Adventures With JWorld

Fright Nights 2019

302 posts in this topic

My partner and I went to Fright Nights last night and thankfully the rain stayed away for the majority of the night. I'll start with the overall positives and negatives and then go into detail for each maze.

POSITIVES

Overall I thought this year was pretty good, the last couple years have been a bit hit and miss (particularly with some of the mazes), but this year there were some great sets within the mazes, some really good scares and overall it was well managed by the park. The increase in security was great to see. With more and more twelves coming to the event, somethings had started to get out of control. Last year there was a definite presence of weed smoking in the queues and line jumpers. Last night there was non of that, security was all over it. And the increased security at the park entrance with metal detectors and thorough bag checking too. And great to see traffic control at the start and end of the night. It was good they controlled people when the event began and slowly moved everyone together so there was no running, pushing, etc and security would stop anyone that would try to do so.

To finally have 5 mazes was awesome and I can assure you, it is possible to do all of them with plenty of time to spare for other things (will go into more detail later). It also seemed like they had more scare actors on the streets too. At the start of the event they said there were over 230 staff members on every night this year too. And finally, there was more variety of food offerings too. Opening food trucks like this western grill is great, despite it not seeming to be overly popular. But the food was really good.

IMG_0165.thumb.jpeg.2f789ac78a50bea4a2751cf54b8769f0.jpeg

 

NEGATIVES

The mazes, were overall good, the increase in animatronics, while can add a cool element in some instances, but other times were so ridged it didn't appear scary at all. And if the timing wasn't right, it was pointless. And the mannequins. In Doll Haus they were great because of the set design and the way they were dressed up. In some cases you couldn't tell what was and wasn't real. But in zombie land and IT (if I remember correctly) they were just placed and didn't add anything to the story.

While the live music had some great performers, it didn't really fit and match the event. I would much rather they had a live arena show or use the money for more scare actors and just play music instead. No one ever really stood and watched it and most times I passed the fountain stage, there was no one there (most likely poor timing on my part). Now that it has been a couple years since they've done one, I think its time they explore the arena shows once again. Or have smaller stage shows (like they have done before), but advertise the performance times.

The precincts themselves had some great costume design and the un-offical precinct around IT with the clowns was great. As to were the zombies in Dead West. But there was a lack of theming. A part from the usual facades around WWF, some more props that they could interact with would be great. The Doll Haus setup under SE was really good and the actor was awesome. So many people wanted photos with him and the girl in the alleyway next to Roxy. People seem to want these prop setups because they create great photo OPs, so I definitely think they should dress Main Street, etc to match the precinct.

And finally the opening show. The performers are great... well done to them. But it's getting a bit boring. The talented guitarist coming out doing his thing and then everyone released. I much preferred the truck or the gate keeper (if I remember correctly) from a couple years ago. It added real horror to the night and setup the releasing of the actors.

 

MAZES

We managed to do all 5 mazes in 2.5 hours with no fast tracks. If you want to get them all done and have time to do other things. Definitely try to get to the front left corner to get to IT first. This queue was nearing two hours within 10 minutes of the event starting. Then head to Doll Haus (it was surprising how popular this maze was, but for good reason), then Zombieland, House of Kain/Leatherface.
 

From here there may be some spoilers.

IT - 7.5/10

For years many people have been asking for this maze. Was it worth the wait... yes... did I hope for more... yes. The story was there, they featured some of the iconic moments, some really good set design and costumes. It was probably too reliant on animatronics though. The two actors at the end in Pennywise costume were terrifying, but some awesome. I wish another one or two of these throughout the maze would have been good (especially in the first quarter of the maze because there was a couple of long corridors that needed something. It was great they played with the twisted reality of this franchise, but I feel like it could have been taken further.

Doll Haus - 9/10

Movie World have become really good at doing their own original mazes. And honestly I wouldn't mind if one year they just had all mazes as originals. There is no limit to it, they create the story and do the sets how they want to. This maze had some awesome set design and scares. As mentioned, at times it was difficult to tell who was and wasn't real. The use of sounds and lights made some scenes quite intense too. I'm someone who gets scared quite easily, but my partner doesn't. However even she got some really good scares and also thought this was the standout maze of the night.

