Halloween Horror Nights 22 Discussion | Inside Universal Forums
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Halloween Horror Nights 22 Discussion

Clive

aka Fallow
Staff member
Moderator
May 26, 2010
3,791
Bring back the parade :lol:
Nope, that's more "meet and greet" than "scare."

Bring back the scare zones. Bring back the icon. Bring back the overarching themes. Bring back the coherent, consistent, legitimately scary marketing campaigns. Bring back quality house and costume construction that doesn't depend on 50% recycling, with the remaining 50% suffering clear budget cuts. Bring back houses with legitimately scary elements, including gore and show scenes. Bring back houses that aren't extremely legally & content sanitized so that it's appropriate for the 13 year old crowd. Bring back a hard-hitting Bill & Ted that isn't afraid to be bold and offensive. Bring back 8 houses, 4 shows, and continue to expand.
 

shiekra38

Legendary Member
Dec 13, 2009
12,972
Florida
Gosh darn it bring back the stinkin' drop doors..they still use those at HOS and they scare the crap out of me..
Scary not Showy
 

Zyzzbrah

Newcomer
Dec 23, 2011
12
They have everything to do about it. They could add more houses, they could open IOA...they could do more, they just choose not to.

But you're absolutely right...it sucks. Guests should never have to buy express just to experience half the event. It's ridiculous and Universal should be doing something.
Almost ALL Halloween events get super busy and guests won't be able to see all attractions in one night,how is it fair to put blame on solely Universal because they are among the busiest in the industry?It's just how it is.
 

Nick

Staff member
Moderator
Sep 22, 2011
23,872
Orlando
Not once in my life I have ever seen a Sunday this extremly packed I mean I can see Fri or Sat. My friends and I decided to endure 150 minutes of torture to The Walking Dead last night. My feet hurts but luckily we stayed onsite for the 1st time which made the trip easier. Last was Silent Hill but the scaractors were gone for the night :(
Many school groups went. It was UCF night as well as many Tampa-area public schools had off the next day.
 

Andy

aka Hatetofly
V.I.P.
Mar 16, 2010
11,095
Isn't John Murdy having a little more say in the Orlando department? I know Hollywood's HHNs are relatively general, that could probably be the case.
Having been to both, I wish this was true...
 

Octobers Fade

DEAD inside
Premium Member
Jul 10, 2010
6,081
NoRemorse Cemetery
Is anyone afraid that this style of HHN (comparatively on-the-cheap houses, no real sets for scare zones, and an abundance of IP's) is here to stay? I mean why shouldn't it, right? It's been selling out which means it's making crazy money, and the big guys at Universal see spending less money means more profit. I mean, my favorite HHN's were never this crowded, which makes me think they weren't making as much money as this year's. I feel like from the point of view of a Universal pencil-pusher, this should be the new model for all HHN's in the future. It would suck, but I think it's a possibility.
Agreed!

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Great point. HHN is about to suffer from DisneyWorld-itis..they are the top, they know they are the top, and tourists know they are the top..They'll keep coming in droves to see their favorite properties...honestly HOS is doing a better job than HHN, sure HHN has the nice sets and sound effects but it is starting to become a meet and great more than a horror event. I have only been going to HHN since 2006 and I can honestly say the event has changed and not in a way that it should be. This year really felt like a throwback year to what made HHN great. That unfortunately was not the case this year, it was a year of "let's see how many people we can get into the gate with these names". It is interesting how the quality and growth of HHN is so opposite of what is happening with the Resort
Agreed, except that sound they are doing is so annoying and frickin loud and HOS has too many drop panels.

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Nope, that's more "meet and greet" than "scare."

Bring back the scare zones. Bring back the icon. Bring back the overarching themes. Bring back the coherent, consistent, legitimately scary marketing campaigns. Bring back quality house and costume construction that doesn't depend on 50% recycling, with the remaining 50% suffering clear budget cuts. Bring back houses with legitimately scary elements, including gore and show scenes. Bring back houses that aren't extremely legally & content sanitized so that it's appropriate for the 13 year old crowd. Bring back a hard-hitting Bill & Ted that isn't afraid to be bold and offensive. Bring back 8 houses, 4 shows, and continue to expand.
This.
 

SeventyOne

V.I.P.
Jul 1, 2010
2,902
Orlando
Great point. HHN is about to suffer from DisneyWorld-itis..they are the top, they know they are the top, and tourists know they are the top..They'll keep coming in droves to see their favorite properties...
I'd be lying if I said I didn't share a lot of the same concerns (great name for it, BTW). That said, being far more local, I think HHN is much more subject to public opinion than WDW. People don't save up 2 or 3 years to come to HHN, it's a more spur of the moment decision each October. If John Q. Orlando had a bad time this year, he's unlikely to come back in 2013, and he's likely to tell a couple buddies to stay away, too. It's a different audience from Disney.

That said, and referring back to earlier posts as well here, I think fixed scare zones will return. Seems to be a huge complaint, already seen baby steps toward returning to them this year (with the two new relatively immobile hoardes). I think the success of TWD means we'll still be seeing a good amount of IP, tho. A below average house (with a somewhat above average cast) routinely topping out over 2.5 hours? No question the IP is pulling bodies in.

