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Halloween Horror Nights 2021 (USH): Reviews & Photos

Chris Galindo

Veteran Member
Feb 22, 2015
2,595
LA
Thursday the 16th...

TCM is as good as ever, also noticed Leatherface actors are just going crazy and chasing guests within the maze which is awesome. Exorcist had some energetic scare actors but unfortunately, I feel they've cut on them even MORE since EPN...

Hill House was just conga lined and I had 0 enjoyable time. I think I'm just unlucky and the way I'm put through this maze absolutely impacts my impression.

Man, one house I will say improved was Bride of Frankenstein. The Bride actresses are killing it (no pun intended) with how close they get in your face and how much energy there. just is in there. Halloween as well.

Didnt even bother with Pandora and Tram.
 

Clive

aka Fallow
Staff member
Moderator
May 26, 2010
4,101
Thursday the 16th...

TCM is as good as ever, also noticed Leatherface actors are just going crazy and chasing guests within the maze which is awesome. Exorcist had some energetic scare actors but unfortunately, I feel they've cut on them even MORE since EPN...

Hill House was just conga lined and I had 0 enjoyable time. I think I'm just unlucky and the way I'm put through this maze absolutely impacts my impression.

Man, one house I will say improved was Bride of Frankenstein. The Bride actresses are killing it (no pun intended) with how close they get in your face and how much energy there. just is in there. Halloween as well.

Didnt even bother with Pandora and Tram.
All of the mazes have a lot of holes right now. If you went right when it opened, there's a good chance pool performers didn't have time to get there for the opening set. Reinforcements are on the way.

It's really frustrating to hear that Hill House is still conga lining after many decision makers fought for that to stop last weekend. I can't imagine how much that takes away from the experience.
 
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DTH

Member
Nov 7, 2016
996
I've been trying to pinpoint what exactly is wrong with this year's Exorcist maze and it's been hard to come up with an objective reason. Reviewing old footage from 2016's Exorcist maze really does show it is nearly identical, I'd say 95% the same, except for one major thing that I think may be making it worse -- other than a lot of the effects not working. And that's the orientation of how you view the scenes is completely flipped. I know that might be a silly complaint but I really do think it has an effect when comparing it to the film, at least subconsciously.

For example, 2016's maze has you enter scenes from mostly the perspective of how they were shown in the film with the camera usually entering the room. However, in 2021's maze, it is the complete opposite side of the room where usually, say, the window of the room is. This now changes the way you interact with the scene when walking around it from when it was originally conceived as a scare attraction that worked phenomenally and ultimately changes a lot of the ways those scenes were portrayed in the film -- like where the dead priest is laying on the bed. So now not only is the prime way for the maze to work gone, but we're subconsciously thinking "something about this feels wrong."

I also think 2016's maze was a bit quieter in tone and felt more like a build, as where 2021's is just a constant barrage of noise. It might very well be the same exact soundtrack except now in a soundstage, that sound is echoing, who knows. Anyway, that's my best guess, somewhat scientifically, as to what's wrong with this year's Exorcist maze.
 

baconwhiskers

Newcomer
Sep 16, 2021
19
Thursday the 16th...

TCM is as good as ever, also noticed Leatherface actors are just going crazy and chasing guests within the maze which is awesome. Exorcist had some energetic scare actors but unfortunately, I feel they've cut on them even MORE since EPN...

Hill House was just conga lined and I had 0 enjoyable time. I think I'm just unlucky and the way I'm put through this maze absolutely impacts my impression.

Man, one house I will say improved was Bride of Frankenstein. The Bride actresses are killing it (no pun intended) with how close they get in your face and how much energy there. just is in there. Halloween as well.

Didnt even bother with Pandora and Tram.
They’ve been conga lining Pandora as well which ruins it cause it’s actually fun when you don’t see the scare actors reset and the lights flicker off.

Also on Thursday they did it with Halloween which ruined a lot of the scares. My run last week felt way better timed.
 

deadbydawn

Member
Mar 23, 2015
611
Orange County, CA
I've been trying to pinpoint what exactly is wrong with this year's Exorcist maze and it's been hard to come up with an objective reason. Reviewing old footage from 2016's Exorcist maze really does show it is nearly identical, I'd say 95% the same, except for one major thing that I think may be making it worse -- other than a lot of the effects not working. And that's the orientation of how you view the scenes is completely flipped. I know that might be a silly complaint but I really do think it has an effect when comparing it to the film, at least subconsciously.

