10 Better than Good Reasons to Attend Universal Studios Mardi Gras 2016

The party is underway at Universal Studios Orlando’s annual spring season event: Mardi Gras – Florida’s Biggest Party!

We made our first (of many more to come) visit the 2016 event this weekend and compiled a list of 10 better than good reasons you should attend Universal Studios Mardi Gras too!

In no particular order, here are those 10 reasons

10. The Food

Much like we talked many, many times before about the special event food at Halloween Horror Nights, Mardi Gras too offers specialty food that you’re not going to find during a regular visit at the part.

Great selections from “N’awlins” cuisine like Andouille Sausage, Jambalaya, Gumbo, Beignets and King cake, along with event favorites cheese steaks and loaded fries, and one NeoZAZ favorites we’ll get to in a minute because it deserves its own entry on this list.

9. Stilt Walker Photo Ops.

Stilt Walker photo ops are of course not limited to this event, Universal has many great stilt walker characters through the day at both parks. However, in the opening hours of the French Quarter Courtyard (4:00PM on Mardi Gras Event Nights) the parade stilt walkers gather in the streets during this limited event run for a unique photo op!

8. French Quarter Courtyard

We started off the list talked about the food, and here’s where you get it – the French Quarter Courtyard. But the Courtyard isn’t all about food, there’s bars featuring Louisiana brewery drafts, a Crepes and Coffee booth, and live Zydeco bands straight from New Orleans.

7. Blinky Cups

Help light up the party by grabbing your own blinky cup from almost any of the Mardi Gras bars. These cups don’t just add a bit of fun to the event but also offer discounted refills throughout the night – and the entire event when you come back!

6. Voodoo Juice

And if you’re going to get a blinky cup and you’re 21 or over and enjoy a enjoy an adult beverage, you might as well have them fill with an ice cold Voodoo Juice. Voodoo Juice is the signature drink of this year’s event and is a tasty mix of Full Throttle energy drink, Minute Maid orange, pineapple and cranberry juice, and rum.

5. Concerts

One huge reason to go to Mardi Gras and Universal Studios are the concerts. Included with the price of admission on Mardi Gras event nights is a full concert on the Music Plaza Stage. Acts appearing at this year’s event are:

February 6th (Sat.) Hunter Hayes
February 13th (Sat.) Diana Ross
February 14th (Sun.) Barenaked Ladies
February 20th (Sat.) Nate Ruess
February 27th (Sat.) Fall Out Boy
March 5th (Sat.) Kool & The Gang
March 12th (Sat.) The Gray
March 13th (Sun.) Adam Lambert
March 19th (Sat.) Shawn Mendes
March 20th (Sun.) 3 Door Down
March 26th (Sat.) Reo Speedwagon
April 2nd (Sat.) T-Pain
April 9th (Sat.) Jessie J
April 16th (Sat.) Yandel

4. Twisted Taters

This is the one food that will always get its own spot on any Universal event list we publish on NeoZAZ. The simplest idea that has given us so much joy over the years. A thinly spiral cut potato deep fried on a stick then coated with your choice of seasoning. It’s not limited to Universal Mardi Gras, we enjoy them at Halloween Horror Nights each year, but it’s not found in the park every day. If you miss tasting a twisted tater at Mardi Gras, you’re doing your taste buds a disservice.

3. Beads. Millions of Free Beads

Let’s face it, it’s not often you walk out of any them park with a free souvenir other than a park guide, Mardi Gras gives you that chance. Flying through the air from the parade floats, over 1.7 million strings of beads will make their way into park visitor hands this year, more than enough to go around so go out there and get yours!

2. The Parade

And how do you get those beads? Watch the fantastic Mardi Gras Parade make its way through the streets of Universal Studios! 10 original individually themed party floats lead by a crew of costumed character and stilt walkers light up the streets and the get the party going with lights, confetti, music, and as mentioned just moments ago – beads! Roughly a dozen costumed attendees on each side of each float throw colored strings of beads to the parade watchers from start to finish. And to give the kids their fair chance and a near guarantee of walking away from the parade with plenty beads, head over to the “Little Jester’s Parade view area” in front of the Brown Derby hat Shop – an area just for kids their own parade experience.

1. Mardi Gras is included with Park admission

We went through a lot of reasons to attend Mardi Gras at Universal Studios this year but possibly the best reason to go is Mardi Gras is included in price of the day admission to the park. The Concert, the Parade, entry into the French Quarter Courtyard is all part of a day’s visit to Universal Studios. So enjoy a day at central Florida’s best theme park and then stay for Florida’s biggest party!

Mardi Gras takes place on select nights February 6 – to April 16, 2016.

For dates and concert information visit the Universal Studios Mardi Gras website at: https://www.universalorlando.com/Events/Mardi-Gras/Overview.aspx

Stay tuned for our Mardi Gras coverage podcast special coming soon to NeoZAZ.com.

Unmasking The Horror Tour – Asylum in Wonderland 3D

Moving on with our Unmasking the Horror Tour report – this time we fall down the rabbit hole as we take an inside look at Halloween Horror Nights 25 “Asylum in Wonderland 3D” Maze.

“Asylum in Wonderland 3D” gave us a look at Wonderland through Alice’s mind – the twisted confusion and chaos spinning through her head and all shown through a chromadepth 3D palette.

As reported in our “Body Collectors: Recollections”, “Freddy vs Jason” “Jack Presents 25 Year of Monsters and Mayhem”, and “The Walking Dead: The Living and the Dead” articles, the Unmasking the Horror Tour is and up-close and personal, lights on tour of several of the mazes at Universal Resort Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 25.

With Halloween Horror Nights 25 now over, there’s not spoilers at this point as the maze is currently being dismantled. However, you don’t want to see how this attraction looked with the building lights turned on, then best to leave now as the rest of this article is a gallery of the lights on photos inside “Asylum in Wonderland 3D”.

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Unmasking the Horror Tour – Run: Blood, Sweat, and Fears

Our final Unmasking the Horror Tour report features the 7th of our 6 house tour – in this case, we took the all tour tour twice and were lucky enough to have a tour of 7 total houses!

“Run” takes place in an alternate reality were John F Kennedy by passed the peacefully settlement of the Cuban arms crisis and just went ahead and nuked the Soviet Union. We lost the west coast in the process, but we gained the rest of the world as the U.S. governs the entire earth. “The Network” is form and sole provider of 1000’s of entertainment broadcast channels. Out of all the choices for your viewing pleasure, one single show rates highest among everything The Network has to offer – the game show “Run”. “Run” features “contestants” that enter a gauntlet of deadly gladiators from all over the world trying to flat out kill you. If you survive, your prize is your life.

Now, the year is 1987 and it’s Freedom Day, the global holiday of the planet and gladiators from all over the world have joined with edition of run at “Hellsgate Prison”. You, are one of the contestants. Good luck, and happy freedom day!

