Most of us are waiting with bated breath for every morsel of information that finds its way onto the Internet to keep our levels of suspense as ramped up as possible for this coming HHN27. But what about beyond that? What of HHN28, HHN29 or HHN30? It seems weird to talk about such things when we’re nearly 4 to 5 months away from HHN27 but real actual discussions are currently taking place behind the scenes for these events.
The two phrases that we are hearing a lot recently are “Marquee Events” and “Next-Gen”. So what are these and how do they affect HHN?
The name “Marquee Events” appears to be a focus from USF to becoming more event centric to drive families, tourists and fans back to the resort as much as possible by offering more and more seasonal attractions. And whilst the Macy’s Parade or our own beloved HHN event are both nothing new, the company is seeking to actively enlarge their runs and include far more to see and do.
Take the announcement yesterday for example, Universal Orlando is extending their Christmas offerings with a brand new Potter show (that had been rumored for months) along with seasonal decorations and new additions to the Macy’s parade. “Marquee Events” now has a dedicated webpage which over time will be populated with more and more events to ensure that 365 days a year there will be some kind of additional hard-ticketed event taking place within the resort.
In many ways the addition and extension of the events at USF are in reaction to Disney who have relied more and more on Food Festivals and Halloween attractions to help drive gate numbers. The difference that Universal wants to install within their roster of events is to ensure that everything they do is more refined, tailored, annually different and world-class. If you’ve been to MNSSHP in 1996 and then in 2016 the event would be more or less the exact same with the same decorations, same rides, same attractions, same shows (more or less). MNSSHP, Epcot’s Food Festival and now HHN are all starting much earlier than they have ever before, with MNSSHP even starting in August!
Universal doesn’t want same old same old; they want experiences that are so great they’ll make you want to return again and again to see their exclusive offerings throughout each year. In corporate speak “repeat business customers”, people who are prepared to vacation not just once a year at the same resort but multiple times.
So what’s Next Gen HHN? (Ha, even rhymes)
Nobody knows for sure and from what we’ve heard it is still being defined. The idea from what has been muted is to ensure the event runs successfully for another 27 years but with a focus on maximizing the gate numbers but ensuring the products offered are globally the best you could possibly see anywhere in the world. Some have told us that it would mean dropping areas of the event that aren’t as successful (what those are we have not been told) or bringing new aspects into the event. Increasing spend on the things people want to see and creating something that you just cant get anywhere else are all being added into these early days talks.
The focus seems to be on the houses and how these can be bigger and better but also how their accessed physically, as in better line management to prevent the huge lines of people waiting hours and hours but also to ensure some connectivity can occur via our smart phones in terms of marketing, line management and interfacing with the event year round.
We’ve heard that some people within the company want to see a radically different HHN that is very unlike what we have today, whereas others want to see the same award winning formula continue. Whatever the decision they go with, we can expect a little of both and that the event will always continue to be the world’s greatest Halloween event constantly lifting its own bar.
We can also expect that this new generation of HHN will either be coming next year or they may wait and be ready for the 30th anniversary in 2020 where a Next Gen HHN, a Nintendo World and a roster of new events will likely entice you away from the Mouse and their new Star Wars attractions. Whatever happens, the war between these two grandees is still happening and whatever comes of it, will always ensure us fans receiving better and better experiences in Central Florida.
If and when we hear more on this exciting new phase of HHN’s life, we will of course update you all.
Are you excited for Next Gen HHN or is that too far off to even think about? What other exciting events could USF offer?
Sound off in the comments!