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  • [Question] The Better Haunt

    It's Halloween time in the theme parks again! As the haunts begin haunting and people begin screaming, the two events that rule this time of year are Knott's Scary Farm and Universal Studios' Halloween Horror Nights. But now, that begs the question:

    In your opinion, which event is better and why?

    Now i know this seems kinda harsh, I really do appreciate both events and do not wish to take away from them or do them any disrespect, they do great jobs. But I am just curious as to your opinions; if I could only go to one event this year, which one should I go to? Knott's is older, more experienced, larger, cheaper, and more interactive. Universal has amazing sets, themes, design, and makeup. Each has their own method of allowing their actors to scare the guests. One is more fun, the other gory and scarring. They both have a pop culture parody show. So which one comes out on top?

    Samples: (WARNING: some intense scenes)
    Knott's Scary Farm hands down!
    Universal's Halloween Horror Nights for sure!
    Last edited by CatchAPairO; 09-23-2012, 07:17 PM.

  • #2
    Re: The Better Haunt

    For me, always Knott's. I've been going every year for a while (this year will be the 7th), been to Hollywood's Horror Nights a few years since they restarted, and attended HHN in Florida twice as well.

    There is no denying Universal has the larger budget and 'movie-quality' sets and makeup at times, that's plain. But their mazes do tend to be modern horror films with more frequency, and same gory gags and gross out tactics over and over. Those have their place, but HHN feels less imaginative in several mazes.

    Knott's wins hands down for street characters and Ghost Town. Just walking onto the foggy backstreets and hearing the distant (and near) shrieks, the music, the lighting...makes me insanely happy. Their mazes have some low points too, but always some very creative ideas and themes at work and they often strive to change up returning mazes, tweak them. I love Knott's because it feels like a labor of love. Universal is rather 'cold' comparatively, and a much higher amount of obnoxious beer selling and drunks at their events too.
    when the spooks have a midnight jamboree....


    • #3
      Re: The Better Haunt

      It is so hard to compare.

      HHN has fewer mazes, but of higher quality.

      Knott's has more mazes of variable quality, better scare zones, and history. So I guess as an overall, I'd give it to Knott's.

      But to be honest, I find myself going to HHN more often. Although that's also partially because I'm much, much closer to it. And having a multi-night pass helps, too.
      Does anyone even bother with signatures anymore?


      • #4
        Re: The Better Haunt

        Thanks for posting my video.

        I always go to both every year, but if I have to choose I will pick Knott's because they have 12 mazes, more shows and of course lots of rides. More bang for your $$$.

        Universal Studios is also good, but only have 5 high quality mazes, one high quality show Bill & Ted and 4 rides.
        My Brand New Youtube channel -"SoCal ATTRACTIONS 360"


        • #5
          Re: The Better Haunt

          What's interesting is for me Universal used to win over Knott's in my opinion until this year. Don't get me wrong Universal's mazes are definitely top notch. I find myself getting lost in the maze and what's gong on BUT what I dislike is the lack of line control. Even with the high price of Front of the Line passes you are sometimes "stuck in the same spot" until the line moves taking myself out of the loosing myself in the maze. While Knott's especially last night was doing an excellent job of crowd control. Yes you run into a line in most mazes BUT they were actually trying to space out the line. Kudos to Knott's for this.

          Knott's for myself and my husband we go multiple times and this year we are going back 2 more times including Halloween. It's cheaper, most of the mazes are excellent and the monsters. What can I say they do their job well. Walking thru a fog and darken Ghost Town where u can't see your own hand in front of your face. That's what keeps me coming back year after year. The talent do a great job of scares. Heck I ended up scared by a monster waiting outside the restrooms in Camp Snoopy as well as the Green Witch who all she did was stand there and I freaked out at opening.

          I would pick Knott's hands down.


          • #6
            Re: The Better Haunt

            Why doesn't Universal do anything to that pretty lame scarezone downstairs? It really is bad d:


            • #7
              Re: The Better Haunt

              I wish I knew why. All they have this year are the nurses from Silent Hill, pyramid head, and one other character. It's so plain. Upstairs there are 3 scare zones with my all time favorite Clownz. I think that's why I tend to like Knott's. On Saturday the monsters were going crazy in Camp Spooky including some waiting outside the restrooms. It seemed everywhere I turned one was waiting for me in the dark and fog. Plus there wasn't too many people unlike Universal when it gets super crowded the scare zones loose their effect.


              • #8
                Re: The Better Haunt

                I voted Knott's mainly because of the dedicated monsters. At Universal's Hollywood Haunt, it seemed like too many monsters had chain saws, and I saw groups of them standing around chatting out of character.

                I like that at Knott's one can quickly enter the many creative mazes without a front-of-the-line pass if you go early. I also like the nice crowd at Knott's better. (Many are families with older children.) At Universal, throngs of teens poured into the park well after it started (their mistake) and then seemed to wait in hour-long lines at mazes as we went uncomfortably past them with our front-of-the-line passes.
                (Yes, I have 2012 American capitalism/class issues--my bad.)

