Edited by: Juan Ruiz
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Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights is a highly anticipated event for Halloween lovers, no matter which coast you’re located on. That’s why, when Universal Orlando gave us a call and invited us to check out the premier for the event, we accepted!
Along with a visit to each of the 10 haunted houses available this year, we had the opportunity to indulge in limited-time food offerings and sample some adult beverages. Here’s what it was like.
Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights
Halloween Horror Nights (HHN) is a wildly popular nighttime event that takes place each year at Universal Studios Florida. This year it began on September 1st — a full 2 months before Halloween. While this may seem early, it’s arguably a good thing; many dates sell out, and this year’s more than 40 nights of HHN helps to ensure that you’ll get a ticket.
There are 10 haunted houses available to visit this year, including plenty you’ll recognize from beloved TV shows and movies:
- Stranger Things
- Bloodmoon: Dark Offerings
- The Excorcist: Believer
- The Last of Us
- Chucky: Ultimate Kill Count
- Universal Monsters: Unmasked
- Dr. Oddfellow’s Twisted Origins
- Dueling Dragons: Choose Thy Fate
- YETI: Campground Kills
- The Darkest Deal
If you’ve never visited Halloween Horror Nights before, you’ll want to be aware that it’s definitely not for young children. These haunted houses are terrifying, which is exactly why you’ll see a disclaimer on Universal’s website:
So, what was the visit like? Crowded. Very crowded.
We visited on opening night, which certainly lent itself to huge crowds, but even then it was surprising how many people filled the streets.
Despite this, there’s a lot to love about HHN, especially if you’re a fan of the TV series, Stranger Things and The Last of Us. Universal spares no expense when designing its haunted houses, and it definitely shows.
These are high-octane events with lots of jump scares, so you’ll want to be prepared for the adrenaline dump.
Along with haunted houses, the entirety of the park is darkened, and several designated ‘scare zones‘ feature more terrifying creatures. And although they’ll lunge at you, no one is actually allowed to make physical contact, so resist the urge to give them a good right hook.
Universal also creates its own limited-time menu for Halloween Horror Nights, including fan-favorite food options.
Note that while there are scare zones, haunted houses, bars, live entertainment, and new food items available, most rides in the park are also open. They generally see much shorter wait times than during the day since everyone is waiting for the haunted houses.
Halloween Horror Nights opens at 7:00 p.m. each night and lasts until 2:00 a.m.
Is It Worth It?
We had an excellent time touring Halloween Horror Nights, especially since it’s so well-done. However, we also got to experience the park via a R.I.P. tour, which is the Halloween version of a V.I.P. tour. This meant we entered through a separate line that bypassed nearly all the crowds. Otherwise, the queue for each house ranged from 90 to 120 minutes.
At that wait time, you’d only be able to experience a few of the houses in an entire night — and you’d spend the majority of the evening in line.
Tickets for Halloween Horror Nights start at $79.99 and go up from there, but at that price point and with those waits, it’s not worth it.
However, there’s a lot to love about the event, and if you’re willing to fork out either $119 for the Express Pass or $329 for the R.I.P. tour, it’s bound to be one of the best nights you’ll have all year.
For reference, our group of 11 visited all 10 haunted houses in just 4 hours, including rest breaks.Hot Tip:
Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights can be found on both coasts, though there’s no denying that the Florida version is larger (and scarier). While it’s crowded, those willing to splash out for a more premium experience will be able to enjoy all the limited-time activities, including the haunted houses, live entertainment, scare zones, and new food options.
Featured Image Credit: Carissa Rawson
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