For example, 2016's maze has you enter scenes from mostly the perspective of how they were shown in the film with the camera usually entering the room. However, in 2021's maze, it is the complete opposite side of the room where usually, say, the window of the room is. This now changes the way you interact with the scene when walking around it from when it was originally conceived as a scare attraction that worked phenomenally and ultimately changes a lot of the ways those scenes were portrayed in the film -- like where the dead priest is laying on the bed. So now not only is the prime way for the maze to work gone, but we're subconsciously thinking "something about this feels wrong."

I also think 2016's maze was a bit quieter in tone and felt more like a build, as where 2021's is just a constant barrage of noise. It might very well be the same exact soundtrack except now in a soundstage, that sound is echoing, who knows. Anyway, that's my best guess, somewhat scientifically, as to what's wrong with this year's Exorcist maze.
That is really interesting point. I didn't think about this when I was in there but I think subconsciously I was wondering why it felt so different!
 
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sick1166

Newcomer
Sep 19, 2021
1
going to hhn 30 just wondering if sun or wed which is a slower night and from all I read guess the s&s or the fast pass or both is recommended
 

JawsVictim

Veteran Member
Nov 3, 2015
1,966
going to hhn 30 just wondering if sun or wed which is a slower night and from all I read guess the s&s or the fast pass or both is recommended
Wrong thread, but I’ll throw in my 2 cents. Wed might be busier if TM comp passes are valid. S&S vs express…it depends on if you want to hit rides or only do the houses. Also depends on how many house runs you want to do. S&S is the cheaper option and should be sufficient for an average night.

BTW, I got a FFP for Hollywood for my birthday. See y’all Westcoasters in the fog the next couple of weeks!
 
Last edited:

HHNManics

Veteran Member
Jun 6, 2016
1,885
I've been trying to pinpoint what exactly is wrong with this year's Exorcist maze and it's been hard to come up with an objective reason. Reviewing old footage from 2016's Exorcist maze really does show it is nearly identical, I'd say 95% the same, except for one major thing that I think may be making it worse -- other than a lot of the effects not working. And that's the orientation of how you view the scenes is completely flipped. I know that might be a silly complaint but I really do think it has an effect when comparing it to the film, at least subconsciously.

For example, 2016's maze has you enter scenes from mostly the perspective of how they were shown in the film with the camera usually entering the room. However, in 2021's maze, it is the complete opposite side of the room where usually, say, the window of the room is. This now changes the way you interact with the scene when walking around it from when it was originally conceived as a scare attraction that worked phenomenally and ultimately changes a lot of the ways those scenes were portrayed in the film -- like where the dead priest is laying on the bed. So now not only is the prime way for the maze to work gone, but we're subconsciously thinking "something about this feels wrong."

I also think 2016's maze was a bit quieter in tone and felt more like a build, as where 2021's is just a constant barrage of noise. It might very well be the same exact soundtrack except now in a soundstage, that sound is echoing, who knows. Anyway, that's my best guess, somewhat scientifically, as to what's wrong with this year's Exorcist maze.
I think the issue really isn't that but it's actually 3 things.

1. Effects (Like you mentioned)
2. Lighting
3. Audio

Starting with effects like you said they aren't working but they are. They're just 20x slower than how they were in 2016. Good example is 2:53 and 3:24 where you can see an effect from 2016 going very fast and the same effect in 2021 being very slow.

The Lighting in several instances was much darker and more thematic in 2016.
IMG_20210920_111857.jpg
IMG_20210920_112555.jpg
I've attached 2 examples where on both of them. Top part is 2016, bottom part is 2021. The Lighting is infinitely better in 2016. Lot of Dark Blues in the Floating scene where in the 2021 it's completely gone.

Lastly with the Audio which is pretty crucial to the Original version in being scary. I'll bring up 2 examples. First one is the "That thing upstairs is not my Daughter".
0:50 - 2016
1:01 - 2021
It sounds like there is a lot more to be concerned about in the 2016 version of the Line versus the 2021 version.