As reported in our “Body Collectors: Recollections”, “Freddy vs Jason” “Jack Presents 25 Year of Monsters and Mayhem”, and “The Walking Dead: The Living and the Dead” articles, the Unmasking the Horror Tour is and up-close and personal, lights on tour of several of the mazes at Universal Resort Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 25.

With Halloween Horror Nights 25 now over, there’s not spoilers at this point as the maze is currently being dismantled. However, you don’t want to see how this attraction looked with the building lights turned on, then best to leave now as the rest of this article is a gallery of the lights on photos inside “Run: Blood, Sweat, and Fears”.

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Unmasking the Horror Tour – Insidious

Moving on with our Unmasking the Horror Tour report – this time we enter “the further” as we take an inside look at Halloween Horror Nights 25 “Insidious” Maze.

“Insidious” took some of the most memorial scenes and visuals from the all three installments of the Insidious film franchise and brought them to live at Halloween Horror Nights 25, including multisensory experience of entering “The Further”. During our Unmasking the Horror Tour, we were able to take a closer look at the maze and taken in all the details that brought this experience to life.

As reported in our “Body Collectors: Recollections”, “Freddy vs Jason” “Jack Presents 25 Year of Monsters and Mayhem”, and “The Walking Dead: The Living and the Dead” articles, the Unmasking the Horror Tour is and up-close and personal, lights on tour of several of the mazes at Universal Resort Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 25.

With Halloween Horror Nights 25 now over, there’s not spoilers at this point as the maze is currently being dismantled. However, you don’t want to see how this attraction looked with the building lights turned on, then best to leave now as the rest of this article is a gallery of the lights on photos inside “Insidious”.

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Unmasking The Horror Tour – The Walking Dead

Moving on with our Unmasking the Horror Tour report – it’s time to step into Season 5 of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” with “The Walking Dead: The Living and the Dead”

As reported in our “Body Collectors: Recollections”, “Freddy vs Jason” “Jack Presents 25 Year of Monsters and Mayhem”, the Unmasking the Horror Tour is and up-close and personal, lights on tour of several of the mazes at Universal Resort Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 25.

SPOILER ALERT. Before I continue, I want to give an extremely necessary warning: the rest of this article will set the stage for an experience walking through the house and the story of “The Walking Dead: The Living and Dead” with the addition of pictures and a photo gallery, as well as spoilers to season 5 of “The Walking Dead”. If you have not yet experienced this amazing house and do not want any spoilers in way of description or photos, or if you have not yet watched or heard the details of season 5 of The Walking Dead television series, stop reading this article now!

Full photos in posted at the bottom this description:

The maze starts off exactly where our heroes find themselves in Season 5 of “The Walking Dead” – The slaughter house of Terminus:

From there we find ourselves in the caved-in remnants of the food bank, along with water logged walkers waste deep in water:

Out of the food bank and into Grady Memorial Hospital:

We leave the hospital – intact – and find ourselves in the church yard of St Sarah’s Episcopal Church:

Out of the church and into the barn right at the time the storm hits:

Leaving the barn, we’re wandering the woods with Walkers all around:

From woods we enter the back of a large department store, with Walkers still afoot. As we move out we come across an infamous door, and the setting for one of the most memorable character deaths this season:

Out of the store, we trip a trap set by the wolves, and walkers are unleashed from all sides:

AMC’s The Walking Dead has had a long presence at Halloween Horror Nights and the Art and Design team have taken bold steps to try to bring this story to life in new and exciting ways each year.

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Unmasking the Horror Tours are still available as of the posting of this article.

To learn more, visit the Halloween Horror Nights RIP Tours page at: http://www.halloweenhorrornights.com/orlando/rip-tours.html

For more on Halloween Horror Nights and to purchase event tickets and add ons, visit the Halloween Horror Nights website at: http://www.halloweenhorrornights.com/orlando/

For more great Halloween Horror Nights coverage, check out “The Catacombs of Halloween Horror Nights” podcast at: http://www.neozaz.com/category/podcasts/halloween-horror-nights/

First time at Halloween Horror Nights? Check out our First Timer Tips episode of That Catacombs of Halloween Horror Nights podcast at: http://www.neozaz.com/cohhn-first-timer-tips/, and our First Timer Tip article at: http://www.neozaz.com/hhn-tips/.

For more information on the full line of attractions and events at Halloween Horror Nights 25, check out our Full Line-up article at: http://www.neozaz.com/hhn25-the-full-line-up/

Unmasking the Horror Tour – Monsters and Mayhem

It’s time again for another look at our “Unmasking the Horror Tour” experience at Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights 25.

If you’ve just joined us, we’ve already taken a look at “Body Collectors: Recollections” and “Freddy vs Jason.” Now it’s time for our third house of our 6 (+1) house tour: “Jack Presents 25 Years of Monsters and Mayhem”.

This house is a fantastic trip down memory lane pulling in memorable moments from the past 15 years of Halloween Horror Nights mazes, addling the classic Universal Monsters that started it all, and throwing in a good dose of the event icon Jack the Clown.

SPOILER ALERT. Before I continue, I want to give an extremely necessary warning: the rest of this article will set the stage for an experience walking through the house and the story of “Jack Presents: 25 Years of Monsters and Mayhem” with the addition of pictures and a photo gallery. If you have not yet experienced this amazing house and do not want any spoilers in way of description or photos, stop reading this article now!

Full tour picture gallery below the following description:

This house starts off with one the most colorful, well planned, eye catching facades of all of the attractions at Halloween Horror Nights 25. A giant entry way with Jack the Clown manically laughing at you and spinning towers paying homage to icons of the past, and a couple of fan favorite “lost” characters.

After entering we’re in the woods and the first blast from the past arrives in the form of 2001’s ScaryTales version of “Red Riding Hood” – in this version the fair maiden took care of that nasty wolf herself as we see remnants of their altercations.

We’re led into the small nearby cottage and find the tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, though in this telling, the bears get the jump on Goldilocks and find her “just right”.

From there the tilted floor is the first clue that we are on the doomed ship from 2011’s “The Forsaken”, the 4th ship from Christopher Columbus’ fleet that attempted to mutiny, and paid with a gruesome demise.

Off the forsaken and into the “Scream House”, the icon house of 2002’s Islands of Fear Icon “The Caretaker”.

Out of the Scream house we go down a long hallway – scrim walls on one side that light up and reveal floating ghosts, painting and light effects on the other where scareactors await, and overhead a curious spirit gliding above the ceiling.

Out of the hallway and into the world that started it all for Universal Studios and for the genre of Horror Movies – The Classic Monsters.

Frankensteins’s monster, the Wolfman, Bride of Frankenstein, Phantom of the Opera, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and the Mummy all make an appearance in their own personalized showcase for this silver anniversary event:

From there we continue our scream down memory lane and we enter a room for 2004’s “Castle Vampyr” – possibly the most memorable room for some as it’s the bed chambers of the seductive brides of Dracula.

We move along and, peering down at a mirror effect making us believe we’re not high up in the castle as the weeping angles of 2011’s “Winter’s Night: The Haunting of Hawthorn Cemetery at there to greet (and likely scare) us.

