These days my corporeal form exists closer to Sandusky, Ohio than to Orlando, Florida – meaning that Cedar Point’s Halloweekends is a more drivable distance than Universal Studio’s Halloween Horror Nights. Being a loyal HHN fan I was skeptical of Halloweekends, but this post gave me cause to give it a try.
I will bottom-line this as a Halloween connoisseur: Halloweekends at Cedar Point is a C+ compared to Halloween Horror Nights’ A+.
If you want the socks blasted off your feet by the ultimate Halloween experience, then HHN is where you must go. But if you’d rather have some decent Halloween flavor to complement an array of premium roller coasters, then Cedar Point should be your destination. Let me try to summarize in digestible Internet morsels:
Scare Zones: Cedar Point clearly put effort into their scare zones, but lacked the artistry you see at HHN. In Orlando a scare zone has a distinct, mesmerizing atmospheric presence, whereas Halloweekends feels more like a collection of fog machines, people in masks shouting at you, and green lights in your eyes. I will say that I liked Cedar Point’s concept of “extended” outdoor scare zones: lengthy paths that followed the theme of the zone.
Haunted Houses: you know when a local community group – a high school organization, a church, etc – puts together a surprisingly good haunted house? That’s about the level of a Cedar Point haunted house. Meanwhile an HHN haunted house is, well, a masterpiece. Design, props, effects, dialog, costumes, and “scare factor” are all at the highest level in Universal Studios.
Beer: this is a minor point, but HHN is not shy about selling you a beer. Vendors are everywhere, even in haunted house lines, to grant you a little buzz to accompany your experience. Cedar Point, being more family/youth-friendly, keeps alcohol consumption mostly out of sight.
Crowds: Cedar Point wins here, though peak times at both parks will see you standing in long lines. With HHN you really want to go on an off-night to make sure you have time to get to everything, whereas with Cedar Point you could probably go through all the Halloween content even on a Saturday night.
All things considered, Cedar Point’s Halloweekends is a solid, enjoyable experience. They had lots of Halloween content for children that would be ideal for families – something that HHN doesn’t really offer. My point is that you simply cannot put Halloweekends in the same category as Halloween Horror Nights. HHN is its own category – an elite tier that I suspect it shares with no one else.
And no, I’m not being paid by Universal Studios for writing this blog post, but I would not refuse an all-expenses paid trip to Orlando hint hint.