2nd example is Black Hallway after the Floating Scene audio.
5:19 - 2016
5:52 - 2021
The 2016 Version had a build up to the line being "Until she rots and lies stinking in the Earth" and then a double Scare by Pazuzu followed up by a Animatronic Cross Regan.

The 2021 Version has a build up but instead to a less creepy line by one of the Priests followed by 1 Pazuzu Scare and red lighting that gives away the Animatronic Cross Regan Scare before it happens.

There's another point in the Maze where they give away the Scare before it happens which is the Head Twist Scene. Way quicker and more sudden in the 2016 version. The New one is way slower and gives away the Scare.

That's my reasons as to why the 2021 version is Inferior (Aside from the stuff after the Iraq Statue Scrim Effect which I find to be better in terms of flow and story progression but aside from that everything else is better in the 2016 version.)
 
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kingcooger

Veteran Member
Feb 7, 2014
1,284
going to hhn 30 just wondering if sun or wed which is a slower night and from all I read guess the s&s or the fast pass or both is recommended
Wrong thread, but I’ll throw in my 2 cents. Wed might be busier if TM comp passes are valid. S&S vs express…it depends on if you want to hit rides or only do the houses. Also depends on how many house runs you want to do. S&S is the cheaper option and should be sufficient for an average night.

BTW, I got a FFP for Hollywood for my birthday. See y’all Westcoasters in the fog the next couple of weeks!
I feel like this is at least the third time I have said this, but I personally despise Sunday night HHNs in Orlando. EVERYONE is in the Stay and Scream early because they all have the day off.

But, I don’t know your dates, wants, etc, so
I will provide this little it if information: the TM calendar:
F10DB512-0963-40F5-8640-FD9690C4C0A4.jpeg
 

DTH

Member
Nov 7, 2016
996
Good example is 2:53 and 3:24 where you can see an effect from 2016 going very fast and the same effect in 2021 being very slow.
You forgot to cite videos! I would love to see some of these examples that you've provided, you were very thorough and you are definitely hitting it on the head!
 

Rub

Newcomer
Sep 18, 2019
28
Another night! (9/19/21)

Went to HHN again. Sunday lines were much better and everything felt more manageable. We came for 4 hours only, since the next day was a school day.

THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN LIVES
Again, very enjoyable. Waited 5 minutes and it was another great walkthrough. The scareactors were aggressive, the storyline was great. We were even lucky enough to see the rare final scene unfold, in which Frankenstein becomes revived. The Universal Monsters mazes never disappoint. Also, I have to mention that the music is brilliant and makes the maze all the more fun and enjoyable.

THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE
We had a better run this time around. Again, I feel that the lack of scareactors is noticeable and is the reason why this maze is not in my top three (*so far*) this year. The Tall Man in the bedroom scene completely caught us off-guard and scared our souls out of us. The maze simply decides to stay true to its material, being a "slow burn", which I personally do not prefer.

TERROR TRAM: THE ULTIMATE PURGE
Honestly, contrary to popular opinion, I enjoy the Tram for what it is. It's not particularly scary compared to mazes, but it is interactive and fun. I like taking a break from the mazes and getting some fresh air on the Tram. Additionally, the Purge is a perfect fit for the Tram. Props to the actors for being extremely aggressive and vicious as they fit their roles perfectly and it really felt like it was an actual Purge night. They attacked from all angles and sides, it's truly fascinating. In my opinion, this is the best tram that I've experienced because the scares, design, and detail was all great.

THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE
Save the best for last. Had to end it off with a banger. This maze continues to be the spectacle that it is. It is so detailed and unnerving, that I really cannot pinpoint something I would change about this maze. The scareactors play their roles perfectly and it all comes together so well.
 
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HHNManics

Veteran Member
Jun 6, 2016
1,885
You forgot to cite videos! I would love to see some of these examples that you've provided, you were very thorough and you are definitely hitting it on the head!
Forgot to include this. The time stamps I mentioned in my previous post all apply to this video that I just made yesterday.
 

Rub

Newcomer
Sep 18, 2019
28
9/25/21
Did Terror Tram, Pandora's Box, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Bride of Frankenstein Lives. Pretty much the same thoughts as before.

10/1/21
Did the Terror Tram and every maze, excluding Haunting of Hill House. I will mention that Texas Chainsaw remains my favorite maze. However, I do enjoy Bride of Frankenstein Lives more than Halloween 4. Exorcist is still the worst maze by far this year.

