Happy Wednesday everyone! It’s officially October which means Spooky Season is upon us! And honestly, what’s more spooky than Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando?! Two weeks ago I finally got to experience Halloween Horror Nights for the first time. I’m not going to lie, I had very high expectations since people always seem to praise this event. Even those who aren’t huge Universal fans, like myself, speak highly of HHN (Halloween Horror Nights).
Needless to say, it definitely lived up to the hype. I’m kind of bummed I waited this long to experience HHN. Since this was my first time at the event, I wanted to share with you all a few tips for surviving HHN. (And a few things I wished I had known prior to the event!).
Here’s a Few Tips For Surviving Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando:
1. Halloween Horror Nights is a separate ticketed event, so plan accordingly. Similar to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP), you will need to buy an additional ticket to attend HHN. And just like with MNSSHP, some dates will sell out. Always be sure to buy your tickets in advance. There’s nothing worst than planning your trip around a certain night only to get to the ticket counter and find out the event is sold out that night.
Pro Tip for Passholders: You do get one free night of HNN (if you are a Premier Passholder) BUT you must arrive at the park and get your pass scanned BEFORE 5 PM. I almost learned that the hard way.
2. Although Halloween Horror Nights starts at 6:30, there is a way to beat the crowds. Like I said previously, passholders are able to enter the parks before 5 PM and before HHN officially starts. Even if you are not a passholder, you have the option to buy a Scream Early ticket (for $25) that allows you to also enter the parks at 5 PM. Once you enter, you can proceed to a Stay and Scream holding area.
3. Come as Early as Possible. The line outside of the gates start forming way before 6:30 when the event starts. In fact, when I got to HHN around 4:55 PM, there was already a huge line outside of the gates. (Even though the event doesn’t start until 6:30 PM, I’ve heard that they sometimes start letting people in around 6 PM).
I highly recommend buying a Scream Early ticket or getting there early enough so you can start lining up. This way, as soon as the gates open you can quickly speed walk to the house you want to visit first and jump in the queue.
4. Prioritize. Know which houses or scare zones are a must visit for you. And knock those out of the way first!
For me, I knew the three houses I had to visit were the Us, Stranger Things and Ghostbusters houses. (All of which were so cool and detailed!).
5. Don’t let the lines or wait times intimidate you. Before you have a panic attack, the photos above are from when I was waiting in line before HHN started. This is the queue for the people who have that early admission ticket. Basically, you get to wait in “line” for one house (I chose Stranger Things). Once HHN offically begins, you are at the front of that houses line.
But trust me, the lines move so fast! There’s not much stopping. It’s basically you just walking the whole way to the house.
When it comes to the wait times themselves, they aren’t always as long as they seem. For example, when I went to the Us house it said the wait time was 20 minutes. However, I timed it and I only waited about 11 minutes total.
Long story short, if you see a sea of people waiting in line for a house or you see that the wait time is super long, don’t feel intimidated, just stick it out!
6. Visit the “popular” houses first. The houses (which are essentially haunted house mazes on a sound stage) are the biggest draw of HHN. Each year there are houses that are more popular than others. This year the Stranger Things, Us and Ghostbusters houses were definitely the “it” houses. Due to this, their wait times were always significantly longer than the other houses.
Since the less popular houses rarely get to a wait time of over 20 minutes, I suggest saving them for last. (Since there wait times are going to be the same throughout the entire event). However, the popular houses will have a shorter wait time in the very beginning of the night and right before the event ends. So try to knock those houses out first so you aren’t spending an hour waiting in line during the peak hours.
This is something I wish I would have thought to do. During the first hour of HHN the wait time for Ghostbusters never surpassed 20 minutes. So I kept thinking to myself, “okay, I’ll just put it off until later”. Then, about two hours until the event, the wait times reached 50 minutes to an hour. I ended up waiting about 30 minutes (even though the wait time was listed at 45 minutes).
7. Ride some rides. During HHN, there are a handful of rides open. Since most people are spending their time at the houses, scare zones or shows, this leaves an almost zero wait time for rides. No really, every single ride I went on had a listed wait time of 10 minutes, but there was legit no wait times. I just walked onto the ride.
I had the entire Fast & Furious party bus/ride to myself. Can I just talk about this ride for a second? What a pile of hot garbage. I wouldn’t wait more than 45 seconds in line for this ride.
Moving on. I also had the entire Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts ride to myself. Speaking of Harry Potter….
8. Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The WWOHP is basically empty during Halloween Horror Nights!
Look how beautiful and empty! Normally the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is so overly crowed your bumping elbows with other guests!
Getting to have the entire Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts ride to myself was so amazing! I got to take my time walking through the queue and really soaking up the incredible theming.
9. Use the App. The houses and scare zones are scattered throughout the park. Make sure to utilize the app and check out the wait times before heading over to a certain house or area. If you are closer to one house and see on the app that it’s only a 5 minute wait, knock those houses out of the way before making your way across the park.
10. Try the Pizza Fries. Pizza Fries are one of the most popular exclusive offerings during HHN. All I kept hearing about were these darn fries.
Welp, it’s safe to say I can see what the hype is about. They were so good! Imagine really good curly fries but then you bake a pizza, minus the crust, on top of it. I don’t know if that sounds good but trust me, it was. Also, I am not a fan of most sausage pizza but the sausages in the pizza fries were super yummy.
11. Arrive before it gets dark. Halloween Horror Nights might start at 6:30 PM but for some reason a lot of people like to arrive at the park after it gets dark. I guess it makes it more creepy/spooky. But warning, around 8-10 PM, the traffic outside of Universal can get insane and the line to even enter the parking lot starts to reach a standstill.
12. Take a break and explore. I know a huge draw of HHN is the houses and scare zones but there are a ton of other things to see and do. Cast members are walking around dressed up in costumes, there’s Halloween decor and even shows to see.
So make sure to take a moment to just stop, breath and soak up the eerie ambiance.
13. Have fun. This might sound like a silly tip but seriously, have fun! Halloween Horror Noghts is meant to be fun and spooky so don’t stress out if you can’t hit every house, scare zone or see every show.
Have you ever been to Halloween Horror Nights? What was your experience like?