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BB1's Most Excellent HHN 2023 Trip Report


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Come one come all to arguably the most interesting trip report I've made in a few years.....primarily because I just haven't posted one in awhile. Being a Premier annual passholder, I've been down to USO and IOA a lot in the past few years however the advent of the one free HHN ticket is why I renew every year. This year I decided to do something different, I took my traditional 4 day weekend in Orlando, but I did the regular lines on Thursday, Express on Friday and standard again on Saturday. I'll be breaking down the changes, and why you may want to look at doing something like this if you're coming down later. 

I want to caveat this by saying I go to various haunted attractions every year, Halloweekends, Knotts Scary Farm, HHN Orlando/Hollywood and so much more. I am in no means a halloween expert, but I would like to think I probably have more skin in the game than most. That being said, historically speaking I rank events as #1 HHN Orlando, #2 Knotts Scary, #3 Halloweekends as each are extremely unique and have experiences that make them worth it for me. HHN Orlando has historically been an excellently ran program, which I will always say it's the best in the nation, from past performance and even this year. I started coming religiously in 19 which in my opinion was the best year YTD. I absolutely loved all of the houses, but Yukon Yeti is arguably my favorite house ever at HHN. 

Fast forward to this year, with speculation maps showing a possible "bigfoot" house, then the announcement of Yeti Campground Kills I was thrilled to come out to the event and see what Universal whipped up for us this year.

I was able to start on Thursday last week with a few friends of mine and we did the standard line with the houses. Noticeably a lot of vacancies in the scares that I could see should have been there. Nevertheless, Friday and Saturday saw alot of those holes filled, which weren't that many to begin with. That being said, we're going to go from my least favorite houses to my favorites (as I have a 3 way tie for my #1 house this year) with some major spoilers so I'll start with the spoiler free spot, then dive into the spoilers

10 : Stranger Things - This should have been a hit for me, as I love the Stranger Things series and I actually watched the last few episodes of the last season in preparation for the event. The theming was amazing, however the scares were not. 


The issue with the house however comes to the set up. Scares were easily replicated as they repeated far too quickly. Eddie didn't have his guitar, and the scene felt more like a cheesy 80's music video replicated today which was upsetting. If you liked the show, you're not going to see the gulag BUT you will get some best moments from the show, with moderate scares at best.


9. Chucky Ultimate Kill Count - I'm actually really upset with this house, as many of my FL friends are as well. The scares are great, but it felt like it was more or less the actions and less of the scares like they did in the past. I don't feel like I have to go too deep in spoilers here but it just didn't feel like what the Chucky house should have been. Still overall a great house, far better than Stranger Things but not as good as the next houses. 


The premise was amazing, but the midway chucky becomes this maniac freak without individuals playing Chucky and only using small puppets didn't really feel like it was fully fleshed out. Of course, it was a good house overall, but I feel as if they could have had a more cohesive theme instead of the mash up they did. 

8. Exorcist - This house was set up with a good blend of telling the story, but also giving the scare..... considering that I haven't even seen the film yet I don't really know how to truly feel about the house. The original OST being played was an EXCELLENT move by the park, the scares were decent, the story was decent. For just being a house it isn't as good as the best of the best but still a solid house overall. 

7. Darkest Deal - For being the first in house haunt making my list, it's a solid story with solid scares. I don't have much to say when it comes to spoilers, but the theming was amazing, the use of new technology was out of this world with some amazing scares and use of the set designs. This house focused more on the story being the scare, which is what I love about HHN. It was definitely more of a close quarters style house like Oddfellow's but still packed a punch.

6. Bloodmoon - So from what I understand this house went under a midway change from Roanoke to being a nondescript pilgrim village but it was still a really solid house. 


I'm a huge fan of large open sets and tight spaces, this house did both. You start out with the ceremony with the youth a la Children of the Corn, and wander through the village seeing them make Blair Witch esque effigies of wood while killing all of the adults in sight. This house went above and beyond with a whole town square being set up with toddler cultists with a rope maypole. You meander the town and even get to see a bell tower, with a bellman on top which was sick. You remember the first barn scene I was talking about with the ceremony? Come to find out all of those dead people are being sacrificed in a wickerman and you're probably next. Such a great house, such an amazing design, it really just continues the HHN hype train for me. 

5. Universal's Monsters - This house, is arguably one of the most interesting takes on the Universal Monster franchise at HHN. The Invisible Man, Jekyll and Hyde, Phantom of the Opera and the Hunch back of Notre Dame all in one house all after you. 


This house honestly felt odd but also took you through a story about being in Paris and finding all of these fiends. The entry with the rain and the police man was amazing. The child calling out newspaper reports before each encounter setting was perfect. I LOVED the Phantom of the Opera scenes as they gave me a few jump scares. The Invisible Man scene area was honestly cut short and I felt like there could have been more. The same could be said for Jekyll and Hyde but Hunchback literally dropping onto you with the bungie jump was incredible. Each setting was unique, there were various scenes that were open in Paris, and closed as you ventured deeper into the sewers as they all battle it out. Overall a FANTASTIC chapter in the story Universal is weaving with the monsters with some old tricks from past houses being thrown in too.

4. Dr Oddfellow - Ahhh yes the man who created Jack, the man who orchestrates nightmares from his carnival of oddities. This house was what I want every haunted event to have, a circus themed haunt with close quarters and everything you would expect in a haunt. 


