Monday, October 24, 2016

Halloween Horror Nights 26 Review and Guide

I'm back! After a little hiatus I'm so excited to share my experience from Halloween Horror Nights 26! By now you know I love Orlando (wassup Annual Passholders!) and Halloween so this is the perfect match! I have gone in previous years but I think this was one of the best especially coming off a stellar anniversary year. Since all the houses seemed legit we decided to purchase the R.I.P Tour (so spooky sounding.) This guided tour takes you through all nine houses (no waiting in line), all five scare zones, special seating for Bill and Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure show, two attractions (plus express passes for the rest of the night on participating attractions) and snacks/beverage stations (some are free but alcohol is not). Let me say the experience was AMAZING!

Our tour was scheduled at 7:00pm (it last about 4 1/2 hours) so we got to the park around 6:15 and since we were staying at a on site hotel it was a breeze since we went thru security checks before entering the park.

TIP: There are ways to enter the park and event early through special "holding areas" designated in the park. This is available to ALL attendees of Horror Nights you just have to have your ticket to the event. Read about how to do so here!

We checked in for the tour to be permitted inside and were told to meet at Café La Bamba at 6:30 for food and drinks before our tour departed. It was starting to be a real..."scream" lol I know I'm funny guys! Jk.

Dress: Unique Vintage
TIP:  Ok, so for those of you not doing the tour this is for you. Look at the above map and get yourself familiar with the houses and locations, I will give you a big tip...start at the back of the park (unless you are doing early access in that case go to whichever houses are open at that time). This means when you enter go to the right!

As we waited to go into La Bamba's we realized it was the perfect time to take some pics since it was still light out. The closest scare zone was Vamp 55 and wow I loved this zone!! The actors were so into their roles as 1950's style greasers, football players, cheerleaders and prom queens but with some umm bite. It was like homecoming gone way wrong!
It was finally time to check in and as we waited inside there was food like chicken masala, cupcakes, specialty desserts as well as a cash bar and even some characters from the houses for photo ops! The tour got started right on time and Jerod our guide was the BEST! Our group was also really fun and it felt like we had made new friends by the end of the night but I know you guys want to know about the houses!

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: 8/10

I was the most apprehensive about this one. I love scary movies but Leatherface (the Texas wielding maniac who wears people's skin over his face) has always terrified me. Leatherface is front and center along with his whole family. The actors playing Leatherface are some BIG dudes they are super intimidating and scary. Overall I really liked this house and the décor was set up just like the film, you felt like you were there! Watch out at the end as you exit...

American Horror Story: 10/10

Obsessed. That's really all I can say. It is one of the longest houses in history with 29 scenes and it is amazing. Talk about stepping into TV, this is a perfect example. The house takes you through Season 1 with Murder House (latex man!), Season 3 with Freak Show (Twisty!) and Season 5 Hotel (Lady Gaga!). If you are fan of the show you will recognize so many cool details and scenes from the show and even if you aren't it delivers the scares! Twisty makes numerous appearances. You've been warned.

The Walking Dead: 9/10

I know some HHN fans are a little apprehensive about this maze since this is pretty much a mainstay now each year. This house was great! I also really love the show (last night's episode had me stressed) but what was done for the house this year is kind of like a "best of" from the past few years. So a lot of favorite moments from the last few years of Walking Dead houses are in here. I really enjoyed it and my friend who doesn't like the show even said it was a really cool house and unlike last year it delivers some big scares!

The Exorcist: 8/10

Creepy, creepy, creepy! This house is unique because the film itself essentially take's place in a room so Universal did a great job at navigating you through the famous scenes in a house but is designed like a room (hope that makes sense!). The house is uncomfortable it's warm, you smell things (hello vomit scene), you can feel things as you walk through, and the actresses playing possessed Reagan are dead on. Cool animatronics and a good house but it felt good to get out!

Halloween: Hell Comes to Haddonfield: 10/10

This may be my favorite house! There are so many Michael Myers!! Like one at every corner. This house is a direct sequel to the first film and house in fact you start the maze by entering Laurie's closet from the first film and end at the hospital in the second one. This house was amazing, the props, actors, detailing, all of it was there! Perfect house in my opinion!

Krampus: 9/10

I was actually super pumped about this house since the film was so creepy fun! Krampus is no Santa and resembles more of a large goat creature (Google it) and he is always lurking in this house (don't forget to look up!) as well as an army of evil toys, creepy large dolls, and other sinister holiday elves trying to ruin the holiday. Please look at the little gingerbread men on the kitchen table! Unique house!

Lunatic's Playground 3D- You Won't Stand a Chance: 6/10

The icon of this year's event is Chance, a demented female clown (think Harley Quinn) who's boyfriend Jack the Clown (another famous icon in previous years) has gone away and left Chance to run the show on her own. She has gained lots of followers, her maniacs, (they are in a mental institute) have taken over the asylum. Guards are strung up, clown faces are everywhere and Chance is at the center of it all. It's not a bad house and it's not really a good house in my opinion. I also hate 3D. Very loud and neon. I was expecting a lot more since she is the icon of the event and was disappointed. Could have been really cool but not enough storyline. Again, not bad just not on par with the rest of the houses!

Ghost Town: The Curse of Lightning Gulch: 9/10

I was not expecting to get the most scares here! I was genuinely spooked several times in this house! Basically this house takes place in the old west during the gold rush. These ghosts of the past dressed in western gear and warning you not to take their gold get more violent and scary as you get closer to the gold. It's a really cool and unique house! Great original!

Tomb of the Ancients: 9/10

The past has come back in these ancient ruins and you come face to face with some pretty scary creatures. Think mutants. Really awesome jungle set and such a well designed details! You are so busy looking around at everything the actors know how to get your attention. The creature at the end is must-see!

Also, not a house but don't miss Bill and Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure show! It was great this year and you will love all the pop culture references plus it's an election year!

Even if you don't do any of the houses you aren't safe from creepy fisherman, banshees, anarchists, and Chance herself. There are designated scare zones in the park, five to be exact, and you must walk through them to get to other areas of the park. There are also chainsaws everywhere! Check out all the scare zone themes here! Vamp '55 and Survive or Die Apocalypse were my personal favorites!

Tip: There will be long lines at all of the houses especially this weekend and on Halloween. If you want to experience all of the houses I highly recommend the RIP Tour or if that is out of your budget then try to purchase the Express Pass which should help you see all the houses. Now if you are going without either one, which is very do-able, you should go on a Wednesday (least crowded) or Thursday (second least crowded) or even go next weekend (November 4th or 5th). They have extended due to popularity and the hurricane.

Pick the houses that are your must-do's, a top three if you will, lines reach up to 100-120 minutes and sometimes more depending on the house/date so plan accordingly! When planning a trip we always look at what to spend money on and we think it's better to do things like the RIP tour, express passes and a covenant hotel. Others prefer to spend on expensive dinners, first class tickets and so on. I say go with what will get the most bang for your buck and that was experiencing all that Halloween Horror Nights had to offer. Again just our personal preference!
To find out how you can buy your tickets to the event check here and to find scheduling, info and anything else you might need to know then go to the official website!

I highly recommend the event and yes, it is for mature audiences  so think twice about taking the kiddos. Also, be respectful of the actors, don't hit, touch, do anything to harm them, this is all for fun. If you don't like scary movies, gore or anything horror related then this may not be the event for you. However, if you get in the mindset that it's all just part of the event and a show, you will have a fantastic time! Go ahead and take a Chance! **evil laughter** ...see what I did there?

Happy Travels!



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