Turning the corner we enter the WWI era as we are treated to scene from 2011’s “Nightingales: Blood Prey”

Out of the trenches into the chaos of chains, chainsaws and genetically engineered soldiers gone a muck in a scene from 2000’s “Havoc: Dogs of War”

From here we the house takes an interesting turn as 2 of the more tongue-in-check houses of the past are mashed up into one scene: 2009’s “Leave it to Cleaver’s” walk-in cooler is decorated with 2011’s “H.R. Bloodengutz Presents: Holiday of Horror” Christmas set:

Before entering the next full room, there’s a bit trickery on our left in the form of a makeup table and “mirror”. The mirror is actually an opening in the wall with the same décor on the opposite wall giving the illusion of a reflection. When you turn to take a good look at yourself, you’re greeted by a scareactor dressed as Jack the Clown in the opening.

As a finale – inside the building at least – there is a room with A LOT of Jack the Clowns beneath a circus tent.. A few real, but most mannequins to hide the location of the real jacks.

From there we head outside. After a long walk the attraction seems to be over and we get see two showcases of props from Halloween Horror Nights past. Just as we’re taking a look at the great details of the display, the lost icon Eddie jumps out with a chainsaw, pushing us back to the second display were Leave it Cleaver’s mascot “Meaty Meetz” is waiting, chainsaw in hand.

All in all a really fun house. A great walk down memory lane for any longtime Halloween Horror Nights attendee. As with all the houses on this tour, the tour once again enhances the entire experience of these fantastic attractions. More than just highly recommending them, I almost say you really need to do the tour at least once in your Halloween Horror Nights annual pilgrimage.

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Unmasking the Horror Tours are still available as of the posting of this article.

To learn more, visit the Halloween Horror Nights RIP Tours page at: http://www.halloweenhorrornights.com/orlando/rip-tours.html

For more on Halloween Horror Nights and to purchase event tickets and add ons, visit the Halloween Horror Nights website at: http://www.halloweenhorrornights.com/orlando/

For more great Halloween Horror Nights coverage, check out “The Catacombs of Halloween Horror Nights” podcast at: http://www.neozaz.com/category/podcasts/halloween-horror-nights/

First time at Halloween Horror Nights? Check out our First Timer Tips episode of That Catacombs of Halloween Horror Nights podcast at: http://www.neozaz.com/cohhn-first-timer-tips/, and our First Timer Tip article at: http://www.neozaz.com/hhn-tips/.

For more information on the full line of attractions and events at Halloween Horror Nights 25, check out our Full Line-up article at: http://www.neozaz.com/hhn25-the-full-line-up/

Halloween Horror Nights 25 Unmasking the Horror – Freddy vs Jason

Continuing our Halloween Horror Nights Unmaking the Horror Tour at Universal Orlando Resort coverage , we now move into an adapted intellectual property with “Freddy vs Jason”!

As explained in our “Halloween Horror Nights 25 Unmaking the Horror – Body Collectors Recollections” article, the Unmasking the Horror Tour gives a unique up close and personal “lights on” experience with several of the mazes at Halloween Horror Nights 25. Being a big Halloween Horror Nights fan, I love these tours for that reason, but more so for the in depth look at the stories being told in these mazes that are often missed as visitors are sent through the maze night after night. Many times I get a new perspective for the maze, but none more for HHN25 than the tour for “Freddy vs Jason”.

“Freddy vs Jason” on the surface is a pretty simple story: 2 of the biggest horror icons battle it out to see who reigns supreme. Like I said, simple story, and really all you need. But how they get to the final battle was completely lost on my first visit through the maze. So to better explain, here is that story.

SPOILER ALERT. Before I continue, I want to give an extremely necessary warning: the rest of this article will set the stage for an experience walking through the maze and the story of “Freddy vs Jason” with the addition of pictures and a photo gallery. If you have not yet experienced this amazing maze and do not want any spoilers in way of description or photos, stop reading this article now!

Full tour picture gallery below the following description:

The experience begins in familiar territory – Camp Crystal Lake. The site of the many a grizzly murders from the Friday the 13th franchise.

The area is littered with Jason’s victims and we get our first face to face encounter with Jason Vorhees himself, a scareactor portrayed by a hulking 6 foot 7 or taller actor.

We move inside the nearby cabin, it’s the counselors bunks. One counselor has already met his fate at the hands of Jason. Looking around there are a lot of pictures on the wall. These pictures we were informed on the tour are of the creative staff, their family and pets.

Moving from the bunks to the showers, we get our first glimpse at Jason nemesis for this story – Freddy Krueger. A series of 3 glass panes revealing the face of Freddy light up as we pass through a small hallway:

From there we enter the showers, and more of Jason’s victims:

Before leaving and heading to the next scene we run into Jason’s mother – or at least what’s left of her in the shrine built in the bathtub at the end of this room:

As we pass the shrine, we hear Jason’s mother pleading for Jason to kill, as her pleas grow stronger, her voice morphs and deepens as it turns into dream-realm commands from Freddy himself.

We exit the cabin and find ourselves outside. We’re in front of a white house numbers 1428 Elm Street. outside the house 2 young girls with a jump romp chatting the familiar verse “1,2 Freddy’s

Inside the house, there is no question that Freddy Krueger has return as his arrival is written in blood on the wall. Turning the corner, we see several of his most infamous kills in a showcase with Freddy himself popping in and out of the doorways:

We’re lead into the dream world, a world where both Freddy and Jason’s corporeal demise meet. This was a detail I did not understand on my first walk through. After having it explained, it made the experience far more exciting. First, a walk through the boiler room were Freddy Krueger was burnt alive. From there, a twisted, rusted version of the boiler room takes shape in a mind bending mirror maze.

The boiler-room maze begins to unwind as the pipes and walls soon get covered with water plants and bark drawing us underwater to where the young Jason Vorhees drowned at Crystal Lake followed by the sinking shrine of his long dead mother:

From there the battle begins. Jason and Freddy lock arms disappearing behind a projection screen where a fight that could never be duplicated in real life plays out.

After the next turn, we see Freddy taking his at Jason, followed by a spot light showcase of Jason dominating Freddy:

From there, we’re left to wonder who is the victor as we return to Crystal Lake,that is until one of two endings happens as either Jason holding a Freddy’s severed head appears from behind a black curtain, or Freddy holding Jason’s mask jumps out.

For me, Halloween Horror Nights 25 was mostly about the history and original properties from the years of HHN past. My first walk through Freddy vs Jason was fun, but at the time all I needed to do. After my unmasking the horror visit, this maze quickly grew on me, and now with the event about to come to a close, Freddy vs Jason has quickly become one of my favorite mazes at Halloween Horror Nights 25.

