Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights (abbreviated to HHN by its fans) is one of the most popular seasonal events in country. While Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Walt Disney World focuses on family-friendly activities, Universal embraces its horror roots to create an edgy, adult event.
In part 1, we covered the planning experience for Halloween Horror Nights. Here in part 2, we’re going to give you the best tips for touring Halloween Horror Nights.
Touring Halloween Horror Nights
The big day is here and you are ready to get spooky. So… what to do? How do you effectively tour the park? How did some guests get in the park early? Are there any attractions open?
Stay and Scream Holding Areas
Unlike Disney, who uses wristbands and Cast Members to enforce hard ticket events, Universal closes the park and security sweeps the park while Team Members set up HHN. There is a way to stay in the park for those with a daytime and Horror Nights ticket. Universal calls it “Stay and Scream”, and here is how it works:
- Be inside Universal Studios Florida prior to close at 5:00 p.m. (to be safe arrive at least an hour prior to closing).
- Go to a Stay and Scream holding location in Springfield (Duff Brewery) or New York (across from Transformers). Follow Team Member directions and signage.
- Find the event staff in orange shirts who will scan your HHN ticket for admission to the Stay and Scream area.
- Park closes at 5:00 p.m. at which point Universal security sweeps the park for guests.
- Between 5:50 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., before the front gates open, guests will be allowed back into the park for early access to select houses:
- Springfield: Houses located in KidZone and to the right of Men in Black.
- New York: Houses near the front of the park and Race Through New York.
By having a leg up over the guests entering at 6:30 p.m. guests can experience several of the most popular houses before the event starts. Stay and Scream is subject to cancellation or changes at any time; see Guest Relations to verify it is occurring that night.
Haunted houses are the backbone of Halloween Horror Nights. Every year Universal builds brand new, E-Ticket caliber walkthrough experiences for guests based on original concepts and existing properties (refereed to as “originals” and “IPs” in parlance). The houses are grand in scale and execution, surpassing many permanent walkthrough attractions and on par with the most elaborate attractions designed by Disney or Universal.
This year Universal offers ten sinister houses for guests based on popular properties and terrifying original concepts.
Stranger Things returns to HHN29 after a stellar first year. The all new house showcases the scenes and scare from season two and three of the hit Netflix show. Walk through Starcourt Mall, see Chief Hooper’s cabin, and escape from the Demodogs.
Stranger Things will be one of the most popular houses this year. Visit immediately at opening or in the last half hour of the event.
Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters celebrates its 35th anniversary with a brand new house following the plot of the first film. See Slimer in the hotel, find the library ghost in the New York Public Library, and enter the Temple of Gozer. Yes, the Stay-Puft Marshmallow man will be in the house.
Ghostbusters will be one of the most popular houses this year. Visit immediately at opening or in the last hour of the event.
Jordan Peele’s Us
Jordan Peele’s sophomore film, Us, comes to Halloween Horror Nights in a brand new partnership with the acclaimed director and Universal. Escape the Tethered as you walk from the Santa Monica Pier to the endless tunnels below. You are your own worst enemy.
Jordan Peele’s Us will be one of the most popular houses this year. Visit immediately at opening or in the last hour of the event.
Killer Klowns from Outer Space
Last year’s hit scare zone gets the big top treatment with Killer Klowns from Outer Space. When the population starts going missing there is only one group to blame: a mysterious group of clowns and their big top tent from outer space. Cheesy more than scary, Killer Klowns will surely be a hit with guests.
Universal built their name on horror and now those monsters are back with vengeance. In this maze guests will find Dracula in his castle, Wolfman in the forest, Frankenstein’s monster in the lab, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and many more.
House of 1000 Corpses
Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses makes its Orlando debut this year. Based on the 2003 cult classic movie, join hitchhikers as they walk through Captain Spaulding’s Museum of Monsters and Madmen. Soon they are chased by the Firefly family through the caverns beneath their house, full of the museum’s victims.
Depths of Fear
Deep underwater a drilling team uncovers a den of creatures called Mouthbrooders. The deep sea mining station is soon swarmed with the parasites as they take over their victims. With the station under attack, the remaining miners activate the self-destruct feature with us in it.
Ascension Parish Cemetery in Louisiana is a popular spot for teens to let off steam, but one night the long deceased come back. Spirits, ghouls, and apparitions emerge from the catacombs seeking revenge on those who desecrated their resting places. Soon you will find out what happens to those who dare to disturb the cemetery. Rest in peace.