                Having not seen the Bill and Ted show, I probably should have refrained from voting.

                ALSO, if any of you have been to Universal's Halloween's Horror Nights in Orlando, please comment on that. I've read that it's the best theme park haunt in the history of our solar system.
                (Presuming that there were not advanced civilizations on Mars or Europa 2-3 billion years ago.)

                I like that Knott's has such a variety of mazes that cater to many different fears.

                Universal does seem to be more on the cutting edge of special effects in their mazes, but to me the monsters portrayed by humans are an even more important than the special effects and the twisted & grotesque interior decorating. (Knott's and Universal both have some great-looking mazes, in my opinion.)

                Knott's owes my vote partly to the strangely attractive vampire prostitute in the Camp Snoopy vampire scare zone who spent a good five minutes trying to entice me to spend some time with her for just a little blood. She did this without offending my wife and while providing me with five of my favorite minutes of 2012 so far. Her pal, Shakepearean vampire, did a great job of terrorizing and entertaining our monster-phobic friend, assuring her that none of her blood would go to waste because if any of her blood were left over he would use it to paint a most beautiful portrait of her with her own blood so that the painting and her newly reborn vampire life would give her two eternal lives.

                I saw some outstanding monsters at the Queen Mary and hoped that it might move aggressively to top them all, but the mazes themselves (though long) seemed surprisingly unimaginative and low-budget to me considering that there were only four of them.
                Last edited by jcruise86; 10-08-2012, 10:53 PM.


                • #9
                  Re: The Better Haunt

                  Neither of these options tell the real story. It's certainly not Knott's "Hands Down" and it's certainly not Universal "For Sure".

                  Despite the fact that Universal's got the movie themed mazes, etc, they aren't "For Sure" better than Knott's.

                  Despite the fact that Knott's has an entire well-rounded theme park to go along with Haunt they aren't "Hands Down" better than Universal.

                  Knott's is my personal favorite, probably always will be, but it's NOT that big of a gap.

                  Universal does some things better (overall maze quality, terror tram), Knott's does some things better (number of mazes, scare zones, total number of rides).

                  Generally I like The Hanging more than Bill and Ted, but not this year so I'll call that a wash.


                  • #10
                    Re: The Better Haunt

                    I'll wait until next week to say what this year for both was like...but I'd say no matter what Knotts you get more bang for your buck because it has like 20 rides open and most are walk on....

                    While Universal has some good quality rides but with 40 mins waits (who wants to wait this when you have 6 hours)
                    The biggest thing Universal screws up on is they have two unused area's for shows (WaterWorld and Animal Actors) and year after year they pack more people in but don't offer enough to do to spread people out more so lines die down
                    Happy Halloween!!!


                    • #11
                      Re: The Better Haunt

                      It's only Knott's for me. I tried Universal Orlando's Horror night and found it well art directed but not frightening. Monsters standing in mazes, giving us push-button scares bored me. The monsters didn't even try. They just pushed buttons to make a sound or a lighting effect to scare guests.

                      Sure I'm biased, but it's Knott's for me again and again. And this year is a damn good year!


                      • #12
                        Re: The Better Haunt

                        I tend to agree. Universal needs a few more shows and mazes to thin out the crowd. In the past the Waterworld show themed to Slaughterworld was very entertaining and ate up some of the crowds. I'm hoping I feel differently come Saturday when we go back to Horror Nights after Haunt. I think part of the reason why I tend to like Knott's better this year s because Ghost Town s now dark and foggy. You can easily walk and NOT know if you are going to walk into a monster or a regular park guest. At Horror Nights there are so many people that te scare zones are NOT fun. Especially the lower lot when it gets wall to wall with people.

                        This year we were only going to do Haunt twice but after our trip there last Saturday night we decided to fit in a third extra trip. so I just hope Universal expands next year or keeps prices the same. I mean for ONE yes ONE front of the line pass we can BOTH go to Haunt and Prescare dinner.


                        • #13
                          Re: The Better Haunt

                          Originally posted by madmonkeygirl View Post
                          I mean for ONE yes ONE front of the line pass we can BOTH go to Haunt and Prescare dinner.
                          Holy cow! Another reason I'm sticking with Knott's!

                          I bought my tickets for an unprecedented third visit to the Scary Farm yesterday. With my Knott's passholder discount, the tickets for Haunt were just $30 each!


                          • #14
                            Re: The Better Haunt

                            We are thinking of going on Halloween. For the tickets and pre-scare for our family of 4 would only be $200.

                            We've always wanted to go on Halloween and from what we understand it's one of the least busy days of the season, especially when it's on a weekday.


