Halloween Horror Nights is back again with promises of fixing many of the issues plaguing the event the last several years. Well, they kinda did, actually.
Overall Halloween Horror Nights was really solid with lots of great detail and scare talent. You can tell they’ve been given a larger budget and more time to get everything ready in time. Previous years they’ve joked about having wet paint on opening night.
We’re glad to see detailed sets and street decorations coming back. They’re not quite back to where they were about six years ago but if they keep this pace up they should meet or exceed it relatively quickly.
They’ve also addressed some, not all, of the flow issues. Walkways felt noticeably less crowded and there wasn’t too much confusion on where lines started. It wasn’t perfect, but better than last year.
It was really nice to see some original houses this year. Scarecrow in particular was outstanding.
This is where all of the good the creative team has done gets crushed by the poor ops Universal Studios Hollywood has.
It started with parking. Those of you who don’t know, USH has two main entrances for parking. We always recommend showing up early to not only avoid waiting in huge lines in the park, but to avoid a nightmare trying to get into the parking garage. The night we went, they were backed up and just turned people around back to the surface streets with no direction. We know the area so it wasn’t an issue to go to the other garage but out of towners would have been REALLY confused if they even knew about the other entrance. At the second garage they had employees just waving their light wands around with no particular direction and it just kinda confused everyone. Whatever, we managed to park really close regardless.
Next up was security, something that Universal Studios Hollywood has been bad about ever since they changed the entry plaza. They were splitting the security line up and directing people to various lanes and somehow we got into a line that went to only one metal detector. We stood there for 15 minutes while everyone else blazed through. Security screening is very inconsistent and leads to some embarrassing dehumanization when they make people take their belts off and lift their shirts to show their belt line. There’s no reason for this as literally every other park has figured it out.
Apart from that the night went without a hitch with some really nice employees including the entrance survey worker that was apologetic. But, all good things don’t last at USH.
Later that night while waiting for a corn dog on the lower lot (sidenote, the veggie dogs are pretty amazing here), an employee working the lockers for The Mummy was telling people to use the smaller free lockers instead of the bigger paid lockers. The way the speakers are set up more people can hear this outside of the lockers than inside. Then this guy started to crack jokes about just giving him money instead. Then he decided to make jokes about mental illness. We alerted staff but they didn’t seem to care.
Social Horror also reached out to Universal several times and haven’t gotten a response. This is unacceptable and the fact that no one there even seemed to care speaks volumes about management.
That one employee ruined an otherwise pretty decent night.
Oh, and the black walls, they’re still there.
No. Despite fixing issues, they’ve been selling out every night and waits are brutal. Express is expensive and unless you show up early you’re not going to be able to do everything comfortably in one night.
We were on the line on recommending people visit but that employee making the jokes pushed us into the no column. Go to Knotts for a better guest experience.