October 2014 Trip Report – HHN Nights And Food & Wine Days – Day 9
It took several months to get to the final full day of the trip report. It is amazing how at first the trip report is therapeutic in nature and as it goes on it becomes a burden. Regardless, we have made it to the end my friend.
This morning I hopped into the rental to be at Universal Studios around the opening time of 9:00am. Felt great to be back on this property after a hiatus at Epcot for the week. Went immediately to Gringotts to see if I could get a final ride for the trip in prior to my tour starting at 10:30am. Fate was on my side and was able to knock that ride down and spend some quality time in what is clearly the most beautiful and immersive land in any American theme park.
I had two tours scheduled today for roughly $100 total. Unmasking the horror tours. The first takes place in the morning, and the second tour in the early afternoon. It was getting close to the start time of the first so I exited the park to get to the external facing guest services entrance. Here is where you meet for the various tours. We were brought upstairs into a convention space where we awaited being split into our tour groups. There were about 8 of us taking both tours today so we would be all together so we would not have to return to this area again.
Our first tour would include walkthroughs of three houses: Dollhouse of the Damned, Roanoke, and Halloween. Never having participated in something like this I was not sure what to expect. There is no video recording allowed, but you can take as many pictures as you like within the houses, excluding back stage areas you walk through to get there. I found it unusual but they also do no permit audio recording, so I just left my equipment at the hotel. I was curious about how much nuts & bolts talk we were going to get throughout the houses, but ultimately I suppose we all understand how to scare people all to well. We were hoping there was more to the tactic than trying to force people to ‘look here’ so we can ‘scare you from here’ but alas that really is for the most part the trick. We did learn some other slight tricks to the trade. We did see how they put a lot of fake doors in, just to keep you on guard thinking someone would jump from it. They did also show us how the scares do always try to move you forward rather than back you up. Of course anyone who has been in one of these houses knows that could be key. If you were hoping to learn something monumental about the scaring business, you might be disappointed during the tour.
Having given you the negative side, let me tell you why this tour was so fantastic and I can’t wait to do it again next event. The details that are happening here are absolutely incredible. With the lights on you can see just how far they went to get everything absolutely perfect. You can sense the story much better naturally without the anxiety hampering your wits. Most importantly, it was so much fun getting photos of the sets. Since no photos or videos are permitted during the event, this is the only way to get some great photos so you can remember the event.
Dollhouse of the Damned, was probably the best house to go through with the lights on. They had done so much with the little details and so much goes missed when giant babies are chasing you around in the dark. So many rooms filled with toys, which is a relief from the first couple of rooms that were actually filled with… well… The ‘Chuckie’ doll hidden in one room was among my favorite pictures taken on the tour. Roanoke had so much gore to take pictures of. There were body parts everywhere and although that was portrayed very well in the dark, I was amazed with how realistic much of it was even in the light. Halloween, oddly enough, was the worst house to see during the day. It was my favorite house, maybe ever. The thing is, they did their job perfectly and the house pretty much looked like a house in the 70’s, pretty much like exactly what it was.
After exploring those houses we went on a break for lunch for 45 minutes. Truth be told, that was a really bad idea. With only 45 minutes to break for lunch at noon, even Fast Food Boulevard was overwhelmed with lines. I ended up getting a couple of tacos from the truck outside of Springfield. The chicken tacos were quite good and I love my Duff Dry. Knocked them down and got one more Duff Dry for the road and headed back toward MIB where we agreed to meet up for the afternoon session. Everyone who had returned had similar bad stories about not really finding a good lunch option. So if there was to be a weak portion of the tour agenda this was it.
Once regrouping, the tour moved on. The afternoon tour started with From Dusk Til Dawn. Seeing this house with the lights on was sort of a shock because the house wasn’t getting such good reviews in the evening. There were so many details here that were going unnoticed when being chased by vampires. The bar scenes and the temple scenes were just nailing it. Seeing ‘Sex Machine’ on the sacrificial table, and even the birthday buttons on some of the victims. Very slick stuff in here. Glad, as a fan of the show, I was able to see this during the day so the memory of it would be a better one. Next was the Alien VS Predator house. Another great look during the day. Being able to take selfies with a Xenomorph ranks pretty high on my favorite things ever. Getting a good look at the dead predator on the medical bed was another highlight. The final house was the Walking Dead: End of the line. There were also some great details here particularly in the supermarket scene and it was cool to see the mirror room during the day as well.
I would do this tour again for sure, it was worth the cost for the picture taking portion alone in my opinion. The value is there if you do appreciate seeing those details. In fact if you are to afraid to see these things during the night, then I would recommend this tour to you. Also you did not have to have park admission for these tours as well. So at $50 per tour, you really are getting quite a deal.
When the tours were completed I wanted to eat outside the park for a break and get ready for my last HHN. I did that over at the Hard Rock Cafe. I got the Twisted Mac and Cheese and was pounding down a couple of Flat Tire beers. The Twisted Mac and Cheese, is basically chicken mixed in with mac and cheese and some chili powder for a nice change up. Its a good portion and such a fun environment. I try to visit the cafe at least once per trip.
I went back to my final HHN and enjoyed all the houses I saw during the day, now with a new appreciation for each of them. I couldn’t wait to see that ‘Chuckie’ doll this time. I did finally get my Bill & Ted show in, which was amazing. Not sure why I have such a hard time getting my family to go into that show. By about 11:00pm I was ready to call it a trip. Basically just wiped out. I made my way back to the garage and back to the Boardwalk. We had to change rooms today but my parents had let me know the room number via text. Park the car, walk the ten mile journey to the hotel and make my way to the room and… Right, the magic band won’t open the room. Parents are crashed so they are not hearing me knock. I take the walk of shame back to the desk and of course there is a line. The CM was pleasant and mentioned looking at the screen he doesn’t know how my parents got in there since it looked like their bands were screwed up as well. Anyway, it did get resolved but why is this such a problem? I went back to the room and crashed. Tomorrow we would be heading home.
If you would like to take a look at the photos from the tour on FlickR you can do so HERE.
|Day 10 – Summary|