an attempt to control some of the wild behavior that was associated with Horror Nights. Personally we can’t say that I blame them and think it’s a great idea. Other Horror Night fans may disagree and are upset over the new change. We’ll see if it sticks in the coming weeks.
On opening night we were able to knock out 4 houses a show and 2 scare zones. So far Universal was off to a great start. I enjoyed 3 out of the 4 houses which usually doesn’t happen. We are frequent fear pass holders which is a great way to go on multiple nights and experience the houses and scare zones a number of times without having to plunk down the cash for the Express Pass. Stay tuned for Part 2 and more HHN 27 coverage!