Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights (HHN) is the country’s premier Halloween event, Golden Ticket Award winner for over a decade. While Disney’s After Hours Boo Bash 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?
COVID Note: Halloween Horror Nights will be following Universal’s enhanced safety guidelines during the pandemic. Please review current operations online before attending the event.
Halloween Horror Nights officially starts at 6:30 p.m. but gates usually open between 6:00 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. 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). Make sure to factor in the time to park, pass through security, and arrive at Universal Studios Florida.
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
At 5:00 p.m. Universal Studios Florida completely closes the park – all the attractions shut down and guests are ushered out of the park. At this time the park sets up for Halloween Horror Nights by uncovering props, bringing out scenic elements, and turning on the ubiquitous fog machines.
There is a way to stay in the park after closing and experience some of the haunted houses before the event officially starts. 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.
- Go to the Stay and Scream holding location in Central Park, Delancey Street in New York, or Today Cafe.
- Follow Team Member directions and signage. Team Members will scan your HHN ticket for admission to the Stay and Scream area.
- Park officially closes at 5:00 p.m.
- Between 5:45 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., before the front gates open, guests will exit the Stay and Scream area and be allowed to line up or experience the haunted houses.
By having a leg up over the guests entering at 6:30 p.m. you can experience several of the most popular houses before the event starts.
Haunted houses are the backbone of Halloween Horror Nights. Every year Universal builds brand new, E-Ticket level walkthrough experiences for guests based on original concepts and existing properties (in fan parlance referred to as “originals” and “IPs”). These walkthroughs are grand in scale and execution, on par or surpassing 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.
The ghost with the most finally gets his own haunted house at Halloween Horror Nights. Walk through iconic movie scenes, disorienting rooms, and interact with Beetlejuice himself.
Haunting of Hill House (KidZone)
Based on the Netflix horror anthology, the Haunted of Hill House takes place in the first season’s mansion. Similar to the show the haunted house will tell multiple stories throughout the experience. Expect many ghosts along with a trip into the Red Room.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre (New York)
The 1974 horror movie comes to life at Halloween Horror Nights as guests explore the Sawyer home. The towering Leatherface will come at you from all angles.
Universal Monsters: Bride of Frankenstein Lives (Production Central)
Set after the ending of Bride of Frankenstein, this house acts as an unofficial sequel to the film. Visit the lab where the Bride is bringing her mate back to life while avoiding an onslaught of Dracula’s brides.
Welcome to SCarey: Horror in the Heartland (Fear Factor Live)
Step back into the horrors of Halloween Horror Nights past through a visit to the infamous town of Carey, Ohio. This town features brutal butchers, maniacal television stations, vampire-infested caves, and more. After all, Carey is a nice place to live, right?
Revenge of the Toothfairy (New York)
Enter a victorian mansion for a twisted take on a childhood tradition – what happens when children do not hand over their teeth to the tooth fairy. Just like the darkest old Hans Christen Anderson fairy tales, there are no happy endings.
Wicked Growth: Realm of the Pumpkin (Men in Black)
Unbeknownst to the locals, the traditional celebrations of Halloween bring upon the return of a terrifying creature. The Pumpkin Lord is returning and sacrifices are being collected. Escape from this tangled vine because your life depends upon it.
Halloween Horror Nights Icons: Captured (New York)
For the first time ever, Universal’s most terrifying creations are together in one house – HHN Icons: Captured. Survive this house and find out who reigns supreme over the icons.
Puppet Theatre: Captive Audience (Men in Black)
A 1900s earthquake has trapped a puppet troupe under the rubble of their theater. Inside they turn the unwilling into human marionettes as they fight for the audience.
Case Files Unearthed: Legendary Truth (Hollywood)
Open up cold cases and learn about the unsettling investigations into the supernatural by the mysterious organization, The Legendary Truth. Follow Private Eye Boris Shuster through New York as he tracks down eldritch horrors.
Scare zones are immersive, sprawling, themed areas that transform sections of the park into twisted new locations. Unlike houses there are no queues to experience scare zones, making it a perfect experience as queues peak between 8:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.
30 Years, 30 Fears (Production Central)
Celebrate 30 Years of Halloween Horror Nights scare zone icons and fiends.
Seek & Destroy (New York)
The Controller rules this dystopian New York City where it scans and finds humans to use for fuel. Avoid their followers and resist being destroyed.
Crypt TV (San Francisco)
Based on the hit online horror anthology channel, Crypt TV brings the online sensation’s original creations to life. Here you will find The Look-See, Harclaw, and Miss Annity and will never forget them.
Gorewood Forest (Central Park)
First featured in HHN15, the Terra Queen has returned as the prophecy foretold to terrorize the world and rebuild it in her image.
Lights, Camera, Hacktion: Eddie’s Revenge (Hollywood)
Halloween Nightmare Fuel (Fear Factor Live stage)
New for HHN, Halloween Nightmare Fuel will combine aerialists, dancers, performers, and more to create a nightmare for guests.
Marathon of Mayhem: Carnage Factory (Lagoon by Central Park)
Jack the Clown invites us into his factory of scares with a fountain lagoon show showcasing the Universal Monsters, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Haunting of Hill House, and original HHN creations.
Universal opens several of its most popular attractions for HHN. Rides are a great break after experiencing the houses, scare zones, or shows. Attractions close prior to the end of the event, check the park map for exact closing times.
- Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
- Transformers: The Ride 3D*
- Revenge of the Mummy
- Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts*
- Men in Black: Alien Attack
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
For most theme parks Touring Plans study set traffic patterns and flows for years and when a new attraction opens we can accurately predict how it will impact the park. This gets thrown out the window when it comes to HHN with new locations for popular houses every year. While traffic patterns change every year we have found these general tips will greatly reduce waits in queues.
- Arrive at the park gates at least 45 minutes prior to the event start, 90 minutes on busy days.
- Participate in Stay & Scream, see above section. See the houses offered at your location.
- Upon entry find any houses with a 15 minute or less wait at the front of the park. Experience those houses (usually you will only have time for one before the rest jump up in waits).
- Proceed to the open houses in KidZone: Haunting of Hill House and Beetlejuice.
- Move to the houses between The Simpsons Ride and Men In Black: Alien Attack: Puppet Theater and Wicked Growth.
- Check showtimes for the show in Fear Factor Live. Make plans to see the first showing which is the least crowded. If you have the time to experience the house in the Men in Black extended queue, Welcome to SCarey.
- See the Fear Factor Live show.
- At this time most houses should have moderate to long waits, at this time we suggest exploring the scare zones, riding the rides, and heading out to CityWalk for dinner or drinks.
- Return to the event, ride any rides you have not experienced, and see the lagoon show.
- Finish up any houses you have not yet seen in the last 90 minutes of the event. At this time, lines will have died down significantly.
- Stay to the end of the night, seeing any remaining houses or returning to favorites.
We expect Beetlejuice, Haunting of Hill House, and HHN Icons to be the houses with the longest queues.
Are you ready for Halloween Horror Nights 30? Let us know what you’re most excited to see in the comments.