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Halloween Horror Nights 25 Unmasking the Horror – Body Collectors Recollections

Halloween Horror Nights Orlando is in the midst of its silver anniversary, a quarter decade of horror, mayhem and the best time you can have anywhere during Halloween. The event is comprised of haunted houses, “scare-zone” street attractions and live shows from horror movie blockbusters, television juggernauts, and fantastic original Halloween Horror Nights properties.

There’s more than ever to do at Halloween Horror Nights this, so much there may be times much of the amazing detail and work the entire HHN crew puts into the event is overlooked. To help get an even better experience and much closer (and slower) look at the fantastic work done at Halloween Horror Nights, there’s the “Unmasking the Horror Tour”. The Unmasking Horror Tour takes you inside select houses (3 in the half day tour, 6 in the full day tour) for a lights on tour to take in all the great detail, behind the scenes tricks, and in many cases a much broader telling of the story tied to each house.

For one house in particular, all these points were hit and in many cases hit past any of my expectations. The tour was for the house “Body Collectors: Recollections”. This is one of the most gorgeous houses Halloween Horror Nights has done to date. It features some great tried and true scares, and adds a few new surprises. Most of all, it adds to the story of not one, but two original Halloween Horror Nights properties, as well as an incredibly significant hint to the story of the two of the events most popular Icons.

SPOILER ALERT. Before I continue, I want to give an extremely necessary warning: the rest of this article will set the stage for an experience walking through the house and the story of “Body Collectors: Recollections” with the addition of pictures and a photo gallery. If you have not yet experienced this amazing house and do not want any spoilers in way of description or photos, stop reading this article now!

Full tour picture gallery below the following description:

“Body Collectors: Recollections” combines two original Halloween Horror Nights properties. The first being the title characters – The Body Collectors. The Body Collectors first appeared in 2005 at Halloween Horror Nights 15 “Tale of Terror” in the house “Body Collectors”. Three years later the returned in 2008 at Halloween Horror Nights 18 “Reflections of Fear” in the house “Body Collectors: Collections of the Past”. Now in 2015, they return once again to Halloween Horror Nights 25, but possibly more significant than their return, is where we find them: “Shadybrook Rest Home and Sanitarium”.

This pulls in the second of the original properties: “Psychoscareapy”. The Shadybrook Rest Home and Sanitarium is the setting for the Psychoscareapy story that debuted at 2003’s Halloween Horror Nights 13. The property returned 3 years later in 2006 with “”Psychoscareapy: Maximum Carnage” lead by and featuring Halloween Horror Nights Icon Jack the Clown. In 2007 the inmates broke out of the sanitarium in “Psychoscareapy Home for the Holidays”. Psychoscareapy returned once again in 2010 for 20 Years of Fear with “Psychoscareapy: Echoes of Shadybrook”.

Now while the Psychoscareapy property returns again in Halloween Horror Nights 25 with its own Scarezone “Psychoscareapy: Unleashed” the story continues – or possibly starts – in “Body Collectors: Recollections”.

So here’s the story.

The first thing you’ll notice as you approach “Body Collectors: Recollections” is that it’s snowing:

This comes from the specific moment in time and the place this house story is set. It’s 1888 in New York and it’s during the historic blizzard that trapped residents indoors for days with six foot high snow drifts and blistering cold. Once the snow fell, there’s no way to enter or leave any building. At least for those that are confined by the normal laws of space, time and physics – which we’ve learned the Body Collector’s may not be after all (see the “What you need to know” episode of The Catacombs of Halloween Horror Nights Podcast).

The time and place is as significant if not more to the story of Psychoscareapy than the blizzard; up until now Shadybrook was set in Carey, Ohio. Starting this story is New York is new, and as we’ll see as we go on it’s the Body Collectors causing the chaos this time (for the most part) and not the inmates. Could this be the start of Shadybrook’s infamous reputation? A moment in time so horrific they picked up and moved operations to Carey Ohio trying to outrun their reputation? This is all speculation on my part, but until the story is told a bit more, I like to view this as the start of the madness that is Shadybrook.

The Body Collectors have infiltrated Shadybrook, and the evidence of their presence is noticed right away as the smoldering remains of one the first nurse to encounter the Body Collectors lays charred and crackling in the lobby fireplace:

Looking past the burning body, there’s a lot of great things to see in this one room – many props from HHN pasts, and a surprise prop that “belongs in a museum”

Moving on, we pass by the elaborately decorated office “Dr. Tribble”. This is a name I don’t recognize from past stories and haven’t been able to find anything about in relation to HHN so I expect to see this name appear again in either story line in HHN events to come:

From there we’re lead down a hallway of broken windows, snow rolling in and a chilled wind push through the broken glass panes. Some of the inmates that tried to run lay strewn in the snows half dead screaming for help reminding us there’s no escape from this snowing in sanitarium.

Now things start to pick up with the Body Collectors. In a padded room almost setup as a true maze, inmates come out of and disappear into the walls. Off the side, a frightened Doctor is held to the wall and a Body Collector quickly cuts his throat:

We start seeing what the Body Collectors do best – harvesting bodies. Behind screens Body Collectors are hard at work while in the center of the room, one particular Body Collector is removing the organs of an unfortunate victim under falling snow coming from broken ceiling windows overhead.

From there the main event from the Body Collectors begins in the Surgery Theater. We’re surrounded by Body Collectors as we witness a return of a favorite effect from Halloween Horror Nights – the Spine ripper.

Fun note – on one visit my sister and I clapped at the end of the spine rip and the performing Body Collectors turned and bowed to us.

We leave the theater and head into the bowels of Shadybrook. A mix of insanity and some of the best “artwork” done yet by the Body Collectors. Rusted iron cell house the worst of the worst of the inmates and they get their chance to deliver some scares.

One cell in particular stands out to HHN fans. A screaming woman dashing back and forth in front of 2 cradles. In the cradles are two very recognizable newborns:

Though no official word yet, it seems that along with the possible start of the Pyschoscareapy story we may be witnessing the birth place and possibly meeting the mother of Jack the Clown and his maniac bother Eddie.

Now, I’ve theorized on story elements of Psychoscareapy, I just gave my thoughts on Jack and Eddie’s possible appearance, but so far not much added to the Body Collectors story. That is about to change.

One big question that’s always loomed over the Body Collectors is “Where do they come from?” While that question isn’t necessarily completely answered, we did get one huge piece of that puzzle in this house. Body Collectors aren’t born. They aren’t recruited. They’re made.

This is learned in one of the best rooms of the all the houses at Halloween Horror Nights 25 as we enter the assembly room as it’s watched over by a red robed Grand Body Collectors.

Pieces of bodies in different stages of assembly are seen in each alcove of the room as new body collectors are put together to join their ranks.

This Unmasking the Horror Tour was phenomenal. The time given to look at all the detail and work put into these houses was amazing and the stories told about the houses themselves was far more than this long time Halloween Horror Nights fan could ever ask for.

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Unmasking the Horror Tours are still available as of the posting of this article.

