Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights (HHN) is the country’s premier Halloween event, having won the Best Halloween Event Golden Ticket Award for over a decade. 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-oriented event.
In this two-part series, we will cover all you need to know about HHN 30. Part 1 focused on planning, operating hours, ticket options, discounts, warnings, and additional reading. Part 2 covers touring tips of the haunted houses, scare zones, and shows.
Touring Halloween Horror Nights
The big day is here and you are ready to get spooky. So… where to first? What is there to see? How do you effectively tour the park? How did some guests get in the park early? Are there any attractions open?
Halloween Horror Nights officially start at 6:30 p.m. but gates sometimes open 15 minutes early. We advise arriving at least 45 minutes before the official opening on slow days (usually weekdays) and at least 90 minutes on busy days (weekends and dates close to Halloween).
If you are already in the park for the day or want to get a leg up on others we suggest looking into Stay and Scream.
Stay and Scream
Universal Studios Florida closes at 5:00 pm to transform into Halloween Horror Nights. Guests with both daytime and Halloween Horror Nights admission can stay in the park during the switchover in a program called Stay and Scream. Here is how it works:
- Be inside the park prior to closing at 5:00 pm.
- Find the orange shirt Team Members located at Today Cafe, New York, or Central Park sections of the park.
- Follow Team Member directions and scan your HHN ticket.
- Wait in the holding areas after the park officially closes at 5:00 p.m.
- Around 6:00 p.m. guests will be allowed into select haunted houses located in KidZone, World Expo, and New York.
Our advice is to participate in Stay and Scream if you can. It is free with when you have both forms of admission and you will be able to experience one house and line up for another before the event starts. When touring we suggest experiencing the original concept houses first then line-up for an intellectual property house right before the park opens, such as The Weeknd, Halloween, Blumhouse, or Universal Monsters.
Every year Universal builds brand new, E-Ticket-level walkthrough experiences called haunted houses. Each house is based on original concepts or existing property – “originals” and “IPs” as the fans say. These walkthroughs are grand in scale and execution, on par with or surpassing the most elaborate attractions designed by Disney or Universal. Make no mistake, these houses can be scary!
This year Universal offers ten sinister houses for guests based on popular properties and terrifying original concepts.
- Spirits of the Coven – Prohibition meets witchcraft. This speakeasy is actually a front for an illicit brew, one in which you are the secret ingredient.
- Halloween – Based on the iconic 1978 film, relive that one faithful Halloween night when Michael Myers stalked the town of Haddonfield. This new house is expanded and updated since the film’s last appearance in 2014.
- Hellblock Horror – Prison riot, but the prison is filled with monsters. Get through the prison to self-detonate the prison before all hell breaks loose.
- Dead Man’s Pier – Winter’s Wake – The dead lost at sea return for revenge in the middle of a New England winter.
- Fiesta de Chupacabras – Tourists to this small town think it’s a party but in actuality, it’s a blood sacrifice to appease the mythical chupacabra. Guess who they are sacrificing. Hint: it’s not the locals.
- The Horrors of Blumhouse: Freaky & Black Phone – A devilish double header of a house with two Blumhouse films. Freaky follows the teenager whose body was switched with a mass murderer and her fight to reclaim it. Black Phone tells the tale of a mass murderer and how his last victim escaped.
- Bugs Eaten Alive – Dark humor house featuring retro-future aesthetics and larger-than-life bugs. Think Disneyland’s House of the Future meets The Fly.
- Descendents of Destruction – Humanity has devolved after being forced underground. Now it is our task to brave the NYC subway system’s depths.
- The Weeknd: After Hours Nightmare – Find out what lies inside The Weeknd’s mind. Guests will encounter the creatures and terrifying visions depicted in the chart-topping album, After Hours.
- Universal Monsters: Legends Collide – It’s the Wolfman, The Mummy, and Dracula in an epic battle to cure them of their curses. Of course, we’re caught in the middle. Who will win and who will be slain?