10/2/21
Did the Terror Tram and every maze, excluding Halloween 4. I am noticing some updates to select mazes. Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Haunting of Hill House, and Bride of Frankenstein, all had fog effects within the maze that led to a more creepy atmosphere.

In general, lines are still longer than they should be. On Thursday, the lines to get food were 45 minutes and every ride was over an hour. That's frankly absurd. Other than that, everything seems to be solid.
 

JawsVictim

Veteran Member
Nov 3, 2015
1,966
Interesting observations. Honestly, the best house changes every night I go. On Friday night, Hill House was the best run we had closely followed by Pandora. On previous nights, I’ve thought Exorcist was the scariest and Bride the overall best. Still leaning towards Bride being the best. TCM has consistently been lower tier possibly due to light intrusion. HH def went up in my rankings though after Friday.
 
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deadbydawn

Member
Mar 23, 2015
611
Orange County, CA
I went last night with some friends from out of town. Apparently it was sold out and we had regular admission tickets, but thankfully @JawsVictim's plan worked pretty flawlessly. We were able to get The Exorcist and Texas Chainsaw Massacre done before 7, and then made our way over to the Curious George area. We only waited in line for Pandora's Box for about 5 minutes (which had a 45 minute wait time posted). The two people I was with still haven't seen The Haunting of Hill House and by the time we got out of Pandora's Box the line was around an hour so we all collectively decided to skip it in favor of getting some other stuff done and grabbing a snack.

From there we made our way back up the upper lot for the Terror Tram which was a 20 minute wait. It was pretty horrible, and felt even worse than the last time I went through it on opening night. The uphill portion after you pass the Bates Motel before you get to the Psycho House was stopped for a few minutes and was packed like a sardine can. The scare actors felt light and to be honest, the theme just doesn't do it for me. The friends I was with both had wished we'd skipped it as well, FWIW.

After that around 8:30 or so we did The Bride of Frankenstein Lives, which was about 25 minutes. This one is still a highlight for me and might be one my all time favorite mazes at Horror Nights. That and Halloween 4 hovered around the 45-55 minute mark the rest of the time we were there so we did Halloween and then walked through Bride one more time and left around 11:30 PM.

It felt busy as the night went on but again it was sold out so it is what it is. The mask guidelines seemed to be followed by just about everyone and there were a lot of employees reminding to people to keep them on, etc. All in all, we had fun!
 
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JawsVictim

Veteran Member
Nov 3, 2015
1,966
I went last night with some friends from out of town. Apparently it was sold out and we had regular admission tickets, but thankfully @JawsVictim's plan worked pretty flawlessly. We were able to get The Exorcist and Texas Chainsaw Massacre done before 7, and then made our way over to the Curious George area. We only waited in line for Pandora's Box for about 5 minutes (which had a 45 minute wait time posted). The two people I was with still haven't seen The Haunting of Hill House and by the time we got out of Pandora's Box the line was around an hour so we all collectively decided to skip it in favor of getting some other stuff done and grabbing a snack.

From there we made our way back up the upper lot for the Terror Tram which was a 20 minute wait. It was pretty horrible, and felt even worse than the last time I went through it on opening night. The uphill portion after you pass the Bates Motel before you get to the Psycho House was stopped for a few minutes and was packed like a sardine can. The scare actors felt light and to be honest, the theme just doesn't do it for me. The friends I was with both had wished we'd skipped it as well, FWIW.

After that around 8:30 or so we did The Bride of Frankenstein Lives, which was about 25 minutes. This one is still a highlight for me and might be one my all time favorite mazes at Horror Nights. That and Halloween 4 hovered around the 45-55 minute mark the rest of the time we were there so we did Halloween and then walked through Bride one more time and left around 11:30 PM.

It felt busy as the night went on but again it was sold out so it is what it is. The mask guidelines seemed to be followed by just about everyone and there were a lot of employees reminding to people to keep them on, etc. All in all, we had fun!
Yeah last night was the busiest I’ve seen it. Only did Exorcist > HH > Pandora > Bride and dipped out. Glad that route still worked out for the most part!