To learn more, visit the Halloween Horror Nights RIP Tours page at: http://www.halloweenhorrornights.com/orlando/rip-tours.html

For more on Halloween Horror Nights and to purchase event tickets and add ons, visit the Halloween Horror Nights website at: http://www.halloweenhorrornights.com/orlando/

For more great Halloween Horror Nights coverage, check out “The Catacombs of Halloween Horror Nights” podcast at: http://www.neozaz.com/category/podcasts/halloween-horror-nights/

First time at Halloween Horror Nights? Check out our First Timer Tips episode of That Catacombs of Halloween Horror Nights podcast at: http://www.neozaz.com/cohhn-first-timer-tips/, and our First Timer Tip article at: http://www.neozaz.com/hhn-tips/.

For more information on the full line of attractions and events at Halloween Horror Nights 25, check out our Full Line-up article at: http://www.neozaz.com/hhn25-the-full-line-up/

25 Ways Halloween Horror Nights 25 Nails It!

The greatest Halloween event in the world kicked off its 25th year this weekend. Halloween Horror Nights 25 at Universal Studios Orlando celebrates a quarter century of madness, mayhem, and monsters with their biggest showcase of events to date. To say expectations are high is a clear understatement. It’s quite evident Universal Studios is aware of guests expectations. When it comes to delivering a milestone event for HHN25, they nail it!

In no particular order here are 25 ways Halloween Horror Nights 25 nails this year’s event big:

25 – Jack’s back. HHN 25 brings back the most recognizable original icon to the event – Jack the Clown.

24 – Total Park Transformation. I’ve been enjoying visiting Universal Studios since I moved to central Florida nearly 20 year ago – the park is so transformed for HHN25 that I had a couple of moments of difficulty recognizing what part of the park I was in. HHN25 is its own park this year.

23 – The energy level is through the roof! The level of anticipation and excited energy for HHN25 radiating from fans, first time visitors, scareactors and staff is palpable!

22 – 9 Mazes. With a record number of mazes this year, HHN25 offers more to experience than ever.

21 – 9 Top Notch, can’t miss, you won’t go wrong mazes. Along with the record number of mazes, each maze is a hit! I’ve tried listing from best to uberbest but cannot decide which ones hit the top yet.

20 – 5 Scare Zones. When not inside a maze the streets offer as much excitement for HH25.

19 – The 2 version Scare Zone “All Nite Die-In – Double Feature”. This haunted drive in theater themed Scare Zone features 2 version during the night: The Black and White classic horror and monster movie version, and the color modern era horror version. Every Scare Zone is worth a repeat visit, this one more so.

18 – More “scareactors” then ever. HHN25 has brought in the most scareactors ever in their quarter century history to push the event over the top.

17 – Chainsaws everywhere! The chainsaw drill team isn’t confined to a single scarezone this year – they are everywhere! No need to look for them, they’ll find you.

16 – The HHN25 Trivia Challenge. Universal gave us a great way to pass the time in line this year with The HHN25 trivia challenge at HHNTrivia.com. Get out your smart phone, launch the site and play along. Along the way, you may even learn a few interesting facts about the history of Halloween Horror Nights.
Learn more about the HHN Trivia Challenge here at the Universal Orlando Resort Blog.

15 – HHN25 is full of history! Jack the Clown, Body Collectors, Shady Brook Asylum, Scary Tales, Ultra Violent Comics, Hellgate Prison – nearly everywhere you look there’s a piece of Halloween Horror Nights history showcased in this year’s event!

14 – It’s a perfect initiation for first time visitors. Continuing on that last point, you don’t need to know every bit of history to enjoy HHN25 because it’s also a fantastic introduction to Halloween Horror Nights if it’s your first visit. Missed out on the past 24 years? No problem, you are about to be initiated into the HHN world in the best possible way.

13 – Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure delivers again! Since Halloween Horror Nights 1992 (the first year to take the name “Halloween Horror Nights”) Bill and Ted have been hosting the apex of this Halloween Party. Another can’t miss show for the silver anniversary.

12 – Food and Drink. Another duo that doesn’t get the attention it deserves – “Food and Drink”. The grab and go food is everywhere this year. Going all night you’ll need to eat, and you can grab something almost anywhere. And the food is good! The hand held meals maximize time better than a sit down meal and with so much to do at HHN25 that becomes really important. Then there’s the signature event drink the “Jack’d Up Carnage”. That’s just damn good!

11 – Psychoscarepy – Unleashed; You can’t look away! The lineage of the Psychoscarepy property dates back to 2003 and has become more gruesome and disturbing with each addition. Taking this property out of the maze and putting it on the streets adds a whole new dimension to this fantastic property!

10 – Rebuilding the 3D maze idea from the ground up with “Asylum in Wonderland 3D”. I’ve had the pleasure to experience four 3D mazes at Halloween Horror Nights. “Asylum in Wonderland 3D” at HHN25 is the start a new and exciting generation of these mazes!

9 – The Icons “Kill” Shows. Not only do HHN25 visitors get the chance to see and interact with the Icons of the Past, four of the more notorious icons – The Caretaker, The Usher, The Director, and The Storyteller – each present a short “Kill” show recreating some of their most famous “kills” from years past.

8 – More than the icons in the icons scarezone. Though touted as an “Icons” themes scarezone “Icons – HHN” features many of the more memorable and elaborate scareactors from the past, including some of my favorite stiltwalker creatures.

7 – “Jack Presents 25 Years of Monsters and Mayhem”. Nothing honors the 25 year legacy of Halloween Horror Nights more than this maze. From Universals foothold on horror with their classic monsters to memorable moments of HHNs past, this maze is a wonderful tribute to all of Halloween Horror Nights.

6 – The Carnage Returns. Jack brought the Carnival of Carnage with him! This fantastic show is funny, gruesome, and non-stop from the moment Jack hit’s the stage. Do not miss this show!

5 – Proof horror can be gorgeous. “Body Collectors: Recollections” is one of the most visually stunning and gorgeous mazes I’ve ever seen at Halloween Horror Nights. From the blizzard hardened façade to every room in the maze, this attraction is stunning!

4 – New Tricks and Technology. Once again Halloween Horror Nights pushes the haunt envelope and adds new techniques and technologies to their maze I’ve never seen before. Without giving any spoilers of what they are, I’ll just say that both “Insidious” and “Freddy vs Jason” both set a couple of new bars in HHN25.

3 – So many nights! There are 30 nights in total for HHN25 spanning September, October and November. With so many nights it’s easy to not only fit in a visit – but fit in multiple visits!

2 – Freddy vs. Jason – finally!!! Since the debut of these two horror icons in 2007’s “Carnival of Carnage” many fans of both the two franchises and Halloween Horror Nights have wondered what it would have been like to put Freddy and Jason in the same maze. In HHN25, we finally find out! Who wins? Depends when you go – the outcome changes each walk through, so plan one hitting this one more than once!

1 – HHN25 Put the Fans first! It’s never been more evident at any Halloween Horror Nights I’ve attended that HHN25 has put the fans first. In doing so, everything else falls into place. If it’s your first time, or your 25th time, this event if for you and that’s what makes Halloween Horror Nights the best at what it does year after year.

