Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights 26 Scares Up Insane Thrills
I am not a fan of horror movies… never liked them. I choose not to go see them if I can avoid it at all. So when I first attended Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights 25 last year, I was originally less than excited, but ended up being pleasantly surprised. As I made my way there once again this year for the 26th annual event, I was still somewhat skeptical even after my positive experience last year. I can now say that after this year, I am solidly a fan!
Halloween Horror Nights 26 had a daunting task ahead of it. How could it possibly top last year's houses celebrating 25 years of scares? I'm happy to say the staff at Universal Studios managed to, once again, bring their "A" game and created some amazing haunted houses. They successfully combined the tried and true with more innovative options and have included the latest technology in an effort to scare anyone who dares.
This year's theme, "You don't stand a Chance", centers around Chance, the girlfriend of last year's Halloween Horror Nights host, Jack. As he escapes, she is captured by police and locked up in an insane asylum (Lunatics Playground). As one moves through that house, which is presented in 3D, we see her going crazy and killing all the guards and some of the other inmates all while she waits for Jack to come rescue her.
There are two other original houses this year, Ghost Town: The Curse of Lightning Gulch, and Tomb of the Ancients and while the threatened rain never materialized outside, it definitely rained at Halloween Horror Nights! For an additional $49.99 fee you can also experience the first ever virtual reality haunted house that opens on September 29, 2016.
As in past years, Halloween Horror Nights plays off of some of our favorite themes and pop culture references, including the classic films The Exorcist, Halloween II and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. There is also a house based on last year's Christmas Horror/Comedy Krampus, as well as the very popular television series American Horror Story, where they highlighted seasons one, four and five. All of the houses assault your senses from touch and sound to smells. As you walk through them all, you are fully immersed in the world you are exploring.
There are also five scare zones including a foggy shipwreck based on the tale of the Annabelle Lee and an apocalyptic end of days scenario. Back for it's 25th year is the very popular Bill and Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure and it is as funny and inappropriate as ever. It also adds well-deserved tributes to David Bowie and Prince in its finale.
While in Orlando, we were also able to check out Universal's latest onsite hotel, the Lowe's Sapphire Falls resort. With its tropical feel and beautiful lagoon, guests have the feeling of being on vacation in Key West, rather than land locked Orlando. There are certainly a few cons to the resort, but also many pros which out way the negatives. Once again, Lowes Resorts have created a warm and inviting environment.
Every year, Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights tops itself with its scare factor and inventiveness and number 26 continues a fantastic tradition. It's hard to believe they have been putting on this event for so many years, but the quality and production value seems to just keep getting better and better, so I can't imagine them doing away with it in the foreseeable future. Plus, based on the crowd that attended opening night, I believe fans would be up in arms if Universal ever stopped the scares.
Universal Studios has made an art form of trying to scare the daylights out of guests and they are definitely doing it right. Head to the park on select nights from now until October 31, 2016 to join in on all the devilish and delicious fun.
For more information about Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights event, as well as the opprunity to purchase tickets, please visit http://www.halloweenhorrornights.com/orlando/.
About Allison Skornick-Rose
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