Been noticing the scareactors are a bit tired now. Scares aren’t getting hit as aggressively as they were last week/earlier this week. Hill House, Pandora, and Bride are remaining consist while my runs of Exorcist, Halloween, and TCM have been lacking lately.
 
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deadbydawn

Member
Mar 23, 2015
611
Orange County, CA
Yeah last night was the busiest I’ve seen it. Only did Exorcist > HH > Pandora > Bride and dipped out. Glad that route still worked out for the most part!

Been noticing the scareactors are a bit tired now. Scares aren’t getting hit as aggressively as they were last week/earlier this week. Hill House, Pandora, and Bride are remaining consist while my runs of Exorcist, Halloween, and TCM have been lacking lately.
Oh funny I wonder if we were near each other at The Exorcist. Yes, the path and plan worked! In hindsight, we should have waited for Hill House as it probably was less than the posted wait time and skipped the Terror Tram but oh well. We got to do everything my friends wanted to do and I got to go through Bride twice. I won't be back this season so I was happy to get to go through it again a couple of times.

It's interesting you bring that up about the actors being tired, because we had the same thoughts a few times last night. I felt it big time on the Terror Tram. The scare zones at the front of the park as we were leaving felt that way too.
 

DTH

Member
Nov 7, 2016
996
Went last night! Was worried it'd be a nightmare since it was sold out but it was actually one of the easiest nights I've been to in a long time.

- Covid verification was a breeze. Was just checked one time after the security check. I had my digital verification on my phone.

- I arrived even later than I did my first time and went straight to Exorcist like I did last time, but this time was one of the first groups in. Was out by 6:12pm, while I was out at 6:48pm on opening weekend. I guess all the hardcore fans knew to hit this first on weekend one (and probably had their APs to be there even earlier) while this would be a more casual GP weekend, so people were more dispersed and probably going to Terror Tram or something. Can not emphasize enough how much this helped with the overall plan.

- Exorcist has improved GREATLY. This was the most scares I got the entire night and felt more like how it felt when I first went through in 2016. Scareactors were on it and were relentless.

- I was planning on hitting TCM last at the end of the night but it wasn't necessary, hit TCM right after with only a 16 minute wait (advertised as 45). My opinion stays the same about this maze -- good, just not great, and I felt previous iterations of the TCM property were done better and more movie accurate. Something about this maze's design doesn't FEEL like the movie like the other mazes did, even Blood Brothers, and even the section in Titans. I will say, I got a HUGE scare in here tonight and it was the SAME EXACT ONE that got me on opening weekend. It's just literally someone banging on a window in a hallway, but it also has the LOUDEST trigger. I swear, this will make you jump out of your bones.

- Got to the top and hit Haunting at 7:15ish. My opinion stays the same on this, but I got some different scares this time.

- Was at Pandora by 7:40 -- said 45 minute wait, was only 17. Yeah, my hate for this maze has actually grown bigger. This was one of the laziest run throughs I have ever seen at Horror Nights. Usually the scareactors are on fire in here to make this terribly designed maze at least worthy of some merit, but they just weren't trying that hard on us.

- FINALLY GOT TO DO THE TERROR TRAM. Man, I sure missed it. 30 minute wait but it was more like a 10 minute walk on just going through zig zags. I loved the opening. I miss Whoville though. I thought the Bates Motel section was GREAT, a lot of cool design stuff. The hill up was boring -- there definitely needs to be some stuff here. After Bates, the little maze portion was decent, but I think where this falls apart is the War of the Worlds set. There's just not a lot of life here and you oddly walk through this portion quickly, while in the past, it took a lot longer. I appreciated the new route at first, but now its the thing really holding this Terror Tram from being one of the top tier ones. It just doesn't feel like it has a sufficient finale. I love all the purgers in the distance in the houses and stuff, makes you really feel surrounded, but this zone is just missing some energy. Scareactors were all great though, but I feel like design-wise, they just leaned super heavy into the existing set. It needed some FLAME TOWERS or something to really emphasize the chaos. A few more set pieces like they had by the motel. Anything really. Just a dull ending to an otherwise great first 1/3rd to the tram. I give it a C+.