If you’re a longtime fan, a casual HHN visitor, or a first timer curious about this 25th year event, you will not be disappointed in Halloween Horror Nights 25. With more to do than ever and more pushing of limits in haunts, Halloween Horror Nights 25 is by far the best edition of this amazing event. Go early, and go often – you’ll be glad you did!

For more details on Halloween Horror Nights 25, check out our “Opening Night” episode of The Catacombs of Halloween Horror Nights podcast featuring recorded clips of scare zone and mazes, and a special Q and A opening night media event with Director John Landis, Walking Dead special effect make up designer, executive producers, and director Greg Nicotero, and Walking Dead’s very own “Carl”, Chandler Riggs.

For all our Halloween Horror Nights 25 coverage and in-depth reviews, check out our podcast “The Catacombs of Halloween Horror Nights” or subscribe directly to the show on iTunes.

For instant reactions and coverage throughout the entire run of Halloween Horror Nights 25, follow us on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/neozazpodcasts

Halloween Horror Nights 25 – The Full Line-up

Midnight Wednesday August 26th, Universal Studios Orlando released all the details of their annual Halloween Horror Nights event. This year the event celebrates its 25th anniversary and expectations were high. When the clock struck 12, our expectations weren’t only met, they were exceeded.

The night started off with reviewing what we already knew, the four mazes announced over the summer:

“Freddy vs Jason” – “From the cursed Camp Crystal Lake to the nightmarish 1428 Elm Street, awake or asleep, you’ll find yourself caught in the middle of this episode battle – where the winner’s reward is YOU.

This was the first announcement made for Halloween Horror Nights 25 and set a high bar for everything to follow. Our instant reaction to the news along with details reported on the maze is here in our “Freddy vs Jason Instant Reaction” episode.

What Matt says about this maze: “I grew up with Freddy and Jason and loved having them in the Carnival of Carnage. Having them fight it out in a maze is a dream come true, can’t wait!”

What Quint says about this maze: “While I am worried about the transition, the finale alone should be worth it!”

“Insidious” – “Enter “The Further” and travel through all three parts of the Insidious saga. Denizens of the afterlife try to find their way back into the world using the living to guide them. The house isn’t haunted–we are.”

What Quint says about this maze: “I always like a mind fuck, and this looks like a good one.”

What Matt says about this maze: “I’ve now watched “Insidious” and “Insidious 2” and there’s some great visuals in both films, curious to see what is pulled from these movies and brought to life”.

“The Walking Dead: The Living and The Dead” – “From the burnt ashes of Terminus, through the flooded community food pantry basement, and into the darkened churchyard, hordes of walkers surround you as you relive gut-wrenching moments of the most recent season.

This is another IP we’re both big fans of and recorded another “Instant Reaction” special following the news. You can find our “Walking Dead Instant Reaction” special here.

What Matt says about this maze: “I’m a big ‘The Walking Dead’ fan and season 5 had some great moments I’d love to see make it into maze. If this maze is what HHN24’s maze was to Season 4, this should be awesome!”

What Quint says about this maze: “I still have not gotten my fill of Post Apocalyptic stuff, and Walking Dead hits the dark zombie awesomely.”

“The Purge” – “This year’s Purge is more brutal than ever. From the moment you step inside the house, dozens of vicious vigilantes will descend upon you as they exercise their right to purge.”

This is another announcement that spurred an instant reaction episode, and another IP we’re looking forward to seeing in a new format. You can find “The Purge Instant Reaction” special here.

What Quit says about this maze: “Dear gods, between LA and this, I need to get a mask and dust off my axes…wait did I say that out loud?”

What Matt says about this maze: “’The Purge Anarchy’ scare zone last year was a great representation of the 2nd movie, I’m hoping to see a lot of elements from the original movie in this maze”

Now that’s what we knew going into the midnight release and we were already excited about Halloween Horror Nights 25 – but that was just the beginning.

Here is the rest of what we’ll experience at Halloween Horror Nights 25.

The Mazes:

“An American Werewolf in London” – “Step into John Landis’ landmark 1981 horror classic. From the attack on the English moors to the bone-crunching transformation, it’s one of the most popular houses in Halloween Horror Nights® history. “

Returning from its HHN debut in 2013 at Halloween Horror Nights 23, “An American Werewolf in London” brings the 1981 John Landis film to life once again! This year’s maze boasts a scene by scene retelling of the movie with 2 additional scenes added for HHN25!

What Matt says about this maze: “I missed or don’t remember many of the things HHN fans remember and love about this maze. I’m really happy to get a 2nd chance to experience and take it all in this year.”

What Quint says about this maze: “So very excited to see not only a classic property but a recreation of a classic maze!”

“Jack Presents: 25 Years of Monsters and Mayhem” – “Relive the most terrifying moments of the past 25 years as Jack releases our catalogue of creatures in one maze. You’ll be attacked by Universal classic monsters, meat-grinding maniacs and the fiends of Horror Nights past.”

A walk down memory lane as we get the once in a lifetime chance to relive the most memorable moments of the Halloween Horror Nights throughout its illustrious history presented by the events most popular and memorable icon!

What Quint says about this maze: “There is so very much to pull from here, and with the original ringmaster at the forefront I can’t imagine this will be anything but balls out insanity.”

What Matt says about this maze: “I’m sorry, what? I passed out after I heard ‘Universal classic monsters’. Can-not-wait. This is the one I’m most looking forward to!”

“Run: Blood, Sweat, and Fears” – “You’ve just been selected as a contestant on RUN, a brutal TV show where everyday people are stalked by skilled assassins. Just remember: the more horrifying your death, the higher the ratings.”

One of the most storied original properties in Halloween Horror Nights history returns! The third (so far) in the “Run” series. The questions remains – will “he” be there?

What Matt says about this maze: “This is awesome! I really hope we’re seeing ‘Run’ the way we were supposed to in 2001.”

What Quint says about this maze: “I am going to go home and fire up my chain saw while delusionally screaming “We Want Eddie! We Want Eddie!”, I hope the neighbors don’t call the cops…”

“Asylum In Wonderland 3D” – “Follow the white rabbit through the looking glass and into a murderous 3D Wonderland. Is this world all in Alice’s mind or are the images we see real enough to kill us?”

HNH25 takes the “Asylum in Wonderland” Scare zone from 2008’s Halloween Horror Nights: Reflections of Fear and puts it in a maze – and then throws it into another dimension by making it 3D!

What Quint says about this maze: “Love the return of the 3D maze! Oh, and my heart will be happy that it is not fucking 3D clowns!”

What Matt says about this maze: “I really felt the lack of 3D maze last year – so psyched to see it return, and return in a big way!”

“Body Collectors – Recollections” – “The Body Collectors have returned, descending upon Shadybrook Asylum to collect the human parts they require. Screams echo the hallways as a blizzard rages outside while sharpened blades swirl inside.”