Zombieland - 5/10

Honestly, a bit disappointing. This actually had one of the shorter queues of the night, but was also one of the shortest mazes too (whether it was or not and it came down to how quickly we moved through it, I'm not entirely sure). They could have just made this a zombie maze and not had any IP link with it and it probably would have been much lower expectations. There was nothing that really stood out to me that made it link to the franchise other than zombies. There were plenty of actors in here and they did have some good jump scares, but I couldn't really see a story. I was really hoping for some actors to be dressed like the characters, but unfortunately not.

Leatherface - 7/10

It was pretty much the same as last year, but still had some great scares. There were plenty of Leatherface characters throughout the maze and gave some really good. The sound was quite out and obviously pre-recorded at times (mainly with the chainsaw), but otherwise still an enjoyable maze.

House of Kain - 8/10

Like Doll Haus this is a great maze, that has a really good story line, set design and actors. The laughing receptionist at the beginning adds a sense of fun, but as soon as you enter the first room you realise how twisted the hotel is. I felt like there were some lighting issues with the maze last year, but this year there didn't seem to be any problems with that. You could fully appreciate the detailing and the use of flashing lights and sounds add to the atmosphere really well.

 

OVERVIEW

As mentioned, the precincts had some great costumes, but didn't really feel like anything special. But I found the unofficial precincts for the clowns and Doll Haus to be really good... creepy and fun. Overall, I definitely think is a stronger year when compared to some of the previous events. The last Fright Nights that I loved was in 2015. That was the first year where they had precincts (and the awesome and well detailed Zombieland precinct) and still two of the top mazes they've ever done, Wolf Creek and Evil Within. I thought 4 out of the 5 mazes were really good, but Zombieland just didn't have anything special and didn't really match with the IP as I thought. Well done MW with the event as always, especially to the scare actors and staff, but I still left the event hoping for more.

Overall I give this years event 8/10

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Good review @themagician

I’m booked in for next Saturday night and am hoping for a better experience than the last 2-3 years which for me have been flat. 

Thanks for the advice on maze order to minimise waits. I have a mate flying in from Sydney who hasn’t been to the park in 5 years so we definitely want time for rides too so every minute will count. Considering the $30 ride fast pass 

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I went last night also.  It, and Doll Haus were my 2 stand out mazes!!  I did find they relied on similar scares across the majority of the mazes, so some scenes were predictable. But over all, a very enjoyable night. 
although the lines were long, the staff moved a lot of people through rather quickly, so save your money on those fast track tickets, honestly, no need for them. 

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The IT Maze was absolutely top notch from my point of view. The sets, props, sound track, costumes, animatronics. It looked straight out of the movie. There were so many times when I didn't know if I was looking at an animatronic or an actor. So well done 

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1 hour ago, GoGoBoy said:

The IT Maze was absolutely top notch from my point of view. The sets, props, sound track, costumes, animatronics. It looked straight out of the movie. There were so many times when I didn't know if I was looking at an animatronic or an actor. So well done 

Gotta disagree. While the sets were nice, there was nothing that looked straight out of the movie. The only room which came remotely close to that was the 'scary doors' room. Most animatronics - looked like animatronics (Especially Pennywise coming from the sewer, and Eddie's head popping through the mattress. 

I agree, the maze was awesome, but it certainly wasn't as good as it could have been.

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The Pennywise animatronics looked identical to Pennywise from the movie, they did a stellar job on them. The Georgie performers looked and acted exactly like Georgie from the movie. The costumes of Pennywise in his various other forms were also identical to the movie. Considering the budget MW would have compared to Universal, I can't see how it could have been better.

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On 12/10/2019 at 1:14 PM, Jordan M. said:

Fright Night season passes have increased to $149 ($175 at the park).

They seem to be playing around with pricing a little more than usual, the new blood splatter tees started at $20 on the first night, then rose to $25 and now $30 last night. 