- Halloween 4 said 45 minutes and it was only 29. At this point of the night it was only 9pm and I finally felt like the crowds were coming in, but I guess just to other parts of the park that we weren't in. All the lines had crazy waits, except for everything we were going to. Again, having lower lot done before 7pm is a lifesaver. I don't like marathoning mazes, as I like to break things apart a bit, but I wanted to just one more before I settled a bit. Halloween 4 is still very strong! A huge component is the build up of anticipation while in line -- it works so well. And all the Michaels are so ferocious with some great hiding spots. Def one of the best of the year.

- After, we decided we can now do dinner. Went to the chicken shack which has changed it's recipe and is now TERRIBLE -- avoid at all costs.

- Also now time to do some rides. Harry Potter said 65 minutes but then I looked at the app as we were waiting, and it said 85. But there's no way -- it had to be at least 3 hours because we were at the very beginning of the queue. We got to below the greenhouse and I could tell every zigzag was being utilized with the line moving SLOW. We decided to hit single rider instead and BOOM, walk on and we only got split into two groups anyway. Again, HUGE timesaver.

- It was now 11:25 and we decided to hit Jurassic World before it closed. 55 minute wait, and it was pretty close -- 50 minutes. And the freakin ending wasn't working! I have avoided returning to the normal park all year just so I could wait and see this during HHN, and just my luck! The Indominous is frozen like a popsicle. Such a disappointing ending. Hopefully when I come back at the end of the run (anyone hear rumblings if Nov is happening yet?), it'll be working.

- Went back up and Bride of Frankenstein was sporting a 25 minute wait. I wasn't sure, because the line zig zagged all the way through the Despicable Me queue, but sure enough, it was only 25. I got a GREAT scare in the beginning, there were literally 4 scares in one room (I think 3 were Dracula's brides) just all coming out one after another in quick succession pinballing us out of the forest. It was AWESOME. Still easily my favorite of the year.

- Next, decided to hit Jabbawockeez. I have to say, this is probably one of my favorite shows they've done. It was all 90s-early 00s hip hop, which is exactly my cup of tea. In previous years, they would pander to what's current, and I thought maybe at the end they'd do a finale of current hits, but nope, they stuck to the theme. On the plus side, the show was only 20 minutes, so there was 10 minutes left to spare with it being 1:50. Now we easily could've done TWD, or a repeat of Bride (which said NO WAIT) or H4, maybe even could've rushed down and made it to The Mummy, but we were all tired.

TONIGHT'S MAZE RANK:
- Bride of Frankenstein
- The Exorcist
- Haunting of Hill House
- Texas Chainsaw Massacre
- Halloween 4
- Terror Tram
- Pandora's Box

OVERALL 2021 MODIFIED MAZE RANK
- Bride of Frankenstein (same rank)
- Halloween 4 (same rank)
- Haunting of Hill House (+1)
- The Exorcist (+2)
- Texas Chainsaw Massacre (-2)
- Terror Tram (NEW!)
- Pandora's Box (-1)
 

deadbydawn

Member
Mar 23, 2015
611
Orange County, CA
- FINALLY GOT TO DO THE TERROR TRAM. Man, I sure missed it. 30 minute wait but it was more like a 10 minute walk on just going through zig zags. I loved the opening. I miss Whoville though. I thought the Bates Motel section was GREAT, a lot of cool design stuff. The hill up was boring -- there definitely needs to be some stuff here. After Bates, the little maze portion was decent, but I think where this falls apart is the War of the Worlds set. There's just not a lot of life here and you oddly walk through this portion quickly, while in the past, it took a lot longer. I appreciated the new route at first, but now its the thing really holding this Terror Tram from being one of the top tier ones. It just doesn't feel like it has a sufficient finale. I love all the purgers in the distance in the houses and stuff, makes you really feel surrounded, but this zone is just missing some energy. Scareactors were all great though, but I feel like design-wise, they just leaned super heavy into the existing set. It needed some FLAME TOWERS or something to really emphasize the chaos. A few more set pieces like they had by the motel. Anything really. Just a dull ending to an otherwise great first 1/3rd to the tram. I give it a C+.
I felt like the entire thing was sort of lackluster this year. I guess I had an objectively worse run both times I did it. The first time on opening night I was taken through the street with the houses. It's apparently a VIP(?) section or something. Anyway, I think that section of the Terror Tram could have benefited from splitting the path and letting guests choose walking past the plane or going down the residential side.
 
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