Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Florida is the park’s premiere Halloween event. It consists of several shows, scare zones, and of course, haunted houses, or mazes, as they are also called. Each year Universal contracts with outside intellectual properties such as The Exorcist or American Horror Story to get inspiration for their mazes. They also come up with original concepts for some of the mazes. This year, they have 3 original concepts. I am going to take a closer look at one of them, Ghost Town.
According to Universal’s official HHN website, Ghost Town is a house “when lightning strikes, the curse of Lightning Gulch comes to life and this ghostly town appears. These doomed souls – who once went searching for gold – found death and destruction. And now they seek others to join them. As thunder cracks, flashes of lightning will lead your way through this treacherous wild west nightmare. Good luck!”
There are many details hidden within this maze. It is astounding that Universal even includes these details since most will never be seen by guests as they stumble through the dark corridors.
The maze begins out of doors; as you walk by the town sign, you’ll see some unfortunate criminals who have met a grisly end. Unfortunately, it looks like the sheriff won’t be around to help either.
From there we enter the jail. If you happen to be looking very closely you’ll see a piece of paper on the desk. This paper lists all of the inmates. You’ll see some pretty famous criminals included.
After the jail, you must pass through a hotel bedroom as lightning flashes, revealing small glimpses into the horror of the room.
Next we enter a saloon which has certainly seen its fair share of gun battles.
Inside the saloon, hanging on the wall at the landing to the stairs is a framed photo. If you have the chance to look closer, you’ll find that it features Marty and Doc from Back to the Future III.
We head back outside to the main town square where a train has just pulled into the station.
After you leave the outdoor square portion of the town, you enter into the mine. At the entrance to the mine is a foreboding sight:
Though it is never a good idea to enter a mine if the canary has died, we continue on our tour and venture further into its depths.
One of the more innovative effects in the maze is toward the end, inside the mine shaft. If you look down over the ledge you’ll see what seems to be a drop that goes on and on. This is created by using mirrors and is really quite a realistic effect.
That’s it! You’ve made it through the Ghost Town in one piece.
HHN is so good that many locals come every year. After a while, the repeat visitors learn where to expect scares so each year the creative team tries to come up with new ways to get their veteran guests. In this maze in particular, there is a door seamlessly built into the wooden wall so it is not discernible in the darkness. There is also a scare that comes from an unexpected direction: above you. The scare actor will hang down from the roof to create his scares.
Really astonishing the level of detail that is put into these mazes, wouldn’t you say? Be sure to attend a HHN before the season is over so you can keep an eye open for some of these amazing details in this creative maze!