                            • #15
                              Re: The Better Haunt

                              Gregg that's what Matt and I always do every year. It's tradition for us. Universal is fine for maybe one paid visit otherwise we go on employee preview night and that's it. It seems at the start of Horror Nights years past we used to go multiple times but now with the price the way it is and for the quality it's Knott's way cheaper. And for what Knott's offers its definitely more for your money and less for admission and even the boo-fet as well (I could have sworn up and down last year the boo-fet was more than $20.99 per adult). Not that I'm complaining at all because the price for one chicken dinner at Mrs. Knott's is NOT cheap.

                              Knott's on Halloweem Gregg is a lot of fun. It's not as crowded because parents have to take their kids trick or treating as well as many Halloween parties. Also with so many other offerings as well Knott's is so much fun on Halloween night. It is tradition we always tend to keep even if we don't have a dog sitter this year.

                              I just miss actually trick or treating but the monsters asking for candy. It used to be tradition we'd get swamped by monsters asking us for candy so we would go and buy some pixie sticks because it's easy and instant sugar for them. Then as each year fewer and fewer. Last year I think I had a total of about 6 monsters ask me for candy so I had half a bag left.

                              Oh ya I found these awesome glow flashlights decorated with Snoopy and peanuts at Walgreens for $2.50 or 2 for $5. I got the last white one left. The orange one was cute just not as bright and I needed something for when we go to Coffin Creek in a couple of weeks. I will be bringing mine to Haunt when I go. So check out Walgreens


                              • #16
                                Re: The Better Haunt

                                Knotts for me.

                                You get more for your money here. Mazes, shows, and rides. A great variety of mazes with many scare tactics and the Ghosttown's scare zones are just awesome.

                                I refuse to buy a fotl pass just to be able to hit everything once. Though I still manage to hit everything at Universal despite what others say. Universal is still a great event, just needs a couple more additions to soak in crowds & yet they do very little to make this happen (desperately need another show).


                                • #17
                                  Re: The Better Haunt

                                  Unfortunately the problem with Universal expansion of HHN, just like everything at Universal is the neighbors. This is why we don't have Slaughterworld anymore as an example.

                                  They could put a show in Animal Actors. They REALLY need to bring back Rocky Horror from a few years ago in the T2 theater. But other than that there aren't many more places they could expand where they haven't already.

                                  It would be absolutely EPIC if they were someday able to put a maze or show in Studio 28 but I can't see that happening.


                                  • #18
                                    Re: The Better Haunt

                                    Gregg the year they brought back Horror Nights after the long absence due to the tragic fatality when the tram used to go thru the entire backlot just themed to Halloween and zombies and chainsaw guys etc was the year they had mazes in a couple of sound stages. They had I forget how many mazes (quite a few). I remember being in line for a couple of them and they were actually in the soundstages. The year after that I think was the year they stopped using the soundstages.

                                    I would LOVE absolutely LOVE if they were able to expand Horror Nights with a few extra mazes in soundstages as well as utilize the Animal Actors Stage maybe even theming the show to Halloween and creepy (tarantulas, snakes etc)


                                    • #19
                                      Re: The Better Haunt

                                      KNOTT'S easily wins (better value and more to do - which means less chances of waiting in a long slow moving line), even the merchandise is affordable and good quality (something DISNEYLAND should take note of) ...

                                      I'm irritated that UNIVERSAL can't understand that 6 mazes + 1 show + 1 tram + 3 scare zones + a few select Rides is not enough to keep a large crowd moving (they have a larger budget, but still don't make use of their Classic Monsters - good grief Universal has a Classic Monsters Blu Ray Boxset coming out in 2 weeks but they can't find a way to sell Classic Monster merchandise during this event? (rolls eyes) ....

                                      KNOTT'S is the reason Theme Parks have October makeovers ... but both parks need to get rid of the Clowns (their theme has been done to death for too long), about 1/3 of KNOTT'S mazes I am looking forward to (the rest feel like repeated themes that need to be retired) but the live shows @ both are great (I agree, Universal should have both Bill n' Ted and Rocky Horror Picture Show - 2 live shows is not asking much on their budget) ...

                                      C J

                                      I <3 Making Friends Who Share The Same Interests :-)




                                      • #20
                                        Re: The Better Haunt

                                        I agree. Rocky Horror Picture show needs to return. Unless there are productions going on Universal really needs to expand and add a few more mazes. I loved when they used a couple of the soundstages in the lower lot the one year. That did help with crowd flow and lines. I think I managed to do all the mazes that year and it was affordable.

                                        Merchandise I hate to say it they need to offer more. Knott's has such a variety of merchandise including pins. I do like the hoodies this year though.

                                        Im really hoping that Uncle BoBo's gets replaced. I don't mind a clown maze but to have it year after year. Fallout Shelter needs to go. Slaughterhouse was a HUGE improvement this year along with the 3 new mazes and Dilerium so that's a solid 5 right there. If Knott's keeps the 3 new mazes Dilerium one more year and gets rid of a few of the old lame mazes Uncle BoBo's, Fallout Shelter and Dia De Los Muertoes (which I heard is NOT coming back).they are headed in the right direction.

                                        Its definitely clear who the Halloween leader is and it's Knott's.


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