Review: Halloween Horror Nights 26 At Universal Orlando Resort

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Universal Orlando Halloween Horror Nights 26 Official Logo

Source: (©Universal Orlando)

UNIVERSAL ORLANDO-Halloween Horror Nights 26, is the one of the most popular fan based theme park haunts in the United States that attracts millions of visitors each year around the Fall. If your someone that loves the screams, the terror, and the bloodshed then this right up your alley. Before diving into the review and just letting everyone know that if your brave enough to handle the fear and terror of this event and to be advised that, younger children under the age 16 aren’t permitted to do this kind of event due towards the graphic nature and explicit content that will probably make smaller children cry there eyes out and not recommended for them. Advise leaving them somewhere else and in which this event is more suitable for younger adults and adults to handle this kind of environment.

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando ran from September 16th-Ocotber 31st and was extended for two extra days on November 4th and November 5th because of Hurricane Matthew that hit Florida in October for make up dates.

Just a full disclosure that is a all personal overview of the event and is non affiliated and not represent in anyway with Universal Orlando or it’s team members and opinions and all other matters are not reflected in anyway or kind with other associated parties too. 

As someone who was a first timer and never tackle upon a large scale size for a theme park haunt like Halloween Horror Nights and the overwhelming preparation that goes into this event is really honestly a lot of work to pull this off. Not to mention with the size of the props and sets that take over the different sections of the park to set the atmosphere and to give the scares and thrills played by hundreds of scare actors/actresses for the park’s guests.

Universal Orlando is mainly based on IP (Intellectual Property) houses from classic and popular horror films and television and also including two original houses that are non-IP based. This also includes four different scare zones that are scattered through out the park with amazing attention towards detail to fit the concept of a scare zone with the park. This also applies towards Universal Orlando’s sister park for Universal Studios Hollywood that is IP based too but, only has a single scare zone and are separated between the upper and lower lots of the park since Universal Studios Hollywood is still a operating film studio. Reason due so because the space is more bigger in Orlando verses Hollywood to hold more room for the sets of the houses. Both coasts had the same line up like Orlando does but, the only two differences is one house for Hollywood which is “Freddy vs. Jason” and “The Purge” scare zone.

Universal Orlando so far in the previous years of this event had the biggest and strongest line up for this year. In which the fan presence for the thrills and chills for the anticipation of this particular line up that were announced earlier this year for Halloween Horror Nights that made the Internet go haywire. Consisting of major heavy hitter and popular films and television shows ranging from FX’s “American Horror Story”, AMC’s “The Walking Dead”, “The Exorcist”, “Halloween II”, and “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” etc. For someone new like myself who never attended any other HHN events in the past that this was the biggest lineup in the event’s history.

The overwhelming fan demand and that was new for this year’s event was the popular anthology series by Ryan Murphy’s “American Horror Story” consisting of Seasons 1, 4, 5 (Murder House, Freak Show, and Hotel). Arguably since this is the show that I admire and care so much about that it’s one of the best houses that this year had to offer. Not to give any spoilers away and if you were able attend this year’s event that you know what I am exactly talking about if you experienced the “American Horror Story” house by the former Nickelodeon sound stages are.

I attended on a weekday night on Wednesday and was still busy and also to mention that our Express Pass in which is somewhat similar towards Disney’s Fastpass system and able to avoid long wait times was very useful and came in handy. Highly suggest and recommend this especially if going on a weekend nights because lines can be hours and incredibly long and plan your night carefully before attending.

Also to note that filming or photographing was prohibited and not allowed in the houses due to copyright reasons and also to avoid all spoilers to experience the house yourself.

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Huge banner outside after you finish the “American Horror Story” house right by the exit.

The different variety of scare zones were among some of my favorite and some weren’t and didn’t feel as strong in terms of the concept and storytelling behind the zone. Based on non-IP scare zones and being all original in which were “Lair of the Banshee”, “Vamp 55′”, “Dead Man’s Wharf”, and “Survive or Die: Apocalypse”. Also to throw in the mix were random scare zones by dozens of scare actors that are in the different areas of the park. Mainly in which these scare actors are by different attractions that aren’t part of the scare zones like near Springfield (The Simpsons) and Transformers The Ride: 3D. The park doesn’t fail one bit and the whole place is literally crawling all over the place such as chainsaw geisha girls and hillbillies and oh yes LOTS of chainsaws that will make you jump out of your pants!

Personally the best scare zones were for the storytelling behind it for my end were “Vamp 55′” about good old 1950s high school vampires that are something out of from “The Lost Boys” and the “No Chance In Hell” zones. Side note that also every year for HHN is a icon that is like the host and takes control of the whole event or aka the event’s mascot in which is the popular “Chance” that is the fan favorite of her boyfriend of “Jack” the Clown from previous HHN events.

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The “No Chance In Hell” scare zone located right by the front entrance of the park at Universal Orlando.

“Lair of the Banshee” located right by where the “Academy of Villans” stage was and the “Horror Makeup Show”.

“Dead Man’s Wharf” located by the upcoming “Fast and Furious: Supercharged” and right before you enter The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Diagon Alley.

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“Vamp 55′” located by Mel’s Diner on the right hand side of the park by the main entrance and considered one of the best scare zones that was offered at this year’s event.

In ranking of the scare zones for my personal list for being good to bad and have to be “Vamp 55′”, “No Chance In Hell”, “Dead Man’s Wharf”, “Survive or Die: Apocalypse” and “Lair of the Banshee” for being not so the strongest compared towards “Vamp 55′” being the strongest in terms of the whole concept behind it.

If you are big HHN fan and collect a lot of merchandise then the tribute store that is only opened during the seasons of the event that is located by “Revenge of the Mummy” was a excellent shop to pick all kinds of HHN swag to represent your favorite house or in the past years of other houses. Ranging from shirts, hoodies, shot glasses, socks, etc to buy and pick out for your “terrifying” delight.

Models of “Chance” the Hostess of Horror and “Michael Myers” from “Halloween and “Krampus” masks for display and also available to buy during the season of Halloween Horror Nights.

Halloween Horror Nights didn’t complete the night without live entertainment and that was also new for this year was the high-intense energy of choreography of dancers of the famous “Academy of Villains” that were on a past season of “America’s Got Talent”. This production and these guys and gals are absolutely crazy and insane of the all high intensity of stunts and dance moves that teared down the house and blowing audience members away! “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure” is also another fan favorite but, didn’t fit it in for the night and and only had enough time for “Academy of Villains” for the night that I went. Hopefully that Universal Orlando can keep “AOV” all year around because of well they are and the thought process and the work that went behind it.

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“Academy of Villains: House of Fear” blew expectations away and is now a new HHN fan favorite production show at Universal Orlando for being introduced this year.

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando is loved and adored by horror enthusiasts and theme park goers that get scared unexpectedly or up for the challenge that love to be scared. It doesn’t matter if it is your first time like myself or a bunch of many times by veterans in the past that, it is one of the best events during the Halloween season has to offer. The time and effort that is planned out by Universal Creative Entertainment is highly executed and so well done that every single year is about raising the bar higher and higher to make it even better.

The event is expensive and overall from front to end that your getting your money’s worth out of it for HHN to experience your favorite horror movie or television show as “haunting and terrifying” memory to think of for next year’s Halloween season. HHN gets a 5/5 stars for me the overall content of amazing scares, live entertainment, fan favorite theme park rides, dining and so much more the whole park had to offer through out the course of the season.

Hopefully to be back for Halloween Horror Nights 27′ and will able to stand a “Chance” up against it. For other themed entertainment news and reviews, keep checking back here at SkywalkingAdventure.com

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