The prepaid burger/souvenir tumbler meal has also “sold out”.

Jesus I'm glad I bought mine when it was only $99!!!

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For me, Fright Nights this year is a big improvement to last year. While the ‘opening’ and ‘closing’ of the night are still the weak points (in my opinion), I’d gladly sacrifice them to have the bigger and better mazes which is what they’ve done. 
 

I attended on the very first night (on the platinum ultimate terror tour) and then again last night (standard utt) and was surprised to see the vast improvement - they’ve figured out where to put the utt guests for the opening, they’re sending through smaller groups at a time in the mazes and spacing them out and the scare actors are really getting into their roles - the zombies are creepy af! Not to mention Herman Shuster and his favourite doll. 
 

I think Movie World are not only listening to the feedback of their guests but also acting on it.  I was very glad to see they brought back the refillable Fright Nights cup this year as well.


 

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Went on Friday night and thoroughly enjoyed the night. The fast track for the mazes was 100% worth the money. Longest we waited was 10 mins. 
 

Heres a video from around the park that night if anyone is interested 

 

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The overall atmosphere was far improved imo.. more scare actors, busier precincts etc. 

We unfortunately were about 10mins late which wrecked plans to at least get into IT quickly by rushing at rope drop. 

Fast track rides was sold out by 6:10pm which was disappointing but a lesson learnt to pre-book. 

Fast track mazes was sold out not long after that 

Took about 80mins to get into IT, which was fantastically done and a real step up on anything we’ve seen in recent years. 

Took just over an hour to get into Doll Haus which was decent without being great. 

Lines for all other mazes looked min 1 hour at this point so we decided we’d leave zombieland for its invariable return in 2020 and having seen Leatherface and Kain in 2018 they weren’t worth further 1 hour waits. 

It is certainly the first year however that we have got through all mazes, only doing 2 from 5. Certainly could have got another in if we’d wanted, but absolute no chance of getting in all 5 over the night. 

DCR was a 90min wait at 8:30, SE was 1 hour. Backwards DCR was also sold out at 9 which was annoying given you could see the train cycling with no one in the backwards seats. 

GL was also having some issues and down sporadically over the night. 

All in all I think it was a strong improvement, but think it was too busy to get done what you’d want to get done without fast passes, which is ok if you then have fast passes available and not sold out 10mins into the night. 

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I've never understood why people think everything is going to be planned out or executed properly/perfectly on the first night (even nights) of any event. It's not like there are rehearsals before hand, and even with rehearsals things still just don't seem to work well when you actually open. Even stage shows that have months of practice and maybe even years of development, changes keep being made on the fly as they arise. You have a massive human element, not just the actors and staff, but guests too.  Until you have actual bodies doing people things, you're just planning for the best and hoping things don't fall apart until you get a bit of a routine happening. That's when you want to see a show if you want everything to live up to your expectations. If later in your run hasn't improved on your opening night, id be pretty worried. 

Edited by Levithian

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4
2 hours ago, Brad2912 said:

We unfortunately were about 10mins late which wrecked plans to at least get into IT quickly by rushing at rope drop. 

Fast track rides was sold out by 6:10pm which was disappointing but a lesson learnt to pre-book. 

Fast track mazes was sold out not long after that 

We made it there last night as well.

Attempted to buy fast tracks online on Thursday night but both options were sold out already and hoped we would be able to buy in the park but got in just after 5pm last night and all the outlets we saw had SOLD OUT signs up on both rides and mazes. Did you see anywhere actually selling them last night?

That said, we did ok without them - managed to get to IT at rope drop and only waited 20 min or so to get in. Went to check out Doll House next but the line looked long so jumped into Zombieland next and waited about 40min. We checked doll haus again and it was now overflowing onto the footpath so headed to DCR. Main queue was 75 minutes at this point (just before 8 I think) so our group of 3 decided to try out the single rider line. The first of our group was on the ride in less than 75 seconds so this was a massive win. We all rode this twice in about 20 minutes. 

