We just got back from our amazing trip to Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 23. We spent three nights experiencing the terror, gore and awesome that is our favourite Halloween event. This year’s focus was on zombies and more zombies, which was cool until we got sick of them and hearing The Walking Dead theme in every inch of the park. Read on check out our photos and read our thoughts on the event.
Here’s an overview of everything we saw, with our reviews & observations. For details on the back stories for all the houses, check out our Halloween Horror Nights 23 overview.
American Werewolf in London: Hands down the best house of the entire event. It was like walking through the movie, scene by scene. Around every corner was another amazing set…I thought it was over when it wasn’t. The best scares…lots of places you would expect scares didn’t happen them, then BAM!!
Cabin In The Woods: Such a great house! Incredibly detailed, too much to see in one trip through. This replicated the movie exactly, including the Merman! This had the longest lines the entire time of our visits. Exactly like the movie…wish I could explore more without being rushed through …although it did scare me so not sure how much lingering I would be able to do!
Evil Dead: The goriest house of all, incredible effects and some very shocking scenes from the film were showcased. This was richly detailed and followed the exact flow of the movie.
The Walking Dead: Line was about 20 mins…super fun with recognizable things from the show. The prison scene was the best…goes from calm to chaotic at the sound of an alarm. This was more intense than we thought it would be…lot’s of in your face scares.
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure: Funny show as always spoofing the latest in pop culture, this year the set was reminiscent of Camp Crystal Lake, only called Camp Morning Wood. Great effects, dancing and some excellent riffs on Disney. We loved the Avatarland reference…check it out on YouTube if you can find it!
Death’s Vengeance: Very disorienting….due to the 3D glasses…they added to the lighting effects…lots of different ones in this house. In addition to lasers and of course the classic spinning tunnel Not too scary though, although the group of women behind us kept startling us due to their screams.
La Lorena: Overall great theming…not as scary as I expected. It was a cool original house brought over from Universal Studios Hollywood…the story was great and the outside waiting area was very well themed.
Havoc: Derailed: Didn’t get to see this…but heard it wasn’t anything special.
Zombies. Way too many zombies. Don’t get us wrong here, The Walking Dead is super cool and the maze was wicked, however we miss the unique scare zones of years past. This year, the streets just seemed empty at times with zombies chasing people and nothing really that exciting going on. In addition, you had zombies in Cabin In The Woods, Evil Dead, The Walking Dead and Resident Evil. It was zombie overkill. Next year, please spread the wealth amongst other types of monsters too! And bring back real scare zones.
Lines were totally nuts, even when we got into the park early during the weeknights. On Sunday night they sold out of Universal Express passes, resulting in 30+ minute waits for the people with Express passes. Meaning regular lines took much longer than they should have been. American Werewolf in London had a posted 70 minute wait, in reality it took over 90 minutes to get inside. They would let tons of Express in first, followed by only a few regular line. They need to adjust the way they do this. We get it’s a big money-maker, but the regular guest suffers as a result.
The wait times seemed to be very off, with the main boards showing completely different times than the houses. In addition, we had issues getting wait times on their phones because the mobile site didn’t recognize us as being in the park, even though we were. We ended up using Twitter a lot to stay posted on wait times, which was super helpful. We did our best to tweet out wait times as we came across them.
Overall the event was awesome as always, we just wish the lines weren’t as long and the scare zones were better. It is a not to be missed event and we highly recommend visiting because Universal knows how to run a Halloween event.
A couple of tips: Get there early! Buy your tickets ahead of time and print them at the Islands of Adventure Will Call…no lines! Don’t bring a bag full of stuff. Leave your bags at home…to the left of the Universal entrance is a no bag line to get through security…way faster than in the big crowd. Make sure to finish your drink if you have one…they won’t let you in until you do.
Go to the park early…they opened the gates at 6 with a little pre show….a full 30 minutes before the official opening time. Check out our Theme Park Pro tips and follow them to make sure you have the best experience possible.
One last thing: We still don’t understand why people wait to buy their tickets at the gate and wait in unnecessary line. It’s a few stages to get in, so why wait in another line?