Nightingales Blood Pit
The emperor has demanded the sacrifices and gladiator battles will not cease till the drought ends. Here we find ourselves in the pits of the colosseum where the ancient evil nightingales are feasting on humanity’s misery. Run for your lives as man and demons battle for survival.
Yeti: Terror of the Yukon
Trapped in a remote outpost you join a logging camp tormented by beasts in the wilderness. What is it that has caused so much damage and death? Could the legend of the abominable snowman be real? Escape from the logging camp only to find yourself in the arctic and a cave to hide in. But you are not alone.
Scare zones are interactive, sprawling, open haunts that focus on atmosphere and large special effects. These areas transform sections of the park into twisted new locations. Unlike houses there are no queue lines or waits to experience scare zones, making it a perfect experience as lines for the houses peak between 8:30 p.m. until 11:00 p.m.
Zombieland Double Tap
Based on the 2009 movie and the soon to be released sequel, Zombieland Double Tap brings the rules to life in the New York area of USF. Join survivors as they vote on the Zombie Kill of the Week. Remember to travel light and beware of bathrooms.
Rob Zombie Hellbilly Deluxe
Based on the debut album of the same name, Rob Zombie Hellbilly Deluxe brings the imagery, pageantry, and music of the horror heavy metal artist to life. Yes, we expect Dragula to make its home here.
Bright neon, arcade cabinets, and murderous anarchists have taken over the entrance area of USF with Anarch-cade. This 80’s arcade is now home to those who take “Game Over” literally.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so what happens when that involves constant, painful modifications? Frequently changing trends have left these party attenders unrecognizable as humans. Do not loiter as you might become their next patient.
Valhalla is missing some vikings as they have returned from the dead to Halloween Horror Nights. Central Park is under siege from these supernatural vikings.
Academy of Villains – Altered States
Discover your Altered States in this all new show. Returning for its fourth year, Academy of Villains melds together technology, death defying stunts, choreography, and dance. The show consistently ranks as one of the best attractions at the event, with last year’s show breaking guest satisfaction ratings records.
The show runs between five to seven shows a night. The least crowded show times will be the first and last shows of the night.
Halloween Marathon of Mayhem
New for 2019, Halloween Marathon of Mayhem celebrates the late night VHS horror movie marathons with a breathtaking lagoon show. Through fountains, projections, lasers, and lights, memorable moments from Stranger Things, Ghostbusters, and Universal Monsters become larger-than-life nightmares.
Shows run every night of HHN at 10:oo p.m., 11:00 p.m., and 12:00 a.m.
Universal opens several of its most popular attractions for HHN, too. Ride the rides as a break or after experiencing the houses, scare zones, and Academy of Villains show. Attractions close prior to the end of the event, with Transformers and Escape from Gringotts closing at 11:00 p.m. while other attractions such as Men in Black remaining open past midnight.
- Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
- Transformers: The Ride 3D*
- Revenge of the Mummy
- Fast & Furious: Supercharged*
- Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts*
- Men in Black: Alien Attack
- The Simpsons Ride**
*Closes prior to the end of the event, usually 11:00 p.m.
**Open select nights
Touring plans for Halloween Horror Nights are hard to develop. Houses receive strong word of mouth based on quality (good and bad) and by the time a statistical sampling of wait times can be completed the event is over.
Some general tips do apply year to year. Below is a rough guide and touring tips to follow.
- Be at the gates to Universal Studios an hour before opening (90 minutes on busy nights), preferably participating in the Stay and Scream program.
- Upon opening make your way towards Ghostbusters and experience immediately if the wait is under half an hour.
- Head towards Stranger Things, experience if wait is at or under half an hour. If over half an hour wait go to step 4 and come back at the end of the night.
- Proceed towards KidZone and the houses there (Graveyard Games and Universal Monsters).
- Experience these houses while the waits are under twenty minutes. If over proceed to step 6.
- Proceed towards Men in Black Alien Attack.
- Experience Nightingales and Depths of Fear.
- Check show times for Academy of Villains, choose a show time within the next two hours.
- If Academy of Villains has a show performing then experience House of 1000 Corpses.
- Take this time to experience the scare zones, open attractions, Academy of Villains, eat, and drink. Escape to CityWalk if the crowds become too much.
- Keep an eye out for shorter wait times for houses you have not done yet, about 45 minutes or less.
- Within the last two hours of the event start experiencing the remaining houses at the front of the park (Yeti and Killer Klowns) and any of the houses at the back of the park.
- Within the last hour of the event experience Jordan Peele’s Us.
- Return to any houses or rides you wish to re-experience or houses you had to skip earlier.
Are you ready for Halloween Horror Nights 29? Let us know what you’re most excited to see in the comments.