Finally (and not too late) the great debate… which theme park event is better? Howl-O-Scream (Busch Gardens Tampa) or Halloween Horror Nights (Universal Studios Orlando) 
My credentials: I’m a theme park connoisseur, not your typical college-aged giggler who only wants “ahhh thrill me” stuff who reads theme park news and blogs of others like me (yes… NERDS!)
Results: People who say HHN is definitely better should soak your head in gas then jump into a lit fireplace. I’m not saying Howl-O-Scream is better either… both events are EQUALLY FUN!! In the end, it all comes down to how much money you have and whether you mind revisiting houses from last year or not.
Entrance to TRAPPED at HOSHouses
HHN definitely has HOS beat when it comes to design. Sets look straight out of a movie and they make great use of effects. Some designs allow scare actors to really get close without your knowledge. HHN actors also like the stalker approach—freaking you out by suddenly getting inside your breathing bubble. HOS scare actors like the “AHH!” startling approach. Hmm, it also seems there’s more scare actors inside HOS houses, whereas the MANY random employees scattered throughout HHN houses monitoring people or guiding you is a mild killjoy. Bad note: HOS sadly reuses MANY of its houses. New houses are not a priority there.
Scare Zones
HOS is killing HHN softly here. HHN has a gift of delivering realistic sets. Although awesome, it has also proven a downfall. Guests are too camera happy and scare actors love posing. It’s hard to be scared when you see a zombie freeze its undead features to mug for the camera with another tourist. HOS’s tight, tree-impregnated pathways make it a scarier walkthrough, especially with the fog machine abuse. Scare actors that look like bushes and others bungee jumping from trees are also a very creative and fool-proof scare. Plus HOS added roaming scare zones– not as scary, but entertaining to run into a pack of clowns while you wait for beer.
Celebrating 20 years at HHNTheme
HHN sticks to the classic, recognizable icons—and people love it in the same way people perk up when a local artist covers a popular song but lose interest when he performs an original. HOS leans toward the “lame” everyday situations with a shot of scary. Even if the themes aren’t carried throughout the park, that’s how many visitors seem to judge the two events (“What? Bloody Mary? Duuuuude!” vs “A rocker chick cutting fingers off? Aww”) Plus in the day time, most people seem to like USO better than BGT… don’t let that judge the night!
HHN lines for houses somehow shoot to 1.5 hours. HOS lines, even though they can wrap around football fields, still somehow manage to stay below an hour… and no, people aren’t running through the houses either. Both offer skip-the-line passes for additional cost. HHN is innovative in allowing guests to receive texts stating the wait times for each house.
Dancing at the Bill and Ted showShows
HHN’s staple “Bill and Ted” is hilarious by merely creating situations for pop culture icons to interact. HOS staple “Fiends” shows BGT’s love for singing (not lip-syncing) and dancing speckled with perverse humor. Other shows rotate yearly but are not really memorable.
I love Universal’s rides, but at HHN (especially this year) only four are available… although they are experienced goodies. Meanwhile, HOS has almost all of its rides open—including all five awesome roller coasters.
Overall experience – HHN sticks to the scary and does it pretty well… But if you’re looking for more, I like how HOS decided to be different and go in the direction of a party atmosphere in addition to the scares. There’s the sexy actors walking around, a club, and DJs– you want more fun you start dancing NOW!

Even better value-- I got these HHN tickets FREEWhen it comes to VALUE—HOS is the winner. Especially for the $20 Thursday night deals, there’s definitely, WAY more bang for your buck (and if you can steal a friend’s pass, other night tickets are only $35)… BUT you’ll have to deal with visiting houses that are most likely repeats of last year. My only reason for visiting HHN will be to appease my visual curiosity for what insane, new, house they built and the crazy effects they use—which I REALLY enjoy. But is that alone worth the cheapest tickets going from $35 to $65? 

It may be too late for 2010 (Mr. Fear unveiled vs the MyX Rocks band bwahaha) but if you’re deciding where to go in 2011, hope this helps! Click on my pictures to visit the parks


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Ein super Artikel von Dir. Ich lese gerne in deinem Blog die neusten Einträge. Viele Grüße Douglass Schontz

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