The sun had set and the sky was indigo. As you walked passed the revolving globe and up to the arches, the eerie music coming from the loudspeakers and musky, earthy smell of the lingering rainfall set the scene perfectly.
Though Universal Studios Orlando can't control the weather (and they likely wouldn't want it raining on their parade as often as it does), the trickling mist after the afternoon downpour made the opening night of Halloween Horror Nights 24 (HHN) feel as if you were transported into a classic horror movie.
And after walking through the gates and encountering any scare-actors roaming the streets with chainsaws, yeah, you totally felt like Laura Strode.
For the last 24 years, Universal Orlando has been inviting guests to lurk a little longer and experience some night terrors at the park after hours. With the exception of a few staple haunted houses, the creative team revamps the frights every year. At this year's horror nights, for example, there's an entire haunted house dedicated to the upcoming Dracula Untold movie. The film hasn't even reached theaters, but they can sense it's going to be a good one (at the very least, it made for a hell of a maze).
Set up inside large production studios on the back lot of the park, the haunted houses are the main attraction. This year, there's one dedicated to a colony of ancient cannibals, the always-disturbing creepy clowns, some messed up dolls, aliens and predators, vampires, more vampires (duh), zombies, and a boy who grows up to be a serial killer after seeing his sister do "it" (the fictional Michael Myers, obviously).
Carolina del Busto
While you're not waiting to have strangers pop out at you from dark corners, there's the totally tubular Bill & Ted Excellent Halloween Adventure Show. A staple of Horror Nights since 1995, the show focuses on the most noteworthy aspects of pop culture from the past year: Two radical dudes named Bill and Ted go down a run-sheet of simple references while some attractive dancers shake their abs and asses.
We don't want to spoil anything, but there's a fantastic rendition of Frozen's "Let it Go" that'll put any other parody to shame.
May we recommend hitting up this 40-minute show before getting in line for the scares? And there will be lines. Expect wait times as lengthy as those for the theme park rides during the day. The lowest amount of time we witnessed was 90 minutes -- and opening night wasn't even considered a peak night. Adding a fast pass (starting at $59.99) or opting for the RIP experience (starting at $109.99) might be worth the extra bang on your buck.