This year HHN25 takes two of their longest running original properties and places them in the same house changing both stories forever.

What Matt says about the maze: “This is the ‘Freddy vs Jason’ of original IPs for long time Halloween Horror Nights fans. I think this going to be far more of a bloodbath than the description lets on!”

What Quint says about this maze: “I love asylum themes, and getting to see Jack’s asylum makes this ever so much more special!”

So those are the mazes, but we’re not done yet. We still have the equally important Scare Zones. And here we go…

“Pyschoscareapy – Unleashed” – “The criminally insane inmates of Shadybrook Asylum have escaped and stumbled upon a Halloween Block party in the streets of New York. They quickly decide they’d kill for some costumes of their own.”

The revered “Pyschoscareapy” HHN storyline breaks out of the maze and hits the streets! We thought the inmates were scary in the asylum? What until they’re lurking in the shadows of the scare zone!

What Quint says about this scare zone: “Putting a maze and a scare zone together should just double down on the awesome!”

What Matt says about this scare zone: “I expect this to be the prelude to ‘Body Collectors – Recollections’. Whether or not it is, this IP needed to be in HHN25.”

“Icons – HHN” – “The eeriest icons and most cadaverous characters of the last 25 years of Halloween Horror Nights® have returned. The Caretaker, The Storyteller, The Director, The Usher and more are back to relive every monstrous memory.”

The Icons have all returned for Halloween Horror Nights! The living embodiments of year’s pasts convene in this scare zone to usher in the silver anniversary of this amazing event!

What Matt says about this scare zone: “A well-deserved self-celebration of HHN. I’ll be spending a lot of time in this scare zone.”

What Quint says about this scare zone: “I am looking forward to being able to get a glimpse of all the things I missed in the past”

“Scary Tales – Screampunk” – “Classic fairytale characters get a sinister Scary Tale twist immersed in the wicked world of steam punk.”

The HHN original IP, Scary Tales, takes another twisted and historic turn and enters the world of Steampunk!

What Quint says about this scare zone: “HOLY SHIT YES!”

What Matt says about this scare zone: “My favorite HHN original IP. This will be the first thing I see when I go my first night!”

“Evil’s Roots” – “Your darkest fears will take root amidst the perilous paths of Central Park as you face evil fairies, humanoid bats, scarecrows and more horrors.”

New scare zone, new scare actors, an all-new “stroll” through Central Park!

What Matt says about this scare zone: “Always my favorite area for a scare zone, as everything else – looking forward to this too.”

What Quint says about this scare zone: “Central Park eh, well I guess hobos, used condoms, and heroin needles and strung out hookers are pretty scary? :-P”

“All Nite Die-In – Double Feature” – “The Carey Drive-In movie theatre has been closed for decades after grisly murders during a double feature. It’s lights, camera, carnage as the theater nicknamed “Die-In” by the locals lives up to its name.”

The gruesome history of the Carey Drive-in comes back to life during Halloween Horror Nights.

What Quint says about this scare zone: “Drive in movie, I am hoping for all the good stuff plus maybe a nice vintage car or two?”

What Matt says about this scare zone: “This could be the most immersive scare zone of HHN25. And if so, likely the one to make my jump the most.”

Also revealed via the Halloween Horror Nights twitter account (@HorrorNightsORL): “[There will also be a] chainsaw wielding roaming hordes in areas where the scare zones are not!”

What Matt says about the roaming Chainsaw Drill Team: “YES!!!!!”

What Quint says about the roaming Chainsaw Drill Team: “Holy ****balls!!”

Along with all these awesome mazes and scare zones, there are 2 chances to stop and catch your breath with these stage shows:

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure – “Party on as those two most excellent dudes return to skewer the biggest names in politics, show business and pop culture.”

The Carnage Returns – “Jack the Clown is taking Halloween Horror Nights® back in a blaze of murderous mayhem with his army of feared followers and his companion in carnage, Chance. Remember, Jack always has the last laugh.”

Needless to say we are beyond excited about Halloween Horror Night’s line up this year. We’ve been enjoying this event for years and loved watching it grow and become what it has in this reveal of HHN25 details. To hear our excitement “live” during this reveal, check out our special “Midnight Madness” here.

Be sure to check back for reviews and first-hand accounts of this year’s Halloween Horror Nights, and check out series “The Catacombs of Halloween Horror Nights” for recordings and coverage of both Orlando’s event and Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood.

Halloween Horror Nights – First Timer Tips

So you’ve decided to finally go to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando this year. You’ve made a great decision! Not only is Halloween Horror Nights Orlando the premier Halloween event anywhere in the world, it’s also their 25th anniversary this year! This year will undoubtedly be one of the most exciting, terrifying, and fun events ever put on by Universal Orlando.

With this being not only the most popular Halloween event anywhere, and it being a huge milestone year, this is an event worth taking some time to plan ahead.

Matt and Quint, hosts of “The Catacombs of Halloween Horror Nights” podcast have taken their 20 year combined Halloween Horror Nights experience to compile a list tips to prepare for and get the most from your first time Halloween Horror Nights experience.

Pre-planning.

First and foremost – you cannot plan too far ahead for this event.

This article is being written in July, and tickets for all aspects of the event are now one sale! If you’ve already planned your visit dates, but haven’t purchased your event tickets yet – stop reading this and got to http://www.halloweenhorrornights.com/orlando/tickets.html and get your tickets before they’re gone!

Next, there’s more to Halloween Horror Nights than just the “Nights”.

There’s no doubt the “Night” portion of Halloween Horror Nights is biggest draw, but there is a separate day time tour during this time that’s gaining in popularity, but still not known to everyone – especially first time Halloween Horror Nights visitors. It’s called the “Unmasking the Horror Tour”. This is unique “lights-on” behind the scenes tour of Halloween Horror Nights. The tour is a 2 to 2 ½ guided tour of 3 of the house at Halloween Horror Nights! There is a tour in the morning (10:30 am) and a tour in the afternoon (2 pm). You can book a tour for either time or for booth on the same day. For more information, visit: http://www.halloweenhorrornights.com/orlando/rip-tours.html

Last tip and possibly most important for pre-planning; If you’re there for 1 night – Express pass is a must.

Halloween Horror Nights 25 is big – literally bigger this year than any other year. This year boosts a recording setting 9 houses! A way to get an advantage over the tens of thousands of other Halloween Horror Nights fans you’ll be enjoying the night with you and see all you can possibly see is with an Express Pass. It is an additional cost, that is true – but well worth it in our opinion and in the opinion of most any else that’s ever purchased one. To justify the cost, consider this simple question: “Would you rather see 3 houses in 1 hour with an express pass, OR stand in line for 1 house for 3 hours without one? Those numbers vary of course on the night and what houses, but you get the idea.

BIG NOTE ON EXPRESS PASS: Contrary to recent rumors, I’ve verified Express Passes are indeed limited for each night. So when you decide to pull the trigger, do it before it’s too late!