Scare Zones, Shows, & More
At night Universal Studios Florida transforms into the world’s best Halloween party. Universal turns five areas in the parks into “scare zones”, themed areas filled with special effects, props, and scare actors. Get the party cranking at the Halloween Nightmare Fuel show next to Men in Black or the Ghoulish! lagoon fountain show. Then explore the Tribute Store for Halloween treats and souvenirs.
- Horrors of Halloween – Fans of 2021’s Wicked Growth will be happy to see the Pumpkin Lord return to summon Horror Nights in this scare zone. Pumpkins and vines cover this area next to Minion Mayhem.
- Sweet Revenge – A family-friendly festival run by a local candy merchant goes bad when all the kids turn into killers in this all-new scare zone in New York.
- Conjur the Dark – Witches call forth evil from unknown realms during the first all hallows eve in San Francisco.
- Scarecrow: Cursed Soil – Sequel to 2017’s massively popular Scarecrow The Reaping house. Escape killer scarecrows and walk through a massive barn filled with their victims. Central Park’s trees make this a gorgeous scare zone at night.
- Graveyard: Deadly Unrest – Ghosts, goblins, and spirits rise in this abandoned graveyard scare zone in Hollywood.
- Halloween Nightmare Fuel: Wildfire – The hot Halloween Nightmare Fuel returns with Wildfire, featuring magic, dancing, and The Fuel Girls.
- Ghoulish! – A Halloween Tale – Childhood stories become living nightmares in this brand-new lagoon show.
- Halloween Horror Nights 31 Tribute Store – Elaborately themed seasonal store featuring exclusive event merchandise, treats, and some tricks.
Several popular attractions are open for Halloween Horror Nights:
- Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
- Transformers: The Ride 3D*
- Revenge of the Mummy
- Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts*
- Men in Black: Alien Attack
- The Simpsons Ride**
Diagon Alley also remains open during Halloween Horror Nights with many of its shops, restaurants, and beverage locations serving till late at night. Nothing beats a picture of the dragon breathing fire at night.
*Closes prior to the end of the event, usually 11:00 p.m.
**Open select nights
Food & Beverage
Halloween Horror Nights bring extra treats in addition to its usual tricks. Dozens of unique food items, such as Korean corn dogs and pepperoni pizza skulls, comprise an exclusive menu of food available during HHN. Unique food items can be found at themed food booths around the park and at select dining locations. For a full list of dining locations and menus download the Universal Orlando app.
For those who need liquid encouragement beer, wine, seltzers, and premixed drinks are also available to guests aged 21 and older at food booths and temporary bars. If you are looking for a mixed cocktail or shots then head over to Finnegan’s Bar and Grill in New York.
Counter service and full-service dining spots in the park remain open for Halloween Horror Nights except for Lombards in San Francisco. Our tip is to leave the park for the restaurants in CityWalk, Hard Rock Hotel, or along I-Drive. The crowds will be lower and more food options are available.
Halloween Horror Night’s haunted house lineup and locations change each year. Once we receive wait time data for the houses the event ends, which makes developing a touring plan hard. Instead, follow these general guidelines to reduce your time in line:
- Arrive at the park gates at least 60 minutes before the event starts, 90 minutes on busy days.
- Participate in Stay & Scream, see the above section. See the houses offered at your location.
- If entering from the main gate visit any open houses with under 15-minute waits in Production Central and the New York section of the park.
- Stay & Scream guests should wait for the non-IP houses at the Springfield Stay & Scream.
- Main gate guests should then proceed to the non-IP houses in the back of the park (Bugs and Descendents).
- Stay & Scream guests should go to KidZone for The Weeknd and Universal Monsters before the park opens.
- Complete the rest of the houses in the back of the park and Fast & Furious. See the first Halloween Nightmare Fuel show.
- Wait times should be increasing now for all houses. Escape to CityWalk for a break, enjoy the scare zones, or ride some of the attractions.
- See the lagoon show Ghoulish! anytime.
- Wait times will drop after 11 PM for houses at the front of the park. Return to New York and Production Central to experience any houses under a half-hour wait.
- During the last hour of the event visit the remaining houses in KidZone and New York or return to favorites.
Are you ready for Halloween Horror Nights 30? Let us know what you’re most excited to see in the comments.