Halloween Horror Nights VIP tour 10/11/02

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I’ve been to Halloween Horror Nights for the past three years. Although I had fun, I started to get fed up with the lengthy lines. This year, it was time for me to bypass those lines with a VIP tour. I took the tour on Friday, October 11. The tour was a little costly -- $108 plus tax even with an annual pass discount – but it was worth it.

I had arrived at Universal around 3:30 pm and parked in Jaws 116. This spot was by the kennel and was the furthest parking spot at the resort. Even so, it took me about 15 minutes to walk to the front gate.

I spent some time at Universal Studios shooting it up at MIB. I rode it three times using the single rider line. I walked on each time. Without breaking a sweat, I was able to score around 600,000 two times. I had scored 400,000 once, but I blame a bad gun. I then hung around Curious George dumping buckets of water on people.

I had a sandwich at the Beverly Hill Boulgerie, which was a pretty good sandwich. It was a good deal too at $10, which included a sandwich, potato salad, a big cookie, and a drink. At around 6:00 pm, it was time to head over to IOA for my Halloween Horror Nights VIP tour.

I checked at the VIP tour desk. My VIP tour guide tonight was Chris. I was then escorted to the luxurious VIP tour waiting area for my guide. As I waited, I noticed that the waiting area exited directly to the park. While the front gates had security searching bags and people passing through metal detectors, the waiting area exit had none. I guess the troublemakers aren’t going to pay $100+ to cause problems in the park! I wondered what would happen if a guest had huge chains or piercings. Sure enough, a band of kids walked through the gates with huge chains around their necks. They looked like punk rockers. It took them a while to remove and re-wear their chains.

Each VIP tour member was handed a complimentary bottle of water and I met up with the assigned VIP tour guide. I had taken Busch Gardens’ VIP tour of Howl-O-Scream. The tour guides there just escorted you to and from attractions without really telling you where they were taking you or giving a background of the attraction. The Universal VIP tour guide was different. Chris would stop and gather us around before the group entered the area. Then she would tell us a little bit about what the group was going to experience.

The group first went through the Port of Evil, which had a bunch of the Caretaker’s minions wandering around and manning a bunch of torture devices. Those torture machines were scarier than Michael Bolton’s music! We went through Boo-ville, which was Seuss Landing at night. All the Whovillans have gone to sleep and scary things are happening. However, Boo-ville had no Scare-actors. The only scary thing was eerie wind sounds. The first stop was the haunted house, Scream House.

As I was part of a VIP tour, the group could cut the lines, but sometimes we had to go through some unglamorous areas. To take the shortcut to the Scream House, we had to walk beside the lovely dumpster of doom. Then we walked past some offices and through the back of a soundstage on Universal’s lot. The haunted house took up about ¼ of the entire stage and was smaller than it seemed. As for the house itself, I thought it was the best house of the night. It reminded me a bit of the Mortuary at Howl-O-Scream, but a lot scarier.

Scream House had a bunch of gruesome bodies and a lot of screams of terror from chainsaw decapitations from the other side of the wall. The best scares happened in the last parts of the house. The house was very dark and a Scare-actor was hiding in the dark. I couldn’t see him until he turned on a flashlight and went, “Boo!” That made me jump a few times. The group past through some cold body bags – ewww! That gets me every time. Finally, the ominous Caretaker showed up at the end. Creepy!

The next haunted house was Maximum Carnage in Island Under Siege. It seems that Carnage has taken over Marvel Super Hero Island. Villains wandered the street. Chainsaw men that looked like Batman’s Bane wandered around. Police cars from Kongfrontation lined the street.

Chris took the group through the back way to the haunted house. In the back areas, I saw a Scare-actor with a chainsaw repairman and three other Scare-actors hanging out on break. I also saw Universal security take away some guests in a white van. Chris said that they messed with a Scare-actor and are heading to jail.

The group entered Maximum Carnage. I thought this house was pretty well done. The most disorienting part was the Wonderworks spinning room. A starfield cylinder spun around as you walked on a small bridge. The bridge stayed stationary, but not from your point of view. It looked like the bridge was moving! Another good scare was during a strobe-lit room. The strobe would turn on. No Scare-actor. Then it would go off. No Scare-actor. When it came on again, a Scare-actor was there! The haunted house also had the old Fly pods from the Gory, Gruesome, and Grotesque Horror Makeup Show and a chopper from Kongfrontation.

Next up was Spider-Man. The group all fit into one Scoop. During our first ride, it broke down at Hobgoblin’s attack. Chris let us ride again. During the next ride, the ride broke down again! This time, it was in front of the Excalibur Theater. The Scoop was then stuck sideways. So we were levitated sideways, flew over the streets of New York City sideways, and fell down sideways. Whee! We told Chris that the ride broke down again and I think she was going to cry!

We couldn’t be at Spider-Man for the entire night, so we went to Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure. After we left Spider-Man, I checked out the wait time and it was 20 minutes. It was around 8:30 and the wait wasn’t too bad at that time of night. The group sat in the best seats in the house. We got the center seats right behind the A/V guy’s pit.

