Four weeks from tonight, the Universal Orlando Resort will
be premiering the 20th anniversary edition of Halloween Horror Nights. "And just
what should we expect as HHN reaches this special headstone ... er ... milestone?,"
you ask. Well, to hear show director Mike Aiello talk, the 20th anniversary
version of this hugely popular seasonal event will feature something old,
something new, nothing borrowed and something ... BOOO!
As for the Something Old ... For the XX edition of HHN, the
Universal Orlando Resort is bringing back some of the more popular & iconic
characters from this event's past. How many of you recall Jack? Or the
Caretaker? The Director, the Usher and the Storyteller?
Copyright Universal Studios. All rights reserved
As for Something New ... What Universal will revealing this
time around is that - during all those years when Jack & Co. were
terrifying HHN patrons - these fearsome fiends were actually doing someone else's
bidding. A truly monstrous character who, up until now, has opted to stay in the
background. Hide in the shadows.
"And who exactly is this character?," you query. Fear
itself. The literal personification of Fear. Who will be wandering free in
Universal Studios Florida for 24 nights beginning on September 24th and then
running through October 31st.
What's been revealed (so far) of Fear, the central character in the 20thanniversary celebration of Halloween Horror Nights at the UniversalOrlando Resort. Copyright Universal Studios. All rights reserved
As for Nothing Borrowed ... In years past, Halloween Horror
Nights has built mazes & shows around popular movie characters Leatherface, Freddy Krueger
& Jason Voorhees. Not to mention horror film franchises
like "Saw." But this time around, in honor of this seasonal event's 20th
anniversary, it was felt that Halloween Horror Nights (as an intellectual
property, mind you) was strong enough to carry this event all by itself. Which
is why this year's haunted houses and scarezones (except for a few quick nods
to the classic Universal movie monsters like Dracula, the Wolf Man
and Frankenstein's monster) will feature no one else's characters except those that
the Universal Orlando Resort had specifically created for previous Halloween
"That's what we took away from last year's "Shadows of the
Past' scarezone," Aiello explained. "You know? The one that we set up for the
last two nights of HHN 19? When we saw how excited our fans were, how they'd
rush to get their pictures taken with Cindy, we knew that we were on to
something special here. That an event built around our own in-house characters
- rather than someone else's intellectual property - would actually work."
Halloween Horror Night fans swarm the "Shadows of the Past" scarezoneat last year's event. Copyright Universal Studios. All rights resereved
As for Something BOOOO! ... Aiello promises some "insanely
intense" experiences this time around. Not to mention some pretty innovative
ones as well (including Universal's first-ever use of open flame inside of one
of its Haunted Houses). Mike also talked about how HHN will be making use of
new technologies in order to help entertain those Guests who are out waiting in
one of that theme park's Fear Lot before they can then gain entry to a
particular HHN XX maze. In that they'll now be able to interact with some of
the characters featured inside of that Haunted House while they wait via text
And speaking of characters ... Though the colorful cast of the Rocky Horror Picture Show
will not be back to entertain Universal visitors in
2010, HHN's favorites Bill & Ted
will. With the premise for this year's
show (which, as always, will take well-deserved pot shots at 2010's most popular
films and TV shows as well as pop culture figures) will be how Bill & Ted might
react once these two learned that they could possibly be replaced as HHN icons.
As for any other news about HHN XX ... Aiello admitted that
more details about the 20th anniversary edition of this super-popular seasonal
event will be revealed in the coming weeks. But for now ... Given that this
year's Halloween Horror Nights will be celebrating Fear (to be specific, the
role that this yet-to-be-revealed character has played in HHNs of the past. Not
to mention the part that Fear will play in Halloween Horror Nights XXI, XXII
& XXIII) ... Well, it's only appropriate that UOR allow the suspense to build
for a little while longer before they then reveal the next piece of the puzzle.
Which isn't to say that you should hold off on buying
tickets to this year's Halloween Horror Nights until more is revealed about
this Fear character. Given that weekend nights of the 20th
anniversary edition of HHN are almost certain to sell out ... If you're looking
to visit the Universal Orlando Resort on those dates, it might be wise to buy
your tickets for Halloween Horror Nights 2010 NOW.
More to the point, if
you'd like to follow along as Aiello and his HHN XX team reveal more about Fear,
you should probably sign up for the
Universal Orlando Resort's official Halloween Horror Nights Facebook page.
Absolutely LOVE Halloween Horror Nights. My wife and I have gone twice in the past (2006 & 2008), but we'll be missing out this year -- we have an 8 1/2 month old now, which makes big trips like this a little more difficult (maybe next year)!
One thing that rarely gets mentioned in the articles surrounding HHN is this: bring your wallets, and be prepared to spend a boatload of money. If you're going to go to the event and you're setting aside one night to see it all, then you MUST purchase the Express Pass; no if's, and's or but's about it. We've always gone in late October (actually went on Halloween night in '06), and the lines are ridiculously long; posted wait times at some of the more popular haunted houses are 2+ hours, easy. With the Express pass, you can bypass the lines and see most (if not all) of the houses in a single evening. The issue, though, is that if you're buying an Express pass, you're essentially paying double the cost of the base ticket, which is already pretty pricey.
If you're a Florida resident or can spend more than one night of your vacation at the park, then it may not be as necessary to have to plunk down the extra bucks. But if you're only planning for 1 evening at HHN, seriously consider the Express pass. The scarezones are great, and the mood inside the park is creepy wherever you go, but the haunted houses are the big attractions. If you spend the $75 per for admission and only get to see 1 or 2 houses, then it's a disappointment. If you spend the extra $60-70 bucks on the Express pass and see everything -- while definitely a hit to the old bank account -- then at least you get the full flavor of the place.