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Old 10-26-2012, 08:13 AM   #1
Trollingforthimbles
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HHN Was A Total Letdown...

We (my two friends and I) went to HHN last night and I thought I'd tell you guys our take on the whole thing.

We arrived in Universal Studios about 7pm got some food at CityWalk and then went on to HHN. It was pretty crowded right off the bat and only got more crowded as the night went on. None of the three of us however, really mind large crowds so that wasn't a problem (at first).

Going in we headed straight for The Walking Dead themed house. While I don't consider myself a "diehard" fan, I do enjoy the walking dead and watch it whenever I can. When we got there the line said it had a 60 minute wait, so we waited. It took longer than that though, we were actually in that line about 90 minutes.

So, we enter the house and... nothing special, at all. It was such a cookie-cutter Halloween House, nothing special, nothing unique, nothing to even remind you of The Walking Dead other than the zombies, which without the Walking Dead signs could have been any regular zombies from anywhere.

We are funneled though the house pretty quickly in a massive line and then exit after about 3 minutes.

My friends and I didn't really talk about the house after leaving it, we just continued on through the scare zones and around the park until we reached the Penn & Teller house.

We stand in line for another hour and a half to be let into another run-of-the-mill Halloween House, very similar to any other one but with 3-D glasses (which made it no better) and black lighting. We are once again funneled though in a massive line and exit about 3 minutes later.

After that we went to the bakery across from the I Love Lucy store and got something to drink. Where we talked about the night so far.

To make a long story short we all agreed it was a let down and the houses were what you'd find at a county fair. By this time the lines had increased with wait times upwards of 100 minutes.



We left, and aren't going back.
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:59 AM   #2
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Sounds like you didn't have a touring plan to begin with.

Too bad you didn't follow some of the suggestions in other threads about using the stay-n-scream waiting area and purchasing an express pass. Either one (or both) would have allowed you to visit more houses and hopefully increase your enjoyment of the event.
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Old 10-26-2012, 10:01 AM   #3
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I can obviously tell the size of the lines knocked down whatever enthusiasm you had for the houses.I have AP's and always stay in the Stay and Scream area to get a jump on the houses before the size of the lines get crazy.This year I was with people who don't have AP's but they bought the $20 add on ticket that lets you in either park at 3pm and you can go into the HHN area at 5:45-6pm,before the regular entrance even opens.I went this past Saturday which was one of the days they expected the biggest crowds with a $100 express pass,I think only two nights it was this much.Well without express we did all 7 houses by 9:30pm.I would agree with you that this wasn't the greatest year,houses were OK,they removed scare zones to have scareactors all throughout the park instead of 6-7 themed areas in the streets.I've been to HHN like 18 of the 22 years and while this wasn't the worst year I would put it between the middle to the bottom third.The Bill and Ted's show however was probably right near the bottom.I still enjoyed my night and I'll keep doing HHN every year that I can.I would suggest next time you do HHN to get there early or buy the express pass or maybe try Howl O Scream at Busch Gardens as you'll see pretty much all these events are similar but what makes HHN stand out is the amount of money they put into the houses and atmosphere and how they come up with new houses and experiences every year,it probably doesn't look like that if you see costumes like the trick or treating catgirl with a plastic mask this year but overall over the years they do it right.Look at Howl O Scream or Knott's Scary Farm in California and you'll see how some houses and themes are used multiple years,there's a reason people come year after year.I remember doing that Six Flags one in Atlanta one year,that was a joke,I still enjoyed it but it couldn't compare to HHN.I also feel the Universal park lends itself very well to this event when compared to other parks.
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Old 10-26-2012, 11:41 AM   #4
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I haven't gone, but from all that I read, you visited 2 of the houses that get mediocre reviews.The houses that seem to have gotten the good reviews have been : Gothic,Dead End and Silent Hill.Also the crowds reports have been HUGE all season, I think going without a good plan and paying extra for the express pass probably hindered alot of people this year
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Old 10-26-2012, 12:00 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patster734 View Post
Sounds like you didn't have a touring plan to begin with.