The Bill and Ted show was hilarious! The stage was the MIB headquarters, but they didn’t really tie it into the show. This was the first year that they had a big screen. The best part was showing the clips from the past few years. The Osbornes and Anna Nicole Smith stole the show. They also made fun of Disney! I only remember one year that they did it and it was very brief.

After the Bill and Ted, Chris took the group to Scary Tales 2. First, we had to pass through Freaks and Foons. We walked through the foam, which was ankle deep. The Scare-actors here weren’t scary, but they were having a lot of fun with the guests. I liked the Freaks and Foons area the best.

What I’ll most remember about the Scary Tales 2 house is that it was hot! It was in the Popeye queue, which can get hot to begin with. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the end prize of actually getting cooled off on the wet ride at the end. Despite the heat, Scary Tales 2 was the nicest-looking house. All of your favorite fairy tales have gone demented, as if they landed in American McGee’s Alice. The best part was when a Scare-actor popped out of a door and booed people. Then he closed the door. A few seconds later, he popped back out and said to me, “It’s Bruce Lee!” I guess I stand out as a 6-foot tall Asian guy!

Popeye had all the water drained out, so the group wouldn’t be riding it tonight. Next up was Fear Factor. Fear Factor was in Thunder Falls Terrace. To get there, we had to pass through JP Extinction, which were the dinosaurs causing chaos in Jurassic Park. There weren’t too many scares in JP Extinction, except for a chainsaw Scare-actor here and there and some Raptors hiding in the bushes.

Fear Factor was my least favorite house. It was supposed to be a dark house, but it wasn’t dark at all. It had a lot of gross things, like intestines hanging from the ceiling and a woman surrounded by rates. One guy looked like he was vomiting. I guess he ate at Mel’s Diner for dinner. Fear Factor had one good effect of the dropping floor.

Next was the last haunted house of the night, Evilution. As Chris led us to the house, I noticed the wait time on Jurassic Park River Adventure and it was 5 minutes. It was around 10:00 pm.

The Evilution haunted house went through the Triceratops Encounter and I think through parts of the Pterandon Flyers queue. The house started you at the end of the Triceratops Encounter where you met the Triceratops. The Triceratops was still there, but surrounded by a box. Although not a great house, it had some nice scares and some good effects. The Triceratops does appear, but only part of it. A Triceratops’ head hung from the ceiling.

Next up was Not Necessarily the Eighth Voyage of Sinbad, which was essentially the Sinbad show MST3K’ed. The two people from “Will and Grace” (whose names I can’t recall) did the MSTing. The actors even replied back. It was still the same old show, though.

We had done all the Halloween Horror Nights stuff, so Chris took us to Dueling Dragons. We rode Fire in the back and Ice in the front. The Dragons seem a lot faster at night. I couldn’t see the near misses, but I could feel the rush of the ride!

Chris wasn’t sure if we had time to hit the Hulk since it was closing at 11:30 pm. We had about 15 minutes until 11:30. Chris had a maintenance guy call the Hulk. The Hulk queue was 10 minutes. The ride will close at 11:30, but it will stay open until the queue was empty. That meant we had 10 minutes to get to the Hulk. Chris double-timed the group to the Hulk and we made it in time!

We rode the Hulk near the back. No one got the back row, though. The Hulk was pretty fast tonight. An added bonus was the strobe effects. When we pulled into the station, Chris asked if we wanted to ride again. We did! This time, I got the back row! We pulled into the station again and the Hulk ride supervisor asked us if we wanted to ride again. Two people (not part of our group) wanted to ride again. We said sure! We rode near the front. We pulled into the station and yet again, the supervisor asked us if we wanted another ride! Why not? Fourth time’s a charm! We didn’t even have to get out of our seats! After the fourth ride, we had to leave. One girl in our group had perfectly-styled hair. After four rides, her hair was all messed up!

It was approaching midnight and the end of our tour, so we said our goodbyes to Chris. We could still stay in the park until the 2:00 am closing. I tried, but I couldn’t do it. I did ride the Cat in the Hat with a 5-minute wait. Then I rode Storm Force Accelatron with a 5-minute wait as well. You may not spend a lot of money to ride Storm Force, but it is a much different ride at night. They had strobe effects and fog effect going. It was much wilder at night. I left at around 12:30 am for the long walk back to the parking lot.

I was so glad that I took the VIP tour. On Saturday, I had a regular ticket to Halloween Horror Nights to go with the Florida Coaster Club. It was pretty packed! The longest posted wait was 75 minutes for Evilution. My maximum wait was 45 minutes for Evilution. Dueling Dragons had a 45-minute wait and we rode it. We even got to wait in the unused queue area by the Flying Unicorn! Hulk had a 110-minute wait! We did not wait in that line!

I was so impressed by our VIP tour guide, Chris, that I even wrote a compliment letter. I always wondered if these letters really make a difference. I heard through the grapevine that because of the letter, she received Universal’s equivalent to employee of the month, which had prizes of a free dinner, free movie tickets, and a special parking spot for a month! Thus, it would seem like compliment letters really do make a difference in the employees’ lives. I just hope that she didn’t get a parking space in Jaws 116!

Awesome trip report. I'll have to go next year and get the vip tour. I wasn't impressed with busch's tour either.
Excellant trip report!!!!! Good job Barry!!

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