Sunday, October 5, 2014

Haunt Season 2014 - Event #3 - Halloween Horror Nights (Universal Studios)

Haunt Season 2014 - Event #3 - Halloween Horror Nights (Universal Studios)

  Before I get into this next installment, can't believe people actually still read blogs, lol.  My stats went crazy over the last couple of days, so thank you all for reading them.  Makes me want to do them.
  Well, today, I'm exhausted.  Tough night sleep, another really late night, but good times all around.  This morning I finally went to bed around 4:15, not too bad, but still crazy.  My haunt family heads home today, and I might have another event or two to do in the coming days.
  So Halloween Horror Nights...this one is a tough one to start.  The sticker shock on this event stays in your mind while you are at the event.  Is the event worth the cash?  I'm still undecided.  Yes and no will probably be my final answer.  And the sad thing is if you want to do EVERYTHING at the event, you have to get the front of the line pass or you are either screwed, or so rushed to do everything you won't get a chance to sit back and enjoy it.  But on a side note, if you only go to Universal Studios once a year, and you go during HHN, then you'll be able to do the full park except for the tram ride.  So in a couple of years, I might be considering this option in order to get a ride on Harry Potter.  Sticker Price for a family of four with front of the line access will run you about 600, yeah.

  Universal Studios does Front of the Line access a little differently than other parks.  Other parks you pay the price, then get unlimited access to everything.  At Universal, Front of the Line access gives you front of the line access to everything once, including certain attractions.  Now there was an exception to the rule which I'll get into later.  But for me, this is an issue.  I don't see everything in my first walk through, I need a couple of walk through's to really see a maze.  So only seeing it once, not okay for me.  Thanks to very short lines when we first got there, I was able to see one maze twice, and go on two rides twice, which was cool.  But still, only once through with the pass?  BOOOO!!!


  My first introduction to Universal Studios HHN was an interesting one.  They first give you the 3D glasses that have shown up at a couple of haunts I've been too.  Not really 3D glasses, but they make the colors stand out so it looks 3D.  I think it looks cool.  Add clowns doing crazy things and you have this maze.
  A couple of examples: A clown disemboweling someone with the entrails wrapped around their neck and dancing.  A freezer container with some clowns, and it was really cold.  A van of clowns that jumps out at you, which seemed to be a running gag in most of the mazes, something being launched at you, and of course clowns with knives, chainsaws, and whatever else they can get their hands on.
  It was a fun maze, the colors were cool, but I was expecting more from Universal.  So after going through this one, I was a little nervous in regards to the night.
  PS There was music?
  Walk Thru: 1


  My second maze, and one that left me with HOLY CRAP, THAT'S MORE LIKE IT!!  Now I'm not sure if I've seen this movie or it's been so long that I don't remember.  But this was a pretty sweet maze with some amazing environments.  First a bar, then a forest with a guy being eaten by a werewolf, Nazi like beings slitting a guys throat and shooting the room up, a hospital, a subway car flying at you (again, that something inanimate coming at you) and multiple Werewolf's snarling at you with flashing lights.  These werewolf's were freaking awesome.  A couple of times, I waited back to see it happen again...and again...and again...HELL YEAH.
  So at Dark Harbor I mentioned that group of girls that hung on me for a part of the maze because they were frightened.  It happened again in this maze...except they were boys, about the same age too.  They were hilarious, but kept pushing into me, and I like to take my time, chill, enjoy.
  Possibly my favorite maze of the night, but there's another one that is either tied, or a close second.
  This maze, we walked through with no wait when we got there.  So I was able to go back at the end of the evening to ride this again.  It was to my great disappointment to find some of the wolves not working, and a lot of the corridors empty, but the maze was PACKED with people.  Glad we walked through at the beginning.
  Walk Thru: 2


  Apparently, last year this was actually another tram ride.  This year, we walked to the mazes down on the lot.  The walk included some walkers (aka walking dead) and a walk through a tunnel that resembled the one in Walking Dead.  Entering the Back Lot, you come upon this really awesome building with lit up windows of walkers attacking people, I thought this was a really cool scene. 
  But there were people EVERYWHERE.  The Walking Dead maze had a two hour wait...a two hour wait?  There better be a buffet at the end of that line!  Lol.  The AVP maze also had a 100 minute wait.  Just tons and tons of people.
  To entertain the growing line, there were people asking questions to hand out prizes, very sexy dressed ladies dancing in cages, and videos of said ladies up on the big screen.  There were also vendors selling crap like food and merchandise.  It was absolutely nuts and at times it looked out of control, which it probably wasn't, but still.
  Thanks to the front of line pass, Robert and I didn't get close enough to get our picture taken with those lovely dancers, so sad.  But they are saved in the same folder Elvira is.