This house, it was so much in one little space. You were in very close proximity with every scare. You had clowns left and right, even in the same scare space. You had no where to run and no where to hide. Mind you also I am not the "I hate clowns' type but this would be a nightmare if you did. Dr Oddfellow's oddities were everywhere and there were so many bits of theming that you would look left, then get scared right. There was so much to write about but the finale with Dr O himself in his office with the glowing symbols was so freaking cool. Definitely an A+ tier haunt. 

Now for the final three, I can't put either one above each other as they are all respectfully so good, I'll leave that for my next post but every house besides Stranger Things hits hard up till now and I can't stress enough how amazing HHN is with these haunts. 

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Alright rounding out our #1 spots are Last of Us, Dueling Dragons & Yeti Campground Kills. I can't put any above any others as they all have open sets, they all have fantastic scares and they do not let up & they have arguably the best theming in the event.

Starting with The Last Of Us, it felt like you were transported into the game and you were a character in the world itself. It had character, it had the scares, it was an amazing haunt that told the story and gave you the scares you crave.


You start off with other survivors, which for normal humans are a threat in themselves in this dystopian garage. You meander through to see a man become a zombie and encounter one even going through that. The scenes are amazing, they had open layouts mixed with very close corners. Joel and Ellie were AMAZING in this haunt, joel up in a house giving covering fire, to Ellie exploring was amazing. The use of gunsmoke smells from the rifle shots from joel was incredible. The klicker noises though were disorienting and peaked my senses as you faced off against them in the haunt. The scenes were great, the scares were great, I have no complaints with this house it was amazing. 

For anyone who grew up coming to Islands of Adventure in the 2000's, you might remember Merlin Wood and the Dueling Dragons. I was actually surprised to see that HHN was doing a Dueling Dragons themed haunt but I was excited to see what they had to offer. 


Dueling Dragons had an amazing queue, which the haunt is literally that queue. You start off learning about the two wizards facing off and the dragons being used to continue the battle, then venture into Merlin Wood under the tree stump that used to have the Enchanted Oak. You meander the caves fending off trolls, fae sprites, and even the wizards themselves. CHOOSE THY FATE was etched in various scenes and Merlin himself narrated much of the house. Seeing the castle in shambles, the dragons sparring above you like the old queue was immaculate. The scares being there too was absolutely amazing. The dead knight room even being there with scares was so cool. The catacombs were scarier than I remember as a kid (mind you I hated that part of the queue) then you got to choose thy fate. The fire side smelled of stone/coal/soot? But also had some interesting scares. The ice side though had ice and a few scares too. Either way a red wizard or blue wizard would pop out and congratulate you for completing your quest and choosing a side. It was such a good ride and such a good queue and to see it again in a house was amazing, to have it be a well themed scream machine made it so much better.

The last house to look at is Yeti Campground Kills, still on par with the other two haunts prior but it's still arguably one of my favorites.


Set in a national forest, the yetis are behind every tree you could think of. Which also there is a valid reason why the yetis are attacking the campground; the campers killed a baby yeti as seen on the ground in one of the scenes. The set designs were incredible, with a lake scene where 2 yetis and one person scares you, a scene where you're in a cabin with the perennial Horror Nights Bear, to the back to back to back scares with the tree scene at the end this house packs a punch. The scares were on point, the sets had so much detail that you almost have to go through several times to get all of the information. You were being scared by unknowing or attacked campers and various yetis through various parts even with a nod to Yukon with a yeti reaching down at you. The ending was arguably the BEST ending of any house at hhn, getting scared back to back to back by yeti was amazing and you felt like you were in a slasher film from the 70's. This house lives up to the Yukon name, it's an amazing house but Yukon is still my #1. 

Wrapping up my report I wanted to highlight a few things of note

  • The FEDRA food rations aka a ravioli can with fried enoki mushrooms were amazing. I had no complaints and I kept the can to use as a planter at home
  • The pizza skulls are amazing, you can't tell me they aren't.
  • Surfer Boy Tropical Dream Punch was pretty good, although I will probably keep to my Ghoul Juice as I love the flavor more.
  • Death Eaters were amazing, I loved their set up and the experience was different the 2 times I went back to watch the opening show.
  • Dead Coconut Club 23 felt like something straight out of a 50's sci fi flick. There were some amazing sets and it was a very nice reprieve after doing HHN or starting up the night. 
  • The scarezones were somewhat mid for me. I loved the Vamp area, as the woodstock vibe with vampires felt right for some reason for me. It had some amazing sets, amazing music (for once 70's music was used for ambience to make it more believable that the vampires took over a music festival) and the scares were pretty solid. Everything else besides the Jungle area somewhat fell flat but were still good zones nevertheless,
  • The tribute store was amazing, I loved the Earl references and the comic book shop concept actually worked very well for what they did. 10/10 and I probably bought too much merchandise but at least I got that sweet sweet USOAP discount. 

Overall this year was a roaring success for me. I have minor complaints and one house fell flat in terms of scares but delivered on the theme, which I can't be too upset over. I will be coming back two more weekends in October so I'm excited to get back and return to the campground and Merlinwood once more. 

Thanks for reading my trip report! Feel free to comment any thoughts you had about HHN this year or ask me anything about the event that I didn't cover here!

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Thanks for the review, glad to hear you had a great visit! I encourage you to check out this awesome round table for even more details of all the houses and zones. 



Were you able to find Dr. Oddfellow in each scare zone? He was there~

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