We went back to the western grill for food and gorged on the bacon and corn. This has to be some of the best food in the park for the price.

We went back to the mazes and dollhaus was just as long so jumped into the Leatherface queue at around 9pm and only waited 11 minutes. We ducked back to the spaceshot single rider queue and got on that in about 25 minutes and figured we try to get into the dollhaus queue before closing but they had closed the queue already so finished up doing house of kain and making our way out via main street. 

Getting 4 mazes, 3 rides and dinner at a fairly relaxed place was a pretty good outcome I think. Disappointed to not check out dollhaus but figure we will see it next year.

IT theming was amazing but didn't get as many scares
Zombie was real generic and straight forward but we had it stacked with actors and got some solid scares
Leatherface and HoK both middle of the range I think with our runs of Leatherface having more actors and scares.

General presence of actors roaming and precincts I thought were good and we all enjoyed ourselves. The fright night virgin in our group had a great time. Hoping to do our first terror tour next year.

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Just a tip (which I have mentioned already, but will mention it again). Do IT first, then definitely do Doll Haus. If the queue is long, just join it because it will get much much longer as every who was doing the IT maze joins that queue. Zombieland will likely be one of the shortest queues, so do that 3rd, then worry about the repeat 2 next. If you want to succeed in getting all 5 mazes done and have left over time, this is your best option (Providing you get as close to the front for IT as possible (Otherwise leave it for the end of the night)

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To the people who have been and reviewed the event - have you been to HHN? And can you make a comparison of the two?

I haven’t been to Fright Nights in two years but last time I went it was god awful. Too many people and the opening hours were to short to accomplish everything and get a good sense of atmosphere. 

I got to go to HHN29 this year in Orlando and was blown away at how amazing the event was and really shows they know how to do it right. 6pm to 1/2am is plenty of time to get 10 mazes done without paying for express (even though I did one of the nights I went, second trip I did all 10 houses easily with a good strategy and no Express), with still heaps of time to see both of their awesome shows Academy of Villains and the fountain show, and walk around all of the different scare zones which were really some of the best parts. All of the HHN mazes were leaps and bounds better than anything I ever saw at Fright Nights, with even the weakest houses still being pretty good. 
 

So I’m wondering if Fright Nights has picked up its game the past two years to begin to compare to HHN? I think while FN has the noise restrictions and can’t stay open late this event really isn’t worth the ticket price IMO, am I right? 

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I haven’t ever been to HHN, but have watched plenty of videos/vlogs from the last couple of years. You can’t really compare them. It’s like trying to compare Disney to our parks, you just can’t do it. They have a bigger budget and greater access to IPs/characters. HHN pays way more attention to detail and has some unique ways to scare people. If FNs has a budget 5x bigger (and the right team), then it probably could be as big/good as HHN. I definitely think FN has improved these last couple of years and definitely think you should go next year (if you don’t want to get to the park early to buy a ticket in park). HHN is a fine dining restaurant, while FNs is a buffet - it has pretty much everything the big boys have, but just isn’t quite to the standard.

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9 hours ago, ejpdtd said:

To the people who have been and reviewed the event - have you been to HHN? And can you make a comparison of the two?

While an improvement on previous years, Fright Nights is certainly not of the same calibre as HHN Orlando.

9 hours ago, ejpdtd said:

I haven’t been to Fright Nights in two years but last time I went it was god awful. Too many people and the opening hours were to short to accomplish everything and get a good sense of atmosphere. 

This year suffers from some of the same issues you've mentioned here. Every night as far as I know has been a sellout, leading to some pretty large crowds. While daunting at first, they certainly don't seem as bad as in previous years. Wait times for some mazes seem to drop pretty dramatically by 9 pm. 

The atmosphere is pretty much non-existent this year. 'Precincts' swap anything that could build mood with electronic music and movie trailers. Dead West is the most atmospheric area of the park, but even that leaves something to be desired.

If you loved HHN and didn't find previous iterations of FN to be all that enjoyable, then I doubt you'd enjoy this year. It's certainly improved but does not offer a comparable product. 

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