To get from Miami Beach to Orlando we decided to take the Amtrak train. The public transport system wasn’t amazing and we didn’t realise that there was no Sunday service meaning we had to take a taxi to the train station. The train left on time, but we were about five hours delayed getting into Orlando because of storms taking down power lines and an accident on the track just before the station when. This wouldn’t have normally been a big deal, but we had booked ourselves two tickets for the consistently award winning Halloween Horror night that evening in Universal Studios. It was booked on a Sunday night as we thought the crowds would be fewer and therefore didn’t stretch for the express line pass at extra cost.
|Seemed like a long way away at the start of our trip!|
We arrived about half an hour late and the park was in full swing, we were greeted by maniacs wielding chainsaws which gave off very realistic sounds and smells and were experts at jumping out at you. The park was pretty busy though and once we got to the attractions which were in the form of haunted houses the lines were massive. It soon became apparent that Monday was a bank holiday, Columbus day, we overlooked checking out the bank holidays and the park was heaving with people meaning that there were usually forty plus minute waits for each haunted house attraction. The general atmosphere was really good though and when you weren’t waiting in a line it was fun getting from one place to another and having to go through the various ‘scare zones’ which had themed characters looking to weird you out or jump out at you. There were plenty of ghouls and scary monsters at every turn.
|One of the seven temptresses in scarezone '7'|
|Crazy chainsaw guy|
|This bloke was pretty weird, I'm fairly sure that he worked at the park|
The first thing we saw was a scheduled show called death drums where characters danced in time to two huge stacks of drums being played by a number of people. It was great but the rain started to come down and we needed to pick up our spirits after a long day travelling and not quite having settled into our new environment, sometimes you need to remind yourself to have fun!
|The Death Drums show|
The haunted houses themselves varied in quality. Most had been well designed and well thought out but were all unique in slightly different ways although the crux of them involved people jumping out at you for shock value! Some were awesome and we loved the work that went into ‘Winter’s Night’ where the aircon was pumping out to freeze you as you went through a cemetery whilst being terrified by the resident ghouls. We loved the ‘Nevermore’ haunted house paying homage to Edgar Allen Poe with a glimpse into his dark and muddled mind consisting of upside down rooms and the ‘tell-tale heart’ buried under his floorboards which was one of my favourites of his from my school days. ‘The In Between’ had a really cool 3D feature which was especially awesome when going through the initial rolling tunnel that made you feel like you were rotating yourself, very trippy. Another one of our favourites was ‘The Thing’ which had some role playing actors in addition to the usual scary things jumping out which added depth and variety and really helped to nail in that feeling of you being amongst a horrific event taking place as often the back stories weren’t so clear.
|Waiting to pounce in scare zone 'Grown Evil'|
|One of my personal favourites, money vomit guy|
|Horrific burns guy freaking people out between haunted houses|
By the end of the night we were soaked from being drenched whilst waiting in lines but we had enjoyed the experience. If we were to provide constructive criticism we both think that more could have been done to lay down a back story and the perfect place to have done this would have been whilst waiting in line, even if this only consisted of something being played over a speaker system rather than nothing at all. I would have definitely preferred more actors in addition to the costumed people jumping out at you from dark corners as this gets old pretty quickly. Even so, we were really impressed by the set design and the work that had gone into them and we really liked the scare zones and those in them who made them scary! It was easily the best Halloween themed event we had been to and although we were tired it had been lots of fun and we were looking forward to our experience in the theme park during the day tomorrow.