Too bad you didn't follow some of the suggestions in other threads about using the stay-n-scream waiting area and purchasing an express pass. Either one (or both) would have allowed you to visit more houses and hopefully increase your enjoyment of the event.


i was disappointed in WD too, mostly because they didn't have rights to characters but loved a few of the other houses and the roving scream zones were great.
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Old 10-26-2012, 12:19 PM   #6
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FWIW, I think it was a mistake to take the time to eat at CityWalk and wait to get in the park. The event has been very busy this year, and this is probably the busiest week of the entire run. Also, you went to two of the poorer houses (especially Penn and Teller). There's no way anything other than a major entertainment company could pull off the design and effects employed in houses like Gothic and Dead End.. certainly no country fair could pull that off.

It's unfortunate that you had a bad experience, but it really wasn't given a fair shot. I have my own gripes with HHN this year, but it is always worth it.. at least for me.
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Old 10-26-2012, 01:00 PM   #7
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FWIW, I think it was a mistake to take the time to eat at CityWalk and wait to get in the park. The event has been very busy this year, and this is probably the busiest week of the entire run. Also, you went to two of the poorer houses (especially Penn and Teller). There's no way anything other than a major entertainment company could pull off the design and effects employed in houses like Gothic and Dead End.. certainly no country fair could pull that off.

It's unfortunate that you had a bad experience, but it really wasn't given a fair shot. I have my own gripes with HHN this year, but it is always worth it.. at least for me.
This. Exactly this.
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Old 10-26-2012, 02:02 PM   #8
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i was disappointed in WD too, mostly because they didn't have rights to characters but loved a few of the other houses and the roving scream zones were great.
We didn't get to see the roving scream zones because of the torrential rains during the night we went. That was disappointing, but Universal can't be blamed for that.

I enjoyed all the houses, but thought WD wasn't as good as it could/should have been. I heard the bike zombie was there, but I didn't see her.

Favorite house had to be Gothic simply because of the set design. That layout was completely fantastic. One of the best I've seen at any halloween event.
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Old 10-26-2012, 07:24 PM   #9
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So many people that don't realize they have to be there at gate open or even earlier in S&C have similar reports. It's a shame that impressions are negative due to crowds and being unprepared.

But, at the same time I get the person that goes one time during the season and not able to see much due to crowds being upset. Most of us on here know better and are better prepared, but not those that have never been.

This years event was oversold IMO. Even with express we had issues. I think that too was oversold for my dates. If it weren't for the VIP tour I would not have seen it all.

I am a staunch Universal fan but HHN 22 fell short for me. I attribute it to the construction, the massive crowds, and lack of line control and direction in the opening weeks. The wait times were way off.

I know when you go at the beginning the kinks need to be worked out, I expect that. I also forgive it.

I will be there next year with bells on! Excited just like I was this year. But I still understand the disappointed peoples reviews I have been reading.

Overall I was happy with most of the houses. Gothic and Dead End were just amazing and my HUGEST scare came from House of Horrors.

No matter what I'm always gonna love this event. I'm still sorry for those that didn't feel like it was worth it.

So, sorry it wasn't all that for you but maybe you could give it another shot.
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Old 10-26-2012, 08:04 PM   #10
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i've been doing HHN since 1999.

some years have been better than others.
i do 4 nights of the event and buy the multi-night pass w/express.



try hhn again, you might get a different out look for it now that you know more about it.
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Old 10-27-2012, 10:42 AM   #11
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Another HHN fan, but agree that this year fell short....Crowds were bad, though I did manage all the houses. I had MUCH more fun at HOS
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Old 10-27-2012, 11:11 AM   #12
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*dusts off interface*

Just wanted to chime in a bit.

I love the event and have a great time every year. I stay and scream, buy express, etc. my wife and I see everything.

That said, I've noticed a common issue on this site. The expectation that others should do as we do or not be surprised that it wasnt fun. I suggest that this concept is a bit unfair.

For what a ticket costs, I believe Universal has an obligation to create a good time... Even for the unresearched. Lines that long are just plain unreasonable and that is not the guest's fault. Weak houses can not be fairly excused by the presence of other houses that may be better elsewhere.

We've gone for years, and this year really does seem weak... Or at least unreasonably busy. They just plain need more houses as a crowd soak. It would seem logical that adding two houses... 33% increase... Would reduce line waits by the same amount. If logistics makes that impossible, then sell less tickets.

45 minute averages on a non-peak... Okay. 100 plus is a fail on the part of the event planners, not the guest.

Not trying to be crabby... We have had fun as I said. We havent had as much fun as previous years though, and I can easily see why the OP didnt enjoy it. I just dont think that was the posters fault at all.