I'm not sure I agree about the cheap houses (other than HoH, which is an outlier, and which still turned into a damn fun haunt). Gothic is amazing, and while I don't get Silent Hill, it doesn't feel "cheap." My problems with P&T are not in the set design, same goes for AC--both may pale compared to the tents in 2011, but that was the best overall year for houses IMO. Dead End is largely recycled by everyone seems to love it. I do think an 8th house is necessary for capacity, even the bean-counters will be forced to see that.
 

Eric

Premium Member
Mar 3, 2010
398
Orlando
Almost ALL Halloween events get super busy and guests won't be able to see all attractions in one night,how is it fair to put blame on solely Universal because they are among the busiest in the industry?It's just how it is.
How do I put blame on Universal for having 2 hour waits at all the houses? Who am I to blame, the guests? If this was my event, I'd be doing everything I could to try to relieve those lines. I can't tell you the amount of complaints I have heard. Saying "it's just how it is," accomplishes absolutely nothing...

Universal needs to begin to find a balance in their event. This year is a mess in terms of operations and to be honest, the houses are kind of all over the place. Coherence is crucial to this event, and this lacks every bit of it. I don't understand why Universal can't add more in the streets. I know the streets are crazy insane this year, but they should be adding more interactive elements, animatronics, sets, and actual creative lighting.

One of the biggest gripes I have also heard is the fact that its just one giant conga line through those houses. While this is necessary, it ruins the experience for me and none of the houses are in the least scary.
 

Clive

aka Fallow
Staff member
Moderator
May 26, 2010
3,791
Conga lines and ops are the worst they've ever been. They now have those god awful spiels at the beginning of the house... "Stay together and survive, fall behind and be doomed" bla bla bla. You literally can no longer enjoy the houses. This complaint has popped up in a ton of Facebook reviews. You can tell these guys have quotas and are desperately trying to reduce the line, but it dampens the experience for all involved.

Heavy emphasis on IPs will probably return, unfortunately. Welcome to the new HHNOrlando - where we get all of Hollywood's lack of originality, but without its superior showmanship in executing IPs.

Silent Hill's sets are very simple relative to past soundstage houses - partially because of (comparatively) how little time they had to build it. It looks like it belongs in the Disaster queue.

Alice Cooper/Penn & Teller's sets are just okay.

Dead End was one of the only houses that I really fell in love with, despite its recycling of a handful of elements. Recycling was out of control all around this year, however.
 

Eric

Premium Member
Mar 3, 2010
398
Orlando
Conga lines and ops are the worst they've ever been. They now have those god awful spiels at the beginning of the house... "Stay together and survive, fall behind and be doomed" bla bla bla. You literally can no longer enjoy the houses. This complaint has popped up in a ton of Facebook reviews. You can tell these guys have quotas and are desperately trying to reduce the line, but it dampens the experience for all involved.
100% agree. If I wait 2 hours for a house, I don't want to be yelled at or pushed through a house. I'll be taking my sweet time..
 

Clive

aka Fallow
Staff member
Moderator
May 26, 2010
3,791
Just for your guys' perusal, here's an excerpt from a piece I published back in early June. It focuses on the resort's changing priorities and where HHN appears to fall in all the shakeups, and my subsequent fears of such a shift...

So why is the Orlando event so low on the resort’s priority list? The event makes a significant amount of money, and as we covered earlier, it at one point kept the resort afloat. And why the continued move away from original, non-licensed attractions? After all, original content has proven to be the event’s coup de grace, helping to build its reputation as the “nation’s premiere Halloween event.”

The answer can be found in Universal’s classic film, Field of Dreams: “If you build it… they will come.”

That’s the current gamble Halloween Horror Nights’ new decision makers (presumably Comcast, who purchased a majority stake in the parks last year) are taking. They are betting that despite a significant reduction in houses and an assortment of seemingly random C-to-B-List licenses in lieu of more original offerings, guests will still come in droves due to the event’s reputation. They won’t mind the lack of an elaborate website littered with story-based details and amusing diversions.

Universal Orlando’s new management has given us a profit-driven new perspective: They can spend less and gain more, riding on the event’s award-winning history. In the grand scheme of things, Halloween Horror Nights is now an after-thought: Potter, Soundstage 44, Despicable Me, all take priority over an event that is almost guaranteed to produce profit. Sharing properties with Hollywood is cheaper. Never mind the reduction in houses, the average guest won’t notice.

The closest comparison to this approach can be seen in the infamous “One Disney” initiative that aims to bridge and standardize Walt Disney World and Disneyland California under one set of operations, a tactic that has been bemoaned by fans of the Mouse over the past few years.

In a way, Halloween Horror Nights Orlando is much like the current situation at Walt Disney World. It’s the number one venue of its kind. People travel from around the world to experience it. It’s a brand that people trust. And now, it appears to be a venue that will ride on its established history and attempt to homogenize its resorts instead of actually innovating. Universal may have turned onto a road that has been the ire of Disney fans for the past few years.

Buckle your seatbelts, fellow Halloween Horror Nights fans. It could be a bumpy ride.
 