  Ah, the Walking Dead.  The only maze that I've actually seen the show for recently.  So for me it was cool to see the tank that had broken through the fence into the jail area, the cell block where the characters lived, the convenient store where they looked for stuff.  All very cool.  But the problem with picking Walking Dead for this maze is that most of this season happened in the woods following a train track, so all you got were a couple of scenes from the beginning of the season, then you were done. 
  Way too short of a maze and was a big disappointment to the group, including myself.  But damn, it was cool to see some of that stuff from the show.  I should have watched the other movies more recently so I could have been more involved in the maze.
  On a side note, if I waited 100 minutes for this maze, and then went through it, I would not be a happy camper.  I don't think I'd be a happy camper going through any maze after waiting 100 minutes unless one of those dancing girls in the cage gave me a private show, just saying.  It's like 200 bucks for a Shania Twain concert?  She better be giving me a lap dance too.
  Walk Thru: 1


  OH...MY...GOD!!  Now I haven't seen the movie in forever, but man this was an awesome maze.  First up you see the down Predator ship with some larger than life predators.  YES YES YES YES.  There were these windows where the crawling alien things would fly around then SMACK against the window trying to get you.  Yeah, I saw the line moving these things, but damn that was cool.  The alien eggs, the aliens coming out of chests (um, they looked like penises, sorry kids, but I have to say that), and a couple of scenes you walked through an alien and a predator freaking fighting.  I think I've only said this once but YES YES YES YES YES.  I stopped to try to take a picture of them fighting but it was too dark and the flashing of lights screwed everything up.  Then at the very end, the mother alien freaking huge towering over you, trying to reach for you, oh my god YES!!!
  Unfortunately, there were some problems with this maze.  I understand that the scareactors need a break.  But stop the line in a section and do it without being seen by the paying public.  I saw three different instances where the actors were being switched out.  Completely took me out of the storyline. 
  This was also my first experience at how Universal packs the maze with people.  Instead of a steady walk through, I was forced to stop and wait for people to go through.  I'm paying the big bucks for front of the line, I want to be alone with my group without seeing others.  And if I paid the 250 dollar ticket, oh you better give me my space, you know?
  Great maze though, sad that I couldn't experience it a couple of more times.
  Walk Thru: Sadly...1


  This is probably number 3 for the night.  Great environments, tons of women in bikini's or underwear covered in blood, trying to attack us with knives.  Here's my question: the mazes are covered in blood, tons of terror, a rated R type environment.  So why no bad language and nudity?  It would definitely make it feel more real.  I mean we are in a strip joint for goodness sake.  And if you are taking a kid through this, you should expect these things. 
  My biggest problem with this maze is that the scareactors jumped out at you then went immediately back inside their hiding spots.  I like it when they jump out at you, then give you a bad time for a little bit, then go back to hiding.  One example of this being successfully done is the bikini clad vampire jumping out with a chainsaw, cutting into a body with blood flying all over the place, then hiding again. 
  It was a fun walk through, with some fun scenes.  But I think I would have loved it more if I had seen the movie more recently.  Need to remember that for next time.
  Walk Thru: Sadly again...1


  The cool thing about the Terror Tram is it took you to a location on the backlot, after watching a sum up of Season 4 of The Walking Dead, then you get to walk through the sets for Bates Motel and the War of the Worlds, freaking awesome, right?  But the scareactors and the theming just didn't work. 
  So the tram pulls up and there's a line of guards in full armor with what looks to be guns or chainsaws, I think they were chainsaws.  First, you don't use guns or chainsaws because it attracts the walkers, duh.  Then they have the walkers walking around with the guards.  Then there's more walking dead around the motel, and up to the house.  There is a cool road section where it looks like people were camping and there was blood all over the windows of the car, very cool.  But then you get to the Bates Motel house and you can take a picture with Norman Bates, then into the War of the Worlds section where there's zombies.  There's also these really bad zombie mannequins that looks kind of stupid.  We are at Universal Studios, we expect more right? 
  Then we are on the tram and we are heading back.  Like I said, disappointing.  They could do so much back there, I have faith Universal, amaze us!!
  Walk/Ride Thru: 1


  Let's take a quick break from the haunts.  Now I LOVE my boys, and LOVE taking them to theme parks.  But tonight, I was with 7 other adults and it was freaking awesome.  We filled up ride cars, filled up a table while we ate hot dogs, it was all freaking awesome.  Sure at times we got separated and it took a second to get back, but we all hung out together.  There weren't any clicks, just people talking to everybody, it was an amazing time and everybody was excited about something.  Deanna was so excited to see An American Werewolf she turned into a 16 year old girl right before our eyes, it was that kind of awesomeness that we had last night.  Hanging out with a good group of folks doing something I love...priceless.
  When me and the boys go, the boys always want to take the stairs.  So when we were going back up, I took the stairs.  And to my surprise, Darrell joined me.  Then Darrell got tired and Robert joined me.  Then the final staircase, the three of us ran up it.  It was awesome, even cooler to hear them talking about how their feet didn't hurt anymore.  Three men running up stairs like they were kids, how cool is that?