It was completely Universals.

On a happy note for us... We got to see mac! It had been a while.

Anyway...mjust my two cents and a whole lot of change.

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Old 10-27-2012, 11:17 AM   #13
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Pax !

visiting with you and your wife at Finnegans was a highlight for me that Sunday.



i am completely and totally addicted to HHN.
one great thing about it, i get to catch up and meet homies there that i haven't seen in ages.



pencil me in your future HHN visits .............
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Old 10-27-2012, 05:00 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pax View Post
*dusts off interface*

Just wanted to chime in a bit.

I love the event and have a great time every year. I stay and scream, buy express, etc. my wife and I see everything.

That said, I've noticed a common issue on this site. The expectation that others should do as we do or not be surprised that it wasnt fun. I suggest that this concept is a bit unfair.

For what a ticket costs, I believe Universal has an obligation to create a good time... Even for the unresearched. Lines that long are just plain unreasonable and that is not the guest's fault. Weak houses can not be fairly excused by the presence of other houses that may be better elsewhere.

We've gone for years, and this year really does seem weak... Or at least unreasonably busy. They just plain need more houses as a crowd soak. It would seem logical that adding two houses... 33% increase... Would reduce line waits by the same amount. If logistics makes that impossible, then sell less tickets.

45 minute averages on a non-peak... Okay. 100 plus is a fail on the part of the event planners, not the guest.

Not trying to be crabby... We have had fun as I said. We havent had as much fun as previous years though, and I can easily see why the OP didnt enjoy it. I just dont think that was the posters fault at all.

It was completely Universals.


Anyway...mjust my two cents and a whole lot of change.

pax
While I can't help but agree with most of your points, I do think the OP does bear some responsiblity for his dissatisfaction regarding HHN.

The challenges created by the construction, especially dropping the number of houses from 8 to 7, definitely impacted the crowds and queue lengths this year and this is something that I believe Universal should have taken into consideration when determining event capacity numbers.

However, I still believe that if you are spending the amount of money that Universal charges for a single night admission to HHN, you have the responsibility to do the research to find out how to make the most out of your visit. Waiting to enter the park until what was probably closer to 8pm than 7pm was a mistake on the OP's part. He entered just as or just after the biggest rush of guests was coming in and before people had started to leave. Long waits are to be expected.

And there are always going to be houses that fall short of expectations, especially when dealing with known properties such as Penn & Teller and AMC's The Walking Dead. Frankly, given that these are the only 2 houses the OP visited, I think he may have had unrealistic expectations due to the name associations for these houses.

Furthermore, while at least one house every year gets labeled as being the one that didn't live up to expectations, on the flip side there is always at least one house that nobody saw coming and just blows everyone away. Gothic fits that bill this year and the OP didn't make any effort to visit it, possibly due to being focused on the known properties. Had he started with one of the non-branded houses, he might have had a completely different experience but he'll never know because he gave up too quickly, IMO.

In any case, everyone's experience is their own and just because we disagree with their assessment, that doesn't make it any less valid for them. Hopefully, they took the time to share their feedback with the survey folks as they were departing so it can be used to create a better event next year.
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Old 10-28-2012, 10:13 AM   #15
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I respectfully disagree.

I think it's a scale issue.

The OP would bear full responsibility for not having an amazing time. We're discussing not having an acceptable one. The former is the visitors problem... the latter is the provider's.

I still do not accept that it's the purchaser's responsibility to ensure a passably decent time.

An hour later than gate open should absolutely not prevent a fun evening. If it were so, gates shouldn't be open after hour one. As I said in my other post, the waits this year are totally unreasonable and should not just be expected. Long, yes... just not that long.

Of course the OP went to the big name properties. Through advertising... that's precisely what he was told to do. I would guess that the others weren't visited because Universal had already dropped the ball... at least in the guest's eyes. The first impression... the heavily advertised one... was poor. A half hour over posted wait would annoy me too. Two houses in three hours and didn't luck into a good run through at either... I'd be gone, possibly for good.

I should add I do agree about Gothic being awesome.

I hope the OP goes back next year. Too, I hope Universal really learns some lessons from this year.

Me? I gotta pack to head over for tonight.

We'll be in early, using express, and will likely have a blast.

I just understand those who don't and feel they have the right of it.

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