Universal Orlando Halloween Horror Nights 28 – Day 1 (9-15-18)

For some strange reason we haven’t been to Halloween Horror Nights since 2001. I think the crowds scared us, I don’t know. But several months ago I decided I really wanted to go this year.

Not only that, but I wanted to do it right. Multi-Day passes with Express. Not a cheap proposition, but I didn’t want to go once and miss a bunch of stuff. Kim was a good sport and went along with it.

As the event drew closer, and announcements for the various scare zones and haunted houses were made, I realized I picked a good year for our triumphant return. Poltergeist is Kim’s favorite horror movie, and in my top 10. Trick ‘r Treat is also in my top 10, and Sam is my all-time favorite horror icon. I’m also a big Michael Myers fan. And both of us are fans of Stranger Things. So 4 of the 5 IP houses were big draws for us.

And that’s just the houses. As soon as I heard there was going to be a Killer Klowns from Outer Space scare zone, it was official. We were attending Halloween Horror Nights 28!

All that was left was purchasing tickets. I ended up going with the Frequent Fear Plus pass. The price was $122.99 per ticket. A very reasonable price for a ticket that is good for every single Sunday-Friday, plus the first and last Saturdays. A total of 30 potential nights for $122.99. But the ticket price isn’t where they get you. They get you with the Express Pass. Adding Express brought each ticket price from $122.99 to $419.99! I almost skipped Express, but everything I’ve heard says wait times are a nightmare without it. So I bit the bullet and bought Express.

We decided to take advantage of the first Saturday of the event, as it was one of the two Saturdays our ticket was good. So Saturday afternoon we set out for Universal!

We arrived in the parking lot at approximately 2:45pm. We wanted to walk around a bit before the actual event started… get the lay of the land. We approached the gates just before 3pm.

Hello Universal!

We walked through the Chucky and Twisted Tradition scare zone areas to scope out the AP early entry area. We had signed up for tonight, and I wanted to see how things worked.

I was told they would start letting people into the AP early entry area at 4pm. So we walked around a bit, and returned at 4pm. They must have started earlier, as quite a few people were already inside, and in line. You entered the line in Central Park:

And the actual holding area was in front of Duff’s. We were at the very front of the holding area. Here is the scene behind us at 4:45.

At around 5pm, we were led to a second holding area closer to the houses that we would have early access to.

At around 5:20 or so, we were let loose. Slaughter Cinema and Dead Exposure: Patient Zero were both open, and Horrors of Blumhouse would open shortly thereafter. Most of the crowd went to DE:PZ first, as it was about 25 steps closer. We went to Slaughter Cinema and were the third party to enter the house. We then did DE:PZ immediately after. Both without Express.

I have to apologize in advance. Once the event started, I was pretty excited and often forgot to take pictures. So the pictures coming up aren’t the best!

I’ll do a detailed ranking of the houses in a future post. Here I’ll say that Slaughter Sinema was campy fun, and DE:PZ was too dark for my unadjusted eyes. I barely made out any theming.

After those two houses, we walked past Men in Black to get to Horrors of Blumhouse. We didn’t use Express here either, but I ended up wishing we had. We ended up waiting about 15 minutes, and didn’t revisit it later, so those 15 minutes were wasted.

After this, we headed towards the London area, to make our way towards Poltergeist and Scary Tales. On the way, I picked up one of this year’s specialty drinks, the Wicked Rad Punch.

This was very sweet, and I detected no alcohol.  It didn’t taste bad, but was very overpriced considering the lack of alcohol.

As we walked through London, we decided to poke our heads into Diagon Alley to see what the crowd situation was. We were shocked by what we saw.

There were literally two other guests that we could see in all of Diagon Alley. It was a ghost town. I had heard the crowds were low during HHN, but not like this. I think we just had perfect timing, because quite a few people were entering as we left the area.

We decided to cross over towards the Killer Klowns scare zone. This was by far my most anticipated zone… really the only zone I was truly excited for.

I had to get a picture taken with my favorite klown!

I don’t have any pictures of it, but the Klowns really messed with my wife. One of them chased her around with his balloon dog, and when she tried to escape him, another swooped in on her. The zone is a lot of fun.  This poor woman was being attacked by one of the popcorn baby Klowns.

We then continued towards Poltergeist.  Our path would take us through the Vamp ’85 scare zone.  This zone is fun, but not nearly as fun as the Klowns.

We finally arrived at Poltergeist.  From this point on we used Express for everything, as the waits were all 30 minutes plus, with most being 50+.

Poltergeist was amazing.  The facade and theming were great.  They took a lot of liberties with the story, but all of their choices worked to make a great house.

Since it was right next door, we did Scary Tales: Deadly Ever After next.  This had possibly the best facade of the night, and some very interesting scenes.  Another winner.

Next we did Carnival Graveyard.  If Scary Tales doesn’t have the best facade, then CG does.  This had some great theming, and lots of Easter Eggs.  Solid house.

Next we made our way to Halloween 4.  I think this movie is very underrated.  For the most part, the characters make intelligent choices, which is a rarity in horror movies.  It has a great final girl, and a spectacular ending.  And of course, it has Michael Myers.  So I was looking forward to this house, even though I had heard mostly bad things from opening night.

We really enjoyed this house.  It probably had the best scares of the night.  I know that’s just good timing, but I’ll take it!

Our path to and from Halloween 4 took us through the Revenge of Chucky scare zone.  There were some interesting characters walking around, and an amusing show featuring a Chucky puppet that insults the people watching.

We also walked past Mel’s Die-In.

We had been putting off Stranger Things, as the wait was 2+ hours all night.  We finally bit the bullet and headed that way.  The posted wait was 2h 15m, and it was a zoo.

Even with Express, we ended up waiting about 50 minutes.  It’s a good house, with some great theming and wonderful look-alike actors.  But it was barely worth the 50 minutes we waited.  I couldn’t imagine waiting more than 2 hours.  While I was in line, I noticed these projections on the Transformers building.

We finally decided to get some food.  At this point my back (I have a bad back) was killing me and I needed a break.  We headed towards the E.T. area to get some Pizza Fries!

Depending on who you ask, these Pizza Fries are either awesome or the most overrated thing ever.  Well, put us in the awesome camp.  These were really tasty.  I particularly liked the sausage.

We only had two houses left, and they were located right by the Pizza Fries location.  So we went there next.

First we did Seeds of Extinction.  The idea behind this house is great, but I’m not sure about the execution.  It was okay, but nothing special.

We had inadvertently saved my most anticipated house for last.  Trick ‘r Treat.  We were physically beat at this point, so I was worried we wouldn’t be able to appreciate the house.  Luckily, I was mistaken.  This house is a blast.  It’s not particularly scary, but the theming is wonderful, and it’s a whole lot of fun.

After Trick ‘r Treat, we made another quick lap through the scare zones, and then called it a night.  We left at around 11:30.  Good night HHN!

Overall it was a great event.  It was extremely crowded, but that’s to be expected on the first Saturday of the event.  With Express we were able to get everything done with lots of time to spare.  It may have been difficult to do all 10 houses without Express, so I’m glad we had it.

We’ll be back at HHN at least a few more times throughout the season.  I’ll try to remember to take better pictures in the future.

Thanks for reading!

Author: DougE

I'm the owner/operator of destinationdoug.com, and am based in Central Florida.

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