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Universal Studios begins its 26th round of Halloween Horror Nights this weekend and while the format remains the same, there will be some new offerings among the theme park’s haunted-house mazes, scare zones and stage shows.
For HHN 2016, Universal has five “Scare Zones” and the first one that you will come across if you head straight when you get in the park is “A Chance in Hell.” It features several mini-stages, with Chance herself taking center stage as she fights with her own thoughts and has fun with guests looking on.
Taking a right turn when you get in the park is “Vamp ’55” … a scare zone set up like a homecoming parade for Hollywood High School’s class of 1955, but where vampires have disrupted the celebrations.
A new element of HHN for 2016 isn’t available on opening night however. The Repository, a more intimate virtual-reality experience, begins Sept. 29 and reservations are required (call 407-224-7480) for the experience that costs $49.99 per person on top of regular admission price. The Repository is a virtual-reality space that differs from the traditional conga-line house approach as guests will enter in groups of four people, each with a role to play in solving a mystery. The adventure starts in a real non-VR place with story characters, then the VR kicks in and later, out of VR, you have to take what you’ve learned, what you’ve seen and what you’ve experienced in the supernatural world and put it together to solve the mystery.
The houses for 2016 immerse you in the worlds of the biggest names in horror as you explore nine terrifying haunted houses, each remarkably themed and detailed by Universal’s designers and special effects wizards. As you explore every cut-throat corridor of our monstrous mazes, you’re just one scream away from a gruesome end.
Relive scene after scene of sinister threats from Murder House, Freak Show and Hotel in this extensive, terrifying house.
Experience every scene, every kill, every bone-chilling rev of the chain saw from the original masterpiece.
Face relentless threats starting from the beginning of the series to last season’s most unforgettable moments.
Go inside the mind of a tormented girl, possessed by evil. It will leave you haunted.
Michael Myers is still alive and still out for blood in this all-new house.
As a blizzard rages outside St. Nicholas’ evil counterpart and his band of Dark Minions claim the souls of the faithless one by one.
Step into Chance’s realm where the lines between her twisted delusions and reality are continuously blurred.
They came looking for gold. Instead they found death and destruction. Now their doomed souls seek others to join them.
Immortal beings of the ancient past have returned to rule mankind. Now they wait for someone foolish enough to disturb them.
If you plan to visit Halloween Horror Nights then take our advice and get there early. You will find the shortest lines for the houses the further you go from the park entrance. If you’re the kind of person who gets a little nervous about things then this is also a good time to go because as the sun goes down, you acclimate to the environment a little easier. Everything is less scary before it gets dark!
Remember, if you find you need a break from the horror, there are six major Univesral Studios attractions open during HHN hours: Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, Men in Black Alien Attack, Revenge of the Mummy and Transformers: The Ride — 3D and the Simpsons Ride.
The event’s start time is 6:30 p.m. It concludes at 1 a.m. some nights and at 2 a.m. on other nights. Check Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights web site for more details.