Octobers Fade

DEAD inside
Premium Member
Jul 10, 2010
6,081
NoRemorse Cemetery
I think the success of TWD means we'll still be seeing a good amount of IP, tho. A below average house (with a somewhat above average cast) routinely topping out over 2.5 hours? No question the IP is pulling bodies in.
IMO the cast changes are effecting the wait times for this house, we sat in the express line for over ten minutes, without moving, everytime. Then they scanned us and we on our way to the house line.
 

SeventyOne

V.I.P.
Jul 1, 2010
2,902
Orlando
This pisses me off to no end, when is it a good idea to yell at your guests....
I completely agree. It's an even dumber idea when there's no one visible in front of OR behind the guest. And why stand directly in front of a premier set piece, like, say, the Nosferatu window. I know you need people to protect the actors and gently prod along those who freeze up, but things have been worse this year.
 

SeventyOne

V.I.P.
Jul 1, 2010
2,902
Orlando
Just for your guys' perusal, here's an excerpt from a piece I published back in early June. It focuses on the resort's changing priorities and where HHN appears to fall in all the shakeups, and my subsequent fears of such a shift...
Nice piece, Fallow. I think there's an irony in that by following a Disney model, Universal has probably given WDW the perfect opportunity to jump into the scary Halloween event game next year. Based on the social media chatter, I think a lot of people would be willing to try a DHS event over HHN next year if it was available. Of course, according to Jim Hill, the Mouse is too afraid of messing with his other cash cow (Osborne Lights), so will probably never happen, but 2013 would be the year if they wanted to try.
 

shiekra38

Legendary Member
Dec 13, 2009
12,972
Florida
Nice piece, Fallow. I think there's an irony in that by following a Disney model, Universal has probably given WDW the perfect opportunity to jump into the scary Halloween event game next year. Based on the social media chatter, I think a lot of people would be willing to try a DHS event over HHN next year if it was available. Of course, according to Jim Hill, the Mouse is too afraid of messing with his other cash cow (Osborne Lights), so will probably never happen, but 2013 would be the year if they wanted to try.
I wouldn't bother being afraid of Disney, it would be about as scary as Zoo Boo...Busch Gardens on the other hand..if a budget increase is to happen for HOS this would be the time to strike. I have already heard mumblings from a lot of places praising how much better HOS is than HHN this year. They are growing
 

Octobers Fade

DEAD inside
Premium Member
Jul 10, 2010
6,081
NoRemorse Cemetery
I wouldn't bother being afraid of Disney, it would be about as scary as Zoo Boo...Busch Gardens on the other hand..if a budget increase is to happen for HOS this would be the time to strike. I have already heard mumblings from a lot of places praising how much better HOS is than HHN this year. They are growing
And I heard they had their budget cut for a certain (X) event.

And yes, I have also heard a lot of people enjoyed it more than 22, and to a certain degree I enjoyed ZooBoo more than 22.
 

Eric

Premium Member
Mar 3, 2010
398
Orlando
IMO the cast changes are effecting the wait times for this house, we sat in the express line for over ten minutes, without moving, everytime. Then they scanned us and we on our way to the house line.
Ops does not stop the lines for shift changes. Chances are, if you stood there for 10 minutes it's because somebody puked in the house or something similar in that nature. If this happens, they have to take everyone out of the house and clean it extensively. Cast changes are ongoing and never stop the line.
 

Jakemeister

Premium Member
Feb 1, 2008
5,830
Central, Fl
Talking Points:

I disagree with your piece Fallow. Universal is still listening to us. Surveys said that people wanted a more interactive experience. We were given Horror Unearthed. Surveys said people wanted more street actors. We get two new hordes.

I haven't gotten yelled at this year by Ops, nor have I seen them using flashlights in houses.

Houses have had long lines as recently as 2008. 2008 was right around when the financial crisis was happening. I think a lot of newer fans were not around when the event was getting 100 minute waits opening weekend of 2006 and 2007, but they were there and we haven't hit that point again yet. I can remember seeing a picture of Friday 13th with a 100 minute wait on a non-peak night and I even remember Saw getting a 130 a few times. 2008 was just the last time that the houses were consistently getting 120 minute waits.

I think branding has hurt Howl-O-Scream. Simple as that. I like Howl-O-Scream, I have fun at the event but I can't go every year. The event just doesn't change enough and they've branded themselves as "Hey we're not HHN, but we're awfully similar and clearly trying to compete. If you have a change of heart come check us out." Which is great for all the locals who might be jaded, but not as great for the national market.

They still have drop doors, and they're still loud. I've seen them used in Dead End.

People have bodily functions in the houses more than you think. I'll leave it at that.

I'll be the martyr to the end if I have to be. If you guys want the same event as 2009-2011 then have fun. Those 3 years were stupidly similar to each other. It seemed like as soon as Universal got a decent formula they set it in stone and said "Hey, this worked good enough. Lets keep doing it." Atleast now they're trying to do new things. If you guys want more Fear and Lady Luck, that's on you. But, I can seriously pass on those lack-luster years, sub-par marketing, and lacking icons.