There also a second alternative to maximize your time – It’s called “The RIP Tour”. Depending on the night, it’s not too much more expensive than an Express pass, or it could be a whole lot more expensive. It’s worth calling and finding out – all the VIP service members are incredibly nice, I’ve called with a lot of questions (and a lot orders) and they’ve answered all of them and were incredibly nice each time.

VIP Services: 866-604-7566 or email: [email protected]

Planning:

Now the pre-planning is done and you know when you’re visiting and you have your tickets and any add-ons sitting on your desk taunting you with the slowest calendar count down of all time – how can now pass the time by coming up with a plan of attack once you get in the park. Here are some tips we learned over the years to help you maximize your time and avoid some headaches.

Getting in:

If you’re making an entire day event of your visit, you may already have an edge on many of the other visitors with the Day Pass Holding Area.

If you have a day pass (including an annual pass) to Universal Studios Orlando and your Halloween Horror Nights ticket, you can wait in a special area while they turn the park over. When the event start time hits, you are let out of the holding area and already in the park for Halloween Horror Nights. Check with guest services if you’re unsure your ticket combination let you into the holding area. The only drawback – you will be standing with a crowd for 90 minutes, but worth it when maximizing your time

If you are visiting the park but can’t get into the holding area and have to leave the park, don’t go far!

The park turns over in 90 minutes. You’ll likely see people already lining up when you leave. So get in line, or go get what you need to do between leaving and coming back quickly, and get in line.

Show up early, or fashionably late.

As stated earlier, the line starts early. If you want to be in as the gate opens, you have to get there early. Traditionally the park closes at 5 pm for the turn over. That’s a good time to start for the line. Conversely, if you can’t get there that early, fashionably late is good too. By fashionably late I mean about 30 minutes after the gates open. This probably sounds counter intuitive to maximizing your time, but if you’re not in the front of the line, you’ll be waiting to in the slowest moving line of the night. The worst is the first 30 minutes. So if you’re running late, you might want to consider waiting until the first 30 minutes of the night have passed.

The biggest tip we can share about entering the event no matter what time you arrive is this:

Leave the bags at home (or in the car). Bring only absolutely what you need – ID, tickets, phone and wallet. There is a no bag line that is immeasurably faster than the regular security line.

Early Hours:

Skip the first drink stand you see.

The first drink stand after the entrance has the biggest line and there’s a ton more EVERYWHERE in the park.

Once inside, head to the Kid’s Zone area.

The houses in the Kid’s Zone area are typically hit last and have an under 10 minute wait time during the first hour of the event. There’s usually 2 houses in that area one on the Right, one on Left (towards Barney). If the same flow of past years is followed, the house on the right will exit next to the line for house on the left. The house on the left will then let out further into the park. So heading right to the kid’s zone and entering the house on the right can help you get a jump on the evening. NOTE: This is assuming these houses aren’t any of the headliner houses. If they are, all bets are off.

Food and Drink:

Don’t fill up on the usual park food and drink.

Halloween Horror Nights offers a wide selection of Food and Drinks only available during event hours. If you’re hungry, skip the usual Springfield Fast Food Boulevard, Mel’s D-i-e in, Richter’s Burgers, etc. and seek out some Cheesesteaks and (most of all) Twisted Taters. If you drink alcoholic drinks, check out the signature drink of the event for the year and the Zombie Nurse I.V. Jell-O Shot Blood Bags.

Eat earlier rather than later.

The temporary event bars will always have lines. The food lines get longer as the night goes on.

If you’re drinking (and why not? It is a party) pace your drinking, and drink water as well.

While it’s autumn, it’s still Central Florida and it’s usually hot – particularly if you’re from out of state. Again, pace your drinking – getting hammered in the first 2 hours is not going to give you a memorable Halloween Horror Nights experience.

In the Houses:

They will get you, so relax.

If you’re like Quint and try to anticipate everything, relax! They WILL get you, the ALWAYS get you at least once. If you relax, you will have more fun and jump out of your skin more often!

Be open to interactions with strangers.

Personal space shrinks a lot at Halloween Horror Nights, and some of the more memorable experiences have been with random strangers we’ve had fun with.

Outside the Houses:

Don’t skip the scare zones!

As much work goes into planning these scare zones as anything else – more in some ways. These have to be frightening yet open and easily passed through while conveying a story or theme the whole time you’re in that area. If you miss one (or run through it) you’re missing a huge piece of Halloween Horror Nights!

And don’t skip Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure.

First time to Halloween Horror Nights and wondering why Bill and Ted have their own show? Go and found you – you won’t be disappointed. This is arguable the apex of the Halloween Party. This is where you an a couple thousand of your closest friends all get to yell, laugh and scream and join in on one of Halloween Horror Night’s annual traditions.

Plan to close the park.

The event runs 6 ½ or 7 ½ hours depending on the night – plan to stay for all of it. All times are on the Halloween Horror Nights Website now, so check ahead or time and plan your energy reserves – to take a nap, leave work early, go in late – whatever it takes to maximize your time.

Last but not least – if your group is driving to a from the event, select a designated driver and hold them to it!

I’m serious – and I can say that because for 5 years running I AM the designated driver. 12 years running before that, I stayed sober because I was alone and driving home those evenings. I enjoy a drink or two (or more) as well as anyone else – But I enjoy spending Halloween Horror Nights with my group of HHN friends every year far more! Being the designated driver plays a large and important part in making that happen. That might sound cheesy, but after all these years, I’m here once again planning our Halloween Horror Nights adventure because I’ve made sure we got home safely! But once home – well, that’s another story.

Prepping for all of the above (aka “The shameless plug tip”)

And of course one of the best ways to prepare for Halloween Horror Nights right now it listen to “The Catacombs of Halloween Horror Nights” podcast of a year-by-year account of the entire run of the event from the very beginning.

If this is your first time at Halloween Horror Nights, there is no doubt in my mind you are going to have a blast! No matter how much you prepare it’s bound to exceed your expectations. Above all – have fun!

Important links for planning your Halloween Horror Nights visit:

Halloween Horror Nights Orlando Website: http://www.halloweenhorrornights.com/orlando/
Universal Studios Orlando Website: https://www.universalorlando.com/Home.aspx
Halloween Horror Night Tickets: http://www.halloweenhorrornights.com/orlando/tickets.html
HHN Express Pass Tickets: http://www.halloweenhorrornights.com/orlando/express-pass.html
R.I.P. and Unmasking the Horrors Tour information: http://www.halloweenhorrornights.com/orlando/rip-tours.html
HHN Hotel and Ticket Packages: http://www.halloweenhorrornights.com/orlando/hotel-ticket-packages.htm

Special Episode of The Catacombs of Halloween Horror Nights Podcast “First Timer Tips”:

The Catacombs of Halloween Horror Nights Special “First Timer Tips”: http://www.neozaz.com/cohhn-first-timer-tips/

For HHN Up to the minute coverage at NeoZAZ check out our Social Media Pages:

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