  This maze we were told SUCKED, so there a lot of jokes being told before we entered this maze.  And because our expectations were so extremely low, I think we all enjoyed it. Lots of people jumping out at us, lots of those non animated objects being thrown towards us, and areas where it wasn't really themed to anything.  Also quite a bit of bodies or body parts hanging from the roof that we had to get around.  But one of my favorite scenes of the night was in this maze.  There were these really old buildings on fire and you had to walk around them.  It was a really cool, haunted scene.  I could have gone through that area a couple of times.
  Not one of the best, but definitely cool to see.
  Walk Thru: Again, sadly...1


  Another one of the weaker mazes because I really have no connection with the costumes these people were dressed in.  Some of the environments were cool, and I probably would have enjoyed the monster maze that was here year round, which will now be gone forever.  It's a long maze, with more strobe lights (getting tired of those folks, I won't lie to you), but some cool and fun stuff.  The only real scene that stick out is you walk over the room on a bridge, then you climb down the stairs, and enter this dance party with some cool creatures.  That was fun, and that female dancer, very sexy.
  Like Knotts, even the bad mazes were better than ones I've seen at say Discovery Kingdom or Fright Planet.  So while I am giving these a bad time, they were still pretty awesome and I would be glad to go through any of these again, with no complaints...well, except for the price.


  Okay, so this isn't a scare zone, but the audio from the escalator was hilarious.  "Please keep an eye on the escalator and ignore that beautiful girl coming up from the other direction, she is way out of your league and you will just embarrass yourself."  "Please keep an eye on the escalator or I will eat you up and you will be left as a bloody pulp."  "Please turn right for AVP and turn left, which is the opposite of right, for Werewolf.  Don't ask me questions, I'm not a freaking GPS, I'm an escalator."  Just funny stuff.  I was also inappropriate with Tom Hanks...see, I can be myself with these guys, it's awesome!!


  Love Skullz.  When we were down in the lower lot going on the rides, these guys would come up on us and have some fun.  They were standing on stilts with cow skulls, very cool.  I have a picture on my camera of Shannon and her sister with one.  I'll get that posted shortly.  Loud music, some fog, and cool lighting complete this area.  Oh and Universal, go to Knotts, they will show you how to do fog correctly.  Just saying.


  This one fans of Horror Nights got to vote for three and this was the winner.  I chose a different one, can't remember.  Not a huge fan of this area, but it was fun.


  Haven't seen the second movie, but I get the idea that the night is filled with chaos and laws are on hold for the night.  Lots of characters chasing people in an attempt to kill.  One lady I saw take off and the guy chased her a good distance, that is a good scare zone.  Don't just jump, but run run run, that's what the Purge is all about.  Well done.  Got some pictures of this on my Instagram.  Also, there was some kind of presentation at the front of this maze, but I didn't stop and listen, too much to do.


  Loved it, loved it, loved it.  This whole area was MESSED UP!!  It's for all of us that hate Christmas popping up during our Halloween month.  It's like an R rated version of Nightmare Before Christmas.  Reindeer as skeletons or hairy monsters, naughty children being tortured, scary Santa Clauses with knives, just fantastic.  Oh and crazy Christmas music with people being tortured.  Lol, awesome.  Love this area.


  Surprising, along with our front of the line access to the mazes, we also got front of the line access, once, for the rides.  So we rode Mummy, Transformers, Despicable Me, The Simpsons, all with no wait.  Got to see the whole park in one night, it was fantastic.  We got on Mummy and Transformers before the lines were long so we didn't use our front of the line passes, so I got to ride Mummy twice.  And riding Mummy with adults, hilarious.  After they left, I think we were all walkers due to the last couple of days, I headed back downstairs and went on Jurassic Park.  Love that ride but the boys are scared of it.  On the top level, they play Welcome to the Jungle and it looks like the dinosaurs are dancing.  Hilarious. After seeing Werewolf again and then heading over to Mummy, I decide to do the single rider line for Jurassic Park, but they saw my badge and told me not to worry about the fact that I had already used my one time, and got to ride it again.  I didn't get wet, luckily, but man what a night.

So this unfortunately ends my so cal weekend trip with my haunt family.  It was an unbelievable week and I couldn't thank Doug and Shannon enough for letting me tag along.  It's an experience that I hope I can afford every year.

Tonight, there's a possibility that I might be doing a San Diego Haunt, them tomorrow is the Disneyland Halloween Party, so I'll have write ups for all of those soon too.  And if I can, I'll write something up for the Dungeon as well. 

Just like last time, I now need to get ready to hang out with my bro, so no editing on this one either.  Thanks for reading, leave a comment, and I'll see you next time.  And hey, go see a haunt this year, even if you are scared to death.  It might surprise you how much fun you have, and I'll go with you if you need someone's back to hide behind.

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